Characterization In The Buffyverse — ‘Angel’ Season 1, Episode 2

This is part of a bi-weekly series concerning the characterization of Buffyverse characters. The first installment in this series can be found here. Arguably the best place to begin reading this series is at the beginning, but that is up to each reader. As a reminder this column will cover major and some minor characters from the shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and Angel (1999-2004). Other Buffyverse media, such as the graphic novel Spike: Into The Light (2014) are not pertinent to this series. Also there will be no referencing real world events in this bi-weekly series.

This week: Angel (David Boreanaz) crosses paths with Detective Kate Lockley (Elisabeth Röhm). Meanwhile a demon is jumping between hosts.

(Warning of spoilers from this point on!)

Angel essentially displays similarities to the Michael Keaton version of Bruce Wayne/Batman at various points in this episode. One obvious example: he uses a grappling hook in an attempt to help himself and Kate Lockley. Another is how, much like Wayne, Angel’s social skills seem mostly atrocious except when he interacts with certain characters, like tricking Allen Doyle (Glenn Quinn) and Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) at the end of the episode. This parallels Wayne tricking Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) and Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) at the beginning of Batman. Other than this episodic characterization, though, there is arguably no growth for Angel.

Doyle and Cordy get small bits of character development. Yet, they seem to only really occur as set-up to their dynamic going forward. In Doyle’s case, we see him being deceptive out of fear of Cordelia’s reaction to his half-demon status. While in Cordy’s case, we see a hint of her trust in Doyle due to her falling asleep on him and not being upset about it upon waking. All of this is despite how both exhibit elements of their personal lives that disgust the other; i.e., Cordelia leaving a bowl of food on the floor and Doyle talking about looking for adults-only content.

Kate arguably comes across as a mix of Batman’s Vicki Vale and Commissioner Jim Gordon (Pat Hingle). Obviously, she is like Vale in that both fall into the damsel-in-distress and potential love interest roles. Kate is also a police officer who bends the rules when it comes to Angel, just like Gordon does for Batman. She is similar to both Vale and Gordon in her curiosity about a protagonist she is unsure about trusting. Unfortunately, like Angel, Doyle, and Cordy, she is also a victim of plot convenience when it comes to missing the murdering demon. Other than these details, there is not a lot that viewers can be sure of regarding Kate’s actual characterization.

Kevin (Johnny Messner), Bartender (Obi Ndefo), Neil (Derek Hughes), Regular (Conner Kelly), Guy (Ken Rush), Slick Guy (David Nisic), Neil Pick-Up Girl (Jennifer Tung), and Sharon Richler (Lilli Birdsell as Lillian Birdsell) are all stock characters. Yes, they serve as commentary on the stereotypical people who can permeate nightclubs, but there isn’t enough to their respective personalities beyond the surface.

One can argue that this may as well be a part two to the pilot as it continues to establish the show’s initial cast. Also there are a lot of callbacks, such as Cordelia’s lack of skill with computers (Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1, Episode 2, ‘The Harvest’).

This is part of a bi-weekly series concerning the characterization of Buffyverse characters. The first installment in this series canCOMICONRead More

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