"Bad Girls" is the fourteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the forty-eighth episode in the series. Written by Douglas Petrie and directed by Michael Lange, it was originally broadcast on February 9, 1999, on The WB network.
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE — A taste of the wild life leaves Buffy wanting more, and while Sunnydale is being inhabited by a long-dead demon and his vampire minions, Buffy follows Faith into her irresponsible world of reckless slaying abandon. Meanwhile, Giles fights to maintain his sanity in the face of the pompous and stuffy new watcher, while Willow, Xander and Oz ponder their options for life after high school.
While patrolling, Faith asks Buffy if she's ever had sex with Xander, and Buffy says they're just friends. They slay a vampire wielding a short blade and long blade. The swords are stolen by Mr. Trick and given to the Mayor. The Mayor discusses his next plans which include a dedication.
The next day at school, the gang are discussing college and their future plans. Willow has received early acceptance from colleges and academies all the over the world while Xander, on the other hand, isn't expecting any acceptances early or otherwise. Buffy leaves to report to Giles in the library, and Willow tells Buffy that Giles was wanting to see her anyway. Inside, Giles is in the company of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Buffy and Faith's new Watcher and it's obvious that the man is stuffy, pompous and full of himself. Buffy reminds him that the last Watcher who turned up was evil, but Wesley assures her that, unlike Mrs. Post his credentials have been checked by Giles, although Buffy is still extremely unimpressed by him. She tells the two about the vampire that was bearing swords, and Wesley recognizes as being him from the El Eliminati, a vampire cult that worshiped the demon Balthazar before he was killed.
Now Wesley believes the vampires are looking for Balthazar's amulet, which was reported to give him strength, so he orders Buffy to get the amulet from the crypt from which it was buried. Buffy doesn't enjoy being given orders. Faith walks in and upon learning who Wesley is, walks back out. Buffy tries to get her to come back. When Faith expresses to Buffy her belief that as the Slayers, they can do what they want, and enjoy it, Buffy is skeptical. But Faith believes Buffy gets off on slaying as much as she does.
That night, Buffy finds the amulet but a group of Balthazar's vamps enter before she can take it. Faith arrives and the two slay some of the vamps before retrieving the amulet. After handing over the amulet to Wesley, Buffy leaves to her classroom to take a chemistry test, but she can't stop telling Willow and Xander about the previous night and how much she ended up enjoying it. Faith shows up at the window and she and Buffy leave to destroy a vampire nest. The two go dancing afterwards at the Bronze, where Buffy meets up with Angel. She's acting very strange and he tries to ignore it and tells her that Balthazar isn't dead and he's looking for his amulet. When Wesley comes looking for Buffy, she takes the amulet from him and gives it to Angel.
Buffy and Faith go out and find Balthazar, an obese and ugly demon that must live in a large pool of water and constantly be kept wet, since only his amulet would give him the strength to stand up again. At a loss for weapons against a large group of vampires, they break into Meyer Sport & Tackle. Faith continues to expound on her philosophy of being a Slayer to Buffy. "Life as a Slayer is very simple. Want, take, have" while helping herself to items. Buffy, continuing to be swept away by Faith's brazen recklessness, also steals some weapons. The police arrive and arrest them, but in the car, the two Slayers kick down the metal grate separating them from the cops, causing the car to crash and the cops to be (mildly) injured. The following morning, Buffy checks the local newspaper for any news regarding the accident, but finds nothing. Mayor Wilkins is attacked by one of Balthazar's vampires, who is captured by Trick.
Balthazar demands his minions bring him the Watchers and kill the Slayers. No matter the cost, he must have his amulet. The enemy who crippled him is about to gain ultimate power and he refuses to let this come to pass. Willow presents Buffy with a protection spell and is ready to go slaying that night, but Buffy tells her that it's too dangerous and that she's going with Faith instead. This leaves Willow feeling hurt. The two run into several vampires and stake them. Then Allan Finch, the deputy mayor walks out and Faith accidentally stakes him, too. He dies before anything can be done and both Slayers flee the scene of the crime in separate directions. Buffy runs into Angel and he tells her about Balthazar taking Giles while Faith returns to the scene where Allan is.
With the two Watchers in his possession, Balthazar searches for answers as to who has his amulet. Wesley is willing to give up anything in exchange for his life, exposing his cowardly nature in the face of actual danger. Angel shows up with Buffy, frees Giles and everyone fights. When Balthazar captures Angel, Buffy electrocutes him. With his dying breath, Balthazar warns them of his enemy. "When he rises, you'll wish I'd killed you all."
In his office that night, the Mayor performs the ritual of Dedication then has Trick release the vampire. Trick is confused, but does what he is ordered. The vampire emerges and cuts straight through the Mayor's head — only for it to instantly heal. Trick stakes the vampire and the Mayor declares that the hundred days before the ascension has begun, and until that time he is totally invincible. In celebration, he suggests going out for a root beer.
Buffy goes to see Faith the next day wanting to talk about what happened, but Faith isn't bothered about what happened, revealing that she's already weighted and dumped Allan's body. Buffy is horrified and tells Faith that getting rid of the body doesn't make the problem go away. Buffy tries to make Faith face the reality that she killed someone, but Faith tells Buffy that she simply doesn't care, leaving Buffy speechless.
- This episode is the major turning point of season three. Faith has been a loose cannon with issues of trust, and she enjoys slaying a little too much, but she has been fighting for the right cause. She won't be for much longer. The Mayor's plan becomes clearer, and Wesley has arrived and will bug the Scoobies until the end of this season.
- When stealing from the sports supply store, Buffy ponders if they are insured. Years later, she uses this reasoning when she robs banks to fund her Slayer operation (Anywhere but Here).
- When Buffy tells Faith "I hate it when they drown me," it's an allusion to when the Master drowned her in "Prophecy Girl."
- Willow gives Buffy the protection spell she has been working on since "Gingerbread" in a lavender-scented pouch.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. While he's more of an annoyance than a help throughout the season, he has a bit of a turning point during "Graduation Day, Part Two," when he stays to help Buffy instead of doing what he's been told by his bosses. He is fired from the Council and returns in Angel, first as a "rogue demon hunter" and later a member of Angel Investigations.
- Cordelia Chase
- Allan Finch
- Rupert Giles
- Gleaves (Only corpse)
- Alexander Harris
- Anthony Harris (Only mentioned)
- Faith Lehane
- Daniel Osbourne
- Gwendolyn Post (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Joyce Summers
- Richard Wilkins
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Organizations and titles
- El Eliminati
- Scooby Gang
- Sunnydale Police Department
- Watchers Council (Only mentioned)
- The Corndog Emporium (Only mentioned)
- Devereau (Only mentioned)
- Gleaves mausoleum
- Maple Court
- Revello Drive
- Restfield Cemetery
- Rosenberg residence
- Sunnydale City Hall
- Sunnydale High School
- Sunnydale Motor Inn
Rituals and spells
- Four El Eliminati vampires, staked by Buffy.
- Three El Eliminati vampires, staked by Faith.
- Allan Finch, accidentally stabbed by Faith.
- One El Eliminati vampire, snapped by Balthazar.
- A vampire nest, dusted by Faith and Buffy (only mentioned).
- One El Eliminati vampire, killed by Giles.
- Balthazar, electrocuted by Buffy with a live wire in his tub of water.
- Vincent, dusted by Mr. Trick.
Behind the scenes
- Faith comes to the school, breathes on the window, and draws a heart shape. Doug Petrie remembers a similar incident when he was in high school and a girl who was cutting class drew on the glass. He thought it was cool.
- Faith's "want, take, have" philosophy was based on something Petrie's friend's sister used to say.
- Balthazar has a resemblance to the highly obese vampire from the 1998 Blade film.
- An early draft of this episode reveals Willow's middle name as Danielle:
- Willow: "But, I've done this sort of thing before. Like a million times. And, if my parents hadn't settled on 'Danielle,' Danger would be my middle name, and besides... Minty fresh protection. So?"
- Buffy says a little more to Faith in the last scene:
- Buffy: "I know you think you can handle this. And you've gotten used to being on your own. You've got your tough loner act down pretty well."
Pop culture references
- Oz wears a T-shirt of the English punk band Eater.
- Wilkins praises the comic strip The Family Circus (1960–), mentioning its youngest character P.J.
- Trick praises the comic strip Marmaduke (1954–) and its title character.
- Finch praises the comic strip Cathy (1976–2010).
- Faith mentions Tupperware parties, a marketing method in which Tupperware products are sold in a social gathering.
- Buffy mentions the count of three in Sesame Street, the educational program for preschoolers.
- Xander mentions Harvard, Yale, and Wesleyan universities.
- Buffy refers to El Eliminati as being similar to the action thriller film Magnum Force (1973).
- Buffy refers to Balthazar as being in need of StairMaster fitness equipment.
- Faith mentions to Balthazar being in a Jacuzzi bath tub.
- Meyer Sport & Tackle has products from the athletic brand Nike.
- Giles sarcastically refers to Wesley as Captain Courageous, a reference to "Captains Courageous," a 1897 novel by Rudyard Kipling.
- When the slayers are on their way to Balthazar, right before Faith kills Allan, Buffy stakes a vamp, and you can see Faith and Buffy move slightly as the vamp dusts.
- After Faith stakes Finch, when she pulls the stake away before he slides down the dumpster, there is no wound, but you can clearly hear the stabbing sound.
- Armenian: "Վատ աղջնակներ" (Bad Girls)
- Czech: "Zlý holky" (Bad Girls)
- Finnish: "Pahat tytöt" (Bad Girls)
- French: "El Eliminati" (El Eliminati)
- German: "Der neue Wächter" (The New Watcher)
- Hungarian: "Rossz lányok" (Bad Girls)
- Italian: "Balthazar"
- Japanese: "バッドガールズ" (Bad Girls)
- Polish: "Bo to złe kobiety były..." (Because These Women Were Bad...)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Garotas Más" (Bad Girls)
- Romanian: "Fete rele" (Bad Girls)
- Russian: "Плохие девчонки" (Bad Girls)
- Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Chicas malas" (Bad Girls)
- The book The Faith Trials includes a novelization of this episode.
- This episode is included in The Slayer Chronicles VHS set.
- This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Faith DVD set.
- The episode script was to be included in the canceled The Script Book: Season Three, Volume 3.
- A Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figure of Wesley was based on his appearance in this episode.
- A Deluxe action figure of Faith was based on her appearance in this episode.
- In the X-Men: Evolution episode "Spykecam" (2001), Rogue and Kitty's dance was modeled after Faith and Buffy dancing in this episode.
Behind the scenes
|Faith: "Nicely diverted, B!"|
|Buffy: "Diverted? That was me fighting for my life, Miss Attention Span."|
|Faith: "This isn't a Tupperware Party. It's a little hard to plan."|
|Buffy: "The count of three isn't a plan. It's Sesame Street."|
|Wesley: "Buffy, you will go to the Gleaves family crypt tonight and fetch the amulet."|
|Buffy: "I will?"|
|Wesley: "Are you not used to being given orders?"|
|Buffy: "Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says 'please'. And afterwards I get a cookie."|
|Wesley: "I don't feel we're getting off on quite the right foot. Ah. This is perhaps Faith."|
|Faith: "New Watcher?"|
|Buffy and Giles: "New Watcher."|
|Faith: "Screw that."|
|Buffy: "Now, why didn't I just say that?"|
|Giles: "Uh, Buffy, would you..."|
|Buffy: "I'll see if I can get her back. Don't say anything incredibly interesting while I'm gone."|
|Buffy: "Faith, wait. Look, I know this new guy's a dork, but... Well, I have nothing to follow that. He's pretty much just a dork."|
|Wesley: "Oh, yes. Here's your first entry: 'Slayer is willful and insolent.' That would be our girl, wouldn't it? 'Her abuse of the English is such that I understand only every other sentence.' Oh, this is going to make fascinating reading."|
|Balthazar: "You know what I want."|
|Giles: "If it's for me the scrub those hard-to-reach areas, I'd like to request you kill me now."|
|Wesley: "Are you out of your mind?! This is hardly the time for games!"|
|Giles: "Why not? They're going to torture us to death anyway."|
- "The Mortuary." Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original February 15, 2001.
- Douglas Petrie, The Complete Third Season on DVD: audio commentaries for "Bad Girls." 20th Century Studios, January 7, 2003.
- "Bad Girls Draft." Petrie's Dishes. Archived from the original on September 23, 2001.
- "Bad Girls Script." Buffy World. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019.