Buffy Character: Mayor | Harry Groener

Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be nothing without its villains. Each season, a new evil, or Big Bad, threatens the town of Sunnydale, forcing Buffy and the Scooby Gang to come up with innovative ways to save each other, and usually, the world.

However, more than simple evil demons, the villains that descend on Sunnydale are wonderfully complex characters that force viewers to re-evaluate their own morals over and over again. The Big Bad of Season 3, The Mayor of Sunnydale, was absolutely no exception.

In fact, Mayor Wilkins was arguably one of the most interesting, divisive villains in the whole series. However, this was no accident. Joss Whedon wrote the character into the show in order to explore issues surrounding the abuse of power, and the choices that people in power make.

Though his bizarrely jolly, pleasant, and polite demeanor seemed to clash considerably with his evil plans for Sunnydale, these aspects of his character transformed him into an exaggerated, almost comical representation of the quintessential American politician.

Although Mayor Wilkins was evil through and through, his fatherly relationship to faith seemed to display a softer side of the character. The chemistry between Wilkins and Faith was so convincing that Wilkins’ legacy extended over the following 8 series of the show.

To learn more about Mayor Wilkins, including his early life, his time battling the Scooby Gang, and his relationship with Faith, check out the information below!

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Biography

Background

The Mayor, also known as Richard Wilkins, arrived in California in the 1800s. He traveled to what would become Sunnydale and found the Hellmouth infested with demons. In order to protect himself, he made a pact with the demons.

He agreed to found a town on the Hellmouth so that the demons could feed on the inhabitants. As such, he founded the town of Sunnydale. He also made various other agreements with demons and ended up gaining mortality by selling his soul.

After founding Sunnydale in 1899, he began planning his Ascension into the form of an Olvikan. Olvikan, or Olukai, is a pure-bred demon, known as one of the ‘Old Ones’. Olvikan looked like a colossal green snake that was roughly 60 feet tall.

Wilkins decided to get married to Edna May in 1903. However, Edna was mortal, and soon became frustrated with her husband’s eternal youth. The couple was unhappy until the day she died, and Wilkins refrained from building another relationship with a mortal being.

Wilkins pretended to be his own son in each generation, in order to hide his true, immortal nature from the residents of Sunnydale. He used names such as Richard Wilkins Junior or Richard Wilkins III. Wilkins was the only mayor of Sunnydale, from its founding right up to the year 1999.

Before The Ascension

When Angel, Drusilla, and Spike left Sunnydale, Wilkins used their departure as an opportunity to gain control of the vampire population within Sunnydale.

He also manipulated Snyder, the principal of Sunnydale High School, to ensure that the Slayer was kept out of school, and hired s vampire, Mr. Trick, as an assistant.

When Spike returned to Sunnydale, Wilkins planned for Spike’s former henchmen to attack him. Though Buffy prevented Wilkin’s plans, he remained to keep tabs on Spike to ensure he would remain out of the way.

Wilkins also often pitted the Slayer and other rivals of his against each other as a way of getting rid of his enemies without having to do much work himself.

For instance, in the days leading up to the Dedication, an event that commences 100 days of invulnerability before the ascension, an old rival called Balthazar threatened to thwart Wilkins’s plans.

However, rather than battle Balthazar’s minions, he decided to keep an eye on them, hoping that Buffy and Faith would attempt to deal with them. In turn, all of his rivals would become injured or die.

Although this didn’t prevent him from getting attacked by one of Balthazar’s minions, he survived and used the minion to test the extent of his vulnerability once the Dedication had taken place.

Others attempted to hinder Wilkins’s plans, however, they were often to no avail. The Deputy Mayor, Allan Finch, attempted to leave a trail of Wilkins’ plans and was hoping to use them to show the Slayer what Wilkins was trying to accomplish.

However, Allan Finch was accidentally murdered by Faith whilst she was battling vampires.

Wilkins hoped that Faith would be locked up, and thus, he would face less resistance. However, it became apparent that the Slayers were onto him and were getting close to foiling his plans. As such, he ordered Mr. Trick to kill them.

Wilkins was particularly surprised to find that Faith had killed Mr. Trick and his henchmen. Though, what was most surprising was Faith’s visit to Wilkins after the fight, wherein she offered to help him, and work in Mr. Trick’s place.

Faith

Faith’s motivations to join Wilkins in his evil dealings were murky. However, Faith proved herself to be a Slayer motivated by pleasure, and after accidentally killing a human, she became disconnected from Buffy. After joining Wilkins, Faith continued to pretend to work with Buffy.

Wilkins got along with Faith incredibly well, and even went on to buy her a nice apartment so that she could leave the Sunnydale Motor Inn.

As something of a double-agent, Faith was able to keep Wilkins up to date with the Scooby Gang’s activities. In particular, she told him that Willow was looking through his personal files.

Wilkins became a father figure for Faith. Whilst Buffy and the Scooby Gang understood faith as a liability, who murdered a man, Wilkins simply treated her as a nice young woman. Although, he did encourage her to exercise her evil tendencies by assigning her deadly missions.

In preparation for the ascension, Wilkins asked Faith to murder a Skyler demon. This demon had hold of the Books of Ascension and offered them to the Slayers for a price. Although, after Faith killed him, the Scooby Gang was prevented from learning more about Wilkins’ plans.

Wilkins also devised a plan to remove Angel’s soul so that he could kill Buffy and become another member of Wilkins’ team. To do this, Wilkins first asked Faith to seduce Angel. However, Angel’s devotion to Buffy meant that he wasn’t interested in Faith’s advances.

Following this failure, he teamed up with a demonic shaman to remove Angel’s soul magically. From Wilkins and Faith’s perspectives, this seemed to work.

Although, the demonic shaman was actually in cahoots with the Scooby Gang, and Angel was pretending to be soulless in order to gain insight into Wilkins’ plans.

Thinking that Angel was soulless, Faith teamed up with him to go and capture Buffy. However, thanks to Angel’s ploy, rather than harming Buffy, the Scooby Gang found out valuable information about the Ascension.

Specifically, Faith revealed that it was due to take place on Sunnydale High’s Graduation Day.

This event revealed the extent of Faith’s alignment with Wilkins and completely alienated her from the Scooby Gang. In turn, this pushed her further into Wilkins’ arms, and she became completely devoted to the Ascension.

The Ascension

To ensure that Buffy would steer clear of Sunnydale High on the day of the Ascension, Wilkins convinced Faith to shoot Angel with an arrow saturated in a poison that can slowly kill vampires. The poison, called Killer of the Dead, can only be stopped using the blood of a Slayer.

When Buffy heard what had happened, and how it could be stopped, she fought Faith almost to the death. Faith’s injuries were severe, and she had to be put into an induced medical coma.

This devastated Wilkins, and he was particularly unhappy that Faith wouldn’t be stood by his side throughout the ascension.

Buffy was taken to the hospital after letting Angel drink her blood. There, Wilkins attempted to smother her to death. After being stopped by Angel, Wilkins went to Sunnydale High to give his graduation day speech.

During this speech, he discussed changes, growing up, and moving on. However, his speech was ended abruptly when his Ascension began.

Meanwhile, whilst Buffy was in the hospital, Faith came to her in a dream. To her surprise, Faith gave Buffy some hints as to how she could defeat Wilkins. It becomes clear that a knife that Wilkins had previously given to faith would be a useful tool in the battle against him.

After Wilkins was transformed into a giant, snake-like demon during his ascension, he began inflicting chaos by swallowing Snyder. However, whilst Angel and the Scooby Gang attempted to fight Wilkins’ army of vampires, Buffy distracted Wilkins by flashing Faith’s knife.

Wilkins followed Buffy through Sunnydale High School to the library. However, the gang had previously rigged the library with a number of explosives. Wilkins was killed by the blast, and Sunnydale High School was completely destroyed.

Influence

Before going to the Ascension, Wilkins sat with Faith in hospital. Despite the doctors telling Wilkins otherwise, he truly believed that Faith would one day wake up from her coma.

Knowing that his plan may fail, Wilkins filmed a message to Faith that would be given to her if she came out of her coma. He detailed how he left her a device called a Draconian Katra. This device allowed the user to switch bodies with anyone.

Before Faith eventually came out of her coma a few years later, she had dreams of a lovely picnic with Wilkins. However, the dream picnic was interrupted by Buffy, who stabs Wilkins to death.

When Faith awoke, she was visibly full of anger towards Buffy, and whilst fighting her, she utilized the Draconian Katra.

Though Buffy eventually managed to get her own body back, the event caused a lot of damage, and the Scooby Gang became particularly fearful of Faith. However, after turning herself in and attending prison, Faith does return to Sunnydale in the fight against the First Evil.

Wilkins’ legacy remained to live on, thanks to his deep connection to Faith. Faith always struggled to let go of Wilkins, as she didn’t have another parental figure to take care of her. When the First Evil took the form of Wilkins, Faith was very shaken. However, choosing to fight the good fight, Faith ignored Wilkins.

Personality / Traits

Despite his evil plans, Wilkins had a surprisingly upbeat, cheery, polite demeanor. He didn’t like swearing and labeled himself a ‘family man’. He enjoyed playing miniature golf, eating Toll House cookies, and reading The Family Circus.

He did have an intense hygiene obsession that he supposedly got from his mother. This obsession was the reason that he didn’t like Marmaduke, as he seemed unsanitary.

He also surprisingly showed a great, parental fondness of Faith. He took care of her, bought her a great apartment, and showed a genuine interest in her life. He was visibly devastated when Faith was put into a coma.

However, he did leave Faith a loving message and a useful device, showing that he wanted her to survive and feel loved even after his death.

Although, Wilkins’ parental love also illuminated his darker, more evil side. After realizing that Buffy had harmed Faith, he attempted to smother her in a fit of rage.

This violence from Wilkins himself was rare to see, as he usually got his henchmen to do his dirty work for him. He also goes on to call Buffy a ‘whore’, which was a far cry from his usually pleasant tone.

These two sides of Wilkins would eventually lead to his demise. After Faith visited Buffy in a dream, it became clear that Wilkins could be defeated if Buffy exploited the remnants of his humanity.

By taunting him with Faith’s knife, Wilkins became enraged and followed Buffy without considering the consequences. After doing so, Wilkins was killed by explosives.

Wilkins was also manipulative and managed to continue to manipulate Faith and Buffy even after his death. Though Faith did react to things defensively and often made poor decisions, Wilkins exploited these aspects of her personality to push her to be eviler.

After his death, Wilkins left Faith a video message and device to help her kill Buffy, which she used. Thanks to the extent of his manipulation, even after Faith began trying to be good, she still felt a fondness for him.

Appearance

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 78kg
  • Eye color: Hazel
  • Hair color: Brown/Ginger
  • Dress: Suit, sometimes with a tie.

Powers / Abilities

Magic

Wilkins specialized in dark magic and was a powerful sorcerer. There are hints to this in his choice of decor. For instance, he had a cabinet filled with paraphernalia such as bones and small heads.

Immortality

Whilst making deals with the demons of the Hellmouth, Wilkins made a deal with the demon Lurconis. He sold his soul so that he could gain immortality. This allowed him to be the Mayor of Sunnydale from the day of its creation to the day of his death around 100 years later.

Invulnerability

Wilkins was completely invulnerable during the 100 days leading up to the ascension. This meant that he couldn’t be killed or harmed in any way. He could also recover from incredible injuries very quickly.

Politics

Though not technically a superpower, Wilkins had great political power. In addition to being the mayor of Sunnydale for a century, he managed to convince vampires and demons to follow him. He also utilized this power to ensure the Slayer remained out of his way, and to hide any supernatural dealings he was involved in.

Demonic Strength

After transforming into the demon Olvikan, he possessed incredible strength and size. In fact, as an Olvikan, he was able to swallow humans in one bite, and thanks to his natural armor, little damage could be done by spears or flamethrowers.

Relationships

Faith Lehane (Parental)

Wilkins acted as a stable parental figure to Faith. This relationship would encourage Faith to engage in evil activities in order to make Wilkins proud of her.

When Wilkins learned that Faith was in a coma, he was absolutely devastated, and acted violently, which was out of character. Likewise, when Faith realized that Wilkins had died, Faith went on a violent rampage, determined to kill Buffy for what she had done to Wilkins.

Edna May (Romantic)

Wilkins married Edna in 1903. However, it was a particularly unhappy marriage. As Wilkins was immortal, and Edna was mortal, in her later years she cursed him for his youth. After she died, Wilkins decided to refrain from romantic relationships with mortals.

Buffy (Antagonistic)

Buffy and Wilkins didn’t actually see each other that much. This is, in part, due to Wilkins’ way of dealing with his rivals. Rather than fighting them himself, he often demanded his henchmen to do so instead. In particular, he enjoyed attempting to pit his rivals against each other.

Faith was also an important person in Wilkins’ battle against Buffy. He often utilized Faith’s pre-existing frustrations with Buffy to convince her to cause Buffy further harm.

However, just before his ascension, Wilkins tries to murder Buffy himself. This is a particularly poignant moment, as he is acting out of pure devastation and anger, rather than using his usual, carefully thought out method of dealing with his enemies. His rivalry with Buffy continued even after his death, as he gave Faith the resources to cause chaos in Buffy’s life.

Photos

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Appearances

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 3

  • ‘Homecoming’
  • ‘Band Candy’
  • ‘Lovers Walk’
  • ‘Gingerbread’
  • ‘Bad Girls’
  • ‘Consequences’
  • ‘Doppelgangland’
  • ‘Enemies’
  • ‘Choices’
  • ‘Graduation Day, Part 1’
  • ‘Graduation Day, Part 2’

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 4

  • ‘Hush’ (Mention)
  • ‘This Year’s Girl’ (Vision)
  • ‘Superstar’ (Mention)
  • ‘Primeval’ (Mention)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 7

  • ‘Lessons’ (Vision)
  • ‘Touched’ (Vision)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 (Comic Book)

  • No Future for You, Part 4 (Flashback)
  • After These Messages… We’ll Be Right Back! (Mention)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 12 (Comic Book)

  • One Year Later
  • Future Shock
  • The Reckoning
  • Finale

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Marianne LeBlanc
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