Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | June 11, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S4, E14 – Goodbye Iowa

Goodbye Iowa
Season 4, Episode 14
Original airing: 2/15/2000

My Rating: 47

The Good: I really liked how Riley’s arc was portrayed in this episode. His confusion is compounded by his unknowing drug withdrawal. His behavior becomes more and more erratic and the overall acting was quite believable. He’s such a good guy that learning Professor Walsh was possibly manipulating him is enough to spin his whole world out of whack. His inability to trust Buffy when he finds her with Spike and in the demon bar is completely believable. And it’s nice to see that when the drugs are leveled out and his head’s on straight again at the end of the episode, that he seems to be leaning in Buffy’s direction. Love wins over all?

The biggest set up in this episode is actually Tara. She’s in two quick scenes with Willow where she becomes uncomfortable and then purposefully sabotages their spell. There’s no explanation here and it’s very out of character for her at this time to go against Willow. I’m definitely curious to see what’s going on. This could be incredibly interesting and finally give us some more information on Tara.

The Bad: The main problem with this episode is the problem with the season: the Initiative is too scattered and makes no sense. They are supposed to be a secret government operation, but everyone’s running around not following orders and going out with loaded guns in broad daylight. There’s no cohesion and because of this, very little threat.

Adam is apparently going to be the face of this supposed Big Bad, but he’s not very good either. While it was demonstrated in this episode that he’s very strong, his philosophical musings are too wide and too quick. At the beginning of the episode, he seems to have very little idea what is going on, but also seems to take pleasure in the idea of gutting a young boy. That inherent evil he seems to possess is unexplained, but is also the driving force behind his behavior. The first thing he did when he woke up was skewer Professor Walsh – his “mother”. This is before he has any frame of reference for his behavior, so supposedly, he’s just a bad guy.

But then he finds these convenient discs with all of Professor Walsh’s research, plans, and musings. And he seems bent on continuing along with her agenda. Since we have no clue what that is at the moment, it’s impossible to tell if it fits into Adam’s “evil” side or if he has another motivation for that decision. Adam has two scenes in this episode and in those two scenes he progresses from child to omnipotent god. It’s too much too fast. And his murder of Dr.Angleman hints at a larger goal we can’t understand at this moment.

Favorite Moment: As in most episodes where the story is a bit sketchy, I find my favorite moment is a Scooby moment. I really enjoyed the morning scene in Xander’s basement. It felt like the Scoobies had gone camping! It was just fun to see them all together and just kind of hanging out as opposed to solving a deadly mystery. I think the cherry on top was Giles’ involvement. I just got warm glow-y feelings from this scene.

The Bottom Line: The Initiative is not scary. Adam is too powerful. There’s no context here and the story is uninteresting. The show needs to hook me back in because almost all of season four has felt like a disconnected downward fall.

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