I’ve never sympathized with any other character in regards to Faith because despite her mistakes she’s the only character who’s made be cry with simplest scenes and its incredible especially because her scene time on the show was pretty minimal.
Lack of superpowers doesn’t stop him from risking his life to save his friends, his enemies, and the world. Xander had just learned that vampires existed yet he followed Buffy into the sewers to rescue Jesse. Xander could have run away when the old high school started collapsing, but instead he jumped to save Spike regardless of the falling rocks.
2) He’s loyal.
Xander had been offered to leave the fight and run away, to live a normal life away from all the monsters and death threats, but Xander rejected Anya’s offer and stayed. He’d never leave his friends no matter how tempting it is. Xander could have started over new after Chosen. After all he lost, no one would blame him for quitting, but here he is, helping Buffy setting an organization in Scotland.
3) He’s attracted to strong women.
Strong women turn him on: Slayers, demons, and head cheerleaders. She’s got to be confident and tough. Just hearing that Kendra is a Slayer made Xander interested, but once he realized she’s insecure around men, he lost interest.
4) He’s got no problem following strong women.
Xander looks up to Buffy, values her opinion and follows her lead no matter what. When Buffy dies, he elects Willow as their leader, because she too is a strong woman he admires. Also, when he’s in danger, the first name that pops into his head is Buffy. No one can save him or have the answers but Buffy. She, a woman, is his hero and idol.
5) He’s funny.
“I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away.” “To read makes our speaking English good.” “Someone else’s loss is my chocolaty goodness.” “That is wrong. Big, fat, spanking wrong. It’s a slap in the face to every one of us that studied hard and worked long hours to earn our D’s.” “You and Will go do the superpower thing. I’ll stay behind and putter around the batcave with crusty old Alfred here.” “Sunnydale: Come for the food, stay for the dismemberment.”
6) He’s an achiever.
After trying a series of jobs in S4, Xander finds out he’s good at construction. Xander works so hard he earns promotions and raises, and becomes the most successful Scooby at a very young age. He gets his own crew and bosses men older than him and he’s just turned twenty. Not to mention, finding a time to help out Buffy when he’s got a full-time job. Coming home after working under California’s burning sun and still having the energy to research and help Buffy? As slayers go, Buffy is so lucky to have a friend like Xander.
7) He’s perceptive underneath the Hawaiian wear.
He figured out how to defeat so many villains despite the common belief that he’s the dumbest dumb since Dumb and Dumber. He’s been insightful enough to figure out what Buffy’s problem was in When She Was Bad. He was the one who figured out that they’d resurrected Buffy and left her in her coffin.
8) He’s the shoulder his friends cry on.
Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Cordelia and Anya had leaned on his shoulder and poured their hearts out. He doesn’t mind listening to their problems and helping them out with a well-worded speech.
9) He teams with people he dislikes to save Buffy and the world.
He teamed with Angel many times to save the day in the earlier seasons, most notably, Prophecy Girl. And also teamed with Spike in the later seasons, most notably, Him. Despite how he feels about them, he helps Buffy save Angel in Amends and Graduation Day Part 1 and lets Spike live with him twice because it’s the right thing to do.
10) He helps Anya find love again.
He takes Anya in and starts a relationship with her. He gives her a friend, when she’s abandoned by everybody. He offers her a seat in most of the Scooby gang meetings, making her a Scooby despite how his friends felt about her. He teaches her how to be socially competent, kisses her and snuggles with her in front of all his friends, and when he thinks about giving up his life to his evil twin, Anya is the only one he can’t give up. Evil twin can take away everything, but Anya.
11) He loves Buffy and Willow no matter what.
Nothing Buffy and Willow do will stop Xander from loving them. He may get angry at times, but he always forgives them, always tries to see where they’re coming from even if he doesn’t want to. Ending the world and shagging soulless Spike are really upsetting but eventually don’t matter at all. Buffy and Willow will always be number one in his heart.
12) He forgets all about his problems and injuries when one of his friends is hurt.
His friends come first. And then Xander. When he was just humiliated by the superior college dude and his boss, he forgets all about it the second he sees a depressed Buffy and instead of venting, he asks her if he could help. In Older and Far Away, he forgets about his injured arm the second he sees Anya standing at the door and looking scared. He jumps to comfort her in an instant.
13) He sacrifices himself for those he loves.
When Ampata wanted to suck Willow’s face, Xander offered up himself to save Willow, knowing that by doing that he’s gonna definitely die. When Toth shot Buffy, Xander pushed her out of the way and got shot instead. When Olaf asked him to choose between Anya and Willow, which one was gonna die, Xander refused to choose, therefore, putting his own life in danger.
14) He’s not afraid to put himself in danger to save his friends.
In scary frat house where boys get orgasms from walls and girls cut their hair bold, everyone is outside shaking or escaping, but not Xander. He must go in and try to save Buffy and Riley. He’d have gone there alone if it wasn’t for the spirits pushing him outside. He attacked Spike who can stand in daylight without bursting to flame to help Buffy. He’d basically throw himself at anything or anyone to save his friends, even if it was useless.
15) He learned to accept his role as a follower and not a leader.
Season seven pretty much covered that.
16) He helps Buffy out with real life matters.
He drives her and Dawn to school, he fixes her house for free, and he’s there for Dawn playing the parent role when Buffy’s too busy.
17) He admits being a jackass to Buffy when it comes to Angel and Spike.
“Look, I’m aware I haven’t been the mostest best friend to you when it comes to the whole Angel thing, and, um, I don’t know, maybe I finally got the Chanukah spirit.”
“It hurt. That you didn’t trust me enough to tell me about Spike. It hurt. Maybe you would have, if I hadn’t given you so many reasons to think I’d be an ass about it.”
18) He’s there when no one notices Dawn’s pain.
He’s there when Dawn cries over Buffy stealing RJ, he’s there when she’s down about not being a slayer, he’s there when she grew into a giant and needed someone to talk to, he’s there when she talked about Kenny and Nick, he’s there when she turned into a half-horse and also needed someone to talk to.
19) He doesn’t see things in a black/white fashion.
He’s fine with Oz. He’s fine with Clem. He’s fine with Anya, despite cringing at her past crimes –who wouldn’t? He’s fine with Willow being a witch. He’s fine with Dawn being a ball of energy. He doesn’t seem to like the Initiative approach, and took Buffy’s side on the wrongness of their experiments. He even found Vampire Buffy and Vampire Willow hot, and wondered if he was as badass as a vampire. I think his reasons for disliking Angel and Spike weren’t solely on them being vampires. I don’t even think it features in his top ten reasons, and I believe he usually uses the vampire card as a cover for the real reason behind the hate.
20) He doesn’t get much appreciation for his contributions, but he celebrates his victories alone.
The Zeppo is an obvious example. Xander saved his friends’ lives, and they never knew, because he didn’t tell them. Cordelia taunted him about his uselessness and he didn’t tell her either. Instead, he walked away confidently with pride. It doesn’t matter if they knew, the important thing is that Xander knows. And he only shares it with Dawn later, because she’s in his shoes as well.
I feel like Buffy is an important feminist icon, but she also often felt like your cliche Hollywood “Strong Woman” (i.e. relatively little depth beyond “literally strong/could kick your ass”); and she traipsed into several other other boring, even annoying tropes along the way. (I was personally most annoyed by the almost Mary-Sue-ish heroine acts like an asshole for a long time, but it’s all okay, because she ended up being right! And look! Now everybody else has seen the error of their ways and are apologizing to her for her assholery as if it were their fault” storyline in the latter seasons. (See: the reason she got kicked out of the house). Separate and apart from whether or not you think the whole kicking out thing was an overreaction, it was some BS that Buffy really had no other repercussions for her control-freak-who’s-clearly-lost-any-sense-of-perspective period than “leave, kick some ass solo for a while/have a good cry, come back to an apologetic Faith, and have virtually everything resolved in her favor.”
Summary: When Andrew’s desperate actions to save a Slayer catches the attention of someone in heaven, the entire course of the Twilight crisis changes (S8 AU). Features - deaf!Andrew, Slayer Organization, and an ensemble cast of characters both alive and dead.
(This week - Andrew is grieving Posey’s death. Dawn helps him through it.)
Characters this chapter: Dawn Summers, Andrew Wells
Faith’s sexual assault and attempted murder of Xander in Consequences parallel Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy later in the season. Of course, because sexual assault of men isn’t taken as seriously as sexual assault of women, the writers treat the latter with much more gravitas than the former, which is a shame because it misses a big opportunity to explore the reactions of Xander as a character.
Xander goes through a fuckton of pain and sexual humiliation in this episode. He’s lost his virginity to a woman who, Buffy bluntly informs him, treats her sexual conquests as “a big joke”. The Scoobies all scornfully dismiss his idea that he and Faith share a connection, and shoot down his intentions to reach out to her. What’s more, when he does resolutely reach out to her, she proceeds to taunt him, mock his maleness, sexually assault him, and finally try to kill him.
And what’s the fallout? Not only does he get zero screen time to express his feelings about the assault, but his best friend defends his would-be rapist and enlists the others to protect her from the authorities.
BUFFY: So - we head them off at the airport. Stop them. Willow, looking tentative, pipes up again. WILLOW: Can I- I’m just wondering. Why? Everyone looks to her. She’s definitely got their attention. WILLOW: I’m not the most objective, I know. I kinda have an issue with Faith sharing my … people. (then) But - she murdered someone and accused Buffy. Then she hurt Xander. I hate to say it, but maybe she belongs behind bars. Now Xander tries to add something - but his voice is completely shot. He falls silent, embarrassed and frustrated. Buffy is sympathetic, but resolute. BUFFY: She’s out of control, I know. But Angel was getting somewhere with her.She was opening up. If we can just stop Wesley-
Willow’s the voice of reason here, but she doesn’t get more than one line, and the bit about Xander trying and failing to speak is edited out of the ep entirely -
his character is never allowed even the slightest chance to express the emotional results of his victimization. Buffy’s support of Faith after the incident with Xander is totally unacceptable. If Xander had defended Spike with full knowledge of his attempted rape of Buffy, that would rightly have been viewed as heinous apologism. The double standard here is sickening.
(By the way, amidst all of this, he handles himself with extraordinary aplomb: rising above Faith’s taunting to try to reach her with compassion, joking about his own physical weakness to set her at ease, prioritizing friendship and selflessness over his own pain. This display of character is one of the reasons my heart hurts for Xander in this ep.)