Buffy 3×15: Consequences

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon | Director: Michael Gershman | Aired: 02/16/1999]

This is a really strong episode which digs into the Buffy and Faith issues a whole lot more thoroughly and successfully than in “Bad Girls” [3×14] . I don’t understand why the episode is called consequences though, because there aren’t really any of those to be seen here; they are yet to come. Although on first thought not much happens, it’s quite the opposite. A lot of big stuff happens in this episode, most notably Faith hooking up with the Mayor. The fact that the writers were able to make this revelation believable is something really astonishing and really says a lot about how well thought out and developed this season’s themes are.

The dream sequence in the beginning of the episode has a bit of significance. I take it as meaning that Buffy is ‘drowning’ in fear over what she was a part of. This interpretation is backed up when Buffy tells Faith later on that she feels “Dirty. Like something sick creeped inside you and you can’t get it out. And you keep hoping that it was just some nightmare, but it wasn’t.” Buffy is being very open about her feelings with Faith, but for whatever reason (wouldn’t it be interesting to see Faith’s story of becoming a Slayer?) Faith is closed off and will not accept responsibility for what she did and allow herself to feel remorse. She’s repressing her emotions which is rarely good, especially for as long as Faith appears to have been doing it.

I’m very pleased that Buffy and Faith found out that the Mayor’s involved in some dirty business at this point in the season. I’m also pleased to see Faith giving Buffy a nugget of remorse over what happened while digging around the Deputy Mayor’s office. What’s even more interesting than all of that, though, is the speech between the two girls about showing one’s real face. Faith says, “It doesn’t matter what kind of vibe you get off a person. ‘Cause nine times out of ten, the face they’re showing you is not the real one.” Buffy wisely throws that right back in her face when she replies, “I guess you know a lot about that … It’s just, look at you, Faith. Less than twenty-four hours ago, you killed a man. A-and now it’s all zip-a-dee-doo-dah? It’s not your real face, and I know it.” Buffy really nails Faith’s problem right here and now, only Faith’s not even remotely in the mental state to admit it.

Faith goes through a natural progression of spiraling out of control. Early on she can see that Buffy desparately wants to tell Giles what happened. This scares Faith (even though she never shows it) because she doesn’t want to have to deal with the consequences of her actions. This is why she continually tells Buffy to keep her mouth shut and that it will blow over. Faith is actually being pretty devious here, because while she’s telling Buffy to be quiet she’s also planning to back-stab her by telling Giles Buffy killed the man. This is a horrible act of betrayal, yet Buffy still doesn’t give up on her. The problem is that Faith is pushing herself further and further into a corner by each poor decision. Nearly choking Xander to death continues this trend.

Angel then captures her and does his best to relate his own experiences to what Faith is going through. He even makes progress with her until Wesley ruins everything. Faith escapes the Council’s team and with no one to run to decides to skip town via boat. Buffy finds her on all-offensive mode, attacking Buffy and her methods. A fight ensues and Faith appears to have saved Buffy from dying. The question remains whether she did it to help Buffy or to guarantee herself a job at the Mayor’s side. I’m not sure what the answer to that is and I think both answers could be concurrently correct.

An important topic Faith brings up twice is the belief that her and Buffy are ‘better’ than everyone else and because of that they can do whatever they want. Faith knows that Buffy has many of the same mental, physical, and sexual urges as herself. While she may have a point, she shouldn’t go overboard and let those urges dominate herself. She believes that they don’t have to follow any rules and that Slayers are the law. Later in the series Buffy comes to the realization that she is the law only when it comes to the supernatural. Slayers must abide by human laws just like everyone else. Unfortunately Buffy doesn’t have the experience to relay that message to Faith at this time. At this point in her development she is still unclear on what her role is and what her boundaries are.

What Faith is offering is obviously very tempting to Buffy. Faith plays on this when she says, “You know exactly what I’m about ’cause you have it in you, too … I’ve seen it, B. You’ve got the lust. And I’m not just talking about screwing vampires … It was good, wasn’t it? The sex? The danger? Bet a part of you even dug him when he went psycho … See, you need me to toe the line because you’re afraid you’ll go over it, aren’t you, B? You can’t handle watching me living my own way, having a blast, because it tempts you! You know it could be you!” Throughout all this, Buffy doesn’t convincingly deny anything Faith is saying about her. Buffy does have a lot of that dark stuff within her that she hasn’t fully figured out yet. We really see the darker sexual side to Buffy in S6 through her ‘relationship’ with Spike. She does some depraved things but still never manages to lower herself to the level Faith is at here. Faith represses her concience and that is something Buffy never does no matter what she’s going through.

All of this is a fantastic contrast to Buffy’s character at the end of S6 and into S7. Buffy genuinely and naturally learns, evolves, and grows as a person from now to then. I’m amazed by how well thought out her character is over the course of the series. In this episode Buffy doesn’t have a lot of answers because she’s still young and figuring out things for herself. It’s wonderful to see all these experiences accumulate to form the backbone of her strong convictions of the later seasons. Her speech to Xander and Dawn in “Villains” [6×20] and her speech to Xander and Willow in “Selfless” [7×05] both come to mind.

Even though most of the episode focuses on Buffy and Faith, there’s some small but significant moments for Willow and Giles as well. Willow is feeling resentful over the seemingly tight relationship between Buffy and Faith. She avoids talking with Buffy at school and feels really left out. The fact that Buffy didn’t go to Willow immediately after the stabbing illustrates how the Scoobies are not remotely as close as they were the first couple seasons. Buffy and Willow aren’t the only ones either. Xander and Willow are even less close than Buffy and Willow are. Xander doesn’t tell Willow when he had sex with Faith. This is something huge in Xander’s life and he didn’t feel comfortable anymore to share that with Willow. That is why she cries in the bathroom afterwards.

This is the first episode where we see that the relationship between Buffy and Giles has evolved. Buffy has learned from the mistake she made in “Revelations” [3×07] and goes to Giles about what happened as soon as she can. Giles is also very understanding when Buffy confirms that Faith was trying to keep her quiet. I also love the way he puts her mind to ease on the whole accidental murder issue by explaining that these things have happened before.

This episode has a ridiculous amount of complex issues running around it. It is so well constructed, though, that when watching it you hardly notice that fact. This is fantastic material that gives volumes of insight into who Buffy currently is as a person, Faith’s emotional state, the status of the gangs’ relationships, and it manages to significantly progress the season’s arc with a surprising final scene. The season won’t be the same from here on out and neither will the characters. The only reason why I couldn’t bring myself to give this a perfect score is simply because it doesn’t punch me in the gut and leave me breathless.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Cordelia and Wesley’s hilarious first meeting.
+ The Mayor is unhappy the shredding machine didn’t cheer him up.
+ The interrogation scene where Buffy and Faith separately tell their stories.
+ Xander trying to be “I see things” guy with Faith and failing to get through.
+ Willow pointing out that maybe Faith belongs in prison.


Foreshadowing

* Angel begins to make progress breaking down Faith’s defensive barriers right when Wesley and the Council barge in and haul her off. Angel’s genuine connection with Faith will be the pivotal thing that tames her at the end of “Five by Five” (AtS 1×18).


[Score]

95/100

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40 thoughts on “Buffy 3×15: Consequences”

  1. [Note: Tranquillity posted this comment on March 27, 2007.]

    I just watched this episode for the first time in ages and was just blown away by how good it was! faith functions perfectly as buffy’s subconcious or shadow self articulating all her secret thoughts – watch this episode, then season 6s ‘dead things’ they make an incredible double.

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  2. [Note: robgnow posted this comment on April 15, 2007.]

    I always thought the Consequences of the title WAS that Faith joined the Mayor. The fact that Wes got the Council involved in something that Giles and Buffy wanted to handle ‘in house’ is what led Faith to abandon her Slayer calling and sign up for the other team– the Consequences of Wesley not trusting Giles and Buffy’s instincts. Not to mention that the Consequence of killing Finch for Faith was her feeling that she no longer had to follow any rules at all; she’d already broken the ‘Big Taboo’. Its why she could so cold-bloodedly murder the volcanologist later and torture Wes so brutally in AtS.

    Rob

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  3. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 24, 2007.]

    The first two times I watched this I thought to myself this was good stuff, but now that I´ve seen it a few more times, I am completely in awe of this episode. This is excellent stuff. Excellent character development, especially Faith, Buffy and the Scoobies. Faith is a great character to watch and the comparisons between the two slayer´s lifestyles, attitude is just amazing. And it´s also interesting to see that the Scoobies will never be as close as they were in S2. The more I watch this episode, the more I get amazed by how excellent it is.

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  4. [Note: Plain Simple posted this comment on November 29, 2007.]

    This is definitely a very good episode. I like your review MikeJer. I also got a very strong AtS feeling during the Angel-Faith scenes. This might be the first time on BtVS that Angel started acting like on AtS (apart from the Angelus parts on both series). He finally got some good speaking parts.

    One small thing that bothers me though. Why didn’t Trick follow his own advice from the previous episode and take an uzi or something to kill the slayers? Why enter the fight bare handed? Okay, he dropped the case, but he couldn’t possibly have hoped he could kill two slayers with one crate.

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  5. [Note: wilpy1 posted this comment on March 2, 2008.]

    I like this episode a whole darn lot. I think it’s one of the best of season 3. Definitely the most daring. I like that the Slayer ethical dilemma is brought out in the open here. Had this been introduced back in ‘Ted’, I’m not sure it would’ve been articulated as well as it was in ‘Consequences’. Faith was the perfect voice for describing the Slayers’ more primal tendancies.

    It’s kind of a shame Mr. Trick was killed off. He wasn’t the most interesting character, but he was groovy and added flavour, and I think he would’ve been perfect for interaction with Faith. The two of them, and the Mayor, could’ve made a very twisted ‘family’, a la Dru, Spike and Angelus in S2. At least we still got the Mayor/Faith dynamic.

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  6. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on July 23, 2008.]

    one cool piece of forshadowing i found, willow uses the facts that “faith killed someone, blamed an innocent buffy and tried to kill xander” as an argument for faith going to prison. however if you look ahead to season 6, willow does the exact same things as dark willow. she kills two people, blames innocent (well more or less) andrew and jonathan for taras murder and tries to kill all of the scoobies. yet theres no talk of her going to prison, double standard much?

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  7. [Note: Steph posted this comment on August 11, 2008.]

    I always thought that Willow was crying in the bathroom because it hurt her to see Xander sleeping with someone else as if she still held onto that small feeling of wanting to be with him physically. I didn’t get the impression that she was crying because Xander didn’t tell her that he had sex with Faith, but moreso that she was hurt that it had happened. Willow’s dislike for Faith like ups 50 more notches as well. Just imo.

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  8. [Note: bigmoneygrip posted this comment on October 21, 2008.]

    I thought of yet another angle to why Willow was crying after she heard Xander and Faith slept together. I agree totally with Steph that Willow still, in some small way, wanted her and Xander to be lovers (besides best friends). Adding to Willow’s grief is the storyline in “The Zeppo” where the Scoobies basically told Xander to get lost, we don’t need you. So, he goes and has sex with Faith (among other things). Willow knows that she (and the Scoobies) hurt Xander deeply, which caused him to be with Faith, when, had they not told him to get lost, he might not have slept with Faith.

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  9. [Note: Tash posted this comment on December 23, 2008.]

    I completely agree with steph. Girls generally don’t go crying in the bathroom when thier friends don’t tell them stuff. There were obviously still some feelings there for Willow to hurt like that.

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  10. [Note: Emily posted this comment on March 22, 2009.]

    Did “The Wish” punch you in the gut and leave you breathless? Just curious, because I never really saw it as that type of episode (except for the fight scene at the end).

    And Jaden- I don’t think there’s any way you can compare Andrew and Jonathan’s “innocence” (which I never really thought they were, even though they didn’t pull the trigger) and Buffy’s actual innocence!

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  11. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 22, 2009.]

    Emily, the final fight scene in “The Wish” was particularly shocking. With that said, “The Wish” is the most hesitant perfect score I’ve handed out. When I do a second pass over my reviews it may not stay a P.

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  12. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 22, 2009.]

    I actually think this is Marti Noxon’s best episode ever, and considering that she is the 2nd best writer on this show, I consider that high praise. I do think it is very shocking (especially the scene where Faith nearly strangles Xander on her motel bed). Noxon has a tendency to go towards dark material, but I think sometimes she does overdo it (The Wish), but this one just floored me. So much happens in this one, and the scene where Buffy comes to Willow’s room and breaks down crying is incredibly powerful. Whenever the show overtly tries to make me cry (The Prom, another Noxon entry), I resist even if I like it; however, when the emotions that come through are honest but not over-the-top, I’m powerless. Noxon does this so well when she restrains herself–IOHEFY, Into the Woods, even Villains are all brilliant, and I think this one is absolutely her best.

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  13. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 8, 2009.]

    Another consequence, albeit a minor one that’s never mentioned: Willow’s avoidance of Buffy as a consequence of Buffy sloughing off Willow to spend all her time with Faith. Of course, when Willow starts blaming herself and calling herself the bad friend when Buffy breaks down in the middle of Willow’s berating her about it is absolutely in character and priceless.

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  14. [Note: edward posted this comment on July 10, 2009.]

    I think this episode is called consequences because faith cannot accept that their is concequences for her actions. she refuses to accept what she did and instead pases the blame to buffy. this shows the polarity between the two. buffy accepts the concequences for her actions. faith doesnt. she runs far away from it. watch at the start when buffy and faith are arguing about what happend. instead of admiting the guilt and pain she is feeing she trys to justify it. also in a scene near the end of the episode when faith escapes wesleys atempt at capturing her he says to her ‘you cant keep running faith’ everyone in the episode in their own way that everything has a concequence and are trying to get her to understand and accept that. that her actions effect everyone around her. this is a deep and thought provoking episode

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  15. [Note: Christian posted this comment on August 11, 2009.]

    I love Eliza, I think she’s great in this ep as she is in the whole series.

    Great strong episode! Willow crying in the bathroom is one of my favorite scenes. “Wish We Never Met” just gives it the perfect touch.

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  16. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on February 1, 2010.]

    After re-watching this and Bad Girls, I couldn’t help but notice how annoyed I was with Buffy in both of these episodes. Every single conversation she has with Faith after Faith accidentally kills the deputy mayor involves Buffy relentlessly harping on Faith – there is no question of how to fix the situation and she exhibits very little sympathy for how Faith might be feeling – it’s all about Buffy freaking out and being righteous. I do see some glimpses of remorse in Faith immediately after the fact (see her returning to the body), but I also see her quashing any of those feelings in response to Buffy’s getting in her face every time they talk about it. Furthermore, why doesn’t Giles tell Faith the same thing he tells Buffy? (Namely, that this kind of thing happens!) Maybe hearing from Giles that it’s not the huge deal Buffy has been making it out to be would have helped Faith reconsider her position. But as Mike pointed out in the review of Bad Girls, there is a stunning failure on the part of everyone involved to communicate properly with Faith.

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  17. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 21, 2010.]

    The Good:

    Wesley attracted to Cordelia then dropping her hand when he is told she is a student.

    Faith trying to fight her conscience while looking at the photo of her victim.

    Giles pretending to be angry at Buffy for the benefit of Faith.

    Faith choking Xander. She is a bloody sociopath.

    Faith saving Buffy from Mr Trick who was really winning that fight.

    The Bad:

    Willow crying. Why, because she realises that even though she has a boyfriend she is the last virgin.

    The death of Mr.Trick. He was the coolest vampire since Spike. Way too early to stake him.

    Trivia: Xander tells Faith “Not now. Not like this.” He told Buffy the same thing while she was under the love spell in ‘Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered.’

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  18. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 8, 2010.]

    Surely Willow cried because she adores Xander (we all have our oddities), rather than because she’s the last virgin standing!

    Anyway, the Buffy/Faith interaction about the manslaughter was terrific. A weighty issue, handled very differently by each party. Their diverging reactions not only give us insight into their characters; their reactions help to create their future characters. By my read, Faith was more affected than she lets on, but she’s trying to dodge guilt and has a role to play — the role of the tough girl who is unaffected by anything she encounters. (We saw Faith bullcrapping in a similar fashion in Faith, Hope, and Trick, where she’s the one who isn’t scared of anything … except oops, she didn’t mention how Kakistos terrifies her.) But this is too much for Faith to handle and her self loathing drives her by the end of the episode into the hands of the Mayor. By my reading, her turning traitor was the main Consequence of the show’s title — the consequence coming not from the action itself, but of Faith’s inability to deal with the aftermath.

    I’m starting to see the potential of Wesley a little bit now.

    Fine episode.

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  19. [Note: Louisa posted this comment on July 14, 2011.]

    I think Xander’s revelation about his encounter with Faith was just the last straw for Willow in a series of emotional upsets. She is Xander’s best friend, but now she knows that he had this whole thing with Faith that she wasn’t in on. If it matters that she played a role in Xander and Faith getting together, it’s only because she was completely unaware of that as well. Right now Xander feels closer to Faith than he does to Willow, although when Faith tries to kill him that turns out to be another illusion in this lattice-work of messed-up relationships.

    Willow has also been feeling distanced from Buffy, even though Willow is supposed to be Buffy’s best friend too. Buffy went to her at a point of crisis, but Willow still learned that all kinds of things have been going on with Buffy and Faith that Willow was not included in, much more than she imagined. Buffy’s confession of events to her only confirmed her sense that plenty of things are going on with everyone around her and she wouldn’t have even found out if it hadn’t all gone so bad.

    When you find out that two people you think you are this close to, are actually hiding everything big that’s going on their lives from you, your status as best friend starts to look wobbly. For Willow, being the best friend of Xander and Buffy matters deeply. Her parents don’t care. If her friends don’t either, then maybe nobody needs her, not really.

    Maybe the magic is ultimately all she has going for her. If she isn’t part of the team because they love her and need her support, then maybe she’s part of them because she can do a spell to dissolve the mystical protection away from the Box in “Choices.”

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  20. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on July 15, 2011.]

    Louisa, I think you hit the nail *square* on the head with that one. Very well put. (BTW, you should join us on the forum. It’s lots of fun.)

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  21. [Note: Anita posted this comment on September 21, 2011.]

    I think the song that starts playing as Willow is crying gives us a lot of insight into why she’s crying:

    Disappointment stops by from time to time,

    to see how I’m doing,

    He came by last night right after you left,

    my life in ruin,

    When I don’t get what I want,

    the spoiled child inside breaks down,

    kicking,

    screaming,

    preying,

    and dreaming,

    for a love lost and found,

    I wish we never,

    I wish we never,

    I wish we never met,

    ’cause now I’ve got my heart set on you,

    Humiliation asked me out last night,

    I had nothing else to do,

    so we took a cab to loopy drunk,

    Had conversations I couldn’t get through,

    and another stranger’s eyes,

    were trying desperately to meet mine,

    but I looked away,

    tabs to pay,

    lies to say…,

    like,

    ” How are you?” Oh,

    “I’m doin’ fine…..but I ….” ,

    I wish we never,

    I wish we never,

    I wish we never met,

    ’cause now I’ve got my heart set on you,

    and I don’t get what I want,

    from another stranger’s eyes,

    and I don’t get what I want,

    from another stranger’s eyes,

    I wish we never,

    I wish we never,

    I wish we never met,

    ’cause now I’ve got my heart set on you.

    She can be involved with Oz, but still have feelings for Xander — like Willow was with Tara, and at the end of New Moon Rising, told Oz that she feels he’ll always be with her, in some way.

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  22. [Note: Jared posted this comment on November 9, 2011.]

    I love this episode and think of it as the perfect embodiment of one of my favourite things about ‘Buffy’. Actions have consequences, and this episode is all about both that, and why these characters are making the choices that they choose to make. One of my favourite aspects of this episode is the depth and broad range of motivation that you can see in Faith’s character.

    When she tells Buffy that they are better than everybody else, you can just feel the character’s insecurity as she tries to convince herself that she’s worth something, and that it isn’t a big deal for her to have ended a man’s life. It also goes perfectly with the self loathing that Faith has displayed and will continue to display in later episodes, which is really the root of many of her choices and subsequent problems. Her insecurity is also apparent when she tells Giles that Buffy is to blame, like a child not wanting to face the consequences for their actions. Fear is another big motivator, which we saw as early as in ‘Faith, Hope, & Trick’, and see continued here through that reluctance to face what she’s done, and her desire to run away towards the end of the episode. Finally, we see the result of all of her history when she chooses to allign herself with the mayor, showing her own desire for power, acceptance and reassurance, and setting her up for everything which her character will now go through. I also appreciate how we are presented with the magnitude of taking a human life in this episode, as it is not something that is taken lightly as it would be in many others series, with Angel in particular drawing attention to this fact, as well as Faith’s confusion from the murder and desire for power coming together when she attempts to murder Xander.

    (‘Angel’ spoilers ahead! Don’t read if you don’t want ’em!)

    But the theme of consequence goes beyond just Faith and her choices and actions. This episode is also extremely important for Wesley. Wesley chooses to do what he feels is right, even if he knows nobody else will agree, by notifying the Council of the situation, and ‘losing’ Faith to everyone in the process. The consequences of this decision start both Wesley and Faith off on the road their characters will go down for the rest of their respective journeys, both individually and seen in their scenes together on AtS. While Wesley was already being alienated from The Scoobies, this was really his point of no return, and only served to add to his feeling of inadequacy and desire for family which we see explored in much greater detail on AtS. I think you could also consider this to be foreshadowing of his choice to kidnap Connor in AtS, as this is where we first see that Wesley is capable of going it alone and making choices that others won’t agree with if he feels what he is doing is right. Angel being the only person who knows how to speak to Faith in this episode is also something which we see the result of on AtS.

    Basically, I think this episode is Buffy at its best. It sets the stage for a huge deal of what happens not only later in the season, but in this series and AtS as well. It’s all brilliant character work as we see everybodies distinct personality through how they handle the Faith situation in different ways, in addition to their differing motivations and backstories in action, and the repercussions of these character traits both in the immediate future, and much later on in both series. A great character study, and a very underrated and underappreciated episode.

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  23. [Note: Jared posted this comment on November 9, 2011.]

    Forgot to add… Mike’s comments on Buffy and Willow in this great review only made me appreciate this episode even more, for pretty much the same reasons I stated above. Thanks for the insight! 😉

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  24. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on January 19, 2012.]

    Consequences is an episode overflowing with development as you pointed out Mike. It furthers the season 3 arch message of identity; finding it, establishing it and dealing with it once you’ve got it. This is something mostly explored by Faith and Buffy in this episode similar to Bad Girls. Buffy and Faith are as i said polar opposites but also the same.

    I love the writing in this episode, faith struggling to find out who she is and where she fits in is percolating with ever scene she has, especially when she makes the choice to join the Mayor at the end. She is leaning on everyone and anyone she can to ‘fit’.

    I really appreciate this episode, its cohesive to the main plot. Especially the interaction of the other characters, how they handle the revelation of the deputy mayor’s death and Faith’s reaction to it, Willow’s heartbreaking scene when she realised Xander had slept with her was something no one could not relate to. Looking retrospectively it is a great episode worthy of the score you gave it Mike.

    Am i the only one to think that Wesley’s reaction is quintessential of his character? Even with his move to LA and Angel? Not so much Giles but he does do the hard thing sometimes, especially with Connor? Because he believes its right?

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  25. [Note: Alex posted this comment on January 19, 2012.]

    Gemma, I think that Wesley’s actions here do show the side of his personality which leads to his kidnapping of Connor, but it’s a side which isn’t fully developed yet. I think his sense of right and wrong is still very immature here – he’s doing what he believes is ‘right’, but it’s right in a ‘by the book’ kind of way rather than in a moral way. He’s purely basing his decision on facts and laws without letting any emotional considerations influence his judgement. What he ends up doing with Connor is sort of the opposite – he ends up doing something which, in the eyes of the law, would be deemed ‘wrong’, but he’s doing it because he believes it’s morally ‘right’.

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  26. [Note: Craig posted this comment on June 11, 2012.]

    I felt like this review made glaring omission of what the episode means in terms of Xander’s development. To me, it is absolutely huge when Buffy tells him that Faith doesn’t take the guys she sleeps with seriously. He clearly hadn’t realized that before and this is a huge wake-up call in terms of his growth into emotional maturity and understanding the motivations of others.

    Not only that, but when he (almost immediately after the aforementioned conversation) chooses to show up at Faith’s door, he doesn’t even try to deal with how the difference behind his and Faith’s intentions behind and interpretation of their sex puts him into emotional turmoil. He realizes that his insecurities regarding what happened are a lower priority than Faith’s desperation and so he puts them on the backburner. This is a giant moment of selflessness and maturity for Xander.

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  27. [Note: George posted this comment on July 5, 2012.]

    I was about to write something similar to Craig’s post on Xander. I thought what they did with him this episode was certainly worth a mention. This episode was just filled with pure (often sad) brilliance, and I would’ve given it a perfect score (something I don’t think ‘The Wish’ deserves to be honest), as I really couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

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  28. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 22, 2012.]

    I agree with the above two comments. It’s striking how the more understanding Xander tries to be the more wild and dangerous Faith gets. She tries to distract him in any way she knows how from getting close to him until dissolving into sexual and physical violence. Her trust issues with men (and people) go to a whole different level. And that’s really the final sign that she’s not coming back from this. Like all the comments about why Willow was crying. They are all valid. For me, it was more about yet more rejection from Xander. Even after he gets with her he goes even lower than Cordelia, hooking up with Faith who killed a man. Even though she’s focused on Oz that can’t feel good.

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  29. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on February 25, 2013.]

    I take “Bad Girls” and this one as a two-parters. Almost everything have been said and I just wanted to add my take on the title “Consequences”. I believe it’s about what happens – or not – when you say (or hide) things in a certain way. It all comes down to communication and the impact bad communication can have on everybody’s lives.

    First, you take Wesley. I enjoyed watching the scene with the glasses in “Bad Girls”, which reminded us that Wesley’s attitudes and beliefs are not unlike Giles’ in the first episodes of season 1. It’s interesting to see how much Giles has grown as a character, yet he can’t accept another watcher take over. At that point, Wesley is definitely not a bad person but in wanting to do things right (by the book) and because he’s young and naïve, he comes on too hard. But if the Scoobies had been more welcoming and had tried to include him in the group, Wesley’s actions (i.e. calling the Council in secret) could have been very different had he not felt completely left out.

    Second, Xander. At the end of “The Zeppo”, he didn’t tell anyone what happened, not the heroics nor the sex. He’s annoying, but none in the group has seen in what turmoil Xander is and how alone he is. I feel bad for him each time they all talk about good colleges and no one seems to care that Xander won’t have the chance for further education.

    Willow at that point is still the only one who tries to communicate and does it fairly well after trying to avoid the problem.

    Buffy at that point is the opposite of Willow and is still very teen-selfish. Granted, she has a lot to deal with her emotions, but is incapable of seeing the pain her friends might have.

    Finally, Faith. I know some viewers don’t like her, but she feels so real. Her spiralling down is so understandable and I felt bad for her. What she needed was a parental figure, limits, rules, support and most of all, love; in a nutshell everything Buffy has and she hasn’t. The first mistake was Giles letting her get away with her lie and should have confronted her, then comforted her the way he did Buffy. Then Buffy talks to her about how she feels wrong, that’s fine, but when she realises that Faith is jealous, she should have talked about her own mistakes instead of being righteous. Remember how Buffy was confronted by the scoobies ? She first denied the Angel problem, then, but not immediatly, confessed to Willow that she felt better once the secret was out. Remember how she ran away when she couldn’t handle the pressure ?

    Hmmm… I could go on and on, but if the characters were perfect, we wouldn’t have such a great show. I love the fact that they are all flawed in a way that we can relate to. And I believe these two episodes are very educational because we’re allowed to witness the mistakes and see the consequences.

    I apologize, I seem to write big big comments every time. But I took a little confidence since I improved my english (not that it’s perfect, unfortunately) but I’m sharing everything I couldn’t share before because of my lack of grammar and vocabulary and obviously because I couldn’t find a good review site in french …

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  30. [Note: James posted this comment on May 18, 2013.]

    Great episode, but one thing has always bugged me.

    Why is Angel able to enter to save Xander. Doesn’t he need to be invited in, or are we going with the “motels are public property” excuse?

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  31. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 29, 2014.]

    This is yet another brilliant and insightful episode. It not only portrays the different state of minds that Buffy and Faith have, we also get to see the major differences between the scoobies that lead to them growing apart. I don’t think that Buffy was being inconsiderate, or Willow was being immature or Xander didn’t think about anyone before doing the deed with Faith. I think they all have a lot going in each of their respective lives which they are unable to share with each other because either A. they won’t understand B. They’re busy with the baddies or C. Simply because there are ‘bigger issues’ to deal with. I can tell from the episode The Zeppo that things have changed for the Scoobies. We don’t get to see them all snuggly with each other for quite a while now. It’s another very mature approach by the writers; because this is a very real issue when it comes to High School friendships. I think the only one out of the three of them who was really looking to reach out was Willow but even she was discouraged in doing so because of the Xander/Faith spectacle.

    As a few mentioned above me, I think the Xander thing was worth a mention. This is a key moment in his character development. I know most people would disagree, but I see what Faith does here as nearing Sexual Assault territory (Yes! Men CAN be sexually assaulted too, how about that?), it was hard to watch. Of course, the matter only worsened when she tried to choke Xander to death!
    I think everyone took that rather disturbing scene rather lightly, especially the Scoobies.
    Also, Xander was clearly affected by the fact that Faith only used him as a boy toy and then left him for the lions. I find myself sympathizing with Xander here, which I only do on occasion.

    I could go on and on about this episode… Because I’m pretty sure I had more to say about this. But I suppose I’m fairly known for big, long, boring rant-filled comments and I’m getting hungry xD, so that’s all I’ve got to say for now.

    In conclusion, definitely an episode worth it’s A grade! I enjoyed every scene.

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  32. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on July 5, 2014.]

    I believe the dream sequence at the beginning is both metaphorical (Buffy feels that she is drowning) and literal – Buffy knows that Faith weighted the body and threw it in the river. Buffy feels like she is going down with the guy.

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  33. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on November 15, 2014.]

    Why is it when Xander went against the team regarding Angel in ‘Becoming Part 1’, he was hated. Yet when Willow takes the same stance against Faith nobody seems to attack her for going against the others. Both had opinions that are similar and understandable under the circumstances. Xander even copped hate in ‘Revelations’ when he had the same stance for Angel which was backed up by proof. Xander may have been more louder in his opinion than Willow, but it was the same opinion.

    Faith really does find it hard to distinguish between sex and violence. But when I watch this episode I think of Faith, Angel and Wesley in ‘Angel’ and think how good character development is in the Buffyverse.

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  34. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on February 25, 2015.]

    Really like how even here you can see Wesley’s depth. He could have been a huge jerk about the whole Faith thing but it’s clear that he was only trying to do the right thing and it ended up in disaster. As we all know this isn’t the last time this would happen.

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  35. [Note: OhPointyBird posted this comment on May 18, 2015.]

    I think someone mentioned this, but perhaps it needs to be said again… Buffy is a bit of a bitch to Faith in this episode. Faith killing whatshisname was an accident, and even Giles acknowledges that these things do happen in the fight against evil. But Buffy just won’t let Faith come to terms with it in her iown way, in her own time… no, Faith has to exhibit Buffy-appropriate angst when Buffy demands it.

    No wonder that Faith, who is obviously much more fragile than Buffy, gets hyper-defensive and tells Buffy to frack off. I see that Buffy, and to a lesser extent (because Faith never trusted him in the first place), Wesley, drive Faith away and into the arms of the Mayor.

    I also don’t really understand the need for much guilt here anyway. If a human throws their lot in with demons and evil, then they run the risk of being slayed. The idea that slayers deal with demon justice, but that the police and courts take care of human justice is completely arbitrary. So you divide your bad guys into demons and humans. You stake the demons, and gently hand the humans to the police? Um… why?

    LBB

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  36. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on May 18, 2015.]

    I think that’s the only major issue I have with this season. It’s not particularly my favorite, but aside from possibly season 5 it is the most consistent in self contained quality. However, it’s far from consistent when dealing with Faith’s arc and how it pertains to the series as a whole.

    Buffy has been responsible for human deaths in the past, yet they had been brushed over for convenience sake. Two examples include the zoo keeper in “The Pack” and the discharged Watcher in “Revelations.” It’s uncharacteristic for this series to gloss over consequences until it becomes convenient for them. So you can see that this is a huge issue when something ordinarily ignored suddenly becomes relevant.

    Yet more than that, the more I think about it, the less I believe that this series truly deals with consequences as well as I once thought. It certainly deals with them well comparatively, but not ideally. Buffy having been directly responsible for multiple human deaths and they not amounting to anything – even if not physically inducing death but rather assisting in them – is just one example. There are several yet minor examples scattered throughout, mostly in one offs. They are generally ignored because they have no effect on overarching subjects or themes. This isn’t in all stand alones – most do have effects or consequences that arise – but some do just get forgotten or are patched up by episodes end (something Joss said would never happen).

    But it’s understandable in most cases. Here though, considering what a major point of emphasis it is on Faith’s characterization, it is problematic though as I mentioned. The series doesn’t seem to want to remind you that Buffy is by definition a murderer and had been for quite some time. It’s afraid of tainting its titular character to such an extreme degree. It’s the reason that in “Ted” the twist transformed Ted into a robot so as to not have Buffy’s image tainted nor have to deal with the consequences. However, Faith is fair game considering her role as a recurring character. The inconsistency and writer fear of acknowledging these past acts is difficult to forgive considering what they put Faith through.

    In a nutshell, Buffy is given special treatment while Faith is almost used as a device for exploring consequences to acts that Buffy should have had to deal with many times over. Because she’s a pseudo patsy for exploring the consequences of murder, her character isn’t redeemed until she is able to expand beyond that thematic necessity. In essence, she’s not a “true” character until season 4, playing the role of a simple device in season 3.

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  37. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on May 19, 2015.]

    Yah the whole demon/human thing is pretty problematic. I can understand the Watcher’s council having this kind of perspective but Buffy having it is pretty flawed. I think the reasoning is that the Slayer should only be involved if the situation demands it but it fails in execution because most of the humans Buffy deals with are overly powerful in some way or were working for evil.

    Overall I think Angel handled the whole human/demon thing a lot better as it was generally considered a bad thing to kill a demon or a human if they were relatively good (see Judgement). They also didn’t seem to treat humans as being of any higher value than demons as Lorne was considered a pretty cool guy despite probably not having a soul and the employees at Wolfram & Hart were considered worthy of being dealt with (though allowing a bunch to die in a basement by other vampires was reasonably considered a bad thing).

    As a whole the idea that humans are somehow more precious than demon life because they have a soul is an attitude bordering on racism or prejudice based on what we’ve seen. I can understand why maybe in the earlier seasons it was more black and white since it kind of was that way but by the time the spin off came around and introduced even more gray into the situation they should have better implemented this into the main show, and having Clem as a more nice demon wasn’t enough.

    I opened a topic on this at one point that no one seemed to respond too so if you want to begin any thoughts about the subject there feel free to do so.

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  38. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on May 19, 2015.]

    Yeah, that did irk me. However, I do think that not shifting the intents of the series just because its spin off introduced more grey into the mix is admirable. It needed to keep its own identity, just as AtS did by season 2.

    I may respond in that thread if I have a valuable thought to contribute. I’ll have to look at your original post and see if I have anything to add, agree, or disagree with. Right now though, my insomnia is being a pain and I’m afraid I’m in for a fight to get some sleep.

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