Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 14

Goodbye Iowa

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 15, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
484 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Buffy and Riley get mutually suspicious of each other when Buffy reveals that Professor Walsh tried to have her killed. When Professor Walsh is found dead things get even more out of hand, with the commandos quick to blame Buffy. Riley is even more agitated when he sees Buffy with Spike ("Hostile 17") and then again at Willy's Place. Meanwhile the man-demon-machine Adam that Professor Walsh created is roaming Sunnydale and even Buffy can't seem to stop him.moreless

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  • "The I in Team" succeeded primarily because it focused on character development rather than the shakey plot arc of the season.

    This episode, on the other hand, focuses nearly completely on the plot arc and is greatly hurt by it. When BtVS episodes decide to drop away the focus from the characters, they better have a strong plot to make up for it. Unfortunately for much of the rest of S4, there isn't a strong plot to fall back on. While the episode suffers, it doesn't quite flounder. The scenes displaying Riley's increasing withdrawl symptoms are very well done and there's some timely humor mixed in. The plot isn't a mess only because everyone's still confused about what is happening, and the pieces set into motion during "The I in Team" are still being sorted out.

    Before I say anything else, I want to announce that Buffy's yummy shushi speech is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. Buffy is so cute here!! That speech alone gave the episode 5 points more than it would have been without it. Okay, back to the analysis. Like I mentioned in my review of the previous episode, Adam's inquisitive nature about himself and his surroundings gets old very quickly. In fact, it begins to wear thin before the end of the episode. I think the writers are using his questioning to cover up his lack of an interesting personality. As an extension of this, his introduction to Buffy is so-so. I admit it's always fun to watch a tough new demon toss Buffy around a bit, but Adam just doesn't strike any fear in me. Maybe the stupid floppy drive in his chest is absorbing all the fear right out of him. Buffy's subsequent worrying about Adam seems pretty contrived as well. I mean, she only fought him once and didn't know what he was. I think it's a bit soon to be saying "I could barely fight him. I-it was like Maggie designed him to be the ultimate warrior. He's smart and He didn't look very fast to me, and his intelligence is also yet to be seen from Buffy's perspective.

    Aside from the introduction of Adam, the focus is on two things: the Scoobies' entrapment in Xander's basement and Riley's withdrawls. In order to make sure the Initiative can't find any of them, the Scoobies all hang out in Xander's basement for some amusing times. Giles wakes up to a mirror ball spinning in his face and loud noises coming from the other side of the room. There he finds the girls all snuggled up together cutely watching cartoons. Turning off the TV, he isn't amused. Buffy gets to talking about how Riley isn't quite Joe Normal like she wanted. Unbeknownst to her right now, he is actually in the process of becoming Joe Normal as the drugs finish leaving his system. Riley's not going to have an easy time giving up being physically enhanced with Buffy as his girlfriend. These problems are all addressed early in S5. Amusingly, later in the episode Xander tries to take advantage of an opporunity to kiss Buffy! This tells us that Xander is not in love with Anya yet, and that he still has the hots for Buffy. He's wanted to kiss her from the moment he saw her in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"!

    Riley's slow decline into complete drug withdrawl is really well done and acted by Marc Blucas. This is the best and most subtle acting I've seen him do on BtVS up to this point. The scene where he's pointing a gun at the old lady, wondering if she's a vampire or not, is fantastic. As Buffy points out at the end of the episode, Riley's entire world is coming apart. He doesn't know if he's on the right side anymore and things have become 'gray' where they used to be black and white. This is another representation of what the Scoobies are just starting to go through as they continue to grow up. These shades of gray will be addressed with growing intensity during the next few seasons.

    I was very pleased that Riley was getting the drugs through his food, not from those vitamins he was taking in the previous episode. All in all, this is a passable episode which focuses on plot rather than character development. Adam isn't terribly terrifying and the problems and mistakes of the Initiative arc come into sharp focus. Riley's decline into madness due to withdrawl is convincing and everything in Xander's basement is hilarious. And oh yeah, Buffy's yummy sushi speech is pure gold!moreless
  • Here's Adam (BOOOOOOOO!)

    The Good;

    Some great acting from Marc Blucas as Riley comes apart. Love Buffy's rallying speech in her sushi pyjamas and Riley recognising Spike.

    The Bad;

    A pretty dull episode in many ways, Adam is a stupid enemy. I always said that the more Joyce in an ep the better it is, well, the more Adam in an ep the worse it is. The idea that he had a floppy disc player in 2001, really! Also the little boy he kills is the dumbest kid ever.

    Best line;

    Anya; "He was GI Joe for one night, it wasn't as if he was in The Nam"

    Character death;

    Byebye another Initiative scientist and some poor MP


    No but Riley threatens one of Willy's patrons with his pistol.


    Cutting the demons arm off, nice!

    Kinky dinky;

    Trying to remain inconspicuous Xander tried to kiss Buffy.

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Buffy, Willow and Anya spend the night in bed together. Amazed if the slashficcers didn't make great play of that! Upon seeing the Initiative Xander asks if he can have sex with Riley too. So, why does Tara ruin Will's demon hunting spell? One day we'll find out. Spike comments that Buffy has tragic taste in men, foreshadowing indeed.

    Guantanamo Bay;

    The Initiative are very brazen, charging around in Humvees, guns blazing. Buffy hits Willy but at his own request, the last time he'll be seen in the series.

    Scoobies to the ER;

    Riley goes cold turkey and gets stabbed.

    Apocalypses; 5,

    Questions and observations;

    Giles still has his Mark of Eyghon tattoo, you'd think he'd want rid of it? In the scene where Riley and Buffy meet at the murder site the camera goes very funny in places, going octagonal? Spike says he has a cousin who married a Privlops demon but like most of what Spike says he's probably lying.

    Marks out of 10; 6/10 Adam is going to drag the scores down for the rest of the season.

  • Goodbye Iowa

    Goodbye Iowa was another great episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode introduced us to the Sentient and Awake Adam, who is the creation of Dr. Maggie Walsh. We learned a lot more about her and her other side. We also learned more about the intiative and that they were secretly putting stuff into the soldiers food. I thought that Adam was disturbingly brilliant and it was cool to see how the story is unfolding. Willow has been seeing Tara a lot of magic stuff lately, and on their latest spell Tara spoils it on purpose for unknown reasons. It is interesting to see her character being slowly revealed, and I like seeing her and Willow doing magic. There were a lot of good elements to this episode. Great stories, great acting, great directing, and over all great delivery. With Adam on the loose the gang and the initiative both have their hands full.moreless
  • Season 4, Episode 14.

    Buffy and Riley become suspicious of each other after Buffy tells him that Maggie Walsh tried to have her killed. When the murdered body of Maggie Walsh is discovered, the Initiative automatically thinks Buffy is responsible. Riley also becomes agitated when he sees Buffy with Spike (Hostile 17). Meanwhile, Adam remains on the loose.

    I liked this episode. It was pretty interesting, but I can't believe Riley asked Buffy if she was happy that Maggie was dead. That was just messed up, but I will let it slide because he is sexy. I'm so glad he is shirtless so much. Interesting plot, also. Good episode. :)moreless
  • What's that for?

    Another episode that barely manages to scrape up an 8. I enjoyed the dark tone of this episode. The body of Maggie laying on the floor, and the fact that they were willing to have Adam kill of a child. There was some good humor to offset the more morbid parts of the episode. Like when Buffy makes a speech in Xander's basement, followed by the line "That probably would've sounded more commanding if I wasn't wearing my yummy sushi pajamas".

    The only thing I didn;t really care for was the rift between Riley and Buffy over Professor Walsh's death. Also, I didn't like Forrest's attitude.moreless
Jack Stehlin

Jack Stehlin

Doctor Angleman

Guest Star

JB Gaynor

JB Gaynor

Little Boy

Guest Star

Amy Powell

Amy Powell


Guest Star

Amber Benson

Amber Benson


Recurring Role

George Hertzberg

George Hertzberg


Recurring Role

Leonard Roberts

Leonard Roberts

Forrest Gates

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Goof: When Adam is reviewing the "files" Walsh left for him he inserts MiniDiscs into a floppy drive in his chest. Clearly they are incompatible with each other.

    • Goof: The scene of the Initiative complex that Buffy and Xander see from the elevator walkway is reused from "The Initiative". Look closely and Professor Walsh can be seen at her desk with Riley, Forrest, and Graham walking towards her.

    • Goof: When Buffy gives Riley her bandanna, you should watch her hair while it is going on. It just so happens that her bandanna is still in her hair in one shot and disappears the next, even after she's given it to him.

    • Goof: During Buffy's fight with Adam at the end of the episode, there are several times where you can tell that a stunt double is used.

    • Goof: When the scientist, Dr. Angelman, walks into the lab to find Professor Walsh's dead body, he slips and falls. He sees red on his hands, but the pool of blood clearly doesn't even reach him, nor is there a smear mark where he slipped.

    • Nitpick: When Xander comes running into the basement, telling Willow to turn on the TV, Willow doesn't change the channel from cartoons to the news but the news is on when she turns on the TV.

    • Goof: When Riley is sick and scratching his hand, Buffy wraps her bandana around his hand. Later when Riley shows up at the Initiative (where Buffy Xander, and Adam show up) he doesn't have the bandana around his hand. However, at the end of the episode when Riley is lying in the med center, he has it again.

    • Goof: The hole in Spike's shirt from the tracer bullet disappears at the start of this episode.

    • Nitpick: When Adam is telling Buffy and Riley about the professor's notes and plans, he reads them off disks that he inserts into a disk drive in his chest. But he doesn't take out the disk labeled "ADAM" before inserting the "FINN" disk.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Willy: We got new rules here. No killing!

    • Buffy: This is the Initiative, Xander. Military guys and scientists do NOT make out with each other.
      Xander: Well, maybe that's what's wrong with the world. Ever think about that?

    • Willy: Look, if they see me dealing with you, then I'm just the same old Willy, working both sides of the street.
      Buffy: I'm gonna have to punch you, aren't I?
      Willy: Just once, and it doesn't have to hurt. Just make it look good. (draws her fist back) Ow! Oh!
      Buffy: Not yet - I haven't touched you!

    • Anya: You know, you really should get yourself a boring boyfriend. Like Xander. You can't have Xander.
      Buffy: That was the idea. Riley was supposed to be Mr. Joe Guy. We were gonna do dumb things, like hold hands through the daisies, going "tra-la-la."
      Willow: Poor Buffy. Your life resists all things average.
      Anya: So dump him. But you can't have Xander.
      Buffy: I'll try and remember that.

    • 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: (while watching a cartoon) That would never happen.
      Willow: Well, no, Buff, that's why they call them cartoons, not documentaries.

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

    • Buffy: Xander, what about your basement? The guys haven't seen us together that much, and there's enough room.
      Willow: Ooh, plus, mirror ball.
      Xander: Cool. Come on down and boogie at Xander's hideaway.
      Anya: Yes. Come boogie.
      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: So Maggie sends me down to the sewers, with one of those blasto-guns, and the next thing I know, it's raining monsters.
      Xander: Hallelujah.

    • Xander: (upon seeing the Initiative for the first time) Holy Moly!
      Buffy: I know...
      Xander: I totally get it now. Can I have sex with Riley too?

    • Xander: Storm the Initiative? Yeah, let's take on those suckers!
      Buffy: I was thinking more that we'd hide.
      Xander: Oh thank God.

    • Buffy: Giles, Anya — you keep researching. Xander, you and I are going undercover.
      Anya: Hey! Remember before? No Xander. Not in a boyfriend way; not in a lead-him-to-certain-death way.
      Buffy: Xander's the only one with military training.
      Anya: It's not like he was in the 'Nam. He was G.I. Joe for one night.

  • NOTES (9)


    • The name Adam

      In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, "Adam" is the name of Frankenstein's monster. Also, the scene in which Adam meets the boy parallels the scene in the original movie version of the novel where the monster meets a little girl.

      This could also be a reference to the Biblical Adam, from Genesis, the first of his kind ever created.

    • Buffy: ...and the next thing I know, it's raining monsters.
      Xander: Hallelujah
      A reference to the 1983 song, "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls which was recently covered by ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

    • Buffy: Everything's screwed up enough without you two doing Scenes from my Parents' Marriage.
      Scenes from a Marriage is a quite famous 3 hour film, turned 5 hour mini-series by three time Swedish Oscar-winner Ingmar Bergman with very powerful scenes (a lot of emotional shouting and accusations) of a woman (Liv Ullman)and a man (Erland Josephson) breaking up.

    • Anya: It's not like he was in the 'Nam. He was G. I. Joe for one night.
      Anya refers to Xander's soldier experience with the term G. I. Joe which is both a generic term for an army soldier and also a cartoon and action figure character. The term came about in World War II to refer to a generic (Joe) General Infantryman.

    • Xander: In the movies the guy and the girl have to hide.
      Xander attempts to draw Buffy into a kiss in homage to the classic spy movie scene. For some reason the spy (James Bond for example) needs to evade capture and so kisses his girlfriend/sidekick/nearby stranger to avoid being noticed. Xander previously did this when Buffy first goes into the hospital to see Willow in "Becoming, Part 2" (2x22).

    • Spike: I've got to hand it to you Goldilocks - you do have bleeding tragic taste in men.
      Spike refers to the blond Buffy with a reference to the fairy tale character Goldilocks.