|The Evil of...||Warning: this page contains info about episodes up through season 7 BtVS/season 5 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.|
Evil-as-chaos: Ethan Rayne is a human being who is bent on creating trouble for Giles and his loved ones. It is difficult to see what he gains from his petty and largely ineffectual spells (e.g., no obvious wealth or power). He seems to pick on Giles because he believes that Giles is a hypocrite. "The Ripper" once explored dark powers with Ethan, and now is devoted to helping the slayer.
Ethan wants to expose the evil, dark hopes and fantasies that he believes most people have but do not want to admit.
Ethan's victims are not necessarily the hypocrites he believes them to be. He has chosen the dark side for himself, and feels a need to rationalize it (Faith is another good example of this). Ethan is a prime example of evil-as-chaos--he is resentful of those who are good, and lashes out at them, but he is ultimately weak and cowardly:
Milton ...in Paradise Lost: Briefly, Satan in his "screw you" to God said that he would make the best of hell to spite God. Satan had some power but relative to God he was weak. Ethan has his moments where he reminds me of this attitude. He comes to Sunnydale and decides to make the most out of his little Hellmouth by invoking the spirit of Janus and wreaking havoc, if only briefly, on the unfortunate dupes of Sunnydale. It's not the trick of the powerful; it's the trick of the weak. A mere illusion for his entertainment, petty and spiteful. I also find Ethan rather charismatic, in part to his own sense of self. I sort of found Satan to be that way too in Paradise Lost. Though while I have argued that Satan is in a way heroic, I could never do that with Ethan ...hiding behind Buffy when it came to dealing with Eyghon (Cleio, 10 Jan 1999).
Other cowardly Ethan moments:
Ethan's desire to "stay behind and gloat" caught up with him after his last pesky spell. If serving Chaos causes him so much trouble, why does he persist?
I think of Ethan as embracing Chaos with real passion and fondness. He *likes* it. He wants the man he loves and hates -- who may even have introduced him to chaos-for-fun -- to join them again. It's only somewhere underneath that, possibly, that Ethan believes he was made for evil and cannot escape it, and why should anyone else. And why should Giles in particular (Dawn, 24 Jun 2000 19:12).
Ethan's ritual devotion to Chaos
Good as Chaos
Predatory Evil: Mr. Trick was a practical vamp who reveled in
the pleasure of the hunt and the kill.
Relatively unimpulsive, he made careful plans about his existence
in Sunnydale, not intent on revenge like
Kakistos, but eager to use his
knowledge of statistics, computers, and his leadership abilities
to make the most of a town where evil reigns and no
one seems to notice. Trick was a cool manipulator, pulling
strings behind the scenes. In Homecoming, he actually gets a group of demons, vampires,
and human assassins to pay him money to participate in
a competition to kill the slayers who
are getting in the way of him enjoying life in Sunnyhell.
What happened to Mr. Trick? He met the Mayor, who intimidated Trick into assisting in his nefarious deeds. This was the beginning of Trick's downfall, because he had to get his hands dirty. In Band Candy, he kills a random worker in the factory claiming he sampled the product,, just to deter the other workers from doing so. When Faith kills Allen, the Mayor sees his opportunity to rid himself of the slayers. However, he doesn't have enough evidence to put them in jail. So he sics Mr. Trick and his "committee" on them. In the end, an uncharacteristically impulsive attempt to kill the slayers in Consequences himself gets Mr. Trick dusted by Faith.
"I hope evil takes Mastercard!"
Who's the real Faith, the one who worried that Angel(us) "might kill a whole mess of people" (Revelations), or the one who stabbed Lester Worth in cold blood and joked about it afterwards?
Evil-as-chaos: When she couldn't escape the consequences of killing Allan Finch, Faith rejected "the good guys" who she felt stood in judgment of her. The Mayor gave her affection and focus, encouraging her aggression and reinforcing her bitterness.
Who's responsible for Faith's turn to the dark side?
Anger and greed for power: Faith's plan to turn Angel in Enemies revealed her alliance with the Mayor, and after that, there was no going back. In Choices and Graduation, we see Faith kill human beings in cold blood. Faith is a violent woman, there is no doubt, but what makes her interesting is that these tendencies in her seem to spring from their opposites: low self-esteem and a feeling of powerlessness to get the love she wants in the human world.
Is Faith Evil?
I understand that she had a screwed up childhood, but that does not excuse her from going to the dark side. Just because you have a messed up life, it does not render you incapable of understanding the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. Angel lived for over a hundred years as Angelus... 'the most vicious creature that ever walked the earth', and even he can see what is right and wrong. It would be easy for him to ignore his conscience and do evil, it would cause him less pain, but he doesn't. Faith on the other hand, chooses do be evil (Strawberries, Mar 16 20:21 1999)
It's clear that she's got some major childhood trauma/abandonment issues. So the fact that her evilness and curiosity about the other side stems from actual circumstances she's found herself in tells me that evil is not just inbred in her. It's something that she's turned to...and something she can turn away from. It's not truly a part of her (horizon, Mar 16 18:34 1999).
Faith was not meant to be evil; she is someone with poor impulse control and low self-esteem who has come to abuse her powers in an effort to feel 'special' (E. Harvey, 11:03, May 16, 2000).
The redemption of Faith
What do we know about the hellmouth? That it attracts demons from everywhere.... But most demons ...need humans to feed on to survive. Well, I'm sure oh so many years ago...there was no Sunnydale...just the hellmouth with all these demons and nothing to feed on. So what does the Mayor do? He builds a town right on the Hellmouth so that the demons would have a source of food. But why does he do this? ...the demons are in fact "paying" the Mayor back for "keeping his campaign promises" and providing necessary food for them (horizon, Mar 18 21:30 1999).
The mayor of Sunnydale turned his town into a place "for demons to feed on." In Lover's Walk, the Mayor claims to have sold his soul. We are never told to whom, but he paid tribute to a variety of demons in exchange for a position of power, and he was well aware of most of the evil that rolled into town (including Spike's activities in season 2). He used his knowledge of occult powers to make himself invincible, but it was only in preparation for The Ascension, his ultimate reward. Not only was he to turn into a demon himself, but it was, in his mind, part of a "noble campaign to bring order to Sunnydale"--giving him complete power to make the town what he wished it to be.
Was the Mayor really
The Mayor and Faith
The morally ambiguous Mayor
|Darla: "...I know a thing or two about mind games.
...We played them together for over a century."
Cordy: "Yes, but you were just soulless bloodsucking demons, they're lawyers."
Angel: "She's right. We were amateurs."
This institutional nemesis doesn't like how Angel's been interfering in their raison d'être, the defense of evil. Although they are staffed by human beings, the lawyers of Wolfram and Hart are devils--protecting criminals so that they can continue to get their jollies at the expense of the innocent, and collaborating with demons to maintain their own power.
The main function of the firm of Wolfram and Hart has been the aquisition and jealous guarding of power. The lawyers doing the work have been picked for their potential for evil. Their fears and desires used to pit one lawyer against the other in a winner take all free for all (Rufus, 25-Jan-01 04:29).
The corrupt deeds of Wolfram and Hart:
"Darla's just a tool. A means to an end. You're the project." --Holland Manners, Vice-President of Special Projects
So what are these "Senior Partners"? One uses a demon body to enter our world. Are they demons? Illyria, an old nemesis of theirs, calls them "The Wolf, the Ram, the Hart" and traces their origins back to the time of the Old Ones. Now they exist on another plane and use institutions like Wolfram and Hart, Attorneys at Law and the The Covenant of the Trombli to hold influence over Earth and other dimensions. In particular, they use the Conduit of the White Room, liaisons to their CEOs, and the Circle of the Black Thorne as their eyes, arms, and voices on Earth.
The (brief) demise of Wolfram and Hart:
"The upside of being in it for yourself, Wes? You always end up on the winning team." --Lilah
Demons, vampires, and human villains are a daily reality in the Buffyverse. And the destruction of the human race always looms. As far as the folks at Wolfram and Hart were concerned, you could either be crushed under foot with the majority of mewling humanity, or you could join the side with the power and save your own ass. Forget defending the innocent; Evil is going to win, so it's best to make a friend of it--to lend a hand to demons and stalkers and murderers, and to be at the drawing board of the apocalypse.
For those who fight the Good fight, Wolfram and Hart represented the worse kind of human evil. They collaborated in the name of their own personal survival. They betrayed humanity and made everyday life just a little bit worse for those without power or money or lack of conscience. Gray Wesley realized after the Beast's arrival that he had to take sides and stick with the side he believed was right. Lilah chose to remain gray. Like the other employees of Wolfram and Hart, she saw this as simply pragmatic. She'd join the good guys if it looked like they were going to win.
But when the Big Evil finally arrives, it doesn't really care how many deals Wolfram and Hart has made to save their sorry butts. These lawyers are still human, and they want power. So they're dead. Every satellite office of Wolfram and Hart on Earth is attacked, every employee is slaughtered. Mesektet, the link between the human members of the firm and the senior partners, is killed. Even Lilah doesn't escape a grisly end.
The new Wolfram and Hart
"It's a business, boys, not a bat cave."
"Nothing from Wolfram and Hart is ever free." --Wesley, "Shells"
"When you try to be bad, you suck." -Buffy
Are vampires like their human predecessors? If vampHarmony is any indication, uh, yeah. Harmony Kendall (Invisible Girl, BBB, The Wish) was a shallow sheep who took pleasure in putting people down. VampHarmony is a shallow predatory killer (she didn't buy clothes at the "exciting" sale, she just killed the clerk!), and as human Harmony did with Cordelia's popular crowd in season 1, vampHarmony's first course of action was to attach herself to the strongest figure she could find--Spike--a position from which she felt entitled to picking on others.
But then Spike tried to stake her merely for being her annoying self. She wasn't too keen to help him when he returned to her defanged by the Initiative. She's in "control of her own power now", she told him, and "doesn't need him to complete her". And indeed, she soon tries to rule a vamp-pack just as human Harmony tried to rule her own girl-pack in high school. VampHarmony's stint as a master vampire is less than a success, but she has some traits human Harmony never bothered to learn, like improved fighting skills since her first encounter with Xander, reading books and stuff, and standing up to Spike when the sorry blighter needed a reality check.
After her failed attempt to kill Buffy, Harmony fled to Spike for protection, terrified that the slayer was after her. She was so convinced of her own importance that she could not understand that Buffy stops thinking about her the instant Harmony leaves Buffy's sight (Malandanza, 10-Jan-01 11:58).
When she realizes Spike has more feeling for Drusilla and Buffy, however, she's out of there. Again. She heads to L.A. where she attaches herself to Cordelia and the Angel Investigations crew--until she gets a better offer from some fellow vampires. In the shooting script for Disharmony, she ends up running her own pyramid scheme with vamps in Mexico. Given some time, vampHarmony could elevate herself into a force to be reckoned with. Or maybe not.
Harmony returns: Harmony is back in L.A., working for Wolfram and Hart. When the Angel Investigations gang come to work there as well, Wesley picks Harmony out of the steno pool to be Angel's Executive Assistant. And Harmony works "really hard" to be on the side of the good guys. But can a soulless vampire really change her fangs? A year of working under an insensitive boss like Angel is a strain. And the Good Fight alone is not enough to ensure her loyalty to his mission.
Evil as corruption: Dr. Walsh's super-soldier prototype is a hybrid of demon, human, and machine. Understandable that he started out with a bit of an identity crisis. Adam eventually decided that demons were inferior in and of themselves. Although strong, he found them archaic--not big on technology, channeling their violent tendencies into ancient blood feuds with humans and each other. Humans were more adaptable and technological, but physically and emotionally weak (i.e., moral). Adam concluded that his hybrid nature was superior--he is strong and amoral like demons, but flexible and technological like humans.
Rather than reject his creator's intentions for him, Adam pursued Dr. Walsh's 314 project--for his own racist reasons. He would create a race of hybrid soldiers.
Evil as order: He began killing and dissecting humans and demons to find out how they work. Then he developed his master plan--he needed to get demons into the Initiative facility where they would battle the human soldiers and provide him with the body parts he needed to build his hybrids.
The Helter Skelter reference... brings to mind vicious murder ala [Charles] Manson. ...Manson believed that the song, and the [Beatles'] White album, were rallying cries for a war of the races. Adam's mission ...leading a war between the races - demons, monsters, vampires on one side, and humans on the other (Closet Buffyholic, May 10 10:49 2000).
Not an easy task. Demons don't much care for human hybrids like Adam; they certainly wouldn't want to be one. Adam had to be pretty damned persuasive.
Like Spike said, Adam is like Tony Robbins. And why wouldn't he be? He was designed by a psychologist ...Adam has a LOT of information about what motivates people, and he isn't afraid to use it (Safarigirl, May 10 12:04 2000).
The gang noticed the oddity of vampires and demons working together. Demons don't care about species other than their own, Giles noted, and vampires hate them back in kind. Buffy told them that her patrols had been uneventful while the Initiative's capture quota had gone up. Then a Vahrall demon attacked Riley and Buffy and went down too easy. The demons were filling the Initiative at Adam's request. How did he persuade them to do this? To get revenge on the Initiative?
When the time came, the demons attacked. The Initiative soldiers defended themselves. Helter Skelter indeed.
|Glory (AKA the Beast)||
"In torture, death and chaos does my power lie."
When she first teetered in on her high heels, Glory seemed more of a bignuisance than a bigbad. Who could take a shallow, whiney Cordeliaeque brat like her seriously? And Glory pretty much assumed the same thing about Buffy.
I'm not sure how I feel about the biggest evil of all ...manifesting itself as a young woman clad in a tight red dress wearing spike heels, ranting and raving about "me me me I want I want I want." Is it a clever twist on convention, along the lines of Buffy, the small blonde valley girl who nonetheless has super strength, slays vampires, and fights all sorts of evil ...or does it say something about how women are viewed in this society? After all, what could be more vile and worthy of contempt than a prima donna? (Jess M. 8:01 am Oct 25, 2000)
...she's meant to be a dark version of Buffy - attractive blonde in sexy clothes, self centered, super powers, etc. It seems fitting that the big bad would resemble Buffy, since this season is supposed to be about Buffy learning more about herself and her role as a slayer. It reminds me of the way that Darla was used as a mirror image of Buffy in the first part of season one (M. G. Lipscomb, 8:06 am Oct 25, 2000).
But each has found the other rather hard to defeat. Glory--a goddess--is stronger than Buffy, and could kill her if she wanted, but Buffy has the Key (or at least Glory correctly assumes this, based on the Slayer's saving the monk who was hiding it). The Key is the method Glory has chosen to escape our physicial plane, where she has been exiled. Using the key would throw the universe into chaos and destruction. Is there another way home for Glory? Does she even care? Emotions like guilt, love, and empathy are something humans have, not gods.
Glory is ...not evil as we've seen it before. There's no indication she is out to "get" humankind. She treats us like insects, insignificant. To be swatted if we buzz around her but otherwise not worthy of the time it would take to destroy us. She doesn't want to wipe us out and rule here, she wants out of here altogether. What that means for us is irrelevant to her. Will getting the Key be a good thing for the rest of us? I doubt it. But she really doesn't care one way or the other (Narrator, Jan 24 8:31 2001).
"I am great and I am beautiful, and when I walk into a room all eyes turn to me, because my name is a holy name..."
"The god of what? Bad home perms? ...I just had no idea gods were such prancing lightweights. Mark my words, the Slayer is going to kick your skanky lop-sided ass back to whatever place would take a cheap, whorish, fashion victim ex-god like you." --Spike, Intervention
In the meantime, Glory is making the most of Earth's retail outlets, and her demonic minions (Xander calls them "hobbits with leprosy") do her bidding and offer syncophantic terms of deference at the drop of a hat. But she is trapped in the body of a human man, Ben, and her powers are limited. She uses the tricks of the relatively powerless to get what she wants--deception, sexual manipulation, and threats of violence.
More deeds of the magnificently-scented Glorificus:
Self-important arrogance proved to be Glory's undoing. She should have gotten rid of that pesky slayer and her friends a lot sooner. But she didn't consider them a real threat. Or maybe it was that nagging pinch of humanity that stopped her. Maybe not. But Ben's human mortality and wavering conscience never did her much good.
We've seen our share of human baddies in the Buffyverse--Ethan Rayne, the Mayor, Faith, Wolfram and Hart, Ryan Anderson and a host of other emotionally damaged or sociopathic personalities. And they point to an important truth--demons have no exclusive claim to evil. Case in point: Warren Mears.
Sure, Warren's had it tough in life. Kind of nerdy, picked on in high school by the boys, ignored by the girls. But it's how one chooses to respond to adversity that defines who they are. Warren responds to his disempowerment by seeking to control the world and other human beings to his own benefit through intimidation, magic, and technology.
Evil as Order:
|The First Evil|
"It's not about right. Not about wrong. It's about power."
The true nature of the First Evil is still mysterious. It claims to be the "oldest" evil, whatever that might mean. What we do know is that the First is incorporeal, which means that It is impervious to harm and cannot hurt physical beings. Its modus operandi, therefore, has always been manipulation and temptation. It appears to Earthly beings in the form of dead people and says whatever It needs to control the hearts and minds of individuals. When a weakness appears in the Slayer line, however, the First seizes the opportunity to become corporeal and control humankind en masse.
Evil as Corruption
"From beneath you it devours."
So, all year, we've been wondering, how is Buffy going to fight an incorporeal villain? An evil that has been around since before the world was created...in fact, the source of all evil? How would Buffy fight back and prevent evil from overtaking the world? It is in each and every one of us, including Buffy and her closest friends. Evil as a concept cannot be destroyed, cannot be hit, cannot be pummelled, cannot be extinguised.
...the First has lost its army and its power, and further, now, there is not only one girl preventing the evil in all of us taking over the world, but slews of girls. The First doesn't have a group of weak little girls to pick off any more, but an entire army of Slayers who will stand up and fight. And we already know what will eventually happen: the demons will all be fought off. Again, the First Evil will never be destroyed, but it will never win, either (Rob 5/21/03 11:45).
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