Friday, July 16, 2010

#11: Lorne

They say that the character Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, known to friends as 'Lorne' (and known for almost a whole season merely as 'The Host'), was really just the late, great Andy Hallett in green make-up – meaning that the character was very closely modeled on the actor. If that's so, Andy Hallett, who died in 2009 at 33 years of age, must have been quite a loveable person.

Krevlornswath is a demon from the dimension of Pylea. Possessing few of the qualities usually associated with demons, Lorne gets along well with humans and is much more interested in good than in evil. In Los Angeles, he starts off as the host and owner of Caritas, a demon karaoke bar catering non-judgementally to both the good and the evil, but with time he is fully absorbed into Angel Investigations, becoming a key member of Wolfram & Hart once Angel's team joins the evil law firm.

Known for his loyalty and compassion in addition to great singing voice and natty dress sense, Lorne is given one of the most unpleasant departures of any character not killed in the Buffyverse. He survives Season Five, but with his faith and enthusiasm severely tested by the events of the season. Unexpectedly, Angel orders him to shoot Lindsey point-blank, and he leaves “Not Fade Away” promising to disappear from Angel's world and asking not be be sought out (though he does reappear in the canonical “After the Fall” comic book series).

Until that time, however, Lorne was a great scene-stealer, with a motormouth and an energy that placed him in the centre of a good many episodes. The flashy episode “Judgement”, which gets season two off to an exciting start, begins with Lorne's green face unexpectedly breaking into a Gloria Gaynor tune. The episode, by David Greenwalt and Joss Whedon, gives Lorne 532 words and a number-three finish. Lorne appears in a total of 15 episodes that season, finishing fourth, ahead, amazingly enough, of Gunn. He finishes #2 once, in “Reprise” with 427 words, but quite surprisingly, of the six number-one finished Lorne racks up across four seasons, fully half are in this season alone: “Happy Anniversary”, where his 1355 words are nearly a third of the whole script and are Lorne's second-highest word count ever, and two consecutive episodes in the Pylea arc at the end of the season: 972 words in “Belonging” and 1086 words in “Over the Rainbow”. Across the Pylean epic, Lorne actually says more words than Angel, though fewer than Cordelia.

Appearing in 17 season three episodes, Lorne steps back a bit: 5242 words to 6516 the previous season, and a number-six finish. No number-one finishes, and no word counts higher than 675, despite moving into the Hyperion with the rest of the gang and being Connor's main babysitter. Two number-two finishes during Connor's infancy: “Dad” with 498 words and “Provider” with 675.

Lorne appears in 21 of 22 episodes in season four, missing only episode two. He more than makes up for that in episode three, “The House Always Wins”, where he is trapped in Las Vegas. He has 1047 words this episode, 224 of them sung. The hilarious amnesia-episode “Spin the Bottle” might seem like a surprising number-one for Lorne, who spends much of the episode unconscious. But he narrates the entire episode with the framing device of a story told over a piano at some dive bar. 517 of his 945 words this episode are narration, and without it, Lorne would come in at number five. This episode starts the main 'Beast' storyline going, and after that Lorne takes a backseat, appearing no higher than number three in any episode, and again finishing number six for the season, though 6652 words is his highest seasonal word count.

Lorne again finished number six in Season Five, a second six-six-six finish like Dawn's that might set numerologists' teeth on edge. This is a bit of a strange season. In 21 of 22 episodes, he's very much a background character, never saying more than 386 words and getting only one number-four finish. The exception, though, is quite an exception: in the Lorne episode “Life of the Party”, Lorne says a jaw-dropping 1925 words, 39.2% of the whole episode. This is the single largest word-count in Angel, and indeed in the entire Buffyverse. If Lorne in this episode were a separate character, that character would still show up on this list at 47, ahead of Skip, Professor Walsh, Ben and the Groosalugg. 39.2% is not a record, bested once in Angel by Angelus and twice in Buffy by Angel and by Spike. It is still an incredible performance, by an incredible actor in an incredible role.
  • Overall ranking: #11
  • Ranking on Angel: #6
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 23,901
    • Season 2: 6516
    • Season 3: 5242
    • Season 4: 6652
    • Season 5: 5491
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 75
    • Ranking #1: 6
    • Ranking #2: 3
    • Ranking #3: 6
    • Ranking #4: 6
    • Ranking #5: 4
    • Minor: 50
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