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16 September 2015 @ 01:56 pm
Enemies (in which the gloves finally come off)  
After the tour de force of Doppelgangland, this episode brings us back to the season arc with a bump (and lots of unpleasant stabbing and backstabbing). Not much humour to be found here, except in scenes featuring the Mayor, who is doggedly cheerful throughout...

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...and even manages to take the sting out of an explicit threat to Faith about what will happen if she fails him,

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by offering her a glass of milk.

This is after Faith tells him a demon has offered to sell Buffy the Books of Ascension, thus revealing the Mayor's nefarious plan. The Mayor orders Faith to get the books first, and she's worried in case she doesn't manage it.

I'm not sure the Mayor would carry out his threat, though. His love for Faith may be doing her horrible damage, but it is, IMO, genuine love.

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But the damage is clear.

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Faith kills the demon and steals the books.

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For a moment, she appears genuinely horrified by what she's done. In fact, I think she is.

Certainly, she seems so when she goes to Angel for help.

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But it all turns out to be deception -

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- a scheme to seduce Angel, make him turn against Buffy,

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(his relationship with whom turns out to be yet another thing Faith is jealous of),

and make him lose his soul.

All I can say is, if the Mayor had met Evil Angel before, he might not have thought...

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...this was such a good idea. But whatever.

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Anyway, I'm all for letting Evil Angel out to play occasionally, even if it is just pretend, and he and Faith do make a very sexy couple.

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Evidence.

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More evidence.

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Yet more evidence.

(Speaking of sexy,

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Giles manages to look sexy in this episode while eating a banana. I didn't think that was physically possible).

So anyway, deception everywhere. Faith (rather ineptly) tries to deceive Buffy into thinking she's still on her side,

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then (rather more eptly) tries to seduce Angel by acting all vulnerable and hurt (though she is in fact vulnerable and hurt).

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Meanwhile, Giles, his shaman friend,

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Buffy and Angel (the very opposite of ineptly) deceive the Mayor and Faith into thinking Angel has lost his soul, and is on their side now,

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at least while he's torturing and killing Buffy.

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During the course of this deception,

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Angel learns that the Mayor is now invulnerable,

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and Faith is goaded into revealing the Mayor's plans to Buffy and Angel,

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which makes her quite cross,

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and also reveals her true colours.

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But Angel has played his part a little too well.

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I think Buffy's shocked to discover how easily he can act being evil.

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And having to see this, of course, does not help.

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She insists she's still Angel's girl, but she needs a break from him, and (IMO),

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her words ring a little hollow.

The rest of the gang-who aren't in on the plan-don't have a whole lot to do in this episode. It's a Buffy/Angel/Faith threeway.

They do, however, discover that the Mayor has been around for a very long time,

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and that Ascension, while it may be good for the Mayor,

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will be the exact opposite for other people.

Best lines:

MAYOR: I've got two words that are going to take all the
pain away.

Miniature. Golf.

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Have a gratuitous Fuffy screencap.

Thoughts, anyone?
 
 
 
Kiki May: Buffy/Faith bad romancekikimay on September 16th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
I just want to say that Faith looks really good in this episode. Really, really good. But so does Angel, to be fair, and of course he wears funny shirts when he's evil because ELEGANCE?

It's kinda disappointing that they reduce the rivalry between Faith and Buffy to something connected to Angel, when it's so much more. (At least, they put Angel in the middle at this point and try the threesome stuff, but there so much more behind Faith's envy) Also the constant together/apart dance played by Angel and Buffy is SO BORING. Just go to LA and be done with it, dude!

Also how can be Faith's hands covered in blood when she hugs Angel and she stays clean? Yeah, I'm annoying XD
Shapinglight: buffy faithshapinglight on September 17th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
Also how can be Faith's hands covered in blood when she hugs Angel and she stays clean? Yeah, I'm annoying XD.

Not at all. I'm just glad you made a comment. It was getting a little lonely around here.

I agree that Faith and Angel look very good indeed in this episode. Faith isn't really Angel's type, but boy, they look great together.

I don't really think Faith being jealous of Buffy having Angel is the centre of her problems with Buffy - which to me come a little out of left field, have to say. I mean, I don't really get it when she says "This was supposed to be my town." She has to have known, before she even got there, that Buffy was the Slayer in residence. That Faith is unstable and 'troubled', to say the least, and would love to have some of the things Buffy has ( though not necessarily her boyfriend) has been built up quite well from the start of the season, I think, but when it comes down to it, the motivations she gives for what she does in this episode just sound too...I dunno. Laboured?

Also the constant together/apart dance played by Angel and Buffy is SO BORING. Just go to LA and be done with it, dude!

There's a lot of AtS set up in this episode, isn't there? Especially when you remember that AtS was originally conceived as an even darker show than it turned out to be.
Butterflysnogged on September 16th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
I always loved the "miniature golf" line. It's one of my favorites.

This episode has some intriguing things going for it. In the end, though, no one wins, especially in the Faith/Buffy/Angel triangle.
Shapinglight: lonely heartshapinglight on September 17th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
I always loved the "miniature golf" line. It's one of my favorites.

Same here. It's hilarious. No wonder Faith starts laughing.

In the end, though, no one wins, especially in the Faith/Buffy/Angel triangle.

No, indeed. There's a lot of AtS-y set-up in the episode, which in this case, I think, is mainly Buffy's reaction to Angel's evil act. I think it really shocked her how easily it came to him, and perhaps made her realise that she still doesn't know him that well.
Danna: Fool for Lovechasingdemons on September 17th, 2015 12:40 am (UTC)
Yes, I do have a few thoughts.

Upon rewatch, I was a little shocked at how psycho Faith was. What was it exactly that made Faith so damaged? I never found that out. I mean I know she had a rough life and her watcher was killed and all that. But she was ready to watch Buffy be tortured to death, and possibly participate. If her plan had worked, Buffy would be dead. She also fell right in line with the mayor, who's plans would cause death and destruction. This is a huge red line for me as far as ever trusting her or wanting her around again. You don't get to kill people just because you've got issues.

When Buffy told Angel she needed a break, I remembered assuming she was having a hard time because she had to watch him with Faith. It seemed just a tiny bit unfair since apparently she and Angel had devised this plan together. But upon rewatch, I think it was more about seeing Angel act like Angelus. It really made me reflect on how truly traumatic it must have been to her at 16 to fall so deeply in love for the first time and then have your lover suddenly turn into a monster. I'm sure it is something that will affect her forever.

Lastly, it was a low blow for Angel to punch out Xander just to support his act.


Edited at 2015-09-17 01:13 am (UTC)
Shapinglight: buffy faithshapinglight on September 17th, 2015 04:43 pm (UTC)
What was it exactly that made Faith so damaged? I never found that out.

There really doesn't seem to be anything beyond her rough childhood - or not anything that's ever mentioned. I agree that a rough childhood is no excuse for torture and murder.

So, I suppose that brings you back to the psycho thing. When Faith comes to Sunnydale, it's clear from quite early on that she's unstable, and at times very unreliable. But she's not always like that. She seems to have played her part in the bits we see (from Xander's POV) of the apocalypse events in The Zeppo. So really, what she does and says in this episode takes things up a notch in a major way. It makes it impossible to root for her. She really becomes nothing but a dark mirror of Buffy, and doesn't begin to be a proper person again until she reappears in season 4.

That Buffy finds it impossible to forgive her for a very long time is not surprising, and a huge credit to Buffy that the two of them manage to find an accommodation of sorts by the end of the series.

I agree that Buffy's wanting a break from Angel is more to do with seeing him play evil than it is with seeing him kiss Faith (though she can't have enjoyed that). I think it shocked her how easy he appeared to find it to do, and reminded her how little there was (his soul, which apparently can be removed via a spell) preventing Angel from becoming a monster again.

Lastly, it was a low blow for Angel to punch out Xander just to support his act.

Have to agree, but also have to admit I found it funny. Not so much that Angel punched Xander, but what he said to Faith afterwards.
Danna: Fool for Lovechasingdemons on September 17th, 2015 01:16 am (UTC)
ps - Thank you, Deb! I am really enjoying the rewatch and your posts. (Gillo's too)
Shapinglight: lonely heartshapinglight on September 17th, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
:)

Glad to hear it.