“Oh, the places you’ll go! Mom used to read me that book before she tucked me in… Nights she was sober enough, anyway. But Dr. Suess never tells you that even with brains in your head and feet in your shoes… You can still end up in Cleveland.” – Faith Lehane
No Future For You opens in Cleveland. Faith is chilling on top of the Hope Memorial Bridge smoking a cigarette when she receives a phone call from an old friend, Robin Wood. Interestingly, Faith refers to Robin as her ex as she teases “I’m impressed, Mister Principal. Most exes are too proud to make the late-night booty call, but not you, huh?”
Robin’s intentions are strictly business orientated. He’s just finished taking out a vamp nest with his squad. One of the vamps they dusted was a single mother. He asks Faith if she would check up on the woman's children. Faith agrees and asks for the address. Robin is thankful and asks how she’s doing. She hangs up and quickly makes her way to the location. Disturbingly, When she arrives at the house, it turns out the woman has sired all of her six children. Faith has no option but to dust the little monsters, before sullenly returning to her own apartment.
When Faith gets home, she vents her anger by pounding one of her apartment walls with a stake. She realizes she’s not alone when someone asks “Long night?” Her unexpected guest is none other than, Rupert Giles. “I must say, for cupboards this bare, you have an exceptional selection of chamomiles.” He says, holding a cuppa. While the pair reacquaint, Faith quickly cuts to the chase, “You can skip the friendly uncle routine. I ain’t your beloved Buffy, I’m the go-to girl for dirty deeds done dirt cheap, right? So what do you need me to kill?” Giles informs Faith that this is no ordinary mission. The stakes are much higher. But with great risk comes great reward.
Giles: If you accept my assignment, I can offer you safe passage to the nation of your choosing. You’ll be given a generous annual stipend and be permitted to live out the rest of your days however you see fit.
Faith: Yeah, right. I’m an escaped con. A murderer. Why would the same Watchers Council that tried to ice me suddenly make with the pension plan?
Giles: For all intents and purposes, I am the Watchers Council. And I’m personally authorizing your ‘early retirement,’ just as I’m authorizing this directive.
Faith: Must be one hell of a target. What are we talking here, a Nisanti demon? A Buski Golem?
Giles: A Slayer
Giles tells Faith that not all of the newly appointed Slayers are using their powers for good. Having danced with the dark side of power herself, Faith knows all too well how dangerous a rogue Slayer can be. Giles informs her that this Slayer is much more of a threat than she ever was and rehabilitation isn’t an option. This girl could bring about the end of the world.
We cut to the Slayer in question, Lady Genevieve Savidge. In England, the posh looking Slayer and an Irish Warlock named Roden are on horseback. It appears as though they are on a foxhunt. But it's quickly revealed that they are hunting something much bigger than a fox. They're hunting a Slayer. When they catch up to their victim, the captured Slayer tries to defend herself. But Genevieve takes her out with ease, breaking her neck with a quick backhand.
Genevieve: Oh, God. I... I thought you said this one would be as strong as me. I thought she was another Slayer.
Roden: And she was, Gigi. Which makes this a most impressive blooding.
Roden uses his powers to summon two large stoney gargoyles to take care of the body. He appears to be the one pulling the strings. Genevieve tells the Warlock that she's done jumping through his hoops. She demands to have what's been promised to her. Roden tells her that she'll have to be patient. He's holding a book with Twilight's mark carved onto the cover.
Meanwhile, Giles is teaching Faith how to infiltrate British high society. Lady Genevieve is the most highly guarded heiress in the British Isles. If Faith is going to assassinate her, she'll need to get close to her. She'll need to become a part of her world. They begin their training with proper dining etiquette. Faith is feeling insecure and overwhelmed. When Giles places his hand on her arm, she lashes out, stabbing him with a fork. She is clearly suffering from some form of PTSD. She has a flashback of a vampire calling her a worthless whore. She quickly apologizes when she realizes what she's done. It was a pure reflex."Sorry, I... I don't like getting pawed at. Not unless I paw first." she says. Giles tells her that it's fine. As he rolls his sleeve up to inspect the wound, he reveals his tattoo, the mark of Eyghon. Surprised, Faith asks when he got ink, and Giles asks if she honestly believes that she's the first young person to stumble on the notion of rebellion.
Giles: Do you think you're the first who ever let an innocent person get hurt because of your own stupidity? You and I aren't so unalike. But those of us who refused to pay the piper during our adolescence have a responsibility to shoulder the most unpleasant costs of adulthood.
This exchange helps Faith to relate to Giles. She feels more comfortable and takes his training more seriously.
Back in Scotland, a ripped and shirtless, Xander Harris, is taunting a punching bag while training. Buffy walks in and he quickly throws on a shirt in embarrassment. When Buffy asks what inspired the sudden training montage, he tells her that Renee asked to be sparring partners. Buffy arches her eyebrow, insinuation that the pair want to be more than sparring partners. Xander, unconvincingly insists that the pair are just friends. Buffy sits by the window looking forlorn. She uses the condensation to draw the Twilight symbol on the window. Xander asks if she's okay and she explains that she's just worried about how little they know about Twilight. She's been having recurring nightmares featuring a strange creature hunting her. Every night it pounces, and before it swallows her, it says "The Queen is dead." The creature looks like a lion, but it's mane is made of green fire. It has the eyes and tongue of a snake and the wings of an eagle. (We will see this creature again at the end of the Season)
Giles and Faith have finally arrived in the UK. Giles is quizzing Faith on their training when she emerges in a fancy ball gown. She asks how their doing and Giles simply replies " Five by Five."
To be Continued
The Watchers Files
No Future For You was written by Brian K. Vaughan and features artwork by Georges Jeanty and Jo Chen
I adored this issue. The pairing of Giles and Faith was perfect. Faith needs a Watcher and mentor much more than Buffy at this point. Both characters are given a greater sense of purpose by working together. I love Faith. I've always had a real soft spot for her character. Giles is exactly the type of Watcher that she's always needed and deserved.
No Future For You was my favorite story arc of Season 8. This is surprising considering Brian K. Vaughan never actually wrote for the show.
Many writers from the TV series penned issues this season, including Joss, Jane Espenson, and Drew Goddard. For me, at times it felt as though Vaughan captured the essence of the characters better than anyone.
No Future For You was one of the only stories this season, that I could actually visualize as an episode of the series. The plot and characters felt more grounded and less outlandish.
This could be due to the fact that Vaughan had previously pitched the story to Joss as a direct-to-DVD standalone movie focusing on the character of Faith.
*Sigh* If only this had come to pass…
Oh well, at least we can enjoy the story in the comics, and this one…is just getting started.
Faith Lehane: A Dark Origin
“When are you gonna get this, B? Life for a Slayer is very simple: want, take, have.” – Faith, Season 3, Episode 14, Bad Girls
The character of Faith has come to represent redemption and hope, which is surprising considering her character was originally conceived to represent the dark side of the Slayer. Let’s take a look back at this fascinating character’s humble beginnings.
The writers often referred to Faith as Buffy’s shadow self. She represented the road not taken. She was what Buffy could have become if all the light had been sucked out of her. Buffy may not have had the perfect home life, but she was loved. She had a caring mother. She had a Watcher, who not only served as a mentor, but also a father figure. And last but not least, she had her friends. Faith had none of this.
“Maybe it’s one of those unhappy childhood things. See, when I was a kid I used to beg my mom for a dog. Didn’t matter what kind. I just wanted, you know, something to love. A dog’s all I wanted. Well, that and toys. But mom was so busy, you know, enjoying the drinking and passing out parts of life, that I never really got what I wanted.” – Faith, Season 3, Episode 17, Enemies
Faith clearly had a difficult upbringing which left her emotionally scarred. She had a very jaded outlook on life. In her eyes, everyone was just out for themselves, particularly men. Love, kindness, and compassion were things she didn’t understand, because they were things she’d never known. Though Buffy and the Scooby gang offered her their friendship, it arrived a little too late. Faith was damaged long before she set foot in Sunnydale. She was a ball of pain from the moment she arrived. When we first meet her in Season three, she’s recovering from the trauma of losing her Watcher at the hands of a vampire named Kakistos.
“I was there when he killed my Watcher. I saw what he did to her, what he was going to do to me… I tried to stop him, but I couldn’t, I ran.” - Faith, Season 3, Episode 3, Faith, Hope & Mr. Trick
In Faith’s eyes, Buffy had it all, the nice house, fancy clothes, loving mom, doting Watcher, great friends. She was envious. She got a glimpse of the life she could have had. For a brief moment, the two Slayers got along. Buffy no longer shouldered the burden of being the one and only chosen, and Faith provided her with a new perspective on her calling. Faith relished being a Slayer. She got off on the power and adrenaline of it all. Her energy and enthusiasm were infectious and it wasn’t long before Buffy wanted a taste of this freedom herself. But, Buffy quickly learned that living so close to the edge can have disastrous consequences. When Faith accidentally stakes a man, the two Slayers differences really come to light.
“Faith: I missed the mark last night. And I’m sorry about the guy, really. But it happens. Anyway, how many people do you think we’ve saved by now? Thousands? And didn’t you stop the world from ending? In my book, that puts you and me firmly in the plus column.
Buffy: We help people. That doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want.
Faith: Why not? This guy I offed was no Gandhi. We just saw, he was mixed up in dirty dealing.” – Season 3, Episode 15, Consequences
Buffy understands the difference between being a Slayer and being a killer. This is perhaps because Buffy can differentiate between monsters and humans. At this point in her life, I don’t think Faith can. To her, they’re all just beasts and being the Slayer makes her superior.
“Faith: You’re still not looking at the big picture, B. Something made us different. We’re warriors. We were built to kill.
Buffy: To kill demons. But we don’t get to pass judgment on people like we’re better than everybody else.
Faith: We are better. People need us to survive. In the balance, nobody’s gonna cry over some random bystander who got caught in the crossfire.
Buffy: I am.” – Season 3, Episode 15, Consequences
This scene from Consequences really showcases the difference between Buffy and Faith. Two of the strongest themes in Buffy’s third Season are at the forefront of this episode. These themes are Abuse of Power and Nature vs. Nurture. Both play heavily throughout Season three. Power is addictive and often corrupts. Faith shows us how dangerous a Slayer can be when this power is left unchecked.
When Faith took a life, she spiraled hard. Though she claimed she didn’t care, it was clear that she did. She was in pain. It was no big surprise when Faith turned to the dark side. She was vulnerable and alone, and the Mayor offered her something she never had, a father figure. As toxic and manipulative as their relationship was, it was the closest thing to a familial bond that she’d ever known.
I am so happy that Faith made her way onto the road to redemption. I look forward to examining that journey in another piece. But it’s fascinating looking back at how this character originated. Like all of Whedon’s creations, she is so intricately layered and three dimensional. She has become one of my favorite characters in the entire Buffyverse. Top three, for sure. Even in her darkest, most devious moments, there’s always an underlying vulnerability that makes you root for her. Eliza Dushku once referred to Faith as the working class Slayer. I think Dushku’s incredible performance is what made this character so identifiable. She never played Faith as the villain. She played her as a damaged young woman, who above all else, simply craved love.
Buffy Speak of the Week
Faith: What brings you to my neck, Giles? Haven’t clocked you since Sunny D went from being an outie to an innie.
Giles: I have no idea what that means, but it’s good to see you, Faith.
This short exchange between Faith and Giles as they reacquaint made me giggle. It is a shining example of how perfectly Brian K. Vaughan captured the essence of these characters with his witty dialogue.
Slayer Rating: 5X5