Written by Tim Minear and Joss Whedon
Directed by Michael Lange
Angel and Faith are in the elevator that goes down to his apartment, not talking or looking at each other. He ushers her over to the bed and wraps a blanket around her shoulders. She lays down, and he adds another blanket. She still won’t make eye contact with him, but he lets her know he’ll stay close by. She calls after him, then briefly fantasizes leaping up and attacking him, much like she did with Willow back in Sunnydale, then tells him it’s nothing. (Hey, does that mean those times when she called after Buffy, then said “Nothing.” after a pause, she was fantasizing about maiming Buffy too? Is this just her imagination, a twisted variation on Slayer instincts, or some kind of mental illness?) He leaves her there.
Cordelia is looking around the office, and she has one pretty intense shiner from Faith’s elbow. Wesley comes in, looking very beat up from all the torture. They silently assess each other’s injuries with sympathetic expressions. Then they start talking about Faith. Wesley is in self-blaming mode, which Cordelia will not abide. She updates him on the status of Faith as Angel’s houseguest. She’s not happy about it, and neither is Wesley. Angel comes upstairs and asks Wesley how he’s doing, then looks through the box of doughnuts he’s about to take to Faith. Wesley is indignant. He doesn’t want to hear any of Angel’s talk about saving souls and helping people right now. He still can’t entirely feel his right arm. He leaves. Angel thinks he’ll change his mind in time. Cordelia doesn’t. She has Angel sign forms for her paid vacation so she can be very elsewhere until Faith is out of the picture. She leaves too.
Kate and a whole police team are investigating the apartment where Faith tortured Wesley and fought Angel. The other officer gives Kate a hard time for scoping out yet another case that has a strange (read: supernatural) edge to it.
When Angel brings the doughnuts down, Faith is nowhere to be seen. Then he finds her standing by a pillar in the kitchen. He’s treating her like a bomb that’s about to go off, approaching her very slowly, making no sudden movements. Then he holds out a hand and asks her to give him the knife she’s holding. The camera’s framing has been such that we haven’t seen the knife until now, which was a really cool decision on the director’s part. As if even Faith wasn’t aware she was holding the knife until then. She slowly hands it to him. She doesn’t want to sleep.
At W&H, Lilah is updating Lindsey on the situation with Angel and Faith. Somehow, she already knows that Faith not only failed to kill Angel, but she’s currently chilling at his apartment as an invited guest. Also Lilah knows Angel once dated a Slayer. She and Lindsey agree that they need to do something about Faith before word of this fiasco gets back to the higher-ups. Lee, who is also in the room with a very black-and-blue face and a neck brace, votes for having Faith killed.
Faith is sitting on Angel’s bed, reliving some of her crimes in Sunnydale. When Angel comes in, she’s almost done packing and getting ready to leave. He thinks that’s a very bad plan, and tries to convince her of it. She doesn’t get why he’s even trying to help her. She wants him to stop. He opens the door, and she walks right on through. But she pauses when he asks where she’ll go next. He reminds her of what he said to her in Sunnydale, before she went over the edge. He asks if she liked getting swallowed up by her own darkness, and she punches him. But then she settles down and asks him for help. That’s what he’s there for.
Wesley is playing darts by himself at a bar. When he goes to collect them from the board, another dart flies right past his head, thrown by one of the three members of the Council’s special operations squad. They’re all there, and Wesley, it seems, has met them before. They get a booth and some drinks. The leader ignores the no smoking sign right next to his face. The Council’s goons want to know why Wesley stayed in California. For the climate and the opportunities, says Wesley. Because the Council wouldn’t front his airfare back home, the goons guess. Point for the goons. Wait, what’s that? The Council has multiple alchemists in their ranks and they’re still this cheap? How do they justify not paying their Slayers to compensate for how being the Chosen One puts a serious damper on their ability to keep a decent work schedule or do well in school? The smoking goon tells Wesley the Council will reinstate him as Watcher in exchange for helping them recover Faith. Wesley turns them down. They’re only coming to him in the first place because “Faith” beat them all up when they tried to collect her themselves.
Faith wants help with the microwave, but she asks in such an ambiguous way that Angel starts laying out a plan for how she can get her redemption. She asks again. He blinks, then gets the microwave going. It’s popcorn, which is Wesley’s. She’s mortified, but he wants her to actually deal with it. He wants her to try making amends to Wesley, but only if she actually feels remorse. She definitely does. She’s drowning in it. The only way she can make it out is if she lets it in and learns how to live with it. Like he does. The irony of their situation makes her laugh, and but his reply makes her think of Buffy. Fresh wave of remorse. She recognizes now how much it meant that Buffy tried so hard to be her friend, but she’s pretty sure she ruined that for good. While she’s agonizing over that, she lets slip about what she did with Buffy’s boyfriend, who Angel was not yet aware existed. Bit of an emotional slap in the face for him, which has Faith mortified again. She apologizes, and he leaves her there to go deal with the idea of Buffy having possibly moved on from him.
Team W&H is pitching Operation Kill Faith to their new private contractor, a hideous purple insectoid demon with four eyes and bad table manners. They’re keeping this one off the books in case it goes badly.
The goons give Wesley a syringe full of a compound that will knock Faith out. All he has to do is administer it, and they’ll take care of the rest. Then they can take her back to England. (Wait, now they want to take her back alive? They were all set to kill her when it wasn’t even really her!) Wesley will do it as long as they don’t touch Angel. He won’t compromise on this. He has more faith in Angel than he does in the Council at this point, even if he doesn’t believe Angel’s approach with Faith is the best one. They agree and shake on it.
Faith is eating popcorn and channel-surfing in Angel’s apartment when the insectoid demon skitters in, staying out of sight. Angel’s in the shower, but it’s an extremely short one because he wants to continue making sure Faith’s okay. And he’s looking very okay himself.
Faith pauses on a channel doing a report on the fugitive murderer from Sunnydale. She knocks over a glass, which draws Angel out of his room before he can finish buttoning his shirt (how very unfortunate). He tries to keep her from panicking and bolting, but gets distracted when the report switches to a press conference with Kate at the helm. The insectoid demon chooses the moment Angel tells Faith she’s safe there to jump down from the ceiling and attack. They fight it together, and Faith kills it with the same knife from before. Unfortunately, its red blood is now all over the knife and her hand, which sends her into a panic. The knife falls to the floor. (And look at how it lands!)
Crazy, right? Anyway. Angel rushes over to try calming her down. They end up sitting on his futon couch thing, hugging, which is when Buffy walks down into the apartment and sees them. Also, he still hasn’t managed to button his shirt. It doesn’t look awesome, and Buffy does not react well. She came here because Giles told her Faith had gone to L.A. and was attacking Angel and his team. She thought she’d be helping them stop her, not walking in on them in a similarly compromising position to the one in “Enemies,” a week or so after Faith stole Buffy’s body and wreaked havoc on her life with it. So basically, she’s not in a very understanding mood.
Faith finally looks around at Buffy. When Buffy turns her gaze on Faith, the music does this little snare that just sends shivers running down your spine. It’s like watching an avenging angel bear down on someone. This is wrath. From Buffy. Faith wants to apologize, but mostly she just cowers. Angel tries to get Buffy to back down. Buffy is incensed. She doesn’t want to offer Faith a chance at redemption, she wants her to go to prison and stay there forever. She responds to Faith’s halting apology with a stone cold death threat. Which would basically end Faith’s suffering, so she doesn’t object. Angel gets between them. Buffy can’t believe it, and Faith doesn’t want him sticking up for her against Buffy. He tells Faith to go upstairs, which she does. When he tries to stop Buffy from chasing after her, she punches him, and he punches back. She looks at him in disbelief. *eye-roll* Come on, Buffy, you hit him first! He’s as horrified by what he just did as she is, and he immediately apologizes.
Upstairs, Faith’s looking down the stairwell when Wesley comes in. They have a civil but extremely tense conversation.
Team W&H is in an even worse fix now. Assassin #1 just assassinated Assassin #2 with the help of the original mark. Whoops. Lindsey realizes they’ve been wasting time using assassins when they should’ve been using the law.
Buffy is now chewing Angel out some more for his pro-Faith policy. It’s really not fun watching a Buffy who has run out of compassion. She can’t believe Angel hit her to protect Faith. The same girl who once nearly succeeded in killing Angel, which resulted in the death-match between the two Slayers, and ultimately in Faith’s coma. Buffy refuses to believe Faith actually wants to change. She’s too focused on her own emotional wounds. Angel doesn’t think Buffy is capable of understanding Faith right now, an argument that makes Buffy start lashing out at him for his evil past. Ugh, Buffy, just stop!
Thankfully, Wesley and Faith interrupt their argument by coming downstairs. It seems Wesley isn’t going to be turning Faith over to the Council’s goons after all. He tells Angel everything about their plan, even showing him the syringe. He and Buffy exchange very brief pleasantries, and then everyone starts getting ready for the attack. Faith has already vanished, and Buffy goes after her while Wesley sticks with Angel to make sure Angel knows Wesley betrayed the Council for him, not for Faith. Aww.
Lindsey at the precinct, trying to convince Kate to listen to his tip about Faith. Lindsey does a big speech about how there are creatures that live outside the law, including the vamps that killed Trevor Lockley—and including Angel. Kate hates W&H and everything involved with it, but as soon as Lindsey mentions that Angel is the one harboring Faith, her Angel trust issues seem to be enough to trump her hatred of W&H. He leaves her there with the file.
Buffy catches up to Faith on the roof. She seems ready for another rematch, if that’s what it’ll take to keep Faith from running. Faith tries to guilt Buffy for her lack of compassion, but it doesn’t work at all. Buffy gave her more compassion than anyone, and she got repeatedly screwed over for it. This effectively turns the guilt trip back on Faith, who knows she’s right. Faith tries to defend herself anyway. She’s lost in a world of pain and confusion, just trying to catch hold of anything. Buffy doesn’t want to hear it. Faith is desperate for a chance to make it better. Before Buffy was probably going to deny her that chance, one of the goons arrives on the roof with them, toting a scary-looking gun.
Angel and Wesley, done checking the sewers, hear the gunfire, only to find themselves at the wrong end of goon #2’s gun. And his crossbow, which he aims at Angel with a smile. Wesley tries to reason with him, to no avail. Then he yells for Angel to head for the roof, before leaping out to draw goon #2’s fire. It works (but holy crap, Wes), and then Wes throws the syringe at goon #2’s neck like a dart. Right in the neck. He follows it up with a punch in the face, because the guy insulted him earlier.
For all Buffy’s wrath towards Faith, as soon as they’re both under fire, she’s working with Faith like the good old days. They try to make a break for the adjacent rooftop, only for a helicopter to come whipping up into view, containing by goon #3, who also has some serious firepower. Faith actually follows Buffy’s battle plan for the first time ever, which enables Buffy to take down goon #1. Angel comes racing up the stairs as the chopper closes in on Buffy and Faith, and then he bursts through the skylight and onto the chopper’s bottom rail. He seizes goon #3’s gun and wrenches him out of the chopper with it, sending him crashing to the roof. He climbs up in vampface and orders the pilot to land the chopper.
Buffy was so busy watching Angel be awesome and sexy that she didn’t notice Faith vanishing again. The chopper lands amid a swarm of police cruisers. Kate demands to know where Faith is, but Angel won’t speak, so she has him arrested. Wesley drives Buffy to the precinct in Angel’s car, and they catch up to Angel and Kate just as Kate is instructing the other officers to put Angel in a cell with eastern exposure. Buffy tries to get in the middle of it, but Angel won’t let her. But the whole reason for Kate to arrest Angel goes up in smoke when they see that Faith is sitting calmly in front of another police officer a little farther into the precinct. Kate goes over to her and Faith tells her she’s ready to confess and turn herself in. Angel is proud, Buffy and Wesley are stunned, and Faith looks more peaceful than she ever has on either show.
Still at the precinct, Buffy and Angel are having another unpleasant conversation. Buffy resents Angel not keeping her informed on matters concerning Faith, but Angel doesn’t think he was obligated to tell her anything. He’s done listening to her try to make all of this about her, and he tells her so. She could have come to L.A. to help him with any one of the life-threatening situations he’s been in, but she only actually came running when Faith was the threat. She can’t just come charging into his town to demand vengeance on someone who no longer wants to be a villain. Buffy lashes back in the most unkind way possible: she tells him she’s with someone now who she both loves and actually trusts, implying that Angel didn’t fit in the latter category. What’s interesting is that she never tells Riley she loves him at any point in their relationship, but she’ll throw it at Angel like a gut punch. And boy is it a gut punch. GO AWAY, BUFFY. Angel points out exactly why that was a gross, unfair thing to fling at him: he left so that she could find someone good and normal like Riley, but he’s still cursed and therefore pretty much forbidden from moving on with someone else. He tells her to go home. She leaves, lingering long enough to say “See? Faith wins again.” UGH. SHUT UP. YOU were the problem this time, Buffy, not Faith.
Even though he was right, Angel’s not happy with himself for being so harsh with her. Wesley walks up, correctly guesses that Angel wants to go after her to apologize. Also, he’s come around to Angel’s perspective regarding Faith. The episode ends on their voiceover with a fading staggered zoom on Faith in her cell, still looking peaceful.
I love everything about “Sanctuary.” Everything except Buffy. You may have noticed that I listed off as many reasons as I could think of to explain Buffy’s harsh, unyielding attitude in my summary section. That was my valiant attempt to see things from her perspective. It didn’t work. I think I could’ve handled it if she’d only been hostile up until they found Faith turning herself in. Maybe Joss felt like he needed to keep her angry so that he’d have a good enough reason to send Angel after her for the next crossover episode. But did she really have to stoop to throwing her relationship with Riley in his face? Anyway. Thanks to “New Moon Rising,” I’m noticing visual symmetry a little more, and this episode has it too. The last time Buffy and Faith were on a rooftop together, they were fighting to the death. Now they’re fighting together. That’s fantastic. And Angel and Wesley both have to face major tests of their convictions—Angel from Buffy, and Wesley from the Council’s offer to take him back (just at the moment when he’s particularly upset with Angel). Both of them pass with flying colors. And then there’s Faith herself, whose arc continues to be absolutely phenomenal. She’s letting herself feel all the pain she’s caused other people for the first time, and it’s torture. She’s on the verge of bolting the entire time (unsurprising considering the two people she’s hurt the most—aside from the ones she actually killed—are in close proximity), but a person who feels the guilt and remorse for their actions can’t escape it by running. The only way to peace is by facing justice. And she realizes that because of Angel. The same guy who once almost died because of her is now willing to die to protect her. If he could fight for her that hard, then she could do the right thing to keep him safe. (This is probably a good time to let you know that Faith and Angel are one of my all-time favorite platonic relationships in any franchise ever. This is the episode that really locks it in, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.) On top of all that, we get additional development for W&H and the further deterioration of Kate and Angel’s working relationship.
As angry as Buffy makes me in this episode, I do think it was an important test of Angel’s convictions to have him pitted against the love of his life. I ship them harder than pretty much any other pairing ever, and I actually like that he doesn’t just bow to her wishes, because she is wrong. He’s not afraid of disagreeing with her, even though it’s not remotely fun for him to get on her bad side. In a way, Faith was kind of his first case. Figuring out what she was up to, stopping her from killing Xander, and trying to talk her around before she fully succumbed to her dark side was the first time he did both the recon and the follow-through, rather than just handing his information off to Buffy in a cryptic way. Back then, Buffy was on his side. But unlike Buffy, Angel has literally been through hell, and in some ways, he’ll never leave, because he has to deal with the memories and guilt of Angelus’s crimes every day. His tolerance for abuse before he gives up on someone is understandably much higher than Buffy’s. In spite of his age, in many ways, Angel isn’t much more mature than Buffy, but this is one area where he’s miles ahead of her.
Cordelia is only in the episode for about a minute, but it’s still interesting to see that she knows Angel well enough to realize that nothing she can say will change his mind about Faith. So instead of trying, she just punishes him for it by making him treat her to a paid vacation. Fair enough, but it does mean she missed out on the part where Angel was actually right. I would’ve liked to see which side she would’ve taken, between Buffy and Wesley.
Wesley is offered everything he once thought mattered most to him on a silver platter. Being reinstated to the Council, having his failures erased, and probably a much bigger salary than the one Angel can give him. But that doesn’t matter. He’s been working in the field with Angel longer than he did as a Watcher, and where he mostly only succeeded in being a hindrance to Buffy, he’s actually been able to make significant contributions with Angel, and his input is valued. As he tells the Council’s goons, he’s been able to do more good with Angel than he ever did as a Watcher, but he’s also wanted in A.I. more than he ever was as a Watcher.
“I do not, however, understand why the woman who brutally tortured me last night, this morning, gets pastries.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.