Buffy Character: Darla | Julie Benz

Darla is a vampire who is one of the first characters we come across in the very first episode. She was sired by the Master in the early 17th century and counts Angelus as one of her former lovers and is also mother to Connor. 

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Biography

Darla’s origins lie in the British Isles where she worked as a prostitute through the late 16th century. Her birth name is different and she has since forgotten it meaning that the audience never knows what her actual name is.

In 1609, she lived in extravagant wealth but syphilis takes hold and she is soon on her deathbed. The Master appears to her disguised as a Priest and sires Darla at her insistence making her one of the few vampires to choose to become a vampire.

It is the Master who gives her the name Darla which means “dear one” in Gaelic and she eventually forgets her real name.

The subsequent years see Darla causing chaos and destruction around the world, killing anyone who dared cross her. In 1753, her fate took her to Galway, Ireland where she meets Liam, a young rebel who spends his time sleeping around and causing fights in local taverns.

She seduces Liam where she then sires him and names him Angelus. The two of them embark on a deadly spree across England and Wales and Darla brings Angelus to meet the Master in London where Angelus refuses to join the Order of Aurelius and manages to persuade Darla to travel around the world with him. 

The next hundred years see Darla and Angelus travel around with the latter siring Drusilla, a woman who he tortures into insanity before turning her. Drusilla, in turn, sires a young poet called William, who later changes his name to Spike.

Things seem unchanged until 1898 when Darla and Angelus travel to Romania where the former gifts the latter the daughter of Clan Kalderash. This angers the Clan who curses Angelus and returns his human soul. Instead of helping him, Darla is disgusted and flees the scene to save her own life.

In 1997, Darla is now in Sunnydale where she is eagerly awaiting the ascension of the Master who needs to feed to regain his power. Sunnydale is on the Hellmouth, the portal that connects the human world to the supernatural making it an extremely powerful place and attracting all kinds of monsters and demons.

Unsurprisingly, this is where Darla comes across Buffy Summers, the Slayer, just before the Harvest, the night when the Master was due to rise; however, the young Slayer can thwart every plan and obstacle that is thrown her way which angers Darla and causes the experienced vampire to think outside the box.

For some time, Darla lurks underground with numerous members of the Order as they concoct a plan while other members face their death at the Slayer’s hands. 

As Darla observes Buffy from a distance, Angelus comes on the scene and helps the Slayer in her quest to kill the Order. This angers Darla and makes her jealous as she questions what Buffy has that she doesn’t.

When the Master sends The Three, a trio of incredibly strong vampires, to kill Buffy, Angelus manages to intervene and they go back to the Master where they agree to sacrifice themselves for their failure. The Master then tasks Darla with their deaths and she does so gladly, showing her cruel nature. 

Darla knows that she has to think of a different tactic when it comes to eliminating Buffy so she pretends to be a classmate and is subsequently invited into the Slayer’s home under the guise of a study session by the titular character’s mother where she drains Buffy’s mother and almost kills her.

Angel arrives at the scene but Darla escapes as Buffy returns home who then sees her bloodied mother in Angel’s arms and assumes the worst. However, Buffy realizes that Angel wasn’t responsible for the incident and knows that it was Darla. Angel, in turn, finds Darla and stakes her in a bid to protect Buffy. 

Fast-forward three years and Darla is resurrected as a human by the evil organization Wolfram & Hart who plan to use her to mess with Angel and turn him back to his evil ways. While living as a human, Darla expresses her difficulty living with a soul and insists that she is turned into a vampire once more.

Bringing Darla back as a human turned out to have a terrible side effect which was that she still had syphilis which threatened her life once more. However, Angel manages to get Darla to see the positive side of having a soul and the latter finally accepted her humanity and mortality and awaited her death with acceptance and grace.

Angered by this, Wolfram & Hart bring Drusilla back to sire Darla resulting in Darla’s second run as a vampire. Initially angry at this turn of events, Darla violently lashes out at Drusilla but then reverts to her old ways as the two women travel around to recruit various demons to overrun Los Angeles but they find that Angel has killed them all. 

Angel and Darla eventually have sex in a bid to help the former lose his soul forever; however, the opposite effect happens and Angel is reminded of the time that he spent with Buffy. The two do not embark on a serious relationship following this encounter but Darla ends up pregnant with their son, Connor.

This is because Angel won a life thanks to the trials he endured in saving Darla. Throughout her pregnancy, Darla’s soul begins to creep back as she begins to feel love for her unborn child and she learns that once she gives birth, she will lose her soul for eternity and will feel no love for her child.

Since the child would be born human, it would be inevitable that Darla would then revert to her soulless vampiric ways and kill her child. In a bid to prevent this from happening, Darla stakes herself so her child can survive, proving that she does have a soul after all. 

Personality / Traits

When she was human, Darla was a prostitute who didn’t care for humanity and less so for the religious discourse that occurred at the time. During her first encounter with the Master, Darla states that her soul couldn’t be saved and allowed Satan to take her making her one of the few vampires who was sired by choice.

In exchange, she was entered into the Master’s service and has allowed her new life to define her, forgetting her past life including her birth name. 

Her personality as a vampire is completely different and this is when Darla’s dark side begins to emerge as she is portrayed as manipulative and extremely cruel, often using seduction as a method to get what she wants.

She remained loyal to the Master until she fell in love with Angelus and decided to travel with him although she permanently stayed with the Master after Angel begins to get his soul back. She leaves Angel in the hands of a mob and flees to safety, putting herself before others which is evident throughout her run on the show. 

In the present day, Darla’s jealous streak starts to show as Angel falls for Buffy and the idea that he loves the Slayer more than he ever loved her makes her angry.

As ever, she uses her seductive techniques to lure prey in before consuming them. This is shown in the show’s very first scene in which she sneaks into Sunnydale High with a boy who she then kills. 

Although she has many negative traits, there are some positive aspects to Darla’s personality with the main one being that she loved Angelus and Connor although her admiration for the former languished as he got his soul back.

Overall, it is Connor that allows the softer side of Darla to show and sacrifices herself in order to save her son. 

Powers / Abilities

Due to her age, Darla was a lot stronger than regular vampires and had even developed a tolerance to certain vampire repellent items. For example, in one of the flashback scenes, Monsignor Rivalli uses his cross necklace to keep Darla at bay but she simply tosses him aside.

When she is resurrected, she still maintains her powers, especially those that allow her to overpower Angel. 

When it comes to her abilities, Darla has the standard powers that come with sires. As she sired Angel, she is able to sense him when he is nearby and manages to hold onto this power when she is human. Another impressive power that Darla had is that she could sense when Angel possessed a soul. 

Relationships

Even though she isn’t in Buffy the Vampire Slayer a lot, Darla can establish a variety of different relationships with various characters in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Here are the main relationships that Darla is involved with:

Angel/Angelus

The main relationship that Darla is involved with is the one she has with Angel. She first met him in Ireland when he was a human known as Liam and would engage in fights in the local taverns. Attracted by his rebellious nature, Darla seduces him and turns him into a vampire.

Liam then renames himself Angelus and eventually Angel. The two were in love for over a hundred years and embarked on a killing spree around the world. However, after their encounter with the Kalderash Clan, Angel’s soul returns to him and this causes a fracture in their relationship as Darla becomes disgusted with him.

They then reunite in Sunnydale in 1997 when Buffy Summers emerges as the Slayer where Darla’s jealousy grows as the relationship between Buffy and Angel intensifies.

However, after their relationship ends, Darla and Angel have sex and the former ends up pregnant with their son, Connor, although their sexual encounter doesn’t lead to a renewed relationship. 

The Immortal

Although Darla’s major love affair was with Angel, she also found herself seduced by the Immortal who simultaneously slept with her and Drusilla. This turn of events angers both Angel and Spike who state that these actions are forbidden which amuses Darla who antagonizes them further. 

Lindsey McDonald

In Angel, one of Darla’s major plotlines revolves around her relationship with Angel’s nemesis Lindsey McDonald. Lindsey helps Angel bring Darla back by chanting through the ritual and becomes enamored with her when she comes back as a human.

Lindsey and Darla both had an agenda to mess with Angel and their relationship begins to blossom from there.

When Angel tries to kill Darla, Lindsey saves her and gives her room to heal. When he finds out that Darla has slept with Angel, Lindsey beats the latter with a sledgehammer to find out what had happened with her but is eventually overwhelmed and beaten. He then finds out that Darla has left town for good. 

Master

The Master is Darla’s sire and their relationship reflects a father/daughter relationship; however, Darla turns her back on the Master when she declares that she wants to travel the world with Angel.

When the relationship between Darla and Angel sours, the former returns to the Master and this is where the audience comes in for Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the Master’s return coincides with Buffy’s emergence as the Slayer.

Darla is one of the Master’s most trusted allies which is clear in the latter’s reaction when Angel kills her.

The Master is upset at Darla’s demise which contrasts greatly with his reactions to the deaths of other subordinates. The Master is one of a few characters that Darla has unquestionable respect for and this remains until her death. 

Drusilla

Darla meets Drusilla when the latter is human and she isn’t impressed but when Angel sires her, Darla accepts Drusilla as a member of the family; however, she doesn’t like the idea of sharing Angel with her.

On the other hand, Drusilla likes Darla and develops affection for her. Eventually, the two share a deep bond which is evident after Darla is sired again as the two fight violently and then share an embrace.

Connor

Connor is Darla’s son and the character that brings forth a softer side to the latter even though the two never meet. This is because Darla stakes herself so her son could survive but she does appear as a hallucination to Connor where she tries to persuade him not to sacrifice a girl.

Despite her evil nature, this side of Darla shows that she doesn’t want her son to follow down the same path which differs from the behavior she exhibits on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Buffy Summers 

The very first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer shows Darla seduces and killing a local Sunnydale student so it was inevitable that she would cross paths with the titular Slayer. The two are quickly established as enemies as Buffy does everything she can from stopping the Master from ascending while Darla makes it her mission for it to happen.

After attempting to drain Buffy’s mother, Darla tries to kill Buffy but Angel manages to save Buffy’s life and stakes Darla which kills her When she is resurrected in Angel, Darla reiterates that she never liked Buffy and theorizes that Angel only liked her because she was different and new. 

Cordelia Chase 

Another character that Darla is at odds with through both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is Cordelia Chase and although they don’t have many scenes together, it is clear that the two do not get on.

By the end of Angel, they are related (despite Darla having died beforehand) thanks to the birth of Cordelia’s daughter, Jasmine, and Darla’s son, Connor. 

Lilah Morgan

One character that Darla does not get on with is Lilah Morgan. Both of them are affiliated with the evil organization Wolfram & Hart and their dislike for each other is evident, especially when Darla is human.

Their relationship only worsens with time to the point where Lilah fantasizes about dissecting Darla while she is pregnant with Connor. It is Lilah who tells vampire hunter Daniel Holtz that Darla has been ensouled by Connor, exposing her weakness to someone who is actively seeking to harm her. 

Spike

Darla is the reason that Spike is turned into a vampire as she jokingly encourages Drusilla to sire him which the latter does. Spike’s rebellious nature annoys Darla as he poses a threat to the group’s safety and risks exposing them.

When Spike kills the Kilderash Clan Elder’s family in an act of revenge for ensouling Angel, Darla is disappointed further. 

Photos

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Appearances

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • Season 1
  • Season 2
  • Season 5

Angel

  • Season 1
  • Season 2
  • Season 3
  • Season 4
  • Season 5

Comics

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10
  • Spike
  • Angel & Faith
  • Angel & Faith: Season 10
  • Angel: Season 11

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Marianne LeBlanc
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