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Stew’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Retrospective: Season 4, Episodes 14 – 15

February 16, 2024 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 4-14 Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

It’s Adam Shame: A BTVS Retrospective, S4 E14-15


Episode 14

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

We have another rare instance of the show picking up right where the previous episode left off (somewhat), as Buffy is telling the Scoobies all about what she went through with Professor Walsh. Spike thinks Riley is in on the whole thing and can’t be trusted.

Speak of the soldier, Riley shows up at Giles’ place in the wake of what Walsh tried to do to Buffy to see how she is doing. While there, he recognizes Spike and NOPE, no he doesn’t, episode, because he has seen Spike before and NOT recognized him! And recently, for that matter. Come on! This isn’t even HARD continuity to get a grip on!

Riley is now sus of the whole gang since they are palling around with a hostile. Giles notes he has heard rumors that The Initiative is up to dark stuff.

I mean… yeah, but it was from ETHAN. Why are they giving him and this 314 thing any credence? I know he’s RIGHT, but he’s a liar who lies; why are they so engaged in this rumor of his?

Adam emerges from a cave and heads into the woods, but it’s not long before he runs into a little boy playing with an action figure. Adam asks, “What am I?”, and the boy tells him he is a monster. The boy notices the Baraka-spike inserted in Adam’s forearm, and Adam gives a malicious grin…

Science Guy, who I’m sure has a name and I’m equally sure I don’t care about it unless he becomes our next Big Bad this season, comes upon Walsh’s dead body.

The team is taking refuge in Xander’s basement to be safe from The Initiative, but you know what? I imagine the super advanced military unit knows how to use an address finder website. Hell, it’s the year 2000; they still had phone books. Still, you get a C- for effort, guys. Giles is awakened by Buffy, Willow, and Anya watching Looney Tunes, and Buffy complaining that Wile E. Coyote cartoons aren’t real.

At least Wile E. Coyote remembers that he has met and recognized The Roadrunner before from episode to episode!

(That’s actually not true, but STILL)

Buffy laments that Riley was SUPPOSED to be her nice, normal boyfriend. Anya advises to get a real one, but repeatedly warns her not to try to take Xander. Speak of the douchebag, he runs downstairs to put on the news. The death of the boy we saw with Adam is being reported.

In Initiative HQ, Shelton Benjamin (who… has a real name. I think? This Shelton Benjamin gag has completely stopped me from absorbing his real name, but he legitimately does sound just like The Gold Standard of WWE) seems pretty happy to guess that Riley and Buffy have banged, but Riley is dejected. He tells Shelton about how Walsh tried to kill Buffy, and Shelty turns on a DIME, instantly going into Walsh Defense Mode and insisting Buffy must have deserved it.

Charlie Haas comes along—and I DON’T think he has a real name—and he reports Walsh’s passing to the rest of Team Riley. They go to see her body, and I love how undignified her corpse is; sprawled weirdly and face-down. They see how she was killed (spike through the back), and Shelton assumes Buffy staked her until Science Guy comes along and says the Polagra demon is loose. Despite orders to contrary, Riley sends his team out to get it.

There is a full-on tactical response unit! Jeeps! Army gear! They all arrive at Spike’s crypt and check around, but Spike manages to hide from them in a tomb, and I STILL worry I am using the words “mausoleum”, “tomb”, and “crypt” all wrong and mixing them up.

Buffy heads to the crime scene of the murdered boy, and Riley shows up. Buffy starts apologizing to him for the interaction they had earlier this episode, but he ain’t having it. He is bound and determined to argue with everyone this episode, guys. He tells her Walsh is dead, but suddenly pulls “confidentiality” on her when she tries to get more info. She assumes it is the Polagra demon, though, and they bicker a bit before separating.

Willow heads to Tara’s dorm, and it appears they did NOT bang, and that makes me sad. But they’ll get there! They just talk about having done spells all night, though they talk about it all sexily because everything in this show is pe—vaginas. Everything is vaginas now.

That’s progressive!

Willow needs Tara to help her out with a spell to summon a goddess and locate demonic energy. Tara seems reluctant, but Willow says they got this!

Buffy enters Willy’s bar, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen him. Willy is claiming to just be a bartender now, and is no longer bartering information. But after a quick charade of a threat, he tells Buffy he knew the Polagra was around, but it’s gone quiet.

Riley charges in, and is enraged to see Buffy in a demon bar. She notices he is visibly shaking. OH HEY, it’s the pills I noticed earlier, right? Man, I’m good! Or the show is bad. I forget which.

(No I didn’t)

Riley pulls a gun on an old lady trying to leave the bar, but Buffy talks him down, and he breaks down in her arms.

Buffy and Riley are next in Xander’s basement, and I know it was a BAD hiding place, but it WAS their hiding place. He looks awful by this point. He is pale, sweating, and shaking. And he’s scratching away like he has the heroin itchies! Buffy cuddles him.

Willow and Tara work on their locator spell, but Tara just dumps the spell-dust under her bed while Willow isn’t looking? What the heck? The spell obviously does not work after that.

Buffy and Xander head into Initiative HQ, where it turns out her clearance has not been revoked yet. I GUESS Walsh didn’t have loads of time to do that, and she assumed Buffy was about to get smited, so sure… I’ll buy that, I suppose.

They hear Science Guy telling Other Initiative Unimportant Guy #26 that the team is going through withdrawal without their meds, and he specifically wants Riley to come back and get his. Buffy and Xander follow Science Guy and grab him, leading to Riley showing up.

Science Guy admits Walsh wanted Buffy dead, but he swears it was a vendetta (BECAUSE SHE LOVED RILEY, I KNOW!) and not Initiative Policy. He tells them everything about 314 and Adam, and as he reports this, Adam shows up!

At this point, just to break up the action scenes, we get a subplot of Spike getting kicked out of Willy’s bar because it’s known he has been killing demons with The Slayer.

Adam tells everyone he just wanted to see the world and try to figure things out, but he has not been able to. So he came home to get Walsh’s info. HE HAS A FLOPPY DISK DRIVE BUILT INTO HIS CHEST, and I love that so much because… even in 2000, come ON. Watch out, guys! He’s holding the picture from the Save button!

He loads up information on himself, and he is a mixture of man, machine, and demon, but he doesn’t know WHO he is. He next puts in a disk marked “Riley”, and he knows about the drugs they have had Riley on.

A fight breaks out, and Adam whips everyone’s asses. He straight up kills Science Guy, and I’m so, so happy I didn’t bother learning his name. Riley gets slashed in the guts, then Adam runs away. The Initiative bust in, collects Riley, and warns Buffy off with their big guns.

We close out with Buffy and Willow reporting there has been no word from Riley. Buffy talks about how powerful Adam is; Walsh designed him to be the ultimate warrior.

I won’t do it. But KNOW THAT I WANTED TO as soon as I heard her say it.

Also, though?

I lied.


Episode 15

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

We start off with, of all things, a scene of Buffy and Faith making a bed together. They both seem remorseful over the road their lives took together. They both seem to know it’s only a dream, and suddenly, Buffy is holding the dagger in Faith’s gut. Faith asks if she will take it out, and Buffy… twists it!

Riley gets out of bed in HQ, and Shelton comes up to check on him. They argue over whether Riley should be allowed to walk out or not.

Back to Faith’s brain; she is having a dream about having a picnic with The Mayor. He sees a snake on their blanket and sets it aside, and that… might be a metaphor that I missed? I mean… HE was snakelike at the end, but SHE didn’t know that. Buffy rushes up on them and kills her Dream Mayor.

Buffy, Xander, and Willow find some of Adam’ handiwork: a frickin’ FLAYED DEMON, HUNG IN A TREE. Jesus, Adam! Buffy and Riley also reconnect, so I guess he left the Initiative without much difficulty. And all is forgiven. He is either back on the drugs or recovered from his withdrawal; we don’t quite get an answer. But he’s better.

Faith is dreaming again that Buffy is chasing her. They both fall into an open grave, but only Faith emerges. And then… she wakes up!

Fortunately, she wakes up in the hospital from Halloween 2, and there is NO ONE there to care she is wandering around and asking what is going on. She bumps into one other girl who tells her that SunnyDale High is gone and The Mayor died. So we cut to Faith leaving the hospital in that girl’s clothes.

Not aware of the return of an old threat, Buffy and Riley are hanging out in the former’s dorm room. Remember when this season dealt with what it is like to have to share a room with someone? Good times. We have lost all of the college aspects of this college-based season long ago. We have secret armies to focus on! No time for nuance or metaphors for things that aren’t screwing!

Riley is concerned they are being watched, but Buffy disregards this. He laments that he has followed orders his entire life, and when Buffy says he can just leave The Initiative, he isn’t so sure. She tells him, “Quit torturing yourself. It’s an order!”. Then they make out.

At the local medical facility, the medical staff are discussing Faith’s disappearance with a detective. Another member of staff rushes in to report on the naked other girl they have found. A nurse picks up a phone and makes a call. “It’s happened. Send the team”. THERE ARE SO MANY COVERT TEAMS THIS SEASON!

Faith shows up at Giles’ house to spy on the team, and she catches Buffy and Riley canoodling! There is a phone call for Buffy reporting on Faith’s escape. The team discusses the options—cops, The Watcher Council, and The Initiative—but none seem best equipped, or trustworthy enough, to handle Faith.

Buffy and Willow are together some time later talking about Buffy having explained the whole Faith story to Riley, though she left out the Angel-y bits, as that is a whole different discussion they should have, she figures. Faith surprises them, and Buffy and she start a brawl! Faith is pissy that Buffy almost killed her for Angel, but now she has moved on to a college boyfriend.

As sirens start to approach, Faith flees the scene.

Back at the hospital after some nothing scenes (Willow/Tara; Spike telling Xander and Giles that he hopes Faith kills them), a helicopter lands and three dudes get out to greet the nurse that called them in…

Faith somehow gets her hands on a videotape, and it’s a silly “Faith, if you are watching this, then I must be dead” video The Mayor made, which makes no sense because he was immortal and absolutely positive he would be unstoppable.

Nothing about Season 3 The Mayor makes me think he assumed he would lose and make Faith this video. But nothing about Early Season 3 Faith made me think she would be happy being subservient to The Mayor, so screw me, I guess.

The Mayor has left Faith a new weapon so she can “go out with a bang”.

Riley wants to help Buffy, but he is still far too injured to do so. They talk a bit, and he can tell she is hiding something from him.

And then we ruin one of the few things Season Four has been doing well: NOT having mom around! But Faith shows up to deck her and capture her.

We get Faith taunting mom for a bit about how Buffy doesn’t love her anymore and hasn’t bothered to visit home this season. Buffy crashes through the window, and a fight breaks out!

Meanwhile, at Giles’, the three dudes from the helicopter show up at his house.

The police arrive outside Buffy’s house, causing Faith to go for broke with her new weapon. It causes a mini-shock between her and Buffy but doesn’t seem to work, even though it’s immediately obvious to the viewer than it’s a body switcher. “Buffy” knocks out “Faith” and destroys the device! To be continued!