Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | December 19, 2011

Robin’s Review: S3, E15 – Consequences

Synopsis: Wesley asks Buffy and Faith to look into Allan’s death. Buffy is overwhelmed by guilt while Faith is in denial. The police get close to the truth and in tears Buffy confesses all to Willow. When she goes to tell Giles Faith is there claiming that it was Buffy who did it. Xander goes to see Faith to try and get her to open up but instead she nearly kills him. Angel steps in and chains Faith up. Wesley then arrives with men from the Council to take her back to England. She escapes and Buffy finds her at the docks where they are attacked by Mr Trick and his men.

The Good: Although not advertised as such this was essentially part two of the story of how Faith turned to the dark side. It was typically solid and enjoyable.

The writing was good in covering all the plausible angles of her denial. Giles explains that centuries of slaying have naturally led to this moment before which makes sense. Faith makes good arguments too pointing out the potential for collateral damage, the uselessness of having a Slayer in jail, the double standards surrounding Angel and the sheer amount of lives they have saved. All those points definitely needed to be made so that we could watch Faith step past them and reveal the more unsettling thoughts she has below the surface.

Unlike Buffy, who is haunted by Allan’s death, Faith is genuinely happy to get back to business as usual. When Buffy challenges her on what she has done Faith admits to thinking she is better than other people and so deserves special treatment. That line of thinking is a great super-hero storyline but it also very much relates to ideas surrounding soldiers v civilians. Xander then steps in to try and help in the key scene of the whole episode. He is a “nice boy” and assumed that there was some genuine affection between them after having sex. Instead she ends up demonstrating the truly horrible power that she has over regular people. She starts playing but perhaps would have ended up killing him just to see how far she could push things. In a show about female empowerment this scene was really important. Women may be the “weaker” sex but this storyline makes it explicit that humans with power can abuse those without regardless of gender.

Buffy confronts Faith at the docks and Faith makes it explicit that the wild life is one she likes living. She clearly isn’t going to change anytime soon. She may save Buffy from Mr Trick but she then decides to stop running and seek official sanction for her lifestyle from the Mayor. It’s a big twist and sets up our big bad guy with a most interesting and important partner.

Elsewhere…Buffy played her guilt well and her re-bonding with Willow was good. I thought Willow’s reaction to the news about Xander and Faith was very well written. She has no rational argument for resenting what they did but emotionally it bothers her deeply. Buffy and Giles’ relationship remains one of the best things about the show. For a second it seems like we will have to sit through a tiresome scene where she convinces him that Faith is lying but instead he instantly admits that he knows that. That is one of those small moments that Buffy does so well where the writers avoid television clichés and instead write for the characters in a way that feels true.

The Bad: I don’t think we needed a flashback to last episodes Angel-Buffy scene. We would have worked out what Angel was thinking without it.

The Unknown: I’m not sure what Angel’s long term plan was for chaining Faith up. Wow the Watcher’s Council are incompetent aren’t they? You would think Wesley would have whipped out some of those injections they gave Buffy (312).

Best Moment: Faith choking Xander really was a strong scene. The world of Buffy is built around the silliness and expendability of demons. When a human character is genuinely in peril the show makes it clear that this is something altogether different and serious.

The Bottom Line: A very solid episode. It’s hard to relate to Faith’s damaged psychology so I didn’t have much of an emotional reaction to what’s unfolding. However the storytelling and characterisation were very good.

67/100

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