Cordelia Chase went from being a strong, assertive female character with complexities and depths to being an empty, used-up tool.
Is this what feminist television looks like?
And the same damn thing happened to Fred, too. Her character was often annoying: she needed rescuing a little too often, from both physical and psychological dangers (I really wish they’d had her kill the guy who sent her to Pylea, for instance, instead of having Gunn save her from it). But I was crushed when she also ended up penetrated, colonized, and obliterated. I remember thinking, “Of course they’re going to bring her back; they can’t possibly have just killed off the only female character left on this show.” But no. And that was the worst thing: she was just gone — Cordelia at least still existed somewhere, in some form, but Fred’s soul was completely destroyed. No other character ever got that kind of treatment. One of the things you could always count on in the Buffy/Angel ‘verse (as in so much sci-fi/fantasy) was that no one was ever permanently dead — except Fred.
And then her death became all about Wesley’s trauma at losing her just when he was finally going to get to have her. Feminist!