What Does Five by Five Mean, Faith?

One frosty night, not so long ago, I was scrolling upon my phone in lieu of sleep. The app was named Instagram, the posts were endless and the quotes were #deep. Upon my casual perusal I stumbled on a few words that caught my eye. ‘Five by Five’. Those 3 words stared me straight in the face as an image flashed to my frontal lobe:

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Faith Lehane

Faith! Her catchphrase has boggled our noggins for decades. I, myself, accepted it as another one of Joss Whedon’s linguistic inventions and thus questioned it no more. He likes a bit of insular lingo, and Faith has a devil-may-care demeanour. Phrases that don’t make full sense align well with a psyche that spares little thought to philosophy, I thought. Until, in my 25th year, I saw this:

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It’s a pretty solid perspective. I like the logical take on how pointless it is to worry because a lot of problems are inconsequential. The apathy suits Faith very well, as she puts little stock into personal relationships anyway. What if 5 by 5 made sense after all? Maybe Faith just had an idiosyncratic way of saying ‘not bad thanks mate, you?’.

You’re not sold, I know. It could well just be a happy accident from the wordsmith we know to be Whedon. In any case, there’s a nugget of wisdom there that I’m content to dip into some hypothetical BBQ sauce.

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Five by Five, B.

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Character Signs. Part 5!

Faith: Sagittarius

Faith is carefree, an area of Sagittarian expertise. She arrives as the badass in town: an outsider with a rebellious tendency, her outgoing personality and zealous fighting style run parallel to the righteous Buffy Summers. Buffy slays out of duty – Faith kills for kicks, it makes her ‘hungry and horny’. Slayer no.2 brings nonchalance to the game of life and death as she closes every statement with ‘five by five’… whatever that means. She doesn’t know or care, making her a unique character who willingly never fits in anywhere, just like a non-conformist Sagittarius.

Her arrival in Sunnydale is beset by her direct nature and attention-seeking tendencies as she regails stories of nude ass-kicking adventures to the Scooby gang. She’s focused on the bigger picture and therefore doesn’t desire gossipy, organised meetings with the herd. But not everybody operates with such an open manner, meaning she falls prey to the Mayor’s manipulation and Angel’s pretend pact against Buffy. She always saw Buffy as competition, even body-swapping with her in pursuit of victory, like a determined centaur. Strategy is a game this fire sign can play well due to their sharp intellect, even in their love life. Despite not necessarily existing as mutually exclusive concepts, success trumps romance in the Sagittarian mind, enabling them to play the field with a fast recuperation rate (poor Xander).

Like a true fire sign, she’s uninhibited and that’s why she’s loved. Plus, even as the Mayor’s employee, Faith is nothing if not free.


Number 5 in a 5 part series, start from the beginning to read about Buffy, Giles and the others…

Buffy Character Signs, Part 1