Buffy Character: Faith Lehane | Eliza Dushku

Faith Lehane is one of the main characters in the television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.

She was originally created by Joss Whedon and was portrayed by Eliza Dushku during her numerous appearances. However, the character has also been portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar. 

Like Buffy, Faith is a vampire slayer who joined the Scooby Gang during the show’s third season, where she soon became a close friend and companion to the main heroine.

However, a tragic accident soon shattered Faith’s relationship with the other main characters, resulting in her partnership with the evil Mayor Wilkins. 

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As a character, Faith is notable for her character development, as she was used by the writers to explore the dark side of being a slayer. Fortunately, the character would later redeem herself and once again join the Scoobies to save the world. 

Faith is now considered a fan favorite character, with Dushku’s performance being praised for its depth and nuance. 

Biography 

Prior to the events of the show, Faith was raised in Boston by her alcoholic mother, with her father being absent for most of her childhood. It wasn’t until 1998 that Faith would be summoned as the new slayer, following the death of Kendra Young. 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 

Season 3 

Faith arrived in Sunnydale during the start of Buffy’s senior year, where she immediately won the interest of Buffy’s friends and family. During her introduction, Faith told the Scooby Gang that her watcher was away on a retreat, which was why she came to Sunnydale to meet Buffy.

However, it would later be revealed that her watcher had been murdered by an ancient vampire named Kakistos, who had followed Faith during her escape to Sunnydale.

Upon learning that the vampire was near, it became clear that Faith was still scarred from seeing her watcher die, leading her to seek Buffy’s help. Fortunately, the two slayers were able to work together and Faith finally killed Kakistos. 

Although Buffy and Faith would begin to develop a close friendship, Faith still remained alienated from Buffy’s friends and family, which only helped to heighten Faith’s insecurities and issues.

During this time, Faith would be assigned a new watcher named Gwendolyn Post, who would later manipulate Faith into betraying Buffy and almost killing Angel.

Following these events, Faith remained isolated from the Scooby Gang, although she and Buffy were able to reconcile and continue their friendship. 

Bonding over their shared responsibilities, Buffy and Faith began to patrol together and were later assigned a new watcher in Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. During this time, Faith would prove a bad influence on Buffy, with the two slayers skipping class and even breaking into a local store to steal weapons.

This accumulated in Faith accidentally staking the deputy mayor Allan Finch, who she believed was a vampire. While Buffy was shaken by the event, Faith showed no remorse for her actions, creating a rift between the two friends. 

When it became clear that Buffy was going to reveal what happened, Faith went to Rupert Giles and told him that Buffy was the guilty party. However, Giles saw through this lie and was prepared to help Buffy in protecting Faith.

Unfortunately, Wesley overheard this conversation and invoked the Watcher’s Council to capture Faith. While she was able to escape and rejoin the Scooby Gang. Faith would become a double agent for the evil Richard Wilkins, an immortal being who was also the mayor of Sunnydale. 

Faith’s duplicity would later be discovered by Buffy and Giles, leaving her feeling isolated and betrayed. Because of this, Faith would form a close relationship with Mayor Wilkins who became the father figure she never had.

While running his errands, Faith was tasked with poisoning Angel to distract Buffy from the Mayor’s ascension.

However, when Buffy discovered that the only antidote was the blood of a slayer, she attempted to capture Faith dead or alive. This led to a confrontation in which Buffy stabbed Faith in the stomach before the wounded slayer threw herself from a balcony and onto a passing truck. 

Following this confrontation, it would be revealed that Faith’s wounds had put her into a fatal coma, with the doctors believing she would never awake.

Season 4 

During the show’s fourth season, Faith would wake from her coma and discover all that has transpired during the Mayor’s ascension.

While Faith was left heartbroken over the demise of her father figure, she would later discover a mysterious artifact that the Mayor had left her should his ascension fail. This led Faith to use the device during another confrontation with Buffy, which resulted in the two slayers swapping bodies. 

While Buffy (in Faith’s body) was arrested by the Watcher’s council, Faith began to take full advantage of her new life by manipulating Buffy’s family and friends. During this time, Faith would even have sex with Riley Finn, who was Buffy’s then-boyfriend.

However, Faith would soon feel isolated in Buffy’s body and would attempt to flee Sunnydale to start a new life. Fortunately, her sense of duty would compel Faith to save a group of people being held captive by vampires. 

Through this confrontation, Buffy and Faith were reunited and able to work together to kill the vampires before finally turning on each other. During the ensuing fight, it became clear that Faith resented herself for her actions and that she was only attacking Buffy because she was wearing Faith’s body.

Fortunately, the two slayers were returned to their original forms by Willow Rosenberg, which resulted in Faith running away. 

Angel 

Season 1 

After fleeing Sunnydale, Faith found her way to Los Angeles, where her actions soon drew the attention of Wolfram & Hart. Hired as an assassin by Lindsey McDonald, Faith made her attempts on Angel’s life both clear and public, with the slayer even confronting the vampire in his own detective agency.

Faith would further try to gather Angel’s attention by kidnapping Wesley and torturing him until Angel’s arrival. During the initial scuffle, Faith continued to attack Angel even though he refused to fight back, with it becoming clear that Faith wanted Angel to kill her. 

Upon learning that Faith felt remorse for her actions, Angel attempted to reform the slayer and help her move on from her past. However, things soon took a turn for the worse with the arrival of Kate Lockley, the Watcher’s Council and a vengeful Buffy.

After being rescued by Buffy and Angel, Faith decided to give herself up to the authorities, so that she could atone for her ways. 

Convicted of two counts of murder, Faith would receive a life sentence in prison and would regularly be visited by Angel, who refused to give up on the rogue slayer.

While life in prison would not be easy for Faith, the guards and inmates soon understood that she was not a force to be reckoned with. 

Season 4 

While living out her sentence, Faith would be attacked in prison by a fellow inmate, who would later reveal herself to be an agent of the First Evil. Fortunately, Faith was able to fight back and protect herself from harm. 

Following the return of Angelus, Wesley would help Faith break out of prison so that she could help rescue Angel and return his soul. Unfortunately, during a confrontation with Angelus, Faith would be overpowered and bitten by the vampire.

However, unbeknownst to Angelus, Faith had injected herself with a magical drug called Orpheus, which helped to incapacitate the two rivals. During their shared coma, Angelus and Faith discovered that they were connected by a psychic link, which allowed them to step into each other’s dreamscapes.

This allowed Faith and Angelus to witness various memories from Angel’s life, such as a time when he fed on a wounded cashier. 

Fortunately, the arrival of Willow helped to return Angel’s soul to his body and Faith was able to return from near death. Knowing that Faith was now a target of the First Evil, Willow asked the slayer to return to Sunnydale, with Faith accepting the offer. 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 

Season 7 

Upon returning to Sunnydale, Faith became an active member of the Scooby Gang, working to overthrow the First Evil and absolve her previous actions. While Faith’s relationship was still fraught with tension, the former understood that Faith’s presence was necessary for the upcoming battle. 

During their first mission together, Buffy and Faith attempted to lead the potential slayers in a fight against Caleb, a corrupt priest who worshiped the First Evil. However, this resulted in several potential slayers being killed and Xander Harris losing one of his eyes. 

Following the failed mission, the potential slayers and the Scooby Gang appointed Faith as their new leader, a role she reluctantly accepted. However, Faith’s first mission as a leader blew up in her face, when she led the potential slayers into a trap that left them seriously injured.

Fortunately, Buffy was able to save them from the wreckage and reaffirm herself as the natural leader. 

While recovering from the attack, Faith would reconcile her relationship with Buffy, with both women agreeing that their friction has stemmed from the fact that two fully-activated slayers were never meant to co-exist.

Following this, Faith would aid her friend during the final battle against the Turok-Han, with Faith even showing concern when Buffy was fatally wounded. 

After the battle had been won, Faith aided the potential slayers in their escape from a crumbling Sunnydale and joined the Scooby Gang in their contemplation of a future without the hellish town. 

Personality 

Unlike her predecessor Kendra, Faith was very similar to Buffy in terms of her personality, although it soon became clear that their different upbringings had greatly influenced their characters.

While Buffy was raised by a loving mother and had a close-knit group of friends, Faith was raised in an abusive household and often suffered from isolation and mistrust. 

Known for her own unique slang and charismatic nature, Faith was originally considered cool by the Scooby Gang during her introduction, with her rebellious nature setting her apart from the more collected Buffy.

However, after Faith joined the Mayor, her attitude became more sinister as she seemingly relished the pain she inflicted. 

As a vampire slayer, Faith often remarked on how killing demons gave her a feeling of intense euphoria, something she would later channel into the murders she committed for the Mayor and his forces.

Fortunately, once Faith had been set on the right path, she presented a more mature and assertive personality, even though she was still insecure about people’s perceptions of her actions. 

Appearance 

Faith was a young and attractive woman with dark brown hair and eyes, who stood at a height of 5’5. During her original introduction, Faith would regularly wear her hair down and in ringlets, although she would sometimes straighten it or wear it flat. 

In terms of her fashion, Faith was known to wear dark clothing before her reformation, with the slayer often sporting leather jeans and jackets. She would also wear red or maroon lipstick and metallic accessories such as chains and studded belts. 

After waking from her coma, Faith’s hair had grown noticeably longer and she looked pale and frail in comparison to her previous self. However, after Faith reformed her character, she returned to wearing more vibrant hues, while also sporting lighter makeup and a more natural look. 

Faith is one of few Buffy characters to possess a visible tattoo, which can be found on the top of her right arm. 

Powers & Abilities 

Although Faith was human she was also a vampire slayer, which means she exhibited the usual powers associated with the role, such as accelerated healing and superhuman strength, speed and reflexes. 

Because of her slayer powers, Faith can also access the memories and fighting skills of previous slayers, making her a formidable opponent against demons and vampires. 

Relationships 

Romantic 

Before the events of the show, Faith experienced a number of failed relationships with men, which resulted in the slayer losing all confidence in finding a romantic partner. Because of this, Faith would often seek out sexual relationships instead of emotional intimacy, leading to several notable encounters throughout the show. 

Xander Harris

Following his break-up with Cordelia Chase, Xander would help Faith to kill a demon that was overpowering her. This resulted in the pair returning to Faith’s motel room, where they would have sex.

After this, Xander would believe that he and Faith shared a romantic connection, going so far as to confront her about the murder of the deputy mayor.

However, this resulted in Faith sexually molesting Xander and even choking him to the point of death. It then became clear to Xander that Faith was never romantically invested in their relationship and that the sex had been meaningless. 

Riley Finn 

While wearing Buffy’s body, Faith used the opportunity to seduce Riley, who was unaware of the switch. During this encounter, Faith remained sexually aggressive until Riley admitted his love for Buffy, which made Faith feel uncomfortable in the situation, However, his romantic gestures would later touch Faith and the two would spend the night together.

After Faith was returned to her body, she expressed guilt over sleeping with Riley to Angel, who was unaware that Buffy had found a new boyfriend. 

Robin Wood 

After returning to Sunnydale, Faith would meet Robin Wood, who was the principal of Sunnydale High and the son of a previous slayer. It was clear from their interactions that the two shared an interest in each other, which resulted in a one night stand.

Prior to the final battle, Robin criticized Faith for her treatment of men as sexual objects and claimed that their affair had not “rocked his world”. This comment hurt Faith and Robin promised to surprise her after the battle was over, which he did by surviving the confrontation and his injuries. 

In the comic continuation, it was revealed that Robin and Faith had briefly spent time together in Cleveland, where they oversaw the management of a local Hellmouth. However, by the beginning of season 8, they were no longer together but still on good terms. 

Parental 

Richard Wilkins 

Through her relationship with Mayor Wilkins, Faith was able to find the father figure that she had always wanted, which led to the formation of an affectionate bond.

During her time in his employment, Faith remained a loyal companion to the Mayor and even went on a rampage upon discovering that he had been killed by Buffy.

However, after her reformation, Faith would find it hard to look back at her relationship with the Mayor, as she could never view those times as being bad. In many ways, Faith’s relationship with Mayor Wilkins mirrors that of Buffy’s relationship with Giles, although the former could be viewed as toxic in comparison to the latter. 

Rupert Giles 

Although Faith and Giles never grew close over the course of the television show, in the comic continuation he would enlist her help to reform other rogue slayers. During this time, the two grew much closer, with Giles acting as Faith’s watcher and parental figure.

While working together in London, Giles would give Faith a place to stay and even protect her from Buffy during a miscommunication. After his death, Giles would leave his house to Faith in his will, giving her a permanent residence and home. 

Friendships 

Angel 

While Faith’s feelings for Angel were originally complicated due to his vampiric nature, the two would grow closer over the course of both television shows, with Angel often acting as Faith’s constant supporter and close friend. During her escape to Los Angeles, Angel understood that Faith wanted him to kill her and refused to do so, thus setting her on the path of reformation.

After giving herself up to the authorities, Angel would regularly visit Faith in prison to track her progress, with Faith also offering advice to the lonely vampire. 

Because of their strong bond, Faith refused to kill Angelus while helping Wesley and Angel Investigations, as she knew that Angel could be returned to his former self.

Following the events of the television show, Faith and Angel’s friendship has continued to be developed in the comics, with Faith promising to help Angel after he was traumatized by the events of season 8. The two characters would even receive their own spin-off comic entitled Angel & Faith. 

Antagonistic 

Buffy Summers 

Faith’s relationship with Buffy is a long and complicated one, as both characters are slayers and therefore share a unique bond.

While the two women share the same responsibilities and powers, their different approaches to the murder of Allan Finch is what eventually destroys their friendship, with Faith’s carefree attitude contrasting with Buffy’s guilty conscience.

Although the two slayers are able to reconcile after Faith’s reformation, it is clear that their relationship is still fraught with tension, which only gets heightened after Faith is appointed the new leader of the Scooby Gang.

However, this does not stop Buffy from saving Faith from the Turok-Han, with Buffy even supporting Faith after her failed mission. This leads the two characters to reform their relationship, with both agreeing that two slayers should never co-exist. 

Willow Rosenberg 

When Faith first arrived in Sunnydale, her relationship with Willow was turbulent for various reasons, with their animosity being partly fuelled by Willow’s jealousy and Faith’s insecurity.

For example, Willow feared that her friendship with Buffy would suffer due to Faith’s arrival, as the two immediately bonded over their shared slayer duties. Willow’s dislike for Faith only continued to grow as Faith’s dark nature began to reveal itself and Xander broke the news that they had slept together. Fortunately, the two were able to reconcile after Faith’s reformation and worked together to return Angel’s soul to his body. 

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Appearances 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 3) 

  • Faith, Hope & Trick 
  • Beauty and the Beasts 
  • Homecoming 
  • Revelations 
  • Amends 
  • The Zeppo 
  • Bad Girls 
  • Consequences 
  • Doppelgangland 
  • Enemies 
  • Choices 
  • Graduation Day Part One 
  • Graduation Day Part Two 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 4) 

  • This Year’s Girl 
  • Who Are You? 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 7) 

  • Dirty Girls 
  • Empty Places 
  • Touched 
  • End of Days 
  • Chosen 

Angel (Season 1) 

  • Five by Five
  • Sanctuary 

Angel (Season 2) 

  • Judgment 

Angel (Season 4) 

  • Salvage 
  • Release 
  • Orpheus 

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Marianne LeBlanc
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