Mon
Jun 4 2012 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: “They Swear There Was A Memo”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

We’re deep into Xandillow’s descent into cheating and remorse now as “Revelations” opens, a sad, doomed adulteryfest whose theme is sung to us by Dingoes Ate My Baby, official Bronze house band of 1998. They finish up a song and the camera lingers on Oz, who looks very cool and musical. He’s probably pondering how to cancel his next full moon gig.

When Oz steps off the stage to go sit with the other Scoobies, his joining the table sets off a catastrophic round of guilt-induced fidgeting from everyone’s favorite cheatin’ hearts duo.

To distract everyone, Willow raises the possibility that all of Buffy’s furtive not-being-around lately might be because she’s dating someone... which is, oddly, not far from the truth. But our Slayer shows up and puts paid to what could otherwise be a very satisfying gossip session.

First, she’s all coy and “I am going out with someone tonight.” Whee!

Alas, she means Faith, but though there’s a a delicious and suggestive little snuggle between the Chosen Two before they head out, that’s all any potential Faith/Buffy shippers are gonna get. Not only are they on the job, they’re taking a chaperone along for the ride.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

The two slayers and Giles then go after some larval vampires, fresh from the tomb. It goes okay. The job gets done, and the vamps go the way of all non-speaking extras in Sunnydale. But then a spoiley-sporty voice from offstage comes in to criticize everyone for sloppiness, of all things. Fans, meet Gwendolyn Post, Faith’s new watcher.

Or, actually, not.

Gwen sets about ingratiating herself with the gang by abusing Giles, his library, the girls’ slaying technique, America, their collective commitment to defeating evil in our time, their vamp-battling tactics and even the tea.

Then she tells them there’s a demon in town, Lagos, and he’s after a deadly magical glove. Buffy and Faith are tasked with sweeping Sunnydale’s dozen graveyards while Giles looks for info and Xander and Willow go a-necking in the stacks.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

This is awesome for Buffy, who promptly steals away to spend some time making longing, soulful puppy eyes at Angel’s lips during their tai chi class. She tells him what’s up with Lagos as a means of cooling their ardor and then heads off back to the salt mines.

This leads to Angel going out to pick up the glove and Xander following him back to the mansion, where he sees Buffangel making out like... well, like him and Willow. He hotfoots it back to Giles, embarrassing him in front of Gwen, and the next thing we all know, Buffy’s getting an intervention from the gang.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

This second Scooby smackdown of Buffy strikes me as a lot more reasonable than the one in “Dead Man’s Party.” Angel is dangerous, Buffy isn’t objective where he’s concerned, and the things brought up during this argument—Jenny’s murder, again, the threat Angelus poses to the Scoobies, all added to the fact that he and Buffy weren’t exactly duct-taping themselves into chastity belts when Xander saw them—are all pretty fair beefs.

Giles defuses it all before it can get too ugly, supporting Buffy and sending the gang away. He gives Buffy his own what-fer privately. It’s a pretty measured scolding, considering that he’s the one who lost a girlfriend and got tortured. Still, Buffy decides to kill Lagos to make amends. Would that we could all placate our dads that way.

She and Willow go stake out a likely crypt, where they have a little heart to heart about secrets and how she feels better now that everyone knows Angel’s back. Willow almost spills the beans about Xander, but then the demon shows up.

Rrrr. Arrrr. Fisticuffs. He’s dead. It’s all a little too simple, right?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

And, sure enough, there is a sneakier Evil afoot, dressed in prim little pumps. First Gwendolyn goes and gives Faith a big sales pitch for how she’s gonna tuff love her into surviving her slaying duties, and then she seeds a bit of discontent about the Scoobies and how Faith didn’t get invited to the intervention. Faith goes to Xander, who tells her Angel’s alive, and the two of them hatch a plan to fix that but good. They head off to the library for weaponry, finding a head-conked Giles (oh, that tricky Gwendolyn and her glove-coveting ways!)

Faith decides that one concussed Watcher is prima facie evidence that killing Angel is the best idea ever. Xander shows character growth by doubting. But too bad! Off Faith sprints to do the deed. In the process, she kicks off a big, multi-stage brawl at the mansion. Gwen tries to take the gauntlet from Angel. He thumps her, she goes down, Faith steps in and kicks some major Angel butt.

(In fact, she pretty much defeats him. As did Kendra, remember? Angel, maybe you’re just not that impressive, as fighters go.)

When Buffy shows up and saves Angel from stakeage, Gwen sets the two Slayers on each other.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

This is almost as much fun as hoping to watch them make out, I have to say. I love watching Buffy/Faith fights. They look so into it, and the choreography is always awesome. This particular throwdown is only interrupted when Gwen finally gets the glove.

I wonder what her plan was? Get the glove, and then what? Take over the world? Mock Faith, Giles, and America until they blubbed? We’ll never know; she got zorched pretty quickly. Maybe her plan was get the glove, piss off two Slayers, and die.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

The events of “Revelations” push Faith further from the gang, reinforcing her general mistrust of, well, everyone. It’s a nice little chain of events: she loses one Watcher, starts to trust a second and is betrayed by her, and soon she’ll be getting herself a Wesley. It is a rough ride. Despite her protests to the contrary, Faith wants Watching, in her way—she wants her own Giles. It’s not why she joins the Mayor, but it certainly defines their relationship. 

This story also increases the footprint of the Watcher’s Council on our viewer consciousness. We’ve now heard from them a few times. And I think it’s noteworthy that, though Gwen doesn’t truly represent them, it’s largely her snotty behavior that convinces Giles she’s the real deal. The Watcher’s Council secret club handshake seems, essentially, to be “Behave like a bit of a jerk, chaps!”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, Episode 7,

In terms of a final score, this episode is something of a tie for the forces of good. The glove is gone, Gwen is gone, but Faith, though nobody knows it yet, is slipping toward the dark side. Angel’s back in the game, and Xander and Willow get to hang onto their secret for one more precious week of illicit smoochies.

And, somewhere in Latin America, Drusilla is giving Spike his walking papers.


A.M. Dellamonica has a short story up here on Tor.com — an urban fantasy about a baby werewolf, “The Cage” which made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2010. She also has a second story up here called “Among the Silvering Herd.”

6 comments
Constance Sublette
1. Zorra
Did the Council ever accomplish anything useful and productive in the course the entire Buffy arc? Other than giving Buffy Giles as her Watcher in the first place? Was it the Council that helped the Bad Willow get herself back under control or was that some other entity? That's the only other thing I can (possibly) recall that the Council did that had some value.

Shoot, they couldn't even keep themselves alive by the end! Hmmmm. Maybe that's why we could have a myriad of Slayers now instead one at a time?

Love, C.
john mullen
2. johntheirishmongol
It might have been interesting if they actually had a female watcher to replace Giles, instead of someone looking out for themselves. Instead we ended up with Wesley, who ended up being annoying on 2 shows. And married Willow...

As for the ep, I thought this one had a lot to offer and involved everyone. I thought the intervention was a bit silly but aren't they all.
Emma Rosloff
3. emmarosloff
I really liked getting to see a female Watcher, even if we learn that she's gone rogue, by the end of it. Joss Whedon's good at lulling you into a false sense of security... setting a reasonable expectation and then twisting it. We know Faith has lost her Watcher and that she's due for another one. And Gwendolyn is so British it hurts; she inserts herself into the group almost too easily. In retrospect, it was hard for me to believe that the Watchers wouldn't mention this to Giles (I'm aware they don't communicate very well or often... but he hasn't been fired yet, right?).

You'd think, if they had any shred of sense, snotty or no, they'd consider the possibility that Gwen might find her way to the Hellmouth, as it seems all the most ill-intentioned things do. But, it wasn't incongruous that nobody suspected her (I certainly accepted her as readily as they did); instead, Whedon was monoploizing on the precedent he set with Giles, and poking a little fun at the viewer... illustrating that there's more to the Watchers than just outsnobbing each other, but it's funny when they do, isn't it?

Also love that things are heating up between Xander and Willow... that was another organic development that I thought was handled well; you never get the sense that they want to leave the people they're with to be with each other, that this is some be all end all realization that they're meant to be together. Instead, it's all about the fantasy, the 'what-if' scenario. Whedon's all about the forbidden love in Buffy, and this is no exception.
Alyx Dellamonica
4. AMDellamonica
A female Wesley (as it were) would have been really intriguing!! I could see her, whoever she was, and Joyce going toe to toe.

My candidate: Maggie Smith!
Allegra
5. Allegra
I hated the Angel Intervention in "Revelations". That scene really pissed me off. Giles, Willow, Xander, Oz, and Cordelia have no right to dictate what she can do or not. Angel did not pose as a danger because he saved her life when she needed it. She only kept him a secret because she knew that Giles and the rest would be judgemental and she was right.
Alyx Dellamonica
6. AMDellamonica
Yeah, that was tough to watch. I hated it too. But I can see why they overreacted, a little. What happened with Angelus was such a terrible thing, and the fate of the world turned on it.

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