Angel, Season 1 eps 16-19

The Ring

Season 4 of BtVS and Season 1 of AtS marked a new shade of gray as far as demons were concerned on the show. Where before demons and vampires were there as foes to be slain or metaphors for teenaged angst, this season often depicted demons as sympathetic people with problems of their own (Hero, She), and sometimes, victims themselves, enslaved and exploited by human beings. The Initiative story line drove this home on BtVS, and on AtS it was done in a large number of ways, The Ring being one of the more obvious attempts.

In the case of the Initiative story line and The Ring, demons were not the warm fuzzy half-bloods of Hero, but were morally ambiguous at best. We see this in the uncertain expressions on our gang’s face as they watch the newly-freed demon slaves walk off into the night: “Ummm”.

Of course, this meant that in some sense Mutant Enemy was mixing their metaphors – are demons symbols of angst and inner darkness and the evil in the world, or are they sympathetic minorities?

What any particular demon is a metaphor for for must be resolved on a case-by-case basis. ME was expanding their metaphors, rather than mixing them per se, but some fans just didn’t get this as they started accusing Buffy of being a mass-murderer or writing academic papers about how vampires were metaphors for non-white people.

*shudders*

This is why we have critical thinking in the college curriculum.

Let’s move on.

The debut of Lilah: We meet her in the fight club, but when Angel is dragged into her office at W&H, she just oozes “I’m the noir femme fatale!” Unabashedly sexy and unabashedly gray. Elements like Lilah are what put the spice in the gourmet meal that is AtS.

Tough-guy Wesley: Wesley bests a room full of bad guys by shooting their leader in the hand with a crossbow and then twisting the tiny metal projectile in the guy’s hand to wring information out of him.

At the time, this broke me out of my willing suspension of disbelief. Yes, he’d been learning, training, but I thought this victory was a bit advanced for him, in terms of both competency and bravery. Now when I watch it five years later, it just looks like Wesley being Wesley, “Here, let me ruthlessly torture a human for information in order to serve the greater good.”

Eternity

Am I the only one who *loves* this episode?

I love it for a lot of reasons, but two in particular spring to mind:

(1) the gay subtext (not *that* kind of gay subtext, honestly, is that *all* you people think about?), and

(2) Rebecca Lowell is a classic example of what I call “the Character of Invitation.”

I’ll get to these two elements in a minute. In addition to being yummy, Eternity is also what I call a “headache” episode.

“Headache” episodes are episodes where, after I watched them for the very first time, I thought to myself, “I’m going to have to explain the metaphysics of this on my website, and I don’t have a clue!” The headache comes from the strong suspicion that a metaphysical plot element contradicts canon, and I’m going to be spending my weekend neck-deep in wank trying to figure out how it’s NOT in contradiction to canon. Other “headache” episodes were Carpe Noctem (which doesn’t contradict the more valid, well-supported interpretation of canon vampire metaphysics) and “Judgment” (a pregnant vampire threw me for a loop so dizzying, I didn’t recover until “Shiny Happy People”).

The metaphysical headache in “Eternity” has to do with how and why the drug made Angel go all Angelus on Rebecca. This confusion is an ancient non-problem at this point, and I’m not going to explain it or its solution here. I have a website. Go. (Eternity, Through the Looking Glass, Carpe Noctem).

OK, onto the gay subtext, and by “gay subtext”, I don’t mean Angel having subtle homoerotic vibes with some guy. By “gay subtext” I mean that vampirism, most particularly Angel’s more benevolent experience of vampirism, can be seen as a metaphor for the experience of being gay, at least as it is experienced by some: The desire that dare not speak its name, that you have to hide in “normal” society, that your close friends accept as long as they don’t have to *see you* “parading it around”.

Just as in “Somnambulist”, Angel unintentionally has his secret revealed to someone, and the episode is about the consequences of that. In Somnambulist, Kate rejects Angel. “You’re a vampire? We are no longer friends! No offense! I’m sure you’re a great guy for… what you are!”

In “Eternity”, Rebecca, on the other hand, is fascinated. She asks Angel questions about what it’s like. She’s aroused. She wants him to seduce her into that life. (Just watching that scene in Rebecca’s hallway gives me goosebumps).

Angel, though, who knows the *angst* of that lifestyle, tries to warn her off of it.

At this point in my gay subtextual analysis of this episode, the metaphor sort of teeters off into a kind of 1950’s homophobic cautionary tale, “Nothing good can come of giving in to that desire!” and dips deep into the “vampires/gays are either lonely&sad or teh_ev0l” cliché.

Suffice it to say, at the end of the ep, Rebecca goes back to the straight and narrow and Angel stays in the fang-having closet. Let’s move on.

The second juicy element in this ep is Rebecca as the Character of Invitation. The CoI is a notion I came up with to explain one of my favorite themes in fantasy and (sometimes) science-fiction. It’s when a normal person from our normal world suddenly stumbles into a hidden sub-culture of the supernatural, one that’s been all around them all the time, but that they were never before aware of.

One minute, Rebecca is a has-been actress drowning in the harsh, fickle reality of Hollywood. The next minute, she’s staring into her mirror and not seeing the reflection of the man standing next to her. He is everything she’s been told doesn’t exist, right there, standing in her hallway. And of course it’s delicious (sorry, I am again having goosebumps from that hallway scene.)

That Rebecca tries to make Angel her ticket back into the world she is losing is her folly, of course, although the lesson gets taught in a muddled way because, let’s face it, it *is* possible to be a vampire in this world and get along pretty good (if you have a soul). If you really want to show Rebecca *why* she shouldn’t opt for the undead option, don’t show her Angel on a bender. Show her the next random vampire that walks down the street. Because that’s what she’s going to be.

Five By Five

I ask you, honestly, what is *not* to love about this episode? Is there anything? This is *the* best episode of season 1, and I would put it up there with the best of seasons 2 through 5 as well.

After this episode aired the first time, I moved Faith’s little Moral Ambiguity Bio on my website from the BtVS page to the AtS page. She belongs in *this* world. In the gothic noir world of AtS, she can be an anti-hero hero. The bad-girl with the good heart. On BtVS, she will always be the Other. The less perky one. Buffy’s “dark side” omgwtfbrrr!1!! What.Ever.

Back to my girl.

When she arrives in L.A., though, she seems to have lost her heart, because the Dark Side was just a whole lot nicer to her. It cracked funny jokes and told her she was pretty and fed her Tollhouse cookies. Coming out of her coma and having to deal with *Ms. Self-Righteous* again didn’t help any (I love Buffy. I do. I am not a Buffy disliker. But she really is rather clueless when it comes to handling Faith).

One thing you gotta admit, Faith makes an entrance. And her entrance into L.A. in “Five By Five” is one of the best moments of television ever. The young girl looking like a teenaged run-away steps off the bus in the big city, ripe pickings for some sleazeball pimp. So he moves in on her, and she plays the part he expects, and then Wham! Wham! The teenaged run-away mugs the pimp.

Sure, Faith is seriously over the edge at this point, and this is one symptom of that, but you gotta love it anyway.

And then Faith dances. There can never be enough dancing Faith.

The second reason to love this episode more than any other in S. 1: More Darlus! Now in retrospect we know that ME was building up towards the season-ending shocker of Darla’s return by using the flashbacks in The Prodigal and Five by Five to tell us *who* Darla was, besides Angel’s sire. She was Angelus’ mother/lover/mentor/companion.

She is the first person he runs to after his soul is restored, and when she appears, he throws himself into her arms. And why not? She is his family, or the closest thing he’s had to it for 150 years.

And being a vampire is the only life he’s known for 150 years. So naturally he tries to remain a vampire. But he can’t complete the act of draining the blood of an innocent woman. He can’t be the man he was without a soul, and Darla knows that.

Third reason: The LM Triumvirate. Lindsey McDonald. Lee Mercer. Lilah Morgan. How much do these three rock together? The original evil troika of comic incompetence. They hire Faith to kill Angel, because these were the days before they had–or had perhaps read–the Shanshu prophecy and decided to keep Angel around to stoke his moral ambiguity.

Their dialogue in “Sanctuary” is truly inspired.

Fourth reason: Lindsey/Angel. Here is where it starts. The true, tragic love story of AtS. The chemistry was dampened by the presence of Russell Winters in City Of, but here in 5×5, it sizzles. All that smirking and posturing, hands in pockets.

A couple questions that occur: did Lindsey have a name yet in City Of?

and

Was season 1 the only season where Angel smiled in the credits?

Anyway, back to Faith.

The moment Faith walks into Angel’s office with a loaded gun she already wants Angel to kill her, even if only on a subconscious level. If she simply wanted to kill him, she could have. But she wants Angel “in the game”. And what game is that? The fighting game. And Angel has her game figured out by the time he shows up to the pimp’s apartment. Faith has to beg for him to “fight back”–to really commit himself to battle, because she wants death and he doesn’t want to give it to her.

And of course, Faith kidnaps Wesley in order to lure Angel into her “game”.

The Faith-Wesley torture scene is one of the events that made Wesley into the man he became.

ME had to tear down the old Wesley–the naïve young Watcher from “Bad Girls”–and rebuild him piece by piece. Torture him (5×5), fire him (Reunion), force him into responsibility (Guise Will Be Guise, There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb), pass him over for another man (Waiting in the Wings) and yada yada yada until he is the person who will kidnap a child to save that child from his own father and go over the edge when the father doesn’t like that so much.

The Wesley we see throwing darts in “Sanctuary” post-torture is a Wesley we can recognize on this end of Season 5.

And Faith tortures Wesley, of course, to prove to herself that she is unworthy to live, to prove to herself that she is evil.

Sanctuary

Watching Angel’s treatment of Faith in “Sanctuary” makes me see the point of people who argue that Angel has a double standard in the way he treats men and women. Would Angel ever have treated a guy who’d gone emotionally around the bend (cough::hisownson::cough) with such kid gloves? No, give’m the tough love. ‘Cause that always works (::cough::).

Still, what Angel gives Faith is what Faith needs, which is hope, and not insignificantly, hope out of the mouth of someone who’s been down a dark road himself. Because Faith CAN come back from where she’s been, but sometimes that’s hard to believe until someone tells you you can–someone you can believe because they’ve been there.

Buffy can’t offer that kind of understanding, partly because she’s never gone down that road, and partly because she has developed a huge effing moat in her eye when it comes to Faith. And Faith, in kind, I think, would rather go evil again to spite herself rather than let Buffy help her.

Of course, Buffy doesn’t make herself much of a help in this episode. She gets a big ambiguous eyeful at her entrance, and it’s all downhill from there (except when the machine gun bullets fly). She’s so unpleasant and manipulative and childish in this episode she makes me cringe. I wonder sometimes why Joss writes Buffy the way he does. Good characters are supposed to have flaws, but the flaw of coming to a conclusion and stubbornly sticking to it and lording it over other people because “it’s all about me”….

Well, there’s a thin line sometimes between complex&flawed and downright unsympathetic.

Angel, on the other hand, very uncharacteristically lets Faith her make her own choices, which isn’t his strong suit. He allows her walk out of his apartment if that is her choice (although one wonders what he would have done if she *had* walked out).

And in the end, it’s Faith who chooses her fate. ME made the whole salvage operation like a 12-step program, with Faith talking about being sponsored by Angel, trying to make amends to Buffy and choosing prison as a place she can start working on herself.

This episode also marks a big step for Wesley with the arrival of the Watcher’s Council special ops team. The Watcher’s Council and their philosophy and Daddy Watcher are of course the very ruthless bastards that made Wesley who he is in the first place. Their arrival gives Wesley the chance to formerly state his loyalty to Angel, and it’s not a big surprise. The boost to Wesley’s self-esteem alone since joining Angel’s team over his years as a Watcher makes the choice a no-brainer for him.

Of course, while you can take a boy out of the Watchers, you can’t so easily take the Watchers out of the boy.

93 thoughts on “Angel, Season 1 eps 16-19

  1. Eternity is one of my favorites. Five by Five is probably my favorite episode of that season for both Angel and BtVS. Considering how much I like Restless, that’s saying something.

    In a sense Eternity is a different approach to “Lie to Me.” This time Rebecca sees with her own eyes that not all vampires are so bad. The kids in Lie to me really needed to see a real vampire, any normal vampire. I think there is something to be said for Rebecca needing to recognize that what she saw in Angel was a veneer. As long as she though he would not hurt her, she could believe that she would probably be the same sort of decent person and a vampire too.

  2. I *love* Eternity. Not much more to add to that, but I just felt like making that clear.

    And what can you say about Five by Five? One of the few AtS eps I watched when it originally aired, I was unfortunately too dumb at the time to just keep watching the show from that point…but that episode made me fall in love with Faith in a way I hadn’t before (even though I always liked the character). That scene where she beats up a guy and his girlfriend, and just keeps on dancing…I mean, what more is there to say?

  3. Watching Angel’s treatment of Faith in “Sanctuary” makes me see the point of people who argue that Angel has a double standard in the way he treats men and women. Would Angel ever have treated a guy who’d gone emotionally around the bend (cough::hisownson::cough) with such kid gloves?

    That question is answered with his treatment of Lindsey in the very next episode.

    She’s (Buffy) so unpleasant and manipulative and childish in this episode she makes me cringe. I wonder sometimes why Joss writes Buffy the way he does.

    I want to take a few steps back here. Because it’s not always just Buffy.

    I think Whedon sometimes has the bad habit of stacking the deck dramatically as a way to drown out the counter-argument. (An accusation that will resurface in, among other places, LMPTM.) A Buffy who looks so bad does seem to tilt the sympathy deck in favor of Angel and Faith – when there still are those who’d have some grounds to distrust them.

    But lets try to put ourselves in Buffy’s shoes for a moment. Placing aside Angel-Faith issues, lets consider what she experienced in Sunnydale. Faith attacked her mother, stole her body, assumed her life, and slept with Riley. Buffy doesn’t know what else Faith did, but she may have some suspicions. What responsibilities of hers did Faith blow off? Did Faith do anything to sabotage her life? Sleep with more people than just Riley? Get Buffy’s body pregnant? Catch Buffy a ‘social disease’?

    In 1997, I got carjacked at gunpoint. I got my car back after a month, but do you think I wasn’t paranoid about what had happened with my car in the intervening time? Do you think I would have been pleasant if someone I cared deeply about told me he didn’t care about what I’d just gone through and asked me to get out of the way so he could save the dude who jacked me? And offered no particular sense that he was concerned about any of that dudes other potential victims.

    Actually, when I saw him at trial, I was pretty well composed. But I’m fairly pragmatic and reserved individual. And I didn’t feel nearly as violated as Buffy Summers did. As Buffy says herself. Buffy doesn’t just act like a bitch in this episode. She also acts like a rape victim.

    it’s Faith who chooses her fate. ME made the whole salvage operation like a 12-step program, with Faith talking about being sponsored by Angel, trying to make amends to Buffy and choosing prison as a place she can start working on herself.

    I give Faith all the credit in the world for making that choice, and doing the hard work to salvage her life. Do you think Angel would have ever suggested jail, or that Faith would have committed herself to prison, if Buffy hadn’t argued for it?

    I think that’s a point. Faith needed jail. She needed to be in a place that enforced discipline, so that she’d have a safe environment (for her and the civilian population) to learn how to do it for herself – so that she could contribute to society when she came out.

    Buffy may look like a horrible bitch in this episode. But I’m still sympathetic to her. (And I find Buffy, Angel, Faith, and Wesley to all be very sympathetic in this episode.)

  4. Despite the fact that I don’t condone Faith’s cavalier violence, especially against a woman, the fact that none of that woman’s “big strong guy defenders” could take Faith had a certain… entertainment value.

    Faith+Angel is one of the most interesting platonic opposite sex pairings on either show. I am SO glad they never went a romantic route with those two.

  5. What’s interesting about this episode is it didn’t change my sympathy towards Buffy at all. I like her, I’ve always liked her, and after this episode, I still liked her. She wasn’t in her milieu, she belonged over on her own show where she comes across as the 3-dimensional person she is. She was bringing her issues *from* that show with her–what had happened with Faith, with Riley, with Angel on BtVS.

    I think the “gee, Buffy’s a bitca in this episode” struck me hard during this viewing because I am watching it this time in total isolation to BtVS season 4.

    I’m watching “The Yoko Factor” right now (’cause it’s an ep where Angel appears, plus I *love* the Angel-Riley smackdown). Angel and Buffy make peace and it’s convincing. Feelings were high over in L.A. in “Consequences”.

  6. Now that I’m watching “The Yoko Factor”, Angel comes across almost as unsympathetic as Buffy when he’s out of his milieu. He actually starts to *choke* Riley in this episode. Plus with the cattiness. Meooowch.

  7. Well, it’s not so much a veneer. Angel *is* a good person. It’s just that the way he got that way is incredibly complicated, and it *can* be messed with. What Rebecca really needed to understand is that if she were turned, she wouldn’t be like Angel. That takes a lot of extra doing.

    I do wonder, though, if he had turned her what she’d be like. Another Lawson? Lawson really struck me as a vampire caught in some metaphysical-moral limbo, a soulless vampire who lacked the clarity of evil that a new-born vampire is supposed to be blessed with.

  8. What any particular demon is a metaphor for for must be resolved on a case-by-case basis. ME was expanding their metaphors, rather than mixing them per se, but some fans just didn’t get this as they started accusing Buffy of being a mass-murderer or writing academic papers about how vampires were metaphors for non-white people.
    *shudders*
    This is why we have critical thinking in the college curriculum.

    Hee! As a participant in the “Vampirism As Metaphor” panel at WriterCon, let me just say I could not agree with you more. Some people get awfully attached to their own interpretations of the metaphor, though. Whew.

    Sadly, I haven’t seen most of Season 1 of AtS. I really want to remedy that, but now that I have a working DVD player it turns out my video rental place has every season of Buffy, but no Angel. Sigh.

  9. I have one word for you: Netflix.

    No, two words: netflix.com.

    And if you don’t want to spend the $20.00/mo rental fee, AtS season 1 is only $38.00 on amazon.

    I’m reviewing the whole thing in my LJ right now as you can see. That should give you a taste.

    Angel season 1 was pretty much a collection of stand-alone episodes, with only Wolfram and Hart and characters like Kate providing anything that resembled arciness. I think ME was experimenting with trying to have a “normal” show.

    That didn’t last long, as AtS became possibly the most arcy show EVER in later seasons.

  10. She wasn’t in her milieu, she belonged over on her own show where she comes across as the 3-dimensional person she is.

    Yes… back then. I must say that, as S7/4 rolled around, I came to the conclusion that the character of Buffy Summers would have been far better served if written by the AtS staff then by the S6/7 era BtVS staff.

    But as ‘special guest characters’ they do suffer if viewed out of context with the episode.

    That said, I think the Angel-Buffy hallway peacemaking scene is excellent. The one thing I do wish I’d seen there, is Buffy acknowledging that she’s rather proud and respectful of what Angel is trying to build in LA. Even the circumstance with Faith. I think SMG’s acting conveys it, but the words would have been nice.

  11. They do both apologize, and Buffy apologizes for “barging in and making judgments”. I don’t think Angel had built much in L.A. yet for Buffy to be proud of *except* a life of his own, which Buffy had already seen in her brief moments visiting him in IWRY.

  12. I think Spike’s mom proved it’s hard to predict what a vampire might be like. We saw several times that the flaws as a human carried over to the vampire, so since Rebecca had a fragile self-image… concern for her looks?… I don’t have a good guess.

  13. We didn’t know enough about her to judge what kind of vampire she’d be. Vain, probably. Probably a lot of other things.

    Speculating what kind of vampire you or I would be based on a Jossverse vampire mythology is a scary but interesting exercise.

  14. Um, well, yes, that was my point. If Angel had made Rebecca in “Eternity” when he had a soul, it would have been like when he made Lawson when he had a soul.

  15. I love your reviews Masq! It’s been so many years since I saw the eps that now I feel like I’ve forgotten everything. This means I’m going to hunt the first season down and rewatch all the important eps. In my mind, the season1 just keeps getting better in the end, as enraged as I was over Doyle’s death and I couldn’t stand Wesley until Five by Five. I started to watch Angel, before Buffy so I was kind of indefferent regarding Faith. For me the ep was all about Wes.

    Indeed, Angel seems to have a different policy concerning female repentants than the male ones, blah, BadAngel. (I’m an Angel fangirl, but that thing just makes me like him a bit less… We’ll have to blame that on Angel’s own father issues ;P)

    Lindsey/Angel. Here is where it starts. The true, tragic love story of AtS. The chemistry was dampened by the presence of Russell Winters in City Of, but here in 5×5, it sizzles. All that smirking and posturing, hands in pockets.

    By the time, I was completely of subtext, slash and all the goodness, but I wasn’t blind ;P. Even now L/A is one of my OTPs. And the Ls, they were one creepy evil troika!

  16. A lot of their clash seemed to come out of the “if you had just explained who you were” plot device.

    The other part comes from Riley’s assumption that Buffy went to LA to sleep with Angel, and that he was obviously evil.

  17. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    That’s part of Buffy’s virtue, because she’s an innocent; otoh because she hasn’t experienced it, she can’t put herself in Faith’s place, imagine herself into Faith’s circumstances.

    And in her better moments, it’s something she recognizes. (It could have been me) Back in BtVS-3, Buffy turns to Angel and asks him to help Faith because she knows he’s better equipped to do so.

    Instinctually, I think Buffy does give Faith some benefit of the doubt – she was initially the most willing to accept Faith awakening from the coma, and she did let Faith leave town. But, she’s also got resentments (what did you do with my body, what did you do to my body) and given a few days or a long bus ride to LA, maybe she starts stewing in them and shows up driven by her anger. She’s not acting rationally, and while she has the sense to know and admit it, she still can’t get a handle on her emotions. But then, she’s a stressed-out nineteen year-old.

  18. Oh, I have a whole interesting wank on Angel’s father issues and his relationship with his mother that makes him the way he is. But I’m going to save that for the Season 6 fic. ; )

  19. I also agree that Whedon often stacks the deck against the counter-argument, and they needed to make Faith look extra-sympathetic for this ep.

    It’s surreal, actually, because if you don’t watch the Faith episodes over on BtVS preceding this, Buffy just looks insano in Sanctuary. However, I stick by my point that Buffy doesn’t know how to handle Faith and never did. She lets herself get too angry to fast and shuts down any line of communication.

  20. Oh, they were both primed to hate each other, whether explanations had been offered or not. That priming is what allowed them to jump to conclusions when explanations weren’t quickly forthcoming.

    I find the whole Angel-Riley smackdown in The Yoko Factor yummy catty goodness. Claws bared, swap, swap, reeeroooowr!

    And then when Buffy pushes them apart and threatens them both if they keep fighting, one of the best moments on the show!

  21. Apparently, he was so insecure at this point (having fallen out with the military), and having listened to Xander… he apparently turns into a twleve year old.

  22. That, the look on Angel’s face when they head into the hallway, and Riley’s “not moving a muscle…” I find that sequence infinitely amusing.

  23. Re: in which I say “yes” a lot

    contrary to a lot of other vamp movies/shows, vampirism itself is unromanticized and even undercut on Buffy (ignominy of drinking pigs’ blood, the Kiss the Librarian mug, and so on). (This is one big reason why I think the uber-romanticized Dracula character didn’t work in the S5 opener, but that’s another whole fish of kettles.)

    Actually, I always thought vampirism in the Jossverse was what the individual vamp made it. Darla and Drusilla/Spike made it look fun sometimes! Drac had his own unique approach to it–all broody and moany and minions coffins and shape-shifting and special dirt. The only thing about Drac that made it ring false to me was that his forehead didn’t turn when he bit her. Not sure why they did that.

    I don’t think I was the only one who was surprised at the difference between Faith on AtS S4 and Buffy S7 — it was a quantum leap backward for the character. It was partly understandable, cause she was back on Buffy’s turf, but it was still disappointing for Faith fans.

    How so? She came into town, she accepted responsibility for leadership after Buffy was thrown out. She came up with a plan and lead the girls. Sure, it turned out to be a trap, but Faith doesn’t have the same level of experience Buffy does with plans and leadership. Buffy didn’t condemn her for what happened. They even bonded a little bit and joined forces to fight the First Evil.

    Whedon did have an investment in pulling Buffy out of the funk she was in and did it partly by making Faith less intuitive about the situation they were in than Buffy was, but I thought Faith did pretty well in the final eps of season 7.

  24. That, the look on Angel’s face when they head into the hallway, and Riley’s “not moving a muscle…” I find that sequence infinitely amusing.

    Absolutely. Riley is not the only 12-year old in that episode!

  25. Angel does the pouty 12 year old well. What episode was it that Cordelia accused Angel and Connor of both having “teen-aged snits”??

  26. Buffy can’t offer that kind of understanding, partly because she’s never gone down that road, and partly because she has developed a huge effing moat in her eye when it comes to Faith. And Faith, in kind, I think, would rather go evil again to spite herself rather than let Buffy help her.

    That’s a really good way of putting that.

    She’s so unpleasant and manipulative and childish in this episode she makes me cringe.

    I always thought that was intentional. It’s part of her big effing mote–she can’t handle things with Faith at all. It’s not just Faith being obsessed with not being Buffy–Buffy is also obsessed with not being Faith. She just doesn’t think about it as much as Faith does. Competition with Faith, especially over Angel, makes Buffy loopy. Even if Buffy came to some mild understanding after that fight in the end of “Who Are You?”, she still wants Faith to be punished and she hated the idea of Angel helping her. Had it been anyone else helping Faith, she might have been all for it–in “This Year’s Girl” she said sympathetic things in the beginning. But not Angel.

    She does act stupid, but I think that’s acknowledged by the writers because Angel blows up at her. I was actually kind of proud of the way the two of them were written, as it wasn’t a lovey reunion of any kind–they can’t handle each other and in the end they fought and split.

    (However, I was annoyed that when Angel showed up on Buffy to try to apologise and clear the air, it was treated as if he was the only one who had something to apologise for. She was more wrong than he for the situation in general, and she said much more reprehensible things to him than he said to her.)

  27. Buffy did apologize. At least she said, “You weren’t entirely wrong, what you said in L.A.  We don’t live in each other’s worlds anymore.  I had no right to barge in on yours and make judgments.”

    But you’re right, her apology gave much less away to Angel than Angel gave away to her.

    I guess Buffy’s behavior in “Sanctuary” just hit one of my pet peeves. People who refuse to even understand what you’re trying to do because they need to see it only from their own perspective.

  28. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    Yes, I keep forgetting how deep Buffy’s issues with Faith go. It’s not just the boyfriend-stealing thing, it’s the stealing of EVERYTHING, most especially Buffy’s “Chosen One” status. Buffy didn’t like Kendra at first, either, but she didn’t have to deal with Kendra every day and Kendra wasn’t so aggresive and hostile to her, either.

    I’m a bad, bad Fuffy ‘shipper for forgetting the archetypal and historical depths these two have together. Shame on me.

  29. Re: in which I say “yes” a lot

    Well, it’s as someone else said in this thread, Faith gets better written on Angel, and it’s partly because the writers were better over in season 4 Angel vs. season 7 Buffy.

    Plus, I think the writers of season 7 Buffy were bending over backwards to clean up their mess and make Buffy look good by making Faith look less good.

    Angel season 4 Faith rocked my socks. I have an icon for it.

  30. That’s why I love Faith-the-runaway beating up the pimp so much. It’s like the revenge of every teenaged hooker ever.

  31. Oh! That’s it. They’re like sisters, aren’t they? Move aside, Dawny. The original Little Sis is back in town!

  32. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    is she had loving friends and family, and Faith didn’t, and there was nothing Faith could do about that

    Yeah. Except for them to both work toward building a friendship with each other. Something that Buffy maybe a bit stretched too thin with all of her other committments and baggage in S3, and something Faith clearly doesn’t yet know how to do. I’ve always gotten the feeling that while they’re both jealous of each other. Faith covets the love and respect Buffy gets, though she doesn’t recognize the work it takes for Buffy to maintain it. Buffy covets the freedom and self-assuredness, but doesn’t recognize how empty it is for Faith.. I think they do both respect the other and want to be friends with each other. They just really don’t know how to do it. And it’s particularly sad, as I think both of them really needed each other. Maybe still do.

    And as per “Sanctuary” — it’s a great dramatic episode but it suffers in isolation because it doesn’t provide the context necessary to convey the full depth of those relationships. I agree – you really need to be up on a lot of other episodes to ‘see’ it.

  33. However, I was annoyed that when Angel showed up on Buffy to try to apologise and clear the air

    I’m not. As I told Masq above, seven years ago, I was carjacked at gunpoint. And I know how I felt about that, and when I eventually got it back – how paranoid I felt as I wondered what the perp had done with my car, and to my car. And I wasn’t nearly as violated as Buffy.

    Keeping in mind that Buffy doesn’t know how many men Faith slept with, who she hurt using Buffy’s body, how much of Buffy’s life she damaged. If Faith got her body pregnant, or contracted any STDs. That’s not what you think about first thing after, but given a week or two, you definitely do…

    So I understand her anger at Angel. It’s not just that Angel helps Faith. Buffy’s the one who suggested Angel try to help Faith out in the first place. And it’s not just about what Faith has done to her. It’s also that Angel doesn’t know what Faith did to her, and he doesn’t want to know.

    It’s a terrible position for all of them, which is why I’m so sympathetic to each. Angel certainly believes that if Buffy believes Faith isn’t worth saving, then he isn’t either. And that the work he’s doing gives him value in a way he’s felt lacking all his life. So he’s going to want to assert himself to Buffy. But in that moment, he’s so frustrated and driven that he forgets that Buffy is a person too – and that she’s got a damaged soul in need of healing too. So when he remembers, he’s going to go back…

    I thought the mutual apologies in TYF were fair to both characters.

  34. I guess Buffy’s behavior in “Sanctuary” just hit one of my pet peeves. People who refuse to even understand what you’re trying to do because they need to see it only from their own perspective.

    You mean how Angel is so intent to prove to Buffy and Wesley that Faith is worth saving, because if Faith shouldn’t be saved than he can’t possibly be worth saving either? Or how Angel is so intent to prove to himself and Buffy that what he’s doing in LA is Right and valuable. Seeing as it’s maybe the first time in life that he really believes himself to be more than a wastrel?

    To the point where he not only fails to see Buffy’s perspective, that perhaps she’s a damaged soul to, but also doesn’t even want to. Because recognizing how badly wounded Buffy is would make it harder on him to help Faith. (See: deck, stacking of)

    Yeah. I could see how that hits your peeve.

  35. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    Yet another one of the Great Subtexty Love Stories of the Jossverse…. I’m not saying I wanted them to be best buddies forever, but I did want them to be more friendly than what I got in S7.

    Actually reminds me a bit of my relationship with my older sister. When we’ve had to live in proximity for any extended length of time, we drive each other berserk. But with the right amount of distance, we get along and work together very well. When she went to college, we became far closer than when we’d lived in the same house.

    I think if Buffy and Faith were each confident in their own stable spheres of excellence (non-overlapping since Buffy and Faith have different interests) they’d get along much better.

  36. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    Kendra was two-dimensional, but Kendra never hesitated to give her opinion, either. Both of Buffy’s successor-slayers challenged her as I think they were supposed to as plot devices. Just in very different ways and for different purposes.

    Which is part of the reason I enjoy watching Faith over on Angel where she’s less of a device to further Buffy’s story, and more a story in herself.

  37. Agh! You hit a pet peeve of mine!

    I almost included this in my review of 5×5 because it’s SOO annoying. A “psychopath” is a clinical term for a chronic mental illness that reveals itself in anti-social behavior, unusually high self-absorption and inappropriate affect (laughing or crying at things that invoke the opposite reaction in other people).

    To call Faith or Connor “psychopathic”, as both were called by the ME writers, is just lazy, sloppy writing, and it makes the characters who are saying it look ill-informed. Both of these characters had emotional difficulties, no doubt about it, but they were perfectly capable of responding well to other people under most circumstances, even when it wasn’t for their own personal gain.

    That said, I do have to wonder why the two characters I consistently refer to as “my boy” and “my girl” were the two characters labeled “psychopathic” on the show.

  38. Re: in which I say “yes” a lot

    Oh, this *was* my Faith-lurv icon. It just doesn’t have Faith in it (she’s implied). And it’s sort of kinky.

    (done by raven_annabelle, who does great Connor icons)

  39. Re: in which I say “yes” a lot

    Oh, and thanks by the way for the thanks! You always fill my review posts with lots of commenty goodness!

  40. Re: in which I say “yes” a lot

    Last night, I got home from work to see who had replied to my post, and there were maybe 10 replies well into the evening and I thought, “Oh, maybe this one wasn’t as interesting as the last one.”

    I went about my business, and then as I was getting ready to go to bed and I checked my email and there were seven new pieces of mail. Turns out they were all from you, responses to my post.

    I thought, “Ah! OK! Here comes redredshoes!!”

  41. Yes, they were NOT psychopaths.

    Thanks for the affirmation and expansion on the point I was trying to make.

    I think I just like characters who are butt-kicking and cranky and who have giant chips on their shoulders. Both Connor and Faith make me want to hug them and give them cookies, after which I would sit back and watch them wail on some bad guy and cheer them on.

  42. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    *What* do you think Faith could have said to Dana that helped her? I would see Faith wondering what to make of Dana. Dana was pretty far gone, and I could see Faith being a bit hesitant to jump in on that one.

  43. Does a little endzone dance.

    That’s why Sanctuary is so challenging for a lot of viewers. I think the automatic reaction in isolation is “Bitchy Buffy”, but there are certainly “Angel is a bastard” viewers as well. But it winds up being a case of parallel/mirror/echoes – and not just with Angel, Faith, and Wesley.

    Buffy and Angel both make the same mistake, in no small part because their emotions intensify so much when they come together to the point where, in this case, it overrides the sensitivity they often display to one another.

    But they can Buffy and Angel can forgive each other the next time they see each other, because they can both tell on reflection the mistake they made and what the other made. They’re actually both similar along a lot of lines. They both understand duty, responsibility, and the feelings of guilt you experience when you fail to live up to the expectations you set for yourself. The feelings that make you want to crawl into the gutter or run off to Los Angeles, or have hot and dirty sex with a soulless vampire even though you despise yourself for doing it.

    A lot of people pick one side or another out of gut reaction. I’m sort of a big picture/gestalt guy by instincts and wind up seeing both…

  44. Re: bit that didn’t fit

    Ooh! Go ficbunny go. Will want to see that if it happens.

    I wrote a Post-Chosen scenario where Buffy and Faith are in Chicago. They don’t actually kill each other, because Buffy is busy going to classes and doing college activities while Faith works in a body shop. (Because Faith in coveralls and grease is hot, and I think it suits her personality.)

    Then odd couple wackiness happens. It was fluffier than the reality probably would be. But, hey, it’s my wish for them…

  45. I’ll admit I see it more from Angel’s point of view because Angel is my favorite character and Faith is my favorite female character and I am heavily invested in what Angel is trying to do.

    Plus I never saw the body switch as a “violation” in the way that you describe. I always saw it more as an interesting psychological study in envy and role-playing–more from a detached point of view than what it would feel like to those involved, especially the involuntary part.

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