Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 14

Bad Girls

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 09, 1999 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
597 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

While on a mission to retrieve an amulet before a powerful demon can use it to restore his strength, Faith introduces Buffy to her reckless method of slaying which leaves Buffy wanting more of the wild life. Meanwhile Giles is trying to keep his cool in front of the insufferably stuffy new watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.moreless

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  • Bad Girls

    This episode represents an interesting experiment in trying to make Buffy more like Faith. The problem is that most of Buffy's actions seem rushed and out-of-character rather than a natural extension. Faith is pushing her to be more free-spirited right when the new prissy Watcher, Wesley, comes to town. The combination of these things is sure to make Buffy want to act out a bit, but giving into Faith's "want, take, have" philosophy in response is just out of character. That and the fact I find Belthazar pretty corny are the reasons why I'm not crazy about this episode.

    The fun begins with Faith telling Buffy she "thinks too much" while fighting some vamps in the cemetary. Right away the core topic touched on. Faith believes Buffy thinks too much while the new Watcher, Wesley, seems to believe she doesn't think enough. Buffy is torn between two worlds; Faith's of "do what you want" and Wesley's of "do what you're told." Early on Buffy shies away from thoughts of doing (and doing) what she wants and disobeying authority, but as Wesley continues to pressure her with orders and attitude she decides to gives Faith's method a try. It's also really fun to see her still discuss everything with Giles, even against the Council's wishes.

    All of this leads to Buffy skipping out on her chemistry test and then later breaking into the weapons shop with Faith and stealing stuff (including a longbow Faith is amusingly fond of). Faith tells her in the shop, "want, take, have." This really sums up Faith's philosophy of life at this point. Rather quickly the two of them get caught by a pair of police and we can immediately see Buffy is scared by the experience. In the cop car she is extremely quiet and it's obvious that "bad Buffy" is dead for now. The following day when looking in the paper we even see her dressed completely in black. She feels dirty and bad about what she did. Faith, on the other hand, isn't affected by getting caught at all which is the first sign of her indifference at being involved in crime.

    Faith's indifference is naturally carried over when the big "staking a human" scene arrives. She kills a human, shows little remorse, and immediately wants to flee the scene and not accept responsibility for she's done. Buffy is terrified and can't understand why Faith doesn't appear to have any problem with what she did. We know from future episodes of BtVS and AtS that she does have feelings of guilt but they are buried deep and are repressed within her.

    I really love Wesley's addition to the show. Aside from pushing Buffy towards Faith, the introduction of Wesley also sparks changes in Giles who now looks a whole lot cooler. During the fight against Belthazar's minions he really kicks some quality ass and even cracks jokes in the face of torture (he has been tortured recently in "Becoming Pt. 2" [2x22]). He really mixes up the tedium of monster research and adds an interesting dynamic to the group's discussions.

    Unfortunately, Belthazar just doesn't work for me as a threatening villain. While I love the idea of a crippled and fat demon it is his personality that loses me. He just comes across as hokey and the effect of him pulling vampires towards him is poor as well. Ultimately this episode tries to do some interesting things but simply doesn't manage to fully succeed. The highlight is definitely the somewhat surprising ending where Faith says she doesn't care that she's now killed a human. Based on her character's development throughout the season thus far, this turn, while surprising, is still completely believable. If nothing else, that alone gives this episode importance.moreless
  • Fan-bloody-tastic!

    Bad Girls

    The Good;

    All of it, excellent battle sequences and Faith's luring of Buffy especially good. Nic Brendon's twitching on demand is also wonderful. The silent scene with Faith and the Deputy-Mayor's body is excellent. The Mayor's ritual scene is also great especially his 'things to do' list.

    The Bad;

    Has anyone ever really been able to sneak out of class without the teacher noticing?

    Best line;

    Faith "I like him, He's butch!"

    Character death;

    If we include the vamps killed when Buffy and Faith smash through the doors then this ep must have the greatest number of dustings ever. And of course Faith accidentally kills the deputy Mayor. Watching it it's all the more tragic as Buffy hits him first, if she'd had the stake in her hand rather than Faith did it would have been her that killed him. Of course she would have dealt with it very differently as the events of 'Dead Things' demonstrate. Buffy's killing of Balthazar once more shows her ingenuity.


    No but the cops threaten the Slayers with guns, otherwise they'd never have been able to capture them. Mr Trick ventures that the Illuminati should used Uzis rather than swords but he doesn't follow his own advice.

    Tied up;

    Faith and Buffy in handcuffs. Wes and Giles also tied up by the vamps.

    Women good/men bad;

    As the title suggests, the girls are the bad ones this time


    Always horrible to watch Buffy drown, again! Balthazar is grotesque! The Mayor has a 'splitting headache'.

    Kinky dinky;

    Even when being arrested Faith flirts with the cop.

    Cop; "Spread'em"

    Faith; "You wish!"

    Note that when Buffy drags Faith away when dancing in the Bronze she points to 3 guys and goes 'Call me!". When Faith doubts that Buffy has never had sex with Xander she asks 'What are friends for?'. The show that the pair put on at the Bronze is normally the sort of thing you have to pay 15 at the door for. And of course they just have to add it to the opening titles so we see it every week. Buffy comments on Faith's grunting and how slaying turns her on, getting 'sweaty'. Xander describes Cordy's dress as 'hookerwear'

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    The whole thing is just a massive love letter between Buffy and Faith. Doug Petrie drools over them dancing at the Bronze. The symbol Faith makes in the window is basically a valentine to her girlfriend. You could also argue that Willow is jealous of Faith and is trying to win Buffy back. What a shame they dropped the line about Wes and Giles at the Bronze being David Bowie and a boyfriend (wouldn't ASH make an excellent David Bowie?). Interesting according to Petrie that ED was always keen to play the lesbian subtext. You wonder was SMG? Although to judge by her performance in 'Cruel Intentions' she probably wouldn't have a problem with it.

    Guantanamo Bay;

    Faith leads Buffy in burglary and criminal damage, knocking out 2 cops in the process. Balthazar get's Wes to talk by threatening to rip off his kneecaps.

    Where's Dawn?

    I wonder what Dawn's attitude to Faith is? You think that if Faith had a Joyce and Dawn to go home to she'd never have gone bad. Joyce is dieting, I really don't think she needs to.

    Questions and observations;

    Does Mr Trick follow the Slayers around? He seems to have recovered the swords very quickly. Doug Petrie's commentary is very weird, he rather reminds me of a young Tom Hanks in a dreadful film he made called Bachelor Party. The Mayor can't be killed, what if you cut his head off? The Mayor's comments about the Scouts are a bit disturbing, he wants to 'eat'em up!'. I think it's evident that Faith does care she killed a man or it wouldn't affect her so much. Doug's wrong in his commentary. Buffy and Faith will be friends again. Willow is deciding which university, another benefit of the Hellmouth genius. And here's Wes, no sign yet that he'll last over 5 years in the show and get his name in the opening titles. Xander's dad seems to be currently unemployed. The cops refer to Sunnydale's girl gangs, confirming what we learnt in The Zeppo (even now Faith can't resist teasing Buffy by referring to them as The Slayers). First meeting of Wes and Angel, surely Wes would have read up on him prior to coming to SD?

    Marks out of 10; 10 out of 10 or maybe 5x5 would be a better way to put it

  • Bad Girls

    Bad Girls was a Perfect episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is such a great episode because it has so many different story lines interweaving each other and the stories are fun, engaging, entertaining, and brilliant! This episode saw Buffy hanging out with Faith more and learning to loosen up a little. The Slayers Slay and Play hard. The Demon enemy in this episode Balthazarr is an important character, as he mentions an enemy, and it seems he was the only thing capable of standing in The First's way once he got his Amulet. Things go horribly wrong when Faith and Buffy are chasing Vampires and the Mayors Assistant is killed. The Mayor also becomes invincible, continuing his ritual. This is one of my favorite episodes.moreless
  • Season 3, Episode 14.

    Buffy and Faith begin to bond after Faith introduces Buffy to her reckless method of slaying, which leaves Buffy wanting to live more on the wild side. Giles and Buffy meet Wesley Wyndam-Price, Buffy's new watcher. Balthazar, who is apparently,still alive, becomes a threat.

    I really liked this episode! I love Faith and Eliza Dushku. Plus, I loved seeing Buffy live on the wild side, such as going out the window during class. I loved the music that was playing at The Bronze. Buffy looked so hot when she was stealing the weapons. Buffy looked good when Faith killed the man and the acting was incredible from both of them. Excellent, amazing, classic episode.moreless
  • Buffy and Faith bond.

    This episode features one of the most classic Faith moments, she stabs a man, but when Buffy confronts her she replies with the great, "no, buffy you don't get it i don't care" a classic line that really shows how Faith has both gone off the deep end and is at the same lying to herself about who she is becoming. Buffy is also facing the struggle of boundaries as Faith douses her with her mantra of see, want, take that soon becomes intoxicating to Buffy as she tries to find her place in the world balancing what she knows is right and what she wants to do. Watching the two girls slay and play together is great and the ending shows a clear divide between the good slayer and the bad slayer.moreless
Alex Skuby

Alex Skuby


Guest Star

Wendy Clifford

Wendy Clifford

Mrs. Taggert

Guest Star

Jack Plotnick

Jack Plotnick

Allan Finch

Guest Star

Kristine Sutherland

Kristine Sutherland

Joyce Summers

Recurring Role

Harry Groener

Harry Groener

Mayor Richard Wilkins III

Recurring Role

K. Todd Freeman

K. Todd Freeman

Mr. Trick

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (18)

    • Goof: It's been shown before in multiple episodes that only direct sunlight will cause a vampire to burst into flames. Yet, strangely, when Buffy and Faith burst in on the vampires' nest, the one vampire's clothed (and therefore shadowed) arm bursts into flames, yet his fully exposed hand is fine.

    • Nitpick: The nameplate on the mayor's desk is not straight. Given the fact that Mayor Wilkins is compulsively neat, it seems odd that he would have overlooked this.

    • Mayors to do list:
      * Greeting Scouts, done
      * Plumber union reschedule, done
      * Call temp agency, done
      * Become Invincible, done
      * Meeting with the PTA,
      * Haircut

    • Buffy makes a reference to "Prophecy Girl" when she remarks, "I hate when they drown me."

    • Nitpick: When Buffy meets Angel after Finch's death Angel's breath can be seen. Interestingly Buffy's breath can't be seen!

    • Originally, the Wesley character was going to be a bit like Michael J. Fox in the Back to the Future movies. However, the writers decided to make Giles look cooler and more rebellious by making Wesley so straight-laced.

    • Goof: If you look cloesly when Angel comes in after Balthazar says "What is his name?" you can see Angel push a guy away, but not towards the corner. But when the shot changes to the guy Angel grabbed and Angel, there is a guy mysteriously in the corner.

    • Goof: After Buffy and Faith split up (after killing Finch) and Buffy climbs over the fence, you can see that her shoes are different. They are flat black boots, and not the heeled ones she was wearing earlier.

    • Goof: When Buffy and Faith are about to hit the metal grate in the police car, you can see that Buffy is behind the driver and Faith is behind the passenger. But if you look really hard when they kick the grate, Buffy and Faith have switched sides (you can tell by the pants and shoes), and when they are out of the car, Buffy is already out and Faith is crawling out from behind the passenger. How would she get out of the car before Buffy if the driver's side door is still closed?

    • Goof: When Buffy and Faith break into the vampire nest ("Rise and Shine People"), you can see that Buffy is facing Faith and she has her arms crossed, and Faith has her arms down by her sides. But when the camera does a close up of Buffy and Faith, they are both turned the same way, they're in their fighting stances, and they both have their stakes at the ready.

    • Goof: Right after Buffy pulls her chemistry test booklet towards her the camera angle changes, and she pulls it towards her again.

    • Goof: In the outside shot of the school (shortly after the credits), you can see that it's the same one (again!!!) from "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" when Cordeila walks up to the school and gets shunned by Harmony's gang. You can see the same people sitting on the bench on the side, and Harmony in the background. (It is from a different angle, but you can still tell that it's from that episode)

    • Goof: In the scene with Balthazar, in one shot the light is only a few inches away from his head, then in the next shot it is further away.

    • Nitpick: Students are only allowed to apply to one college for early admission, especially if it's binding, so Willow wouldn't have gotten 'several' acceptances.

    • Goof: When Buffy throws the stake at the vampire, it lands on his right region of his back. The heart should be near the left region of the back.

    • Nitpick: When Buffy is sitting on the sofa with Angel, Wesley walks up and sits down. As he does so you can see a cut on Buffy's right arm ... Where did she get the cut? And why hasn't she cleaned it up before going to the club?

    • Goof: When Buffy and Faith come down the alley (just before Faith kills Finch) there is a bad editing cut as the film speeds up slightly.

    • Nitpick: One second after Buffy pulls herself out of the water (in the sewer) her hair is completely dry.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Balthazar: (big gross blubbery demon, addressing Wesley and Giles) You know what I want.
      Giles: (snarkily) If it's for me scrub those hard to reach areas I'd like to request that you kill me now. (vampire shoves him) Ow.
      Wesley: Are you out of your mind?! This is hardly the time for games!
      Giles: Why not? They're going to torture us to death anyway.
      Balthazar: Not wrong about that.

    • Joyce: (After griping about her diet and asking Buffy about brunch) Are you sure you don't want waffles?
      Buffy: Yeah...but if you want some I'll help you make them.
      Joyce: Nah, that's okay...they only don't have calories if I'm making them for you.

    • Wesley: Of course, training procedures have been updated quite a bit since your day. Much greater emphasis on field work.
      Giles: Really?
      Wesley: Oh yes. Not all books and theory nowadays. I have in fact faced two vampires myself. Under controlled circumstances, of course.
      Giles: No danger of finding those here.
      Wesley: Vampires?
      Giles: Controlled circumstances.

    • Buffy: Hey! (Jumps into Angel's arms) You're not leaving, are ya?
      Angel: I saw you making friends. (Angel looks over to the guys that she and Faith were dancing with)
      Buffy: Them? (Buffy looks back at them also) Boys! I like you. What's the matter? (Gets off of Angel) You're not afraid of little me, are ya?

    • Wesley: Well... looks authentic enough. Of course there are tests to be made before actual verification.
      Buffy: How about verifying that your "nearly extinct" cult was out in magnum force last night. Faith and I got into a serious party situation.
      Giles: You alright?
      Buffy: I had to lather, rinse, and repeat about five million times to get the sewer out of my hair, but other wise I'm of the good. Thank you for asking. (Glares at Wesley)
      Wesley: Perhaps there are a few more than anticipated, but I would expect you to be ready for anything. Remember the three key words for any Slayer: preparation, preparation, preparation.
      Buffy: That's one word three times. (bell rings) I have a chem test. It's so sad that I'm actually happy about that. Giles, we need to talk.
      Wesley: Buffy, I must ask you to remember that I'm you watcher. From now on, anything you have to say about Slaying you will say to me. The only thing you need to discus with Mr. Giles is overdue book fees. Understood?
      Buffy: (to Giles) We'll talk.
      Giles: Of course.
      Wesley: (to Giles) You're not helping.
      Giles: I know, I feel just sick about it.

    • Buffy: Wait, stop, think!
      Faith: No, no, no!
      Buffy: It's a manhole! Tight space, no escape, six against two, not unlike three against one.
      Faith: And there might be more, so come on.
      Buffy: You're just gonna go down there? That's your plan?
      Faith: Who said I had a plan? I don't know how many's down there, but I wanna find out, and I will when I land. If you don't come in after me, I might die. (Faith jumps into the man hole and Buffy follows)

    • Wesley: I didn't get this job because of my looks.
      Buffy: I really, really believe that.

    • Buffy: (about Wesley) New Watcher?
      Giles: New Watcher.
      Wesley: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. It's very nice to meet you.
      Buffy: (to Giles) Is he evil?
      Wesley: Evil?
      Buffy: The last one was evil.
      Wesley: Oh, yes. Gwendolyn Post. We all heard. No. Mr. Giles has checked my credentials rather thoroughly and phoned the Council, but I'm glad to see you're on the ball as well. A good Slayer is a cautious Slayer.
      Buffy: (to Giles) Is he evil?
      Giles: Not in the strictest sense.

    • Wesley: Oh, God! Oh, God!
      Giles: It doesn't seem too promising, does it?
      Wesley: Stay calm, Mr. Giles, we have to stay calm.
      Giles: Well, thank God you're here, I was planning to panic.
      Wesley: What is that thing?
      Giles: That would be your demon. You know, the dead one?
      Wesley: There's no need to get snippy!

    • Buffy: Okay, we got ten, maybe twelve bad guys, and one big demon in desperate need of a stairmaster.

    • Buffy: What about the assignment?
      Faith: Tell you what, you do the homework, and I'll copy yours.

    • Cordelia: That's so cute. Planning life as a loser? Most people just turn out way, but you're really taking charge.
      Xander: The comedy stylings of Miss Cordelia Chase, everyone. Who, incidentally, won't be needing a higher education when she markets her own very successful line of hooker wear.
      Cordelia: Well, Xander, I could dress more like you, but, oh, my father has a job.

    • Willow: Rejection I can handle, 'cause of the years of training, but this...
      Xander: I feel your pain, Will. Like right now, I'm torn between the fast-growing fields of appliance repair and motel management. Of course, I'm still waiting to hear back from the Corndog Emporium.

    • Buffy: I hate it when they drown me.

    • Faith: The life of a Slayer is simple: Want. Take. Have.

    • Buffy: Faith, you don't get it: you killed a man.
      Faith: No, you don't get it: I don't care.

    • Faith: (eyeing Wesley) New Watcher?
      Giles & Buffy: New Watcher.
      Faith: Screw that. (She walks away)
      Buffy: Now why didn't I think of that?

    • Willow: Chemistry is fun; it's a lot like witchcraft, only less newt.

    • Xander: Harvard... Yale... Wesleyan... some German Polytechnical Institute whose name I, uh... I can't pronounce. Is anyone else intimidated? 'Cause I'm just expecting thin slips of paper with the words 'No Way' written in crayon.
      Oz: They're typing those now.

    • Xander: I'm not gonna waste the perfect comeback on you now. But don't think I don't have it. Oh yes, it's time will come!

    • Wesley: These are all the diaries then, yours included?
      Giles: That's everything. Knock yourself out... Please.
      Wesley: Ah yes, here's your first entry... "Slayer is willful and insolent..." That would be our girl, wouldn't it?
      Giles: You have to get to know her.
      Wesley: Hmm... "Her abuse of the English language is such that I understand only every other sentence."

    • Wesley: Are you not used to taking orders?
      Buffy: Whenever Giles sends me out on a mission he always says please. And afterwards I get a cookie.

  • NOTES (10)

    • In the opening sequence, Faith and Buffy are fighting vamps in tandem. Faith doesn't believe that Buffy never slept with Xander in all their time fighting side by side. It is unclear why she is questioning this fact, since Xander made it clear he was a virgin in "The Zeppo" when he said he'd "never been up with people" and Faith assured him not to worry as she would "steer him around the curves".

    • Doug Petrie said that Balthazar was directly linked to Marvel Comics, since he had always wanted to do a character who was like the Kingpin, especially Frank Miller's version.

    • Music:

      Buffy and Faith are dancing at the Bronze -- "Chinese Burn" by Curve

    • Alyson Hannigan first met future-husband Alexis Denisof on the set of this episode. While they did like each other, Alyson was already dating and the two decided not to get involved while working on the same show. However, some time later Alyson was single again and Alexis had moved away from Buffy and they decided to give it a go. The two were married in September 2003.

    • This episode marks the first appearance of Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.

    • At the end of the episode, when Buffy goes to talk to Faith, she was supposed to have discovered Faith dead, having hung herself.

    • When Xander runs through the list of colleges Willow has applied to, one of them is Wesleyan College in Connecticut, which is also Joss Whedon's Alma Mater.

    • This is the third time we see a Slayer kill a human. Buffy killed a human assassin in "What's My Line?", and the zookeeper in "The Pack".

    • Anthony Stewart Head and Alexis Denisof both guest starred on the series Highlander. Interestingly, the only way to kill an immortal on that show was beheading, which is how Giles kills one of the Eliminati in this episode.

    • According to Buffy The Vampire Slayer Magazine #4, Balthazar was referred to as "The Pudding Man" by the makeup people.


    • Buffy: Okay, we got ten, maybe twelve bad guys and one big demon in desperate need of a Stairmaster.
      The Stairmaster is a piece of exercise equipment that is designed to mimic the motion of climbing stairs (without actually getting the user any higher in the building). Buffy refers to the grossly large Balthazar by suggesting he needs to lose weight.

    • Buffy: I had to lather, rinse and repeat about five million times to get the sewer out of my hair.
      Lather, rinse, repeat are the instructions printed on many shampoo bottles.

    • Xander: The comedy stylings of Miss Cordelia Chase, everyone.
      The gimmick of a given stand-up comedian is often referred to as comedy stylings by the host.

    • Allan: I like to read Cathy.
      A long running newspaper cartoon, Cathy concerns the trials and tribulations of a single woman, written by Cathy Guisewite since 1976.

    • Mr. Trick: Nobody can tell Marmaduke what to do. That's my kinda dog.
      The cartoon character Marmaduke is a great dane, created in 1954 by Brad Anderson. He's pretty much big enough to do whatever he wants.

    • Mayor: I just love the Family Circus! That P.J., he's getting to be quite a handful.
      The Family Circus is a long running, single panel cartoon in the daily newspapers, created in 1960 by Bill Keane. The cartoon focuses on the family and especially the exploits of their children (P.J. being the baby).

    • Buffy: The count of three isn't a plan. It's Sesame Street.
      The long running PBS television show Sesame Street teaches children to (among other things) count.

    • Faith: This isn't a Tupperware Party. It's a little hard to plan.
      Tupperware food storage containers are primarily sold via sales representatives who hold parties in their home.

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