Episode Title: Out of My Mind
Original Air Date: October 17th 2000
“I so don’t want to deal with Spike right now. The guy is really starting to bug me in that special “I want to shove something wooden through his heart” kind of way.” – Buffy
So after the run of great episodes this season has had so far it kind of comes to crashing halt this week as Riley finds himself suffering the side effects of his time with “The Initiative” which has now left him on the verge of having a heart attack while also unable to feel pain. However it soon becomes clear that Buffy is not the only one concerned for his health as the “The Initiative” try to also convince him to see their surgeon and get his health issues fixed. Elsewhere seeing an opportunity to get the chip removed from his brain Spike kidnaps the surgeon.
One of the main issues with this episode is just how bogged down in angst the whole episode feels with Riley acting more like a child than his usual tough nice guy self. The reasons why are not overly clear throughout the episode, though we can assume from the various hints dropped in previous episodes that he fears without his Initiative perks Buffy will loose interest him, especially as anything which makes him more like a mere mortal makes takes him further away from being able to compete with Angel.
The other main plotline of this episode revolves around Spike who has his own set of issues to deal with as he continues to struggle with being a neutered vampire especially when he feels that Buffy is taunting him constantly. Why he doesn’t just move out of Sunnydale its really not clear but of course given a chance to potentially have his chip removed by kidnapping the Initiative surgeon he reminds us that the chip really is the only thing stopping him from being the same evil vampire he always was. Things only get worse for him when Harmony makes a reappearance after her recent brush with leadership which has not only left her without followers but also deluded that she is now Buffy’s Nemesis despite the fact that Buffy seemingly doesn’t know that Harmony is even still in town.
Harmony is such a fun character more so since she became a vampire and this continues here with her relationship which frequently verges on abusive it’s still amusing to see Spike being lumbered with her airhead antics. Her similarities in appearance to Buffy only being more apparent to me in this viewing, which seeing how the episode ends with Spike realising that he’s actually become attracted to her a sinkhole of a burden on the series that thankfully we won’t have to deal just yet.
Next Episode: No Place Like Home