In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone wonders if it’s something she ate or just a bug going around. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:
- Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
- Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
- Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
- Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
- Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
- The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
- All the monsters look like wieners.
- If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
- Angel is a dick.
- Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
- Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
- Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
- Science and technology are not to be trusted.
- Mental illness is stigmatized.
- Only Willow can use a computer.
- Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
- Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
- Oz is the Anti-Xander
- Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
- Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
- The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
- Smoking is evil.
- Despite praise for its positive portrayal of non-straight sexualities, some of this shit is homophobic as fuck.
- How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?
- Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
- Sunnydale residents are no longer shocked by supernatural attacks.
- Casual rape dismissal/victim blaming a-go-go
- Snyder believes Buffy is a demon or other evil entity.
- The Scoobies kind of help turn Jonathan into a bad guy.
- This show caters to the straight/bi female gaze like whoa.
- Sunnydale General is the worst hospital in the world.
- Faith is hyper-sexualized needlessly.
- Slut shame!
- The Watchers have no fucking clue what they’re doing.
- Vampire bites, even very brief ones, are 99.8% fatal.
- Economic inequality is humorized and oversimplified.
Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments. Even though I might forget that you mentioned it. WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.
Okay, first of all, this is the only Buffy Tumblr a Hamilton fan will ever need.
We open on a movie theater marquis for a French film. Buffy and Angel stumble out like they’ve just seen a murder. Apparently, their fun night out was accidentally to one of those “artistic” foreign movies:
Angel: “I’m sorry. I wanted to take you out somewhere fun. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the movies. They’ve changed.”
Watching a bunch of sex on screen is the exact opposite of the stuff two people who can’t have sex with each other but want to like to do. Buffy is worried about Angel being super frustrated by never being able to have sex with her because of the soul-loss thing.
Buffy: “I just don’t like rubbing your nose in it. Suddenly wondering where that expression comes from.”
So, I’ve mentioned before how much the idea that Angel having sex with Buffy, not just Angel being in love with Buffy, is considered his moment of true happiness bugs me. And I stand by my assertion that it fits into #1 pretty neatly. However, this is a really good moment. Angel tells Buffy that he doesn’t care that they can’t have sex, he just likes being with her. And that’s an important thing for shows to put out there, especially shows for a younger audience. Our media throws this message of “it’s only true love if you bone” at us constantly. And while Buffy still presents Angel and Buffy as being trapped in the worst kind of sexless hell of a relationship together, it means something that a character at least acknowledges that they can be happy without sex. It’s cold comfort when you realize that as the show goes on and even in the first season of Angel the dynamic remains that Buffy and Angel can never be together because they can’t smash naughties, I’m grading this on just this one moment. A moment in which Faith, summoned by the smell of hormones in the air, ruins with her sudden appearance. The council is cool with Faith reactivating. Which I’ve always thought was kind of weird. They were going to take her away, right? They had people from the council who came after her and everything. Did that ever get cleared up? Like, why they didn’t send more people and arrest her again? If you remember, let me know in the comments, because I genuinely don’t and it’s never occurred to me to check. I just took it for granted that everything got cleared up behind the scenes.
So, the Slayers go patrolling. Since Faith is in the scene, the topic of conversation is sex. Because sex, sex, sex. I mentioned why I feel this might be realistic/provide insight to Faith’s background, but this is one of the most egregious instances of #32. We just saw Buffy and Angel having a conversation about not having sex and how difficult they’re finding it to have a romantic relationship without sex. We don’t need Faith there initiating the exact same conversation. The point has already been made. This is just an attempt at a few lines of clumsy transition, and since Faith is there, might as well make that transition all about sex and not at all about like, “How are you feeling, Faith,” or anything that might remind the viewer that Faith was recently not okay in the field.
Also, can I just throw this out here? I’m sure someone has mentioned it before, but I would feel remiss to not mention it again: the whole thing about how tragic it is for Buffy and Angel to not have sex? That is some major asexual erasure. The show, especially from the mid-point of this season on, makes it sound like no love can be complete without fornication, and look how tragic it is when a couple can’t have sex. Granted, Buffy and Angel aren’t asexual, but the way outsiders react also really reinforces the idea of a love story made tragic and incomprehensible by the inability to have sex. It’s also pretty ableist; while many disabled people lead healthy and fulfilling sex lives, there are definitely situations in which disability could hinder or altogether remove a person’s ability to have intercourse. That doesn’t mean their relationships won’t survive without sex. So, yeah. That’s basically the message the tragic love story of the characters who can’t fuck is sending viewers: if there’s no sex in your relationship, it just isn’t a real relationship.
Anyway, Buffy is about to tell Faith not to talk about Angel anymore, when they spot a demon and pin him against a crypt. He’s one of those wacky, “geez, lady!” demons that this show seems to love. Porkpie hat, zany printed shirt, cracking wise…it’s like there’s a huge contingent of demons who materialize straight from Reddit or 4chan. This guy has offered an uninterested she-demon a gas station rose with a heartfelt, “M’lady,” before. I guarantee it. The demon tells Buffy and Faith that he’s got the Books of Ascension and he’s willing to sell them to the Slayers rather than let The Mayor get his hands on them. Faith is either seriously going to kill him or faking it so he runs off, I really can’t tell, but either way, he hits the road. Buffy says she wants to find out more about the books so they can pin The Mayor down.
Faith tells the Mayor about the demon and the books, but he doesn’t seem too concerned. He tells Faith that she worries too much and should pull her hair back because she has a nice face. Then he gives her a glass of milk to reduce her stress:
The Mayor: “Now, first, you load up on calcium, then find this demon, kill the heck out of him, and bring the books to me.”
Faith: “And if Buffy gets to them first?” The Mayor: “Oh, well… Frankly, I don’t like to think about that. I like good, positive, up thoughts. If you failed me in that way, well, you know, replacing Mr. Trick was chore enough. Oh, come on, don’t worry. Drink up. There’s nothing uncool about healthy teeth and bones.”
Meanwhile, at the library, Buffy has told her Watcher (and Wesley) about the demon’s demand for cash:
Giles: “Demons after money. What ever happened to the still-beating heart of a virgin? No one has any standards anymore.”
They can’t figure out what “ascension” means in this context, but Willow has read an obscure text that mentions it. And it has to do with genocide. Giles wants to know where she found that book, and she admits that she took it from a stash in Giles’s office, where he keeps stuff he doesn’t want her to find. Basically, magic things he doesn’t want her studying yet. Giles gets the book and finds that it recounts the details of a town that experienced an ascension and was never heard from again. Which is not the outcome they’re looking for in this situation. Cordelia interrupts to ask Wesley out under the guise of needing a tutor. Again, I have to wonder why and how Sunnydale High has not noticed this man hanging around the school all the time without any demonstrable excuse to be there. If he starts dating a student, will they notice then? (
Cordelia interrupts to ask Wesley out under the guise of needing a tutor. Again, I have to wonder why and how Sunnydale High has not noticed this man hanging around the school all the time without any demonstrable excuse to be there. If he starts dating a student, will they notice then? (#8) After Cordelia leaves, Wesley suggests they find the demon and persuade him to lend them the books. Because Wesley is nothing if not naive about every conceivable way the world works. Buffy says Faith would be better at
After Cordelia leaves, Wesley suggests they find the demon and persuade him to lend them the books. Because Wesley is nothing if not naive about every conceivable way the world works. Buffy says Faith would be better at persuading but they don’t know where she is.
As it so happens, she’s persuading the demon. “Persuading” here means she’s stealing the books and stabbing the demon to death. He’s not a real easy kill. She has to stab him a lot and blood gets on her hands, which I assume is supposed to be like, a moment of realization that oh no, she’s killed again. Or something. Because we cut directly to Angel reading something (probably poems about sadness) and Faith shows up asking for help. She says she has nowhere else to go, but we know she has that apartment. So is this a trick, or a trap? I mean, she can’t really go home to that apartment if she’s afraid of The Mayor or wants to stop being his hired gun, right? And she seems sincere when she shows Angel her hands, which are still bloody.
Okay, you know what? We need to discuss how the sun rises and sets in Sunnydale. Faith kills the demon guy in daylight. You can see it streaming in through the windows in the scene. When she arrives at Angel’s house, it’s full dark, but her hands are still wet with blood. How fast does the sun set here? Or does demon blood never dry? This kind of weird mistake has happened a few times in past episodes, and I feel like if I were in charge of running a vampire show, this kind of thing wouldn’t be missed.
Anyway, Faith tells Angel that she doesn’t want to end up dead or a cold-blooded killer. Then she hugs him and tries to kiss him. He stops her and tells her that he can be there for her, but not “there” there for her.
Faith: “You love her, don’t you?”
Angel: “I love her.”
Faith: “Good for you. The two of you. Lucky. Friends?”
Angel: “We’re friends.”
Faith: “Then I’m lucky, too.”
So, here’s the thing. Spoiler alert, she was trying to get with him because The Mayor told her to. But this entire exchange about how she doesn’t have to be a killer and that Angel is her friend is really necessary considering the events that take place in Angel season one. Or maybe two. But I’m almost 100% that it’s season one. We’ll get there, anyway, since I’ll be recapping Angel in tandem with Buffy once we get to the end of this season.
Okay, so, Faith gives Angel a kiss on the cheek and leaves, and Buffy gets there just in time to see it go down. Rather than going inside and being like, “Hey, what was that about,” she backs away.
In Faith’s apartment, The Mayor can’t understand why Angel wouldn’t want to be with Faith. He sent her there to give Angel a “moment of true happiness,” so he’ll lose his soul. Okay, so we’re still operating on the “moment of true happiness means orgasm” thing in this season (I’m pretty sure that changes in season five of Angel, when he gets the werewolf girlfriend). Since Angel won’t give it up to Faith, The Mayor plans a different way to rob Angel of his soul. I’m not entirely sure why The Mayor needs Angel’s soul, but I’m sure that will all be revealed.
In the library, Wesley and Giles are researching the whole ascension thing and coming up with nothing. When Giles mentions calling the council, Wesley is like, yeah, not a great idea, because they don’t actually know that you’re working on this with me. Ooh, are we beginning to see Wesley becoming a practical Watcher instead of an ideologically pure Watcher?
Then Buffy comes in wearing what appears to be a bridesmaid’s dress over a long-sleeved t-shirt. I don’t want to sound like Giles here (because he’s cruelly unfair about ’90s teen fashion and that hits me right in the nostalgia), but it’s really a ridiculous outfit:
Wesley tells Buffy to find the demon who has the Books of Ascension, but that she needs to do this with Faith:
Buffy: “That could be hours. The girl makes Godot look punctual.”
Okay, now, look. I’m not saying Waiting For Godot is “out of date” given its status as a timeless classic, but I do have to call at least half a #24 on this one because I don’t think Buffy is in a position where she would be familiar with the work of Samuel Beckett. She’s not in drama club, and her grades aren’t good enough for AP English. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that when I was trying to get a better screencap of the truly awful magenta color of Buffy’s top, I got this instead:
So you’re all very welcome. Anyway, Wesley says that Buffy needs Faith because this demon is going to be super hard to find. Then Xander comes in and is like, “Found your demon.” Xander claims he beat up Willy the Snitch but then admits that he bribed him. A bribe for which he’s not going to get reimbursed, because, as Giles points out, he didn’t get a receipt. Buffy recognizes the address as being near the bus station.
Giles: “Again, see? No standards. I mean, any self-respecting demon should be living in a pit of filth or a nice crypt!”
These damn kids these days, I tell ya.
Faith arrives, and she and Buffy have a chilly encounter before they set off to find the demon. Faith obviously already knows that they guy is dead and why, but she goes with Buffy anyway and tries to act shocked by the discovery of the body. And she’s not great at not seeming suspicious. At City Hall, The Mayor meets with a silent, shadowy figure who isn’t real chatty.
I’m inclined to call this costume a #17. It looks a lot like a burka, and it’s used to make him intentionally scary. That said, this was before Islamophobia really ramped up in the U.S. and now I’m on the other side of 2000. I could be reading too much into it. But things like costume choices aren’t made in a bubble, and this was picked to make the audience look uneasy, so maybe I’m not reading too much into it? I’m on the fence.
Anyway, they have this conversation, carried out in mainly nods and headshakes:
The Mayor: “You know why I’ve summoned you. Can you do it? Need anything from me? You’re not much of a people person, are you?”
Shadowy Evil Man: “You have risked great danger in calling on me. The deadliest magics are needed to rob this creature of its soul.”
Oh shit, he’s serious about stealing Angel’s soul, then. Why, I’m not sure. To kill Buffy? Or does he need him for something else?
At school, Willow asks Buffy why she’s so mopey, and Buffy spills about seeing her at Angel’s house.
Willow: “No way. I know what you’re thinking and no way.”
Buffy: “You’re right, Faith would never do that.”
Willow: “Faith would totally do that. Faith was built to do that. She’s the do that girl.”
Buffy: “Comfort. Remember, comfort here?”
Willow: “I mean, please. Does Angel come up to Faith’s standards for a guy? Let’s see, is he breathing?”
Buffy: “Actually, no.”
Bullshit. He breathes all the time.
But that’s not the point. The point Willow is trying to make is that Angel loves Buffy, and no matter what Faith might try to do to get in his pants, the answer is always going to be no. But Buffy isn’t sure because she doubts his love for her.
Willow: “Buffy, I too know the love of a taciturn man. You have to look at their actions.”
Buffy admits she didn’t even ask Angel what was up with Faith, and Willow shuts her right down, telling her to go talk to Angel immediately.
Okay, I need to talk about Willow a little bit here. We know that Willow isn’t a big fan of Faith because she not only has a shared bond with Buffy but because she also slept with Xander. But let’s be real here: the only person in this conversation who has ever cheated or helped someone cheat on their partner was Willow. Even Faith, for all the sluttiness for which we are meant to despise her, has never done that. So get off that high horse, Willow. People in glass houses, etc.
Faith shows up at Angel’s house claiming that she wants to apologize for the way she acted the last time she was there. And there’s an interesting line here:
Faith: “Look, I’m not so good at apologies. Mostly cause I think the world is out to screw me, so I’m generally more owed than owing. But I’ve been thinking about last night and I want you to know that I’m really sorry.”
Even though we know the context is disingenuous, the words are spot on. She really does seem to feel that the world is out to screw her over. The question is how much of this is Faith pulling from actual introspection, and how much is something she just thinks she should say? How much of it is stuff other people have said to her, but that she doesn’t really believe?
Faith is a complex and interesting character. So isn’t it a relief that she was boiled down to threatening sexual confidence and little else?
She keeps trying to get close to Angel physically, but he’s not into it. She pulls out the “poor me, nobody trusts me card,” which Angel can sympathize with. When he approaches her and tells her that it’s cool, he does trust her, she calls him a chump and throws blood on him. Shadowy guy appears from…the shadows. Where shadowy people do their shadowy dealings. Don’t question my word repetition.
Anyway, shadowy guy starts chanting and we see all the swirling blue light 1990’s television technology can provide. The end result?
So, he’s evil again. Which we also can tell because he grabs Faith and starts passionately making out with her. So much that it lasts through the entire commercial break. When we come back, he starts beating the crap out of her and monologuing as he does it.
Angel: “It’s good to have the taste of a Slayer back in my mouth. It’s like cigarettes, you know? Just when I thought I quit… No, really. Don’t get up. Oh, it’s good to be back in Sunnydale. Nice climate. Plenty to eat. No tortured humanity to hold me down. But you know what bothers me? You don’t seem to be getting the big picture here, Faith. Now, I don’t know why you turned me, but let me tell ya, I’m just glad you did.”
Faith: “I got my reasons.”
Angel: “Let me guess. You summoned back the true Angelus because you need a new boy toy. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.”
So, I think everybody is pretty clear on the fact that I don’t buy the “Angel and Angelus are two entirely separate entities” thing. That’s more fanon than canon, and while I love me some fanon, that’s one I don’t subscribe to. Especially when, spoiler alert, he’s not actually soulless here and is just pretending. If Angelus and Angel are two completely separate beings and innocent, kind Angel just gets possessed by the demon Angelus, why is Angel so good at being Angelus here?
The same thing happened to Giles in fandom, as well. Fans somehow took the nickname Ripper and paired it with the fact that Giles has a scary and morally ambiguous temper and crafted this other persona like he’s not responsible for his own, sometimes violent, choices. It’s almost like because the show allows for no deviation from black-and-white morality, fandom adjusted accordingly to fill in the gaps.
Anyway, Faith tells Angel that if he wants to live, he should listen to her and join up with “the real power,” a.k.a., The Mayor.
In the library, the Scoobies–now including Cordelia because she’s so hot for Wesley that she’s willing to hang out with them again–work on the next stage of the plan, which includes stealing the Books of Ascension. Buffy mentions that Faith and Angel are missing, but they have a bigger problem. The Mayor has already had his files encrypted, so Willow can’t get any information that way. They decide to break into the hall of records.
Faith takes Angel to City Hall, where he meets The Mayor. And tries to stab him through the heart with a letter opener. Because Angel is all about the good first impressions. But it’s important because now Angel knows that The Mayor a) wants to kill Buffy, and b) can’t be killed in hand-to-hand combat. The Mayor sends Faith and Angel out to kill Buffy. Slowly, because they don’t want another replacement Slayer popping up.
But wait, would that happen? Faith is in Buffy’s downline, right? When Kendra died, Faith was called, but Kendra only existed in the first place because Buffy died. With Faith still alive, wouldn’t the Slayer line remain unbroken? Buffy would just go back to being dead the way the Slayer power thought she was in the first place, right?
I don’t know, that makes sense to me, but I also don’t make the rules.
Anyway, The Mayor tells Angel to have Faith home by eleven, and the two of them hit the streets. And also Xander. Because while he’s stalking through Sunnydale, muttering to himself about Cordelia’s worship of Wesley, he finds Faith and Angel. Thinking they’re still on his side, he approaches them, only to have Angel punch him in the face without so much as breaking his stride.
Angel: “That guy just bugs me.”
Again, Angel isn’t really soulless at all. And he just chose to punch Xander out cold in the street and leave him there for whatever vampire to come along and get a midnight bite. I think this qualifies as #9, even though Angel is deep undercover. But I’m not blaming him. Xander has advocated for murdering him before.
Talk shit, get hit, Xander.
Faith and Angel show up at the Summers residence, and of course Joyce, without knowing that Angel and Faith are evil (well, at least Faith is), lets them right in. Angel notices that Joyce has gotten highlights, and compliments her. I think that should have been our first clue, right there, that he wasn’t evil. I’m not saying everyone who doesn’t notice or comment on new highlights are evil, but highlights are expensive and it’s nice when they’re appreciated. Only a truly evil person would intentionally ignore them.
Buffy is wigged to see Angel and Faith together, but she goes with them to the mansion, where the Books of Ascension are. Once they arrive, she notices that Angel is behaving strangely when he calls her “Buff” instead of Buffy (something he only did when he was evil).
Buffy: “What’s the matter with you?”
Angel: “Nothing. Matter of fact, I haven’t felt this good in a long time.”
I love that having a good day or not feeling sad is a clue that Angel has become evil. “He’s not brooding in candlelit darkness, reading poetry and loathing himself! This is so unlike him!”
Angel: “You know, I never properly thanked you for sending me to hell.”
Angel: “Yeah, and I’m just wondering, where do I start? Card? Fruit basket? Evisceration?”
Angel: “Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Maybe there’s still some good deep down inside of me. That remembers and loves you. If only you could reach me. Then again, we have reality.”
You’re expecting Buffy to crumble, right?
Buffy: “I will kill you before I let you touch me.”
BAM! She’s done the evil Angel horror show and she is not going to catch it again at the matinee. She warns Faith that they have to run, but Faith is like, nah, I’m evil now too. Angel drops Buffy with one punch, which should be a red flag; punching out Xander, not a big deal. Punching out a Slayer the same way? Faith is too drunk on revenge to see how unlikely that is. I’m not even going to put this down as #16, because she could be faking here.
At the hall of records, Oz finds something really interesting about The Mayor. Like, a picture that’s over 100 years old, with The Mayor in it.
Willow: “Whoa. Like father, like son.”
Oz: “How about exact same guy like exact same guy?”
Now they know that The Mayor isn’t human. This entire episode is the big fact-finding mission we’ve really needed since like, three episodes ago.
Xander comes in:
Xander: “I, uh, hate to spoil the mood, but this is so much worse than you think.”
Willow: “Xander, what happened to you?”
Xander: “You know how some people hate to say I told you so? Not me. I told you so. Angel’s back, in the really bad sense. And, um, I told you so.”
Xander lays the blame for all of this squarely on Wesley since Faith was his Slayer. But like, shut the fuck up, Xander. You’re so damn smug because the guy who swooped in and got the girl you wanted first is evil and might possibly kill, you know. Everyone. Why would that make you happy? Just so you can be right? Or because now Buffy might run into your arms as a last resort? Angel as a character bores me so much on Buffy that I almost actively hate him (until he gets to his own show), but Xander’s constant need to prove that Angel is bad is rooted directly in #5.
At the mansion, Angel shackles Buffy to the wall. I gotta ask again, why does he have shackles pre-installed in his house? For once, it’s not Angel monologuing in a scene. It’s Faith, and she actually makes me feel bad for her.
Faith: “Maybe it’s one of those unhappy childhood things. See, when I was a kid I used to beg my mom for a dog. Didn’t matter what kind. I just wanted something, you know. To love. A dog’s all I wanted. Well, that and toys. But mom was so busy, you know, enjoying the drinking and passing out parts of life that I never really got what I wanted. Until now.”
During her speech, she makes out with Angel and reveals her “toys,” a ton of stainless steel surgical instruments she plans to use to torture Buffy to death. But getting beyond that, this little speech explains so much. So, so much more than any of her overt sexuality or hatred of men ever could. Faith wants to be loved, but she’s so damaged that she pushes everyone away. She tries to fit in with the Scoobies and that doesn’t work, so of course The Mayor, who positions himself firmly as a father figure, is going to appeal to Faith. She’s finally feeling what she assumes is love. This brings us back to how the world “owes” her, from her fake apology from before. Finally, she thinks, the scales are balanced, so retribution is going to naturally follow.
Thank god, Faith gets to be a friggin’ complex character after almost an entire season of being a walking bad girl cliché.
Buffy tries to warn Faith about what will happen if she sticks with Angel:
Buffy: “Faith, listen to me very closely. Angel is a killer. When he’s done with me, he’ll turn on you.”
Angel: “She’s right. I probably will.”
I kind of wish Angel was like this all the time. Not, you know, evil. But the way he is when he’s evil. Because he’s hilarious like this.
Buffy asks Faith what’s in all this for her:
Faith: “You know, I come to Sunnydale, I’m a Slayer, I do my job kicking ass better than anyone. What do I hear about everywhere I go? Buffy. So I Slay. I behave. I do the good little girl routine and who does everybody thank? Buffy.”
Buffy: “That’s not my fault.”
Faith: “Everyone always asks, ‘Why can’t you be more like Buffy?’ But did anyone ever ask if you could be more like me?”
Angel: “You know I didn’t.”
Faith: “You get the Watcher. You get the mom. You get the little Scooby gang. What do I get? Jack squat. This was supposed to be my town!”
There we go. It’s not that Faith hates Buffy. Faith might have actually liked Buffy if their circumstances were different. But Faith saw being the Slayer as being special, and her calling, the only thing she’s good at, was robbed from her by someone who gets all the praise and recognition. Being the Slayer was the last shot Faith had at being loved. But no, her Watcher gets murdered or goes evil or is just an ineffectual parody of what a Watcher should be, while Buffy gets guidance and counsel from a Watcher who’s looking out for what’s best for her instead of what’s best for the council. Faith had a crappy mom, so from her perspective, Joyce is a great parent just by being sober and being present. She didn’t fit in with Buffy’s friends, despite desperately wanting to. Faith doesn’t hate Buffy because she’s Buffy. She hates Buffy because she can’t be Buffy.
Faith: “Do you think you’re better than me? Do you? Say it. You think you’re better than me.”
Buffy: “I am. Always have been.”
Don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to, Faith.
Buffy goes on to taunt Faith about how she only got Angel through magic and other totally emotionally devastating stuff.
Buffy: “You had to tie me up to beat me. There’s a word for people like you, Faith. Loser.”
Buffy also tells Faith that she’s going to stop the Ascension, which Faith laughs off as impossible.
Faith: “No one can stop the Ascension. Mayor’s got it wired, B. He built this town for demons to feed on and come graduation day, he’s gettin’ paid. And I’ll be sitting at his right hand. Assuming he has hands after the transformation. I’m not too clear on that part. And all your little lame ass friends are going to be Kibbles and Bits. Think about that when your boyfriend’s cutting into you.”
Buffy: “I never knew you had so much rage in you.”
Faith: “What can I say? I’m the world’s best actor.”
Angel: “Second best.”
Oh shit. Faith just spilled all the beans. Every bean is now on the floor. Beans have gone everywhere. So many beans.
And the reveal is in slow motion, so you know shit is serious. Faith is like, “you played me!” but no, you played yourself. The Scoobies burst through the doors as Faith goes after Buffy, and they both end up with scalpels to each other’s throats. Which is exactly why you don’t keep surgical tools in places where fistfights are common.
Faith: “What are you gonna do, B? Kill me?”
But she doesn’t kill Faith because, as Faith points out, if Buffy kills her, that makes Buffy like her, and that’s not something Buffy can handle. Then Faith kisses Buffy on the forehead and runs away.
Back at the library, the shadowy figure guy and Giles are talking:
Shadowy Guy: “The task is finished.”
Giles: “Yes. Thank you for coming to me. And for that rather effective light show you put on.”
Shadowy Guy: “This restores the balance between us, Rupert Giles. My debt to you is now repaid in full. Do not call upon me again.”
Then Shadowy guy fades away, while Giles looks on fondly.
Willow: “His debt to you is repaid? What did you do?”
Giles: “I introduced him to his wife.”
Okay, this raises questions of the “Giles has a much stranger life than we ever could have imagined” variety. At some point in his past, he was hanging out with demon-types socially. And we knew he was doing dark magic and shit when he was younger, but not necessarily like, going to parties and hanging out with unholy forces and fixing them up and what not.
Wesley is pissed off because he was out of the loop on the plan, which he believed dangerously pitted the Slayers against each other. He says he’s going to tell the council, and Giles is like, good, because rogue Slayers are dangerous. They’re all relieved that at least they know now that Faith really is evil and The Mayor has this plan. Also, isn’t it great that Angel isn’t evil? I mean, everything thinks this except for Xander, who’s pissed that Angel hit him when he wasn’t soulless. But honestly, Xander, you have a soul and you tried to kill him, albeit through Buffy. So maybe sometimes people just deserve to get punched.
Buffy is still disturbed to have seen Angel pretending to be evil. Probably because it was so easy for him.
At Faith’s apartment, which is way messier than it was last time, The Mayor consoles her over her failure.
The Mayor: “You don’t see me looking disappointed and you know why? Because I know that you’ll always have me, Faith. I’m the best and most important friend you’ll ever have.”
Then he tells her that all her so-called friends are going to die during the Ascension. Also, he’s taking her miniature golfing to make her feel better. And it does seem like it will.
The Mayor and Faith have such a cool relationship, honestly. We know that he really does care about her (despite threats to kill her if she fails, but come on, he’s evil) because of how he reacts to what happens to her later in the season. Faith only ever wanted someone to love? Well, here he is, and he loves her right back.
It’s too bad they’re trying to destroy the world.
At Angel’s house, he’s back to brooding. She’s right there with him because even though it was all pretend, seeing him acting evil has traumatized her. She needs a break.
Angel: “You still my girl?”
And then Buffy leaves Angel to brood.
This is such a good, fast-paced episode. And it needed to be. A lot of this stuff seems like it should have been revealed a little sooner in the season, and now it’s been rushed into a single episode. But they still managed to deliver the exposition without being too obvious, which is a big plus in my opinion. Watching this episode for the first time, I didn’t see the story structure or what was coming. It was amazing, so it’s still amazing.