Heroes vs. Villains: Faith from ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’

Senior Television Writer
02.19.14 40 Comments

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The NCAA basketball tournaments are less than a month away. Because it’s obviously never been done before, HitFix is going to host its own tournament, but this battle won’t take place between teams on Tobacco Road. We’ve got something more exciting in mind.  In our competition, the greatest Heroes from the worlds of television and movies will face off versus the greatest Villains

The committee is currently mulling over the brackets, but we need your help.  There are six characters who some would consider anti-heroes, but we then need to to know where they fit in this battle royale. Do they fall in the Heroes bracket or the Villains bracket?

You decide.  You have 48 hours. Choose wisely.

Yesterday, I asked this question about Walter White from “Breaking Bad.” The voting overwhelmingly went “villain,” even though there were many passionate arguments for “hero” in the comments. Tonight, we’re talking about a character who was introduced as a hero, then became a villain, then turned back into a hero again: Faith the Vampire Slayer, as played by Eliza Dushku on “Buffy” and “Angel.” 

Now, there are a bunch of characters in the Buffy-verse who went back and forth between light and dark, but for the most part, there were supernatural reasons for the transition. Angel and Angelus are essentially two different characters, and while Spike with his soul is a lot closer to Spike with a chip in his head, magic is what ultimately kept him good. Faith, on the other hand, was all too human in both incarnations, with a darker, lonelier past that drove her to do bad things and seek the approval of a father figure like Mayor Wilkins, and to take pleasure tormenting Buffy, Angel and their friends on the Mayor’s behalf. Later, of course, she turned up on “Angel” looking to reform, and remained a heroine through the climactic battle on “Buffy.” (She was also still a good guy the last time I read the “Buffy” comics, but we’re limiting our considerations here to what happened on the TV shows.) 

So fire away: is Faith a hero or a villain? My take is that ultimately, she’s a hero, but I can see someone voting the other way simply because villainous Faith is a more memorable take on the character than when she’s Buffy’s sarcastic 5×5 colleague.

Previously: Walter White | Michael Corleone | Travis Bickle

Note: Due to seeding, we can’t guarantee that every one of the anti-heroes being voted on will make the final bracket.

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