All is not revealed in Revelations, but a lot sure is. For the Scoobies, the major revelation is the return of Angel. For the viewer it’s the troubled character of Faith.
Angel’s reappearance from the hell dimension occurred four shows ago, and he’s been tangential to the episodic plots ever since. Now, however, the wildly sought-after Glove of Myhnegon brings him indirectly into back into the fold and exposes his existence in Sunnydale. In a coincidence that strikes me as all too convenient, Angel knows not only all about the glove and its terrible powers, but even which local crypt it’s housed in. (So why didn’t Angelus go for the glove in s2? It would have been far simpler than opening the portal with Acathla!) He beats Buffy to the punch in retrieving the prize, but in the process is spied by Xander, also on his way to get the damn glove – solo in the cemetery. Since when does Xander take on important missions independently? Usually the plot machinations are less transparent, but we’ve got a magic glove and we’ve got to drop the bomb about Angel, so let’s pull it all together!
I found the Angel-intervention scene staged by the Scoobies a super showcase sharp writing and character development. Xander’s Angel-related anger continues unabated, and I’m skeptical as to how much of it we can really attribute to the jealousy that Buffy calls him on. He makes good points on both the risk that Angel presents and the deception that Buffy has practiced. What’s more, the Scoobies concur, though Willow wishes everyone would hold to the agreed upon intervention language. And while Giles offers Buffy a mild defense, the look on his face when Buffy insists no one was ever in danger tells more than his subsequent speech about being tortured. The whole scene scorches so that many fans feel it’s too harsh, especially in Xander’s diatribe, but interventions aren’t really about hashing over the good times, are they?
Complicating the quest for the glove, or “magic mitten thingy,” is ostensibly the demon Lagos, who digs through open graves like a four-year-old child playing dress-up and rifling through a trunk of costumes. Lagos, however, doesn’t qualify as the principal villain here; that role goes unexpectedly to Mrs. Gwendolyn Post, who arrives unexpectedly during cemetery rounds/battle evaluation – hypercritical and in an upper-crust British snit, to assume duties as Faith’s new Watcher.
I really like the duplicity of Gwendolyn Post, which serves to shatter Faith’s trust and officially begin her descent into depravity and demonic allegiance. Yet I felt Mrs. Post should have had at least two episodes to build a stronger relationship with Faith, making the betrayal more damaging. Also, with greater investment in the Post character, the audience would have felt more of a head spin with her turncoat revelation.
I was indeed surprised when she bashed Giles over the head and set off to steal the glove, but for me, the more substantial revelation lies in Faith’s character. Her impulsivity collides with her resentment at Buffy and the Scoobies as she’s easily manipulated by Mrs. Post, leading her to slay Angel despite (or perhaps because of?) her friendship with Buffy. Faith is not contemplative like Buffy; she’s a doer working off raw emotion and adrenaline, and as we’ll see, she also lacks Buffy’s reflective nature, which largely absolves her from responsibility from her actions.
It’s a sad separation for both characters, as Buffy could certainly use some lightening up, and Faith could use some slowing down. They make an impressive pair in the opening graveyard battle sequence, synchronized slaying worthy of at least a 9.0 Olympic score – though Mrs. Post deems it sloppy – and their yin/yang balance works so well that it more or less demands a Whedon whacking! No extended happiness permitted.
TEASING SEX: The tai chi! Yet another iconic moment, one that I deem unconscionably cheesy and pandering but inarguably effective in drawing interest to David Boreanaz’s exposed torso. Ya gotta have an audience to get to season four!
Was one of the lasting effects of the hell dimension an aversion to shirts?
MORE TEASING SEX: The lesbian titillation! Buffy’s secret date turns out to be Faith, and the two nearly nuzzle each other and tease everyone at the table and in front of their televisions. I’ll bet after this performance Xander went straight to the Bronze bathroom for an urgent wank!
BUFFY’S VANQUISHING OF GWENDOLYN POST: In an unexpected maneuver, Buffy’s hurls a shard of glass at her opponent, slicing her arm – and, of course, the glove – clean off! It’s reminiscent of last week’s clever defeat of the demon Lurconis in Band Candy. Buffy’s especially resourceful when the chips are down!