Consequences
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: Michael Gershman
Air Date: Feb. 16, 1999

After the events of “Last Weeks Episode”, “Bad Girls“, Buffy and co. are starting to see that Faith might not be as good a person as previously let on. This all builds from the fact that Faith killed the Deputy Mayor and won’t allow Buffy to come clean about it so that they can do the right thing. Good on Faith for knowing that Buffy’s “do-gooder” nature won’t allow her to keep this bottled up for long, though, as she “admits” to Giles that Buffy had stabbed that man in the alley way (at least she suggests it was an accident) so that they can trust her, not Buffy. And, likewise, good on everyone Buffy has ever met for knowing better than to trust Faith and they instead understand, without Buffy saying anything, that Faith was the one that had done it.

This is the basic premise for the episode, and of course I’m glossing over a ton of things here, but that’s because the basic elements of the plot aren’t all that interesting. Rather, its the character “stuff” from this episode that houses all the interesting bits, particularly in three conversations; Buffy and Faith 1, Faith and Angel, and Buffy and Faith 2. In the first speech Faith gives Buffy, she comments on how much better they are than others, how they shouldn’t have to answer to anyone because they’re heroes and how “in war there are always casualties” and that they should be forgiven for these things. Last time I mentioned how alike some of these themes and ideas were to the episode, “Ted“, in which Buffy thought she’d killed a human. Faith’s attitude, here, mirrors that of Cordelia’s back then (likewise, that detective from that episode is featured, again, here).

After everything is announced, Xander does what he does best (aside from comically admit to having boned – more, more accurately, been boned by – Faith): see. He attempts to come to Faith’s rescue, but that goes in an opposite direction after Faith starts a possible murder-rape that would have left Xander less that able to help anyone, really. Angel saves the day and chains Faith up, attempting to get at her humanity by relating to her inhumanity (y’see, because he’s “been there” himself). This thread continues during this season and is the start of an interesting relationship the two will have, particularly over the course of Angel’s own show. Angel’s just starting to get through when Wesley and a couple of goons burst in and attempt to take Faith back to England. Of course, Wesley is a dickless ponce and gets made to look foolish and Faith is free again.

Then comes what is almost the first Buffy vs Faith brawl to settle it all (I’m not counting that fight in “Revelations” which, while awesome, didn’t happen because anyone hated anyone else), were it not for the intervention of Mr. Trick  and some wacky vampire sidekicks. This doesn’t go the way he hopes either, though, because he gets staked in a comical fashion, himself. After having given Buffy another earful of “We’re better. You know it. I know it. Admit it”, and then saving her life, Faith takes off and no one knows where she goes. But, after having been not trusted, lied to, turned on, and then beaten and nearly dragged away, a wounded, confused, and slightly crazy Faith turns to one man she knows needs him: The Mayor, Richard Wilkins. Its a nice moment of “duh, wha?!” because you don’t necessarily see it coming. But it totally makes sense, particularly after all the things Faith had just been through.

These moments make what would otherwise be a bland, boring episode seem more than simply acceptable, but real OK. Of the two episodes dealing with Faith’s turn to the “dark side”, this one is the lesser while “Bad Girls” is clearly the greater. This one has some great moments of further development, namely Willow and Buffy coming to grips and a nice but slightly “made-for-teenagers” moment where Willow cries in the bathroom after learning that Xander had boinked with Faith. These things aside, “Consequences” is mediocre and seemingly present to tie up threads from the previous episode and give more room to develop that Faith has trust issues.

The rest of the season from here makes use of these threads to great effect, almost immediately, with no one else being aware that Faith has switched sides. The major conflict of the season is coming up, with The Mayor now being known as the “Big Bad” to the entire Scooby team, Faith playing for evil’s side, and the relationships between the characters evolving and shifting further than before. It a shame so much of the setup for the rest took two episodes, but what else can you do? Ride the ride. And, hey, even season three’s “filler” episodes are better that those lame “monster-of-the-week” episodes from season 2, so… we’re all winners, here.

Episode Rating: 85

Additional Notes:
-I love how Giles and Buffy go “oh” when they realize Xander had sex with Faith, but you saw Willow notice it before they did. And I
really love that Willow makes them all aware that she figured it out, first
-Wesley and Cordelia meet for the first time here and will have many years to get to know each other
-The Mayor is comical all the time, which adds to his menacing nature. But being sad the paper shredder doesn’t cheer him up is a new level
-Everyone is quick to want to help Faith; Willow would like to see her in jail. Wait a bit, Willow. She’ll end up there
-Wesley’s lame-o muscle men were just that: lame-o
-That song that plays when Willow cries in the bathroom? Betcha it would have been twice as good without it there. Imagine episodes of LOST with this soundtrack. Jesus

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