Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)
9 user 1 critic

The Yoko Factor 

After joining forces with Adam, Spike drives a wedge between Buffy and her friends. Meanwhile, Angel's return to Sunnydale leads to a violent confrontation with Riley.


David Grossman


Joss Whedon (created by), Douglas Petrie (as Doug Petrie) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Sarah Michelle Gellar ... Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon ... Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan ... Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas ... Riley Finn
James Marsters ... Spike
Anthony Head ... Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Amber Benson ... Tara Maclay
Leonard Roberts ... Forrest Gates
Conor O'Farrell ... Colonel McNamara
George Hertzberg ... Adam
Emma Caulfield Ford ... Anya (as Emma Caulfield)
David Boreanaz ... Angel
Bob Fimiani Bob Fimiani ... Mr. Ward
Jade Carter ... Lieutenant


While the Initiative brass and its political superior worry about its commandos' moral, unreliable control -loose gun Riley- and what to do with captured demons. Adam promises to put Spike back on the map as 'terrifying beast' after removing his behavior chip implant and eliminate Slayer Buffy together. Spike cleverly makes a deal with Giles, who accepts his demands for blood supply, money and immunity from slaying in return for discretion and information on the Initiative and Adam, on heavily encoded data media which even Willow finds quite a challenge. Meanwhile, Spike stirs potential strife and personal insecurities among the gang so Buffy feels isolated, such as Willow's lesbianism, only laborer Xander's lack of status and (self-)respect, Giles' midlife crisis after professional (library) retirement and feeble hold on his almost solo-slaying charge. After Xander accidentally told Riley about Angel's curse while bringing the demoralized ex-soldier silly clothes in his ruins ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 May 2000 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to Yoko Ono, blamed by many for the Beatles' break up. Spike acts as the "Yoko factor", sowing dissension within the Scooby Gang. Also, when Spike asks Adam if he has ever listened to the Beatles and Adam answers that he likes Helter Skelter. Spike remarks that he is not surprised, which is probably a reference to Charles Manson and his murders (Manson believed that the Beatles had hidden messages directed at him, and named his killing spree Helter Skelter) See more »


At 20:03, when Buffy rolls down the hill into some rocks, it is obvious from the way they shift under the impact that they are lightweight, flat-bottomed props sitting atop a soft stunt mat. Then, as the camera revolves while looking down on Buffy, you can see a patch of reflected light move across a "rock" and onto her shoulder in time with the camera motion. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. Ward: And the men?
Colonel McNamara: These are exceptional boys. Their capture ratio just keeps increasing. They're keeping it together... Morale is a problem. The death of Professor Walsh, the escape of the prototype... controlling the HSTs is getting harder. We have serious overcrowding in the containment areas.
Mr. Ward: Quite a mess.
Colonel McNamara: It's not my mess, sir. I'm just holding the fort while you figure out what you want to do with the place.
See more »


References SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984) See more »


Free Bird
Written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins
Performed by Anthony Head (as Anthony Stewart Head)
See more »

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User Reviews

Divide and Conquer
16 October 2019 | by TweekumsSee all my reviews

After the previous episode Buffy heads to Los Angeles to see Angel in a crossover episode with his series. Back in Sunnydale Adam and Spike are still working together. Spike cautions that the problem with Buffy is her friends; he says he can get them out of the way. He does this by slipping the odd comment to each; carefully designed to sew discord. Nothing to obvious but each aiming to make the friends think that others think less of them in various ways. Riley isn't too happy to learn that about Angel's curse and starts to wonder if something happened in LA... he is even more concerned when Angel appears in Sunnydale.

I must admit that when I started watching this episode on DVD I initially thought I might have accidentally skipped an episode... crossover episodes can be fun but when watching just one of the series they can lead to mild confusion. That said the episode is solid. There isn't too much action but it was interesting to see how easily Spike managed to drive a wedge between Buffy and her friends. He knows just what buttons to press and shows a degree of subtlety so nobody even thinks he is up to something. James Marsters is in fine form in the role. The rest of the cast are solid too. Overall a good episode which is clearly setting things up for Buffy to face Adam... possibly alone.

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