Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 14

Bad Girls

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 09, 1999 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Slayer That Crossed The Line

    Bad Consequences-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.

    One of the darkest episodes of the season as it sets up a pivotal moment for Faith. Every since Faith came into town, she made a pretty clear that she wasn't gonna be good-two shoes slayer that Buffy is. Faith has a natural fighter in here and a personality that's unpredictable which makes her such a fascinating character. I loved how Faith's influences Buffy and brings out Buffy's hide ambitions. Faith mankes Buffy discover not only how much she loves slaying deep down but how she would like to be as carefree as Faith is. Scenes that standout are the fight scene in the sewers as both slayers kick ass side by side as Buffy unleashing her bloodthrist that she hides when she slayes and then there's the cool sequence of Buffy and Faith dancing in the Bronze with some high octave techno music in the background. But it's all fun and game until someone gets hurt and if causing that ploice car to crash setting them free wasn't bad enough, one of our far slayer takes a human life.

    The murder scene in which Faith carelessly kills The Mayor's assitant, Allen is dark moment as Faith crosses that line and becomes a murder. Eliza Dusku portrays just the right sense of emotion that someone like Faith would when they just killed someone. Sarah M. Gellar also does well by showing her shock of the event that just occured.

    This episode also features the introduction of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. It's really unbelievable how this dorky, incompetent englishman will soon become one most badass characters of the whole Buffyverse in the later years of the series, "Angel". Just goes to show how much a great actor Alexis Denisof is, and in his first appearence, he does just fine. But it's just hilarious how everyone pretty bashes him throughout the episode with lines like Buffy saying "Hey, it's the return of the really annoying person" and Giles syaing, "Knock yourself out...please!" I also love the scenes with Mayor as he continues to be just one of the most unique villains ever. Just the way he can go from meeting with boy scouts to performing evil rituals with a smile on his face is hilarious. Also, who didn't find that check list priceless? The villains of the episode like the 15th cnetury vampire knights, epecially the Belthazor are enjoyable. The make-up and designers really created one disgusting creature as his obese form is not easy on the eyes. The fight scene toward the end is wonderful though as Giles gets to show off some cool moves and kills a vampire with a sword. But it's the last few moments of the episode that stays with you and say it all:

    Buffy: "Faith, you don't get it, you killed a man."

    Faith: "No, you don't get it. I don't care."

    All and All, a very strong episode as Faith begins her journey to the dark side and it's one that will effect the rest of the season in a great way.
  • Stuck between two sides.

    Buffy keeps getting better season after seaon and I say season 3 had alot to do with character development.
    The scoobies are growing up and experiencing new things as time goes on. They are gonna change.
    And in their hands they have the decision to see who will they become.

    Now Buffy has held on to her responsibilities for nearly three years so it would be only normal for her to give in to temptation and the relief feeling of giving up.
    With a girl Like Faith that could be possible.

    Now what has been done in this episode is that they made Buffy give in into Faith's way so she could get all that weight of responsibility of her shoulders and I have to say it was an absoloutley great epiode and is worth watching over and over again.

    Now we have a good side and a bad side and in this episode Buffy was stuck in the middle.

    Buffy experimenting with her personality was a huge sign of growth and was a very fun thing to watch which would lead to other exciting events later so I think the motto of this episode is : Taste what you crave and then go back to your senses because all you wanted to do is feel the feeling of letting go.

    Great episode

    A Bravo indeed
  • Hello, Salty Evilness

    It's a well-known observation that a strong, intimidating person can easily manipulate an impressionable person into doing what they want, so it's unsurprising that Faith easily wraps Buffy around her little finger in this episode, with the original Slayer crossing over to the dark side by skipping class, partying with college boys and stealing stuff. All innocent fun, until the little issue of homicide gets brought up.

    Balthazar was a fun bad guy, if a little too similar to that hugely overweight vampire blimp in the first Blade movie. I did love how sick he was, especially with his minions keeping him all moist. Ick. His power made me laugh a little, and reminded me of the Family Guy episode where the Griffins get superpowers. Like Meg's lame "long fingernails" power, Balthazar's "fly toward me" power was extremely lame, and pretty worthless. Still, Christian Clemenson was great in the role.

    I also loved the Mayor in this episode, in particular his little checklist at the end ("Get haircut"). You always got the impression that the writers never really knew what his master plan was, but he was still a fun bad guy, especially how he goes from posing for photographs with a group of boy scouts to performing dark rituals, all in the space of a day.

    Bad Girls also introduced Buffy's new watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, who would go on to become one of the darkest characters in the Jossverse. In retrospect, you seriously can't believe the Wesley you see here is the same person as the Wesley of the later Angel years, which is a real testament to how great an actor Alexis Denisof is. He has some great dialogue here, especially in his scenes with Giles, who clearly finds him an embarrassment to humanity.

    An entertaining episode that marks the first major change in Faith's character, Bad Girls had fun with its premise, turning Buffy into a rebellious loose cannon, and putting the audience in a position of not really knowing if you should still root for her...

    Director: Michael Lange
    Writer: Douglas Petrie
    Rating: B+
  • Faith gets her first taste of the dark side

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

    Pivotal episode, most definitely! Buffy decides to take a page out of Faiths book and get a little wild. She soon finds out that Faiths philosophy *sounds* easy and fun, but only on paper. We also get to meet Wesley Windham-Pryce, the stuffiest watcher to possibly ever come out of the council. He is Giles replacement (yeah right!) No one likes him, except for Cordelia. Willow is increasingly frustrated with Buffy ditching her for funtime with Faith. Faith ends up accidentally staking a human at the end of the ep., and she doesn't care, she says. Stay tuned because it gets even uglier from here on out.
  • The life of a Slayer is simple: Want. Take. Have

    Buffy becomes influenced by Faith way too much. When Wesley comes to be their new watcher Faith just doesn't care and Buffy starts to wish she was like that. They are fighting vampires and need weapons. So Faith decides to break onto this store and Buffy comes. Buffy was getting used to the idea until the cops come. Then they break out of the police car leaving the two officers wounded and probobly dying. When they are try ing to kill vampires in order to get to the big fat demon Faith accidentally kills a human. She tells Buffy she doesn't care. In this episode the line between Faith and Buffy just got a little clearer.
  • One of my favorite eps from this season!

    This episode marks a huge milestone in the Buffy series as we see that Faith has a dark side. We see that Buffy and Faith are truly opposites as they deal with the situation. The situation being: Faith, thinking he was a vampire, staked a human being. At first we see the guilt, then she gradually shuts down and shuts out all feeling. Buffy can't shut out her feelings and she is so overwhelmed that she wants to tell Giles, but Faith fearing the consequences won't let her. This episode (so properly titled) rips through their friendship (if you wish to call it that) after they had just started to get along. Faith truly seems like Buffy's opposite, she finds joy in the kill while Buffy finds joy in knowing that she has gone further in protecting Sunnydale. In the end we see her tearing up while talking to Faith about it saying, "Faith you don't get it, you killed a man." Yet Faith responds with, "No you don't get it...I don't care..."
  • Buffy gets a taste of the bad side

    Faith shows Buffy the ropes of how to be a slayer in her world. This involves a series of staking, shoplifting and escaping from a police car.

    Buffy seems to enjoy the dark side of slaying and it would be a good storyline to continue with.

    Faith killed a human who wasn't evil and doesn't seem to care, although I think she does inside.

    Wesley Wyndham Pryce is a pain, I hope that he does turn out to be evil so that Buffy and Faith can hit him, kick him and stake him.

    Balthezar wasn't a very impressive looking demon, he looked a bit more like a fat bald man in a hot tub rather than a threatening demon.
  • Oh so good!

    Wow what an eventful episode. Buffy starts to get intouch with her inner bad girl. You start to see her in a slightly different light. Blowing of exams, day slaying and stealing weapons. 'want. Take. Have'

    This episode also let people see the start of Faith's downwards spiral into evil. And as if enough hasn't happened this episode there is also a new watch in town. Willow starts to get jealous about Buffy and Faith hanging out so much. She makes a protection spell for Buffy, which Buffy seems to disregard and goes to hang out with Faith. The conflict between Giles and Wesley is highly amusing. Overall this is probally a pivital episode for the season.
  • new watcher, is he evil??

    So did anyone think of Jabba the Hut when they saw Balthazar?!? So there is a new watcher in town. Wesley. And the only person that seems to like him is Cordy. I love the fact that no one really wants to listen to him. Buffy keeps talking to Giles like he is still her slayer. So only has conversations with him when she has to and then there is attitude in it. Faith sees him and turns and leaves (remember the last bad watcher was hers). Faith seems to be getting more and more reckless and is pulling Buffy into her world until she kills a human and then Buffy realizes that something isn’t right with her. We also find out more about the evil Mayor and his ultimate plan.

    Buffy: Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says "please." And afterwards I get a cookie.
  • Buffy starts getting in touch with her inner Faith. Faith makes a major miscalculation and starts her decent into a very, very dark place.

    This episode is a little schizophrenic with the comedy stylings of Wesley... super tightwad and the more disturbing tone of Buffy's trying to be more of a wild child. Fortunately, the episode hangs together well anyway.

    The whole amulet/Balthazar thing was a dud, pretty much. The only thing to recommend these scenes is Giles' barbs at Wes as well see Giles become the cool Watcher we all knew he was.

    Faith's "want, take, have" philosophy is disturbing and to see Buffy go along with breaking and entering and robbery is disappointing. It makes a good story though, and we see the very definition of the differing Slayer styles when they meet Finch in that alley. A truly bleak scene and the aftermath for Faith is painful to watch.
  • buffy flerts with dark side!

    buffy flerts with her dark side. what can go wrong? well faith leads her there and kills someone. it just fun to watch as it was to learn from. and what does this episode teach use you ask? well look first befor you leap is one and heros should not do things get them self confused with the bad guys, it slows things down. oh and we can\\\'t forget meeting wasell for the first time. he was funny in the first min on screen to the last. And with an ending like this one with faith saying she doesn\\\'t care and knowing how much thats A lie it is. just one great episoed in a long line of show from buffy.

    on a side note if you like x-men evolution too the sceen were they dance after the vampire nest is recated in the episod called spike cam with Rogue and Kitty.
  • Faith convinces Buffy to take a walk on the wild side, with some dire consequences.

    There is a lot going on in this episode, however, most of this episode is about the Buffy/Faith dynamic. Up until this point, Faith was more of a fun character. In this episode, she becomes Buffy\'s dark side personified. She\'s everything that Buffy will never let herself become. She flirts with this idea however, skipping an important test, dancing provocatively with the boys in The Bronze, Shoplifting weapons, and resisting arrest. It all culminates with the stabbing of the Deputy Mayor, who runs into the two slayers as they are fighting the minions of the weeks villain. Buffy tries to reach out, and help. Faith closes in, and dumps the body.
  • 'We got ten, maybe twelve bad guys, and one big demon in desperate need of a stairmaster.'

    ‘Bad Girls’ was another decent episode that develops the season 3 storyline and the characters. But I still felt like it wasn’t that satisfying throughout.

    The episode begins with Faith and Buffy fighting some demons, they have swords. After they kill them the swords are gone. Back in school they meet a new watched named Wesley, a coward but not evil. I liked his introduction and the way Buffy treads him.

    I also loved the Xander/Cordy scene, even though it was only one. It made me think back of the great season 2 episodes where those two characters mocked each other. Also Willow is getting into every collage, what a surprise.

    What I didn’t like about this episode were Mr. Trick and The Mayor. Both characters don’t interest me, they don’t have any chemistry together at all. They are just two big old boring men that don’t add nothing to the show and are just plain bad villains.

    Anyway, the best about this episode was Faith and how she begins to turn Buffy into a Faith clone. She begins to show Buffy how fun it can be to be a slayer and after Buffy almost drowned again she begins to play along. They even have a sexy dance together and Buffy gives the necklace to Angel. Menwhile they go to kill vampires and steal weapons, at that last part they get caught but escape the cops.

    Meanwhile there is a big and very fat vampire in town called Balthazar. He wants his amulet and sends one of his vamps to kill the Mayor but he doesn’t succeed. Instead they use him to test out The Mayor and to show that he has become invulnerable.

    Then when Faith and Buffy are killing vampires Faith accidentally kills a guy named Allen who works for the Mayor. She stakes him in the heart and before he can say anything he dies. Faith is completely freaked out and comes back after Buffy has left.

    Meanwhile Wesley and Giles are taken by the vampires and the coward of a Wes wants to tell him big fat vamp everything but he doesn’t even know Angel’s name.
    Angel and Buffy come to rescue and they kill Balthazar with a lamp who tells them that they wished he had killed them.

    The end scene was the best scene of the episode, very powerful how Faith tells Buffy that she dumped Allan’s body and that she doesn’t care she killed a man. This episode changes Faith into a character with more depth.
    ’Bad Girls’ is an episode that developed a lot and added a lot to season 3. But I still can’t seem to think it’s one of the best.

  • "A good slayer is a cautious slayer" - Wesley

    We open with synchronised slaying and sex talk. Faith, the id to Buffy’s ego, her evil twin, her dark side, etc etc, makes our Slayer (in her twee dress and hairslide) look calm, organised and vigilant in comparison with the second slayer’s impetuous aggressive recklessness (and tight pants and leather). Faith forces Buffy to admit that she likes slaying, something Buffy has previously, venomously denied and whereas in the past, we’ve had the link between vamp-feeding and sex; here we have the link between slaying and sex (“Again with the grunting”). Faith thinks Buffy thinks too much; Faith is all corporeal, no intellect which doesn’t bode well for her - we know that a Slayer must have brawn and brains.

    So we are introduced to two new enemies – the Illuminati with their acolyte the fabulously fleshly Lord Balthazar (Mr Creosote/Abel Koontz) and Wesley. Wesley is of course, Giles’s dark side, although that side is not so much dark as inept, stuffy and useless; none of which Giles realises until he notices that they both have the same glasses-wiping habit. We see how much both Giles and Buffy have grown when Wes reads out extracts from the early Watcher’s Diary. Impulsive Buffy is now a mature responsible young adult and prim Giles is, these days, able to express his love and trust for his Slayer. Poor Wesley has lost from the start; he can’t replace Buffy’s father-figure and with the memory of Gwendolyn Post still fresh in everybody’s mind, they jump to the conclusion that he is evil (“not evil in the strictest sense” – Giles). I think Snyder must be losing his touch – Faith wandering around the school without being on roll I can understand, but a grown man who isn’t a staff member in a high school? Surely some cause for concern. There’s more than a touch of irony that Buffy is becoming irresponsible just as Wesley’s heavy handedness arrives.

    But her actions are nothing compared to Faith’s. She is the all-fighting, all-dancing, all-stealing fighting machine. With her attraction to weapons and her attitude of “Want Take Have”, she is bound to trip up soon or later. She is drunk on her own power and the excitement of her own existence, and, all fired up with killing as she is, it becomes inevitable that she eventually stabs first and asks questions later. Buffy exhorts her “Wait Stop Think”, Faith’s reply is “No No No”. The rhythm of the triptych is also reflected in Wesley’s mantra “Preparation Preparation Preparation” and Faith’s “Took it Weighted it Dumped” it when referring to Alan’s body. Even her “I Don’t Care” reaction to having killed a human follows the same beat.

    Buffy has already doubted Faith’s approach to life, love and slaying by the time they’ve escaped from the police, but previous to this incident there are some great moments as Buffy is seduced by the hedonistic life of just doing what you want. She needs to pass the chemistry test to graduate but she blows it off to go fighting with Faith. By this time her connection to Faith is close and reflected in Buffy’s choice of bad girl leather. Not even her wound is attended to as she and Faith indulge in some sexy slashtastic dancing in the Bronze before Buffy starts to alienate her friends just as she felt excluded by them when they warmed to Faith in Faith, Hope and Trick. “It’s a slayer thing” she keeps saying and poor Willow is left to blame herself as her protection spell is left untouched by Buffy as she prefers more earthly pleasures with Faith.

    Their essential difference is shown by the way they react to Alan’s death (Buffy remorseful in a pretty dress, Faith careless in black, although her Lady MacBeth-style washing of her hands shows her inner turmoil) just as Wesley and Giles’s true personalities are shown when they are captured by the Illuminati. Wesley has only faced two vampires “under controlled circumstances” and cracks easily under pressure – he is prepared to tall Balthazar everything, whereas Giles is handy with the swordplay. Looks like there’s a new foil in town. Watch out for your head Wes! You’re going to get knocked out. On another topic, I wonder if Angel got the idea of electrocuting the demon in Have You Now Or Have You Ever Been from Buffy’s dealing with the monster in this episode.

    Meanwhile the Mayor is looking on, amused. He can’t be bothered with the little people in the underworld, he has the little people of his town to amuse, the boys scouts (“the backbone of America”) and hopes the Illuminati and the Slayers will kill each other. The Mayor’s preoccupation with germs and tidiness (dislike of unsanitary dogs and folding up his moist towelette) is amusing, as is the juxtaposition of the innocent everyday with the mysterious underworld. The synecdoche is his love of the Family Circus cartoon strip whilst examining demon swords. Deputy Alan’s fave comic strip is Cathy. This means nothing to an English audience except that Trick and the Mayor’s derisory silence could lead one to infer that he’s not long for this world.

    Until now, the Mayor has only been a malevolent presence, explaining why Sunnydale is the way it is - now we see that he has plans. His manifesto is pretty clearly set out: “The dedication is the final step before my ascension”. The big bad story arc has finally begun and, unlike The Master’s or Angel’s schemes, we don’t really know what is going on, only that the Mayor is now invincible for the next 100 days:- the rest of the season. His power and wickedness scares even the vile Balthazar (“When he rises, you’ll wish I’d killed you all!”). The beginning of the episode, when the gang talk about post-high school plans becomes highly ironic; they may not have a future, doubly so when we find out that the Mayor’s plans feature their graduation.