Buffy and Angel
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I doubt that many people who have seen episodes from the first three series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will have been immune to the appeal of this particular relationship.
For those that who don’t know who they are, basically there was a American television show, in the late nineties and early 200os, which revolved around a young woman who happened to be a vampire slayer. She started out as a teenager, but it lasted for seven seasons, so she ended as a college graduate. Her first major love interest was called Angel, and he happened to be a vampire.
I know, it sounds a lot like Twilight, but the only real connection between the two is that the lead female character gets involved with a vampire. Buffy is considerably stronger than Bella, both physically and emotionally. Joss Whedon (creator and show runner) puts her through numerous different challenges, such as dying at sixteen, fighting her ‘true love’, battling a ‘pure’ demon at her graduation, battling a modern version of Frankenstein’s creature, fighting a goddess, defeating three ‘super’ villains, and then taking on the First Evil.
I don’t know whether it’s the writing, the chemistry between Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, the acting, the fact that I was a hormonal teenager when I first saw them on screen or a combination of all those factors, but I was immediately swept up in the romance.
Their first scene isn’t traditionally that romantic, it’s a little creepy now that I think about it. I mean he’s following her, and she manages to knock him off his feet. Throughout the first few episodes the two of them keep meeting briefly, and he gives her warnings and advice, without telling her anything more personal than his first name.
Buffy is given a rational reaction to the fact that the guy she’s got a crush on, is a vampire when she discovers it. It happens after they share their first kiss, and she screams, sending him scuttling out of the bedroom window. Things between them are further complicated, by the fact that Angel’s ex Darla, who also happens to be a vampire, bites Buffy’s mother and frames Angel for the act.
Buffy resolves to undertake her sacred duty, and protect her mother by staking Angel. The confrontation between the three of them leads to Darla’s end, and is followed by another kiss between Buffy and Angel.
It’s not until season two, that the two are in a canon romantic relationship. Unfortunately they are not allowed to be happy for very long, as by mid season, Angel has lost his soul. He loses his soul, through a moment of true happiness, taking Buffy’s virginity on her seventeenth birthday.
It was a brave narrative choice, and resulted in some very passionate, and strong acting from both Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz. Despite breaking the hearts of countless fans of the couple. Some people developed a passion for the pairing of Angelus, (Angel’s souless incarnation), and Buffy, which I find disturbing, when you consider the fact that Angelus snuck into Buffy’s room while she was sleeping, killed Jenny Calendar (Buffy’s watcher’s partner), killed a prostitute, resurrected a ancient killing machine called the Judge, and plotted the end of the world, amongst other things.
The final scene in season two, between Buffy and Angel was heartbreaking for me, at the time. Angel receives his soul back, courtesy of Buffy’s best friend Willow, a fledgling witch, but after the end of the world has already begun. Buffy is left with no choice, but to sacrifice her lover to save the world.
The third season sees them struggling to cope with the events of the latter half of the second season, something that eventually culminates in Angel attempting to end his existence in the tenth episode. It’s one of the most repeated scenes in Youtube videos dedicated to the couple, and was genuinely heartbreaking for me at the time.
The fourth season, is one that most Buffy and Angel shippers don’t like, largely because it sees Buffy do the usual thing people do after a break up, and moves on. She develops a romantic connection with a human man named Riley Finn. His very normality, well at the beginning of the season, is part of what makes him the perfect ‘rebound’ guy for her.
During the fifth season, Buffy and Angel don’t really interact on screen, well save for a couple of scenes during the seventeenth episode. Angel returns to Sunnydale to be there for Buffy, during her mother’s funeral. The scene beneath the tree in the grave yard, where she admits that she still wants Angel to stay ‘Forever’, echoing sentiment between them in the third season, is another personal favourite.
Buffy goes through several seismic changes during the fifth and sixth seasons, in both her family life, and her duties as a slayer. The fifth season, is when she suffers the loss of her mother, forcing her into a position of surrogate parent to her teenage sister, and also when she faces the toughest battle of the series up until that point, in facing off against Glory, a HellGod who wants to get back to her own dimension.
We don’t see Angel and Buffy interact again on screen until the tail end of season seven, but it is made clear that they still have very strong feelings for each other. Despite the fact that Buffy has been in a relationship of sorts with Spike throughout the sixth and seventh seasons, the moment that she reconnects with Angel, results in a passionate kiss. Well once she’s finished destroying one of the First Evil’s agents that is.
The passionate nature, and undeniable physical and emotional chemistry between the two actors, are just two of the reasons that Buffy and Angel will probably always be one of the screen couples that I strive to emulate through my own work.