Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Bad Girls

Balthazar: "You know what I want."
Giles: "If it's for me to scrub those hard-to-reach areas, I'd like to request you kill me now."

At one point, Buffy asked, "Is he evil?" Perhaps the better question would be, "Is she evil?"

The fact that Faith enjoys headbanging and slaying and even gets turned on by it has been established since her introduction, but I don't like the hints we're getting that she may Turn to the Dark Side of the Force, as Angel did last year. Dan said that he had no idea where Whedon was going with this one and the series as a whole does tend to surprise me, so I guess I should reserve judgement before I make sweeping negative statements.

This episode did have its nummie side. I enjoyed seeing Faith and Buffy acting like a couple. I really liked Angel watching as Buffy and Faith danced uninhibitedly (is that a word?) at the Bronze. And I loved Giles making the new watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, look like a fool and a coward. (The best part of the Balthazar scene was the Wesley/Giles dialogue.) It was great seeing Angel get involved for a change, too. Previews of our future spin-off?

But I also found the multiple fight scenes to be something of a bore. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't do more with the new Watcher. I thought the demon Balthazar was pitifully repugnant and not worth watching. I also thought that Buffy breaking into the store and throwing herself at Angel was just a bit too far out of character.

So Faith has accidentally killed a real, living person, and she doesn't care. This is a point of no return for her. And I don't want it to be. Damn it, I like Faith. Bad Joss, no biscuit.

Bits and pieces:

-- Giles' reaction to Wesley made me notice how much Giles has changed this year. Note how Buffy literally sided with Giles.

-- The Sunnydale Press seems to have a huge Metro section. Must go with that extremely high death rate.

-- The Mayor said the dedication was the final step before his ascension. His "to do" list included: plumber union reschedule, call temp agency, become invincible, meeting with PTA, haircut.

-- In this week's hair report, Buffy's is now better. And Oz's hair is black again.

-- This week's dog reference: "Mr. Trick: Nobody can tell Marmaduke what to do. That's my kinda dog."

-- Note from later: The introduction of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is significant, in retrospect. I reviewed this episode when it aired, though. Who knew?

Quotes:

Xander: "Willow, what are these?"
Willow: "They're early admission packets."
Xander: "Harvard... Yale... Wesleyan... Some German Polytechnical Institute whose name I can't pronounce. Is anyone else intimidated? 'Cause I'm just expecting thin slips of paper with the words 'No Way' written in crayon."
Oz: "They're typing those now."

Buffy: "Well, I think it's great. Early admission. Now there's nothing standing between you and a brilliant future."
Oz: "Well, if I may suggest, graduate. Getting left back: not the thrill ride you'd expect."

Willow: "Oh! I can help. Chemistry's easy. It's a lot like witchcraft, only less newt."

Wesley: "Oh, yes. Not all books and theory nowadays. I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself. Under controlled circumstances, of course."
Giles: "Well, no danger of finding those here."
Wesley: "Vampires?"
Giles: "Controlled circumstances."

Wesley: "I didn't get this job because of my looks."
Buffy: "I really, really believe that."

Wesley: "Are you not used to being given orders?"
Buffy: "Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says please. And afterwards I get a cookie."

Wesley: "Remember the three key words for any Slayer: preparation, preparation, preparation."
Buffy: "That's one word three times."

Buffy: "Okay, we got ten, maybe twelve bad guys and one big demon in desperate need of a Stairmaster."

Buffy: "Good deal, protection. I'm surprised, though, 'cause usually spell stuff's more..."
Willow: "Stinky. Yeah. That's why I added lavender. Give me time, and I may be the first wicca to do all my conjuring in pine fresh scent."

I'm giving this ep one out of four stakes. I didn't enjoy it much,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

19 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Oh, Wesley Wyndham-Price, you were such a snooty little dweeb. Hard to believe that you'd go on to become everyone's favourite character.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm always shocked to my core when I rewatch the series and we first meet Wes in this episode. Also, my husband came to the Buffyverse later in its run, so when we decided to start from the beginning together, I distinctly remember him being absolutely dumbstruck when Wes first showed up here. He couldn't believe this was the same Wes he'd come to know.

QRS said...

Mark: Yes, it's amazing what exposure to the real world will do to a person raised in the Watcher Council's fantasy land.

Miguel said...

I'm surprised at how much you disliked this episode Billie. Only one stake? I kind of enjoyed it, although it is definitely not without it's faults.

Balthazar was such an unbelievably bad monster - it would have been better if they were using him completely to be funny, but this was as serious ep and he seemed pretty ridiculous...basically just a big pile of lard sitting in a giant bathtub throwing temper tantrums. And it Buffy did seem kind of out of character stealing and dancing at the club, but you could see her growing more and more uncomfortable with Faith's actions as the episode progressed.

And that ending is definitely a turning point for Faith and Buffy's relationship. I enjoyed having them work together again, but looks like they are just not destined to be seeing eye to eye for any long periods of time.

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Post them here.

David Young said...

I didn't like this one much either. Buffy went too far off the deep end and the consequences of her actions fell on Faith rather than her. Plus, outside of a wounded Willow, nobody took any notice of her loss of control. The whole episode pointed towards something about to explode but the shock wasn't that a man was killed but that it had no effect on Faith - but straightened Buffy out? Yeah, it dragged the fun parts down.

Ren said...

I actually quite liked this episode and loved the intro of Wesley. He's such a wiener. And yeah, every scene with him and Giles together was gold. Actually, every scene where any of the characters made fun of him was gold.
I agree that Buffy's actions were out of character, but I always thought that was the point. Her world was pretty shaken at this point - the betrayal by Giles, the experience of not having her powers, Giles being fired and having to get a new watcher. It made sense to me that she'd want to "be someone else" for a while, and there was Faith putting on the peer pressure at this exact moment. Just my two cents!
Honestly, I found so much to love in this episode, not the least of which being the Mayor's "to do list".

sunbunny said...

The best part of this episode by FAR is Wesley and and Giles's interactions. I wish they had just done an entire episode of these two.

Willow's being accepted to Wesleyan is a callout to Wesley. It's also Joss's alma mater and (coincidentally) the alma mater of Lily Aldrin, Alyson Hannigan's character on How I Met Your Mother.

I love seeing what you though the very first time you saw the episode, Billie. I want to go back in time and hug you and promise you everything will be awesome and that, silly girl, you shouldn't have worried for an instant. Or questioned Joss!

Suzanne said...

I see a lot of the negatives that have been mentioned like Balthazar (I fast forwarded through most of his scenes) and Buffy's overboard reaction, especially when it came to her interaction at the Bronze with Angel. However, I liked seeing her and Faith bond. I also think Allison Hannigan captures hurt Willow so perfectly and that it rings true to high school situations with girls' friendships. Faith was Buffy's RayAnn Graffiti (My So-Called Life) in this episode.

Wesley and Giles were awesome. As much as I grew to love Wesley, I still enjoy seeing him as such a nincompoop here and really enjoy all the pot shots that Buffy and Giles take at his expense. My favorite serious moment was when Wesley criticized Giles for being too emotional with Buffy, and we know that that is what makes their relationship work so well and what makes her so effective.

I wonder if this episode should have come right after Helpless so it would have felt more natural in terms of Buffy's transition.

I noticed this time that if the Scoobies had come with Buffy and Faith, they may have been able to prevent Faith from killing the assistant.

drnanamom said...

This wasn't the best Buffy episode but any episode is a good episode. Where else can you get good comedic banter juxtaposed with the treatment of serious issues like the consequences of on-going trauma/burn-out. Faith has slayer burn-out and it isn't pretty. She has been getting more and more out of control and it has finally had consequences. And I think they are consequences she can't deal with - she really does care that she killed a human but if she admits it she might just fall apart. I agree with Billie - it doesn't look good and I like Faith. So hard to be good and not cheat.....

ChrisB said...

As so many others have said, who knew that Wesley would become such a central part of this world? Having said that, I always have had a soft spot for him. It's difficult to be the "new kid," especially when all the people for whom you are meant to be responsible dismiss you out of hand.

I think this episode is meant to explore the idea of someone having immense powers and, because of that, believing that one is above the rest of the world and its rules. It would be impossible to send Buffy down that route alone as there would be no way to bring her back in a satisfactory and quick way. But, by using Faith in this way, we can explore the idea of complete freedom (want/take/have) without losing our heroine.

a.m. said...

After seeing Alexis Denisof in Much Ado About Nothing and all of your "teaser" comments and hints I'm very excited about the future of Wesley. I found myself getting caught up in waiting to see if he and Alyson would be in any scenes together instead of really focusing on some of the story. I enjoyed and understood Buffy's teen rebellion but I'm glad it's come to a (rather abrupt and painful) end.

As a side note, while looking at Balthazar, I kept thinking he was a horrible combination of Doctor Who's Abzormbaloff (season 2) and moisture-needing Cassandra (seasons 1 & 2). I realize Buffy was first, so maybe the Doctor Who people were inspired by this episode...whoever/whatever inspired the Buffy creators to make him, I hope they don't get that kind of inspiration again anytime soon!

sunbunny said...

a.m. - I do the same thing. Every time Willow and Wes are in shot together, I totally lose track of what is being said and I just fangirl over how adorable they are and how they don't know it yet, but they're going to get married and have adorable babies and Alyson will make their adorable babies adorable lunches and post pictures of them on Twitter. It's probably a good thing they don't interact very much...

Billie Doux said...

Alyson and Alexis kept their relationship quiet for such a long time, too. I can remember what a pleasant shock it was when they finally came out about it.

When we got to this point in the rewatch, I considered the possibility of removing the Wesley-related semi-spoilery comments that were already there, and then decided that there wasn't much of a point. It was like Angel's death at the end of season two -- nearly everyone knows now that David Boreanaz starred in the spinoff series. Anyone who knows anything about Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof already knows that Wesley isn't a minor character in the Buffyverse.

Jane said...

I like this one well enough for what is seems to be - a set-up episode for events to some.

On the good side:

Wesley and Giles
Willow and her protection spell(Willow is always in my plus column.)
The mayor and his creepy self.

On the not so good:

Balthazar (I'm with a.m. - all I could think of was Doctor Who when he was on the screen.)

I had trouble really buying Buffy's brief walk on the wild side with Faith. She seemed too self-possessed and even-keeled in her encounters with Giles and Wesley to let me believe she was venting angst about her recent betrayals. And I've never seen any sign that she was repressing a buzz after slaying in the past.

Faith continues to not move me much. I felt bad for her accidentally killing the mayor's assistant, but she still mostly just annoyed me. Maybe I'd be more in her corner if we had a little more of her backstory or point of view.

I'm looking forward to more of the mayor's story. Creepy guy is so much more effective to me than the slimy blob in a hot-tub demon. That brings up something I've started to wonder. We keep getting told what big threats some of these demon things are but I just find them kind of meh when all is said and done. Is it falling flat because of special effects limitations? Or is it some kind of subtle genre parody that I'm too humorless to get? I won't be offended if you tell me it is the latter - I'd just like to enjoy the many good bits of the show without having these parts bring me out of the fun.

Annie said...

Yeah, Balthazar is just awful and really brings the episode down and I'm also with Jane on finding it hard to buy into Buffy's rebellion.

Faith really can't deal with what she's done, although I don't know what Buffy would have expected her to do, Did she say? The guy was no angel although he didn't deserve that.

a.m. said...

sunbunny, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks about how cute A & A are together. After I watched this episode, I went online to look at adorable pictures of the two of them with their kids in Halloween costumes...

And Jane, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who was thinking of Doctor Who. After seeing The Avengers, it makes me wonder what Joss and co. could have done with a larger budget. But it was on a minor network, so I guess I can't hold it against them too much...

Lamounier said...

For some reason, I thought the fight against Balthazar took place on the following episode. That scene had cool moments, especially where Giles and Wesley were concerned. Speaking of him, Wesley’s introduction is a hoot, from Buffy asking “is he evil?” and seating at Giles’ side, to Faith’s “screw that”.

There were also other cool moments:

- Buffy and Faith as The Chosen Two rocking Sunnydale;
- The quick cut to Buffy and Faith rocking The Bronze;
- Buffy jumping on Angel’s arms at The Bronze (which was a clear confirmation that they are dating, after all), and their whole interaction afterwards, especially when Wesley arrived.

The first half of "Bad Girls" was pretty solid and entertaining, but I too got tired of the several fights scenes and Buffy’s mildly out-of-character behavior. I’d expect she would’ve straighten up once Faith suggested bailing on the cops. And the obvious symbolism of Buffy wearing girly clothes while Faith wore darker ones was just too much.

As a whole, though, the story did work and it was about time the arc of the season got some real attention.

Lamounier said...

The yellow creature reminded me of Balthazar.

http://all-that-is-interesting.com/bizarre-ocean-creatures