The Scoobies are good at fighting monsters, but they're terrible at planning interventions. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 15 showed that they only made things worse for the Faith situation.
With a little more care and planning, they could've gotten through to her. I believed it when I was eight years old; and I still believe it now after rewatching again. They completely fumbled in convincing her to trust them.
Let's discuss why by rewatching "Consequences."
Faith's and Buffy's reactions to the murder shed some light on their personalities.
Whereas Buffy was wracked with guilt and having nightmares, Faith brushed it off and internalized her pain. The secret weighed too heavy on Buffy's conscious to not be addressed.
That's not to say Faith didn't have a conscious. She absolutely did! On the other hand, survival was more important to her. As long as she didn't get in trouble or hurt, she would be fine living life five-by-five.
Still, Faith did feel guilty about the murder and what she had done. She just didn't want to open those emotional wounds and have to face the consequences.
To get the truth out of her, everything would need to rely on the approach. "Consequences" featured tactics that only made things worse, but there were a few that could've worked with time and slight changes.
Buffy appealing to Faith's emotions wasn't going to work.
Faith had already made a logical conclusion to herself about the attack. You could hear it in her words in the classroom, on the street, and when they broke into the deputy mayor's office. Faith had justified the murder as an accident while being on the job.
That type of argument would naturally be the first one someone would go to after a traumatic moment. So, it's understandable why Buffy tried to reason with Faith to feel sympathy for the crime.
The problem, however, was that Faith didn't want to hear any of it.
Sticking to the story of it being an accident was the only way she was going to make it through. And yes, the death was an accident, but her truth to the world was that she wasn't there. To herself, all of it was simply a casualty of the job.
Unless Faith started feeling guilty herself, Buffy's words would fall on silence.
Part of it also could've been the fact that Buffy was the one delivering the argument.
The Slayers had a secret together that would've implicated them in a crime. If Faith was going down, you better believe she would do anything to take Buffy down with her. She basically said as much in the classroom.
Plus, even though the two were friends, Faith did have a touch of jealousy and animosity towards Buffy. Having the truth come out that the "bad girl" Faith committed the crime would've reinforced her inner narrative that Buffy was perfect and she was the mistake.
Faith's retorts had a tone of frustration and malice toward Buffy.
Mayor Wilkins: This isn't working.
Mr. Trick: It's supposed to do something besides shred paper?
Mayor Wilkins: It's supposed to cheer me up it what it's supposed to do. Why in the world would Allan leave a paper trail a mile long about our dealings? You think he was going to betray me? Oh no, that's a horrible thought! Now he's dead and I'll never have the chance to, well ... scold him and find out.
The intervention with the Scoobies had the most positive potential. It's a shame that this tactic never came to be because it could have worked.
Faith held a deeply rooted paranoia that none of the Scoobies were her friends, and that they looked down on her because she wasn't perfect Buffy. By having the core group reinforce that they would stick by her and help her, Faith would've allowed herself to trust them.
The Scoobies wanted to help her, and Faith wanted to feel like she belonged.
Another supporting piece to having this intervention would've been Giles explaining the process of past Slayers. As he mentioned to the group, human casualties happened before in the line of fire. If Faith worked with the Scoobies, she would have had options and could get the help she needed to deal with the death.
Her reactions stemmed from a need for survival. If she felt supported, she wouldn't act so defensively and uncaring.
We can look to two reasons why this tactic never came to be: (1) The Scoobies didn't tell Wesley about the chat, and (2) Xander not knowing the meaning of a casual hook-up.
Don't get me wrong, Xander thought he was legitimately doing the right thing. He was 17/18 years old, so basically, a teenage boy who just lost his virginity. He thought he had a deeper connection with Faith because of that moment.
We can give him the benefit of the doubt here. (For those who are shocked right now, yes, I did just defend Xander. There are first times for everything.)
On the other hand, if Buffy and Giles gave ample warning about not playing the "romance" card with Faith, Xander should have heeded that advice. Faith didn't respect the hook-ups she had, and Xander's chat would've meant nothing.
His reckless late night visit to the motel nearly got him killed because of it.
Wesley: Does everybody know about you?
Buffy: She's a friend.
Cordelia: Let's not exaggerate.
Also, poor Willow! How could you not feel her heartbreak in the bathroom? The entire Xander crush had caused nothing but pain and sorrow for her.
Luckily, she got out of that romantic mess once and for all after they were discovered. If this heartache was the final nail that ended this storyline, it was better to have it in the long-run than continue a plot that was too destructive.
Eliza Dushku's performance during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 15 might be one of her best ever.
The pathway of emotions felt like a roller coaster because she seamlessly took us from anger to seduction to sadness and back again in the span of an hour. Her character development broke through every emotional response triggered by her guilt.
You could tell from her tone and expression that she loved getting into the mind of Evil Faith.
The "black widow" scene with Xander in the motel felt unhinged and raw. Faith's progression from reluctance to seductive to murderous happened quickly before our eyes, and the transition felt natural to the character. She embraced her villainous side in that scene.
The suffocation was a shocking twist you didn't expect to happen; it's one of the few times where Buffy the Vampire Slayer caught us off-guard without any warning.
You hoped for a redemption for Faith, but when she started choking Xander, the harsh reality hit: Faith enjoyed the pain and power too much. She became a character who wouldn't resist killing off the main characters, and that was a scary concept. It didn't take until the Angel therapy session to truly break down barriers.
You and me, Faith, we're a lot alike. Time was, I thought humans existed just to hurt each other. But then I came here. And I found out that there are other types of people. People who genuinely wanted to do right. And they make mistakes. And they fall down. You know, but they keep caring. Keep trying. If you can trust us, Faith, this can all change. You don't have to disappear into the darkness.Angel
Angel and Faith's friendship was one of the more underappreciated relationships. Only until the spin-off Angel (and the graphic novels) did this friendship get the attention it deserved.
If they had a little more time together, he could've gotten through to her.
Wesley had to come in and ruin the day like he always did. If they had warned him, he probably wouldn't have called the Watchers Council. Especially if Cordelia was the one to ask him, he totally wouldn't have done anything.
Wesley: My. She's cheeky, isn't she?
Faith: Uh, first word: jail. Second word: bait.
Faith seemed so receptive to his words, and she also seemed ready to chat about it with Buffy at the docks. They were both so close to making a breakthrough, but something kept interrupting them at the worst times.
We have to look at it as fate.
Fate needed Mr. Trick to die so that Faith would assume the job opening. Faith needed to be working with Mayor Wilkins so that the Scoobies would eventually fight him. And these betrayals would lead to Faith's redemption.
It's a shame that Faith couldn't have stayed on the side of good, but I wouldn't trade some of the great chapters that came from her switch to the dark side. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 was better off because of it.
What did you think of "Consequences"? Would you have handled the Faith situation differently? Was Xander's heart in the right place? Should the Scoobies have looped Wesley into the plan?
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 share your thoughts of the episode in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.