Goodbye, Iowa
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Solomon
Air Date: Feb. 15, 2000

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So I’m not going to lie to you: I’ve watched this episode twice (once about two years ago when I was actively updating this site, but failed to write about it, the second time earlier last week) and I’ve written up a review once prior to now (last week, but my entire post got eaten up by the internet and never reappeared for some reason). So if this review seems passively interested and extremely short, its only because I want to move on to bigger and better things. Especially since this episode is so unremarkable that having spent the amount of time on it that I have is embarrassing and sad.

After the events of the previous episode a new “Big Bad” is on the loose: Adam, the above-pictured Frankenstein-type. He’s a “newborn” insofar as he isn’t aware of who he is or why he is. And I’m curious about this, too. If there is one thing I don’t really understand about this season and its “end boss”, its the “why” of it all. But we’ll cover that more as we move along.

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This episode moves so slowly, I can’t even. Some interesting stuff happens, sure, but it all amounts to so precious little. Let’s recap, in order: Buffy thinks Maggie Walsh and the entire Initiative is out to kill her for asking too many questions. Riley, King Doof himself, gets wrapped up in everything because he’s been so busy playing both sides, he didn’t stop to look and examine either of them. Once everyone finds out that Walsh has been skewered to death, things fall apart quickly. While investigating the murder of a small boy at the hands of Adam (and apparently a grisly murder, as he was taken apart in a scientific method rather than just upfront destroyed in a chaotic fashion), Buffy heads to Willy’s Place and Riley follows her. He doesn’t know who he can trust and begins to get very aggressive with the bar’s clientele and even Buffy. But eventually he gets sick and Buffy takes him to Willow’s to rest.

This is all setup for the climax of the episode, but it takes over four fifths of the total run time. And its just… so… plodding. Ugh. And it isn’t even really all that funny. It just continues to hammer home some of the themes and ideas already developed or put in concrete, while attempting to make the viewer doubt motivations, character’s intentions, and the overall feel of the season. But it does it in such a ham-fisted way. Even the comedy falls flat most of the time, with only a few good lines and scenes, mostly involving Willy and Giles’ lack of interest in children’s cartoons. Though, having said this, the tension in the bar while Riley is losing his mind is almost tangible and some of the best acting Blucas does during his time on the show. Which should be fairly telling.

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The last ten minutes, though, build up to the ending in a much better fashion. Buffy takes Xander with her into the initiative due to his miltary training to hunt for answers. Their costumes are so laughable, but somehow it works even though they don’t get to make-out “like the movies” to hide. This leads to one of the more cringe-worthy moments of the episode: Buffy and Xander hear a bad guy ramble about evil things from just around the corner. Its so corny. Then they confront the bad guy and Riley catches up to them before he can say anything of value. Suddenly, Adam is present and rambles on and on for about seventy years about what he is and who and why and blah blah blah. He kills some people, Riley collapses, Buffy and Xander evacuate the premises.

I said that this build up was solid, but it amounts to nothing because the big Adam reveal is so stupid. It doesn’t help that Adam looks like a moron. The costume work, the make-up, and the ridiculous floppy drive in his chest serve to only remind us of the time in which this was made and all the metal glued to him looks dumb. And Buffy whines to Willow that he is “fast” and “smart” but really she just threw some weak punches and didn’t dodge his slow moves. If you can’t tell, I’m not a huge fan of Adam, though the reasons for that will continue to pop up throughout the remainder of the season. He just doesn’t compare to previous “Big Bads” and, well, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thought he is the best in the series. Oh well, at least I’m done with this episode and can finally move on! Progress!

Episode Rating: 68

Additional Notes:
Best line? Spike: “I’m just a friend of Xanderrrrrrrs… pfff bugger it: I’m your guy”
-Willow and Tara try some magic and Tara botches it on purpose. Hmmm!
-Spike can’t catch a break: smashed TV, thrown out of a bar, no friends. Blech
-Why not just play the sad Charlie Brown song while Riley wanders aimlessly?
-Stupid sushi PJs
-Adam’s metal headpiece is one of the worst things this show ever did
-Forrest is so gay for Riley it isn’t even funny
-Ok, it is funny
-What parent let their kid wander the woods alone? That far in, just to play with action figures?
-Funniest thing ever? Kids cartoon, TV off. TV on, child murder news story. What station is this?

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