Buffy Character: Drusilla | Juliet Landau

Drusilla is a recurring villain appearing in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. In both shows, Drusilla was depicted by American actress Juliet Landau. Debuting in 1997, she was made by David Greenwalt and Joss Wheadon.

She first appeared in Buffy’s second season, specifically the episode “School Hard.” She is often referred to as “Dru” by other characters and fans alike.

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As a Vampire and member of the Whirlwind, Drusilla was an antagonist that Buffy had to face primarily during her second season. However, she also became a threat to Angel, hence her inclusion in the spinoff’s second season.

She is known for her passionate relationship with Spike, a fellow Vampire. Drusilla also has a long and fraught history with Angel or Angelus, who is responsible for turning her into a Vampire. 

Biography

Much of Drusilla’s backstory is told in the form of flashbacks in both shows. Drusilla was born in the middle of the 19th century. As a human, Drusilla was a devout Christian who lived in London. She also possessed the ability to see the future, a rare gift that set her apart from other humans. 

She first met the Vampire Angel in 1860, when he was the villainous Angelus. Darla, the lover of Angelus, kidnapped Drusilla and offered her to Angelus. After this, Angelus became obsessed with Drusilla and decided to keep her alive instead of killing her or transforming her into a Vampire. Angelus adored the idea of corrupting her innocence. 

Angelus acted upon this fixation by killing Drusilla’s priest and pretending to be him. Under the disguise of this priest, Angelus psychologically tormented Drusilla by telling her that her visions were of evil origin. Angelus later killed all of Drusilla’s family, resulting in her fleeing to a convent. Drusilla thought that she would be safe there. 

This would not last, as Angelus murdered all of the other women in Drusilla’s convent in Prague. This traumatic event drove Drusilla completely insane. Angelus decided that it was finally time to sire Drusilla and transform her into a Vampire. She joined Angelus and Darla, traveling the globe alongside them.

Twenty years after meeting Angelus, Drusilla developed her own obsession with a human. She sired William Pratt, a failed poet. Once a Vampire, William chose the name “Spike” and entered into a relationship with Drusilla. 

He joined this group of Vampires, who became known as the Whirlwind. Spike was jealous of the fact that Drusilla was still intimate with Angelus. Spike became a particularly brutal Vampire, fixated on killing Slayers. Eventually, however, Spike and Drusilla left the other members of the Whirlwind. They were unaware that Angel’s soul had been magically returned.

In 1997, Drusilla and Spike were attacked by a mob in Prague. Drusilla was kidnapped and injured as a result, leaving her permanently drained of energy. Spike and Drusilla voyaged to Sunnydale, where they hoped Drusilla would recover from her injuries. This setting was chosen thanks to the fact that the Hellmouth belonged there.

Buffy Season 2

After arriving in Sunnydale, Spike and Drusilla quickly take down the Vampire named the Anointed One and take over his abandoned factory. Spike becomes consumed by killing Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. When they learn that an ensouled Angel is in Sunnydale, Spike and Drusilla plan to use his blood to heal her injuries. 

As her sire, Angel’s blood will have restorative powers for Drusilla. They are successful in carrying out this ritual. Though Drusilla recovers, Spike is injured during the fight with Buffy and the Scooby Gang. This occurs in the episode “What’s My Line (Part 2).”

When Angel loses his soul, he returns to his Angelus persona and teams up with Drusilla and Spike. Because of this, Spike becomes jealous of the intimacy between Drusilla and Angelus. Since he is injured, Spike is unable to stand up to Angelus. 

At the end of the season, Drusilla and Angelus plan on freeing Acathla, a demon with the power to cause the destruction of the world. When Buffy and her friends attempt to stop this plan, Drusilla hypnotizes and kills Kendra, another Vampire Slayer. Spike ended up forming an alliance with Buffy behind Drusilla’s back, allowing her to stop this apocalypse. Against her will, Spike and Drusilla fled from Sunnydale. 

Angel Season 2

After breaking up with Spike in Brazil, Drusilla next appears in Angel’s second season. Having been hired by the nefarious Wolfram & Hart, Drusilla arrives in Los Angeles to transform Darla back into a Vampire. Darla was resurrected as a human but began to die as a result of her escapades. 

Drusilla believes that Darla would have wanted to be sired again. Though Drusilla is successful in re-siring Darl, they initially fight. Drala blames Drusilla for changing her back into a Vampire. After a public scuffle in Los Angeles, the two make up and plan to commit some evil. They massacre all the attendees at a Wolfram & Hart party except for Lilah Morgan and Lindsey McDonald. 

They are confronted by Angel, who sets fire to them. They are injured but manage to survive. Darla and Drusilla then split up. 

Buffy Season 5

In the episode “Crush”, Drusilla comes back to Sunnydale in the hopes of reuniting with Spike and reforming the Whirlwind. She encouraged Spike to revel in his villainous side. Drusilla also quickly made him forget about his lover, Harmony Kendall. 

However, Spike ends up betraying her as a way of proving his love to Buffy. This caused Drusilla to once again leave Sunnydale. 

Buffy Season 7

Drusilla is used as one of the forms of the First Evil, the big bad of this season. The First Evil uses Drusilla’s persona to torment Spike. 

Personality / Traits

Like many, Drusilla’s personality altered considerably when she became a Vampire. As a human, she was innocent, kind, and pure. She was a devoted Christian and was very much concerned with obeying the morals of her faith. Drusilla loved her family and mourned for them when they were killed by Angelus. 

As a Vampire, Drusilla has quite a quirky personality, to say the least. She is widely considered to be insane, which was caused by Angelus continuously tormenting her. Because of this, Drusilla would frequently start rambling by saying random comments. She would also talk in riddles that would greatly confuse others. 

Due to the dark events that she witnessed, Drusilla has a macabre personality as a Vampire. She is sadistic, taking pleasure in the pain of other people. Drusilla also enjoys torture and murder. However, she often expresses this enjoyment in a childish way. 

This creates a startling juxtaposition between her child-like nature and her dark personality. In fact, she owned a few dolls that she would regularly converse with, most predominantly a doll called Miss Edith. 

Drusilla sought to end the world, hence her team up with Acathla in “Becoming (Part 1).” She was also successful in reassembling the Judge in the episode “Surprise.” This demon possessed the ability to eradicate the humanity from an individual. Unlike Spike, who liked living on earth, Drusilla enjoyed participating in nefarious schemes. 

Surprisingly, Drusilla still has the capacity to show care and affection to others as a Vampire. She showed genuine love for Spike and cared for the other members of the Whirlwind. Drusilla is also shown to be capable of caring for animals and other forms of nature, such as plants. 

Juliet Landau decided to play Drusilla with a cockney accent, as she felt this suited the character. When playing the character, she uses a soft and soothing voice. 

Appearance

As a human, Drusilla wore light-colored clothing that was appropriate for the time period. Her hair was long and dark, though it was often kept under a bonnet. She kept this hair into her time as a Vampire, though she wore it down. 

As a Vampire, Drusilla has pale skin and sharp nails. She is capable of transforming from her human appearance into her vampiric form. Her vampiric face is more demonic in nature. 

In terms of her clothing as a Vampire, Drusilla wears a lot of garments that are red or black in color. This gives her a very gothic appearance. These outfits are usually old-fashioned or Victorian-inspired, harkening back to her origins as a Victorian lady. She wears a lot of dresses and skirts. Some of these looks were also inspired by Kate Moss. When she was injured, Drusilla usually wore a white gown.  

Powers / Abilities

As a vampire, Drusilla has many powers and abilities. This includes immortality, quickened regeneration, superhuman strength, and fighting skills. She also possesses sharp nails that she uses in combat situations. Though she is a capable fighter, Drusilla uses her other powers to win fights.

Drusilla has access to psychic-based abilities, which she uses to trick and torture her victims. For instance, she used them to hypnotize Kendra, enabling her to kill the Slayer. She also used these abilities to create the illusion that she was Jenny Calander, enabling her to torture Ruper Giles. This skill allows her to get the upper hand in fights.

As a Vampire, Drusilla suffers from the same weaknesses as other members of her kind. These include weakness to sunlight and a vulnerability to crosses and other holy objects. She also could not enter other people’s houses without their permission. Like all Vampires, Drusilla can be killed via a stake to the heart. 

Aside from these powers that she gained when she became a Vampire, Drusilla was already capable of precognition as a human. This allowed her to have visions of events to come. She continued to use these powers as a Vampire. It is never specified as to where these abilities originate from, though Angelus did trick Drusilla into believing that they were inherently evil.

Relationships

The Whirlwind

This was a close-knit group of Vampires with whom Drusilla was connected. Drusilla viewed them as allies and even as a family. She was romantically linked with Angel and Spike. 

Spike 

Drusilla was the Vampire who sired William Pratt, transforming him into the infamous Vampire known as Spike. Though they developed a close relationship, Drusilla continued to be sexually active with Angelus.

After a while, Spike and Drusilla left the Whirlwind. Though they are Vampires, these two seem truly capable of caring for each other. After Drusilla was injured in Prague, Spike cared for her. He was even able to perform a ritual to re-energize Drusilla, though this came at the cost of his own health. 

However, their relationship became strained when Angelus returned. It was further weakened when Spike betrayed Drusilla, leaving Angelus to be killed by Buffy. Not long after this, Drusilla cheated on Spike in Brazil. She broke up with him, in part because of his affection for Buffy. Eventually, Drusilla reunited with Spike. However, as Drusilla had predicted, Spike was in love with Buffy. 

Spike even offered to kill Drusilla as a sign of his affection for the slayer. She was able to escape unharmed, though she gave up on the hope of being with Spike. 

Angel/ Angelus 

As a human, Drusilla was psychologically tortured by the Vampire called Angelus. He murdered several people she cared about and tried to convince her that her prophetic abilities had come from Satan. Angelus drove her mad and then sired her as a way of preserving his hard work. 

As a Vampire, Drusilla had a closer relationship with Angelus. Even though she began dating Spike, she nonetheless continued to be intimate with Angelus. They eventually reunited in 1998. Drusilla used Angel’s blood to restore her health. During this period, she took the opportunity to torture Angel as punishment for the crimes he committed against her. After Angel lost his soul, they continued to sleep with each other. 

In 2000, the ensouled Angel tried to kill both Drusilla and Darla. Angel unsuccessfully attempted to prevent Drusilla from making Darla a Vampire again. He was successful in seriously injuring them by using fire. 

Darla

Darla was the person to first introduce Drusilla to Angelus. When she became a Vampire, Darla and Drusilla became friendly. Despite this, Drusilla’s mad personality and odd behavior could irritate Darla. 

Drusilla referred to Darla as her grandmother, since she sired Angelus. After the Whirlwind fell apart, they reunited in Los Angeles in the year 2000. Drusilla sired Darla, once again making her a Vampire. Though Drusilla believed she had done the right thing, Darla was originally annoyed with her and they briefly battled each other. After they settled this issue, the two went hunting together and fed on many humans. 

Enemies

Because of her villainous ways, Drusilla has cultivated many enemies. These include Buffy Summers and her friends, who thwart most of Drusilla’s plans. 

Buffy Summers 

As the Vampire Slayer, Buffy was Drusilla’s enemy. They faced each other a few times, mostly in the second season. Buffy successfully foiled the plan to send earth to Hell. Years later, Spike became infatuated with Buffy. He offered to kill Drusilla, his ex-girlfriend, to impress Buffy. 

The Scooby Gang 

As Buffy’s allies, the Scooby Gang were also enemies with Drusilla. At the end of Season 2, Drusilla kidnapped Rupert Giles and used her mental abilities to trick him into revealing information about Acathla. Drusilla posed as Jenny Calendar, the deceased girlfriend of Giles. 

Kendra 

Kendra became a Vampire Slayer when Buffy momentarily died. Drusilla was responsible for Kendra’s death, using her mental abilities to control her and then slice her throat using her nails. Drusilla never faced justice for this murder. 

Harmony Kendall 

In the episode “Crush”, Drusilla briefly meets Harmony. At the time, Harmony and Spike were lovers. Spike rejects Harmony in favor of Drusilla. 

Familial

As a Vampire, Drusilla considered the other members of the Whirlwind to be her family. As her sire, she saw Angelus as her father. Meanwhile, she often referred to Darla as her grandmother. Aside from this, Drusilla’s blood family was murdered by Angelus. She had parents and two sisters, all of whom were killed.

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Appearances

Many of Drusilla’s appearances come in the form of flashbacks, thanks to her history with both Angel and Spike. 

Overall, Drusilla appears in 24 episodes. She appears in 17 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most of which, specifically 12 episodes, are from season 2. This is because, alongside Angel, Drsullia is the Big Bad of this season. She also features in two episodes from season 5, namely “Fool for Love” via a flashback and “Crush”. 

Though Drusilla herself only appears in 1 episode of season 7, her image is used by the First Evil. This villain is capable of taking on the forms of various dead people. As a result, Drusilla technically appears in 3 episodes, despite 2 of these actually being the First Evil.

In terms of Angel, Drusilla appears in seven episodes. These episodes are from season 2 and season 5. In Angel season 2, she is featured in episodes titled “Dear Boy”, “Darla”, “The Trial”, “Reunion”, and “Redefinition.” In season 5, she appears in flashbacks in the episodes “Destiny” and “The Girl in Question.”

She also appears in the comic book continuations of the canon. She appears prominently in the solo Spike series, as well as Angel & Faith. Drusilla is also present in a few different comic books that are set outside of the Buffy canon, such as a miniseries called Spike & Dru. This miniseries tells four different stories based on this chaotic couple.

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Marianne LeBlanc
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