I am the end of all life, of all magic. I'm the war between man and demon, the war that no one can win.—Adam, Who Are You
Adam is a fictional character in the fourth season of the fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Portrayed by George Hertzberg, he is a monster created from a man and the collected parts of demons, vampires, and technology: the product of a perverse experiment carried out by military scientists. The series' main character, Buffy Summers, encounters and ultimately defeats him in the fourth season. Adam is the creation of Dr. Maggie Walsh (Lindsay Crouse), the head of a military-like organization called The Initiative that studies how to alter the harmful behavior inherent to demons. Adam and the Initiative are the fourth season's primary antagonists, or Big Bad.
The premise of the series is that Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a Slayer, endowed with superhuman strength to fight vampires and evil creatures in the fictional town of Sunnydale. In the fourth season, Buffy begins attending college, where she discovers that her psychology professor, Walsh, is a scientist for the Initiative. Adam is Dr. Walsh's horrible masterpiece, an allusion to Frankenstein's monster, whose first conscious act is killing his creator. Adam's search for understanding himself and his true nature, combined for his penchant for chaos, leads him to orchestrate a massacre between demons and humans, after which he will be able use body parts leftover from the melee to create an army of monsters to set loose on Sunnydale. Buffy's effectiveness as a Slayer is increased because her close friends and family, called the Scooby Gang, assist her in her battles. By the end of season four the members of the group have become estranged and must come back together in order to defeat the apparently invincible Adam.
Buffy studies scholars have critically examined the character of Adam, noting that he is a clear reference to Frankenstein's monster. Throughout the action of the novel, the monster constantly asks what he is and why he was created, much like Adam. Whedon wanted Adam to be inquisitive and introspective, directing George Hertzberg to "find the stillness" in the character. The presence of Adam also serves to questioning tradition and authority, specifically institutional authority, which is a repeated theme on the show. Adam has a "design flaw": Adam supplants Dr. Walsh's existence with technology, finding her unnecessary and killing her—an act of questioning authority. Critical reception to Adam has been largely mixed, with critics' opinions ranging from negative to positive. Some commentators felt his subplot was confusing and unconvincing. Others enjoyed the concept and praised the make-up and special effects used to create the character.
Demons cling to old ways and ancient feuds, but are hopeless with technology. In desperation, we turn to humans. Smart, adaptive, but emotional and weak. Blind. There is imperfection everywhere. Something must be done.—Adam, Primeval
Adam was once a human member of the Initiative who met his end at the hands of a demon corpse possessed by the Ghost of Mayor Wilkins; having been one of her favorite agents, Professor Walsh vowed to bring him back to life and placed his body in her 314 Project.
He was part human, part demon, and part robot, and was to be the perfect organism, combining the advancement of technology with the adaptability and intelligence of humanity and the superior strength and emotional detachment of demonkind. Adam was created in Room 314, and his first independent act was to kill Professor Walsh with a retractable skewer inside one of his arms. The three-foot-long skewer was salvaged from a Polgara Demon.
As soon as he awakened, Adam began philosophizing about his existence before leaving the lab. He killed and dissected a human boy as well as demons, in order to get an understanding of biology. He soon returned to the lab to download every file relating to his creation. Adam linked himself up to computers, and with his considerable intelligence, he was able to set plans and traps for his targets with ease.
Spike worked for Adam for a short time, to extract the behavioral modification chip that the Initiative implanted to make the vampire docile. He decided to help Adam stop Buffy by exploiting existing rifts within the Scooby Gang. Fortunately, Buffy figured out the plan when Spike let too much information slip.
Adam did not need to eat, relying solely on his uranium-based power source in his chest for sustenance. He was aware of every aspect of himself, and was immune to universe-changing spells, such as the one cast by Jonathan Levinson. In fact, Adam dismissed the alternate reality as something not worth his attention. He later upgraded himself to incorporate a minigun and grenade launcher.
He considered himself a brother to Riley Finn, because Professor Walsh experimented on both of them to make them "perfect" life-forms. Adam intended to make Riley just like him, so the two can command an army of other biomechanical demonoids. In order to obtain the large supplies of bodies required, Adam made himself known before the demons of Sunnydale, and persuaded them to join forces against the Initiative. Demons and vampires, known for rejecting each other, began to fight together, while others allowed themselves to be captured by Initiative agents. Adam's plan was to fill the Initiative facilities with demons and then unleash them on the soldiers by unlocking their cells from Professor Walsh's secret laboratory. Afterward, he and his minions will recover body parts from the slaughter and fashion a new race formed from man, demon, and machine (the implicit idea is that Adam will expand outward until he repopulates the planet). Adam wanted Buffy trapped within the installation when this occurs, because she will be able to even the casualties before being killed. Adam also mentioned that Buffy would have been transformed into a biomechanical demonoid as well, should the slayer have remained in service of the Initiative.
To assist himself in the creation of his army, Adam created a second biomechanical demonoid using the body of Forrest Gates, whom he had recently slain. He also reanimated the corpses of his other victims, Professor Walsh and Dr. Francis Angleman, though they possess little brain activity and function just a little more than drones.
Adam was defeated when Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles combined their essences in Buffy's body via the enjoining spell. The collective in Buffy invoked the strength of the First Slayer and used magic to counter Adam's attacks. With the First Slayer's strength combined with her own, she managed to rip out Adam's power source and use a spell to destroy it, effectively deactivating the demonoid.
Buffy, in a dream, sees Adam in his human form, before Professor Walsh's experiments. When Buffy asks for his name, the dream Adam replies "Before Adam? Not a man among us can remember."
Adam's final appearance on the Buffy television series was as one of the guises that the First Evil used to torment Spike.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
I've been thinking. About vampires. You fear death. Being immortal, you fear it more than those to whom it comes naturally. Vampires are a paradox. Demon in a human body. You walk in both worlds and belong to neither. I can relate.—Adam, Who Are You
Due to his cybernetic enhancements, as well as the numerous demon body parts that he was composed of, Adam possessed great physical strength and durability, sufficient enough to easily outmatch Buffy in their fights and rip off a vampire's head with his bare hands.
Due to the Uranium 235 core used to reanimate and power his body, Adam had no need for food, water, or sleep, and was virtually immortal, able to survive and rapidly regenerate from any wound, no matter how severe, as long as the core was active.
Adam's cybernetic implants also gave him some other abilities. Most notably, he was able to absorb electrical energy to strengthen himself, thus making the Initiative's trademark taser blasters not only completely useless against him, but also dangerous to the user. He was also a technopath, able to mentally activate Behavior Modifiers and interface with computer networks and hard data storage such as floppy disks. He later upgraded himself by implanting a collapsible minigun and rocket launcher in his right arm, both of which he used to great effect against Buffy in their final showdown.
He also possessed a heightened sense of self-awareness, making him immune to mind control and aware of reality alterations. One of his deadliest weapons was a bone-skewer within his right arm, salvaged from the corpse of a Polgara Demon.
In addition to all of his powers, Adam was a genius, often giving a scientific analysis on both human and demon psychology and nature. He also possessed extensive knowledge of the Initiative's personnel and facilities, and was a master of persuasion, easily convincing the vampires and demons of Sunnydale to team up against the Initiative.
Despite claiming to be the end of all magic and being unaffected by the universe-changing spell, it is not clear if Adam is vulnerable to offensive magic. Buffy uses spells to push his grenade launcher back into place, destroy his grenade, and destroy his core. However, she first pulled the core out of his body, meaning that Adam himself was not actually damaged by any spells.
Behind the Scenes Edit
- He was portrayed by George Hertzberg.
- Like many characters, themes, or situations on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Adam is inspired by other, earlier sources. His origin and nature can be traced both to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the cyborg in the film Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Adam is unique among the Big Bads of the series in that he was killed off in the penultimate episode of the season as opposed to the finale. As the only season finale not written by Joss Whedon occurs in season 6, this gives Adam the distinction (depending on whether or not Dark Willow can really be considered a Big Bad) of being, arguably, the only Big Bad defeated in an episode not written by the show's creator.
- Joss Whedon personally described Adam as the series' "most boring Big Bad," a sentiment also taken by most of the fandom.
- Adam shares many similarities with the Shadowfist Collectible Card Game (CCG) character Homo Omega. Both were created by mad scientists attempting to create super soldiers out of cybernetic human-demon hybrids. Both turned against their creators in order to destroy humanity and create a new race of hybrids. Both have magically morphing machinegun arms. Homo Omega was created in 1996.
- Adam returns as a non-physical being in Note from the Underground comic story arc, due to having uploaded a backup of his consciousness into the Initiative's system. After allying with the like minded Scourge, Adam enacts a new plan to wipe out humanity using soul drop, a high addictive and self-destructive drug harvested from the remains of people captured and incinerated by the Scourge. Powering both Adam and the production of the soul drop is the negative energy created by forced demon gladiatorial fights held in the Initiative's remains, which Buffy is forced to participate in after being captured. Buffy successfully defeats Adam again when she drains the soul drop, and sparks a rebellion among the demon fighters, stopping the energy feed powering the Initiative and Adam.
|The Freshman||Living Conditions||The Harsh Light of Day||Fear, Itself||Beer Bad||Wild at Heart||The Initiative||Pangs||Something Blue||Hush||Doomed|
|A New Man
(covered in sheets)
|The I in Team
|This Year's Girl
|Who Are You
|Where the Wild Things Are
|New Moon Rising
|The Yoko Factor
Appears (as a human in dream)