Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 21

Primeval (2)

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 16, 2000 on The WB
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Episode Fan Reviews (24)

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  • Primeval

    7.5
    The Initiative arc thankfully ends and, while not a great episode, two incredibly entertaining things happen. One, there's a huge fight that culminates in an Uber Buffy which is very fun to watch and two, Zombie Forrest gets all blow'd up! What more could an attentive viewer ask for? All the problems that plague the Initiative are exposed here and it's not nearly as pretty as seeing it all exploding and ending. This episode is all about explosions, special effects, and quick resolutions. Much of it is fun to watch, but it's doesn't have the depth of the usual episode.



    Towards the beginning, Buffy is seen feeling even more alone than she felt when she returned from her visit to .. She even picks up that trademark photo of her, Willow, and Xander all happy in the S1 and S2 days, which always serves as a reminder of who they used to be and how far they've come. This photo makes appearances in a number of episodes including "Dead Man's Party" (3x02) and "Empty Places" (7x19). Xander, on the other hand, doesn't feel alone as much as terrible about the fight, "'Cause I think maybe they're right" about him being a "lost, directionless loser with no plans for his



    For the first time I can remember, Anya shows some actual love to Xander that extends beyond his penis. She says, "So what if they are? You're a good person, and a good boyfriend, I'm in love with you. Whatever they think of you, it shouldn't I think this moment is a bit of a turning point for Xander, because in "Buffy vs. Dracula" (5x01) he refuses to be the "butt monkey" anymore and in "The Replacement" (5x03) we see him working in construction again.



    Fortunately for the group, Spike slips up when revealing he knows about the fight the Scoobies had the previous day. This tips off Buffy to the idea that maybe he masterminded their entire conflict (which, of course, he did). This leads to the scene where the core Scoobies gather outside and Buffy finds out that Spike manipulated all of them ("He played us. He wanted us to fight to split us up. That's where it came from. The stuff we said the other . Even with this news, nobody seems quite convinced to simply 'drop' all the things said. Discussion about Adam keeps their minds off of it though. Because of the discs Spike gave Willow the group now knows Adams' plan, and Buffy figures out why he wanted her to know it ("Adam's gonna make sure the demons attack the Initiative from the inside ... He wants me there. Probably figures I'll even the kill ratio").



    They meet up at Giles' place and come up with a plan to defeat Adam. On the way down the elevator shaft of the Initiative Buffy and Willow have an opportunity to work out their remaining issues. Buffy says, "I sorry. I hate that things have been so strained between all of us ... I think we've all sort of drifted apart this year, don't you?" Willow replies, "Maybe a little. But, you know, first year of college, it's hard to keep the old high school gang Buffy says, "But I want it together. Will, I miss you. And Giles, and Xander. And it is my fault. I've been wrapped up in my own stuff, I've been a bad I'm pleased that Willow finally admitted to Buffy, and herself, that "I haven't been Miss Available either. I kept secrets. I hid things from Then they hug, Xander falls into it, and apparently all's okay again?



    While I like the dialogue, I feel that this scene is a cheap resolution to the issues at hand. "The Yoko Factor" (4x20) really set the stage and showed us what a season's worth of growing issues can do to a group of friends. This episode, though, takes the easy way out favoring plot over naturally addressing said issues. Fortunately, these issues aren't forgotten about in subsequent seasons. It does, though, feel like the Scoobies are beginning to make the transition from friends to family, which is a big theme in S5.



    The rest of this episode is all about the plot, so I'll be brief. First of all, Zombie Forrest is ridiculously dumb. The acting is terrible and he has some of the worst lines the series has ever had. Examples include "your will belongs to us now" (what, is Adam creating the Borg Collective?) and "look who's come off the bench!" There are a few pieces of the plot I enjoyed, though, including watching Buffy talk down a colonel, the thrilling scene where Buffy battles through the chaos to reach room 314 (with a slow motion Spike included), the ultra cool joining spell ("last to ancient first"), and the ridiculously satisfying fight between Uber Buffy and Adam. I particularly enjoyed Adam's increasingly worried reactions. After Buffy stops all his bullets with an invisible shield he says, "(worried) very Their quick hand-to-hand fight, where Buffy wails on him, is extremely fun to watch as well.



    The very end of the episode is a speech by the . government declaring the Initiative as a complete failure. I think that statement speaks to it being a failure as the arc of the season as well. So while there's a few good character moments, they take a back seat to finishing up the plot arc of the season. This episode is fun to watch, but it lacks the kind of depth I've come to expect from this series. In that respect, it is a disappointment. Fortunately, it's not the season finale. The intensely complex "Restless" (4x22) is.
  • The Initiative arc thankfully ends and, while not a great episode, two incredibly entertaining things happen.

    7.0
    One, there's a huge fight that culminates in an Uber Buffy which is very fun to watch and two, Zombie Forrest gets all blow'd up! What more could an attentive viewer ask for? All the problems that plague the Initiative are exposed here and it's not nearly as pretty as seeing it all exploding and ending. This episode is all about explosions, special effects, and quick resolutions. Much of it is fun to watch, but it's doesn't have the depth of the usual episode.



    Towards the beginning, Buffy is seen feeling even more alone than she felt when she returned from her visit to .. She even picks up that trademark photo of her, Willow, and Xander all happy in the S1 and S2 days, which always serves as a reminder of who they used to be and how far they've come. This photo makes appearances in a number of episodes including "Dead Man's Party" and "Empty Places". Xander, on the other hand, doesn't feel alone as much as terrible about the fight, "'Cause I think maybe they're right" about him being a "lost, directionless loser with no plans for his



    For the first time I can remember, Anya shows some actual love to Xander that extends beyond his penis. She says, "So what if they are? You're a good person, and a good boyfriend, I'm in love with you. Whatever they think of you, it shouldn't I think this moment is a bit of a turning point for Xander, because in "Buffy vs. Dracula" he refuses to be the "butt monkey" anymore and in "The Replacement" we see him working in construction again.



    Fortunately for the group, Spike slips up when revealing he knows about the fight the Scoobies had the previous day. This tips off Buffy to the idea that maybe he masterminded their entire conflict. This leads to the scene where the core Scoobies gather outside and Buffy finds out that Spike manipulated all of them. Even with this news, nobody seems quite convinced to simply 'drop' all the things said. Discussion about Adam keeps their minds off of it though. Because of the discs Spike gave Willow the group now knows Adams' plan, and Buffy figures out why he wanted her to know it.



    They meet up at Giles' place and come up with a plan to defeat Adam. On the way down the elevator shaft of the Initiative Buffy and Willow have an opportunity to work out their remaining issues. Buffy says, "I sorry. I hate that things have been so strained between all of us ... I think we've all sort of drifted apart this year, don't you?" Willow replies, "Maybe a little. But, you know, first year of college, it's hard to keep the old high school gang Buffy says, "But I want it together. Will, I miss you. And Giles, and Xander. And it is my fault. I've been wrapped up in my own stuff, I've been a bad I'm pleased that Willow finally admitted to Buffy, and herself, that "I haven't been Miss Available either. I kept secrets. I hid things from Then they hug, Xander falls into it, and apparently all's okay again?



    While I like the dialogue, I feel that this scene is a cheap resolution to the issues at hand. "The Yoko Factor" really set the stage and showed us what a season's worth of growing issues can do to a group of friends. This episode, though, takes the easy way out favoring plot over naturally addressing said issues. Fortunately, these issues aren't forgotten about in subsequent seasons. It does, though, feel like the Scoobies are beginning to make the transition from friends to family, which is a big theme in S5.



    The rest of this episode is all about the plot, so I'll be brief. First of all, Zombie Forrest is ridiculously dumb. The acting is terrible and he has some of the worst lines the series has ever had. Examples include "your will belongs to us now" and "look who's come off the bench!" There are a few pieces of the plot I enjoyed, though, including watching Buffy talk down a colonel, the thrilling scene where Buffy battles through the chaos to reach room 314, the ultra cool joining spell, and the ridiculously satisfying fight between Uber Buffy and Adam. I particularly enjoyed Adam's increasingly worried reactions. After Buffy stops all his bullets with an invisible shield he says, " very Their quick hand-to-hand fight, where Buffy wails on him, is extremely fun to watch as well.



    The very end of the episode is a speech by the . government declaring the Initiative as a complete failure. I think that statement speaks to it being a failure as the arc of the season as well. So while there's a few good character moments, they take a back seat to finishing up the plot arc of the season. This episode is fun to watch, but it lacks the kind of depth I've come to expect from this series. In that respect, it is a disappointment. Fortunately, it's not the season finale. The intensely complex "Restless" is.
  • ...can come together again

    7.0
    The Good;

    The Scoobies get back together and have a stonking great battle. What's not to love?



    The Bad;

    Adam's mingun arm looks pretty stupid.



    Best line;

    Adam; 'You can't last much longer'

    Possessed Buffy 'We can. We are FOREVER'



    Women good/men bad;

    The female power of the Slayer overcomes the male power of Adam.



    Jeez!;

    Spike stubbing his cigarette in Forrest's eye. Riley cuts the chip out of his own chest.



    Kinky dinky;

    Xander sleeps naked, Anya doesn't think that the unemployment office will accept him nude (really depends what job he's going for? the fabulous ladies nightclub?)



    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Buffy and Willow have great big girly hug and tell one another they love them, awww! The writer/director also comment on the Willow/Xander/Buffy sandwich. Oddly Xander wants

    Giles to join in.



    Guantanamo Bay;

    The Initiative ends (at least in it's familar form and the cover-up begins).



    Scoobies to the ER;

    Riley seems to recover from his wounds fast although he does have Walsh's drugs in him.



    Apocalypses; 5,

    Is this really an apocalypse? A couple of hundred Adams running around would be a bad thing but not the end of the world?



    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1



    Scoobies knocked out:

    Buffy: 16

    Giles: 10

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 8

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 2

    Wes: 1



    Kills: Buffy kills Adam and Riley kills demon-Forrest

    Buffy: 79 vamps, 28 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 4 vamps

    Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human

    Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie

    Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans

    Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon

    Anya: a demon

    Riley; 12 vamps + 7 demons

    The end of Adam (thanks Christ!) but he crops up again in the comics



    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 2



    Alternate scoobies: Buffy as the uber-Slayer

    Buffy: 7

    Giles: 3

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 3



    Recurring characters killed: 10-bye-bye Colonel McNamara and Forrest

    Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh



    Total killed;

    I figure about 80 dead in the series so far?



    Total number of scoobies: 7

    Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara, Riley



    Xander demon magnet: 5

    Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?)



    Scoobies shot: Adam has a Predator style minigun but it's no match for Buffy's magic. The Colonel orders his men to get to the armoury which seems sensible. Xander zaps at least one demon with his taser.

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4



    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny?

    Buffy: 3; Angel, Parker, Riley

    Joyce: 1;Giles, possibly Ted

    Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca

    Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley

    Xander: 2; Faith, Anya

    Willow: 2;Oz and Tara



    Fanfic; read an interesting one where Buffy dies but the Initiative (or what replaces them) clone her as a supersoldier. But when the project is destroyed the clone survives and finds herself drawn irresistably back to Revello Drive





    Questions and observations;

    The end of the Initiative and it's a great battle, rather reminds me of The Spy Who Love Me. I don't think the season 4 storyline was all that good, the show still finding it's feet outside High School and having lost CC and Angel but still the best thing on TV.

    Marks out of 10; 7/10, good enough ep but glad this wasn't the season finale

  • Primeval (2)

    10
    Primeval (2) was a perfectly classic episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. Adam is one of the worst enemies Buffy has faced yet. For me this episode showcases and proves that Buffy is one of the toughest female hero's ever on television. It was so great how every thing worked out and their plan to defeat Adam. I really enjoyed watching this episode. It is full of action, drama, and keeps you in suspense. I think its great how each original member of "The Gang" contributed to defeating Adam. This episode was a perfect closing to some major story lines!!!!!
  • Season 4, Episode 21.

    10
    Adam reveals that Riley has a behavior modification chip that is wired into his central nervous system. Meanwhile, Buffy finally realizes what Spike is doing and tries to pull the gang back together in time to take Adam down once and for all... Inside the Initiative.

    I liked this episode. It was a great conclusion to the whole Initiative storyline. However, this episode should have been the season finale. I liked when Buffy saw Spike in the cave. I kinda hate when they have big episodes before the finale, because it makes the season finale seem less important. However, "Restless" is supposed to be a really good episode, so whatever. Not a bad episode, and a great conclusion to the storyline.
  • An action packed and stunning end to the average Initiative arc.

    9.0
    Primeval was a really fantastic episode and a brilliant end to The Initiative. I am not a fan of this arc but the writers seemed to know it wasn't strong and didn't make this episode the season finale and didn't have a lot of confrontation, keeping it to big explosions and lots of action.

    It was good to see the Scoobies reunite after their season long enstrangement- I missed the moments of friendship between them this season and it was all very fun when they got back together. Xander, Willow and Buffy have a great moment where they both hug him and he's all happy to get the female attention.

    The Initiative scenes were good here; not drawn out and very action packed. The explosions going off in the main area with the human vs. demon war were very impressive and exciting. I actually wish we could have seen more as I really enjoyed them- Buffy does action like no other!

    The final fight between the Uber Buffy and Adam was really great (albeit a blatant ripoff of the Matrix). The spell idea was really fantastic; getting back into mystical storylines after the relatively scientific Season 4 and I realise that is what S4 lacks for me- I am huge fan of mystical storylines and anything with prophecy I love (the main reason Season 5 is my favourite).

    The fight between Adam and Uber Buffy was really well done- the whole bullents into birds thing was a nice touch and it was fun to see Buffy kick his ass. It wasn't a really satisfying moment when she killed him as I generally don't care for Adam but it was an epic fight.

    The Riley scenes I don't care about. He's not my favourite character and I don't care about his torn loyalties or whatever- the whole storyline falls flat for me. Zombie Walsh was creepy and I was so happy he killed Forrest- I hate him!

    Primeval is a really tense, fast paced episode. Overall it was a satisfying end to the arc but I'm glad it's not the finale. I definitely enjoyed it but don't have a lot to say on it as it's not really deep or anything- just wait for the next episode though!
  • Simply rudding excellent!!! Action action and more action...

    9.7
    A brilliant conclusion to the Initiative. I wondered how Buffy vs the Initiative would continue in the same town without constantly having problems arise so naturally it had to come to an end. The demon/ human demolition derby in the awe stricking initiative was bloody brilliant. The combined Scooby gang = super slayer was a wicked treat - what else can I say, matrix moves Buffy worked well.

    Adam was intrigued and intriguing, putting all bid bads to shame. The only thing that was a bit of an anti climax was not much Riley action, the story explained why but if anyone deserved some more action in that ep, it was him - for without him, we wouldn't have met the initiative.

    Simply rudding excellent!!!
  • Primeval

    9.2
    Buffy and the gang sneak into The Initiative to stop Adam and his maniacal plan. They're joined by Spike and Riley who are already there, albeit for different, separate reasons. Adam wants to use Riley as a so-called "Second in command" and Spike's there to collect on his due for playing breaking up the fab four (in the previous episode "The Yoko Factor"). The increased demon population at The Initiative has led to a massive battle between human soldiers and demon hostiles. After getting over the troubles Spike caused, the gang comes back together to stop Adam, devising a plan to use all their talents in the battle.

    Meanwhile, Riley, under Adam's control can't do anything as the undead, and newly rebuilt, Forrest and Professor Walsh reek havoc for Buffy. The battle in this episode is on par with the battle to close out last season (Graduation Day) and the fight between Buffy and Adam is just as good as her fights with The Master (Prophecy Girl) and Angel (Becoming, Part Two). Though not technically the season finale, this episode is another example of Buffy's great end of year episodes.

    Season Four gets unfairly maligned, but it's the in between moments of Buffy's life, the transition from high school to college, and from the innocence of childhood to adulthood. This, along with some of the other classics, (Wild at Heart, Something Blue, Hush, This Year's Girl, Who Are You, Restless) make season four a great watch.
  • Buffy The Uber-Slayer

    9.4
    Primeval-Adam reveals that Riley has a behavior modification chip located just over his heart and wired into his central nervous system. Buffy realizes what Spike is doing and tries to pull the gang back together in time for a final showdown with Adam inside the Initiative itself.

    A superb 2nd parter as "Primeval" has enough action and epic flare to be the season finale, yet it's not. Finally, Adam embarks on the finale stage of 314 project and it makes for an action packed episode. While the writers do cram a lot of information in one episode when explaining Adam's M.O. the whole time, the idea of him creating his own army of cybernetic demonoids is good noneless and finally Adam poses some sort of a threat. It's also a great development of how Adam arranged for so many demons and vampires to be captured by the Initiative as all the dead soliders as well as demons would make for great new recruits.

    The Initiative massarce made for one of the hugest and finest action set pieces the series ever did. It made for such an awesome seuqence wacthing bodies flying all over the place, machine guns being firing, explosions all over the place while Buffy fights her way through the chaos. I also love the returns of Maggie Walsh, who has been made into a freakish, mindless drone only to serve Adam's will and Forrest gets the best development he ever had as another cybernetic demoniod like Adam. The make-up was very disturbing as well as the scene with Riley struggling to regain control of his body. It's shocking to find out Riley had a chip implanting in himself all this time and the scene where he cuts into his chest to take it out is quite brutal and God knows how bad that would hurt!

    But the highlight of the episode is the joining spell between Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles. I love the scene of when Buffy and Willow resolve their issues about spilting apart and Xander unknowingly coming up with the way to stop Adam. The joining spell is great plot development and makes for a epic finale fight between Buffy and Adam. While the stunning special effects and well choregraphed "Martixy" moves are great, it's the idea that all 4 main characters are fighting as one that makes it so cool. Just watching Giles, Willow, and Xander helping Buffy through her body was an incredible idea and shows how much Buffy's friends are so essential to the character which is one of the mission statements of the series. I just love the shot of Buffy ripping out Adam's power source, which was so well done. Sometimes underrated for being just an action effort with little substance, "Primeval" is still a terrific conclusion to the Initiative/Adam storyline and I can't imagine how the writers could have ended it better than this.
  • This episode was top notch!

    9.8
    Let me tell you, I went into Season 4 thinking it was going to be awful. I heard the new boyfriend was annoying and it wasn't up to par with the rest of the series. I agreed fully with that statement until I saw this episode. The way Spike tried to manipulate the Scoobies was awesome! Well, not the way he did it, but it was good thinking. I loved how they all just poured out there feelings. Then Buffy saved the day and figured it out that Spike set them up. We have to go kill Adam! I love the Scooby Gang moment when they get to the bottom of the elevator shaft. They realized that it's those moments they live for. Perfect. The spell that Giles, Xander, and Willow did was AWESOME! I loved that part! They took control of Buffy and defeated Adam! Her eyes turned all yellow and she kicked some demonic robot a**! That was another perfect part of this episode! When Riley and Buffy walked out it was great. Funny how they all went to Buffy, not Riley. Haha. I guess it was natural. Spike and his moments killing the demons like he FINALLY kill again, even though he can't kill humans... in particular Buffy.

    Rating = A+
  • why wasn't this the season finale

    9.6
    when you look at this episode everything about it screams season finale. it was the finale battle with the seasons big bad. they all had revalations about thier friendship, and cast a huge spell to save the day, and thier was a huge war scene. i didn't see these episodes when they were aired so i always thought this was the season finale, and i also think it should have been the finale, because the next episode "restless" would have been such a great season premier. in all it was an amazing episode that should have been the season finale. and this review needs to be a hundred words long so i'm just gona keep typing random stuff blah blah bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b
  • A fitting end to the uneven arc of Season 4, but not the final episode.

    7.5
    I'm so torn about Season Four. On one hand, you have more than a handful of great stand-alone episodes worth revisiting over and over again. Then, you have a weak-ass storyline arc. 'The Initiative' is just plain uninteresting. I've always felt this idea could have been explored and dealt with in an exciting two-parter. Instead, we're subjected to an entire season of college frat guys who moonlight as military monster-hunters. The only justification for their prolonged existence is the fact that Buffy is boning one of them. So, after an excrutiatingly long jaunt with the Private Benjamin squad, and the incredibly non-threatening 'ADAM' storyline, Season Four bows out with a bang. Buffy and the Scoobies figure out that Spike was the one tearing them apart with heresay, and finally band together to put an end to ADAM once and for all. The gang turns to magic as a source of strengthening Buffy to fight off Frankenstein in camo-pants (ADAM). Not nearly as engaging or threatening as say, Angelus, The Master, or The Mayor. The episode's strength lies in finally getting the core group (Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles) back together after a season of growing apart. In fact, the writers of this episode literally mold them as ONE PERSON to fight the big-bad and save the day. The fight between demons and military men inside The Initiative is exciting, violent, and on a larger scale than most Buffy episodes. Professor Maggie Walsh makes her triumphant return as a rotting corpse bent on transforming Riley into a mindless robot. Wait, wasn't he already one of those? :)

    The worst part of this episode solely belongs to the character of Forrest. I never liked the guy. He talked too much, and never had anything interesting or funny to say. ADAM dispatches Forrest and transforms him into a half-demon, half-annoying Forrest monster. And in true style of the character, the guy never shuts his damn mouth until his second slaying. The makeup looks cooky, and the character makes retarded military puns like: "Now watch me kill your girlfriend... THAT'S AN ORDER!" Yawn. Puke. Fantastic climax though, and like I said before, loved seeing the group back together working hand in hand to save the world. A fitting end to an often tiresome storyline.
  • So incredibly violent

    9.3
    Okay Spike was once again incredible. I can't believe that it took the gang so long to figure out that Spike was behind their arguments. I did love when they all reunited though, and the scene with Buffy and Willow hugging when they were making their way into the Initiative, was so touching. I loved how they grabbed Xander too.

    Adam activating Riley's chip was a good scene as well. I loved that Spike came in and made a comment about somebody buying the party pack of chips.

    The spell that they did was so amazing. I loved that Xander came up with the idea for it. Combine Buffy's strength, Willow's witchy know how and Giles multi-linguistics and you've got an unbeatable team, oh and let's not forget Xander's heart.

    I loved the finale fight between Super-Buffy and Adam. It was so amazing and violent. I enjoyed it when Adam tried to use his upgrades and Buffy just magiced him back to normal. I loved it when Super-Buffy just ripped Adam's power core out it was so incredibly amazing.

    The fighting with Forest Professor Walsh and the other guy against Buffy was great and very violent. I loved Riley cutting that chip out of his chest and then coming to Buffy's aid.

    Such an amazing and violent episode I loved it.
  • Down with Adam and the Initiative.

    8.6
    In a final showdown between Buffy, Adam, and the initiative Buffy and the gang must join together in a spell to take down Adram once and for all. With Willow's magic, Giles knowledge, Xander's heart, and Buffy's strength the strike together and defeat him soundly and most impressively. It makes for a fantastic scene. After their defeat of Adam the initiative itself is run over by demons and left as a failed experiment, shut down immediately.

    The scene between Buffy and Adam, when she combines essences with the rest of the gang to bring him down is really impressive. I think it's the absolute best part of the episode.
  • "This is not your business, it’s mine….you’re messing with primeval forces you have absolutely no comprehension of" - Buffy

    9.2
    And the whole Adam story goes a little bit silly. “Does anybody else miss the Mayor?” asks Xander, and a whole nation of viewers acquiesces. Don’t get me wrong, I love the conclusion of this episode, but the whole flash-bash end of the Initiative as Adam goes into overdrive feels a little self-indulgent and over the top.

    So anyway, the gang are still moping around whilst Adam and his HenchSpike are planning the apocalypse. An important part of this latest end of days running is Riley, who, like Spike also has a chip in his head. This is a clever device, both technological and plotwise, because we’d assumed at the end of the last episode that Riley was off to fight Adam to avenge Forrest’s death, but no, he’s just been activated. The final plan for the clean marine is to become a demon-human hybrid soldier, like his ‘brother’ Adam. Of course the chip is a metaphor for the army’s (former) control of Riley, similar to the drugs they used to keep him under their influence. But whilst the drugs and the chip dictate what his body does, they don’t affect his brain and just as Buffy’s free-thinking inspiration led him to question his allegiances, he manages to rid himself of Adam’s manipulation. He still has free will. He has to rip out his metaphorical heart to escape and to lend a hand to Buffy. Tara and Anya are not involved in the final fight, but Buffy’s beau has his own battle to win and he needs to prove himself by helping the Slayer, doing so by killing his former life: slaughtering the (frankly dire) Walshzombie and Frankgleman and then blowing up the (risible) Forrestmonster. Meanwhile, Spike is learning that he’s not as clever as he thinks he is as he discovers that his plan to split up the gang whilst Willow decoded the discs (to get Buffy into the Initiative) has a contradictory flaw. Then he lets slip to the Buffster that he knows about her and Willow’s fight. And he never manages to persuade Adam to remove his chip. His stupidity is compensated by his cunning as he avoids being killed by just about everyone in the episode and he even sort of saves the day as he fights off the werewolf trying to get into Room 314 and eat the spellmakers. Given his obsession with the Slayer, one can’t help wondering if his slips were Freudian – did he secretly want her to win? Anyway, Spike escapes and the chip continues into S5 and beyond. So, now we come to the most important and satisfying part of the episode. The gang come together at Buffy’s behest and whilst they admit Spike’s meddling caused their fight, they don’t really reconcile because they secretly believe the home truths that Spike insinuated. It’s going to take a great big spell (and a touching abseiling scene) to literally bring them back together. Co-incidentally, that’s what is also needed to take Adam down. Armed only with a mystical gourd, they break into the Initiative for the final time to make good the plan that Xander thought up, Giles fine-tuned, Willow incanted and Buffy carried out. They are the courage, the brain, the chi and the fist. With Xander’s idea, Giles’s knowledge of Sumerian, Willow’s power and Buffy’s strength, they get close enough to Adam to go for the (uranium) core. Willow invokes the spirit of Sineya, first of the ones, to help them unite (but watch out for the fallout, Scoobs!) and this demon-human hybrid is the only one that’s going to work. Meanwhile the Initiative is in carnage and chaos as Adam’s (Windows 3.1) computers have electronically unlocked the cells and the (not yet chipped) zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi, demons, vampires, and misc. blow the remains of Mutant Enemy’s budget for S4 by attacking the soldiers and scientists. I must admit that it was worth it; the set resembles less a top-secret government bunker and more a WW1 battleground that the gang must navigate to get to Adam.

    The battle is going one-way until the Slayerettes unite Buffy and becomes “forever”. Adam retaliates with ridiculous Schwarzenegger puns and a new gun-arm but Buffy counters with magic, turning the bullets into doves – an important peacenik metaphor there, kids! Adam doesn’t understand magic because it wasn’t programmed into him – Cnl McNamera asked Buffy: “What kind of freaks are you people?”, as they produced the magic gourd - his comprehension of archaic mysticism is nil; his belief is only in new and shiny technological ways of killing people. This idea is countered not only by his death but also by the top brass’s decision to burn down and salt the ground of where the Initiative stood; they realise that they can’t harness the demons’ power for military purposes. Dark powers are unharnassable – we can’t eradicate evil as the Initiative wanted, we can’t merge ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as Adam wanted, we can only have the likes of the Slayer to even out the chance.
  • Uber-Buffy rocks!

    10
    I’m a huge Buffy fan but I’ve to admit that this hole Initiative saga wasn’t my favorite storyline, especially ‘cause Adam wasn’t a interesting villain as Angelus, Faith, the Mayer and even the Master were. Ok, maybe he was the strongest of them all, but since we know that Buffy is gonna defeat him anyway, doesn’t matter. So, the second half of this season, all about Adam and The Initiative, was not that great for me, excluding Faith’s return, of course.

    But I’ve to admit that I liked this episode very much. Adam and The Initiative are gone for good… and with a bang! In the beginning they almost lost me with those “zombies”. Why bring Maggie Walsh in such a ridiculous way?! That was the only bad – REALLY BAD – thing about this episode. The rest was great. The morning after Scooby Gang’s big discussion was great. The Anya/Xander scene was so sweet. I really like those two.

    But the best part of the episode was the spell to make the Uber Buffy. Adam was strong, very strong, so Buffy need the help of her friends. And that was great. The fighting scene was great and Buffy making the bullets turn into pigeons was amazing.

    Thank God the Initiative is a done deal. And thank God this isn’t the last episode of the season, ‘cause it was great, but not in a season-finale way.
  • Combo-Buffy is neat.

    8.1
    When Buffy is checking out Adam's caves, she happens to run into Spike. And Spike, trying to be clever, points her to the fact that the Scoobies have been set up.

    Looks like there's no chip-n-dectomy for the blond menace this time. Adam's plan was pretty diabolical from ensuring that their were maximum demons in lock down inside the Initiative to making sure Buffy was there. I particularly like the fact that he wants Buffy there alone so she will "maximize the kill ratio before being too tired to go on". That's just cold. And it points out the lesson again that Buffy seems to be reminded of every season: it's because of her freinds that she's managed to live this long (after all, if it wasn't for Xander she'd have been dead for good in 'Prophecy Girl').

    I also like the uncomfortable scene of the Scoobies meeting on campus once Buffy has figured things out. Even though they are making up, everyone is still tense. The things that came out aren't just forgotten that easily.

    Good writing for our majors throughout and an end to Adam and the Initiative storyline. That's a good thing. And Riley gets to kick a little behind, too. But again...something in this whole storyline just made episodes that should have been exceptionally fun drag a little. This should be rated a '9', but I just can't give it more than an '8.1'...too bad.
  • 'Xander just because this is never going to work, there is no need to be negative.'

    9.3
    A good but not entirely satisfying end to the season arc. The dialog wasn’t impressive and it took a bit long to start, but the end made up for it with a Metrix fight and some good action.

    The episode continues where ‘The Yoko Factor’ left us, Riley is at Adam’s but he is unable to control his body. He has a chip in him.
    Spike is also there and he wants his chip out because he believes he did his job. But then realised that he detached Willow from Buffy so now they won’t talk together.

    Meanwhile each sooby is doing their own thing. Xander is a bit depressed over the fight and thinks of joining the army, well until Anya tells him he would have to wake up earlier. Also Willow and Tara try to decrypt the disks but eventually they decrypt themselves.

    But Buffy isn’t dumb as she looks like. She figures out herself about Spike because she finds him n an Adam cave, she calls the gang over and they all realise that Spike was working for Adam. They try to work together and make up a spell.

    Meanwhile Riley is taken to the initiative where he sees Maggie and Dr. Englemen. They are both like zombies but Adam only wants them as workers, he has also Forrest who is now half demon and without a conscious, that’s what Adam wants to do with Riley.

    It was nice that the gang made up again, even though I didn’t really care that much for the storyline. But becoming one is what made this episode so very interesting, Xander was the heart, Willow the Mind, Giles the spirit and Buffy the hand. Together they enforce to destroy Adam. Meanwhile Riley was able to cut out his chip and then disconnects Maggie and Englemen. He lets Buffy go to fight Adam and stays to kill Forrest, Forrest who is a lot stronger beats Riley up but then he holds something explosive that makes him explode into little pieces.

    Meanwhile Buffy fights Adam who is obviously stronger and now he has one arm as a weapon. But when Buffy enforces with her friends, she is unstoppable and makes the coolest fight so far on the show. Her slow motion, stopping the bullets and making birds out of bullets was amazing. Then Buffy beats Adam and takes out his power source with her hand killing him.

    The episode went smoothly, the fights were brilliant. But it felt a bit cold and flat even though it was awesome. Spike is the character that bugged me the most, he betrayed everyone but eventually he was forgiven and forgotten just like that? Yeah right.

    At the end the demons escape and start killing most of the soldiers, the government asks to burn down the initiative and to salt the earth.




  • Good ending to mediocre season.

    8.0
    This season has been a long one, taking us through many journeys and new sets and roles in life. The scoobie gang are growing up and are learning more about their powers (and their lots in life). Throughout the season, Buffy was pushing all her friends away (though not like in season 6). This episode was a nice conclusion. It only seemed fitting that the only way to defeat Adam was to come together. This also plays into a series wide theme that the only reason Buffy is the best slayer yet, is because of her friends they've made it all possible for her to still be fighting (litterally, Xander brought her back from the dead).
  • The Scoobies reconcile, storm the Initiative to find an apocalyptic battle under way, and eventually beat the big bad, with other loose ends tied up along the way.

    9.0
    Well, well, well. What we have here is a typical Whedon conclusion; not to say unoriginal, but boy does he do this sort of thing well.

    The Scoobies reconcile, storm the Initiative to find an apocalyptic battle under way, and eventually beat the big bad, with other loose ends tied up along the way.

    We see each major recurring character (including three who have become main credit characters this season) find a resolution. Anya and Tara, so long on the outside of the group, finding it difficult to replace Cordy and Oz, finally play a key role in reuniting the gang; Spike does a bit of a dance of death, to extremely amusing ends; Forrest, the tragedy of Forrest, who ends up being killed by his best friend; Riley Finn, who finally casts aside both his literal and symbolic inherent loyalty to the Initiative; Maggie Walsh, who Buffy finally gets to smack; and Adam.

    Adam, who, faced with a spiritual power he can't understand, can only reply, with sheer terror in his face (he is so excellently played all season by George Hertzberg)..."How...interesting." Adam, who has been a terror all season, unbeatable, but faced with the true value of friendship, has no-one to run to. Adam, whose apocalyptic designs fall to pieces due to his own lack of forethought.

    Adam defines this season, more than Riley, or Willow and Tara getting together; Adam defines this season by forcing the characters to grow, and by vividly demonstrating the conflict between demon and human, instinct and morality. He perverts both to his own ends, and mirrors the conflict mentioned above. Oz and Willow, Angel and Buffy and Riley, to an extent Anya and Xander, and the growing humanity of Spike (though, for this season, his instinct and ruthlessness wins out).

    This episode also holds a moment of important character development; Xander finally being recognized for the qualities he does bring to the group (this is before we look at his atomic zombie fighting abilities, leadership skills and the world-saving he's yet to do at this point): he may not go to college, he may not be the strongest or toughest, indeed now he's the only Scoobie without some supernatural side...but no-one can ever question his commitment and bravery.

    Though this episode isn't the season finale, it is the end of the season's story; the team has battled Spike, the Gentlemen and Adam, alongside a few other minor foes; Willow has finally found herself and become a stronger person; Buffy is with a nice, normal Iowa boy; Xander has settled down, more or less, and is beginning his own process of discovery; and Giles has, after a season feeling irrelevant, proven he still brings a lot to the table. This episode gives substance to all these, and to other issues.

    Brilliant.
  • Wow. That's really all I can say about this episode. Without a doubt, it's my favorite.

    10
    Wow. That's really all I can say about this episode. Without a doubt, it's my favorite. I mean, c'mon, Buffy...with GUNS?!? And not just a couple. It's a war in the initiative. There is just sooo much action/violence and it's terrific. Mind-blowing, really. The Uber-Slayer is also wicked cool. Giles, Willow, Xander, and Buffy all in one. Now that...is the best thing ever. And then they go against Adam. That fight is amazing.

    Show highlights:

    ∙ UberBuffy spell
    ∙ initiative-demon war
    ∙ Riley against zombies
    ∙ Buffy telling off soldiers
    ∙ Spike's hilarious lines
    ∙ Buffy and Adam fight
    ∙ soooooooo many different weapons
    ∙ incredible effects
  • Should be the finale

    9.0
    I understand why it wasnt the season finale. Things changed a lot in this season. Even the camera angles. So, what Joss did? Instead of ending the season like it always does - continued episodes - he did them previously and an "independent" after. But "Primeval" carries everything a finale should have. In one word: conclusion. [some events are from the previous episode] Finally the Initiative is gone and Buffy and Riley can live in peace. All the gang knows about Willow and Tara. Spike lies do something incredibly good for the Scoobies: make their friendship stronger than ever. That argument put down part of their diferences and made them realize what they were doing, specially Giles and Xander, who saw they were losers doing (or not) waht they were.
    Writing like that may seem that the episode was perfect, but I gave an 9. I'll explain it. In this season there was a terrible tradition. Almost every episode begins bad and ends good, with a great hook to the following. And it also was to supernatural, even for a supernatural show. The "upgraded" weapon in Adam's arm? What was that? And Adam himself, along with the not-that-dead scientists. For me, that was the problem of this season. And in this episode, particularly, what I mentioned: started bad, but ended good. The final battle was amazing. I didn't expect that much. And the spell, all the metaphor to the Scooby power... really good. So, I think it should have been the finale. It's a way better.
  • Overall, this episode is a functional if somewhat disappointing conclusion to one of the less satisfying season arcs.

    6.0
    The very fact that this episode is not the season finale, yet wraps up the fourth season arc, should be an indication of how fragmented the development of the arc truly was. The explanation for Adam’s behavior makes a certain amount of sense, especially the first time around, but it’s vague and convenient enough to be forgettable. It’s actually quite easy, watching episodes earlier in the season for the second or third time, to forget how the writers wrapped it all together.

    In essence, Adam planned on making more of his own kind, super-soldiers created through the melding of human and demon parts. This was supposedly a twisted version of Maggie Walsh’s original intention for the Initiative’s work in Sunnydale, which would seem to link the original progression of the season arc with Adam’s emergence.

    The problem is that it only makes sense if one tries to forget that Maggie’s work was primarily behavioral modification. The original arc, based on Riley’s character and its designed nature, seemed far more psychological and social in nature. It was meant to be a question of Maggie’s programming vs. Buffy’s influence. The Initiative commandoes were supposed to be conditioned to obey, thus providing a commentary on how one’s identity can be buried beneath the programming of authorities in life.

    Adam’s quick inclusion into the season arc took that concept and turned it into something less defined and less applicable to the theme of the season as a whole. Sure, Adam manages to control Riley, forcing Riley to make one final choice to exert free will and help Buffy, but it doesn’t have the resonance that an entire season of psychological conflict would have provided.

    The writers do everything possible to make this episode a strong enough ending to the season arc, and while it’s still quite clear that the budget wasn’t nearly large enough to provide the scale desired, the final battle is impressive. The score is just perfect, and the implied chaos actually manages to shine through on more than one occasion. It sounds and feels like a much bigger battle than it is; it’s a good bit of production.

    Still, Adam’s plan is more or less thrown together (note that Buffy, meant to lead humans in Adam’s plan, never actually does that, which seems to point to a flaw in the plan). It doesn’t take much analytical ability (or attention span) to realize, just based on the hints from the writers, that Adam’s plan was basically worked out around the time of “This Year’s Girl”. For this reason, it is somewhat unsatisfying, and since it doesn’t quite lead into the theme of the fifth season as readily as the original concept would have, the writers wrap up the action early and rely on a finale that deals almost entirely with character development.

    The end effect of this structure was a weak transition between the fourth and fifth seasons, because it never quite feels like the questions raised in the fourth season are adequately answered. If anything, the questions transform, as seen in the season finale. It’s also a quick reversal from the fractured Scooby Gang concept in the previous episode. It’s so fast and loose that it actually highlights the fact that the overall journey to that fracturing of the gang doesn’t quite hold up to scrutiny.

    In terms of the season arc, this episode is what it is: a means to an end. It’s a way to close the door on Adam and the Initiative so they are unlikely to return again in any meaningful form. Joss, on the other hand, used this need to introduce the means of transition between the fourth and fifth season themes for Buffy: who Buffy really is, and how much of Buffy comes from the Slayer.

    This is achieved by giving Buffy only one meaningful option for defeating Adam. The idea is that Buffy has a great deal of untapped power, all tied to the source of the Slayer’s true origins. In this case, Giles, Willow, and Xander use the grounding elements of mind, spirit, and heart to summon forth the primeval power of the Slayer and grant it to Buffy.

    This, in turn, becomes the trigger for an exploration, at least in some vague sense, of what it means to be a Slayer in the fifth season. It also opens up a number of questions about the nature of the Slayer’s power. In retrospect, after the seventh season finale, this episode makes a lot of sense. The end of the seventh season revealed that the Slayer’s true origins were tied to the female aspect of magical energy, in effect a Goddess figure. This was then corrupted by the First Watchers through the melding of demonic power with that feminine energy.

    While Buffy’s later explorations in the fifth season seem tied more closely to the negative, demonic side to the Chosen line, Buffy’s abilities while fighting Adam seem a lot more aligned with the feminine power aspect. Simple demonic power wouldn’t explain transformative abilities to manipulate matter on a subatomic level. The brute strength could be demonic in source, but it could also be like the Force: tapping into the general energy of Life itself to enhance existing strength and speed.

    One interesting question is whether or not the emergence of the First Slayer in subsequent episodes, as a result of the spell in this installment, was always meant to coincide with the early fifth season. It’s not necessarily the case. If the original concept for the season arc was more psychological, it could have been a more subversive finale with hints that Buffy is, in fact, just as controlled by outside forces as Riley had been. That would have been a rather clever way to segue into the fifth season.

    As the need for a big action finale came along, so did the introduction of Buffy’s Chosen legacy as a primal influence return as a big action concept. It wasn’t just another turn of Buffy’s psychology stemming from the questions raised by Faith’s personality in the third season; it was an excuse for “cool” special effects. If “Restless” hadn’t salvaged the idea in unusually strong form with the next episode, it would have been a waste of an idea. Sure, the special effects are neat, but it just doesn’t feel as nuanced as it could have been.

    One other problem with this episode is that Riley Finn, a character designed for the sole purpose of tying the season’s theme to the Initiative arc, actually survives. There’s no compelling reason for that to happen, especially since ripping out something connected to one’s central nervous system ought to be rather fatal. The writers resist the proper urge to give Riley a fitting end, and thus the character would wander without purpose in the fifth season, losing much of his integrity and relevance in the process.

    This is the perfect example of a problem that plagued the latter seasons of the series: characters that outlived their intended use for far too long. Riley is only the first example. Had he died in this episode, the character would have been remembered as a great character. Later examples are Tara and Dawn, both of which lingered in perplexing and even illogical extensions on their original plot purpose. (Tara, at least, merely received a stay of execution of debatable value; Dawn spent two seasons of absolutely no redeeming value as a near-complete nuisance.)

    This episode stands as the culmination of the first season without Joss Whedon as a primary showrunner. More and more responsibility was handed to David Fury and Marti Noxon, and as the subsequent seasons would demonstrate, the less Joss was involved, the less the seasonal themes were able to shine through. With Joss spending so much time and effort on giving “Angel” a more focused and serialized structure in its second season, the lessons of the fourth season and this plot arc finale would only partially be learned when approaching the fifth season arc.
  • In this episode Buffy fianlly faces Adam, only to discover he is not alone. Riley, her boyfreind and Initiative sodier, is there with him - and she must pull some amazing tricks to get out of this in one piece. To accomplish that she has herself - and her

    9.1
    This episode is trickier than most; here Buffy not only has to face the main Villain, but also face her forgotten friends who will not speak to her. As an original Season finale this episode complete all the plot-lines in the season, and finally reveals Adam's plan. It's really genios, but you could see that coming.
    The best part of this episode is not the "making up with old friends" parts, but the showdown with Adam. Here we have (Spoiler alert!) a very strong magic, something in the "nuclear power" category, that was sitting on Giles' shelf this whole time. With help from Xander, Willow and Giles, Buffy becomes this god-like being for a short spell and terminates Adam. (Spoiler End). It's amazing, but also raises a lot of questions. Where was this Deus Ex Machina in the previous season finale? Why not use it all the time from now on?
    Still, beautifull effects (much improvement from the plastic mayor snake of season 3) and good action scenes. A good episode.