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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Goodbye Iowa

Buffy: "Maggie tried to kill me."
Anya: "It didn't work, but they're all upset anyway."

Maggie created Riley, too? How are we supposed to take that particular comment? And what about Riley being "too important to the work?" Hmmm.

And we still don't know which way Riley will go. Good acting by Marc Blucas in this one; he went whacko several times but it could be attributed to his obviously painful drug withdrawal and it didn't completely cross the line. (Except maybe when he knocked Willow down; that ticked me off.) I knew that sooner or later he would find out about Buffy's pseudo-friendship with Spike and be majorly ticked about it, and of course it happened at the worst possible moment. Where are those shackles when you need them? They might have been a help with Riley. And it's not like Buffy hasn't chained up her boyfriend before.

Loved the slumber party in Xander's dank little basement, especially the three girls in bed together watching cartoons. I also liked the TV in the crypt scene with Spike under the skeleton, and the way the writers are continuing to move Spike, kicking and screaming, into the Slayer's camp by having his demon pals reject him.

Adam doesn't do much for me. I guess I'm not a Frankenstein fan, and it's hard for me to take it seriously; I keep hearing Gene Wilder saying "Frahn-ken-steen" in my head. The scene with the little boy (paralleling the traditional Frankenstein story) was clever, but it was also disturbing and it made me uncomfortable.

Bits and pieces:

— I liked the tattoo on Tony Head's left inner forearm. That was from "The Dark Age."

— Yummy sushi pajamas.

— Meds in their food? I thought the meds were in their "vitamins."


Buffy: "Okay, everybody, grab a weapon. We gotta move."
Xander: "And storm the Initiative? Yeah, let's take on those suckers."
Buffy: "I was thinking more that we'd hide."
Xander: "Oh, thank God."

Giles: "Absolutely not. I will not squat in that dank hole."
Spike: "What, it was good enough for me, but you're above it all?"
Giles: "Precisely."

Buffy: "That would never happen."
Willow: "Well, no, Buff. That's why they call them cartoons, not documentaries."

Willow: "Well, look who's cranky bear in the morning."
Giles: "Yes I can't imagine why I didn't sleep well in my beach ball."
Anya: "Every time you moved, it made squeaky noises. It was irritating."
Giles: "Really? I'm surprised you could hear it over your Wagnerian snoring."
Buffy: "Okay, you guys, could we not, please? Everything's screwed up enough without you two doing scenes from my parent's marriage."

Buffy: "Riley was supposed to be Mr. Joe Guy. We were going to do dumb things like hold hands through the daisies going tra la la."

Buffy: "That probably would have sounded more commanding if I wasn't wearing my yummy sushi pajamas."

Buffy: "He's the only one with military experience."
Anya: "It's not like he was in the 'Nam. He was GI Joe for one night."

Buffy: "I'm the only one that can pass the retinal scan."
Xander: "The... ewww! I don't wanna see that."

Xander: "Why am I not entirely comforted by the arrival of the man-sized microwave?"

Willow: "There's got to be a flaw."
Buffy: "I think the part where he's pure evil and kills randomly was an oversight."

Two out of four stakes. And Faith returns next week! I knew it would happen,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. I've been enjoying season four a lot more now than when it first aired. However, I still think the Initiative arc wasn't that interesting and bringing in Adam only made things worse.

    And then there's Riley. Watching this season again I find I'm even less convinced by the Buffy/Riley relationship than I was the first time around. To me, Sarah Michelle Geller and Marc Blucas just never seem to click with each other. There is just no chemistry between the characters or the actors.

  2. I feel like I want to comment, but can't think of anything to say. This is a big arc-plot episode but... eh. I like the way Riley clings to Buffy's headscarf at the end. Though the headscarf dates it a bit.

  3. I find Adam to be really quite chilling, I hadn't considered that the scene with Adam and the Boy is a nod to Frankenstein. I also find that scene quite disturbing, its not usual for children to be the victims in Buffy and I was surprised the first time I saw this episode that he met such a gruesome end.

  4. Adam is creepy - the Frankenstein scene with the kid was disturbing. But I was a little let down by his willingness to monologue when he had Buffy and Riley cornered at the Initiative HQ. Is that what he went there for - exposition?

    I haven't made any secret of my boredom with Riley. As further proof - I'm actually interested to see Faith come back even though I thought her story had played out - it's worth it just to divert the story away from him and his military buddies.

    I'd really like to see more Willow/Tara explanation and a real story for Giles. He and Spike are fun together. Also, where is Joyce?

  5. I managed to finish my own Buffy re-watch just before finding your site. So having just caught up with the reading - and enjoying all the comments -I couldn't resist chipping in now that I have caught up with you all...

    Sadly I have to say that this particular episode doesn't bring back too may happy memories - only:

    sushi pajama speech - (smiley face)

    Willow and Tara's magical continuation - (smiley face)

    but then there's:

    ..poor old Adam - (grumpy face - with all that flash military technology he seems to have been put together with a carving knife and a staple gun - maybe that's what happens when you put a psychology lecturer in charge of Monster Construction - he's not even supposed to be a monster but a sleek new super-soldier - oh dear).

    My other grumpy face goes to the sorry shambles that is the initiative - post Maggie Walsh

    It really does look like Maggie wasn't supposed to leave the series at this point . Surely the actor was suddely called away for more lucrative film work or something. Adam must have been intended as some kind of minion - But Adam wants to learn about the world, yet he skewered the person best equipped to give him his education in the previous episode. That really made no sense. The initiate are all panicky and there is nobody to give trooper Riley his medicine.

    Hmmm those script writers may have to break out an emergency plot measure to get themselves back on the rails next week......

  6. Welcome to the site, paul B! You're right that Maggie Walsh wasn't supposed to die in the previous episode -- the actress suddenly had another commitment, and Whedon and company had to go in another direction. I'm sure they were not amused. :)

  7. Hi Billie, Thanks for clearing that one up!

    They must have been miffed to have to lose Maggie like that - just after losing Oz and everything.

    Maybe they literally only had a couple of days to cobble together a new Big Bad from old demon costumes, gaffer tape and staples.

    Poor Adam. :(

  8. This episode seems a bit disjointed to me. Seeing from the comments above that Joss & Co. had to shift gears suddenly makes sense, but (alas) not to the plot.

    The whole Adam and Riley on drugs things really seem to come out of left field. If Riley were truly hooked on such powerful chemicals, shouldn't there have been some sort of hint previously?

    I agree with paul B that Adam looks pieced together, but not in a good way. It tends to distract me from worrying about his being the Big Bad.

  9. This was a mixed bag, so let’s see...

    The Good:

    Riley’s dilemma, even though was rushed, was nice to watch. I can relate to the guy since I was raised to be a good Christian boy, and once I was hit with questions and uncertainty about what I held dear my mind went to crap. That final shot of Riley holding Buffy’s head scarf got to me. Buffy’s the new important something in his life, the thing that led him to question, and now it’s pretty much all he has left.

    Willy’ bar! The scene at the bar was awesome, fun and then it became tense. I loved it. Willy is such a fun guy, it’s always a treat to have him around.

    All the Scoobies at Xander’s basement. Ha! Hilarious! The girls were so cute together on the bed (there was genuine chemistry between the actresses), and Anya in particular won my heart. Her honesty really shows how much she cares for Xander. Aw.

    The Bad:

    The Initiative. Good God, those guys were lost without Maggie Walsh, weren’t they? I hated when Forrest suggested Buffy had killed professor Walsh. Don’t they have cameras and stuff over there? Maybe room 314 doesn’t, but the other places certainly do, and yet Forrest and co. didn’t check them to get clues or whatever... He just accused. Idiot. And how easy is it to infiltrate and escape the Initiative? Come on, it’s a secret military operations center, it’s supposed to be very difficult to break in or out. Yet, Adam got out and in very easily. Maybe that’s a thing with Whedon shows and their secret organizations, I had the same problem with the Dollhouse.

    Adam. He’s an interesting character, but not good enough to be a Big Bad.

    The final act. Yes, the episode was disjointed but up until the final act it was pretty decent. Then those last minutes were all over the place. Suddenly we were getting answers very quickly, first through the doctor (who simply gave Buffy all the answers she asked for), then through Adam who had some convenient disks left by Maggie. That endless exposition took nearly all of the fun away from the story. And the fight scene did nothing to show Adam as a great danger. Come on, Buffy, you’ve defeated The Judge and The Mayor. Just explode Adam already.

    Regarding whatever happened behind the cameras, there’s a great interview with Doug Petrie here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/buffy/interviews/doug/index.shtml), and apparently they had planned from the get go to kill off Maggie and have Adam take the reigns as the season’s Big Bad. “The I in Team” and “Goodbye, Iowa” do feel rushed, though, so maybe they thought they’d have Lindsay Crouse for a little longer.

  10. Adam is by far my least favorite BtVS Big Bad. Season 4's arc is by far my least favorite. A part of that is the huge speed up that comes here and then stops for the next like six episodes. It feels poorly paced.

    I love the slumber party scene. It comes to mind every time I'm watching TV in bed with friends.

    I've never noticed it before this last time, but the shirt Anya's sleeping in is one we've seen Xander wear. Awww. And realism.

    Sunnydale's shaped in an exact square? I find that highly unlikely given that it's on the California coast.


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