Tuesday, May 25, 2010

#49: Ben

Ben was a slightly nebbish, awkward, but generally well-meaning nurse whose role in Buffy season five appeared to, tentatively, be as a love interest for Buffy, before ultimately being as the human alter-ego for the season's 'big bad', Glory.

While the mythology of Buffy season five is rich and best experienced by watching the season, essentially Glory is a god from a hell dimension who was dethroned and imprisoned in our dimension, forced to share a body with an innocent human – namely, Ben. We first meet Ben, however, at the hospital, in episode 4,  “Out of My Mind”, written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner. Though he appears nowhere outside of season five, he appears in fully 14 of that season's 22 episodes (two more than Glory herself), increasing in importance towards the end of the arc, in particular the 20th episode, “Spiral”, where he has the third-most lines (339 words), and the 21st episode, “The Weight of the World”, where he comes in 5th, primarily on the back of a lengthy dialogue between himself and Glory, featuring almost constant morphing. This is the only real episode where we see any sign of 'darkness', as Ben struggles between his desire to save Dawn and his desire to save himself. His briefest appearance is in “Family”, with a mere 27 words.

Despite appearing in the majority of season five episodes, Ben is not one of the top ten season five characters. He manages a mere 1857 words in all of those appearances – the fourth-smallest word count for a character with more than 10 screen credits to his or her name (the others are Initiative member Forrest, Potential Slayer Amanda and Wolfram and Hart employee Gavin, all of whom fall outside the top 40).

In one of the most surprising plot points of Buffy, Ben in murdered in cold blood by Giles, a crime that goes entirely unnoticed and, thus, unpunished.
  • Overall ranking: #49
  • Ranking on Buffy: #31
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 1857
    • Season 5: 1857
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 14
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 12
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