"I realize this is gonna sound funny coming from someone that just spent a lot of time kicking your face, but you can trust me."
Once upon a time, I deluded myself into thinking that I would do some rapid blogging and review Amends in time for Christmas. It's now January 8 (how??) and I'm still about three episodes behind. At this rate, I'll review Amends some time like April, squandering the one and only Buffy Christmas episode. But I won't dwell. It's 2012 and I resolve to knock these out two a month with an option on surprising myself with three.
Revelations opens my favorite way--at The Bronze with Dingoes Ate My Baby. We get many loving shots of Oz in a horrible checkered vest, giving false hope that this episode will be Oz-centric and maybe give him a personality.
But no. When the set is over, we see it was only a way of transitioning into relationship woes, with Willow and Xander flailing about, clinging onto Oz and Cordelia, protesting too much. I'd almost forgotten about this :(
Willow tries to deflect by saying that Buffy has been acting strange lately, and wonders if she has a new "honey." Enter Buffy, who tells the group that she is seeing somebody tonight--Faith. "Really, we're just good friends," she says. I remember watching this moment (or a similar moment) with audio commentary, and the writer of the episode said, "Oh, some of that latent homoeroticism between Buffy and Faith that fans love so much!" Which takes some of the fun out of it. But I'm just saying, by Bad Girls, things aren't so latent anymore.
At the cemetery, a pushy British lady (who I keep thinking is Embeth Davidtz) turns up to critique Faith and Buffy's slaying. She's Faith's new Watcher, Gwendolyn Post.
Gwendolyn pisses everyone off from the get-go by doing such audacious things as trying to be an authority figure to Faith and dissing Giles's book collection because he doesn't have Hume's Paranomal Encyclopedia. Huh! Who knew! She makes some snobby comments about Americans being so stupid, in what I think is an attempt to remind us of Season One Giles and show how much he has acclimated to the Scoobies. Indeed, Gwendolyn tells Giles that she has come to Sunnydale to serve as Faith's Watcher, warn them about new demon in town who wants to steal some mystical glove, and to keep an eye on Giles, who the Council fear has become "too American." Oh no you didn't!
Buffy joins Angel for some erotic interpretive dance or else maybe Tai Chi, which results in them almost accidentally making out. Only a few episodes ago, Angel was a feral creature spat out from a hell dimension, but is now the same old Angel as ever. We may not be far into the season, but his place on the show already seems a bit dubious--what can they do with him that they haven't already done? How does he fit in with the goings-on of the season?
Giles sends Xander to find Buffy and warn her about some piece of news about that magic glove thingy. But darn the luck, he just so happens to spot Angel and Buffy making out in a crypt! I guess the reason they couldn't kiss earlier was that they had to wait for Xander to find them in a compromising position.
Angel shows Buffy the magical glove, which he retrieved from some tomb. When she tries to grab it, he stops her and tells her that once you put the glove on, it cannot be removed. "So, no touching. Kind of like us," she says. Groan.
The Scoobies stage an intervention at the library the next day to confront Buffy about her Angel problem. If you're anticipating a grand Xander meltdown full of slut-shaming and waaaahhhhh, ten points! He pulls the Jenny Calendar card again, shouting, "But it's all your fault that this woman died who I had no real relationship with but whose name I will toss around to make you feel badly about yourself, why do you love Angel and not me????" Much more moving is Giles' appeal to Buffy as he tells her in private, "Angel tortured me for hours, with pleasure. You have no respect for me or the job I perform."
He may be showing shades of an inferiority complex due to Gwendolyn Post, but if you remember the trauma of Passion, it's not difficult to understand why Giles would be a teensy bit pissed off.
Gwendolyn turns up at Faith's motel for a little pep talk. Faith may still have a problem with authority, but her new Watcher promises to make her a better slayer, congratulating her on the Spartan living that has turned her into such an effective killer. This is a small, but highly important scene in which Gwendolyn plays on Faith's insecurities--a lack of material possessions and social life, which distances her from Buffy--to make her a more devoted Slayer. In the same breath that she praises Faith, she insults Buffy and Giles for their slacker methods and for holding secret meeting with all of Buffy's friends, from which Faith was excluded.
Faith finds Xander pouting at The Bronze. They're both feeling put-out by Buffy, and when Faith finds out that Buffy lied to her about Angel, it's the last straw. Ruthless Spartan killer that she is, she leaves to slay Angel.
Back at the library, Giles tells Gwendolyn that the magical glove is safe and sound, and that he found a way to destroy it. Gwendolyn is like, thanks buddy! And then whacks him over the head!
Apparently Gwendolyn is not so much a Watcher as a power hungry crazy lady who wants the magical glove so she can destroy stuff.
Faith and Xander find Giles in the library, but due to his being unconscious, they get the wrong end of the stick and think Angel is the culprit. While Faith runs off to kill Angel once and for all, Xander sticks around to wait for the paramedics, and also so he can be a condescending douche when Buffy turns up. As the paramedics wheel Giles away, he says, "Destroy the glove! Use living flame!" Really Giles? You couldn't be like, "Oh and btw, Gwendolyn is actually psycho!"
Gwendolyn shows up at Angel's crypt and, not knowing he's a vampire, tries to whack him over the head too. Faith, of course, turns up and sees Angel lookin' all like a vampire and assumes the worst. Though Angel doesn't help his case when he menacingly tells Faith, "You're not getting that glove!" rather than, "Oh, hello Faith! It turns out your Watcher is psycho. Please let me destroy the glove." Apparently getting whacked over the head by Gwendolyn makes people quite inarticulate.
What we take away from the final showdown is not that Gwendolyn is evil, but that Faith was quick to associate herself with someone who allowed her to antagonize Buffy. So in the end, after Gwendolyn gets electrocuted by lightning and the glove is destroyed, Buffy makes a peace offering to Faith. But Faith, embarrassed to have put her "faith" (lol!) in the wrong person, doesn't learn that she should trust Buffy, but that she shouldn't trust anybody.