"Women of a Certain Age" is the tenth issue of the Angel & Faith comic book series.
Angel and Faith are seen returning to the estate after a nightly patrol. Angel constantly expressed concern over Faith's emotional well-being, still recently reeling from the old pain her father had created. She showed annoyance at this and easily brushed him off, claiming she was fine. Before he can press any further, Angel realized that there was someone inside their house. Assuming it was a monster or enemy, they are shocked to see two unfamiliar women instead. Faith immediately was indignant and suspicious of them, demanding to know who they were. They introduce themselves as Lavinia Fairweather and Sophronia Fairweather, Giles' great aunts, pointing out that they were in the portrait on the wall. Faith remained distrusting, claiming that she thought his entire family was dead and that Giles never mentioned either of them to her. Sophronia calmly told her that they were in the will: "All occupants of the country home may remain."; Faith admitted she thought he meant the horses.
While she started to accept it, she questioned their much younger age for great aunts. Lavinia answered her by saying that mystical use of magic ran in her family but not all of them used it for fighting and "being a big bore" (a.k.a watcher). They instead used their magical expertise to retain their youthfulness. Angel finally spoke up and tried to tell them that he had ultimately killed Giles but Sophronia cut him off. Both of them realize that completely but they don't particularly blame him because he was possessed and also, Giles was fully aware the consequences of dying in a life of magic. Angel tried to explain that he is in fact guilty because of his bad decision making but they remain uncaring. Faith took up the opportunity to put them upstairs but was interrupted by an intrusion of demons in their home, looking for the sisters.
They had turned out to sell their souls to demons on many occassions for fashionable products and beauty essentials so their time was up. Immediately, Angel and Faith are launched into a fight against many creatures with the sisters remain to stay out of it, not one to fight. After about ten minutes of no other demons coming to fight them, Angel assumed the flood had stopped. Faith continued her talk with Giles' aunts, wanting to know their history since he had their portrait on his wall (meaning he didn't totally despise them). Reluctantly, Lavinia and Sophronia abide.
It cut to a flashback to England, 1962 where an eight-year old Giles was seen playing with his toy plane, practicing being a fighter pilot. Edna Giles was arguing with her sisters, refusing to allow them the usage of the Shard of Stronnos to them. She mentioned the council would never allow it but Lavinia and Sophronia remained persistent. Mr. Giles reluctantly agreed with his mother. Edna elaborated on her son's protests by mentioning that they were not very responsible with their magic once in their life and they refused to tell them what they were going to use Shards of Stronnos, one of the more deadlier weapons that can turn matter into dangerous energy. They both quickly get into a fierce argument, only to be stopped by the appearance of a light demon.
While the demon bragged about energy being able to be turned into matter, he mentioned the Fairweather sisters intentions were to bring their lovers back to flesh. On cue, Edna quickly took action and tried to get the shard to stop them only for it to fall out of his reach. Giles unknowingly picked it up and allowed it to work its magic, giving the light demon a soild body and allowing Edna to opportunity to ax it. Giles was startled with this while Sophronia realized rather proudly that he had inherited their skills with magic. Mr. Giles decided that this was a sign of his future destiny as watcher, immediately wanting to enroll him in Watcher's academy at once. Sophronia protested against this, wanting to teach them their own magics but Mr. Giles dismissed them, assuming it'd be for superfical means. Edna roughly handled them the shard, angry at them and believing them to have caused too much damage already.
It returned to the present. Lavinia explained that they were against Giles being robbed of his childhood so early, wanting him to have at least a few more years of carefree youth before starting his Watcher training. They had heard what Watcher school was like for Edna and hated the idea of him having to endure such "horrors" at eight. Nonetheless, they felt an obligation to their nephew and had at times even performed a spell or two with him for his benefit. Angel then confessed that he was planning on resurrecting Giles but was shocked to realize that both of them already knew. They had heard things, reminding him that they were shallow but not stupid. Lavinia gave Angel the shard Giles had used a boy, stating that he would need it as it retained his childhood before completely and totally losing his innocence. Sophronia bluntly claimed that she believed this entire attempt to be crazy, seeing it was being too risky (Faith consequently trying to agree).
However, arguments are avoided as Sophie claimed decided to go to bed. Angel offered them the guest room but Lavinia shot it down, not wanting to deal with Sophie's snoring. Lavinia instead chose Angel's room. Once inside, Lavinia expressed her relief that she was able to finally talk to him alone. Angel mistakenly assumed she had some type of interest in him (greatly making him uncomfortable) but she clarified she wanted to talk with him about Giles. Lavinia told him to not change his mind no matter what, fully and completely supporting his plan unconditionally, reasoning that both them and the world needed him. Sophronia was alone with Faith, claiming the opposite. She believed that Angel had the best of intentions but if he goes too far, she wanted her to be the one to stop him before he made an even larger mess of things.
Faith and Angel talk with each other while both Sophie and Lavinia talk to themselves in their separate rooms about their conflicting beliefs. Lavinia admitted that she knew Giles would be against this but she refused to have her nephew die so easily without a fight. If anyone could do it, Angel could. Sophronia stated that if Angel did anything horrid to the world or Giles, Faith would stop it. She claimed Giles would say that they were still using people in this situation, they were only nudging them along on completing their roles. She sincerely said that Giles had watched over people for too long; now it was their turn to watch over him.
Faith wondered how much longer Giles' aunts would stay with them. Angel replied it would be longer than they wanted them too, only to be interrupted by a knock at the door. Irritated and tired, he immediately assumed it was more demons. While walking to the door, he threatened that if they weren't away by the time he opened the door, he would snap their neck and kill them. However, he trailed off mid-sentence when realizing who was actually at the door, openly put in a stunned stupor of shock. Willow Rosenberg, slayer scythe in hand, was waiting at his doorstep. She snarkily responded: " Uh-huh. Kinda your wheelhouse, isn't it?"
- This issue marked the very first appearance of Giles' great aunts. It was also the first time Edna Giles was ever seen in the main series, being first seen in Tales of the Vampires.
- Sophie blamed Angel for magic ending so it was his obligation to assist them. He tiredly claimed this to be false, as ultimately Buffy was the one who ended magic on Earth in Last Gleaming, Part Four.
- Lavinia mentioned absently that Giles had originally wanted to have been a fighter pilot; this is correct. Giles had once admitted this to Buffy in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".
- In the flashback, Lavina snapped at an eight-year old Giles for almost ripping her dress with his toy; Sophronia stated that he should've been named "Ripper". Ironically, Giles would later adopt this nickname once delving into dark magics in his late teens/early 20s.
- After accidentally containing the light demon, Giles' fate to become a Watcher was ultimately decided quite swiftly by Mr. Giles. This event permanently created tension and strain on their relationship, seen in Daddy Issues, Part One.
- When an irritated Angel threatened to snap the neck of whoever was behind the door, Willow glibly retorted "Kinda your wheelhouse, huh?" This was barbed reference to Angel's murder of Giles and possibly the death of Jenny Calendar in "Passion" .
- Willow's whereabouts were confirmed in this issue since she left behind Buffy and took the scythe with her in Slayer, Interrupted.
- Faith Lehane
- Lavinia Fairweather (Also in flashbacks)
- Sophronia Fairweather (Also in flashbacks)
- Rupert Giles (Only in flashbacks)
- Edna Giles (Only in flashbacks)
- Mr. Giles (Only in flashbacks)
- Willow Rosenberg
Organizations and Titles
- Cacodaemon (only mentioned)
- Light Demon (only in flashbacks)
- Golgothian Phlegm Beast (only mentioned)
Weapons and Objects
- Several types of demons, killed by Angel and Faith.
- Light Demon, accidentally given a body by Giles, and axed by Edna Giles. (only in flashbacks)
Behind the Scenes
- The two mysterious ladies in Women of a Certain Age were characters Joss Whedon originally planned to use in the now defunct Ripper TV show.
Pop Culture References
- When Angel constantly showed concern over how Faith was feeling since her reunion with her, she blew him off, saying "Damn, when did you turn into Oprah?" This was a reference to the famous show host who got people to talk about their problems on TV.
- After a demon bursts into the house, Sophronia commented "How dreadfully Monty Python." Monty Python was a British comedy group that lasted from 1960-1983, focusing on satire and dark humor frequently in their works.
- Sophie mentioned American song-writer/poet Jim Morrision, saying he was apparently a failed resurrection project.
|Angel - "I ... appreciate that. But it's not as simple as being possessed. I made choices--"|
|Sophronia - "Dear boy, when you live by magic, you are likely to die by it. Rupert knew that and had made peace with it. If you must be guilty about something, there's always your hair. "|
|Faith - "Did Giles hate you as much as I do?"|
|Lavina - " Oh, rather more, I should think."|
|Angel - "Um, well, there's only one guest room. Kind of small. You could share the master bedroom ... Faith, you can have mine."|
|Faith - "Y'know, I missed the part where Giles left this place to you."|
|Lavinia - "I'm so glad we finally have a moment alone together."|
|Angel - "Uh ... I'm kind of ... Well, not seeing anyone, exactly. It's more that I'm ... freaked out by you. "|
|Lavinia - "Oh, that's adorable. My dear Angel, if I wanted to shag a corpse, I'd have gotten married."|
|Sophronia - "How awkward. I just realized this must be the place where you and Rupert used to ... well."|
|Faith - "What? I wasn't sleeping with him!"|
|Sophronia - "No, of course not. Middle-aged men leave everything they own to young ladies out of fatherly affection. But that's beside the point. There's something important I need to discuss with you. This plan of Angel's ... he means well. But I don't have to tell you, he's playing with damp dynamite. You're clearly the level-headed one. Let him play the 'Tortured Soul Seeking Redemption' if he likes. But if it looks as though he's going to make a dog's breakfast of things ... it's down to you to stop him, my dear, whatever it takes."|
| Lavinia - "Oh, Rupert. I can feel you scowling at me. Come now, love. We held our noses and let you get old. But I'll be buggered if we'll permit our nephew to die like some commoner who slips in the bath. Not without a fight. If there's a way to bring you back, Angel will find it. We'll see to that."
(Cuts to Sophronia in her room)
|Sophronia - "And if he must be stopped before he does something horried to you, or the world I suppose, we'll see he is, courtesy of Faith. I know what you'd say. That after all these years we're still using people. But all we're doing is helping them play the roles they so desperately want. You watched over people long enough, dear boy. It's time to let your aunties watch over you. "|
|Angel - "Listen, pal. I've had a long day and I don't have the patience to mess around with you. If you're still there when I open this door, I'm just going to snap your neck like a ... (sees who's at the door) toothpick ... "|
|Willow - "Uh-huh. Kinda your wheelhouse, isn't it?"|