- Psychic abilities allow him to detect the aura and powers of opponents, read their minds, and channel the power of the First for extended periods.
- Merging with the First grants him temporary superhuman strength, stamina, and durability far superior to that of most vampires, demons, and Slayers; the process also turns his eyes black and mutates his blood into a thick, black, oil-like substance.
He was introduced, according to Joss Whedon, because the mutable, non-corporeal nature of the First Evil "meant that we didn't really have anything to push against. We needed... a sidekick. Somebody physical that we can see from episode to episode. Whedon describes him as "the creepiest priest", adding, "he is the most bald-faced misogynist we've had since, well, since last year, with Warren."
Prior to becoming the right-hand man of the First Evil, Caleb was a defrocked priest and serial killer responsible for the deaths of at least two girls, whom he lured with his stirring sermons and masculine charm.
Despite remaining unseen until the last five episodes of the series, Caleb is revealed to be one of the prime movers for the events of the seventh season. In an effort to eliminate all threats to the First Evil's resurgence, he directs hordes of Bringers to systematically kill Potential Slayers around the world. He also orders the bombing of the Watchers' Council Headquarters in London, causing the deaths of Quentin Travers and all Watchers and Council Operatives present.
In the episode "Dirty Girls", Caleb murders two potential Slayers (One being Molly; one of the first potentials to appear in series) and effortlessly defeats Buffy, Faith, and Spike. Before the Scooby Gang retreats, he also violently blinds Xander in one eye by forcing his thumb into his left eye socket.
In the series finale, "Chosen", Caleb is killed in a final confrontation with Buffy with the assistance of the newly-arrived Angel. With Angel watching, Buffy pierces Caleb's abdomen with the Scythe, apparently killing him. Much to their shock, Caleb is revived with another power transfusion from the First and immediately knocks Angel unconscious with a devastating blow. Buffy and Caleb exchange blows once again. However, Buffy manages to slice him vertically in half and put him down permanently.
Later in the episode, the First Evil appears to Buffy, manifesting under the guise of the slain Caleb. The First lectures Buffy on the futility of her campaign against it, and it is this meeting that encourages Buffy to come up with her plan to activate the remaining Potentials to full Slayer status using the essence of the scythe taken from the vineyard two episodes previous.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Caleb provided Buffy and her allies with a villain who was both a physical threat (in contrast to the non-corporeal First Evil) and a recognizable individual (as opposed to the nameless Bringers and Turok-Han, who were formidable but also interchangeable, and the First itself, which had no fixed form).
Caleb's superhuman body serves as a vessel for the awesome power of the noncorporeal First Evil. With the possible exception of Glory, Caleb's might dwarfs that of Buffy's previous adversaries. When channeling the power of the First Evil, he possesses immense physical strength and durability that greatly exceeds that of most vampires, demons, and Slayers. He can easily punch through solid concrete and send an opponent flying for dozens of feet with a single blow.
However, in order to maintain this power, Caleb must merge with the First to recharge after extended periods. Power transfusions from the First also allow him to return from death, as long as his body is still intact.
Behind his priest's collar, Caleb is a sadistic sociopath with a pathological hatred of women. Impressed by his body's fortitude as well as his single-minded nature, the First Evil makes him the commander of its campaign of carnage and mayhem. He likes to reenact his killings by asking the First to take on the form of the girls he killed, so that he may "kill them again."
Caleb delivers quasi-biblical quotes, frequently even making allusions to his belief that the First is actually God. Caleb seems to quote the Old Testament more often than the New Testament due to the more sexist views that can be interpreted in the Old Testament, for example his views on women being evil relates to his views on Eve, the biblical first female (in Jewish and Christian book of Genesis), and how she gave Adam, the first created man and first created human, the forbidden fruit. When the First, in the guise of Buffy, asks him if he thinks it is God, Caleb replies that he believes the First is beyond such definition. He states plainly in his debut episode, "I don't truck with Satan, that was just me havin' fun back there. Satan's a little man."
When asked about Caleb's religious connections, Whedon said, "I'm not coming down against priests. This guy clearly is not one."
Caleb also comments further on his admiration of the First, when it (under the guise of Buffy) vocalizes its envy of humans' ability to feel lust and engage in primal sexual acts, while several members of the Scooby Gang engage in such activity elsewhere. He dismisses them all as "sinners," commenting enthusiastically that the First is miles beyond that, for it is "sin" itself.
Writing and ActingEdit
- Nathan Fillion is one of four actors who had appeared on Whedon's Firefly who later played a villain on one of Whedon's other shows; Gina Torres and Adam Baldwin went on to play Jasmine and Marcus Hamilton, respectively, in Angel. Jonathan M. Woodward, who plays the vampire Holden "Webs" Webster in the Buffy episode "Conversations with Dead People", also played the character of Tracey in an unaired episode of Whedon's Firefly, entitled "The Message". Woodward also played Knox on Whedon's Angel in the episode "Home". Summer Glau, also of Firefly, played a guest appearance on Angel as well, playing a nameless prima ballerina in the episode "Waiting in the Wings."
- Caleb was referred to by Buffy writers as "The Second," a reference to his boss' nickname, "The First."
Caleb appears in:
Caleb appeared as a guest in 5 episodes:
Caleb appeared in 1 issue in a flashback: