Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Buffy The Vampire Slayer Scooby Gang Former Members

Go To

Former members of the Scooby Gang in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This includes members who left the group, and those killed in action.

    open/close all folders 

See Angel




Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins, formerly Anyanka, née Aud
"It's an omen! It's a higher power trying to tell me through bunnies that we're all gonna die! Oh god!"
Played By: Emma Caulfield

" I was feared and worshipped across the mortal globe and now I'm stuck at Sunnydale High. A mortal! A child! And I'm flunking math."

Originally a 1,120-year-old vengeance demon who lost her powers and eventually joined the Scooby Gang. She was a Love Interest for Xander for three seasons before their relationship ended, and she went back to being a Vengeance Demon. Lost her powers and rejoined the Scoobies in early Season 7.

  • Action Girl: She's a Magic Knight, being more than competent in magic as well as physical fighting.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: At first, viewers are led to believe her complete lack of social skills is a result of having been a demon for centuries, but eventually it's revealed that she acted exactly the same before she became a demon.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Her relationship with Willow is meant to be like this; despite being thousands of years older than Willow, she's more naive and immature, which Willow is frequently annoyed by.
  • Ascended Extra: Originally intended as a one-shot villain for "The Wish."
  • Becoming the Mask: After she becomes stuck as a high school girl, she experiences a strange urge to have Xander invite her to the prom, despite claiming to loathe all men.
  • Been There, Shaped History: According to one flashback, she was responsible for the 1905 Revolution in Russia.
  • Being Evil Sucks: The second time she becomes a vengeance demon, she gets no pleasure out of the work whatsoever.
  • Being Human Sucks: She often complains about how she's powerless as a human, but her main concern is that she's now mortal and will eventually die.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Like the rest of the Scoobies, she looks out for Dawn, although she has a habit of talking to her like she's five rather than fifteen.
  • Break the Cutie: She spends most of her time on the show as the perky and bubbly comic relief. Then Xander leaves her at the altar. She reacts to this by returning to vengeance. She finds herself unable to do it properly at first, but when she does get back into the swing by slaughtering ten frat boys who humiliated a girl, she suddenly realizes what she's done and plunges into Death Seeker-dom. When she begs D'Hoffryn to undo it—the price of which would be a life and soul—he instead kills her friend Halfrek in front of her as the payment. He follows this by saying, "Haven't I taught you anything, Anya? Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain."
  • Breakout Character: Originally a literal Monster of the Week, she was such an interesting character that she got a second episode outing, then was repurposed as Xander's rebound love interest. Joss Whedon did try to write her out on more than one occasion, but kept bringing her back. He waited until the Grand Finale to kill her off.
  • Brutal Honesty: "I hate us! Everybody's so nice. Nobody says what's on their mind."
    • Her reputation for Brutal Honesty, being a Deadpan Snarker, and basically being an insensitive bitch lead to one of the most powerful and poignant Tear Jerker moments in the entire series: her emotional breakdown after the death of Joyce Summers in "The Body".
    Anya: "Are they gonna cut the body open?"
    Willow: "Oh my God! Would you just... stop talking? Just... shut your mouth. Please."
    Anya: "What am I doing?"
    Willow: "How can you act like that?"
    Anya: "Am I supposed to be changing my clothes a lot? I mean, is that the helpful thing to do?"
    Xander: "Guys..."
    Willow: "The way you behave..."
    Anya: "Nobody will tell me."
    Willow: "Because it's not okay for you to be asking these things!"
    Anya: "But I don't understand!" [begins to cry] "I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she's — There's just a body! And I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! (begins crying heavily) "It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! "And-and Xander's crying and not talking, and — and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, Well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever," (completely loses it) "and no one will explain to me why."
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In "Hell's Bells," a demon shows up disguised as Xander from the future to ruin Xander and Anya's wedding, because, as it turns out, he was once an adulterous human who Anya punished back during her days as a vengeance demon. Anya, who has most likely done such things to thousands of men, has no memory of doing so.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: If Giles' imagination is anything to go by.
  • Casual Kink: She appears to have adventurous sexual side hinting that she and Xander have indulged in costume roleplaying, bondage,[citation needed] spanking and using Buffy's vaulting horse in their intercourse. She also considers some of the magic spells she performs with Willow to be "sexy".
  • Character Death: She is slain by a Bringer in the Season 7 finale.
  • Character Development: She started out as a villain who skipped down during her first apocalypse. By the series' end, she'd come to terms with being human, accepted humanity and was willing to fight evil.
  • Characterization Marches On: She was able to infiltrate Cordelia's social circle in her first appearance, then she swung in the opposite direction once she started appearing regularly.
  • Cunning Linguist: Although her native language was Old Norse, she spoke fluent, if sometimes stilted, English as well as some French and Latin.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: She may be this as of Season 10 or Xander may just be going insane. It turns out to be a ghost impersonating her (though the ghost genuinely believes itself to be Anya.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Tragically averted. Her death is extremely abrupt and met with little fanfare. Xander doesn't even get a chance to recover her body.
  • Death Seeker: When she returns to the vengeance fold, she finds no pleasure in doing what she used to love, and eventually offers to sacrifice herself to revive some of her victims, having lost her purpose without Xander. D'Hoffryn instead kills Hallie to spite her.
  • The Empath: She had a psychic sense of empathy for women's desire for vengeance and could tell if a vampire has a soul.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Completely freaked witnessing an Evil Sorcerer become an Eldritch Abomination and go on a rampage via performing a ritual similar to the one the Mayor planned on using.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: For most of history, her hair remained dark brown and long in length. While at Sunnydale High, she retained short, light brown hair while made it darker when she started dating Xander. By the end of 1999, she lightened her hair cut it down into a bob but let it grow out the following months. During the months Glory was around, she retained short, curly and blondish hair which eventually grew out the later months. After Buffy's resurrection, she kept long, sandy blond hair, similar to Buffy's the year before. In the months as a vengeance demons after Willow's attempt at destroying the world, she had long, dark brown hair and eventually cut it down and made it blond again before her death.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Her power center necklace. She keeps it out of sight for whatever reason.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: For most of her time on the show Anya was, in universe, the least popular member of the Scoobies (Spike was even less popular but for most his time in the show he wasn't seen as a friend at all, just an, at best, untrustworthy ally.) Willow particularly disliked Anya, but Dawn found her irritating and even Buffy and Giles could get tired of her quickly. Only Tara (who was friends with everyone and whom Anya had as a bridesmaid at her wedding) and Xander (who was dating her and the one who brought her into the gang to begin with) were consistently friendly.
  • Friendship Denial: In "Get It Done," during Buffy's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Xander tells her not to forget they're her friends. Anya cuts in, stating she's not Buffy's friend. Buffy subsequently demands to know why Anya's even there and what she contributes to the group besides getting rescued.
  • Good Costume Switch: When Anya is introduced, she has brunette hair. She colors it blond after becoming human, then goes back to brunette when she becomes a vengeance demon again. When she turns human for the second time, she goes back to blond.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: When she's a vengeance demon, she's a brunette. When human, she's blonde.
  • Happy Dance: The Dance of Capitalist Superiority!
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: From professional vengeance demon to human, then back to her old ways after Xander leaves her at the altar, and finally human again at the end of "Selfless."
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: She couldn't act on any of it (until mid-Season 6), but she openly missed the days when she could solve her problems by eviscerating people. Spike can relate.
    Anya: I'd kill for [R.J]!
    Willow: You'd kill for a chocolate bar.
  • Humanity Ensues: Becoming human makes her act more human, though it's eventually revealed she was human to begin with, a very long time ago.
  • Humans Are Bastards: It was easy for her to be a vengeance demon because humans do a lot of things that need avenging. Three years of fighting alongside the Scoobies allowed her to see the goodness in people and made it hard to go back to vengeance.
  • Immortals Fear Death: After losing her powers and becoming human, she becomes terrified of growing old and dying. When Joyce dies, Anya has a breakdown over how stupid the concept of death is to her.
  • In Love with the Mark: Originally appears with the intention of cursing Xander who cheated on Cordelia.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: She's competent in both hand-to-hand combat and spellcasting, although she pales by comparison to Buffy and Spike in hand-to-hand combat, and to Willow, Tara, and Giles in magic.
  • Jackass Genie: She would take wishes that were already negative in nature and make them even worse, which is how she sparked the Russian Revolution. And let's not forget "The Wish," where Cordelia wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and Anya responds by making an Alternate Universe where vampires completely rule the town with no Slayer to stop them.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Anya's a little "Aud", isn't she?
    • "Anyanka" is possibly derived from old Greek ἀνάγκη, "necessity". Just read the Other Wiki's entry and think of her Reality Warper powers.
  • Money Fetish: She seems to have a thing for cash. Whilst playing The Game of Life, asked if she could sell her children for more money.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: As a result of being both knowledgeable about demons and very, very blunt.
  • No Social Skills: She was a 1000-year-old demon trying to learn how to be a passable human. At least, at first it was that simple; later on, it was revealed that she was born human (1,000 years ago in Sjornjost). Still later, it was shown that she'd always talked and acted like an eccentric, even in her original human life.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Anya describes herself as a righteous sword for all Woman Scorned, but her behavior as a vengeance demon is more along the lines of a Jackass Genie rather than the "patron saint of scorned women" she claims to be. She essentially tricks women into inflicting Disproportionate Retribution on former loved ones, and in "The Wish," when Cordelia's wish leads her to create a Crapsack World where vampires rule Sunnydale, Anya takes open pleasure in the results.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Her personality made her offend a lot of people and she was similar to Cordelia. A few examples were when she referred to Olivia Williams as Giles' "orgasm friend"; upon discovering that Dawn was the Key, she openly remarked "You make a lovely little girl!"; she repeatedly asked inappropriate questions about what the doctors were going to do with Joyce Summers' body, which deeply disgusted and upset Willow, though Anya responded by breaking down into tears, explaining that she could not understand why Joyce died or how death works. She repeatedly mentioned to Buffy that she had been in Hell, earning multiple reprimands from Xander and the gang; and she kept remarking right in front of the Potential Slayers that they were all going to die one way or another. According to Olaf, Anya had the same personality prior to become a vengeance demon.
  • Opt Out: Anya got the hell out of Dodge before Graduation Day. Contrast with the fifth and seventh season finales.
  • Paint It Black: When she became a demon again her color scheme went back to black.
  • Patriotic Fervor: "You know what else is un-American? French people". She's technically speaking from Scandanavia.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Starting Season 5.
  • Punny Name: Aud. (Yes, she is.)
  • Reality Warper: In "The Wish", she creates an entire Alternate Universe where Buffy never came to Sunnydale.
  • Really 700 Years Old: 1,120 and she's still being carded.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: Initially, she jumps at the chance to become a vengeance demon because Humans Are Bastards and to a lot of things that need avenging. Three years of fighting alongside the Scoobies allowed her to see the good side of humanity, and when she becomes a vengeance demon again, she finds no pleasure in the work.
  • Revenge Against Men: Describes herself as a righteous sword for all Woman Scorned.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: To give one example:
    Dawn: Oh my god, you'll never believe what happened at school today...
    Buffy: (Not even looking up) Everyone started singing and dancing?
    Dawn:...(Annoyed) I gave birth to a pterodactyl.
    Anya: Oh my god. Did it sing?
  • Start of Darkness: Her back story of how she became a demon is shown in Season 7's "Selfless".
  • Super Strength: She was much stronger than some demons and vampires (knocking Spike across the room while lying down) in addition to holding her own against Buffy, surviving being run through with a sword.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Cordelia. Greedy and high-maintenance? Check. Xander's love interest? Check. Brutally honest to a fault? Check.
  • Too Much Information: A Running Gag is her eagerly telling the Scoobies details of her sex life with Xander that everyone (including Xander) would rather she kept private.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After becoming a vengeance demon again near the end of Season 6, plus she manages to hold her own in a fight with Buffy and proves well-versed in swordsmanship during the final battle.
  • Tsundere: "My feelings are changeable but intense."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Anya serving as a surrogate annoying younger sister for Willow.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Bunnies. Though she was shown to be fine with them while alive, suggesting something (possibly a wish gone horribly awry) occured while she was demon, or they're a subconscious reminder of her human past.
    • It seemed that she also had a slight fear of getting old, as it was something she never had to consider as a vengeance demon. Her previous demon life also left her with the impression that to death was "mortal and stupid".
  • Woman Scorned: Is described as being the "Patron Saint" of these, and refers to herself as their "righteous sword". She was originally recruited for the position after becoming one herself and turning her philandering husband into a troll.


Daniel "Oz" Osbourne
"Hey, I may be a cold-blooded jelly doughnut, but my timing is impeccable."
Played By: Seth Green

"The wolf is inside me all the time, and I don't know where that line is anymore between me and it."

A brilliant (yet generally unmotivated) student, and part-time rock guitarist. He is Willow's first and only boyfriend, and an active member of Buffy's inner circle, despite the fact that he has recently become a werewolf.

  • Above the Influence: The first time Willow tries to get him to kiss her, he thinks she is trying to get at Cordelia and Xander and instead he wants to be the gentleman and wait. The second time is after he caught Willow cheating on him, and she tries to seduce him. He lets her down and says she doesn't have to prove anything to him, and rejects her obvious sexual advances.
  • Archer Archetype: He had sufficient dexterity and aptitude with bows, using them on several occasions, including the battle against the mayor and in helping Angel Investigations fight off Spike and Marcus.
  • Back for the Finale: His final on-screen appearance is in Willow's dream in the Season 4 finale, "Restless".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: A laid-back, easy-going fellow who just happens to be a werewolf.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: One of the first things to change during a transformation.
  • Breakout Character: He was the one originally intended to be killed by Angelus in "Passion," but due to his popularity, he was spared, and Jenny Calendar was killed in his place.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Oz is stated to be a genius by Willow, he's naturally gifted at academia and he has deep philosophical thoughts (that he never voices). He also lacks any and all kind of drive or ambition, putting little to no effort into life.
  • The Bus Came Back: He returns in "New Moon Rising", where he attempts to reconnect with Willow, only to discover she's now gay. He makes a cameo in "Restless", meaning that the last time we see him in the show is in a Dream Sequence.
  • Cannot Convey Sarcasm: "That was my sarcastic voice."
    Xander: You know, it sounds a lot like your regular voice.
    Oz: I've been told that.
  • Captain Obvious: Usually states the obvious about whatever situation the Scoobies find themselves in.
  • The Comically Serious: Though far less uptight than most other examples.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Phases", "Wild At Heart", and "New Moon Rising" are all Oz-centric episodes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Very deadpan.
  • Dismotivation: He and Willow were both tracked by a leading software company in "What's My Line" - the difference is, he wasn't all that excited about it. "I sort of test well, which is cool. Except it leads to jobs."
  • Dull Surprise:
    • The minute he sees Buffy stake a vampire, he brushes it off and says it "explains a lot."
    • After Oz awakens from his first transformation into a werewolf, he notices he's naked among some bushes and simply lets out a quizzical "huh."
  • Evolutionary Retcon: Oz's wolf form went from an animatronic to a much sleeker full-body skunk-wolf suit.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: His hair color continuously changed:
    • Before meeting Willow, he had light red hair.
    • He dyed it chestnut brown after his first meeting with Willow, who noticed the change.
    • He dyed his hair blond after his first monthly transformations.
    • During the first months of his repeated senior year, he had dark hair with light spikes, which teenage Principal Snyder thought was "great hair".
    • He dyed his hair black around the time he began dating Willow again.
    • He dyed his hair blond shortly before graduation.
    • At graduation Oz had dark hair with light spikes again.
    • During college at UC Sunnydale and in Tibet, he had auburn hair.
  • Fake Band: Oz is in a band called Dingoes Ate My Baby.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: The first time he gets caught up in a fight with vampires, Willow hesitantly begins to explain the whole situation, prefacing it with "Now don't freak out..." Oz doesn't, because not only is he really that calm, but because the fact that vampires are real suddenly makes a lot of things about Sunnydale make sense. In the comics, he tops himself when his ex drops by outside the monastery he's meditating at, in a submarine, that she teleported to Tibet. His reaction: a nonchalant "Huh".
  • Goal in Life: To perfect the diminished ninth! "You could lose a finger."
  • Hulking Out: When he learns of Willow and Tara's relationship, he transforms into the big werewolf.
  • Hidden Depths: His detached and collected demeanor and ironic approach to life masked a deeply philosophical interior.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Before going to Tibet he is forced to transform during the full moon and the two nights surrounding it.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair:
    Willow: Your hair! brown.
    Oz: Oh, yeah. Sometimes.
  • Leaving You to Find Myself: After losing control with Veruca, Oz realizes that locking himself up every month isn't a permanent solution and it's just a waiting game until something goes wrong. He leaves Sunnydale to stay away from people and search for a cure.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In high school, he typically wore t-shirts underneath a bowler shirt, jeans and black boots. In college, he wore sneakers, baggy pants and a sheepskin jacket when outside. He also sometimes wore ear piercings, studded bracelets and sported black painted nails. After moving to Tibet permanently, his outfits were mostly mixes of what he wore previously, ranging from monk's robes with a t-shirt over it, a combination of a long-sleeved shirt and a t-shirt, band shirts and sweaters.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: Oz gains mastery over his werewolf side by the time he returns, able to stand directly under a full moon without transforming.
  • Love at First Sight: Was clearly smitten with Willow from his first glimpse of her, even though they didn't actually meet until several episodes later. For a while him catching a glimpse of Willow and asking "Who is that girl?" in an awed tone was a Running Gag.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: The closer it is to sunset on a full moon night, the harder it is to resist his most primal urges.
  • Nerves of Steel: Not a man easily shaken by anything.
  • The Nose Knows: He had a highly enhanced sense of smell even when in human form. He was able to smell Willow from great distance although she didn't even wear perfume. He could also tell that she was fearful by her scent, mimicking an ability often attributed to many animals, especially canines.
  • Not a Morning Person: He sleeps until 3PM.
  • Not So Stoic: His trademark cool demeanor cracks when things get really serious. Willow being held hostage in "Choices" results in him quietly walking over to the vase he and Xander prepared for a ritual, and chucking it into the wall, smashing it to pieces.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: He approaches almost every situation with his trademark stoicism, even when he's in danger. The only time he ever loses his temper is when his werewolf's carnal desire gets the better of him, he shags Veruca (although, to be fair, part of the reason he did it was to lock her in with him so she couldn't be loose to hurt any innocents), and the two are caught by Willow. When Veruca tries to snark at Willow, Oz screams at her to leave.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is only mentioned once in the series, in "The Initiative" — which is incidentally the episode after he leaves.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: He transforms by moonlight but can control it with training.
  • Painful Transformation: Although his later transformations transpire much more quietly. Nevertheless he agrees with Veruca when she describes the first few stages as blood boiling.
  • Partial Transformation: Mode locked into a partial werewolf form during "Fear, Itself".
  • Put on a Bus: He leaves the series and is gone until "New Moon Rising".
  • The Quiet One: He's quite philosophical in his own head. Out loud, not so much.
    Xander: I see how he is around me. You know, that steely gaze... that pointed silence.
    Buffy: Cause he's usually such a chatterbox.
  • Retired Badass: A point of contention between him and Willow in Season 8 is the fact that he stopped fighting evil and started a family.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: To Tara for Willow in "New Moon Rising". Willow decided she was more interested in Tara.
  • Satellite Love Interest: His role on the show was entirely defined by being Willow's love interest. Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad in that he still managed to be a likeable and entertaining character.
  • Spiky Hair: Most of the time, and usually a different colour each episode.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Comes very close to invoking this voluntarily after it appears his struggles against his werewolf self are futile.
  • The Stoic: So, so much. His reaction upon finding out that he's a werewolf? "Huh." He has the same reaction with a bemused grin when he's meditating in Tibet and a submarine is teleported outside the temple.
  • Terse Talker: Take this exchange while Xander is quizzing him on what makes him "cool"-
    Xander: Is it about the talking? You know, the-the way you tend to express yourself in short, non-committal phrases?
    Oz: Could be.
  • Unfazed Everyman: He had the potential for this before going all wolfie. His reaction to discovering the existence of the supernatural (though he did react like that to everything...):
    Oz: Yeah. Hey, did everybody see that guy just turn to dust?
    Willow: Ohhh, well ... sort of.
    Xander: Yep. Vampires are real. A lot of them live in Sunnydale. Willow will fill you in.
    Willow: I know it's hard to accept at first.
    Oz: Actually, it explains a lot.
    • He has more of a reaction to Willow being with Xander than he does to:
      Helping find Buffy after she was turned into a rat, who then turns out to be naked when she's changed back.
      A student who's turned into Mr. Hyde wanting to kill him.
      Willow appearing to have become a vampire.
      Buffy gaining the ability to read his thoughts.
  • Walking the Earth: He leaves in Season 4 to do this, staying clear of humans and trying to find a cure.
  • Wolf Man: In Season 2, his werewolf form is portrayed as standing on two legs with a fully lupine head. In Seasons 3 and 4, it's portrayed as a quadruped with a muzzle-less face.


Riley Finn
"Turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse"."
Played By: Marc Blucas

"Yeah, I'm well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy's like nobody else in the world. When I'm with her, it's like — it's like I'm split in two — half of me is just on fire, goin' crazy if I'm not touching her. The other half is so still and peaceful, just perfectly content. Just knows, this is the one. But she doesn't love me."

Buffy's first serious boyfriend after Angel. He is initially an operative in a military organization called "The Initiative" that uses science and military technology to hunt down HS Ts or "hostile sub-terrestrials" (demons). Riley is Angel's opposite, an Iowa-born-and-raised man whose strength lies in his military secret identity. Buffy's superior physical strength causes him insecurity, particularly after his medically enhanced powers were removed.

  • Amazon Chaser: Double Subverted. He likes Buffy's strength and skill, but after a while the fact that she's stronger than him chips away at his self confidence. Then he marries a Badass Normal action girl instead of one with Super Strength.
  • Badass Normal: Despite being human, he displays the physical strength and endurance necessary to fight demons and vampires alike.
  • Battle Couple: Riley is eager to form one with Buffy, but she finds his lack of superpowers cramps her style. When Riley returns for one episode ("As You Were") in Season 6, he's married a Badass Normal Action Girl, forming a new Battle Couple.
  • Break the Cutie: When he's introduced, he is happy with his job at the Initiative and thinks they're doing good work, and all in all is a pretty normal guy, 'cept the whole demon-fighting thing. Then he falls in love with Buffy, who his boss and mother-figure tries to kill; he then learns that Maggie created a Frankenstein-like monster who will take over the world, and Riley is meant to become like the monster too. He gets discarded from the Initiative and loses his faith in what they did, and two people he cared about are turned either into zombies or Adam Mk. II by Adam. He then goes through horrible drug withdrawal from all the chemicals the Initiative pumped into him to make him into a Super Soldier. After that's all over, he comes to realize that no matter how much he loves Buffy, she doesn't feel as strongly about him and never really will. All these issues, especially Buffy's lack of love for him, lead to him masochistically paying female vampires to suck his blood, and eventually he leaves town completely.
  • The Bus Came Back: He returns in "As You Were", where we see he's still doing military operations. He also got over Buffy and married a fellow operative named Sam.
    • He also returns for small cameos in the comics, mostly in season 8, 10 and 11.
  • Character Shilling: A lot of characters go on about how great he is and how Buffy's apparently not treating him right; in "Into the Woods," Xander goes on about how Riley has given her everything and risked everything for her, whereas Buffy, still hurting over her breakup with Angel, has just treated him as the "convenient rebound guy," expecting him to be there when she needs him and to disappear when she doesn't. Of course, that doesn't match up with what we see. Riley becomes insecure over Buffy's attraction to darkness and resents her for "not spending enough time with him" when Buffy had to look after her mother (who was suffering from a life threatening and ultimately fatal brain aneurysm), goes to a vampire "whorehouse" (to get off on getting bitten by them), thinks Buffy is entirely to blame for his behavior, and gives her an ultimatum: he's leaving if she doesn't forgive him.
  • Combat Medic: One aspect of his Initiative training, as he competently treats a severe puncture wound that Buffy suffered to the abdomen in "Fool for Love".
  • Conflicting Loyalty: A key factor in his Season 4 arc is him being torn between the Initiative and the Scooby Gang, especially after Professor Walsh, his Parental Substitute, tries to have Buffy killed. When the Initiative captures Oz, a werewolf, and conducted inhumane experiments on him even after he reverted to human form, that's the straw that broke the camel's back; he promptly turns his back on them in favor of the Scoobies and helps Buffy and co. break Oz out.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: He was the polar opposite to Buffy's previous Love Interest Angel, the wholesome, easy-going farmboy to his brooding vampire.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: He was seen to have a fierce jealous streak in him, as he had quickly came to blows with Angel in an alleyway while he was on his way to apologize to Buffy and had violently confronted Spike on three separate occasions—particularly notable for the latter, as Buffy showed no particular interest in Spike at the time and Spike's own affections for Buffy were only sussed out by Riley in their final confrontation.
  • Down on the Farm: Lampshaded by Riley Finn when he describes to Buffy the farm he grew up on, and admits he's making it sound like a Grant Wood painting. Later when Buffy finds out Riley is a secret agent, she naturally assumes this is all a front. Riley says that no, he really did grow up on a small farm in Iowa.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: "We can do this the hard way, or the fatal way."
  • Expy: Owed to its nature of genetic super-soldier and his patriotic comportment, he seems to be a Shout-Out to Captain America.
  • Fantastic Drug: Became addicted to having his blood sucked by vampire prostitutes. No, that is not an Unusual Euphemism.
  • Fantastic Racism: At first he blasts the Scoobies and Willy the Snitch for harboring Spike and serving demons at his bar respectively, and later made negative comments on Willow's relationship with Oz, a werewolf. While he mostly grows out of it, some of it still remains; in "Buffy vs. Dracula," he makes it clear that unlike Buffy, he has no qualms against dusting a helpless Spike, and in the Season 8 comics, Angel outright describes him as "very humans first."
    • In the Season 10 comics, he is made the military contact of the new Magic Council, and gets blasted for referring to himself as a representative of "normal" people, with one councilman outright calling him a bigot for implying nonhumans aren't "normal."
  • Farm Boy: From Iowa, no less. "growing up on a farm" is his real backstory, not cover story.
  • Feel No Pain: An eventual side-effect of Professor Walsh's experiments, though the strain it put on his body led to a Hollywood Heart Attack.
  • For Science!: As a psychology major, his more curious interests occasionally pop up, like when Xander was accidentally doubled.
    Riley: Psychologically, this is fascinating! Doesn't it make everyone wanna lock them in separate rooms and do experiments on them?
    Giles: (Beat)
    Riley: ...Just me, then.
  • The Generic Guy: Compared to Buffy's other bad-boy love interests (Angel, Spike, and Parker), at the core Riley's just a normal, squeaky-clean, church-going guy from the midwestern US.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Accidentally sleeping with Faith (in Buffy guise). His tenderness is so alien to the typically down-and-dirty Faith that she freaks out.
  • Happily Married: He returns in Season 6 with a wife. Their happiness together is a 180 contrast to the self-destructive Spuffy going on at the time.
  • Love Interest: For Buffy, for Season 4 and part of 5.
  • Momma's Boy: Raised by his mother and has no trouble accepting Maggie Walsh's authority. That he regards her as a Parental Substitute is lampshaded by Adam, and he takes both her death and the revelation that she was secretly experimenting on him hard.
  • Mr. Fanservice: As is customary for Buffy's Love Interest, he has at least as many Shirtless Scenes as Angel.
  • Nice Guy: In Season 6 when he returns to find Buffy working in a dead-end job and sleeping with Spike, Riley refuses to condemn her for it, instead giving Buffy the encouragement to start pulling her life back together.
  • One Head Taller: Marc Blucas' height made scenes where he had to kiss the diminutive Sarah Michelle Gellar a bit awkward.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: In "Who Are You?", Buffy turns up at a church where vampires have taken the congregation hostage, and finds him already taking charge of the crisis.
    "How'd you get here so fast?"
    "I didn't, I'm just late for church."
  • The Reliable One: Buffy herself has described him as very reliable and solid, which was proven to be true on many occasions throughout their dating years.
  • Restraining Bolt: In "Primeval," it's revealed that Professor Walsh implanted him with a microchip that ties directly into his central nervous system through his thoracic nerve in order to control his motor functions, which Adam activates in order to pacify him while his plans reach their fruition. During the fight, Riley literally cuts it out of his body in order to save Buffy.
  • The Rival: With Angel and Spike, for obvious reasons. He mostly gets over it.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: He has a successful relationship with Buffy for some time, but it's made plain that she doesn't love him the way she loved Angel.
  • Rugged Scar: After coming back in Season 6, he is shown to be much more proficient and gained a really cool scar over an eye.
  • Scars Are Forever: When he comes back in "As You Were", he has your standard Awesome McCool scar across his left eye. He also has one from when he cut out Adam's mind control chip, and probably has another from when Adam stabbed him.
  • Super Soldier: On the mild side of "super", but he and the other Initiative troops are chemically augmented.
  • Super Strength: For a time, he possessed enhanced physical strength due to the drugs he was secretly fed, though nowhere near the level of a Slayer, but lost these abilities after suffering symptoms of long term withdrawal from the drugs, including surpassed pain receptors, rapid heart rate and eventually a heart attack.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 5, where his attempts to become Darker and Edgier because it's what Buffy likes ultimately lead to their breakup.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In his one cameo in season 6, as well as when he features in the comics. He's Happily Married and massively matured since he was a part of the Scooby Gang, and even seems to have gotten over his resentment towards Spike.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: He makes negative comments about Oz being a werewolf, leading to Buffy angrily calling him a bigot. However, when the Initiative capture and torture a human Oz despite his objections, he snaps out of it.
  • Wham Line: "But she doesn't love me."


Tara Maclay
"Um, that-that was funny if you, um, studied Taglarin mythic rites…and are a complete dork."
Played By: Amber Benson

"Nobody messes with my girl."

A fellow member of a Wicca group during Willow's first year of college. Their close friendship evolves into an ongoing romantic relationship. Tara uses her magical skills to assist the Scooby Gang in their fight against evil, and she struggles with how to deal with Willow's growing addiction to magic.

  • Abusive Parents: More like Abusive Family. As part of her family's misogynistic tyranny of the women of the clan, they told her she was half-demon her entire life and that if she ever left them for too long, she'd turn into a monster. Her father doesn't even need to raise her voice to terrify Tara, her cousin is a vicious bitch and her brother explicitly threatens to beat her up if she doesn't come with them.
  • Action Girl: While she's not as tough as Buffy, Willow, or Anya, she's still able to hold her own in combat when she needs to. She's only weak in comparison to her much stronger and knowledgable friends.
  • Adorkable: She's just as geeky as the other Scoobies and as cute as Miss Kitty Fantastico.
  • All-Loving Hero: Her most commendable and endearing traits were, undoubtedly, her compassion, her understanding, and her capacity for forgiveness when it was truly deserved. For instance, when Joyce died, Tara was the one who offered Buffy the only helpful guidance, having experienced the exact same grief when she lost her own mother.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Miss Kitty Fantastico! Though Tara was more interested in having a Cute Kitten than a witch's familiar.
  • And I Must Scream: Is stuck in this state from "Tough Love" to "The Gift" after Glory Mind Rapes her. Glory describes her brain-sucking as essentially trapping them in a Black Bug Room, and it's made clear at different points, such as the horrified reaction on her face when she slaps Willow in "The Gift," that Tara is fully aware of what she's doing and what's going on, but she can't stop herself; Glory essentially disconnected her from her body.
  • Bad Liar: In "Intervention," Spike makes a Buffybot to have sex with, and Tara tells Dawn that he made it to play checkers with ("It sounded convincing when I thought it"). Dawn, of course, doesn't buy it for a second.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She is, by far, the gentlest of the Scoobies, both past and present. That said, she's no longer the milquetoast she used to be: she outright threatens a fight with Anya when the latter tries to force Willow to use magic, and she implicitly threatens Spike when the latter gets too sexually aggressive with Buffy. It's enough that both wither at the thought of pissing Tara off.
  • Break the Cutie: She's first introduced as shy and insecure with no social contact at all until she meets Willow. Then we learn that Tara's mother died when she was 17, and she needed to deal with all her family's problems while being psychologically abused by her father, who convinced her she was a demon. Just as she finds a sense of belonging and grows happy in her relationship, she is mentally violated by a hell god that steals her sanity. She is cured later on, but then further manipulated by her lover, who takes her memories. Worst of all, as she begins to reconcile she gets shot and killed off for real. Break the cutie indeed, as well as break the fanbase.
  • Character Death: In one of the most iconic and devastating moments in the entire series, Tara is killed by a stray bullet intended for Buffy, fired by Big Bad Warren Mears.
  • Character Development: She really came out of her shell during her time with Scoobies, finding her confidence and inner strength. When we first meet her, she's so afraid to speak up she that she stammers. By season six, she's snarking with the rest.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: A mild case: she gets hurt and upset if Willow so much as looks at another girl, such as when April is noticed to be attractive or examining the Buffybot and Tara feels threatened that there is some attraction there.
  • Closet Key: Willow didn't know she was into girls until she met Tara.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality: See Red Oni, Blue Oni. Tara also wears brighter and more attractive clothes in later seasons as she gains in confidence.
  • The Confidant: The only Scooby that Buffy risks confessing to about her Secret Relationship with Spike. Tara is so sympathetic that a self-loathing Buffy breaks down in tears, begging Tara not to forgive her.
  • The Conscience: Tara tends to put others first, and tries to end Willow's abuse of magic. She ends their relationship when she won't listen, but still hangs around to give Dawn some much-needed mothering.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: She replaced Oz as Willow's Love Interest. Whereas he was a quiet, laid-back werewolf, she was a shy lesbian wicca.
  • Cure Your Gays: Parodied in "Once More, With Feeling."
    "Oh my God, I'm cured! I want the boys!" (pretends to run off, only to collapse giggling into Willow's arms)
  • Cute Witch: She practices magic and is one of the sweetest, most adorable characters in the show.
  • Fake Guest Star: Despite appearing in almost fifty episodes, she's still billed a guest star. Eventually she gets Promoted to Opening Titles, but that's just a cruel trick by Joss, the ginger dominatrix of fandom.
    • In fact, this was more-or-less confirmed by Whedon to be an intentionally evil check on his bucket list (given that he'd wanted to do this with Eric Balfour as Jesse, who was killed in the Pilot); he'd always wanted to kill a character in the first episode they received star billing, and he knew that whomever was dating Willow was destined to die, hence Benson not receiving star billing despite being a regular in all but name.
  • Family of Choice: After finding out her father and brother lied to her her whole life and she isn't a demon at all, she severs all ties with her biological family in favor of the Scooby Gang.
  • Famous Last Words: "Your shirt..."
  • Grew a Spine: When we first meet her, she's shy, awkward and reserved, afraid to speak up for herself as a result of her upbringing. Being with the Scoobies saw her gain confidence, especially when they send said awful family packing. As time goes on, she's as brave and snarky as the others, even telling Anya to back off when she tries to bully Willow into using magic.
  • Hot Witch: Lampshaded in "Once More With Feeling"; having gained in confidence thanks to her relationship with Willow, she's dressing a lot more attractively.
  • Hypocrite: In "Intervention," she at first tries to defend Buffy's actions when Xander and Anya insist that Buffy's grief over Joyce's death has driven her insane, stating that she herself did dumb things like lying to her family and staying out at night while grieving her own mother. When Anya clarifies that Buffy (actually the Buffybot) is having sex with Spike, Tara immediately backpedals and agrees with their assessment.
    Willow: [struggling to understand] Oh. Well, Tara's right, grief can be powerful and we shouldn't judge—
    Tara: What, are you kidding? She's nuts!
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Word of Saint Paul has it that one of the reasons Tara never appears as a shade to tempt Willow is that she herself was never tempted by evil, making her basically unique among the characters on the show, and meaning that evil entities can't usurp her appearance to corrupt others.
  • Instant Death Bullet: After being shot by Warren, she manages to get two words out and drops, dead before she hits the ground.
  • Killed Off for Real: Since her death was not a supernatural one, Willow cannot bring her back as she did Buffy at the beginning of the season. She's permanently dead.
  • Kill the Cutie: Warren shows up with the intention to kill Buffy, only for a stray bullet to accidentally hit Tara as well, and she dies almost instantly.
  • Magic Misfire: While usually the poster-girl for ethical and responsible witchcraft, she has one of these in "Family." Falsely believing that she's part-demon, she casts a spell to hide it from the other Scoobies, but it ends up making all demons invisible to them. Mortal danger ensues when around the same time, Glory forcibly recruits a horde of demons to kill Buffy, and Tara barely manages to show up in time to realize the spell has gone wrong and undo it.
  • Mind Rape: What Glory did in "Tough Love," and what Willow did in "All The Way." It's referred to as "mind sucking".
  • Nice Girl: Tara is easily one of the nicest members of the Scooby Gang; she's sweet, thoughtful, naturally kind, non-judgmental, and responsible.
  • N-Word Privileges: In this cut scene from "Dead Things".
    "Sweetie, I'm a fag. I've been there."
  • Only Sane Woman: Compared to most of the other Scoobies, she has the fewest issues to deal with personally: this makes her a naturally maternal and wise figure in their group, especially after Joyce passes away and Giles leaves town. She helps with Willow's magic addiction, Buffy's pain after her resurrection, and Dawn's depression, all without getting overwhelmed.
  • Parental Substitute: She and Willow take care of Dawn after Buffy dies. Even after they split, Tara still played a role in Dawn's life, spending time with her in the manner of a divorced parent sharing joint custody.
  • The Prankster: She was quite playful and not above winding her friends up on occasion, like tricking Dawn into seeing a book with a funnily-endowed demon, teasing Willow about being cured when she thinks men might be attracted to her, or cock-blocking Spike.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: For one episode, to trick the fans into thinking she's safe. Whedon is a cruel mistress.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: When Willow and Tara first meet in Season 4, Tara wears blue and Willow wears red — Tara is shy, cautious yet with longer experience in magic use, while Willow is more powerful, impulsive and (by that stage) outgoing in personality.
  • The Reliable One: Mature, grounded, sensible, caring and the only one to not turn evil or be corrupted at least once.
  • Satellite Character: At least initially, she doesn't get much in the way of a storyline outside of being Willow's girlfriend. Later on, she ends up having her own A-plots and generally much more significance to the point of being an integral and independent member of the group, such as in "Family," "Tough Love," "All The Way," and tragically, "Seeing Red."
  • Shrinking Violet: Early on, when she's nervous and introverted. When she begins a relationship with Willow and subsequently gains her friends (and overcomes her family issues) she becomes much more confident.
  • Speech Impediment: Clearly an artifact of her abusive childhood, as it gets worse when her family comes to town, but almost disappears once she gains more confidence in herself.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Her death occurs for the sole purpose of pushing Willow over the edge and transforming her into Dark Willow.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Her death comes out of absolutely nowhere and was over very quickly.
  • Team Mom: She became a surrogate mother of sorts to the Scoobies, caring for Dawn when Buffy was busy with slaying or too emotionally cut off.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Without a doubt the kindest, most mature and most good-natured character of the series - and several critics have noted that of all the Buffyverse regulars, she's the only one never to be even temporarily seduced by evil, making her the only true Morality Chain for literally everybody else. And this being a Joss Whedon show, she ends up getting shot and killed for no real reason by one of the most loathsome villains in the series. Doesn't make it any less of a shock.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Progressively throughout Seasons 5 and 6, she becomes more formidable by gaining greater confidence.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Even though her skills are on the research and magic side, so she otherwise never gets physically involved in battles, when Willow is threatened? Lack of weapons training is irrelevant, she's getting a one-blow instant kill with an axe.
  • Wham Line: If you thought Willow and Tara were "just friends"...
    Tara: I am, you know.
    Willow: What?
    Tara: Yours.
  • White Sheep: Tara is the only good egg in the entire rotten Maclay clan, and they still presume to take the moral high ground.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: Despite being the most innocent of the Scoobies, Tara takes the revelation of Joyce's death much more like an adult than any other member of the gang. We later learn it's because her own mother died when she was 17, so she's been through this before.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: