If there’s one thing that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series did very well, it was the one-shot villains.
Week in, week out, Buffy and her gang of ‘Scoobies’ would have to battle a different menace on the journey to facing off with that respective season’s ‘big bad’ – such as The Master, Mayor Wilkins, Adam, Glory or the First Evil.
There were villainous characters who were based on those from other works of fiction and some created from scratch (from the mind of Joss Whedon, nonetheless). There were supernatural foes, humans, robots, demons… you name it, Buffy and company probably faced-off with it.
With seven seasons worth of nasties to choose from, it’s pretty difficult to pick an absolute top ten.
But, for what it’s worth, here’s my effort to do exactly that! Here are the best ten single episode villains from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
10. Pete Clarner
Episode: Beauty and the Beasts (Season 3, Episode 4)
Pete Clarner was a student at Sunnydale High who created a potion with the intent of making himself stronger and more desirable to his girlfriend Debbie, whom he thought was going to leave him.
The potion ended up making Pete mutate when he was angry. He became a disfigured, demonic looking version of himself with razor sharp claws – in addition to the desired effect of boosted strength.
Such was Pete’s envy of Debbie’s relationship with Jeff, a fellow student, and Stephen Platt, Sunnydale High’s guidance counsellor, that he killed them. He carried the attacks out so viciously, that upon their discovery, Buffy et al initially thought the attacks must have been carried out by Oz in werewolf form or the feral, recently returned from hell Angel.
Debbie exposed Pete for his deeds, angering him to the extent that he killed her, and Buffy looked to bring him down. She caught up with him but he quickly overpowered her and it was only the interference of Angel that swayed the fight in favour of the good guys. Angel ultimately caught Pete by surprise and broke his neck, bringing his brief reign of terror to a stop.
Having been a match for Oz in werewolf form in a previous encounter, a match for Angel before being caught by surprise, and a match for Buffy herself, Pete Clarner was a formidable foe.
This article was first posted on March 13, 2013