Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Buffy the Vampire Slayer- Consequences

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3
Episode: “Consequences” (February 16 1998)

Synopsis by Jason Henderson

Overview
Buffy and Faith are feeling the heat after Faith accidentally staked the mayor's human aide. Can Angel and the gang keep Faith from sliding into the dark side?

Credits:

Screenplay: Marti Noxon
Direction: Michael Gershman
Buffy: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Cordelia: Charisma Carpenter
Angel: David Boreanaz
Willow: Alyson Hannigan
Xander: Nicholas Brendan
Mr. Trick: K. Todd Freeman
Giles: Anthony Stewart Head
Wesley Price: Alexis Denisof


Synopsis

We open in Buffy's nightmare, where she's haunted by Faith's accidental killing last episode of Deputy Mayor Alan Fish by Faith. It seems Fish's body has been found, and the Mayor is vowing to bring the perps to justice.

New Watcher Price wants the Slayers to investigate Fish's murder, but Giles thinks it would be a waste of Slayer time. Price exhibits a weakness for Cordelia, who's looking mighty tan. "First word 'jail,' second word 'bait,'" Faith advises. Buffy, plagued by guilt, doesn't want to conduct a fake investigation, but Faith reminds Buffy that she's "part of this... all the way."

Willow's feeling shut out and jealous of Buffy's time, and Buffy's being distant. Angel surmises pretty quickly that Fish's murder was the work of the Slayers, and the Mayor comes to the same conclusion. ("Well. The Slayer up for Murder One.")
The Slayers break into Fish's office to figure out why he might have been in the alley when they killed him—but the Mayor's already emptied all of Fish's files. They see Mr. Trick and the Mayor together.

Buffy wants to tell, but Faith argues, in the end, that the Slayers are "better" than that. "Nobody's going to care about some random bystander that got caught in the crossfire." But the police are closing in, and when Faith and Buffy are interviewed separately, they can't get their story straight.

Buffy comes to see Willow, and finally tells the slayers' secret. Willow pushes Buffy to go to Giles, but when she arrives, Faith beat her there—and ratted Buffy out for the murder!

But when Faith is gone, Giles reveals he isn't buying what Faith has to sell. However, such tragic accidents have happened before- - and usually the watcher council will handle it. But Giles is worried because Faith is being so dodgy, and may run. New Watcher Price overhears this conversation, however.

Xander wants to talk to Faith. "We have a connection," he says. When the gang figures out what went down between Xander and Faith, Willow is visibly crushed, and we next see her dissolving in tears in the girl's room.

Xander, the trooper, goes to see Faith and offer his friendship, but she's not responsive. "I see, I want, I take, I forget," she says, as she begins to seduce, and then to choke, Xander. It's Angel that saves Xander this time.

Angel gives Faith a talking to while she's chained up at his place. "I know what it's like to take life... the power in it, the exhilaration. You and me, Faith- - we're a lot alike." But his intervention is itself interrupted by Price and a gang of watchers, who beat Angel and seize Faith—leading almost immediately to Faith's escape.

Soon Price is apologizing profusely for screwing up (terrorizing Faith and then letting her back on the streets.) Buffy finds Faith at the docks, and strikes her when Faith pushes the wrong buttons. ("We don't need the law. We are the law.") Mr. Trick attacks Buffy and Faith, and Mr. Trick actually dies. Later, even while Giles suggests Faith "stands a chance" for redemption, Faith is volunteering to replace Mr. Trick at the Mayor's office.


Notes

Wow. I'm not sure where Faith is going to go from here, but if we're headed for Faith as a super-villain, the powers that be did it the right way: introduce her as a good guy and then slowly drive her to the dark side. I've always thought it sort of a shame that Faith is played as such a "bad girl," unstable essentially because she's a hedonist. But in this episode she has gone unstable, and her hedonism takes a nasty turn. She seems just about to kill Xander in bed, and one wonders if she would have stopped choking the poor guy before he was dead if Angel hadn't knocked her upside the head with a baseball bat.

I love a world where the characters are so powerful that you get their attention by hitting them with bats.

The funny thing is that if Faith does become a super-villain, we'll have seen the progress from the exact opposite side of how it usually goes. How many times have we seen a villain appear in a show or comic, and the hero tells a story along the lines of "once we were brothers/lovers/comrades at arms, but they went bad." We don't usually see the story unfold, because frankly it's pretty hard to watch.

More frustration: Angel's intervention with Faith is a noble idea and would have been fun to watch; with any luck he'll get a second session.

Of course, Willow-watchers will love or hate this episode, because the poor witch girl goes through Hell when she learns that Faith slept with Xander, who of course she'll always love. And Xander just doesn't get it, which is authentically male.

Voila. Buffy: the Vampire Slayer continues to impress.

Memorable Quotes
On talking things out:
"I've been letting things fester and I don't like it. I want to be fester-free."
(Willow, when Buffy finally comes to her with the truth about why the Slayers have been dodging her.)

On bedding a slayer
"It was nice. It was great. It was kind of a blur."
(Xander, resisting Faith's advances but reminiscing, sort of.)


On BDSM etiquette
Angel: "And you forgot the safety word, is that it?"
Faith: "Safety words are for wusses."
(After Angel found Faith introducing Xander, rather against his will, to the world of erotic asphyxiation.)

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