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Fred's character arc !

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  • Fred's character arc !

    Can anyone find it ?

    OK so on the Untouched rewatch with Ian from Passion of the Nerd and Lani from Chipperish, Ian asks the question, when talking about Fred, besides dating Gunn and until she dies and becomes Illyria what arc does she have. Lani struggles to think of an answer. I kind of agree. Ian does mention Supersymmetry but that's 1 episode in 2 and a half seasons and as Gunn murders the Professor it becomes about him anyway. So can anyone else think of an arc that Fred has ?

    Personally I always preferred Illyria over Fred and the idea of Fred coming back (if the show hadn't cancelled) made groan. I know they tried it in the comics and it was stupid there too.

  • #2
    I'm not sure if she had an 'arc' as such but I did like (in a very tragic and depressing way) that her curiosity, like what sent her to Pylea, killed her in the end. It brought her full circle in many respects. She did have some very obvious character development as the woman she was in A Hole in the World was very different to the madwoman we first met in S2.

    I preferred Illyria as well and never much cared about Fred. I thought her inclusion in the series really changed the group dynamic in unfortunate ways (Angel/Cordy/Wes/Fred family dynamic >>> Angel/Cordy and Wes/Gunn/Fred dynamic) although I try not to resent the character for that. Illyria was a far more interesting character and showcased Acker's abilities which felt wasted on Fred, to be honest.

    With that said, I am not sure Illyria would have had the legs to survive 3 seasons. If you think about it they managed to pretty much complete her arc of Insane Evil Power-Hungry God to Mellowed, Changed-By-Wesley Ally in the space of just 8 episodes and in a believable way. I'm sure there was more stuff to explore with her but the bulk of her arc was completed in breakneck speed. Would she have got dull after 3 seasons? Quite possibly.

    ~ Banner by Nina ~

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    • #3
      I think Frey was the one character in the whole Buffyverse that came dangerously close to being a Mary Sue. Illyria was the writers last ditch to get out of that impasse.

      No, there wasn't an arc. If you consider the comics canon, Fred ended up where she came from. A hell dimension. Pretty sad.

      flow

      Banner by Brendan

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      • #4
        Originally posted by flow View Post

        No, there wasn't an arc. If you consider the comics canon, Fred ended up where she came from. A hell dimension. Pretty sad.

        flow
        Err, no. If you remember It's stated that not one iota of Fred is left. Even her soul was consumed. Amy/Whedon were determined that she'd not come back in original form, but If It had carried on rather as a part of Illyria's personality.


        ??????"I preferred Illyria as well and never much cared about Fred. I thought her inclusion in the series really changed the group dynamic in unfortunate ways (Angel/Cordy/Wes/Fred family dynamic >>> Angel/Cordy and Wes/Gunn/Fred dynamic) although I try not to resent the character for that. Illyria was a far more interesting character and showcased Acker's abilities which felt wasted on Fred, to be honest."

        Agreed. 'Mary Sue Fred' rapidly got on my nerves.
        Last edited by Silver1; 17-01-21, 12:32 PM.

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        • flow
          flow commented
          Editing a comment
          Fred came back in the comics.

      • #5
        The Angel comics weren't canon though.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Silver1 View Post
          The Angel comics weren't canon though.
          No it was the Buffy comics too. Illyria shows up and Fred is shown as a separate person trapped inside Illyria

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          • #7
            I'm talking about reports from articles online at the time stating what they wanted to do with her character if there had been. season 6. And imo none of the comics are truly canon, Whedon approval or not, as to me they come across as so badly written and often extremely OTT character wise.

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            • #8
              I must admit I haven't ever really thought of Fred's overall journey outside of that element where her own curiosity that we see from the start ties into her end, as Mogs mentioned. But I think you could say Fred had an arc from when we met her through to S4 at least in not being defined by her trauma. Accepting that awful things can happen to you, that it plays its part in who you become, but also not letting it hold you back. I know that Gunn killed Professor Seidel but actually sending him to the hell dimension herself I don't think was necessary for her to get to a point of success over that. Determinedly facing him and refusing to be treated like a damsel that needed someone to protect her was something she achieved regardless of whether she sent him to another dimension or not. I think the question even of whether she should have done that herself anyway is separate to where she got herself by being ready to do it.

              There's also maybe a progression she reached in a sense of purpose and worth that came from fitting in outside academia. Finding a role and cautiously joining the gang when she stayed with them and didn't leave with her parents worked through to saving them all in Magic Bullet.

              I agree Illyria was probably a more interesting character in some ways, the performance especially was great, and her short progression of losing her power and then finding a place in AtS 5 was pretty good. I do think the comics were mixed for the character and tried to play with the sense of an inner balance more dramatically than AtS 5 gave her. The idea of Fred being brought back by the reincarnation of Illyria from the Deeper Well explosion wasn't given the time to justify and explain it really for me. I wasn't keen on that. I preferred Fred left as a casualty of the danger they are constantly in. But I'd want to reread the comics specifically thinking about what they did with the character to have a clearer idea of what I think of all of that.

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              • #9
                She didn't have a recognizable arc, IMO. She was insane, got sane and that's pretty much it aside from being on object of desire. I never found her particularly compelling I guess because she really seemed to just be Willow with different interests? I don't know. So the Illyria arc didn't grip me as much as I think the writers wanted, then I didn't care for Illyria, either because she just seemed like an uber powerful (the world-breaking sort) version of Anya and the Humans-Are-Weird-And-Stupid characters aren't my thing, either.

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                • #10
                  Unlike most people here, I liked Fred well enough and wished she stayed around. She wasn't the most interesting one of the bunch, nor was she very funny. But she completed the team and was a perfectly fine character for an ensemble. Not every character can have a lot of extra screentime after all. There was an unique premise and she slowly dealed with her trauma while being an asset to the team. Illyria on the other hand just hijacked the story and every scene she was in. AA was great, but I wished they just bothered to give Fred something interesting to do if they wanted to do more with AA's talent.


                  That said, there is a major issue I have with her character. It's Fred's role and behaviour in s5. There is a gap between her character in s4 and her character in s5 which can't be explained by losing the Connor memories. She was obviously damaged in s2, s3 and s4 while she was just quirky in s5. There was this darkness underneath the childish and weird behaviour which was suddenly gone (just as her inability to behave like a normal 30 yo). Like her character and arc had to be halted in order to tell an outdated story with the only female in the role of the innocent victim who can't be saved by the more important characters. Fred became a Mimi (La Bohème) in s5.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Nina View Post
                    Unlike most people here, I liked Fred well enough and wished she stayed around. She wasn't the most interesting one of the bunch, nor was she very funny. But she completed the team and was a perfectly fine character for an ensemble. Not every character can have a lot of extra screentime after all. There was an unique premise and she slowly dealed with her trauma while being an asset to the team. Illyria on the other hand just hijacked the story and every scene she was in. AA was great, but I wished they just bothered to give Fred something interesting to do if they wanted to do more with AA's talent.


                    That said, there is a major issue I have with her character. It's Fred's role and behaviour in s5. There is a gap between her character in s4 and her character in s5 which can't be explained by losing the Connor memories. She was obviously damaged in s2, s3 and s4 while she was just quirky in s5. There was this darkness underneath the childish and weird behaviour which was suddenly gone (just as her inability to behave like a normal 30 yo). Like her character and arc had to be halted in order to tell an outdated story with the only female in the role of the innocent victim who can't be saved by the more important characters. Fred became a Mimi (La Bohème) in s5.
                    Her joining Wolfram and Hart made absolutely no sense from a character stand point and the writers never bother to give a reason why. Gunn even asks the question in Home and the writers brush it off and never answer

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                    • DeepBlueJoy
                      DeepBlueJoy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I agree. That was not a Fred place, but IMO, they were all deceived. Maybe Angel the least. Going to Wolfram and Hart was a last ditch effort to save the show after what they did to Cordelia.
                      Last edited by DeepBlueJoy; 28-01-21, 12:19 PM.

                  • #12
                    Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post

                    Her joining Wolfram and Hart made absolutely no sense from a character stand point and the writers never bother to give a reason why. Gunn even asks the question in Home and the writers brush it off and never answer
                    I think it could've made sense. Fred might have appeared innocent and fragile, but she wasn't. She could be rather ruthless and was very practical about most things. If it was written well, it wouldn't be OOC to make her one of the characters who honestly thought they could do more good/stop more evil if they took this deal. But that part of her character was sacrificed in order to make her this symbol of innocence and goodness. Which indeed made s5 Fred look like she was victimized by her corrupt friends and which left the viewer wondering why she was there in the first place.

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                    • #13
                      Fred had so much potential and It wasted imo in favour of making her into a 'doll' for two men to fight over. Fight or fawn nearly all the damn time.

                      Someone had a right go at my the other day on Youtube for not going with the whole "OMG she's best thing ever!" rhetoric thats going around with certain reactors at the moment. I'm afraid I was never all that invested in her (I was more a Cordy gal) and for me I mainly only really took to her when she became Illyria. Otherwise she to me she just came across to me as a doe eye prop that needed saving....Except for in the episode 'Billy' which she came across well. Pity they didn't build on that really.
                      Last edited by Silver1; 26-01-21, 08:49 PM.

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                      • #14
                        Joining W&H is one of the reasons I think they should have delved into what memories were placed there. It really doesn't make a great deal of sense for any of them except Angel to join if those memories are erased. I guess they gloss over it by having them just following Angel's decision, but it might have helped if there were things to show how they rationalized it to themselves.

                        Fred is like Tara to me. She *could* have been interesting but she wasn't. That's why I don't get the huge stanning for either character. It always feels like there's a lot of filling in the blanks for what the character could have been rather than what they were written as. I was warming up to Fred during the Magic Bullet arc, but much like Tara during the break up period, they sort of abandoned that and went back to status quo.

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                        • #15
                          Funny, her death was the nail in the coffin for the series to me. After Cordelia, she was the last bit of light.

                          No idea why she is so dismissed. She is smart, kind and resourceful. And yes, ruthless. She survived pylea 5 years. She got her collar off and escaped.

                          I loved her and Gunn and their laughter. I loved her macine to kill demons and her traps to get away from Gunn and Wes.
                          i loved her arc. I also found Illyria interesting, but not at the loss of the heart of Fred, the soul of the show, especially after Cordelia ascended - that was the last real Cordelia for me. Then they did the same soul rape to Fred - except they did not make us hate her. They just erased her, apparently.

                          No, i dont think she was a Mary Sue. TBH, she and Gunn were people sized - two blue collar kids with simple taste finding each other and laughter. They were even decent parents to Connor. And i loved Fred's parents and her relationship with them. They were salt of the earth people. Probably why I love them. I get them. They remind me of family.

                          I love Fred. I mourn Fred.

                          And Fred is not Willow. Willow is self centered and into her own power. Maybe that is why people don't like Fred? Because she isnt selfish? And no, she is not a paragon either. And she isnt the man-gift until the writers RIP HER FROM GUNN to give her to the PROPER choice - The fine white Wes. Fred followed her heart and did the whacky thing and chose the poor, uneducated, practical guy who made her laugh and did not lock women in his bedroom with pails or make his actual girlfriend dress up like the cartoon version of his obsession.
                          Fred was a person until in supersymmetry they began to erase her and turn her into 'Wesley's love interest', instead of a person with her own autonomy who LOVED and chose the man she enjoyed. Fred is the brave, determined woman survived in the sewers and saved her friends from deception by Jasmine. Fred was STRONG. What Fred were you watching?

                          I think she was, in some ways, the strongest woman in Angel. If anything, she is the analogue of Xander. She survives the super powered world without witchcraft, super strength, super fight skills/big muscles, visions. In the end, like Xander, she is someone you want backing you up in a fight. Yes, she is smart, but it is practical, resourceful smarts. Only when they are all caricatures in season 5 does she end up in charge of the science and become super Fred. Not to dismiss her mind, but she is more than a nerd. she is a survivor. Season 5 stole that from her.

                          I hate what Angel did to its women - it undercut and killed Lilah, Cordelia and Fred.
                          Last edited by DeepBlueJoy; 28-01-21, 12:16 PM.

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                          • Nina
                            Nina commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Oh yes, I fully agree with Fred and Willow not being the same and also why. While both were 'the smart girl', the personalities are completely different.
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