Episode Title: Faith, Hope and Trick
Original Air Date: October 13, 1998
“Giles, there are two things that I don’t believe in: coincidence and leprechauns.” – Buffy
This week sees the start of some major changes in the Buffy universe as outlined by the episode title which essentially names the three characters who debut here (Faith, Scott Hope, Mr. Trick) and in doing so each bring their own element to the Buffy universe.
The most major of the three of these of course being the arrival of the new slayer “Faith” whose impact on the Buffy-verse will later flow not into the “Angel” spin off but also the comic books aswell with “Angel and Faith” she received her calling following the death of Kendra and now arrives in Sunnydale keen to meet Buffy while her watcher is away at a watcher’s retreat in England while being pursued by the ancient vampire Kakistos.
Unquestionably one of my favourite characters in the Buffy-verse Faith really makes an impact with her debut in this episode as the wilder counterpart to Buffy who reveals in the thrill of slaying while certainly not as reserved as Buffy who despite frequently being branded a troublemaker seems positively meek in comparison to Faith whose introduction not only see’s her slaying a vamp but also regaling Buffy and the Scoobies with lewd tales of her slayer exploits including alligator wrestling and saving a bunch of nuns while in the nude. Needless to say Xander immediately warms to her despite the fact that no one really knows anything about this new slayer.
Meanwhile for Buffy the prospect of a new slayer really is no sign of relief for Buffy who has finally been allowed back into Sunnydale high, no doubt thanks to Giles having a quiet world with Principal Snyder at the end of the previous episode. At the same time she has also attracted the attention of fellow student Scott Hope who surprisingly for the Buffy-verse hasn’t any kind of supernatural background and just wants to date Buffy for the pure reason of being attracted to her…shocking I know. Of course Buffy at this point is still hung up over Angel, whose ring also randomly shows up when Scott tries to give it to her causing Buffy to freak out and only able to commit to going on a date with him at the end of the episode, beliving herself ready to move on from Angel who in the big surprise and unknown to Buffy suddenly reappears from hell as the episode ends.
Kakistos is an interesting monster of the week, mainly due to him being one of the oldest vampires that Buffy has faced to date which has in turn caused his hands and feet to turn into cloven hooves, which at the same time preferring things from his time period which makes it all the more surprising that he is associated with a modern thinking vampire like “Mr. Trick” who also serves for most of the episode as Kakistos’s representative while having the great opening of ordering at a drive through take out and then dragging the cashier out of the window. True it is kind of crappy that he just abandons his master seemingly at the first sign of trouble, but here he establishes himself as a character to watch, while also sharing the suprisingly shocking figure that Sunnydale has a higher murder rate than Washington D.C. not that you could tell from the constantly happy demeanour of the town’s citizens and lack of police state.
Despite the fact that the episode is essentially introducing three key characters for this season it flows really well, with Eliza Dushku not only owning the character of Faith from her initial introduction, but totally blowing any memories of Kendra out of the water. More so when unlike Kendra she truly seems to be an equal for Buffy, something which will as the season goes out will become all the more key.
Next Episode: Beauty and the Beasts