Monday, October 18, 2010

Buffy 3x14 - "Bad Girls"

A new watcher arrives and with him he brings new authority to refresh Buffy's rebellious spirit. It makes for an interesting episode that quickly takes some even more interesting turns. More after the jump.

"No, you don't get it. I don't care!"

- Faith

"Bad Girls" is the first episode since "Revelations" where Faith seems to have a function on the show. Thus far, the character has been annoyingly pointless, sometimes helping with the fighting but usually bringing nothing more than a "bad girl" stereotype to the table. As a result of her misuse, when Faith confronts Buffy about whether she "enjoys" Slaying, it all sounds a bit familiar. But the episode quickly takes a different turn when Buffy begins to buy into Faith's logic.

Ordinarily I'd find this a bit out of character for Buffy, but the presence of a new authority figure in the form of Wesley is just what's needed to push Buffy away from reason and toward Faith's influence. Even a brush with the police fails to teach her a lesson, but of course everything changes when Faith inadvertently takes the life of the Deputy Mayor. It's a sharp turn for the show, the actualization of what was only threatened in "Ted:" the inadvertent slayage of a human.

There's only the slightest attempt to address the repercussions of this in the denouement, which is appropriate enough considering the title of the following episode. There's plenty else going on in this episode, from the comedy and drama brought by new watcher Wesley, to the setting in motion of the Mayor's master plan, to the sickening Jabba-esque demon Balthazaar, who's just grotesque enough to be actually threatening as well as absurd. Given all that's going on in this episode, it's forgivable that we don't yet explore the major consequences of the Deputy Mayor's death, as this episode is more concerned with moving pieces around on the board. So while it leaves you waiting a bit for some of the payoff, it's a satisfying enough episode nonetheless.

  • This is the first episode in which Willow identifies herself as a "Wicca," which is terribly grating, as the proper term would be "Wiccan." And I mean "proper" only in the grammatical sense: the terms "Wicca" and "Wiccan" refer to a real-world religion founded in the early twentieth century and to the practitioners thereof, and I don't know much about Wicca but I know enough to know Willow has nothing to do with it. A better term would probably be Witch or Sorceress, although I'm sure there are people who would object to those terms as well.
  • Without specific spoilers about Wesley: between his debut here and his final appearance he undergoes such drastic changes that it's barely the same character at all. I'll write more about his arc when I do his character retrospective, but that's not going to be for a very long time, so I just wanted to mention it now. And now that I have, I shall speak no more of it.
  • The detective from "Ted" and "Becoming (Part 2)" returns for his final appearance. Given how incredibly minor this character is, I won't be giving him a retrospective, but it's great that they were able to get the same actor.

1 comment:

  1. You're totally and completely right about Wesley--I shall say no more for fear of spoilers for anyone who might be reading this blog without having seen this journey to its end.

    Also, while you're right about Willow not being Wicca or a Wiccan, I think it's part of the character's development--season 3 and 4 find her undergoing a lot of changes and it takes her a while to accept and put words to all of them.