There are many reasons to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but one of the show’s greatest assets is the central cast of characters. These nuanced individuals are the heart and soul of the show and undertake terrific personal journeys over more than a hundred episodes of television.
But the show also succeeds when it comes to its secondary characters. Every season features an array of memorable personalities who make their mark despite only appearing in one episode.
Due to the show’s monster-of-the-week formula (which is particularly noticeable in the earlier seasons), there are lots of great villains who just appear in a single episode. These nasty demons grab our attention with their creepy dialogue, their repulsive appearances, and their frightening abilities. But there are also some one-off characters who are morally ambiguous and hide their true motives until later on in the episode.
Though the Scooby Gang will always be the most important characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the following individuals are still highly commendable. They excel during their brief time in the limelight and leave a lasting impression on the audience.
10. Lissa (Season 7, Episode 14)
Xander’s love life is a never-ending failure. All his romances fall apart, and even his wedding day proves to be a disaster. Then, in the middle of Season 7, he manages to make yet another romantic blunder.
After meeting an attractive woman called Lissa, he scores a date at Espresso Pump. During the date, Lissa suggests they go and do something fun, and the next time we see Xander, he’s trapped in a ritual sacrifice above the Seal of Danzalthar:
“This can’t just happen. It can’t just keep happening that demon-women find me attractive. There’s gotta be a reason.”
When watching this episode for the first time, there’s no indication of Lissa’s true allegiance, so her betrayal is a great – and slightly amusing – plot twist.
Buffy and co. soon arrive on the scene, save Xander from a terrible fate, and defeat Lissa by chopping off her head. It’s a quick end for such an interesting character, and we’re left with plenty of unanswered questions about her abilities and her partnership with the First Evil.