Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 7 Episode 18

Dirty Girls

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Apr 15, 2003 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

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  • "Looking for the Lord in the wrong damn places" - Caleb

    So it turns out that the bringers have got a leader, one who blew up the Council and who exists in order for there to be a super-strong corporeal being for the Slayer to fight who just happens to be the ultimate Judeo-Christian misogynist who believes women are dirty wh*res. Enter Captain Caleb. One wonders why the FE didn't bring him in earlier.

    Also re-enter the ultimate dirty girl, the bad girl comfortable in her body and her sexuality whose love of knives takes on patriarchal power, who, according to Andrew is "a lethal combination of beauty, power, and death" and whose very name should be anathema to Caleb. Magdalene-like, Faith is on the road to redemption, was paying for her crimes and is only wiling to bust out of prison to help Buffy (or Angel). Faith and Spike bond. Despite being 'cured' last episode, Spike is bound to like Faith since she beats him up when she first meets him. She has a history of going after Buffy's boyfs but both are too repenty for anything to happen. Buffy too has grown up, she told Wood that she didn't have time for petty vendettas and here she doesn't throw Faith out of the house for smoking and flirting (almost post-coitally) with her ex or berate Spike for it.

    Buffy also has to go back to work to see the boss who she threatened to let her ex kill. Not many people have to do that (apart from after the Christmas party), and Robin promptly sacks her. The people of Sunnydale have finally caught on that their town is not quite right and are leaving in droves. There's not many students left to counsel so Robin concludes that Buffy is better off at home working with the Potentials and considering her next move.

    All the potentials are back: Sassy, Kooky, Sarky, Oriental, and Annoying Molly who, fortunately, is not long for this world. There are now so many Slayerettes that they're leaking into Xander's house and into his dreams. Xander is a philologist but his version of women is light and frothy and lezzing it up a little, rather than the grumpy, tired, flu-ridden people they are in reality. Xander is another opposite of Caleb, willing to follow women rather than oppress them, he is the one who supports Buffy when she wants to take the fight to Caleb, giving one of his own inspirational speeches which is ironic given that he comes off badly during the fight. He foreshadows his own injury when he tells the Slayerettes how to fight effectively: "Go for the centre - brains, heart, eyes. Everything's got eyes." No-one cares about Annoying Molly but to show us how deadly Caleb is, something must happen to a major character. Spike may make up for everything he's ever done to Xander by saving him from death by Caleb, but Caleb has struck a mighty blow at the heart of the group. He has "gone for the centre".

    Buffy made a mistake in leading the girls into battle so soon. She is strung out on power and impatience and frustration. She is still snarky to Giles: "Help the girls who still need a teacher". She wants to fight. She wants the Potentials to fight. Faith recognises that Buffy has "a rough sitch here, trying to turn a bunch of little girls into an army". Buffy, with the exception of a few apocalypses, has always fought alone and it's hard for her to know the right thing to do, the girls need to be tested in battle, but she wasn't to know that Caleb was as powerful as he is. Caleb is a fallen preacher which brings to mind the devil, the ultimate evil, but Caleb claims Satan is "a little man". In a show and especially a season about female empowerment, the ultimate enemy was bound to be a misogynist who doesn't believe women have souls, who was a serial killer even before the FE recruited him and, like most evil-doers, doesn't believe that he is evil, he believes he is cleansing the world. Buffy has busted patriarchy and now must fight the ultimate patriarch. Caleb talks about power a lot, he believes his preaching is powerful: "The words I use got a power to them....They're not just words - they're truth." He believes a woman's power is to render men irrational in the face of their sexuality, and that is why women are dirty. He taunts Buffy whom he believes to be an unworthy enemy: "The slayer must indeed be powerful" - before he punches her across the room. The score at this stage, Patriarchy 1 Feminism 0.
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