Buffy 3×03: Faith, Hope, and Trick

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: David Greenwalt | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 10/13/1998]

This is a great start to the S3 arc. Like the title says, the three new characters introduced in this episode are Faith, Scott Hope, and Mr. Trick. I like what all of these characters bring to the show and am happy with all three. I’ve got a couple really big complaints though. The first is how lame the vampire Kakistos is, and the second is the fact that Angel, somewhat randomly, returns from hell.

Early in the episode Buffy has a nightmare where Angel seems very angry with her for sending him to hell. This is very much in character for her and reminds me of the forgiveness problems she had in “I Only Have Eyes for You” [2×19] . She’s still having problems getting over what she did to Angel, and it shows. This is why Giles, in a very slick way, makes up the need for a binding spell in order to get more information out of Buffy on what happened that day, after Xander took him out of the mansion. Buffy skipped town for several months without telling anyone which pretty much clues in Giles to the fact that something much more traumatic than just “sending Angelus to hell” happened.

It’s cute seeing Willow trying to help Buffy get back in date mode, but it just goes to show that she obviously doesn’t have any idea what Buffy is feeling right now. This season, and beyond, the relationship between Buffy and Willow begins to change. They are not nearly as close this year as they were last year. While at the end of “Dead Man’s Party” [3×02] it appears everything’s back to normal, it turns out everything’s far from normal in terms of their relationship. This really becomes a problem in S4 and never fully fixes itself by S5. This slowly building separation is why they don’t see each others’ big problems in S6. This is amazingly well thought out and smart character development which is completely unique to the television landscape.

From the moment we meet Faith in the alley I liked her more than Kendra. While I admitted I liked what Kendra brought out in Buffy, she just never really interested me as a character. Faith on the other hand is a completely different story. She’s complicated, conflicted, and interesting right away. She’s also the anti-Kendra. Kendra made us feel like Buffy was an irresponsible Slayer. Faith brings up the point that Buffy needs to find the fun in slaying, which is saying that Faith thinks Buffy is too responisble. All of this just goes to show how well balanced Buffy really is, which is probably why she’s still alive right now. It’s also interesting that Faith and Buffy are verbally sparring with each other during their first patrol together. Boy this this hint at things to come.

The whole fighting makes Slayers “hungry and horny” comment from Faith turns out to have a lot of truth behind it. Although we don’t get an admission from Buffy here, it is proven that she does have that urge in future seasons. I believe the first time this is really brought to light is in “The I in Team” [4×13] , when Buffy and Riley have sex after capturing the spear demon. I must admit that I laughed when, after Faith made the comment, the whole gang turned to look at Buffy. Also an amusing reference to S4 is when Joyce says about Faith, “I like this girl.” I was laughing when comparing her comment to what happens in “This Year’s Girl” [4×15] : Faith is threatening to kill Joyce with a knife in her bedroom.

I really thought the scene where Buffy “lets go” of Angel by leaving the ring in the mansion and says good bye was well done. That should have ended the Buffy and Angel relationship issues for good. I sure hope the only reason Angel came back was to prepare him for his own show, because I would have much rather had him stay gone. I can’t help but feel Angel’s return here cheapens his ‘death’ in “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] , and that’s not a good thing.

Kakistos was unfortunately a poorly written, not to mention boring, villain. He comes into town carrying history with Faith, yet all we get is a one dimensional and surprisingly weak vampire. Faith completely shutting down just at the sight of him doesn’t rub off well on me either; I just don’t buy it. At least he was killed off quickly though. I liked the suave high-tech nature of Mr. Trick a lot more and was pleased to see him ditch his ‘boss’ for better things. On the whole, this is a really good episode.

Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Willow braving the notion of being able to go off campus for lunch as a senior. Love the ‘uncoupling’ for Buffy.
+ Buffy and Joyce making fun of Principal Snyder.
+ Xander loving Faith’s Slayer stories.
+ Joyce finally finding out Buffy technically died a year and a half before.
+ Scott giving Buffy the same friendship ring, as a present, that Angel gave to her.


* Giles once again expresses concern about Willow’s knowledge of black magic. He continues to warn yet Willow continues to dabble. This slowly grows into her magic addiction in S6.
* “Hungry and horny” comes up in a subtle way multiple times in the series. Buffy denies the horny part here but confirms she has it in “The I in Team” [4×13] .
* Xander seems to be completely infatuated with Faith in this episode. This creates a bit of a spark between them which is fully realized during “The Zeppo” [3×13] .




36 thoughts on “Buffy 3×03: Faith, Hope, and Trick”

  1. [Note: Austin posted this comment on September 24, 2007.]

    But would you really have been willing to give up five seasons of Joss-y goodness just so Angel could stay dead and not “cheapen” becoming pt 2?


  2. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 21, 2007.]

    I don´t think his return cheapens his death in Becoming. I think we needeed some other resolution to their relationship and also I love what Angel brings to the gang: he causes more disruption between then than any other person or demon. And I also think it´s necessary to figure out what Buffy is gonna do. This season is about identity, so she needs to find a way to move on, to find her own life without him, since their relationship isn´t going anywhere else.
    About the episode, it´s very entertaining. I just love the chemistry between Faith and Buffy. What I also find amusing is the whole gang loving Faith, considering what´s gonna happen in the next episodes.


  3. [Note: Tony posted this comment on June 8, 2008.]

    No Angel did need to come back, I mean look at the Angel series, amazing. But I do agree with you on how he came back, it was just random and still doesn’t make sense to me why he even came back.


  4. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 5, 2008.]

    While I’m not a big Angel fan, and a quite possible way to go here would have been to just let Buffy start moving on, I do kind of appreciate the way the show makes life difficult for her again, instead, by putting Angel back in her life. Even if the basic reason behind this move was preparing for AtS. (Hey, plenty of BtVS plotting has to do with practical reasons like this more than anything else.)


  5. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 5, 2008.]

    Another comment: it’s funny how, while Mr. Trick is a pretty darn cool vampire when you think about it (and obviously the character was designed with coolness in mind), he never manages to get interesting the way Spike did. I wonder whether the writers aimed to introduce him as a sort of “Spike 2.0” but ultimately decided that the original Spike did the job better.


  6. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on October 11, 2009.]

    Completely agree that this is an amazing episode. I also wanna point out that Mr. Trick and Maggie Walsh are my favorites “villains” (I’s a shame they weren’t developed well enough)


  7. [Note: Nix posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    Am I the only person to be deeply freaked out by the Happy Burger bar? I mean, yes, night-time and scary music and murders but, even without that, that sign is *frightening*. I’m amazed they ever got any customers at all.


  8. [Note: Wulvaine posted this comment on November 8, 2009.]

    I’m going through the series for the first time right now, and personally I’m really glad they brought Angel back. I’m a big fan of the character as well as David Boreanaz. And I’m glad Angel (despite the fact that he and Buffy clearly aren’t ever going to work out again the way they once did) has the chance to be a good guy again for a while before moving to LA for his spinoff.


  9. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on May 21, 2010.]

    I agree that bringing Angel back cheapened “Becoming Pt.2,” even if it was worth it in the end because we got another good show out of it, and I agree with Wulvaine that it was important to mend their relationship a bit before the new show started. But I think they could’ve at least waited a little longer. Along that line, sometimes I think the entire Angel series somewhat undermines BtVS, because they show us a universe (multiverse?) full of multi-dimensional evil that doesn’t even seem to care that the slayer exists. I mean, Buffy’s supposed to be on the front lines of the fight against evil, but compared to what Angel gets up to she seems more like the rearguard. Angel is a good show, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t part of the Buffyverse (yes, I know that’s not possible).


  10. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on May 21, 2010.]

    Sorry, forgot to finish my comment. I think another really interesting thing to see in this episode is the dynamic between Faith and Buffy. There is no hint (that I can see) that Faith is gonna go evil, but Buffy immediately dislikes her. This is because, 1. Faith’s footlose-and-fancy-free attitude grates on Buffy (understandable, especially because Buffy has good reasons for being so serious right now), and 2. Buffy’s jealous of how her friends react to Faith. While I’m sympathetic to Buffy’s response, it’s also very sad to see Buffy immediately act so cold toward Faith, knowing how things are going to end up. It sort of opens up the possibility that things could have turned out differently, if Buffy had been kinder and more open to Faith, so that they could have built some real trust before things got so trying. There are other moments in the episodes between this one and “Consequences” that point to that as well.

    It’s also noteworthy that we never again see Faith as friendly and outgoing as she is in this episode. I don’t think this is a character inconsistency, though — Faith is new to town, trying to fit in, and most of all is trying to hide how traumatized she was by her encounter with Kakistos.

    I agree that Faith is a lot more interesting than Kendra. I do wish that she got more time on Buffy (or Angel), because I think they could’ve done a lot more with her character.


  11. [Note: Aeryl posted this comment on July 2, 2010.]

    The rear guard? Really? How many apocalypses did she stop?

    I like AtS and all, but it took Wolfram & Hart several centuries and dimensions to plot out their Apocalypse, and it took Angel, what, two episodes to undo it all? While, by the end Buffy, I think 10 were averted.

    I always viewed Angel as fighting the smaller battles, while Buffy focused on the war.


  12. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 15, 2010.]

    The Good:

    Oz and Xander almost carrying Willow across the threshold. Willow freaking out.

    Mr Trick pointing out the majority race in Sunnydale. “Makes D.C look, like Mayberry.”

    Willow’s cute smile to Giles after he calls her on his ‘clucking’.

    Cordelia telling Xander that maybe she should dress like a Slayer and hold a stake to his throat. Hell Yeah!

    Buffy continually mis-pronouncing Kakistos. “Kissing Toast” “Taquitos”

    Giles tricking Buffy into admitting what really happened in ‘Becoming Pt 2’.

    The Bad:

    Faith is beaten by Kakistos savagely, yet isn’t hurt at all.

    Angel returns way too soon.

    Side Note: I think Mr Trick was supposed to be Spike#2 as he is the cool vampire that doesn’t go for all the showy stuff and he says a similar thing as Spike did when he leaves Kakistos fighting the slayers. Both Spike and Trick paused, commented and then left.


  13. [Note: NK posted this comment on February 12, 2011.]

    Angel coming back is a bit of a cheat, but I still love the Bangel relationship in Season 3 – although lacking the emotional intensity of Season 2, it reminds me of a lot of those real-life relationships where people stick together more out of habit and memory of the good times than because there’s any future to it.

    Funny that you prefer this episode to the previous two – this is one of my least favorite episodes of Season 3.


  14. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 1, 2011.]

    The scene where Faith and Buffy are verbally sparring ends with Faith wondering if Buffy could take her in a fight. That might be foreshadowing to “Revelations”(their first fight) and “Graduation day pt 1” which ends with Buffy putting Faith in a coma.


  15. [Note: tvfan332 posted this comment on August 16, 2011.]

    fray-adjacent – I know you commented a while ago, but I wanted to reply anyway.

    I think Buffy was reluctant to accept Faith for another reason. Buffy views herself as THE slayer. As much as that responsibility can get to her at times, we see in Helpless that it makes her feel important (being the one person in the world chosen to slay the vampires, etc.). Faith takes the spotlight away from Buffy. Buffy is no longer the slayer, she is a slayer (one of two, but still…). She took an immediate disliking to Kendra, too. (Although, in both cases it could be argued that there was a personality clash there – Kendra is all business, Faith is all impulse – and Buffy’s relationship with her calling can be a little more difficult than that. Granted, we know Faith’s relationship with being the slayer isn’t cut and dry, but at this point we don’t know too much about her).

    I love this episode. Faith was introduced beautifully (love the character, love the arc, love Eliza) and the episode is just plain fun.


  16. [Note: Dave posted this comment on August 17, 2011.]

    Willow’s ignorance to both the dangers of magic and Buffy’s clear issues with “dating” both irritated me no end. She had the audacity in the previous episode to say that Buffy’s leaving caused HER problems. Now, she’s reinforcing her lack of understanding by being tactless and, quite frankly, a bad friend just to make herself feel better.


  17. [Note: blackwan posted this comment on December 18, 2011.]

    Season three is one of my favoriates because of Faith and her relationship with Buffy. Sadly to me in Season 8 doesn’t work for me Faith and Buffy’s relationship should have been mended.


  18. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 22, 2011.]

    A great introductory episode for an amazing prominent character of this season. Faith is Buffy’s flip side, something that will be made ever so more palpable as the season goes on, most notably in Bad Girls and Consequences. Faith has a penchant for slaying, she lives and breathes it which diverges from the feelings Buffy has; Buffy has always seen being the slayer as having a job it being a burden preventing her from being ‘normal’ where as Faith is more willing to accept it as being apart of who she is, finding the abilities that come with the slayer gig tantalising. This, however only serves to escalate her problems in the future, the god like complex she has that being the slayer ultimately means she is better than others, that normal rules don’t apply.

    Getting back to this episode though, We see Faith as a vibrant girl always looking for the fun, this makes her hit immediately with Willow, Xander and even Giles. All three of these characters are seeing a different side to what means to be the slayer. What they see is a quality they obviously like. Notable at the Bonze, all the guys are glued to Faith when she is telling her battle stories and later on both Willow and Xander opt to hang with Faith over helping Buffy cram for a make-up test.

    Looking retrospectively, there are a few subtle moments of foreshadowing. Buffy inviting Faith to have dinner at her house foreshadows, it can be speculated, the events of season 4 Who Are You. Faith encroaches into Buffy’s life here at meal time but in season 4 in Buffy herself.

    The confrontation the two have while out on their first patrol together foreshadows the battles and the arguments the two will have.

    Faith and her arrival in Sunnydale isn’t a coincidence, she is running. Much like Buffy did at the end of Becoming pt 2. The plot of the episode is fast paced, it kept me entertained and there were some great moments.

    Amongst the introduction to Faith we have Giles’ perception into Buffy’s heartache over the events in Becoming pt 2. I must say i am pleased that these events are getting some air time, that Buffy manages to alleviate some of her pent up pain to Giles and Willow, its conducive to Buffy’s moving on and accepting the date with Scott Hope. I can’t say much about this new character, he seems to like Buffy and cares for her. A nice normal guy too. I have my issues with not seeing Buffy outside of Sunnydale a lot longer than the one episode; Anne but i must say that i rather like the way the writers spaced out Buffy’s admission of what happened and her mourning and being ready to say goodbye to Angel instead of it being an influx of emotions in one episode

    The bottom line; this episode is a good one, season 3 is on track now that one of the seasons two villains have arrived. This episode is one of the reasons i rate this season as my favourite.


  19. [Note: JustJenna posted this comment on March 18, 2012.]

    Is it reaching to suggest that the “uncoupling” may be foreshadowing for the breakups that happen later in this season? Especially since when the “uncouple” Xander and Willow end up next to each other.


  20. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 21, 2012.]

    This is a fun episode. I, too, didn’t really buy how freaked out Faith was over Taquitos or whatever. Faith and Buffy were quite the opposites here. It was interesting how eager the gang was to accept a slayer who was peppy and feisty… it’s easier to deal with that than the heavier parts of slayin.g


  21. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on May 6, 2013.]

    Just rewatched this. I love how the mayor is always mentioned quickly prior to his actual appearance. After Buffy and Joyce leave, the secretary tells Synder that the Mayor is waiting to speak on the phone on line 1. The look on Synder’s face only hints at what kind of man the Mayor is =)


  22. [Note: T.G. posted this comment on December 14, 2013.]

    Kakistos really did kind of scare me. He had that clichΓ© vampire talk going for him. which always creeps me out. but to be honest his hooves make me laugh! WTF!!!! hahahahahahahahaha

    But to be honest I sort of like faith better than Buffy. I love her personality. πŸ™‚ im so happy when she gets introduced.


  23. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 14, 2014.]

    Kakistos was the worst villain ever. As the commentor above me mentioned, his hooves were hilarious! xD.

    On a more serious note, I loved this episode. I instantly knew I was going to like Faith, even the first time around the series. She is like a breath of fresh air compared to Kendra. It’s funny how in Season 2, episode 3, Spike and Dru were introduced. And here in Season 3, episode 3, Trick and Faith are introduced.
    Of course, even if Mr. Trick is a good villain, nobody can be a Spike replacement. Spike is the best Spike.
    The only complaint I have with this season is the lack of Spike, but that’s a minor con and a personal issue which I don’t dwell upon much because the Mayorrr and Faith! πŸ˜€

    I think the major reason why Buffy was jealous and instantly disliked Faith was because of what we see in CWDP in Season 7, Buffy has a superiority complex. And I don’t really blame her for that. So she’s always been the chosen one, and she just got her life back, she isn’t intending on sharing that life with anyone else. Slayers always work best alone. Of course, her jealously and Angel issues and stuff also tie into her snarky behavior.

    P.S. I am disappointed with Xander, he is such a horny high school boy in this episode. It just highlights how immature he is at this moment. He really doesn’t see what he has, if I were Cordelia, I would’ve broken up with him by now.
    I can’t believe how easily Cordy keeps waving off Xander’s behaviour. When he’s not mumbling on about Buffy or Willow, he’s drooling over the new Slayer in town. Maybe this is what pisses me off about Xander. In the first 2-3 seasons, he’s the show’s obligatory testosterone induced jackass.

    Anyway great episode. Five by five. πŸ˜‰


  24. [Note: ML posted this comment on June 5, 2014.]

    Why do people keep comparing Mr Trick with Spike? I’ve never thought of them as being similar. So they’re both evil vampires with a certain style, which is not really similar. Spike was a leader, Mr Trick was a follower, which he continues to be after Kakistos dies, he just changes boss. In this episode, Mr Trick leaves his boss to die because he doesn’t get entirely the point of revenge, but Spike does care about revenge.
    As for Buffy’s feelings towards Faith, well, there are really a number of explanations that were already been given by others, but I also think the behaviour of her friends has a huge influence on that.
    As for Cordy and Xander, I think even in season 2, it became clear that Cordy liked Xander more than he likes her, so the smaller things like drooling over someone else are forgiven. After all, it’s because of lack of maturity, but she is willing to forgive that because of her feelings for him.


  25. [Note: Ellie posted this comment on July 1, 2014.]

    I love Faith! She is my all-time favourite character in the Buffyverse, so rebellious and out of control, yet very vulnerable at the same time. She definitely came at a very good time in the show and acts as a breath of fresh air to the setup. I think one of the main reasons season 3 is my favourite is that it is essentially ‘Faith’s season’. Having said this however, she is not actually in Buffy all that much, even in this season, which is a shame as Eliza Dushku is an amazing actress! I would have liked to see her in more episodes. She was also amazing on AtS, as she was definitely an antidote to the epidemic of bad acting that affected it, and as far as I’m concerned only the episodes of AtS with her in are worth watching at all (i.e. seasons 1 and 4) so it was an even bigger shame for that show that she didn’t appear more often with a more central role!


  26. [Note: Crux posted this comment on August 2, 2014.]

    @ML Mr Trick and Spike both represent the modern vampire; Spike kills the Anointed One, rejecting the order of Aurelius and the old ways. He embraces modern culture and adapts to the world he lives in. Much like the tech-savvy and forward thinking Mr Trick abandons Kakistos (his ancient boss, who resembles the), saying “There’s a reason these vengeance crusades are out of style. It’s the modern vampire who sees the big picture.”


  27. [Note: Poppy royal posted this comment on December 12, 2014.]

    When I first saw this episode,I thought Faith was about 15,she looked so young but I guess she’s older since we see her live alone in a motel room and nobody seems to mind..


  28. [Note: wade1055 posted this comment on March 17, 2015.]

    The one thing I enjoy about this episode is that we learn who exactly is to “blame” why the First is able to interact with the world more. In Season 7 the First takes advantage of an opening in the misticles surrounding the slayer line caused by Buffy being brought back from the dead by Willow, Zander, Anya, and Tara. But the original “blame” should be cast on the one person everyone seems to not like in the series, Zander. He is the one who brought back Buffy after being killed by the Master and also the one who took Buffy out of the line of succession from the slayer line. What do you think?


  29. [Note: Cotten posted this comment on July 31, 2015.]

    AFter repeating viewings of this episode I have to ask….isnt Willow acting out of character through most of it? I mean given that Willow is the closest to Buffy why would she drop her so fast when Faith blows into town (Unless we are still feeling the after effects of the first epidsodes). I understand why Xander does cuz tbh ive started to think despite his putting Buffy on a pedstal, their relationship hasnt been the same since she turned him down in Prophecy Girl.

    To Wade1055, I believe the most accepted explantion is that Xander brought Buffy back by natural means (and she did die naturally though im not sure how much that plays into it) but in S6 Buffy dies magically and is brought back magically which screws everything up. Sidenote….I dont think most ppl hate Xander its just that his character is so immature and jealous that ppl respond badly to him. Hell, I always felt he needed a good and through ass-kicking…espically in S3.


  30. [Note: Jabari Jefferson posted this comment on January 8, 2016.]

    So you would rather not have the amazing spin-off that came from Angel being brought from Hell? In any case, bringing Angel back from Hell did not cheapen his death, at least not for me.


  31. [Note: Samm posted this comment on January 8, 2016.]

    I think the biggest problem was how soon he came back, a bit of a cop out on the emotional side of the characters as well.


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