- “This world is so new, so exciting. And I can see all of it. Everything flows through me. I know the secrets of your kings. But none of it compares to having form again. To be able to walk… to touch… to kill.”
- ―Moloch the Corruptor[src]
Moloch the Corruptor, alias Malcolm Black, was a demon who charmed and mesmerized his victims with promises of love, power, and knowledge.
- “Do you love me? I will give you everything. All I want is your love.”
Moloch originally lived in Cortona, Italy, in 1418, where he apparently mesmerized and killed several of the town's denizens. Just after Moloch killed Carlo, an order of monks led by brother Thelonius trapped Moloch in a tome through the Circle of Kayless, hoping the book would never be found in fear that it would release Moloch.
Over five hundred years later, in 1997, Rupert Giles somehow acquired the book for Sunnydale High School library. Moloch was accidentally released when Willow Rosenberg scanned the book's text, thus activating the release spell that had bound him to the book. Under normal circumstances, Moloch would have emerged back into the real world when his book was read, but the unique nature of his release in this instance made so that he was instead released onto the Internet.
Now in virtually complete control of potentially any computer system he could access, Moloch went on to woo Willow while posing as an eighteen-year-old boy called Malcolm Black, simultaneously recruiting Willow's fellow "computer geeks" David Kirby and Fritz Siegel. He also charmed the scientists of Calax Research and Development to help him as he attempted to construct a new body for himself, eventually constructing a powerful robotic body while retaining a 'wireless' connection to the Internet that allowed him to access any information he wanted. Meanwhile, he had Fritz follow Buffy Summers when the Slayer began investigation "Malcolm" and then ordered him to kill her. Moloch also had Fritz kill Dave when the latter had a qualm of conscience after the attempted murder of the Slayer.
- “I was omnipotent! I was everything! Now I'm trapped in this shell…”
He claimed to genuinely love Willow due to her releasing him into this new world, bringing her to his facility after the completion of his new body and offering her a place at his side in his new world order, but attempted to kill her after she rejected him. Aided by technopagan Jennifer Calendar, Giles attempted to bind Moloch back in the book- using a Circle of Kayless based on Jenny's Internet contacts as they lacked the available people to form a physical circle — but the spell initially simply cut Moloch off from the Internet, and trapped him in the robotic body instead. In the ensuing confrontation, Buffy tricked Moloch into punching into a circuit breaker, which overloaded the body's circuits, caused it to explode, and killed him.
Power and abilities
- “A very deadly and seductive demon. He draws people to him with promises of love, power, knowledge. Preys on impressionable minds.”
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
Superhuman strength: As a demon, Moloch was capable of superhuman feats of strength in his physical form as he was able snap someone's neck with a single hand.
Mind manipulation: Moloch had the ability to mesmerize and influence the minds of humans, making them believe they loved him and was able to make them perform objectional acts for him such as murder. He apparently could activate this power simply by speaking to them during physical form, and it appeared to carry on in his digital form. According to Giles, this power only seemed to work on impressionable minds and its effects varied between individuals as Fritz became totally devoted to him while Dave, who at first was loyal, betrayed Moloch when he couldn't bring himself to kill Buffy (Willow also broke free from his spell after it became clear that he was evil, but it should be noted that she never knew he was a demon until she met him directly).
Technopathy: While digitized Moloch could take control any electronic system wired to the internet. The Scooby Gang theorized that Moloch could cause all kinds of catastrophes with this power, such as malfunctioning medical equipment, randomize traffic signals, access launch codes for nuclear missiles, and ruin the world economy. This power gave him some sort of omnipotence, able to make a man from Beijing transfers money to a Swiss bank account for a contract on his mother's life.
Robotic body: In his robotic body, he possessed physical strength sufficient enough to punch through solid walls, and take a jumping kick from Buffy without even flinching.
Behind the scenes
- He was portrayed by Michael Deak and voiced by Mark Deakins.
- Moloch is the biblical name of a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice.