beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah







Slayer ... kill you ... not so tough, I ... kill ... Slayer.

season four  >  the initiative


Another day in the UC Sunnydale cafeteria, another group of college guys scoping out the coeds. You start to wonder what Forrest and Graham are doing hanging out with Riley. But who wouldn't want to hang out with Riley: he'd rather grade papers than notice pretty girls; he doesn't seem to care if hotties come to their party that night. Barrel of laughs, that guy. The guys spy Buffy and the best Riley can come with is that she's peculiar. That may or may not be more of a compliment than Forrest's evaluation that she's mattressable or Graham's speculation that she may be Canadian.


No, I mean.. .She's all right, I guess. She's just kind of, I dunno... Peculiar.


Meanwhile, Spike is thinking of Buffy too. He's trapped in some demon prison, dreaming of killing the Slayer.


Must be nice to be Buffy and have guys thinking of you all the time like that.


Xander and Giles are also thinking of Buffy. They're thinking that she doesn't need them. The greatest mystery facing them at the moment is the commando squad, who seem to be of the human variety. Even so, Buffy comes by and tells them that the plan tonight is that they can patrol; she's taking Willow to a party to cheer her up. But first, she has to go find something slutty to wear. Shouldn't be too hard if she heads for the general direction of her closet.


Giles and Xander may feel helpless metaphorically, but Spike is physically helpless, trapped in an electrified cage, starving, moments away from becoming the vampire version of a guinea pig. Since he holds Buffy responsible for most of his problems, he figures this must be her doing as well.


Buffy however, has headed to class, and is still learning to master the art of using a ballpoint pen. Willow has her own problems, most notably she's concerned that Oz's name is no longer on the roll. Surely he's not dropped out for good! Riley confirms that he's no longer in the class and Professor Walsh shows her most human side by berating Willow for being concerned. Buffy stands up for Willow and tells Professor Walsh off, which causes Professor Walsh to tell Riley that she likes Buffy. Everybody seems to have an opinion of Buffy today. Riley, illustrating that he is a multi-faceted person, capable of many perspectives, again remarks that she's peculiar.


Giles and Xander prepare for patrol, using Xander's fading knowledge of military equipment and his mom's fruit punch.


When Riley and his friends get together again, Buffy again is the topic of conversation. Riley has actually expanded his description of her from peculiar to nuts. Way to show some depth! When Parker comes by and compares Buffy to a toilet, with the toilet coming out ahead, Riley decks him. Only then does he realize: I think she's peculiar - I must like her!


And off he goes to find her. Spike has similar plans. He manages to escape and heads out to see Buffy as well. Isn't she lucky? But all roads seem to lead to Willow instead.


The first one to stop in to see Willow is Riley. She isn't too eager to help him, since after all, dating can only lead to love, which can only lead to having your heart ripped out. But Riley is persistent. He's never courted anyone like Buffy before. And Willow, being someone from this century, has never heard anyone use the word "courting" before. She realizes that with a vocabulary like his, he's doomed, so she offers him some helpful advice: Buffy likes cheese. Willow leaves out the part about how Buffy likes cheese because of the time she spent as a rat.




Okay. Let's say I help. And you start a conversation. It goes great. You like Buffy. She likes you. You spend time together. Feelings grow deeper, and one day without even realizing it, you find you're in love. Time stops and it feels like the whole world's made for you two and you two alone until the day one of you leaves the other and rips the still-beating heart from the other who's now a broken, hollow mockery of the human condition.


Spike is having romantic troubles of his own. Harmony doesn't seem to want to take him back. She's still harboring a grudge over that itty bitty incident during which he tried to stake her. Go figure.


Giles and Xander take to patrol and Willow and Buffy take to the party at Riley's fraternity house. Both endeavors are smash hits. Riley woos Buffy by asking if she's done her homework and by offering a cheese cube. Xander gets into a slapping fight with Harmony, which ends in a draw. Willow gets mopey over missing Oz and heads back to the dorm room.


Xander may not have won the fight with Harmony, but he does learn that Spike was back in town. He pulls Buffy away from the party, and from Riley. Riley's bummed cause he had lots more pickup lines to go with the homework and cheese cube ones.


But Riley and the guys are needed "downstairs" anyway. And so we learn the shocking truth: Riley isn't a stiff boring guy who merely says words like "courted", he's also a stiff boring guy who says things like "hold up", and "situation?" Oh, and he and his friends, along with Professor Walsh, seem to be the commando guys who the scoobies have been looking for and from whom Spike has just escaped. You would think that this might make Riley more interesting. Yeah, you would think.


Seems the "situation" is Spike, who has been affectionately nicknamed "Hostile 17". Professor Walsh proclaims that if he's not found everything they've worked for "-- The initiative itself-- could end tonight."  It's another shocking revelation: Professor Walsh seems all straight-laced and factual, but really, she's quite into dramatics and exaggeration.


Riley immediately takes charge by saying things like "mobilization pattern" and "sweep and search". OK, maybe you wouldn't think this would make him more interesting after all.

Back at Giles', Buffy, in possibly her smartest move of the day, tells Xander that Riley is a doof. Oh, and that she's going to find and kill Spike. Xander gives Buffy a gift of a flare gun, and she's off to search. Coincidentally, so are Riley and crew.


I said denied, agent!


Neither find Spike, but they do find each other. Riley shows his military prowess by saying "denied" what seems to be several dozen times and channels John Wayne by trying to get Buffy to go home so she'll be safe. Finally a scream breaks up the valiancy routine.


Now it's Spike's turn with Willow, and he discovers that he can't perform! When he tries to bite her, blinding pain stops him. She's sure that it's because she's not very bitable, but Spike assures her that he's wanted to bite her for a long time. That makes her feel somewhat better and she rewards him by smashing a lamp over his head. Riley and commando central are using high-tech tracking devices to find Spike, and Riley's happy cause he gets to say things like "lockdown on grid 6".


The commando guys rush in to capture Spike and Willow, but Buffy gets there just in time and uses her flare gun to blind them. She, of course, doesn't recognize them because they've dressed up in GI Joe gear special for the occasion. And they don't recognize her, because, well they're blind. Xander, with his flare gun gift, has saved the day once again.


Spike escapes, Buffy chases the commando guys away, and Riley gets to say "Abort!" in an official voice. Professor Walsh, of course, is less than pleased about this turn of events, but is happy at least that the implant in Spike's head makes him a harmless puppy. Well, except that he still hates everyone and all and is still all evil.


The next day, Riley and Buffy meet up. It looks like a fairy tale ending may await them after all: he tells her he likes cheese and she tells him he's peculiar. A match made on the hellmouth if there ever was one.


Oh yes. Very important stuff. Interesting, a little edgy, daring views on... I don't remember any of it now, but you would have been fascinated, possibly very moved... Did Willow tell you I like cheese?




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