Friday, 20 May 2011

Buffy: 3.15 ‘Consequences’

Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: Michael Gershman

What's the sitch?

Following on from the events of the last episode, Buffy is keeping quiet about what happened - namely Faith killing a human being – though doing so is eating her up inside. She wants to tell Giles but Faith won’t hear of it. The dark slayer is acting as if nothing happened, as if what she did had no effect on her at all. But the man Faith killed was the Deputy Mayor and the police are intent on nailing his killer. Clues eventually lead them to questioning Buffy and Faith separately with both girls claiming to know nothing. But it’s all too much for Buffy and she breaks down to Willow telling her friend what happened. Willow tells Buffy she has to go to Giles, which she does…only to find Faith already there having told the ex-watcher that it was Buffy who killed the Deputy Mayor. Giles pretends to believe her but after Faith has gone he reveals to Buffy he knows Faith is the real culprit. Giles thinks she first has to admit what she’s done before she can be helped and he doesn’t intend to tell the Watchers Council. Unfortunately new Watcher Wesley secretly overhears this and heads off to make his own plans for Faith. Meanwhile Buffy has asked Angel to intervene, to try and reach Faith. Angel captures Faith and takes her to his mansion in a kind of forced intervention…only to have Wesley and some Watchers Council goons interrupt and snatch Faith away in order to take her to England for a tribunal. But Faith goes and escapes from the hapless Council goons and heads to the docks to catch a freighter out of the country. Buffy finds her there just in time only for Mr Trick and some vamp heavies working for the Mayor to attack and try to kill both slayers. As the battle starts going badly for Buffy, Faith is forced to make a choice – flee and let Buffy die at the fangs of evil vamps or stay and saver her sister slayer. Luckily Faith saves our girl and Mr Trick, that coolest of cool cat vamps, is dusted. Later, Buffy and Giles confer and Buffy says she thinks Faith may have a chance at being helped and that she won’t give up on her. But at the same time, across town, Faith goes to see the Mayor, this season’s big bad, and offers him her services.

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

It’s all there in the title. All actions have consequences. To deny that only serves to make things worse. Faith’s selfish code of “Want. Take. Have” has all of its own unforeseen consequences and is not a sustainable way to live. It’s a very teenage thing. Live in the moment, do what you want, forget about what might come. Life is forever and you are invincible. Only age and experience counters this. And experience if not age is something Buffy has over Faith. Buffy dallied with Faith’s philosophy for a bit. It seemed exciting, freeing. It wasn’t. Quite the opposite. Actions and their consequences are a running theme in Buffy forming the basis for Angel’s character arc as well as Faith’s throughout the rest of Buffy and in to Angel and beyond.

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

Faith, Mr Trick and his vamp goons

Why it rocks

It’s an effective part 2 to what began in the previous episode and nicely draws the distinction between the sort of slayers that Buffy and Faith are.

Buffy is put through the emotional wringer. You can feel the huge weight on her tiny little shoulders, her big eyes full of fear and pain all the way through. When she finally breaks down to Willow it is a well-earned release and you feel real sympathy for her. SMG does a great job.

Eliza Dushku. As always Eliza is great as Faith. She is effectively bullying Buffy all through this, forcing our girl to keep quiet and tow the line. She is also clearly coming unhinged. The scene where she almost kills Xander after he comes to offer her help, first forcing herself on him sexually, then throttling him, is pretty chilling stuff. And she really does sell it. She’s gorgeous and sexy but she is also one scary girl. Luckily Angel shows up just in time or the Xan man would have been history.

Harry Groener. As The Mayor Harry Groener is so much fun to watch and so darn good. He can do warm, funny, chilling, goofy, evil, all in the same scene, sometimes in the same line of dialogue. This is why he was and will always remain my favourite Big Bad of Buffy. He’s an evil monster, but you can’t help but love the guy.

Faith and The Mayor. This episode marks the very beginning of what is one of the best and sweetest relationships in the entire Buffyverse: Faith and The Mayor. Yes, they are the villains, but they also form such a close and caring father/daughter relationship mirroring that of Buffy and Giles that is genuinely charming and affecting. Not many shows will invest this much time and real sympathy in its villains.

Why it sucks

Where’s Oz?

Major continuity gaffs. The day after the Deputy Mayor’s murder (in the previous ep.), Buffy went to Faith's (in bright daylight and a clean outfit). This episode begins with Buffy in her pyjamas, waking up from a nightmare. She then goes to school meaning this is at least the second day since the murder. But the detective questioning the witness at the scene of the crime says, "You heard the man scream at about what time last night?" Later that night, Buffy says to Faith, "Less than 24 hours ago, you killed a man."

In the Dock fight it is fairly plain that it is SMG’s stunt double in a lot of the fight. The director didn’t hide the fact very well at all.

How did Wesley get the key to free Faith from Angel’s chains?

What exactly led the police detective to go question Buffy and Faith? It’s a bit of a dramatic leap. Sure, they found wooden shards in his wound but the cops don’t know about slayers. Or do they?

Mr Trick, that super cool vampire dude, goes out like a punk, staked in the back. What a waste of a great character. Boo!

It's Buftastic

It has to be the scene in Faith’s motel room where she molests and assaults poor Xander and almost kills him. Chilling.

Dialogue to die for

Willow: "I've been letting things fester. And I don't like it. I want to be fester-free."

Willow: "Oh, Buffy! Don't cry! I'm sorry. I was too hard on you. Sometimes I unleash, I don't know my own strength. It's bad. I'm bad. I'm a bad, bad, bad person!"

Buffy: "Oh."
Giles: "Oh!"
(They all look at Willow.)
Willow: "I don't need to say 'Oh.' I got it before. They slept together."

Cordelia (seeing Wesley): “Check out Giles: The Next Generation. What's your deal?”

And another thing

Kathleen Wilhoite, who sang the featured song in this episode, is also an actress. One of her notable roles was the recurring character Chloe Lewis on ER.

How many stakes?

Bad Faith is good. 3.5 (out of 5)

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