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Failing Faith?

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  • #31
    Many, many people grow up under similar circumstances to Faith but they don't mercilessly kill old men in cold blood or plan to sadistically torture someone out of jealousy. They also don't poison people and take extreme satisfaction out of the thought of them having a "wicked painful" and agonising death. I agree with you about the root of Faith's issues but there's a gap between Faith's background and what Faith ultimately starts doing. She crosses major lines that other people in her position simply never do. Faith took extreme pleasure in the thought of other people suffering - people whom she'd known and been friends with.
    I think that`s just what the original question of this thread is. Why do some poeple with the same Background Faith has not murder others? Or why do some óf them follow the same path faith choose?

    This is not about "poor kid, she had a broken home, let`s not press charges for the vulcanologists death." Faith did make a choice. The question is if there is something that could have made a difference and could have led her (earlier) to making different (and better) choices.

    There is no simple answer to that. As I said in my earlier post I don`t think a warm welcome would have made all the difference. I agree with bespangled that every kid is entitled to have a home and to be loved no matter what they do to not deserve it. But sadly that doesn`t meant every wound will heal.

    Neither Joyce nor Buffy, Willow or Xander were responsible for Faith. Giles, Wes and the Watchers`Council on the other hand surely were.

    ................................ Banner by buffylover


    • #32
      There is a difference between excusing actions and giving context for choices. Trust me, I know that the majority of people who come out of chaos and abuse work to heal themselves in some way, and don't go on to abuse others. This healing is usually facilitated by friends, counseling, medication, or volunteers who work the suicide and abuse hotlines. Another big factor is a lack of judgement and a belief that healing and even redemption are possible. This is where Angel comes in. His lack of judgement and his support gives Faith a reason not to kill herself or anyone one else, and to realize she needs to take responsibility for her choices.

      The converse is that a majority of murderers have two things in common, a lifetime of abuse with no intervention and some degree of brain damage. The question is whether Faith would have done better had things been different in Sunnydale, had someone intervened and stopped her spiral before it started, when she still hero worshiped Buffy.

      A lot of the answers so far are that Faith did bad things and no one had a duty to intervene. I agree she did bad things. That's a given as far as this question goes. As to intervention, this is what we are discussing. As far as I am concerned the story as told focuses on the POV of the scoobies. All I am trying to do is flip the story and give context as to why Faith did these bad things, and what might have helped. There's a myth out there that every child or teen is fully capable of climbing out of abusive childhoods and getting a great job and living a responsible life without anyone helping them. Therefore those who don't do this are withholding and immoral by choice. That means Faith was just evil by choice and she enjoyed it. I agree that she chose her side and killing was a release that she enjoyed. But there are reasons behind her choice - there is a context. And if there is a context there is a question as to whether a change in that context would have resulted in a change in Faith's choices. I think it could have done so.

      To be honest, I don't find Faith and Willow very comparable. Willow's murderous rampage took place over one night and day. In fact, it may have been even less than that as Dawn was already at school by the time Tara was shot so for all we know it was the middle of the day or early afternoon. Nevertheless, whilst I'm certainly not suggesting that it makes Willow's murder ok, Willow's rampage was brief and fleeting. She was talked down to and reasoned with within approximately 24 hours. On the other hand, Faith's commitment to evil lasted weeks if not months and wasn't a crime of passion at all but rather a cold, calculated and pre-meditated rampage against not only those whom she perceived to have wronged her (Buffy and the Scoobies) but regular Sunnydale citizens as well.
      I am talking simply about Willow's actions being motivated by rage, but the fact is that her choices over the entire season led to that rage. She chose to kill an animals and engage in necromancy for what she thought was a good reason. When things got sour she chose to double down and use magic in ways that were pretty horrific. Buffy was her intervention. Losing Tara was her wake up call. She tamped things down until she exploded. The time frame is really a full season for both of them spiraling out of control. We can accept that Willow was properly rewarded by a vacation in England because we know her.

      Now if we want to count Willow's actions as 24 hours, then Faith killed the volcanologist in that same time period. Willow flayed Warren. Faith repeatedly stabbed the volcanologist. Faith's actions were motivated by rage, the rage she had inside her most of her life. If humans can lack a soul, or have a soul that isn't fully awake I would say this is what Faith is at this point. Her sense of morality is limited because she has never learned how to be unselfish. Willow has learned but the dark magics she has filled herself with overwhelm her moral sense. Which is worse? The one who throws away her moral grounding to take revenge or the one who never had a moral grounding? Does morality need to be taught or can you just pick it up on the streets?

      And where does the fact that Faith was also traumatized fit in? We never saw Faith's watcher, let alone saw her brutal murder and Faith's attempt to save her. But this is why she showed up in Sunnydale. This happened immediately before she arrived in town. I don't thnink she was feeling particularly rational at his point.

      Now, I much prefer Faith's story. Whilst I initially understand Willow's anger towards Warren in "Villains" it has always felt extremely tenuous to me that she'd then set her sights on Jonathan and Andrew. That 'emotional logic', IMO, was iffy at best, and just felt like a contrived way to extend her dark arc over the three final episodes. It doesn't feel emotionally true to me that Willow would hold Andrew or Jonathan responsible for Tara's death seeing as how they were already locked up and out of sight and mind. And by the end of "Two to Go" where she's all "mwahaha it's about POWER!" I feel her storyline kind of derails pretty spectacularly, leading up to the unnecessary apocalyptic showdown on King Man's Bluff. I also think it's annoyingly ambiguous how much it's meant to be Willow and how much it's meant to be the dark 'magicks' making Willow behave this way.
      The whole addiction plot line is pretty clumsy. My view on Willow is that this has been coming for a long time, both for the reasons that everyone agrees on, but also the fact that magic is pulled from the earth. So all the magic that Willow has used all along was tainted by the hellmouth.

      Whereas, I totally get Faith's story for the most part. It feels organic to me and the steps she takes and the things she does make sense for pretty much all the reasons you've articulated in your own posts. I certainly much prefer Faith's turn to darkness but based on how fleeting Willow's is, and based on how emotionally raw Willow was in the immediate aftermath of seeing Tara gunned down in front of her, I ultimately find her actions far more forgivable and sympathetic. By the time Faith's already aligned herself with The Mayor over several weeks and gleefully plans to sadistically torture Buffy, I think Faith's had enough time to reconsider what she's doing that I don't have much sympathy for her left.
      Yeah, I do too. Had Willow actually attacked and caused permanent harm to anyone we care about it would be a different story. They managed to keep her sympathetic. But she did sadistically attack Giles, Buffy, Dawn, Xander, and Anya. Was torturing Giles as bad as planning to torture Buffy? Your call. Her taking in the magic early in the season and using it to tear Buffy out of heaven was a choice made for good reasons in her eyes. But magic has consequences, and this entire season is really about those consequences. She chose her addiction. She chose to use magic on people she loved to make them behave as she wanted them to. Willow made choices just like Faith did. Killing Warren and trying to end the world is the result of those choices.

      If we had seen the abuse, neglect and constant betrayals that Faith had to surmount in order to survive, if we saw how and why she was so hardened and distrustful, then we would probably had more sympathy. I'm not saying that her choice to join the mayor and do his bidding, to work for his triumph over the scoobies is good. I am saying it makes sense given who she is, and here distrust, insecurity, rage, and jealousy and selfishness make sense given what her life has been.

      Faith: (without looking up) Yeah, well, you can't trust people. I
      should've learned that by now.

      Buffy: I realize this is gonna sound funny coming from someone that
      just spent a lot of time kicking your face... but you can trust me.

      Faith: (looks up, amused) Is that right? (tosses the magazine aside)

      Buffy: I know I kept secrets, but I didn't have a choice. I'm on your

      Faith: *I'm* on my side, (nods) and that's enough.

      I think you may be misremembering "Sanctuary" as it's actually Buffy who first raises the idea of jail long before Faith turns herself in;

      She has a chance to change. She wants to.

      No. No chance. Jail.

      Do you think that'll help?

      She wasn't just settling for it. She was demanding it happen.
      Yup! My bad.

      It's great that you did that but I could never fault someone else for not doing the same. If someone doesn't feel emotionally or monetarily equipped to take on another teenager then I could never hold that against them. Joyce did not accept the responsibility of a throwaway kid and that's honestly her right. For instance, Joyce is ecstatic when she learns that Buffy has been accepted into Northwestern University and states in "Choices" that it's certainly not cheap but that if Hank pitches in they'd make it work. Had she taken Faith into her home, would Buffy have still been able to attend Northwestern if she'd wanted to? Quite possibly not. And in all honesty, I'd completely understand that Joyce isn't willing to deny her own daughter the higher education she's worked hard for after nurturing her and loving her for eighteen years because she's taken into to her home another eighteen year old who she honestly don't know that well. Most parents will prioritise their own children over anything else and I can't fault them for that whatsoever.

      I don't fault Joyce, although an extra kid really is not that expensive. I think the fact that Buffy would have deeply resented it was part of her choice. Buffy already said she was being 'single white femaled,' and Joyce said it was lucky Buffy was an only child. Buffy made it clear that she didn't want to share her life, her mother, or her home.

      I do fault Giles. He never accepted Faith as his slayer, and he made no attempt to help her in any real way. Since ha asked to be responsible for her, and was given that responsibility he should have taken her needs into consideration. I think that he is the nexus. Had he arranged a place for her to stay, room and board, it would have made a huge difference. I believe it was his responsibility and his duty to take care of his new slayer. "I am her watcher. I am responsible" He said that repeatedly about Buffy. He didn't just drop the ball on Faith, he threw it in the garbage.

      Well, let's just be clear here - Faith wasn't living "on the streets" and it's not stated anywhere in the text whatsoever that Faith was "dumpster diving for food." None of that is actually supported in the text at all. For one thing, Faith's motto was "Want. Take. Have" so I don't think she'd have had any hesitation about stealing food and/or cash to pay for food. And whilst Faith may have not had a home she did have shelter and she was living in the motel room for an extended period of time. As HardlyThere stated, in "Faith, Hope & Trick" we saw her talking her way out of paying her bill but I imagine she couldn't have continued to do that for weeks on end. She obviously was paying the bill somehow which, again, was most likely from cash that she stole. Now, whether or not you think it was extremely poor of Giles that he allowed her to be in a position where she had to steal to survive is another thing entirely, but there's certainly nothing to suggest whatsoever she was "dumpster diving" or "living on the streets."
      I used both phrases figuratively, not literally. Squatting an a seedy motel is a form of living on the streets. Squatting in a condemned house, or an abandoned building is living on the street. It's temporary - there's a lack of security, a lack of consistency, and a constant fear of having no place to go. The fact that she is left there reinforces her determination not to trust or open up. There is also no textual proof that she stole food or cash. Let's just say that Faith was food insecure, and had no permanent residence. She was lacking any mentor, and aware that no one gave two hoots about her. She was traumatized by the death of her watcher. She was afraid of showing weakness. She was afraid of showing weakness that would be exploited in her experience. She needed help in a lot of ways.

      Why didn't she ask for help? Why didn't Buffy call Giles in season six?

      He was her Watcher, though. Whether you just expect the worst of him or not, it's still ultimately his responsibility from "Bad Girls" onwards.
      Yeah, Wesley at this point let everyone down. But if Giles had arranged room and board then Wesley wouldn't have countermanded it.

      This is where you lose me, to be honest. IMO your vilification of The Scoobies is undeserved. I have criticised Xander for using Faith in "Revelations" because I do think he manipulated her to serve her own purposes. However, I'm struggling to see how "they" kept secrets from her and lied to her? Buffy lied to her and kept secrets from her in regards to Angel but Buffy lied to and kept secrets from everybody in regards to Angel. Furthermore, if you're referring to "Revelations" where Faith wasn't included in the intervention against Buffy, I wouldn't be parroting Gwendolyn Post. Post was manipulating Faith by making her feel like Faith was purposely excluded. I think it's far more likely that The Scoobies simply had a slip of mind and didn't think to consider Faith given that she didn't attend school with them, was still relatively new to the group, and hadn't been around in "Homecoming" or "Band Candy." This idea that they deliberately kept her out of the loop and deliberately lied to her and kept secrets from her is completely unfounded.
      I am not vilifying them. I am showing them through Faith's eyes. Again it's context. In her eyes, being left in the motel matters. In her eyes being blown off when she wants to get closer to Buffy matters. In her eyes being lied to matters. In her eyes being betrayed matters. In her eyes being disliked matters. In her eyes being used matters. In her eyes being made an idiot when she thought she finally had someone who cared matters. In her eyes having someone who she trusted engineer all this (albeit unintentionally) come and tell her immediately after that Faith can trust her is a joke. This set the scene for how she reacts later, and why she makes the choices she does. I am not supporting those choices. I am trying to give Faith's side of the story.

      Not a single Scooby member expressed problems with how Faith behaved in a group setting. In fact, aside from Buffy who obviously felt territorial and protective, the gang were incredibly charmed by Faith's personality.
      They were charmed when they met her, other than Cordelia. That reaction was pretty much over in one day. After that it was pretty clear she wasn't going to fit in. She was too loud, said inappropriate things, just didn't know how to behave like them. She went of slaying on her own because there was really no reason to stay in town. There are a fair amount of episodes where she doesn't appear. Giles blows her off which is sad since it appears Faith had a really good relationship with her watcher - the one she saw torn to pieces. With Faith's lust for the kill, her need for action to outrun her inner demons, going off on her own to slay makes sense.

      Many, many people grow up under similar circumstances to Faith but they don't mercilessly kill old men in cold blood or plan to sadistically torture someone out of jealousy. They also don't poison people and take extreme satisfaction out of the thought of them having a "wicked painful" and agonising death. I agree with you about the root of Faith's issues but there's a gap between Faith's background and what Faith ultimately starts doing. She crosses major lines that other people in her position simply never do. Faith took extreme pleasure in the thought of other people suffering - people whom she'd known and been friends with.
      Gimme a break. Do you really think I don't know that? Why do you think I take in kids? Because intervention is key. Because someone saying I care, and I will be beside you matters. Yes, Faith did bad things. I have conceded that repeatedly. I am simply saying Faith had inner demons, she had her own reasons to do those bad things. Not all children who are sexually abused go on to commit murder, but I guarantee that they all feel rage, distrust, broken and devalued. Faith was used sexually by adults, and since that was all she had in terms of support she learned to harden herself. She played them as much as she was able because feeling like a victim, feeling powerless, sucks. So when another man was willing to take her in, when he gave her the love of a father, she didn't care that he was evil. And yes, that rage withing her was given free reign, She took delight in trying to make people suffer, make them feel helpless, make them feel what she had grown up with.

      Faith could've had a support system too. After the fallout in "Revelations" Buffy went to her and tried to patch things up. After Faith tried to frame Buffy for Finch's murder Buffy still tried to help her and give her another chance ("I'm not giving up on her"). Angel also tried to help her in "Consequences" and the beginning of "Enemies." And characters like Xander were incredibly forgiving under the circumstances (she tried to throttle him) and were willing to interact with her. None of these people are perfect. None of them didn't make mistakes. But, hey, that's life. They were all still there for Faith all willing not to cast her out but because they weren't 100% perfect towards Faith and 100% blameless for anything that may have happened, Faith didn't have a support system? Nah. It's an unfair standard to hold people to and it's not a standard any of the other Scoobies hold themselves to with each other. It's on Faith if she cuts people out the moment they disappoint her in some way.
      Cutting people out when she feels betrayed is a survival skill in her life. There is absolutely nothing to show that Faith could have had a support system. Giles pretty much abandoned her and he was the adult responsible for her. Buffy did try to be her friend, when she wasn't lying and keeping secrets which amounts to jerking her around. Angel's intervention might have made a difference, but Wesley blew that chance. By the time she tried to kill Xander she was already spiraling downward but before that his only real interest was in sex. Given that he was dating Cordy, there's something a little skeevy there. Again -Faith's POV taking in her what life had taught her.

      What it comes down to is Faith would have been much better if she was a totally different character. Obviously that's true, but then she wouldn't have been Faith. If Giles had taken her under his wing along with Buffy and made arrangements to get her room and board I think it would have made a difference. If Buffy hadn't lied to her and betrayed her so early on I think Faith would have opened up more. If Wesley hadn't intervened, I think Angel could have made a real difference. So my answer to the question remains that Faith was failed.
      Last edited by bespangeled; 14-05-19, 02:36 AM.
      Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.