The Yoko Factor

Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by David Grossman

Dawn's Review | Julie's Comments | SunSpeak

Dawn's Review

Otherwise known as "Spike's Revenge Episode"

The episode opens up with the Colonel from last episode talking to a mysterius white-haired guy in a suit -- representing the "government" (I'm still not sure about that being true...). When asked the Colonel dismisses Buffy as "just a girl", and Riley "thinks too much", they also want Riley back. Just what sort of programming job did Walsh do on him?

Spike's hanging out with Adam, trying to warn him about Buffy's nasty tendency of always winning. When Adam questions Spike about the two Slayers he's killed in the past, he wants to know why Spike's failed with Buffy.

Spike, of course, blames it on bad luck.

Adam promises (again) to free Spike from the Initiative's chip so that he can be a proper vampire and run amok (amok! amok!) killing people good and dead again. Spike looks hopeful but not thoroughly convinced that Adam can actually come through with the Buffy-killing plan.

Deciding that the Scooby gang is the reason for Buffy's success, Spike offers to destroy their unity. He can't hurt them physically, but... it's payback time for all the insults he's endured this season.

Buffy enters her dorm room. It's morning and she's just arrived back from LA. She looks hurt and confused, but Willow's not there and her bed hasn't been slept in. With no one to talk to, she gets on the bed to sleep.

Later, Xander gives Riley some clothes to use while he's washing Riley's limited supply. He also manages to "accidentally" reveal just what event led to Angel losing his soul in the first place. Since Buffy left that part out, Riley gets to enjoy his jealously with the knowledge that his beloved girlfriend has gone off to help her old boyfriend... and could be with him now.

At Giles's apartment, he's singing (quite nicely) and in his own world... until Spike startled him. It seems Spike is offering to break into the Initiative and steal some information on Adam for Buffy -- for a price. But he also wants to deal with Buffy. After all, Giles isn't her watcher anymore and she doesn't listen to Giles's advice. This all makes Giles feels worthless, as intended, but Spike gets an agreement from Giles for blood, cash, and not being slain.

In Tara's room, Willow and Tara are playing with Tara's kitten and picking electives for next year. Willow boldly decides to go for a Drama class -- a far cry from her stagefright scene in "Nightmares", season one. They also talk about next year's housing situation and Willow admits that she's not sure she wants to room with Buffy anymore, but decides that she should ask Buffy before she makes any final decisions.

When Riley arrives in Buffy's room to see if she's back, she's still moping around. Riley's patched into the Initiative's frequency on a walky talky and thus has a warning if they're coming to catch him. Buffy doesn't want to talk about her trip to L.A., and only admits that "Angel upset me". When Riley wants to talk about it, she puts him off with the excuse of having to go patrol for Adam.

Xander, in another clothing-related job, gives Spike an Initiative uniform so he can do his "job" of breaking in and getting the information on Adam. There's a gun lying on top of the pile, and Spike tries to draw on Xander and Anya -- but is stopped by his chip. Anya's Anya and manages to make him feel even more helpless. In payback, Spike just happens to "drop" the information that Willow and Buffy were saying that the Army might be good for Xander. Anya doesn't go for the idea, and Xander is very upset that they're talking about him, and his job status, behind his back. He's not even consoled by Anya's revelation that he's a Viking in the sack.

Spike, after working himself to pretend that he's actually breathless, runs into Giles's apartment -- with the disk of information on Adam. Of course Adam gave it to him, but they don't know that and he plays the conquering hero or mercenary for blood.

It turns out that the information on the disk is encrypted and Willow starts to work on it. She's not that hopeful about her chances of decoding it. Spike picks up on the fact that Tara's playing with Willow's hair and puts one and one together without being told. He "drops" remarks about hearing Buffy's say that Willow's "Wicca thing" is just a phase -- while at the same time managing to insinuate that Buffy was talking about Willow and Tara's new relationship. (Smart, but nasty guy.) Willow gets mad, really mad.

Out in the forest, Buffy meets up with Forrest... and they promptly display swift and unhelpful antagonism towards each other. They cautiously agree not to beat each other up and both go into a cave to explore it. Good news: They find Adam. Bad news? They find Adam. Adam is way stronger than both of them put together, and after skewering Forrest with his arm-stake, Buffy barely manages to escape before dropping unconscious beside a stream.

Riley, in his dark hideout, is listening to his patched-in frequency and hears about a team of Initiative troops being badly beaten up and that help won't be arriving soon. He takes off to go help them, and gets there in time to see a vampire sending the last of the Initiative troop into unconsciousness -- it's Angel.

Angel recognizes Riley, and Riley (green with jealousy) is now convinced that Angel's gone bad. Of course -- a fight ensues. Riley uses his tazer and Angel vamps out. They both release some steam, and Angel finally throws him into a pile of large metal tubes. A truck rolls up outside and both Angel and Riley leave, both hurt and going in different directions.

Buffy gets back to her (still) empty room. There's a large gash on her forehead and she's not feeling good. There's a knock on the door -- it's Angel. She invites him in, and Riley arrives right after. Except Riley comes in with a gun aimed right at Angel.

Riley says that Angel attacked "my men", while Angel is not impressed. Buffy finally shoves them apart and offers to beat both of them up. Angel wants to talk to Buffy in private and Riley stands his ground and tells them he isn't leaving the room... so they go into the hallway and leave him behind.

After another awkward minute, Angel admits that he came back to see her and make things better between them. He says he had no right to say the things he did in the fight in L.A. Buffy, in return, admits that he wasn't all wrong. Angel says he's sorry anyway and offers to apologize by phone the next time they have a fight. Buffy admits that it means a lot to her that he came to apologize. Angel, in a parting shot, says that he doesn't like Riley -- Buffy says thank you.

Spike's back in Adam's cave, pleased to no end about how he's riled everyone up and would like the chip taken out thank-you-very-much. He compares it to the Beatles' breakup. Everybody blamed it on Yoko, but they would've broken up due to internal tension anyway. Adam's pleased, but wants Spike to do just one more thing....

Back in Buffy's room, Buffy is working herself up to telling him that Forrest is dead but Riley wants to say his piece first. He admits that he loves her, thinks they have something special, and that he doesn't want to break up.

Buffy is very confused.

Riley explains that Xander told him exactly how Angel went bad in the first place, and since Angel is bad now he figures they did the nasty in L.A., and that he reacted to Angel the way he did because he's going nuts thinking about them together in the past. Buffy breaks the news to him that that's Angel's normal condition, and that she loves Riley. Happy moment.

Unfortunately, she then has to tell Riley that Forrest is dead. Riley sits on the bed with his head between his hands. Buffy tries to comfort, but he isn't listening. Suddenly he stands up, says he has to leave, and leaves.

Back in Giles's apartment, the gang+ is all there. Giles is still drinking and thoroughly sloshed, but being a cheerful drunk. Willow is working on de-encrypting the disk about Adam, and Xander's there feeling useless. Buffy arrives and the scene just erupts into a fiece fight between Willow, Xander and Buffy. Anya and Tara quietly (and wisely) leave the room at the beginning of the fight and hide out in the bathroom.

Truths and half-truths are revealed. Everyone is baring their hurt feelings and no one is paying attentions to the Spike-manipulated bits that don't make sense. Buffy falls back on the "you want to be part of the team so do it my way" argument and is severely flustered when they both admit they're not sure they want to be part of the team anymore.

In the midst of the argument, both Giles and Xander learn about Willow's and Tara's new relationship as an official couple. Giles lurches off to pass out. Buffy, very upset (join the club), stalks off to get help from someone she can rely on -- namely Riley....

... Who we next see entering Adam's cave, a cave he had no knowledge of, and Adam greeting him gladly.

Giles hits the booze when depressed (again). Xander mentions two more jobs he's been fired from. Anya is still running around with no known means of support and no explanation. Tara and Willow are still in the young-love stage. Willow's hacker abilities have gone from magically good (seasons 1-3) to ... not working very well (season 4).

i.e. continuity lives on.

Forrest and Riley: Change is coming. Their friendship is at an end. Forrest appears to be dead, but -- what happens next week?

Buffy and Angel: They've moved one step further into ex-dom this week, but into the more positive stage wear they can actually talk and being in the same room without wanting to kill themselves. Since they're both on different shows -- this was a good move.

Spike and Everyone: Whoops. I want to see payback for his actions as soon as they wake up and realize what he's done.

Buffy's in pain, Buffy's hurt, Buffy's... finally waking up to the fact that her friend's lives have moved on and changed while she's been too busy to notice. If she survives the next episode (and we know she does), then hopefully she'll grow as a person.

Giles does not have good coping methods for when he gets depressed. Hitting the booze, which he's done more than once this season, doesn't solve anything -- and usually makes things worse.

Spike is in his glory. He's a master manipulator and people watcher. He knows people and just what to say that'll set them off. If he didn't like his happy-meals-on-legs running around without knowledge of vamps, and if his temper wasn't so quick -- he'd rule the world.

Best Moments:
Riley being all "I won't leave the room", and then Buffy and Angel walking into the hallway (Angel with a smirk on his face).

Riley talking about Angel being the "king of pain".

Any scene with Spike playing the Slayerette minds.

The last fight scene was just terrific. Set up great, confusion galore. Whew!

Julie's Comments

While I was happy to see [Giles] doing something else with his life, namely the singing, it wasn't quite what I had in mind when I was saying early this season that he needed to find something to keep himself on an even keel. Giles needs something *constructive* to do. Singing is nice, but it can't save the world from evil. (or can it? Fic challenge! Heh, heh, heh!) He's been snickered at, ignored, forgotten and insulted all season from all sides. Then again, he's had all that happen to him in the past as well, but he was more centered and focused then. It's not being a former librarian that's the issue; it's being a former Watcher that's the problem. He previously had a purpose: to educate, train and assist the Slayer. Nowadays, he's lucky to go one for three. He brought up a valid point in his druken stupor: when *was* the last time he trained her? G1, wasn't it? A whole year ago. Now she does her training with Riley. His main way of assisting her was research, but with his Watcher ties severed, and that probably a good number of his books were destroyed by MOO, his big assist this year was on Halloween. Seven months ago. Her education is coming along well, courtsey of college. That's not leaving much else for him to do. And he needs to do something. Now.

Spike, the cunning b*stard. I so love to hate him. I'm also say 'I told you so.' I worried about Spike having too much inside knowledge of the Scooby Gang and voila! The Yoko Factor. I hate Joss so. But I would have been disappointed in him had he ignored this angle. Anyway, talk about someone being useless, we can talk about Spike. He hasn't been on his game since he became a chiphead. Until last night. He played each one of then so perfectly of each other. It was so good and so bad all at once. I'd been missing his evil, ulterior motives. This is the one way he can hurt anyone and he's going to town with it. It leading to him getting deneutered is a bonus. This is his payback for all the insults and demeaning actions from the Slayerettes that he's been on the receiving end of all season long. And inspite of his evilness, he was slightly pathetic in his wanting Adam to reiterate that Adam would remove the chip. Poor little Spike. I was hoping for Dru to see him with it in. And I could see her answer to getting it out; split his head with an ax & go digging for it herself.

Computer geek or witch? It seems that Willow is having a time with this question. The inflections of her being more useful as the computer geek, and not so much for the 'wicca stuff.' And wondering if they want or really need her anymore if she can't be the former.

Xander, the 'jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none' person of the season. The poor boy has had a different job practically every episode of the season. And has pretty much lost most of them. Factor in him losing much of his soldier info (actually, I think it comes and goes, depending on how hard he tries. It seems to come in a crunch situation, but not when he's trying to impress someone.) and you've got a recipe for disaster. He also needs to feel useful, and doesn't seem to be having much luck. Come to think of it, his one big niche, the soldier info, has been usurped by Riley, much as Giles's training Buffy niche has. Hmmm...

Anyway, Xander is going to have to accept himself for what he is and is not. He is a loyal friend who will go to the wall for his friends, no matter the odds. Which is a lot better than 95% of the human population. He's smart and resourseful in a stress situation, which will keep him alive much longer than being good academically. Just look at all the well educated people who have all dropped like flies in the past four years on this show: Maggie, any museum curator or scientist, several teachers, the Mayor, two principals, and two frats. Just to name a few.

And now Buffy. ::sigh:: She's been run ragged lately. Her body stolen, her life raped, her boyfriend poached, being kicked in the teeth literally and figuratively by her first love who is protecting the person responsible for the first three problems, a monster-machine she can't kill on the loose, her current boyfriend and her ex trying to beat each other's brains out, her fearing her friends being killed as Forrest was and the same friends suddenly all erupting with different squabbles about them and helping and how they do or don't help. All these negatives are just what Adam needs to kill her. Or maybe it'll just make her harder to kill. Spike may have been right about the Slayerettes changing the balance in the conflicts, but not always. The best example is one Spike missed: when he left carrying Dru in B2, and thought that Angelus was going to kill her. And he should have been right. Alone and weaponless. But she always has one thing that's never let her down: herself and her drive to win. However, from what I saw in the previews for next week, I'm a bit leery. I'm leery of what 'unknown Slayer power' she going to get. If they make her too powerful, it gets too Mary Sue-like. Besides, what will be left to be a major threat to her, the devil himself? Not liking this at all.

She still hasn't learned to express what she's feeling to her friends after all this time. If she'd just tell them why she doesn't want them going after Adam, that she's afraid of them being killed because she pretty much can't figure out how she'll survive another encounter with him. That could have possibly diffused the entire situation that Spike caused. Then again, everyone was so busy yelling and accusing, nobody really seemed to be listening. This whole fiasco will either lance some pretty nasty personal boils, or like the Beatles, drive them completely apart.


"That Scooby Gang fight was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. That something could be so emotionally charged and so FREAKIN' HILARIOUS at the same time is just incredible."
"Yes! Incredible enough that it took me 2 1/2 hours to realise that Angel was in the same city as Spike and there was no taunting. On either side! Does Angel even know that Spike's been neutered? I realise that Spike could probably wail on Angel a bit, but still....." -- Mary Beth and Kimberly

"And *sniff* Buffy & Angel made amends. And parted peacefully. And *sniff* " -- Mary Beth

"But not a waaaah for poor, poor, poor Forrest? He should have listened to that little girl. Sniff, sniff, sniff. "
"Oh *totally* Waaaah for Forrest! I told you I was incoherent (or couldn't you tell? *g*) I'm distraught and my heart aches for Riley now that his one secret love has been murdered. I'm certain he decided to go after Adam in the heat of vengeance. *snerk* Seriously, Forrest was cool. :-(" -- Karen and Mary Beth

"I really don't need any more slash ideas running through my mind. If it was someone other than Forest please tell me."
"Of course I meant Forrest. Wasn't it obvious how jealous Forrest was of Buffy? I mean, sure, he encouraged Riley to go after Buffy at first, but that was obviously just as a cover so no one would discuss their hidden love. He didn't realize how important Buffy would become to Riley. He didn't know what a threat she was. *sniff* Too sad. And yes, I have snapped. . . . but I've had fun with this particular "theory" all season. And I'm sad to see it come to and end." -- Judy (being sane) and Mary Beth (being psychotic)

"Giles, Giles, Giles. When will he learn that drinking heavily is a very bad idea? The last two times he went on benders he got Jenny posessed and himself turned into a demon. ::WHAP:: No more alcohol for you, me boyo."
"*shudder* I had the world's most unpleasant flashback on this Alternate Universe Giles in "The Wish", with his whisky bottle and half-dozen prescription bottles cluttering up the same part of his kitchen counter."
"Eeek! I'd forgotten about that. Bad, evil SNEAKY Joss! Giles has *so* been turning into that, very slowly. We should have expected it when he stopped wearing tweed." -- Julie and Valerie

"Let's face it, Adam has offered something he desperately wants, and Spike will play him for all he's worth. But when all's said and done, Adam may also fall into the Acathla category... I would be disappointed if Spike *weren't* trying to set Adam up for a double-cross. And this "miscalculation" of Buffy's psychological buttons would be just the ticket to accomplish that, while keeping his nose clean in the event that Adam survives to call him to account."
"I think it may be a bit of that as well as him doing a bit of fence-sitting. He wants to be on the winning side and not being cleaned up with a dustbuster come summer. He's hoping that Adam wins, but I think he thinks it really won't happen. Which is probably why he's trying to nudge Adam into removing the chip *before* the big bad goes down. In the meantime, he'll have what fun he can causing rifts among the Slayerettes and getting back at then for all the insults he's been in the receiving end of." -- Valerie and Julie

"Actually, what scares me is a strong suspicion that this *isn't* sloppy writing, but some previously-unseen symptom of Maggie's meddling with her boys. I don't like how suddenly he went completely expressionless at the news of Forrest's death, and just flatly said "I have to go", grabbed his jacket, and headed straight out the door. Absolutely no response to her subsequent lines. He didn't look back. He didn't even *twitch*. At first watching, I thought it *might* be just grief-shock. Upon a way. Something got triggered, and he went Automaton Boy. We've seen Riley grieving before; this isn't it." -- Valerie

"I'm suspecting chip/implant of some kind with a connection to Adam. Riley isn't as human as he'd like to think . . . and who knows what other things he and Adam have in common. Adam was part boy scout, himself. And in fact, I've been suspicious for a while that Riley was merely next in line to undergo the next transformation into an Adam, after they finished testing this protype. Yup. Stuff going on there with Captain Farmboy. Not good." -- Mary Beth

"I'm still a bit grumpy that Buffy never actually said, "I'm sorry," but I'm happy enough that she and Angel have made peace that I'm not going to complain. There's just no way these two can co-exist, and they've figured that out now, thank god. And I'm delighted that, at a point where it was kill, cry, or laugh, they chose to laugh. Nice to not have them verbally eviscerating each other any more." -- Perri

"I finally saw Tuesday's Buffy last night, and I laughed my a$$ off. It was like badfic, only cheezier. Sure, I liked it. But scenes like the gratuitous Giles singing and the whole "You must be Riley..." scene... not to mention the part with Riley pulling the gun or well, any of it were hilarious. Uh, was it not supposed to be funny? Honestly, from the time Riley heard the call for help until the scene with Angel and Buffy in the hall I thought it was some macho!Riley dream sequence where he could kill off Angel. " -- Abby

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