Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Consequences   Rewatch 
July 1, 2015 10:07 PM - Season 3, Episode 15 - Subscribe

While Faith tries to pin the deputy mayor's murder on Buffy, Angel and Wesley each try to save her in their own way.
posted by yellowbinder (7 comments total)
I haven't been Xander's biggest fan, but taking Faith back into the gang after she sexually assaulted and tried to murder him seems like a really awful thing for him. And no one talks to him about how he might feel about the situation. (I can't remember if it ever comes up again.)

I get that it was a tough situation and Buffy and Giles had reason to think that bringing Faith back was the least awful option available to them, but sometimes the Scoobies really suck at supporting each other through traumatic situations.

On a much lighter note, I hate the scene with Willow crying in the bathroom and keep telling myself that the real reason she's crying is that Faith was her first girlcrush, and Willow's hurt that she's the only Scoobie that Faith didn't hit on.
posted by creepygirl at 10:29 PM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

taking Faith back into the gang after she sexually assaulted and tried to murder him seems like a really awful thing for him

Xander's feelings are often discounted, and I find that the show sometimes uses him to deliver cheap cracks involving an outdated idea of what manliness means. I hope it's to comment on those cracks and not perpetuate them, but who knows. The scene where Faith is choking him is genuinely disturbing, though.

I guess by the end of the show, each character has done something truly horrible...but is generally eventually forgiven, to varying degrees.

Willow: "Sometimes I unleash. I-I don't know my own strength. I-i-it's bad. I-I-I'm bad. I'm a bad, bad, bad person." Just wait until next episode...

I absolutely hate episodes where someone is wrongfully accused and everyone believes the accusations, so I was so relieved when Giles immediately revealed that he knew the culprit was Faith, as soon as she left. Not another Gingerbread. Wesley, on the other hand...argh.

I do like Willow getting what happened between Xander and Faith and saying "I don't need to say 'oh'. I got it before" to the other two. She may be "innocent," but she can read Xander better than they can (if only just, in this case). I'm not sure that the crying in the bathroom (more devastating Willow crying) is fully about the fact that Xander slept with Faith...I think it's more about that he didn't tell Willow at all, and she had to find out with the others. It mirrors the scene where she's upset with Buffy about her new "Slayers Only" club. Everyone is pushing away, it seems.

Goodbye, Mr. Trick. We hardly knew ye.
posted by ilana at 12:43 AM on July 2, 2015

Yeah, it's pretty rough for Xander. He's genuinely trying to help, knowing exactly how awkward it is after Buffy's told him Faith's general opinion of guys she's slept with. And Faith is insulting and demeaning and implies she's going to rape him before settling for throttling him. I have to say, she makes Xander's previous offences look pretty amateurish and innocent. I had to look away during that scene, since it turns out I am just as uncomfortable with sexualised violence against men as I am with sexualised violence against women. (This is why I will never watch GoT, but that's another story.)

So it's all very well for Buffy to say she won't give up on Faith and to hand out rescue assignments as though Faith had just given Xander a punch on the arm, but that's not on.

So yeah, defending Xander. I think you're right, ilana; he's so often used as comic relief by portraying a specific type of masculinity. And it's not funny, and not fair. It does all of them a disservice.

Ok, enough of Xander. Let me now express how Wesley has taken on the mantle of person I most love to hate. Ogling Cordelia, the comments about how he's there to watch two girls, even after Faith's jailbait comment. Yuck. And following up his charming behaviour of last episode (jumping to betray his allies) by dobbing Faith in, trussing Angel up like a chook and generally behaving like an arsehole. I get that the Scoobies aren't letting him be part of the group yet and that he thinks he's doing the right thing, but he is such an annoying prat. I know he gets his dues later. Maybe someday I'll actually watch the rest of Angel.

Oddly, my two favourite bits of this episode both involve people crying: the bit where Buffy goes to see Willow and breaks down, and Willow crying in the toilet. Such human moments.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:50 AM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is a key episode of course, and it works for me for the most part. I like that the plot confounds expectations a lot, with as ilana says the whole "Faith lying" plot not working out for her (and honestly, how would that ever have worked for her. Faith is not a deep strategic thinker). I think it's interesting how betrayed Faith feels here, specifically pointing out that Buffy was happy to lie to protect Angel, but not to protect Faith. The situation was different, but Faith it doesn't feel that way. She's been constantly marginalised and when she wants Buffy to help her, Buffy flakes. Could Buffy have handled this differently? Hard to say. It's clear that Buffy takes killing someone extremely seriously, as we'll see again in Season 6, and just isn't in the best frame of mind for dealing with Faith.

That sexual assault scene is rightly framed in a really intense, scary way. I suspect that given that sitcoms at the time (and probably still now) would use female on male sexual assault for laughs, Faith had to move to throttling Xander, but the direction is very clear from the start: what Faith is doing is wrong, and Xander does not want it to happen.

On reflection, while Wesley manages to utterly screw up Faith's capture, I kind of think he might have been right. I'm not convinced that the whole "chain Faith to the wall until she stops being evil" plan demonstrates the greatest grasp of human psychology. Buffy and Angel's approach is a more decent way of doing it, but I imagine that poor Volcanologist who Faith kills would have preferred that Faith had been successfully captured by the council. The council couldn't successfully capture Clem, however, so fail, leading to Faith looking for new employment.

-I like the dream at the start here
-Is that the same police officer from Ted investigating the murder?
-"The code word? Monkey"
-I do like that Willow crying scene. It indicates that she does have slightly messed up feelings about Xander. After all, she did harbour a crush on him for a decade or so
-Buffy's plan genuinely seemed to be for Angel to abduct Faith. After all, she asked him to do this before Faith attacked Xander (Xander went there on his own accord!)
-"I hear once you've tasted a slayer you never want to go back". I'm not sure I'm super comfortable with this line being put in a black characters mouth by white writers, but maybe I'm being over sensitive.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2015

I didn't actually make a connection between Angel interrupting Xander's near-murder and Buffy's plan. He'd been lurking around throughout the episode, obviously doing his own investigation, so I thought chaining Faith to the wall was his own idea. One which obviously resonates with Buffy, since it was her solution for immobilising someone with superhuman strength too.

If Wesley had gone about it differently - with the group's help rather than as a solo act, though it's hard to see how they ever would have agreed to help him, especially given Buffy's stellar experience of the Council - it might actually have worked and been the best thing for Faith. As Giles reveals, it's not the first time it's happened and the Council has a vested interest in protecting their asset. But they might also have deemed her surplus to requirements and written her off when she proved intractable. We will never know, and there are some beautiful moments between Faith and the Mayor to look forward to.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2015

Goodbye, Mr. Trick. We hardly knew ye.

I agree, it seemed like a waste to get rid of him so quickly. He was a refreshingly different kind of bad guy and I bet they could have done more with him.
posted by mmascolino at 9:04 AM on July 6, 2015

I, too, could have done with a lot more of Mr. Trick. Or anyone of color on this show, but I especially liked his character.

Willow crying is perfect for me, and feels like about the most accurate-to-high-school moment in the series. Basically, my read on it is that she's crying because, at that age, feelings are confusing and complicated and HUGE and that goes infinitely more for those involving sex, she's an incredibly self-denigrating person already, she and Xander have a recent romantic history, her recent attempt to seduce Oz failed (not due to her not being appealing, but due to Oz's maturity, but she's still a teenager), her best friend Xander didn't even tell her it had happened, and I think most of all, she's seeing herself as the lonely pathetic virgin in this sexualized world that's not talking to her anymore. I know I had moments like that in high school, reacting to friends passing through that rite, and that some of my friends had similar reactions to me. It just felt real.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:39 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

« Older Sense8: I Can't Leave Her...   |  Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dopp... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments