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

Faded90

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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?
It’s similar to Buffy in Anne though. They were both traumatised teenagers trying to run away from their problems and hiding behind a constructed veneer. Both realised that it just wasn’t possible to do that, ironically they empower each other in Faith. hope and Trick to confide about their issues
 

Priceless

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No doubt she does feel guilt and trauma over her watchers death, and she does exactly what Buffy does over Angel's death, she runs away, and for that I have a ton of sympathy. What I don't sympathise with is that she has plenty of time to tell Buffy or Giles what's really happened, but instead she tells tall tales, insinuates herself with the group, lies and tells them her watcher has gone on a retreat.

I like Faith's arc, but I only begin to like the character when she finally gives herself up to the police. It's the first honourable thing she does. I know some would say I'm too hard on her, but she's got so much going for her and she just fritters it away.
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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She's in denial! People in denial don't tell the truth ... I can't believe I'm having to defend Faith.

Her watcher must have been supposed to go to the retreat because otherwise Faith wouldn't know about it - the retreat is real, Giles speaks to the watchers whilst they're there. She is telling the group the version of events that was supposed to happen, the lie she is telling herself that has happened because denial and trauma and deflection and not coping. It doesn't matter that she technically has time to tell the truth, she hasn't has the time to process and come to terms so she doesn't have the time for that, she needs more time to be ready to do that. Coping and dealing with trauma takes as long as it takes, there isn't a right timeline that victims have to stick to. Yes, not coping can cause more problems down the line, but that's because life is messy and it's an unfair consequence, it doesn't make the victims wrong to have reacted the way they did at the time. Just turning up in Sunnydale is a cry for help, but she isn't ready to acknowledge that even to herself yet. When she tells them the lie that her watcher is at the retreat and she's just playing hooky she is telling them the lie she is trying to convince herself with, she's pretending to herself everything is OK - and a big part of lying to herself is convincing everyone else that everything is fine.
 

Priceless

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I don't doubt that Faith is in denial. But why does that automatically make her a sympathetic character? Coping with trauma certainly takes as long as it takes, but trauma doesn't make a person good or honest or sympathetic. She does the wrong thing. She runs to Sunnydale, so her denial isn't total because she runs towards help, towards Buffy and Giles. But instead of revealing the truth, she makes a dramatic entrance, tells tall tales of wrestling alligators and lies about her watcher. You don't have to defend Faith, that's your choice. We can agree to disagree as I doubt either of us will be swayed.
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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I guess I sympathise with a teenager who - having had a pretty hard start to life - has just been handed a boat load of destiny, and throws herself into it thinking it's all fun and games but then crosses the path of something bigger and more powerful than her who (literally) tears her new found authority figure and stability apart and then starts to hunt her down to do the same.

That for her own mental protection she represses and pretends everything's fine and she's still having nothing but fun and games because she is too afraid to admit the truth and too proud to ask for help (nobody has ever helped her in the past, how can she ask these strangers for help and expect to get anywhere?) makes her pitiable and sympathetic. That she does the wrong thing in a situation too big for her to cope with, and deeply unfair for her to be in in the first place is not something that I can condemn her for.

Being young and scared and proud and defensive and vulnerable all at the same time are not really character flaws so much as they are character, that it leads her to behave in a way that harms herself (and no one else, nobody else gets hurts from her behaviour in Faith, Hope and Trick) seems very sympathetic and even relatable to me.

I don't like Faith, even from the beginning, but I can sympathise with her plight.

... maybe I'm just crazy.
 

Faded90

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She's in denial! People in denial don't tell the truth ... I can't believe I'm having to defend Faith.

Her watcher must have been supposed to go to the retreat because otherwise Faith wouldn't know about it - the retreat is real, Giles speaks to the watchers whilst they're there. She is telling the group the version of events that was supposed to happen, the lie she is telling herself that has happened because denial and trauma and deflection and not coping. It doesn't matter that she technically has time to tell the truth, she hasn't has the time to process and come to terms so she doesn't have the time for that, she needs more time to be ready to do that. Coping and dealing with trauma takes as long as it takes, there isn't a right timeline that victims have to stick to. Yes, not coping can cause more problems down the line, but that's because life is messy and it's an unfair consequence, it doesn't make the victims wrong to have reacted the way they did at the time. Just turning up in Sunnydale is a cry for help, but she isn't ready to acknowledge that even to herself yet. When she tells them the lie that her watcher is at the retreat and she's just playing hooky she is telling them the lie she is trying to convince herself with, she's pretending to herself everything is OK - and a big part of lying to herself is convincing everyone else that everything is fine.
I agree, I think it’s clear that Faith pretty much goes straight to Sunnydale from Boston (travelling the entire length of the country) and has barely gave herself time to process what’s happened. Faith is clearly someone who has had to deal with trauma her whole life and her coping mechanism is to disassociate herself from it and she’s created a ‘I’m just fun doing what I want woooo!’ veneer that she hides behind. This is pretty much the pattern of Faith’s character throughout S3/4, to cut off her feelings/emotions because it’s easier than letting the pain in. It’s why they choose the song ‘living dead girl’ for her to dance to in 5x5 because while she’s not letting the pain in she’s also not letting people in who want to care for her (I’m thinking of Buffy/Angel and even Xander in Consequences here). Eliza portrays an excellent ‘dead behind the eyes’ look at times because for a while she basically forces her vulnerable side back into her shell until she’s physically unable to cope with it anymore
 

Ethan Reigns

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I know of one case of manslaughter where a person was drowning and another person went out to save him. The prospective drowning victim got the rescuer in a death grip and in order to save himself, the rescuer pushed up on his jaw to break his grip and snapped his neck. He did one year for manslaughter in a blatant miscarriage of justice, just as would have happened to Faith. A manslaughter charge can happen to anyone and the innocent are often convicted.

Faith was responsible for killing Professor Worth, the courier with the Box of Gavrok, but not the attempted slaying of Angel on BtVS nor the attempted slaying of the undead Angel with another arrow on his own show. I do not believe Faith should be jailed for what she did to Allan Finch because Finch was interrupting an ongoing life-or-death struggle and he became collateral damage by his own actions. I cheered when the Watcher's Council blew up in Season 7 - they have been getting away with slavery and recruitment of child soldiers, reckless endangerment via the cruciamentum and negligent actions of many kinds.

Faith only managed to stay in her motel for free because Kakistos came for a visit and got in by killing the owner and propping him up against the door viewer as a pretense to have Faith open the door.
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
That drowning story is terrible! That poor rescuer. I feel like the moral of that story is 'don't ever try and help anyone'!

WillowFromBuffy

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I get that Faith doesn't tell the gang about her watcher's death. She's a kid running for her life. It makes sense for her to want to repress.

What is harder to swallow is her utter lack of empathy for Buffy's trauma. She's all like: "Your boyfriend died, but hey, you boinked the undead. Bet that was interesting." And she gets offended when Buffy doesn't want to talk about it.

Faith asks so much for people and gives so little in return.

Edit: Yes, making fun of Tara's sexuality and stutter is such a horrible random act of unmotivated cruelty. I guess I get triggered by that, since I stutter myself.
 
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Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
Yeah she's a bit of a d*ck. That's why I don't like her. She has suffered and is suffering and I have sympathy for that, but that is separate from her being a d*ck. I give her a pass on her trauma response actions, I blame her for being a d*ck.
Oromous
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And she made fun of Tara's stuttering. I still can't forget that, and probably won't. That's the most d*ckish move from her to me. Aside from the whole "violating Buffy/Riley" thing.

Faded90

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I get that Faith doesn't tell the gang about her watcher's death. She's a kid running for her life. It makes sense for her to want to repress.

What is harder to swallow is her utter lack of empathy for Buffy's trauma. She's all like: "Your boyfriend died, but hey, you boinked the undead. Bet that was interesting." And she gets offended when Buffy doesn't want to talk about it.

Faith asks so much for people and gives so little in return.

Edit: Yes, making fun of Tara's sexuality and stutter is such a horrible random act of unmotivated cruelty. I guess I get triggered by that, since I stutter myself.
Making fun of the stutter was a dick move I have to say. It highlighted also one of the differences of WHY Buffy had a group of friends and Faith didn’t. Faith meets Tara a perfectly harmless girl and her reaction is to mock her, if Buffy had mocked Willow in WTTH would Willow have been inclined to be her friend? Absolutely not. I adore Faith and have a lot of empathy for her character but I make no excuses for when she’s simply being a dick 😂 it’s also why I’ve never subscribed to the ‘it’s the scoobies fault because they weren’t friendly enough’ forging friendships works both ways
 

DeepBlueJoy

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The difference between Buffy and Faith is that Buffy is used to trusting others. Even then, she bails after the trauma of killing Angel. Even though that was a right, necessary and righteously heroic act.

Faith is a ghetto kid. She acts like a lot of young poor men without options. She is trying to survive. All she has ever had is bravado. Of course her actions are wrong and her lies are reprehensible. She still deserves some slack and a lot of help. And love.
Buffy and co are the first trustworthy people she has, but she is not ready for them. Partly because they judge her. Angel is the first person who does not judge her, but does stand by her and that loves her in a way she can recieve and begin to trust. It is why she breaks out to save him. And that choice changes her too.

Why did she run to Sunnydale? The council should have sent her help when her watcher died. Mature, experienced help - from a watcher who maybe was a parent or counsellor (like maybe the Indian guy who came during Checkpoint?) They had people. They had dozens of potentials. They had to have dozens of watchers.

They had to have more than GREENWESLEY! I think they were trying to clean house! Get rid of wes and Faith and maybe even Buffy and Giles. I think they were hoping for an excuse to rid themselves of another strongwilled slayer who was not raised by her watcher.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Angel is the first person who does not judge her, but does stand by her and that loves her in a way she can recieve and begin to trust.
You're both forgetting that the other Scoobies shows Faith a lot of forgiveness and understanding and that Angel contemplated killing Faith twice.
 
DeepBlueJoy
DeepBlueJoy
She was dangerous directly. He had no choice. But he did not do it because he was not going to do it unless he had no choice. They forgave but judged.

Ann

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Making fun of the stutter was a dick move I have to say. It highlighted also one of the differences of WHY Buffy had a group of friends and Faith didn’t. Faith meets Tara a perfectly harmless girl and her reaction is to mock her, if Buffy had mocked Willow in WTTH would Willow have been inclined to be her friend? Absolutely not. I adore Faith and have a lot of empathy for her character but I make no excuses for when she’s simply being a dick 😂 it’s also why I’ve never subscribed to the ‘it’s the scoobies fault because they weren’t friendly enough’ forging friendships works both ways
That was certainly not a nice thing to say to Tara who would not say anything like that to Faith. It will also cause Tara to feel self conscious when she speaks.
 
DeepBlueJoy
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She was unpleasnt and rude and screwed up. Then she grew up.

Faded90

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I’ve got to say I’ve never liked this ‘Angel is the only one who helped her’ thing. Angel was the one actually telling Buffy in Consequences ‘not to get her hopes up’ about helping Faith, he was the one referring to her as being insane in front of her in Choices. I don’t blame Angel for this at all, it was understandable in the context of these episodes but my view is that Angel was only able to get through to her because she LET him. She’s completely broken at the end of 5x5 and that gives Angel an opening to help her. I’ve no doubt if Faith had broke down like that in front of Buffy she’d have felt compelled to comfort her
 

DeepBlueJoy

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You seem to forget who visited her in prison. Getting her to the end of herself may well have been somewhat a matter of chance. She was ready to surrender.

But that is NOT how Angel saves her. He saves her by visiting her and being there for her.

I will only say this once more. Her horrible behavior *is* horrible. It is also largely a symptom, not a sign of lack of good character. We largely see that character when she comes back to Sunnydale in season 7. (That she keeps fighting while living in that hovel in season 3 and goes to the the vampire church and helps kill vampires in 4 also shows some character)

What we see most often in season 3 is a broken, feral person acting out. This is never fun to be around.

Faith is, writ large, why MOST abused and damaged people don't get helped. Abused children are not pleasant or polite. They CANNOT articulate their pain, so they are hateful.

They are screaming, kicking and biting for help. All that is obvious is the screaming, kicking and biting!

Those who could help get caught up in their power.

Family and friends get JUSTIFIABLY hurt and angry. I never say that Buffy, Xander or Willow fail her. They don't. They simply do not have the tools to help her.

I am not putting Angel on a pedestal. A lot of the time I find him insufferably pompous and broody.

But. He did what she needed. He was strong enough when she was flailing blindly and unlike Buffy (understandably) he was not emotionally involved.

Unlike the council, however, he saw a person, not a problem to be exterminated.

Please try to see the nuance in my argument and not get defensive for Buffy and co. They *could* not help because they did not "get" her and because they were CHILDREN.

The people i condemn here are the council and to a lesser degree, Giles and Wes - who is barely able to function because he is not ready. Mostly, I blame the WC for him too.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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@DeepBlueJoy
None of the Scoobies judged Faith after finch, not even after she blamed it all on Buffy. Not Buffy. Not Xander. Not Willow. Not Giles.

Of course, they will at various points judge her later, but how could they not, considering the things she does? And Angel joins right in. He calls her crazy to her face.

In This Year's Girl, none of the Scoobies are ready to consider killing Faith. In Five by Five, Angel immediately decides that death is likey the only solution, even though Wesley is vehemently against it.

It is true that she has had a difficult life, but she is (presumably) 18 and she hurts and kills people for pleasure and refuses all attempt to help her. At one point, your tragic backstory doesn't matter.
 

DeepBlueJoy

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She hurts and kills people for pleasure AFTER she is screwed over and truamatized by the council. Before she hurts ANYONE *NOBODY* thinks ahe deserves better than to live in a dangerous RAT HOLE. of course they judge her - even BEFORE she comits any crime. They treat her as disposable trash.

Buffy's mom thinks she might be the expendable replacement for her precious daughter. Because Faith does not deserve college and a future?? Ridiculous! Giles judges her unworthy of protection, support or care.

As for the scoobies? She is at best entertaining. I think many here see her and judge her by their own middle class lives too. She is viewed as less than from day one. How they treat her after is problematic, but before Finch, right after she was attacked and they know where she lives and all she does not have ALL of them think this is OK and do nothing. Say nothing.

She exists in a nasty sty. And that is fine. That is a judgment. She is not worth a safe clean and protected environment.

She is just funny white trash making the rich kids laugh but going home to her little hell. Judged. Not belong. Not one of us.

The kids follow the lead of rhe adults. They are oblivious. Until Buffy is on the receiving end of NO HELP in season six. Not the council, not Giles. Where was her hazard pay for DYING? Where is Faith's weekly paid visits to a psychiatrist after her watcher died? Cops get counselling when there is a LODD or trauma.

Giles, i love but here he is a toffee nosed upper class creature of the council. How dare he treat Faith like a slave!

She was the unpaid, all alone, traumatized kid, told she has the most important job on the planet and expected to *die* for her cause. She loses her watcher. She is 'Big Important Hero' - except she is surplus goods.

She is not stupid. Of course she could see her "value" to them. I would not trust them either.

She should have been WELL paid, had a tutor hired for her and given an apartment to live in like Giles.
 
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Spanky
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Completely agree with all of this.

Faded90

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She hurts and kills people for pleasure AFTER she is screwed over and truamatized by the council. Before she hurts ANYONE *NOBODY* thinks ahe deserves better than to live in a dangerous RAT HOLE. of course they judge her - even BEFORE she comits any crime. They treat her as disposable trash.

Buffy's mom thinks she might be the expendable replacement for her precious daughter. Because Faith does not deserve college and a future?? Ridiculous! Giles judges her unworthy of protection, support or care.

As for the scoobies? She is at best entertaining. I think many here see her and judge her by their own middle class lives too. She is viewed as less than from day one. How they treat her after is problematic, but before Finch, right after she was attacked and they know where she lives and all she does not have ALL of them think this is OK and do nothing. Say nothing.

She exists in a nasty sty. And that is fine. That is a judgment. She is not worth a safe clean and protected environment.

She is just funny white trash making the rich kids laugh but going home to her little hell. Judged. Not belong. Not one of us.

The kids follow the lead of rhe adults. They are oblivious. Until Buffy is on the receiving end of NO HELP in season six. Not the council, not Giles. Where was her hazard pay for DYING? Where is Faith's weekly paid visits to a psychiatrist after her watcher died? Cops get counselling when there is a LODD or trauma.

Giles, i love but here he is a toffee nosed upper class creature of the council. How dare he treat Faith like a slave!

She was the unpaid, all alone, traumatized kid, told she has the most important job on the planet and expected to *die* for her cause. She loses her watcher. She is 'Big Important Hero' - except she is surplus goods.

She is not stupid. Of course she could see her "value" to them. I would not trust them either.

She should have been WELL paid, had a tutor hired for her and given an apartment to live in like Giles.
I think your projecting a lot on the scoobies which is unfair. Obviously we know the Watchers Council and Giles (this season and in s6) are disgraceful in their treatment or non treatment of slayers. Giles and Wes I agree should have been making sure she had a more secure home but the scoobies are 17/18 and I think are naive in their taking Faith’s ‘independent woman’ act at face value. I don’t think they think she’s trash or not deserving of better. Faith has became very good at putting on her ‘I’m just living my best life’ act and I think they see her way of living as part of that. They get it wrong but they’re young and it’s understandable they wouldn’t understand it. I genuinely don’t think there’s anything malicious in that. The Watchers Council and Giles/Wes by default are a problem big time - like you say we see this again when Giles’ reaction to Buffy’s depression is basically ‘you need to grow up’

Joyce I kind of give a pass as well, it’s selfish what she says but she says it after Faith talks about how much she loves slaying. Joyce has just found out her daughter has a very dangerous career and is trying to find a way out - albeit an extremely selfish one. Buffy thankfully smacks that suggestion down straight away
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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I think many here see her and judge her by their own middle class lives too.
Why do people always forget that Xander is not middle class? His homelife is not much better than what Faith grew up in. Poverty, alcoholism and violence.
She is just funny white trash making the rich kids laugh but going home to her little hell. Judged. Not belong. Not one of us.
Willow is the only one whose parents are relatively well off. Xander's family is poor, Cordelia's is destitute and Buffy and her mum are scraping by in their admittedly big house, Joyce having to work weekends to keep her business afloat. None of them have great homelives. Buffy is the only one with a single caring parents, which is really apparent in "Pangs".

And I don't remember the Scoobies giving Faith grief about being "white trash." I guess Buffy sticks her nose up about Faith eating off her plate, but whether you're rich or poor, you usually don't stick your fingers in other people's food, especially if your own plate is full.

The council are obviously trash, which is why Buffy breaks ties with them, but that isn't the Scoobies fault. Giles also drops the ball when it comes to caring for her, as he does with all the others, except Buffy.
 

Faded90

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Why do people always forget that Xander is not middle class? His homelife is not much better than what Faith grew up in. Poverty, alcoholism and violence.

Willow is the only one whose parents are relatively well off. Xander's family is poor, Cordelia's is destitute and Buffy and her mum are scraping by in their admittedly big house, Joyce having to work weekends to keep her business afloat. None of them have great homelives. Buffy is the only one with a single caring parents, which is really apparent in "Pangs".

And I don't remember the Scoobies giving Faith grief about being "white trash." I guess Buffy sticks her nose up about Faith eating off her plate, but whether you're rich or poor, you usually don't stick your fingers in other people's food, especially if your own plate is full.

The council are obviously trash, which is why Buffy breaks ties with them, but that isn't the Scoobies fault. Giles also drops the ball when it comes to caring for her, as he does with all the others, except Buffy.
Definitely. I think they just genuinely believe her ‘girls just want to have fun’ act because a lot of what Faith says is in the subtext of what she’s actually saying - and not just the flirting with Buffy stuff 😂 . Like in Faith, Hope and Trick when she tells Willow and Xander ‘if I’d had friends like you in high school.... I probably would have still dropped out but I might have been sad about it’ obviously the subtext of this line is that Faith had no friends when she was in school and was happy to leave but because of the way Faith carries herself and her confident manner all Willow and Xander hear is that she dropped out of high school
 
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