Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Winifred “Fred” Burkle

Dearest readers, I apologize for not posting last week. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In any team, there is the brawn and there is the brains. While they are equally important, there is something to be said for using your brains instead of just physically beating your enemy with everything that you have. On Angel, Angel (David Boreanaz) was the brawn, the brains of Angel Investigations was Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker).

Fred was introduced to the audience in 2001, when she is rescued from Pylea by the Angel Investigations crew. Her rescue was not planned, the plan by the Angel Investigations crew was just to bring home Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter). But they discovered that Fred was enslaved, they freed her and brought her back to Los Angeles.

Using Fred’s background in physics and mathematics, the Angel Investigations team was able to develop strategies to protect Los Angeles from whatever baddies threatened the city. But Fred was more than a brain, she had two relationships that were not quite so happily ever after: Charles Gunn (J. August Richards) and Wesley Wyndam Price (Alexis Denisof).

When the crew takes over Wolfram & Hart, a mysterious sarcophagus appears. The being inside the sarcophagus, Illyria, slowly kills Fred before taking over her body. Fred’s last words before dies are “Wesley, why can’t I stay?”.

To sum it up: Though every action/adventure narrative has to have a character who uses intellect to solve the problem, this character has to be more than just “the brain”. Fred is more than “the brain”. She is woman with a heart, a conscious, an innocent look that belies an intelligence and most of all, a vital part of Angel Investigations.

Which is why, after all of these years, Fred is still a beloved character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

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