You know, you would think that having gone through Faith’s character arc, I would be better suited for dealing with characters I enjoy doing absolutely terrible things. She’s kind of the BLUEPRINT for that in the Buffyverse, the first character who is supposed to be a hero, but the writers twist her story over multiple seasons. But then you’ve got Willow and Spike and Angel and oh my god, this show has actually made everyone do terrible things.
Wait, let me put up this video first before I continue.
It’s not that Faith reminds me of Willow, but Buffy in particular made me re-evaluate how I feel about characterization. I enjoy Faith and I always will, but lord, I totally get anyone not liking her. She’s ruthlessly violent, and the torture of Wesley alone is enough to turn anyone off to her character. I get that, and I would never dream of convincing a person otherwise. I think that Faith interested me so much because the show did such a good job exploring what the Slayer life would be for a young woman who didn’t come from a healthy, loving home. What would someone with that much power do once they were free to do as they wanted? Faith lashes out horribly, and what we see in this episode is one possible path she took. It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking, and I think it’s one of the most memorable moments in the entire series. (Woo, alliteration!)
And, of course, the end of this episode directly mirrors the fight at the end of “Who Are You” and the story of how Angel started to regain his humanity. I don’t think Angel and Buffy were always perfectly consistent, but when those shows are, goddamn, it is a thing of beauty.