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April 30 2010

The top six deaths in the Whedonverse. And there's so many to choose from.

Whaaaaaaat!!!???? Wrong wrong wrong. Tara should be at least #3. Doyle and Jenny shouldn't even be there and as for #1, ummm, how about Buffy?
What? No Topher sacrifice? No Buffy's death from The Gift?
Definitely a very flawed list.
Although I never really warmed up to Paul Ballard and to potential Amanda (nobody beats Vi, as my favorite potential), I'd include their deaths in there somewhere also. In the same range, would be Renee's death in Wolves at the Gate, if we'd like to mention something that wasn't on the screen, but rather on page.
Jonathan should deserve a mention too, just for then way his death was handled.

Villains death wise, Caleb deserves an honorable mention just for being sawed in half by the scythe.

ETA: What mossome said below.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2010-04-30 09:54 ]
How did Wesley not even make it on the honorable mentions? His death scene is the most touching part of the amazing Angel series finale. I think it should of at least been mentioned (especially when Warren's was!).
Doyle and Jenny shouldn't even be there

Jenny's death was the first Whedon death I ever saw on screen and it really hit me so it would be the number one choice for me. As for Doyle, Glenn Quinn knocked "too bad we'll never know if this is a face you could learn to love" out of the park.
Agree about Jenny. That was the "shit just got real" episode for me.

Where's FRED?!?
How can Fred's death not even be mentioned?
No Wesley? No Fred? It's crazy to not include them, at least in the honorable mentions.
Angel died only in After the Fall
Wow... so wrong.

My top 10:

1) Fred
2) Wash
3) Wesley
4) Tara
5) Cordy
6) Anya
7) Topher
8) Buffy, The Gift
9) Jenny
10) Penny, Doyle, Ballard (sort of?) -- Couldn't choose

I've said it before. It's sad when we live in a fandom where there are so many main(ish) character deaths that we have to debate which one is best. So depressing. But so good.
Buffy at the end of The Gift was pretty heart breaking too.
Jenny's death is definitely number one. It was the first true death, the most brutal -- Jenny is terrorized and murdered by someone who had been the one who'd rescued her from Eyghon.

Doyle had been barely sketched out when he died. The affection for the character is there, and it's important that he passes on the visions, but Tara was the maternal heart of the show after Joyce's death.

I've never gotten into 'Firefly', so I don't know about Wash, but it'd be hard to imagine that it would be bigger than Buffy 'Close your eyes' and the horror & anguish of that moment.
I'd have to argue for Topher's death in the top 6. That had me bawling my eyes out, but compared to Angel's death in Becoming Pt 2 - I don't think I've ever cried that much watching anything. While Jenny's death was shocking and heart-wrenching - I felt so broken for Giles - Angel's death hit me hard. I didn't expect it in the slightest and thought there would be some twist at the eleventh hour, perhaps even some deus ex machina moment.

As a latecomer to the Whedonverse, I knew of Tara's death before actually watching it so it wasn't as particularly resonant as some of the others unfortunately. I think Fred, Wesley and Cordelia definitely deserved to be on the list, and an honourable mention for Darla. Buffy is also a must-have. No list can be complete without her death, especially given the others considered.
Does Spike going into flames at the end of Chosen count?
I thought Jenny's death was good, but seriously, Angel didn't even die, contrary to Buffy who had two death scenes to chose from, or Spike, who blew up the hellmouth. The list is lacking.

[ edited by Changeling on 2010-04-30 11:14 ]
Damn shame. No one even mentioned Shepherd Book!
bluegrrl , Wash's death was astoundingly powerful and heart-wrenching. He truly belongs there. But so do Buffy (twice? "I'm sixteen. I don't want to die.") and Spike, choosing to stay to close the Hellmouth and going up in flames, laughing. And Wesley and Fred - so perfectly paralleled and heartbreaking.

Let's face it, with Joss, six is just not enough. He certainly is one stylish mass-murderer. On screen at least. Not, I hope, anywhere else. Going away now...
List. Bad.
I'd go with Wash. Biggest shock, and yet cathartic for me, having recently lost my dad.

Tara should be in the first place, she was the one who kept things and people together while everyone else was busy with their things.

Plus she's Tara.

And the second place should be reserved for Fred.

I like Doyle being in the list: Angel was my first experience with the Whedonverse and I literally couldn't believe he was really, permanently dead for several episodes. I kept thinking that they would somehow bring him back.
Kudos to this list. When l watch episodes of the death of these characters esp Joyce and Jenny, l still get choked up. l am alittle disappointed that Kendra didn't make the list.
1. Wesley
2. Fred
3. Wash
4. Tara
5. Buffy, The Gift
6. Spike, Chosen
7. Angel
8. Cordelia
9. Topher
10. Joyce, Jenny, Penny

I know Spike didn't really die, but man, when I saw Chosen I was so sad when he died.
Wesley and Fred's deaths = sadder than anything else I've ever seen.
These lists. I feel like I'm caught in Life Serial. How about a death list that are obscurer Whedon deaths which move us, like Holden in Conversations with Dead People, or Cassie Newton in Help. Only seldom discussed.
PENNY. Even though we all should have seen it coming. Ouch, that one really hurt.
At the very least, at the bottom of said list, I would've included the death of the unnamed Buffy doppelganger Slayer from "The Chain."

Fred needed to be on there, as did Buffy herself.

Jenny? Really?
Do "deaths" really count if the character isn't really dead? I think the truly permanent deaths were more significant. I mean, how many times has Buffy died? Each time, it loses a bit of its punch.

I thought Jenny's death was the first truly disturbing death on the show. It was the no-turning-back moment in the season.
You know l'm mad at myself for forgetting buffy and fred's death they each had a tremendous impact on all of us fans, even though buffy lived again and fred became illyria, lt made us feel we had lost a part of ourselves.
What? No mention of the one that started it all? (Not counting Merrick, that movie never existed). What about Jesse. The guy was the first to really get the Joss treatment. He was set up as if he was going to be a main part of scoobie gang and was Jossed in the very second BtVS episode. I always thought that it would have been awesome for Xander to have talked to him in "Conversations with Dead People" instead of not appearing in the ep at all.

[ edited by Crypto on 2010-04-30 15:01 ]
Buffy's death in "The Gift," despite the fact that she had died before, held, perhaps, the most emotional resonance for me. Hearing her speech and seeing the look of pain and then peace on her face as she fell (not to mention the reaction of the Scoobies), really hit me. Ditto Angel's death in Becoming Part 2. Jenny's was the first TV death ever to hit me to the point of tears. Anya's death in "Chosen" had me crying, but then I was crying for most of that episode the first time I saw it, anyway. I'm not even going to go into my heartbreak over Tara.

Fred's had me seriously torn up, as did Wesley's. Doyle's got me, but I didn't have as much time to get attached to him as I did with the others (perhaps that was merciful). Wash's got to me pretty good. And Penny, poor, sweet Penny.

It would be impossible to rank these other than putting Buffy at number one given my emotional ties to that character are stronger than the rest. It's not a terrible list in the link, it just doesn't fit with how emotionally impacted I was by Whedonverse deaths. Joyce's was tough, but she'd been battling that tumor and I was half expecting it--it was the reactions of the Scoobies that brought on my tears more than anything (Anya's speech, for example).
I don't know if anyone has noticed this before, but Joss kills a lot of characters.

Doyle ahead of Tara? Puh-leez. I do understand Jenny Calendar being first. That's when I realized Joss was not to be taken lightly. After that, threats were real, and no one was safe.
Can't believe they left off Fred - that's my number one saddest Whedon death. Heartbreaking.
List. Bad.

I think shey needs some coffee this morning ;).

Well, I love me a good "best death" list! In terms of how affecting they were, it's easy for me to pick a top 4: Buffy in the Gift, Angel in Becoming part 2, Tara and Joyce. The Buffy and Angel deaths were just pure catharsis, and I can still cry rewatching those eps. I was also totally heartbroken by the losses of Tara and Joyce. I loved both of those characters, missed them terribly, and thought their deaths gave a huge amount to the story and the journeys of the surviving characters.

I'm with most of yez - Jenny does belong on a top death (!) list, because it is the moment we realize that this show isn't going to give us any easy happy endings, and it's such a horrifying well-executed and unexpected death too. I don't think Jesse's death in the first episode had nearly the same effect. He was supposed to be Xander's best friend, but we didn't know him or love him. Jenny was part of the gang, she was a real developed character, we were invested in this budding relationship between her and Giles. Her death was so shocking, and was also the point of no return for Angel. Things couldn't turn out alright after that. (God that season was brilliant in so many ways).

Fred was never my favorite character, but her death was probably my favorite death scene in any show ever. Holy crap but Amy Acker rocks. The sheer rage with which she confronted her death ("I survived five years in a cave, I'm not going to be taken down by a killer flu, I'm better than that!" and oh god, "tell my parents I wasn't scared") and Wesley's utter despair and devastation watching her die. And then Illyria. Best Death Scene EVER. *shudders thinking of it*

I was also not that invested in Doyle, honestly, but I think his death served the same purpose as Jenny's to some extent and as Simon said, his performance was stellar.

Some characters I didn't really grieve for but I still enjoyed their deaths (wow, does that sound all kinds of wrong... maybe I should say "appreciated" instead of "enjoyed"... doesn't help, does it) - like Lindsey. I thought Lorne killing him was perfect. So so sad, and Lindsey: "Angel kills me, not you!" Lilah after death was pretty awesome too, talking to Wesley while he got ready to behead her body.

I was not at all a fan of Anya's death, or Wash's. Both of them felt irrelevant to the story, inserted purely for shock value and to "upset" the audience. They felt flat and contrived to me. Anya in particular. I thought she deserved a lot better. (I know. "people die" blah blah, but it's a story and a lot of Whedony deaths have been brilliant parts of the story and driving forces behind the story... not these two).

By the time Cordy died she hadn't been Cordy for so long. It was a nice ep when she came back, but still not enough to get the bad taste out of my mouth. That was a major waste of an awesome character.

Topher and Ballard... I think both those deaths were well done but I was so disappointed by so many things about the Dollhouse conclusion that I was just in shrug mode I guess. Certainly neither wrung any tears from me (which isn't hard to do, I'm a total crybaby).

And I'm so sorry about your dad, redeem147.
@mutt999 For what it's worth, I was more upset with Book dying than with Wash. when Wash got staked I remember laughing. What, it was kind of funny!
Joyce should have been higher on the list.
I have a slight issue with the ordering...and while I don't personally feel that Jenny should hold the top slot, her death was upsetting, absolutely. Did it have the most impact on me as far as deaths on Joss' projects? Not by a long shot. I think that my list would be like so: 6. Doyle 5. Wash 4. Tara 3. Joyce 2. Penny 1. Fred

Wow, that was quite hard! I'm never any good at lists, mainly because I'm so indecisive! I think that honorable mentions should go to Cordelia, Buffy (of course! I mean, she saved the world. A lot!), Angel, Topher, Anya, and Shepherd Book. And yeah...Jonathan. The reason I picked Joyce, Penny, and Fred at the top is that no matter how many times I see those deaths, I cry like a baby (I was gonna quote Mr. Universe here but I thought two quotes in one post would be a little over the top lol); okay so I always cry at the end of The Gift and when Tara gets shot too! I swear that I am not overly emotional and it usually takes a lot to make me cry. Joss however, seems to have it down to a fine art! He's such a clever lad :p
Glad to see Jenny's death was #1. It wasn't the most heart-wrenching scene enacted on a Joss show but it was the most shocking, I felt.

Best thing about this list though was that the writer of it called Joss the Grim Reaper. :)
I think the reason Fred got left off was that after she was gone, she was still there, as Illyria, of course, but there she was nonetheless, sort of.

Yeah, Joss kills people. I think it is getting old already (well, not already; a long time ago), because it is so predictable. Like with Penny, what a shock that was. Not.
I second the people annoyed that they didn't include Fred and Wesley, even in the 'honourable mention' list..
I am going to shock people and say the death of Fred did very little for me. Don't get me wrong, Fred is one of my favourite characters from Angel, but I came to season 5 of Angel really late and knew all about it from the very start of the season. The second she became ill, I knew exactly where we were heading. There was no "she can't die" for me, as I knew all along that she would and that Illyria was going to come along and take her place. I've only watched 'A Hole in the World' once and I actually imagine it will probably have more of an affect on me watching it again, but for my first viewing it was the emotional turmoil that everyone always talks about. Wesley's death was slightly more powerful, because of the reappearance of Fred, but I once again knew it was coming.

Jenny's death was definitely one of the most shocking for me. I remember just being completely dumbstruck after that episode, so much so that I could barely remember the aftermath of it until I rewatched. I was then even more devastated by the scenes of Giles finding the body and the when Willow is on the phone. It was one of those real sit up and take notice moments that won me completely over to the show, much more than Angel's transformation. From that moment on, you knew everyone was vulnerable.

Similarly, Wash's death made those final moments of 'Serenity' to be really tense. For one of the first times in ages, I was watching an action film and not knowing whether they would succeed. I really did wonder if they would all end up being slaughtered and that Alliance could win.

And Buffy saying "Mum. Mum. Mummy" at the end of 'I Was Made to Love You' is one of the most soul crashing lines to ever be said on any of Joss's shows.

@Dana5140 - I don't think it is that Joss kills a lot of his characters off, I think it is more that no other write dares to kill anyone off. The fact that Joss is generally writing fiction that deals with dangerous situations means that people are going to have to die at some point. It makes much more sense to kill people that the audience actual have some affection for, rather than characters that have just turned up for that episode. If other writers would actually treat their characters as vulnerable, then I doubt Joss would seem so sadistic or be considered a one-trick pony by some.

I will admit, I did have a moment of "should have seen that coming" when Penny died, which did make it less powerful, but what really came as a shock was the affect the death had on Dr. Horrible. That closing shot of him singing "alone" straight into the camera was one of the most painful things I had seen. I really believe that the ending to Dr. Horrible is probably the darkest conclusion Joss has ever done.
No Wesley or Fred? Not even in the honorable mentions? Aways nice to see lists. But fail.
Fred is the saddest death I've seen on TV. I wish they would have gotten a sixth season, as Amy is quoted as saying Illyria would have become a separate person, who just took the shape of her, if there was one.
zee said:

l am alittle disappointed that Kendra didn't make the list.

me too. i almost quit watching btvs at that very moment. seriously. as a slayer, her death has far reaching consequences, consequences that should garner her at least an honorable mention, but alas...

Waterkeeper511 said:

...I would've included the death of the unnamed Buffy doppelganger Slayer from "The Chain."

and Numfar PTB said:

...Renee's death in Wolves at the Gate...

oh man, yes. the doppelganger's death is something that i find myself absentmindedly contemplating every once in awhile; talk about the mission being what matters. and renee... i mean seriously?

tonya j said:

How about a death list that are obscurer Whedon deaths which move us...

yes to this too; alonna gunn, linwood morrow and nolan kinnard spring to mind.

the one whedonverse death that made me literally stand up and scream at the television was bennett's on dollhouse. i was so mad at myself for letting myself get sucked into the happiness because i knew!! i knew, goddangit, what was going to happen as soon as she and topher landed on the same page. i knew!!! and still, shocked to tears.

and fred's death still makes me cry.

p.s. i also hollered at david fury to keep that whedonverse stuff to himself during this season of 24.

[ edited by tjbw on 2010-04-30 20:17 ]
How about a death list that are obscurer Whedon deaths which move us...

Cassie Newton in 'Helpless', without a doubt. Making you think Buffy was able to save her was just cruel.
Deaths that I will never forget without an ache in my heart: Doyle, Joyce, Tara, Jenny, Jonathan, Fred, Wesley, Wash, Topher.

Buffy’s swan dive - but mostly it was the reaction of the gang that broke me. And she came back ;)

Spike’s is important too - but barely an ache there because of spoilers to Angel. Poo.

Never liked Paul - besides, he’s not ‘really’ gone.

I still flinch when I watch Serenity, that scene. WASH! *sobs*

Tara’s shirt KILLS me.

Giles broke it for me with Jenny.

JOYCE. I couldn’t look at my mom that day without wanting to hug her. Don’t get me started with finding her asleep on the couch the next day and near panicking.

It’s too hard to watch season 1 Angel because of Doyle. And Cordelia’s death was the more powerful with his memory.

No matter how far Andrew came, I can never forget or completely forgive what he did to his best friend. Jonathan was there from the beginning! *sniff grumble* he would’ve so ruled comic world.

Fred. Damn. What can you say? I never could really get behind the Illyria wagon coz I keep looking at her and hate her for taking Fred from us!

Wesley. UGH.

*blink* Poor Angel lost all his supporting human main cast.
mirage said:

*blink* Poor Angel lost all his supporting human main cast.

i haven't read ats S6 yet because i am waiting for it to be all done, but from what i've heard, gunn fits into this too, so i guess his death should be added to the list also; of course, from other things i've heard, his death fits into the 'maybe' category (like spike and fred) since he doesn't stay dead? (yes, question mark.)
tjbw, as the resident pedant mod, could I remind you to capitalize words where appropriate in your comments, as per Whedonesque rules? (Relevant excerpt: "Please use proper grammar, capitalization and spelling as best as you can. This will help keep the discussion on topic and it makes your posts easier to read.") Cheers.
I have a serious bittersweet relationship with these lists...they make me yell "Yes I agree!" at times and then others are just -- No. But I would say it wasn't too bad. Wash and Angel were the two that always destroy me, but everyone else not so much. I would have definitely put Wesley(cried like a baby), Topher(Still baby crying), Penny, and I guess Doyle can stay, but only as #6 since in basics, he went out the most heroic(Out of my list, Buffy still reigns for heroism in deaths) and its hard for me to sad cause I know he made a good choice and I choose to salute him instead.

But I have to say these lists are almost impossible to make because usually it's not the deaths themselves that are killer, it's how they're done and how the people react. So. Yes. I've said my two bits.

[ edited by xWolffspridex on 2010-04-30 23:03 ]
I always find it interesting that people include Doyle. Yes it was sad, but we only knew him for half a season, whereas we lost a lot of characters after knowing them for multiple seasons, which for me is a lot harder. My list would be as follows.

6. Wash/Anya (tied, because although I loved both these characters, their deaths were too quick for me to really process, and therefore be too upset about.)

5. Fred (was not a fan of the character really, but that scene hurt. It was brutal.)

4. Buffy - The Gift (the sacrifice she makes for Dawn and the world always gets me.)

3. Joyce (The Body, nuff said)

2. Tara (terrible, terrible, terrible)

1. Wesley (just a tragic figure all around, and an extra tragic death scene to go along with it. That scene tears me up inside)

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2010-05-01 00:36 ]
I think shey needs some coffee this morning ;).
catherine | April 30, 15:03 CET

Actually, it was a case of wee hours, I-should-have-been-in-bed- hours-ago o'clock. ;)

To elaborate a bit: No Buffy, no Spike, no Fred, no Topher = list, bad. Although to be fair, for the entire Whedonverse, the list should have been a "top 10", at the very least.
And I did appreciate Jenny on the list. That moment was a game changer for the series, and so beautifully done, from a strictly cinematic/artistic POV - shocking and gut wrenching.
I am quite surprised that between this thread and the original article no one even gave a mention to Darla's death. I found it to be very well written and acted and think that at the least it should have gotten an honorable mention.
We knew Angel wasn't actually dead anyway, so that's really not legit.
I thought he was dead at the time. It was very shocking to see Buffy kill her lover to save the world.
I'll accept the argument that Jenny is #1 because she's the first. But then if we're using that criteria, Doyle needs to rank higher. Mainly because that establishes a pattern in Angel (and later episodes of other series) that ANY charecter is fair game.

To me, Doyle is actually the game-changer. A lot of series will use the death of a minor (albeit liked) charecter for emotional punch. But the idea that a main charecter could die randomly, less than one season into the show and leave a string of unresolved narratives in his wake... well, that's how you create a sense of life and death tension.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-05-01 20:42 ]

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