Wednesday, March 6, 2013

30 Days of Buffy and Feminism Day 18

Day 18: Character Who Didn't Get Enough Screentime

There are some pretty obvious answers for this one, and it's hard for me to choose just one.  But I'm going to write, as usual, on the choice that I think I can expound upon most.

Honorable mentions go to Maggie Walsh (what an interesting villain, if her story arc hadn't disappeared), Clem (I'd love to know THAT backstory), D'Hoffryn (he was amusing and a nifty villain) and Olivia (I really wish we'd gotten to see the trajectory of hers and Giles' relationship)

Halfrek, if you'll recall, was Anyanka's best friend and fellow vengeance demon.  She makes a number of appearances beginning in Season 6 and into early Season 7 where she is destroyed by D'Hoffryn.  We get to see her in flashbacks about Anya--most notably during the Russian Revolution--but we don't generally get to learn too much about Halfrek.

According to the Buffy Wiki--which I checked because sometimes things fall through my memory--Halfrek avenged children whose parents had abandoned or abused them, which is interesting in itself.  Like Anyanka's wheelhouse of avenging scorned women, it's a pretty typically feminine role to take on.  But at the same time, Halfrek has the same lack of empathy towards men that we see in Anya following her transformation into a human in season 3.  Being a demon will do that to you, I'm sure.

Halfrek is also the woman that Spike was in love with before he became a vampire--back then she was Cecily Addams/Underwood (the surnames change depending on the episode, whether "Fools for Love" or "Lies My Parents Told Me").  This just adds a whole new "it's a small world!" feel to the buffyverse and also makes Halfrek responsible for a lot of the events that made Buffy's relationships--and struggles--possible.

I would have really liked to have gotten to see more of Halfrek's backstory.  I wonder how she came into the vengeance fold, and what her life has been like since she became a demon.  Maybe I just find the whole idea of the vengeance demons interesting because I think they speak to a dark but very present part of human nature. 

I also really like the Halfrek-Anya friendship dynamic.  I think Halfrek gives a good contrast to Anya's continual evolution into humanity.  And maybe this makes her death appropriate--Anya did sacrifice herself to be killed, but by killing Halfrek, D'Hoffryn not only allowed her to suffer with that guilt and live on but also symbolically killed the friend that held beliefs similar to Anya's former demon self.

I think it would have been neat to see Halfrek interact more with the Scoobies, especially Spike and Willow.  And more flashbacks to hers and Anya's past together would have been interesting, too.

We're going into a few posts now that are going to require a LOT of quoting from transcripts.  I should have done this earlier and it will be especially important, but all transcripts I use come from  Back soon with a few of my favorite episodes. 

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