Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | September 18, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S3, E3 – Faith, Hope and Trick

Faith, Hope and Trick
Season 3, Episode 3
Original airing: 10/13/1998

My Rating: 72

The Good: This episode was packed with new characters, storylines, and emotional sequences. It could have been extremely overwhelming, but the writing was very concise and intermingled. Scott, Faith, and Mr. Trick all felt like part of the same story tied together by Buffy. This careful structuring led to a dense episode which didn’t feel rushed.

The show again introduced characters which felt fully formed and as if they had lives before meeting Buffy. It did this extremely well in season two with Spike and Drusilla. The casting is pitch perfect and supports each character wonderfully.

Scott Hope as a new love interest for Buffy is an interesting choice. He’s obviously very different from Angel. He’s human, normal and very sweet. His writing makes him charming, kind and simple. He could come across as very cloying, but the actor manages to keep him from appearing stalker-ish. Obviously, there are questions about his longevity on the show now that Angel has reappeared. But it will be interesting to see his potential relationship with Buffy progress.

Mr. Trick is introduced as a subordinate of Kakistos. But he’s a slick-talking, modern vampire and his desertion at the end of the episode makes a lot of sense. He’s very clever in his methods for obtaining food and obviously is the brains behind the operation.

Faith is also introduced well. She’s a very powerful personality and just fits herself right into people’s lives with a smile and a flirty comment. The questions of what this means for Buffy as a slayer are overhanging. Could Buffy resume a normal life and allow Faith to take up her duties? The conversation happens briefly regarding Kendra as well, but Kendra had her own Watcher to go back to. With Giles appointed as Faith’s temporary Watcher, it makes the possibility of a normal life for Buffy very attainable and potent.

Faith also gets to display some vulnerability here. She’s obviously affected by the death of her Watcher and has been hiding it behind bravado. Her choice to stand up against Kakistos even while terrified speaks well of her character. And, as Buffy says, what matters is that she didn’t die.

The Scoobies get their moments as well. Xander, Willow and Cordelia all have side comments and conversations about their own interests and how Faith’s appearance is affecting their lives. Joyce also gets her moment in the kitchen with Buffy when she learns Buffy died once. Her understanding of Buffy’s enforced lifestyle has grown dramatically, but she’s obviously still scared and ultimately just wants Buffy to be safe.

The Bad: The writers again fall into their own trap of building up a villain to be uber-powerful and then dispatching him with ease. Kakistos is supposed to be super strong and ancient. We also get to see real fear from Faith regarding his following her. As soon as Buffy mentions his name, Faith begins to pack, planning to run away again. But then it takes one small fight and a large I-beam to kill him off. It was rather disappointing and severely reduced his threat level.

Favorite Moment: Giles uses a clever ruse to finally get Buffy to talk about exactly what happened with Angel and Acathla. This conversation absolutely had to happen and I appreciate that it took time to develop over three episodes.

The Bottom Line: A very dense, very well-written episode. The new characters are strong and interesting and Buffy finally deals with the root of her feelings around Angel. The reintroduction at the end leaves huge potential open for the show with Angel’s return, Mr. Trick’s cleverness and Faith’s wildness.

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