Xander does show sign of regret. He shows up to help Angel more than once in season 3.
That's certainly one interpretation; but it could just as easily be read as Xander having compassion for his friend- Buffy- rather than regret to what happened as a result of his lie.
I can't remember him showing a single moment of empathy for Angel, to his face, the entire season. In fact, after Angel's return Xander's first instinct is to knowingly participate in the murder of a souled being; Angel himself.
Doesn't lend itself to the 'regret' interpretation.
He also had good reason to "sic Faith on him" though Giles handled it much more maturely, and I see that as more of the rogue Watcher that got Faith angry and primed to strike at something, first hostile against Xander, and then against Buffy/Angel, but teenage boy > Watcher who even played Giles for a fool when it comes to manipulation because no matter how experienced or super powered, Xander is in control. But seriously, Xander said what he thought, Faith (her anger and insecurities stoked by the rogue Watcher and Faith was pretty much looking for someone to hit) swallowed it, and kept at it even when Xander realized it wasn't Angel rather than telling her it was definitely Angel.
Lot to unpack here:
- Mrs Post skillfully manipulated both Giles and Faith. Faith got angry/frustrated and Giles got angry/British.
Xander never interacted with her so he cannot claim the same. Xander was never manipulated. He was just angry all by himself. And also, again (which was my point
) he disregards the collective decision
(after the meeting) to let Buffy handle Angel and instead decides it would be kinda neat to see Angel get staked.
My point is that Revelations reveals a Xander-pattern of putting what he thinks is best above a collective group decision. This is not a gender thing since Giles is clearly a dude, and yet Xander ignores the rest of them and their wishes because of feels.
- I don't for one minute think that Xander thought Buffy was kissing soulless Angel. He recognized what Buffy said in the confrontation-meeting/intervention, that Angel was ally-Angel again. He just didn't care and wanted him to die anyway.
- Faith wasn't particularly hostile towards Xander; she was confrontational I guess, because she wanted answers and happened upon Xander first.
- I wouldn't say that Xander is manipulative but he does see opportunity and acts impulsively (again). We know that Xander knows way more about Angel than Faith does; she's just heard the horror stories (told by Xander and Willow) about how awful he was. She tried asking Buffy (bluntly) about her relationship but was rebuffed (heh) and so knows very little about 'good' Angel.
So when Faith says 'I say I slay
' to Xander, all he has to do is what he did with Riley in S4; explain in blunt, unsympathetic terms that Angel (with a soul) is a douche but he's not a real threat like Angelus is/was. He can tell her; 'not just yet, but be ready to slay if things go sideways cuz Buffy sure as hell won't
'. That would make Faith understand the current situation and maybe make her feel more included/part of the group. This would be an example of Xander using his talky-mouth word powers for good, not evil.
Also I would make clear that Faith is not blameless here; she is way too ignorant of the sitch and way too head-strong and impulsive when she is on the warpath.
And its ultimately Post's final plea that causes Faith and Buffy to fight, not Xander.
Takes two to tango (Willow and Xander). Though that one was a bit too forced and contrived for me to accept without adding head canon.
Sure, and I never indicated otherwise, but this is about a certain character with a certain character trait; Xander will confront and criticize Buffy for things he is doing himself; lying, being secretive, etc.
And I'm a little gentler on Willow because at least she had the grace to feel bad about doing what she'd done when she got caught. Xander tries feeling bad but gives up because its too difficult and so spends most of the rest of the season snarking back at Cordelia.
Willow didn't have super powers in s2, it was a hail mary play that Willow THOUGHT she could do. All of Xander's experience with magic had been bad. And now Willow was with a concussion (when there are doubts for those not in the audience that she could do it even in full health), Giles was missing, the world was ending, and Buffy was likely to die for a murdering fiend. I'm not going to blame the boy for all the super powered girls messing up.
I was making the point that 'the collective group' had made a decision to try the resoulling spell; Giles warned Willow of the consequences and Willow wanted to do it anyway. Even after near death she wanted to try it again. That's commendable, and its not solely up to Xander to decide 'nah, Willow can't do it, I know better'.
And its not nobility that makes Xander lie to Buffy about Willow's choice
, it is utter self-interest, in the moment, that makes him say what he said.
He's not that powerful, and he's as flawed as the rest of them, just as they're flawed as him.
Absolutely, I'm willing to criticize Buffy and Giles and Willow's bad decisions (and there are a whole bunch of them) but this is a Xander thread, about one of his worse character traits AND moments.
To be fair its rather mild compared with the rest of the Scoobies; slayer-poisoners and skin-flayers abound.