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The YOKO FACTOR (ep #4.20)

(a.k.a. The Scooby Split)

Written by: Doug Petrie
Directed by: David Grossman
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
Conor O'Farrell as Col. McNamara
George Hertzberg as Adam
Emma Caulfield as Anya
David Boreanaz as Angel
Co-Starring: Bob Fimiani as Mr. Ward
Jade Carter as Lieutenant

Plot Summary

Spike successfully carried out Adam's desire to split Buffy from her friends.

Plot Details

Col. McNamara made a report to a guy in a suit (Mr. Ward). The commandos were doing well, but morale was a problem. The guy in the suit was concerned about Riley. McNamara said that he would get Riley back even though he did not think much of Riley. McNamara did not think much of Buffy either.

Spike, on the other hand, knew better. She had defeated him too many times for him to dismiss her. Adam, at least, found her of interest even though he appeared to be underestimating her. Adam wondered why Spike had not killed her yet. Spike claimed bad luck. Adam wanted Spike to deliver Buffy how and where Adam wanted. Spike expressed concerns about Buffy's friends, so Adam ordered him to separate her from her friends, something Spike looked forward to doing.

Xander brought some of his silliest clothing for Riley to wear. They talked about their hope that Buffy would get back from guest-starring on her ex-boyfriend's show and about their mutual dislike of Angel. In the course of the conversation, Xander let slip exactly what caused Angel to lose his soul. It appeared that Riley was the one person in the Buffyverse who did not already know.

Giles was singing "Freebird" in his apartment when Spike burst in. Spike offered to get some Initiative files to Buffy in exchange for blood, protection, and money. Giles was willing to make a deal, but Spike questioned whether he could speak for Buffy anymore. Giles was not happy to hear that.

Willow played with Miss Kitty Fantastico, Tara's new kitten. Willow was not interested in taking any more psychology classes, but she was interested in drama despite her experience in "The Puppet Show." Willow hinted that she and Tara could live off campus together, but Tara had assumed that Willow would live with Buffy again. Willow was not so sure.

Riley visited Buffy in her dorm. He wanted to know what happened when Buffy visited Angel, but Buffy did not want to talk about Angel. Meanwhile, Xander delivered an army uniform and a fake pistol to Spike. Spike liked the gun until Xander got to the fake part. Spike continued by talking about how Xander was going to join the army, which neither Xander nor Anya knew about. Spike said that he simply heard talk from Willow and Buffy.

While on patrol, Buffy ran into Forrest. The two of them engaged in a macho contest with Buffy not willing to take anything from Forrest and Forrest blaming Buffy for Riley being a fugitive. Adam interrupted their argument. Forrest tried to taser Adam, which only seemed to strengthen him. Forrest then charged Adam, who skewered him and took his taser gun. Adam shot Buffy with the taser and chased her out of a cave.

Spike arrived at Giles's apartment pretending to be out of breath (as if he needed to breathe anyway). Willow and Tara were waiting to decrypt the disks that he recovered. He watched Tara and Willow together and figured out what the other characters and a fair amount of the audience did not figure out until the last episode. He hinted that the other characters believed that Willow was just in a phase with her relationship with Tara.

The Initiative's holding cells were filled to capacity. They had to put more than one captive in single cells, which led to some fighting. Col. McNamara did not seem to care. Meanwhile, an Initiative patrol desperately needed help. Riley, who was listening in on the Initiative's frequencies responded to help and found Angel beating up some commandos. Neither Angel nor Riley liked each other all that much, and neither made any effort to hide that fact. They quickly started fighting until backup arrived. Both Angel and Riley fled.

Angel made it to Buffy's dorm first. Before he could explain what was going on, Riley showed up with a gun. He and Angel were both hoping to have another fight, but Buffy was not interested. She eventually dragged Angel out and complained about how he treated her when she crossed over to his show. They ended up apologizing.

Spike reported back to Adam and explained the title of the episode. Spike believed that the Beatles were fated to break up when they did and blamed Yoko Ono only because she was there. Buffy's friends were destined to break up; Spike just gave a push. Spike wanted his chip out, but Adam wanted to wait.

Riley was concerned that Buffy and Angel did something that might have caused Angel to lose his soul. He was at least good in admitting that his jealousy was without cause. Buffy then told him that Forrest died. Riley left.

Buffy, Tara, Xander, Anya, and an intoxicated Giles waited as Willow tried to decrypt the disks that Spike gave them. Buffy wanted to go back to fight Adam, but both Xander and Giles thought that Adam would beat her up or kill her. Xander wanted them to go as a group, but Buffy thought that she was back in "The Zeppo" and vetoed the idea. Tara retreated to the bathroom, and Anya soon followed. Inside the living room, the fight continued with Buffy, Willow, and Xander engaging in a series of two-on-one attacks. Eventually, Buffy stormed off to the one person she believed she could count on. Unfortunately, that person just reported to Adam.

The Good

Even though this episode's purpose was to set up the next episode, it still did a good job in focusing on the characters. I particularly liked the argument at the end.

The Bad

Once again, an Angel appearance served his show rather than Buffy's.

Overall Rank: 43

Action: 4

Buffy and Forrest fought Adam.

Angel and Riley had a fight.

Comedy: 2

Riley was dressed in Xander's clothes.

Drunk Giles was mildly amusing.

Drama: 7

Riley was concerned that Buffy might have done something with Angel.

Buffy, Willow, and Xander fought over the extent to which they were needed.

Romance: 2

Riley and Buffy had a tender moment after he confessed his jealousy.

Spike, Xander, and Giles now know that Willow is with Tara.

Character Development: 8

Spike had been watching the other characters and knew how he could turn them against each other.

Giles had not been feeling like Buffy had needed him. He actually knew who Alfred (Batman's butler) was.

Xander has felt isolated from Buffy and Willow because they went to college and he did not.

Willow is a little insecure about whether her friends accept her relationship with Tara.

Riley only just found out about what triggered Angel's curse. This was something he did not want to know.

Adam likes "Helter Skelter."

Buffy thinks that she does not need her friends.

Importance: 6

Buffy, Willow, and Xander are not on speaking terms, which serves Adam's plan.

Most Valuable Player: Spike

Spike set out to split Buffy from her friends and did so.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Spike

Spike figured out the emotional vulnerabilities of Xander, Willow, and Giles and came up with a plan to exploit them.

Goat of the Week: Buffy

Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles all fell for Spike's manipulations. They fought so hard for the Goat that I have a difficult time choosing a winner. I am settling on Buffy because Spike was able to manipulate her remotely, whereas Spike had to manipulate the others face-to-face.

Memorable Dialogue

"You're not getting it, Mr. Bits. You're gonna be interestingly dead. Little Miss Tiny's got the habit of bollixing up the plans of every would-be unstoppable bad-ass who sets foot in this town." Spike

"You feel smothered, trapped like an animal, pure in its ferocity, unable to actualize the urges within, clinging to one truth, like a flame, struggling to burn within an enclosed glass, that a beast this powerful cannot be contained. Inevitably, it will break free and savage the land again." Adam

"You're like Tony Robbins, if he was a big, scary, Frankenstein-looking... You're exactly like Tony Robbins." Spike

"I take it you're not an Angel fan either." Riley
"It's not like I hate the guy, just, you know, the guts part of him." Xander

"Angel's an OK guy if he's mopey and sad and brooding, but if you give him even one second of pure, real pleasure..." Xander
"And that sets him off." Riley
"Only in the big old 'kill your friends' kind of way, and you know what makes Angel happiest? I'll give you a hint. It's not crème brulee." Xander

"You know, for someone who's got 'watcher' on his resume, you might want to cast an eye to the front door every now and again." Spike

"It happens that I'm good at a lot of things. I help out with all kinds of stuff. I have skills and stratagems. I'm very... Help me out." Xander
"He's a Viking in the sack." Anya

"That was a good day? Well there you go. Even when he's good, he's all Mr. Billowy Coat, King of Pain." Riley

"You and Willow go do the superpower thing. I'll stay behind and putt around the Batcave with crusty old Alfred here." Xander
"No, I'm no Alfred, sir. No, you forget. Alfred had a job." Giles

"Just because you're better than us doesn't mean you could be all superior." Xander


Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 25, 2012