Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 4 E 15 This Years Girl

Buffy: It doesn't have to be like this, you know.
Faith: Actually, I think it has to be exactly like this.

After eight months in a coma, Faith wakes up to wreck Buffy's life.

  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening: Not a literal version of this trope, but the hospital wing Faith wakes up in has an ill-maintained look with flickering lights, unpainted walls, and no staff on duty at the time.
  • Action Fashionista: Buffy goes hunting for Adam in a leopard-patterned coat.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Buffy kisses Riley's head, saying she's looking for brainwashy chips. Faith later sees Buffy stroking his hair, tipping her off that Buffy has a new boyfriend.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Did it ever occur to you, Faith, that the reason we all forgot you is because we wanted to?"
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Faith and Buffy in Faith's dream, where various moans and punches can be heard from an open grave they fall into.
  • Behind the Black: A police car shines a spotlight into an alley, barely missing Faith as she climbs a ladder, but also the dead demon that should be lying in plain sight on the ground. Sunnydale Syndrome strikes again!
  • Big "NO!": Dream!Faith seeing the Mayor murdered by Buffy.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Xander makes light conversation about he and Faith having a relationship (a one night stand in "The Zeppo", before Faith's Attempted Rape and murder in "Consequences") though it's entirely in-character for Xander to make stupid jokes about things that make him nervous.
  • Black Helicopter: Bringing the Watchers Council's wet-work team.
  • Blooper: While Buffy and Faith are falling down the stairs, a cameraman (and camera) can be seen to the left during the shot facing up the stairs.
  • Brass Balls
    Faith: You're thinking "You'll never get away with this!"
    Joyce: Actually I was thinking "My daughter is going to kill you soon."
    Faith: That a fact?
    Joyce: More like a bet.
    Faith: Whoa. You got a pair on you, Joyce.
  • Breaking Speech: Faith does this on both Summers' women; unfortunately they're Shut Up, Hannibal! types.
  • Buffy Speak: Faith isn't exactly Low Profile Girl and, thanks to his injury, Riley is not Action Guy.
  • Butt Monkey: Xander electrocutes himself while examining the taser blaster. Nobody takes any notice.
  • Cleavage Window: Faith wears a dark jacket over a tight shirt, producing this effect. Lampshaded by Willow, who describes Faith as a walking "cleavage-y slut bomb".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • To "Consequences." Xander jokes about it now, but this may be because he's scared shitless of Faith.
    • Buffy is nervous because of how Faith went after her last boyfriend, in "Graduation Day, Part One." However she can't tell Riley this, given her reluctance to bring up the subject of Angel.
    • Giles and Buffy don't want to call in the Watcher's Council, given their inept attempt to handle Faith going off the rails in "Consequences".
    • In the Nightmare Sequence Buffy wields the Jackal knife she used on Faith in "Graduation Day, Part One".
  • Chekhov's Catch Phrase: Five-by-five. (It's a radio communication slang for "loud and clear". Now you know.)
  • The Chick
    Tara: You're like; 'cool monster fighter'.
    Willow: Well, technically, Faith isn't a monster. And as far as fighting, I'd be lucky to bruise her fist with my face.
    Tara: (worried) Oh. Face punching. I'm not so good with the whole— (throws cat-paw punches at the air in front of her)
    Willow: Swimming?
  • Continuity Lockout (In-Universe): After the rest of the Scoobies have a lengthy, intensive discussion about Faith waking up and what she could be doing, Riley sheepishly asks "Who's Faith?"
  • Cryptic Conversation / Rule of Symbolism: Faith's dreams.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: After the Body Swap, Faith stomps on the device so there's no chance of the spell being reversed.
  • Dead Demon on Display / Gutted Like a Fish: The Scoobies find a demon that Adam has tied between two trees and eviscerated as part of his ongoing research into demon and human physiology.
  • Dead Man Writing: The Mayor's Video Will for Faith.
  • Description Cut: Buffy says that Faith will come after the people she loves. Cue Buffy's mother answering a knock on the door.
    Faith: Hi, Joyce. (whack!)
  • Destination Defenestration: A variation — Faith throws open a French door right into Buffy's path, making Buffy run through it.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: The powering-up sound whenever Xander charges the taser blaster.
  • Dramatic Thunder / A Storm Is Coming: In Faith's dreams.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Li'l sis coming.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Faith is trying on Joyce's lipstick.
    "Now, normally, I wouldn't be going for something this dark. But I read in some magazine that eight months in a coma will damage a girl's natural skin tone. Good thing pale is in this year. Or was it last year?"
  • Evil Is Sexy (In-Universe): Faith is trying on Buffy's clothes and Joyce's lipstick.
    Faith: How do I look?
    Joyce: Psychotic.
    Faith: I was shooting for sultry, but hey...
  • Eye Awaken: The camera pulls in on Faith, whose eyelids are twitching in REM sleep. Instead of them opening, we're shown various nightmares involving Faith being stalked by and eventually defeating Buffy. When Faith emerges triumphant and gives a Skyward Scream, then her eyes open, with Faith all set for her Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Faith Revealing Turn: When Buffy first meets Faith on campus.
  • Foreshadowing (Two-Part Episode)
    • Dream!Buffy jumping into the grave and Faith crawling out.
    • Riley asks who Faith is. Cut to a shot of Buffy.
    • Xander telling Spike he wouldn't recognise Faith when he saw her.
    • Buffy: "Going for the boyfriend again? That's tired." Faith: "Just something to remember me by once I've moved on."
    • Buffy is warning Riley about Faith and he says, "Never seen anyone get under your skin this way before."
  • Foreshadowing (future episodes)
    • Buffy's plan to attack the Initiative is similar to what the Scoobies will do in "Primeval".
    • The dream where Buffy and Faith make the bed is referenced in "Restless", and foretells the arrival of Dawn.
    • Spike: "Just because I can't do the damage myself doesn't stop me from aiming a loose cannon your way."
    • The Scoobies speculate that Riley might have a Mind Control chip in him.
    • Adam's 'research' into demon anatomy hints at his Evil Plan.
  • Freudian Excuse: Faith goes over the edge this time because she is plagued by nightmares of Buffy hunting and killing her and the Mayor, Faith's father figure.
  • Freud Was Right (In-Universe): Faith describes her dreams seriously, then adds with her tongue firmly in her cheek, "That, and some stuff about cigars and a tunnel."
  • Friend Versus Lover / Bros Before Hoes: The Initiative soldiers object to Riley leaving the hospital to see Buffy.
    Forrest: Now's the time for us to band together, not go flying off our separate ways.
    Graham: Forrest has a point, Riley.
    Forrest: We have a problem, we deal with that problem. You know, the most important part of the equation now is that we keep said problem within the family.
    Riley: Family? Is that what we are? Step aside.
  • Get It Over With: Joyce isn't impressed with Faith's Not So Different speech.
    Joyce: Were you planning to slit my throat any time soon?
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: A male college student can be heard excitedly shouting for others to check out Buffy and Willow slugging it out with Faith.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Buffy's character trait of a distaste of firearms is averted in this episode; she really wants the blaster fixed to take out "The Terminator without the bashful charms."
  • Grand Theft Me: The device the Mayor leaves for her enables Faith to swap bodies with Buffy.
  • Half Truth: When filling in Riley about her past re Faith, Buffy decides to "edit out" the bits about Angel, realising that It's a Long Story for another time.
  • Healing Factor: The doctors are dumbfounded that Faith could wake up at all, let alone walk out of the hospital after being immobile for months.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather / Evil Wears Black: The return of the Black Leather Pants of Evil! Notably, the Watcher's Council team are also wearing dark leather jackets.
  • Impossible Mission Collapse: Buffy has an elaborate scheme to break Riley out of the Initiative. She's still explaining her plan when Riley shows up, having left with permission.
  • Improvised Weapon: When fighting Buffy in Joyce's home, everything Faith can get her hands on.
  • Innocent Bystander: Faith challenges Buffy in the middle of campus.
    Buffy: Faith, these are innocent people.
    Faith: No such animal.
  • It's Personal: Killing the Mayor, stabbing Faith in the guts, and being too self-involved to notice Faith was Slowly Slipping Into Evil — it's all Buffy's fault. To be fair the fandom is fairly evenly divided on just how much Buffy is to blame.
  • It's a Long Story: Buffy avoiding telling Riley about Angel.
  • It's What I Do: A disillusioned Riley Finn feels at a loss over what to do with his life. "Give me an order. It's what I do, isn't it? Follow orders?" So Buffy orders him to stop tormenting himself.
  • Kneel Before Zod: The Mayor jokes that maybe his Video Will is playing in the Richard Wilkins Museum, and right now children are sitting looking up at him with fear and wonder. "Hi, kids!"
  • Knife Nut: In the nightmares, Buffy wields the same blade she stabbed Faith with in "Graduation Day, Part One". At one point, Faith eyes a window display of lockblades.
  • Kung-Shui: Buffy and Faith trash Joyce's house.
  • The Lady's Favour: Riley returns the headscarf Buffy gave him as a bandage.
    Riley: All I had in there was this one little part of you.
    Buffy: It's just the scarf part of me, really.
    Riley: I'm serious. Just knowing you were out there...that you cared.
  • MagiTek: The body-swapping device the Mayor had built for Faith.
  • The Mole: Riley volunteers to be Double Agent Guy to feed the Scoobies information on Adam. The nurse at the hospital turns out to be working for the Watcher's Council.
  • Mood Whiplash: Dream!Faith is helping Buffy make the bed, looks down and realises Buffy has just shoved a knife into her gut.
  • Mook Horror Show: While in a coma Faith has nightmares that resemble a Slasher Movie, in which she's an innocent girl being stalked by an implacable knife-wielding Buffy. This does not improve her disposition when she wakes up from said coma.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Faith beats up a girl visiting the hospital and takes her clothes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Xander and Giles come across Spike and ask him to keep an eye out for Faith.
    Spike: Tell you what I'll do then. I'll head out, find this girl, tell her exactly where you are and then watch as she kills you. (Off their looks) Can't any one of your damn little Scooby Club at least try to remember that I hate you all? Just because I can't do the damage myself doesn't stop me from aiming a loose cannon your way. And here I thought the evening be dull.
    Xander: Go ahead. You wouldn't even recognize her.
    Spike: (from Xander's description) Dark hair, this tall, name of Faith, criminally insane. Like this girl already.
    Xander: (to Giles) We're dumb.
  • Not So Different: Faith argues this to Joyce, saying that Buffy is too wrapped up in her own life to care about either of them.
  • Padding: The episode was nine minutes short, hence the Scoobies searching for Faith scenes.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: Faith wakes up from a coma and leaves without authorization.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Faith during her picnic dream with the Mayor.
  • Previously On: A long one thanks to all the arc elements that have to be referenced — Faith, her coma, the Mayor, Adam, Riley, Riley loves Buffy, Walsh sets up Buffy, Walsh gets killed, Riley gets wounded, etc etc.
  • Psycho Strings
  • Redemption in the Rain / Skyward Scream: Dream!Faith after emerging from her grave.
  • Right Behind Me
    • Buffy is briefing the Scoobies, all set for Storming the Castle to rescue Riley from whatever evil Mind Control the Initiative is performing on him, when Riley says behind her "Am I really worth all that?"
    • Buffy is walking through the college campus saying to Willow that if she was Faith she'd "Get the hell out of Dodge post-haste-y". A girl in front of her turns around and disagrees — it's Faith.
  • Screw Yourself: Faith puts on lipstick, then kisses her reflection in the mirror. Given subsequent events, Foe Yay is implied.
  • Shirtless Scene: Hospital!Riley.
  • Shoot the Messenger: A demon turns up in a dark alley with a package for Faith "from a friend". Faith not being the friendly type, she Neck Snaps him and takes the package.
  • Shout-Out: See What Year Is It? below; it's a nearly word for word copy of the Trope Codifier scene from The Terminator.
  • Snakes Are Evil: Inverted in Faith's dream. Rather than a giant demon snake, the Mayor is a friendly father-figure who calmly shoos away a grass snake that interrupts their picnic.
  • Staircase Tumble: Buffy and Faith take a tumble headfirst down the same staircase that did in Ted. It doesn't stop them.
  • Stating the Simple Solution
    • The Scoobies ask how Riley got out of the military hospital, expecting some tale of derring-do. He says simply, "I walked."
    • Willow suggests "beating the crap out of her" is the most efficient response to the Faith problem.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: While fleeing police and Buffy, Faith climbs a wall and disappears.
  • Spider-Sense: While Buffy and Faith are facing off, Willow tries sneaking up behind her — without looking around Faith warns "Red" not to try anything or she'll lose an arm.
  • Super Window Jump: Buffy comes crashing through the window to grab Faith just as she's running at Joyce with a large knife.
  • Tempting Fate
    • Dream!Mayor tells Faith there's nothing that's going to spoil their time together. Buffy then appears and runs him through with her knife.
    • Relieved that Riley is alive and well, Buffy says they can deal with whatever's coming. Description Cut to Faith.
    • Subverted when Faith tells Joyce that "Buffy is gonna come crashing through that door." Genre Savvy viewers expect Buffy do just that, but nothing happens. She does however come through the window a short time later.
  • This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself: Unwilling to trust the Initiative or the Watcher's Council, and knowing Police Are Useless against a psychotic chick with superpowers, Buffy decides to take on Faith herself (though Buffy doesn't give any thought to what to do if she's not prepared to kill Faith). Unknown to her, the Council have already come on board.
  • Titled After the Song: "This Year's Girl" is an Elvis Costello song.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Giles enters his home and finds the lights don't work. The leader of the Council operations team then turns on a desk lamp.
    "Hello, Rupert."
  • The Triple
    Buffy: We have no idea where [Faith] is. We don't know what she's thinking, what she's feeling...
    Xander: Who she's doing...
  • Two-Part Episode / To Be Continued
  • Wakeup Makeup: Averted with Faith.
  • Wall Glower: Faith peeking in Giles' window at the Scooby Club within. Later she rants to Joyce; "Nobody cares, nobody remembers, especially not Buffy, fabulous superhero — too busy climbing onto her new boytoy to give a single thought to the people that matter."
  • Wham Line / Something Only They Would Say: Faith repeatedly uses her Catch Phrase "five by five," which is later used as a cue that Faith and Buffy have switched bodies.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Willow's suggested approach for repairing the taser blaster. Xander informs Willow that since they're fiddling with a 'Blaster', randomly hitting buttons is not high on his agenda. He then adds that if it were called the 'Orgasminator', that would, in fact, be his desired approach.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Plenty from Faith The Resenter.
    • When Buffy says she's been searching for her all night, Faith points out she's been in the same place for eight months.
    • Faith brings up how Buffy stabbed her to save her One True Love, yet Buffy has apparently dumped Angel for a new boyfriend.
    • Faith drops a pile of unopened mail in front of Joyce, showing how Buffy hasn't bothered to visit her mother. This segues into a rant over how Buffy abandoned both of them once they'd outlived their usefulness.
  • What Year Is This?
    Faith: What day is it?
    Girl: Friday.
    Faith: What date? The date!
    Girl: February 25th.
    Faith: What year?
  • White Sheet of Death: Faith's blood drips on the white bedsheets in her dream.
  • Worst Whatever Ever: Just when the Scoobies have their hands full with an unstoppable demonoid cyborg, Faith has to wake up.
    Xander: I guess this wins the Worst Timing Ever Award.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Naturally two Slayers find it impossible to bash each others heads in without snarking at each other in the process.
  • You're Not His Type: Buffy and Faith have the following exchange while trading punches.
    Faith: Thought I'd go after the clean marine, didn't ya? He's a cutie. Looks like he can use a good roll in the sack.
    Buffy: You're not his type. He's not real big on sleaze.
    Faith: He's probably just never tried it.