Tag Archives: Illyria

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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Lorne

*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.

A good joke has the ability to lighten the mood. When a show is particularly dark, comedy is needed to break up the darkness for both the characters and the viewers. On Angel, the comedy came by way of Lorne (the late Andy Hallett). Given the name of  Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan at birth, Lorne comes from a warrior clan who are constantly battling against the forces of evil and have a serious distaste for humans.

Among his kind, Lorne was unique. He enjoyed art and music and preferred to spend his time doing anything but training for battle. After being sucked to Earth via a portal (the same portal that sent Winifred” Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker) to Lorne’s home dimension of Pylea), he opened a karaoke bar. Instead of using his innate mystical gifts to hunt prey or fight, he used them to read the emotions of those who sung on his karaoke stage.

Lorne reluctantly joins Angel Investigations, initially preferring to do his part as a neutral third party. But Angel (David Boreanaz) has a way with words and before he knows it, Lorne is part of the crew. While living and working with Angel’s team (and taking care of Connor (played as an adult by Vincent Kartheiser), Angel’s newborn son), he discovers that the hotel they call home is bugged.

A brief stay in Las Vegas turns into a nightmare when a crime lord threatens to kill innocent people unless Lorne uses his abilities for less than honest means. In the final season of Angel, after the team takes over running Wolfram & Hart, Lorne is put in charge of the entertainment division. But all is not what it seems.

After Fred is murdered and Illyria takes over her body, Lorne’s normal cheerful disposition turns dark. Disgusted with the way that his world and his friends have changed, he walks away for good.

To sum it up: We all need a good laugh. In the world of Angel, where darkness and death were sewn into the narrative, Lorne provided a laugh, a one-liner and a moment to just breathe. As a character, the audience remembers Lorne because of his ability to make the audience laugh. That is why we love him and why we keep going back to this character time and again.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television