and 16 & 17!
Thank you! <3
16. Which character do you wish was developed more?
Though they couldn’t appear to be more different, Faith and Kendra both work very well as ‘shadow selves’ of Buffy, dramatic foils who she fears becoming and who she very well could have become without the support of her friends and family.
On one hand, Faith represents the uninhibited, impulsive, primal nature of being a slayer. She relishes violence and it takes three dead bodies, a coma, prison time, and a few motivational speeches from Angel for her to come to her senses on that front. In that respect, Faith is very much the ‘id’, the unrestricted part of a slayer that is all about basic instinct and doing what she wants when she wants. Buffy is very much aware (and alarmed) that this could easily be her if she doesn’t keep herself in check. And indeed, she has her moments.
“I know Faith’s not gonna be on the cover of Sanity Fair, but… she had it rough. Different circumstances, that could be me.”
But equally, Kendra is someone Buffy also could have been had circumstances been different. While Buffy went under the radar of The Watcher’s Council until she was fifteen and was allowed a pretty normal life before then, Kendra was taken away from her parents to train under The Council when she was just two. She lived a strict, lonely life where she was taught utter obedience to The Council and was allowed no freedom or independence. Being under The Council’s thumb too much is something Buffy was equally mindful of (to the extent that she went renegade in the season 3 finale to avoid this fate). And had Buffy been recognised as a potential earlier in life, she could’ve easily been like Kendra. Where Faith represents Buffy’s fear of losing control to her slayer instincts, Kendra represents Buffy’s fear of losing control to the authoritarian system of The Council. Disciplined Kendra therefore represents the ‘superego’, with Buffy being the ‘ego’ who has to balance the other two sides of her out.
A lot of exploration is given to the parallels between Faith and Buffy (and rightly so, it’s one of my favourite ongoing plotlines and I wear my fuffy badge with pride). However, less examination is given to Kendra and Buffy, though I think that would’ve been equally interesting.
I would’ve loved to have seen Kendra stick around for the rest of season 2 after What’s My Line. Not just so these parallels could’ve been explored in more depth, but also to see Kendra flourish and slowly start to question the authority that she’s been told is unquestionable her whole life. It would’ve been badass to see Kendra eventually take charge of her life and rebel against The Council as Buffy did.
I’m also a strong advocate of an alternate season 3 where Kendra dies but was “only a little dead”. After she gets better, Buffy, Kendra, and Faith all patrol together and become a formidable team.
17. Which character do you wish had less of a focus on them in the show?
Perhaps Andrew. He was basically the sole form of comic relief in season seven, but for me it didn’t always hit the right notes. He was kind of like a walking piece of reference humour with half of his lines being shout outs to obscure comic books I’ve never heard of.
That being said, Tom Lenk is a great actor, and Storyteller was a really good episode. So I don’t have a strong dislike of the character per se, he just didn’t strike much of a chord with me personally.
I’ve always felt Jonathon would’ve been a better candidate for joining the Scoobies in season seven.