Monday, June 7, 2010

#40: Illyria

There's this great part on the bonus features of the Angel Season 5 DVD where Amy Acker is talking about how Joss Whedon said to her, “We're killing off Fred. But don't worry: you're still on the show.” When Angel aired for the first time, I can remember that a change in my working schedule meant I had to miss a few months' worth of episodes. I remember sitting down to watch my first episode after that gap, completely flabbergasted: “Why is Fred blue? Why do they keep calling her something else?”

It's a testament to the writers' abilities that they could take something so convoluted and potentially hokey as a god-like ancient 'old one' demon being released from its sarcophagus and taking over a person's body and make it work, and it's a testament to Amy Acker's stop-on-a-dime acting abilities that it's so compelling. From down-home Texas girl to regal ice queen in a flash: not everyone can carry that off.

“This will do.” That is the whole of Illyria's dialogue in the Joss Whedon-written “A Hole in the World”, her début. It's the eighth-to-last episode of the whole series, but she appears in every one thereafter (becoming, of course, a 'main character' instantly, since Amy Acker is among the core cast). Excluding the three-word first episode, Illyria's least weighty episode is the Connor episode “Origin”, with only 192 words. It's one of five 'minor' episodes for Illyria, who shows up in the top five three times: Surpisingly, #5 in “The Girl in Question”, unsurprisingly #4 in the first full post-Fred episode “Shells” and #2, and 865 words, in the Illyria episode “Time Bomb”. She survives the series finale. This series of episodes is enough to give Illyria the #9 spot, four points below Fred, on the list of characters with the highest word count on Season 5.

Please note that for statistical purposes, Illyria using Fred's voice or Fred's, er, skin colour does not constitute a word count for Fred: after Fred's death, all of Amy Acker's words belong to Illyria except for a single 33-word incident in “Underneath” where we witness Fred in a dream of Wesley's. We do see Fred in flashbacks at the end of “Shells”, but we don't hear her.
  • Overall ranking: #40
  • Ranking on Angel: #20
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 2596
    • Season 5: 2596 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 8
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 5
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