Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith, Hope & Trick

Buffy: "The girl's not playing with a full deck, Giles. She has almost no deck. She has a three."

This episode introduces three characters: Faith the vampire slayer, who was "called" to replace Kendra, Scott Hope, a new love interest for Buffy, and Mr. Trick, a brand new vampire villain.

Faith appears to be a darker version of Buffy, and not just because she's a brunette. A high school dropout, she's sexy and promiscuous, tattooed and white trashy, macks on Xander and Giles, and has a serious attitude. Faith calls Buffy "B" and annoys the crap out of her, while simultaneously moving in on every single part of Buffy's life. While Buffy again finds herself considering the possibility of a normal life now that Faith could take over (as she did with Kendra), Buffy finds Faith a lot more threatening. Since the Council assigns Faith to Giles until a new Watcher can be assigned, Buffy and Faith will apparently have to find a way to work together.

Mr. Trick is a hoot, especially in the drive-through scene and the pizza delivery scene. He's a modern, practical vampire with computer skills. No vengeance gigs for him.

Scott Hope, a "normal guy," makes several attempts here to get Buffy to go out with him, and finally succeeds. The cladagh ring is a big plot point, symbolic of her relationship with Angel. We see it fall off in the Angel dream sequence; Scott freaks her out by giving her the same ring (he is "replacing" Angel); and Buffy finally leaves it on the floor in the mansion, on the spot where Angel died.

The best part of this episode is the way Giles subtly maneuvers Buffy into talking about what happened with Angel. The scene in which Buffy finally tells Giles and Willow that Angel did get his soul back but she had to kill him anyway was particularly well done. At the end of the episode, a stark naked, battered Angel is literally dropped back into the series, like an exclamation point at the end of a sentence.

Bits and pieces:

-- Mr. Trick points out the lack of black people in Sunnydale, which also draws attention to the lack of black actors in the series.

-- It is established that vamps do not need an invitation to enter motel rooms.

-- I miss Kendra. I liked Kendra. She had a cool accent and neat hair and she named her stake.

-- I am also definitely missing Spike and Drusilla.

-- The Angel dream sequence in this episode has Buffy and Angel dancing in the Bronze, with Angel wearing an out-of-character white shirt so that the blood will show on it. (Angel tends to only wear white when he bleeds.)

-- Faith says her mother is dead. Although it isn't stated specifically, Faith appears to be from Boston.

-- Joyce learns that Buffy died in "Prophecy Girl."

-- The Mayor is mentioned, but still not seen. ("It's the Mayor on line one.")

-- The vampire that Faith picks up at the Bronze is wearing dated clothes. This isn't done often, or vamps would be very easy to pick out of a crowd.

-- There is a Watcher's retreat every year in the Costwalds, and Giles is not invited. Why wouldn't Giles be invited? He is watching one of the two active Slayers, isn't he? (And now both?) Doesn't this make him, like, the most important Watcher in the world?

-- At one point, Buffy and Faith have an entire conversation without noticing bodies on the ground.

-- Kakistos is said to be such an old vampire that his hands and feet are cloven. These characteristics are inconsistent with those of the Master.

-- Canine report: Willow: "Maybe we shouldn't be too couple-y around Buffy." Cordelia: "Oh, you mean 'cause of how the only guy that ever liked her turned into a vicious killer and had to be put down like a dog?" Xander: "Can she cram complex issues into a nutshell, or what?"

Quotes:

Xander: "Oh, you wanna date. I saw that half-smile, you little slut."
Buffy: "All right, yes, date and shop and hang out and go to school and save the world from unspeakable demons. You know, I want to do girlie stuff."

Buffy: "So let me get this straight. I'm really back in school because the school board overruled you. Wow. That's like having your whole ability to do this job called into question, when you think about it."
Joyce: "I think what my daughter's trying to say is nyah, nyah-nyah-nyah, nyah."

Faith: "God, I could eat a horse. Isn't it crazy how slaying just always makes you hungry and horny?" (everyone looks at Buffy)
Buffy: "Well, sometimes I crave a nonfat yogurt afterwards."

Buffy: "Giles, there are two things that I don't believe in: coincidence and leprechauns."
Giles: "Well, Buffy, it's entirely possible that they both arrived here by chance simultaneously."
Buffy: "Okay, but I was right about the leprechauns, right?"

This was another good one; well balanced and a lot of fun, and I was pleased and surprised by the ending. How about another three out of four? This show is still one of the major high points of my week. I need to get a life,

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

16 comments:

Mark Greig said...

I've always liked this episode, mostly because it introduced Faith. She's my second favourite Buffy character. I'm only even considering giving the comics a second chance because of her.

Billie Doux said...

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

rebecca_s921 said...

Yay for Faith! She's one of my favorite Buffyverse character too! I find the scene where she's ravenously eating Buffy's fries hilarious, and a little sad: when was the last time she's had a square meal? Couldn't be easy running from Mr. Tricks and Taquitos.

"All right, yes, date and shop and hang out and go to school and save the world from unspeakable demons. You know, I want to do girlie stuff." I love how Buffy categorize slaying demons as girlie stuff. How every untraditional.

Re: slaying makes slayers hungry and horny --> I wish Buffy would've also mentioned how Xander and Cordelia started kissing right after slaying a vampire. Oh wait, she wasn't there.

ChrisB said...

The end of this episode gets me every time. The scene in the library with Buffy telling two of the people who love her the most the truth about what happened moves me tears. The reactions from Giles and Willow are lovely to watch as well. And, finally, Buffy can begin to heal and move on.

Except that this is a Joss show and so, seconds later, Angel literally drops back into the picture. Oh dear!

Annie said...

I agree, that end scene with Buffy, Giles and Willow is very emotional and extremely well done. I've not seen this episode much and i guess I must have been multi-tasking when I watched as I never caught Giles' reveal that there was no binding spell and it was all just to get Buffy to open up - silly me!

It is very much a set up episode for the season, looking forward to the ride, I have a feeling that I've missed a lot in Season 3 before compared with other seasons.

Jane said...

I enjoyed this episode. Like others have said, the scene at the end with Willow, Giles and Buffy was really a nice payoff - it doesn't hurt that they are my 3 favorite characters. Also any episode that contains naked Angel can't be bad.

I'm not such a fan of Faith. I'll trust that you all like her for a reason and that she'll grow on me. I think one of the things I have struggled with in this show is how much every character is such a "type." I get that Joss is playing with the standard tropes and to do that he needs to take the types and mess with them. But it does leave me feeling annoyed with them sometimes. I think as their personalities and stories become more layered and specific I don't see the types as much, probably why I like Buffy, Willow, and Giles so much. I relate to them more all the time. (Also Joyce because I'm a middle-aged mom - but she just reminds me too often of some of my own less favorite personality traits!)

Also, Angel's reappearance at the end had to have been such fun for the unspoiled original viewers.

sunbunny said...

Jane - I'm not a big fan of Faith's, but I'm in the minority of BtVS fans. I never liked her. I think it's because I don't like Eliza Dushku. I have no reason for disliking Eliza Dushku. I try to like her, but for whatever reason I can never quite get there. So, if you never warm up to Faith, know that you're not alone.

Be back later to comment on the episode. I haven't rewatched it yet. Haven't been in the mood for some reason...

a.m. said...

I enjoyed this episode, especially since it introduced so many new characters and brought back Angel.

I know I often point out all the differences between now and the late nineties, but that medium soda in the drive-thru scene was so small it would be classified as a kid's size today. (I'm not trying to sound like Mayor Bloomberg, but no wonder we have an obesity epidemic!)

Okay, now on to more important matters...

I loved the "uncoupling" scene in the beginning. After the last episode, it's nice to see them as friends. Willow had some great lines too (of course). I loved her telling Oz he was supposed to stop her when she was babbling and then as they were running after Faith and the discovamp, "That's not what making out sounds like, unless I'm doing it wrong." She's so adorable no wonder Oz likes to let her babble :)

I also loved Joyce's line about the "slayer pride parade." And the leprechaun exchange quoted above was my favorite kind of Giles/Buffy silliness.

Since you brought up how different Kakistos was from the Master, he also didn't leave behind a skeleton. And now I've finished complaining about that skeleton from season 1 and I won't bring it up again:)

Even though I knew Angel would be coming back, I was totally surprised at the way it was done. I had figured that they would find a spell or something, so for him to fall naked from the sky was a shock. It would have been hard for me to have to wait for a week to learn more about that! So was the ring like Beauty's tears/love and it brought the beast back from hell? I can't wait to see what he's like and how Buffy will react to this...

pucklady said...

Newbie report

Limo goes through the drive-through. Why am I thinking OJ and Kato Kaelin right now?

Mr Trick is a very suave vampire. And LOL about the lily-whiteness of Sunnydale. Is there ever a person of color in Sunnydale? I think it's like The Lion King - all the bad guys are dark-skinned, disfigured or have accents. Gah. Disney racism. Don't get me started. Yep, even Drusilla and Spike - both disabled and accented.

Buffy is getting domestic? Making a picnic and talking about Martha Stewart? I think expulsion is good for her. Too bad it won't last.

Points to Faith for pointing out how whiny Buffy is! Faith has been in Sunnydale 10 minutes and she has already started to knock some sense into Buffy. I'm liking Faith a lot.

Scott likes Buster Keaton? Forget Buffy, Scott. Come date me! I'm no older than you than Angel is over Buffy.

Okay, I get it. Slay = gay. The first time Joyce said "Have you tried not being a slayer?" I thought it was just a joke. But this time "I've marched in the Slayer Pride parade." Anvils. I get it. It's a theme. I'll keep an open eye for subtext from now on.

Hmm. All three of our slayers have parental abandonment issues. Kendra was the best adjusted, but maybe that's part of the requirements for slayism? You have to have deep-seated rage? Faith qualifies!

Didn't it seem easy to take out the Big Bad? Here was a giant threat, and one little bedpost through the ribcage and get out the vacuum.

But whatever else this episode had, all is forgiven with a bit of Boreanaz booty. Boreanass? I'm a happy camper. Especially since he's nowhere near any clothes or towels or even a sock. I'm ready for the figleaf escape!

Suzanne said...

I am beginning to have trouble keeping up with the rewatch since summer is getting busy. I am still enjoying the comments, though. I

I have mixed feelings about Faith. I didn't care for her too much the first time through, but she has grown on me a bit. However, I am a huge fan of Buffy because she is so layered as has been pointed out here. She seems very real to me in that everyone has their annoying traits along with their strengths. I thin my love of Buffy might have something to do with the way I sometimes feel turned off to Faith.

sunbunny said...

I really like the contrast between Faith. Faith has this tough 'seen it all' front but her nigh hysterical fear over Kakistos is something Buffy's never shown. Compare Faith vs. Kakistos here with Buffy vs. The Master in "Prophecy Girl." Trick actually calls Kakistos "the master" at one point. But when it comes right down to it, both slayers are able to defeat their demons.

ChrisB said...

sunbunny -- I wonder how much more afraid of the Master Buffy would have been if he had killed Giles?

sunbunny said...

I haven't seen the original movie in forever (because it's terrible), but didn't Buffy's first watcher die horribly?

Wasn't trying to impugn Faith's bravery. I just think it's interesting how tough she makes herself look versus Buffy's willingness to look vulnerable. In "Prophecy Girl" she has that whole tearful "I'm sixteen years old" speech. Just noting differences, not judging. :)

Lamounier said...

The “nyah, nyah-nyah-nyah, nyah” line, followed by Joyce and Buffy turning their back to Snyder and leaving his office is one of my favorite Buffy/Joyce moments. Joyce’s strong support of Buffy is really nice to watch. Aw. Buffy has a great mom and a great father figure, really, just look at how Giles smartly made her open up about Angel’s death.

I loved the alternate Buffy/Angel theme that played while Buffy was leaving the friendship ring on the mansion. So atmospheric. Great scene, followed by a surprising and very well done return of Angel to the show. Man, I’d forgotten how great season three is.

Also, Faith. Yay!

Cory Lea said...

I was surprised that when Buffy confesses that Angel was ensouled when she had to kill him, all Willow says is, "I'm sorry." Just "I'm sorry"? Not even, "I'm SO sorry"? Not, "Oh my god, Buffy, how awful for you! I'm so terribly sorry that you had to go through that." "I'm sorry" seemed like a huge under-reaction to something that awful.

I did love, though, Giles' "There is no spell." Giles, you clever fellow, you! Thank heavens Buffy has you, because her mother is neither very bright nor very supportive.

(I lived in a TV-free household for a couple of decades, so I'm just now getting to watch Buffy.)

Billie Doux said...

Cory Lea, I hope you enjoy Buffy! Feel free to post comments with your impressions.