Monday, June 21, 2010

#30: Mayor Wilkins

I have to admit to having a real soft spot for Mayor Richard Wilkins III, the main enemy of Buffy Season Three, and for Harry Groener, the actor who plays him. His deft portrayal of a character by turns OCD fuddy-duddy, cynical vaseline-smile politician, loving father figure, and hair-raisingly chilling figure of evil is, as far as I'm aware, completely unique on television.

Though we know of him from Principal Snyder earlier, we first meet the Mayor in David Greenwalt's “Homecoming”, an episode in which he plays a relatively minor role. One of the Mayor's most noticeably qualities is that he's a masterful orator, and many of his appearances are in the form of speeches, or monologues: his briefest appearance, 94 words in “Gingerbread”, is solely a speech to the people of Sunnydale. His only #1 ranking is in the Season Three finale, “Graduation Day, Part II”, where fully 249 of his top-ranking 552 words is a single, gripping speech. In addition, his sole appearance outside of Season Three, the next season's “This Year's Girl”, is almost entirely a monologue caught on tape – yet that episode's 373 words (318 are the videotape) still gives him a #5 ranking. I don't include Season Seven's “Lessons”, where The First takes his form in order to deliver – you guessed it – a monologue, or the same season's “Touched”, where the First says a full 352 words in his body in order to spook Faith.

Mayor Wilkins is in 11 of Season Three's 22 episodes, half of them, and while only one of those is a number one ranking, his performance that episode is bested by two others, “Enemies”, where his 684 words get him only a #3 ranking, and “Choices”, where fully 780 words get him only a #2 ranking (“Graduation Day, Part II” concentrates on action more than dialogue, and as a result has a paltry 2960 words, the fourth fewest in seven seasons of Buffy).

“Graduation Day, Part II” is not only his sole #1 ranking: it's also his swan song, as he gets killed by Buffy and the Scoobies in that episode, only after turning into a giant snake (his two words spoken as a giant snake, “Well, gosh”, are included in his word count). It's a group effort, but if you want to actually hand the 'kill' to someone, it's Giles who sets off the dynamite.
  • Overall ranking: #30
  • Ranking on Buffy: #19
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4261
    • Season 3: 3888 (#7)
    • Season 4: 373
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 12
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 6
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