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Did season 5 ruin Gunn?


Mar 7, 2018
York, England (Teabag Central)
I didn't really care for season 5 but one thing I do know is that Gunn rocked in season 4. This was when he was truly himself and when he was most enjoyable to watch. I did feel that he and Fred were a delightful match and that their romance was really sweet in season 3. It still gets me that she's the only person that calls him Charles which is endearing. I liked Wesley's pining after Fred and thought that arc was really powerful, especially the conflict between Gunn and Wes in season 4 when they come to blows. In season 5 he was pretending to be some corporate lawyer guy which I didn't like at all.


Jul 29, 2016
I don't think Season 5 ruined Gunn but it did take him away from his origins which is why, in Not Fade Away, he went back to his "roots" and helped out at the homeless shelter.


Earth Invasion Taskforce Unlimited
Feb 18, 2014
Denver, Colorado
They didn't ruin Gunn for me in S5 because I don't think he ever really changed. What I mean is that from the very beginning he suffered from insecurities and to me the nature of those never changed. The same basic insecurities about his limitations within the group, his origins, the perceived effect of his socio-economic status on things like his intellect and so on in the beginning were the same basic insecurities that led him to make the deal to become a lawyer later. I guess you could say that I don't see Gunn as having evolved much as a character. That might be fair to say, but I would say that while Gunn's basic character flaws remained the same, the manner in which his flaws expressed themselves over the course of his time on the show did change. So I don't think Gunn changed really...but his way of dealing with himself did. But that's a subtle wrinkle, a finer point really. So getting back to the OP question, I don't think what happened to Gunn was dramatic like what happened to someone like Cordelia for example (i.e. the S4 "assassination" of her character). To me, Gunn before becoming the lawyer and Gunn after becoming the lawyer is more or less the same basic person in all of the essential ways. So Gunn wasn't ruined. For me.


I do not think Gunn is a good characterat least not on paper. I do think J. August Richards does a fantastic job making him likeable. Whenever Gunn is just some dude, when he is not defined by his race or background, he really shines. However, whenever the show tries to explore his race or class identity, they end up doing a terrible job of it. Consider "That Old Gang of Mine" whose message seems to be that black people can be just as racist as white people. I do not think that BtVS and AtS are the right show to make this kind of argument, and it especially should not be done so hamfistedly, even if it may be true that xenophobia and group-think are universal human traits.

As others have pointed out, S4 is particularly harsh to Gunn. He is reduced to an angry black man stereotype for most of it. The narrative is that an educated black man could not be with an educated white girl.

Gunn is a much more rounded and likeable character in S5, even if the narrative continues to define his background in a purely negative light.

I sometimes wonder if Gunn did the wrong choice in joining team Angel. He was doing good work before. But then he abandons his community to help an immortal white man in his very personal struggle against a lawfirm and his ex girlfriend.


Mar 13, 2016
I liked how Gunn was the first in the team to remember the actual mission in season 5.
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