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This article is about the episode. For the novel, see Prime Evil.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 21
Air date May 16, 2000
Written by David Fury
Directed by James A. Contner
Episode Guide
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Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Marc Blucas Riley
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Leonard Roberts Forrest
Amber Benson Tara
Bailey Chase Graham
Jack Stehlin Dr. Angleman
Conor O'Farrell Colonel McNamara
George Hertzberg Adam
Emma Caulfield Anya
Lindsay Crouse Maggie Walsh
Co Starring
Bob Fimiani Mr. Ward
Jordi Vilasuso Dixon

"Primeval" is the twenty-first episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the seventy-seventh episode altogether. It was written by David Fury and directed by James A. Contner. It originally broadcast on May 16, 2000.

The Scooby Gang foil Adam's plan to create an army of hybrid cyborg monsters. Buffy magically joins with the rest of the gang to kill Adam after an intense fight.

Synopsis

421 Primeval1

Riley obeys Adam's orders.

Buffy searches for Riley at the Sunnydale High School ruins, not realizing that he has paid a visit to Adam's lair... however it soon becomes clear that Riley is there against his wishes. While referring to Riley as his brother, Adam explains that Professor Walsh implanted a behavior modification chip in Riley's chest, and that he has activated it. When Riley professes his intent to stop Adam, Adam tells Riley to sit, and Riley dutifully obeys. Adam continues to explain that Professor Walsh planned for Adam and Riley to be part of a master race that is better than both demons and humans.

Spike enters uninvited, demanding that his chip be removed. Adam tells him that he must draw Buffy into The Initiative before he has met his part of the bargain. His plan is to have Buffy kill as many demons as possible before he kills her. Spike boasts that he has Buffy separated from her friends, now it's just a case of waiting until Willow decodes the disks and passes on the information to her. Just then a flaw in the plan is pointed out by Adam... how is Willow going to pass on the information when she and Buffy aren't talking? Spike, knowing that this mistake could cost him the chance to get the chip out of his head, quickly leaves to fix the hole in his plan.

Willow and Tara stop by Giles' house to pick up her laptop and the disks, and Willow shares an awkward moment with a hung-over Giles after the group-wide spat the night before. Buffy sits alone in her dorm room, looking at an old picture of Willow, Xander, and herself in happier times, and has a quiet moment of reflection before assembling her weapons for the battle to come. Over in Xander's basement, Anya arrives to find Xander still lying in bed, depressed about last night's argument. She tells Xander that it doesn't matter what his friends think, as she believes him to be a good person... and declares her love for him for the first time.

421 Primeval2

Buffy reminisces.

Buffy returns to the cave where Adam killed Forrest and finds Adam's lair, but Adam is not there. Adam, meanwhile, leads Riley into a secret area of The Initiative. Riley is shocked to see a re-animated Professor Walsh and Dr. Angleman operate on a body in the corner of the vast underground space. Just as Adam assures Riley that his fate is much greater than Walsh's and Angleman's, Forrest sits up from the operating table, brought back to life with the body of a yellow demon; only his human face remains. Forrest is now completely loyal to Adam, and declares that he's looking forward to using his new powers against Buffy.

Still patrolling the caves, Buffy runs into Spike, who inquires about the information on the disks that he gave to Willow. When Buffy tells him that they haven't been decoded, Spike tells her that even though they have had a falling out, they should still concentrate on decoding the disks. Knowing that Spike wasn't around to see their "falling out," Buffy begins to put things together. Meanwhile, Willow is getting closer to decoding the disks in Tara's dorm room when the disks begin decoding themselves, spitting out information about the 314 Project.

Soon after, Buffy, Willow, Giles, and Xander meet in the middle of campus. Anya and Tara, after the previous argument, decide to stay out of the way. Buffy explains to them that Spike instigated their battle of words by spreading rumors to each one of them individually. The gang agree to put it behind them, but there is clearly still bad feelings in the air. Buffy figures out that Adam was planning on releasing demons in The Initiative to kill the soldiers, then using Spike to lure her in to kill the demons, leaving him with hundreds of parts with which to build his new race of human-demon hybrids. When Xander asks if Adam is worried that Buffy will get in the way of his plan, Buffy realizes for the first time that Adam may be too powerful to fear her.

Primeval08

Forrest revived.

Back in the secret Initiative lab, Riley sits bound in a chair, while Professor Walsh prepares him for his 'operation.' When he tries to talk to her, Forrest informs Riley that she is merely a walking corpse, but that he is more alive than he has ever been, and that Riley will be joining them soon. As Riley tries to tell him that they will never control him, Professor Walsh injects him with a clear liquid.

Back at Giles' house, the Scoobies try to figure out how to defeat Adam. Buffy tells everyone that Adam is powered by a Uranium core, however no-one is sure how this information can help. Willow suggests casting a spell to paralyze Adam, but the spell must be recited in Sumerian by an accomplished witch in close proximity to the subject. Xander sarcastically surmises that they need to combine with Buffy, the she'd have the slayer strength and speed, the magic expertise of Willow, and the linguistic skills of Giles. To Xander's surprise, Giles tells him that's actually a very good idea. While they break into Lowell House, Giles explains to Buffy, Xander, and Willow that while the enjoining spell is powerful enough to defeat Adam, it is also very dangerous. Buffy tells everyone to get ready, however this time she isn't intended to sneak into the Inititive quietly and kicks in the mirror hiding the elevator shaft.

As Buffy and Willow rappel down the elevator shaft into The Initiative compound, Buffy apologizes to Willow for what she had said. Willow reminds her that Spike was the one who caused the fight, but Buffy knows that Spike simply stirred up feelings that were already there. Willow tells Buffy that that this sort of thing happens... when you start college, the old high school gang tends to drift apart. Buffy tells Willow she doesn't want to drift apart, and apologizes for getting so caught up in her relationship with Riley. Willow apologizes for keeping Tara a secret from Buffy and everybody else, and the two friends tell of their love for the other. The two fall to the elevator shaft, and no sooner are they down than they begin hugging. Xander follows them down, and when he lands, they gleefully embrace Xander, and tell him that they love him. For the first time in a long while Buffy, Willow and Xander are happy to be together, and the three reaffirm their close friendship and are ready to do battle.

But when they pry open the doors, they are greeted by a bevy of soldiers wielding guns. Adam and Spike watch Buffy and the gang being escorted through the halls by Initiative soldiers on closed circuit TV. While Spike thinks that he's mere seconds from getting the chip removed, Adam is angry to see that Buffy's friends are still with her. Spike realizes that he's completely botched up his plan and tries to make a run for it, only to be caught by Forrest. Spike protests that he tried his best, so Adam decides to honor his agreement with Spike to remove the chip... by ordering Forrest to tear off his head. Spike puts his cigarette out in Forrest's eye, and narrowly escapes a gruesome death.

421 Primeval4

Riley removes his own chip.

In The Initiative control room, Buffy tries to tell Colonel McNamara that Adam is planning an attack from within his own compound, from a secret lab built for the 314 Project, but the presence of a "magic gourd" in their bag, along with his unawareness of these activities, only convinces the Colonel that the Scoobies are crazy. The power goes out and a soldier at the controls informs everyone that backup generators are not responding, locking them all in the compound. From his secret control room, Adam opens the containment units. Buffy urges the Colonel to let her go and escape with his men, but he orders his men to help him take the Armory and orders another soldier to keep Buffy and the Scooby Gang under arrest. Buffy immediately dispenses with the soldiers and Willow sits down at the control console.
Primeval2

The Scooby Gang make their way into room 314.

As they look into the monitor, they see the fierce battle going on throughout compound. Blood and carnage are everywhere as the demons massacre the doctors and soldiers. Willow finds a system of air ducts that supposedly lead to nowhere. Buffy speculates that the air ducts must lead to Adam's secret lab. In order to perform the enjoining spell, the gang will need to be somewhere quiet and closer to Adam. Therefore the next task is to make it through the war zone outside without being killed.



Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles make a run through the Inititive trying to get to Room 314. After narrowly avoiding being shot or attacked by demons, they finally make it and find a secret door that leads to Adam's secret lab. Buffy pauses at the door and tells Willow to barricade the door behind her. Xander tells Buffy that he is still uneasy about Buffy going in alone, but Buffy assures him that with the magic spell, she will not be going in alone. With that, Buffy goes in, and Willow barricades the door. When Buffy enters the secret lab, she finds Riley bound in his chair. She asks Riley to tell her what is going on, but he is unable to speak. Adam comes out from the shadows and orders Forrest, Professor Walsh, and Dr. Angleman to kill Buffy. Forrest and Buffy fight, however she struggles against his sheer strength. During the melee, a beaker smashes near Riley leaving shards of glass behind. Buffy is eventually grabbed from behind by Forrest as Walsh approaches with a medical saw.

Enjoining

Giles, Willow and Xander performing the enjoining ritual.

In the other room, Willow, Xander, and Giles perform the enjoining spell as Buffy breaks free from Forrest and sends Professor Walsh to the floor with a swift kick. As Buffy fights Forrest, Riley grabs a piece of the glass and cuts into his chest, painfully beginning to remove the behavior modification chip. He finally rips the chip from his body and gets up and tears the life-giving tubes from Walsh and Angleman, sending them to the floor, dead once again. Riley takes over the fight with Forrest as Buffy runs off to find Adam sitting at his system of closed circuit monitors. The two fight, and Buffy manages to break off Adam's trademark Polgara skewer, but to her surprise, his left arm transmutes into a gatling gun and he opens fire in the small room. As Buffy dives behind one of the consoles, Willow, Xander, and Giles complete the spell, and their powers rush into Buffy.
Primeval3

Adam going against Buffy, who was acting as the vessel for the enjoining spell.

Adam blows up the console, but Buffy rises from the rubble with magical, orange eyes, speaking Sumerian. Adam is intrigued, and sends a long burst of machine-gun fire at Buffy, but the bullets dissolved just inches from her causing Adam to begin to show concern. Riley and Forrest continue their fierce battle. Forrest grabs a hydrogen tank and raises it over his head near a broken power line to hit Riley, who ducks behind one of the operating tables. As he swings forward, the hydrogen gas ignites, and Forrest is blown into tiny chunks of burning flesh. Back in Adam's control room, Buffy uses the combined powers of the Scoobies to ward off Adam's attacks and Adam finally starts to fear her. Buffy collapses Adam's weaponry telepathically, then in a blistering display of power, gives Adam a swift beating and forces him against a wall. She tells him that he can never grasp the source of her power, but she can grasp his as pierces Adam's chest with her hand, and pulls his Uranium power supply from his chest. Riley arrives as Adam finally dies, and watches as Buffy levitates Adam's power supply from her hand and dissolves it into thin air.

With their work done, the spell wears off and all Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles collapse with fatigue. A demon crashes through the barricaded door and almost gets to Willow, Xander and Giles, but Spike comes up from behind and snaps its neck. Though unhappy that he tried to help Adam, Willow, Giles, and Xander decide to spare Spike out of fatigue and the fact that he just saved them. Buffy and Riley arrive, and the gang prepare to head into the battleground outside and save as many lives as possible. Willow asks if Buffy is up for it, and she confirms that she couldn't be more ready as they head out...

In a largely unseen battle, Buffy, Riley, Xander, Giles, Willow and Spike then join with the Initiative's soldiers to stop the demon attacks, saving most of them with only 40% casualties amongst the Initiative. Graham survives, and the Colonel is killed.

In an internal debriefing, the government decides to shut down the Initiative for good, and remove any paper trail of its existence. They praise Professor Walsh's vision of harnessing demons as a powerful military weapon, but conclude that demonkind cannot be harnessed and controlled in such a manner.

Continuity

  • Despite Mr. Ward's orders, The Initiative was not in fact "filled in with concrete" as Buffy discovers in the Season Seven episode "The Killer in Me" when she takes Spike there to get his chip removed.
  • When rappelling down the elevator shaft, Buffy and Willow hug and start to fall. Willow says "Falling now" with the same inflection as Dark Willow and Vamp Willow saying "Bored Now."
  • Adam, this season's "Big Bad", is defeated and killed in this episode. In a variation unique to Season Four, the Big Bad is defeated in the penultimate episode rather than the season finale.
  • The invocation of the First Slayer has serious consequences in the next episode and in subsequent seasons.
  • The Buffy-composite displays magic abilities that surpass Willow's but also foreshadows the power Willow has inside of her.

Body Count

  • One woman scientist and a soldier, killed by the free demons (declenched by Adam)
  • One demon, shot by a soldier with a fire weapon
  • One soldier, drained by a vampire
  • one woman scientist, snapped by a demon
  • One scientist, killed by a tentacled demon
  • One demon, shot by Graham with a fire weapon
  • Maggie Walsh and Francis Angleman (reanimated), killed by Riley when he tears the life-giving tubes from their bodies
  • One demon, shot by McNamara
  • Forrest (reanimated), killed by Riley in shooting him grabs a hydrogen tank
  • Adam, uranium heart supply torn from his chest by Buffy (possessed by the combined power of the Scoobies)
  • One demon, snapped by Spike
  • Colonel McNamara, killed by a demon

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • The line "See what you get for taking French instead of Sumerian?" was changed from "See what you get for taking Spanish..." after Nicholas Brendon remembered established continuity.
  • The DVD commentary states that the "super-Buffy" was inspired by the comic book heroine Promethea.

Deleted Scenes

  • In this exchange cut due to length Willow and Tara discuss Willow's computer hacking skills:
Willow: "I'm scaring you now, huh?"
Tara: "A little. In a good way. It's like a different kind of magic."

Music

Goofs, Bloopers & Continunity Errors

  • During the scene where Xander is lying in bed naked, the length of the sheet covering him changes between shots throughout the scene.
  • In the fighting scene between Forrest and Riley, Riley gets thrown over a table. In the next shot, you can see the chest-belt under his shirt (the thing with a wire to pull him back in the next shot).
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar had obviously lost weight between the 3rd and 4th seasons, therefore the difference between her and her stunt double is much more noticeable during the fight sequence with Adam.
  • When Buffy and Willow group-hug Xander, one camera angle shows Willow's right arm outside Buffy's left, while the opposite angle shows it inside, so as the view cuts back and forth, so does Willow's arm.

International titles

  • French: Phase finale (Final phase)

Other

  • A British television miniseries also called Primeval features a reference to Buffy. In Episode 1.2, Conner Temple tries to calm Abby Maitland by telling her that he used to have a crush on Buffy.

Quotes

Buffy - "This isn't your business. It's mine. You, The Initiative, the suits in the Pentagon ... you're all messing with primeval forces you can't begin to understand. I'm the Slayer. And you're playing on my turf."
Xander - "Spike's working for Adam? After all we've done - Nah. I can't even act surprised."
Spike - "What's with him?"
Adam - "I activated his chip."
Spike - "Oh. So it's chips all around, is it? Someone must've bought the party pack."
Willow - "Must be programmed to self-decrypt at a certain point. That is so annoying! I-It's like somebody blurting out the answer to a riddle just when you've ... I mean, yippee! We have the information."
Willow - "Nervous?"
Xander - "No way. I'm full of that good old kamikaze spirit."
Giles - "Xander, just because this is never going to work, there's no need to be negative."

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