Angel - Sanctuary

Summary

Angel takes Faith to his place. He gives her his bed. As he leaves, she calls to him. She has a flash of herself attacking him. She tells him it's nothing. In the morning, Cordelia is in the office with a big bruise on her face from where Faith hit her. Wesley, still showing signs of his torture, comes in and apologizes to her for letting it happen. Angel shows up and asks if they have doughnuts. Wesley is outraged that Faith is not bound and gagged and that she is getting pastries. Angel says he has no other food. Wesley calls Faith a rabid animal. Angel says she's a person and they can't give up on her. He reminds Wesley he felt the same way in Five By Five. But Wesley says being tortured has changed his opinion. He stomps out. Angel says he'll come around. Cordelia asks him to sign something. As he signs he says they can't pick and choose whose soul to save. Cordelia agrees but keeps him signing. He realizes he's signing cheques for her paid vacation. She says she's not sticking around with a psycho killer downstairs.

The police, including Kate, are at the apartment Faith was using. They have the warrant for her from Sunnydale and have linked her to the place. They are going through the debris for evidence. Angel brings the doughnuts downstairs. Faith is standing with a knife in her hand. He tells her he wants to help her, but first she needs to give him the knife. She does. He tells her to rest, she says she's been sleeping for months. She tells him to rest. Meanwhile, the lawyers who hired her find out she is staying with Angel and decide they have to kill her.

Faith has a flashback to her killing Allan (which was an accident) in Bad Girls. Angel comes in to find her packing her bag. He won't physically stop her from going, but he tries to convince her she shouldn't. He tells her she'll be going back into the darkness, but that she has a choice. That she has always had a choice. He asks her if she liked the darkness. She hits him, then asks him to help her.

Wesley is in a pub playing darts by himself. The three special agents from council (who we last saw in Who Are You) show up. They tell Wesley the council is willing to reinstate him and pay for his airfare home. If he helps them capture Faith. He initially refuses, but they keep talking. They say a rogue slayer is far more dangerous than any vampire and that she must be stopped.

Faith asks Angel how it works. He tells her it won't be easy and that she may never succeed and always will be haunted by the ghosts of her past. But she's just asking about the microwave. She says she'll pay Cordelia back for the popcorn, but Angel says it was Wesley's. She's unwilling to talk to him, but Angel says she must. She says how can she apologize for torturing someone almost to death. That some things you can't take back. Angel says he knows that. She says it hurts and he says that's all the evil she's done coming back on her. She says she can never make it up with Buffy. The one person who tried to be her friend. Especially after sleeping with her boyfriend. Angel says he and Faith never slept together and Faith says she means the new boyfriend. She realizes Angel doesn't know about Riley and says she's sorry. Angel recovers and tells her she managed to apologize and that's good. Meanwhile, the lawyers have hired a demon assassin to kill Faith.

The council agents give Wesley a sedative to use on Faith so they can take her. They say they intend to take her alive and return her to England for rehabilitation. He makes them promise no harm will come to Angel. Meanwhile, the demon assassin has snuck into Angel's place. Faith is eating popcorn and watching tv while Angel showers. There is a news item about Faith, with a picture of her. She's upset. Angel tries to comfort her and sees Kate on the newscast. The demon attacks. Faith gets the knife and kills the demon, but she drops the bloody knife and sees the blood on her hands. Angel rushes to comfort her, hugging her. Buffy walks in.

Buffy is angry at Angel for siding with Faith. She wants Faith in jail for what she did. Faith tries to apologize, but Buffy won't let her. Angel sends Faith upstairs. Buffy tries to stop her. Buffy hits Angel who hits her back. Upstairs, Wesley walks in. Meanwhile, the lawyers discover their assassin is dead. Buffy and Angel are arguing over Faith. Buffy feels Faith is playing Angel, he says she is trying to reform. Wesley comes in with Faith. He tells them about the council. Faith rushes to the roof and they send Buffy to protect her. Wesley and Angel go to check if the sewers are clear so they can sneak out that way. Wesley tells Angel he's doing this for him, not Faith.

One of the lawyers approaches Kate. He reveals that he knows about the circumstances of her father's death in Prodigal. He tells her Faith is with Angel. On the roof, Buffy confronts Faith. Faith says if she runs away it will be easier for Buffy. Buffy says she'll get bored with guilt and come back again. Faith says that won't happen. Buffy says Faith took everything she had and made a victim of her. Faith asks what can she do to make up for it. One of the agents comes onto the roof firing a machine gun and Buffy knocks Faith to safety. In the sewer, another agent attacks Angel and Wesley. On the roof, a helicopter appears with the third agent in it. Buffy tries to take out the man on the roof. She tells Faith to stay put. Wesley tells Angel to get to the roof to help them. He tells the agent that he swore to protect the innocent, that's why he's helping Angel. He shoots the tranquilizer at the agent like a dart, knocking him out. On the roof, Buffy takes out the agent. Angel leaps onto the helicopter and takes out the agent there, ordering the pilot to land. Buffy looks for Faith who has vanished. When he lands, the police arrive and Kate arrests him because he refuses to give up Faith. At the station (Wesley drives Buffy there), Kate tells Angel she's putting him in an east facing cell so he can see the sunrise in four hours. Buffy realizes Kate knows he is a vampire and says it's murder, she tries to stop this. Then Angel sees Faith already in the police station. She has come to confess.

Buffy and Angel argue. She says he should have told her what was going on, he says it wasn't her business. She says she came because she thought he was in danger. He says she came because of Faith, because of vengeance. She says she has a right to vengeance and he says not in his city. She tells him she has fallen in love, this time with someone she can trust. He says that's great, she can move on, he can't. He says seeing her cuts him up inside and he can only share that with himself. He tells her to go. She says Faith wins again and leaves. Wesley comes over. Angel says for a taciturn guy he has a big mouth. Wesley says he did the right thing with Faith. Angel says he hopes she has a chance at peace. Cut to a picture of Faith, alone in a cell.

Analysis

Longer ago than I care to remember, I was a graduate student in English studies taking a lot of medieval literature courses. One of the courses I took was about the book Piers Plowman, a pretty famous 14th century work. It's about a lot of things, but a major theme is repentance. And that was the theme of this week's Angel. So I guess you could say this week Angel went medieval on Faith.

Traditionally, there are two aspects to successful repentance. One, you have to really mean it. If you're not sincere, it just doesn't count. Two, you have to make up for what you've done. Either compensate people you've damaged or do some good work or undertake some penance for actions which cannot be compensated in any other way. Much of this episode is about Faith going through those stages and the reactions of others to her spiritual journey.

Other than Angel, nobody seems to believe Faith really does mean it. Faith herself has flashes of her killing Angel. Wesley, who was the most sympathetic toward her in Five By Five, calls her a bitch and wants her bound and gag. He talks of his own suffering at her hands, but seems even more disturbed at the hurt Cordelia has had. And that's pretty much in character for Wesley. He tells Angel there is evil in Faith and that allowed her freedom she will inevitably kill. He calls her a rabid animal and we all know that the only treatment for such animals is a humane death. Cordelia, although not as outspoken as Wesley, feels pretty much the same way. She takes her vacation, telling Angel she's afraid of being there with Faith roaming free. But Angel maintains that Faith has a soul, that they can't pick and choose which souls to save, and that she can be reformed. Last episode, he maintained the same about Marquez and succeeded in reforming him. Cordelia didn't think he had a chance and Wesley spoke of the man's soul much in the way Angel talks of Faith's soul this episode. It's interesting to see the rotation of positions and beliefs here. I think they all believe the same thing, only Angel is better able to put aside the immediate factors and stick with his basic beliefs. Wesley and Cordelia are responding to what is happening right now and letting their basic beliefs get warped by those events.

When Buffy arrives, she acts the same way. She, too, pained by recent events cannot believe that Faith genuinely wants to reform. Faith's attempt at apology is quickly shot down. All Buffy wants is revenge. She's so angry, she even hits Angel. There's an interesting parallel between Angel confronting Faith and being hit by her and his later confrontation with Buffy, who hits him. He hits back at Buffy, but not at Faith. With Faith, he is tightly in control of himself. But with Buffy he allows his emotions to get the better of him. This highlights the danger of Angel's relationship with Buffy. He's never fully in control of himself when around her. And it also highlights the danger of Buffy's relationship with Faith, she's never fully in control of herself when around her.

I'm not quite sure when Wesley changes his mind. I'm not sure if he ever really meant the bad things he said about Faith. In the pub, he seems half convinced to go along with the council, although he clearly doesn't like their agents and is rather glad to hear they were defeated by Faith (actually Buffy in Faith's body but none of them know that). I have to wonder whether a scene wasn't cut when he walks in to find Faith alone. Some conversation then would have explained the change of heart. It's also possible his statement about trusting Angel more than the council and his earlier comment about doing more good working for Angel than he did working for the council is the explanation.

I'm equally uncertain about Buffy. In fact, given her final comments, maybe she never really does change her mind. She certainly seems to believe she has a right to vengeance. But she is taken aback by Faith's confession and obviously feels something important has happened. And she wishes Angel had let her be a part of it. She's vicious in telling him about Riley, who she claims she can trust unlike Angel. And she's obstinate in blaming Faith for this final argument. It's more like fate.

All through the episode, Faith keeps wondering how she can apologize for what she has done. She and Angel keep talking about it and he can't really give her any concrete ideas. She worries about what she has done to Wesley and to Buffy. She can't imagine a way to make up for either of those. When Buffy arrives she tries to apologize, but isn't allowed to. She tries to learn from Buffy what she can do to make up for the evil she has done. But Buffy only has revenge in mind. Finally, Faith does the only thing she can do. Apologies ring hollow, no compensation is possible for her crimes, so there is nothing for it but turning herself in. And she does. By doing so she saves Angel and she also saves her own soul. And if Wesley were not convinced before of the possibility of her redemption, he certainly is then.

My favourite moment in this episode is right near the end, just after the final fight between Angel and Buffy. Angel tells Wesley he regrets yelling at her and that he wants to go after her, but he doesn't. He knows that chasing Buffy isn't going to help. That he has to let her go and have her chance at happiness. And that hurts him even more.

Some quick final thoughts. You've got to love the Mulder/Scully exchange between Kate and the other detective. When Angel comes in to find Faith holding a knife, is she thinking of using it on him, is she not thinking, or is she thinking of using it on herself? If you ever thought those council special agents were anything other than evil, their willingness to smoke in a nonsmoking area definitely proves just how bad they are. When Faith drops the bloody knife after killing the demon, it eerily echoes the scene in which she drops the bloody piece of glass in Five By Five.

Lines of the week:

"If you apologize to me, I will beat you to death."
"Go ahead." - Buffy making a threat that sounds like a promise to Faith.

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