- "“We're not friends! You all think I'm an idiot! A short idiot!”"
- ―Jonathan Levinson[src]
Jonathan was born in 1981 and raised in Sunnydale, California. He attended Sunnydale High School, where he was often bullied, ridiculed, and ignored by his more popular peers, and had low self-esteem.
In 1997, while attending the World Culture Dance, Jonathan was singled out by the Inca Mummy, who wanted to transfer his life-force to herself via a fatal kiss. Not knowing her true nature, he did not resist, believing his luck in love had changed. He was only saved when Xander showed up, and, feeling weirded out by Xander's attitude towards Ampata, Jonathan left them alone.
A week later, Jonathan was picked by Cordelia to accompany her to The Bronze, after she had had a bad dating experience with Crestwood College student Richard Anderson. The relationship did not last, though, and Cordelia soon moved on to Xander. After this, he was used momentarily as a hostage by Patrice of the Order of Taraka, but was quickly let go.
The following year, Jonathan became possessed by a Bezoar that had been given to the class by Mr. Whitmore (as did many others at the school). As soon as Buffy Summers killed the mother Bezoar, he was freed from the Bezoar's control and believed himself to have been caught in a gas leak, as did the rest of the school.
Jonathan's self-esteem was dealt another crushing blow later that year when he tried out for the school swim team and did not make it because of being asthmatic. Following that, he was picked on by members of the swim team, such as Dodd McAlvy, who repeatedly dunked his head in a bucket of ice cold water to see how long he would be able to hold his breath. Buffy saved him, further bashing his esteem, and he went on to urinate in the swimming pool, which he later confessed to Willow Rosenberg under duress.
The following academic year, Jonathan became a senior and he was invited to a "welcome back" party for Buffy at her house. Zombies raised by Ovu Mobani crashed the party, but Jonathan made it out alive. Prior to the Homecoming Dance, both Cordelia and Buffy campaigned to become Homecoming Queen, when Jonathan tried to get as much out of both of them as he could in exchange for his vote. Towards the end of that year, Harmony and the Cordettes picked him as a possible boyfriend for Cordelia, who had just broke up with Xander, as a way of ridiculing Cordelia — the idea being that Jonathan was a loser. The incident was humiliating for Jonathan and was yet another incident that contributed to his spiral into depression.
Having had enough of being ridiculed and picked on, Jonathan took steps to commit suicide atop the bell tower at the high school, leaving a suicide note for Freddy Iverson to publish in the Sunnydale High Sentinel, the school newspaper. Buffy soon tracked Jonathan down, mistakenly believing that he planned to kill other students with his rifle. But after learning the truth, she then talked Jonathan out of suicide, informing him that everyone in the school was dealing with just as much pain as he was. For bringing a gun into the school, Jonathan was suspended for a couple of weeks and ordered to attend counseling.
Upon returning to the school, Jonathan's confidence had marginally increased, and, at the senior prom, he had a date with a girl much taller than him. At the prom, he also found the confidence to present Buffy with a Class Protector award. Jonathan joined the rest of the Class of 1999 in the Graduation Day Battle, fighting against the mayor Richard Wilkins after his Ascension to become the demon Olvikan. During the battle, he aggressively pounced on many vampires, and survived to see the school be blown up to and catch a jumpy Cordelia in his arms.
After trying to kill himself, Jonathan entered into counseling, where he met another suicidal person, who introduced him to an augmentation spell, which Jonathan cast. As a result of the spell, Jonathan became the paragon of everyone's ideal qualities, and fame, fortune, and universal admiration followed.
Buffy, however, grew suspicious of one person accomplishing so much. The spell had also created a monster via thaumogenesis, embodying negative qualities to balance all the positive qualities he gained. Jonathan reluctantly assisted Buffy in killing the monster and thus breaking the spell, and apologized to Buffy the following day. Soon after, the Swedish twins Ilsa and Inga left him at his mansion, and he lost his job as tactical consultant at the Initiative.
In this reality, he had the following accomplishments:
- Invented the Internet (actually DARPA and Tim Berners-Lee).
- In 1999, Starred in The Matrix (actually Keanu Reeves).
- Crushed the bones of the Master (actually Buffy Summers).
- Received the "Class Protector Award" (actually Buffy Summers).
- Blew up Richard Wilkins after his Ascension (actually Buffy Summers and Rupert Giles).
- Graduated Medical School.
- Coached the U.S. national women's soccer team to a World Cup victory in 1999 (actually Tony DiCicco).
- Released a swimsuit calendar.
- Had a movie based on his life called "Being Jonathan Levinson" (possibly a reference to "Being John Malkovich").
- Fronted an ad campaign for a pair of sneakers, using the slogan "Light As A Feather".
- Wrote an autobiography, Oh Jonathan.
- Tactical consultant to the Initiative, finding the weak point of Adam: his Uranium 235 core.
- Very skilled at chess.
- Skilled Marksman.
- Ability to sing, and play the trumpet, he released at least one album and performed at The Bronze.
- Lived in a large mansion in Sunnydale along with a pair of attractive Swedish twins.
- Ran the website Jonathan.com.
- Had his own cereal, Johnny O's.
Over a year later, Jonathan, in a moment of boredom, joined Warren Mears and Andrew Wells, and they agree to become "supervillains" and take over Sunnydale, with Jonathan using his expertise in magic to help them. Though taking over Sunnydale was their ultimate goal, most of their schemes revolved around neutralizing Buffy, who, as the Slayer, was their main threat. A month later, Andrew summoned a M'Fashnik Demon to cause a distraction in the Sunnydale Securities Bank while they robbed it. Buffy interfered and almost ruined the plan. Over Jonathan's objections, Warren steered the demon into a fight with Buffy, who killed it.
Soon afterward, the Trio spent some time harassing Buffy with mystical and technological tests of her abilities, making it a competition among themselves for ingenuity. Jonathan used a magic bone to put Buffy in a time loop, which could only be broken if she performed a seemingly impossible task for a customer at the Magic Box. On escaping the loop, Buffy suspected that she was being tested, and nearly succeeded in tracking down the Trio. To shake her, Jonathan used magic to impersonate a horned demon. It didn't give Jonathan any increased abilities, so he was forced to take a blow from the Slayer. Jonathan served somewhat as the Trio's conscience, often providing non-violent solutions to their schemes against Buffy, for whom he had a soft spot due to their history.
A few weeks later, Jonathan aided the other two in stealing the Illuminata diamond from the Sunnydale Natural History Museum. A security guard was hit with their freeze ray during the incident. The three were later confronted by Spike, who wanted Warren to examine his defective behavior modification chip, that forbids him from harming humans. Warren agreed only after Spike threatened to break their Boba Fett action figure.
In 2002, after accidentally making Buffy invisible Warren's Invisibility Ray, Jonathan agreed with Andrew that they should return her to normal before she disintegrated, while Warren would be happy to see her dead. A confrontation between the two sides lead the Trio's identities to be discovered. With the Scooby Gang now knowing who the Trio were and where they were based, the Trio flee Warren's booby-trapped basement.
Jonathan suggested turning themselves in to the police when Warren accidentally killed his ex-girlfriend Katrina Silber, but Warren decided to frame Buffy for the murder. Although Warren's plan failed, Katrina's death was ruled as a suicide. As neither Warren nor Andrew showed remorse, Jonathan felt increasingly alienated from them, and soon found that they were keeping some of Warren's plans from him. He finally betrayed Warren by telling Buffy how to defeat an altered, magically enhanced Warren. Ultimately, Warren escaped, betraying both Jonathan and Andrew.
In jail, Jonathan made sure that Andrew knew Warren would be coming to save them, insisting they would be forced to spend time in prison. To make matters worse, while the pair had been in jail, Warren had killed Tara Maclay in an attempt to kill Buffy, causing her girlfriend Willow to go on a homicidal rampage. With Warren dead, Jonathan and Andrew were her next targets. Anya teleported to warn them, and Buffy helped them escape, driving them to the Magic Box for protection. Willow eventually tracked them down, and the pair accompanied Xander and Dawn to safety, while Buffy fought Willow.
Andrew became nervous though, and threatened Xander with a sword. Jonathan drew a sword on Andrew, telling him that after Willow was defeated, they would be going back to jail to do their time. On the way to another hiding spot, an attack by Willow left the two able to flee. Jonathan's resolve disappeared in the face of Willow's ground-shattering magic fireball. They hitch a ride and head for Mexico.
Redemption and Death
While in Mexico, both Jonathan and Andrew began having dreams that lead them back to Sunnydale, where they knew a great power was rising. After some time, the two returned, with Jonathan having the intention of finding the Seal of Danzalthar and alerting Buffy so she could stop the coming evil, which would allow him to join the Scooby Gang.
Jonathan and Andrew made their way into the newly rebuilt high school basement to uncover the seal, with Jonathan unaware that Andrew was being guided by an ethereal image of Warren fabricated by the First Evil. While digging, the two engage in a conversation, and Jonathan reveals that he has reached a redemption of sorts: all the pain and hurt associated with his high school years, the pain that shaped his life, had faded away. He wished the people he spent six years with well, even if they don't care about him.
Andrew was not impressed and, with a glance at Warren, stabbed Jonathan, letting his blood flow on the seal.
Jonathan died, but his blood wasn't sufficient to open the seal because of anemia. Robin Wood, the principal of the new Sunnydale High, discovered his body and subsequently buried it. Jonathan's form occasionally appeared as an avatar of the First Evil. Buffy and the others learned Andrew murdered Jonathan, and had him face the consequences.
Eventually, while living in Oakland, Andrew rescued and activated Jonathan's digitized backup of his consciousness, as well as his DNA sample, stored at one of The Trio's secret hideout on the ruins of Sunnydale. First awakened as a hologram, this copied Jonathan eventually became a vengeance demon.
- "I really miss it. Time goes by and everything drops away. All the cruelty, all the pain, all the humiliation, it all washes away. I miss my friends. I miss my enemies. I miss the people I talked to every day. I miss the people who never knew I existed. I miss ’em all. I wanna talk to them, you know? I wanna find out how they’re doing. I-I wanna know what’s going on in their lives."
He was bullied early in the series, and was probably a victim of his classmates. Even as a member of the Trio, he was still the "loser" in the group because Andrew and Warren were willing to leave him willing to flee himself. Even in his time as a villain, Jonathan was far from being really nasty; at most, he was shown to be a nuisance. He was never as bad as Andrew and Warren; he was shown to have turned against their particularly cruel and violent ideas. Although he had declared himself as Buffy’s opponent, he probably had no interest in actually hurting or killing her.
He was visibly shaken and horrified by Warren’s cold-heartedness and sadism. When Katrina said that Warren’s using the Cerebral Dampener in order to make her a sex slave was nothing more than rape, Jonathan was very frightened, as he did not seem to have realized that before. And when Warren and Andrew were happy with the fact that they killed Katrina and could get away with it, Jonathan felt differently; he was all the more horrified. It’s also possible that he remained a member of the Trio in order to continue thwarting their dangerous plans.
Finally, he was shown to have helped Buffy defeat Warren in their last confrontation, and later returns to Sunnydale from Mexico in order to warn Buffy of the The First Evil.
Powers and Abilities
Though he had no innate powers, Jonathan became an accomplished warlock, capable of performing reality alterations, time loops and glamours. Additionally, he could speak Latin and Klingon and construct a sniper rifle in a matter of seconds. During his superstar phase, Jonathan had many talents such as fighting skills superior to Buffy's, effectiveness with weapons such as crossbows, master strategy, singing ability and other assorted talents he lost when he reverted to normal.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Danny Strong.
- Jonathan has appeared in five television seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a total of 30 episodes in some form or another.
- Jonathan is second only to Joyce Summers in appearing in the most episodes of Buffy without being part of the main cast. Other characters such as Spike, Anya, Oz, and Riley were eventually elevated to main characters after intitially recurring. Tara Maclay appeared in 46 episodes before being made a main cast member in her final episode.
- Jonathan's singing voice in episode "Superstar" was provided by Brad Kane, who incidentally played Andrew's brother Tucker in "The Prom".
- Perhaps by coincidence, his name is similar to that of Jonathan Levin, a consulting producer for the similar TV series Charmed.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Danny Strong also appeared as an unnamed student assumed to be Jonathan in the unaired Buffy pilot.
|Anne||Dead Man's Party
|Faith, Hope & Trick||Beauty and the Beasts||Homecoming
|Band Candy||Revelations||Lovers Walk||The Wish
|Helpless||The Zeppo||Bad Girls||Consequences||Doppelgängland||Enemies||Earshot
|Graduation Day, Part One||Graduation Day, Part Two
|Bargaining, Part One||Bargaining, Part Two||After Life||Flooded
|All the Way||Once More, with Feeling||Tabula Rasa||Smashed
|Older and Far Away
|As You Were||Hell's Bells||Normal Again
|Two to Go
|Lessons||Beneath You||Same Time, Same Place||Help||Selfless||Him||Conversations with Dead People
|Sleeper||Never Leave Me
Appears (Only the First Evil)
|Bring on the Night
|Potential||The Killer in Me||First Date
Appears (Only the First Evil)
|Get It Done||Storyteller
Appears (Only in flashbacks)
|Lies My Parents Told Me||Dirty Girls||Empty Places||Touched||End of Days||Chosen|
Buffy Season Eight
- Retreat (Only in visions)
Buffy Season Nine
- Apart (of Me), Part One (Only mentioned)
Buffy Season Ten
- ↑ "Dead Things"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Superstar"
- ↑ "Inca Mummy Girl"
- ↑ "Reptile Boy"
- ↑ "Bad Eggs"
- ↑ "Go Fish"
- ↑ "Dead Man's Party"
- ↑ "Homecoming"
- ↑ "The Wish"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 "Earshot"
- ↑ "The Prom"
- ↑ "Graduation Day, Part Two"
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 "Conversations with Dead People"
- ↑ "Storyteller"
- ↑ Return to Sunnydale, Part One
- ↑ "Flooded"
- ↑ "Life Serial"