Thursday, June 3, 2010

#42: Gwen

How special a character do you have to be to make it as high as 42 on this list – higher than more than a few significant long-term characters – with only three appearances? Well, you have to be about as special as Electro-Gwen, the 'freak' who decisively walks all over any scene that features her. Able to manipulate energy to her own will but unable to touch another human in safety, Gwen was a completely original, albeit comic-based, character who was deeply interesting and well-written, and Alexa Davalos's effortlessly sexy and compelling performance entirely demands that you remember this character, despite the relatively paltry screen time given to her.

Her story is played out entirely within season four, where she's actually tenth for most words spoken that season. It starts in the season's second episode, the Mere Smith-penned “Ground State”, where she serves as an ambivalent nemesis to Team Angel, searching for an item to allow them to contact Cordelia. Her début performance gives her a placing at #3, behind Angel and Fred but ahead of Gunn, whom she momentarily kills. At 551 words, this is, surprisingly, her least substantial appearance, word-wise. Seven episodes later, she gets another #3 ranking in “Long Day's Journey”, her only real appearance in the 'turgid supernatural soap opera' that defines the majority of the fourth season. That phrase is said by Gunn in her third and final appearance, “Players”, a stand-alone episode that feels like a real breath of fresh air after countless season-arc episodes. Though it's actually a resolution to Gwen's story, it's also her finest moment: 1108 words, and a number-one ranking, slightly ahead of Gunn. Between the two of them, they say more than half of the words in this episode. Able, in the end, to control her electrical impulses, she survives the season and is not heard from again until the canonical post-TV comic book series.

With no cameos whatsoever, Gwen has an amazing average of 808 words per episode: among people in the top 50, no character on either show, except Buffy herself, averages that many words. Not even Angel.
  • Overall ranking: #42
  • Ranking on Angel: #21
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 2424
    • Season 4: 2424 (#10)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 3
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #3: 2
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