April 30, 2022

Buffy 3.3, Faith, Hope and Trick: The Third Slayer

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

She’s five by five

Summary: The Scoobies are about to take advantage of one of the perks of being a senior at Sunnydale High: off-campus lunch. Willow wants to savor the moment, but Xander and Oz want to eat, so they drag her across the street. She worries that she’ll get in trouble for some change to the rule she didn’t know about, and her so-far unblemished record will be tarnished. Once she breathes, though, she enjoys the freedom.

They’re about to meet up with Buffy, and they decide that the two couples shouldn’t be too couply around her since, as Cordelia notes, her last boyfriend turned into a killer and had to be killed himself. “Can she cram complex issues into a nutshell or what?” Xander says. Buffy has brought a picnic for everyone, prompting Cordelia to compare her to Martha Stewart. Buffy thinks she’s better than Ms. Stewart. Xander says Martha probably doesn’t slay, but Oz says he heard she can and just doesn’t like to.

Buffy has a lot of free time on her hands since she hasn’t been allowed back into school yet, despite Giles’ intimidation methods. But there’s nothing keeping her from having lunch with her friends right off of school property. Willow spots a classmate named Scott Hope and says he likes Buffy. She encourages Buffy to go for him. When he walks by the Scoobies, he says hi to her and she says hi back. Willow declares that a successful interaction. Cordelia’s just happy that he didn’t try to kill them. Buffy isn’t interested in dating (yet); she just wants her normal life back.

That night, a limo pulls into a fast-food restaurant. A vampire named Mr. Trick orders a soda and tells his companion, a vampire named Kakistos, that Sunnydale seems like a nice place. True, it’s not very diverse (“strictly the Caucasian persuasion here in the ‘Dale”), so Mr. Trick may stand out as a Black man, but he loves the death rate there. “It makes D.C. look like Mayberry,” he says. They’re going to fit in and have fun. Kakistos reminds him that they’re there for one reason: to kill the Slayer. Mr. Trick decides to have an appetizer by killing the guy who gives him his soda.

It’s a live-music night at the Bronze…at least in Buffy’s dream. She’s dancing with Angel as the other Scoobies watch silently from a nearby table. She reaches for Angel’s hand and her claddagh ring falls off. He picks it up and she remembers killing him. “I had to,” she says. He squeezes the ring in his fist and blood oozes out. It appears on his chest as well. “Go to Hell!” he yells. His face suddenly looks decayed and he chuckles: “I did.” When Buffy wakes up, she gets her ring out of a drawer and just looks at it.

Next she faces a waking nightmare: a meeting with Snyder. He’ll let her back into school if she a) passes makeup tests for every class she missed last year, b) gets a letter of recommendation from any faculty member other than Giles, and c) gets confirmation from the school psychologist that she’s not a threat to anyone.

Joyce doesn’t like all this, since she spoke to the school board and they said Snyder has to let Buffy back in. Buffy gloats that the school board overruled Snyder, which means they probably don’t trust him to do his job. “I think what my daughter’s trying to say is, ‘Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah,'” Joyce summarizes. After they leave, Snyder faces his own waking nightmare: a call from the mayor.

Buffy goes straight to the library to meet with Giles. Willow goes with her and gets caught making fun of the sound Giles makes when he’s mad. He wants to ensure that Acathla stays dormant, so he’s going to do a binding spell. Willow offers to help, but Giles says it’s complicated. He’ll need details about how Buffy defeated Acathla (and Angel). Buffy steels herself to answer some questions, but she doesn’t give any details about exactly how Angel died and the portal to Hell closed.

After she leaves, Giles tries to get Willow to assure him that she hasn’t been messing with any dangerous magic. She says she’s just been doing small things. The biggest spell she did was the one to restore Angel’s soul. As far as the Scoobies know, it didn’t work, or at least not before Buffy had to kill him to close the portal to Hell.

That night, the Scoobies go to the Bronze for real. Buffy’s in a good mood and feels like she’s really getting her life back. Scott comes by, having been invited by Willow, and he asks Buffy to dance. She turns him down, too nervous to get into something with a new guy, but he tells her he’ll be by the dance floor if she changes her mind.

Cordelia tells the Scoobies that there’s someone out on the floor who’s drawing a lot of attention to herself. (Really, Cordelia says she’s being slutty, but dancing while wearing leather pants doesn’t make you a slut, so shut up, writers.) Buffy’s attention goes to her dance partner, who’s dressed like it’s still the ’70s. That’s a classic sign that someone’s a vampire, and when he and the girl head for the door, she decides to follow them. Scott thinks she’s coming to see him, and she feels bad about having to blow him off.

The Scoobies go out to the alley and hear sounds of a struggle. But their ’70s vampire’s victim doesn’t need any help. She casually tells Buffy she can take care of this while she fights the vampire. She even knows who Buffy is. She’s Faith, and as Oz correctly guesses, she’s a Slayer. She borrows Buffy’s stake to finish off the vampire and thanks her for her contribution.

The group goes back inside and Faith tells them a story about a time she had to fight three vampires while naked. “They should film that story and show it every Christmas,” Xander says. Faith is hungry; slaying makes her crave both food and sex. Buffy can’t relate. Cordelia finally puts together that Faith was called as a Slayer after Kendra died. Faith clarifies that she came to meet Buffy while her Watcher’s away at a retreat. She wants to know if Buffy really killed a demon with a rocket launcher.

Xander asks for more Faith stories, especially if they also include her being naked. Faith turns the spotlight back to Buffy, asking about her toughest kill. Buffy remembers killing Angel again but doesn’t say anything about him. Oz asks Faith about her position on killing werewolves. Willow clarifies that he’s a werewolf, and Buffy says it’s a long story. “I got bit,” Oz explains. “Apparently not that long,” Buffy replies. Faith says that as long as Oz doesn’t try anything on her, they’re five by five. Vampires, however, need to watch out because Faith plans to have a good time slaying with Buffy, especially since their Watchers are both away.

That’s news to Buffy, who asks Giles about that the next day. He tells the Scoobies that there’s a Watchers’ retreat in the Cotswolds every year, but he’s never been invited. Faith thinks it’s too stuffy for someone like Giles, who’s so cute and young. “Raise your hand if ew,” Buffy replies. Giles is flattered. Anyway, he says it’s good that Faith is there because there have been a couple of disappearances recently, so something big might be coming.

Buffy says she’ll patrol after dinner with her mother. Xander and Willow give her pointed looks, so she invites Faith to come to dinner. Then they can patrol together. Buffy has a makeup test to take, so Xander and Willow happily offer to hang out with Faith. After they leave, Giles comments that Faith has a lot of “zest.” He asks Buffy for more details about her defeat of Acathla, but she still gives the bare minimum, acting like it wasn’t a big deal.

Willow and Xander give Faith a tour of Sunnydale High, pointing out spots where their lives were put in danger. Xander quips that some people say kids don’t learn anything in school nowadays, but he’s learned to be afraid. Faith loves the Scoobies and says if she’d had friends like them in high school, she probably still would have dropped out, but she might have been sad to do it.

She asks what’s up with “B,” who seems tightly wound and “needs to find the fun a little.” Cordelia joins the group and asks why Xander always falls for Slayers. Faith runs into Scott and they start chatting as Buffy catches up with the Scoobies. Willow notes how happy Faith and Scott seem together; maybe the two of them should go out instead of Scott and Buffy. Buffy’s a little jealous, but she doesn’t want to rush into a relationship. “You really do need to find the fun, B…uffy,” Willow says.

Mr. Trick and Kakistos have connected with some minions and found a lair. Their plan is to start an evil empire. Well, at least that’s Mr. Trick’s plan. Kakistos just wants the Slayer. It turns out the Slayer he wants is Faith; he didn’t realize Buffy lived in Sunnydale. But now that he knows, he’ll just add her to his list of victims. He wants Faith to pay for attacking him and giving him a huge scar on his face. Mr. Trick promises that as soon as the sun goes down, they’ll go hunting.

Joyce hits it off with Faith, happy to chat with someone who actually opens up to her and enjoys her role as a Slayer. When they’re alone, Buffy complains to Joyce that Faith is inserting herself in Buffy’s life. Buffy, however, is the only one bothered. Joyce comments that it’s probably good that Buffy’s an only child. Cough.

Buffy’s understandably bugged that she’s getting her life back just as someone is swooping in to disrupt it. Joyce points out that if Faith stays, Buffy will be able to share her slaying responsibilities, which would be safer. Or maybe Buffy could retire and let Faith take over. Then she could go off to college and a normal life. Buffy tells Joyce that a new Slayer only takes over when the old one dies. This is the first Joyce is hearing that Buffy died, even though it was just for a few minutes.

Joyce is upset about this new wrinkle in her daughter’s life. She’s tried to be supportive and “march in the Slayer pride parade,” but it’s hitting her now how dangerous Buffy’s responsibilities are. Buffy promises that she knows how to do her job. Plus, now she has help, whether she wants it or not.

When the Slayers go out patrolling together, tensions rise. Buffy thinks Faith is implying that she’s been the Slayer too long. Faith thinks Buffy has an attitude and is keeping something bottled up. She figures it has to do with Angel. Buffy tells her to shut up about Angel and everything else in Buffy’s life. “What are you getting so strung out for, B?” Faith asks. “Why are your lips still moving, F?” Buffy shoots back. Just as things are about to turn physical, Buffy spots vampires.

The Slayers fight together, but Faith takes longer with one of the vampires than Buffy would like. She pounds on him, leaving Buffy to face multiple vampires on her own, almost unable to save herself. One of them says they’re killing in Kakistos’ name. Eventually Buffy takes out her vampires and finishes off the one Faith was pounding on instead of killing. She thinks Faith enjoys the fighting part of slaying more than she should. The point is to kill vampires. Faith says she thought Buffy could handle herself.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Giles that Faith has some major issues: “The girl’s not playing with a full deck, Giles. She has almost no deck. She has a 3.” Giles says she probably just got carried away. She focuses on slaying because she doesn’t have the kind of life Buffy does. Buffy complains that Faith is trying to take over that life. She acknowledges that she’s cranky, but still, something’s not right with Faith. Giles says he’ll call her Watcher. Then he gets lost in thoughts of his exclusion from the retreat.

He asks about the vampires so he can figure out who they were. Buffy remembers one of them mentioning “kissing toast.” Giles translates that as Kakistos. He’s a vampire so old that he has cloven hands and feet. Buffy doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that Kakistos showed up in town at the same time as her “bestest new little sister.” (Buffy doesn’t believe in coincidences. Leprechauns, either.) She decides to ask Faith if “khaki trousers” rings a bell for her.

Buffy runs into Scott, who says he’s going to make one last effort to ask her out. He wants to take her to a Buster Keaton film festival. Buffy decides it’s a good time to give him a chance, so she accepts the invitation. Scott got her a gift from a retro shop, one the clerk said was a symbol of friendship. It’s a claddagh ring. Buffy freaks out at the sight of it as Giles approaches. But there’s no time for Buffy to become emotional. Giles has news: Faith’s Watcher is dead.

Buffy tracks Faith down in the motel where she’s staying and asks her what she knows about Kakistos. Faith immediately starts packing her things. Buffy knows she came to town for a reason and offers to help. Faith says she can handle this on her own. Buffy reminds her that she said Buffy should deal with her problem and move on. Faith doesn’t seem to be dealing with her own problem. Is she going to leave Buffy to handle it?

As Faith is about to leave, Buffy stops her by asking about her Watcher. She’s figured out that Kakistos killed her. There’s a knock on the door and Faith looks through the peephole to see the motel manager. Buffy tells her that if she runs, Kakistos will just follow her. But he’s already there – he killed the manager and used him to trick Faith into opening the door.

The Slayers manage to escape as Mr. Trick and some minions chase them. Once they’re in a safe spot, Faith tells Buffy that she was there when Kakistos killed her Watcher. She couldn’t fight him, so she ran. She feels guilty, but Buffy thinks she did the right thing. The first rule of slaying is to stay alive. She thinks they can take him on together, but they quickly realize that they’re not in a space spot after all. The minions drove them to their lair.

Buffy fights the minions while Faith faces Kakistos. Buffy reminds her not to die. Mr. Trick watches as Kakistos grabs Faith and beats her the way she beat the vampire she couldn’t stop fighting. Buffy takes on Kakistos as Mr. Trick comments to a minion that if they don’t help, Kakistos will get killed. After a pause, Mr. Trick says, “Well, our prayers are with him,” then heads out. He tells the minion that Kakistos’ style of crusading for vengeance is outdated. As a modern vampire, Mr. Trick sees the big picture. Buffy keeps trying to stake Kakistos, but apparently it’s not enough to kill him. Faith grabs a ceiling beam, which does the trick. Buffy realizes she’s hungry and they go off to get something to eat.

The next day, Giles tells Buffy and Willow that Faith will be allowed to stay in Sunnydale until she gets a new Watcher. Buffy’s pleased with that, since Faith turned out to be a great ally in the end, once she got past her trauma. And now Buffy wants to get past her own. She announces that Willow’s restoration spell worked, and Angel became himself again. But it was too late, and she had to send him to Hell: “So I told him that I loved him, and I kissed him…and I killed him,” she says.

Giles tells her that he thinks that will help with his spell. Willow’s sorry for what Buffy went through, but Buffy is relieved to finally share what happened to her. After she leaves the library, Willow again offers to help Giles with the spell to keep Acathla dormant. He admits that there isn’t a spell.

Buffy finds Scott and babbles about the ring and Buster Keaton and friendship for a while until she finally says she wants to go out with him. He tells her he’ll have to think about it, starts to walk away, then immediately returns and says he wants to go. She has one thing to do that night, but then they can meet up.

That night she goes to the mansion where Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla were staying when they were in town. She puts her claddagh ring on the ground and leaves without a word. The mansion goes dark, but then a light shines down on the ring and it begins to shake. The room grows bright and someone falls from the sky onto the ring. It’s Angel.

Thoughts: K. Todd Freeman is so good as Mr. Trick. I love when the villains aren’t the way you would expect them to be. And it goes without saying that Eliza Dushku is perfectly cast as Faith.

After all these years and all my rewatches, it’s still fun to hear Faith say “five by five.”

Scott doesn’t seem like Buffy’s type. Yeah, he’s cute and nice, but he’s just…bland.

Why doesn’t the Watchers’ Council send a bunch of potential Slayers to Hellmouths and demon hotspots? Why make Buffy fight alone? Yeah, yeah, Chosen One, she’s supposed to work alone, but come on. Do they WANT her to die?

1 Comment »

  1. Myriam said,

    Are these “off-campus lunch” privileges for seniors a real thing in the US? I’m from Canada and have never heard of that here haha. The entire time I was in high school I was going off-campus for lunch, and it’s just not an issue. But I’ve seen in often in American TV shows/movies.

    I never understood how Angel was brought back. I remember when I was watching Buffy live in the days, on the forums/fan sites it was often explained as being brought back “by the power of the Claddagh ring”. But it’s never really explained exactly how that happens. In my head cannon, I like thinking that it’s the Powers That Be that sent him back to Earth, but it doesn’t explain why it happened when Buffy dropped the ring where she killed him and why the ring was shaking just before he came back.

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