Billy Peele

Lost in Trinity

by Rosebuck

We all know that Dr. Billy Peele was written in as a replacement for the Gothnik favorite, Dr. Matt. He came at us like a revvved up engine, catching the eye of slinky Selena and threatening Lucas Buck with the kind of courage only a man ignorant of the ways of Trinity could ever muster. Plague Sower gave us an intresting Billy. A doctor with the CDC, he had traveled the world, seen and done things that most of the citizens of Trinity would never have the chance to experience. Including Lucas Buck. He had courage, smarts, and a little attitude, tempered by compassion and a sense of fair play. He was laid back and easy-going, not looking for much in the relationship department; his personal life never intended to intrude on his professinal dedication. He was a man of action, but not a stupid one. He watched the people around him, looking to learn whatever he could to help him with his work, but he wasn't afraid to move in, make a decision, do what needed to be done.

I'd rather not look at him in contrast to Matt, but in contrast to Lucas. Lucas's world is Trinity, and although Billy might not have a Harvard education, his worldwide experiences gave him many tools to use in the battle against one potently evil sheriff. He saw immediately that Lucas was unusual. Though he was never prepared for the supernatual quality of life with Lucas Buck, he understood that Lucas was more than just a bad man. He pegged Lucas as a sociopath within a day or two, and seemed to grasp that Lucas's evil wasn't simple or mundane. I don't think he needed Selena's warning to really tell him that.

In many ways, he shares similar qualities with Lucas. They are both men of action, willing to do what is necessary to get the job done. Both are intelligent, but neither wear it with the kind of badge that Matt did. They each have a homegrown quality to them, that says they fit in with average folk, though neither should ever be thought of as average. Both have a taste for women who are easy, without ever being truly easy to know. There's an excitement to Selena's edge to which I think Billy is drawn. He picks the most complex woman in town to have an uncomplicated affair with. Many of the qualities that make Billy appealing to Selena are ones she can see in Lucas. What she can't see is Billy's kindness, compassion and decency.

It is a horrible waste that the Billy we meet in Plague Sower becomes lost in Trinity. Not in its intrigue and its evil, but in its slow southern life. It's like Billy gets bogged down by the mundane. Gail's love life, going fishing with Caleb, arguing with Selena, drinking beer at the bar. Couldn't the writers have found more to give this dynamic man to do? Of course they could have, if they had decided to. Instead, for the bulk of his time, Billy becomes that rather average guy that he wasn't. It's hard to imagine the Billy of LTC and EOYLG ever saving lives in Uganda. Billy has another looming fault during this period. He was confident in PS, without giving the sense that he looked down on the people he had come to help, but in the following eps he changes, the confidence becoming arrogance. This is especially true, I think, in DDTAH.

In Triangle, Billy-as-he-should-have-been unburies himself and comes up for air in the ring scene with Lucas. Sure, he takes the Neandrathal approach by punching out Lucas, but he quickly rolls with Lucas's far more powerful verbal punch. He accepts that Lucas has an ability to affect Selena. He sees it as being inside her head, and doesn't understand the supernatural element, but he does accept it. It's not just pride that keeps him from kissing Lucas's ring, it's his brain finally kicking back into gear as he realizes that giving in would never help Selena or himself. He finally understands that he has a battle on his hands.

In TBSH and Req, we also learn what a truly moral man he is, for his own life surely would have been a hell of a lot easier if he had left Lucas in that coffin. Billy's back, the real Billy. Unfortunately, it's the end of the series. He had great potential, and I truly believe that he would have served as an interesting and challenging advesary for Lucas if the series had continued.

There was a time that I was utterly convinced that you couldn't have both Matt and Billy on the canvass at the same time. I no longer believe that, and wish we could have seen what kind of a team they would have made. Can one man take down Lucas on his own? Or do we need both Matt's intellectual approach married with Billy's action and perseverence?

Billy PeeleBen HealySelena CoombsThe Also-RansGail EmoryFloydThe Flint GangGuests 1Merlyn TempleGuests 2Matt CrowerCaleb TempleLucas Buck

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1. August 2002