Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Who Are You?

Buffy: "Giles, Faith has taken my body, and for all I know, she's taken it to Mexico by now. I don't have time for bondage fun."

This episode had a ton of fun moments. Excellent acting by Sarah Michelle Gellar – she did Faith's mannerisms, speech patterns, and even Faith's accent perfectly. I especially liked the mirror scene. Eliza Dushku also got in some good Buffyisms. I especially liked the thing about Giles being a stevedore during sex.

I am really enjoying the development of Willow's relationship with Tara and the "Yours" scene was touching. But (I'll bet you could hear the "but" in there) I'm finding it difficult to accept that Willow has already told Tara about Buffy without telling Buffy first. It seemed like a huge betrayal to me. I mean, would Buffy tell Riley about Willow being a witch or that Oz was a werewolf? She hasn't even mentioned Angel to Riley yet, and Angel is gone. And what was with Tara sabotaging that spell of Willow's a few eps back? Is Tara a demon? Is she bending Willow's mind?

Another "but." Buffy (in Faith's body) captured by nasty Watchers subplot was a bit disappointing, because I was hoping that she would get to do more with the gang and with Spike. I absolutely loved when Faith (in Buffy's body) cornered and freaked out Spike in the bar – it may be one of my favorite scenes of all time – but I was longing for a Buffy (in Faith's body) encounter with Spike, too. Ah, well. At least Faith is still alive, and I still think she and Spike would make a fascinating couple. And maybe The Buffy Powers That Be were setting something up there. That's what it felt like.

And here's the big "but." I just don't think Faith would reform so quickly. This is the woman who was ready to torture Buffy to death with sharp objects and who has been killing innocent people without even a twinge of conscience. So she saved that girl outside the Bronze and went to bed with the Clean Marine, and suddenly she was ready to give up her chance of escaping clean and went off to save innocent churchgoers from vamps? Perhaps it happened because Faith was influenced by being in Buffy's body.

Bits and pieces:

-- The Willow/Tara love scene (excuse me, spell) was actually sexier than the Riley/Faith roll in the hay. That, and the Spike/Faith scene in the Bronze, were both really something.

-- Riley, on his way to church, looked like Fox Mulder. Late for church? He's like a parent's wet dream, isn't he?

-- Cool vamp dissolve in the church scene.

-- Here's a question: if Buffy's soul had been transferred into the body of someone who wasn't a Slayer, would her powers have gone with her?

Quotes:

Tara: "I am, you know."
Willow: "What?"
Tara: "Yours."

Willow: "What's wetwork?"
Xander: "Scuba-type stuff."
Anya: "I thought it was murder."
Xander: "Well, yeah. But there could be underwater murder, with snorkels."

Xander: "We kind of have a romantic evening planned."
Anya: "We were going to light a bunch of candles and have sex near them."
Faith: "Well, we certainly don't want to cut into that seven minutes."
Anya: "Hey."
Xander: "I believe that's my hey. (to Faith) Hey!"

Willow: "I can't believe you've never been here. The Bronze is the coolest place in Sunnydale. Of course, there's not a lot of competition. I think the vending machine at Bergen's came in second."

Faith: "So you guys been hanging out a lot lately, huh?"
Tara: "Yeah. She's, um, she's really cool."
Faith: "So Willow's not driving stick anymore. Who would have thought?

Spike: "You know why I really hate you, Summers?"
Faith: "'Cause I'm a stuck-up tight-ass with no sense of fun?"
Spike: "Well, yeah, that covers a lot of it.

Faith: "I could have anything. Anyone. Even you, Spike. I could ride you at a gallop until your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up. I've got muscles you've never even dreamed of. I could squeeze you until you popped like warm champagne, and you'd beg me to hurt you just a little bit more. And you know why I don't? Because it's wrong." Wow.

Buffy: "Oh, oh! When I had psychic power, I heard my mom think that you were like a stevedore during sex. Do you want me to continue?"
Giles: "Actually, I beg you to stop."
Buffy: "What's a stevedore?"

Even with my buts, I still loved this one. Let's give it a four,

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

14 comments:

Tommi said...

Great episode! I never liked Faith in BTVS but I DO love this episode. It was extremely "fun" and it was great to see how well both Sarah and Eliza pull this off. Sarah especially played "Faith" to a tee. Excellent episode :)

Mark Greig said...

I will never understand how Sarah Michelle Geller didn't receive even a single Emmy nomination for playing Buffy Summers. Now there is a crime that went unpunished. But I digress.

The only thing that disappointed me about this episode was how little Eliza Dushku got to do as Buffy. I agree that it would've been great if she had got the chance to interact with more of the cast.

Mark Greig said...

And that should be Gellar not Geller. And I call myself a Buffy fan.

Paul Kelly said...

Mark, you a fan of spoon-bending by any chance?

Anonymous said...

I really like what MikeJer from critically touched had to say about Faith's remorse: that she had envied Buffy's life, friends and family for so long, but when she finally had it, realized that Buffy had gotten it by being a different person than how Faith was going about it.

Anonymous said...

as Anonymous said I really like what MikeJer from critically touched had to say about Faith's remorse: that she had envied Buffy's life, friends and family for so long, but when she finally had it, realized that Buffy had gotten it by being a different person than how Faith was going about it. That is why she went back to the church and when she was beat "buffy" calling her murdeous and disgusting she was refering to herself as faith and what she had become. As for Willow telling Tara about Buffy before Buffy even knew about her I was surprised also.

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Season four spoilers are posted here.

ChrisB said...

I think that Joss & Co. missed an opportunity here -- there would be more than enough material to fill two episodes with a body switch. I agree that we didn't get to see Buffy as Faith enough and the Faith reformation is just a tad too quick.

Also, how did "Faith" go from not knowing that Riley exists to where he lives? Plot hole that may have been able to be covered up.

Anyway, this is a good episode, but it has always felt rushed to me.

Annie said...

I'd have liked to have seen the body switch crossover with Angel I do think Faith questions her beliefs too quickly here, although I thought her switch to being bad was a bit extreme and kind of sudden so maybe she's just fickle that way.

Although I do think the scene with Spike is great fun, that he doesn't catch on is strange. She clearly doesn't know who he is and Spike always seems to be perceptive... maybe he'd had 10 beers at the bronze already?

paul b said...

This episode must be a contender for best episode of season four...

I think Billie got all the main points right here - but I would like to add that I didn't think that we are meant to believe that Faith has reformed when she goes to the church - the fact that she goes into an murderous rage at the sight of herself rather undermines that notion.

I think Faith acted on impulse - she'd been PLAYING at being Buffy for most of the Episode and had been making discoveries about Buffy in the process. When she saw the news broadcast she saw an irresistible opportunity and had to act on it. (Rather like she had acted on the job vacancy she created for herself after staking Mr Trick) - she saw a chance to really BECOME Buffy and decided to seize it - as a way out of a hopeless situation, and maybe it was something she could get used to. Of course in the end she literally couldn't get away from herself.

I agree with Annie and Chris - though it's good to be left wanting more, it would have been grand to see more of the body switch - and Faith in Buffy meeting Angel would have been kind of interesting but mainly I would love to have get a whole extra episode of Buffy in Faith (there must be fanfic category for this kind of thing?).

I guess if Willow and Tara hadn't done the sexy-spell and found the antidote, the two actors would have just had to permanently switch roles... Now that would have been interesting...

Jane said...

I enjoyed it, especially the growth in Faith's story. I'll be interested to see what repercussions this latest Faith encounter has for Buffy (and her relationship with Riley.) Like others have said, I would have liked to see the story have more time to develop. Pacing is my biggest ongoing issue with the show - I feel it crawls, then sprints, then rinse and repeat. But the characters are too enjoyable for it to be a deal breaker.

drnanamom said...

Always in the minority. I'm so glad that the body-switch thing ended quickly. I had trouble watching this episode although I think both actresses did an amazing job. I found the vampires who had become Adam's disciples a bit unconvincing and am generally not a fan of the whole Adam story arc. I must be some weird anti-fan but this is one of my least favourite episodes.

Lamounier said...

I agree that there were missed opportunities here, Eliza Dushku got little to do as Buffy and Xander was barely around, but I'm not sure there would be enough material for two episodes. Also, I have a big problem with the idea of an actor taking over the reins of another actor and playing an already established character. No matter how great SMG was (and she was really good), sometimes I had to remind myself "oh, right, this isn't Buffy, it's Faith". Like drnanamom, by the end of the episode I was glad the characters were back to the actresses they belonged to.

My problems with the body-switch concept aside, this was a competently done episode. Except for Adam (who was oh so boring) and the Watchers Council guys (seriously, they were immensely incompetent, and I could write an entire paragraph about how their participation on the episode added nothing, but I'll limit myself to saying that it was a huge waste to keep Eliza Dushku stuck with them for most of the hour), the story was engaging and very entertaining. There were many terrific moments, like Faith and Spike's scene at The Bronze (man, SMG and James Marsters are amazing together), and the showdown at the church (SMG's deliveries through the episode were terrific, but on that scene in particular I loved her "I just come to pray" and "the one and only").

And how about Willow and Tara? I'm glad this episode establishes once and for all that they're a couple, and does it beautifully. I cannot overstate how thankful I am for the way this show portrayals their relationship. It's not abnormal, subversive, met to draw larger audiences. No. It's the story of two people who are falling in love and becoming a powerful couple, the fact that they have the same gender is not even mentioned. That's what makes this approach so amazing. As much as Buffy and Riley are not labelled as "straight couple", Willow and Tara are not labelled as "lesbian couple". They're a just a couple, and a very special one. Really, thank you, Mutant Enemy.

Also, it's impossible not to feel for Tara when Faith-as-Buffy is giving her a hard time. Hang in, there, girl, you have an amazing journey ahead of you.

Overall, very good episode. Major props to Sarah Michelle Gellar, her line deliveries and body language are the reason this episode is such a hit.

I wonder what pucklady would’ve thought of Faith's commentary on Buffy's attitude ("cause I could do anything I want, and instead, I choose to pout and whine and feel the burden of slayerness?"). I miss her comments and a.m.'s as well.

magritte said...

I think paul b is on to something with the "Faith acts on impulse" theory. Maybe an awful lot of her behavior going back all the way to Bad Girls is best explained from the standpoint of instant gratification. When she sees an opportunity to play the hero at the church...why not? But I don't think she literally wanted to be Buffy, just enjoy the adulation for the moment. Then she'd be after her next quick pleasure fix. I think I like the Faith as driven purely by impulse better than the Faith acts completely out of jealousy of Buffy because it seems too deep-seated and she really hasn't been around Buffy all that long.

While the Faith stuff was interesting, I think mixing it up with the Adam plotline which is barely advancing hasn't worked very well. I have to wonder if the loss of the actress who played Professor Walsh made them do a lot of re-jiggering of the plot. Buffy hadn't learned enough to be a threat, so Walsh suddenly wanting to kill her didn't make much sense to me. Besides, as a scientist, I'd have thought Walsh would rather test Buffy and see what makes a slayer tick than have her killed, and if she had learned that there was another slayer in a coma...

One other thing bothers me. Why didn't the Watcher Council just kill Faith? Since a new one appears as soon as one dies, slayers are expendable. Sure, it takes time to train one, but to rehabilitate Faith into a useful slayer would take at least as much time. Why take the risk?