FEATURE: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Revelations
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith arrived in Sunnydale after her Watcher was murdered and is under the care of Giles for now. Buffy is keeping Angel's return a secret and Xander and Willow are covering up for the fact that they kissed and don't actually want to keep their hands off each other.
A little synchronised slaying from Buffy and Faith is interrupted by the arrival of Gwendolyn Post (Mrs( in Sunnydale. She claims to be Faith's new Watcher and brings a foreboding warning to the gang. A demon called Lagos is in town and looking for the Glove of Mynhegon, a mystical wotsit capable of unleashing all manner of hell, as these things tend to do. It's also a major metallic fashion statement. In the meantime, Angel hears word of this himself and goes after the Glove, but is overseen by Xander who also witnesses him kissing Buffy. And yet in all aspects, things are not what they seem and it sparks off a series of the titular revelations.
Revelations is an episode that finds the gang at sixes and sevens once again as a nefarious outsider stirs up trouble and splits them down the middle. It doesn't help that they're all hiding things, Buffy in particular, and it's never good for the Scoobies when they're not being honest as we've seen earlier in the series. Angel is an especially sore point still given his previous extracurricular activities and is a natural fault line for nefarious outsider Gwendolyn Post to exploit. However, it's actually Xander who meddles, not giving Faith the whole picture when she decides to go after Angel (Oh Xander, you break my heart - how does Buffy keep forgiving him for all this shit?).
Post is a delicious villain, hiding in plain sight as an interfering and snobbish Watcher and guest star Serena Scott Thomas (yep, Kristin's sister) clearly relishes the role, dialling the stereotype up to 11. Whilst the constant sneering does make the bait-and-switch villain reveal a little more obvious, she's a tonne of fun to watch, particularly when making Giles squirm. It also marks another episode in which it's a human corrupted by power that forms the villainy, rather than a demon, something which becomes increasingly important as the series continues.
The Scoobies get another one of their meetings around the library table in which they all fall back into their assigned roles in such situations; Xander becomes the harsh voice of truth, often resorting to snide comments to get his point across, Willow is caring or attempting to be and Giles is the authoritarian. It's another tough scene to watch because it feels like watching your family argue. Anthony Head gets one of his best moments in quietly admonishing Buffy, reminding her of the torture he suffered at the hands of Angel. And yet it is also a sign of just how well written these characters are. We care that much when they're divided.
The lightening of the Glove proves to be an apt visual metaphor for the episode's narrative. Everyone gets brief, flashing glimpses of the truth without being able to piece the whole story together and each glimpse sets off a new spark. However, it makes the final fight that little bit more satisfying, particularly when Angel goes all heroic and saves Willow's life, revealing that Buffy is right and he's not about to go all kill-happy again.
The faultlines aren't all sealed in this episode though; it marks the first major clash between Buffy and Faith, something which will escalate towards the end of the season and beyond. It also starts isolating Faith from the rest of the Scoobies; she's not brought up to speed by Buffy regarding the Angel situation and her inability to trust them becomes a defining factor in her relationship with them. Also, Giles continues to feel alienated from the Watcher's Council, a recurring issue which rises steadily throughout the third season.
Revelations is a fairly decent standalone episode, but it feels largely more about tying up some threads and unravelling others, particularly where Faith is concerned. In that sense, it's pretty important for her ongoing character development in that she loses yet another parental figure and ends up by herself at the end of the episode. However, the quality never really stretches beyond that to become great. It's just... good.
Quote of the Week:
Buffy: Interesting lady. Can we kill her?
Giles: I think the Council might frown upon that.
Inventive Kill: Buffy uses a conveniently shaped shard of glass to separate arm from Post. The demon lightening does the rest.
Let's Get Trivial: This is the first episode where lightening can be magically manipulated. Shocking. (Sorry)
You can read Becky's write-up of Band Candy here.