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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Consequences

Angel: "Going down this path will ruin you. You can't imagine the price for true evil."
Faith: "Yeah? I hope evil takes MasterCard."

It was like the previous episode was a party, and this episode was the morning after.

So is Faith good or evil or in some ethical morass in between? She told Giles that Buffy killed Finch. (Wow, did that piss me off). She tried to strangle Xander. Or did she? She said she was just playing. (Yeah, I believe that.) She saved Buffy from Mr. Trick. But that could have been selfishly motivated, since she just moved into his job. She signed on with the Mayor. Or is she trying spy work as a way of redeeming herself? She beat up Mr. New Watcher Giles Clone Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, but hey, that was a good thing.

I can rationalize until the cows come home, but I have to accept that Faith is gone. You can actually see the moment that Faith changed sides (there was even percussion) — it was when Faith said that Buffy killed Finch. Interestingly enough, Giles said it wasn't the first time something like this has happened.

This whole plot twist resembles what happened last year with Angel — except that we knew Angel was totally evil, and I'm (obviously) still not all that sure about Faith. Angel becoming Angelus was totally black and white, and Faith is still in shades of grey. It was a shame that Angel didn't have more time with Faith. Maybe he would have gotten through to her.

Bits and pieces:

-- Mr. Trick has bitten the dust. I liked Mr. Trick.

-- Faith keeps acting like Angel wants sex. She keeps acting like Xander wants sex. That's the sort of communication she understands.

-- A bruised Wesley admitted calmly what he did and offered to help, and Buffy threw it in his face.

-- De-ratting Amy was discussed again. Willow and Michael the warlock were going to try again.

-- That scene with Willow sitting in the bathroom crying got to me. I've spent some time in institutional bathrooms crying myself.

-- "I bet a part of you even dug it when he went psycho." Maybe not, but I think the rest of us did. Angel was an outstanding villain. Faith certainly has possibilities, with much cloudier motivation.

-- I love the use of dreams in this series. Always effective.

-- "Usually using the shredder gives me a lift." I am enjoying the Mayor.

-- Was it a coincidence that Faith was in leather pants in this episode? Angel wore leather pants when he was Angelus.

-- Willow looked particularly good here. Her hair was gorgeous and she looked wonderful in red.

Quotes:

Cordelia: "Check out Giles, the next generation."

Wesley: "My. She is cheeky, isn't she?"
Faith: "Uh, first word jail, second word bait."

Faith: "The thing with Xander. I know what it looked like, but we were just playing."
Angel: "And he forgot the safety word. Is that it?"

Buffy: "How's she doing?"
Angel: "It's like talking to a wall. Only you get more from a wall."

Faith: "I've seen it, B. You've got the lust. And I'm not just talking about screwing vampires."
Buffy: "Don't you dare bring him into this."
Faith: "It was good, wasn't it? The sex? The danger? Bet a part of you even dug him when he went psycho."

Trick: "I hear once you've tasted a Slayer, you never wanna go back."

Two out of four stakes,

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

20 comments:

  1. Faith is one of my favourite characters and I didn't much like seeing her go bad either. But in the long run it did help to make her a more interesting character.

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  2. OK I'll kick things off with random thoughts...

    These past 2 episodes weren't fun - which has always been my problem with Faith. Unlike Spike, she was never fun for me and got everyone in the kind of trouble that was uncomfortable rather than suspenseful. I think the problem is she hasn't been fleshed out with a back story. It's hard to sympathize with her when we don't know what she's dealing with. Is she a cold-hearted killer? Can she be redeemed? It'd be nice if Cordy hit her with "What's your childhood trauma?" so we know whether to be on her side or not.

    Also, the Xander sex thing shouldn't have been brought up again. Especially around Willow? Seriously, what was that? Better if he would have went on his own thinking he could do some good - with us the viewers understanding that he's still thinking about their moment together. (I almost wrote "night")

    Best scene was when Giles told Buffy there was hope when she said she wasn't going to give up on Faith.

    Grr.. Argh.. this show makes me so happy - and angry!

    Other than that - where was Oz?

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  3. Oh, hey - I jumped the gun and commented too soon! Sorry!

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  4. dvyoung444, you can comment anywhere, anytime -- don't apologize!

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

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  6. The Mayor's definitely the funnest major villain Buffy's ever faced. He's still straight up evil, but he's evil with a smile. I love it.

    But, B (you see what I did there), you left out this great quote:

    "Time was, I thought humans existed just to hurt each other. But then I came here. And I found out that there are other types of people. People who genuinely wanted to do right. And they make mistakes. And they fall down. You know, but they keep caring. Keep trying. If you can trust us, Faith, this can all change. You don't have to disappear into the darkness."

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  7. Dvyoung444 said "Unlike Spike, she was never fun for me and got everyone in the kind of trouble that was uncomfortable rather than suspenseful."

    That's exactly what I was trying to say earlier in the Spoilers thread, but couldn't quite articulate. :-)

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  8. This was a dark episode literally and figuratively. It felt heavy to me with little of the banter that often lightens things up. But it is hard to lighten up murder so I guess that's the way the episode had to be. It is obvious that in a war there will be collateral damage and just a soldiers suffer when this happens Faith is finding her own maladjusted way through. I only hope that she does find a way to come to terms with what she feels in a positive way rather than going down that road to evil that Angel talks about. I have to say that Willow crying also got to me. I don't think Xander meant for the group to find out about he and Faith - he's just really awkward with stuff like that.

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  9. I agree with dvyoung444's comment about Faith. Watching her turn completely to the dark side makes much less of impact as we don't know where she started. Is it nature (she is just naturally evil and it was only a matter of time before it all surfaced) or nurture (a bad childhood combined with the death of her Watcher, perhaps?). Either way, I believe I would care more if I knew more.

    I find Willow's reaction to Xander's change of status interesting. I understand that she is feeling pushed out by Faith (she tells us so specifically earlier in the episode), but to get that upset has always felt a bit off to me. Eventually, Xander was going to have sex (and Willow as well, one hopes). Was it the fact that he did the deed or with whom he did it?

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  10. ChrisB, I was definitely thinking the same thing about Willow's reaction to Xander's revelation. From my POV, she's back with Oz, loves Oz, wants to be with OZ, so why the crying? But then I thought about all those times I cried "for no reason" as a teenager (and sometimes as an adult, truth be told) and the scene totally made sense. Willow probably didn't expect or even understand her own reaction, but even though she's been telling herself and everyone else that she and Xander were through, she probably had thought he would be her first and she his for, well, as long as she has known what sex was. Now that's done. Maybe I'm delving too much into character analysis here, but those are all the things I was thinking of while also just feeling sorry for her. Alyson Hannigan sure can cry! Did anyone see the two episodes this past season where she admitted that she missed being an artist on HIMYM? Unbelievably real and amazing acting...

    Also on the Willow front. I loved the scene in her bedroom with Buffy. She had obviously been feeling left out since last episode and now she stands up for herself and Buffy starts crying...I just thought that was a perfectly written interaction between two best friends who aren't always perfect too each other but still love each other.

    Okay enough gushing about AH...this episode was okay, but I feel like the pay off from this episode (whenever it comes) will be much better. Wesley got his comeuppance so now how will he change, Faith going over to the mayor, Giles believing Buffy immediately (they are getting so close), and all of the Willow drama...I'm looking forward to that pay off.

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  11. It's funny. I remember that Willow crying in the bathroom stall scene so well, but for some reason I thought it was related to Xander getting together with Cordy. It made total sense to me that *that* development would be devestating for her. I thought I must have missed the discussion of the scene during the S2 re-watch, because I wasn't following along that closely.

    So to find the discussion here and realize that the scene was in reaction to Xander hooking up with Faith --- it threw me. I thought, "Really? That's what had her so upset?" It doesn't make as much sense to me coming here, now that she's back with Oz and sincerely wants to be with him. I get a.m.'s point about young girls and not always knowing why we may end up crying in bathroom stalls, but it still strikes me as odd that *this* development is what led to that scene. Still, a great scene.

    (And a.m., I agree completely about that HIMYM scene from this past season. That show has been off the mark more often than not in recent years, but it still manages these wonderful bits of pathos every once in awhile. That little breakdown really struck a chord for me, thanks in no small part to AH's ability to cry as convincingly as she does. The woman has a gift.)

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  12. Alyson has magical tear ducts, no question about it.

    Willow did decide to leave Xander behind, but when you're that close to someone and have loved them for so long and had so many expectations, it's hard to completely let them go. I totally got why she was so devastated. I probably would have been, too.

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  13. I think adding salt into Willow's wound was the fact that she already felt Faith was taking Buffy away from her, and then to find out she had sex with Xander (which upset her for all the reasons already discuss here) probably just completely undid her.

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  14. No spoilers, but Alyson Hannigan's best HIMYM work, to me, will always been the end scene of "Bad News." I get chills just thinking about it.

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  15. I agree that it would be good to have more back story on Faith, but I don't find it hard to have some sympathy for her on what we do know - she's had it rough... then she nearly strangles Xander and any sympathy I have wavers, would she have killed him if Angel didn't intervene?

    Not a fun episode, but it is quite a good one.

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  16. The Willow s end felt a little off to me this time around, too, but I don't remember felling that way about it the first time I watched. I agree that her reaction is probably completely normal given her age and situation. It is just that Oz is so awesome, we are having a hard time imagining her giving Xander a second thought with Oz around. ;)

    As for Faith, any sympathy I have for her goes right out the window in the scene where she is strangling Xander. She crossed a major line with that one, making it hard for me to feel much for her character at this point.

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  17. No one has said anything about my favorite scene, yet. Cordy and Wes meeting-- Two words JAIL and BAIT.

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  18. Great episode. Dark, twisty, and with great use of the entire cast.

    I was particularly impressed by how much the Scoobies wanted to help Faith, I did not remember that, and it kind of made her turn to the dark side harder to apologize. I mean, she had some really great people trying to help her out, but she chose to stay on denial and ally with a bad guy anyway. Bad Faith, no biscuit.

    Curious that Willow’s feelings towards Faith are similar to Xander’s feelings towards Angelus, both are driven by heart, but I think Willow has a stronger point. Faith does have a choice, whereas Angel had no choice on losing his soul.

    The fight scene on the docks is terrific. Can’t say I’ll miss Mr. Trick much. His introduction was a hoot, but they really haven’t done much with him.

    ---

    And now some rewatch comments:

    I was going to start this rewatch with a friend of mine, who never watched Buffy before. But we could never find a good time to sit and watch “Welcome to the Hellmouth” together, so I started on my own. Well, just now he told me he’s also watching by himself and has made as far as “What’s My Line?”.

    It made me so happy that he survived the worst episodes of the show and made it to season two. He did say some of the early episodes were trashy, but he liked how there was a human touch to the stories and, also, the great one-liners. He particularly liked Buffy’s “I may be dead, but I’m still pretty” from “Prophecy Girl”.

    So, we might have another convert. Not sure, though. I asked him for us to watch “Surprise” and “Innocence” together.

    There’s also another friend of mine who’s watching Buffy, but not linking it so much. She’s made as far as “Angel” and stopped there. I think I might watch a season two episode with her (possibly “Lie to Me”) to give her hope.

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  19. "Lie to Me" is probably a good choice for your friend, Lamounier. It's an excellent stand-alone.

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  20. I doubt if there was any likelihood Faith was going to strangle Xander, except accidentally. It seemed pretty clear she was intending to rape him, and the part strangulation was part of the process.

    It was a shame they didn't make more of Trick. He had some style, in the same way Spike has. I'd like to have seen them interacting.

    Gerontius.

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