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'Buffy' nostalgia react: Faith chooses the dark side

Season 3 | Episode 15 | “Consequences” | Aired Feb 16, 1999

“Want. Take. Have.” That’s Faith’s policy. She’s imbued with the strength of the Slayer and she’s not afraid to use it. From her introduction, Faith has always been morally ambiguous. Yes, she fights for the good guys, but you always got the impression that she liked the fight more than the cause. Faith is the third Slayer we get to really see in action on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and she rounds out the spectrum of Slayers.

You have Buffy herself, who managed to walk the line of dark and light remarkably well, from age 16 onward. You have Kendra (RIP), who was raised in the Slayer way and so by-the-book it could make even goodiest of two-shoes cringe with second-hand embarrassment. And then you have Faith, the epitome of the bad girl. She’s sexy and fun and out for herself. Like Kendra, she embraces the power of the Slayer, but unlike Kendra, she doesn’t respect what comes with the power (in true Spider-Man fashion, the answer is “Great Responsibility”). Faith’s move to the dark side, if we want to call it that, is a long time coming by the time it happens in “Consequences.” In fact, it took more than half of season three for her to finally totally switch sides. In Faith’s defense, she went through a lot in that first half of the season. Let’s recap:

  • Her Watcher died, right in front of her, and she couldn’t do anything to stop it.
  • She fled home and came to Sunnydale, where she put on a brave face and lied about her past, all while living in a motel so gross, you’ll start itching from the fleas just looking at it.
  • She watches Buffy thrive with her group of friends. She tries to socialize and be part of the group, and at first everyone loves her. But this makes B super-jealous and everyone more or less pulls back. She’s the always-outsider.
  • A new Watcher rolls into town to work with her: Gwendolyn Post. Ms. Post comes across as the tough-but-fair type and gives Faith some real talk bonding before she flips her crazy switch and embraces evil herself. Losing a second Watcher in a matter of months is an emotional wrecking ball for Faith.
  • She throws herself into Slaying to fill up all the empty parts of her life that start to ache if she thinks about them too much. She wants a buddy and finds it, very briefly, in Buffy. They go all super-bad girl, robbing and gallivanting and things go south quickly. The cops are involved and then, the next thing you know, a guy—a real, human guy—is dead, all thanks to Faith and her habit of staking first, looking later. As it turns out, a stake through the heart kills sniveling assistants almost as well as it kills vampires (except they don’t exploded into an inconspicuous cloud of dust).

And that catches up to her in a big way in “Consequences.” Buffy hesitates before telling anyone about what Faith has done, but when her morals finally catch up with her, she’s too late. Faith has already gone to Giles herself—to say that Buffy did it. Luckily Giles sees right through the lie (because he’s Mary Poppins levels of practically perfect in every way). The Scoobies put their heads together to strategize about how to help Faith back from the edge. Xander thinks he has a special “in” with Faith, ever since she took his virginity in “The Zeppo.” Mostly, this is met with shock and … well, just shock. In one of the episode’s most heart-wrenching and real moments though, Willow holds it together like the news is NBD in front of the group and then later breaks down into tears in the safety of the bathroom. Joss Whedon’s ability to hone in on these very real, human moments (like the devastation that comes with learning that your first high school love has had their big first, and it wasn’t you) even in the midst of all the supernatural drama is what made BtVS such an amazing and enduring part of pop culture.

Xander tries to use his charms to sway Faith back to the side of good, but having so few charms in his arsenal, the whole endeavor proves futile. Angel, being much more broody and charming, has better luck, but only until Wesley storms in to save the day with Watchers Council bureaucracy. He plans to have Faith shipped off to England for a formal trial, but that’s not 5×5 in her book and Faith escapes. Buffy finds her, but it’s hard to have a heart-to-heart Slayer talk and the talking leads to fighting which leads to the inevitable vampire attack. Faith stakes Mr. Trick just n time to save Buffy’s life and it almost feels like she’s coming back to the side of good. Even Buffy seems confident that she’s found the soft, gooey nugget of goodness under Faith’s hard candy shell exterior.

Of course, in a bit of dramatic irony, Buffy goes on her merry way and we get to see Faith’s next move: Asking for a job with the Mayor. The bond between the Mayor and Faith, which is as much a father/daughter bond as the one between Giles and Buffy, is one of the best relationships on the show. After all Faith has been through, it’s that bond that I believe would really keep her fighting for anything other than herself (until she has a nice long coma to think things over, at least).

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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