"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Into the Woods (#5.10)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Into the Woods (2000)

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30 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Riley leaves town and I really don't miss him very much

Author: katierose295 from United States
28 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually like Riley much better in season five than I did in season four. Away from the Initative and forced to deal with his lack of powers and his return to "Joe normal," he finally had something interesting to do. Riley just never fit in with the Scoobie gang. And in season five his "outsider" status becomes his storyline. Buffy didn't trust him or rely on him at some deep emotional level. She didn't confide in him when her mother was sick, she confided in Spike. She didn't tell him that Dawn was the key, she told Giles. She didn't love Riley and he could feel it. He's been acting out in dark and disturbing ways and now it's coming to a head. All this season he and Buffy have been drifting apart. In this episode, their relationship ends and Riley leaves town. If you're watching on DVD, you need to see this episode if only to see their breakup.

The episode revolves around Riley's exit. When Joyce come through surgery and is given a positive prognosis, Riley and Buffy celebrate. They have a special night together, dancing and making love. Spike, who continues to pine for Buffy, is standing in the Summers's front yard. (It's basically his new hobby.) He happens to be lurking out there when Riley sneaks out of the house. Curious, Spike follows him to a vampire brothel. For the past several weeks, Riley has been visiting vampire "hookers," getting bitten for pleasure. Spike decides to rat him out to Buffy. The next night, he heads to the Summer's house and tells Buffy that he wants to show her something. Buffy agrees to follow him and they head back to the brothel. There, the catch Riley getting his blood sucked by a vampire "hooker." Buffy flees, hurt and furious.

Meanwhile, Riley's old army pals are back in town and they want him to help them fight demon's down South America way. Buffy is angry at Riley. After torching the vampire brothel, she goes to the Magic Box to work off her frustrations with some training. Riley corners her there and explains that he only went to the vampire "hookers" because he felt lonely and unneeded. He accuses Buffy of locking him out of her life and keeping him at a distance. He tells her that he loves her, but if she doesn't agree to really work on their relationship, he will leave town with the army guys. Buffy is enraged that he's giving her ultimatums and trying to blame her for his cheating. She walks out on him. After a talk with Xander, Buffy reconsiders, though. She heads out to stop Riley from leaving, but it's too late. He already flown away in a helicopter.

There are some good parts to this episode. I really like Spike and Riley's conversation about Buffy. Her tendency to keep men at a distance has (and will) effect both of their relationships with her. It can probably be traced back Angel losing his soul and turning on her back in season two. Her emotional isolation is something that she will only really confront in season seven. In the meantime, Spike and Riley talk about how being close to Buffy, but still not really having her, is almost worse than not having her at all. (Not that Spike isn't willing to settle for anything he can get, of course.) It just works really well. I'm also glad that Xander finally tells Anya how much she means to him. A lot of the time he seems to take Anya for granted, so it's good that he admits that he loves her deeply. Also, I like Buffy and her mom playing with wigs. "It's '60s mom. It's French maid mom." Really funny stuff.

On the downside, what the h*ll is Xander's deal in this episode? If he loves Riley so much why doesn't HE date the guy? I mean Riley was cheating on Buffy with vampire "hookers" and then he had the nerve to blame her for it. And Xander takes HIS side? Gimme a break. Riley had no business giving ultimatums or playing the injured party. He should have been on his hands and knees begging for forgiveness, not sulking about how mean Buffy was being. And as Buffy's friend, Xander should have been on her side. Also, the "Riley staking Spike with the wood grain plastic stake" thing is kinna lame. It makes Riley seem like a bully, since Spike can't fight back. And it doesn't make a lot of sense. Ya cheated and ya got caught, Riley. You have no one to blame but yourself. Just my opinion.

My favorite part of the episode: Anya and Xander babysitting Dawn. "Strawberry schnapps tastes just like real ice cream."

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great Episode

Author: WakenPayne from Valhalla
24 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I Actually Think This Is The Season Highlight Episode. Overall This Is About Buffy Finding Out That Riley Is Being Bitten By Vampires & He's Paying Them To Do It. Buffy Freaks Out And Their Relationship Goes To Hell Then After She Dusts The Other Vampires Xander Shows A Matuar Side To Himself And Gives Buffy Advice On What She Should Do About Riley's Ultimatum. She Runs After Him And Riley Regardless Goes With The Government.

Overall This Episode Explains Why I Hate Riley. He Is The One With The Problem At Least In The Angel/Buffy Relationship Neither Of Them Had Any Problem Except They Had To Wonder Where The Hell Their Relationship Would Go But Riley Was Just The @sshole. I Also Really Liked Xander Being Someone Other Than The "Dumb Joke" Guy Even Though I Still Laugh At Some Of His Jokes.

I Also Really Like Spikes Remarks "Are You Naked Under There?" That Was Priceless In Fact The First Time I Saw That I Laughed Like Hell. As A Matter Of Fact Over The Easter Weekend The Sci-Fi Channel In Australia Have Aired A Buffy Marathon & I Am REALLY Enjoying It. Overall Like I Said This Is The Best Episode Of BtVS Season 5 And Since Its What I Call "The Dud Season" There Is No Competition.

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The life of Riley

Author: nightwishouge
18 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So I'm figuring out, a decade and a half after Buffy aired, that Riley was a pretty divisive character. Even the people who like him don't take his relationship to Buffy all that seriously. I'm not sure if it's the character himself or if Buffy shippers only want her to wind up with a dark and dangerous vampire, but I suspect it is a mixture of both.

I myself have grown to like the character quite a bit over the past season and a half. He's just a normal guy trying to keep pace in a particularly fast-moving environment. In spite of the fact that he single-handedly takes on vampire nests, he's still the relatively safe, boring option for Buffy. As Dawn pointed out a few episodes back, Riley is good for Buffy. Unfortunately, she's not the type of person who is necessarily able to fully want what is good for her.

One of the occasionally frustrating things about Buffy is that she's just not very self-aware. Other characters (Spike, Angel, Xander) have consistently proved that they know her better than she knows herself, or at least is willing to admit. Riley has known for quite some time that he's just not enough for Buffy, despite her adamant insistence to the contrary. I think she wants to love him, wants to be in a relationship free of the drama and vicissitudes that characterized her affair with Angel; but wanting it won't make it so. Maybe in ten years, when she's matured and done some work on herself, but not now.

If the message boards are to be believed, Marti Noxon was the brain behind Riley, so it seems fitting that she would write (and direct) his send-off episode. Again, reactions seem to be mixed, but I thought she did a good job wrapping up their relationship as it has developed over the course of the fifth season. Their final scene together does perhaps have the ring of a soap opera, but it worked. I know that Riley was, technically, cheating on Buffy, in some bizarre way, but when he talked about understanding now the appeal of a vampire's bite, I couldn't help but feel bad for him. I'm not saying Buffy is to blame for his infidelity, but I do think his addiction was at least partially fueled by a consuming desire to experience the root of Buffy's perverse passion for vampires--to know what he could never measure up to. In a strange way I think his newfound ability to empathize with her on this level could have strengthened their relationship, as sort of a bonding experience, rather than being its death knell. Didn't work out that way. I do wish Riley would have mentioned how hurt he was that Spike was allowed to be Buffy's emotional support during her mother's illness, though. Again, being kept emotionally isolated from Buffy doesn't justify his behavior, but at least she would have had a harder time being quite so self-righteous if she found out Riley knew he had been supplanted by one of her most dangerous and deadly enemies.

I also like that Xander was allowed to be insightful at the end of the episode, spelling out to Buffy the ramifications of her decision to let Riley walk out of her life. In the last few seasons his character has been a bit aimless, with the writers struggling to justify his inclusion in the Scooby gang (so much so that his "Where do I fit in?" conflict from "The Zeppo" was essentially redone in this season's "The Replacement"). Here he shows he's not just an insecure clown. Again, I think both Noxon and the actors did a great job with the tone of the scene. When Xander explains to Buffy what he thinks Riley means to her, he isn't being condescending or accusatory or siding with Riley against Buffy; he is genuinely trying to help his friend avoid making a choice she could potentially regret. He's trying to talk sense into Buffy because he loves her and wants what is best for her. It's also nice that, spurred on by all this angst, Xander seems to realize what a good thing he's got going with Anya, and there's a nice little out-of-nowhere moment at the end of the episode where he tells her so. From a storytelling perspective this isn't necessary and could easily be cut without consequence, but it's a sweet exchange in the midst of some pretty turbulent stuff, and I think it's important to establish that their love, often the source of comic relief, is developing into something quite real.

The only thing I might have changed about "Into the Woods" is the ending. Buffy's desperate run to catch Riley before he takes off in the chopper, while certainly dramatic, is such a cliché of the romance genre it just seemed to beg for a twist. One thing that might have been at once funny, sad, and revealing would be to show that she wasn't running to try and catch Riley after all; she was running to Spike. Not because she wants to be romantically involved with him--at least, not yet--but because he just seems to understand her in a way nobody else does, flaws and all. It would have shown just how dire a place Buffy is in, and how unhealthy her own impulses (especially those directed toward the self) often are. But, I don't know if that would have been a good ending, necessarily. It's just an idle thought on my part.

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another 1 bites the dust but we saw it coming right

Author: jtsjtssmokey-703-366973 from Canada
14 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The slayer is always alone (even though Buffy has friends/family) so boyfriends well here it my view. Buffy her heart is and will always be with Angel (even after the end of both series) but they can never really be. Then along came Riley (I don't count Parker), and ya a lot of people didn't like him (too soon all say but not really as in life getting on with living is dating and feeling and loving,etc).

So for Buffy, not leaning on Riley may not seem a big deal, as yes she is more self involved, its part of being a slayer, (Faith an Buffy talk about it in season 7), an yes she loves her friends/family deeply, thinking of Riley and his feelings an needs (till its pointed out to her by Xan, as he does see an know more than others give him cred for) just doesn't occur to her. We now feel for Riley, as he too does have a point, Buffy doesn't really need him the way he deserves to be, as even a shoulder to cry on, someone to confide in trust with her secrets and thoughts, to not even be told by her that hey "my mom is in the hospital, come please help me, I don't know what to do, Im scared", but no he found out from Spike.

So ya the Riley telling Buffy this is it, I am needed else where, and if you want me to stay then really tell me, tell me we will work together, and most important tell me you love me (she never did tell him, only once over on Angel did she say anything about loving Riley). So Riley leaving, she does go after him but its too late (poss even more than just him flying away).

I didn't mind him, but can see y some didn't, and Buffy and him together, as a slayer a relationship and duty don't mix well...but I like to think that after they change the rules about 1 alone (ok ya Faith but) having a "normal" life then relationships will work, but thats for another time. oh ya do I laugh at the "hater reviews" because you still watch them an secretly love to hate them so then u can do the "reviews"...ya I know all will "argue" that I don't know what I am typing about...but its still funny Take care all an I mean all as we do and can have diff ideas, thats the human world we enjoy

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Bybebye Riley

Author: Joxerlives from United Kingdom
3 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Good; Buffy killing the 7 vamps is awesome, Xander's speech to Anya at the end is wonderful. Love Buffy's run to the chopper but do we really want her to make it?

The Bad; Who's right and wrong in the Riley/Buffy argument? Riley cheats on Buffy but through no fault of her own she's been driving him away for a long time. In the end Riley's departure has a sense of relief about it.

Best line; Anya (in a perfect impression of Willow) "I dislike that Anya. She's newly human and strangely literal"

Women good/men bad; Who wins the gender war here?

Kinky dinky; Dawn refers to Buffy and Riley 'boinking'. Apparently Giles used to frequent vamp brothels in his Ripper days (hence the Draccy babes?). Xander and Anya have apparently used the vaulting horse in Buffy's training room for sexual adventures. Buffy suggests giving Joyce a wig that would make her look like a French Maid? Sure Xander would like that! Spike asks Buffy if she's naked under the sheet. Anya bathes Xander in a 'Penthousey' sort of way.

Captain Subtext; Psychologists say that new mothers tend to lose interest in sex partly because of the exhaustion and trauma of giving birth but also because they get much of the physical and emotional affection they crave from their babies. When you look at Buffy at the hospital with Dawn in her lap and Riley sitting to one side you wonder if something similar was an aggravating factor in their breakup, that Buffy didn't need Riley so much anymore because she had Dawn? The army captain says to Riley that his organisation 'always need bodies'. Riley catches on to Spike's obsession a long time before anyone else. Xander and Giles seem reluctant to hug at the hospital. Even now Spike realises that he doesn't have a shot with Buffy, foreshadowing Angel season 5.

Apocalypses; 5,

Scoobies in bondage: Buffy: 8 Giles: 4 Cordy: 5 Will: 3 Jenny: 1 Angel: 4 Oz: 1 Faith: 3 Joyce: 1 Wes: 1 Xander; 1 Dawn; 1

Scoobies knocked out: Buffy: 15 Giles: 10 Cordy: 6 Xander: 8 Will: 5 Jenny: 2 Angel: 6 Oz: 3 Faith: 1 Joyce: 3 Wes: 1 Anya;1

Kills: Buffy effortlessly kills 7 vamps, you realise how far she's come as a Slayer. Buffy: 93 vamps, 32 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon Will: 6 vamps Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon Anya: a demon Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons

Scoobies go evil: Giles: 1 Cordy: 1 Will: 2 Jenny: 1 Angel: 1 Oz: 1 Joyce: 1 Xander: 3

Alternate scoobies: Buffy: 6 Giles: 3 Cordy: 1 Will: 2 Jenny: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 2 Joyce: 2 Xander: 3

Recurring characters killed: 9 Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara

Sunnydale deaths; 89;

Total number of scoobies: 7 Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara, Riley

Xander demon magnet: 5(6?) Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?

Scoobies shot: Giles: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 4 Riley; 1

Notches on Scooby bedpost: Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes? Cordy: 1? Buffy: 3 confirmed; Angel, Parker,Riley, 1 possible, Dracula(?) Angel: 1;Buffy Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?) Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley Xander: 2; Faith, Anya Willow: 2;Oz and Tara Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unknown vampwhore

Questions and observations; If we're to believe Dawn's chopstick story then she always knew about Buffy being the Slayer which is confirmed in the comics. Spuffers must have been choking on their cornflakes at the fake staking Spike scene.

So Buffy and Riley? Could it ever have worked? Well, maybe post-Chosen but not then I think, Riley makes the right decision.

Marks out of 10; 8/10

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The ever-present 'tenderness' episode.

Author: OpusAtrum from United States
26 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So, I know we don't always like it, but episodes like this one are inevitable in any long-running series. You've got a crappy and darker-than-usual situation, even for Buffy. This leads to confrontation, i.e. Riley's ultimatum. I thought it was a lame excuse at first, but he does kinda have a point. So, in the end, Xander comes outta left field to snap Buffy into perspective, but, woe, it's too late.

*begin overly-critical dweeb-rant*This is where I add my "over-critical-dweeb comment." The friggin' vampire slayer barely misses the chopper taking off, apparently can't jump for it, and somehow this happens the one time that she's got nothing to throw and can't pull off some wild gymnastics. Seriously, jump up on a branch and vault off the tree. At least pick up a friggin' rock or something.*end overly-critical dweeb-rant*

Anyway, as I said, these emotion-ridden episodes are unavoidable. Ya gotta keep up the "desperately sad and lonely vampire slayer" vibe. As for the episode's theme and plot, I didn't find it quite as unbearable as Claudio describes above. I liked the dark junkie vibe of the vampire brothel, and the episode helps to move the series' storyline ahead. I'll call it a 7 or 7.5/10.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Out of the frying pan...into the woods..

Author: s k from United States
30 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Into The Woods presents an interesting take on an opium den/crack house/whore house metaphor -- the place where junkies go to have their blood sucked by vampires who are apparently more interested in making a buck/turning a trick than in plunging their fangs into unsuspecting necks. (Which, BTW, never seems to leave any telltale marks. Odd, no?) So contrivance, despite a genuine creative spark, yet again gets stretched beyond believability here. It's all just too convenient. The instant Riley returns from being exposed as a vampire-feeding junkie his company arrives to recruit him for some important mission in Belize? Yeah, riiiight. (At least there was some comic relief with lines like: "We're not government; we're army" Although given the serious tone in which the line was delivered, it's hard to say whether the humor was intentional or not).

The whole thing is stitched together with the subtlety of Frankenstein's face. And while subtlety was never the strongest suit of BtVS, at least in the earlier episodes things evolved in a more creative fashion. This stuff looks as if it were spackled together with a shovel. (And what's being shoveled is not even close to spackle.)

And what would any respectable latter day BtVS show be without good old self-absorbed self-righteous Buffy throwing yet another temper tantrum like a 3 year old? Oh...woe is me...my most recent boyfriend disappointed me big time, so instead of directing my anger and vengeance where it belongs, let me just go out and burn down the brothel, instead of punching the John in the mouth. (Or, Heaven Forfend she'd actually muster enough insight to be able to see her own role in the relationship debacle.) I'd ask: "Doesn't this stuff get old?" if it hadn't already gotten old years ago. And by the time the actual face to face dialog does occur it's so tortured I found myself wishing there were a local vampire to contact to bite and sire me. (And that isn't even the worst of it. Wait until Xander The Dr. Phil Love Guru gets into a dialog with Buffy. OMG...it really doesn't get any worse than that. But I'm getting ahead of myself.)

Following the Buffy-Riley dialog something interesting does take place as Buffy is going home. She encounters several vampires from the burnt down brothel, and she takes them out in short order. I've always wondered throughout the entire series why the fight scenes were so exaggerated and this episode proved what I'd always suspected -- that when she wants to, Buffy can wipe out an entire hive in less than 10 seconds. This was the most realistic fight scene in over 5 years. Which only begs the question: "WHY THE BLODDY HELL DID IT TAKE THIS LONG?!!!

The only bright spot worth mentioning, aside from the opium den/crack house/whore house metaphor, is witnessing Spike's uncanny insight. Neutered lapdog or not -- maybe the best line of the entire series is delivered by Spike to Riley: "Sometimes I envy you so much it chokes me. And sometimes I think I got the better deal". That pretty much says it all right there. What a shame that lines like that are so few and far between.

By the end I was hoping the helicopter would crash and fall on Buffy, taking out Buffy, Riley, and the covert op gang. Not the worst episode, but much much less than it could have been.

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7 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Have a Nice Day. Don't Get Bitten

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4 October 2007

After the surgery of Joyce, the surgeon tells Buffy, Dawn, Riley, Giles, Willow and Xander that the procedure was successful and the brain tumor had been totally removed, and Joyce would stay in the hospital for observation. While Anya and Xander lodge Dawn, Buffy and Riley spend the night together in her house. However, the snoopy Spike sees Riley leaving Buffy's place in the night while stalking her, and finds that Riley is addicted in vampire bite in a junkie nest where people pay to be bitten by vampires. He discloses the truth to Buffy, and she breaks with Riley after and argument. When the Initiative invites Riley to go to an operation in Belize, he gives an ultimatum to Buffy about the future of their relationship.

This episode is certainly the weakest of the Fifth Season and one of the worst of Buffy series. The explanation of Riley is shamefully ridiculous; Dawn is still and very annoying character; Xander giving advice to Buffy is weird; and in the end, Anya saves the show with her greeting: "- Have a nice day. Don't get bitten." But I was totally bored with this silly show. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Na Floresta" ("In the Forest")

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