- "The things you do and have, I was taught distract from my calling. Friends. School. Even family."
Kendra Young was a Slayer from Jamaica who was activated in 1997 by Buffy Summers' temporary death. Trained by her Watcher Sam Zabuto, Kendra was completely dedicated to her calling. She was an ally to the Scooby Gang in battling the vampires Spike and Drusilla, but was killed in 1998 by Drusilla after only a year-long tenure as Slayer.
Kendra Young's parents gave her up for Slayer training at a very early age after she was identified as a Potential Slayer; she did not even know her own surname as she studied under her Watcher, Sam Zabuto, but the name remained in Watcher records. Zabuto was very strict with his charge, forbidding her from enjoying a social or romantic life, which he taught her would distract her from her duties as the Slayer. Kendra became fully versed in the Slayer Handbook and fighting techniques, and owned a trusty stake which she named Mr. Pointy. After a lifetime of preparation, she was called in 1997 when Buffy Summers died at the hands of the Master; though Buffy's friend Xander Harris managed to revive her through CPR, her death nevertheless activated a second Slayer, causing two to co-exist for the first time.
Meeting BuffyIn her first year as the Slayer, Zabuto sent Kendra to Sunnydale when signs indicated that a very dark power was about to rise there. Kendra arrived to Sunnydale via an airplane cargo hold and beat up one of the workers on the way. Arriving at the ice-skating rink, she then saw the benevolent vampire Angel kissing Buffy, and mistakenly assumed that Buffy was also a vampire — the first of many quick conclusions she would draw. Kendra fought Angel and locked him into a cage, leaving him to the sun. She then moved on to Buffy and attacked her at Angel's apartment where she was sleeping. After a brief battle, they discovered that they were both Slayers. Buffy's Watcher Rupert Giles told them that two Slayers existing at the same time was unprecedented and suggested they work together. Kendra's social isolation and dedication to discipline and technique in pursuing her calling contrasted sharply with Buffy's independence; Buffy believed that her emotions and friendships made her a better Slayer. The two girls initially shared an antagonistic relationship, but eventually began to empathise with each other's lifestyle, with Kendra helping Buffy to realize that being the Slayer was not simply a burden, but part of who she was. Buffy's friends, the "Scooby Gang," learned that the dark power Zabuto detected was the vampire Drusilla, whose boyfriend Spike was planning to sacrifice Angel in order to restore Drusilla's strength. Despite her reservations about saving a vampire, Kendra aided Buffy in the rescue of Angel from Spike and Drusilla. Kendra then departed Buffy on friendly yet conditional terms (not willing to hug her goodbye), now using a plane ticket, taking a taxi and wearing one of Buffy's shirts as she ripped her own while fighting Patrice.
Kendra returned in 1998 when her Watcher informed her that the demon Acathla would open its mouth and suck the world into hell. By that point, Angel had lost his soul and reverted to the infamous Angelus, and was the one who had activated Acathla alongside Spike and Drusilla. Zabuto gave Kendra a special sword, which Kendra passed on to Buffy after surprising her as she patrolled. Kendra helped the Scooby Gang protect Willow Rosenberg as she performed the Ritual of Restoration to return Angel's soul. Drusilla and her vampire lackeys arrived in the library to stop the attempt to bring back Angel and after a brief fight, Drusilla hypnotized Kendra and slit her throat, killing her. At the very moment that Kendra lost her life, her successor Faith Lehane was called as a Slayer in Boston.
As Buffy was found next to Kendra's body, she became a suspect for murder and expelled from Sunnydale High; later, Buffy had been cleared of all charges by eyewitness reports, but Principal Snyder, who despised Buffy with a passion, initially refused to allow Buffy to return to Sunnydale High, citing her poor grades, spotty attendance record, and "tingling pleasure" that he was finally rid of her; however, he was eventually forced to do so thanks to the intervention of the school board, as well as physical and professional threats from Rupert Giles. Buffy was devastated by Kendra's death. She kept Kendra's favorite stake, Mr. Pointy, and also had it bronzed.
J.P. Williams states that from the perspective of the Watchers Council, Kendra is the "practically perfect Slayer: solemn, respectful, and efficient." She possessed more textbook knowledge about Slaying than Buffy from her Watcher and the Slayer's Handbook - a book that Giles felt was pointless to give to Buffy. Unlike Buffy, Kendra wields her power "exactly as her superiors instruct."
However, Kendra's tendency to unhesitatingly follow orders means she lacked moral autonomy, making her an easy target for Drusilla's hypnotism; Jana Riess argues that Kendra's death occured because "she always obeyed without question and had not strengthened her mind and spirit by discovering her own unique path." Ironically, Kendra's initial reaction to Buffy's insistence on doing things her own way instead of following orders was to retort, "No wonder you died."
Due to her upbringing, Kendra acted very shyly around men, not even being able to look Buffy's friend, Xander Harris, in the eye. She also had an initial distrust of all vampires, wanting to let Angel die even though he had a soul and had turned to the side of good.
Behind the Scenes
- She was portrayed by Bianca Lawson, who went on to appear in The Vampire Diaries as Emily, the ancestor of Abby who was played by Persia White (Aura).
- According to writer/producer, Marti Noxon, in the DVD commentary for "What's My Line, Part One," Kendra was never intended to have an accent. The addition of the Jamaican accent to the character was a last minute decision, and a dialect coach was brought in; he taught Lawson a dialect supposedly from a very specific, obscure region of Jamaica. Cast, crew, fans, and even Bianca Lawson herself have stated that it sounded like a very bad impersonation of a common Jamaican accent.
- The First Evil was rumored to appear to Buffy in the form of Kendra sometime during the show's seventh season, but Bianca Lawson was busy with other projects. This has never been confirmed.
- Bianca Lawson was originally cast to portray Cordelia Chase but she had scheduling conflicts so the role was given to Charisma Carpenter. The crew then offered Lawson the role of Kendra which she accepted.
- Bianca Lawson later guest-starred on Bones with David Boreanaz (Angel) and T.J. Thyne (a lawyer in Angel Season Five). This show include also many actors of Buffyverse like Clea DuVall (Marcie Ross), Brent Jennings (Absalom), Gregory Scott Cummins (Big Ugly), Harry Groener (Richard Wilkins), Edward Edwards (Travis), Channon Roe (Jack O'Toole), Michael Cudltiz (Big Bob), Andy Umberger (D'Hoffryn/Ronald Meltzer), Tracy Middendorf (Tina), Michael Mantell (Oliver Simon), Beth Grant (Maude Pearson), Leonard Roberts (Forrest Gates), Colby French (Tay), Justina Machado (Jo), Melissa Marsala (Judy Kovacs), Edwin Hodge (Keenan), Kali Rocha (Halfrek), Mik Scriba (Sam), Tom McCleister (Lorne's mother), Kate Norby (Elisabeth), David Denman (Skip), Kristoffer Polaha (Dylan Blim), Jim Ortlieb (the translator in Lullaby), Mark Harellik (Kurskov), Clayton Rohner (Lee DeMarco), Azura Skye (Cassie Newton), Randy Oglesby (Oliver Seidel), Jack Kehler (Manjet), Joel David Moore (Karl), K.D. Aubert (Nikki Wood), Gina Torres (Jasmine), Bonita Friedericy (Patience), Patrick Fischler (Ted), Danny Woodburn (Finger eating demon), Rod Rowland (Corbin Fries), Ryan Alvarez (Pee Pee demon) and Adam Baldwin (Marcus Hamilton).
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- ↑ Joss Whedon created surnames for Kendra and Faith to be used in the Buffy and Angel role-playing game supplement Tea and Crossbows: The Watcher Sourcebook. The RPGs were terminated before the supplement could be published, but the names are considered official.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "What's My Line, Part One"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "What's My Line, Part Two"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Becoming, Part One"
- ↑ "Faith, Hope & Trick"