Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#24: Connor

With such creative and well-thought writing behind them, it's no surprise that the Buffyverse is filled with characters that can bring out strong emotions in the viewer. In the case of Connor, however, the strong emotions in question are not exactly the most positive. In fact, you might say that Connor is in all probability the most disliked character on Angel.

The why has less to do withe the character's back-story, which is fascinating: born a 'miracle child' to two vampires, Angel and Darla, and spending several episodes as a newborn (which are not listed here, since newborn babies rarely have word-counts) before being taken by Angel and Darla's former arch-nemesis Daniel Holtz into a hell dimension called Quor'Toth, where he grows up in a matter of days. That's a story you don't get very often on mainstream TV. It's also not due to Vincent Kartheiser, currently raking up accolades left, right and centre on Mad Men. So it has to be the writing: whiny, insolent, sullen... while these character traits seem to define how teenagers are regularly viewed in the Buffyverse, and while they even make sense given the circumstances of his upbringing, I think they tried the fans' patience, explaining why a character who was a rather significant part of season four (seventh highest character) is all but gone by season five: viewer feedback.

The character first appears, a crying infant engulfed in the dust that used to be his mother, in Tim Minear's “Lullaby”. Ten episodes later, “The Price” (written by Marita Grabiak) introduces us to Connor the teenager, with an impressive two-word total (“Hi, Dad”). To say Connor appears in every episode for the rest of the season is to say little, as there are only three more. Season closer “Tomorrow” is the only time he rises above minor, with 214 words giving him a #5 finish.

Season 4 is Connor's season. Appearing in all 22 episodes but speaking only in 21 of them (he has no lines in “Ground State”), Connor manages 4868 words, two number fives, two number fours, a number three and a number two but no number one finish in the whole season. Interestingly, it's toward the end of the season where his numbers start to increase: “Peace Out”, the final episode of the Jasmine arc and “Home”, the final episode of the season, are wildly different episodes but are of a piece as regards Connor: it's here that the tragic circumstances of his life so far finally catch up with him and drag him down into a violent nihilism. Along the way, Connor's broken English and incomplete sentences have blossomed to 552 words and a #2 finish on “Peace Out” and 470 words and a #3 finish on “Home” - 366 of those words are as Connor himself, 104 words are as the 'recreated' Connor that Angel demands as a term of his accepting the job at Wolfram & Hart.

That Season Four ends with a Connor whose memories have been recreated, who has no knowledge of his previous life with Angel and who lives in suburban contentment, explains his almost-complete absence from Season Five. And yet because most characters get a chance in the Buffyverse to tie up loose ends, a chance for some closure. Connor's came in the Season Five episode “Origin”, and again four episodes away in the series finale “Not Fade Away”. He's a minor character in the action-filled finale, but “Origin” is most definitely a Connor episode, and it gives him what 26 consecutive episodes didn't: a number-one finish, with a 927 word-count. The Season Five Connor is a much more mature and eloquent character – and as a result is more likeable. He survives the series and returns in a more regular role in the “After the Fall” comic book series.
  • Overall ranking: #24
  • Ranking on Angel: #12
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 6677
    • Season 3: 724
    • Season 4: 4868 (#7)
    • Season 5: 1085
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 27
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Ranking #5: 3
    • Minor: 19
Return to the Top 50 list
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment