Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S04E07 – The Initiative

In the seventh episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I AM NOT OKAY. NOT THE SLIGHTEST BIT OKAY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

HOW! HOW IS THIS AN EPISODE THAT I JUST EXPERIENCED AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE ABOUT IT AND HOW AM I TO PROCESS THE FIFTY BILLION NEW THINGS I JUST LEARNED AND OH MY GOD THERE WAS A THAT DOG SONG IN THE PARTY SCENE. I GREW UP LISTENING TO THAT DOG AND NOW I’M STUCK IN A WEIRD LOOP OF NOSTALGIA FOR 90S ALTERNATIVE BANDS. OH MY GOD WHAT HAS THIS EPISODE DONE TO ME? OH GOD, I USED TO BE SUCH A BABY GAY AND THAT DOG FILLED MY HEART WITH SO MUCH HOPE. PLEASE, EVERYONE, GO LISTEN TO “HE’S KISSING CHRISTIAN” SO YOU MIGHT UNDERSTAND ME.

THAT WAS AN ORDER, BY THE WAY. I WILL BAN YOU ALL FROM THIS COMMUNITY IF YOU DON’T. JUST TRY AND PRESS YOUR LUCK.

I KNOW I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE, BUT YOU SERIOUSLY DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH LOVE I HAVE FOR BUFFY BECAUSE HER AND I ARE JUST AS CLUMSY AS ONE ANOTHER. I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO RECALL ALL OF THE WAYS THAT I HAVE HARMED MYSELF AND OTHERS WITH MY POOR COORDINATION. I, TOO, HAVE BROKEN THE HANDLE ON AN ICE CREAM MACHINE AND LEFT IT TO LEAVE BEHIND A SAD PUDDLE OF MELTED DREAMS. YOU STOP JUDGING ME RIGHT NOW.

THERE IS ALSO SOMETHING KIND OF BEAUTIFUL ABOUT GILES AND XANDER FEELING QUITE USELESS AND HANGING WITH ONE ANOTHER. ALSO, I JUST LOOKED AT THE WHOLE OF THIS REVIEW AT THIS POINT AND I CAN’T IMAGINE HOW STRANGE IT MUST BE TO SEE SOMETHING IN ALL CAPS THAT’S LONGER THAN A SENTENCE. REMIND ME IF I EVER MEET YOU TO TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT ALL-CAPS AND BOOKS. IF YOU CAME TO SEE ME ON TOUR, YOU HEARD THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY. IT MUST BE DEMONSTRATED IN PERSON.

WOW, I CAN BARELY STAY ON TOPIC AT THIS POINT. I BLAME “THE INITIATIVE” BECAUSE IT JUST FUCKED ME UP, Y’ALL. I REGRET ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

WHY IS SPIKE IN A WHITE ROOM WHAT IS HE DOING THERE HOLY FUCK WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS PLACE WHAT DID THOSE DUDES IN CAMOUFLAGE DO TO HIM OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THEY ARE CAPTURING DEMONS. OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS. I CAN’T. I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS REVEAL. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING.

OH MY GOD, PROFESSOR WALSH, WILLOW IS WALLOWING IN PAIN. PLEASE STOP BEING MEAN TO HER. IT IS TOTALLY NOT FAIR. OH MY GOD, BUFFY IS STANDING UP TO HER WITH A TOTALLY WICKED ZINGER. IF I WAS RILEY, I’D BE ATTRACTED TO THAT AS WELL.

OH GOD, RILEY IS KIND OF ADORABLE, ISN’T HE? I LIKE THAT BUFFY IS PHYSICALLY CLUMSY AND HE IS SOCIALLY CLUMSY. I ALSO REALLY LIKE THAT HE PUNCHES PARKER. SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT A LONG TIME AGO. ALSO, IT’S KIND OF BEAUTIFUL TO ME THAT BY PUNCHING PARKER IN THE FACE, RILEY REALIZES HE HAS A CRUSH ON BUFFY. THAT SORT OF POETIC BRILLIANCE IS REALLY RARE. SHOULD I GO AROUND PUNCHING MISOGYNISTIC ASSHOLES? PERHAPS I’LL FIND MY SOULMATE THAT WAY.

WHO AM I KIDDING? THE ONLY THING I PUNCH IS MY OWN FACE WHEN SOMETHING EXCITING OR SHOCKING HAPPENS ON TELEVISION. NO, SERIOUSLY, I HAVE DONE THIS MORE THAN ONCE, AND ONE TIME, SOMEONE ASKED ME TO DESCRIBE HOW IT WAS AT ALL POSSIBLE TO DO THIS, SO WHEN I TRIED TO DEMONSTRATE IT, I FELT LIKE AN EVEN BIGGER FOOL THAN USUAL. I MEAN, I ONCE THREW MY HANDS UP IN THE AIR IN SHOCK AND PUNCHED MY NOSE ON THE WAY UP. THAT WAS A THING THAT HAPPENED AND WAS REAL.

OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT RILEY AND WILLOW HANGING OUT. BECAUSE IT’S VERY PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL AND LOVELY AND I ADORE THAT THE WRITERS DON’T IGNORE WHAT A VULNERABLE AND PAINFUL PLACE WILLOW IS CURRENTLY IN POST-OZ. WELL, THEY ARE ALSO VERY ENTERTAINING TO WATCH, BUT THAT’S NOT THE ONLY REASON THEY ARE MEANT TO BE GOOD FRIENDS. WILLOW WANTS BUFFY TO BE HAPPY, AND WHOSE TO SAY RILEY WON’T GIVE HER THAT?

CHEESE IS GOOD. I’M VEGAN AND THAT’S NOT EVEN HARD TO ADMIT.

OH GOD, HARMONY IS BACK. SHE MUST BE THE ONLY VAMPIRE IN THE WORLD TO ENJOY UNICORNS. GOD, SHE IS SO FLAWLESS. WELL, NOT LITERALLY, SINCE SHE IS PROBABLY THE WORST VAMPIRE EVER, AND THAT’S WHY IT’S VERY FITTING THAT SHE GETS INTO A SLOW-MOTION SLAP FIGHT WITH XANDER, WHICH MAY – MAY – BE THE MOST TERRIFIC SCENE IN BUFFY HISTORY SINCE XANDER IS THE WORST FIGHTER EVER. THEY ARE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.

I THINK I’M TRULY STARTING TO WARM UP TO THE IDEA OF BUFFY/RILEY. I SAY “STARTING” BECAUSE I REFUSE TO GET INVOLVED IN ANYTHING CLOSE TO A SHIP AFTER “WILD AT HEART.” CLEARLY, EVEN PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS ARE ALL POSSIBILITIES FOR ENDLESS TRAGEDY. SO FOR NOW, I’LL JUST APPRECIATE THE ENTIRE PARTY SCENE NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THAT DOG, BUT BECAUSE THERE’S SOMETHING NEAT ABOUT THE SHOW CHOOSING TO SHOW US THIS BIG CHARACTER MOMENT FROM RILEY’S PERSPECTIVE. WE’VE SEEN BUFFY TRY TO MOVE ON FROM ANGEL, AND IN THIS CASE, WE UNDERSTAND WHY SHE’S RELUCTANT TO EVEN ACCEPT THE POSSIBILITY THAT RILEY MIGHT LIKE HER. HE’S FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORLD THAN HER. ALSO, I JUST NEED TO SAY THIS, BUT IT’S FUCKING WEIRD THAT I AM TRYING TO BE ALL SERIOUS ABOUT RILEY AND THE DYNAMIC OF AN OLDER MAN WHO IS A BIT OF A GENTLEMAN AND IT’S IN ALL-CAPS. WELL, I’M HERE TO DISMANTLE THE IDEA THAT THOUGHTFUL WORDS CAN’T BE WRITTEN IN ALL-CAPS. IT’S A CAPS LOCK RECLAMATION.

WHAT. WAIT. WAIT. WHERE ARE RILEY AND FORREST AND GRAHAM GOING. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT!!!?!?!?!?!? WHAT THE FUCK THE;A D;FKLAJSDF A;SKDLFJKAS

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OH MY GOD THE INITIATIVE IS THE ORGANIZATION THAT CAPTURED SPIKE. RILEY IS ONE OF THE DUDES IN MILITARY GEAR. I CAN’T. I CANNOT HANDLE ONE FUCKING SECOND OF THIS. I JUST CAN’T. I NEVER SAW THIS COMING. SEASON FOUR JUST SKYROCKETED IN QUALITY IN LIKE TWENTY MINUTES. I CAN’T COPE WITH ANY OF THIS.

OH MY GOD THERE IS A DIRECT PARALLEL IN RILEY’S LIFE TO BUFFY’S. FUCK, THEY BOTH HAVE TO PRETEND THAT THEY DON’T HAVE THIS HUGE, LIFE-ALTERING SECRET THAT THEY’RE HIDING FROM ONE ANOTHER. THIS IS BOTH FASCINATING AND DEEPLY HILARIOUS. THIS IS WHY IT’S SO WONDERFUL TO SEE THEM BOTH TRY TO GET ONE ANOTHER AWAY FROM THAT BENCH. COULD THEY BE MADE FOR ONE ANOTHER EVEN MORE THAN THEY ALREADY ARE?

OH SHIT, SPIKE FOUND WILLOW. THIS WON’T BE SO BAD, RIGHT? RILEY OR BUFFY WILL GET THERE IN TIME. WAIT. THEY HAVEN’T. THEY STILL HAVEN’T. OH SHIT, WHAT IS SPIKE DOING. OH MY GOD DID HE JUST BITE HER? WHAT THE FUCK YOU BETTER NOT KILL OFF WILLOW OR I WILL

WHAT. WHAT? OH MY GOD, SPIKE CANNOT HARM OR FEED OFF ANYONE WITHOUT FEELING EXTREME PAIN. OH MY GOD, THE WHOLE SCENE IS WRITTEN AS IF HE IS IMPOTENT. WILLOW IS GIVING SPIKE ADVICE ON HOW TO BEST EAT HER, AND NOW SPIKE IS TELLING WILLOW THAT HE THOUGHT HER PINK FLUFFY SWEATER WAS CUTE. HELP ME. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BRAIN. HELP ME. OH MY GOD, SPIKE, YOU ARE JUST SO LOVELY. WHAT IS THAT THING IN YOUR BRAIN AND HOW DO WE GET IT OUT. WELL, NOT YET, BECAUSE I DON’T WANT YOU TO EAT WILLOW. BUT YOU KNOW.

ARE BUFFY AND RILEY TECHNICALLY FIGHTING ON THEIR FIRST DATE? WHATEVER, IT’S PROBABLY NOT A DATE AT ALL, BUT I DON’T CARE. THIS MAKES ME LAUGH SO HARD. THEY COULD NOT BE MORE PERFECT FOR ONE ANOTHER. LOOK, THIS INITIATIVE PLOTLINE IS CLEARLY GOING TO STICK AROUND, AND I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. THERE’S SO MUCH ONE CAN EXPLORE WITH IT! MORAL AMBIGUITY AND THE EVILS OF SCIENCE AND RILEY/BUFFY AND PROFESSOR WALSH BEING ALL AWESOME AND I JUST CANNOT WAIT TO SEE HOW THIS PANS OUT. OH MY GOD, SEASON FOUR, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH ALREADY.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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4 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S04E07 – The Initiative

  1. mangoface says:

    Spike’s scene with Willow is legit the greatest thing ever. 😀 😀 😀

  2. V says:

    This review fills me a warm, gooey joy akin to eating chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

    … Now I want cookies.

  3. Silverr says:

    I’M READING YOUR REVIEW AND FIGURATIVELY JUMPING UP AND DOWN IN EXCITEMENT WITH YOU EVEN THOUGH I’VE SEEN ALL OF BUFFY ABOUT TWN TIMES THROUGH BECAUSE I TOO LOVE SEASON FOUR TO PIECES.

    P.S. I recommend you watch for a sale on a 50-gallon drum of ALL CAPS at Costco because … you’re seriously going to need it before the season is done.

    P.P.S. I’ve been meaning to ask for a while if that’s a sly Illidan reference in your masthead. :p

  4. Jeldaly says:

    …where is everybody? I know I’m pretty much a lurker posting here for the first time in between doing my damnedest to catch up, but I liked the comments. Where the hell did everyone go?
    About the episode: Mark, it’s scary how much our thought processes overlapped there.

Comments are closed.