Buffy 4×15: This Year’s Girl

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Douglas Petrie | Director: Michael Gershman | Aired: 02/22/2000]

This is a decent episode which has a cool dream sequence, a few character insights, Faith awakening from her coma, and a lot of waiting around. The biggest problem is that the pace is really slow. It feels like everyone is waiting forever for Faith to do something surprising, and that doesn’t happen until the very end. A lot of the scenes feel like padding to fill time, which is rare on BtVS and hasn’t been much of a problem since S2. There’s still a lot to be entertained by though. The episode begins with a dream very similar to the one in “Graduation Day Pt. 2” [3×22] . As I did in that review, I’ll analyze the dream very thoroughly and throw out some guesses as to what it all means. Please take note that I’m aware how much I could be stretching with some of these connections.

Buffy says, “They smell good, don’t they? … Clean sheets. Like summer.” Since I assume they’re getting Dawn’s bed ready for her arrival, the talk about “clean sheets” could represent Dawn’s innocence and how, through her, Buffy can see life again with a fresh new look and share warmth (summer) with her. Faith replies, “I wouldn’t know.” This makes sense, because Faith is definitely not the paradigm of innocence, nor has she likely ever been. Buffy then says, “Right. I forgot.” I think this is showing how Buffy’s always held her hand out to Faith; she’s consistently tried to be kind to her and Faith always spits in Buffy’s face for it. But Buffy is still the optimist, as we see later in the episode when discovering Faith’s awake. Buffy says, “She could be terrified. Maybe she doesn’t even remember. Or maybe she does and she’s sorry and she’s alone hiding somewhere.” A bit later in the dream Faith says, “Little sis’ coming,” which is obvious in meaning. Buffy then says, “So much to do before she gets here.” This means that Buffy still has her big fight with Adam and an encounter with the first Slayer ahead (among other things), before Dawn arrives. At this point the focus switches to Faith taking control of the dream. The knife Buffy used to stab her appears in her stomach, and she begins to villify Buffy.

In the next part of Faith’s dream, we see her having a picnic with the Mayor on a bright, sunny day (summer, warmth, innocence). It quickly becomes obvious, when Buffy slowly walks up to the Mayor and slits his throat, that Faith is portraying Buffy as the murderer who ruined her home and happiness (the Mayor). As the dream continues we see Faith trying to escape a cold and calculating Buffy who is following her. Eventually she falls into a grave, is alone, and is scared. Buffy jumps in with her, but Faith emerges victorious, rising from the grave with a new focus. This is the moment when Faith awakens from her coma. Soon after finding out what date it is, she finds Buffy and spies on her. While looking into Giles’ home she discovers that Buffy isn’t staying at home, that Buffy’s found a new lover, and that the Scoobies are still together.

While walking outside around the university campus, Buffy and Willow run into Faith. With her newfound knowledge, Faith immediately starts throwing jabs at Buffy, including the fact that Buffy’s not with Angel anymore. While this ‘discussion’ is happening, Willow slowly walks behind Faith to prepare a distraction, but Buffy subtley gestures her not to. This leads to a cool little fight in front of a lot of people which Willow helps break up for the time being. Faith then wanders off and finds a message meant for her from the Mayor. This video recording is great. For one, it’s just nice to hear the Mayor again and it reminds us how absolutely lame the villains have been this season in comparison. But more importantly, the Mayor says some key things: “See, the hard pill to swallow is that once I’m gone, your days are just plain numbered. Now, I know, you’re a smart and capable young woman in charge of her own life, but the problem, Faith, is that there won’t be a place in the world for you anymore. By now I bet you’re feeling very much alone.” The Mayor not only nails what Faith is feeling, but he also gives her a gadget that allows her to switch bodies with someone.

Picking up on the fact that it doesn’t look like Buffy’s been home much lately, Faith goes to the Summers’ residence and attacks Joyce. I love this entire scene: Joyce’s confidence in Buffy. Faith trying to make a connection with Joyce (“Nobody cares, nobody remembers, especially not Buffy fabulous superhero. Sooner or later you’re going to have to face it. She was over us a long time ago Joyce”). Faith using all the letters from Buffy as evidence. Buffy crashing through the window. The quick Buffy/Joyce greeting. The awesome fight between Buffy and Faith. The fight the two of them have in the house is really well done. I was particularly impressed by the glass from the door breaking on Buffy and the re-use of the “Graduation Day Pt. 1” [3×21] Buffy/Faith fight music. Of course, at the very end of the fight Faith uses her gadget to switch bodies with Buffy. This plot mechnanism has been used a lot on a variety of different shows. By itself, it isn’t anything all that exciting. It’s how Whedon uses situation, in “Who Are You?” [4×16] , that makes it so powerful and unique.

While Faith was the focus of the episode, Buffy and Riley got a bit of attention as well. Early on, before Riley returns, Buffy is extremely harsh, snappy, and even a bit irritable to the Scoobies. Why is this you might ask? Well, she’s got no boyfriend around, she’s gotten very little sleep, and there’s big danger running loose outside. Any of this sound familiar? Buffy in S7 sound right? It’s no wonder why she’s so harsh during that season. In this episode Riley shows up and Buffy can get some sleep. That doesn’t happen during S7, which helps explains why she remains harsh for so long. Anyway, later on Buffy gets to chatting with Riley about how he’s going to cope post-Initiative. She uses her experience with the Watcher’s Council as an example of how Riley can survive on his own. Riley responds to her with complete honesty when he says, “Now, see, that’s where you and I are different. I just suck at the whole gray area thing.” As we find out early in S5, he really does suck at the “whole gray area thing.” He tries, but miserably fails at being bad — it’s just not who he is. It’s not surprising, then, that he ends up working for the military again, taking orders for a living.

One more thing worth mentioning is when Riley tells Buffy he wants to help. She responds by throwing a ball at him, which he catches and cringes in pain. This is an interesting correlation to when, in “Who Are You?” [4×16] , Faith (in Buffy’s body) runs into Riley at a church. He says, “I’m coming with” and Faith responds, “I can’t use you.” I’ll further discuss that connection in my review of the next episode. Anyway, this is a solid setup to the great episode that follows it. It has an unfortunately slow pace and a lot of Faith’s wandering seem like padding, which obviously hurts the episode a bit. Overall, though, there’s enough great action and moments of characterization that allow it to succeed.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ In Faith’s dream, the Mayor saves a little snake that wandered onto their picnic area.
+ Xander electrocutes himself and no one notices.
+ Forrest continuing to express his dislike of Buffy.
+ Xander bluntly asking Riley if the Initiative put a chip in his head.
+ The reuse of the “Hush” [4×10] music style, which is very fitting for how alone Faith feels.
+ The Watcher’s Council having an employee at the hospital to notify them when Faith awakens. Cool.
+ Willow’s plan to deal with Faith: “beat the crap out of her.” I’m sure the events of “Choices” [3×19] haven’t been forgotten.
+ Buffy ‘editing’ out the parts about Angel when discussing her history with Faith to Riley.
+ Tara being cute again. “Swimming?”
+ Willow’s description of Faith: “She’s like this cleavagy slut-bomb walking around ‘Ooh, check me out, I’m wicked-cool, I’m five-by-five.'”
+ Xander and Giles’ confrontation with Spike is hilarious. Spike undoubtedly had loads of fun there.

– Buffy over-dramatizing Adam’s strength.
– Buffy’s swooning over Riley: “You’re here. Whatever comes, we can handle.” Terrible!


* In the Buffy/Faith dream Faith says, “Little sis’ coming.” Obvious indictator of Dawn’s arrival being near.




41 thoughts on “Buffy 4×15: This Year’s Girl”

  1. [Note: cayayofm posted this comment on March 20, 2006.]

    Mikejer you mentined on your review how the pace of the episode was slow and a lot of scenes feels like padding to fill time, well is somehow true. In the commentary of the episode Douglas Petrie mentioned that the episode was too short, almost 8 minutes and they had to writte new scenes to fill, like the scene of Willow talking to Tara about Faith among others. Overall this episode feels just like what it was, like a set up, althogh a good set up.

    Oh, and about Who are you? you mentined how it does not have a lasting effect on the series, but then you mentined how there wa a lot of character development for Faith. I think the conssecuences of this episodes have a lasting effect on Faith, this experience is what drives her to do what she did in Angel and later to change. We don’t see her again until season 7 in the series, but when she comes back she is a different woman.


  2. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 20, 2006.]

    That’s true, she does have an affect on S7 of BtVS, but tbh not a major affect. Faith certainly helped out, but wasn’t exactly a pivotal part in what ended up happening.


  3. [Note: bookworm posted this comment on March 22, 2006.]

    Okay: I’ve got a few problems with your review:

    First of all I’d like to mention, that Faith was wearing the pink dress the Mayor gave her in “Graduation Pt. 1” in the dream sequence (Mayor-part), which was extra cool.
    Next thing is, that Faith isn’t that sexually experienced, as she always wants people to believe that she’s the slutiest of slutonia and the baddest because she (still) loves this image of hers: the dark rogue slayer…
    When Riley told Faith “I love you” it was him starting to realize, that “their” relationship wouldn’t work out, because Buffy can’t satisfy his fantasy of the great protector. He is totally dependent on her, even with doing his job (New Moon Rising and Goodbye Iowa come to mind), he always needs her to clean up his messes, but she can deal with almost anything by herself (right now). And if she needs someone, it’s the gang, not him. He with brainlessness and the pure muscle-status is helping out, but with nothing that Buffy couldn’t do herself. He’s the Gunn of the gang, without accepting his part.

    And I don’t like your sentence: “This is a concept (sex because of love) that Faith unfortunately hasn’t been in contact with in her life.” Its too judgemental. here: if you’re having sex for fun it can be bad (playing with the others expectations) or it can be fun, if you’re f***ing someone because you love him/her it can end badly (you remember season 2): the unfortunately is really out of place. Faith had a f***ing bad life and made a few awfully bad choices, but I don’t think it is right to address her trust-issues – where a great part of her bad-girl-wannabe-attitude comes from – with the sex-without-love-thing; that’s just a consequence.

    Another thing I want to address is the scene where one of the wet-guy watcher-guys spit on Buffy’s face: that’s quite a cruel scene imo. And I was proud when Buffy didn’t hand Faith over to these guys in the consecutive Angel-ep, showing respect in front of life although she didn’t know yet that Faith would hand herself over.

    And it’s worth mentioning that the sex-scenes between Buffy and Riley are always super-boring. Nearly as boring as their relationship. Don’t understand me wrong! I really like that they went there: Buffy and her studly yet sensitive boring boyfriend, just to show that this doesn’t work out for her (yet: cookie dough).


  4. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 22, 2006.]

    Thanks for commenting bookworm.

    First of all, I’m not the only one under the impression that Faith is “sexually experienced” (especially compared to Buffy):

    RILEY: I don’t know Jonathan. I mean I don’t know if she’ll really ever forget it. Every time I try to touch her…
    JONATHAN: She’s scared.
    RILEY: Scared of me?
    JONATHAN: Scared of what you’re thinking about.
    RILEY: What do you mean?
    JONATHAN: She knows that Faith is …. experienced.
    RILEY: What are you saying… experienced? God! Does she think that – what – that I’d be comparing? She knows she’s the one I… care about.

    “When Riley told Faith “I love you” it was him starting to realize, that “their” relationship wouldn’t work out, because Buffy can’t satisfy his fantasy of the great protector.”

    I’m not sure I understand how you came to this conclusion. How is it that Riley realizes he can’t satisfy that role here? I agree with your observations about Riley in general, but I don’t see the connection to that scene.

    “This is a concept (sex because of love) that Faith unfortunately hasn’t been in contact with in her life.”

    I’m not intending to say that sex without love can’t be fun or positive, but rather just that it’s unfortunate that Faith doesn’t appear to have ever been in a relationship where sex is also a sharing of love for one another, which I personally think is more special.

    Another thing I want to address is the scene where one of the wet-guy watcher-guys spit on Buffy’s face: that’s quite a cruel scene imo.

    I agree.

    And it’s worth mentioning that the sex-scenes between Buffy and Riley are always super-boring.

    Though I find their relationship a bit tiring at times, mostly I find it fascinating. Buffy and the normal Joe — this is what she wanted, lets see where it goes. 🙂


  5. [Note: bookworm posted this comment on March 27, 2006.]

    sorry for being so late: movie-festival and lots of work…

    first: Faith and experience:
    Of course Faith was more experienced than Buffy in season four, but Wood makes it pretty clear, that their “little encounter didn’t change (his) world.” It’s more a Faith-thing to believe, that she has “mad skills”. And the thing Faith and Riley had, seemed pretty “standard”.

    second: Buffy and Riley
    When Buffy was fighting Faith it’s been the first time, that she didn’t want Riley to come along, because she didn’t want to endanger him. (and because he was still in pretty bad shape) that’s the first moment, where the “you’re so strong. I like it!” started to change to: “Oh f***, I’m not the big man, she can handle herself, she wouldn’t let me protect her, she won’t need me, I’m endangered in my manliness!”

    And I know, maybe it’s just my thing, but someone telling “I love you” while on top of the other equals pretty much perfect despair in the sense: “please give me a straw to hold on, that all of what we’re doing has a semblence of meaning.” Nobody who feels connected to the other person would say that.


  6. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 30, 2006.]

    On the first point:
    Yeah, but that doesn’t change my point about what Faith is wanting sex for. Riley shows her a different sort of experience that affects her. I think Wood is trying to get at the same thing in S7. That there’s more to gain out of relationships than pure sex. And that’s what I was trying to say in my review.

    On the second point:
    I pretty much agree with you here.

    On the final comment:
    I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I think it comes down to the individual.


  7. [Note: bookworm posted this comment on March 31, 2006.]

    okay, thanks for your point of view.

    I think we won’t come to an agreement with the Faith-story, but I’m glad s.o. understood my point concerning Buffy/Riley.


  8. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 6, 2007.]

    Any episode with Faith is really awesome. And I just love Faith/ Buffy dynamic. Mikejer, I feel the same way you do regarding Who Are You?. For me, what´s so great about the episode is how the body switching thing is used to say something about the characters, especially Faith.


  9. [Note: Tony posted this comment on July 19, 2008.]

    Okay, I don’t get why you hate so much that Buffy tells everyone how strong Adam is. He is super strong. If it wasn’t for that magic at the end, she wouldn’t have defeated him so easily. I always viewed Adam as really strong. Also, you said you didn’t like how smart Buffy said he was. He is pretty smart for a thing made up of demon parts. Buffy heard the whole speech her gave in their first meeting, it was pretty interesting to hear.
    Also, back to this episode, I didn’t think the episode was badly paced at all. Sometimes you need long set ups to get to the action. Its not like it was a long boring setup.


  10. [Note: Elianne23 posted this comment on June 23, 2009.]

    A few points –
    I got the impression (and I could be wrong) that the first dream was
    Buffy’s, not Faith’s. It ties in with Buffy’s dream in GD. However,
    the picnic with Faith and the Mayor is definitely Faith’s
    I thought the letters were *to* Buffy rather than from her and she
    hadn’t picked up her mail for awhile. It wouldn’t make sense
    to write to her Mom when she could just pick up a phone (less time
    consuming when she’s so wrapped up in her new life).
    The music in the Faith dream sequence, other than the fact that a wordless
    soprano voice is used, is completely different from the music in Hush.
    Beck tends to repeat himself in fight scenes, but not with this type of thing.
    This episode seemed better to me than your rating, as there needed to
    be a lot of setup – Faith coming out of the coma had some catching up to do
    and it fits her character than she would find out everything about the current
    situation before striking. Volatile and dangerous as she is, she’s really
    not stupid. 🙂


  11. [Note: Elianne23 posted this comment on June 23, 2009.]

    I should also add that Beck also repeat himself by using “love themes” for each couple – Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Riley, Willow/Oz, Giles/Jenny, Willow/Tara –
    but they are really like “leitmotifs” and sometimes change slightly to suit what’s happening on screen. He writes some gorgeous stuff and really raised the quality
    of the show while he was there.


  12. [Note: Nia posted this comment on May 20, 2010.]

    Faith did a poor job of finding out everything she could. She jumped to conclusions, made rash judgements, basically did what Buffy said, “you still mouth off about things you don’t understand.” She didn’t know that Angel broke up with Buffy before The Prom(emotional trauma that lasts for years). She didn’t know that it was Joyce more than Buffy that put the distance between them (filling her bedroom with crates because she expected she wouldn’t be by to visit so soon, going out of state for Thanksgiving *Aunt Darlene’s*). That Halloween scene between them was really touching.

    It made a lot of sense for Buffy to write letters instead of call. Buffy and Joyce had different schedules. Joyce was busy with the gallery. Buffy had slaying and a full University courseload. In the high school episodes Joyce was often working overtime or going out of town while Buffy would spend hours training or researching of patrolling. Very busy those Summers women!

    It is so disgusting to hear Faith say that Riley looks like he could use a good roll in the hay knowing that the very next episode she is having sex with him in Buffy’s body.

    I think that Faith isn’t as good in bed as she thinks she is too. Xander described it as “a blur”. Wood said “it didn’t exactly rock my world”. She dated losers (deadbeat, klepto, stereotypical drummer) that didn’t care about her and older men that would treat her as just a generic jailbait fantasy.

    I understood Buffy being so happy to see Riley. You have to remember that things spun out of control right after she made love with him for the first time. The very next day his boss tried to kill her, got killed, Riley started going through drug withdrawl, and then got injured and taken to a military hospital and she wasn’t allowed to see him. This episode was the first moments they had to actually breathe and be together and process the fact that they were lovers, in a serious relationship, and made it through their first relationship obstacle.

    It was such a contrast to see Buffy in this episode straddling Riley and then Faith in WAY straddling Riley. Buffy did it in such a sweet, affectionate, gentle, and connective way. Completely the opposite of Faith-in-Buffy in that scene in the next ep.


  13. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 27, 2010.]

    One of my least favorite episodes in a while. A rehash of old ideas, with very little new of interest.

    Actually, to be honest, I was disappointed in S3 with Faith’s turn to the dark side. It *simplified* her character and her motivations too much. Evil is almost always two-dimensional. In this episode I was hoping for the moral complexity we’d get if Faith really did awaken from her coma feeling remorse. Oh well. From what I’ve read, I’ll like Part 2 better.


  14. [Note: Susan posted this comment on September 4, 2010.]

    I just re-watched this episode last night and have a comment to make regarding the mail that Faith goes through when she is taunting Joyce and trying to make her feel that Buffy doesn’t care about her. I am pretty sure that Elianne23 (#11 post) is correct in believing that the letters were “to” Buffy and not “from” Buffy. That makes so much more sense, the idea that Buffy hasn’t been by to see Joyce and pick up her mail in quite a while and that the stack of letters “to” Buffy has been accumulating for quite a while. In a scene later on after Faith has taken over Buffy’s body and Joyce finds her in her bedroom going through her things, Faith explains what she’s doing by saying that she was just going through her mail. This explanation satisfies Joyce. It wouldn’t make sense if she were explaining to her mother that she was sitting there going through all the letters that she had written “to” Joyce.


  15. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on November 5, 2010.]

    The letters were to Buffy. She hadn’t visited to collect them.

    The biggest thing I don’t understand in this episode is that Faith punches Joyce when she opens the door. After Faith getting to know Joyce a bit in Season 3 I cannot see her actually hitting her. It would make it easier to get her upstairs but Faith knows she can overpower Joyce so it seems out of character, for me anyway.

    Also, the hospital is really run down and dark. Even if it were the coma ward there would be more nurses and visitors couldn’t just walk in.

    A big downside was Faith talking between hits. It seemed forced and uncomfortable. Although, trashing the house yet again is a big plus.

    Foreshadowing: During the campus confrontation, Buffy says “If I was you.” and Faith responds “Well you’re not me.” Yet.


  16. [Note: John posted this comment on January 5, 2011.]

    Felt like I had to chime in to say how insipid “You’re here. Whatever comes, we can handle.” was. Yeah, because Riley’s been such a big help in combat.

    That line really felt like a slap in the face to all of the Scoobies. They’ve been there for years, and they’re the ones who really deserve that line; but Riley gets it. Buffy mooning over Riley was really just plain irritating, and I was /very/ glad when it stopped.


  17. [Note: Elizabeth posted this comment on February 21, 2011.]

    Did anyone notice that you can see a cameraman next to the stairs as Buffy and Faith fall down them during their fight at the end of the episode? At least I think it’s a cameraman- I can’t come up with any other explanation.


  18. [Note: Maeth posted this comment on April 19, 2011.]

    Couldn’t Buffy not coming out of the grave also be considered foreshadowing? After all, she dies about a year later. Of course Faith doesn’t have anything to do with Buffy’s death but it’s still interesting that a scene with Buffy not coming out of a grave takes place in a dream of a Slayer (-> prophetic dreams) and another dream in the same episode hints at Dawn’s arrival.

    @Elizabeth: Yes, it’s a cameraman. I usually don’t notice such things so I had to look up the scene you were talking about. I think a little later you also see an elbow. You probably have the widescreen version of the Buffy seasons. Since Buffy is supposed to be seen in 4:3 there are some bloopers to be seen in the widescreen version. For example, the cheeseman in “Restless” in one of the last scene is standing in the picture frame before he moves toward the center of the picture.


  19. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on November 9, 2011.]

    Elizabeth: I only noticed the camera man on a recent viewing. He is holding a steady-cam (I guess) to get the shot of the fall down the stairs from the side and it’s easier to get the stunt women to do the fall once and get the shot from two angles. This can lead to catching the other guy in frame. Strange editing didn’t catch it.

    Dave: Oh, the leather pants. Well she has been a bad girl…………….as she said.


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

    First of I love this episode. The Buffy/Faith relationship is revelaed more. Buffy clearly wanting to help Faith. Faith feeling hurt that Buffy rejected her and not loving her. Later on admitting to Angel that Buffy was the only person in her life that wanted to be her friend. After watching Sancturay it seems like Faith turned herslef into the police because she did to Buffy more than anything else.


  21. [Note: JustJenna posted this comment on April 1, 2012.]

    I always thought the opening dream sequence was all about foreshadowing Dawn. Making the bed to symbolize preparing for her arrival. The comment “smells like Summer” — Well Buffy’s last NAME is Summers, isn’t it? I think the sheets and the comment “smells like Summer” are just meant to imply that a new Summers child is on the way.

    I don’t think it goes so deep as to suggest that clean sheets means “innocence”, I think it just means new life, although admittedly this metaphor would fit better if their last name was Spring. Then again new life and innocence are usually one and the same, so perhaps you’re right.


  22. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on June 9, 2012.]

    Riley: “Family – is that what we are?” the kind of line that leads nicely into S5, but with Whedon goes in fact right through to the Dollhouse finale.

    i don’t find the episode slow – a little melodramatic but the the build is nice and every scene serves a purpose.

    but who in the hair bear bunch DID phone Buffy about Faith?


  23. [Note: Less newt posted this comment on August 13, 2012.]

    I think that when Faith speaks in this episode, she usually starts in a place where she’s correct and justified in her outrage, and gets worked up by her own words, moving (as people do when angry) towards less reasonable things. Notable cases are when she first meets up with Buffy and when she meets up with Joyce. Since I see Buffy as having failed Faith in a big way in S3, Faith claiming that Buffy failed her in a big way is pretty compelling for me. But Faith is also distraught, self-righteous, and a bit crazy, and so not all of her conclusions are sound.

    Regarding the Buffy-Riley relationship, I like Riley. I think he’s a genuinely good person, dealing with the disintegration of his life in this season. I see him saying “I love you” to Fuffy after sex as part and parcel of his straightforward Iowa-boy story: they just had sex. If she’d held the door for him, he’d have thanked her.

    The Buffy-Riley issues which arise in S5 are really complicated and interesting; I don’t think that any story that any character tells in S5 about that relationship is correct. Spike is clearly manipulating Riley to get closer to Buffy. Xander sees all and knows all, except in this case, he’s really not seeing the whole story. Buffy and Riley both say some confusing things while fighting. In short, I think Buffy and Riley stop communicating clearly about what each of them needs (Buffy making assumptions of solidarity, Riley making allowances for her not to give him what he needs instead of telling her, and then making his own assumptions about what she needs), and as a result, their relationship falls apart. It has very little to do with any sort of fundamental incompatibility. It is not because “Buffy needs a bad boy” or because “Riley needs to be the manliest man of mandonia”, although these are parts of who each of them is, and these make convenient excuses when they stop communicating.


  24. [Note: Rob W. posted this comment on August 17, 2012.]

    “The Watcher’s Council having an employee at the hospital to notify them when Faith awakens. Cool.”

    And maybe not just for that purpose.

    If you think about the idea of a rogue Slayer, how it would normally be without an extra one-off Slayer like Buffy in the picture, you can imagine what a bad state of affairs it would be for the world. It could mean a Slayerless world for decades, enough time for all sorts of mayhem to ensue. Any expectation that a rogue would be kept imprisoned “for a good long while” by the Council is misplaced. If they weren’t able to quickly rehabilitate her, I think would kill her and force a succession for the greater good.

    With Buffy alive this wasn’t necessary, but if she had died, it’s possible that the Watcher’s operative at the hospital would have been given a different task to carry out.


  25. [Note: Leighton posted this comment on August 30, 2012.]

    Also I think you get a great insight on Faith’s attitude towards people.”Faith these are innocent people.””No such animal.”


  26. [Note: Caleb posted this comment on August 8, 2013.]

    Does anyone notice in the scene when Buffy and Faith come crashing down the stairs at the Summers’ home, over to the left of the shot, you can see someone who works behind the scenes? Its not like a huge deal or anything, I just got a good little chuckle out of it. No big!


  27. [Note: WCRobinson posted this comment on August 9, 2013.]

    Yeah, Caleb, you can see that in the widescreen version as the show is meant to be viewed in 4:3, not widescreen. In widescreen you can occasionally see black frames on the shot, bits of backstage etc.


  28. [Note: boispiquant posted this comment on November 2, 2013.]

    Medical trivia: in the opening scene with Faith, the lower heart rhythm shown on screen is ventricular tachycardia, a rapidly deadly heart rhythm which in real life would have had a whole medical emergency response team swarming into the room. Most cardiac rhythms shown on Buffy so far have been normal or rapid normal; this is the first attempt I remember at showing someone with an actually medically serious heart rhythm.


  29. [Note: Seele posted this comment on November 2, 2013.]

    Maybe Slayers just have super-hearts and the doctors have spent the last months realizing the rhythm is normal for her, if not necessarily understanding why?


  30. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on June 29, 2014.]

    This is an insightful episode that gives us a deeper peak into Faith’s psychology and world view. Yes, it was some what of a set-up for the next episode, but I think they handled it mostly well and the tension that was building between Buffy and Faith was palpable. Plus, I’ve always felt like even though Buffy is slightly better than Faith, when they fight there is a whole lot of emotion and energy that goes into it. It feels like they are two equals when on the battlefield, which is rare, even with the Big Bads in this show. I always felt like before this, Angelus might have been her equal power-wise, other times I thought (before he got chipped, School Hard days.) that Spike had the potential to be her equal but none of them could match up. There’s just so much more going on when Buffy and Faith fight than just pure muscle, it makes for interesting television.

    Anyway, those dream sequences were terrific. BtVs dream sequences always are, of course. But I really enjoy Buffy’s prophetic dreams for some reason, so you can say that Restless was like a treat for me. Anyway, any episode that contains dream sequences usually get a higher grade in my book, yes I’m aware that I am nitpicking. Anyway, it’s nice to take a break from the Initiative plot line. I didn’t realize till the episode was done how much more I enjoyed it then the past couple of episodes. This episode felt like old times. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that season 4 is taking me twice the amount of time to rewatch than seasons 2 and 3 combined.

    It was good to see Joyce again. It was also good to see the Mayor, I love his unique brand of evil, I almost miss the guy. As you said, he’s oceans better than Adam. I also loved Willow giving Tara the low-down on Faith. “Five by five what?” “That’s the thing, nobody even knows!”

    Basically, I really like what they do here with Faith. The way I see it, she was constructed to be the complete opposite of Buffy, the archetype of what the “evil slayer” is supposed to be. And it made sense, too, for the show to explore the possibilities of someone with Buffy’s power and none of her restraint. Here, though, once they bring Faith back after Buffy “killed her” (and therefore, murdered that possible evil inside herself) she becomes much more her own character, as opposed to simply functioning as a mirror for Buffy. I LOVE what’s coming forwards for Faith’s character, even if I do agree that she works better in smaller doses.


  31. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on June 29, 2014.]

    Great comment there. In particular, I’d agree that the clashes between Buffy and Faith in the 3rd and 4th seasons were easily the best fight sequences that the show ever did (the only thing that comes close is the sword fight from “Becoming”).

    The video that the Mayor leaves for Faith is a brilliant character touch in my view – one that helps to cement his status as an all-time great villain. The message he sends to her seems to be loving and fatherly, but in truth it might be one of the cruelest things he ever did. Even from beyond the grave, he’s still doing what he always really did to Faith – turn her into an instrument of his will, in this case to exact a last measure of revenge on the person who defeated him, and with zero care for the fact that he might be dooming Faith’s second chance at life in the process.

    Buffy’s words and actions in this episode, as well as in “Graduation Day Pt.2” suggest to me that even at this late stage she was potentially still open to the idea of helping Faith, if that had been possible. But once the body-swap (and its consequences) took place, that was gone forever – and that might have been Richard Wilkins’ last, nastiest victory.


  32. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on June 29, 2014.]

    Wow, I never thought of it like that. That’s a really cool perspective on it. I think that I was so blinded by my strange admiration of Richard Wilkins (especially since I really hate Adam’s arc) I never took it in that way. You’re right, but I guess we’ll never know his motivations now. He didn’t even know if she was going to wake up and his love for her was evident, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t planning this whole thing as revenge without even realising the repercussions of it. Plus, I think the Mayor (like every Buffy Big Bad, ever.) highly underestimates Buffy’s power and strength. Maybe he thought that this would get rid of the Slayer forever and that his Faith would get to have the life that “he thinks” she deserves. Something like a last resort, perhaps? I mean, since he was evil and all that maybe he just didn’t contemplate that he was destroying her life in the process. Still, even though I know that Faith had no love in her life and that she felt like the only person who ever appreciated her was the Mayor, it was still her decision to make. So, yes it was kind of like the Mayor satisfyingly getting a last laugh, but I think Faith’s predicament was brought on by herself. As we see in the next episode, Faith isn’t as far gone as she believes she is; she isn’t devoid of all ethics and morality, its all just really repressed…somewhere in the garbage dump of her mind because she has been groomed that way.


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

    I thought the same thing, it’s perfectly indicative of the Mayor’s ability to manipulate, emotionally and psychologically. The Mayor obviously perceived both her emotional instability and value as an asset to his cause, in a way it’s another part of Faith’s role as a foil to Buffy. Whereas Buffy has a positive and healthy relationship with a genuinely decent paternal figure in her Slayer/Watcher dynamic with Giles, Faith is deceived by the Mayor’s (admittedly flawless) facade of the wholesome family man and I believe it’s more or less clear her longing for the type of positive paternal relationship Buffy has with Giles leaves her particularly vulnerable to the Mayor’s insidious deceptions.


  34. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on August 2, 2014.]

    I disagree that the Mayor’s family man behaviour is a facade, or that he is purposefully manipulating Faith to do his will. There can be no argument that she was a very useful asset to him during the run-up to “Graduation Day”, and that the video he leaves in this episode is an attempt to exact vengeance on those he percieves to have wronged him – but I don’t think he understands that what he is doing is hurting Faith.

    The Mayor does not believe that his actions are evil – likely he does not believe in the concept of evil at all. By extent, he thinks that he is helping Faith escape the trappings of the Scooby Gang and embracing the villainous life she was always meant for. Yes, the video he leaves this episode does more harm than good; yes, killing Buffy must have been on his mind when he recorded it. But while this is evidently manipulation on his part, I do think that he genuinely believes this is what Faith needs. If nothing else, “Graduation Day, Part II” should prove that he cared very deeply for her.

    The scene in which Faith watches the Mayor on the video is one of my absolute favourites of the entire series, matched only by the end of “Restless”, Buffy’s soliloquy in “After Life” and Spike on the cross in “Beneath You”. In fact, I think this whole episode is severely underrated and probably deserving of an A.


  35. [Note: ML posted this comment on August 4, 2014.]

    Thank you! I have no idea why the Mayor would be just pretending about his feelings about Faith, when he clearly dies trying to get revenge for what happened to her (even if he didn’t know it was a trap, he could have reached that conclusion easily had he not been overtaken by emotion).
    I don’t think the Mayor offers Faith the thing to switch bodies because he wants revenge. I actually think it’s mostly about Faith – she could do with it whatever she wants. Of course, it’s obvious that she would go for Buffy, probably, but truth is if he hadn’t given that to Faith, she would be no better: an easy prey for the Watcher’s Council and she would still probably go for Buffy anyway, at least, with that thing she had one more opportunity.


  36. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on November 28, 2015.]

    Man the Dawn foreshadowing is so blatant I’m surprised I didn’t question it before (and I’m pretty sure I had at least heard of her before this point). I guess it does kind of prove that the Slayer dream conscious is weird if it can predict things that her own memories will suppress in the future.

    Kind of a shame that we didn’t get more Faith/Buffy interaction in the franchise than we did. Sure letting herself get arrested made sense but it felt like something cool was missing in the 3 season wait for her return on Buffy.


  37. [Note: Robert posted this comment on February 13, 2016.]

    I have a different theory as to the intention of the Mayor’s comments to Faith on the video. Of course we all know that the Mayor was evil because he sold his soul to ascend and become a pure demon. But Faith wasn’t evil like he was. Yes her actions were certainly evil, but beneath the surface she was still a human being with a soul. With the Mayor’s influence she honed her slayer abilities to commit evil crimes like cold-blooded murder, but I think he suspected that once he was dead that without his constant, parental-like evil intervention Faith would inevitably start to feel remorse for her actions and seek redemption, as she would in fact eventually do. That was my interpretation of his statement that one he was gone “her days were just plain numbered” and that it was “over for *his* Faith,” meaning that the version of Faith that he had nurtured towards committing evil deeds had little chance of survival without his influence.

    So, then why give Faith the body-switching device? I think he, even with his evil ways, loved her enough to want to help her after he was gone, for he knew that his death would also be the gradual death of the “evil” Faith he had nurtured all of that time they were together. Therefore the body-swap device was his way of setting her on her inevitable path to redemption, because for all of his evilness the Mayor was wise enough to realize that switching bodies with Buffy would give Faith that experience that would eventually make her realize that she was responsible for her actions, and therefore only by paying for her crimes could she truly redeem herself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s