Following are the main story arcs regarding Buffy's struggle with herself. Well, sorta. More like...Buffy versus The Slayers! These arcs have more to do with Buffy's personal issues as the Slayer and are central to understanding just what's up with her.
Buffy seems to find Faith a little crude and also is majorly pissed when Faith starts telling her to get over Angel and all that, when she has no idea what went down. So a big chick-fight almost ensues, and it's different from the whole Kendra thing. Because when Buffy and Kendra first fought, neither knew the other was a (or, the) Slayer. But here, it's just purely a personality-type of thing.
Later Buffy finds out that Faith is actually watcher-less and that she's fleeing from the big evil Kakistos. So Buffy seems to make peace with Faith a little bit.
What's interesting about this episode as far as Slayer comparisons go..is that while Buffy encouraged Kendra to use her emotions, that emotions help fuel the fighting fire, when she sees Faith doing a number on a vamp, she calls her out for it. Because here, Faith was so preoccupied with wailing on a vamp, she didn't help Buffy take care of the other vamps. Some might say, well, Buffy did a number on a vamp in Ted, and that's true. But..in a way it's different. There was only one vamp, and she could see that Giles was okay. I don't know if I've ever seen Buffy wail on one vamp to the point of excluding all other vamps, especially if her friends were around. But who knows. She usually just gets them and gets gone.
In All Men Are Beasts/Beauty and the Beasts, Buffy and Faith do some basic patrolling and Faith tries to talk about guys with Buffy. Not much else for their relationship here.
Nothing big really happens until Revelations. This is where Faith's "new watcher" Gwendolyn Post pays a visit to Sunnydale, and Faith later vows to kill Angel. Guess what happens? Big rift in the Faith/Buffy thing. They have a kick-ass fight as Buffy tries to stop Faith. When it's revealed that Post is a watcher gone bad, Faith sinks into some big depression, and Buffy pays her a visit to see what's up. Yikes. Faith kinda tells Buffy to leave her alone. Which apparently Buffy does. It's 3 more episodes before Faith makes an appearance again.
In Amends, Joyce bugs Buffy to invite Faith over for Xmas eve. Buffy is seemingly reluctant, but she does, and Faith declines. Later though, Faith does come over, bearing gifts. Crappy gifts, but gifts. And Buffy entrusts Faith to protect Joyce since she has to go battle evil and find Angel. Gee. The last time Buffy entrusted a slayer to protect folks, it did not go so well. But hey. It's xmas in the 'dale, so it was okay. Who knows if Faith and Buffy will ever really be "five by five."
The Zeppo showcases a little more teamwork where Buffy and Faith are concerned. Nothing big here in terms of their relationship.
It's in Bad Girls that Faith's and Buffy's slaying methods are explored a lot more. Faith keeps pushing Buffy to admit that she loves killing vamps. Her devil-may-care (literally?) approach to slaying starts to rub off on Buffy. Maybe Buffy goes against her better judgment because the thing with Giles and the New Watcher has her in a headspin or something. Anyhoo, she starts to follow Faith's lead by skipping classes, attacking vamps without having any information on the who, the what, the where, and stuff like that. That's the kind of thing that can get you killed. And where's the good in that?
I was kind of surprised to see Buffy come to the "dark side" of slaying, but I guess she's kind of conflicted now. (Now?)
Meanwhile, Faith's hit 'em again, hit 'em again, harder, harder approach serves to get her in more trouble. She gets the law on her and Buffy, and then she's responsible for putting a bug in Buffy's ear about busting out of the cop car. I mean, it's different when Buffy ran from the cops in Becoming part 2 I think, because there, Buffy was going to have to take the fall for something she didn't have anything to do with. Not that that is a reason to run, but I mean, Principal Snyder wasn't helping her case any. And she DID have to go save the world. So I think it's a lot more justified. Here, though, they're running from the scene of an accident (which they and they alone caused) and that's just wrong.
The biggest rift in the 'ship comes after Faith accidentally kills Allan. The chicks are both horrified, and Buffy again suggests that Faith call for help. But they both end up bailing the scene again. Buffy's guilt is obvious. If Faith is having guilt (and how could she not??), then she's hiding it a little better. Maybe. She's the one who disposes of Allan's body, after all.
These two chicks are at their best when they're pitting their methodologies against each other. Well that was an awkward sentence but you know what I mean. You can't have both Buffy and Faith be the same "bad ass slayer" character, because what's the point of that? They have to balance each other so we can glean more about what's going on. Faith embraces her slaying whereas it took Buffy a long time to do that, I think. Or at least, if she's not embracing it, then she's more resigned to it than she was. Whatever. So now we have to see what happens as a result of the "no-rules slayer killed someone" arc. Someone needs to give Faith a copy of The Slayer Handbook, stat!
Consequences picks up where Bad Girls left off. Here, Buffy keeps trying to get Faith to admit that what they did was wrong and that they should tell the authorities, or at least Giles, about it. But Faith's head-strong, holier-than-thou-'cause-I'm-a-Slayer attitude kinda gets in the way. It sorta made me think of how Buffy was the Slayer in Charge back in What's My Line part 2 -- when she and Kendra were at odds over the Angel/Spike/Dru issue. But here Buffy seems to take a backseat to Faith, for a little while at least. Buffy fibs to Detective Stein, as does Faith, and is really at odds over what Faith is saying. She can't make any damn headway. Sound familiar? I picked up that "damn headway" phrase from the glory days of My So-Called Life.
Anyhoo, Faith, being the conniving chick she is or whatever, goes behind Buffy's back and tells Giles that Buffy killed Allan. She probably knew Buffy was gonna crack, I think. Anyway, basically this episode serves to do the Slayer Yin/Yang thing, sort of. One warrior above all, one compassionate chick whose duty it is to save the world, like it or not. Whatever. Anyways, Buffy's next big thing is to try to rein Faith in...Faith saves Buffy from a grisly death at the hands (and scarf?) of Mr. Trick, but then she doesn't accompany Buffy back to the library. Instead, she heads over to Mayor Wilkins's office, to join up with his team. Actually...with Trick and Allan both dead, I guess the Mayor could use a little support from a chick who digs the thrill of the kill. Thrill Kill Cult or whatever the name of that band is...I'm wondering if Faith likes it. Yeah, this should have gone on her character page.
Basically it remains to be seen if Faith really is Slayer with No Clue (i.e., a Big Honkin' Evil herself) or if she's going to turn out like Anakin Skywalker or whatever Darth Vader's name was before he went over to the Dark Side, i.e., get the redemption thing going on. This show is so much like Star Wars sometimes! The stake, Buffy...use the stake!
In Enemies, Buffy discovers Faith's true nature. Faith reveals her jealousy of Buffy as Slayer and also outs her upbringing without her mother's love, etc. It kinda reminded me of when Kendra told Buffy that she'd been taken from her family at a very young age so that she could properly answer the call of being a Slayer. Like, okay maybe there are big differences between Kendra's culture and the culture in the U.S., where slaying stuff is concerned, but geez. Talk about "good" vs. "evil" -- and no I don't mean that short-lived show that Seth Green was on, Good and Evil.
Anyhoo, Buffy and Faith kinda do a cat-and-mouse charade thing this time out...after it's all been said and done, I mean. It's not as though they were actually engaged in it from the start, exactly. Hey, it's late, cut me some slack here. Anyhoo, basically, it's like subterfuge and stuff. Buffy learns that Faith's evil and is on the side of The Mayor. Faith learns that Buffy and Co. aren't as simperingly "superfriend"ly as she thought they were.
Talk about your divergent personalities here. Reminds me of that ad for that horrific movie Willow -- "You know what is light. And what is dark. You know what is good. And what is evil. Now, forget all you know." So just like, reread the Kendra page, then think of the total opposite on the slayer spectrum. Add in Buffy, and that's the Faith vs. Buffy relationship. Look, not only is it late, but I'm kind of distract-....
So, guess we'll have to see how Slayer vs. Slayer plays out. And do you know, when I named these story arcs, the Buffy vs. The Slayers one, I had no idea that this storyline would happen. Okay, I did. I'm really Joss Whedon. NOT! Heh. Yeesh, I'm not, okay? I'm not.
Update! In Choices, Buffy and Faith are really set apart, facing each other from across enemy lines. Like, literally. It's kind of interesting to see Buffy put into a position of saving the world, or saving Willow, and the fact that it's Faith who's holding Willow at knifepoint just makes the whole thing freakier. Like, what must Buffy be thinking when she sees Faith, a Slayer, ready to kill a person for no good reason other than the fact that she's the Mayor's Henchgal. If none of this makes sense, I'm telling it wrong. But really, imagine being Buffy and seeing someone who's a freak in the same way that you're a freak, and who's making really heinous decisions. Also interesting is the fact that Faith throws the knife -- the one the Mayor got her as a present -- to kill one of the Gavrok spiders. Buffy takes the knife out of the spider after Faith leaves. It's..interesting. Especially when you consider what happens in Graduation part 2...
Probably the most interesting thing in terms of Buffy vs. Faith happens in the 2-parter of Graduation. In part one, Faith has put Angel out of commission by shooting him with a poison-filled dart thing. Since the only way to cure his condition is pretty much to feed him the blood of a Slayer, Buffy goes to hunt down Faith. It almost seems as if Faith is pleased that Buffy's come to take her on. And the two have this wicked knock-down-drag-out kinda fight wherein Buffy sorta uses Faith's knife on her and guts her in the stomach. So if someone out there wanted to read heavily into it or speculate, one could almost say that Faith had given Buffy the means to destroy her with, or that the Mayor himself is responsible for what happened, since he'd given Faith the knife originally. Either way, it's still freaky.
In Graduation part 2, Buffy and Faith are both in the hospital. It's here that Buffy has one of those freaky dreams, and in this one, she and Faith are communicating. In the dream, Faith gives Buffy a clue as to how to destroy the Mayor once and for all. It's almost like, a redemption sort of thing, for Faith, anyway. In these episodes, the Buffy/Faith thing comes to a head; Buffy seems to understand more about Faith, who is sort of a fallen Slayer with no real support system. The support system Faith had, or believed she had, was the big honkin' evil Mayor, so maybe Buffy really just feels for Faith. This idea is given more credence when Buffy wanders into Faith's hospital area and kisses her on the forehead. Maybe the Buffy we saw in the The Wish is pretty close to the kind of person/slayer that Faith is. We don't yet know if Faith will waken from her Buffy-induced coma, but it's probably safe to say that if she does, it's gonna be strange.
So that's my take so far on the Buffy/Faith slayer relationships. It's subject to change. Heh.
More 611! (for Buffy vs. Kendra)
The ABCs of Sunnydale