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Faith Lehane / Alan Finch Murder: Did She Deserve Jail Time?

DeepBlueJoy

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She deserved prison time for killing the vulcanologist, not Allan. Killing Finch was an accident, and not one easily explained to cops. They were right not to report it.

She was wrong to lie about it to Giles, and try to blame Buffy, but she should have had adult supervision as soon as she lost her watcher. She just killed a man. She was terrified.

She was abandoned by the council. I don't blame her for not trusting anyone. Blaming Buffy probably was the best she could think of for survival. No one had her back! She was just a kid. One who never had anyone but herself to rely on. And she had just lost her watcher. Her mother was dead.

They all left her in that rat hole hotel and from appearances (and later, Buffy) the council probably gave her no money - something unforgivable. Slayers save the world and face hell. They should never be destitute. How the council, even Giles treated her was a disgrace. Her turning to the mayor was utterly forseeable - especially after he did not try to get sex from her. He treated her the way the council should have. A safe, clean place to stay, trust and respect.

Frankly, it is a miracle she kept slaying as long as she did. Angel deserves credit for bringing her back from the brink and setting her on the path of good. A demon treated her better than the great council of watchers!

She deserved love, a safe place, guidance. The council sent a wetworks squad to terminate her.

She was their expendable CHILD SLAVE *TOOL* until she was just expendable.

She DESERVED WAY BETTER than she got! Thank god she got brotherly love from Angel. He saved her. If he did nothing else, that was one GREAT thing.
 

forbuss

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She deserved prison time for killing the vulcanologist, not Allan. Killing Finch was an accident, and not one easily explained to cops. They were right not to report it.

She was wrong to lie about it to Giles, and try to blame Buffy, but she should have had adult supervision as soon as she lost her watcher. She just killed a man. She was terrified.

She was abandoned by the council. I don't blame her for not trusting anyone. Blaming Buffy probably was the best she could think of for survival. No one had her back! She was just a kid. One who never had anyone but herself to rely on. And she had just lost her watcher. Her mother was dead.

They all left her in that rat hole hotel and from appearances (and later, Buffy) the council probably gave her no money - something unforgivable. Slayers save the world and face hell. They should never be destitute. How the council, even Giles treated her was a disgrace. Her turning to the mayor was utterly forseeable - especially after he did not try to get sex from her. He treated her the way the council should have. A safe, clean place to stay, trust and respect.

Frankly, it is a miracle she kept slaying as long as she did. Angel deserves credit for bringing her back from the brink and setting her on the path of good. A demon treated her better than the great council of watchers!

She deserved love, a safe place, guidance. The council sent a wetworks squad to terminate her.

She was their expendable CHILD SLAVE *TOOL* until she was just expendable.

She DESERVED WAY BETTER than she got! Thank god she got brotherly love from Angel. He saved her. If he did nothing else, that was one GREAT thing.
I totally agree with you.

The Scoobies didn't understand Faith, and I don't think they really tried or wanted to. The gang (and the Watchers Council) stood by and watched Faith slowly spiral into a really dark and evil place and didn't really try to help her until she was past the point of being helped. Then they all act shocked and aghast that she did something messed up and then followed it up with doing something messed up? Not so shocking.

I think in many ways Faith was the best and most interesting character in the entire series. Who else had such a crazy, entertaining, and amazing character arc like Faith? The Traumitzed Slayer, turned Bad Slayer, turned Good Slayer. Faith is so incredible - I was very sad to see she was not invited to the reunion they did a few years back. I do think she is a fan favourite.
 

Oromous

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The Scoobies didn't understand Faith, and I don't think they really tried or wanted to. The gang (and the Watchers Council) stood by and watched Faith slowly spiral into a really dark and evil place and didn't really try to help her until she was past the point of being helped. Then they all act shocked and aghast that she did something messed up and then followed it up with doing something messed up? Not so shocking.
I think they took for granted what both Faith and Buffy are going through and what roles they're forced to play in life. Even I didn't really consider the "soldier PTSD role" 'till thrash brought it up.

And the thing is, the Scoobies would continue to take Buffy for granted in season 4. This is especially evident in the season finale, "Restless", where in their dream sequence, they all have a misinterpretation of whom Buffy's Slayer role really means. I wrote in more details the specifics of this in the episode discussion thread, but it all comes down to:
1. Xander thought being a Slayer was just fun and games (Buffy playing in a sandbox)
2. Willow thought of her as a dense girl who's not as intellectually competent as her, and perhaps even a little scary at times (Buffy's wig and clothing being similar to Velma Kelly from "Chicago" the musical, a femme fatale who murdered her husband for cheating on her)
3. Giles also thought she was being a child who doesn't take her Slayer role seriously.

The thing is, they're not Slayers. They will never be able to understand what it is Buffy or Faith go through. They might be sympathetic to her as a friend, but they will never be able to fully comprehend the stakes and pressure of it unless they become Slayers themselves. That's why they're so insensitive when it comes to their treatment in the beginning of season 3, acting like Buffy intentionally ran off for no good reason.
 
DeepBlueJoy
DeepBlueJoy
Amen! Could not say it better!

Trepkos

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At least some of the current California wildfires were started because of fireworks in a gender reveal party? Should those people go on trial for them?
I'd say, "Yes, definitely." Setting off fireworks in that situation constituted at the very least, reckless endangerment of life, and at worst, arson.
 
DeepBlueJoy
DeepBlueJoy
As a former first responder I vote HELL YES!

Priceless

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The hiding of the body was irresponsible, I agree... but then this goes back to the murky laws of vampire-slaying. Which court of law is going to exempt Faith for killing a man out of instinct? None. She was forced to hide the body because the jury isn't going to accept that she's essentially a soldier fighting in a battlefield.

Also, regarding her instinct, poor or not, it's the same reason why you don't tap on the shoulder of a war veteran suffering from PTSD. More likely than not, the soldier retaliating would not be charged with manslaughter. Faith might not have been the one who had her shoulder tapped here, but she's just as emotionally unstable due to her troubled upbringing. There's grounds for exempting her from charges too.
I doubt Faith would reveal she was a Slayer in a court of law because that would open up a whole new can of worms.

Soldiers have to act within laws and they are prosecuted if they don't, at least in civilised societies. What sort of Slayers do we want? Those who can kill humans with impunity, never fearing the law of the land because they are super beings who can get away with anything? I think this is a dangerous precedent to set. Faith was out of control, high on the violence, and that's why Finch died.
 

Priceless

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I agree it’s definitely a defensive action taken on instinct. Their adrenalines going and all she see’s is someone grab Buffy and she stakes him
This is why soldiers are trained to think before they fire. Buffy saw that this was not an enemy, but Faith rushes in. I guess in a court you could argue that Faith lacked the basic training that Buffy had, which would show extenuating circumstances. But even so, it still comes back to a man being dead and Faith hiding the body and I personally find that hard to get past.

The barrister could also blacken Finch's name, make him appear like a bad guy, that might also work in Faith's favour.
 

Oromous

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Soldiers have to act within laws and they are prosecuted if they don't, at least in civilised societies. What sort of Slayers do we want? Those who can kill humans with impunity, never fearing the law of the land because they are super beings who can get away with anything? I think this is a dangerous precedent to set. Faith was out of control, high on the violence, and that's why Finch died.
I get what you mean, and I agree that Faith was acting reckless. Even Buffy was starting to get uncomfortable with their actions, robbing a store and whatnot.

I think that under the circumstances, however, there's enough justification for Faith becoming distracted while fighting for their lives, and she should therefore be dishonorably discharged for her actions, not be sent to prison. The same punishment is dealt against soldiers who are reasonably mistaken in the heat of a battle, but are at fault for their recklessness.
 

garfan

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The hiding of the body was irresponsible, I agree... but then this goes back to the murky laws of vampire-slaying. Which court of law is going to exempt Faith for killing a man out of instinct? None. She was forced to hide the body because the jury isn't going to accept that she's essentially a soldier fighting in a battlefield.

Also, regarding her instinct, poor or not, it's the same reason why you don't tap on the shoulder of a war veteran suffering from PTSD. More likely than not, the soldier retaliating would not be charged with manslaughter. Faith might not have been the one who had her shoulder tapped here, but she's just as emotionally unstable due to her troubled upbringing. There's grounds for exempting her from charges too.
I totally agree with you.

The Scoobies didn't understand Faith, and I don't think they really tried or wanted to. The gang (and the Watchers Council) stood by and watched Faith slowly spiral into a really dark and evil place and didn't really try to help her until she was past the point of being helped. Then they all act shocked and aghast that she did something messed up and then followed it up with doing something messed up? Not so shocking.

I think in many ways Faith was the best and most interesting character in the entire series. Who else had such a crazy, entertaining, and amazing character arc like Faith? The Traumitzed Slayer, turned Bad Slayer, turned Good Slayer. Faith is so incredible - I was very sad to see she was not invited to the reunion they did a few years back. I do think she is a fan favourite.

Well, I don't want a Slayer who's afraid of the laws of the land enough that she's slow to react to a dangerous situation. Her enemies sure don't

And again when comparing Faith to a soldier with PTSD, Faith was actually on a battlefield.

Using the military analogy I think at worst this is a friendly fire incident. No one was charged with Pat Tillman's death and I don't think anyone would be here

I don't think that the Scoobies did get Faith, I think they tried a little. But all three of them have a history of being outcasts, so Faith's to cool for school attitude likely convinced them that help wouldn't be wanted.

The Watchers weren't supposed to care about Slayers, but they were likely supposed to attend to their needs such as room and board and Giles non-traditional role with Buffy gave him little idea how to actually treat a Slayer. It's also possible that post Faith, Hope and Trick, he might have covered the motel for her, since we see the issue of paying for it come up once but never again.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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I think cops should be held accountable for grievous mistakes, but Faith is not a cop. She is a teen who has been pushed into taking upon herself this role of public defender/superhero.

Her mistake was a big one, but considering her age and her circumstance, I think she should be pardoned.
No one had her back!
That's not true. Buffy and the Scoobies all supported her. Xander tries to talk to her, and she responds by assaulting him sexually and strangling him. Angel tries to talk to her after saving Xander, and she abuses his kindness later by trying to seducing him into giving up his soul.

Faith had a tough life, no doubt, but she had many offers of help after Finch.
 

Faded90

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I think cops should be held accountable for grievous mistakes, but Faith is not a cop. She is a teen who has been pushed into taking upon herself this role of public defender/superhero.

Her mistake was a big one, but considering her age and her circumstance, I think she should be pardoned.

That's not true. Buffy and the Scoobies all supported her. Xander tries to talk to her, and she responds by assaulting him sexually and strangling him. Angel tries to talk to her after saving Xander, and she abuses his kindness later by trying to seducing him into giving up his soul.

Faith had a tough life, no doubt, but she had many offers of help after Finch.
It’s also worth mentioning that between consequences and Enemies Buffy never brings up the fact that Faith tried to frame her and assaulted Xander. Buffy is confused herself and doesn’t know what Faith needs but she offers pretty much unconditional support, the issue is that Faith doesn’t accept her help. Angel is only able to get through to her in 5x5 because she allows him to help her and she gives him an opening because she’s given up
 

DeepBlueJoy

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I think cops should be held accountable for grievous mistakes, but Faith is not a cop. She is a teen who has been pushed into taking upon herself this role of public defender/superhero.

Her mistake was a big one, but considering her age and her circumstance, I think she should be pardoned.

That's not true. Buffy and the Scoobies all supported her. Xander tries to talk to her, and she responds by assaulting him sexually and strangling him. Angel tries to talk to her after saving Xander, and she abuses his kindness later by trying to seducing him into giving up his soul.

Faith had a tough life, no doubt, but she had many offers of help after Finch.
Faith is a traumatized teen carrying the burden of saving the world. Yes the scoobies were supportive, but the were neither qualified nor able to meet her needs. She was a child ALONE. The council were derelict.

Giles was aware of her living in that sty and did nothing. Maybe he was afraid of the council, and i don't blame him. But she comes to town and all these kids are living nice middle class lives. She is living in a nasty no tell model in a town with demons. She has no protection.

Then, she makes a mistake. When poor folk make mistakes they dont hire good lawyers, they go to prison, often for trivial stuff. She would have felt like a rat in a trap.

Faith was right not to trust anyone in the council to be there for her, because when it came apart, they tried to KILL her.

She arrived in Sunnydale already emotionally in trouble. No one capable of helping helped her.

Xander the boy who sexed her like who knows how many before does not count as help.

Buffy's pity does not count.

The enormous, rich council DOES.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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But she comes to town and all these kids are livinh nice middle class lives.
Well, except Xander ... and Cordelia's home life is also secretly unravelling behind the scenes.

I know Faith had it hard, but the assertion that nobody had her back after Finch is simply not true. She strangles the only other kid who shares her background of poverty, alcoholic parents and violence when he comes to help her, so there's not much solidarity there.
 

Faded90

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Well, except Xander ... and Cordelia's home life is also secretly unravelling behind the scenes.

I know Faith had it hard, but the assertion that nobody had her back after Finch is simply not true. She strangles the only other kid who shares her background of poverty, alcoholic parents and violence when he comes to help her, so there's not much solidarity there.
I love Faith but I think one of Buffy’s best lines in Enemies is when after Faith is ranting Buffy simply replies ‘that’s not my fault’ . Faith is punishing Buffy for things that are totally beyond her control. This is of course something that Faith is finally able to let go of in End of Days and it’s what completes that part of Faith’s arc
 

DeepBlueJoy

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I doubt Faith would reveal she was a Slayer in a court of law because that would open up a whole new can of worms.

Soldiers have to act within laws and they are prosecuted if they don't, at least in civilised societies. What sort of Slayers do we want? Those who can kill humans with impunity, never fearing the law of the land because they are super beings who can get away with anything? I think this is a dangerous precedent to set. Faith was out of control, high on the violence, and that's why Finch died.
Faith was grieving and angry and being hunted. Violence was her only sense of control or power. She was a survivor. She was slaying even without a watcher or anyone telling her. She could have gone straight to crime. She came to Sunnydale instead.

The slayer was forbidden to tell FAMILY they are slayers. The council would never allow it as a defense in open court. They would kill her first.

She did not kill with impunity. It was a workplace accident. Like a firefighter running over a pedestrian who runs into the road in front of a fire truck. Allan jumped into the field of battle.

She should have had a safe place to live before the fact and counselling after. She was not even the first slayer to kill in error.

Well, except Xander ... and Cordelia's home life is also secretly unravelling behind the scenes.

I know Faith had it hard, but the assertion that nobody had her back after Finch is simply not true. She strangles the only other kid who shares her background of poverty, alcoholic parents and violence when he comes to help her, so there's not much solidarity there.
No one had her back BEFORE Finch.

After Finch, it no longer mattered one bit because she did not trust any of them. Her particular worldview matters. People let you down. And the council proves it repeatedly. And Giles does jack all when she comes to down grieving, penniless and being hunted by the same vampire that killed her watcher. She does not know he doesn't know.

She has no way of knowing Cordelia has it bad. We did not know.

What she does to Xander is vile. But her reaction reminds me of her attempt at suicide by Angel. She believes she is evil. She hates herself. She does not think she can.be saved. She may even have a psychotic break when she attacks Xander.

She thought men used you for sex. She did not know Xander and had no reason to expect more. Sad, but I know people like her.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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She thought men used you for sex. She did not know Xander and had no reason to expect more. Sad, but I know people like her.
It's a bit rich for Faith to say that she's learned to assume men will use you for sex, when she took Xander's virginity after he saved her and then threw him out naked.

Faith undoubtedly has a difficult life, but she also tends to hurt people without cause and bite the hand off anyone who tries to help her. She had lots of support before Finch, though mostly from Buffy, though it's not like she makes an effort to make friends.
 

Faded90

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Faith was grieving and angry and being hunted. Violence was her only sense of control or power. She was a survivor. She was slaying even without a watcher or anyone telling her. She could have gone straight to crime. She came to Sunnydale instead.

The slayer was forbidden to tell FAMILY they are slayers. The council would never allow it as a defense in open court. They would kill her first.

She did not kill with impunity. It was a workplace accident. Like a firefighter running over a pedestrian who runs into the road in front of a fire truck. Allan jumped into the field of battle.

She should have had a safe place to live before the fact and counselling after. She was not even the first slayer to kill in error.


No one had her back BEFORE Finch.

After Finch, it no longer mattered one bit because she did not trust any of them. Her particular worldview matters. People let you down. And the council proves it repeatedly. And Giles does jack all when she comes to down grieving, penniless and being hunted by the same vampire that killed her watcher. She does not know he doesn't know.

She has no way of knowing Cordelia has it bad. We did not know.

What she does to Xander is vile. But her reaction reminds me of her attempt at suicide by Angel. She believes she is evil. She hates herself. She does not think she can.be saved. She may even have a psychotic break when she attacks Xander.

She thought men used you for sex. She did not know Xander and had no reason to expect more. Sad, but I know people like her.
Distrust is absolutely at the heart of Faith’s S3/4 arc. I’ve no doubt her thought process every time someone attempts to help her is ‘well they hate me anyway’ . Whether anyone does hate her is largely irrelevant because she hates herself and that shapes her thought processes. In Who Are You when Faith is pretending to be Buffy and saying the things she believes Buffy says she goes overboard with her ‘Faith is evil!’ because this is how she views herself and this is how she believes Buffy views her. It goes totally over her head that everyone is looking utterly bewildered at what she’s saying because she genuinely feels that Buffy looks down on her and in her head she believes Buffy always has looked down on her (which is absolutely not the case)

Her relationships with men seems to be ‘ditch them before they get a chance to ditch you’ and I think this is how she views things with Buffy. She believes that Buffy will screw her over so she decides to screw Buffy over before she gets the chance to
 

DeepBlueJoy

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I think people are too judgmental, too hard on Faith. I don't condone her behavior, but she is treated horridly by the council and life. Buffy and co are not equipped to save her and they are basically strangers.

If you found out someone had put a teen to work and had left them living in a filthy sex motel and wasnt paying them, you would think of it as slavery. Slayers were treated as DISPOSABLE child slaves. Kendra did not even know enough not to travel in the luggage hold of a plane!

it is sad and pisses me off how slayers are USED. It is remarkable that someone like Faith does not turn bad earlier. Maybe that is why the council has kill squads?

How would you react if you found yourself in Faith's situation? Would you turn tricks or maybe seduce guys to get rent? Faith is strong, but POWERLESS. She has no resources.

This council does barbaric tests on slayers. What reason is there to trust them?
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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I can understand why she was reluctant to tell anyone and hid Deputy Mayor Finch's body - because in context it was a tragic accident. But she cannot explain the context to the police, because the law does not recognise vampires and slayers. The very position of the vampire slayer is a gross injustice on any girl who gets chosen for it - being expected to fight and die without pay, very young. Faith is a victim of this injustice, it is already not fair that she is out on the streets having to fight for her life (and yes I know she enjoys it, but that doesn't change the fact that it is deeply unfair that it is demanded of her that she do this). She is where she is and she ends up doing what she does because men like Giles and Wesley have made her do this. That she is then legally liable for a crime because the law won't recognise the context, or having to face the judgement and rehabilitation programme of the council who are the actual ones at fault for putting her in this position in the first place - I can understand why she panics and tries to hide the body and refuses to acknowledge what has happened. What happened was not her fault and yet - whether from the cops or the council - she will be the one left carrying the can. And America hands out some pretty crazy (and deeply unfair) sentences, and being a minor is no protection. There are kids in jail in America serving 90 year sentences - I don't think anyone can blame her for freaking out and reacting badly.

Obviously, dumping the body was a huge mistake. She would have been far better getting the hell out of that alley and not going back. Getting rid of the body is a crime, it's an understandable one but it then links her back to Finch's death and because "I staked him because I thought he was a vampire" is not a defence she can use in court, she doesn't want something that will link her back to that.
So contextually she doesn't deserve jail time for the death itself, though legally there would be little way to avoid it but she does deserve some form of consequence for dumping the body because that was a choice.

After that she murders two people (the guy delivering the box of gavrox and Lester the vulcanologist) and beats up at least the girl in the hospital in 'who are you', plus the crimes she commits whilst on the run in 'five by five' (beating up the guy at the bus stop, breaking a cops jaw with his own handcuffs and all the other occurrences that Wes and Cordy are tracking). She deserves jail for all those things - and that is what she goes to jail for. She was given 25 years to life, so if Finch's murder is included in there she is serving the time concurrently with everything else and not consecutively so it doesn't really make much difference.
 

Priceless

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The thing that bothers me about Faith and why I lack a bit of sympathy for her is that she lied. She came all the way to Sunnydale, supposedly for help, but then she doesn't tell Buffy or Giles or anyone what has actually happened. She rolls in with her big stories, showing off, pretending to be someone she's not. She's an inauthentic person (with is what existentialist Bad Faith, the basis of her character, is meant to be). Why didn't she tell them her watcher was dead? That she was being chased? Why bother coming to Sunnydale at all if you were not there to ask for help?
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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She was traumatised and in denial! Add in the guilt that she failed to save her watcher and simply being too proud to admit she needs help - she probably hasn't even admitted to herself that the reason she has gone to find Buffy is to get help, how on earth can she admit that to other people?

I have no sympathy for Faith whatsoever, I can't stand her as a character - but she does enough bad to justify that without having to pull apart every genuine mistake and trauma motivated destructive action, and blame her for bad reactions to a situation far beyond her control. Especially when she is only a child and one without any adult guidance, and who has just lost the only good adult guidance she had in her life (her watcher).
 
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