Wednesday, February 27, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 15

Day 15: Favorite Male Villain

This was another one, much like Least Favorite Female Character, where I was stuck with trying to choose a winner out of a pool of so many choices.  I have a few honorable mentions, but I ended up going with my gut reaction.

 Honorable mentions go to The Gentlemen (because they're the only villains I found genuinely scary in the whole series), The Judge (because "what does that do?") Sweet (because AWESOME) and D'Hoffryn (because he's actually pretty complex for being only in a few episodes)

I'm going to use Warren as a contrast again here.  You know how Warren was just a one-note misogynist without any background or complexity?   It was in my Least Favorite Male Character post.  Anyway, I feel like Angelus was truly the original misogynist Big Bad, and he did it RIGHT.  He had a history, he was compelling, and this made him scarier and more frustrating.

Angelus appears when Angel and Buffy have sex.  This is problematic in and of itself--he's clearly the representation of that guy that you sleep with and then turns into an asshole.  But taking that aside, we learn a lot about his past and his character after his soul is removed.  We learn that he was turned by Darla, that he did unspeakable things to women, and that he has no qualms about doing them again.  Much earlier on in the season while Angel is still around, we learn that Angelus was Drusilla's sire and that he drove her insane before he turned her.  Even more, she went to a convent and the day she took her vows he turned her.  In fact, the catalyst for Angelus gaining a soul and became Angel was him killing a Romanian girl and having a curse put on him. Angelus has issues with women.

In the second half of Season 2 we see him primarily prey on female victims.  He does torture Giles in "Becoming" but it is primarily to get information that he knows only Giles has.  Besides that, he watches Buffy and Willow in their rooms and murders Jenny Calendar.  He tries to edge in over Spike for Drusilla's affection, thus asserting an alpha-male dominance in his ownership of herHe also slut-shames Buffy, critiques her sexual prowess and uses condescending, gendered nicknames for her when they fight.

But we see him as Angel still.  He still has the same outward appearance as a character we saw as good for so long.  This is what makes Angelus complex--we are frustrated by him suddenly being entirely different.  And his level of attractiveness has always played into his success as a vampire--"the demon with an angel face"--so this isn't a situation that is limited to the audience or even to Buffy herself.

I always kind of hate that they gave Angel his soul back just as Buffy kills him.  This makes Buffy killing him not a triumph but a tragedy.  I know it needed to happen in order for Angel to continue as a character on the show, but I hated the timing of it.

Still, Angelus was interesting because he was so embroiled in emotion and complexity for the characters.  He was the other side of Angel's coin, but with the same face.  Plus, he was fun to watch.  One of the most fun villains to watch, in my opinion. 

We're starting to get into the really interesting prompts now, but I have a non-Buffy related post for later today.  There's something I need to get off my chest. 

1 comment:

  1. Much as I hate to be that person, Angelus murders a Romany girl, a gypsy, 'the most beloved daughter of [her] tribe'. Not necessarily a Romanian. I'm enjoying your work otherwise, though!