Spike finds himself targeted by a group of commandos after he escapes from a military lab underneath the Sunnydale campus.



(created by),

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video



1 video »


Episode credited cast:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Mace Lombard ...
Scott Becker ...
Lost Freshman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael R Bowman ...
Lab Tech
Military Lab Tech


Spike is captured by the paramilitary commando in the campus, but escapes from a hi-tech facility unable to bite or fight against humans. Meanwhile, Riley Finn (Marc Blucas) finds that he likes Buffy, but is incapable of establishing a dialog with her. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 November 1999 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Willow reveals that Oz's real name is Daniel Osbourne. See more »


Spike and Willow are talking in Buffy's dorm room after Spike proves unable to bite Willow. Spike says he's 126 years old. 1999 (the air date) minus 126 is only 1873. This cannot be Spike's years as a vampire as we learn that he was turned in 1880. So he has been a vamp for at least 119 years, granted. However that would only make William seven years old at the time of his death. Which cannot be as he is in his upper twenties to at least his mid-thirties eternally. See more »


[first lines]
Forrest Gates: Women. Young, nubile, exciting. Each one a mystery waiting to be unlocked. Think any of them are gonna show? 'Cause the party'd be lame if we lack for hotties. Professor? You with me?
Riley Finn: No. I'm with this large pile of ungraded papers due at 3:00.
Forrest Gates: How are you gonna learn anything if you keep doing schoolwork? Oh... Check her out. Is she hot, or is she hot?
Riley Finn: She's Buffy.
Forrest Gates: Buffy? I like that. That girl's so hot, she's buffy.
Riley Finn: It's her name, Forrest.
Forrest Gates: You've established first contact? ...
See more »


References The Terminal Man (1974) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Meet the Commando Guys.
5 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I don't like the Initivative. The whole idea is sort of X-File-y for my tastes. Basically there's a group of para-military commandos capturing demons at UC Sunnydale. Riley and his friends, under the leadership of Professor Walsh, are fighting evil through science. Dissecting demons, locking them up for study, torturing them... And they've captured Spike. They've put a chip in his head that makes it basically impossible for him to hurt others. Spike, being a pretty resourceful guy, soon escapes his prison, but the Initiative will be after him for the remainder to the season. My biggest problem with the Inititative is they're... Well... Bad guys. I don't think that BTVS ever really addresses the wrongness of the Initiative's actions. The Initative is meddling in places where they don't belong and they're going to bring a lot of trouble down on themselves. But beyond that, they're hurting demons for fun and profit. Demons, at least, are soul-less monsters that kill to survive. The Intitative are just bullies and bigots. They don't fight fair. They think they're better everyone else. And they're basically all jerks. Still, you have to see this episode if you're going to watch the rest of the show. It sets up rest of the season and enables Spike's switch to the good-side.

The episode revolves around the commando-guys who have been sneaking around campus all season. They're part of the Initative and they're hunting demons. Spike is their latest victim and he's being held in their secret lab under a frat house. He, of course, blames Buffy for his capture and as soon as he escapes he sets off to find her. Meanwhile, Giles and Xander are looking for the Commando-guys. Instead they find Harmony, learn that Spike's still in town and rush off to warn Buffy. Buffy's at a party. Riely, one of the Initative guys, has a crush on her and is trying to get her to like him. He's asked Willow for help. She's still broken up over Oz leaving, but she does give Riely some "How to pick-up Buffy" pointers before heading back to the dorm.

Once she's there, she meets up with Spike. He's looking for Buffy, but he's willing to pass the time by killing Willow while he waits for her. Unfortunately, for Spike anyway, the Initative has put a chip in his head that makes it virtually impossible for him to hurt anyone. It sends out electric shocks when he tries to bite people. Spike is horrified and confused. Especially when the commando-guys attack the dorm looking for him. Spike tried to fight back, but the chip won't let him. The commando-guys want to take Willow too, thinking that she's been "infected" by Spike. Then, Buffy arrives. She starts fighting the Intiative. Spike, realizing that Buffy isn't the one who captured him after all, escapes. The Initative retreats and the Scoobies are more determined than ever to figure out what's going on.

There are some good parts to this episode. I love Spike's escape from the Initiative. The way he tosses that other vampire at the commando guys and bolts for the door is great (On a side note, that vampire is the one who was captured at the end of "The Freshman.") Spike's a pretty clever fellow when he wants to be. And I really like Xander and Harmony's kicking-slapping-hair-pulling fight. It's hilarious. Evil Harmony is such great addition to the Buffyverse. Also, who doesn't love Willow and Spike's scene in the bedroom? He just gains an invitation by knocking and waiting for her to call out "come in," which is genius. Then he tries to bite her, but can't because of the chip in his head. So she ends up consoling him like he was unable to preform in bed. The two of them are just brilliant in together and their conversation also explains Spike's tendency to fight without his game face on. (He doesn't like being so bumpy and obvious.) Then the Initative guys attack and nearly shoot Willow... Until Spike knocks the gun aside. So he started out trying to kill her and ended up saving her life. All in all, it's one of best scenes of the season.

On the down side, Riely really is a doof. I don't like him. I'll never like him. And I wish he'd just go away. Also, with Willow so heart broken over Oz leaving, why wouldn't Buffy have taken down the "Dingoes Ate My Baby" poster on the dorm wall?

My favorite part of the episode: Spike listing off the various agencies that could be behind his imprisonment. "The government, Nazis, a major cosmetics corporation." Seeing as how he was once kidnapped by the Nazis ("Angel" season fives "Why We Fight") and is currently a captive of the the para-military, government commando guys, those are some pretty good guesses.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Buffy animated series austin-pearce
The cast today crippledegg
Fan theories crippledegg
Best Big Bad Introduction crippledegg
Moments that got to you? Robert7677
Favorite Giles Moment jasonknoll
Discuss The Initiative (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: