Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by Michael Gershman
Buffy is underwater. She’s trying to get to the surface, but Allan Finch pulls her down. When she does make it up for air, Faith pushes her back under. She wakes up in her bedroom, then walks out into the hall in time to see what her mom’s watching on the news in her room. Allan Finch’s body has been found.
Wesley wants Buffy and Faith to investigate the murder of the deputy mayor. Buffy very much does not want to, but tries to act like her reasons are logic-based. Giles agrees with this logic; he doesn’t see the point, since Finch appears to have been killed by a human. Faith is willing to play along with whatever Wesley wants, and Wesley still thinks it’s worth checking into. Enter Cordelia. Wesley is hilariously dumbstruck, and she’s also very intrigued by him. He inarticulately tries to introduce himself. Cordelia flirts with him, but as soon as he realizes that she’s a student, not a teacher, he tries to squash his newfound crush. Doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that easy. Giles gives her books for her psych class and she leaves. Wes sends Buffy and Faith out to get started investigating.
Buffy and Faith go into an empty classroom to talk about this. Buffy doesn’t want to do the investigation and lie to everyone about what happened, but Faith isn’t interested in Buffy’s objections. She pretty much tells Buffy that if she goes down, Buffy’s going down with her, so she’d better tow the line.
Next, Buffy finds Willow sitting on a couch. Willow is still hurt about Buffy ditching her for Faith so often lately, and she leaves before Buffy can start a conversation. Her excuse is that she and Michael (the goth warlock guy) are going to make a fresh attempt to turn Amy back into a human. Buffy tries not to let her see how bummed this makes her.
The police are investigating Finch’s murder, including the detective from “Ted” and “Becoming: Part 2.” They’ve even found the dumpster where he died. Angel is watching from the shadows, and he’s putting the pieces together. He connects the blood on the dumpster to the blood he smelled on Buffy’s hand.
At City Hall, the Mayor is shredding Finch’s files, and he’s annoyed that using the shredder isn’t cheering him up as much as it usually does. It’s seeming more and more like Finch was about to betray the Mayor. Mr. Trick has gotten a hold of a copy of the police report. Wooden splinters in Finch’s wound mean it was a Slayer who did this. The Mayor quite likes the idea of a Slayer guilty of murder.
Buffy and Faith’s investigation has taken them to Finch’s office. Faith makes some unwelcome gallows humor, and then briefly shows signs of actual emotion about killing Finch. The second Buffy tries to latch onto that, though, Faith turns prickly again. She doesn’t think there’s anything to find in his office, but Buffy notices the suspicious lack of papers in any of his files. When they leave the office, they see Mr. Trick and the Mayor leaving the Mayor’s office together, and they overhear them talking. So the Mayor’s secret is out!
Buffy tries to get Faith to talk about what happened again, but she’s still not interested. She’s also not interested in Buffy bringing Giles or anyone else in on what really happened. She thinks everything’s going to be fine just as long as Buffy keeps her mouth shut, and if it’s not, she’ll just catch a freight ship and go on the run. Buffy won’t let up, and Faith says that she is sorry about Finch, but it was an accident and she’s done so much good as a Slayer that she feels like it pretty much balances. Buffy is appalled. This isn’t a numbers game. Faith feels like they’re a whole different class of human, so they don’t need to worry about collateral damage. Then she strides away.
When Buffy gets home, the detective is there with Joyce. It seems that the Mayor has pointed him in the direction of Buffy and Faith. He questions both of them, and their stories don’t quite match up. (Come on, Buffy, I know you’re like, the worst at subtlety, but why would you say you were watching an infomercial?) Despite the minor discrepancies and his obvious skepticism about their truthfulness, he still doesn’t really have enough to pin anything on either of them. When he leaves Faith’s motel, Angel is lurking there. Apparently he’s still working on his own investigation.
There’s a knock on Willow’s window, and it’s Buffy. Willow starts to unbottle about how very not okay she is about Buffy blowing her off for Faith and acting like only another Slayer will understand what’s going on. Buffy bursts into tears. They hug. Cut to later, after they’ve gotten everything out. Willow tells her to go to Giles.
So that’s what she does. But when she gets to the library and starts telling him, Faith walks out of his office behind him. She tries to backpedal, but then Faith reveals that she’s just told Giles a different version of events, in which Buffy is the one who committed manslaughter. She can’t meet Buffy’s eyes. Giles angrily tells Buffy to get in his office and asks Faith to leave.
Turns out, it was an act. He knew Faith was lying. Buffy is so beyond relieved. Giles tells her that it’s not the first time a Slayer has accidentally killed a human. Usually, the Council handles this sort of thing, but he doesn’t think it would be wise to involve them—at least, not until Faith actually accepts responsibility. Buffy offers to talk to her again, or maybe to get one of the other Scoobies to do it. Out in the library, Wesley is standing there listening to every word.
Next scene, Wesley is phoning the Council. *snerk* They seem to have some pretty hilarious security protocols.
Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles are sitting together in the empty cafeteria the next day, strategizing about how to get through to Faith. Xander volunteers. The others really don’t think he and Faith have spent enough time together for him to be the right one for the job. He tries to assure them that he is the right one for the job without admitting that the reason is that he and Faith slept together. But they figure it out. First Willow (who is just as hurt about this as she was about Buffy hanging out with Faith instead of her), then Buffy, then Giles. Buffy still doesn’t think that Faith will open up to Xander, since she generally has a very dismissive attitude about the guys she sleeps with. Giles asks Willow to access the Mayor’s files online, since there’s definitely something going on with him.
Willow cries in a bathroom stall about Xander and Faith. Xander sits on the library stairs, fidgety and upset. Faith watches TV in her motel room, and then Xander shows up there. He’s still going to try talking to her, despite Buffy’s warning. Faith lets him in, but she’s still sticking to her “Buffy did it” story. Xander offers to be in her corner, particularly if this goes to court. She thinks he’s just doing this because he wants to go for round two. Which, no. Actually he does not. She isn’t paying attention to what he wants, though, and she throws him onto the bed. He’s clearly terrified, and he’s having a hard time understanding that their one-night stand meant absolutely nothing to her. She’s on a seriously scary power trip. She kisses him, then starts strangling him. She probably would’ve actually killed him, but then Angel knocks her out with a baseball bat to the face.
When she comes to, she’s chained up in the mansion. She tries to get him off-balance with lots of innuendo-y comments, but he’s two hundred and seventy-two years old. She’s gonna have to do better than that. Buffy’s waiting in the courtyard for an update. She volunteers to go get some of Faith’s stuff, and he warns her that Faith might not want to be helped. The problem isn’t necessarily that she accidentally killed Allan Finch; it’s that it sort of seems like she likes that she killed him. Which, considering what she almost just did to Xander, sounds like it might not be far off the mark.
The Mayor and Mr. Trick are watching security footage of Buffy and Faith poking around and seeing them together. The Mayor doesn’t like being exposed, so he charges Mr. Trick with dealing with the Slayer problem.
Angel’s back to talking to Faith. He knows from experience what Faith’s feeling. He tells her it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you don’t let the mistakes define you. It seems like he might be getting through to her, but that’s when Wesley shows up with a bunch of Council members. They beat Angel up and take Faith into their custody. Not cool, Wes.
In the Council’s, uh, prisoner transport van, Wesley explains the situation to Faith. When the other Watcher tries to tighten her restraints, she kicks his legs out from under him and threatens to squash his head with her foot unless Wesley lets her go. Wesley obliges, and Faith jumps out of the back of the van.
Buffy returns to the mansion, where she finds Angel struggling in the net the Watchers wrapped him in. They go to the library where the rest of the Scoobies are. Angel tells everyone what happened. Giles and Buffy think they need to stop the Council from taking Faith to England. Willow points out that maybe they should just let them take her, since she’s been causing so much trouble and has been so unresponsive to any offers of help. Xander has nothing to say; the dark bruises on his neck sort of speak for themselves. Buffy feels Angel was about to get through to Faith, though, she wants to try to get her back. Wesley shows up with the news that Faith escaped. Nobody is very happy with him, since he probably ruined any chance of helping Faith. The only positive thing about this situation is that Wesley seems to have been thoroughly humbled by his mistake. He asks Buffy what he can do to help. She suggests he help by going back to England. Ouch.
Buffy finds Faith at the docks, getting aboard one of those trusty freighters. Faith is still doing her whole elitism riff about Slayers being above the law. She tries to make Buffy back off by accusing her of feeling the same way. She touches a major nerve when she brings up Angel, but Buffy still won’t engage. Buffy finally loses it and hits her across the face when she says she’s tempted just the same way. Faith seems to want a full-on throw-down with Buffy, but that’s when they get attacked by Mr. Trick and some goons, who drop a large pallet of crates on them. Buffy pushes Faith out of the way but ends up pinned herself. Faith fights the goons, and Mr. Trick wraps his tie around Buffy’s neck. He’s about to bite her when Faith stakes him from behind. It’s an interesting parallel to the way Faith staked a vampire attacking Buffy at the beginning of “Bad Girls.” So much has changed since then. Their friendship has been destroyed and Faith has blood on her hands.
Buffy’s tells Giles what happened. Because Faith saved her life, she still has hope. Giles feels Faith has a fighting chance as long as Buffy’s on her side. Aww.
Alas, they may be a little too optimistic. The Mayor is about to leave his office when Faith arrives, looking to take Mr. Trick’s place on his payroll. He steps back into his office, she follows him in, and he closes the door behind her.
Despite the fact that Oz isn’t in “Consequences” at all, it’s another great episode. It’s also one of the most serious episodes in the show so far. Very little comic relief, and most of it is at the beginning, in the scene where Wes and Cordy meet for the first time. The Mayor has been outed as a villain (just in time for Faith to secretly become one), Angel continues to display impressive investigating skills, and we get an intriguing look at the moral implications of being a Slayer. Faith believes (or at least has convinced herself she believes) that, by virtue of killing monsters and having super strength, Slayers deserve to be able to do whatever they want. The world owes them whatever they want. For Buffy, whatever she wants is usually a more normal life, so Faith’s philosophy is fundamentally contrary to Buffy’s desires. Still, she does admire Faith’s ability to enjoy being a Slayer so much, and she tries to embrace that for herself. The problem is that Faith is so focused on the thrill of the violence and power that she can’t even turn it off when she accidentally kills someone.
I kind of wish Buffy had actually brought up what she went through when she thought she’d killed a human in “Ted.” She’s trying so hard to create an emotional bridge to Faith, but she doesn’t think to use her own past experience with manslaughter? She might’ve gotten a little more mileage out of that. Oh well. Her reaction when Giles reveals that he doesn’t actually think she’s the one who killed Allan Finch is so heartwrenching. I love moments that show how much Giles’s good opinion matters to her. Her scene with Willow is also pretty moving. I think it’s interesting that she goes to Willow before she goes to Giles. If she tells Willow, she won’t have to worry about Willow going to the police. No matter how much trust there is with an authority figure, there’s no way to be sure they won’t get the police involved.
Poor Xander. I wonder how close nearly getting strangled to death by the first girl he had sex with ranks against the fallout of Buffy’s first time. I don’t often give Xander the benefit of the doubt, but when he went to see Faith, I really do think he was sincere about just wanting to help her. I don’t think he was looking to score points with her so they could have a relationship (or at least more sex) later. He cared, and I think he was more hurt by how little she cared than he was by the near-strangling.
I feel pretty bad for Willow too. Just when she’s got Buffy back from Faith, she seems to have lost Xander to her. I’m not sure I understand why she’s so upset about Xander sleeping with Faith, though. Their affair is very over, and I don’t think her crush on Xander ever gets brought up in a present-tense sense for the rest of the series. A few episodes ago, she was trying to convince Oz to sleep with her as a display of her commitment to him over Xander. So is this hurt coming from residual feelings for Xander? Is she disappointed in him for having a one-night stand? I just don’t get it. But she’s a very good friend to Buffy once they deal with the Faith issues, and I like that she voices her objections about rescuing Faith from Wesley in the Scooby meeting at the end.
Cordelia is only there to provide that aforementioned comic relief, but bless her for that. Her and Wesley’s mutual crush is so very entertaining. It’s so much fun watching him deteriorate into stammering bluster in the face of such blatant flirtation. Now that I think about it, it’s kind of like a more awkward, sillier version of the way Jenny flirted with Giles. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching extremely proper English guys being completely baffled as to how to handle forward American courtship patterns.
I know Seth Green had a lot of other acting jobs while he was playing Oz, but his absence in this one feels more like it’s because having Oz around would have necessitated revisiting the subject of the Willow/Xander affair and whether or not Willow’s relationship with Oz is still complicated by any residual feelings she has for Xander. It was probably for the best that they kept him offscreen, because dedicating a whole subplot to that would have fragmented a story that is otherwise very unified.
Giles may just be the best of the Scoobies at being subtle. As a viewer, there’s a moment where you genuinely worry that he’s fallen for Faith’s lies, and you’re just as devastated as Buffy. But it’s fine; he’s several steps ahead of everyone. And I love how understanding he is about Buffy not coming to him immediately.
Angel comes closer than any other character to getting through to Faith. He’s the only one who can really hold up a mirror to her about the path she’s on and force her to confront it. If Wesley hadn’t interrupted when he had, I think Angel might have actually pulled it off. Also, he solves the case in time to save Xander’s life. Awesome. I wonder how he was able to get into Faith’s motel room without an invitation, though. Is it because motels aren’t permanent residences, or is it because Faith isn’t very good at keeping up with her rent?
“I like a man with two last names.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.