3.15 // 7.05
I was going to ramble in some tags but then they got too long so here we are. The juxtaposition of these two scenes is so lovely in a brief gifset but there are layers and layers of significance just begging to be pulled out.
Because the intentions in these two scenes, they’re similar in a lot of ways but different in a really big, really important way. The rest of Faith’s quote goes like this:
Faith: But that’s not it. That’s not what bothers you so much. What bugs you is you know I’m right. You know in your gut we don’t need the law. We are the law.
This episode comes right after the one where Faith murders the Mayor’s helper. In some ways she’s trying to justify her actions to herself—I killed a man, but it’s okay because I make my own rules and I say it’s okay—but mostly she’s trying to justify herself to Buffy.
Buffy, on the other hand, proclaims herself to be the law during “Selfless”, when the Scoobies are arguing about what to do with Anya’s resurgence as a vengeance demon, and it goes like this (emphasis mine):
Buffy: It is always different! It’s always complicated. And at some point, someone has to draw the line, and that is always going to be me. You get down on me for cutting myself off, but in the end the slayer is always cut off. There’s no mystical guidebook. No all-knowing council. Human rules don’t apply. There’s only me. I am the law.
Faith calls herself the law in hindsight. Her brand of the law is an excuse, a retroactive explanation for any wrongdoing she commits. Break into a sports store? It’s okay—I’m the Slayer, I need weapons. Cut out of school early? I’m sure there are vampires somewhere, and I’m the Slayer. Accidentally kill someone? No big, I thought he was a vamp. I’m the Slayer. If it were up to Faith to activate all the Potentials, she would have no qualms about their learning process turning out to be a little bumpy and a lot raucous. She grows and matures through her arc on Angel and her return to Buffy, but Faith is first and foremost a law unto herself. She has her set of rules and it’s no skin off her bones if people don’t follow them.
Buffy, by contrast, is the law. There is no council of arbiters; there are no discussions; the fate of demons is not a democracy. Buffy is the Slayer, and she is their fate. Perhaps partly inspired by Faith’s spiral into the dark side of things, Buffy uses her power as power rather than a personal whim. Faith is the law to break rules; Buffy is the law to set them. She purposely and oftentimes at the risk of great personal loss uses her status as the Slayer to not only set limits but also to enforce them. At the end of the day, Buffy is the Slayer and Anya is a demon and there’s only one way to handle that situation.
That isn’t to say that either of them are right because I could go on for paaaaaages about how wrong both of them are. But I love how these two act as foils for each other. They started off as two sides to the same coin, fully separated when Faith murdered the Mayor’s deputy, and now, if you take into account the S8/9 comics, Faith and Buffy are what happen when you tilt that coin in and out of the light.
Same coin, you just see different things.