Angel: Five by Five   Rewatch 
September 24, 2015 6:01 AM - Season 1, Episode 18 - Subscribe

Faith comes to Los Angeles after waking up from her coma, and Wolfram & Hart hires her to kill Angel.

One of the first true "arc" stories, this episode explicitly sets up Wolfram & Hart as the Big Bads and brings into the forefront the origins of Angel's mission of redemption (of himself and others).
posted by Etrigan (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Definitely one of the best episodes of Angel. I wish they'd had Faith come on as a main cast member--she fits the redemption theme of this show much better than she fits on Buffy, where she is always getting shamed for her past (not undeservedly, I guess).
posted by chaiminda at 7:16 AM on September 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I wish they'd had Faith come on as a main cast member

That's an interesting thought experiment -- would Wesley have turned the way he did if Faith were there to provide an even darker alternative? Would she have really been able to redeem herself in a more consistent way than she (kinda) did in the last season of Buffy?
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on September 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah I'd read fanfiction with that premise. I can't really see Angel firing everyone in S2 if Faith were there--he might have felt more responsible for staying with her and keeping her on the right path. I think Faith is one of the only characters that he really seems to relate to, and it would have changed the tenor of the show a lot because Angel Bears Burdens Alone Because of his Dark Past is kind of a theme.

I'm never quite sure how Wesley wound up the way he did anyway, but it's possible that he also might have behaved differently with Faith around. Since one of the things he is redeeming himself for is being absolutely terrible Watcher, having them develop a stronger relationship would have been really interesting and possibly positive for his character development.
posted by chaiminda at 8:33 AM on September 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Faith as a character is interesting and I wish they had done more with her. The idea of Faith and Wesley seeking redemption together is intriguing. However, I often found Dushku's performance as Faith grating and so I'm glad they didn't add her as a permanent character on Angel.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:35 PM on September 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yay, this is a really good one.

Angel is better at the whole redemption thing, not just because he understands, not because he thinks he can make up for what he's done, but he seems open to the idea and worth of forgiveness for both yourself and others, and Wesley has a really hard time with both of those things. He may hate himself more than Angel ever did. That's why we see Angel get through to Faith, while Wesley tries and tries ("it's not too are not a bad person") but eventually calls her a piece of shit (similar to how Faith assumes that Willow is going to tell her that it's not too late for her to change, and Willow tells her that, no, it's far too late. In fact, we probably should have had a Willow/Wesley support group after season 6/4 respectively, but at least they did have a conversation about their respective dark phases). To be fair, he does do that after she tortures him for quite some time, so I don't really blame him. It's hard to be forgiving after that. Not quite as good as Giles' tortured "you must perform the ritual in a tutu," but not bad. It was really interesting to see the actors together again on Dollhouse with slightly reversed roles, but I guess that's enough of a spoiler.

The thing is that Wesley does try to have faith (no pun intended, though the show does use the term a lot before she shows up) in either the goodness of humanity or at least Angel's ability to inspire it (as seen in the conversation with Cordelia as Angel tries to get the punk to testify for the greater good at risk to himself: "he's got a soul, and therefore an urge to do what's right"). The rift with Angel, first in season two, then in season three where Wesley goes it alone (never do this in a Whedon show) and does what he thinks is right, and then Angel, instead of forgiving him, tries to kill him, is basically the beginning of the end for Wesley's hopes. Then, of course, there's the regression that occurs after the mind-wipe, and...well, that's a discussion for another season.

Anyway, mostly I really like this one. Lots of chemistry between Faith and Lilah (I really wish they'd spent more time together), great character moments all around. Angel trying to keep up in the conversation with the random W&H lawyer is very funny. I don't know why W&H doesn't seem to know about Faith's history with Angel. You'd think they would.

The one cinematography thing that drove me crazy was how many times they cut to Wesley staring at the knife in the floor when Faith and Angel are fighting. We get it, he sees the knife, he's going to use it to cut the ropes and then potentially attack her (or, well, grab yet a different knife for some reason). It's jarringly done and it actually made us laugh when we were watching that part, which it was definitely not intended to do, because I like the rest of the episode so much (also, when she jumps on him and he screams behind the gag and then later she says "I want to hear you scream" and he says "you never will" but uh wait didn't you just do that a few minutes ago, weird writing on that one).
posted by ilana at 12:26 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

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