There's a new slayer in town and she's the life of the party. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 3 welcomed the introduction of Faith, the brash new vampire slayer who took over for Kendra. (RIP!)
We've missed the drama that Faith brought to the series. Her inclusion is one of the best parts about Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3.
Don't believe me? Rewatch "Faith, Hope & Trick" to find out why.
It's easy to forget about the perks of being a high school senior when you're no longer in high school. The moment of walking off campus, ordering food and scheduling free periods was always a joy to have around. Though, for someone like Willow who played by the rules, leaving campus was a big adjustment for her.
You couldn't help but laugh when both Oz and Xander picked her up to cross the threshold. She needed help to step over the line and accept the new privileges she got. Now she can step off campus like the rest of them.
Plus, they were meeting Buffy for lunch, so that was the perfect excuse.
There was something in the way how Scott Hope was introduced that irked me. His introduction bothered me back in 1998, and it still bothered me when I rewatched "Faith, Hope & Trick" for this article.
When Willow spoke about him when the group had their picnic, it became clear that he was being teased as Buffy's next love interest. There was no subtlety in the way they did it; we were meant to notice Scott. He was right there ready to go for his big moment.
The fact that Scott was a student we never saw before also rubbed me the wrong way.
If it had been someone we saw before, the moment would've made more of an impact. Someone from Buffy's past who we knew that wanted to have their chance with her now that she was single. Instead, we focused on a new mysterious player who was too kind and too genuine right from the get-go.
Buffy: I just wanna get my life back, you know? Do normal stuff.
Willow: Like date?
Xander: Awww, you wanna date. I saw that half-smile, you little slut.
[Xander laughs and Buffy punches him]
Xander: [still kind of chuckling] Ow.
Buffy: Alright...yes, date, and shop and hang out and go to school and save the world from unspeakable demons. You know, I wanna do girlie stuff.
Joyce and Buffy getting their vindication moment felt like sweet justice.
Principal Snyder was a little too happy to send them away on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 2. That bad karma worked against him and now he was on the losing end. (Don't mess with karma, or the school board.)
The look on Principal Snyder's face when he was forced to let Buffy back into school was one that we should never forget. He tried to flex his authority, but he had none at that point. You could feel the disdain and uncomfortableness when he had to give Buffy the official word that she was a student again.
And, for Joyce and Buffy to rub it in afterwards was the cherry on that sundae. They celebrated coming out on top during their war with Snyder.
Still, Giles should've given Buffy some time to decompress after her victory. He dropped the Acathla spell pretty quickly after she just returned to the library after being readmitted.
Buffy killing Angel was a big moment for her during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 22. In fact, it was one of the triggering factors that caused her to run away to Los Angeles. She needed time to heal before discussing that trauma again.
So, bringing it up the same day she became a high school student again did not seem like the time or place.
We can forgive Giles for his move; he did want to seal Acathla's evil, after all. However, it's not surprising that Buffy didn't want to come clean about Angel being cured. She wasn't ready to open up that wound so soon after healing another.
Similar to what I mentioned above, Scott Hope was too earnest to Buffy. He acted like a lost little puppy wanting to have Buffy dance with him or give him attention. How much did they know each other before he asked her out at The Bronze?
Sure, I'm being hard on the character, especially because of what we know about him later on during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3. This reaction is simply due to the "sweet" nature and persona he was made out to be.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer wanted to create a love triangle that wasn't going to work. He became collateral damage until the real winner came back.
Faith got a great introduction outside of The Bronze. She showed off her slayer skills and she got a good zinger in; you could tell the Scoobies were pretty impressed by her. And I'm not just talking about the stories she shared about her past adventures.
From the way she was being portrayed, it was clear that Buffy the Vampire Slayer wanted to emphases that Faith and Kendra were completely different slayers.
Faith was the brash and wild one while Kendra was the traditional and quiet slayer. Buffy's successors had different fighting styles and the way they approached their slayer abilities/role. Both of them were also on completely opposite ends of the spectrum while Buffy sat in the middle being both archetypes.
Maybe that's why she was always the one slayer to come out successful between the three? Buffy had a mix of the positive and negative qualities that neither of her successors could have on their own. And, she had a completely outlook on life than they did.
Buffy never got the formalized training that Kendra got from the Watchers Council as a young child nor did she get the responsibility-free lifestyle of wrestling alligators and killing vampires like Faith. She was an ordinary popular girl forced into her destiny.
Faith's outrageous past was a reminder that she didn't share her experiences or want the same needs in life.
Faith: God, I could eat a horse. Isn't it crazy how slaying just always makes you hungry and horny?
[They all look at Buffy]
Buffy: Well...sometimes I crave a non-fat yogurt afterwards.
Cordelia: I get it!
[They all look at Cordelia]
Cordelia: Not the horny thing, yuck! But the two slayer thing. There was one, and then Buffy died for like two minutes, so then Kendra was called, and then when she died, Faith was called.
Here's one thing that never made any sense throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer's series run: Why did Giles never get invited to the Watchers' retreat?
He's the watcher to the slayer! There should be no one else on the Earth who deserved extra training and refreshers more than the man who's job it was to watch over THE slayer. His invitation being ignored was another strike in a long list of shade that the Watchers Council threw at Buffy.
They rarely helped her with anything. And, even though Faith's story of her watcher going to the retreat was a lie, if it had been true then the Watchers Council was acting like a high school clique.
Buffy: Maybe I should introduce you again. Faith, this is Giles.
Faith: I've seen him. If I'da known they came that young and cute, I would've requested a transfer.
Buffy: Raise your hand if eww!
Did you like the pairing of Kakistos and Mr. Trick? They balanced each other pretty nicely. You had the cunning, modernized Mr. Trick who had a way with words and then you had the cloven vampire Kakistos showing off ancient brute power.
Just think about the potential we could've had with a good three episode arc. Their partnership was a missed opportunity to develop a more impactful introduction and story for Faith in Sunnydale. Her past was catching up to her and a powerful vampire was in time; it seemed like a natural fit.
Still, knowing that Faith had a past with Kakistos gave her character a bit more depth than you wouldn't have expected from the tough slayer.
Kakistos was the vampire/enemy who scared her. She acted like a weakling whenever he was around; he was her personal vanquish challenge to get rid of her ghosts. And whenever he mentioned her, their dialogue alluded a long history of trouble.
Buffy had nothing to fear about Faith (at this moment in time).
She was never going to be "Single White Female'd" out of her life, but this was the second time someone was coming into Buffy's territory. The same feeling happened when Kendra appeared; however, her reaction was to a lesser extent. Buffy grew to respect and understand Kendra.
Faith instantly won over her friends, Giles and Joyce; Buffy was feeling scared and it pushed her over the edge. On the other hand, she should've relaxed and thought about Joyce's recommendation during the dinner.
Buffy: Mom, the only way you get a new slayer is when the old slayer dies.
Joyce: Then that means you...when did you die? You never told me you died.
Buffy: No it was just for a few minutes.
Joyce: Oh I hate this. I hate your life!
Joyce: I know you didn’t choose this. I know it chose you. I have tried to march in the slayer pride parade but...I don’t want you to die.
Even before Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1, Buffy had craved for a normal life. Kendra may have convinced her that being a slayer was a destiny, but she still didn't want to fight. Faith taking over the main responsibilities would've given her more time to live her life.
And, based on the tradition of the slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 3 was Faith's time.
Buffy had died previously during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 12, which meant Faith was THE slayer in the chronological timeline. Faith had every right to assume the title and take on all the major fights, or at least join in the joint slaying. Buffy could've been a bit more welcoming and open-minded.
When Faith and Buffy got into the argument in the alley, their awkward tension had reached a boiling point. Buffy didn't want Faith around, and Faith knew it.
The vampires coming to fight was the perfect coincidence. If they had not shown up, the two slayers would've started fighting each other and things could've turned ugly. Buffy was not going to let some newbie slayer step into her life and judge her.
Also, Faith was more than happy to let out some frustration on any target. Case in point: The vampire she needed beat to a bloody pulp.
In hindsight, Faith should have considered some aggression therapy. The fighting seemed to help her a lot of this argument; it could've done wonders when she went full evil and teamed up with the mayor.
Buffy: You got a problem?
Faith: I'm five by five, here B. Living entirely large, actually wondering about your problem.
Buffy: Well, I may not sleep in the nude and wrestle alligators...
Faith: Maybe it's time you started because obviously something in your body needs uncorking. What is it, the Angel thing?
Buffy: What do you know about Angel?
Faith: Just what your friends tell me. Big love, big loss. You had to deal and move on, but you’re not.
Buffy: I got an idea. How about from now on we don’t hear from you on Angel or anything else ain my life, which by the way... is my life!
Faith: Why are you getting so strung up, B?
Buffy: Why are your lips still moving, F?
Faith: Did I just hear a threat?
Scott giving Buffy the ring as a sign of friendship made no sense. In fact, his entire personality and motivation was confusing.
He had a crush on Buffy and they may have known each other a little bit. However, they never dated or had a significant connection that we saw of before "Faith, Hope & Trick." Him giving her the ring felt more like a plot device for Buffy to trigger her Angel sadness.
In addition to the fact that all the odds of him choosing the exact same ring was ridiculous. He either had the worst luck ever or he was a plot device to suit Buffy's reemergence back into dating.
Faith overcoming her fear was a big accomplishment for her. She didn't stand by and let Kakistos kill another person; she got back into the game and defeated him herself. Her vanquish felt reminiscent to Buffy defeating The Master on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 12.
While it did take Buffy visiting her at the motel to knock some sense into her, Faith did eventually come to her senses.
Running away would've been an easy option for her. Though, Kakistos would've sought her out until she was killed; he wanted revenge against her. Vanquishing him now was her only chance.
And the fact she did it with a large piece of lumber was the perfect touch. He didn't look so smug when he turned into ash!
Also, we can't forget about Mr. Trick's big revelation.
You have to respect an evil villain who knows when to walk away when the battle is lost. He valued his vampire life more than dying in a fight against the slayers for Kakistos. In the long run, he made the right choice.
Him quitting perfectly showed that this was a character who was different than the other vampires in Sunnydale.
Most of the vampires we had seen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer were mindless followers and brutes who fought for the big villain. Usually they get dusted when they get in the way and we never hear of them ever again. Mr. Trick was in the group of recurring characters who had a mind of his own.
It's a shame that he died pretty early on in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3. He had a lot of potential for helping out other Big Bads.
After rewatching "Faith, Hope & Trick" this time around, Buffy being deprived of closure hurt all that more. She had FINALLY let go of her past love and was ready to come to terms with Angel's death. On top of that, she was also ready to start dating again.
Even though she was planning to go out with Scott of all people, her asking for a date was a big step.
And her revealing to Giles and Willow that the spell worked was her way of closing the book on Angel's story. Angel being cured, and her still having to kill him, was the hardest moment in her life. By sharing that fact with her friends, she removed the pain she was harboring once and for all.
Also, kudos to Giles for coming up with the spell lie. He got Buffy to open up and it worked; she needed to talk to someone. Out of all the things he's done for her that helped her life, this moment was in the Top 10.
But, when a naked Angel returned in the light, that opportunity for closure went up in smoke.
You had to expect with Angel being back that he would cause trouble for Buffy's life. The slayer loved him, and these two characters can't ever go by without drama keeping them apart. Their supernatural love was cursed.
Though, even with my feelings about Buffy being brought back into Angel drama again, I am happy that Angel did return to the series. He's a good character with a sordid past and he does save a lot of people. And, you can't have a Sunnydale High experience without a vampire boyfriend.
The Hellmouth would not allow it!
Buffy: Oh, the one that nearly bit me mentioned something about 'kissing toast'. He lived for kissing toast.
Giles: You mean, Kakistos?
Buffy: Maybe it was taquitos. Maybe he lived for taquitos. What?
Buffy: Is that bad?
Giles: Kakistos is Greek, it means the worst of the worst. It's also the name of a vampire so old that his hands and feet are cloven.
What did you think of "Faith, Hope & Trick"? Are you a fan of Faith? Did it seem like Kakistos was going to be a bigger villain? Was Scott coming on too strong?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Come back here and let us know what you think of the episode.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.