Who Are You?

Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon

Mary Beth's Review | SunSpeak

Mary Beth's Review

[Reminder: As a result of the body switch at the end of This Year's Girl, Sarah Michelle Gellar is playing Faith and Eliza Dushku is playing Buffy.]

A crowd has gathered outside the Summer's residence. Police cars and emergency vehicles fill the streets. A detective talks with Joyce and Faith as Joyce gently places a coat around her "daughter's" shoulders. He tells them they'll take (the real) Faith to get her checked out. If she's stable, she'll go to jail pending trial. Joyce just wants her to get some kind of help. Meanwhile, the EMT's bring a groggy Buffy out on a stretcher. Faith looks on smugly, while we see a fuzzy POV from Buffy. She's disoriented and confused, unable to speak up when she sees herself takes her mother's hand and smile thinly. Buffy is loaded in the ambulance and carted away. The cop tells Joyce that they're through for now. They may have more questions in the morning, but for now he's "just glad they finally caught the kid.

Faith bristles, "She's not a kid" . . . but catches herself and covers, saying she just means she's really strong. Whatever, the clueless Sunnydale cop (that's an oxymoron, right?) says -- this Faith chick is dangerous.

Faith watches as the ambulance leaves, the crowd disperses, and Joyce heads inside, then agrees darkly, "She truly is."


Back inside the house, Faith stretches and looks around at the surroundings she can now call home.

"Faith," Joyce says, startling Faith into whipping around. "Ehy do you think she's like that?" Joyce continues.

Relaxing, Faith pipes up that "she's a nut job." Joyce continues to push for answers as to what would drive someone to act like that, and Faith gets a little defensive. "Who says she got drove? Maybe she likes being that way." Joyce isn't buying it; she thinks Faith is truly unhappy. Whatever, Faith shrugs, uncomfortable with the self-analysis, and shifts her focus with amusement to Buffy. "Maybe a little stint in the poky'll show her the error of her ways. I'm sure there's some Big Old Bertha just waiting to shower her ripe little self with affection."

Oops. Too far. Joyce is shocked by such talk from her daughter. Faith reins it in a bit, apologizing and putting on a serious face. "It's just, when I think about how much she mighta hurt you. I just . . . .I can't stand it." Joyce is touched and gives her "daughter" a hug -- which Faith is clearly uncomfortable with. She pushes Joyce away, making the excuse of being sore from the fight. Joyce smiles and tells her daughter that she's missed her.

Faith is smug. "Cuz I haven't visited, right? I knew it."

Joyce is understanding of her daughter's busy new life, but she hopes they can get together soon -- some night when she's not being "held hostage by a raving psychotic." Faith is stung for a moment by these words, but responds that Joyce can "count on it." And with that, she makes a hasty retreat by deciding to take a bath.

In the bathtub, Faith familiarizes herself with her new body and a resounding *thud* is heard across the country as the jaws of thousands of teenage boys fall simultaneously to the floor at the sight of a nearly naked SMG. Faith stretches her leg languidly and the poor boys lose consciousness.

After the bath, Faith pulls a DeNiro in the mirror as she tests out how to look and talk like Buffy. "Why yes, I would be Buffy," she says brightly (overly so), "Can I help you?" She tests her new name, and then works on what she perceives to be the trademark Buffy phrase: "You can't do that. It's wrong," she says sternly. "You can't do that. . . because it's naughty." That's not right. "Because it's wrong," she tries again with emphasis. Nope. Softly . . . "because it's wrong." Moving around, she whips and points her finger at the mirror: "You can't do that. It's wrong. I'll kick your ass!" "I'm gonna kill you." She stops and glares at herself.

In the hospital emergency room, chaos ensues as a now fully conscious Buffy struggles mightily with the cops and hospital staff. "I have to go home," she screams. "She's with my mother!" They finally restrain her enough to sedate her, but Faith continues to plead with them. "You don't understand," she whispers as the drugs take effect. "She's taken my.... my body."

Over in Tara's room, Willow is antsy. She's sprawled on Tara's bed while Tara sits nearby and works with some Tarot cards. Willow's worried about Faith -- wondering where she is, wishing she'd make a move. Her stomach's all acidy. Tara tries to reassure her that Buffy can handle her, and Willow sits up says she thinks so, but that doesn't mean Faith won't try to hurt someone else. Tara reminds Willow that she's safe there because no one knows Tara even exists even though she knows all about them. Which Tara tries haltingly to say is cool with her. Willow realizes Tara's discomfort and tries in her usual Willow-like rambly way to comfort her friend. She touches Tara knee and tells her that it's not that she doesn't want her friends to know her. "Buffy's, like, my best friend. And she's really special. And there's this whole bunch of us and we sort of have this group thing that revolves around the slaying. And I really want you to meet them." Tara listens intently as Willow continues to explain though that she likes "having something that's just mine." Tara is touched and says she understands.

Willow decides to check in with Giles when Tara pipes up cautiously, "I am you know."

"What?" Willow asks.

"Yours." Tara answers with earnest. Willow smiles, deeply touched.

Back at the Summer's residence Faith primps her new body in the mirror. She's dug out a pair of Buffy's leather pants (I guess Buffy left them behind when she packed her stuff for college?) and has gone with the frizzy hair, slutty make up look. I'm sure no one will notice the difference. Not great, she thinks, but it'll do. She searches Buffy's drawers and find Buffy's passport, then uses mom's credit card to order a plane ticket out of town -- a flight scheduled for 10 a.m. the next morning. Joyce interrupts, but Faith covers that she was just there to pick up her mail (which was still in Joyce's room from when Faith taunted her earlier in the evening). Joyce tells her Giles called on the other line and wanted Buffy to meet up at his place. Faith decides that might be fun -- she's got time to kill. Before going, she stops to pick up a stick of lipstick off Joyce's dresser and asks if Joyce minds if she steals it. Joyce notes that it's the Harlot, the same one Faith liked. And Faith abruptly tosses it to Joyce and tells her to burn it. Joyce watches in confusion as her daughter heads out the door.

In a cop car en route to the police station (we assume), Buffy starts to come to. The cops admire this kid's constitution while Buffy mutters Faith's name, still groggy. Suddenly, a large armored truck cuts the police car off. The cops can't avoid it and crash to a halt. From the truck, the mysterious Brits that arrived in This Yea'rs Girl emerge with guns in hand. They check the cops, who are out cold, and one of them breaks the back window and hauls Buffy out.

"By the order of the Watcher's Council you are being taken into custody until such time..." he begins, but another of them tells him to skip the speech. They haul the barely conscious Buffy into the back of the truck, slam the doors, and drive off.


Faith arrives at Giles's place to find the whole gang -- Willow, Xander and..... she fails to recognize Anya, though, and covers with an "everybody." Hopping up on a table, she asks what's up. Giles tells her it's about Faith. Feeling cocky, the Slayer pipes up, "Didn't Joyce tell you? I already kicked that ass." Xander and Willow are surprised . . . and impressed. Faith tells them "she" is on her way to "The Big House." Giles has other news though. He's pretty sure "Faith" is no longer in police custody. This grabs Faith's attention. Worried, she asks him to explain (actually, she says "What are you talking aboot" -- since when was Faith Canadian?). Giles tells them that the Watcher's Council sent a "retrieval team" to capture her. Faith points out how well that worked when Wesley tried it, but Giles assures her this is different. They took the time to scramble a special team that handles the Council's tougher problems -- smuggling, interrogation, wetworks. There's some cute confusion over what "wetworks" means as Xander tries to explain to Willow that it means "scuba stuff," Anya points out it has to do with murder, and Xander says maybe there's "underwater murder, with snorkels."

Faith is highly amused that they'll be taking Buffy to England, actually laughing out loud at the thought. The gang is surprised by her reaction, and she apologizes. She's just happy because "Faith is evil." Willow agrees, and Faith takes a real gander at Buffy's friend. "I forgot how much you don't like Faith," she says. "After what she's done to you," Willow responds, "Oh I wish those Council guys would let me have an hour alone in the room with her . . . if I was larger and had grenades."

Faith glares at Willow. "I bet I know what Faith would say to that," she responds, and the lunges at Willow, knife suddenly in hand. She plunges the knife deep into a stunned Willow's gut -- twice. In a flash, Faith snaps back to reality; a curious Willow questions her friend's strange look. Faith looks her directly in the eye and tells her "I'd never let her hurt you." Willow says she knows and Faith smiles -- a smile that may seem sweet to Willow but that sends chills down this reviewer's spine.

Meanwhile, Anya questions the necessity of calling them all together to tell them something that could have been conveyed via phone (and the reviewer ponders the necessity of even having Anya and Xander in this scene at all). She and Xander were going to "light a bunch of candles and then have sex near them." Faith scoffs that they wouldn't want to "cut into that 7 minutes," and both Anya and Xander act appropriately indignant. (Anya should count her lucky stars she gets Xander for even 7 minutes. That's more than the viewers get these days.)

Faith tells them all to lighten up, the Big Bad has passed. She heads for the door, until Giles reminds her they still have Adam to take care off. Faith covers again, trying to act appropriately concerned about a baddie she knows nothing about. She tells them not to worry, she'll patrol as long as it case. They can have their fun, and she'll be "out there doing my job."

Of course, to Faith, this means dancing the night away at the Bronze. She's in the middle of getting down and funky with it when she runs into Spike, who I guess wanted to drink lots and depress himself more by hanging around all the people he can't kill. But at least they're not demons who are going to beat the crap out of him. Spike is not at all happy to run into the thorn in his side. Faith, for her part, has no clue who she's run into. She plays along with Spike until she figures out he's a vampire who can't hurt people -- much to his annoyance, he thinks she's mocking him. Especially when he tells her to sod off, and she does. He expresses frustration that Spike's not even worth her trouble anymore. It finally clicks with Faith that this is William the Bloody. And that he's basically neutered means this is a chance to play that Faith can't pass up. She moves in closer as Spike runs off at the mouth -- too jacked off to catch any of the wacky signals "Buffy" is sending here.

"You know why I really hate you Summers?" Spike begins.

"Cuz I'm a stuck up tight-ass with no sense of fun?" Faith asks?

Naturally, Spike.... agrees. And is caught off guard by this. "Well . . . Yeah, that covers a lot of it." Faith is enjoying this too much. "Cuz I could do anything I want and instead I choose to pout and whine and feel the burden of Slayerness?" Spike is clearly confused as "Buffy" continues to berate herself. "I mean, I could be rich. I could be famous. I could have anything." Faith smiles, as she gets a new idea. "Anyone. Even you Spike." She moves in, grabbing his sides and pressing herself close, whispering breathlessly, "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 pop like warm champagne and you beg me to hurt you just a little bit more. And you know why I don't?" Spike is entranced as he waits for her answer. "Because it wrongs," she laughs as she drops him cold and walks away.

"I get this chip out," he growls, "Me and you are gonna have a confrontation."

Faith, not caring one way or another, simply tells him he can count on it. And she walks out.

Spike throws his beer against the wall and storms out of the Bronze, shoving a couple of patrons out of his way, and grabbing his head in pain.


Somewhere under the city, a random group of vampires returns to their Lair, Sweet Lair to find an interloper: Adam. He tells them "I've been thinking . . . ." (The reviewer's stomach immediately curls up in knots. This -- is never a good thing) ". . .about vampires," Adam finishes.

These vampires don't care much what he's been thinking, they just care that he may have been eating their porridge. The leader-type tries to tell Adam to beat it. Adam goes on about the things he's observed about vampires -- that they hide in sewers from people, crawling in their filth and scavenging them like rats. He wants to know what they fear.

They don't fear Adam, I can tell you that. The leader orders one of his lackeys to kill Adam. And Adam promptly demonstrates why they've miscalculated by ripping the head off the vampire and putting Angelus' Jenny Calendar *snap* to shame. The vampire drops to the ground in a cloud of dust and the vampires are much more eager to let Adam sleep in their beds. Adam isn't looking for a place to stay, though. He's looking for minions. "Vampires are a paradox," he tells them. "You're demon in a human body. You walk in both worlds and belong to neither. I can relate."


Buffy wakes up slowly and realizes she's chained up and still in the back of the armored truck. One of the Council guys kneels in front of her, disgust clear on his face. He even calls her "It." He tells her they're Council and getting ready to take her back to the Mother Country for being a Naughty Girl. Buffy tries to get him and his boss (Collins) to listen to her. She tells them she's not Faith. That Faith performed some kind of body switching spell. They're impressed with her excuse-making abilities, but they're having none of it. And when Buffy tries to convince them to call Giles, Collins tells her he's of no importance anymore. And neither is Buffy, for that matter. When he leaves, the first Council guy tells her that Collins may not care, but he does. "The Watcher's Council used to mean something; you perverted it. You're trash, we should have killed you while you were asleep," he spits at her -- literally. Buffy looks on frozen in shock, unable to even wipe her face off as he leaves her locked up on the truck once again.

Back at the Bronze, Willow and Tara arrive for a little fun. Willow's telling Tara about the place and it's history with the gang -- how they all used to come there. Her, Xander.....and Buffy -- whom she spots by the bar cheering some dude on in a beer chugging contest. Willow is taken aback, she didn't expect Buffy to be there. Still, she sucks it up and grasps Tara's hand, leading her over to introduce her to her best friend.

Faith worries at first, but relaxes when Willow introduces her new friend. Once Faith realizes she's in the clear there, she dismisses them both. She slouches casually on one of the sofas (How on earth does SMG get her body to bend that way . . . . ), and Willow and Tara join her. Willow wonders why she's not patrolling and Faith explains that she thought she deserved some down time after the whole "Faith thing." Willow commends her and then heads off for a couple of drinks, leaving Tara to watch her go.

Faith immediately picks up on an interesting vibe and runs with it. "So," she queries, "you guys been hanging out a lot lately, huh?" Tara responds in the affirmative and adds that Willow's "really cool." Faith smiles knowingly and comments: "So Willow's not driving stick anymore. Who would've thought. I guess you never really known anyone until you've been inside their skin." Tara is kind of confused and stung by the overtness of Willow's friend. Faith pushes on, asking about Oz, saying she'd never seen two people so much in love. "She just couldn't get enough of old Oz."

Tara is clearly retreating into her shell in Faith's presence, but she tries to explain what Willow has told her about Oz ... Unfortunately, she starts stuttering -- something Faith instantly makes fun of. Before Tara can continue, Willow returns to let "Buffy" know that there's a vampire on the make. At first Faith just commends Willow's good eye (saying it's "wicked obvious.") but as Willow and Tara stare at her expectantly, she remembers she's got a job to do. She heads out after it, grabbing a pool cue on her way.

Outside, Faith finds the vamp already beginning to feed on it's victim, it's back turned to her. She breaks the cue in half and gets the vamp's attention by whopping it on the back. It turns, dropping it's victim, and Faith takes it down pretty easily. She looks at the frightened girl on the ground and tells her "you'll live." She turns to return to the Bronze, when the girl reaches out to grab her hand. "Thank you," she says in earnest. She repeats the thanks with even more feeling, looking directly into Faith's eyes.

Faith is clearly not used to such gratitude and takes the thanks with great discomfort. She returns to the Bronze a tad shaken, to find Willow and Tara waiting. Reassured that all is well, Willow tells Faith that she's walking Tara home because Tara's not feeling well. Faith smiles and tell's Willow to "give her whatever she needs." Willow doesn't register her friend's remark and instead asks if she'll be going home soon, or over to Riley's.

At the mention of Buffy's latest, a disturbing smile creeps across Faith's face. . . . More fun is ahead.

Meanwhile, Buffy is pounding away inside the armored truck, making as much noise as possible. One of the Council guys grabs a syringe full of some kind of sedative to shut her up. But when he gets inside the truck, Buffy takes him down and gets him in a choke hold with her chains. When the others arrive, she demands they unchain her or he dies.

A good plan, however, she's not dealing with the usual bumbling Council geeks. These guys apparently "put their affairs in order" before they go on a mission, in case of emergencies. As Buffy watches in horror, Collins and Spit Guy leave their mate (Smithie) behind for dead.

As they walk away, they discuss their plans. Collins has a call into headquarters. It's going to be tough to get "Faith" out of the country; if the Council can't get them passage, they'll go to a contingency plan. In the background, unable to kill in cold blood, Buffy kicks the other Council guy out of the back of the truck.

In his room, Riley is dutifully studying away when he hears a sound behind him. He senses someone behind him and turns to see his girlfriend draped in the doorway. Faith smiles and twirls her hair before she speaks. "Hi baby."


When Tara and Willow arrive back at Tara's room, Tara is agitated. Willow worries that her friend doesn't feel well, but says they'll get together with Buffy some other time. She's sure they'll really like each other.

Tara finally turns to Willow and blurts out, "She's not your friend."

"I may have over-estimated the you-liking-her factor," Willow counters, concerned.

Tara explains herself -- She doesn't think that Buffy is.... Buffy. Willow is lost, so Tara goes on to say that each person has a "flow" or "unity" around them, and Buffy's seemed fragmented -- "like something forced in where it doesn't belong." Plus, Buffy was mean to her.

Willow wonders if Tara thinks Buffy is possessed (recalling that hyena possession is quite "unpleasant"), but Tara isn't sure. She has an idea, though, for a spell. After getting a ring of Buffy's that Willow has on, she tells Willow that they can create a passage to the "nether realm" to try to find her (I assume she means using the nether realm to find where her spirit actually is in this plane. But.... I don't think that's really important) . Tara's worried, though, because it's a dangerous spell -- very intense. Tara would have to Willow's anchor on this plane. Without question, Willow tells Tara she trusts her. Tara tries to make sure it's clear, but Willow is adamant. She trusts her friend. Tara is touched by this unwavering support.

In Riley's room, Faith pours on the charm -- or her version of it anyway. As Riley questions her about what happened to Faith, she crosses the room and climbs on his lap. Riley pretty quickly forgets about the other Slayer while the one on his lap plays with his hair and stretches languidly. She tells him he "wouldn't have liked Faith. She's not proper and joyless like a girl should be. She has tendency to give in to her animal instincts." Faith leans in for a playful nip to Riley's lips. He's uncomfortable because the door is open. Faith doesn't care, but Riley doesn't really fancy a bunch of marines watching. He picks "Buffy" up off his lap and places her on the ground and shuts the door. Faith notices his injury and after Riley explains that he's feeling pretty good -- that the drugs the professor gave him did seem to make him stronger. Faith suggests they take him for a test drive. And Riley's game.

Faith crawls across the bed and asks how he "wants" her. Riley joins her on the bed, but isn't quite up to Faith's speed. She prompts him -- wanting to know what "nasty little desire" he's been itching try with Buffy's body. "Am I bad girl?" She asks. "Do you want to hurt me?" Riley isn't biting though -- "What are we playing at, here," he demands. Faith tells him she's Buffy. "Right," he responds, "then I'll be Riley." Frustrated that Riley's not responding to her usual tricks, Faith backs off. "If you don't want to play. . . " But Riley cuts her off and pulls her close. He tells her quite seriously that he doesn't want to play, then touches her face and kisses her tenderly.

Meanwhile, Tara and Willow prepare for the spell. Willow shuts the drapes, and Tara gently marks Willow's forehead, lips, and chest with some herbal mix. Then, sitting side by side, but facing opposite directions, they whisper an incantation in unison. Their voices grow more breathy as the power grows and they trace a circle with their hands. As the circle floats around them, they touch hands -- the power surging through them, joining them, overtaking them. Hands touching, Willow gasps and falls to the floor, as magic courses through her body.

In the darkened dorm room, Riley lies on top of Faith and they've clearly just finished making love. He brushes his fingers across her face tenderly, gazing into her eyes.... and tells her that he loves her.

Faith stares at him a moment, shocked, then starts to shove him away. She struggles under him, begging him to get off -- just get off. She jumps out of bed, confused, in pain. "Who are you?" She asks Riley. "What do you want from her?" Riley is confused -- "Should I not have. . . " he starts to ask. And she tells him "this is meaningless."

"You're shaking," he notices and jumps up to wrap a blanket around her -- then pull her into a comforting hug. Faith relents, resting her head on his chest -- trying to absorb what's happening to her.

Below the town, Adam preaches to his new disciples. "I have a gift no man has. I know why I'm here. I was created to kill. To extinguish life wherever I find it. And I have accepted that responsibility." He tells the vampires that they live in fear because they don't have the same gift. He wants them to face that fear. And to be his "first" -- to "let them know" that he is coming. They are eager to help him. First, he wants them to tell him what it is they fear the most.

The next morning, Faith dresses while Riley sleeps soundly. She studies him while buttoning up her shirt, then glances at the clock -- only an hour and a half until her flight. She books it out of there. But on her way out, she runs into Forrest. He gets on "Buffy's" case for not letting Riley get enough rest (this boy has some serious issues here, and I'm really beginning to wonder just how much he cares about Riley . . . . ). Faith tells him it's really none of his business.

Forrest reminds her they've got a mission and Riley's doesn't seem to be thinking about it much lately -- Faith cuts him off. He knows nothing of missions -- she's been "fighting demons since before he could shave." This is interesting because Faith's only been the Slayer for a little over a year. Buffy on the other hand. . . . someone's having some identity issues.

"Yeah," Forrest responds. "You're a killer." And Faith bristles -- "I'm not a killer!" She tells Forrest he doesn't know anything about what it's like to be the Slayer. Forrest wonders if she really cares what he thinks . . . and this catches Faith off guard.

She shakes herself and takes a step back. "No, I don't care," she tells him. "God, I don't care." And she's out the door . . . .

At the warehouse, Collins hangs up the phone and tells his colleagues that the Council can't get them passage out of the country. They'll simply dispose of the Slayer here and now. One heads off to get gasoline to set a fire, while Collins puts a silencer on his gun and heads for the truck. Smithee at least tries to point out that "Faith" could have killed him but didn't. Collins isn't listening. When he gets to the truck and points the gun through the barred window, though, he gets a surprise. Buffy is ready and waiting. She kicks her feet up and grabs his arm with them, yanking him forward and banging his head against the truck. Stunned he falls back unconscious, but drops the gun into the truck. Buffy gets the gun and manages to shoot both the lock that holds her manacles together and the lock to the door from the back compartment to the driver's compartment. Once there, she finds the keys conveniently under the mat. She also struggles with how to drive (typical Buffy!). She knocks the Spit Guy out by slamming the driver's side door into his face, then hits the gas while Smithie futilely shoots at the armored car as it bursts through the warehouse door. Buffy is finally free.


At the airport, Faith checks in at the gate and gets her seat assignment. She's dressed a bit more Buffy-like now, too.

At Giles' place, Buffy bursts through the door, startling the Watcher. She tells him not to move, which isn't a problem for now as he's frozen in place. "I'm not Faith," she insists.

That's funny, Giles tells her, you look a lot like her. He manages to start inching his way to the door, but Buffy calls him on it -- "Stop inching! You were inching!"

"I know what you're going to say," Giles insists. . .

"I'm Buffy," she tells him.

"Alright, I didn't know what you're going to say, but that doesn't make you any less crazy."

Buffy tells him that Faith switched their bodies. Giles tells her that if she's really Buffy, he'll let him tie her up until they straighten things out, but Buffy insists they don't have time. She tells him to quiz her. Giles asks her who's president. Buffy reminds him they're "checking for Buffy, not a concussion."

Exasperated, she reminds him that he turned into a demon, but she knew him by the look in his eyes, can't he do the same?

Surprised, Giles asks her how he turned into the demon. Finally getting somewhere, Buffy starts reciting facts -- that it was Ethan Rayne that did it, that he has a girlfriend named Olivia, that he hasn't had a job since school ("which is valid, lifestyle-wise"), and that when she could read minds she heard her mom think "that he was like a stevedore during sex." Aghast, Giles insists she please stop.

Okay, he's somewhat convinced, but before they can go on, Willow and Tara burst in looking for Giles. Buffy starts to explain, but Willow's way ahead of them. She's knows she's Buffy and that Faith switched their bodies using a Draconian katra spell. Giles is impressed. And Willow tells them Tara figured it out. After introducing Tara to the real Buffy -- only not -- and telling them Tara's a really powerful witch (Tara is adorably shy about it all), Willow shows them the homemade katra they conjured that should switch things back, if they can find Faith.

The phone rings. It's Xander calling to tell them to turn on the TV. A special news report is on -- and as it plays, we see that Faith is watching the same report from the airport. There's a hostage situation at one of Sunnydale's 43 churches. It seems some "horribly disfigured" men have taken over and at least one parishioner has died of "neck wounds." And the assailants have vowed to kill all the hostages.

Inside the church, the leader vamp faces his fear -- and finding that he didn't really have that much to worry about. The thing he was most afraid of -- God -- doesn't seem to have shown.

Outside, the cops brief Riley -- nicely dressed in a suit -- to whom they've been told to defer command. He tells the cop to keep their men outside; they're not prepared to deal with this situation. He heads to the door to scout things out, and runs into Faith.

She asks how many there are. He thinks there are three -- which she can do. He doesn't want her to go in alone and wants her to wait for back up. When she asks him how he got there so fast, he tells her he was just late for church.

She's not waiting. "I'm Buffy," she tells him firmly. "I have to do this." He wants to go with her, but she points out that he's wounded (by poking him in his side) and tells him she "can't use him." She heads in, telling him get anyone who comes out to safety -- unless they've got fangs.

Inside, she walks right in and confronts the leader vamp -- a little verbal sparring passes, and then she tells him "You are not going to kill these people." And why not, the vampire wants to know.

"Because it's wrong," she tells him -- and she means it. A vamp tries to jump her from the side and she tosses him aside with ease. "You're the Slayer," the leader says.

"The one and only," she responds.

Not so fast, outside, the armored car pulls up. Buffy, Tara, and Willow jump out of the back, and Giles joins them from the driver's side just as a cop approaches and tells them they have to leave. Giles distracts the cop with... well... distracting arm motions and over-the-top concern for the hostages so that Buffy can slip away around the truck.

Inside, the leader tells Faith they're not afraid of her-- they're not afraid of anything anymore. She tells them to let the people go and they can take her on. They just decide to skip to the taking her on part. Much fighting ensues.

The people take advantage of the distraction to beat a hasty retreat, while Faith takes out one vamp and a second grabs a cloak and tries to run out the front door. He runs straight into Riley, who grabs his cloak and throws him into the sunlight, where he bursts apart. Just then, Buffy runs up to Riley and grabs him into a hug. Riley is clueless, of course, and tells her "That's okay, Miss, we'll get yourself out of harm's way." She starts to explain, but gives up . . . Riley senses something's amiss and asks her -- "Who are you?"

Inside, Faith struggles mightily with the lead vamp. The strength he's gained from Adam's preaching allows him to get the upper hand, but before he can do anything, he stops mid-gloat and bursts into dust to reveal one determined Buffy standing behind him.

Faith's eyes widen in shock, then she pounces on Buffy. The two Slayer's square off. Once again, they fight tough. But Faith is especially brutal. Buffy tells her she can't win, but Faith won't listen. "Shut up," she screams. "You think I'm afraid of you?" She grabs her old body and shoves it to the ground on her back. She climbs on top and proceeds to punch the hell out of herself all the while yelling "You're nothing! You're a disgusting, murderous bitch!" She punctuates each word by banging her head into the floor. "I hate you! You disgust me!" She goes to punch Buffy one more time and Buffy reaches up to grab her hand -- with the katra concealed in her palm. There's a flash of light and their bodies switch back. Buffy, herself again, jumps off and back away from Faith -- too shocked by the brutality just exhibited to do anything. Faith immediately takes off running. Buffy can only watch her go.

Back in Riley's room, Buffy gets off the phone and tells Riley that Giles says there's been no sign of Faith.... and that the Watcher guys have left town, too. He sits across the room from her and wonders how it's all possible. Subdued, Buffy tells him -- magic.

Perhaps beating up on himself more than anything, Riley insists he should have known. He can't look Buffy in the eyes and it's in that moment she realizes that he slept with her. He can't deny it -- but insists he slept with Buffy. He didn't know. Stunned, Buffy moves to the window. Riley wishes he could get his hands on her ("Not in a sex way!"), but Buffy doesn't think she's coming back. She gazes out the window, trying hard to make sense of it all. "She's had her fun," says Riley. "Yeah," Buffy says, not really agreeing, "fun."

In a box car headed out of town, Faith sits curled in the corner, alone and quiet -- staring into nothing. What she's thinking, we may never know. Characters
This is Faith's episode to shine, as a character. In typical Faith fashion, she's all set to bail immediately, but on discovering she has time to kill, she decides to have some fun with her new body and Buffy's friends. What she doesn't count on while she plays at being Buffy is discovering the unconditional love and support that Buffy receives every day and the effect that has on her. Faith starts off playing games and doing a pretty poor job of playing Buffy as she thinks Buffy acts, but after experiencing a mother's love (which she is clearly uncomfortable with), friendship, gratitude, and a tender romantic evening punctuated with a declaration of love -- things start to fall apart. We see more evidence of this girl's deep-seated issues -- as a neglected child and possibly as a sexually abused one. Her desire to role-play with Riley belies an inability to be truly be intimate, to want to have the power in a situation. Her reaction once she gives in to him and he makes love to her is of confusion and pain. She expects that Riley simply wants something from Buffy. She reluctantly takes comfort in his arms and the next day seems genuinely unsure about leaving him. Only a confrontation with Forrest snaps her back to her own "reality." But it's even a vampiric crisis that brings Faith completely over to Buffy's reality -- the one thing they truly share is where Faith feels most comfortable taking over Buffy's world. She makes the decision in that airport to Do the Right Thing and even tells Riley that "I'm Buffy. I have to do this." It seems that with Buffy out of the picture, Faith truly believes she can be Buffy. All this leads to, however, is the moment when it all comes crashing down after Buffy intervenes to save Faith's life. In a moment of crystal-clear realization, when Faith sees the person she wants to be (and who, incidentally, put her in the hospital and killed her father figure) behind the body of the person she least wants to be (herself), she snaps. Faith is a girl with so many issues, it's unclear whether she'll believe this is rock bottom and take some of the things she learned while "being Buffy" to try to change and grow, or whether she'll let the resentment she feels for having yet another thing ripped away from her by Buffy fester into an even deeper hatred. Buffy thinks she may have seen the last of Faith, but I'm not so certain. Not by a long shot.

Buffy learns what it's like to be loathed with a great deal of passion, what it's like to look into hate-filled eyes and to have everything she says dismissed as lies. She gets a glimpse at the dark side of Faith's life; she doesn't like it. But she does keep her cool and learn to fight a little dirty -- sadly, the Council guys she's dealing with this time fight back. It takes all of her cunning and strength to break free.

Anya has become that person you've always wanted to stay for the weekend, but when she does, you find out she only knows one joke, and she tells it all the time. I know Joss and co. have said repeatedly that they have Big Plans for Xander. I'm trying hard to trust them on that. But that doesn't make the here and now any easier. So, they want to establish Xander's isolation from the group. I'm assuming there's some Big Decision coming up for him that will make sense as a result of this isolation. Fine. And so to give him something to do, they've made Anya a recurring character. Okay, fine. As a recurring character, I can't expect a lot of development. Fine. So she's there for amusement. Fine. But can't she amuse me some other way? She's was a demon for 1100 years. She's been human for one. There have to be things other than sex that she's new at?

Buffy & Faith -- Oh I don't even know if I can wrap my brain around where they are right now. They've each experienced what it's like to be the other -- and both came up wanting to be Buffy. But there can be only one Buffy. Will Faith continue to resent Buffy? Will Buffy take Faith's latest assault and overcome any guilt she feels over what she did to Faith last season? Will that guilt be replaced by hatred . . . or pity?

Buffy & Riley -- So. He told Buffy he loved her. The problem is -- it wasn't Buffy. Buffy knows he slept with Faith -- and after her insecurity over Angel's attraction to Faith in Enemies/Earshot last season, it will be interesting to see how Buffy takes the fact that Riley actually slept with her -- even though he really thought it was Buffy. Should he have known?

Willow & Tara -- They finally talk about why Willow has been keeping Tara secret. Is Tara really hurt by Willow's treatment? Or just worried about just why Willow is doing so? Tara is insecure, and I'm deeply curious as to why, but she's also extremely perceptive. I tend to think that she just wants Willow to express what she's thinking and feeling, not keep it bottled in. It's a touching moment when she assures Willow that she is hers -- in whatever form she chooses. And it's nice to see that Tara respects Willow's other relationships, too. Now that she's out of the closet, so to speak, it will be interesting to see how she integrates into the Scooby Gang and how the others take her presence in Willow's life.

Questions & Comments
Do I even want to know what Adam is up to? He seems to be building an army of vampire followers and instilling a powerful lack of fear in them -- he wants them to "be his first" and to spread the word of his coming. I'm confused. And not a little scared.

The Watcher's Council finally shows again -- cool! They have Black Ops guys -- surprising, but cool! How does Giles know them? And why am I so sure they'll be back? Why does the Council see Buffy as as much a non-issue as Faith? Hmmm . . . .

Eliza did an amazing job portraying Buffy. She seemed to be Buffy -- from the inside out. Sarah, on the other hand, struck me at times as being too much Faith. She was acting like her. She was overacting. She was, excuse the pun, vamping it up. I never once didn't believe she was Faith, mind you. She had the tougher job of having to portray Faith playing at Buffy. I just thought her actions were so noticeable or distracting at times that it bordered on being silly that the Scooby Gang didn't notice something was amiss.

How do you make Spike pop like warm champagne? Oh. I'm sorry. Was that out loud? ;-)

Best Moments:
* Faith mugging in the mirror. Mostly because it was funny, but also because it introduced something silly (Because it's wrong!) that grew throughout the episode to mean a great deal.

* Eliza's subtle but dead-on portrayal of Buffy. She made it easy to believe in and root for her to get free.

* Faith (in Buffy's body) whipping Spike into a frenzy and then dropping him cold. Harsh! But oh so sexy. His reaction, too, was perfect. He's a vamp on the edge. The gang better hope he doesn't get his chip out soon -- or maybe they should. His list of grievances is getting long as it is.

* Faith taunting Tara -- a good bad moment if you will. Faith demonstrates her razor sharp tongue, picks up on the Willow/Tara vibe right off and potentially alienates and intimidates a new friend all in a just a few seconds. It's a good thing . . . .

* Tara figures out Faith. What a perfect scene -- just when you expect her to pull the cliche "Buffy's not your friend" deal that puts Willow in the middle, she pipes up with her astute observations. Great way to begin her integration into the Scooby Gang -- and alleviate some of those Tara is evil fears.

* The spell -- Joss never ceases to amaze me the kinds of things he can get on TV. This moment ranks right up there with the B/A feeding scene for most overly sexual non-sex scene. Gorgeous music by Chris Beck, fabulous special effects, and breathlessly understated performances by Alyson and Amber.

* The accompanying Riley/Faith scene -- loved how Faith tried to play the same old games with Riley but he was having none of it. The resulting, ill-times "I love you" (the first) sent shockwaves through Faith that I think just might still be going.

* Adam ripping the head off the vampire. Not good thing mind you -- but good in that "holy joss this is bad" kind of way.

* Buffy convincing Giles who she was -- especially the stevedore line! Eliza nailed Buffy in this scene.

* Faith facing the vampires as Buffy -- the delivery of "because it's wrong" in that scene.

* Faith beating the crap out of herself -- a sterling moment of pure self-loathing perfectly (and painfully) realized.

Five by Five -- even though Sarah's portrayal of Faith bugged me at times, it wasn't enough to tarnish yet another fantastic Whedon episode. I'm sorely tempted to knock it down a quarter of a point for the pitiful lack of Xander, but I'm gonna cut them some slack . . . . but not for much longer.


"I shouldn't be giggling this much. Except that torturing Spike is fun." -- Chris

"What a fabulous episode! I love how they're handling the Willow/Tara stuff. I've said from the beginning that I could see Joss using the seductive/sexual powers of magic as a metaphor for experimenting sexually. I'm sure he'll take it past that, but what an interesting way to start the W/T relationship and get people used to it. I also love that they're taking their time so even the hype that hit the fan when EW got hold of the story will have died down by the time anything *really* happens. Go Joss!" -- Mary Beth

"And Adam. Whoa. If he can just pop the tops off vampires -- that creeps me out. And my new scariest Buffy moments come right after any time Adam says "I've been thinking . . . " ::shudder:: Never EVER a good thing." -- Mary Beth

"The most powerful of all was watching Faith decide she kind of liked being Buffy and then realizing just how much of her problem is a lot of self-loathing and insecurity. Watching her beat the crap out of herself. . . . Ouch. Ouch. Ouch."
"Oh, yeah. And in an odd, painful sort of way, this actually gives me a glimmer of hope for her. 'Cause if anything qualifies as hitting rock bottom for her, this was it. She can wallow there only so long, and then there's nowhere to go but up. Maybe she'll even be ready to listen to Angel now, if she runs across him..." -- Mary Beth and Val

"And WOW did not Eliza do a fabulous job as Buffy? And while I thought Sarah was too obviously trying to be Faith at first.... once Faith started trying to be more Buffy-like... she really hit her stride, too. Eliza just seemed to *be* Buffy while Sarah was *acting* like Faith. Maybe that was part of the plan - cuz Faith wouldn't be good at it. But it.... didn't seem right. Too obviously trying to talk like her and act like her." -- Mary Beth

"Okay...question. Does the word "katra" come from somewhere specific (read: real), or did Joss steal it from the Vulcans?" -- Amy

"Just one question: How come, when people go "bad" in Sunnydale, they automatically pull on a pair of leather pants? Where do they get them? Did their bright-shiny-happy personas buy them on the off-chance that they'll get taken over and the possessor of their bodies doesn't want to wear Goth Martha Stewart? Just wondering..."
"Well, actually. Buffy had a pair of leather pants last season in Graduation -- for fighting Faith. I'll bet she went shopping with Faith one time and bought 'em to be cool. And then kept 'em around for special ass-kicking occasions. . . . as well as the inadvertant soul-switching events. But yeah.... there's a running theory that leather pants = evil. Angelus. Faith. Vamp Willow. Buffy when she went after Faith. Buffy when she *was* Faith. Wesley when he first showed up and he *thought* he was a Bad Ass." -- Lizbet and Mary Beth

"That was the one overriding thought during the scene with Giles (okay--*after* laughter) was just how much you could just *tell* she was Buffy, not just from the phrasing, but from the delivery of the lines as well as the subtle body language. Or at least most of the delivery. When Buffy starts edging towards bibbling, she talks much faster, but that wasn't the case while she was trying to convince Giles. But overall...WOW. " -- Julie

"The Faith/Riley stuff. Oh my. That's it, confuse the poor wounded boy even more than the drugs, training, blood loss and Adam already have. That had to be the first time in Faith's life that she was probably exposed (okay, stop sniggering) to the kind of loving emotion that Riley showed her. Am I the only one wondering if Faith was sexually assaulted at a very young age? Possibly by one of her mother's 'friends'? Or maybe even her real father? Or was her reaction to Riley's declaration in part her wishing that it really was her that he loved and not who he thought she was?" -- Julie

"Spike all hot & bothered & confused and then she leaves him high & dry. ::giggle:: I wonder how much more abuse Joss is gonna heap on Spike before un-neutering (de-neutering? dis-neutering?) him and how much havoc will he create once he can? ::shiver:: On a lighter note, I loved him bad-temperedly shoving that person only to clutch his head in pain immediately afterword." -- Julie

"I seriously agree about the lack of Xanderness, though. This sucks. I'm sure Anya (his Anya, not ours) would very vociferously give Joss a piece of her mind about that, if she knew about it. Not to mention that the "7-minute" comment of Faith's, while not refuted, didn't look like something she agreed with. " -- Chris

"And, lame though it may be, I do hope they redeem Faith. I mean, I know that's what they want me to want. And I know she's been really really evil. But still. Maybe it's just that evil *is* more boring than good, if that's all you're going to do with it--- but working out issues and climbing out of the gutter (like Leslie said) are really cool. Or maybe they just have really great writing and an incredibly talented actress going for them. Hard to say. " -- Chris

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