Buffy Character: Jonathan Levinson | Danny Strong

Jonathan Levinson was a recurring side character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who appeared in multiple episodes in seasons 2 through 7. Jonathan was a student at Sunnydale High School, and eventually joined Andrew Wells and Warren Mears to form ‘The Trio’.

While at Sunnydale High, Jonathan is regularly bullied or disregarded by his fellow students. Although he was friendly and allied towards the Scooby Gang for most of his time at Sunnydale High, Jonathan and The Trio became minor antagonists in season 6.

Jonathan briefly returns as a redeemed character in season 7, although still partnered with Andrew. Jonathan dies in the season 7 episode Conversations With Dead People, after being stabbed by Andrew.

See Copyright Notice

Appearance

Jonathan’s most notable physical feature is his short height, a point of interest that is frequently referenced throughout his time in the series. Most of the time, his hair was short and dark brown or black, brushed forwards into a short and choppy fringe.

The only time he wears his hair differently is in The Prom (where he has it parted in the center) and Superstar (where it is spiked up).

While at Sunnydale High, Jonathan usually wore plain or patterned t-shirts and polo shirts with baggy jeans. This tended to set him apart from the other, more popular students who ridiculed him.

Superstar is Jonathan’s first appearance since Sunnydale High was destroyed at the end of season 3, and he has changed a lot since then.

An illusion spell cast by Jonathan has made him the most popular and talented person in the world, and although his new appearance is only a facade it shows how Jonathan wished he could appear. Throughout the episode, Jonathan wears expensive and over-the-top outfits like tuxedos or a leather jacket and turtleneck.

After Superstar, Jonathan doesn’t appear again until season 6. When Jonathan returns, he has teamed up with Warren and Andrew to form The Trio. He now favors darker clothes, and usually wears a dark t-shirt under a black jacket, although he also sometimes wears oversized shirts of various colors.

Personality

For most of his time on the show, Jonathan was a timid and awkward geek who was bullied and antagonized by his fellow students due to his height and anxiety. While at Sunnydale High, Jonathan is shown to have low self-esteem, and frequently appears anxious or depressed due to being harassed.

In the season 3 episode Earshot, Jonathan is fed up with being tormented and plans to kill himself in the school’s bell tower. However, he is interrupted by Buffy, who mistakenly believed that he intended to kill other students instead. After being talked out of shooting himself by Buffy, Jonathan is suspended and sent to counseling.

After returning to Sunnydale High, Jonathan was noticeably more confident and happy. He was also warmer towards the Scooby Gang and Buffy in particular. At the senior prom, Jonathan is shown happy with his date.

Additionally, he gets up on stage to make a speech thanking Buffy on behalf of the other students and presents her with the Class Protector Award umbrella. This increase in confidence and allyship with Buffy continues in the Graduation Day Battle, where he fights alongside his fellow student in the Class of ‘99.

In Superstar, Jonathan is shown to be a cool and confident celebrity with limitless talents. However, after Jonathan’s success is revealed as an illusion, he reverts back to a shy outcast.

Jonathan is shown to be the most emotional and caring member of The Trio and is the only one to show any remorse for their actions. Jonathan frequently tried to avoid any violent confrontations, and disliked any plans that could cause harm (particularly to Buffy, who he still felt indebted to).

After Warren accidentally kills his girlfriend, Jonathan is visibly horrified and disturbed, suggesting they turn themselves in to the police. After his partners showed no remorse, he became alienated from them and eventually betrayed Warren to help Buffy.

When Warren abandoned Jonathan and Andrew to be arrested when a crime went wrong, Jonathan tried to convince Andrew to stay in jail and face justice for their crimes, although the two escape to Mexico after being hunted by a vengeful Willow.

When Jonathan returns to Sunnydale, he has reached a resolution with his past. Despite the torment he endured in high school, he wishes his peers well. He also wants to warn Buffy about the First Evil and help the Scooby Gang, but he’s prevented from doing this when Andrew murders him.

As one of the most commonly recurring side characters (30 episodes throughout 5 seasons), Jonathan also has one of the biggest character arcs aside from the main cast. His pseudo-redemption arc has him evolving and maturing from his past experiences in high school and time as a minor villain.

Biography

Sunnydale High

Jonathan was a student at Sunnydale High School in the same class as Buffy Summers. He was first introduced in the season 2 episode Inca Mummy Girl, as one an intended victim of the eponymous mummy.

Not long after this, he was asked to the Bronze on a date by Cordelia Chase. However, the date didn’t go well, and Cordelia’s attention turned to Xander Harris.

Throughout most of his time at Sunnydale High, Jonathan is bullied and disregarded by the other students. His short height and awkward shyness made him a target for bullies, and he was frequently the victim of teasing and harassment.

Fed up of being bullied constantly, Jonathan takes a rifle up to the bell tower at the top of Sunnydale High with the intention of killing himself. However, he is stopped by Buffy, who mistakenly thinks he is planning on killing his fellow students. Buffy manages to talk him out of committing suicide, and he breaks down.

Because of his mental health and for bringing a gun into school, Jonathan is ordered to attend counseling.

A few weeks later, Jonathan returned to Sunnydale High for the senior prom. He is clearly happier and more confident, and is shown with a date. During the prom, he gave a speech on behalf of the Class of ‘99, awarding Buffy the Class Protector award.

Jonathan stood with Buffy and the rest of his classmates against mayor Richard Wilkins, fighting vampires and helping a scared Cordelia.

Superstar is Jonathan’s first reappearance after the Graduation Day Battle, and a lot has changed. Throughout the episode, Jonathan takes on several different fantastical roles (like a commander for the Initiative, a rat-pack style singer, and an action hero with powers exceeding Buffy’s).

There are also plenty of offscreen accomplishments that aren’t shown but instead mentioned. For instance, that he invented the internet, starred in The Matrix without ever leaving town, and was even credited with some of Buffy’s feats like killing the Master – in fact, it’s mentioned that Buffy presented Jonathan with a class protector award in this reality, instead of the other way around.

Buffy ended up figuring out that Jonathan wasn’t what he seemed after (correctly) being suspicious of a former high school nerd’s apparent perfection.

She asked Anya whether it was possible to wish for an entirely different reality. Anya, as a former vengeance demon, explained that it is more than possible. It is revealed later in the episode that he was taught a spell by a friend he made during counseling, which augments reality into whatever the user desires.

When a demon created as a byproduct of Jonathan’s spell starts attacking people in the town, he reluctantly helps Buffy defeat it. This breaks the illusion, and Jonathan loses his popularity and fame.

The Trio

Jonathan is often shown to be the conscience of The Trio. He is the only member to show remorse for his actions and disapproved of the group’s more violent plans.

He was also the only member willing to turn himself in to the police after Warren murdered Katrina, and was disgusted by the other’s reactions.

As such, the others saw Jonathan as the weak link. As time goes on, Jonathan learns that Warren and Andrew are keeping plans from him.

However, he still partakes in The Trio’s crimes. After first using magic to cast the augmentation spell that made him famous, Jonathan continued to learn magic and became a warlock. This magic helped The Trio to commit their heists and attack Buffy along with Warren’s technological prowess and Andrew’s summoning skills.

However, his alienation from his partners eventually led to him betraying Warren, telling her how to defeat his magically enhanced form.

When Warren left them to be arrested when a robbery went wrong, Jonathan attempted to convince Andrew to stay in jail and take responsibility for their actions, especially their part in Katrina’s death. This began a redemption of sorts for Jonathan, who was ready to accept the consequences of his crimes.

However, while they were in jail, Warren accidentally shot and killed Tara Maclay. Willow, her girlfriend, spiraled into grief and anger, and went on a vengeful rampage. After Dark Willow kills Warren, she sets her sights on Jonathan and Andrew.

In order to escape Dark Willow’s vengeance, the pair escaped to Mexico

Death

Several months later, Jonathan and Andrew return to Sunnydale. Both of them have been experiencing strange dreams and visions of the great power there.

Upon their return, Jonathan wished to warn Buffy about the coming of the First Evil, and uncover the Seal of Danzalthar, which led to the Hellmouth. With Andrew, he went to the basement of the rebuilt Sunnydale High School, where they dug up the seal.

While they were digging, Jonathan began to express his regret for his previous actions, and that the pain and hurt he had experienced throughout his life were fading away. He also wished everyone he knew well, even if they didn’t care about him.

Unbeknownst to Jonathan, however, Andrew was being guided by the First Evil disguised as Warren. Following the First’s guidance, Andrew stabs Jonathan, spilling his blood on the seal.

However, Jonathan’s short height and anemia meant that his blood wasn’t enough to open the seal. Principal Wood discovered his body later on and buried it to hide the seal’s existence.

Relationship With Other Characters

Buffy Summers

Jonathan had a complicated relationship with most of the main cast, although his main link to the group was Buffy.

When Jonathan was turned down from the school swim team, the team’s members picked on him and dunked his head in cold water repeatedly. Buffy saved Jonathan, which led to him feeling even worse about himself.

After Buffy helped stop him from committing suicide, Jonathan often acted warmer towards her. This culminated in his speech during the senior prom, in which he presented her with the Class Protector Award on behalf of the rest of the Class of ‘99. During the Graduation Day Battle, he stood with Buffy and his fellow classmates against the Mayor and his vampire army.

Even after he allied himself with The Trio, Jonathan’s allegiances often strayed towards Buffy. He never seemed to actually want Buffy injured or dead, and often tried to steer The Trio’s plans in a non-violent direction. When Warren and Andrew’s actions alienated him, Jonathan chose to betray them and help Buffy.

Upon returning to Sunnydale in season 7, Jonathan expressed a desire to join the Scooby Gang and help Buffy fight the First Evil.

The Scooby Gang

While in Sunnydale High, the Scooby Gang was mostly ambivalent to Jonathan. They didn’t harass him like other students, and often showed compassion (however awkward) towards his situation. Before she started dating Xander, Cordelia went on a date with Jonathan to the Bronze; however, this was short-lived and Cordelia quickly moved on.

The Group

During Superstar, As a member of The Trio, Jonathan frequently attempted to attack Buffy and The Scoobys. However, unlike Warren and Andrew, he never seemed too malicious or dangerous. Although he used his magic to aid the others, Jonathan’s attacks often served to be more of a nuisance than a proper threat.

When finally confronted by the group, Jonathan acknowledges that he needs to face the consequences of his actions. He even sided with Xander against Andrew, who was threatening Xander with a sword.

Despite them having no direct connection to Tara’s death, Dark Willow still tried to hunt down Jonathan and Andrew. While Jonathan was willing to take responsibility for his crimes, Willow’s wrath was enough to change his mind and escape with Andrew.

Jonathan’s desire to join the Scooby Gang after returning to Sunnydale shows how he wants to redeem himself, and that he no longer wants to have any ill-will towards the Scoobys.

Warren Mears

Warren was one of Jonathan’s friends and the leader of The Trio. While the two started off as friends and partners, Warren’s true nature eventually pushed Jonathan away. Even though he was teamed up with his friends, Jonathan was still the loser of the group, and Warren eventually began treating him as a lesser.

While Jonathan’s actions as part of The Trio mostly involved criminal activity such as robbery, he was never as much of a villain as Warren. Warren’s violence and misogyny horrified Jonathan, culminating when Warren murdered his ex-girlfriend, Katrina. Warren’s lack of remorse was the final push for Jonathan, who no longer wanted to team up with him.

Meanwhile, Warren saw Jonathan as a weak link compared to Andrew, who was much more willing to commit crimes and attack Buffy. Even before his darker turn, Warren used his superiority in the group to criticize and make fun of Jonathan.

Warren ended up excluding Jonathan from plans, which led to Jonathan going to Buffy behind his back. The rift continued to widen between them, coming to a head when Warren abandoned Jonathan and Warren during a bank robbery gone wrong.

While in jail, Jonathan attempted to convince Andrew that Warren wasn’t going to save them.

Andrew Wells

Andrew was the other member of The Trio and a friend of Jonathan’s. Although he would often align himself more closely with Warren, Andrew was a closer friend to Jonathan than Warren was.

Initially, Jonathan and Andrew made up a pair who looked up to Warren. Their shared geekiness made them less threatening than Warren, who became sinister far more quickly. However, Andrew eventually turned away from Jonathan. The opportunity to commit crimes with no consequences overshadowed Jonathan’s moral compass, so the two began to drift apart.

When Jonathan starts to stray from the others, Andrew helps Warren keep their plans secret. He also acts more coldly to him, and treats him as below him.

When Warren also betrays Andrew, he initially refuses to believe it. Jonathan manages to convince him that Warren won’t break them out of jail, although Andrew is still reluctant to do time in prison.

After Anya teleports them to The Magic Box so Dark Willow doesn’t kill them, Xander and Anya confront the two. Andrew pulls a sword and threatens Xander; however, Jonathan draws another sword and challenges him, saying that they need to face the consequences for their crimes once Dark Willow has been defeated. Andrew renews his friendship with Jonathan, and the two leave Sunnydale together to escape Dark Willow.

Andrew and Jonathan returned to Sunnydale several months later, still allied. They work together to uncover the Seal of Danzalthar, and exchange a heartfelt conversation about their past. However, a vision of Warren controlled by the First Evil manipulates Andrew, leading him to sacrifice Jonathan in an attempt to open the seal. Jonathan ended up being murdered by the last person he considered a friend.

This image, photograph, picture, or screen shot (collectively, picture) is used pursuant to Fair Use or other legal doctrines and may be subject to copyright and other intellectual property rights under the law.  If this picture is subject to intellectual property rights, BuffyWorld.com has a good faith belief that the use qualifies as Fair Use or other legal doctrines Because this website is made available by BuffyWorld.com for educational purposes and to convey general information and promote discussions about fictional characters.  BuffyWorld.com recognizes that the picture’s source may own rights in the picture.  Accordingly, if known, BuffyWorld.com credits the source of the picture immediately adjacent the picture.  BuffyWorld.com does not own or claim to own any copyright over titles, images, concept art, production design, costume design, set design, merchandise, logos, nor mention of characters, locations, objects, charms, actors, etc. relating to the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” franchise. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, merchandise, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and BuffyWorld.com‘s limited use of these materials is done by permission or is allowed under the Fair Use clause of the Copyright Act or other legal doctrines. BuffyWorld.com respects the intellectual property of others.  If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes an infringement of your rights, please contact Buffyworld.com in order to amicably resolve your concerns.

Marianne LeBlanc
Latest posts by Marianne LeBlanc (see all)