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Walsh's Choice to Kill Buffy: Smart or Stupid? (Discussion)


Aug 10, 2021
I'm rewatching season 4, and just got to the part where Prof. Walsh decides to trap Buffy and let her be killed, so as to keep her from asking more questions.

I didn't think much of it the first time I watched it, but this time, it struck me as a really hasty decision, even though it sounds like she and the Evil Doctor Guy had planned for this ahead of time.

It seemed like there was such little effort put in...
Send her on a mission, give her a faulty weapon, trap her and let those demons do the rest.
Heck, it wasn't even foolproof enough to work!

I was thinking, instead of just trying to murder Buffy, who is supposedly the strongest fighter she has ever seen, and whom they thought was a grand old myth (But clearly they were myth-taken), why didn't she try and capture Buffy? It would have been must easier, probably, as she was hanging around their compound anyways.

In "Goodbye, Iowa" Buffy asks why Prof. Walsh wanted her dead, and I don't think she gets a real answer, only that "It was her own personal vendetta". Why? I know she doesn't want Buffy to be a bad influence on her SON Riley, (No, I know Riley wasn't her son, but there is that odd dynamic, isn't there?) but is killing her the oly way? Prof. Walsh seems the kind of person not to throw away a great opportunity.

Here is how I think it should have gone:

Buffy is asking too many questions, so Prof. Walsh tells her why answer her questions when she can show her? So she brings her back to one of the secret, off limits areas. One where Riley would have no inkling to go in. Then, she can lock her up, tell Riley she died on a mission, and not only keep her from interfereing and asking questions, but now she also has a Slayer she can test the limits of, experiment on, blah blah blah, whatever evil scientist stuff floats her boat, and then maybe kill her.

Of course, Buffy escapes after an episode or two, but maybe has some new information about the Initiative, (I always accidentally call it "The Institute" because I was playing "Fallout 4" at the time I first watched it, lol). Perhaps she even finds out about Adam, or about the super soldier syrum they give to Riley and Co. Perhaps her escape accidentally releases Adam as well, instead of this top secret frankenstien just being able to waltz right on out of a supposedly highly secure secret facility.
She then meets up with Riley, who can't believe she is alive, and then she has to convince him what she says is true.

Ah, alas, I don't know. Perhaps it was better as written, or better a different way. I just feel it ws such a haphazard plan...Clearly not very effective. It was probably better it played out that way timeline wise, as they were already halfway through the season, and probably had to get thigs moving.

What do you think? Was Prof. Walsh's plan actually genius, and Buffy is just superior? Does my fix make sense? Or perhaps you have your very own that works even better?



Apr 2, 2020
I think her plan was ridiculously stupid. Like she thinks those 2 demons will kill her - the faulty weapon is moot because Walsh has acknowledged herself Buffy doesn’t use those weapons anyway so it’s not like it’s known that’s what she usually needs

The two demons who she thinks will do the job because ‘it took an entire squad to bring them in’ and it’s like you mean the squad who Buffy leathered earlier in the episode in like 20 seconds?

Silly Walsh 😂
Seriously! She had Buffy run drills earlier...she must know Buffy is superbly capable.


May 21, 2021
Yeah it was dumb. She clearly didn’t understand what a slayer was capable of. Also interested how she was supposed to be the original Big bad of the season, but she wasn’t threatening at all. The initiative was far inferior to Buffy in every way.


Druish Pervonian Wizard
Jul 5, 2007
Black Thorn
Oh good grief, how could you! ( But clearly they were myth-taken ) from #1
oh I hope you are so embarrassed at writing that !

If that is what your sense of humour is like I feel sorry for you, now excuse me as I go away for a hearty guffaw.. ..
Ah yes, the proper response, I'm afraid. I assure you, generally I'm quite the riot, humor wise. But....It was right there......How could I not? I'm sure Buffy would be begrudgingly proud of me. ;D

Stake fodder

Feb 6, 2021
Caught on a root
I felt like Walsh was wasted as a character, and then killed off too soon, so they had to bring some colonel in for one or two episodes. Her antipathy to Buffy seemed instantaneous and not well-thought-out. Buffy had questions, but they were more curious than suspicious, and all of a sudden Walsh is acting like she has to be killed. They also could have built up her manipulation of Riley more. And finally, they could have built up her rivalry with Giles over Buffy's loyalty more. In the end, everything about her storyline seemed half-baked.

I think holding Buffy captive is a good idea, because we know that the Initiative was very capable of holding very strong vampires and demons.
Yeah! They should have kept her around and built her up way more. And then at the very end, SURPRISE! She's killed by Adam. It would be much better if they really had built her up so you thought SHE was the big bad. Like Sigourny Weaver in Defenders.


Lion Faced Kitteh
May 5, 2014
East of Trouble
The actor who played Walsh was wasted. That said, the entire scenario smacks of military incompetence and campaigns that we see all our history and even the news. Militaries and especially secret organizations with little oversight tend to run on hubris, recklessness and arrogance. They think they are hot stuff, but often they are just a hot mess.

Therefore, I don't have trouble seeing Walsh and co jumping into a situation way above their paygrade.

Where i grew up (third world country) we used to have foreign "experts" hired by multinational corps or NGOs at 10x or even 30x what a local qualified person (same qualifications) would cost. Often they made costly and ignorant mistakes. They were condescending, hostile and sometimes (i suspect) would not get a job in their home country! After a few years they went home, often leaving a bigger mess.

So, the initiative was totally believable.

I am not surprised they underestimated Buffy.

I think that imprisoning Buffy (if discovered) would have led to questions that catching demons did not. We see what happened with Oz - and he was obviously a werewolf, but as soon as it was clear he was also a student, it caused questions. Buffy did not look or act demonic and had begun to be seen as "part of the team". Walsh probably thought (rightly) that locking her up or just shooting her was too risky.


Aug 9, 2021
Was Walsh’s plan to kill Buffy stupid, yes! Furthermore it perfectly demonstrates what Buffy told the General, they were messing with forces they didn’t understand. Was her choice to kill Buffy stupid, it’s hard to say because she ended up being so underutilized that we don’t know what her endgame was and if Buffy was actually an obstacle to achieving it.

Based on my assumptions and what we do know from the text it’s safe to assume that the government/military wanted to control otherworldly forces rather than eliminate them and keep people safe, a Slayer going around killing everything and asking questions COULD be an issue but it honestly seemed really rash to me and maybe partially motivated by whatever Freudian issues she and Riley had.

I do draw parallels between The Initiative and The Council wanting good obedient soldiers who don’t ask questions, Buffy herself makes the connection in This Year’s Girl. That’s why it always struck me as funny that she fell into this after the events of Season 3 but then again American kids are thought that the government/military is benevolent and would never do anything unethical so it makes since in a way.
Ah, a rather intellectual response!
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