10 questions about the Initiative (plus one of my own

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David

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Jul 19, 2021, 6:18:11 PM7/19/21
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https://screenrant.com/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-fans-questions-the-initiative/


Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 10 Questions Fans Still Have About The Initiative

The Initiative had a major impact on the fourth season of Buffy The Vampire
Slayer. However, fans still have lingering questions about the group.

BY JONATHAN THOMPSON


After the fan-favorite season 3 finale, Buffy the Vampire Slayer set its
sights on the college experience, which resulted in the love-it-or-hate-it
fourth season. There were aspects of the season that were refreshing, with
new characters and engaging storylines involved. However, one thing that did
confuse fans was the introduction of the Initiative. As the Scoobies would
learn, the Initiative was a secret government effort to study and harness
the power of the supernatural for military purposes.

In season 4, viewers and Buffy were guided into the Initiative by Buffy’s
love interest, Riley Finn, who was a secret Initiative operative. The idea
that after three seasons of supernatural activity and near-apocalypses,
there was a government monster squad lurking in Sunnydale the whole time
mystified fans. It also raised a lot of questions, many of which have gone
unanswered but persist with each new Buffy binge watch.


10
How Was The Initiative Allowed In Sunnydale?

Considering what the Initiative’s agenda was, it is puzzling to determine
how the government operation ever came to open its doors in Sunnydale. In
season 3, fans discovered that Sunnydale was founded on the Hellmouth by one
of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's major villains, Mayor Richard Wilkins III.

Wilkins himself was not only evil, but he was strategic. He founded
Sunnydale as part of his plan to become a pure demon and feast on the town
in the process. However, this has led fans to question why did he not do
anything about the Initiative establishing itself in his sleep demon town?
It also begs the question of why the Initiative did absolutely nothing to
stop the Mayor’s ascension.


9
Why Did The Initiative Set Up Under A College?

Whatever the reason, the U.S. government was able to set up shop in
Sunnydale. Some fans wonder, though, why the organization chose to insert
itself below a college campus and integrate some of its key leaders and
operatives into the academic population. Other than the fact that UC
Sunnydale was an important new location in Buffy, it does not add up.

The extra lengths that the organization must have gone through to make this
happen seem ridiculous, as was their risk of exposure. Narratively, the
campus made sense because Buffy was starting school there. The setting also
allowed for Buffy and Riley, a teaching assistant, to meet and fall in love.
Logically, however, the location makes little sense on its face.


8
How Did The Government Convince Anyone To Join The Initiative?

During or after establishing itself under UC Sunnydale, the Initiative
needed to recruit operatives. Riley mentioned to Buffy that he was trained
in special operations with the U.S. Air Force before he was selected for the
Initiative. While it is unclear what Riley saw while in Special Ops, the
larger question is how the government convinced him or anyone else to join
the Initiative?

How did they introduce these candidates to the idea of the supernatural? How
did they all respond to learning that monsters are real? What happened to
recruits who could not handle it? Even for members of the military, this is
a big leap, but somehow they staffed the Initiative well.


7
Was There A Relationship Between The Initiative And The Sunnydale Military
Base?

In the season 2 episode “Innocence,” viewers learned of a very public and
visible military base in Sunnydale. In fact, the Scoobies managed to steal a
rocket launcher from the facility to destroy the Judge. So, when the
Initiative appeared in season 4, many fans wondered if there was a
relationship between the two military organizations.

That question lingers today. Sunnydale was a one-Starbucks town, so it was
unlikely it was a two-military complex town. Since viewers were meant to
suddenly believe the Initiative had been there all along, connecting it to
the known base would have made the concept more believable and less jarring.


6
Where Were The Initiative's Fraternity Commandos In Reptile Boy?

When season 4 revealed that numerous UC Sunnydale fraternity members were
secret monster hunters, many fans thought back to Buffy’s frat-demon
experience in season 2’s “Reptile Boy.” Some then wondered how the
Initiative missed the Delta Zeta Kappa annual human sacrifices to the demon
Machida.

Riley mentioned he had been living in Sunnydale for a few years, so it
stands to reason that the Initiative had been around in season 2. Would that
annual demonic event not have been something the military frat members would
have heard of? It is hard to believe, given their fraternity cover along
with the Initiative’s mission.

5
How Did The Initiative Not Know About Buffy?

One of the most bizarre moments in the introduction of the government
monster hunting squad and the research facility in Sunnydale was that said
organization had no idea Buffy was the Slayer (or the fact that she was the
latest in a long line of known Slayers in Buffy canon). In fact, Maggie
Walsh stated that they thought the Slayer was a myth.

Given every supernatural event that occurred in Sunnydale over the previous
three years and Buffy’s role in them, it seems truly unbelievable that the
Initiative did not know about her. Big Brother Walsh had security cameras in
Riley’s bedroom, but she had no idea one of her students was the Chosen One,
feared throughout the supernatural world she herself was studying. This made
the Initiative look worse than the time Spike escaped.


4
Was The Initiative Going To Do Anything About Pre-Season 4 Big Bads?

Revealing the Initiative not only begged the question of where were these
commandos during the college-related demonic events in “Reptile Boy,” but it
also caused viewers to question where they had been during the last three
seasons at all. Prior to season 4, the Scoobies averted at least four
apocalypses.

Any of those villainous Big Bads could have overpowered Buffy and destroyed
the world and the Initiative was right there all along. Did the organization
have any plans to intervene if they got too close to an apocalypse? Since
they did not know about Buffy, they had to assume no one else was going to
stop them. Perhaps they had no idea of anything outside the UC Sunnydale
sphere, but that is just silly.

3
Where Was The Initiative During The Apocalypses After Season 4?

Season 4 started and also essentially concluded the Initiative story arc.
The U.S. government determined the experiment was a failure and walked away.
After Buffy and Riley's painful breakup in season 5, Riley also walked away.
However, in season 6, he returned with an Initiative-adjacent group and in
season 7 the government returned to the old Initiative base to assist Buffy.

So, the government continued dabbling with and responding to the
supernatural, which leaves fans wondering why they never came to Buffy’s aid
during any of the apocalyptic events occurring before season 4. Narratively,
this would not have worked for Buffy’s story, but logistically it is hard to
believe that the government relied on one Slayer to repeatedly save the
world, even if it was Buffy.


2
How Did The Scoobies Never Encounter The Initiative Prior To Season 4?

As much as fans wondered how the Initiative could not have known the Slayer
was real, many also question how the Scooby gang never encountered the
commandos before season 4. Once the Initiative plot began, it was not long
before Buffy figured out what was going on.

Episodes like “Hush” even directly showed Initiative soldiers patrolling
downtown Sunnydale, which is often frequented by the Scoobies. Yes, the
Initiative was tucked away under UC Sunnydale, which the show treats almost
like a separate community from the town. Still, it seems highly unlikely
that the Scoobies never saw the Initiative in action earlier.

1
Were There Other Initiative Bases At The Other Hellmouths?

Throughout Buffy’s seven seasons, there have been multiple mentions of at
least one other Hellmouth in Cleveland. Giles even stated this again in the
series finale after the Sunnydale Hellmouth closed, and the season 7 episode
“Never Leave Me,” also showed a map that had all the other Hellmouths around
the world.

Given the Initiative’s overall mission, there is reason to question if they
had facilities at any of these other locations. The end of season 4 appeared
to fully sever government involvement with the supernatural, but seasons 5,
6, and 7 proved that to be untrue, so the question remains.


[[MY question -- how was the Initiative able to excavate such a huge
underground facility without anyone attending the college knowing about
it?]]


David

Madlove

unread,
Aug 15, 2021, 5:12:03 PM8/15/21
to
On 07/19/2021 07:18 PM, David wrote:
> https://screenrant.com/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-fans-questions-the-initiative/
>
>
>
> Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 10 Questions Fans Still Have About The Initiative
>
> The Initiative had a major impact on the fourth season of Buffy The
> Vampire Slayer. However, fans still have lingering questions about the
> group.
>
> Throughout Buffy’s seven seasons, there have been multiple mentions of
> at least one other Hellmouth in Cleveland. Giles even stated this again
> in the series finale after the Sunnydale Hellmouth closed, and the
> season 7 episode “Never Leave Me,” also showed a map that had all the
> other Hellmouths around the world.
>
> Given the Initiative’s overall mission, there is reason to question if
> they had facilities at any of these other locations. The end of season 4
> appeared to fully sever government involvement with the supernatural,
> but seasons 5, 6, and 7 proved that to be untrue, so the question remains.
>
>
> [[MY question -- how was the Initiative able to excavate such a
> huge underground facility without anyone attending the college knowing
> about it?]]


Nothing about the group made any sense and it's only purpose was to move
a lackluster plot along. And, as per usual, there were convenient
coincidences:

Buffy meeting and dating Riley (the team's leader) almost as soon as she
got to college.

Buffy being in Maggie Walsh's (the team's supervisor) class.

Buffy encountering Riley while fighting The Gentlemen.

Wouter Valentijn

unread,
Aug 27, 2021, 9:20:26 AM8/27/21
to
Op 20-7-2021 om 00:18 schreef David:
>
https://screenrant.com/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-fans-questions-the-initiative/

>
>
>
> Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 10 Questions Fans Still Have About The
Initiative
>
> The Initiative had a major impact on the fourth season of Buffy The
> Vampire Slayer. However, fans still have lingering questions about the
> group.
>
I think the Initiative being a 'dark off the books' thing kept to itself
and stayed under everyones radar. Their main mission was one of
exploitation of monsters. Making weapons. Direct defense of people
wasn't the goal.



>
>
> 9
> Why Did The Initiative Set Up Under A College?
>
> Whatever the reason, the U.S. government was able to set up shop in
> Sunnydale. Some fans wonder, though, why the organization chose to
> insert itself below a college campus and integrate some of its key
> leaders and operatives into the academic population. Other than the fact
> that UC Sunnydale was an important new location in Buffy, it does not
> add up.
>
> The extra lengths that the organization must have gone through to make
> this happen seem ridiculous, as was their risk of exposure. Narratively,
> the campus made sense because Buffy was starting school there. The
> setting also allowed for Buffy and Riley, a teaching assistant, to meet
> and fall in love. Logically, however, the location makes little sense on
> its face.

Maybe to use intellecutual potential? Covertly of course. But yeah, it
is a funny place.

>
>
> 8
> How Did The Government Convince Anyone To Join The Initiative?
>
> During or after establishing itself under UC Sunnydale, the Initiative
> needed to recruit operatives. Riley mentioned to Buffy that he was
> trained in special operations with the U.S. Air Force before he was
> selected for the Initiative. While it is unclear what Riley saw while in
> Special Ops, the larger question is how the government convinced him or
> anyone else to join the Initiative?
>
> How did they introduce these candidates to the idea of the supernatural?
> How did they all respond to learning that monsters are real? What
> happened to recruits who could not handle it? Even for members of the
> military, this is a big leap, but somehow they staffed the Initiative
well.

Maybe it's a military thing. Serving country against any kind of ememy.


>
>
> 7
> Was There A Relationship Between The Initiative And The Sunnydale
> Military Base?
>
> In the season 2 episode “Innocence,” viewers learned of a very public
> and visible military base in Sunnydale. In fact, the Scoobies managed to
> steal a rocket launcher from the facility to destroy the Judge. So, when
> the Initiative appeared in season 4, many fans wondered if there was a
> relationship between the two military organizations.
>
> That question lingers today. Sunnydale was a one-Starbucks town, so it
> was unlikely it was a two-military complex town. Since viewers were
> meant to suddenly believe the Initiative had been there all along,
> connecting it to the known base would have made the concept more
> believable and less jarring.

I don't think the official base knew anything about the covert one.
Something of a need to know thing. Secrecy was important. Things could
be denied.

>
>
> 6
> Where Were The Initiative's Fraternity Commandos In Reptile Boy?
>
> When season 4 revealed that numerous UC Sunnydale fraternity members
> were secret monster hunters, many fans thought back to Buffy’s
> frat-demon experience in season 2’s “Reptile Boy.” Some then wondered
> how the Initiative missed the Delta Zeta Kappa annual human sacrifices
> to the demon Machida.
>
> Riley mentioned he had been living in Sunnydale for a few years, so it
> stands to reason that the Initiative had been around in season 2. Would
> that annual demonic event not have been something the military frat
> members would have heard of? It is hard to believe, given their
> fraternity cover along with the Initiative’s mission.
Had they infiltrated /every/ fraternity? Would the Machida boys spill
the beans to every student?


>
> 5
> How Did The Initiative Not Know About Buffy?
>
> One of the most bizarre moments in the introduction of the government
> monster hunting squad and the research facility in Sunnydale was that
> said organization had no idea Buffy was the Slayer (or the fact that she
> was the latest in a long line of known Slayers in Buffy canon). In fact,
> Maggie Walsh stated that they thought the Slayer was a myth.
>
> Given every supernatural event that occurred in Sunnydale over the
> previous three years and Buffy’s role in them, it seems truly
> unbelievable that the Initiative did not know about her. Big Brother
> Walsh had security cameras in Riley’s bedroom, but she had no idea one
> of her students was the Chosen One, feared throughout the supernatural
> world she herself was studying. This made the Initiative look worse than
> the time Spike escaped.
I think the myth angle is the answer to that one. They only wanted to
know what they wanted to believe what they could use for the monster
building.


>
>
> 4
> Was The Initiative Going To Do Anything About Pre-Season 4 Big Bads?
>
> Revealing the Initiative not only begged the question of where were
> these commandos during the college-related demonic events in “Reptile
> Boy,” but it also caused viewers to question where they had been during
> the last three seasons at all. Prior to season 4, the Scoobies averted
> at least four apocalypses.
>
> Any of those villainous Big Bads could have overpowered Buffy and
> destroyed the world and the Initiative was right there all along. Did
> the organization have any plans to intervene if they got too close to an
> apocalypse? Since they did not know about Buffy, they had to assume no
> one else was going to stop them. Perhaps they had no idea of anything
> outside the UC Sunnydale sphere, but that is just silly.
Depends on which ball their eye was on.
They were not secret super heroes doing good and heroic stuff.
They were more an R & D organisation.


>
> 3
> Where Was The Initiative During The Apocalypses After Season 4?
>
> Season 4 started and also essentially concluded the Initiative story
> arc. The U.S. government determined the experiment was a failure and
> walked away. After Buffy and Riley's painful breakup in season 5, Riley
> also walked away. However, in season 6, he returned with an
> Initiative-adjacent group and in season 7 the government returned to the
> old Initiative base to assist Buffy.
>
> So, the government continued dabbling with and responding to the
> supernatural, which leaves fans wondering why they never came to Buffy’s
> aid during any of the apocalyptic events occurring before season 4.
> Narratively, this would not have worked for Buffy’s story, but
> logistically it is hard to believe that the government relied on one
> Slayer to repeatedly save the world, even if it was Buffy.
The Intiative itself was gone forever ("salt the Earth" etc.). Only some
black-ops soldiering was done. Riley and Sam etc. Never got the vibe
there was an overal vision to that all let alone some group that was
able to comprehend or know what to do.

>
>
> 2
> How Did The Scoobies Never Encounter The Initiative Prior To Season 4?
>
> As much as fans wondered how the Initiative could not have known the
> Slayer was real, many also question how the Scooby gang never
> encountered the commandos before season 4. Once the Initiative plot
> began, it was not long before Buffy figured out what was going on.
>
> Episodes like “Hush” even directly showed Initiative soldiers patrolling
> downtown Sunnydale, which is often frequented by the Scoobies. Yes, the
> Initiative was tucked away under UC Sunnydale, which the show treats
> almost like a separate community from the town. Still, it seems highly
> unlikely that the Scoobies never saw the Initiative in action earlier.

But were they in action in the first place? They weren't there to
protect people.

>
> 1
> Were There Other Initiative Bases At The Other Hellmouths?
>
> Throughout Buffy’s seven seasons, there have been multiple mentions of
> at least one other Hellmouth in Cleveland. Giles even stated this again
> in the series finale after the Sunnydale Hellmouth closed, and the
> season 7 episode “Never Leave Me,” also showed a map that had all the
> other Hellmouths around the world.
>
> Given the Initiative’s overall mission, there is reason to question if
> they had facilities at any of these other locations. The end of season 4
> appeared to fully sever government involvement with the supernatural,
> but seasons 5, 6, and 7 proved that to be untrue, so the question
remains.
I very much doubt they had other bases. As for other government
operations, I think they were purely military.
The Initiative itself was an initiative to try to weaponise monsters.
That was Maggie's great plan. Her soldiers were prety much in the dark
about the true goals.
I think the plot was insprired by the movie 'Return of the Living Dead III'.
And in turn I think Buffy's 'Intiatiive' inspired the 'Avengers initiative'.

>
>
> [[MY question -- how was the Initiative able to excavate such a
> huge underground facility without anyone attending the college knowing
> about it?]]
>
>

Maybe it was an existing structure? Maybe some old shelter that was
officially 'forgotten'.


--
Wouter Valentijn

Kirk: "No beach to walk on..."
Star Trek (s01e07): The Naked Time

http://www.prozaportal.j3v.net
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