Winifred Burkle will always be one of my favourite fictional characters ever. I’m always saddened by her misrepresentation in fandom and the general lack of empathy she gets when compared to the Strong Empowered Superwomen in the whedonverse. Fred, for me, is different. She’s a different kind of strong, a subtle survivor in a very real, empathetic way. Her arc is there, but people tend to see her at both the beginning and end of the spectrum, seasons 2 and 5, where she arguably underwent the least amount of progression. I love that we see her mistakes along with her goodness and light. There’s shadows amongst the flame, all light creates dark. She has a very dark streak, a side of her willing to go to great lengths to not only survive, but to get revenge. But all along this dark fairytale we’re reminded of her kindnesses too, and we truly learn to love her. She’s a character who’s fascinated me for years, I’m constantly finding new details, new ways to see her.
So I decided to arrange this by season - for season 2 the music is almost creepy and often nonsensical, we can see the girl who’s been strong for too long in Pylea. She can’t make sense of herself or her world, and she pins her hopes on the handsome man who saves her from the monsters. Season 3’s songs are for the most part comforting and light, she’s beginning to fit in and retain a sense of normalcy. She’s in control. Season 4 sees Fred at her darkest points, with vengeance in her sights we don’t know her anymore and the music is dark and harsh. And lastly, Season 5 has one last sweet song tying her to life, she has so many reasons to stay, but her life is ripped from her. The Memory Machine acts as an epilogue.