Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 16

Who Are You? (2)

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 29, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
570 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

After Faith activates the device left for her by the Mayor, it becomes apparent that she and Buffy have switched bodies. Now Buffy, in Faith’s body, must escape from the Watcher’s Council and convince someone of what has happened. Meanwhile, Faith, as Buffy, has full access to Buffy’s life, her friends, and her boyfriend.moreless

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  • Who Are You?

    This is a fantastic episode that inspires a lot of conversation. At its core, it is completely and utterly about Faith. In fact, I think this is the most screen time Faith's ever gotten and the least, aside from "Bargaining Pt. 1" (6x01), that Buffy's gotten. This episode gets a perfect score because, after reviewing it, I simply couldn't deny the affect it had on me. No, there isn't a significant lasting effect on the series or season, but the changes and issues explored through Faith are so powerful and expertly handled, I find myself in complete awe. Time to jump right in, but take notice that I'm going to tackle this review in chronological order rather than the usual character-by-character approach.

    Right from the beginning we can see SMG nailing Faith's mannerisms with facial expressions, shrugs, and body movement. After Buffy, in Faith's body, is hauled away by the police, Faith is disgusted when Joyce hugs her. She's not at all used to that kind of affection and is very uncomfortable with it. While upstairs in the bathtub Faith tests out the range of her new body by stretching and touching herself. After the bath she looks at herself in the mirror and manipulates her face into various expressions to get used to it, and begins to say stuff like "You can't do that! It's While repeating lines like this we get refreshed on exactly what Faith thinks of Buffy: a stuck-up girl who thinks she's better than everyone else because of her moral code and restrained behavior. While there may be a little bit of truth to that, Faith imagines it all to the extreme.

    Tara finally gets some development besides more "bonding with She insinuates that she really wants to meet Willow's other friends and says, "Well, you should be safe. Nobody knows you're here. I mean, they don't even know I exist, right? I know all about them, This is an important step for Tara, because through the confidence she gets from Willow, she's able to speak her mind without feeling like she'll be judged. In the same conversation, Tara basically also admits her love to Willow: "I am, you know ... Willow's reasoning for not wanting to introduce Tara to the Scoobies is that "I-I just kinda like having something that's just, you know, As Willow will soon find out, she can still have her private time with Tara even if the gang knows about it.

    Back at the Bronze, Willow decides to use this of all times to introduce Tara to Buffy. Willow runs off to get some drinks and leaves Tara to talk with Faith, who does everything in her power to ridicule and hurt Tara's feelings. This is what tips Tara off to the fact that she isn't actually talking to Buffy. When Willow returns she points out a vampire to Faith, who is pretty much indifferent to the fact that a girl is being led to her death. After seeing that Willow expects her to get up and take action, Faith finally gets up and goes in the back room to assist the girl. She saves the girl, who then expresses genuine (if heavy-handed) gratitude to Faith, who is a bit surprised to have someone actually thanking her for doing what is supposed to be her job. She could care less about the girl and was simply going through the motions of being Buffy, but that's enough in beginning to spark a change in the way Faith sees Buffy and herself.

    Immediately after the scene at the Bronze, Faith decides to give Riley a spin. The one area Faith's confidence appears to soar is sex. She slithers her way onto Riley and hits on the notion, again, that Buffy is "joyless and proper" and that she should give into her "animal instincts" like Faith, herself, does. She asks Riley, "What do you wanna do with this body? What nasty little desire have you been itching to try out? Am I a bad girl? Do you wanna hurt me?" Faith is running on the assumption, likely based on her own experiences, that every guy has some dirty sexual fantasy underneath the surface, and that if she scratches hard enough she'll be able to reduce them to nothing more than a sexual beast.

    Faith tries to use this assumption to uncover Riley's dirty little fantasy. But Riley's not being enticed in the slightest by Faith's aggressive behavior. He says, "What are we playing at here?" Faith responds, "Well, if you don't wanna Riley says, "Right. I don't wanna play," and then gently kisses her. That's the truth of the matter. To Riley (and Buffy) sex isn't about play, it's about love. This is a concept that Faith unfortunately hasn't been in contact with in her life. While she's had a rough time, it still came down to her own decisions to persue 'play' instead of letting someone really in. This is likely the first time she's ever experienced this kind of love, and it has a profound effect on her.

    While Faith and Riley are 'busy', Willow and Tara are having their own sensual experience through magic. The two of them are doing a spell to ascertain whether or not Buffy is really Buffy. The spell is particularly intense and is obviously a metaphor for sex. The way the scene is shot is scrumptuous and displays variation rarely seen on television. It also feels very personal and magical. The music here, and throughout the episode, very much deserves applause as well -- it's beautiful and cinematic. The spell leads back to Faith and Riley in the middle of sex. I notice that Faith isn't on top of Riley -- she's taken an interesting risk in allowing Riley to take the initiative in showing her love. He even tells her, "I love you," which directly connects with the "thank you" from the girl she saved earlier at the Bronze. Riley's declaration of love overwhelms her as she says, "Ugh. Get off. No. No. No! Get-get off! No! Off me! Get off!"

    Faith is trying to reject these feelings that she's dismissed all her life. She goes on to say, "Who are you? What do you want from h-her?" She is simply in shock that she's let herself open to love like this and still doesn't want to believe it's real. The questions signify that she thinks Riley has to want something from Buffy other than just love. Faith desparately wants to think, and she says unconvincingly, that "this [sex] is She then continues to try to convince herself that she felt "nothing," and repeats said word. Even though she's trying to avoid facing the fact that she really did feel Riley's love, she's knows it's true -- she now knows Buffy and Riley do share genuine love.

    This is why Faith takes off the following morning, trying one last time to escape all her newfound feelings and knowledge. Forrest catches her in the hallway and calls her a She responds, very defensively, "I am not a killer! I am the Slayer! And you don't know the first thing about Forrest points out, "You really care what I think?" She responds, "No. I don't care. God, I don't Notice the use of God in her response, which is ironic considering she's about to selflessly help people in trouble at a church. But before that, Faith tries to flee Buffy's life. This is the life she was so envious of before; the life she thought was handed to Buffy by circumstances and luck. Faith has now fully realized that Buffy's life is the way it is because of the person Buffy is. This revelation makes Buffy's life not something Faith wants anymore. The moment she sees a news report about vampires threatening people in a church, though, she decides to accept Buffy's love of others and goes to save those people, even though she is off the hook of any obligation. At the same time this is happening, Buffy has escaped the custody of the Council and is on her way to find Faith.

    At this point, everything is set into motion. Buffy arrives at Giles' home to convince him that she's actually Buffy. Eliza Dushku does a fantastic job in this scene of capturing Buffy's mannerisms and speech pattern. Willow also arrives, coming through for Buffy again, but this time with Tara's help. They all head to the church where Faith is in full Buffy emulation mode. She runs into Riley before heading in and tells him, "I can't use you," which is basically what Buffy told him in "This Year's Girl" (4x15), because she cares about him and doesn't want him to get hurt. I believe that Faith has also come to the realization that she can't treat Riley like she's treated men up until now, trivially, and that she too doesn't want to see Riley get hurt.

    When Faith goes into the church and tells the vampires, "You're not gonna kill these people ... Because it's wrong," she now genuinely means it. This is amazing character evolution! Buffy then comes in and begins fighting with Faith. Now, forced to look at herself, the truth comes pouring out: "You're nothing! Disgusting! Murderous bitch! You're nothing! You're disgusting!" After experiencing Buffy's life and love, Faith has fully realized exactly what she is and hates herself for it. I'm sure she did before, deep down, but it's now risen to the surface. The state Faith is in is carried over to "Five by Five" (AtS 1x18), where she lets loose all the rage and anger at herself in one last outburst, and then finally just wants it all to end: "I'm bad! Please! (sobbing) Angel, please, just do it! Angel, just do it! Please, just do it! Kill me. Just kill

    This is a powerful piece of television and a masterful character study on Faith that managed to blow me away. I always knew this episode had a ton of depth underneath, but before now I hadn't taken the time to really gather my thoughts. Upon review, it's better than I ever thought before. Instead of simply being a gimmick, Whedon once again uses a unique opportunity to its fullest extent. It's got monumentally great writing, beautifully constructed scenes, wonderful music, powerful themes, great humor, and stunning character development for a secondary character. It really doesn't get much better than this.moreless
  • This is a fantastic episode that inspires a lot of conversation.

    At its core, it is completely and utterly about Faith. In fact, I think this is the most screen time Faith's ever gotten and the least, aside from "Bargaining Pt. 1", that Buffy's gotten. This episode gets a perfect score because, after reviewing it, I simply couldn't deny the affect it had on me. No, there isn't a significant lasting effect on the series or season, but the changes and issues explored through Faith are so powerful and expertly handled, I find myself in complete awe.

    This is a powerful piece of television and a masterful character study on Faith that managed to blow me away. I always knew this episode had a ton of depth underneath, but before now I hadn't taken the time to really gather my thoughts. Upon review, it's better than I ever thought before. Instead of simply being a gimmick, Whedon once again uses a unique opportunity to its fullest extent. It's got monumentally great writing, beautifully constructed scenes, wonderful music, powerful themes, great humor, and stunning character development for a secondary character. It really doesn't get much better than this.moreless
  • Faith and Buffy, sitting in a tree...

    The Good;

    One of SMG's great performances as Faith-as-Buffy, what a shame we don't get to see more of Buffy-as-Faith. Terrific in every way

    The Bad;

    Even Adam can't spoil this one but then thankfully he's not in it for too long.

    Best line;

    "Tiny, tiny babies" ASH overacts to great effect

    Character death; 1 parishioner killed at the church, Buffy, Riley kill one vamp each and Faith kills two.


    No, despite the Watcher's Council blazing away during Buffy-as-Faith's escape. Buffy-as-Faith actually uses a gun in her escape.

    Tied up;

    Buffy-as-Faith in chainsx2. She later tells Giles that this isn't the time for 'bondage fun'. Implying she's open to it at other times?

    Knocked out;

    Buffy-as-Faith doped to the eyeballs

    Women good/men bad;

    Buffy-as-Faith effortlessly outsmarts the Watcher Council's goons.


    Your heart freezes when you think Faith-as-Buffy has stabbed Will, thankfully it's only a daydream

    Kinky dinky;

    Ah, Faith, how the kinky dinky column has missed you! Faith-as-Buffy wears the sluttiest outfit we'll ever see on SMG and then seduces Riley asking 'What nasty little desire have you been itching to try out. Am I a bad girl? Do you want to hurt me?' and 'Well if you don't want to play...'. Riley doesn't like the idea of a 'bunch of marines' watching him during sex but FaB might dig it? Buffy/Joyce wear a brand of lipstick subtly named 'Harlot'. What next, slut? Skank? Ho? I must confess that my favourite ever adult fanfic ('Thanks for lending me your body, B')is based on this story where Faith takes the opportunity to not only have sex with Riley but the rest of the Scoobies, Spike and just about everyone else as well, even Adam (but oddly not Giles?). Of course in the follow up story ('Thanks for taking care of my body, Faith') not only do Buffy and Faith kiss and make up (and a whole lot more!) but we find out that Buffy had her own sexy fun in Faith's body. Check them out at adultfanfiction.net IF you're over 18 and EXTREMELY open-minded.

    Xander refers to the 'Orgasmantor'. Xander and Anya are going to have sex near some candles. FaB says that'll last about 7 minutes (based on Xander's prior performance?) According to BaF Joyce thinks Giles is like a stevedore (docker) during sex which adds another colourful chapter to momma Summers sexual history. Plus Faith-as-Buffy teasing Spike at the Bronze.

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Faith-as-Buffy meets Tara and deducts that Willow is 'no longer driving stick' (what a wonderful euphenism!). Once again the villains show their insight. Faith also seems to take the opportunity to, ahem, 'explore' Buffy's body in the bath (finally able to get her hands on it?). Of course when Faith-as-Buffy is hitting Buffy-as-Faith in the end it's perfectly clear that this is actually Faith expressing her own self-loathing at her image, just as she tells Joyce to burn the lipstick because it was Faith's choice. The Watcher's team use the word 'ponce' as an insult. Faith-as-Buffy thinks there's some 'big old Bertha' waiting to shower Buffy-as-Faith with affection in prison. Plus more erotic spellcasting from Willow and Tara and Tara breaking a million hearts and ending a lot of argument by telling Willow that she's 'Yours'. Faith can't help her Slayer instincts, saving the girl at the Bronze. She wants Riley to punish her and Joyce to burn the lipstick because she hates herself. Check out the little look of triumph on FaB when BaF is being carried to the ambulance, holding Joyce's hand as if to say 'She's mine now'. When Joyce hugs her she obviously wants it but is uncomfortable with it (same expression when she saves the girl at the Bronze)

    Where's Dawn?

    Does she have any inkling that Buffy is not as she appears to be?

    Missing scenes;

    Apocalypses; 5,

    What the fanficcers thought;

    A nice one called 'In your best friends shoes' where instead of Faith and Buffy switching bodies it's Xander and Willow. Willow enjoys not having to queue for the toilets at concerts, Xander pretty much stays in bed playing with Willow's breasts and poor Tara is VERY confused.

    Questions and observations;

    Such a tour-de-force, brilliant at every level. The one gag I wonder they never did was for Faith-as-Buffy tries to reach for something but can't because Buffy's body is shorter than Faith's. But maybe SMG is sensitive about her height? Although they do joke about it in season 7. This marks Anya's indisputable entry into the Scoobies, she's at the briefing at Giles' house without any back story. This makes the Scoobies;






    Shouldn't someone have shown Anya and Riley what Faith looks like? Nice that Riley actually goes to church. I always thought the line for Faith when the lead vamp is mouthing off about where god is should have been 'He couldn't make it but he sent me'. Note how hurt FaB is when Riley says he loves her asking 'What do you want from her?' Adams speech is pretty convincing, he again underlines why humans rule and demons don't. The Bronze loses another pool cue. The guy Spike pushes at the Bronze looks like Asian Joe. Collins says 'Gas', as a Brit he'd probably say 'Petrol'.

    Marks out of 10; 10/10, competes with Hush and Restless for the best ep of the season.

  • Because it's wrong...

    A continuation of the last episode gives us Faith in Buffy's body. This makes for some very interesting and very good scenes. Buffy/Faith with Willow, Buffy/Faith with Spike, and Buffy/Faith with Riley. I believe this is the episode where we start to get the feeling that Faith doesn't really like her life. I draw this conclusion mostly from the final confrontation between the two, but little hints are dropped the entire episode. She does wish she was more like Buffy. She wishes she had friends and family that truly cared about her. She doesn't like the person shes become. It's also confirmed because of what happens when Faith crosses over into the Angelverse a little later on.

    I really loved this episode. I loved that they humanized Faith the way they did. I've always preferred Faith as a good person vs. a bad person.moreless
  • An outstanding episode; one of the show's best.

    Who Are You? is an outstanding episode in all respects- the writing is fantastic, the fights are amazing, the storyline is gripping and the acting is absolutely incredible. Definitely a series classic, this embodies most of the reasons I love Buffy.

    First of all I'm starting by saying that Sarah and Eliza were phenemonal in this episode, nothing short of perfect. Both played each other's characters so fantastically- Sarah played Faith's emotional and complex journey perfectly and Eliza was brilliant portraying Buffy on the run. Eliza was a bit better as Buffy but when you add to the fact that Sarah is playing Faith acting as Buffy, they're even. The starting scenes in the bathroom were hilarious with Faith playing around with Buffy's body, getting comfortable. The bit in front of the mirror were especially brilliant with Faith screaming "You can't do that. It's wrong!" at the mirror and playing a better-than-thou Buffy, which is what she perceives Buffy to be.

    The Faith scenes were the real highlight of the episode and it was a joy to see Sarah playing her, even just for the novelty value. The speech she gives Spike at The Bronze is unforgettable and really showcases the amazing chemistry between Sarah and James- as enemies they're brilliant but they're even better as lovers. They work together so well and it's one of the starting points with Spike's infatuation with Buffy.

    The showdown at the church was very memorable- I wish it had been a little longer but it was still awesome. Seeing Faith break down, screaming and punching Buffy, yelling at her own body "You're a disgusting, murderous b!tch, you're nothing!" was a really shocking and emotional moment, where we see that Faith isn't self confident as she makes out but really hates herself. It is played magnificently and watching her say to the vampires at the church "Because it's wrong" is a massive step forward for her. However, the Willow/Tara scenes aren't to be overlooked. First of all, Tara is awesome for recognizing Buffy isn't Buffy immediately and you like her way more just for that alone. However the spell scene was a big step up for their relationship- it's obviously a metaphor for sex but seeing as the network probably wouldn't have allowed it at the time, magic is the next best thing. It is a very sensual scene and marks the real turn for Willow and Tara into something more than friends.

    The Buffy/Riley scenes again don't interest me. I can see why Buffy may feel all betrayed that Riley slept with Faith-in-Buffy but come on, he can't be blamed! Their drama really does nothing for me, so I tend to not pay attention to them.

    The end scene with Faith on the back of a lorry or something to L.A. was a perfect ending. It rounds off her arc on Buffy while also setting it up for the Angel episodes "Five by Five" and "Sanctuary".

    Who Are You? is nothing short of spectacular; action packed, moving, shocking, magnificently acted and just plain fun most of the time. It isn't an episode that should be missed.moreless
Rick Stear

Rick Stear


Guest Star

Jeff Ricketts

Jeff Ricketts


Guest Star

Kevin Owers

Kevin Owers


Guest Star

Kristine Sutherland

Kristine Sutherland

Joyce Summers

Recurring Role

Amber Benson

Amber Benson


Recurring Role

Leonard Roberts

Leonard Roberts

Forrest Gates

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Faith (in Buffy's body) calls to get a plane ticket the credit card expiration date is 5/01. This may be foreshadowing of the events that will take place in May of 2001 in the episode "The Gift" (5x22).

    • Goof: When Giles, Willow, Tara and Buffy-in-Faith arrive at the church and a police officer argues with them, Willow says to him, "But you don't understand" While she is saying this her lips are not moving at all.

    • Goof: When they are taking Buffy-in-Faith to the ambulance in the beginning and we look from her point of view at Joyce and Faith-in-Buffy. But Buffy-in-Faith's face is facing upward - meaning her pov would be strictly the stars - there's no way she could see Joyce and Faith-in-Buffy, maybe their heads.

    • At the end of "This Year's Girl" when Buffy and Faith fight in Buffy's house, Buffy has straight hair. In "Who Are You?", when the cops come to get Faith, Buffy has wavy hair now. The end of "This Year's Girl" and the beginning of "Who Are You?" is the same scene.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Giles: Who's president?
      Buffy-in-Faith: We're checking for Buffy, not a concussion.

    • Faith-in-Buffy: So you guys been hanging out a lot lately, huh?
      Tara: Yeah, she's really cool.
      Faith-in-Buffy: (smiling) So Willow's not driving stick anymore. Who would have thought?

    • Giles: If you are Buffy, then you'll let me tie you up... without killing me... until we find out whether you're telling the truth.
      Buffy-in-Faith: Giles, Faith has taken my body, and for all I know she's taken it to Mexico by now. I don't have time for bondage fun.

    • Willow: We'll get together with Buffy another time. Sometime soon. I think you'll really like her.
      Tara: She's not your friend.
      Willow: I may have overestimated the "you liking her" factor.

    • Riley: Door's open.
      Faith-in-Buffy: So?
      Riley: So my fantasies don't tend to include a bunch of Marines staring in at me.

    • Buffy: How did you respond so fast?
      Riley: I didn't. I was just late for church.

    • Giles: It's about Faith, not surprisingly.
      Faith-in-Buffy: Didn't Joyce tell you? I already kicked that ass.
      Xander: I feel a high-five coming on.

    • Spike: You know why I really hate you, Summers?
      Faith-in-Buffy: 'Cause I'm a stuck-up tight-ass with no sense of fun?
      Spike: Well, yeah, that covers a lot of it.
      Faith-in-Buffy: 'Cause I could do anything I want, and instead I choose to pout and whine and feel the burden of Slayerness? I mean, I could be rich, I could be famous, I could have anything. Anyone. Even you, Spike.....I could ride you at a gallop until your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up. I've got muscles you've never even dreamed of. I could squeeze you until you popped like warm champagne, and you'd beg me to hurt you just a little bit more. And you know why I don't? Because it's wrong.

    • Tara: I am, you know.
      Willow: What?
      (Tara turns and looks up at Willow)
      Tara: Yours.

    • Tara: W-Willow said he w-w-w-w-w-we....
      Faith-in-Buffy: w-w-w-w-w-what? You gonna get that sentence out sometime tonight?

    • Buffy-in-Faith: Oh, when I had psychic power I heard my mother think that you were like a stevedore during sex. Do you want me to continue?
      Giles: Actually I beg you to stop.
      Buffy-in-Faith: What's a stevedore?

    • Anya: We were going to light a bunch of candles and have sex near them.
      Faith-in-Buffy: Well, we certainly don't want to cut into that seven minutes.
      Anya: Hey!
      Xander: I believe that's my 'hey.' Hey!

    • Giles: Look, I know what you are going to say, and...
      Buffy-in-Faith: I'm Buffy.
      Giles: All right, I didn't know what you were going to say, but that doesn't make you any less crazy.

    • Faith-in-Buffy: You can't do that - it's wrong - I'll kick your ass.

    • Faith-in-Buffy: Spike, Spike... William the Bloody with a chip in his head. I kinda love this town.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Willow: You didn't sense a hyena energy at all, did you? Because hyena possession is just... unpleasant.
      This refers to Xander being possessed by hyena in " The Pack" (1x6).

    • Faith-in-Buffy: Why, yes, I would be Buffy. May I help you? Buf-fy. You can't do that - it's wrong. You can't do that because it's naughty. Because it's wrong. Because it's wrong. You can't do that. It's wrong, I'll kick your ass. I'm gonna kill you.
      This bit of Faith in front of the mirror pays homage to Robert DeNiro in front of the mirror in the 1976 film Taxi Driver. In both cases we see a character trying to adopt a new personality at odds with their previous one and get used to it. And in both cases the speech ends with a line about death, both for enemies and for the person whom the character used to be.

    • Spike: But until then, I'm just as helpless as a kitten up a tree.
      This is a reference to the opening line of the song "Misty", which was made famous by Frank Sinatra.

    • Willow: You're Buffy. You and Faith switched bodies, probably through a Draconian Katra spell.
      In the Star Trek franchise of films and television series, Katra is the Vulcan word for soul or spirit.

    • Buffy: When I had psychic power, I heard my mom think that you were like a stevedore during sex.
      Stevedore is a Spanish derivative word for someone who works at a dock loading and unloading ships.