"Band Candy" (3x06) quick link here "Lovers Walk" (3x08) quick link coming soon
Two quick notes before we get started...
1) I will be reviewing the episodes in bullet point form. This is because it makes the reviews simple to read, and helps break up the text.
2) If you are watching the show for the first time along with these reviews, please be warned that there may be a few spoilers for things that haven’t happened yet.
With that being said, let’s get started, shall we?
• Ahh, an emotionally complex plot. You know how much I love those. The episode focuses on two major plot points. The first of which is the arrival of Faith’s new Watcher, Gwendolyn Post, and how she affects the group dynamic. The biggest effect that Gwendolyn has on the Scoobies is the alienation that Faith has to the rest of the Scoobies by the end of this episode. The second major plot point of this episode is the revelation (hence the episode name) for the rest of the Scooby Gang - other than Buffy – that Angel has returned from Hell. Drama, arguing, and fight ensues. It wouldn’t be the Buffyverse without it.
• The episode starts with Xander and Willow being uber twitchy, due to the fact that they’re both cheating on their respective partners with each other. I’ve mentioned it before, but I must mention again how much I dislike how this story has been handled. I shall not write any more on the subject here, as I’ll start to rage again like I did in “Homecoming”.
• There is so much underlying (sometimes not so underlying) sexual tension between Buffy and Faith. It’s so much fun to watch. It’s all played out in a jokey way, but Slayers do seem to emanate a certain amount of sexual energy (see Faith’s reference to slaying making her hungry and horny in “Faith, Hope & Trick”, for example), so perhaps there’s an element of that to it as well. The funny thing is that Joss Whedon didn’t intentionally play any of the sexual undertones for Buffy or Faith. He stumbled across a website that was talking about the sexual vibes between Buffy and Faith, then went back and watched some scenes, and realised that they were right. How he didn’t notice this before, I’ll never know.
• I’d like to point out that I hated Gwendolyn Post before we knew that she was evil. She’s rude, manipulative, sassy (and not in an amusing Giles way), and constantly berates poor Giles. However, the character of Gwendolyn Post is terrific! She’s everything I want from a one-episode villain – memorable, causes destruction that lasts beyond her time on the show (Faith’s alienation from the Scoobies), and actually evil. Everything that Gwendolyn says or does in this episode is done to further her own goals. Do you think she cared at all that Faith was feeling overlooked by the Scoobies? Nope. She used this to get Faith on her side to help her retrieve the Glove of Myhnegon. While I’m on the subject of Gwendolyn, why didn’t Giles call the council to confirm that Gwendolyn was who she said she was?!
• Gwendolyn: “The fact is, there is talk in the council that you have become a bit too American.”
HIM? I know that it’s later established that Gwendolyn was fired from the Watcher’s Council, so this could be complete bullshit on Gwendolyn’s part, but if it’s true, it just shows how out-of-the-loop that the Watcher’s Council are, being so far away from the Slayer. Giles is the most un-American character on the show (until Wesley arrives)! He uses English slang constantly, loves tea, complains about the weather, is highly sarcastic, and has a severe dislike of technological improvements. I bet he’s a master in a good queue though. I’m English, so I’m allowed to take the piss out of these ludicrous stereotypes.
• Buffy: “Interesting lady…can we kill her?”
Giles: “I think the council might frown upon that.”
Notice that Giles doesn’t disagree with Buffy here and tell her that it’s wrong to kill Gwendolyn. He wants to kill her too.
• Oh, look, another scene that is created for the sole purpose of removing Angel’s top. With that being said, the scene where Angel and Buffy are doing Tai Chi together is rather beautiful...then Xander stumbles across Angel and Buffy’s brief moment of kissing and runs off to tell the Scoobies that Angel is back from Hell.
• My favourite scene of the episode, without a doubt, is the scene where the Scoobies confront Buffy. There’s just so much going on! It’s uncomfortable, it’s horrid...but it’s perfect! This is what most shows always seem to miss! They have all the drama and fallout, then move on without everyone getting everything out in the open. As uncomfortable as this scene is, it’s a scene that needed to happen. The other reason I like this scene is because it’s played in such a way that nobody is perceived to be in the wrong. This whole situation is grey-area, so that’s how it should be played. There’s a great balance in this scene between Buffy’s shortcomings at not telling the Scoobies (or at least Giles) that Angel was back, and the Scoobies airing their grievances in a group setting. Buffy not telling the Scoobies about Angel being back is such a complicated issue that it’s really hard to take a side. Both sides of the argument have valid points. The first point I want to raise is that Xander gets a lot of hatred from some Buffy fans for some of his actions in seasons two and three. He certainly does make some questionable decisions, like “kick his ass” in “Becoming Part Two”, for example. Here, he is quite harsh on Buffy, but he has every right to be! Angelus made all of the Scoobies’ lives Hell last year! He tortured Giles, killed Jenny, killed Willow’s fish, stalked Buffy, and did a whole lot more damage. Then, to top it off, Buffy told nobody that Angel was back and the first Xander knew of it was seeing Buffy and Angel kiss. Why wouldn’t he be pissed off? Is a certain amount of Xander’s actions in this scene motivated by jealousy? Of course! But that doesn’t mean that what he says is invalid. I personally think that Xander is saying the right things under the information that he has, he’s just doing it for the wrong reasons (which seems to be a recurring theme with Xander over the first few seasons of the show).
Xander: “Better for how long, Buffy? Did you even think about that?”
I think this statement directly ties in to Xander’s decision to not tell Buffy about Willow’s attempt to re-ensoul Angel in “Becoming Part Two”. Xander thinks that it’s only a matter of time before Angel loses his soul and starts killing people again, which is a completely valid point. I don’t think it was the only reason for his “kick his ass” line, as I feel jealousy also played a big part, but I do feel that some of the reason why Xander didn’t tell Buffy was for reasons other than jealousy. Willow tells Buffy in this scene that when it comes to Angel, Buffy can’t see straight. I believe that statement to be true. Buffy is more tolerable of Angel and the chance that he may one day become evil again, because she loves him. Buffy argues the point that she won’t sleep with Angel again, so he won’t lose his soul, but what’s to stop Angel losing his soul with someone else down the line?
Buffy: “If I thought for a second that Angel was going to hurt anyone…”
Xander: “You would stop him? Like you did last time with Miss. Calendar.”
Ouch. That was harsh. It’s not Buffy’s fault that Angelus killed Jenny. Okay, it sort of is as she slept with Angel, but she didn’t know that Angel would lose his soul. Sometimes Xander is unnecessarily harsh to people when he’s afraid or angry.
On the flipside of Xander and Cordelia’s anger is Buffy. While I feel that Buffy was wrong to not at least tell Giles that Angel was back, I can empathise with her predicament. The man that Buffy loved and sent to Hell had returned out of nowhere and Buffy wanted to know why and what was going on before she disturbed everyone else’s happiness. She knew that the Scoobies would start to worry and argue at the prospect of having Angel back in Sunnydale. It would have been tough on Giles in particular, as Angelus murdered his girlfriend. However, if Buffy wanted answers, she should have told Giles that Angel was back, as Giles was the only person around her that was capable of finding out the answers that she wanted.
In the middle of all this chaos is Willow...and Oz, but he barely says a word, so I’m going to assume he was just a solid member of ‘Team Willow’ for this conversation. Bless Willow in this scene. She tries so hard to keep everyone calm and rational. So hard. I think Willow, like myself, can see both sides of the argument. While she’s worried about the people around her in case Angelus returns, she does see where Buffy was coming from and tries to act accordingly.
Finally, there’s Giles, and that’s when my heart breaks into a million pieces. I’ve never loved him more than I do in this scene. He is so upset with Buffy for not telling him, yet in front of everyone else he says that he understands why she didn’t tell anyone. He’s such a wonderful Watcher for not scolding Buffy in public. Especially after what he says to Buffy in private just after this (Giles’ speech to Buffy is in the “Quote Of The Episode” section of this review).
• Giles isn’t the only heartbreaking part of this episode. In a much more understated way, this episode is very significant for Faith. Taking all of Faith’s backstory into account, this episode is key for her imminent downward spiral into darkness. In this season, we see Faith truly trust two people. Probably the first two people that she’s ever trusted. The first of which, Gwendolyn Post, completely manipulates Faith and turns her against all of the people that Faith actually could trust. The second is The Mayor. I have a lot to say about The Mayor and Faith’s relationship, but I’m saving it for when it’s relevant. I have so much empathy for Faith in this episode. By the time this episode ends, she will never trust a member of the Scooby Gang. She chose her side, and it was the wrong one. I genuinely believe that if Faith had chosen differently in this episode, her entire character arc would have changed. So for that reason, I’m glad Faith chose Gwendolyn, because her journey over the next five years is nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch.
• Oh, look, Giles is unconscious again. I really should have started a tally earlier on. He’s been knocked out in three of the past four episodes (“Band Candy” is the exception). He probably has brain damage by this point. He should get checked for a concussion at the end of every Buffy episode, just in case.
• When Buffy is fighting Lagos, I get distracted by Willow and never watch the actual fight. Willow’s facial expressions as she watches Buffy fight Lagos are hilarious. Her little celebratory arm-flail when Buffy kills him is adorable ----> \O/
• This episode is also significant for containing the first meeting between Angel and Faith. What an amazingly unique relationship that they go on to have. Angel is (in Faith’s words) the only person to never turn his back on Faith, and it’s Angel that helps Faith come out of her darkness eventually. Plus, for anyone reading the Buffy season eight and nine comics, we all know that Faith helps Angel a lot after a certain thing happens in Buffy season eight. I’m a big fan of ‘Bangel’, but I sometimes think that Angel and Faith are much better suited for each other. They have so much in common!
• Buffy and Faith have their first fight in this episode. Season three contains some truly spectacular fights between these two characters (the best of which being in “Graduation Day Part One”). This fight is no exception. It’s very well choreographed, plus it shows just how different these two Slayers are. Their fighting styles and tactics reflect their personalities and the approach they take towards slaying. Faith’s fighting style is more wild and scattered than Buffy’s methodical fighting style.
• Gwendolyn: “Faith, a word of advice. You’re an idiot.” - That’s more of a statement than advice, really. If there was ever anyone that deserved to be struck by lightning...
• Angel saved Willow’s life. Big welcome back bonus points for Angel now. In fact, Willow says as much in the next scene. Willow mentions that Angel saving her life means that she’s glad he’s back. I’m not sure if that one act can wash away everything that Angelus did, but at least it’s a start.
• Faith: “Buffy…”
I think that moment was also important. It was like planting the seeds for Faith’s eventual descent into darkness. She could have opened up to Buffy, but she chose not to. This is a recurring theme over the next 18 months with Faith. When she’s at a crossroads in her life, she always chooses the wrong path. After she kills Allan Finch later in the season, she could talk to Buffy about it (Buffy even goes to see Faith), but she doesn’t. When she’s falling apart after she wakes up from her coma, she could try to make amends, but she doesn’t. When she starts to hate herself and is on the verge of change, she tries to kill Angel instead of asking for help. Whenever she has the chance to change her life for the better, she doesn’t. Not until Angel finally gets through to her in “Sanctuary”. Gwendolyn Post has given Faith the last piece of evidence that she needs that people can’t ever be trusted.
• To sum up, this episode is very similar to the seventh episode of the last season, “Lie To Me”. The emotion and drama in the episode are phenomenal, but the story-of-the-week isn’t. In this case, I adored all the scenes where the Scoobies were arguing. I loved Gwendolyn Post’s character and her manipulation of Faith, and I loved Faith making the wrong choice. However, I couldn’t care less about Lagos and the Glove of Myhnegon. I understand that they’re a means to an end, but I just don’t find myself investing in this aspect of the episode at all. As I gave “Lie To Me” a final score of 7.5/10, “Revelations” will receive the same grade.
Quote Of The Episode
Giles: “Be quiet. I won’t remind you that the fate of the world often lies with the Slayer, what would be the point? Nor shall I remind you that you’ve jeopardised the lives of all that you hold dear by harbouring a known murderer. But, sadly, I must remind you that Angel tortured me. For hours, for pleasure. You should have told me he was alive, you didn’t. You have no respect for me or the job I perform.”
Luckily, Buffy doesn’t make the same mistake in season five when she finds out that Dawn is the key.
FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10
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