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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love Faith and the Mayor. The characters are so interesting together
and this is the episode that really begins their relationship. As the
season goes on, we see that Faith respects the Mayor's authority and
follows his orders, because she feels... safe with him. He doesn't come
on to her or try to turn her into a Buffy-like Slayer. Instead, he buys
her video games and special knives and takes her mini-golfing. Indeed,
the Mayor comes to see Faith as his daughter. He loves her, wants to
protect her and is counting on Faith to carry on his evil legacy.
Fathers and daughters are a recurring theme of season three. Faith and
the Mayor create an darker counterpoint to Giles and Buffy's
relationship. You really shouldn't skip "Consequences," since it starts
them down a compelling path that will resonate into season seven.
"Consequences" deals with the fall out from "Bad Girls." Faith has accidentally killed a human and is complete denial about it. She refuses to confess the truth to Giles and swears Buffy to secrecy. Buffy is having a hard time coming to grips with Alan's death. Especially, when Wesley instructs the Slayers to investigate the murder. Unable to keep the secret any longer, Buffy goes to Willow for help. They both realize that they need to tell Giles. But, when Buffy arrives to confess, she finds that Faith has already told Giles everything... Except she claims that Buffy was the one wielding the stake. Luckily, Giles doesn't believe Faith's lie. He and Buffy decide to try and help Faith, without telling Wes or the Council.
Wesley's overheard their plan, though. He contacts the Council himself and they set out to capture Faith and take her to England for trial. Meanwhile, Xander goes to Faith, thinking that their romantic interlude will make her more willing to listen to him. Instead, Faith tries to kill him and Angel has to knock her out. Taking her back to the mansion, Angel begins talking to Faith. He identifies with the darkness inside her and she actually seems to be opening up a bit, when Wes and the Council arrive. They incapacitate Angel, handcuff Faith and take her away in a van. She quickly escapes and heads for the docks, thinking that she can catch a freighter out of Sunnydale. Buffy shows up and tries to reason with her. Mr. Trick and some vampires attack. Faith stakes Mr. Trick. And the episode ends with Faith going to the Mayor and applying for Mr. Tricks job.
There are some fun parts to this episode. I like Angel and Faith's scenes together. They have a connection, even if it's not romantic, and it's always nice to see them interacting. And it's pretty realistic that Willow still has feeling for Xander. When she hears that he and Faith slept together, her heart just breaks. The scene of her crying in the bathroom is so sweet and sad. Also, I like that Giles instantly believed Buffy over Faith. It's good that we didn't have to sit through a whole long ordeal of Buffy trying to clear her name. Instead, Giles just trusted that she didn't kill Alan. And, of course, the end of the episode with Faith and the Mayor is great.
I think that the title of the episode, "Consequences," is referring to more than just Buffy and Faith dealing with the Deputy Mayor's death. It's also talking about Wesley. "Consequences" marks the first of several times that Wes does what he feels is right, regardless of the fall-out. He follows his own moral compass and even if you don't always agree with him, at least you understand his point of view. Wesley catches a lot of flak in this episode, but I'm not sure that he deserves it. He's suppose to be Faith's Watcher, but Giles and Buffy are deliberately excluding him. They're keeping important information from him and, what's more, they could be endangering other people by hiding Faith's crime. She nearly strangles Xander, after all. Wesley doesn't know the Scoobies and they don't know him. Why would he just allow them to undermine his authority and disobey Council rules? Even Willow sort of agrees with Wesley's point of view. The episode is about the "consequences" of Wes and the Scoobies not trusting each other.
On the downside, why do people have such a hard time weighing down bodies in the Buffyverse? Faith dumps Alan's body and it pops back up again. And Spike will have the same problem in season six's "Dead Things." (Only Conner over on "Angel" gets the job done. But, lets not get me started on how much I hate Conner.) And, speaking of "Dead Things," is it just me or do Spike and Faith also offer similar rationals for their body-hiding activities? Slayers are special. It was an accident. You've done far more good than bad. How could you help people in jail? etc... Somehow, it sounds more convincing when Spike says it, though. Also, I'm sad to see Mr. Trick go.
My favorite part of the episode: Wes and Cordelia coming face to face for the first time. It's kind of surreal and funny, all at the same time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Good; Hugely powerful ep, the dream sequence, Angel reaching out to Faith, the fight at the docks, the shock ending, as powerful as Buffy has ever been.
The Bad; It's truly heartrending to watch Faith's fall from grace. One question though, where does Wes get his thugs from? They'd have been rather useful in the past.
Best line; Buffy; "Cordelia is a friend" Cordy; "Let's not exaggerate"
Character death; Bye-bye Mr Trick, who didn't follow his own advice about getting an Uzi.
Tied up; Angel in chains and Faith chained up twice. Buffy entangled at the dockside
Knocked out; Faith, Angel, Wes and possibly Xander
Women good/men bad; Not this time
Jeez!; Horrible to watch both Buffy and Xander almost strangled
Kinky dinky; Faith and Xander forget the safety word (a BDSM term). Faith tries eroto-asphyxia and refers to Xander as her boy toy (just a minor point but how gorgeous does she look at this point, like she's off to the ball or something?). Buffy in her dream sequence indulges in some wet T-shirt action. First meeting of Wes and Cordy (historic although neither realise it). Faith refers to Cordy as jail-bait suggesting she is under 18.
Calling Captain Subtext; Willow sobbing in the toilets (how many of us did that in high school?) that Xander has lost his virginity to Faith rather than her. A scene that will also recur in the Firefly ep 'Heart of Gold'. Buffy states that the guys Faith sleeps with are a 'big joke to her', implying that she's not that into guys? Buffy starts to make the effort to be more friendly to Will, you could say she's choosing her femme girlfriend over her butch?
Guantanamo Bay; The Watcher's council once again show their ruthless side. Although the Mayor controls the police his influence seems to be not total.
Scoobies to the ER; Xander must have some fingermarks on his neck with Buffy and Angel also bearing some bumps as does Wes
Where's Dawn? Must be used to cops at the Summer's house by now? Joyce seems to wait up for Buffy to come home
Questions and observations; Good ep but hard to watch, it's all so sad. We do however now start the run of the final eps of season 3 which set the standard for TV generally. Faith seems to feel genuine regret for what she's done but can't come to terms with it. She doesn't go evil right away, she saves Buffy, she could have just snapped Xander's neck but she doesn't. She's happy that the Mayor and deputy Mayor were dirty, alleviates her guilt. Apparently Slayers have killed before and the council takes them back for rehabilitation. But really they don't have much alternative, up until now there's only one Slayer. Does the Mayor want rid of the Slayers or not? Who's going to control the supernatural threat for him otherwise? To judge by the way the SDPD go straight to the Slayers and talk about wooden weapons the Slayers are an open secret in SD.
Terrible commentary, directors commentaries always seem to want to talk about camera speeds and lenses. More writers and actors please!
Marks out of 10, 6/10 powerful but not that much fun to watch
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