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"Goodbye Iowa" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the seventieth episode in the series. Written by Marti Noxon and directed by David Solomon, it was originally broadcast on February 15, 2000, on The WB network.


MOTHER MAY I — Buffy and Riley's relationship is put to the test when she investigates Professor Walsh's death and comes up against the Initiative's secret weapon. While Buffy is trying to find a way to save Sunnydale from rogue warrior demon on the loose, Riley becomes paranoid and delusional and challenges Buffy when he discovers that his mentor has been killed. Elsewhere in town, Spike has become the outcast among demons since he has taken up with the Scooby-Doo Gang.[1]


Buffy fills the gang in on everything that's gone on since she started to work with the Initiative, and they question whether Riley was involved in the trap Professor Walsh set for Buffy. Buffy arms the group with weapons and makes plans to hide out in Xander's basement. Riley shows up at Giles' place asking Buffy for information, and becomes upset when he recognizes Spike as "Hostile 17." Riley does not want to accept what the rest of them are saying about Professor Walsh and the Initiative.

Leaving Professor Walsh's lifeless body, Adam escapes the Initiative through a vent. He approaches a young boy playing alone and questions him about his nature. Dr. Angleman slips in a pool of blood as he enters Room 314 and finds Professor Walsh stabbed to death. When Riley and Forrest see Walsh's body, Forrest accuses Buffy of staking Maggie.

Giles is grumpy when he wakes up in Xander's basement the next morning. The girls are watching cartoons when a news story comes on about a young boy who has been killed and mutilated. Believing it to be the recently captured Polgara demon, Buffy goes after it. Riley — against Dr. Angleman's orders — also instructs the commandos to search for the Polgara. He and Buffy both end up at the park where the boy was killed. While Buffy tries to apologize to Riley, Riley informs her that Walsh is dead and asks if Buffy is happy about that.

Willow goes to Tara's dorm room, planning to find the Polgara by calling on Thespia in a spell that shows nearby demonic activity. However, Tara secretly sabotages the spell and it fails to work.

Buffy searches for information at Willy's but Riley also shows up, very angry. He is shaking and sweating and scratching his hand so badly that it bleeds, as he questions Buffy's intentions and pulls a gun on an innocent woman. Buffy consoles Riley as she sees that he is sick and only getting sicker, leaving him at Xander's to rest. When Riley wakes up, Willow tries to stop him from going after Buffy but he pushes her to the ground and runs.

Meanwhile, at Willy's Place, Spike is badly beaten by demons for associating with the Slayer and hunting their kind. They tell him if he is seen around again, they will kill him.

Disguised as a scientist, Buffy gets herself and Xander — dressed in fatigues — into the Initiative. They overhear Dr. Angleman talking to another scientist about their commandos having withdrawals from the drugs they had been secretly putting in their meals.

Buffy grabs Dr. Angleman, demanding information about 314. Riley arrives to help Buffy, but is still unwilling to accept Professor Walsh's sinister motives. Adam drops a dead body to the floor, revealing his presence.

Adam is searching for answers about the world, and has returned to the Initiative so he can get answers about himself and who he is. He has a disk drive in his chest and when he inserts a disk labeled "Adam" he offers information that reveals that he is part human, demon, and machine. He explains that even though Riley had a real mother, Maggie was also his mother as she shaped and built him into a human machine for the Initiative. Adam kills Dr. Angleman and injures Riley before escaping again. The other commandos enter and take Riley away.

The next day, Buffy talks to Willow about how Adam is out there and very dangerous. At the hospital, Riley lays in bed holding a scarf Buffy gave him earlier. Even though Buffy cannot see him, he has part of her to hold on to.


  • After Giles complains about Xander's basement, Spike recalls himself staying there ("Hush" and "Doomed").
  • Spike attempts to conceal his identity from Riley by imitating an American accent and describing himself as a friend of Xander's, as he had done in "Doomed."
  • This episode takes place the day after the events of "The I in Team," with the Polgara demon being captured two days prior. As Riley refers to the demon as captured "last week," it may mean either that this was calculated through real airing time or that these events take place in the beginning of the week.
  • Buffy complains about the lack of realism in a cartoon while they watch TV, like she'll complain again about an action movie in "The Replacement."
  • Giles's tattoo of the Mark of Eyghon, first revealed in "The Dark Age," is visible on his arm while he is in his pajamas in Xander's basement.
  • Willy talks with Buffy about almost dying at the hands of the Sisterhood of Jhe, which happened in "The Zeppo."
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Willy in the series, although his bar will be visited in future episodes ("Family" and "Shadow"), and dialogue makes it clear that the character remains in Sunnydale.
  • The white and orange shirt Anya wears to sleep is the same one Xander wore in "Something Blue."
  • As Anya and Giles argue with each other, Buffy asks them to stop re-enacting scenes from her parents' marriage, as they would often fight before their divorce ("Becoming, Part One").
  • Buffy and Anya discuss Xander's experience with the military due to his memories from the ritual of Janus in the episode "Halloween."
  • The reason for Tara sabotaging the spell will not be made clear until episode "Family," where it'll be revealed that she had long believed herself to be part demon: Tara is afraid that the spell would identify her to the Scoobies as a demon.
  • Buffy and Adam face each other for the first time, having their final fight in "Primeval."



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • A little boy, mutilated by Adam.
  • An Initiative soldier, killed by Adam.
  • Francis Angleman, skewered by Adam.

Behind the scenes[]


  • "Goodbye Iowa" had an audience of 3.1 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Deleted scenes[]

  • This exchange was cut:[3]
    Buffy: "I'll just have to make it work."
    Willow: "I bet you will."
    Buffy: "No. No bet. I will make it work."

Pop culture references[]

  • When Buffy tells Xander about Professor Walsh's plan to kill her, she says "it's raining monsters," Xander replies "Hallelujah." This is a reference to the song "It's Raining Men."
  • After Adam escapes the Initiative's base, he happens upon a small boy playing in the woods. The exchange is reminiscent of the dialog in the novel Frankenstein between Frankenstein's monster and a child after he escapes the professor's laboratory.
  • When Buffy, Willow and Anya watch TV, it's a Looney Tunes cartoon featuring the duo Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.


  • Dr. Angleman slips in Maggie's blood and gets it on both of his hands. However, in the shot of him lying on the floor, it's clear that the blood has not been stepped in and that his hands are not in it.
  • When Buffy is trying to comfort Riley and wraps his hand with her headscarf, a few lines later, she is shown wearing it again, only to have it disappear in the very next shot, to be seen back on Riley's hand later.


  • Andrew James — "My Last Romance"
  • Lou Reed — "Romeo Had Juliette"
  • Mark Cherrie — "Big Ed"
  • Christophe Beck — original score

International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Ցտեսություն Այովա" (Goodbye Iowa)
  • Czech: "Sbohem Iowo" (Goodbye Iowa)
  • Finnish: "Hyvästi Iowa" (Goodbye Iowa)
  • French: "Stress" (Stress)
  • German: "Die Kampfmaschine" (The Fighting Machine)
  • Hungarian: "Viszlát lowa!" (Goodbye Iowa!)
  • Italian: "La Fabbrica dei Mostri" (The Monster Factory)
  • Polish: "Żegnaj, Iowo" (Goodbye, Iowa)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Adeus, Iowa" (Goodbye, Iowa)
  • Romanian: "Goodbye Iowa"
  • Russian: "Прощай, Айова" (Goodbye, Iowa)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Adiós Iowa" (Goodbye Iowa)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Adiós Iowa" (Goodbye Iowa)


Behind the scenes[]



Xander: "I totally get it now. Can I have sex with Riley, too?"
Buffy: "That would never happen."
Willow: "Well, no, Buff. That's why they're called 'cartoons', not 'documentaries'."
Spike: "Got to hand it to you, Goldilocks, you have bleedin' tragic taste in men. I have a cousin, married a regurgitating Frovlax demon, has better instincts than you."
Buffy: "That probably would've sounded more commanding if I wasn't wearing my yummy sushi pajamas."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on March 31, 2001.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  3. "Goodbye, Iowa Script." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on July 23, 2019.