"The Yoko Factor"
Written by Doug Petrie; directed by David Grossman

Colonel MacNamara speaks with some Initiative authority about the commandos and the fact that their facilities are overrun with demons. The authority says that they want Riley back in the Initiative and MacNamara assures him that they’ll find him. The authority mentions Buffy, and MacNamara says that she’s just a girl. In Adam’s lair, Spike tells Adam that Buffy is dangerous and will eventually foil his plan and kill him. He assures Adam that Buffy will be in the middle of whatever goes down, and Adam replies that he wants her to be. Later, Adam is ruminating on the fact that Spike has killed two Slayers (see “Fool for Love”) but seems to fear Buffy, a fact which Spike denies. Adam tells Spike that he knows how he feels with the chip in his head, and Spike notes that Adam is very motivating. Adam again promises to remove Spike’s chip once Spike has helped him put Buffy in position for the big battle. Spike mentions that the Scoobies might be an obstacle, and Adam advises him to remove them from the equation. Adam reminds him that he can’t hurt them, but Spike says that he won’t have to - they’ll take care of everything for him.

Buffy returns from L.A. (see the Angel episode “Sanctuary”) to see that Willow hasn’t spent the night in their dorm room. Riley is still camping out in the ruins of the high school (see “New Moon Rising,” if you must) and Xander has arrived to bring him some clothes. Riley isn’t pleased that Xander has brought him some very loud pants. He says that, as soon as Buffy gets back, he’ll feel better and Xander agrees. Riley notes that Xander doesn’t seem to like Angel and Xander confirms this. Riley says that the curse is to blame, obviously having misinterpreted exactly what the curse is all about. Buffy apparently left out the part about sex with her triggering his return to being Angelus (see “Innocence”). Riley fears that Buffy went to L.A. to get friendly with Angel again, and doesn’t feel better when Xander tries to reassure him.

Giles is in his apartment, playing his guitar and singing “Freebird” when Spike suddenly shows up to get a packet of blood he left behind. He asks if Buffy is around and, learning that she isn’t, asks Giles to give her a message that he has information. Giles tells him to enlighten him, and Spike reveals that there are files in the Initiative that might prove useful to the Scoobies. He says that if he were to risk his life to get the files (which may or may not include design schematics, mission statements, and info on Adam), the Scoobies might make it worth his while. Giles is skeptical that the timing is too perfect and Spike asks for money and protection. Giles agrees to his terms, but Spike says that he will only make the deal with Buffy. Giles says that Buffy will listen to him because he’s her Watcher, but Spike points out that he’s no longer in charge of her. He mocks that Buffy now treats Giles “very much like a retired librarian.” Giles seems affected by the comment. Aaaaand the drinking begins.

In Tara’s dorm room, she and Willow are playing with Tara’s new kitten, temporarily named Miss Kitty Fantastico. (Actually, they never rename her, so it’s not really temporary.) Tara tries to help Willow figure out what classes she wants to take the next semester, and Willow debates taking drama, despite her past with stage fright (see “The Puppet Show” and “Nightmares”). They discuss housing situations, and Willow isn’t sure if she and Buffy will be living together again. She says she guesses she should just ask her. Riley heads over to Buffy’s dorm room, wearing the loud pants and asking if Xander hates him and he just doesn’t know it. He shows her that he’s rigged up a device that monitors the Initiative’s communications, so he knows that he’s safe. He asks if she’s okay, and she says that Angel upset her. After an awkward conversation, Riley leaves, wondering what really happened between Buffy and Angel.

Xander and Anya deliver commando clothes to Spike in his crypt so that Spike can enter the Initiative undetected. Spike is pleased to find a gun with the clothes, but when he points it at Xander, he gets a headache. He’s no happier when he learns that the gun isn’t even real. After being mocked by Xander, Spike comments that his attitude won’t get him far in boot camp. Xander responds that he wouldn’t go to boot camp, and Spike asks if he changed his mind and decided not to join the army. Anya smacks Xander, thinking he was going to enlist without telling her. Spike claims that Buffy and Willow were talking about it and making fun of him. Xander laments that his friends think he’s useless because he’s not in college and hasn’t been able to keep a job. Anya says that Buffy and Willow look down on him, and he points out that they hate her. Spike tries to make light of the situation, but Xander isn’t happy about it.

Buffy patrols in the woods with one of the Initiative’s blasters and comes across the cave. She encounters Forrest, who tells her that he’ll leave her alone if she goes away. Buffy keeps heading towards the cave, which Forrest has been ordered to check out as well. She notes that he doesn’t have any back-up and he replies out that they’re low on commandos. He says that, before she showed up, everything was fine, but she tore Riley away from his job and his future. He threatens her, and she warns him not to mess with her (since she could definitely take him anyway). Adam arrives and encourages Buffy to show Forrest what Slayer strength is all about. Buffy starts to fire at Adam, but he knocks the blaster aside. She yells for Forrest to leave, but he doesn’t listen, instead trying to fight Adam. For his troubles, he gets skewered by Adam. Adam shoots Forrest’s blaster at Buffy and, as she escapes, she trips and falls down a hill, knocking herself out.

Spike, dressed in commando gear, casually approaches Giles’ apartment, then readies himself for his ploy. He runs inside, pretending he’s been chased by commandos, and gives Willow some disks that he allegedly stole from the Initiative. While Giles drinks, Willow starts to look through the disks on her laptop. Spike spots Willow and Tara’s behavior towards each other and realizes that something is going on between them. Willow discovers that the disks are encrypted and isn’t sure that decrypting them will be easy. Spike says that she’s not as good with computer stuff as she once was, since she’s “into the new thing” (Wicca, cough cough). He claims that Buffy and Xander were talking about her and saying that she’s just going through a phase. He says that Buffy defended Willow after Xander accused her of just being “trendy.” In the Initiative, MacNamara walks past the full cells with a lieutenant and tells him that if the demons were to kill each other, a lot of problems would be solved. In the communications room, reports are received of demons attacking a team of commandos. Riley overhears the reports on his special radio and heads over to help. He arrives in an alley to find a commando unconscious and Angel (last seen in “Pangs”) standing nearby.

Angel greets Riley by name, but Riley doesn’t know who he is until Angel mentions that they have a mutual friend. Angel asks if Riley sent the commandos to “welcome” him, and Riley accuses him of being evil again, thinking that Buffy may be to blame if he is. Angel tells him that whatever happened between him and Buffy is their business, then starts to leave to find Buffy. The two start to fight, matching each other fairly evenly. Angel basically wins (I’m sure it was a moral victory for Riley) and escapes before he can be spotted by commandos. Riley does the same. Buffy returns to her dorm room a little worse for wear after her encounter with Adam and is soon joined by Angel. She asks if he followed her back to Sunnydale to say more mean things, but their conversation is interrupted when Riley arrives. He holds a gun on Angel, for some reason, and Buffy thinks that Angel came to face off with Riley. Riley tells Buffy that Angel attacked a bunch of commandos and must be evil again, but Buffy defends him. The two boys start fighting again but are separated by Buffy. Angel tries to use the old “he started it” excuse, but Buffy isn’t falling for it. She tells Riley that she wants to talk to Angel for a minute, but he refuses to leave, so Buffy and Angel just go out into the hallway.

Buffy blasts Angel for the way he’s treated her, and he tells her he’s just trying to help make things better. She starts to laugh and he joins in. He says that he came to apologize for the way things went in L.A. and promises that he only fought the commandos in self-defense. She replies that some of the things he said in L.A. were true and they agree that they live in two different worlds. Angel offers to ease some of the tension in Sunnydale, but Buffy says that it’s best that he leaves, though she appreciates him coming. He tells her he doesn’t like Riley, for which she thanks him, and heads back to L.A.

Adam is plugged into his computer again in his lair when Spike returns from his mind games. He says that he introduced the Yoko Factor to the Scoobies - they’ll think that something external broke them up, when in reality they’ll be to blame. Spike says that it’s time for him receive his reward for holding up his end of the deal, but Adam tells him that there’s one more thing he’ll need to do. Back in Buffy’s room, Riley tells her that if she’s going to break up with him, she should do it fast. She assures him that she and Angel didn’t do anything in L.A. and grows frustrated when she learns that Xander planted the idea in his head. She asks if she’s ever given him a reason not to trust her, and he admits that she hasn’t. He says that he went crazy because he’s so in love with her. Unfortunately, their happiness at making up is interrupted when Buffy tells Riley that Forrest is dead. Riley heads out.

Willow is still trying to decrypt the files in Giles’ apartment (though he’s not paying attention, because he’s drunk) and Buffy is anxious to get the information off of them. She doesn’t realize that Willow is annoyed with her prodding. Anya protests that she and Xander worked hard delivering clothes to get the disks, and Buffy tells them that they might not have much time to figure things out. She says that she might go back to the cave, but Willow thinks it’s a bad idea, since she hasn’t been very effective at fighting Adam. Xander suggests that they all go with her, but Buffy refuses to let him go with her, saying that it’s too dangerous. He says that she and Willow can go and he’ll just stay in the “Batcave” with “Alfred,” aka Giles. Buffy says that Willow isn’t going, either - she’s doing this alone. Willow says that Adam will kill her, but Xander sarcastically tells her that they can help in other ways, possibly by getting Buffy some new “fighting pants.” In the middle of the discussion, which is quickly turning into an argument, Anya and Tara slip out of the room and go upstairs.

Willow says that she and Xander seem to be pretty good at getting in the way, and Xander says that he’s so good at it that the girls will have to ship him off to the Army. They’re confused, and he tells them he knows the two of them were talking about him behind his back. Buffy says that she knows he told Riley about her life with Angel, and Willow says that Buffy and Xander were talking about her. Xander says that it won’t matter when he’s “doing sit-ups over at Fort Dix,” which makes Giles laugh. Buffy says that this is stupid, and Xander thinks she’s calling him dumb. She tells him and Willow that she needs them, just not right now. Willow asks exactly how she’s needed, and Buffy replies that she’s good with computer stuff…usually. She mentions that Willow also does “witch stuff,” but succeeds only in making Willow mad again. Buffy proclaims the situation crazy, but Giles protests, saying that it’s all making perfect sense and he doesn’t want to miss a minute of it. He tries to sit down and proceeds to fall off of his chair. Anya and Tara sit silently in Giles’ bathroom, only able to hear that the Scoobies are still fighting. Tara wonders if the fight will go on for awhile, but Anya isn’t sure. “Nice bathroom,” Tara comments. “Like the tile,” Anya agrees.

Xander says that, if he did join the Army, he might be given a job that’s more useful than anything he does as a Scooby. Giles decides that he’s going to bed and heads upstairs, starting to undress. Willow says that Xander would be great in the Army if “the umbilical cord” between him and Anya can reach that far. “I knew you hated her!” Xander exclaims as Giles drops his sweater onto his head from the stairs. Willow accuses Xander and Buffy of being judgmental, but Buffy says, “If I was anymore open-minded about the choices you two make my whole brain would fall out!” Xander argues that Buffy is superior and Buffy tells them both to stop, wondering why their attitudes changed so quickly. Willow says that things have been going wrong for awhile, especially since Tara came into the picture. She says that Buffy can’t handle Tara being her girlfriend, but Xander thinks that things have been bad since Buffy and Willow went off to college and left him in the basement, splitting up the core group. He suddenly realizes that Willow said Tara is her girlfriend, to which Giles slurs, “Bloody hellll!”

Buffy asks if Willow and Xander really want to be “part of the team,” but they admit that they’re not sure anymore. She sarcastically tries to rally them, saying, “We’ll walk into that cave with you two attacking me and the funny drunk drooling on my shoe! Hey! Hey, maybe that’s the secret way of killing Adam?!” She asks how they can help her, but they don’t reply. “So…I guess I’m starting to understand why there’s no ancient prophecy about a Chosen One…and her friends,” Buffy spits out. She says that if she wants help, she’ll go to someone she can depend on. She’s in for a surprise, though, because Riley, her so-called dependable person, has gone to Adam’s lair. “I’ve been waiting for you,” Adam tells him. “And now I’m here,” Riley replies.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: When Giles isn’t singing, he should be drunk.

R.I.P.: Forrest

GRADE: B Spike using psychology rather than violence and the big Scooby fight are the highlights.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “I get why the demons all fall in line with you. You’re like Tony Robbins. If he was a big, scary…Frankenstein looking--. You’re exactly like Tony Robbins.” - Spike to Adam

Riley: “I take it you’re not an Angel fan, either?”
Xander: “Well, it’s not like I hate the guy. Just, you know…the guts part of him.”

“You know, for someone who’s got ‘Watcher’ on his résumé, you might want to cast an eye to the front door every now and again.” - Spike to Giles

“I could be dramatic. (to the kitten) You cannot have more catnip! You have a catnip problem!” - Willow

Anya: “Can’t even point a decorative gun?”
Xander: “Give it up for American chipmanship.”
Spike: “It doesn’t work? What about self-defense? I’m taking a risk here, you know?”

Xander: “Can I tell you how much I really…don’t care?”

Anya: (hitting Xander) “You’re joining the Army?!”
Xander: “Okay, one - ow. (to Spike) Two - where’d you get that idea? (to Anya) Three - OW!”

Xander: “It happens I’m good at a lot of things. I help out with all kinds of…stuff. I have skills…and…stratagems. I'm very…. Help me out.”
Anya: “He’s a Viking in the sack.”

“It’s all about them and the college life. Well, you know what college is? It’s high school, only without the actual going to class. Well…high school was kinda like that, too.” - Xander

Anya: “They look down on you.”
Xander: “And they hate you.”
Anya: “But they don’t look down on me.”

Giles: “Were there any problems getting in and out?”
Spike: “No. I mean, a couple of them made me on the way out, but I took care of ‘em.”
Giles: “Gave them a good running-away-from-them, did you?”

Willow: “I am a whiz.”
Tara: “She is a whiz.”
Willow: “If ever a whiz there was.”

“I see one more display of testosterone poisoning and I will personally put you both in the hospital.” - Buffy to Angel and Riley

Spike: “Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the Beatles?”
Adam: “I have. I like ‘Helter Skelter.’”

“Xander? Oh, he’s the deadest man in Deadonia.” - Buffy

Buffy: (re: Angel) “He’s…not bad.”
Riley: “Seriously? That’s…a good day? Well, there you go. Even when he’s good, he’s all Mr.…Billowy Coat King of Pain….”

“What ever happened to Latin? At least when that made no sense, the church approved.” - Drunk!Giles

Giles: “You never train with me anymore. He’s gonna kick your a%$.”
Buffy: (shocked) “Giles.”
Giles: “Sorry. Was that a bit honest?”

Xander: “Oh. Okay. You and Willow go do the superpower thing, I'll stay behind and putt around the Batcave with crusty old Alfred here.”
Giles: “Ah-ah, no. I am no Alfred, sir. No, you forget. Alfred had a job.”

“And besides, when is there any ‘us two?’ You two are the two who are the two. I’m the other one.” - Willow to Buffy and Xander

Buffy: “Are you drunk?”
Giles: “Yes. Quite a bit, actually.”

“Just because you’re better than us doesn’t mean that you can be all superior.” - Xander


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