Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 7

The Initiative

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 16, 1999 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (26)

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out of 10
551 votes
  • The War on Demons

    The Good;

    So at last the truth! The Initiative set is indeed impressive and Spike's escape is daring, he's almost like Jaws in the Bond films, the audience starts rooting for him even when he's the bad guy. The fights also good and the Harmony/Spike scenes and Harmony/Xander scene is wonderful

    The Bad;

    Not a great deal, strong ep

    Best line;

    Buffy (to Walsh); "For someone who teaches human behaviour you might try showing some"


    Buff uses a flare gun, odd to see her using a firearm of any kind. The Initiative seem to have more guns than NATO.

    Tied up;

    Spike tied up but escapes.

    Knocked out;

    Willow in the struggle with Riley and co.

    Women good/men bad;

    The horrible scene where we think Spike is killing Willow. Of course, she then fights back, You go girl! Contrast that to Harmony who takes Spike back AGAIN after all he's done to her. She asks Xander why men just leave but of course by that stage Xander already has. Buffy is outraged at Riley's seeming chauvanism towards her. Parker's remark about Buffy is unforgiveable although maybe he has a right to be bitter, he did try to apologise to her only for her to bash him over the head with a branch.


    Walsh's remark to Willow about Oz is very harsh. For a moment your heart is in your mouth when you think Willow is lying dead behind Spike on the bed.

    Kinky dinky;

    Buffy describes her top as 'slutty' but I don't think it is particularly. Unlike her top on the cafeteria which you can blatantly see down when she trips. Forrest eyes up the women in the cafeteria, the first blonde girl in the floral number in particular is undeniably HOT! Parker describes Buffy as 'Bunny in the sack'. You figure she must have gone easy on him? Forrest figures that Buffy and Xander are on their way to have 'Crazy naked sex'. Harmony comments that she can 'slap Spike around' a little if he likes it. Buffy dancing is also good although she's better with Faith.

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Doug Petrie describes the Initiative boys as a 'gay calender pin-up' and he's not wrong, you can imagine Jack from Will&Grace having it on his wall. Petrie seems very keen on Marc Blucas in his commentary although he was equally as keen on the Faith/Buffy sapphic subtext.

    The whole Spike/Willow scene is one big impotence gag. Once again a vamp feeding is compared to a sexual act. Harmony comments that Buffy is just going to slap Spike around and that she can do that. Is that why Spike falls in love with the Slayer? When Spike finds Buffy on the computer he says 'Hello gorgeous". Hmmmmm. Will still has some insecurity left over from her wallflower days.

    Guantanamo Bay;

    The whole idea of the Initiative is very 'War on Terror', it resembles Camp X-ray to a T. Of course this all takes place BEFORE 9/11

    Scoobies to the ER;

    Thankfully not this week

    Questions and observations;

    Spike likes the Sex Pistols, big suprise. Buffy likes cheese, a leftover from her day as a rat? Here we have Spike in the opening credits hinting that he's a regular from now on (by contrast it took poor old Tara 3 seasons to get there and she only lasted 1 ep). Giles comments that he should lock his door. Spike refers to the Nazis conducting experiments on vamps which we'll see in 'Why we Fight'. Xander refers to the mobile infantry from Starship Troopers, Riley not unlike Johnny Rico in many ways. Spike is 126 which means he was born in 1873, making him a late Victorian (Angel is over 200 making him a Georgian). Note Doug Petrie named Grahme Miller after a Canadian friend of his and that it's Grahme who suggests that Buffy might be a little off because she's Canadian. Spike seems to use significant violence during his escape but maybe the chip hasn't really kicked in yet? Riley' shirt makes him look like he's from Star Trek.

    Marks out of 10; 8/10

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