For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have chosen to take a look at Darla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I have always been a huge fan of fantasy and supernatural-based books, films, and television. Specifically, as someone that was a child in the 1990s, I grew up watching these shows (as well as my all-time favorite Charmed), and that makes characters from them a huge part of my childhood. Additionally, as I have recently been re-watching Angel, I could not resist writing about Darla!
This villainous female is very literally a femme fatale, but she also had one of the most interesting story arcs of any character in the Buffy Universe! She is actually the first vampire we see in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot. It seemed that she would be a very temporary character, given her death at the hands of Angel in episode seven. The truth was this was just the beginning for this character, as it is a very supernatural universe!
Darla was the vampire that turned Angel into a vampire in the 18th century. Her attraction to Angel came from the fact that he was a womanizing, whoring, hard-drinking, waste of space in his human life! The most the human Angel, then called by his birth name of Liam, ever did was to party at the pub and try to seduce the servant in his home. He was a disappointment to his wealthy father, but Darla saw a true mate in this man!
So she turned him, giving him eternal life. It was her that named him Angelus, just as the Master had named her Darla. As a human, she had been a successful prostitute who was living in the Virginia colony dying of syphilis when the Master found her. She was turned in the early 17th century, and she would spend much time at the side of the master before finding Liam in Ireland over a hundred years later! The Master disapproved of Angelus and his attitude, so he made Darla choose between himself and her new lover. Unsurprisingly, she chose Angelus, and they spent the next one hundred and fifty years terrorizing people as they traveled around the world!
Angelus was one of the most brutal vampires in history, and Darla reveled in this fact. She encouraged his dangerous behavior, and that came to a head when he turned Drusilla. Drusilla was a very pious young girl who was very psychic, and Angelus tortured her into insanity before turning her! In that act, he made one of the most unstable vampires in history. Drusilla would, of course, go on to turn Spike (then known just as the failed poet William), and the foursome that Darla called the Whirlwind began! The horror caused by these evil vampires only increased once they were a group of four instead of just two, but that ended in 1898 when a Gypsy clan cursed Angelus returning his human soul. It was at this point that Darla left him, after ascertaining that removing the soul was impossible. She felt his soul was “dirty” and would have nothing of him, although she did give him a chance to prove he was still “Angelus” during the Boxer Rebellion (he failed when he saved an infant).
Not long after that Darla returned to the Master, and remained with the old vampire who had sired her. It was during the next century that Darla would eventually move to the Sunnydale Hellmouth. When Buffy Summers moved there she was only too happy to plot against the slayer. This is what caused her death, dusted at the hands of her former lover Angel! Angel had long since stopped going by Angelus, and had followed the slayer to Sunnydale to help her fight evil (finally trying to do some good with his immortal life).
Now, this may seem like the end for Darla, as she was dead. However, thanks to Wolfram and Hart, the evil law firm, Darla was resurrected in the first season finale of Angel! Darla was the perfect source to attempt to keep Angel from fulfilling his destiny set forth by the Powers that Be. At the beginning of season two, she was happy to use her knowledge and connection to Angel to drive him mad. She gleefully gave him dreams that tormented him and even pretended to be a totally different person to mess with him. This was easily achieved, given Wolfram and Hart brought her back as a human!
It was not long before the torment of having a soul again began to drive Darla herself to insanity. This was compounded by the knowledge that she was dying from the disease that was killing her the first time she was human! She begged Angel to turn her again, but he chose to try to have her healed by going through a set of trials to prove his worth. He succeeded, but since she was already magically resurrected once, it proved impossible to prevent her death magically! After Angel did that for her Darla felt that someone cared for her for the first time, and decided against being turned again. This only meant that Drusilla brought to L.A. by Wolfram and Hart, was the one to turn her!
Darla was at first furious, but would later go on to rampage with Drusilla out of a desire to have fun. It was during this time of being a vampire again that Darla would sleep with Angel yet again. This is something that was not taken too seriously at the time, only seen as Angel going off the deep end after not being able to save Darla from becoming a vampire again. What it led to, though, was a magical pregnancy! Darla would come back in season three pregnant with Angel’s child, much to the surprise of everyone.
What could be seen as more surprising than the fact that two vampires had magically been able to conceive a child, is that Darla ended up staking herself to make sure her child would live! This final act of the formerly evil vampire proved that she could love. It is a beautiful and tragic scene to watch, a character that most hated for her wicked ways, or loved to hate because she was fabulous even if evil, sacrifice her life for her child. Served as proof that redemption was possible for even those that had done unspeakable evils! Like most villainous characters, she is incredibly fun to watch, and anytime she was in an episode (even if only in a flashback) it was obvious that things were going to get crazy. Even with all of the terrible things that she did, there were times that the audience could find themselves rooting for her to survive. It seemed truly unfair that she could go through all of these pains, and try to do good, only to die without knowing her son! Although, she would eventually return to appear as a ghost to her son Connor to get him to return to his proper path. This proved that she had truly been redeemed!
Thank you for joining me for Femme Fatale Friday here on White Rose of Avalon! I hope that you have enjoyed this overview and analysis of the character Darla. She is certainly a complex and unique figure in the Buffy Universe, as she goes from bad to good and through many different forms, and finally finds redemption. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: the image at the top of the post is Darla and Drusilla. I found the image on https://buffy.fandom.com/wiki/Darla/
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
- Angel (1999)
I thought nothing of her from her brief (initial) stint on “Buffy”, but her returning in “Angel” really made this a fantastic, well-rounded character! The flashbacks are some of the more intriguing parts of Angel’s story (if you ignore Boreanaz’s accent), and kind of gives it a “Highlander” vibe. Keep up the great work!
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I have to agree that the flashbacks are great for story building, and they also allow the viewer to get an idea of a character’s full evolution. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
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