Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Who Are You?

Episode 72.
airdate: 29 Feb 2000.

This episode is going to be difficult to write about, because it's SUCH a phenomenal display of television writing and really demonstrates Sarah Michelle Gellar's prowess as an actress. Joss Whedon really outdid himself with the themes/concept of what it would be like psychologically for these two women to switch bodies. Buffy gets to see what it feels like to be treated like a psychotic "bitch" and Faith is forever changed after being treated like a trusted "good" girl. Each could stand to be more like the other. It's not healthy to be as black and white as these two women are in comparison to one another. I'm getting ahead of myself, but this is probably one of my top ten favorite Buffy episodes, so I'm worried I won't do it justice.

Play.

I don't really understand what the Mayor was doing, I mean I guess he was giving Faith a fresh start by making it possible for her to get inside Buffy's body.

Willow finally explains to Tara that the reason she's keeping her a secret from her friends is because she likes having something that's just "mine". Tara says, "I am, you know...yours." Eeeeeeeee! Love that moment.

Ok, I need to get out of the way how I will speak of Faith and Buffy in this episode. I once saw an academic paper do it this way, so I will follow suit: when I'm speaking about Faith IN Buffy's body I will write FIB. When I speak of Buffy in Faith's body, BIF.

So, after being all weird with Joyce for a bit, FIB takes a bath, makes faces at herself in the mirror to get used to her new body, eeks as much cleavage as she can with Buffy's small cups, steals her passport, and books a flight with Joyce's credit card. Joyce gets a call from Giles to meet up at his place and FIB decides to go before she skips town.

Meanwhile, the police have BIF, but the Watcher's Council steal her from the cop car and take her into THEIR custody instead. They're planning to take her back to England to deal with her in Council territory. FIB meets Spike for the first time. She begins the episode declaring things "wrong" with sarcasm, but ends it with conviction, which is a nice nuance.

BIF gets her face spit into, bet that's never happened to Buffy before. Willow and Tara run into FIB at The Bronze. First time Tara's ever met Buffy, though you know, not really. She's mean to Tara. Willow notices a vampire, points him out to FIB, therefore FIB is obligated to kill him. When she does, the girl the vampire was feeding upon thanks her genuinely...this is a moment for FIB. She's not used to being thanked.

When Tara and Willow are alone, Tara explains, though she'd never met Buffy before tonight, that Buffy wasn't Buffy. "A person's energy has a flow, a unity. Buffy's was fragmented, grated, like something forced in where it doesn't belong." FIB goes to see Riley. She acts real weird asking him what he "wants to do to this body" etc and Riley stops her from the raw fucking thing and makes looooooove to her instead, so this is another pivotal moment for Faith. Tara and Willow are doing a sexy spell, as per usual. FIB sort of freaks after sex with Riley. He tells her he loves her and sticks around as she freaks out. She wanted to run, but she allows herself to be comforted by Riley.

Adam makes a speech, but I wasn't paying attention; thinking about the ramifications of someone having sex with your bf while in your body. That's pretty heavy, man. BIF is fighting the Council dudes and escaping in a big truck. FIB is at the airport.

I want to talk about clothing symbolism for a sec. When FIB first dressed after her bath at Joyce's, she put on leather pants and a black tank top. After her evening with Riley, she put on HIS shirt when she left his house in the morning. At the airport she's wearing light blues and a flowery skirt. She's obviously changing. I always notice clothing symbolism. I know it's such a simple thing, but I really like the effort.

BIF gets back into town and visits Giles, convincing him (eventually) that she is Buffy. Dushku isn't as good as Gellar, but she's not bad. The scene is really endearing (I'm trying not to say cute as much) between former Watcher and Slayer. Willow and Tara show up explaining the whole sitch after their sexy spell. They've conjured a remedy and Tara is introduced to the real Buffy, still BIF of course. So now they just need to find FIB and switch back bodies. They find out, both FIB and BIF via news broadcast, that some vampires are holding a church-full of people hostage. They both go to save the day, FIB leaving the airport (and her escape) to do so. Virtue! FIB is acting a lot like the real Buffy now. BIF shows too as FIB is kicking ass.

They're now face to face, kicking each other's asses, as per usual. FIB starts deconstructing, beating herself up and calling herself disgusting. BIF switches them back and Faith runs. Buffy realizes Riley had sex with Faith. Buffy is hurt, but she looks contemplative. She understands where Faith is for the first time, even empathizes with her.

Faith's redemption has begun. So exciting! I love her story arc.

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