Goodbye Iowa

Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by David Solomon

Dawn's Review | SunSpeak

Dawn's Review


Continuing right off from where we left last episode, Buffy is at Giles' place warning everyone that the Initiative could be after them. Spike raises the point that Riley could be a bad guy and Giles agrees it could be an option. Giles is more concerned however about just why Maggie Walsh wanted Buffy dead.

Shot of Adam looking very much like a Army/Army of Darkness junkyard frankenstein wandering free.

The scooby gang is packing up Giles' stuff and talking about where to go. Giles isn't really concerned and thinks he's safe enough... and then Riley walks in in search of Buffy.

Riley is really confused about the whole affair. He reluctantly admits that he believes Prof Walsh tried to kill Buffy but he doesn't know why. In this confusion, he sees Spike and recognizes him as "hostile 17", and then immediately starts hounding Buffy for hiding him. When Buffy says he's not bad anymore, Spike protests, gives Riley permission to kill Buffy and then leaves.

Very upset, Riley starts speculation about something evil controlling Maggie Walsh. He isn't happy when Giles tells him there's rumours about the Initiative getting ready for some evil purpose.

Meanwhile, Adam comes across a small boy and asks him who he himself is. The boy tells him he's a monster and that he's a boy. When Adam wonders how the boy works, the boy says he doesn't know and then asks him what his Wolverine/armstake thing is. Adam smiles and we....

Shot of Riley wandering the campus. Nighttime.

Maggie Walsh's assistant comes into room 314. He finds her dead on the floor and Adam missing.

The next morning, in Xander's apartment, Giles (sleeping on a bean bag) is the last to get up. Buffy, Willow and Anya are sharing the fold out could and watching cartoons, while Xander (who likely slept in the empty sleeping bag on the floor) is gone. Giles is very irritated and likely didn't get much sleep. A few snarky comments later, Anya tells Buffy she should have gotten a boring boyfriend -- like Xander. Buffy says that's what Riley was supposed to be and that they're now at the stage where it's too late to back out.

Xander rushes in and turns on the TV again. They learn that a small boy has been staked and his body mutilated. Buffy figures that Maggie must have sent the Polgara demon after her and it got sidetracked. She vows vengence.

At Riley's place, he meets up with Forrest and tells him that Maggie tried to kill Buffy. When Forrest professes disbelief, Riley tells him he saw enough to know that it was true. Forrest, backing Maggie's actions, reveals that he thinks Buffy's a spy and that she probably deserves killing. Graham burst in with the news that Maggie Walsh is dead.

In the Initiative, they're starting to remove Maggie's body. Forrest believes she was staked and that Buffy did it. He and Riley start to fight and are interrupted by Maggie's assistant. Apparently he's had orders that everything is to stop until investigators come to conduct an internal review. After he leaves, Riley asserts his authority and tells everyone to suit up, arm up and head out to catch the Polgara demon they think killed Maggie Walsh.

At the cemetary, Forrest and Graham break into Spike's crypt. They find the TV still warm and take off the top of the stone sarcophagus. Inside, there's a leathery skeleton with the remains of a dress lying on an old blanket. After they leave (smashing the tv on the way out), Spike peaks out from underneath the skeleton.

At the location where the dead boy was kills, Buffy watches as they carry his body away. Riley arrives and he's in full military gear. Buffy apologizes for the scooby gang being rough on him in Giles' apartment. Riley tells her that Maggie Walsh is dead and asks her if she's happy. Now they're both upset and Buffy tells him that she's tracking down the Polgara demon to kill it.

Willow arrives at Tara's place in order to do a spell. She wants to find out the location of all the demons in Sunnydale, and she needs her help.

Buffy, trying to track down the Polgara demon, has gone to Willy's place -- it's still a demon/vampire hangout. Willy professes that he's not a double timing louse anymore... and then tells her he'll give her the information but she'll have to hit him to make it look good. After she gives him a love tap in the nose, Willy reveals that no one's heard from the Polgara demon since the Initiative took it. Buffy starts to ask him about room 314, when...

Riley barges in. He's mad, sweaty and clearly out of it. He starts yelling at Buffy for collaborating with demons and eventually pulls his gun out and aims it at a very scared looking woman who's trying to leave. Willy protests that he doesn't allow killing in his bar and both he and Buffy try to get Riley to calm down. He eventually puts the gun down.

The next we see, Riley is at Xander's place (so much for their secret hide-out from the Initiative). He looks really sick, distracted and very much out of it. He keeps scratching at the back of his hand and says something is crawling inside of him. He admits that he's no longer sure who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. He's even afraid that he might be one of the bad guys. Buffy wraps her hand kerchief around his hand and then stays with him until he falls asleep.

Buffy, more mad than ever but this time on Riley's behalf, is determined to get inside the Initiative and see if she can track down records of what they've been doing to Riley. She conscripts Xander to help her out because of his (magic-induced) military training.

Back at the dorm, Willow and Tara are setting up the spell. When it's finished, it'll reveal the location of all the demons in Sunnydale. Willow does her part, but when her eyes are closed, Tara puts her half of the spell dust under the bed and then acts confused as to why the spell didn't work.

Buffy, in a Clark Kent type of disguise of bun, glasses and white lab coat is at the entrance to the Initiative along with Xander, who's changed into military gear. One retinal scan later it's apparent that Buffy's clearance hasn't been revoked. Once inside, Xander is very, very, impressed.

At Xander's place, Willow is still confused about why her spell failed while Giles and Anya have found out that the Polgara demon has a low IQ and needs to feed every two hours -- fairly conspicuous. When Willow pulls aside the dividing blanket to check on Riley, she finds he's standing there, more delerious than ever, and has figured out that Buffy's gone to the Initiative. Determined to go after her, he violently pushes Willow out of the way and runs out.

It's eavesdropping time. Buffy and Xander overhear Maggie's assistant talking to another Initiative honcho. He's worried. Apparently all the soldiers have been getting "medications" in their foods and when the cycle is interrupted, they'll go through withdrawal. He's also worried that Riley is among the few still unaccounted for and reveals that Riley is "too important to the work" to disappear.

At Willy's bar, Spike strolls in and orders some blood... only to get punched by another demon.

Buffy and Xander follow the assistant into one of the back rooms, where Buffy starts to threaten him. Before he can reveal much, Riley shows up too and tells everyone that the monitors have been off for the last ten minutes so the cavalry won't be showing up to save the Assistant from Buffy. The Assistant, trying to calm Buffy down, tells her that the Initiative has no interest in killing the Slayer and that Maggie's attempts on her life wer her own personal vendetta. Riley is still out of it and demanding to know what Buffy did to Walsh.

Into this very confused scene, Adam drops in and reveals that he's the project that Maggie was working on. In a talkative mood, he also admits to killing both Maggie and the small boy. He's found some of Maggie's 3.5" disks and starts loading them into the disk drive he has on his chest. Apparently he's a mixture of human, machine and demon. He also reveals that Maggie Walsh had a hand in creating Riley's "Basic Operating System" (i.e. personality) and that he has been changed to her design. Maggie Walsh had plans for both Adam and Riley and Adam know what they were.

Riley is furious and a fight ensues. Adam skewers the Assistant and also stabs Riley before escaping back into the ceiling ventilation shaft. Buffy had tried to fight him but wasn't very effective. Xander was almost immediately taken out.

Meanwhile, a whole group of soldiers from the Initiative finally succeed in breaking their way into the room. Adam is long gone leaving only Buffy holding an injured Riley and a very dead Assistant. Forrest immediately leaps to the conclusion that it's all Buffy's fault, but Riley tells him it was Adam. Buffy wants to take Riley to the hospital, but Forrest and Bradley take him away to a "military hospital" and order both Buffy and Xander out of the Initiative.

Back at Willy's bar, a very beaten up Spike is being tossed out. The demons know that he's been helping the Slayer kill demons and they're not happy. If he comes back, they'll kill him.

The next day on campus, Buffy and Willow are walking and talking. Buffy's very worried about tracking down Adam and the fact that Riley doesn't have any support to help him through what he's going through emotionally and physically.

Last shot. Riley's in a medical bed with a bandage around his waist and his colour almost back to normal. He's still wearing Buffy's kerchief around his hand and he's looking at it thoughtfully.


Giles still has his tattoo on his arm.

Xander's basement, Xander's basement, Xander's basement... How long can Xander take all the abuse he's getting about the basement apartment? How many demons, militia, etc. can come on over without his parent's noticing? (I'm including the Giles-demon.) I'd like to see him move out before the end of the season; maybe to Anya's place? We still haven't seen it.

Also: Xander's military training. Yes it's there. No it's not. Yes it's there. How much is left anyway? Just enough for him to like going to the Army surplus store and wearing their gear? Buffy could have gone into the Initiative by herself and Xander did not seem to help out at all. Did they just put that section in again to remind us yet again that Xander's quasi-military? Does Buffy still long for poofy dresses? Does Willow get an urge to walk through walls? If Xander still has military training two years after getting it -- I pity the parents of all those little "demons".

Initiative: Still developing, still military without specifics, still vague about whether they're really the good guys or the bads guys. Also -- it's unclear whether Adam turned off the monitors or Riley.

The elevator: The security guards must have been changed since "Hush" or Xander never would've been able to get inside.


Buffy and Riley: This whole thing could be good for them. Or not. Any bets?

Buffy and Adam: Hey! It could happen... Or not. :) Seriously -- with that "brother" thing happening and those hints about Maggie Walsh having planned things for both of them, Adam and Buffy haven't seen the last of each other.

Anya and Xander. Still Sunnydale's happiest couple. Here's to hoping that Joss is too busy with his other toys to mess it up.


Anya is really coming along as a human being (not that she'd consider that a compliment). She's also very solidly behind Xander as her "boring" boyfriend in a way that I'm sure she finds very strange. Sure she has no tact, but unlike Cordelia if she apologizes -- Anya can really mean it. She continues to be one of my favourite characters this year.

Forrest, Forrest, Forrest... one minute he's solidly congratulating Riley for managing to sleep with Buffy, and then he's revealing that he thinks she's a spy that's using him to infiltrate the Initiative. Whether he was brainwashed into not questioning the Initiative or not -- he could cause Buffy a lot of trouble.

Riley: Goodbye Iowa? Just how much of his character was built by Professor Walsh? How much of the fact that he likes Buffy being strong, take charge and intelligent is due to those being qualities Maggie Walsh programmed into him so that he'd obey her? Will he gradually become more of a regular guy (ie. less perfect, more human) as he escapes the brainwashing? Will he want to go back to the way he was before? All in all, this ep raised a lot of questions that I want to see answered.

Adam: Sigh. Please develop a personality quick.

Best Moments:

Spike giving Riley the thumbs up to kill Buffy just before pulling his trenchcoat over his head and heading out into the daylight rather than stick around the Scooby gang any longer.

Giles and Anya snapping at each other in Xander's basement just after waking up... and then apologizing and sounding like they mean it.

"I hurt when he hurts. When he smiles, I smile." (paraphrase) Beautiful summary of the beginning stage of a relationship.

Willy yelling out in pain even before Buffy hits him.

Rating: 4 out of 5 -- Pretty good, but it's very much a set-up episode.


"Willy! Wheee! We missed you, dude!" -- Perri

"[Tara] either chickened out on the big spell and didn't tell Willow because she's really insecure about Will's opinion of her--- or she didn't want it revealed that she's a demon." -- Chris

"Loved Xander and Buffy sneaking into the Initiative.... I've _missed_ the two of them together; this kind of "fools rushing in" was so much fun the first season, and we've rarely gotten to see much of it since then. Same thing with the little slumber party and cartoons moment with Anya, Willow and Buffy earlier in the ep. They have to have more of this kind of fun more often, in my opinion."
"Agreed. Although I'm still trying to figure out how Anya wound up in the middle. Afraid to fall out of bed? *eg*" -- Chris and Valerie

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