Faith's downward spiral is about to begin on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 14.
The rebellious Slayer slowly but surely turned over to the dark side after her traumatic encounter. If we had to pinpoint the start, her transformation started with the murder. And once she became the enemy, things really got interesting!
But, before that happened, we experienced the terrific friendship-focused hour between Buffy and Faith. Let's find out why by rewatching "Bad Girls."
With the exception of their introduction, Buffy and Faith got along pretty well before the betrayal.
Both of the Slayers developed an appreciation for each other. Buffy acted more of the seasoned veteran while Faith enjoyed the thrill of it all. They balanced each other with their polarizing grounded and spontaneous qualities.
Before everything went to hell, they had become friends. So, it made sense that a buddy-buddy attitude developed so quickly.
Only Faith could be the one to ask Buffy seriously if she ever hooked up with Xander (or wanted to). The fascination suited her personality perfectly. Especially when we remember Faith hooked up with Xander for the same reasons she asked the question.
They had a good mix of being colleagues and girlfriends.
Buffy's subtle change throughout "Bad Girls" is reminiscent of someone changing for a new friend. It's so very high school.
I love this short personality tweak because it reminded us that Buffy was a teenager in high school at that moment in time. She wasn't the responsible adult she came across as. Buffy felt inspired by her "cooler" friend.
Just think about it: Faith did whatever she wanted and never backed down. Even with the duties of being the Slayer, Faith followed her own path and rebelled against the situation. She lived for the thrill and basked in the freedom of life.
Buffy had to adhere to her calling more so than Faith since she had more experience and life responsibilities. So, to see someone like Faith who didn't have any expectations, that carefree reality looked far more interesting and fun than her life.
Thanks to Faith's example, she basically let go and enjoyed her Slayer side.
Buffy: That's the job. What else can we do?
Faith: Whatever we want! We're Slayers, girlfriend. The Chosen Two. Why should we let him take all the fun out of it?
Buffy: That'd be tragic, taking all the fun out of slaying and stabbing and beheading.
Faith: Oh, like you don't dig it.
Buffy: I don't.
Faith: Liar. I've seen you. Tell me staking a vamp doesn't get you a little bit juiced. Say it.
[Buffy looks aways]
Faith: Ah! Can't fool me. The look in your eyes right after a kill. Just get hungry for more.
Buffy: You are way off base.
Faith: Tell me that if you don't get in a good slaying, after a while you start itching for some vamp to show up so you can give him a good...
[Faith makes a stabbing sound and grunts]
Buffy: Again with the grunting. I'm not comfortable with that.
Faith: Hey, slaying is what we're built for. If you're not enjoying it, you're doing something wrong.
Faith and Buffy's hard techno dance at The Bronze is iconic! If you shipped this friendship, this scene was everything for you.
The music breaks through with no warning after the pair ambush the vampire nest, and the lights flash with full intensity. Add in all the moving camera angles, the dancers, and the surprised Angel, you ended up with the best moment of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 14.
But, the scene also perfectly embodied the destructive and intoxicating friendship that had developed between Faith and Buffy. The two were spiraling into their carefree Slayer mentality. I liked the use of the spinning camera angles because it matched the tone of how things were getting get out of hand.
The Slayers were hitting the lifestyle hard.
Buffy dismissed Wesley, she pushed Angel away, and she nearly ended up in prison when she tried robbing the store. Faith took it all in like any other day, but this series of events wasn't something Buffy was accustomed to in life. Getting caught by the police was her wake-up call.
You could see the reality dawn on her once the cops pointed their guns. The arrest sobered her up quickly and a moment like that brings clarity. Her realization was that she didn't want Faith's lifestyle of carefree fun anymore.
It's a shame that Buffy didn't seek help from Willow. Let alone not confiding in her friend about the worries she had of Faith.
Willow and Buffy's friendship was supposed to be this unbreakable bond of girlfriends. We've discussed in past reviews how Willow and Buffy's friendship grew into being the main BFF relationship while Willow's BFF friendship with Xander took a backseat. By this point in their history, they should be able to talk about anything.
On the other hand, the distance seemed true-to-life about high school. Sometimes a new friendship can put a wedge between previous relationships, which happened to the pairing when Buffy got too invested in the wonder that was Faith.
Even after all these years, I'm still upset when Buffy dismisses Willow in favor of Faith during the class test and the bedroom chat. All Willow wanted to do was join in and not be replaced by someone else. Come on, she even made a protection spell too!
Willow was so hurt being taken out of the loop. If Buffy only talked with her best friend, she wouldn't have felt so alone with the Faith drama.
Speaking of Faith, do you think if she had come clean about the murder to the Watchers Council/Giles after it happened, things would've gone better for her?
The death of Deputy Mayor Allan couldn't have been the first time a Slayer accidentally killed a human. Throughout all the generations of vampire-fighting Slayers, more tragedies had to have happened in the human world.
And later on, Buffy had killed a few humans too in her pursuit to get away from Glory during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 5. So, the action was a possibility.
Running away made sense since both panicked at the moment, but her disposing of the body and her indifferent attitude of the crime reached new psychotic levels. She transformed herself into a villain because of the fear that ate away at her of being caught and held responsible. (Hey, the Jedis were right about fear leading to the dark side!)
I think if she had reached out for help, the others would've handled the situation appropriately and she would've received therapy for her trauma.
Balthazar: You know what I want.
Giles: If it's for me to scrub those hard-to-reach areas, I'd like to request you kill me now.
In between the implosion of Faith and Buffy's friendship, we had a sub-plot about the demon Balthazar trying to regain his status of former glory. Balthazar was one of the most ridiculous and laughable villains that Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever had.
How could you take this Jabba the Hutt-looking demon seriously?
This "menacing and powerful" demon would flail his little arms around while barking orders like a toddler, his voice sounded like his mouth constantly overflowed with saliva, and he quite literally sat in a tub while people bathed him in water. Sure, he had Jedi-like telekinesis, but the entire creation fell flat.
As fans, we're lucky that the main friendship plot was so strong that it made up for the lackluster demonic villain. Even Mayor Wilkins' short scenes of his invincibility ritual were better than the tub monster.
Balthazar came off as the comedic relief, and that's where he should stay forever.
I loved the inclusion of Wesley to the Scoobies' dynamic.
Right from the get-go, you knew that Wesley wasn't going to mesh with the other members. Everything he did, from his pompous speeches to his self-righteous use of knowledge, clashed against the cheeky and off-beat style of the group. We were never meant to take him seriously.
In addition, his inclusion triggered a positive change in Giles' character development. Thanks to having the bookish and proper Wesley around, Giles was able to explore a darker and confident role as an ex-Watcher.
Wesley: I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself, under controlled circumstances, of course.
Giles: No danger of finding those here.
Giles: Controlled circumstances.
Wesley would hit all the notes of being the snooty Watcher while Giles could be cooler and more expressive. As reluctant as they were to each other, the pair balanced each other pretty nicely. And, their interactions created some of the funniest banter.
Giles needs to be pair more with people he can't stand more often. He constantly hit witty gold whenever he was with Wesley, Anya or Cordelia.
Wesley: Buffy, you will go to the Gleaves family crypt tonight and fetch the amulet.
Buffy: I will?
Wesley: Are you not used to being given orders?
Buffy: Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says “please.” And afterwards I get a cookie.
[She smiles at Giles]
What did you think of "Bad Girls"? Were you a fan of Wesley's first appearance? Is Balthazar a laughable villain? Why do you think Faith didn't reach out for help?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.