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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (12): They Will Try to Destroy Us [Team Evil]

Enemy. Arch-nemesis. Villain. Stranger Danger. Many words can be used to describe our adversaries – those individuals, both human and monster, that are trying to kill or destroy us on a daily basis. What? This doesn’t happen in your life? Well now, this is a bit awkward. Ahem…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has seen its fair share of some pretty unique Bad Guys who have tried to make sure the Slayer dies permanently and stays six feet under. Not even dying several times could keep her down, and she even clawed her way out of her own grave. That’s pretty hardcore, but Buffy always bounces back from the afterlife. Throughout the show’s seven season run, there have been many formidable opponents that Buffy has had to face down on a weekly basis.

 None have been more formidable than the appropriately dubbed “Big Bad.” Bonus points if you can figure out which season and which baddie that phrase first referred to. Give you another minute…a few more seconds… OK, now for the answer: Buffy first used the term to describe Angel after he had turned into his nasty alter-ego Angelus in Season Two. Angelus was the Big Bad thing that lurked in the dark after he turned, and Buffy had to use all of her Slayer-ness to fight him off without dying.

Buffy’s Big Bads’ have been some of the scariest and powerful enemies that she’s encountered on the show, and one she held a very personal and emotional connection with. The Big Bads have progressively gotten more powerful and scary as each season passed, starting with a vampire known as the Master, and ending with Buffy and the Scooby Gang and Potentials literally fighting the First Evil and its minions. She’s also fought a human-turned-demon, a cybernetic monster built with demon and human parts, a Hell God, three nerds with evil plans, and her best friend. Each of these foes beat her down physically, emotionally, and mentally, yet every single time Buffy was able to find the much-needed strength within herself and the love and support of her Scooby Gang to defeat each super-villain.

It would be easy to go in-depth about each of the Big Bads listed below, but why do that and ruin the surprise for those of you out there who have yet to see the show? Instead I’m gonna throw screenshots at you and tell you, Fellow Geeky Readers, what awful, super-evil deeds that they’ve done. For your homework tonight, People Who Haven’t Seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is to sit down and watch every single episode and decide who your favorite Big Bads are.

There will be a separate post following shortly showcasing the other monsters and villains that we’ve seen in each season of the show, but the Big Bads deserved their own post. They simply cannot be lumped together with the rest of the Team Evil pack – that wouldn’t be fair to them. Though the auxiliary baddies have been as much fun to watch as our Big Bads.

SPOILER WARNING: As always, I would like to remind all readers that there are spoilers below. Each Big Bads’ death is revealed, so it you want to keep your virgin eyes away, proceed to another post. So, tread carefully and enjoy.

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The Big Bads (Through the Seasons)

The Master – with Darla (Season 1)

the-masterdarla

Episodes: “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” “The Harvest,” “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date,” “Angel,” “Nightmares,” “Prophecy Girl”; Season 2 – “When She was Bad”; Season 3 – “The Wish”

Pros: The Master was a powerful and old vampire (over 600-years-old) who couldn’t be killed by normal vampire-killing methods; the older the vampire, the harder they fall. He was able to use hypnosis on Buffy and was able to drown her, killing her (the first time). Darla was Angel’s maker and tried to seduce him into coming back into the Order of Aurelius, run by the Master.

Cons: Though the Master was strong and older than most vampires, he could still be killed. Buffy was able to fight off his hypnosis ability and kill him. His arrogance was also his downfall. Darla underestimated Angel and his former devotion to her. Angel was able to use his past history with Darla to get close enough to her to stake her.

Dastardly Deeds: TheMaster – had his minions kill innocents in order to help him gain the strength needed to escape the Hellmouth. He also managed to kill Buffy by drowning her, but she was saved thanks to Xander and CPR. Darla attacked Buffy’s mother and tried to pin it on Angel, but Joyce recalled seeing a blonde-haired woman at her house, indicating Darla had paid a visit.

Cause of Death: TheMaster – falling upon a huge piece of broken wood as he fell through the skylight that led into Sunnydale High’s library. Darla – staked by her former lover and child, Angel.

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Spike, Drusilla, and Angelus (Season 2)

spike drusilla angelus

Episodes: “School Hard,” “Halloween,” “Lie to Me,” “What’s My Line, Parts 1 & 2,” “Surprise,” “Innocence,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Passion,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Becoming, Parts 1 & 2”; Season 3 (Spike) – “Lover’s Walk”; Season 4 (Spike) – “The Harsh Light of Day” and “Wild at Heart”

Pros: Spike – anarchic behavior allowed him to be more dangerous than other vampires. He also became one of the leaders of the Sunnydale vampires, along with Drusilla, organizing them into a strong force that put up quite the fight against the Slayer and her allies. Drusilla – her “psychic” abilities and general psychosis and sociopathic behavior made her a very dangerous enemy. Her unpredictability was legendary and proved to be a valuable asset to her and Spike during their initial reign of terror. Angelus – the most dangerous of this vampiric trio, his intimate knowledge of the Slayer and the Scooby Gang allowed him to invest his time in psychological and mental warfare, causing a terror campaign that tore the Slayer down, causing her to doubt herself and her friends wondering if she was strong enough to kill him if it got to that point.

Cons: Spike – his arrogance got him his ass handed to him several times, and he was unable to kill the Slayer, much to his chagrin. Falling in love with her later on probably didn’t help either, and some signs of that showed in the season finale. Drusilla – does being super-duper-crazy count? While she used her psychotic episodes to her advantage, they also proved to be a disadvantage when it came to killing the Slayer. Well, at least when it came to Buffy and not the vampire slayer called after her. Angelus – arrogance was also one of his negative traits, and fighting the feelings that he felt for Buffy.

Dastardly Deeds: Spike – killed a few Sunnydale citizens, including high school students, and took over control of the gang of vampires that were roaming about aimlessly after the Master was killed, and killed the Master’s chosen one, the Anointed One (he was annoying, after all). Drusilla threatened many a person, both human and non-human, but her most dastardly deed was the brutal killing of the slayer Kendra, who was called after Buffy’s short-term death. Drusilla hypnotized Kendra and slit her throat using her nails, causing the young woman to bleed to death; Buffy later discovered her lifeless body after Angelus tricked her into leaving the high school unguarded. Angelus himself was responsible for many horrible acts, though none were as sinister as Jenny Calendar’s murder and the way he left her body for Giles to discover when he returned to his townhouse. Angelus also captured Giles and tortured him, trying to get information from him about unleashing the demon Acathla upon the world.

Cause of Death: Spike and Drusilla survived this season, which left Angelus/Angel as the only casualty of the season. After using his own blood to summon Acathla to form a portal that would send Earth’s citizens into one of the many Hell dimensions, Buffy ran a sword through him – his blood was needed to close the portal as well. Unfortunately for the both of them, Angelus’ soul was restored to him and he turned back into Angel, but the portal had already been opened. Buffy, devastated by this turn of events, asked him to close his eyes before killing him. Yeah – as I’ve mentioned before, I still cry like a baby during this scene. But as we all know, Angel’s death was not a permanent one.

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 Mayor Richard Wilkins with Mr. Trick and Faith (Season 3)

Episodes: “Faith, Hope and Trick,” “Band Candy,” “Lover’s Walk,” “Gingerbread,” “Bad Girls,” “Consequences,” “Doppelgangland,” “Enemies,” “Choices,” “Graduation Day Parts 1 & 2”; Season 4 – “This Year’s Girl”

Pros: Mayor Wilkins – he was the mayor of Sunnydale, after all. He was also invincible and immortal for a short time, while he was preparing himself to become a full-fledged serpentine demon. He also used his surprisingly charming personality to gain Faith’s trust and loyalty after she defected from the Scooby Gang. MayorWilkins didn’t fear anything, which worked in his favor. Mr. Trick MayorWilkins’ loyal vampire lackey who was left supervisor-less after Faith killed his former boss, the ancient vampire Kakistos. He didn’t last long ’cause the Dark Slayer herself staked him, inadvertently saving Buffy’s life, though at that point they were already becoming enemies. Faith – like Angelus, had intimate knowledge of the Scooby Gang and Buffy and used that to her advantage during her epic confrontations with the Slayer. Having a good guy turn bad is never a good thing.

Cons: MayorWilkins – his love and affection for Faith later turned out to be his biggest weakness, which Buffy exploited at the end of the season when she battled him and his demonic team at Sunnydale High. Mr. Trick – he jumped bosses quickly and was more of a behind-the-scenes vampire versus being front-and-center in the fight. Faith – like Drusilla and more famously Callisto from Xena, Warrior Princess, being a bit bitchy and sociopathic and psychotic doesn’t really get you anywhere in the world, as she quickly learned. And even though she harbored lots of hate and rage towards Buffy, she did feel some love towards her too. Being knocked out and falling into a coma doesn’t help either.

Dastardly Deeds: MayorWilkins – lots to name, but he ate quite a few graduating high school students in the season finale. And he also became a real demon, which made him giant-sized and twice as scary. Mr. Trick – he killed a few innocent people before being offed. Faith – also too many to list, but she murdered a vulcanologist at the Mayor’s behest, killing an innocent life for his hidden agenda. Deputy Mayor Allan Finch’s death was an accident, but her actions afterward and coldness towards his death led to her descent into the darkside.

Cause of Death: MayorWilkins – snake jerky, thanks to thousands of pounds of explosives rigged in and around Sunnydale High. Mr. Trick – death by staking (common vampire death), courtesy of Faith. Faith – the only survivor of this season, but she later redeemed herself and helped Buffy at the end of the series.

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Adam (Season 4)

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Episodes: “Goodbye Iowa,” “Who Are You,” “Superstar,” “New Moon Rising,” “The Yoko Factor,” and “Primeval”

Pros: Unstoppable killing machine built by a secret military agency that created the perfect soldier – cybernetics, human, and demon body parts. Oh, and a radioactive core that powered him that made him invincible as well. Adam was a dangerous hybrid that out up quite the fight against Buffy and almost killed her on several occasions when the two met to battle against each other.

Cons: Being a stupid killing machine whose arrogance would be his undoing, Adam was also one of the more boring Big Bads of the series. He was cool to look at, but left much to be desired.

Dastardly Deeds: Killed many Initiative soldiers and scientists, fileted a young boy so that he could study human anatomy, and recruited Spike to temporarily help him gain an upper-hand against Buffy and the Scooby Gang by pitting them against each other.

 Cause of Death: Using an awesome spell (Xander, Willow, and Giles formed the core that helped her out) that summoned an ancient Sumerian being to give her strength, Buffy went all demon goddess-like, beating the crap out of Adam and ripping his radioactive/organic heart out, killing him instantly. Goodbye Mr. Terminator-meets-Pumpkinhead-meets-Human Soldier Monster!

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Glory (Season 5)

glory jinx dreg

Episodes: “No Place Like Home,” “Family,” “Shadow,” “Checkpoint,” “Blood Ties,” “I Was Made to Love You,” “Forever,” “Intervention,” “Tough Love,” “Spiral,” “The Weight of the World,” “The Gift”

Pros: Glory was a Hell God, after all. I think that puts her towards the top of the list of Big Bads. Oh, and she was sassy and bitchy and snarky and gorgeous, with a great sense of style. And she had many demonic minions at her beck-and-call.

Cons: All her pros were also cons, and she also switched between her real self and turning into her human avatar, Ben, which Buffy exploited during their intense battle in the pivotal episode “The Gift.”

Dastardly Deeds: Glory did invade a human host, leaving poor Ben trapped within his own body. She also had a gross and scary ability to suck human minds by pushing her fingers into her victims’ skulls, turning them into lobotomized versions of themselves. Poor Tara was one of her victims, sacrificing herself to protect Dawn when Glory was looking for the “Key” (a mystical entity that could open portals between our world and other dimensions). Tara made her believe that she was the Key, and Glory drove her insane after feeding off of her. Tara recovered after Glory was taken out.

Cause of Death: Her human host, Ben, was suffocated to death by Giles. Glory herself was beaten into submission using the Dagon Sphere and Olaf’s Hammer, courtesy of Buffy and some major ass-kicking. She was forced back into her human host, and presumably is back in her Hell dimension. Buffy ended up dying because Dawn (being the Key) had her blood used to open the portal into Glory’s dimension, but Buffy’s blood could also be used to close it (Dawn was created using Buffy’s bloodline). Her sacrifice ended up saving the world, until the next Big Bad came along to threaten it.

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Nerds of Doom [Warren Mears/Andrew Wells/Jonathan Levinson] and Dark Willow (Season 6)

 warren-mears jonathan-levinson andrew-wells dark-willow

Episodes: “Flooded,” “Life Serial,” “Smashed,” “Gone,” “Dead Things,” “Normal Again,” “Entropy,” “Seeing Red,” “Villains,” “Two to Go,” “Grave”

Pros: Nerds of Doom – they were undetectable for a while as Big Bads because they were human and seemed harmless to Buffy and the Scooby Gang, but their real intentions would soon be found out. Dark Willow – she absorbed an insane amount of magick and became the most powerful with on Earth at the time, and with her being such a huge part of the Scooby Gang, they couldn’t bring themselves to possibly killing her when she went on her rampage, which resulted in the death of one of the Nerds.

Cons: Nerds of Doom – not as dangerous as the other Big Bads, though Warren was clearly the ringleader who wasn’t afraid to commit acts of evil. Jonathan and Andrew followed him, but were leery to performing acts of evil (Jonathan the most cautious of the three). Andrew would later kill Jonathan after being tricked into doing so by the First, disguised as Warren. Dark Willow – thought her magickal power was unmatched, she was stopped by her best friend, Xander, who reminded her of the humanity that was still left inside, and he helped bring her away from the darkness and turmoil inside her soul that was threatening to not only destroy her, but the world itself.

Dastardly Deeds: The Nerds of Doom tried to cause chaos and destruction, and try unsuccessfully to kill Buffy on several occasions, but Warren was able to succeed in killing a crucial member of the Scooby Gang and seriously injuring another: Tara and Buffy, respectively. Tara’s death was the catalyst for Willow turning into a dark, black magick version of herself, and she sought revenge for Tara’s death by going after our nerdy trio, successfully killing Warren before Buffy and gang were able to stop her. She also tried to destroy the whole world – her pain was that deep. Losing someone that you love so suddenly can cause so much grief, and Willow wanted the world to feel hers.

Cause of Death: Andrew and Jonathan survived, but Warren died at the hands of Willow, being flayed alive and hung up to die (getting your skin ripped off can lead to massive bleeding – FYI). Willow never died, so only one major Big Bad casualty in this season.

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The First [aka The First Evil] – with Caleb, the Turok-han and Bringers (Season 7)

the-first caleb bringersNote: Bringers picture above from Season 3’s “Amends”

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Episodes: “Lessons,” “Beneath You,” “Conversations with Dead People,” “Sleeper,” “Never Leave Me,” “Bring on the Night,” “Showtime,” “Potential,” “First Date,” “Get It Done,” “Dirty Girls,” “Empty Places,” “Touched,” “End of Days,” “Chosen”

Pros: Caleb – tough preacher obsessed with serving his master, theFirst. Likes to kill young woman who could potentially be Slayers in the future. With the First giving him his strength, he was pretty unstoppable until a scythe got in the way. Turok-han – uber-vampires that were tougher to kill than your average Sunnydale vampires, they killed many Potentials and proved to be difficult adversaries for Buffy and the Scooby Gang. Bringers – worshippers of the First that have been seen in Sunnydale before but played a major role in Season 7. They were responsible for hunting down all potential Slayers and killing them before they could gain full strength. The First – literally the FirstEvil to have existed on Earth, its influence was felt in every season as Buffy faced off against one dangerous Big Bad after another.

Cons: Caleb – easily killed by sharp objects, crazy for a god that doesn’t exist (the First); Bringers – sharp objects; Turok-han – take what kills normal vampires and crank it up to 1,000; The First – can make evil suggestions, but can’t really kill anyone (being an evil spirit and all).

Dastardly Deeds: Killing lots of future Slayers, messing with the Scooby Gang, causing Spike to kill innocents after regaining his soul, not being as witty as one thinks (here’s looking at you, Caleb).

Cause of Death: Caleb – sliced in half by the Slayer Scythe; Turok-han – killed by Slayers (Buffy, Faith, and the former Potentials), huge beam of sunlight courtesy of Spike’s special amulet; The First – hidden deep below the imploded Hellmouth, waiting to return another time.

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: It should be noted that five of the Big Bads (or allies to the Big Bads) were able to redeem themselves from their wicked ways, or were good guys who plunged toward darkness. In the case of Spike and Andrew, they started off as Big Bads but eventually joined the Scooby Gang (Spike in Season 5, Andrew in Season 7), and the other three were all Scooby Gang members at one point before their destinies took a dark turn: Angel (Season 2), Faith (Season 3), and Willow (Season 6). These five former villains would become pivotal members during the last episode of the show, “Chosen,” and their contributions helped Buffy defeat the main villains while starting a new life outside of Sunnydale.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (11): They Will Always Save Us [Team Slayer]

Author’s Note:  Enjoy this second of three parts featuring the various characters that make up the Buffy-verse. Our favorite villains from the series will be Part Three, and a final wrap-up post featuring all of the minor characters: good, bad, and neutral.

In the first part of this look-back at the diverse and large group of characters that make up the Buffy-verse, I wrote an ode to my favorite character: Faith Lehane. She’s one of the few characters on the show that was able to encompass both the good and bad parts of her psyche, but in the end she conquered her demons and stood besides her fellow sister Slayer, Buffy Summers. Faith’s road to redemption is a long journey, but one that she is facing with a sense of calmness and understanding of her previous actions. She has had help on this journey courtesy of Angel, who has also been seeking redemption on his own for years as well.

In this second of a three-part series on the characters of one of my favorite TV shows, I’m taking a look at the awesome characters from the Buffy-verse with an emphasis on the members of Team Slayer: Buffy and her friends, family, and allies. Not all of the good guys are featured, but mainly I’ve covered the major ones that have played significant roles in the series, including minor characters who have shown up in more than three episodes. Let’s take out our pom-poms and cheer for Team Slayer! Be prepared to see some future edits because I have a feeling a few slipped through my memory, and I apologize ahead of time for that.

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The Scooby Gang first drew me into their supernatural world full of horrifying demons, scary vampires, and menacing “Big Bads” (the main villain/s of each season) with their sarcasm, their humor, their strength, and especially their strong bonds with each other. A hero(ine) gains their strength from their army, and Buffy definitely has a great team always standing beside her. Team Slayer has accomplished a lot, and they deserve their place in television history for saving the world more times than we can count. They aren’t just friends to Buffy – they are as much family to her as her own blood relatives, and this strong connection that she shares with them has helped her through many a difficult situation that she has encountered in all seven seasons of the show.

What made Buffy the Vampire Slayer connect with so many fans when the show first aired was the fact that they were high schoolers, and many of us growing up at that time were the same age as them, the Scooby Gang. High school can be a torturous time for many teenagers who have to navigate through bullies, mean teachers, and trying to survive long enough to make it into college. Watching Buffy, Willow, and Xander – along with their many friends – navigate through high school while avoiding certain death from many horrible, nasty meanies and dealing with teenage issues spoke to a lot of us who were teens at the time.

Though Buffy had a lot of people who had her back and helped her out tremendously, there were times when she felt like the only person in the world with her powers. She didn’t have any other fellow Slayers that could help her understand her role as the Chosen One, and when she did find Slayers, bad things would happen to them (Kendra died in Season Two, Faith turned to the darkside halfway through Season Three, and the Potentials in Season Seven). When she was at one of her lowest points (Season Two’s “Becoming Parts 1 & 2,” Season Three’s “Anne”), Buffy had no one. Her friends and family didn’t understand the pain she was going through, the loneliness, and having this huge responsibility solely lying upon her shoulders. She was the Slayer, she was meant to conquer evil, yet she was an army of one without a fellow soldier to understand her inner turmoil and frustrations. Also, killing the love of your life doesn’t help when you’re in the middle of a nervous breakdown.

As we all know, Buffy finally became the leader and Chosen One she was destined to be by the end of the series, commanding an army of young women who had gone from Potentials to full-blown Slayers. She led an army against the First Evil’s Turok-Han (uber-vampires) in the battle in the Hellmouth, and she and her friends and allies barely escaped with their lives. A lot of lives were lost in the battle of Good vs. Evil, and Buffy would never forget the fallen.

Each of the following characters all have a special place in my heart, as I am sure they have a special place in your hearts too. We hold these characters in high regard and love them for their faults and for their strengths, and I thank Joss Whedon and his fabulous team of writers for fully developing these characters and keeping them from becoming bland, cookie-cutter placeholders as they navigated through the complex storylines. Let me introduce you to Buffy and her Slayin’ family as we appreciate all of the awesome things Team Slayer has done for the world:

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I have the characters below canon through their storylines in the series. They do not follow their storylines in the ongoing graphic novel series – haven’t read all of them yet. Their “living or dead” statuses are also listed by each character name. There were a of casualties on Team Slayer’s side, but the core group lived to the end of the series. 

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The “Original” Scooby Gang

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Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) –> Alive

The heroine of our show and the Chosen One, she has saved the world (with the help of her friends) ten thousand times over. Through perseverance, Buffy conquered not only her personal demons, but the literal demons that threatened to eat humans and destroy our world. We owe Buffy a debt of gratitude for saving our asses from the many apocalypses that could have wiped us out. In the end, she stood tall with her Scooby Gang, her sister Dawn, and fellow sister Slayer Faith as they all stared at the crater that once held their town of Sunnydale, California. You rock, Buffy!

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Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan [Denisof]) -> Alive

Willow was one of Buffy’s best friends, and one hell of a witch too. Another lesson learned: never underestimate the cute, redheaded geeky gal because she could be a powerful witch who can kick your ass faster than you can open a book. Willow would later become one of the “Big Bads” of Season Six; the death of a loved one (her girlfriend, Tara Maclay) triggered the darkness within her, turning her into Dark Willow (think Dark Phoenix). Willow was able to redeem herself and cast a super-powerful spell using a powerful Scythe that had been passed down through the Slayer generations, using Buffy and Faith’s Slayer strength and sharing it will all of the potential Slayers in the world.

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Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) -> Alive

Xander is an integral part of the Scooby Gang, and a force to be reckoned with. He may not have the Slayer strength of Buffy or the magickal abilities of Willow and Giles, but his humanity grounded the Gang. A very trustworthy and strong friend who has felt “unwanted” or the “odd-man out” in the past (Season Three’s “The Zeppo,” Season Four’s “Fear, Itself”), Xander sacrificed a lot in the end and helped Buffy lead the Potentials into Slayerhood. Unfortunately, he lost an eye in a battle against “Big Bad” Caleb and had his on-off girlfriend/ex-fiancee Anya die in the battle at the Hellmouth. He survived the Hellmouth battle and stood with his best friends as they quietly celebrated their victory.

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Rupert Giles (Anthony [Stewart] Head) -> Alive

Giles was not only a Watcher to Buffy, but a father figure as well (her parents were divorced). Though he was mostly seen as a mousy librarian-type at the beginning of the series, Giles had a hidden past that included the vicious-sounding nickname “Ripper.” He was also not afraid to let that personality come out when it came to protecting his slayer (Season Five’s “The Body”). Giles and Buffy had their differences of opinion in several matters, but he would always stand and fight by her side, while protecting her as well. Come to think of it, he was a father-figure to those he stood watch over (the Scooby Gang, Dawn, etc.).

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Family Members

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Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland – Seasons 1-5) –> Deceased: Season 5

Buffy’s mother was a major part of the series when it first aired. Her sudden death was a shocking moment that floored many fans. She helped keep the Scooby Gang together and was a den mother to them, and also a romantic interest to Rupert Giles. Well, for one episode (“Band Candy”), but they did make a great couple. The most haunting episode of the series, “The Body,” showed how great of an impact her death had on her daughters and the Scooby Gang. We all know Buffy made her mom proud in the end, and I’m sure her mother was watching from wherever she was, looking down upon her with love. /cries

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Dawn Summers (Michelle Trachtenberg – Seasons 5-7) -> Alive

Dawn is Buffy’s sister but not her biological sister – more of a mystical sister. Huh? Before Season Four (and for most of her life), Buffy was an only child. Some monks created a human teenager from a source of magic called the Key. Putting the Key in human form was their insurance policy in keeping it away from a hell goddess named Glory. Buffy found out that her memories of Dawn were fabricated, but she grew to love her. Dawn grew into her own and became a valuable player in the Hellmouth battle.

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Former Scooby Gang Members

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Angel (David Boreanaz – Seasons 1-3) -> Alive

Oh Angel – you sexy brooding vampire. When we first meet him in Season One, he helps Buffy out whenever she found herself in a bind, but she barely knew anything about this mysterious hunk. There’s a reason for that – dude is a vampire! And a formerly brutal one at that! Buffy freaked out when she discovered Angel’s true nature, but fell in love with him regardless. As we all know, Angel turned back into Angelus in Season Two and thus became the “Big Bad,” along with Drusilla (Spike had a last-minute save in his favor). Angel came back into Buffy’s world, but their romance would still be ill-fated – Angel left at the end of Season Three and headed to Los Angeles to continue the good fight in the City of Angels.

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Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter – Season 1-3) –> Deceased: Died in Season 4 of Angel

Bitchy popular girl/cheerleader Cordelia was the least likely candidate for kick-ass individual. When it came to helping fight the forces of darkness, Cordy rose to the occasion. She dated Xander and became a pariah amongst her popular crowd (well, and hanging out with Buffy cemented that fate). Cordelia was a fun character to watch because she had some really funny lines in the series, though most of them were well-placed snark or sass at anyone who dared cross her path. One of my favorite Cordy-centric episodes is “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” Cordelia would later join Angel and become an important person in his life, and a future love interest.

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Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green – Seasons 2-3; made two appearances in Season 4) -> Alive

Cool, calm, mellow – these are just some of the many words used to describe resident werewolf Oz. I think we all have a friend who’s like Oz, and they’re the type of person that everyone is drawn to because they are good-hearted and relaxed by nature. Even though Oz was a werewolf, he was a conscientious one. When it came to his “time of the month,” he would lock himself up in the book cage in the Library, waiting for the night hours to pass so that he wouldn’t inadvertently harm anyone. Willow was his girlfriend and they were the cutest couple on the show (well, until Tara came along). Oz left temporarily to control his werewolf urges but came back to be with Willow. Willow had already moved on with a young woman named Tara, and Oz’s werewolf came out again. Oz had to leave yet again to try and control his inner werewolf so that he wouldn’t harm his friends or loved ones.

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Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte – Seasons 1-2) –> Deceased: Season 2

Jenny Calendar was a computer instructor at Sunnydale High who also moonlighted as a technopagan. She also had her own secrets that would later have devastating consequences. Jenny was a member of the Romanian Kalderash clan who shared a past with Angelus. He killed a member of their clan and a clan elder cast a spell on him, forcing his soul to re-enter his body. The curse did have one fault: it could be broken if Angel had one night of passion with his “true love.” Buffy and Angel made love on her 17th birthday, breaking the curse. Feeling betrayed by Jenny’s secret, Giles and the rest of the Scooby Gang shunned her. Jenny was able to create a program to translate the original curse, and she had just completed the translation on the night that Angelus paid her a visit in the episode “Passion.” Jenny didn’t have a chance to tell anyone about her triumph before Angelus killed her. Willow would later discover the disk and perform the curse (twice).

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Anya/Anyanka (Emma Caulfield – Seasons 3-7) –> Deceased: Season Seven

Anya, Anya, Anya. Every show has to have that sassy and brutally honest person that doesn’t spare words when it comes to revealing the truth about anything and everything. Anya is one of my favorite characters and I’m still a little mad that she didn’t make it to the end. Anya makes her first appearance as Anyanka, a vengeance demon who answers Cordelia’s wish about Buffy never making it to Sunnydale. After her identity is discovered, Anyanka’s amulet is destroyed and she reverts back to a teenaged woman – talk about punishment. With her years of knowledge, Anya was able to shed some light on Mayor Wilkins’ ascension at the end of Season Three. She later began a relationship with Xander and helped out the Scooby Gang, becoming a full-fledged member. Sadly, she didn’t make it to the end of the series, but she certainly left a last impression.

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Riley Finn (Marc Blucas – Seasons 4-6; left halfway through Season 6) -> Alive

There are few characters in our fandom that have divided fans quite like this former member of the Initiative and ex-boyfriend to our Slayer. Fans love him or hate him, but I don’t mind the guy at all. Riley was an important part of the Scooby Gang for a few seasons before he turned a bit dark and disappeared from the series. He went AWOL from the Initiative after finding out what their true purpose was (the research and development of new bio-mechanical monstrosities combining demon/human/machine), and aligned himself with Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang as they fought Season Four’s Big Bad,” Adam. While their relationship remained strong for a while, in the end he and Buffy grew apart and eventually ended their relationship.

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Tara Maclay (Amber Benson – Seasons 4-6) –> Deceased: Season Six

Tara is another character that fans were divided on, but a lot of us loved her. She had many strong traits: powerful, kind-hearted, caring, and full of love for her girlfriend and her friends. Her first appearance on the show was in the groundbreaking episode “Hush.” She was a fellow Wiccan in a group that also included Willow. Their first magickal connection came when they needed to barricade a door against the Gentlemen and their minions, and after they linked hands they felt an instant connection. That connection would later turn into feelings for one another, becoming one of the few gay couples on TV at the time. They were also my favorite couple (my Buffy OTP canon couple; my fanon is Fuffy). Willow’s growing addiction to magick would eventually lead to their break-up. Willow and Tara were able to rekindle their relationship for a few blissful hours before Tara’s death at the hands of Warren, part of the Nerds of Doom in Season Six. Her death devastated Willow, turning her into Dark Willow.

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Spike (James Marsters – Seasons 4-7) –> Alive; was deceased but return to life on Angel

Spike – how I love thee. Spike was originally one of the “Big Bads” of Season Two, arriving in Sunnydale with then-girlfriend Drusilla (my Spike OTP), ready to cause chaos and destruction and kill Buffy along the way. He was thwarted from his efforts countless times by Buffy, but his feelings for her would later start to grow at the end of Season Four as we headed into Season Five. He and Buffy eventually got into a chaotic, crazed, loving, passionate relationship. He became an invaluable member to the Scooby Gang after the Initiative (the secret military group from Season Four). When it came to the final battle at the Sunnydale Hellmouth, he sacrificed himself and saved many Slayer lives (he wore an amulet the Powers That Be had destined for one of their Champions). Though he died on Buffy, he was resurrected on Angel.

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Andrew Wells (Tom Lenk – Season 7) -> Alive

Formerly one of the original “Big Bads” of Season Six (the Nerds of Doom), before Dark Willow took over that title, Andrew was a reluctant addition into the Scooby Gang. More like a former evil villain kidnapped and made to play nice with the heroes. Though he could be annoying at times, he did provide some much-needed comic relief amongst the darkness that touched the storyline of Buffy’s last season. He stood up and became a hero in the final episode “Chosen,” fighting alongside Anya as they took down Bringers. Anya saved him before she was killed, and he would always be forever grateful for her act of selflessness, though the knowledge that she died for him would always weigh heavily on him. He continued on with the Scooby Gang in the comic series.

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Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside – Season 7) -> Alive

The son of Slayer Nikki Wood, Robin Wood was also the principal of the newly-rebuilt Sunnydale High. He helped Buffy regain some confidence as he asked her to become a school counselor, and he and Buffy shared a good rapport with one another. Robin, like many of the characters on the show, had many secrets of his own. One of the biggest? He was there the night Spike killed his mother, making her his second Slayer kill. Robin would never forget that moment because he was just a young child when it happened, and he swore vengeance against Spike. He and Spike eventually had a confrontation, but Buffy interfered and warned him to not pull any more crap again. Robin became a valuable member of the Scooby Gang, and he even had a love interest at the end of the series: Faith. He suffered a serious wound in the battle at the Hellmouth, but later survived his injury. In the comic series he and Faith part ways, but it was for the better.

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Fellow Slayers

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Kendra Young (Bianca Lawson – Season 2) –> Deceased: Season 2

Kendra was a no-nonsense Jamaican Slayer that was called by The Powers That Be (TPTB) after Buffy technically died at the hands of The Master, Season One’s “Big Bad.” Kendra was a strictly-disciplined Slayer in comparison to Buffy’s training wheels-style, and though both women would butt heads occasionally, they also complimented each other. Sadly for Kendra, she didn’t last long on the series after she met the business end of Drusilla’s nails in “Becoming, Part 1.” Poor Bianca Lawson can’t catch a break between Buffy and Pretty Little Liars when it comes to good characters being killed off. Kendra’s death also marked Drusilla’s first Slayer kill – a fact that Spike was quite proud of until Buffy threatened to kill her.

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Faith Lehane (Eliza Dushku – Seasons 3-4, Season 7) -> Alive

Jump back a post and read all about my Favorite Character (yes, that title has been bestowed upon her). Friend, former friend, frenemy, enemy, arch-nemesis, acquaintance, somewhat friend, but above all a sister Slayer to Buffy. A very fun character to watch as well (along with Anya and Spike). She came so close to gaining her own series, but those plans slowly disappeared after Eliza accepted a role on Tru Calling. A Faith series would have been so awesome, and probably on a cable network just for the profanity and sexual content. Heh heh…

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The Potentials (Felicia Day, Iyari Limon, Sarah Hagan, Indigo, etc. – Season 7) –> Multiple Deaths

Young women who were forced to face their destiny before they became of age. These Slayers-in-training were no match for the First’s Turok-han vampires at first when they encountered the uber-vampires while patrolling with Buffy or fighting for their lives against the Bringers. A very beneficial and powerful spell courtesy of Willow, as well as an awesome pep talk from Buffy, helped turned these Potentials into full-blown Slayers. They shared Buffy and Faith’s strength, stamina, and powers, and were able to help our sister Slayers defeat many a Turok-han in the final battle in Sunnydale’s Hellmouth. Special note: Potential Kennedy later became Willow’s girlfriend, helping her finally move on from Tara (though Tara would always have a special place in her heart).

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (10): The Characters, Part 1 – Favorite Character (Always “Five by Five”)

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Well, Fellow Geeky Readers – I’m coming towards the end of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective. I only have two or three more posts, along with a round-up post, to end this extended look back at one of my favorite television series. It’s been a long journey and a wonderful flashback at a series that captivated my imagination, and influenced me in many ways while I faced off against those dreaded teenage years. The world is a better place thanks to Buffy and her friends and allies.

What really makes the show so wonderful – besides the great set pieces, the storylines, and the dialogue – are the characters themselves. We all have favorite characters from the show, and we also have characters that we hate to love/love to hate. From Good to Evil, all of the characters that have appeared on the show have left their mark, and they will always be memorable for various reasons.

I am a huge fan of anti-heroes and villains myself. I love the good guys and always cheer them on, but I also secretly root for the other team. One of the most dynamic, talked-about, and fun characters to be introduced into the series is the focus of this first post about my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters. Neither hero(ine) or villain, this character has certainly given Buffy and the Scooby Gang more than a few headaches, but in the end she was able to redeem herself on her own terms.

Let’s all gather together and take a peek at my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer character:

Who is she? 

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Out of all of the characters that have appeared on the show, there is one character in particular that has captured my heart – fully and completely. A Slayer who is Buffy’s dark half, Faith Lehane is one of the best characters on the show, and her popularity has only continued to grow since her first appearance. Portrayed by the beautiful and equally kickass Eliza Dushku, Faith’s approach to slaying and life in general was in counter to Buffy’s, and they butted heads on more than one occasion. A fatal mistake caused Faith to join the forces of darkness towards the end of Season Three, but she was able to gain some respect back at the end of the series in Season Seven.

Eliza was able to take a character that could have easily shown up for a handful of episodes and turned her into a lasting presence with a large fanbase. She has certainly left her mark in the series, and her adventures continue on in comic series Angel & Faith. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re a fan of Angel and/or Faith, their friendship from Angel, or a Fangel (Faith/Angel) ‘shipper. It’s a very well-written and plotted series that teams up characters that I love as they continue their struggle with redemption and paying for the horrors of their past, while helping other lost souls in search of salvation.

Why is she my favorite? What’s her story?

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I love my villains as much as I love my heroes, but there’s just something about a character that walks that fine line between the light and dark aspects of their psyche. Faith moves between both, but her journey for redemption has found her in the plus column for Team Good. Faith is a complex character with a past that continues to haunt her, yet she has shown a significant amount of growth throughout the years. She is definitely a different person now than the rebellious Slayer that we were first introduced to as she slayed a vampire in front of Buffy and the Scooby Gang in Season Three’s “Faith, Hope and Trick” episode.

Faith’s ‘bad girl’ persona has always been a favorite of mine. She is snarky, sassy, and a wild child, but she can also be very dangerous. Her true colors really shone through in a pivotal episode in her storyline: “Bad Girls.” In this major Faith-centric episode, Buffy takes a break from being Lil’ Miss Good Slayer and decides to ditch school and hang out with her new “bestie,” much to Willow and Xander’s chagrin. Buffy discovers what it’s like to live a day in Faith’s shoes and it’s not half-bad. Unfortunately, things start to fall apart towards the end of the episode when our sister Slayers break into a sporting goods store and try to steal some weapons, escape from a police car, and the fateful moment when Faith mistakes a human civilian as a vampire. As soon as Faith drove the stake into Deputy Mayor Allan Finch’s heart, we fans looked on in horror as we realized what had just happened, and Buffy’s shocked expression perfectly mirrored ours’. At that moment things became real for our Slayers, and while Buffy tried to cope with the aftermath of Allan’s death, Faith started to slowly spiral downward.

Watching Eliza act Faith’s indifference to Allan’s death and the consequences of her actions is a testament to her talents as an actress. Her scenes as Faith at the end of Season Three showed great maturity as well as character development, and man – did we feel her pain. Gone was the care-free wild child – in her place was a hardened individual who looked towards the Big Bad of the season, Mayor Richard Wilkins, as her new surrogate father. Faith also became a new, very human enemy for Buffy and the Scooby Gang to battle.

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One of the most insane fight scenes between both Slayers arrived at the end of the first part of the season finale – “Graduation Day, Part 1.” Earlier in the episode, Faith had shot Angel with an arrow, poisoned with a substance that was deadly to vampires. The only cure for this poison was the blood of a Slayer, and Buffy was determined to not only make Faith pay for her actions after she joined Team Evil, but even willing to let her die to cure Angel. Unfortunately, Buffy was unsuccessful but was able to take Faith out of the game for a while (a coma will do that to you), as she and the Scooby Gang – along with their high school classmates – battled and defeated the Mayor and his minions.

Faith wakes up from her coma eight months after the Mayor’s defeat at the hands of Buffy. Looking for blood and revenge, Faith uses a device to switch bodies with Buffy. Faith sees how starkly different Buffy’s life is from her own, and she starts to slowly unravel (again). She hates who she has become, and Buffy is startled by the revelation as she sees Faith (in her own body again) disappear, location unknown. Faith makes it to Angel’s new home, Los Angeles, and causes hell and havoc as soon as she enters the city. She tries to kill Angel and hurts his fellow partners in Angel investigations: Cordelia Chase (punches her in the face) and Wesley Wyndham-Pryce (tortures him). But something inside of her finally breaks. Faith has finally hit rock-bottom and Angel is there to help her pick up the pieces, reminded of his own failings as a human and the devastation that he caused when he was his soulless alter-ego Angelus.

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After a heated confrontation with Buffy (having arrived in the City of Angels after hearing her archnemesis tried to kill Angel), Faith turns herself in to the police. She has a moment of serenity and calm as we see the camera focus on her face as she sits in a prison cell, finally finding some peace in her life. Of course, this won’t last long. Our dark Slayer is called upon to help Angel Investigations capture the newly-desouled Angelus. Angel visited Faith in prison several times, and she felt that she owed it to him to help him before his son, Connor, and the demonically possessed Cordelia killed him. Faith is able to capture Angelus after injecting herself with a mystical drug called Orpheus, which causes vampires to trip out as they drink from their human hosts. Angel’s soul is restored before Connor stakes him, and Faith makes her way back to Sunnydale to assist Buffy in her upcoming battle with Evil Itself, the First (Evil).

Faith is not exactly welcomed home with open arms (can we blame them?), but with reluctant acceptance of the help that she can offer Buffy and the Scooby Gang. The Scooby Gang has significantly grown with the newest additions to Team Good: the potential Slayers that have been arriving in Sunnydale, escaping from the Bringers sent by the First to kill off the Slayer line. Faith is finally (almost) fully redeemed in Buffy’s eyes during their fight in the Hellmouth against the First’s army, as Buffy hands over a powerful Slayer weapon to Faith – a sort of passing of the baton, of the deadly variety. In that moment, Faith is finally trusted by Buffy, and she does not let her down. My favorite Scooby Gang scene is the final shot in Season Seven’s “Chosen,” where our heroes gaze over at the crater that was Sunnydale before it imploded. In that last shot Faith stands with the remaining Scooby Gang members, having fought the good fight and surviving to live another day. Kudos to Joss Whedon for including Faith as an integral character to the final five episodes of the series.

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Favorite/Memorable Faith Quotes

  • “Ain’t it crazy how slaying just always makes you hungry and horny?” – “Faith, Hope and Trick” (Buffy)
  • “She got me really wound up. A fight like that and, no kill. I’m about ready to pop!” – “The Zeppo” (Buffy)
  • “I missed the mark last night and I’m sorry about the guy, I really am! But it happens! Anyways, how many people do you think we’ve saved by now? Thousands? And didn’t you stop the world from ending? Because in my book, that puts you and me in the plus column.” – “Consequences” (Buffy)
  • “What are you gonna do, B? Kill me? You become me. You’re not ready for that yet.” – “Enemies” (Buffy)
  • “Been standin’ still for eight months, B. How hard you look?” – “This Year’s Girl” (Buffy)
  • “’Cause I’m a stuck-up tight-ass with no sense of fun?” – “Who Are You” (Faith-as-Buffy) (Buffy)
  • “Face it, Wesley, you really were a jerk. Always walking around like you had a great big stick shoved up your English Channel.” – “Five by Five” (Angel)
  • “I gotta be the first Slayer in history to be sponsored by a vampire.” – “Sanctuary” (Angel)

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Faith-Centric Episodes to Check Out
(Episodes That Feature Lots of Faith)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season Three

  • “Faith, Hope & Trick”
  • “Revelations”
  • “Bad Girls”
  • “Consequences”
  • “Enemies”
  • “Choices”
  • “Graduation Day, Parts 1 & 2”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season Four

  • “This Year’s Girl”
  • “Who Are You”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season Seven

  • “Dirty Girls”
  • “Empty Places”
  • “Touched”
  • “End of Days”
  • “Chosen”

 Angel – Season One 

  • “Five by Five”
  • “Sanctuary”

 Angel – Season Four

  • “Salvage”
  • “Release”
  • “Orpheus”