Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 4, Episode 7

The Initiative (16 Nov. 1999)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
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Spike finds himself targeted by a group of commandos after he escapes from a military lab underneath the Sunnydale campus.



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Title: The Initiative (16 Nov 1999)

The Initiative (16 Nov 1999) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Episode cast overview:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Mace Lombard ...
Scott Becker ...
Lost Freshman


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


Action | Drama | Fantasy





Release Date:

16 November 1999 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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 »

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User Reviews

The truth at last
9 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Good; So at last the truth! The Initiative set is indeed impressive and Spike's escape is daring, he's almost like Jaws in the Bond films, the audience starts rooting for him even when he's the bad guy. The fights also good and the Harmony/Spike scenes and Harmony/Xander scene is wonderful

The Bad; Not a great deal, strong ep

Best line; Buffy (to Walsh); "For someone who teaches human behaviour you might try showing some"

Shot; Buff uses a flare gun, odd to see her using a firearm of any kind. The Initiative seem to have more guns than NATO.

Tied up; Spike tied up but escapes.

Knocked out; Willow in the struggle with Riley and co.

Women good/men bad; The horrible scene where we think Spike is killing Willow. Of course, she then fights back, You go girl! Contrast that to Harmony who takes Spike back AGAIN after all he's done to her. She asks Xander why men just leave but of course by that stage Xander already has. Buffy is outraged at Riley's seeming chauvinism towards her. Parker's remark about Buffy is unforgivable although maybe he has a right to be bitter, he did try to apologise to her only for her to bash him over the head with a branch.

Jeez!; Walsh's remark to Willow about Oz is very harsh. For a moment your heart is in your mouth when you think Willow is lying dead behind Spike on the bed.

Kinky dinky; Buffy describes her top as 'slutty' but I don't think it is particularly. Unlike her top in the cafeteria which you can blatantly see down when she trips. Forrest eyes up the women in the cafeteria, the first blonde girl in the floral number in particular is undeniably HOT! Parker describes Buffy as 'Bunny in the sack'. You figure she must have gone easy on him? Forrest figures that Buffy and Xander are on their way to have 'Crazy naked sex'. Harmony comments that she can 'slap Spike around' a little if he likes it. Buffy dancing is also good although she's better with Faith.

Calling Captain Subtext; Doug Petrie describes the Initiative boys as a 'gay calender pin-up' and he's not wrong, you can imagine Jack from Will&Grace having it on his wall. Petrie seems very keen on Marc Blucas in his commentary although he was equally as keen on the Faith/Buffy sapphic subtext. The whole Spike/Willow scene is one big impotence gag. Once again a vamp feeding is compared to a sexual act. Harmony comments that Buffy is just going to slap Spike around and that she can do that. Is that why Spike falls in love with the Slayer? When Spike finds Buffy on the computer he says 'Hello gorgeous". Hmmmmm. Will still has some insecurity left over from her wallflower days.

Guantanamo Bay; The whole idea of the Initiative is very 'War on Terror', it resembles Camp X-ray to a T. Of course this all takes place BEFORE 9/11

Scoobies to the ER; Thankfully not this week

Questions and observations; Spike likes the Sex Pistols, big surprise. Buffy likes cheese, a leftover from her day as a rat? Here we have Spike in the opening credits hinting that he's a regular from now on (by contrast it took poor old Tara 3 seasons to get there and she only lasted 1 ep). Giles comments that he should lock his door. Spike refers to the Nazis conducting experiments on vamps which we'll see in 'Why we Fight'. Xander refers to the mobile infantry from Starship Troopers, Riley not unlike Johnny Rico in many ways. Spike is 126 which means he was born in 1873, making him a late Victorian (Angel is over 200 making him a Georgian). Note Doug Petrie named Grahme Miller after a Canadian friend of his and that it's Grahme who suggests that Buffy might be a little off because she's Canadian. Spike seems to use significant violence during his escape but maybe the chip hasn't really kicked in yet? Riley' shirt makes him look like he's from Star Trek.

Marks out of 10; 8/10

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