Characterization In The Buffyverse — ‘Angel’ Season 1, Episode 4

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) helps a woman against a human stalker. Granted, this human is more than typical.

(Warning of spoilers from this point on!)

(Trigger warning for talk of stalking)

Angel drinks coffee in this episode. This occurrence is in contradiction to his previous declaration to Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) that he doesn’t drink coffee (Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 3, Episode 20, ‘The Prom’). Another new development: Angel displays anxiety about his presence and appearance, yet he only changes the color of his shirt. Lastly, Angel uses his past experience stalking and terrorizing people to help stop this episode’s threat. Therefore, he falls into the cliché of “you get a thief to catch a thief” or in this case a stalker to stop a stalker.

Allen Doyle (Glenn Quinn) and Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) are essentially gofers for Angel in this episode. The only actual development they see is from getting Angel to accept payment for his services, and they in turn get paid.

Detective Kate Lockley (Elisabeth Röhm) is mostly a way for Angel to get information from a police report. She gets a little development by expressing hope that Angel has romantic interest in her.

Dr. Vinpur Narpudan (Carlos Carrasco) provides a dump of information that viewers arguably don’t need. Thus, he is a rather unnecessary plot device who could easily be replaced with a line of dialogue.

Melissa Burns (Tushka Bergen) is just a damsel-in-distress who decides to fight back type of character. In other words, she is a stereotype.

Penny (Jan Bartlett), the Intern (Garikayi Mutambirwa), John (Kent Davis), the Woman Patient (Patricia Gillum), the Beat Cop (Brent Sexton) and Dr. Tyson (Susan Lee Hoffman) may as well be non-speaking extras. Yes, some like the Beat Cop help to amp up tension or, in the Intern’s case, deliver a plot point, but none of them have a real personality.

Dr. Ronald Meltzer (Andy Umberger) has the super power to detach parts of his body. Yet, with or without that power his personality is that of a standard television stalker. All the power does is increase his ability to be a creepy stalker and a better surgeon. Yet, he displays the ability and willingness to kill without remorse. Thus, one could assume he might have other mental deviations, possibly even psychopathy.

This episode’s narrative relies too much on stereotypes and clichés. The result is a severe — bordering on obscene — lack of growth for any of the characters.

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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