Synopsis: In what could have been titled Bad Girls Part II, Faith continues to avoid the consequences of her actions in Bad Girls thus completing her transformation to the dark side. Expect black cape, helmet, and breathing problems in the coming episodes.
Review: This episode was emotionally wrenching from beginning to end. Unfortunately, the payoff was expected and somewhat of a let down. I think making Faith the "big bad" of this season is a smart move, but I think stretching the transformation out over two episodes without much accompanying plot or even an interesting monster-of-the-week was not wise. Angel's transformation was instant and unexpected. We were giving a whole episode’s notice to be on the lookout of Faith-gone-bad. We were given almost three decades notice to anticipate Anakin Skywalker’s transformation, and we were hugely let down.
Any possible message about redemption was muddled by Faith ultimately crossing over to the dark side. Giles and Buffy's conversation in the penultimate scene about there still being hope for Faith was dashed by Faith's offer to become the Mayor's new lackey in the closing scene. I am holding out hope that this message of redemption will return in a later episode (maybe even a later season), and we will get to witness Faith make amends for her wrongs.
Faith was the star of this episode, but she was not the only development. We see a hint of the flirtatious (but short) relationship between Cordelia and Wesley. Although Charisma Carpenter plays his love interest in Buffy, it is another Buffy star that hooks up with Alexis Denisof in real life. Alyson Hannigan, the actress that plays Willow, married Alexis in 2003. She actually asked him out after meeting him on the set of Buffy, but he declined because he did not date coworkers. They became good friends and ended up tying the knot in 2003. Joss Whedon even named them godparents of his son.
Excellent acting was the strong point of this episode. The emotional power of this episode must be credited to the excellent performances of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eliza Dushku, Alyson Hannigan, and Nicholas Brendon. This fact alone makes Faith's transformation to evil more bearable than the Anakin-to-Vader farce George Lucas offered us. Overall, this episode was okay earning a 5 out of 10.
Objectionable Content: Faith straddles Xander, and she sensually kisses him against his will. She tops this off by strangling him, but Angel saves his life by knocking Faith out. Faith cracks several sexual bondage jokes to Angel.
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)