- “You're a goddess.”
- ―Kennedy to Willow[src]
While still a Potential Slayer, she fought beside the Scooby Gang against the First Evil, being activated by Willow during the Battle at the Hellmouth. She worked for the Slayer Organization until its disbanding with the end of magic, when Willow broke up with her. Kennedy then founded her Slayer bodyguard company, which became a military contractor after the return of magic, acting worldwide.
Kennedy came from a wealthy New York family, with a summer home in the Hamptons, and she had a half-sister. An open lesbian, Kennedy claimed she knew about her sexuality since the age of five, after watching Gone with the Wind and wanting to “sweep Scarlett off her feet.” She had also established to have been in theater class. At some point in her life, Kennedy was identified as a Potential Slayer, and had been trained to use weapons since the age of eight.
In 2002, the entity known as the First Evil began locating and killing Potential Slayers in an effort to destroy the Slayer line. After her Watcher was murdered by the Bringers, Kennedy was one of the first three Potential Slayers, along with Molly and Annabelle to arrive in Sunnydale seeking protection with the current Slayer, Buffy Summers. She met and began aggressively pursuing a relationship with Buffy’s friend Willow Rosenberg, whose longtime lover, Tara Maclay, had recently been murdered. Willow was reluctant to enter into a new relationship, and upon Kennedy’s and her first kiss, Willow’s guilt manifested physically transforming her into Tara’s killer, Warren Mears, whom Willow had murdered in vengeance. Kennedy helped Willow overcome the sense that she had betrayed Tara’s memory by helping her move on and by breaking the Penance Malediction.
Kennedy and Willow became lovers, with Kennedy acting as an anchor to keep Willow sane when Willow worked her powerful magic. However, she did not take Willow’s statements about the dangers of magic seriously until Willow drained a significant portion of her life force in order to reopen a portal, which briefly put a strain on their relationship. Even though the number of Potential Slayers in Sunnydale kept changing, both coming and going (dying), Kennedy became a consistent ally to the Scoobies, acting as a decoy for Bringers and taking initiative after the potentials were attacked by a group of Turok-Han vampires.
Kennedy fought alongside Buffy and the other Potentials in the final battle against the First’s army of Turok-Han. In this battle, Willow activated every Potential around the world, including Kennedy, causing her to become a Slayer. She survived, having quickly taken on her new life as a Slayer, remarking "I could get use to this".
- “I could get used to this.”
- ―Kennedy after being activated as a Slayer[src]
Following the battle with the First, Andrew Wells claimed that Kennedy and Willow continued to be a couple and were then living in Brazil together. At some point, Kennedy suffered a month-long mystical death and she and Willow started taking their relationship more slowly. She confessed to Willow her concerns that Willow was keeping her away from her friends due to shame, which prompted Willow to reveal that she blamed herself for Tara’s death by keeping her close to Buffy and therefore danger. Willow stated that she refuses to let that happen to Kennedy.
She and Willow were later reunited in New York, where she expressed protectiveness of Willow to Buffy having heard of Buffy’s sexual encounter with fellow Slayer Satsu. Though she was aware of Willow training under the demon Aluwyn, she remained unaware of the sexual aspects of their relationship.
Kennedy traveled to Tokyo to give new squad leader, Satsu, a performance evaluation. Satsu, a lesbian, had recently shared a one-night-stand with Buffy, who was straight. Kennedy wished to support Satsu on her situation and help her to move on from Buffy.
With the destruction of Seed of Wonder and consequential end of magic, she comforted Willow. After the battle, Willow broke up with her since she felt Kennedy was only with her because of her magic powers. Kennedy expressed anger at Buffy’s decision, because she believed that Willow was close to defeating the attacking demons without Buffy’s intervention.
- “People hire us because we're strong, smart, and good in a fight. Not because they're scared of refuges from the hell dimension next door. They want us to protect them from kidnappings, ransoms, assassinations even... so if you want me to certify you for field work, you need to stop looking at the world like you're the Chosen one.”
- ―Kennedy explaining Deepscan to Buffy[src]
After the break-up with Willow, Kennedy was one of the few Slayers Buffy kept in contact, despite the resentment and blame she still regarded the older Slayer with.
Eventually, Kennedy found even ground and a purpose. She then founded the Deepscan, a bodyguard profession where she helped other Slayers find a job to do that didn’t include slaying. Buffy sought her out and gave it a shot only for Kennedy to scold her for not shutting off her Slayer instincts during a test, concluding that it was because Buffy didn’t know how to do anything else but slaying. Nevertheless, she allowed Buffy to have her first client named Theo Daniels who was being hunted by Wolfram & Hart and lent a hand to her in dealing with it.
However, Theo was kidnapped by Eldre Koh and Kennedy and Buffy were forced to come up with a plan of attack. She blamed Buffy for being so busy caught up in saving the world that she would risk Theo’s life, mentioning that she had done the same with Giles. Furious and stung, Buffy punched Kennedy, insisting that no one was going to die. Together, they snuck underground and saved Theo just in time before Koh could receive his information, consequently destroying TinCan. Instead of criticizing Buffy for her actions, she gave her praise and encouragement. Kennedy gave her a check for her promotion, only to have the older Slayer turn it down as she wanted to do things her own way.
Many months later, Kennedy recruited Faith Lehane to Deepscan, Faith trying to find a new role for herself after her contribution to the restoration of magic and Angel’s successful resurrection of Rupert Giles. The two Slayers, alongside Leah, Holly and the now-teenager Giles, made a surprise rescue for to help the Scooby Gang against the new evolved vampires in Santa Rosita. Kennedy and Willow fought together in good terms.
Kennedy employed also Faith and Mai to serve as bodyguards for the rock star Billy Rage. However, Faith attacked the singer when he was revealed to be a demon who was seducing his teenage groupies. Kennedy intervened at first, revealing that she knew about Billy’s demon heritage, but backed off when she learned about his seduction of teenagers. Although Faith tried to leave Deepscan after that incident, Kennedy offered her a new mission that she felt would be interesting to Faith; to find Riley Finn, who had disappeared during a mission in the jungle in South America.
- “Don’t be a brat, slinky. That’s my profession, and I don’t like amateurs crowding me.”
- ―Kennedy to Satsu[src]
Outspoken, feisty, confident, and never one to shy away from confrontation, Kennedy made her presence known by both relentlessly pursuing her attraction to Willow, and coming to verbal blows with Buffy several times. Continually disagreeing with Buffy’s choices, she played an instrumental part in the argument which ended with Buffy’s brief ejection from the Summers’ residence and the Scooby Gang. She continued to push an argument with Faith, but was ultimately forced to give in when Faith informed her that she (and Buffy, after the momentary ostracism which Faith herself was against) were the leaders and she would have to get used to it. Later, she freely admitted to being a "brat" on numerous occasions.
Unlike the other Potential Slayers, Kennedy sometimes became involved with actions and events of core Scoobies. Kennedy served as a martial arts instructor to other Potentials, showing and enjoying a "drill sergeant" attitude. She unknowingly and unwillingly helped drive the weakest of the "recruits" to suicide (in this case, Chloe, whom she called "maggot") when the First Evil manipulated the feelings of weakness Kennedy caused. Kennedy chose to dismiss her other responsibilities, opting to feign illness to avoid joining Vi, Rona, and several other potentials on a Vision Quest to converse with the spirit of the First Slayer, instead choosing to take the opportunity to trick Willow into a date.
When Faith was incapacitated by a bomb during the raid on the First’s arsenal, Kennedy took over command of the Potentials and showed impressive leadership skills, rallying the girls and making sure they rescued Faith and the other wounded before organizing their defense against the attacking Turok-Han. In the final battle, though carrying the Scythe empowered by Willow to the other Slayers, she never used it directly: the only Slayers who used it were Buffy, Faith, and Rona.
Following the end of magic, Kennedy seemed to have newfound maturity and patience. Finally finding her purpose as a Slayer bodyguard, she seemed more understanding and less selfish, as she expressed a desire to help her clients and give other fellow Slayers a purpose since the failure of the Slayer Organization. Unlike Buffy, she was able to shut off or ignore her Slayer instincts to get the job done, openly saying with confidence that the world needed to deal without the help of Slayers for once.
When flirting with Willow at The Bronze, she mentioned that she was attracted by Scarlett O’Hara, the heroine in the movie Gone with the Wind. She also liked Italian food, skate punk, and Robert Parker mysteries books.
Powers and Abilities
As a Slayer, Kennedy possessed superhuman strength, speed, durability, agility, reflexes, and an accelerated healing factor. She was also trained in the use of melee weapons from a young age.
Behind the Scenes
- She was portrayed by Iyari Limon.
- After her first appearance, Kennedy was never absent from the series.
- According to the shooting script for "Bring on the Night", Kennedy is nineteen, and the oldest of the Potentials to arrive at that time. Although this information is never given on-screen, Kennedy does reference herself as being the oldest of the Potentials.
- Show creator Joss Whedon has described the character by saying: “Kennedy is, as she herself said, a bit of a brat. What I wanted was an anti-Tara. I wanted somebody who was as different from Tara as possible. Tara was very reticent, and she was somebody that Willow caused to blossom. What I wanted was somebody who was further on down in dealing with her sexuality than Willow ever was. Somebody who was totally confident, who was totally not earthy-crunchy, who was a completely different person.”
- Online critic Amy Amatangelo’s readers gave Kennedy the "Can We Vote Them Off the TV Island?" award for the "Most Annoying Character" in the 2002–2003 television season, narrowly beating Connor from the Angel series. Phi-Phenomenon, a site that provides statistical analysis of online Buffyverse opinion, has demonstrated that the number of lines of Kennedy dialogue is a statistical predictor of an episode’s unpopularity, both among committed Buffy fans and among those who by this time were disenchanted with the show.
- Artist Georges Jeanty has revealed that, in the scene Kennedy tells Buffy that Willow dumped her, he portrayed her breaking the fourth wall and looking to the readers as a nod to Buffy fans’ general dislike for the character.
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