- "Do you know how many girls I've trained to be Slayers? Five, they worked harder than you've worked in your life, and I saw them all ripped apart, Buffy."
Merrick was a member of the Watchers Council and the first Watcher of the Slayer Buffy Summers. Merrick died in 1996 shortly after meeting Buffy when he committed suicide to protect her from the vampire Lothos.
Merrick was raised from a young age to be a Watcher. His father taught him "a lot of subtleties the Council never bothered with" regarding training, legends, and research. In his lifetime, he trained five Slayers, all of whom he saw "ripped apart" by the dark forces they were destined to combat. He lost two of them to a powerful vampire master named Lothos.
In 1996, he arrived in Los Angeles to meet the newest Slayer, Buffy Summers. He informed her she was the Chosen One. He became her first Watcher, as Buffy had not been identified as a Potential Slayer.
Initially, Merrick's attitude towards his charge was sarcastic, tough, and stern, and he grew frustrated by Buffy's apparent lack of commitment to her calling. Eventually, Merrick grew somewhat attached to her and came to respect her methods after he spent some time training her, recognizing that she possessed an inner strength that he had rarely seen in Slayers, even if she didn't acknowledge it herself. When Lothos attacked Merrick and Buffy, Merrick was truly concerned for her safety. He used a gun to distract Lothos while Buffy fled, subsequently committing suicide by shooting himself in the head to prevent Lothos from siring him and thus learning where Buffy lived. His death nearly prompted a traumatized Buffy to quit slaying, but when Lothos attacked the gym, she staked the powerful vampire in memory of both Merrick, despite the short time under his training, and the girl she had once been.
Behind the Scenes
- Merrick first appeared in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer film in which he was played by Donald Sutherland. His first appearance in canon was the Buffy episode "Becoming, Part One", played by Richard Riehle. This interpretation of the character was later fleshed out in the canon comic book "The Origin".
- Merrick was not named in his appearance in "Becoming, Part One" and was listed in the end credits as 'LA Watcher'.
- There are two different deaths for Merrick. In the movie, while he was trying to stake Lothos, Lothos killed him by dragging the stake from his direction to Merrick's, and Merrick dies while telling Buffy to do things her own way rather than live by others' rules. In the Origins comic, Merrick kills himself in order to protect Buffy.
- In the film, Merrick's original nationality was British, but was changed to American in the series.
- In the film, he was a pseudo-immortal, born to train Slayers, eventually dying, and reborn again with the memories of his previous life.
- Besides Buffy and her parents, Merrick is the only character to appear in both the original film and the television series.