Adam is the main antagonist, of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was a scientific military experiment of psychology professor Maggie Walsh, created for the Initiative as the ultimate weapon for defending the United States of America. Adam is identified as a bio-mechanical demonoid, a composite being comprised out of several demon organs, the remains of a deceased human soldier and several mechanical appendages.
Adam's goals revolved around the 314 Project, the Initiative's code name for the creation of an army of bio-mechanical-demonoids. Following in the foot steps of his creator, Adam elaborated a plot of having the Initiative soldiers fight to the death with the demons held captive by the Initiative for study. In the aftermath of the slaughter, Adam would then harvest the organs of both the dead soldiers and demons to create an army of creatures similar to himself with whom he could bring about chaos to the entire planet.
Adam is notable for being one of the most difficult enemies Buffy Summers ever had to encounter, proving to be physically superior to her, as well as one of the most calculating. Nevertheless, he was ultimately stopped through the literally combined forces of the Scooby Gang.
He was portrayed by George Hertzberg.
Prior to Adam's creation, a soldier from the Initiative(an American military division tasked with hunting down and experimenting on demons) was murdered by the ghost of former Sunnydale mayor, Richard Wilkins the Third, while possessing the corpse of a demon.
Adam's Creation and Awakening
The soldier's remains were brought in for an autopsy by the Initiative, from there they were sent in Room 314 in order to be used as components for the very first bio-mechanical-demonoid created by professor Walsh, as part of her 314 Project. The only noticeable human body part used in Adam's creation was the upper left half of his head, the rest of his body was comprised of patchwork: a green demon's head, neck and torso, a beige arm and stomach, a Polgara Demon's left arm, and several robotic devices, including a computer located on the left-side of Adam's brain.
After Buffy Summers mock's professor Walsh's attempts to kill her, the doctor furiously activates Adam in a desperate attempt of eliminating the Slayer for good. While having her back turned at him, Walsh is stabbed in the heart by Adam, who, upon the professor's fall to the ground, referred to her as "Mommy".
Meeting-up with the Slayer
Escaping the Initiative's underground facilities, Adam wondered through the forests just outside Sunnydale and happened upon a young boy playing in a clearing next to a play-ground. Adam asked the child if he could identify him, to which the child responded "you're a monster". He then proceeded to ask the child how his body functions, but the boy cannot give a definitive answer. When the child asks the creature about the skewer in his left arm, Adam smirks at the boy then proceeded to vivisect him, leaving a mutilated body to be found by the police. The forensic detectives deduce that the child had been skewered to death, which leads Buffy to speculate that the Polgara Demon held captive by the Initiative is the culprit. Meanwhile, back at the Initiative, Forrest Gates suspects Buffy to be Maggie Walsh's killer, although the evidence falls on the Polgara Demon which escaped around the same time as Adam did.
Buffy and Xander infiltrated the Initiative, disguised as a scientist and soldier, respectively, in order to uncover the truth behind Maggie Walsh's disappearance. They interrogate doctor Francis Angleman, who is aware of Adam's existence and Maggie Walsh's part in his creation. Just as Buffy begins an argument with a recently arrived Riley Finn, Adam enters the room through a ventilation shaft and begins explaining his intentions of learning more about himself, about the world and how it functions. He broke into the Initiative in order to steal digital information regarding his creation, it is there that he also learned about Riley and how professor Walsh modified him with the use of various enhancement chemicals. Adam begins viewing Riley as a brother he shared via professor Walsh, something which Riley takes offence to and causes him to lash out at Adam. A fight breaks out in which Adam remains completely unfazed, he easily brushes off Buffy's attacks, kills doctor Angleman and makes a quick escape.
Rallying an army
After his encounter with the Slayer and the Initiative, Adam makes his way to an underground tunnel where a pack of vampires are hiding from the Initiative. At first, the vampires attempt to kill the nascent being, but Adam quickly gains their attention after he begins explaining their strengths and weaknesses and how they are incapable of fitting him neither with humans, or even other demons. The vampires immediately proclaim him their new leader and are sent by Adam on an expedition to hold an entire church full of worshipers hostage, in broad daylight. But the mission is thwarted do to the arrival of the slayers Buffy Summers and Faith Lehane, who had switched bodies a few days earlier. Despite the vampire's deaths, Adam became the new leader of the remaining vampires which dwelled in Sunnydale, as well as any other demon. As proof of their loyalty, the demons allowed themselves to incarcerated by the Initiative as part of Adam's master scheme.
Ostracized Sunnydale resident, Jonathan Levinson casts a reality manipulating spell on the entire city which turn him into a polymath and paragon of the entire community, becoming a sort of champion an idol in the eyes of everyone. Using his newly endowed abilities, Jonathan becomes a military consultant and quickly deduces that Adam's murders where only meant as dissections for him to better understand the world. Jonathan also discovers professor Walsh's blueprints which point to Adam's sole weakness, his mechanical heart, in truth, a radioactive battery which could, in theory, power Adam for all eternity.
Because of his enhanced senses, Adam remained the only creature in Sunnydale that was unaffected by the augmentation spell, as he could see through Jonathan's lies and realize that reality had been drastically altered for the worst. Although disturbed by the changes brought up by Jonathan's actions, Adam showed no interest in stopping him, but was nevertheless interested to see the augmentation spell's final result, as he knew that the spell would only result chaos.
Breaking-up the Scooby Gang
Realizing that the Slayer could jeopardize his entire operation, Adam turned to Spike for advice and assistance, promising to reward the vampire by having his behavior-modification brain chip removed, a device which impaired Spike from injuring and murdering humans. Although Spike had successfully broke the Scooby Gang apart by exploiting the individual members' doubts in one another, this was short lived as the gang quickly reconciled after realizing that Spike had been working for Adam and decided to pull their strengths together in order to stop the 314 Project.
Meanwhile, Adam kidnapped Riley through the activation of the behavior modifier which had been secretly implanted by Maggie Walsh at the base of Riley's thoracic nerve. The chip rendered Riley docile and easily influenced. Adam also murdered Riley's fellow soldier, Forrest Gates, by impaling him with his Polgara demon skewer.
With the holding cells of the Initiative getting over-crowded, Adam begun Project 314. He had already transformed Forrest into a weaker bio-mechanical-demoniod, as well as professors Walsh and Angleman into reanimated slaves. Adam brought Riley inside Room 314, with Walsh and Angleman preparing him to be transformed into a bio-mechanical-demonoid. Adam noticed Buffy breaking into the Initiative facilities along with her friends, and as such, refused to remove Spike's chip as per their agreement of having the Slayer come alone. Even more infuriating was that Spike had provided the Scooby Gang with information regarding the 314 Project, something which caused Adam to sever his ties to Spike and order the reanimated Gates to kill him. As Spike escaped, Adam released all the demon's from their cages and commenced the slaughter.
Buffy faced-off with Adam inside the room were they had first met. At first, Adam had the upper-hand in the fight, still being physically stronger then Buffy, but also thanks to the use of a chain gun and rocket launcher he had installed in his right arm, but his advantage soon ran out do to the intervention of the Scooby Gang. The gang hid themselves inside a secluded room where they performed the enjoining ritual, a magic which transferred their powers and abilities inside Buffy, giving her near-omnipotence. She used a form of telekinesis to shield herself from the gun's bullets, and a transmutation spell on the missile, turning it into a flock of doves. Lastly, Buffy forced Adam's machine gun back into an arm, paralyzed him and then punched through his chest, removing his Uranium 235 core which powered him, permanently deactivating his reanimation.
Meanwhile, Riley stabbed himself in the chest in order to remove his behavior modifying chip and briefly fought with with Gates, whom he destroyed by having a canister of flammable gas explode in his hands. He soon met up with Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang, and together, killed of the remaining demons and rescued the surviving soldiers and scientists.
With the Initiative's failure to contain and control the demons (referred to as the "otherworldly menaces", or "hostile sub-terrestrials" by the American military), added with Adam's takeover of the installation, the government declared the Initiative a failed experiment and had all the documents referring to it destroyed, relocated all surviving personal and forced them to swear complete secrecy. The facility was abandoned, with the entrances blocked with concrete. Given that non of the demons' corpses were ever removed from the installation, it is presumed that Adam's own body still remained inside the room were he died at Buffy's hands.
During The First Evil's return to Sunnydale, three years later, it used Adam's form, along with those of the other previous major antagonists, as well as Buffy's, in order to taunt Spike for having his soul returned to him.
Adam's behavior is that of a nascent life form, born with rudimentary knowledge of dialogue, body movement, self-defense, but is oblivious as to the purpose of his inception. His inquisitive and curious nature leads him to dissect and vivisect a child and several demons in order to make sense and learn more about the world. As he described it, by cutting open the child's body Adam learned how human anatomy worked but did not gain any information about how the world works. However, his operations did provide him with his belief that the universe was innately chaotic and rampageous. Adam became fascinated with the concepts of chaos and destruction, going so far as substituting the words with "interesting", as demonstrated when Spike tried explaining to him that the Scooby Gang posed a threat, to which Adam replied "yes, they are interesting.". Before dissecting the body of the young boy he met, Adam made a large grin, indicating that he found dissection amusing, or rather appealing, probably because it would permit him to learn more about the world. When Jonathan Levinson cast the augmentation spell on all of Sunnydale, Adam refused to stop Jonathan and instead showed interest in seeing the spell's result, which Adam claimed would be chaotic do to the instability of the magic.
After stealing Maggie Walsh's files regarding the 314 Project, Adam comes to the realization that he had been created for the sole purpose of killing and had accepted to live up to his function and immediately began preparations for the creation of the bio-mechanical-demonoid army.
In relation to his profound desire to learn, Adam developed a strong charisma which made him relate with other demons, easily attracting other demons to his cause. He convinced several vampires into serving him by encouraging them to stop fearing death and the weakness towards the sun and holy artifacts. Spike was at first skeptical of Adam, but soon came to realize that the cyborg could understand the pain brought up by the chip. Nevertheless, Adam also proved himself dangerous, frightening, temperamental, and intimidating, with Spike baking off when Adam refused to help him and even ordered Spike's death. Unsurprisingly, Adam's ability to relate with others was not reciprocated by humans, namely Riley Finn. Adam saw himself as brother to Riley since both of them had been experimented on by Maggie Walsh, whom Adam viewed as their mother. But in spite of his affection for Maggie Walsh, Adam only intended to transform Riley into a bio-mechanical-demonoid, while professor Walsh was merely reanimated as a drone, probably because her body parts were unsuitable material for the process, same as professor Angleman.
Powers and Abilities
Thanks to his experimental body which consisted of an assortment of several demon, human and mechanical parts, Adam displayed several supernatural abilities.
- Superhuman Physical Abilities: Adam's body was comprised out of demon components, which naturally gave him physical abilities far greater than most vampires, demons and slayers. During their encounters he easily outmatched and shrugged off the Slayer. His body proved to be almost indestructible thanks to his cybernetic augmentations, since conventional anti-demon weapons of the Initiative proved useless against Adam's body. Not even the Slayer's attacks could penetrate Adam's defenses without the use of advanced magical augmentation.
- Electricity Absorption: Aside from his usual power-source, Adam's body could assimilate dangerous electrical currents directed at him, thus giving him a boost of strength, The Initiative's taser-guns proved to be a perfect example of this.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Inside Adam's torso was the Uranium 235 core, a battery which reanimated his body and provided him with all the necessary energy for survival, not having to eat, drink or even sleep. Theoretically, Adam was immortal since the battery could go on for nearly all eternity. The core was also responsible for Adam's invulnerability, giving him a powerful healing factor, making him able to regenerate from any injury, but also proved to be his only weakness if removed from his body.
- Technopathic Abilities: Having a partially computerized brain and floppy disk port in his left breast, Adam could read computer data and interact with computers. Opening the the metal plate located on the left side of his head, Adam could plug computer cabals into his brain. This power proved essential as it helped him to learn quicker about his purpose and later install other mechanical augmentations.
- Weapon Retraction: Aside from his supernatural strength, each of Adam's arms had a specific weapon. His left arm, belonging to a Polgara demon, had been surgically attached to Adam's body, giving him a retractable skewer which could pierce through the flesh of nearly any living being, demon or human, and was presumably used during Adam's dissections. As for his right arm, it was covered in a metal alloy around the wrist and shoulder. Adam later grafted a portable machine gun and rocket launcher which he could summon mentally.
- Superhuman Intelligence: In addition to his advanced body, Adam proved to be highly intelligent and resourceful. His fields of expertise included human and demon anatomy/physiology, engineering, computer science and reanimation. He could easily analyze and comprehend any being just by watching them, such as when he detected an inoperable blood disease inside the body of a dead coed, or when he noticed Spike's behavior modifier and how much it limited his natural blood-thirst and rage. Adam also proved to be very charismatic in the presence of other demons as he was able to amass an army of vampires and demons with ease.
- Heightened Self-Awareness: One of Adam's most powerful abilities was his increased senses, giving him the ability to resist the effects of mind-control, illusions and even reality alteration. As he described his profound self-awareness "I'm aware, I know every molecule of myself and everything around me! No one, no human, no demon, has ever been as awake and alive as I am! You are all just shadows!"
- Adam is largely based off of the fictional characters, The Monster from Mary Shelly's novel, Frankenstein, and The Terminator of the Terminator Franchise.
- Similar to Frankenstein's Monster, Adam is an artificial human-like creature who is viewed as a monster by the rest of humanity, but sees himself as a being perfectly rational. The name "Adam" alludes further to the novel, in which The Monster referred to himself as the Adam of your(Frankenstein's) labors. The character's physical appearance, as well as his creation out of dead body parts, mirrors more the Frankenstein's Monster found in the Universal Monsters movies, which Spike alludes to during the episode The Yoko Factor. Adam's desire to create an army of monsters similar to himself mirrors The Monster's desire for a mate, as shown in the novel and the 1935 movie The Bride of Frankenstein.
- As with the Terminators, Adam was created by a military organization to become the greatest weapon for defending mankind, but ultimately ended up rebelling against them and even tried to transform his creators into his own army cyborgs.
- Adam is the second, and last, Big Bad to be physically killed by Buffy, the first being The Master from the first season.
- Among the other Big Bads, Adam is notable for appearing latest during the series coming in at only episode 14 of season 4, aside from Angelus who appeared in episode 14 of season 2 (however was still built up over the course of both season 1 and 2). In comparison, The Master debut in the premier episode of the first season, Drusilla and Spike first appeared in episode three of the second season, The Mayor and Glory debut in episode five of Seasons 3 and 5, respectively, while members of The Trio appeared throughout the series and Dark Willow Rosenberg was built up heavily over the course of two seasons due to the true Willow's worsening addiction to magic, and The First Evil made its debut in episode ten of the third season long before its large role in season 7.
- While most of Buffy's Big Bads were killed of during the final episode of their respective seasons, Adam's death occurred during the penultimate episode. Dark Willow Rosenberg was never killed, while Warren Mears died during the third-last episode of Season 6.
- Because series creator Joss Whedon usually writes the season finals of each season (excluding Season 6), Adam, Warren and Dark Willow are the only major antagonists who are not defeated during a Joss Whedon penned episode.
- Coincidentally, Spike's real name, William Pratt, is the same as Boris Karloff's birth name, Karloff having been the first actor who starred as the Universal Monsters version of Frankenstein's Monster.
- Before becoming Adam, parts of his body belonged to a boy scout, as evidenced by the fact that Adam made Spike a Scout's Honor to remove the vampire's behavior-modifying chip.
- Joss Whedon considers Adam the "most boring Big Bad" of the series a sentiment most fans seem to agree with as he's generally one the least popular characters on the show.
- In the episode "The Yoko Factor", Spike asks Adam if he ever heard about The Beatles, to which Adams says that he enjoys the song Helter Skelter, which Spike found unsurprising. This is likely a double entendre, relating firstly to the Beatles song and secondly to the infamous Manson Family murders named after the song.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Big Bads