Buffy The Vampire Slayer S:04 Ep:16

Episode Title: Who Are You?

Original Air Date: February 29, 2000

“Giles, you turned into a demon, and I knew it was you. I mean, can’t you just look in my eyes and be all intuitive?” – Buffy

So last week things weren’t looking great for Buffy for not only had the rogue slayer Faith woke up from her coma with revenge on her mind, but by the end of the episode she’d swapped bodies with Buffy leaving Buffy now in Faith’s body to be carted off by the cops. Needless to say things were looking pretty rosy for Faith as she had essentially claimed Buffy’s life for herself while putting all her many issues onto Buffy who not in Faith’s body not only initially has to deal with the cops but soon the operatives sent by the Watchers Council who plan to ship her back to England.

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Despite the setup this episode is really about Faith finding herself and facing up to what she has done, not that it would seem that this would be the case as from the start she seems more keen to live up her newly gained freedom living under the guise of being Buffy which of course is only made the easier by the Scoobies being completely oblivious to the fact that their fearless leader has been body swapped. A situation only made the more amusing by the fact that the only one who actually realises something is wrong is Tara. A strange writing choice especially when the first time she’s met Buffy is when she’s been taken over by Faith, so go figure the logic behind that. Perhaps this lack of recognition that Buffy’s personality has changed is to tie more into the running theme for the season of the members growing apart, but here its left as a confused side note.

Over the course of the episode Faith starts off seemingly making up for the time she lost in the coma as she quickly returns to her old ways even sleeping with Riley which ultimately makes her question how she has been living her life, much like the motherly attention she gets from Joyce which only add to the confusion she is feeling for this new situation she finds herself in. While by the end of the episode she might still be on the run its clear that she is already questioning her role in the greater scheme of things as we leave her in the back of a truck heading out of Sunnydale (for now atleast) and as we would later discover LA where when she next appears on “Angel”.

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Sarah Michelle Gellar clearly is having a blast in this episode making it non to surprising that she views it as being her favourite. The opening scenes in particular are a lot of fun as Faith adjusts to her new body, running through sayings and generally goofing around as I wondered if this is just Gellar’s actual warm up routine being caught on film here. Buffy though is actually given very little to do in this episode outside of escaping from the council’s task force who I wish had been used again in the series especially when they have such potential from the snippets of information we get about them, such as their willingness to sacrifice themselves for their mission as discovered when Buffy attempts to hold one of the trio hostage.

Outside of the body swapping antics we also get to see more of Adam who here recruits a group of vampires to infiltrate a church as he challenges their ideology which has kept them for centuries living in fear of the church and what it represents. This early skirmish not only laying the foundation for the larger plans of Adam but also serving to provide a meeting point for Buffy and Faith to face off one final time.

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This episode can also be seen as the start of Willow and Tara’s relationship as its hinted that the pair have become more than friends, while a ritual carried out by the pair seems more like a way of symbolising a sex scene between the two without suffering the ire of the censors, who at the time of the episode originally airing where less open to the portrayal of same sex relationships much less in a prime time slot. Still going off the orgasmic echo as Willow passes out does make you wonder especially knowing the direction of their relationship.

A real hidden gem of an episode and one which certainly sets up larger events in the series, while providing enough fun and memorable moments to make it another key episode of this season.

Next Episode: Superstar

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