This article is about the original Slayer. For the alternate series counterpart, see Kendra Young (2019).

You talk about slaying like it's a job. It’s not. It’s who you are.

Kendra Young was a Slayer from Jamaica activated in 1997 after 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.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Kendra Young's parents gave her up for Slayer training at a very early age after she was identified as a Potential Slayer, under the guidance of the Watcher Sam Zabuto. Years later, she would claim she had no surname.

By the time of her activation, Kendra couldn't even remember who her parents were but was allowed to see pictures of them. 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; although Buffy's friend Alexander Harris managed to revive her with CPR, her death nevertheless activated a second Slayer, causing two to co-exist for the first time.[1][2][3]

Meeting Buffy [edit | edit source]

In 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, beating up one of the workers on the way. Arriving at the local ice-skating rink, she then saw the ensouled vampire Angel kissing Buffy, and mistakenly assumed that Buffy was also a vampire — the first of many quick conclusions she would draw. Kendra attacked Angel at Willy's bar and locked him in a cage after a brief brawl, leaving him trapped in a position soon to be exposed by direct sunlight.

Buffy and Kendra as contemporary Slayers.

Kendra then moved on to Buffy and attacked her at Angel's apartment where she was sleeping. After a short fight, they discovered that they were both Slayers and both decided to go to Buffy's Watcher to clear the situation up.[1] It was there that Buffy learned about her involvement in Kendra's activation. Watcher Rupert Giles told them that two Slayers existing at the same time was unprecedented and suggested they work together to defeat the Order of Taraka, to which Buffy initially assumed Kendra belonged.

Kendra's social isolation and dedication to discipline and technique 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 they eventually began to empathize with each other's lifestyle, and Kendra helped Buffy realize that being a Slayer was not a burden, but simply 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 where she witnessed the love they felt for each other. Kendra then departed from Sunnydale on friendly yet conditional terms (not willing to hug her goodbye) with Buffy, now using a plane ticket, taking a taxi and wearing one of Buffy's shirts, as she had ripped her own while fighting Patrice. She also admitted that Angel was "pretty cute" despite being a vampire, and promised not to tell her Watcher about it.[2]

Death[edit | edit source]

Kendra wields the Blessed Sword, and Willow the Orb of Thesulah.

Kendra returned to Sunnydale in 1998 when her Watcher informed her that the demon Acathla would open its mouth and suck the world into a hell dimension (informed to her as "a very dark power is about to rise"). By that point, Angel had lost his soul, reverted to the infamous Angelus, and was the one destined to activate Acathla alongside Spike and Drusilla. Zabuto gave Kendra a special sword that had been blessed by the knight who first slew Acathla. Zabuto and Kendra believed the sword could be the last hope in slaying the demon if he were to awake. Kendra passed the sword onto Buffy; their paths had crossed a second time when Kendra surprised Buffy during patrol.

Kendra took Xander's side when organizing their plan of attack and believed Angelus should be killed, but Buffy wanted Willow Rosenberg to attempt the Ritual of Restoration to restore Angel's soul in case they were unable to eliminate him. When Angelus threatened to kill more people if Buffy didn't confront him at the grave yard, Kendra wanted to join Buffy but she insisted she stay and help protect Willow during her attempt at restoring his soul. Just before Buffy left, Kendra gave Buffy her "lucky stake" Mr. Pointy.

Drusilla and her vampire lackeys soon arrived at the library to stop the attempt to bring back Angel. A violent group vs group fight ensued in which Kendra struggled dealing with multiple attackers. As she was cornered Drusilla called back her lackeys and fought Kendra one on one. Drusilla let Kendra attack first and used her agression against her, blocking nearly all of her attacks and rolling with the ones that landed. After figuring out Kendra's predictable style she was able to use her unorthodox style of fighting to get close and grapple her, Drusilla hypnotized Kendra and put her in a trance. As Kendra was helpless Drusilla slit her throat, killing her.[3]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Buffy finds Kendra's dead body.

As Buffy was found next to Kendra's body, she became a suspect for murder and was then expelled from Sunnydale High; later, Buffy had been cleared of all charges by eyewitness reports. Principal Snyder, who already antagonized Buffy with a passion, initially refused to allow her to return to school, 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 kept Kendra's favorite stake with her[4] and mentioned using it in her slays.[5]

With Kendra's death, Faith Lehane was activated as a new Slayer,[6] the last of the original line.[7]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Look at she-Giles.
―Buffy about Kendra[src]

Kendra possessed more textbook knowledge about slaying than Buffy. She obtained it from her rigorous training with her Watcher and from intently studying the Slayer Handbook — a book that Giles felt was pointless to give to Buffy. Unlike Buffy, Kendra wielded her power exactly as her superiors instructed. Kendra believed that Buffy's social life was problematic because the Handbook insisted on the importance of maintaining a "secret identity". She also preferred to keep an even mind, believing that emotions were a weakness. However, after exposure to Buffy and her friends, this seemed to change, as she displayed anger when her favorite (and only) shirt was damaged.

Because of her upbringing, Kendra acted very shyly around men, not even being able to look Xander 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.  

As a Jamaican native, Kendra seemed to be unfamiliar with certain American terms Buffy used, such as "chick fight" and "wiggy".

Powers and abilities[edit | edit source]

Kendra swings into action and saves Buffy.

Kendra was endowed with all of the powers of a Slayer: superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, senses, stamina, endurance, as well as prophetic dreams. In addition, she possessed an efficient and organized fighting style developed over years of training before her activation, allowing her to easily take out Angel, a 200 year old vampire, and match Buffy in a one-on-one fight, even though Buffy had been a Slayer longer than she had. Buffy recognized her skill though noted her lack of emotion and improvisation as a weakness. 

This weakness would later become her downfall as she had trouble dealing with group battles and swiftly changing situations. Struggling with Drusilla's goons during a group fight Drusilla fought her one on one. After figuring out her lack of improvisation Drusilla was able to go for her throat and hypnotised her before slitting her throat.  

Kendra also appeared very knowledgeable of demonology as she studied heavily in addition to her training. She knew about the Order of Taraka from reading the Writings of Dramius and was familiar with Angel's reputation as Angelus. Kendra also claimed to be an expert on all types of weapons, though she misfired one of Buffy's crossbows shortly after making this statement, claiming its trigger mechanism was different to what she knew.[2]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

  • She was portrayed by Bianca Lawson.
  • Joss Whedon created surnames for Kendra and Faith to be used in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game supplement Tea & Crossbow. The RPG series was terminated before the book could be published, but the names are considered official, with Faith's notably used in following canonical materials.
  • Kendra had her own deluxe action figure, entitled "Becoming Kendra".
  • Bianca Lawson was originally cast to portray Cordelia Chase but she had scheduling conflicts so the role was given to Charisma Carpenter. The crew eventually offered Lawson the role of Kendra, which she accepted.
  • According to writer/producer, Marti Noxon, in the DVD commentaries 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.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Canonical[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Preceded by:
Buffy Summers

alongside Buffy Summers

Succeeded by:
Faith Lehane
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