Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Faith, Hope and Trick

Summary

Buffy gets let back into school. Willow plays matchmaker and tries to set Buffy up with Scott Hope. Buffy continues to dream about Angel. Faith, a slayer who was called with the death of Kendra, shows up. So does Kakistos, a very old very mean vampire. And he is accompanied by Mr. Trick, a young high tech vampire. Mr. Trick is thrilled at being in Sunnydale because they have fiber optic cable everywhere. He's ready to stay local and live global.

Analysis

In Anne, Buffy came to grips with who she was. In Dead Man's Party, Buffy reintegrated into her community. In this episode, she begins the process of getting over Angel.

And it's going to be tough. When Willow tries to set her up with Scott Hope, who seems to be quite nice, she's reluctant to go along with it. She's still dreaming about Angel. And she's got more immediate problems as Faith shows up. There must be something about slayers that makes them dislike each other. Both Kendra and Faith immediately rub Buffy the wrong way. True, Buffy does eventually establish a relationship with both of them, but the beginning is tough. For someone who claims to hate the role of slayer, Buffy sure is eager to keep it all to herself. It looks as if Buffy's continual complaints aren't indicative of her true feelings.

It's also interesting to see the range of personalities the slayers portray. Kendra was painfully shy. Faith is about as outgoing as you can get. All of which makes Buffy look pretty normal as the one in the middle. This is to Buffy's credit. She's managed to stay relatively balanced while holding down the slayer role. Something no one else seems capable of doing.

As a villain, Kakistos is a big let down. He's supposed to be an enormously powerful vampire, but it doesn't take much to stop him. The Master and Spike were both much tougher opponents. So was Angel during his evil phase. But Kakistos only exists so Faith can come to Sunnydale and she and Buffy can bond. It also gives Mrs. Summers a chance to meet another slayer and learn that Buffy temporarily died, adding to her anxiety.

For all her problems, Buffy has avoided the two problems which Kendra and Faith have. She didn't get killed and she didn't panic. I guess Giles is doing a good job as her watcher. And that job is at the center of this episode. He persistently nags her about what happened when she sent Angel to the demon dimension. As we learn in that climactic scene, there is no spell. Giles has been doing this because he has sensed Buffy was holding something back. And it is only after telling him the true story that Buffy can let go of Angel. She says yes to Scott Hope and returns the ring that Angel gave her. If Buffy is the best slayer, it's because Giles is the best watcher. And like her, he feels a little left out - he doesn't get invited to the watcher retreat. But his success lies in treating Buffy as a complete person, worrying about her personal life as much as about her training.

Of course, whether this all pays off in the end remains to be seen. Angel returns and there may be no hope for Hope.

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