Many fans protested strongly against the fanfics presenting Buffy and Faith as a lesbian couple, often wondering by which meander of our tricky and perverted brain we coud have dared to think there was something ambiguous between their two favorite Slayers...
Without questioning the aforementioned perversity of my brain that I accept completely, I'd be tempted to point out to them that the subtext (allusions, second level of reading) indicating, if not a relationship, at least a homosexual attraction, is quite explicit in the episodes of the 3rd and 4th seasons, and that these allusions carefully littered and allegedly derived from our identifying delirium (we, poor lesbians and bisexuals, frustrated by the lack of positive homosexual TV representations, would see dykes everywhere... But not at all! I'm absolutely sure that Riley is not!) were confirmed by Doug Petrie, one of the series scenarists, and by Joss Whedon himself.
So, if the teenagers, to whom the series is originally intended, and the hetero-centered (I don't dare to say hung up) adults, modestly bury their heads in the sand and desperately cling to a normative and Manichean vision of a series which is anything else but that, I could not prevent them, but don't come and tell us we imagine things or we invent everything because we just see what we want to see.
In order to illustrate my view, here is an analysis of their relationship, episode by episode (Seasons 3 and 4), written by the webmistress of Faithrocks, a rejoicing analysis but not devoid of blatant exhilarating insincerity and exaggeration which, alas, may delight our detractors... The original version can be found here. I also added a few personal comments...
The analysis of the season 7 and of "Sanctuary" is written by myself.
"Buffy and Faith: Love at first sight"
Faith entered our lives on October 13th, 1998. She also entered the lives of the Sunnydale population. Some were happier to see her than others. Especially happy to see her was Buffy. Was this simply the relief of having an ally to help bust baddies or something deeper?
It's hard to be a Slayer. And the only other person in the world who can know just how hard it is is another Slayer. Namely, Faith. Buffy knows that Faith is the only one who can truly understand her and therefore they are destined to be together. These pictures and ep analyses will help to prove it.
Faith, Hope, and Trick [BTVS]
When Buffy first sees Faith, she is rendered speechless. Faith is something new to her, a little bit of rye tossed into the white bread of Buffy's life. It's love at first sight, though she may not admit it yet. Faith is equally enamored, flirting heavily(hungry and horny comment)
Later, she asks Buffy's friends about her(a classic move on the part of an interested party) When she asks if Buffy "needs to find the fun a little?", she is quite clearly offering to help Buffy find a little fun with Faith herself.
When Buffy sees Faith and Scott talking, she is jealous-but of Scott, not Faith. She is afraid Scott will steal the other Slayer away before Buffy can explore her feelings for her. She wants Faith all to herself.
Look how closely they stand together already!
Beauty and the Beasts [BTVS]
In this episode, Faith makes it pretty clear that she has a low opinion of men in general and she tries valiantly to get Buffy to switch over to her viewpoint of the male species. This is because Faith does not want Buffy to love any man, she wants Buffy to love HER. More specifically, she does not want Buffy to like Scott, who they had been discussing. A specific denunciation of Scott himself would have been suspicious, so Faith condemns all men.
Faith tells Buffy how life is.
Ok, Faith asks Buffy to the Homecoming dance-I think that's pretty direct. Her girl has been stood up, and Faith is more than willing to step in, pilfered corsage in hand.
And when she sees the full extent of Scott's churlishness (i.e. bringing a date when he said he wasn't) she avenges her beloved with a well-placed STD allusion. A Slayer has to watch out for her girl.
Faith makes the first formal move.
All right. In this episode, the gang is dicussing how Buffy must have a secret boyfriend, when along strolls Buffy and Faith. Buffy says that, yes, she *is* seeing someone that night. Faith drapes her arm around Buffy and in a tone meant to convey exactly the opposite says, "really, we're just good friends." Playful joking? Perhaps. Or is it the Slayers' way of tentatively introducing the gang to their romance?
Later in the ep, when this romance is threatened by the discovery of Angel, Faith becomes insanely jealous and goes after the vampire, wanting to eliminate her competition. when Buffy comes to stop Faith, it is because she doesn't want Faith's jealousy to kill an innocent man. The sexual tension in this fight was amazing. They wanted to just jump right into bed with each other.
Also during this ep, Faith and Buffy compare past boyfriends. It is obvious that neither of the Slayers has had a decent relationship, and this is because they are destined to be together.
Faith is focused entirely on Buffy.
Feel the Slayer pride!
When Buffy talks about the story of the little boy who got his finger caught in the duck, Angel gently corrects her, telling her it is a "dike". Buffy is upset, thinking Angel has guessed that she is having less than sisterly feelings towards Faith. If she wasn't, she wouldn't have been so shocked by Angel's observation.
The Zeppo [BTVS]
All right, Faith has sex with Xander. Note that I have never said that Faith is strictly a lesbian-she could be bisexual. She was simply horny, and the one she usually shares her lust with -Buffy- wasn't there. It's obvious Faith doesn't place any importance on this liaison, and neither will we.
My comment: I'd say even more: neither will I.
Bad Girls [BTVS]
Where can we start? The obvious flirting? The heart on the window? The banter between the two? The DANCING?! This ep was one big ball of Faith/Buffy homoerotic content, cut short by an unfortunate accident.
My comment : In this cult episode among the B/F shippers, Buffy keeps on talking about Faith, arousing thus the Scooby Gang's jealousy.
During a chemistry test, Faith appears and draws on the window a heart pierced by an arrow, and smiles in such an alluring and wheedling way that any hardened monk should melt, an obvious sign of love declaration that some would have seen as a simple invitation to patrol... Sometimes, they are so narrow-minded... I even heard a nebulous interpretation saying this heart would be intended to Xander... Are they mad?! Do you really believe that Faith could fall in love with Xander? No, there is only Buffy, and besides, she doesn't hesitate: she stands up, ditches the test and her friends to join the Slayer of her life...
As for the lascivious dancing scene in the Bronze, we could almost skip the comments and limit ourselves to some bestial mumbling expressing our excitement seeing those two sexy girls dancing and handholding... And when we think Angel is the one who's going to make the most of Buffy's same excitement, we can only pity Faith and consider bombing the American virtue leagues...
GAH. GAH. GAH.
Buffy spent this ENTIRE episode trying to help Faith. Why? Because she loves her, and she wants to help her. Buffy ALSO tried to keep Faith from being sent away, first to prison, then to the Watcher's Council in England. And why did she do this? Because she loves Faith and couldn't bear to be apart from her.
I know, you're all wondering why Faith would want to leave Sunnydale, since she loves Buffy so much. She was afraid that after she freaked out and accused Buffy of murder, Buffy wouldn't love her anymore. She didn't want to see the pain she caused the one she loved, so she decided to get out of town before she hurt her love any more than she already had. And when Buffy came after her, Faith was still so insecure that she thought she had to become evil. Poor Faith.
Faith regrets her actions.
So this is the ep where we find out about Faith's evilness. And this is the ep where we also find out that Faith is definitely still feeling something for Buffy, even if she is evil now. Eeverything Faith does in this episode is designed to hurt Buffy; stealing her boyfriend, torturing her, etc. etc. Faith still can't get Buffy out of her mind. She hates her simply because she loves her.
On Buffy's part, she is horrified by Faith's betrayal and so tries to forget about her feelings. But whether she was acting or not, her speech to Faith when she was tied up: "But we were friends, Faith." speaks yards about her feelings of hurt and betrayal. A low point in the girls' relationship, but sexual tension abounded, i.e. "If you're a screamer..."
This one speaks for itself.
Faith loved that knife. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever given her. She loved that knife more than anything. However, at the end of the episode, Faith gives up her knife to save Wesley. She didn't have to, but she saved Wesley to make Buffy happy. Also, Buffy said that she was staying in Sunnydale because Faith was no longer fighting evil for them. That's not true. She's really staying in Sunnydale to be near Faith.
The Mayor said, " (to Buffy) So, you're the little girl who has been causing me all this trouble. (to Angel) She's pretty Angel. A little skinny. (to Buffy) I still don't understand why it couldn't work out with you and my Faith. I guess you just kinda have strange tastes in women." Now... Angel responded, but he just didn't realize that the Mayor was talking to Buffy, not him. Because even the Mayor knew that Faith loves Buffy, and he felt that the two of them could work out their problems.
The look of longing.
Graduation 1 [BTVS]
Ok... I know Buffy killing Faith doesn't really prove anything. But I have two theores on that. First of all, Faith's not dead. Did we see her stop breathing? Nope. She's alive. Anyway... first... when Buffy went to Faith's apartment to kill her, Faith said "Let's give us a kiss." Faith wanted Buffy to kiss her. She loves Buffy. Too bad Buffy's a whore. Anyway.. on to the theories.
1. My theory - Buffy loves Faith. And Faith loves Buffy. However, because Faith is now working for the Mayor, Buffy doesn't feel that she and Faith can be together. And Buffy also thinks that she is going to die in the Mayor's Ascension. Because she and Faith can't be together in this life, Buffy killed her so that they can be together in the next one.
2. Kate's theory - See, Faith is bad. And unless Buffy stops her, she'll continue to do bad things. And the only way for Buffy to stop her is to kill her. It's like a rabid puppy.... You know, you have to put down Old Yeller... Sometimes, you have to hurt the ones you love...to make it better...
So there you have it. You decide.
The Slayer pair off.
We always hurt...the ones we love.
Graduation 2 [BTVS]
OK, I think it's pretty obvious that Faith and Buffy are in love in this one. Faith comes back *from the land of the coma* to help Buffy defeat a man she loved like a father. And although Buffy killed her, Faith smiles, jokes, and laughs with her. Wow, she's forgiving.
And when Buffy wakes up from their shared dream, she goes into Faith's room and smooches her. I don't know about you, but that looks like love to me.
This Year's Girl [BTVS]
Ok, where to start. To begin with, throughout her entire coma, Faith has been dreaming of who? Buffy. Buffy has invaded even her subconscious. In the first dream, they're making up a bed in a room that they seemingly share(so they must share the bed too.) And even though she has to go, Buffy really wants to stay.
After Faith wakes up and is walking out of the hospital, we hear Buffy say, "I never stopped thinking about you." Now, she's supposedly saying this to Riley, but we hear it as an image of Faith is walking. Bad editing? I don't think so. Faith is first and foremost in Buffy's mind. She's her "responsibility." Even Riley knows it. When Buffy tells him about Faith, he says she's holding something back on him. It's always awkward to tell your current honey about former girlfriends.
In addition, Buffy is tops in Faith's mind as well. Faith immediately goes to find her and sees her snuggling with Riley and looks *really* jealous and upset. When she finally meets up with Buffy, she lets her girl have it. She's angry and upset that Buffy couldn't leave Angel for her, but could leave him for Riley. Still, she wants Buffy just as badly as always..."Let's see who ends up on top."
In addition, when she's talking to Joyce, she alludes to the fact that both of them have been "dumped." It's too bad that Faith is a little irrational after getting out of the coma or maybe the Slayers could have worked things out.
You know their sheets were wrinkled. ;)
Who Are You? [BTVS]
Faith wants Buffy *so* much that she switches bodies with her and what's the first thing she does? She takes a bath and gropes herself. It's right there onscreen! If they showed us that, just think what they *didn't* show us. Then, Faith tries to show Buffy's body a good time, taking it out to do all the fun things that Faith tried to talk Buffy herself into doing. Meanwhile, Buffy is learning what's it like to be Faith, getting an idea of what her girlfriend had to go through.
When Faith sleeps with Riley, she gets very upset when he says, "I love you." Faith has always heard those words as some sort of trap, a way for people to get her into bed. Or maybe she heard them from abusive parents. She asks Riley, "What do you want from...her?" Even now, she is looking out for Buffy. She doesn't want anyone to hurt Buffy because she loves her.
She herself can not hurt Buffy that much, so she does not run away again, but instead comes to the rescue at the church. She's obviously very mad at herself and what she thinks she's become because she beats herself up. She was not calling Buffy a murderous bitch, she was calling herself that. When they switched back bodies, the girls could only stare at each other in shock because of the knowledge they'd gained of each other. This bodes well for reconciliation if Faith ever comes back. :)
Finally, Buffy is very upset when she hears that Riley slept with Faith. Not because she's jealous of Faith, but because she's jealous of *Riley* for moving in on her territory. And what are the Slayers thinking about at the end of the ep? Each other.
Always on my mind...
My comment: Thsi is the last episode where we can see the two Slayers together. In the previous Angel's episode, Five by Five, we could see Faith, abandoned by the love of her life, totally freak out and yield to her most murderous impulses, so desperate to have lost Buffy that she wanted Angel to kill her. How do you want her to react after having seen she was replaced by a Neandertalian beefstick from Iowa? Won't you become mad in her situation?
Then, Buffy cannot resist: when she hears that Faith is in LA, she runs directly at Angel's house... and catches them both in a hug. Despite a regrettable misunderstanding (Angel was just consoling her), jealousy seizes Buffy who, for her defence, is not always very perceptive in her thought...: the woman of her life in the arms of a vamp! Faith, looking crazed, does not even react at the moment.
We don't have even the time to witness the reunion that the Council decides to intervene to get rid of Faith. And then, Buffy sees red and she runs to her Slayer's aid, ready to be killed rather than lose Faith again.
We could note that Faith, usually reluctant to justify herself, tries to explain her past attitude to Buffy, and asks her how to be better, meaning how to be better in order for you to accept me and love me...
At last, tragic epilogue, Faith gives herself up to the police, prefering to sacrifice herself as the ultimate token of love to show Buffy the strength of her character and her value, and above all the extent of what she lost by leaving her. Boo hoo...
And who do you think she's thinking, mmm ?
Dirty Girls [BTVS, S7, ep18]
My comment: Faith's return to Sunnydale! When Willow goes to Los Angeles in order to say to Faith, recently escaped from jail to help Angel, that Buffy needs her in her fight against The First, the dark Slayer does not hesitate and goes to join her dulcinea.
And what is the first thing she does when arriving, leaving Willow in the hospital? Finding Buffy, who is patrolling with Spike. On this occasion, Buffy strikes her and Faith does not fight back. She does not want to spoil the moment...
Her return is not easy despite Faith's efforts to fit into the group. During a patrol, Buffy asks Faith what is going on between her and Spike as she has caught them smoking alone in the basement. In fact, Buffy is jealous, not of Faith, but of Spike!
Getting together again...
Empty Places [BTVS, S7, ep19]
My comment: When Buffy finds out that Faith has taken the Potentials to a club and that this adventure has nearly ended in Faith's arrest, she is very angry with the dark Slayer. In fact, it's not really because Faith could have put the other girls'lives in danger, but because Buffy is disappointed not to have been invited and because Faith could have disappeared. Buffy does not want to lose Faith again.
When Wood and Faith have a talk outside the Summers house, Faith tells him the bruise Buffy made her is its favourite... Then he asks her why she didn't fight back, and Faith answers that other things matter more. He adds he thinks she is worried about Buffy. Indeed, Faith no longer wants to hurt Buffy because she loves her too much. Thus it's normal she did not fight back and she cares about her.
Buffy is worried.
Touched [BTVS, S7, ep20]
My comment: Faith has become the leader of the group. When Spike finds it out, he has a quarrel with Faith. She says to him: "You're pretty sweet on her, aren't you?" Jealous of Spike, she fights against him. It's a classical confrontation between two wooers.
The First appears finally to Faith under the shape of Mayor Wilkins who finds her weak spot, in the same way he did with all the others. Now, Faith's weak spot is her love for Buffy. The First says to her: "Deep down, you've always wanted Buffy to accept you - to love you, even."
So if Faith sleeps with Wood, it's only out of spite and to let off steam before the big battle. Anyway, Wood is just a one-night stand as the others: her only love is Buffy.
As Buffy has disappeared, Faith is worried ans asks the others to find her and to be sure she is fine.
The First reveals Faith's love for Buffy.
End of Days [BTVS, S7, ep21]
My comment: Faith has nearly died after a bomb explosion. When the Potentials bring her home, injured, Buffy, who's back, is very shocked. She has nearly lost Faith again. She spends time with her, even sharing the taste of the power coming from the scythe. As for Faith, she confides in Buffy, which she never does with anybody else.
Buffy watches over Faith.
Chosen [BTVS, S7, ep22]
My comment: Last episode of the series. Faith has proved she would fight until death for Buffy. She saves her life during the final battle, and Buffy gives her the scythe, which shows their mutual trust is back.
The last scene shows the Scooby Gang gathered in front of the crater of Sunnydale, but above all we can see Faith, standing back behind Buffy, who stares at the love of her life, and imagines the possibilities of their future...
Faith regarde sa Tueuse...