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(a.k.a. Collateral Damage Control)

Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: Michael Gershman
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Harry Groener as Mayor Richard Wilkins III
K. Todd Freeman as Mr. Trick
Jack Plotnick as Allan Finch
Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
James G. MacDonald as Detective Stein
Eliza Dushku as Faith
Co-Starring: Amy Powell as T.V. News Reporter
Patricia Place as Woman

Plot Summary

The characters dealt with the aftermath of Allan Finch's death.

Plot Details

The episode opened with Buffy in a pool of water. She was trying to reach the surface, but Allan Finch held her down. When she reached the surface, Faith shoved her down. Upon awakening, she went downstairs, where her mother was watching a news report on Finch's death.

Wesley insisted that Buffy and Faith investigate the murder. Buffy and Giles were against it, but Faith was willing to do so. Cordelia interrupted to do the most improbable thing for a student at Sunnydale High to do at the library: borrow a book. She flirted with a very flattered Wesley, forcing Giles and Faith to remind him that she was underage.

Faith and Buffy went to an empty classroom. Buffy did not want to continue lying, but Faith did not want to go to jail and threatened to bring Buffy down with her. Buffy tried to talk with Willow, but Willow had to meet Michael to try to turn Amy back into a human.

Angel spied on police investigating the murder scene. He remembered seeing blood on Buffy's hand on the night of the murder and figured out the obvious.

Mayor Wilkins was very upset to find that Allan Finch left a detailed record of their dealings. Not even shredding could lift the Mayor's spirits. Fortunately, Mr. Trick came in with a report that Finch was stabbed in the heart with a wooden stake. Wilkins did like the idea that a slayer might face murder charges.

Buffy and Faith snuck into Finch's office to see if they could find anything. They found all of his papers missing, which caused Buffy to conclude that someone did not want them to find anything. On their way out, they saw Wilkins and Mr. Trick talking. This was a shock to Buffy, who thought that Wilkins was honest, but Faith knew better. This led to another discussion between Buffy and Faith on what to do.

Detective Stein interrogated Faith and Buffy. Their stories were reasonably consistent in that they were both watching television at Faith's motel room. Detective Stein suspected that one was covering for the other but could not prove anything. Naturally, Angel was spying on at least one of the interviews.

Buffy went to Willow's room to talk. Before Buffy could say anything, Willow used the opportunity to vent her frustrations at being passed over in favor of Faith. Buffy started crying when Willow referred to the ability to kill things, which led to feelings of guilt on Willow's part. Eventually, Buffy confessed to Willow, who advised her to go to Giles.

Buffy went to Giles to find that Faith had told him that Buffy killed Allan Finch. Giles pretended to believe Faith until Faith was away, when he said that he knew that Faith lied to him. They decided to get Willow and Xander together to talk about what to do. Unfortunately, Wesley overheard the conversation. He immediately called Quentin Travers.

Willow suggested an intervention, but Buffy nixed the idea based on how the last intervention worked out in "Revelations." Xander suggested that he had a connection with Faith because they slept together, except that he was rather vague on the last part. Once everyone figured out what he meant, Buffy suggested that sexual encounters mean very little to Faith once they are over. In the end, it was decided that Xander should do research on Mayor Wilkins and Mr. Trick and Willow was to search on a computer, after a cry in the restroom.

Xander went to visit Faith. Xander wanted to be supportive, but Faith still insisted that Buffy was the real murderer and did not want to listen to Xander. She eventually got the idea that Xander wanted to have sex again, so she threw him on the bed and started to choke him. Fortunately, Angel came in and quickly knocked Faith unconscious.

Mayor Wilkins was not happy that two slayers were able to enter Allan Finch's office. He was especially upset that they saw him with Mr. Trick. Wilkins wanted Mr. Trick to come up with a more efficient solution than putting Faith and Buffy in jail.

Faith woke up chained in Angel's mansion. She pretended that she and Xander were just playing, but Angel knew better. Angel talked about how he knew what it was like to kill, but she was not interested in anything he had to say. Eventually, Wesley and three others burst in, beat Angel, and took Faith into custody. Wesley was not able to hold her for long. She escaped before they got her to the airport.

Angel, Buffy, Giles, Willow, and Xander discussed how they should handle Wesley taking Faith when Wesley arrived to report that Faith escaped. Buffy decided that they should split up to find her.

Buffy found Faith at the docks, where she was trying to find a way out of town. Faith spent much of the time taunting Buffy until a crate was dropped on them. Buffy managed to push Faith out of the way but got hit herself. Faith fought the vampires while Buffy tried to free herself. Faith staked two of the vampires, but Mr. Trick was able to wrap his tie around Buffy's neck and drag her around. Faith hesitated and then staked him.

Giles and Buffy were optimistic that Faith could still be redeemed. However, Faith showed up at the Mayor's office and asked for a job.

The Good

One ongoing theme of the show is that actions have consequences. This episode is a good example of that, hence the title.

I liked the scene in which Detective Stein interrogated Buffy and Faith as well as the following scene in Willow's room.

The Bad

This is a solid episode, but there was nothing spectacular.

Overall Rank: 39

Action: 4

Mr. Trick and two or three other vampires attacked Faith and Buffy

Comedy: 0

Drama: 9

Buffy, Faith, and the other characters all had to deal with Allan Finch's murder.

Willow was very upset at the fact that Buffy has been ignoring her in favor of Faith and at Xander having slept with Faith.

Romance: 1

The closest that this episode came to romance was the scene between Faith and Xander.

Character Development: 6

Buffy is feeling very guilty about Allan Finch's murder. She had a great need to confess. Fortunately, she remembered who her real friend was when she needed one.

Faith claimed to be sorry for killing Finch but believes that being a slayer makes errors like this forgivable. She must be a terrible liar if Giles saw through her tale.

Willow has been very hurt that Buffy has been favoring Faith over her. It hurt even worse when she found out that Faith had sex with Xander.

Angel sees a bit of himself in Faith or at least wants Faith to think so.

Importance: 8

This episode deals with the aftermath of Allan Finch's murder and culminated in Faith deciding to work for Mayor Wilkins.

Most Valuable Player: Faith

Angel gets credit for rescuing Xander, but lost his shot at this award when he lost Faith to Wesley. Faith gets this award for managing to escape justice for Allan Finch's murder and for possibly getting a good job with Mayor Wilkins.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Angel

A fair number of characters figured pieces out, but nobody figured much out. Mr. Trick figured out that a slayer probably killed Allan Finch. Angel figured out that Buffy was probably involved. Giles figured out that Faith was lying to him when she said Buffy did it. Wesley figured out from Giles and Buffy that Faith did it. Willow did not have to say "Oh." I will give the award to Angel as consolation for not getting MVP.

Goat of the Week: Wesley

Detective Stein failed to find Allan Finch's killer. Giles and Buffy were dumb enough to hold a conversation about Faith's culpability with an open door so that Wesley could overhear. Mr. Trick forgot his advice from the previous episode and neglected to bring an Uzi when he went to kill Buffy and Faith. However, Wesley gets the Goat. First, he takes Faith away from Angel, who might have done some good, in order to bring her to the Watcher's Council. On the way, he let her escape.


Some sources noted that the police officer questioning a witness about a man screaming "last night" was wrong on two counts. First, Allan Finch did not scream and second, it was the night before last. This is not necessarily an error. It could simply reflect the fact that Sunnydale police are "deeply stupid" as Principal Snyder once said. At least, it could reflect the fact that they did not know the time of death yet. Second, the witness probably heard something other than the murder. Whatever she heard could have happened the previous night and involved a man screaming. It was an error when Buffy said that Faith killed a man "less than 24 hours ago" when it was closer to 48 hours.


Mr. Trick was a vampire with good potential as a villain. Too many of Buffy's enemies seem to have forgotten that there have been technological advances in the last five centuries. For example, The Judge had to ask what a rocket launcher did before he found out that a rocket launcher blows him into many pieces. Mr. Trick knew modern technology. He used a computer to research Sunnydale before arriving. He dismissed vengeance crusades as being out of date. He suggested that an Eliminati vampire would have been better off with an Uzi than with a sword.

It did look like Mr. Trick started out in the minds of the writers as being another Spike. They were both cocky and they loved to talk. There was a very similar swagger about them that could be described as "cool." However, as is usually the case, the characters diverge once the actor gets involved. Spike was more neurotic and was obsessed with Drusilla. Mr. Trick was calmer and cared only for himself. Trick finished his run on the show with no MVPs, Sherlock Holmeses, or Goats.

DVD Extras

Commentary by Director Michael Gershman Gershman, who usually serves as director of photography, discussed production of an episode from a director's perspective. There are spoilers through early in the fifth season and through the first season of Angel, including a detailed discussion of how he shot a scene in the fifth season. There were very few insights on this particular episode, so this is a skippable extra.

Interview with Joss Whedon is the same interview with Whedon and Doug Petrie that was discussed in the review of "Bad Girls."

Memorable Dialogue

"Does everybody know about you?" Wesley
"She's a friend." Buffy
"Let's not exaggerate." Cordelia

"First word, 'jail,' second word, 'bait.'" Faith

"Somebody stabbed this guy through the heart. Strange thing is, the weapon, it was made out of wood. Any of this mean anything to you?" Detective Stein
"Yeah, that whoever did it wasn't hip to the Bronze Age." Faith

"Don't get me wrong. I completely understand why you and Faith have been doing the bonding thing. You guys work together. You should get along." Willow
"It's more complicated than that." Buffy
"But, see, it's that exact thing that's ticking me off. It's this whole slayers only attitude. I mean, since when wouldn't I understand? You talk to me about everything. It's like, all of a sudden, I'm not cool enough for you because I can't kill things with my bare hands. [Buffy cries] Oh, oh, Buffy, don't cry. I'm sorry. I was too hard on you. Sometimes I unleash. I don't know my own strength. It's bad. I'm bad. I'm a bad, bad, bad person." Willow

"She was fighting one of those apocalypse demon things and I helped her, gave her a ride home." Xander
"And you guys talked?" Buffy
"Not extensively, no." Xander
"They why would you... oh." Buffy
"Oh!" Giles
"I don't need to say 'oh.' I got it before." Willow

"Sorry about the chains. It's not that I don't trust you. Actually, it is that I don't trust you." Angel

"Safety words are for wusses." Faith

"I know what it's like to take a life, to feel the future, a world of possibilities snuffed out by your own hand. I know the power in it, the exhilaration. It was like a drug for me." Angel

"I'm not the most objective, I know. I kind of have an issue with Faith sharing my people, but she murdered someone and accused Buffy. Then she hurt Xander. I hate to say it, but maybe she belongs behind bars." Willow

"I hear once you've tasted a slayer, you never want to go back. Oh, no, no, this is no good at all." Mr. Trick

"You sent your boy to kill me." Faith
"That's right, I did." Mayor Wilkins
"He's dust." Faith
"I thought he might be, what with you standing here and all." Mayor Wilkins
"I guess that means you have a job opening." Faith

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 14, 2012