Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a show full of demons, ghosts, witches, monsters — basically everything under the supernatural sun. There are more than enough beasties every season to keep you awake at night but there’s always one that stands out, the ultimate enemy Buffy must defeat: The Big Bad.
So who’s the most terrifying villain? Out of all these nightmares, which one is the worst? Could it be season 4’s Adam, a motley mixture of demon/human/cyborg parts? What about season 2’s Angelus, Buffy’s vampire lover whose loss of a soul turns him into a murdering fiend? Or maybe season 5’s Glory, an actual GOD who’s hellbent on destroying the world?
Nope. It’s this guy.
Yeah, I said it. The most terrifying Buffy villain is supernerd Warren Mears.
The supremely dark season 6 is my favorite of the show, mostly because A) I love supremely dark things and B) the writing is extremely inventive. Each character has their own major arc throughout the season, and most of it is bad — Willow becomes addicted to magic, Dawn starts stealing shit, Xander leaves Anya at the altar, Giles just peaces out back to England. Not to mention, you know, Buffy being pulled out of heaven by her well-intentioned friends. It seems like everyone’s dealing with their own demons this season, and then we meet our Big Bad: the Trio.
They are, as villains, underwhelming (although hilarious.) One of their first priorities in setting up their lair is to make sure their action figures are in order. Warren is the unspoken boss, a robotic engineering genius appearing in the previous season who built the perfect cyborg girlfriend only to abandon her upon getting a real girlfriend. Jonathan is a former classmate of the Scoobies and specializes in magic. Andrew is the runt of the litter, a master of demon-summoning and completely forgettable — no one remembers him from high school except as “Tucker’s brother.”
Mostly comic relief at first, the Trio spend several episodes trying to become the Slayer’s new nemeses only to be completely ignored in their efforts. But when one of their schemes finally goes right, things get… complicated. This is where Warren starts to show his truly dark side.
He develops a device called the Cerebral Dampener, which turns a person into a willing slave. See, Warren’s always had a thing about girls. He gives off a very Elliot Rodger vibe, the weirdo who never got over being bullied and just doesn’t GET why chicks don’t dig him. In a super creepo move he uses the Cerebral Dampener on his ex-girlfriend (who left as a result of the girlfriend-bot coming after her in the previous season.)
Cue the French maid costume and Warren’s intentions to essentially rape Katrina (and any other women he had planned to use the device on.) When the effects suddenly wear off, however, Katrina tries to escape. And Warren fucking kills her.
I know, I know, there’s been murder in “Buffy” before. He’s not scary, you’re saying. He’s just like any weirdo who can’t get a girlfriend and lashes out at the world. And to a point, you’re right.
As the season goes on, the trio gets their hands on an ancient artifact called the Orbs of Nezzla’Khan. They imbue the holder with incredible power and strength, and guess who grabs these obvious metaphors for balls for himself? Warren, of course.
He juices up with his stolen masculinity and what’s the first thing he does? Oh, of course, he hits a bar to beat up his former high school bully and fully creep out every woman within 50 miles. Hilariously, though, it doesn’t take very long at all for Buffy to find Warren, smash his orbs, and end his reign of sleaze. He escapes with a jet pack but without his precious orbs, Warren is harmless.
Or is he?
Here’s where things get really scary. “Buffy” is all about the supernatural, magic and monsters and kick-fighting. It’s campy, it’s unrealistic, and that’s what makes it fun.
So when Warren enters Buffy’s backyard where she and Xander are sharing a tender moment, pulls out a gun, and fires at the Slayer, it doesn’t feel fun anymore. This isn’t campy. It’s not unrealistic. It happens all the fucking time.
And Buffy, the strongest woman in the world, the Chosen One, the goddamn Slayer — she goes down. She almost dies. She would have, without the help of a grief-and-magic fueled Willow. Buffy was almost taken out by a nerd with a toxic personality and a gun.
In my opinion, it’s what makes Warren so scary. I can go to sleep at night knowing that Glory isn’t going to end the world, Angelus isn’t going to drain my blood, Adam’s not going to assemble an army of monsters. But the sad truth is that there are Warrens everywhere, and they’re not going away any time soon.
And that, my friends, is terrifying.