Angel 1×19: Sanctuary

[Review by Ryan Bovay]

[Writer: Tim Minear and Joss Whedon | Director: Michael Lange | Aired: 05/02/2000]

“Sanctuary” is another impressive stand-out; a superb standalone that can engage casual viewers and readily rewards those who have cared to pay attention for many seasons. Most impressive about this showing is how expertly it juggles and interweaves the many conflicts and threads that occur throughout the episode; a lot of things come to a head. Angel’s quest for redemption is personified in a figure we know and understand, the final answer to the Buffy question is decided, Wesley makes his hardest decision yet, and a secondary character gets a story of her own. And all of it, with great credit to the writers, flows evenly throughout a plot tied together by Faith’s crisis, which leaves no one unchanged. It’s one of those episodes that remind you what a uniquely exceptional series you’re really watching when years-long histories and well illustrated characters can be called on for such a satisfying union.

Now, the most important part of good writing is that everything moves with a purpose. This is, among other things, obvious, but relevant to this review of this episode in particular because of how much it has going on. The material here was too juicy to be terrible, but in less capable hands this could’ve had certain characters as slaves to the situation, serving the writer’s purpose only. Going into this episode my first time, I was worried it would be Angel, since Faith’s story begged a great deal of time, as did Wesley’s struggle. Throw in Buffy and Kate, and it’s getting a little crowded.

But Angel’s mission persists most importantly here. In my very earliest review (“City of” [1×01] ) I surmised that the theme of S1 was connection: that for Angel to carry on as an ample hero he would need ties to the world. Up to this point he’s been saving lives and souls of many, but is prone to old-fashioned noir heroism; no association with the saved, no face to present. He’s just a good deed and a stalk away into the night. But to create deeper ties, this too must change, and because of this Faith’s redemption is as important to him as it is to her. Her repentance is his success, the key to his belief in humanity, and it’s something he’s able to see and feel; tangible proof of the importance of his mission. My favourite moment in “Judgement” [2×01] was when Angel visited Faith, because it just proves it.

Though, at the start of the episode they’re not quite there yet. We begin with a somber moment, and I was pleased to see that we didn’t skip to the next day, but saw the immediate aftermath of Faith and Angel’s battle as they quietly descend in the elevator. One could call it sobering, and rightly so, as Faith has just hit ‘rock bottom.’ It’s a term often used by recovery groups that support drug or alcohol addicts, and it’s meant to describe the lowest point one can get to when they’re deep into their problem. An addict has gone so far down that they’ve lost everything; usually themselves. We join Faith at this point, having reached the lowest place possible which spurs the desire to change. She’s cold, ashamed and finally aware of everything she’s done more than ever.

To carry on with the addiction metaphor, her journey through this episode exists to bring her to ‘Moment of Clarity.’ Preceded by ‘rock bottom,’ this is when an addict comes to a light of sorts; the realization of what one must do to make things right. But the actual theme of the episode is the perennial one of redemption, and, more specifically: Earning it – meaning it. Angel’s already gotten to that place by beginning his quest to save the souls of others, and as we saw in “Five by Five” [1×18] he too hit rock bottom once, and has come a long way since (hitting it a few more times in between too. See: “Orpheus” [4×15] ). So just like last year, his empathy for her is genuine as is his desire to help as he remembers going through everything very alone.

To indulge my inner fan-boy, I do have to say that I’ve always tremendously enjoyed Faith as a villain. She’s complex, dark, interesting and well-written. She made a great foil of darkness to Buffy in S3 of BtVS, and was a sexy symbol of female empowerment in all the ways Buffy was not. So to see her go down the path of good was a little disappointing just because I always kind of hoped to watch her go down with guns blazing. Since she was a remarkably well-written villain, I always despised her in a way I have few others, which was why I always liked watching her. But as far as the alternative to that goes, this episode did very well at giving us Faith a la BtVS “Revelations” and then some.

She has four big moments here: Trying to run, asking Angel ‘how this works,’ killing the demon assassin, and confronting Buffy. Returning again to addiction, the first is her acknowledgement of her need for help when Angel stops her. She has anger, and as Wesley says: evil, and the will to use it. She fears this power; the complete lack of control over it (as we see when she strikes Angel, and as she later describes to Buffy). The second scene shows the active will to change, but is also funny; I loved the melodrama followed by humour, but the scene was quite potent too. For those of us with doubts, this is genuine proof that Faith has the will and determination to change. This is important to stress, since we saw last year how easily she could go off the rails. The third, featuring the demon, is of particular note, as it ties Faith to Angel even more so. Faith, like her savior, is now going to have to fight an ever-eternal struggle between herself and the demon inside.

The death and the blood on her hands represent this, as does the demon itself (both of them being assassins, which Lee Mercer later stresses in a very funny scene). The final and indeed most important scene relates to Buffy, who shows up at Angel Investigations after hearing of Faith’s arrival in L.A.

I was reminded of “Inside Out” [4×17] watching Buffy, where everything is the opposite of what it should be, or what we’d expect it to be. In this episode the figures of past and present evil (Angel and Faith) are the champions and carriers of burdens, with the desire to do good for others and the utmost belief in redemption. Maybe the latter is in self-interest, but that’s not always for the worst, as we see the belief in humanity it’s instilled in Angel. Then on the other side, we have the traditional figures of heroism and good (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Kate the Police woman) wrapped up in self-interest and hell-bent on revenge.

Buffy’s not unjustified in wanting it, but Angel is damned accurate when he tells her she doesn’t have a right to it. But first I’ll discuss her and Faith, for whom she appears as the embodiment of every cruel deed Faith has done to the innocent. This entire episode is essentially about ‘sorry;’ meaning it, not saying it, and in the minds of most, meaning it constitutes owning up to your actions, and taking steps to never let them happen again. When the mortified and shaking Faith summons the courage to actually say sorry it’s moving, since we the viewers have followed her in every step. But Buffy hasn’t; furious and unaware of the change that’s occurred in her enemy’s life, she threatens to beat her right to death in response in what’s probably the most chilling moment of the episode.

It’s in this confrontation and her stand-off with Buffy on the roof that Faith realizes no amount of sorry will ever be good enough, and has her moment of clarity wherein she realizes the ultimate way to do her penance, and own up to her actions: by confessing to the cop hunting her.

Although, that she made it that far was a miracle, as on my first watch I wholly expected Buffy to exact that revenge. What a thematic switch it would’ve been from the Angel/Faith fight in the previous episode and an epic end too, but what we have is still done incredibly well; the Buffy and Angel material particularly. I doubt I’m solitary in declaring that Buffy was something of a bitch this episode (Faith brings that out in her), but I was never in confusion about where she was coming from. What I liked most about her standoff with Angel was how perfectly it summed up the total loss of control that was their relationship. Throughout S3 of Buffy they were on and off, and when they were on, very unable to restrict their passions. When off, they only pined for each other.

It’s no coincidence that they’re having this control issue right alongside Faith’s, and we’re meant to see their passion is just as dangerous and unpredictable a beast (remember what happened last time they got way too passioned?). How quickly they came to blows, their rage selfishly simmering over everything happening around them, was the final answer to any question about their post-relationship relationship. Following “I Will Remember You” [1×08], or at least Buffy’s memory of it, the two agreed to stay away from each other and much like with Faith, now was their time to do it, not just say it, and it’s only ever the clearer why after this standoff.

The most profound moment between them occurs following Faith’s confession, when Angel wants to run to her so very badly, but doesn’t. This speaks for what he’s learned from all of this, and perhaps what Faith has helped him learn in turn by her being strong herself. People often accuse David Boreanaz of poor or wooden acting (see his new show “Bones” for further proof against this), but in this entire exchange, especially when he exploded at Buffy, he was dead on and all the pain radiated right off onto the viewers, to his credit. Chalk some of it up to Joss & Tim though; their dialogue is right on point here as they write the truest final scenes of Buffy and Angel’s love.

Before I wrap up, I’ll touch on Wesley, who occupies what constitutes the B plot today. First, I loved that we get to see the Council’s Elite soldiers from BtVS “Who Are You?” again. Continuity, eh? I also enjoyed the unsettling feeling the sequence produced when I found out that charming, decent and helpful Wesley actually knew these people. His development in this episode is both potent and key. If everything is opposite today, with Angel and Faith on the side of righteousness and Buffy and Kate on the side of wickedness, Wesley is the wild card; undecided, and straddling both sides. His conflict raises serious questions, and in credit again to Tim & Joss, has no predictable outcome. In “Five by Five” [1×18] he was steadfast in making the case for Faith’s redemption, as adamant as Angel in the belief that a human soul makes one redeemable.

His attitude has shifted now, however, after being brutally and sadistically tortured. He demands Faith be bound and gagged, calls her an evil animal and is shaken in his very belief about her potential for good as a human being. In the span of an episode, he’s almost completely jumped onto Buffy and Kate’s side. So what makes him different? The Council Elite offer him his position as Watcher back in England restored in exchange for bringing in Faith. His attitude, as well as his compulsive need to play hero make his struggle and the third act all the more tense, as we’re never sure what he’ll do. Even – especially – on a re-watch, I would’ve expected him to take Faith down, since he often feels it is his burden to do what is right, and often decides what is ‘right’ on his own.

But in the end he chooses the righteous path, though not because of Faith. Kate and Buffy feel anger, and have a great distrust of Angel for their own reasons, leading them both to their selfish and ignorant actions here. Of course they can’t trust Faith either, and what eventually leads Wesley to his decision is his trust for Angel. Not unlike Doyle in “Hero” [1×09], he’s seen his friend’s strength and capacity for good in a way that neither Buffy nor Kate could have, and gives this friend of his the utmost confidence. Faith may still be a monster to him, but he knows that Angel can deal with monsters. That, and despite his anger, he also remembers the previous year and how poorly harsh measures work on the unstable Faith.

Undoubtedly one of the most memorable unions in Buffy and Angel’s world and a definite fan favourite, this episode pleases on all corners. Aside from the fantastic secondary character development we get for Faith, we also get significant participation from several guest players that work perfectly and add well to the mix. Kate could’ve been easily left out, but her brief inclusion gave us an important piece to her feelings for Angel now (ready to murder him? Yeesh). The same goes for Buffy, who only elevated the material. And even with all of this we’re privilege to some remarkable and important development for the main characters that works thematically within the bounds of this new show, weaved together by an attention-holding plot that takes absolutely no prisoners, and gives you no easy answers.

If one thing did disappoint me here, it’s that Buffy didn’t get to stay in the basement during the third act to see what a fighter Wesley’s become. At least Faith will get to in the future; Wesley a la S4 would be able to take down even the most furious Rupert Giles.

Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Faith having mental flashes of her reactions. Nice to see they carried this trick over from Buffy.
+ Angel’s long response to a question about a microwave.
+ Angel’s reaction to Faith mentioning Buffy’s boyfriend.
+ The long zoom out in the W&H office, building tension, to show us just a slobbering dog-like demon.
+ Lee Mercer’s “assassin” rant.
+ Lindsey showing up at the police station. Yikes.
+ Buffy’s infuriated glare at Faith.



47 thoughts on “Angel 1×19: Sanctuary”

  1. [Note: shanshuprophecy posted this comment on June 21, 2007.]

    Agreed .. this is a great episode all round.

    Faith always brings intensity to a story & the tension between her & Buffy is wonderful. It also shows Buffy’s unforgiving black/white good/bad philosophy is a strained light, she seems childish & churlish throughout the whole episode & I really enjoy that as I think she is a self-involved & childish character .. this episode clearly demarcates the kiddies from the grown-ups


  2. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on February 7, 2008.]

    Amazing episode. Dialogue, story and character interaction, all of it work perfectly. I just love Faith/Buffy interacting, perfect chemistry.


  3. [Note: Jay posted this comment on September 13, 2008.]

    I have to disagree with you shanshuprophecy, after all that Faith put Buffy through e.g. switching bodies, sleeping with Riley etc I’m surprised she wasn’t more pissed off. She’s been put through so much by Faith over the years (not cussing faith btw, love her character to bits) that I don’t blame her for acting the way she did.

    I don’t think it was childish that she wants some payback and like Ryan said, its not as if she was aware of the changes that Faith had been through so I can see why she acted the way she did.

    Love your reviews Ryan. Keep up the great work =)


  4. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on March 4, 2009.]

    Of course, Wesley could (later on in the series) probably defeat Rupert. He’s considerably younger; even if he weren’t quite as a skilled a fighter, he’d have much more stamina, etc.

    But Rupert is still much yummier. 8P


  5. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on August 4, 2009.]

    One of my favourite of your reviews here Ryan.

    Great episode – although i’m not sure it stands alone without Five by Five. That episode had Darla and Faith, here we get Buffy and Kate – so that’s pretty much everyone significant. There’s some nice humour too over at Wolfram and Heart which signifies the light that the end of the episode will bring.

    And then there’s Buffy daft hair which just doesn’t get old. And Faith is right, she IS all about control, her description of Riley; “I trust him, i KNOW him” proves that. Buffy S5 shows Buffy moving toawrds the realisation of love in a fuller sense while S6 shows that she has to maintain control and for vital reasons, when she lets it slip, – chaos ensues. But here we get to see her in the wrong, even if Angel over reacts a little he has a clear grasp of what’s at stake for Faith and himself.

    And of course Wesley is just rockin on.


  6. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 21, 2010.]

    Buffy was not selfish in wanting revenge on someone who held her friend hostage, tried to kill Xander, tried to kill her numerous times, worked for evil, punched and held her mother hostage, beat her up when she was in Faiths body and slept with her boyfriend. Oh yeah, nothing to want revenge over, she must of been selfish and arrogant.

    Anyway, great to see Faith trying for redemption and finally trying to apologise to Buffy.

    I love the response Buffy gives, “If you apologise to me, I will beat you to death.” And Faith actually a little scared of her.

    Great moment when Angel tells Buffy that he cannot move on like she has and to go away.


  7. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on February 22, 2010.]

    Was browsing around on Hulu this past weekend and decided to see which Angel episodes were available – only five, but this was one of them, and I was impressed enough to want to start watching the rest of the series. Angel has grown into a much more interesting and complex character, and DB’s acting has improved immensely from BtVS – his delivery in the last scene with Buffy was very powerful.

    I have to say I disagree that Buffy was in the wrong here, and lumping her in with Kate seems unfair. As the last poster pointed out, Buffy has some serious justification for wanting revenge on Faith. She’s spent the last year and change dealing with a very evil Faith, and I’m not surprised she’d show up wanting to kick some ass when she hears that Faith is now wreaking havoc in L.A. (immediately after doing some serious damage in Sunnydale). When she arrives Buffy has no way to know that Faith is suddenly ready to change, and why should she believe that Faith is genuine? Faith has lied before and often. I don’t blame Buffy at all for her actions here, and she doesn’t come across as bitchy until the last scene. Telling Angel about Riley is clearly just a mean-spirited way to hurt Angel in return for his protecting Faith.


  8. [Note: Enaj posted this comment on May 13, 2010.]

    Obviously Buffy was justified in wanting revenge, but it’s a mistake to claim that revenge isn’t selfish (the two things aren’t really mutually exclusive). Most times, revenge is nothing BUT selfish, and Buffy’s need for revenge isn’t an exception. Buffy taking out her revenge on Faith wouldn’t really do anything to help anyone else but herself, which is what makes it selfish. Not that she doesn’t have a right to be selfish in this particular situation, but thinking that she’s acting even remotely selfLESSly would be a mistake. What Angel’s doing, trying to help Faith reform and atone for what’s she’s done: THAT’S selfless, and Buffy’s complete inability and unwillingness to see the big picture past her own anger and need for vengeance is what makes her seem childish and selfish in this episode.

    Also, the scene at the end of the episode? Where Buffy and Angel are having it out and you can actually see her pause and make the decision to tell Angel about Riley and how great her new relationship is just to hurt Angel? Really not a proud Buffy moment. That really is what cinches it for me on the baby-Buffy. I LOVE Buffy when she’s on her own show, because it really is a show about high school and growing up. But when she comes on Angel’s show, a show about dealing with adult issues in grownup ways, she comes off like a petulant child.


  9. [Note: Slayer posted this comment on July 25, 2010.]

    I agree with much of your review of this episode – not one of my favourites but an important step for the series, for Angel, Faith and Buffy.

    I have to say though, I disagree with the idea that Buffy was being petulant and childish. Sure, revenge is selfish and sure Buffy *was* being selfish, but after everything she was put through, I think she deserves to be a little selfish. Remember that at the beginning of Five by Five, when Angel gets off the phone with Giles, he – in Wesley’s words – gets extremely “personal” about finding Faith and stopping her. He asks Angel if this is because something happened to Buffy, and you can see the need for revenge in Angel’s eyes too. He’s prepared for revenge against Faith because she hurt Buffy. It’s only after a lot of fighting, when she breaks down in his arms that he decides to take the high road.

    It’s the same with Buffy. Faith hurts Joyce, Giles, Xander, Riley and not least Buffy by her actions in Sunnydale, not to mention all that she’s done before her coma. *I’d* want revenge, selfishness be damned. And like others have said, it’s not like she knew that Faith was on her way to redemption. As far as she knew, Faith was lying and playing her way out of taking responsibility for her actions.

    And yes, the final revelation about Riley is petty and childish, but it’s very realistic of how you react with an ex. Plus, seeing Faith in Angel’s arms as she walked in was bound to prick a little.

    What I think is so interesting is that, no matter how much I love Buffy, (and, as a fangirl, Buffy & Angel), in this episode, more than any other one, Buffy seems out of place. Everything from the hair, the hostile (but warranted) attitude, the fact that she’s pretty much the hanger-on in this episode. She can’t fight Faith, much as she wants; she fights the Watcher but its Angel who saves the day; she can’t stop Angel from handing himself in to the police until they see Faith there. Basically, she’s superfluous. Is it telling that this is SMG’s last appearance on this show? And yet, Angel, however many times he shows up in BTVS, always seems to fit right back in Buffy’s world.


  10. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on August 18, 2010.]

    This and “Five by Five” were both amazing. By the way, both deserved *s way more than “City Of” or “Somnambulist”.


  11. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on August 18, 2010.]

    G1000, just a ‘FYI’ that the ‘*’ is still a ‘P’. I’ve simply modified the scoring system to no longer hand out perfect scores, or 100s. ‘P’ now represents a “Platinum Badge.” It’s essentially the same thing only a little bit more refined in its meaning and with no implications to perfection.


  12. [Note: Alice posted this comment on November 6, 2010.]

    I agree that Buffy comes across as childish. Actually, I feel Buffy is more weak and childish on every Angel appearance than in her own show. It shows just how much darker and grown-up Angel is than BtVS.

    I especially liked the verbal bitch-slap Angel gave Buffy. It’s great that her immaturity was finally called out. I know that a lot of you think Buffy had a right to be selfish, but she is the Slayer (a role she accepted long ago) and heroic figures are not supposed to be petty.

    I find it hard to believe that someone forced to grow up too quickly would act so irrationally or that she is still alive in-spite of this trait. It is in-character though.


  13. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on November 6, 2010.]

    To be fair, Angel is really childish too in this episode, lashing out because he’s hurt (isn’t it what whe reproach Buffy for?).

    And Angel is pretty childish at some occasion when crossing over to BTVS, so the affirmation that Ats is much darker and grown up seems kinda easy to me with this particular argument.

    Besides, is it that immature to demand (ok, not asking nicely at all) that Faith was put behind bars? Only Angel saw Faith’s breakdown and he’s quite incapable of explaining why people should have faith (no pun intented) in her as the scene with Cordy and Wes proves, instead he’s, because of his own past and guilt issues understandably, being stubborn and insensitive (I can’t believe how he acts with Wesley in this scene!). And the same thing of course occurs when Buffy arrives.

    We should remember that Faith is a killer who hit Cordelia, tortured Wesley, raped Buffy and killed people.

    Asking Buffy to not be “”””petty”””” because she’s a heroic figure seems to high of a standard for me. She’s not nice in this episode. And I find her quite childish but should someone call her out on it in this situation? A call out seems really out of line for me.

    Even as a slayer, I believe she’s right to 1)interfere in the business of arresting another slayer, it can even be seen as a duty, 2)not let Faith free.

    Though I don’t understand why she’s askin for Faith to be send in jail. She surely should see that a slayer can easily break free from it.


  14. [Note: Neil posted this comment on January 9, 2011.]

    Did anyone notice the continuity error on the color of the dartboard in the bar scene?

    That aside this episode should have received a P. Superb.


  15. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on January 12, 2011.]


    -Wesley mad that Angel is treating Faith well.

    -Faith admitting that Buffy tried to help her and she was the bad one.

    -Buffy threatening to beat Faith to death.

    -Buffy puching Angel and Angel returning serve. The shock looks.

    -Buffy pushing aside the policemans arm trying to hold her back.


    -Why did Lee assume that Faith killed the demon. Angel was also there.

    -The extremely bad shooting of the Watchers Council guys. 100 bullets. 0 hits.

    -Buffy is really skinny when she takes off her coat.

    Trivia: This episode ends the same as when Faith left Sunnydale in ‘Who Are You?’ Both end with Faith sitting in a small compartment.(train carriage, jail cell) The difference is in this episode Faith smiles at the end.


  16. [Note: tony posted this comment on March 1, 2011.]

    At the end of the Buffy episodes where they switched bodies, it looked like Buffy had some sympathy and understanding for Faith, when she replied to Riley, after his revelation of the two sleeping together: “I don’t think she’ll come back” (with parting shot of Faith on a cargo train). That ending was a perfect ending to a very moving two-parter on the Buffy show.

    It felt discontinuous and over the top in this episode when Buffy appeared so hell-bent against Faith. I suppose one could say that Buffy got really angry again after hearing that Faith had tried to kill Angel…just wish the continuity could have been done more subtly.


  17. [Note: blackwan posted this comment on December 23, 2011.]

    This a great episode. Buffy here is very scary with look she gives Faith. The chemistry between them is perfect. Buffy is truly in character here as we have seeseen how she reacted when the first killed her. Finally the scene on the was interesting in how Faith realizes Buffy always tried to help her and spat in her face. I love the fact in the Buffy in the end Buffy protectvs Faith like Wesley believed she would and Faith seems affected by this. For to had a real deep affecton her.


  18. [Note: alia posted this comment on January 19, 2012.]

    I think they made Buffy so bitchy so that viewers of just “Angel” would expect him to move on, even though we see him again on Buffy and get good Bangel vibes there. Angel viewers don’t see that part though.


  19. [Note: Alexei posted this comment on February 8, 2012.]

    On what did you reduce 5 points so this episode has 95 out of 100? I’m thinkig, and i can’t think of a singe thing…


  20. [Note: Odon posted this comment on March 5, 2012.]

    In understanding Buffy’s attitude it’s important to remember not only the events of “Who Are You?” but BTVS “Enemies” where Faith played the exact card that Buffy accuses her of doing this time (right down to the “blood on my hands” scene) in order to seduce Angel and turn him evil. In that episode Angel got into the role so much that Buffy was seriously worried that he found Faith more appealing than her.


  21. [Note: Odon posted this comment on March 5, 2012.]

    Plus Buffy could have been a lot bitchier, if she wanted:

    “I’ve met a great new guy. It’s not like what you and I had. There’s a lot more sex, for one thing!”


  22. [Note: Aleden posted this comment on March 19, 2012.]

    I was so glad when Angel put Buffy in her place, altho he went back on being a Buffybitch episode latter.


  23. [Note: ivy posted this comment on April 5, 2012.]

    I particularly enjoyed this episode.

    I think that Buffy has every right to want revenge but I didn’t like her in this episode. She looked like a spoiled brat when she told angel about riley. In my opinion she just wanted to make him jealous because she was jealous of faith. And,even though I love her character, it was pretty childish.

    The fact that she sais she “loves Riley” is proof enough that she just wants to hurt him.

    And I really really enjoyed what angel told her. I like him a whole lot better in his own show! 🙂

    And, btw, lee’s speech about assassins was simply hilarious!


  24. [Note: BEWBTUBE posted this comment on May 5, 2012.]

    I wonder why this doesn’t receive the Platinum Badge. This entire Faith arc, starting in Buffy and ending in Angel is representative of everything that Joss Whedon and Co. do so well. This episode brings one of the most memorable, most evocative arcs in the Buffy/Angel stories (and scripted TV all together) to an “end” that is complex and satisfying with deep meaning and most importantly deep feeling. For me, this episode deserves the Platinum Badge over any other this season and probably over the entire series.


  25. [Note: George posted this comment on July 13, 2012.]

    The first truly ‘perfect’ episode of the season so far in my opinion. Somnambulist was great, but not on the level of either Five by Five or this episode. Good review regardless.


  26. [Note: Dave posted this comment on November 8, 2012.]

    This has to be my favourite episode bar The Gift. Eliza Dushku was freaking amazing, though despite Buffy’s clear and understandable feelings, that first scene with her felt a little overacted.


  27. [Note: Dave posted this comment on November 23, 2012.]

    Forgot to add… Buffy in that last scene is a disgusting way of getting to Angel. She acts, looks and behaves like a spoiled brat.


  28. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on December 21, 2012.]

    Always been more of a BTVS man, but I’m starting to enjoy Angel too. Obviously this is a great episode for that purpose. Faith seems better placed in this show, as the noir aspect of Angel fits both her look and character. Conversely, Buffy feels like a suburban misfit. I like Angel was quite ready to see her go.


  29. [Note: Nina posted this comment on December 31, 2012.]

    Buffy WASN’T a whiny child as some people have said over here. She has every RIGHT to be upset and angry! Not forgoting all that happened in Buffy S3, but in S4 when Faith switched bodies with Buffy, she did a lot of damage; slept with her boyfriend etc. It infuriates me when people hate on Buffy this much. Why watch Buffy the vampire slayer if you don’t like Buffy..


  30. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 31, 2013.]

    Buffy’s appearance here is very interesting: she takes the role of Xander (when he’s on jerk mode) who says a lot of truth and a lot of twisted ideas of righteousness in an execrable tone. Ryan sums it up perfectly in his excellent review. Buffy and Angel live in a different world now and there are concepts that Buffy, at that time, cannot understand: she’s got heart but no insight. The proof is that she instinctively helps Faith when the Council’s cleaners try to take her down.

    Faith is not innocent, everything she did after the accidental kill is unforgivable and she should pay for her crimes. But what we see here is that Faith could have been helped: it takes strength to surrender and accept to live to atone. She was a perfect fit in the AtS universe. That’s the beauty of her fascinating character, we know what circumstances made her fall down her path, that’s what made her crimes so gruesome and why we know she has a chance to try to redeem herself like Angel.

    Also, it shows how slayers are the first victims. They are handed a terrible responsibility with a lot of power at an age where you have to construct your personality. So I like it when it’s shown that their paths can go either way, depending on the support/non-support they got and their personality. Buffy’s struggles, mistakes and superiority-complex are always understandable. But besides her slaying, she was loved by her mother and her watcher, she lived in a cozy house and had friends to put her back on track. It’s also interesting to hypothesize that if Buffy had really died, Faith could have had inherited a loving watcher to guide her (have the parental figure she never had), she wouldn’t have had to compare herself to Buffy (jealousy and rivalry issue on both side) and she wouldn’t have needed the Mayor’s love and acceptance. (Plus, the scoobies let her rot alone in a nasty motel to deal with the accident that set Faith on her path to hell: they failed her but never recognized it).

    Oh, and Wesley’s struggle and his decisions are so well portrayed. This two-parters are a highlight in the first season.


  31. [Note: BFG posted this comment on June 3, 2013.]

    The whole storyline of Faith cuts me deep and these last two episodes of Angel give all that pain and angst some hope for the future. I think the writers were making a great many bigger life points that were done frikkin brilliantly. There are so many but a few come to mind. The idea that (implied) that there are no ‘evil’ people… just people in pain or so confused and messed up that the only way they know to try and feel better is to lash out and hurt others. And as much as hurting others hurts other people (obviously) it also hurts the person doing the crime just as much. This is totally in line with my own beliefs and Sanctuary did it oh so well.

    But you can’t be excused from crime and murder simply because you are in pain. There needs to be a reckoning to start and put things right. That is the only way ultimately for someone like Faith who is drowning in pain and anger and confusion to start to try and ease the pain inside. Angel understands this. That he helped Faith to understand and realize that and that she took the initiative to give herself up was bittersweet. There were tears.

    I’ll also say I think Buffy was understandably angry… but let’s face it, she came looking for revenge. Her priorities weren’t “stop Faith from hurting anyone and get her someplace that might help her with her crazy”, they were “Faith hurt me and I want to hurt her back”. The whole ‘I’ll beat you to death’ lashing out thing was because she was hurt and angry and (I think) shows she was looking for an excuse to pummel Faith to make herself feel better. Because of this I think Buffy was way in the wrong. And because she couldn’t lash out at Faith because Angel prevented it, she lashed out at Angel instead. Not one of her finest moments.

    And I have to say Angel’s name, after seeing this episode, really feels to me like it’s so appropriate for him. He really was an “Angel” to Faith in every sense of the word. I’ve gone from being very ‘meh’ about him on BtvS to being a big fan of the character especially after this episode.


  32. [Note: meh posted this comment on August 15, 2013.]

    Buffy’s need for revenge here is both understandable and justified, but it also subverts the usual television trope of instant redemption. As soon as a character decides to be good, that’s it, they’re good. As seen at the beginning of BtVS season 7, with Willow, it is clear that that isn’t how it works (although to the fault of that season, it does work a little more).

    Buffy represents the realism Giles spoke to Willow about in England when Willow said the other witches were afraid of her, and asked Giles whether it would always be like that. Giles tells her it might, and asks her if she can handle it. Angel also alludes to this in his conversation with Faith, when he tells her the world might not be ready for her to be good yet. When Faith decides she wants to repent, that doesn’t mean all is forgotten, and forgiveness has to be earned. This also ties in to the idea that redemption must not be a “selfish” act, as in doing it for the sake of others’ forgiveness; it must be done because it must.


  33. [Note: EdwardH posted this comment on January 20, 2014.]

    I really don’t understand the Buffy bashing. Buffy is only aware of the bad Faith and has no idea of what’s gone on in L.A.. And I think Buffy helping save Faith on the rooftop is one of the reasons Faith ultimately turned herself in, seeing her enemy, Buffy, fighting to save Faith’s life. And considering Faith tried once before to use sympathy to turn Angel into Angellus, I can fully understand her disbelief in Faith.


  34. [Note: Sarah posted this comment on January 22, 2014.]

    Honestly, I never had a problem with the way Buffy treats Faith in this episode. I had a problem with the way Buffy treated both Angel and Riley. First of all, the whole scene where Buffy hits Angel really hard in the face, and when Angel hits back she acts like a little girl. I always hated that double standard, where a woman can abuse a man and it’s played for laughs, but a man can’t hit a woman. Also the way she speaks of Riley at the end of the episode. Just to make Angel jealous. I think Riley deserves a lot more than that.


  35. [Note: EdwardH posted this comment on January 24, 2014.]

    I think it’s about how she reacts to vampires as a whole, she was taught that vampires are evil and need to killed. Angel altered that view point for her, but nonetheless all her interactions with vampires tend to be violent. It’s not right that she hit him, but it’s a toned down learned response ( one she uses on Spike as well). The Riley comment was wrong but also a realistic response. I think some people forget how young Buffy is because of everything she’s gone through. The young can be decidedly childish, especially when it about love.


  36. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on March 21, 2015.]

    I think it’s interesting–and telling–that the focus of most of the comments on this review is on the Buffy and Angel parts of the episode, because to me, it’s the one thing about this otherwise fantastic episode that just doesn’t work. This is sort of the first episode of Angel in which it feels like the show has developed a kind of dramatic momentum, with all these different threads coming together into one big mix: Angel’s redemption/soul-saving quest, the fallout of his Buffy history, Wolfram and Hart, Wesley’s story, the season-long Kate arc…and that’s just the stuff that is in at least some sense ATS-specific (unlike Faith’s story itself, and the stuff with the Watcher’s Council). It all comes together here, and it was all handled brilliantly–except for the attempt to make some kind of a statement about the distinctness of the two shows (“don’t come to my town and interfere in what you don’t understand,” etc.) and have Buffy & Angel behave atrociously to each other in an effort to put some kind of “closure” on their relationship. The whole last scene between them is terrible, in my opinion, with neither of them making much sense. Buffy: “You could have told me what was going on.” Um…Angel did, in what little time he had, try to do that. Angel: “I didn’t think it was your business.” Bullshit! Of course it’s her business. And the fact that Buffy seems childish and black-and-white in her thinking here is not some kind of testament to the differentness of Angel as a show, or Buffy being a teenager and this being the “grown-up world”–it’s just bad writing. “What’s different about my relationship with Riley is that I trust him”?? Seems to me she “knew” and trusted Angel plenty when they were an item. That she makes this petty cutting remark intended to hurt is annoying enough; that it’s such total bullshit makes it just plain lazy and dishonest writing. Bleah.

    I always enjoyed Buffy and Angel on BTVS. All through Angel S1 / Buffy S4, though, the writers for some reason make at least one of them behave terribly in every crossover. It reallly bugs me.


  37. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on March 22, 2015.]

    It’s natural for fans of the Buffy universe to focus on the lore and dynamics that exist parallel to each series. It’s even more understandable that they’d feel inclined to comment on, critique, or praise events and moments when both series cross over. BtvS is the more beloved series, so anytime a character or event crosses into Ats, it seems to be the focus on every fan’s mind. “Did this work?” “Was this believable?” “That was a great moment?” This kind of stuff interests fans.

    That being said, I agree with you. Buffy’s presence is understandable given that the events with Faith prior to this on BtvS season 4 were left mostly unresolved, but that’s something that could have been (and should have been) resolved on her show. It’s the fact that it’s an obvious attempt to not only increase viewer interest in Atvs, but also to provide contrived fan service. Angel immediately after this episode arrives in Sunnydale for another contrived encounter just for the immediate pleasure of fans. This extension of the cross over completely undermines Angel’s reaction towards Buffy “coming to” his town, not to mention makes him look like a hypocrite. So at the very least, it’s contrived writing that attempts to please fans first and develop themes and characters second. The writers tried to salvage their obvious service to fans by making it symbolic in nature, but that doesn’t hide how contrived the intentions were.


  38. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on March 22, 2015.]

    Agreed. But the really weird thing about it, too–at least for this particular fan–is what terrible “fan service” it actually was. I don’t want to watch beloved characters behaving in uncharacteristically and nonsensically petty and stupid ways!

    Your larger point (if I understand you correctly) is something that I found myself thinking about more after I wrote my previous post. One criticism that I have of Angel’s first season is that there were just plain too many Buffy-character crossover episodes. It’s like the show was trying way too hard to distinguish itself from the parent show by ginning up conflict between Buffy and Angel that was intended to showcase the differences–an approach that, in my opinion, really backfired. In order to successfully establish ATS as its own show, the writers needed to simply have the confidence to let it stand on its own.

    That said, I still think bringing Faith into Angel’s world was an inspired idea that worked really well; I’m just not sure that Buffy needed to be involved. And also–though I may not have much company here, I know–I really would rather that the previous crossover episode (“I Will Remember You”) had not been made at all. Parts of it were fun, sure, but it had serious issues that for me rendered it unsalvageably ill-advised…


  39. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on March 22, 2015.]

    I’ve heard it said that having Faith’s redemption occur here works a bit better since the show is more about redemption and it wouldn’t really fit the mood set in Buffy S4.

    I also don’t mind the crossovers in here since at least most of them are insightful and actually utilize the fact that these shows exist in the same universe. It’s a least a bit more effective than the ones we get on Star Trek (except of course for the TOS character guest appearances and when Worf and O’Brien went over to DS9)


  40. [Note: mina posted this comment on March 22, 2015.]

    I was just thinking Buffy went Rogue from the councils control 2 times and no one went after her. The 1st time when she ran away, and then when she graduated from high school.


  41. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on March 22, 2015.]

    I actually agree with you about “I Will Remember You.” On its own, its a tremendous character piece for both Buffy and Angel. I don’t mind this cross over either, because it had an air of relevance to it and “true” closure, unlike Buffy crossing over in this episode. However, the fundamental and extreme issue I have with it is that it undermines everything that comes after it. It too, like “Sanctuary,” treats AtS like an extension of BtvS rather then its own series, more so in fact. It almost disregards that the series exists, and on the series itself at that.

    The problem I have is that Angel in fact does become human, with its contrived nature not helping matters as well. A point of emphasis made later in the series is that Angel’s fight for redemption will inevitably reward him his humanity back. Yet this revelation and foundation the series is eventually completely built around has already been undermined by him having become human once before. If this is the literal purpose, the goal the series hopes to achieve, then having it been already achieved once before makes it feel indifferent. At the same time, although Angel remembers, the series once it gains its own identity attempts to make the audience forget it ever happened. Angel acts as if he’d never had that chance and given it up before. In the premiere of Season 2, he’s jumped the gun and temporarily lost sight of what’s important. This is contradictory to his actions in “I Will Remember You” where actually having his humanity did not skew what he felt was “the right thing to do.” His actions there are completely disregarded within the context of the rest of the series.

    @Louis: I think the Faith cross over was brilliant. I think Buffy crossing over was ill-advised. Faith isn’t a BtvS character as much as an expanded universe character. I would consider a BtvS character to be a main cast member, otherwise its fair game no matter the intentions. At the same time I agree, it was the perfect setting for Faith to continue her redemption arc that eventually somewhat concludes in AtS Season 4. So again, the problem I have is Buffy’s presence and it feeling like an excuse to tell the audience “this is going to be its own show from now on” when it should have been from the start, and the fact that Angel immediately leaving for Sunnydale afterward completely undermines the whole intention of her being there. I get that her being there was also to resolve the events that occurred between her and Faith on BtvS, but again that could have been handled on her show even without Faith (Buffy doesn’t a need a reason to forgive her or believe she’s redeemable) or perhaps, later down the line if they felt it necessary.


  42. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on March 23, 2015.]

    I pretty much entirely agree with you, except I would add that I also felt Angel was really out of character in “I Will Remember You.” He just flat-out ought to have known better than to go try to fight the demon alone in human form instead of bringing Buffy. Angel had always been protective of Buffy, of course, but never unduly so; he recognized her ability to take care of herself. In this situation, with him no longer having any special strength, it was nothing short of idiotic to go off half-cocked to fight without her. Oh, and also–I really found the stated reasons for Angel giving up his humanity to be contrived (so much so, in fact, that at the moment I can’t even recall what they were, despite having just watched the episode again a few days ago).


  43. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on March 23, 2015.]

    Something along the lines of “A great evil is coming.” But yeah, considering a great evil” is always on the horizon, I can understand why you’d feel it was contrived. And yeah, it was a bit out of character, but I personally can forgive it. I think it more speaks to Angel subconsciously feeling like his fight isn’t over and his conscious need to be “the hero” as is periodically eluded to by those around him. To a lesser extent, it’s also to prove something to Buffy so that she’ll still love him even though he’s no longer “superhuman.”


  44. Man, Buffy was such a jerk at the end. “You made a good point about my bad behavior, so let me cut you up with a ‘btw I have a new boyfriend who is so much better than you.'” I lost respect for her there (of course I understand the why, but doesn’t change the fact that I expected better from her. Honestly, her Angel crossovers usually put her in a very pouty/unreasonable light).

    I love the look on Faith’s face at the end when Wesley is saying “peace is not an easy thing to find.” It’s the first time all episode (the last 2 episodes, actually) that she has the closest thing to a peaceful smile.


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