Goodbye Iowa

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"Goodbye Iowa"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 14
Directed byDavid Solomon
Written byMarti Noxon
Production code4ABB14
Original air dateFebruary 15, 2000
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The I in Team"
Next →
"This Year's Girl"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 4)
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Goodbye Iowa" is the 14th episode of season 4 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Riley realizes that Walsh had tried to kill Buffy, and finds Walsh dead. He subsequently goes into withdrawal symptoms when he does not get fed the Initiative's drugs. Meanwhile Adam is on the loose, killing at random and seeking answers about himself and the world.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Buffy fills the gang in on everything that's gone on since she started to work with the Initiative, and they question whether Riley was involved in the death mission on which Maggie sent Buffy. Buffy arms the group with weapons and makes plans to hide out in Xander's basement. Riley shows up at Giles' place asking Buffy for information, and becomes upset when he recognizes Spike as Hostile 17. Riley does not want to accept what the rest of them are saying about Professor Walsh and the Initiative.

Leaving Dr. Walsh's body, Adam escapes the Initiative through a vent. He approaches a young boy playing in the park and questions him about his nature. Dr. Angleman slips in a pool of blood as he enters room 314 and finds Professor Walsh stabbed to death. When Riley and Forrest see Walsh's body, Forrest accuses Buffy of staking Maggie.

Giles is grumpy when he wakes up in Xander's basement the next morning. The girls are watching cartoons when a news story comes on about a young boy who has been killed via skewering and mutilated. Believing it to be the Polgara demon captured in the previous episode, Buffy goes after it. Riley - against Dr. Angleman's orders - also instructs the commandos to search for the Polgara demon; he and Buffy both end up at the park where the boy was killed. While Buffy tries to apologize to Riley, Riley informs her that Walsh is dead and asks if Buffy is happy about that.

Willow goes to Tara's dorm room, planning to find the Polgara using a spell that shows nearby demonic activity. However, Tara secretly sabotages the spell and it fails.

Buffy searches for information at Willy's but Riley also shows up, very angry. He is shaking and sweating and scratching his hand so badly that it bleeds, as he questions Buffy's intentions and pulls a gun on an innocent woman. Buffy consoles Riley as she sees that he is sick and only getting sicker, leaving him at Xander's to rest. When Riley wakes up, Willow tries to stop him from going after Buffy but he pushes her to the ground and runs.

Disguised as a scientist, Buffy gets herself and Xander - dressed in fatigues - into the Initiative. They overhear Dr. Angleman talking to another scientist about their commandos having withdrawals from the drugs they had been secretly putting in their meals. Meanwhile at Willy's bar, Spike is badly beaten by demons for associating with the Slayer. They tell him if he is seen around again, they will kill him. Buffy grabs Dr. Angleman, demanding information about 314. Riley arrives to help Buffy, still unwilling to accept Professor Walsh's sinister motives. Adam drops a dead body to the floor, revealing his presence.

Adam is searching for answers about the world, and has returned to the Initiative so he can discover more about himself and who he is. He has a disk drive in his chest and when he inserts a disk labelled "Adam," he offers information which reveals that he is part human, demon and machine. He explains that even though Riley had a real mother, Maggie was also his mother as she shaped and built him into a human machine for the Initiative. According to Adam, this makes him and Riley brothers, but Riley is again provoked into anger. Soon a fight breaks out, during which Adam kills Dr. Angleman, injures Riley and proves a match for Buffy before escaping again. The other commandos enter and take Riley away. The next day, Buffy talks to Willow about how Adam is out there and very dangerous. At the hospital, Riley lies in bed holding a scarf Buffy gave him earlier.


In Televised Morality, Gregory Stevenson argues that this episode pays homage to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its warning about the dangers of scientific progress without adequate ethical safeguards. For example, like Frankenstein's monster, Adam approaches a boy in the woods. The boy is playing with a cyborg soldier action figure in the park, shortly before Adam - a genuine cyborg - kills him. It should also be noted that the monster in Shelley's novel identifies with the character Adam from Milton's Paradise Lost. In the scene that follows, Anya, Willow, and Buffy are watching Roadrunner cartoons in Xander's basement. As Wile E. Coyote's Acme technology once again backfires, Buffy complains, "That would never happen." Stevenson claims the irony is it does later happen: the Initiative's embrace of technology unfettered by moral guidance ultimately causes its own destruction.[1]


Arc significance[edit]

  • Adam announces himself and his intentions to the Initiative and to Buffy.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Saverio Guerra as Willy, although dialogue in future episodes makes it clear that the character remains in Sunnydale.
  • The reason for Tara sabotaging the spell will not be made clear until the Season 5 episode "Family", where it is revealed that she is afraid she may be part demon.
  • Riley states that the Polgara demon was captured "last week", yet this episode takes place the day after the events of The I In Team, meaning the demon was captured two days prior to the events of this episode.
  • The seemingly decreased or utterly deleted military and physical prowess of Xander return.


  1. ^ Stevenson, Gregory (2003), Televised Morality: The Case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oxford: University Press of America, ISBN 0-7618-2833-8

External links[edit]