Written by: Doug Petrie
Directed by: James A. Contner
Air Date: Nov. 17, 1998

DAMN. This is a great episode. “Revelations” is easily the best episode of the season, near perfect, even. Faith is a character that we haven’t had much time with, but here we get to see her develop, and we also get a look into the deeper world of the Buffyverse. As such, this episode is nearly perfect, equipped with good action, good acting, a believable set of bad “guys”, and some wonderful development of even the most peripheral of characters featured in the episode. “Revelations” wins points throughout by even reintroducing Angel in a way that makes sense for the characters, particularly Xander who – as always – is a mega dick. Overall, solid and great episode.

Ms. Post, pictured above, is Faith’s new Watcher, sent in to protect a magical glove from falling into the wrong hands, and also to train Faith. Of course, she’s the real bad guy and one we can believe in the end, because of how nasty and cruel she is to everyone before it all ends. But she brings out the worst in everyone, mostly Giles and Faith, both of whom have powerful moments of character development. Faith has a huge “never trust men” mantra that suddenly, because of the backstab she suffers at the hands of Ms. Post, becomes a distrust of everyone. And seeing Ms. Post play super by-the-numbers with Faith sends Giles into a terrible spin of self-doubt and distrust of his Slayer’s respect of him, something that comes to an explosive head after a tense and drama-filled intervention Buffy has with her friends, regarding Angel’s return and, more importantly, Buffy’s refusal to tell anyone about it.

This scene, the intervention, is so damned well-acted. I want to clarify one thing, though: I hate it whenever Xander gets all “high and mighty” at Buffy. But here, it made sense. Used to be I hated Xander most of the time, but now – during this watch through – I can see his frustrations. He was right about Angel, then Angel went nasty, then he was dead. Then Buffy hid it all from him. The stuff he’d put Buffy and her friends through was horrible and terrifying. These kids went for years without any sense of danger, now they’re in the thick of it all the time. Their sense of safety has never wavered until Buffy entered their lives. Now, they all want to assist with each other’s self-preservation and Buffy is keeping them from doing so. While some of the characters are out of line, their anger comes from the right place, even if Willow is sad no one is using their “I feel” statements.

The real thrill of this episode comes at its conclusion. After Gwen Post knocks Giles out, Faith assumes its Angel, despite (in a turn of awesome honesty and proper character utilization) Xander’s instance that it wasn’t Angel. This leads to a thrilling fight between Buffy and Faith, two Slayers fighting over Angel’s life. Its a great foreshadowing for the finale episodes, in which their battle over who is right and who is wrong only continues to rage on. Here is where it starts and, after Ms. Post arms herself with the lightning-glove, the episode only continues to be exciting. The effects are a breath of fresh air for the show, which had previously only used sup-bar effects due to what I can only assume is a budget issue. The lighting, the explosions, and even the CG powers are well handled and, when paired with the battle, its a thrilling bit of TV. Not the best so far (I still stand by the sword fight at the end of “Becoming: Part 2” is the tops), but damned fine. Its a far cry as an opposite scene in regards to the pair slaying vamps at the start of the episode.

In the midst of all of this backstabbing and action, there is an awesome sequence between Buffy and Willow in which they discuss their respective secrets. Willow even almost comes clean about her and Xander making out and expressing feelings for one another a couple of times, but is always stopped, either by guilt or a giant demon with a battle axe (Lagos, the other bad guy who is so one-note he is practically no-note, but it doesn’t matter because he’s really a shade to help hide Gwen Post’s true nature). Its a nice conversation the two have at Willow’s locker, one that speaks levels about their relationship and trust for one another. After Buffy came back from L.A., the nature of their friendship changed to one where trust was much, much  more important. Here, neither one wanted to hinder the level of trust they had for one another, and it shows. Its telling of their characters and their evolving status with one another.

Overall, “Revelations” offers a great bit of story for us to chew on and, in turn, digest. Between this and the following two episodes (“Band Candy” and “Homecoming“), many of the pieces are in place for the remainder of the season to start falling in line. Its a good long while before all the shit goes down, and for now Buffy and friends have some fun and laughs in store for them, its true. But there is some trouble brewing in the distance. Season three, again, is one of my all time favorites, and its been a good long while since I last watched through it, and thus far it hasn’t let me down too bad (a little bit though, obviously). We, along with the characters, are in for a ride this time around, and one that will change the game for the rest of the series to come. And it all starts so innocently, here.

Episode Rating: 97

Additional Notes:
-Buffy’s stupid “bomb” hat while she’s out slaying is, as mentioned, stupid. I hate it
-Giles gives Buffy that speech about not respecting him and then sits down, Willy Wonka style. Its powerful, despite the goofy connection I just made. Anthony Stewart Head might be the best actor in the series
-Willow continues to look cute and
be cute
-Buffy and Angel were making out pretty damned hardcore, there. I mean, Jesus
-Faith is giving Cordy a run for her money for the season-ending “hottest chick” award I’ve been doing. Will she lose out on her last season on the show?
Gwen Post reminds me of the check that plays Hermione in “Harry Potter” films
-Powerful final shot of Faith in her room, alone. Hauntingly prophetic for whats to come