Sunday, February 12, 2012

"This Year's Girl" (Buffy 4.15): Guess Who's Coming to Kick Your Ass

Faith woke up from her coma, kids, and she ain't five by five when it comes to Buffy. Still harboring a serious grudge, the Slayer to be named later comes to UC Sunnydale with revenge on her mind. Herewith, the Buffy guide to dealing when old frenemies from high school show up on campus.

DO realize that your enemies might know you best. Faith sees Buffy's pre-opening-credits prophetic dream (where we again get a reference to "little sis"--Jenn notes that these references apparently have been present since season 2, but neither of us can come up with any) and raises her a doozie of her own. In Faith's subconscious, Buffy is a fairly terrifying stone cold killer, doing a Michael Myers ever-so-slow stalking complete with a ceremonial dagger. Buffy's willingness to kill in season 3 is a part of her personality that Faith won't ever let her forget.

I found this dream fairly terrifying.

DON'T think drama has an expiration date. Though the Scoobies have moved on (and a bit apart) since Graduation Day, it's all still fresh to Faith. She has to process the death of the Mayor, who was a demonic, though sincere, father figure to her,

As evidenced by this dream picnic they're enjoying

and she's still as pissed as ever that Buffy has the family and friends (and steady beau) that she can't seem to secure.

A Faith's Eye View of the life she both loves and loathes. All that's missing is Joyce. For now.

DO remember that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Ask anyone ten years out from high school, there's nothing like a reunion to remind you that some wounds don't heal. At the first word that Faith is back, Xander is bitter,

Giles is uninterested,

Willow is jealous,

In this moment, she's either calling Faith a "psychopathic superbitch" or a "cleavage-y slutbomb." Almost makes up for the outfit.

and Buffy is lying about Angel.

Pictured: The facial contortions necessary to explain Faith's vendetta without mentioning the sexy ex.

Also, Spike is double-crossing the Scoobies . . .

And looking damn fine doing it.

And everyone is dressing like a freak.

Hat! Leaf shirt! SWEATER VEST!!

According to Faith, Buffy hasn't changed either, remaining the same old "Better than thou" Slayer. And, as my intrepid co-watcher Jenn points out, Faith is still "kill first, ask questions later" when confronted with a demon courier bearing a post-mortem message from the Mayor.

In less capable hands, bringing Faith back could have felt cheap, but this episode feels completely earned. Season 4 has been all about investigating how the past shapes who the characters are now, and questioning how much of identity is reliant on others' perceptions. These philosophical questions become even more urgent in the next episode, because someone's ersatz daddy left them a steampunk soul-switching device!

Next week is going to ROCK.

No comments:

Post a Comment