BSV Forum - General - The Bloodshedpub

the little inconsistencies

Jul 08 2007 07:10 pm   #1Guest

Sorry, this is just a mini-rant brought on by doing some fic research by re-watching a few of the S6 post-break up scenes.  I'm struck by the WILD fluctuations in Spike's character.  He's either all sensitve and understanding and heartbroken, or he's a manipulative asshole.  I suppose that can all be written up to his being a soulless, kinda-evil vampire in love, but come ON.  He goes from "Put a little ice on the back of her neck...she likes that." to "You either tell your friends about us, or I will."  From "I don't hurt <i>you</i>." to sleeping with one of her friends.  From coming over to apologize for sleeping with said friend, to trying to attacking her.  ARGH.  And I know, Buffy wasn't helping at all, but jeezus she had her own problems at the time!  What she needed was more of that sensitive and understanding Spike from the beginning of the season, but apparently her and Spike kissing was the trigger for him to becoming the manipulative asshole, so no such luck there.  Good going there, BtVS writers.  Very well thought-out.  *headdesk*

Jul 08 2007 08:33 pm   #2TwilightChild

  Well, yeah, I think some of that was the fact that BTVS had many writers who all wanted to portray Spike differently.  I personally think half of them were out to assasinate the character.  lol.

  Another part of it could be that Spike was completely unsure how to act.  Nothing got him any closer to being what she wanted.  He's spent over one hundred years being taught that if you wanted something, you fought for it and you took it.  In order to keep Drusilla by his side, he had to be the Big Bad asshole.  With a human, much less a Slayer, it was a little different.  He was on very unsure footing.
 

Jul 08 2007 08:50 pm   #3JoJoBird

I wholeheartedly agree with TC here.

Then again spike comes off very much as a boyfriend when i was 18, just a little bit of petulent child and confused young man. I mean yeah he never tried to rape me, and the relationship wasnt all that healthy because we never made the effort to make it healthy, but everything from sleeping with one of her friends to trying to be all she needs and promising her the world and to never hurt her and ending up doing so, sounds like a typical dysfunctional relationship to me. Whilst having been left a incredibly tight lot in life is no excuse, its completly shaped him and what is a screwed up man to do but try and wing it as best as he can. My hubby was very "screwed up" when i got him (abuse in his former relationship exc.), Spike comes off as BiPolar just like my hubby. question is would medication even take on Spike?

Jo.

Jul 08 2007 08:59 pm   #4FetchingMadScientist

I think that the inconsistencies came because of a myriad of things.  One of them being that the writers, some of them anyway, did not seem to watch the show that they wrote for. There was some kind of disconnect between the show the audience saw, and what the writers meant to put out.

Some of it has to be put down to Mr. Marsters's performance.  He has said, himself, that sometimes he wished he hadn't played "Spike" so soulfully, because then it made it more difficult to convince the audience that he was in need of the soul in season seven.  And, it made it difficult to sympathize with "Buffy" in season six, which is what the writers wanted.

"Never a fetching mad scientist about when you need one." -Spike
Jul 08 2007 10:24 pm   #5ZoeGrace

I disagree that any of these things are inconsistencies in spike's character.  If behavior all happened in a vacuum with no circumstances surrounding it, then yeah.  But real life doesn't happen under completely controlled conditions so people in a lab coat can document it.  The examples you mentioned:

 "Put a little ice on the back of her neck...she likes that." 

"You either tell your friends about us, or I will."  I have a hard time understanding how this is him being a manipulative asshole.  She USED him all season.  I don't care what her personal trauma was.  She behaved like a monster toward him.  Plenty of human beings are able to go through crap in life without blaming all their bad behavior from that point on on that crap.  He was hurting.  This isn't asshole behavior IMO.  It's him not letting her walk all over him, which is a different thing.



"I don't hurt <i>you</i>." to sleeping with one of her friends.  

They were broken up! He didn't owe her explanations about who he slept with after she had given up rights to him.  It's not like he was cheating on her.  Is he now expected to become a monk?  Also it's not like he went to one of her friends (which I would really hesitate before labeling Anya one of her friends.  Buffy doesn't conveniently refer to her as a friend until after Spike has slept with her, before that she didn't pay much attention to her at all.  It wasn't like they were going shopping together or anything, Buffy just used it as another excuse to play the martyr a role she was very good at.) to hurt her.  He didn't do it to rub it in her face.  He was HURTING.  Once again, not manipulative asshole behavior.  He didn't know she'd find out and almost immediately afterward even before Buffy showed up it looked like he regretted it.  Again, this isn't the face of an asshole, this is someone who is hurt and trying to get their life back and not allow someone else to take their entire existence.


You said:  

"What she needed was more of that sensitive and understanding Spike from the beginning of the season, but apparently her and Spike kissing was the trigger for him to becoming the manipulative asshole, so no such luck there."

No, her kicking him around like a stray dog, making him her dirty little secret and alternating between verbal, physical, and sexual abuse (yes, when someone says no to a sexual activity and you keep going, no matter what their body says, that's abuse.  Reference "Gone") THAT is what caused the behavior you are interpreting as manipulative and wrong.  He tried several times throughout the season to be the soft and gentle sensitive Spike, but she wouldn't have it.  She didn't want anything from him but roughness.  She recoiled every time he tried to be gentle with her.  That's not his fault, it's hers.

You said: "From coming over to apologize for sleeping with said friend, to trying to attacking her."

I still contend that he wasn't trying to attack her.  We've had several threads devoted to this so I won't rehash it here, but in a relationship where "no means yes" constantly and they aren't playing with a safeword, and Buffy isn't mature enough emotionally to handle playing without one, Spike can't always be expected to be Mr. Percepto Guy when he's having a breakdown.  A relationship of any kind requires TWO adults.  This one only had one.

If Spike HADN'T reacted in the ways he did to these things I wouldn't have had any interest in him at all because he would have been a wimp.  And I don't like men who spend all their time crying and allowing women to manipulate them.

Sorry if this seems insanely ranty, it's not at you, it's the topic.  I hate when Spike is portrayed as somehow bad based on normal reactions to abuse.  There was a very abusive relationship going on in season six, and Spike wasn't the one doing the abusing.

 
When these sorts of things are brought up it makes me really dislike Buffy because Spike wasn't the bad guy.  Soul or no soul, his reactions were those of a hurt human.

What made me angry about the writers was they spent the entire season telling us one story, then thought they could shift it and spin all of it in light of one incident in a bathroom.  I completely don't buy that bathroom scene and it makes me very angry, because the writers took this woman who was physically stronger than spike, and made her a weak potential "rape victim" so we could all feel sorry for her.

It's my opinion that that scene was OOC for both characters and the writers took a cheap dirty tactic to regain control of a situation they created in the first place. (JM wouldn't have played spike so soulful in season six if the script didn't make that possible and the script starts with the writers.  He wasn't writing his own dialogue here.  He was playing the character they wrote for him.  Its endearing that he wants to take some personal responsibility for the way the character turned out, but the writers wrote it that way and there are only so many different ways the lines of season six could have been portrayed.)


Jul 09 2007 12:28 am   #6slaymesoftly

All excellent points, Zoe.  I would never refer to Spike as a "manipulative asshole".  Was he an ass sometimes?  Yeah.  But we have a demon here doing his best to be someone that Buffy could love.  He bounced back and forth between trying to be what he thought she wanted, what he wanted to be, and what he thought she deserved.  If anyone was manipulative in that relationship, it was her.  It could have driven a saint crazy trying to keep up with her mood swings.

Having said that, most of the inconsistencies can be laid at the door of the writers.  Some liked Spike, some didn't. Some wanted him to be with Buffy, some didn't. And different writers were responsible for different episodes.  Plus, if we assume that there was, by that time, a long term goal of making him seek his soul so that he would go out a hero (you never know with Joss - I think sometimes he winged it and sometimes he was thinking several seasons ahead), then it was important that they keep him "bad" enough that it would be obvious that he needed it in order to be worthy.

But the show itself was full of inconsistencies in all its characters. They're just more noticeable in the ones we really care about.

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jul 09 2007 12:59 am   #7Scarlet Ibis

I second everything Zoe said. Very well done.

For the record, I don't think Spike needed a soul.  And, he was never manipulative in s6.  He was the abused one, not Buffy, and because of her reckless, mean spirited actions throughout the duration of that season (and a few incidents in s5), there was no way I could possibly feel sorry for her. She hurt him emotionally and physically, and she knew he really wouldn't fight her back because he loved her.  She took advantage of him and his feelings.  And yeah, Spike talked about her embracing her darkness or whatever (and she really did have one, btw), but she was the one who kept their relationship in the dark from her friends and family, and she's the one who made it unhealthy.

Willow was right- she needed every square inch of her ass kicked, and then some.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 09 2007 01:04 am   #8Maggie2

Zoe -- You've summed it all up so very well.  The one thing I'd add is that insofar as Spike is a demon trying to be a man, he was that much more vulnerable to Buffy's dehumanizing treatment of him.  If the soul does anything, it serves as a moral compass.  Spike, without a soul, was trying to steer by Buffy's light -- which was not a good bet (at all) in season 6.  He himself says so in As You Were, complaining that she keeps changing the rules.  True a stronger man, a saint, could have reacted better to the deeply negative inhuman tone set by Buffy.  But Buffy knew that Spike wasn't that.  In my book, the onus for the badness between them lies far more heavily on Buffy's shoulders.  She *is* the one who has the all-precious soul.  She's the one who should have known better.  Instead, she created a climate which made it nearly impossible for Spike to become a better man for her. 

I'd say the writers had to know exactly what they were doing -- but the contrivance that was the rape scene suggests that you are right.  They had gone too far in making Buffy so dark (especially in Dead Things) and wanted to restore sympathy for her.  I still don't know any good story aside from the convenience of the writers for Buffy to go into weeping victim mode for any seconds, let alone 45 of them (or however long it took for her to throw Spike to the wall).  Spike had no way of knowing that for some mysterious reason Buffy wasn't going to use pronounced physical force if he really crossed some boundary with her, so of course her cries didn't register.  Sloppy, sloppy writing.  And using 'rape' as a chip to play against Spike is really demeaning to genuine rape victims -- the ones who aren't able to throw their assailants to a wall whenever they feel like it.

Other than that, though, I thought they executed a pretty compelling portrait of an unhealthy and abusive relationship in which the powerless partner swings around erratically looking for some way to respond.  While it isn't all neat and tidy, I don't remotely think we are being shown multiple Spikes in season 6.  I think we are shown a badly confused demon-trying-to-be-a-man trying to cope with an abusive love interest who is deeply immersed in her own depression and who's taking out her hurt on the one person in her life who doesn't count (to her) as a real person. 

Jul 09 2007 01:35 am   #9ZoeGrace

maggie, you said:

"And using 'rape' as a chip to play against Spike is really demeaning to genuine rape victims -- the ones who aren't able to throw their assailants to a wall whenever they feel like it."

Yes! I knew there was something about that that really bothered me, but I was having a hard time articulating it.  THANK YOU. When you give someone with super powers a minor injury (when she's fought worse battles with worse before) being almost raped by someone who is weaker than her, it's a mockery to real women who DON'T actually have super powers.  Instead of making me feel sympathy for Buffy it makes me feel more contempt for her.  Because she's never been a victim, though she's always been very good at making it look that way.

Something else...the abuse Buffy heaped on Spike is mirrored in the abuse the writers heaped on JM.  I think it's pretty disgusting to make him act out that scene for their self serving story needs.  It would have been different if it was a natural progression of the story, but it wasn't.  It was therefore, IMO gratuitous.

Jul 09 2007 05:50 am   #10Guest

Personally, the whole S6 was badly done.  I agree that Buffy was a royal bitch, and Spike the abused partner.  But that the story went that way doesn't make sense to me.  Yes, Buffy was messed up from Heaven.  Yes, she wasn't right in the head, but the way it went to extreme sometimes after Tabula Rasa makes no sense.  I know that everything went to hell during that episode but still.  After that episode, every one took a turn for the worst and the season stopped making sense.  That season is chock full of things that shouldn't have happened. 

Yes Buffy was the abuser, but Spike is not blame free either.  At one point he stopped "listening" to her and started getting in her pants.  As hot as the house going down scene was, it shouldn't have happened that way.  It sprang out of nothing and turned the rest of the season into soap opera mode.

As for the bathroom scene, don't even get me started.

The other seasons were at least a mostly logical progression of events.  S6?  Hell no.  They fixed most things in S7, but that's a whole other thing.

Jul 09 2007 06:16 am   #11FetchingMadScientist

While I agree Spike isn't blameless, he is not the bad guy.  Buffy is depressed, that's a given.  But that doesn't give her the right to treat Spike like a yo-yo-.  The 'I -want-you. No-wait-I-Don't- want- you. I- want- you- again' thing can be very confusing for anyone.  And, he Loved her.  She knew it.  That made it how she treated him that much worse.  You can't say that he wasn't listening.  He was.  He just didn't know what she meant.

I don't think season seven fixed anything.  It just left a whole bunch more questions.

By the way, what's your name, you forgot to tell us, "Guest."

"Never a fetching mad scientist about when you need one." -Spike
Jul 09 2007 06:22 am   #12Guest

I know lots of people really hate season 6.  But it's actually one of my favorites. I probably would wear out your patience if I gave a full explanation.  But the bottom lines are that it brings out clearly the impossible nature of Buffy's calling, the deep fissures within the Scooby gang, and the consequences of Buffy's emotional stunting -- a stunting which set in as a consequence of her sacrifice of Angel back in season 2.  It is hard viewing to see our heroes fail.  And in season 6 they failed badly.  But the failings were in character for all of them.  Moreover, those failings have a lot to do with their perception of themselves as 'white hats' and their consequent inability to recognize, let alone deal with their own darkness.  That's a pretty good deconstruction of the 'hero' genre -- which is what I think Joss had in mind from the word go.

I liked season 7 well enough.  But I don't think any of the core Scoobies had a real moment of truth sufficient for me to think that any of them were clear of the darkness that they fell into in season 6. Not sure whether the writers thought they had fully rehabilitated them or not. But in my mind, they didn't quite get there.

BTW, I do agree that Spike is not blame free. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I do think the abused party in a relationship has some obligation to just walk away -- and is to blame for continuing to participate in a relationship that is so unhealthy. It does take two to tango.  But if we stick with conventional wisdom, then we can't blame Buffy's abuse of Spike on his unwillingness to leave, or even on his sometimes nasty reactions (which are always in response to her own bad moves).  But that's not factoring in the fact that Spike is supposed to be morally limited due to the lack of soul. If we factor that back in, then Buffy takes on even more of the moral responsibility for the ugliness of that relationship.

Jul 09 2007 06:24 am   #13Maggie2

The post immediately above about liking season 6 was by me!

FMS -- agree that season 7 leaves a LOT of loose ends.  Too bad, cause season 6 was really quite brilliant -- in a dark twisted kind of way.

Jul 09 2007 08:12 am   #14ZoeGrace

I'm not saying Spike was completely blameless.  It takes two to tango and no one partner is ever 100% to blame, but IMO when one partner is genuinely abusive, the other partners fault in it drops quite a bit.  I do agree with Maggie that there is some blame for not walking away, but it's one of those "if you haven't walked a mile in those shoes" kind of things.  It can be very very hard to leave and I truly believe that almost a form of stockholm syndrome sets up in victims of abuse.

Also, as for the Smashed, tearing down the house sex, BUFFY initiated that.  Not Spike.  Buffy Slammed him up against the wall, kissed him, then unzipped his pants and mounted him like he was her own personal prize stallion.  

Maggie I liked season six for all the Spike sex, but it was where I stopped liking Buffy the character officially.

Jul 09 2007 08:50 am   #15Maggie2

Zoe, I also struggle to like Buffy.  Part of what I think is brilliant about season 6 is the way it allows us to dislike the heroes.  I do think the series deliberately sets about to subvert its own genre and the expectations we have about heroes.  To take one example, the closing shot of the opening credits in season 6 wasn't of Buffy -- it was of the Bot.  And in season 7 the closing shot was of Buffy-the-First. I take that as an invitation to wonder about how heroic our hero really is. Gotta love a show with so many layers.

Saying that neither party is blameless doesn't keep me from being willing to assign more blame (a good bit more blame) to the party with the power.  Which would be Buffy. And I do blame her.  She gets some understanding from me because she is in a truly awful situation, and people do bad things in such circumstances. Ironically that's why I'm rather more disappointed with season 7 Buffy. She's post-depression and is well away from her abusive patterns with Spike. But she never does step to the plate and acknowledge her failings. That bugs me quite a bit.

Jul 09 2007 10:28 am   #16ZoeGrace

yep! Great points Maggie.

Jul 09 2007 08:40 pm   #17Scarlet Ibis

 

At one point he stopped "listening" to her and started getting in her pants. As hot as the house going down scene was, it shouldn't have happened that way.

Okay, but that was Buffy's fault. Buffy initiated the sex, and the abuse- verbal and physical.  She punches him first in the alley (after her vicious insults).She kissed him, jumped on him, unbuckled and unzipped his pants and forced herself on him. She made it happen- not Spike. What she was saying did not coincide with her actions- telling him that he was really in love with pain instead of him and so forth. Buffy started them on that dark and twisted path...

And since Spike was the victim, I can't really blame him.  Except I do wish he had left her instead of the other way around, but I think he honestly believed he could help the crazy loon bitch.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 09 2007 08:51 pm   #18ZoeGrace

Never stick it in crazy.

Jul 09 2007 09:38 pm   #19Guest

Yeah, he had over 100 years of patience with Dru, so of course he'd think he could get Buffy to come around. Except that Buffy was a different kind of crazy, so it backfired on him.

CM

Jul 10 2007 02:49 am   #20GoldenBuffy

 Never stick it in crazy.

lol I  finally got me y best friend into Spuffy from Banel, and were watching some vidoes over at youtube, and of course all lot of them contain all the sex between the two, and even she noted that Buffy took what she wanted from Spike in the house, she never asked, didn't wait for him to tell her to go ahead. she just took it. He was surprised and shocked to high heaven,hence the not telling her to stop, plus we all know this was his fantasies coming true. Poor Spike.                     

And in the air the fireflies
Our only light in paradise
We'll show the world they were wrong
And teach them all to sing along
Jul 10 2007 03:45 am   #21Guest

Um, wow.  What I started as a mini-rant about my frustrations with the writing on the show has somehow become "Spike is being attacked! DEFEND!!!"  I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough that my issue was with the plot, not the characters.  I used the phrases "sensitve and understanding and heartbroken" and "manipulative asshole" to illustrate the oversimplifications of Spike's character throughout the season made by the writers.  I don't talk down about Spike.  That's just not me.  I'm not so besotted with the any of the characters that I don't see their flaws, but flaws are what makes any character lovable, relatable.  And let's face it, Spike had some nice flaws.  So yeah, not so much with the attacking here, so, deep breaths, people.  *tiptoes away slowly*

Jul 10 2007 03:59 am   #22Scarlet Ibis

I personally didn't view Spike as, or think the writer's tried to make him come across as a manipulative asshole.... He was only one of those in "The Yoko Factor."

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 10 2007 04:05 am   #23Maggie2

Hi Anonymous guest,

I didn't read you as saying you had a problem with Spike.  But I did see you calling certain actions of his "bad" which a lot of responders have tried to say were not bad.  So the dispute isn't about whether we like Spike.  It's about what constitutes good or bad behaviour.  For example, you complained that Spike said he'd never hurt Buffy but then turned around and slept with Anya.  Zoe made the counter-argument -- but let me reiterate:  On what planet would we want to say that a guy who has been dumped is being a 'manipulative asshole' (or whatever other derogatory term you care to supply) because he went off and had sex with someone else?  You offered several other examples that to me aren't examples of bad writing, but rather examples of you using a different set of standards by which to judge someone than most of the people who have responded.  Certainly different standards than the ones I use. And when people have different standards of judgment, the ensuing discussions are usually vigorous!  That's all.

Jul 10 2007 04:21 am   #24Guest

"It's only a matter of time before you realize I'm the only one here for you, pet.  You got no one else!" Trying to separate her from her friends, regardless of the fact that they weren't helping her either.  Kind of manipulative.

"You came back wrong...came back a little less human than you were."  Oh my god.  Who says that to someone they love???  I don't care if he thought the only way he could have her was to drag her down to his level.  It was just wrong, and oh yeah, manipulative.

"What would they think of you if they found out all the things you've done?  If they knew who you really were...You belong in the shadows, with me."  Once again, trying to separate her from her friends.  Tell her she's dark, when he should have known how much that would hurt her.  Yeah, he knew the only way he could get through to her was through sex, and he used it as much as he could, but he wasn't telling her the things she needed to hear when he had her attention.  Definitely manipulative.

When you love someone, you're supposed to do what's best for them, even if it's not what's best for you, even if the one you love is hurting you.  Love is about sacrifice, and doing your best for the other person, no matter the situation.  If one was to argue that he couldn't do those things because he didn't have a soul or because of the demon or whatever, then you can't argue that Spike didn't need a soul.  If you want to paint the picture where Saint Spike was the victim and could do no wrong and Buffy is the root of all abusive evil regardless of her own personal hell she was going through, that's fine.  I can respect that kind of devotion.  But don't assume I'm attacking the character or seeing things that aren't there.  I believe we're all entitled to our opinions, and to voicing them.  I can see where the opposing opinions are coming from, and it would be nice to have the same courtesy directed to those opinions that are different from others'.  And what can I say, I love playing devil's advocate.  It used to be, that's what all Spike fans were.

Jul 10 2007 04:37 am   #25Guest

Hi Maggie2, I wasn't ignoring you, you posted while I was gathering my thoughts.  I just wanted to say that my 'complaint' wasn't that he slept with someone else after being dumped.  Of course he had every right to do that.  I was trying to point out that, from Buffy's perspective, his sleeping with Anya, a person she knew well, whether she called her 'friend' or not, would hurt her.  She clearly didn't much like it when he brought the ho-bag to the wedding, so multiply that by a hundred when it's someone she knows.  And I understand, Spike didn't to it with the intention of hurting her, but he didn't stop to consider that it would.  Maybe that was because he was a soulless demon.  Maybe it was because he was a heartbroken man.  I'm saying, it doesn't matter either way.

Now, at this moment, I'm self-aware enough to know I'm getting defensive, and that's because I'm feeling just a teensy bit attacked.  I'm not saying I'm being attacked, just that I feel it.  So I'm going to do my best to step away from this situation for awhile.  I'm not really sure that I'm being heard anyway, or if I am, it's been made clear that most people don't care to hear what I'm saying.

As for my 'Anonymous Guest' status, well, I don't have an account here, and I don't particularly want one, so I don't have much choice.  If you want a name, you can call me SpikeHater or something along those lines, since I'm sure that's what a lot of people here think I am.

Jul 10 2007 04:53 am   #26Guest

Hey guest!   Some of us do think that season six was full of inconsistencies.  I don't hate Spike, far from it, and I don't hate Buffy either, but the way that season was written rubs me wrong in so many ways.  I don't argue with the shift to a darker place, or the need for it, I just don't approve of the way it was done. 

Jul 10 2007 04:54 am   #27Guest

oops, that was me Yzba, just not logged in and not at home...

Jul 10 2007 04:54 am   #28Scarlet Ibis

Not attacking.  Simply point- counter point.  That's what makes debates so much fun

For the record, Buffy separated herself from her friends already- she shut them out any way she could.  She leaves them on the dance floor in "Dead Things," so when Spike approaches her, in the dark, where she already was, did he really bring her there?  No- he simply joined her so she wouldn't be alone.  Telling them about her being in Heaven was a slip up due to a spell.

BUFFY: You're not a man. You're a thing. An evil, disgusting, thing.

BUFFY: (small puzzled smile) Get out of my way.
SPIKE: Or what?

Buffy shrugs, punches him in the face.

Her answer is violence. The morning after, she refers to it as a "freak show" to hurt him, which she succeeds at.  She uses him, then hurts him- builds him up, tears him down.  This continues for most of the duration of s6.  Of course Spike reacts to her violence, but sometimes, he let's her get away with it.  So yeah, I don't take issue with some of the unsavory things Spike has said because I know it's a kneejerk reaction to her.  Anyone would, really.  If he just sat there and took it 100%, he wouldn't be Spike, and I'd have no respect for him.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 10 2007 06:10 am   #29Maggie2

Hi AG -- Thanks for the reply! This is important to remember about posting on forums: people always sound harsher in print than they mean to.  What is *meant* as a polite discussion can come across as something else.  I don't read anybody here as attacking anybody else.  Like Scarlet says, 'tis just point, counter-point!

Anyway, back to the polite discussion (if you're game).  Not sure what Spike was supposed to stop and consider with Anya.  He had no way of imagining that there were cameras there.  He thus didn't mean for her to get an eyeful of him moving on. 

He was there getting drunk with the first person who had been nice to him in ages and one thing led to another.  It didn't have anything to do with Buffy.  What would you have had him do?  Lock himself up so that nothing he does in pursuing his own life disturbs Buffy in anyway (however inadvertently)?  Should he have left town?  Dusted himself?  The fact of the matter is that insofar as Buffy had some feelings for Spike, any move he made to actually get on with his life was going to 'hurt' her in some way.  What worries me about your assessment is that you seem to think that Spike owed her every consideration (since he said he loved her) while she could trample over him anyway she pleased.

Maybe that's what 'love' means to you.  But to me love does not mean playing doormat.  If anything, I fault Spike for being too much of a doormat.  I wish he had loved her enough to tell her to get lost (as he did in Gone) and stick by it.  He would have gone on with his life -- and if seeing him move on hurt Buffy it would have been up to her to clean up her own act and do something about it.  I don't think it was very loving of him to sit around and let her verbally abuse him, pound him into the pavement, and elicit declarations of love from him which she had zero (!!) intention of returning. He let her become a monster.  And in return, yes, he behaved in ways that were also hurtful. 

But it's crucial to remember where the intiative on all of this came from. In Intervention Buffy promised that she wouldn't forget that Spike had let Glory torture him in order to protect Dawn.  By Dead Things (if not before) she was declaring that there was not a single, solitary good thing in him.  From Intervention to OMWF, Spike is a perfect gentleman with her.  His behavior becomes more erratic thereafter.  What causes the shift?  When Buffy decided to use Spike to "make her feel" she simultaneously reneged on her promise that she would remember that he was capable of good.  She starts verbally abusing him and tearing him down the moment she (and she is the one who intiates it) kissed him.  If there are things in Spike you think are less than loving towards Buffy, you might consider the fact that they are 100% in response to the actions of a Buffy who is nothing less than hateful towards him.  In point of fact, I think he exercises a good bit of restraint.  Though I still think it would have been better (and more loving) to have just walked. 

My two cents!

Jul 10 2007 06:27 am   #30ZoeGrace

Guest type person,

I think the writers made a lot of mistakes, but I don't think (except for the bathroom scene) they were really writing Spike OOC.  I think the reactions were true to Spike's character and I didn't perceive them trying to make him look like a manipulative asshole.  

Though they did try to make him look like a potential rapist.
  

You said:

"I'm struck by the WILD fluctuations in Spike's character.  He's either all sensitve and understanding and heartbroken, or he's a manipulative asshole."  

And also:

"What she needed was more of that sensitive and understanding Spike from the beginning of the season, but apparently her and Spike kissing was the trigger for him to becoming the manipulative asshole, so no such luck there."

  Even though you did mention the writers, the over all tone of the post made it seem like you were talking about something else.  But I didn't think you were Spike bashing, I just disagreed with what I thought your assessment of the situation was.

As to your other long post in which you point out the manipultation that is spike...it leads me to believe that you really DO feel Spike as a character is manipulative moreso than you think the writers are writing OOC because you keep referencing spike's behavior itself.

Also, no one is disrespecting you.  You have an opinion, some people agree with it, some people don't.  While you have a right to express your opinion, others are just doing the same, including myself.  No one has an inalienable right not to be offended.

Also, I never said Spike was completely blameless.  But I don't hold your idealistic view of self sacrificing love.  I don't believe the expectations many people put on others who "love them" are realistic at all, and I do believe you get what you put into a relationship, and when you abuse someone and expect them to sacrifice the world for you, you are smoking the crack.

And Scarlet, I totally agree.  If he just sat there and took everything I wouldn't like the character.

Maggie, I agree with what you're saying...a little devil's advocate though.  I think when she's beating him in the alley, she's trying to beat herself.  All that "there's nothing good in you" obviously she's talking about herself.  It's like a mirror of the body swap in an earlier season when faith in buffy's body was beating on her own body.  I think it says something about the level of intimacy they had attained (however warped) that spike could play this cathartic role for her in the way that her in faith's body played for faith. (not saying it was okay, only that it was very well done storywise, to make that connection back like that.  To show how in many ways Buffy had become the dark slayer.)

Jul 10 2007 06:50 am   #31Scarlet Ibis

Maggie- She started telling him he was evil, bad, etc. as early as "Smashed," when it was 100% unwaranted.  That's what makes me so angry with the character.  There's nothing wrong with being a bitch, but to be a bitch without reason? Yuck.

Zoe- lmao at "smoking the crack"    And you're right- as I have read by whoever wrote that ep, she was "beating herself."  But when she comes to, realizes that it's Spike and not herself, she just leaves him there.  He can hardly move, and she just walks away.  No apologies, no nothing, and that's what pisses me off even more... And then she just avoids him, and when she does see him, doesn't acknowledge it at all.  She weeps to Tara about why she let's Spike do "those things" to her (I guess letting him handcuff her for kinky sex, which Giles and Joyce, and Xander and Anya prove is so *not* a thing that only those who are sans soul can enjoy), and yet, never mentions what she's done to him.  She never sees it as wrong, and she never cares. 

That's what's so infuriating.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 10 2007 07:12 am   #32Maggie2

Zoe, totally agree with you about the alley scene.  There are so many layers there.  Yes, she's totally pounding on herself.  But she's also pounding Spike. He had the temerity to say she was 'his girl' and that triggers a huge torrent of pounding... cause Buffy is Angel's girl, always.  In many ways, I think Angel is being pounded also, because Angelus was nothing like soulless Spike.  I'm pretty sure Faith gets a few licks.  The girl has a whole lot of whaling she wants to do. But if I'm projecting my self-hatred onto you and am pounding you into the pavement, it's still *you* who lies there bleeding.  Spike did invite her to put it all on him.  Doesn't make it O.K.

And Scarlett, totally agree -- whatever her meltdown was -- she wasn't melting down when she walked away without looking back, or when she (by all the evidence we have) never went to check on him, or when she chose to never own up to what happened there.  My disrespect for Buffy on this point is profound.

As for why she starts in with the ugly. I think it all goes back to Angel.  She starts the abuse when she kisses Spike.  I think the kissing of Spike is a problem in two ways.  First, Angel left her so she could have a 'normal' life, not get involved with a vampire.  Second, Spike's ability to 'reform' out of love for her just begs the question why Angelus couldn't love Buffy enough to give up being an evil sadistic prick.  There's other stuff in the mix -- but the way she goes off on Spike for calling her 'his girl' makes me think that Angel is lurking behind the scenes for an awful lot of this.

Jul 10 2007 07:12 am   #33Guest

Maggie2 - I agree with your assessment of Buffy and her treatment of him betraying her promise not to forget about what he did.  Where she and Spike were headed at the end of Season 5 in no way matches up with where they headed in Season 6.  Of course there was that whole 'death' thing in between, but still, I agree.  I imagine it's been the spark to many a fanfic, what if she'd continued to treat him as she had before.

Zoe- I don't feel disrespected.  Or really, even attacked.  I guess the best way I can describe it is, I feel as though my opinion doesn't much matter here.  I've noticed the pattern on other threads, that seems to follow along the lines of: someone says something, followed by OMG I agree I agree I agree!  And really, the same pattern followed after I posted and everyone could agree about how they disagreed with me.  I'm all for debate.  But it's not much of a debate when it's 1 vs. 100.  It's been made clear to me that I have a very, very minority opinion, and I can't help but feel like I've snuck into a club I don't belong to.  I've never considered myself to be a particularly oversensitive person, but damn if it doesn't sting a bit.  (That wasn't particularly directed at you, it's just how my thoughts flowed.)

Frankly, I've been exhausted by the whole thing.  Apparently I'm unable to word my thoughts in a way that don't give off a 'tone' I had no intention of giving, and I can only continue to attempt to make myself clear for so long.  So I think I'll just leave it at this.  Please don't think I begrudge anyone for voicing their opinion.  I just don't think this is the place for me.

Jul 10 2007 08:45 am   #34ZoeGrace

Actually Guest (please pick a name lol, you don't have to sign up, just give us something to call you.), I prefer someone to disagree with.  I mean the people I agree with have pointed out new angles and layers I hadn't thought about.

For example, I'm totally feeling what Scarlet is saying about "poor buffy" going "why do I let him do 'those things' to me" as if somehow sex with handcuffs is evil and a human couldn't possibly do it. (somebody is highly repressed lol)

And Maggie just pointed out a fantastic thing I hadn't thought of about how her beating on Spike might also be in part her beating on Angel because he couldn't be for her what she knows Spike can be for her.  An anger that Spike really is the better man.

But... "i agree, yeah, I agree, totally, I agree" gets boring very quickly.  Without your points there wouldn't be a discussion at all.  So I don't know why you should feel like you don't belong here. Not agreeing about something isn't the same as not being welcome.  People with different views can co-exist and get along.

I personally think you belong here just fine.  You like Spuffy, I'm fairly certain that's the only thing necessary to be in the club.  And we don't all agree on everything.  DoS writes Spike torture, which is hard for me to take, but I torture Buffy.  But I like DoS.

MsClawdia is a LOT more sympathetic toward Buffy than I am, but we haven't built forts out of legos and started slinging mashed potatoes at one another.

How anyone feels about you as a person isn't the same as how we feel about any given argument.  And I've made posts where practically every single person has disagreed with me.  I had some theory awhile back about how Spike shouldn't have kept telling her what she felt and that she was dark and she might have come around.  Most didn't agree with me that she would have lol.

But I didn't think suddenly that I didn't belong here.  Sign a name to your posts.  Give people a chance to get to know YOU, then you are a person and not just an anonymous argument.  It's hard for people to bond with anonymous arguments.

Jul 10 2007 03:57 pm   #35slaymesoftly

 Nicely put, Zoe.  It is hard to communicate on a written forum where tone of voice, facial expressions, etc. are not available as cues to the writer's meaning.  We've all seen this happen before, and we will all see it happen again. There is really no cure for it, except to read what the other person has written as carefully as possible, re-read if necessary, and then ask specific questions about anything that you don't understand or think that you may be misunderstanding.  Certainly anytime a person replies and says "Whoa, you've misunderstood my intentions", they deserve the benefit of the doubt.  We all love Spike here - even though we may have wildly different ideas about what he is really like - and I think it makes us overly passionate when we think he is being attacked.  Ditto for Buffy - some see her as the wicked witch of the west, and others as someone with a bitch of job and not a whole lot of happiness in her life - which, let's face it, could make you a bit cranky....

I don't think there is any disagreement about who is responsible for the inconsistencies during season VI (Bad writers! Bad, I say!) - we just wandered away from that focus and into other areas about which opinions are more divided and a bit more passionate. *G*

I hope our guest will continue to visit the forum and be willing to provide some input when he/she has an opinion on one of the topics.  Well mannered people can agree to disagree without disliking each other.  And, who know? In the next go-round, she may be in the majority and someone else will be trying to vigorously defend a different position. (or a perceived different position - which seems to be what happened in this case.)

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jul 10 2007 08:26 pm   #36pfeifferpack

Couple of thought (not over side issues BTW).

Buffy always "seperated herself from her friends" when a boyfriend was in place.  Only Willow had moments with Buffy during Bangel and since there really weren't that many Bangel moments it wasn't missed.  Still she chose boyfriend over friends and Watcher clearly then. 

Remember the scene where Willow is complaining to Buffy that since Riley and the Initiative they hardly saw her?  RILEY even came between them.  So the idea that Buffy was seperated from her friends by Spike's manipulation (and I agree he had lots of manipulative desperate moments throughout) misses the fact that this was standard operation for Buffy.

I do agree about the writers in S6.  It has been state for the record that they attempted to show how evil Spike still was because the viewers were wanting him paired with Buffy and they would not allow an "evil soulless" vampire to be in that position.  They wanted us to hate him or feel he was unworthy without that soul.  That's not what they got, but that is why they wrote those parts in, by their own admission.

 

As for the Anya sex....don't forget that neither of them had a CLUE that anyonw would ever find out.  They didn't know about the camera and their reactions after the fact showed that it wasn't something they were going to brag about.  Who he selected after Buffy told him to move on isn't really an issue here because it was spontaneous (not a thought out choice) and not ever intended to be revealed.  It was only Dawn telling Spike that it had hurt Buffy that gave Spike a renewed feeling that Buffy cared and led to SR.

Both messed up badly because of their own character flaws, own desperations, desires, fears, etc.  That's what makes it REAL.  The writers motives (trying to remind us of Spike being evil and unsuitable) were only overcome by the way the actors delivered the writers goods.  I, for one, am glad the writers were thwarted in that regard.

Funny how Spike was prophetic with his "only one left for you" comment.  Come S7 when even her sister tossed her out to be Turok Han fodder, the only one there for her WAS Spike.  Maybe he wasn't wrong *G*.

Guest, don't be driven off by debate!  You made some good points about the writing and many others made good points about how the writers intent didn't work.

 

Kathleen

 

Jul 10 2007 11:47 pm   #37ZoeGrace

Kathleen,

On the "only one here for you pet" Even though I can see how it can be interpreted as evil, since this is the type of language used by abusive boyfriends the world over.  He's not lying.

Buffy may have separated herself from her friends, but all of them are involved in their own little psychodramas in season six and Spike really is the only one truly there for her.  He's the only one there when the chips are down and season seven gave him the opportunity to prove that.

Also, just adding my observation to it, not disagreeing with you, because I think you said pretty much the same thing lol.

Jul 11 2007 03:36 am   #38Eowyn315

I've stayed out of this discussion until now, but Guest, just so you know - you're not the only one who thinks Spike was inconsistent. I don't necessarily agree with your examples (I don't think sleeping with Anya, for one, was really manipulative or even something he should be held at fault for), but I do see two completely different Spikes in season 6.

Maybe you can explain some of it by Buffy's treatment of him, but there are a few things that I just *cannot* believe Spike would do, no matter what Buffy did to him. How is the guy who counted the days Buffy was gone, and told her "Every night I save you" the same guy who would *taunt* her for coming back wrong? I can understand that she hit him first, so I don't really blame him for hitting back - but when he *knows* how depressed she is already, to throw it in her face that she came back wrong? That's just not Spike.

Also, another one that gets me is "I hope you dance 'til you burn - you and the little bit." First of all, I can't believe he would ever leave Dawn to die. Ever. No matter what was going on with Buffy. And as for leaving Buffy to die, this was *before* any kissing, so you can't claim she's mistreating him yet. Buffy hasn't really done anything to provoke this response - all she says is, "I thought you wanted me to stay away from you" - which is *exactly* what he sang to her. This time, *he's* the one sending mixed messages, not her.

There are other moments, too, but I haven't been able to bring myself to watch season 6 in a while (I tried recently and had to stop at Wrecked), so my memory is a little hazy on specifics. I suppose at that point you could argue that it's Buffy's treatment that brings out Spike's behavior, so the argument is more subjective anyway.

I think, when we're talking about a fictional character, it's hard to differentiate between "the character" and "the writers' product." The original poster obviously was coming at it from the perspective of "the writers screwed up" - but then felt the conversation turned into a defense of Spike as a character. Aren't they sort of the same thing? What Spike did, and whether it was prompted by Buffy's actions, is a direct result of *how he's written.* If we take a step back out of the Buffy reality, Spike's not making these choices on his own - the writers are doing it.

Anyway, I definitely see the OOC moments as a writers' issue. Interviews and commentaries have made it painfully clear that the executive staff were trying to make us dislike Spike and see him as evil. James' performance (and probably a few independent Spike-lovin' writers) swayed the balance in the opposite direction, and Spike's character in season 6 feels like a constant tug of war between two extremes. Spike's not (as far as I know) bipolar, so the extremes bothered me. I can understand wanting to see Spike stand up for himself at times - that doesn't mean the way he did it was in character.

On a purely character-driven note (i.e. not about the writers), one thing that I haven't seen discussed anywhere is that, when Spike encourages her separation from her friends, he's doing the wrong thing. Whether he actually pulled her into the dark or just made the existing situation worse, the fact is, he should've been doing the opposite. She was already depressed enough - she didn't need the dark, she needed to be reminded why she should want to live. Spike should have been encouraging her to tell her friends the truth - because as misguided as they were, they're still her friends, and she needed to be loved and supported - and most importantly, they needed to understand what she was feeling, so that they could stop putting undue pressure and expectations on her. 

Spike was totally not what she needed during that time - both because of the moral ambiguity, and because he couldn't say no to her. We can see how easily friendship and comfort turned into use and abuse. Buffy may have been a bitch, but Spike let it happen. You can say he did the best he could without a soul, but then you can't argue that he didn't need one - because apparently, he did.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 11 2007 04:32 am   #39Scarlet Ibis

Oh, for Spike saying "I hope you dance till you burn..." it's just words.  I believe that Spike was actually there before the Scoobies.  And remember- when Buffy's literally dancing herself to *death*, it's not Giles, her friends, or Dawn who stop her- it's Spike who stops her from *killing* herself and ending up in Hell for real (or, a hell dimension- whatever).  When he said that, he was clearly upset because he felt that Buffy was using him ("Why you come to be with me I think I finally know.  Mmhmm. You're scared- ahsamed of what you feel.  And you can't tell the ones you love; you know they couldn't deal. Whisper in a dead man's ear- doesn't make it real.  That's great.  But I don't wanna play...")

So when you're pissed at someone, particularly someone who holds your heart, yeah, you'd be more inclined to attempt to be hurtful towards them verbally, posing as if you don't give a damn, wishing you didn't really give a damn, and knowing that eventually you'll cave and do whatever he/she wants, which makes you even more angry and frustrated.  That's where Spike lived in that moment, IMHO.

I also don't think that Spike pulled Buffy into the dark- she was already there.  He simply joined her.  And he wanted her to tell her friends (about them), but it's Buffy who's vehemently against it.  I don't think he meant "dark" in the sense of death, and I don't think he wanted Buffy depressed.  He was trying to help her feel and learn how to live again (which is what she asked of him).  When he's talking to Anya in "Entropy," he mentions something about Xander and Buffy being too repressed, and that he and Anya were more alive and aware than they were, when they should've been long dead.  As undead as Spike is, he did "live" and love quite a bit.

Okay, there's my buck fifty-more, lol.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 11 2007 05:12 am   #40Maggie2

Hey Eowyn, you make a lot of good points.  It's especially good to be reminded of Spike's weaknesses.

However, I still don't think much of this is "out of character" or reflects inconsistency on the part of the writers.  Spike is a jumble of emotions -- and most of that jumble is understandable.

Scarlet pointed out to a big one - it's natural to have nasty reactions to the person who is rejecting your love.  And we can see that this isn't inconsistent writing because that ambivalence is built right into one of the songs in OMWF where Spike sings "first I'll save her, then I'll kill her" and the other way around.  It's not nice to have that nasty reaction. We could wish that Spike handled the rejection with more equanimity. But it's quite understandable. God knows, when I think about the last guy who dumped me, I have lots of nasty things to say. But I did love him. In truth, I probably still do.

The other interesting point is Spike's bit about Buffy's darkness.  Here I think both Buffy and Spike suffer from the same limitation in world view that leads to a muddle.  Buffy *has* darkness in her -- her power is demonic.  But that doesn't make it evil.  So to call her to acknowledge her 'darkness' doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Though I do think that neither Buffy nor Spike have all the nuances on that sorted out.  And as a result, Spike's talk that way was genuinely non-helpful. 

Don't think that's worth more than Scarlet's buck fifty -- so put me in for two bits.

Jul 11 2007 05:20 am   #41Maggie2

Hi again -- Eowyn, I got distracted.  I had a couple more reactions.

First, put me down in the camp of people who does think Spike needed a soul. Largely for the reason you give -- he couldn't say no to her -- and she needed him to not let her be such a monster.  And also for the reason I mentioned, he lacks the moral compass to help her discern the difference between her demonic power and genuine (evil) darkness.  He really was bad for her at the time.  That said, she's the one who *did* start the sexual relationship, and having done so she *is* the person who treated her sexual partner like dirt.  So I still lay the greater portion of blame at her door. 

Also, about the 'friends'. They weren't there for her. They had no clue what was going on with her. And I think if you read back their tendency to put her on a pedestal and look up to her (rather than to embrace her as a friend with all her strengths and weaknesses) was a huge contributing factor to Buffy's difficulties in season 6.  Saying that she needs to go spend more time with people who in seriously important ways don't see you as a full-fledged person doesn't strike me as the right perscription.  But perhaps that's a longer discussion best saved for another day!

Jul 11 2007 05:36 am   #42Scarlet Ibis

I don't think he so much needed a soul as someone who loved, supported and believed in him.  If he'd had that, he would've grown more in a positive way.  He needed someone to tell him he didn't need a soul, and then if he wanted to get one anyway, fine.  Spike always had that potential for "goodness," and as we all know, a soul does not make one better, more noble, or "good."

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 11 2007 06:10 am   #43Eowyn315

So when you're pissed at someone, particularly someone who holds your heart, yeah, you'd be more inclined to attempt to be hurtful towards them verbally

The thing I don't understand is... why is he suddenly pissed at her? He was all ready to help her out, and then she reminds him that he just told her to leave her alone, and that warrants an outburst? I can understand the ambivalence and the anger coming into play, so maybe it's not the best example, but it just strikes me as out of the blue.

And he wanted her to tell her friends (about them), but it's Buffy who's vehemently against it.

I didn't mean she should tell her friends about them. I meant he should've encouraged her to tell her friends about heaven, and how depressed she was feeling.

I don't think he meant "dark" in the sense of death, and I don't think he wanted Buffy depressed.  He was trying to help her feel and learn how to live again (which is what she asked of him).

I don't think he meant death, either, and I think he was *trying* to help her - but the fact was, he wasn't really helping, he was in some ways making it worse. And the fact that he doesn't recognize that is a definite character flaw, which may or may not be fixed by the soul (he seems to say something to the effect of he understands it now that he has the soul).

So to call her to acknowledge her 'darkness' doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Though I do think that neither Buffy nor Spike have all the nuances on that sorted out.  And as a result, Spike's talk that way was genuinely non-helpful. 

I think you're right, Maggie. Spike said "darkness" and, regardless of what he meant, Buffy heard "evil and demonic." And Spike telling her she came back wrong only added to that. I also think that her belief that she was demonic and came back wrong is partly what allowed her to indulge in the sexual and abusive relationship with Spike. It wasn't "real" because she wasn't really her. That's what makes the end of Dead Things so traumatic for her - she has to come to terms with the fact that it is *her* that's been doing this, not some evil, soulless reincarnation of her.

They weren't there for her. They had no clue what was going on with her. And I think if you read back their tendency to put her on a pedestal and look up to her (rather than to embrace her as a friend with all her strengths and weaknesses) was a huge contributing factor to Buffy's difficulties in season 6.

That is a good point... I think they would've had a bit more of a clue if Buffy had *said* something, though. And I also would postulate that Willow wouldn't have gotten so deep into the magic addiction if Buffy had said something earlier. If Buffy had talked about her experiences, Giles and Tara, IMO, would have called Willow out much sooner and much stronger on the magic use. If Willow hadn't been so wrapped up in her issues, she would've been a better friend to Buffy, plus she and Tara would still be around to help with Dawn and the house (and hopefully pay rent!!), Giles might not have left (wanting to stick around and watch Willow) and so would be another support for Buffy. Just speculation, of course... but it's hard to imagine things being worse than they were, if Buffy told her friends the truth.

I don't think he so much needed a soul as someone who loved, supported and believed in him.

I think the love and support is also necessary, Scarlet, but I think he also needed the independence that having a soul brought. He always looked to Buffy to be his moral compass - which led him to some pretty bad places in season 6. What he needed was the faith in himself to make decisions on his own, and not rely on Buffy - and the soul, whether it actually gave him a conscience or just the confidence to trust his judgment, helped with that.

IMO, there is a difference between souled and unsouled (as in some of the instances that Maggie and I were talking about), but it's nowhere near as great as the supposed Angel/Angelus chasm would have you believe.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 11 2007 06:35 am   #44Scarlet Ibis

The thing I don't understand is... why is he suddenly pissed at her? He was all ready to help her out, and then she reminds him that he just told her to leave her alone, and that warrants an outburst?

I think that because even though all of her friends (Giles especially) tell her that she has to go it alone, and Spike is the only one who offers to stand by her (which clearly negates his whole "leave me to rest in peace" solo), her bringing it up again is like a rejection.  Instead of just saying "thanks, let's go save the day," it's like starting an argument.

(here's a recap, and most certainly not word for word at what was said in that moment)

"Nevermind your supposed friends- I'll be there to help you."

"Oh, but I thought you wanted me to leave you alone. Why don't you just leave already?"

It was like stepping on his offer, squishing it into the ground- and the fact that he was the only one to offer, it's like saying she doesn't want his help, though she clearly wants back up.  It was like saying (once again) that he wasn't good enough, and of course, that pissed him off, as it should have.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 11 2007 12:31 pm   #45ZoeGrace

Eowyn,

Again, why should Spike be held at fault for who he sleeps with when he's a free man?  This is something I find really personally irritating, when a woman breaks up with a man and suddenly any other female she's ever shared a latte with is off limits to him.  WTF?  Also I don't think Buffy and Anya ever shared a latte, not once.  They weren't really friends.  Buffy just decides to invoke the friend card because she's all indignant Spike was had the nerve to have an orgasm with someone else.  The self-centered little twit.  (I am one of those fans who will not hesitate to tell you I don't like Buffy unless I "fix" her first.  And the only reason I'm FOR Spuffy is because Spike wants her, and they did heat up the screen.)

Also Spike taunted her for coming back wrong after he found out his chip didn't work on her and he was tired of being her "kick the spike" toy.  And she kept rebuffing him after kisses she initiated.  You'll recall previously she'd knocked him to the ground for having the nerve to innocently ask about a few kisses.  Also I think Spike's sympathy for her depression runs out a little bit when she goes back to abusing him, treating him worse than she did in season four. (Also, not to be completely insensitive, but I have a hard time totally grokking the "they ripped me out of heaven" depression.  She knows she's going back to it eventually.  At least she KNOWS its there to go back to.  Not like most of humanity who just has to hope for something after.)  Back to my drooling rant: Normal PEOPLE lash out when others hurt them.  I don't know why people keep expecting Saint Spike.

I am one of the ones who thinks he didn't need the soul, but that doesn't mean I don't think he's dark.  He's dark.  I just don't like him being wimped down with the soul.  To me his appeal IS his darkness.  The demon is part of who he is.  I don't think he needs the soul, but I also don't think that makes him Saint Spike.  He's a demon.

As to the "I hope you dance til you burn, you and the little bit." Spike has ALWAYS talked bigger and badder than he is, even all the way in season two.  He's always tried to trump up his level of evil and he's always been, for the most part, talk.   There is a big difference in flying off at the mouth and actually LETTING her burn.  You'll notice he's the one who actually saves her.  His actions almost never match up with words he says in the heat of the moment.  This is Spike. He's rude and he's brash.  His softer side DOES come out, but his softer side isn't the whole of who he is, and I don't think people should expect once he's been nice one time or taken torture for someone one time that suddenly he's never going to say another thoughtless thing.  He. Is. A. Demon.

Also, though you're right they hadn't been kissing at that point, she was very rude to him.  After for a very brief time she took comfort in him.  She started treating him like a real friend then turns around and is a bitch.  It's not all about the sexual relationship, it's about the fact that she'll let Spike offer her comfort when she wants it, and she'll let him talk to her when he says what she wants to hear.  But otherwise, no.  She's always self serving with him.  Everything has to go her way or he's back to being an evil demon.  

Though I agree with you about the writers and spike being pretty much the same thing in a sense.  He doesn't have a life independent of the writers, or speech independent of them.

Spike wanted her to tell her friends the truth from the beginning, but she wanted him to be her secret. She refused to let him be in the light with her, so he was trying to pull her into the dark with him. And I disagree that that was evil.  He wasn't trying to make her evil, he was trying to get her to admit to her darker nature so she could find some peace. IMO.

A big part of Buffy's problem was she DID have a great deal of darkness in her, but her refusal to let go of a teenage black and white mentality of the world caused her darkness to become a huge source of guilt, self loathing, and self-destructive behavior.


Jul 11 2007 01:19 pm   #46Guest

Exactly. He never said she should be evil. He just wanted her to relax and have some peace. He did encourage her to tell her friends about heaven, and then to tell them about their relationship.

Buffy never really got past the self-absorbed Valley Girl thing she had before she was called. She said she was Cordelia before Slaying made her a "freak". She kept that mentality all through. Belittling those she thinks she's better than.....focusing on shallow attributes.....whining about Slaying being a "job" instead of taking pride in her calling...  Without being called, Buffy would have grown up to be a status-focused wife that spends more time shopping and decorating than anything else. "Marrying well" just like her daddy would have wanted.

She wasn't altruistic, she didn't have a general love and affection for mankind, and her friends ended up her friends by association. If she'd ever chosen to run with Slaying as something positive, we would have seen a lot more pleasant Buffy. She's not an anti-hero, really, as those still manage to be likeable. She's just a girl with superpowers.

Frankly, Spike WAS a saint for putting up with all that and still wanting her anyway. God knows what he saw deep inside her that was loveable (different than worthy of love), as there certainly wasn't evidence on the outside. I think he was entitled to mouth off every now and then!

Jul 11 2007 02:32 pm   #47FetchingMadScientist

Zoe-

Can I say, "Amen, sister!" How many of us have been angry at someone we loved, and said "I'll kill you?"  That doesn't mean we want them dead.

"Never a fetching mad scientist about when you need one." -Spike
Jul 11 2007 07:45 pm   #48Eowyn315

It was like stepping on his offer, squishing it into the ground- and the fact that he was the only one to offer, it's like saying she doesn't want his help, though she clearly wants back up.

And that would be fine, except that remember earlier in the episode, Buffy goes to Spike asking for help, and his answer is, "Oh, you only want information? Get out." So, I really don't blame Buffy at all for calling Spike on his back-and-forthing. If he'd said, "Well, I changed my mind," or "This is more important than that, or "We need to save Dawn," I think she would've tossed him a weapon and said, "Let's go." She never says she doesn't need or want him around, she's pointing out that *he* doesn't want to be around her.

Again, why should Spike be held at fault for who he sleeps with when he's a free man?

Again, Zoe, I agree with you on that point. No need to go over it again. 

Also Spike taunted her for coming back wrong after he found out his chip didn't work on her and he was tired of being her "kick the spike" toy.  And she kept rebuffing him after kisses she initiated.  You'll recall previously she'd knocked him to the ground for having the nerve to innocently ask about a few kisses.

I disagree. She wasn't actually treating him badly before they found out the chip stopped working. I think when she hits him in the alley, and he hits her back, is the first time she's hit him that whole season. Up to that point, they'd been friends, and then the kissing happened. Which was a mistake on Buffy's part, sure, but who hasn't kissed someone and then, later on, really wished they hadn't? Buffy made it perfectly clear that she wasn't interested in pursuing it further, but Spike was deluding himself into thinking there was more feeling there than there was, and wouldn't let it go. 

Also, though you're right they hadn't been kissing at that point, she was very rude to him.  After for a very brief time she took comfort in him.  She started treating him like a real friend then turns around and is a bitch.

No, actually, she wasn't. They were friends, he comforted her, and okay, maybe the "neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker" thing was kind of harsh, but she's not actually rude to him until he starts relentlessly pursuing her after she tells him she's not interested, the kiss was a mistake, and it's not going to happen again. 

He wasn't trying to make her evil, he was trying to get her to admit to her darker nature so she could find some peace.

I don't think he was trying to make her evil, but I also don't think he was trying to help her find peace. Her problems weren't about her darker nature. For God's sake, she'd just been in heaven! Doesn't that answer the question about whether she's evil/dark or not? Her problem is that she's depressed after being in a happy, peaceful place. Drawing her into the dark isn't the solution. Maybe if she'd been coping with Slayer issues, or the origin of her powers or something, THAT would be the time for the "embrace your dark side" thing.

What Spike was doing was trying to convince her that they were the same, so she would love him. Which I think, going back to the original post, is a little manipulative. You said it yourself: "She refused to let him be in the light with her, so he was trying to pull her into the dark with him." He wasn't really doing it for Buffy, he was doing it for himself - and, IMO, made Buffy's problems in season 6 worse.

Even though I'm sure we could go back and forth on those points until SMG decides to sign on for a Buffy movie, and my posts are getting insanely long in this thread, here are a few more observations that go back to the original "was Spike out of character?" question. Rather than watch the episodes, I went through the recaps for season 6 (hey, nothing else to do in work).

Another example of what I thought was OOC Spike is in Dead Things, when they're up on the balcony. Basically, he tells her that her friends would look down on her if they truly knew her. I can understand him wanting her to tell her friends about him - but that's not what he's doing here. He's convincing her she *shouldn't* tell her friends, because what they're doing is wrong and they wouldn't approve. Spike's never been one for reverse psychology, so this feels like an odd change of tune from wanting them to have a real relationship. Is he supposed to be reacting to the fact that she's so obviously using him? If he doesn't like being used, then stop having sex with her! But implying that what she's doing is wrong, and that *she's* wrong and belongs "in the dark," doesn't help either one of them at all, nor does it jive with the whole "tell your friends or I will" attitude he has for the rest of the season.

Here's the other thing I don't understand about Spike. The one time I would expect him to stand up for himself is after Dead Things. I mean, he can kick her out when she's giving him invisible blow jobs, and he can be cocky in the face of her "this is a freak show" accusations, but when she beats the shit out of him, he comes crawling right back as though nothing happened? It bugs the hell out of me that she never apologized, but it bugs me just as much that he doesn't seem to care. No matter how in love he is, Spike is still Spike, and I don't think Spike would stand for that.

Then, there's As You Were, which is just convolutedly ridiculous, but if you dig around in the muck that they called a plot, the scraps of Spike's character we can cobble together are pretty much completely "out of," as it were. I really don't know how you can watch the episode and *not* conclude that the writers were deliberately writing Spike OOC in order to make him seem eviler than we perceived him to be.

So, feel free to rabidly tear me apart now.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 11 2007 10:13 pm   #49Scarlet Ibis

If he'd said, "Well, I changed my mind," or "This is more important than that, or "We need to save Dawn," I think she would've tossed him a weapon and said, "Let's go."

But he did- he said "Forget them Slayer, I've got your back."  That's pretty much the same thing.

I disagree. She wasn't actually treating him badly before they found out the chip stopped working. I think when she hits him in the alley, and he hits her back, is the first time she's hit him that whole season.

Actually, when he tries to help her find the frost monster, she punches him so hard that he spins, and winds up on the ground.  It was completely unprovoked.

Spike: Stop walking away.

Buffy: Don't touch me! (she punches him- hard).

They were friends, he comforted her, and okay, maybe the "neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker" thing was kind of harsh, but she's not actually rude to him until he starts relentlessly pursuing her after she tells him she's not interested, the kiss was a mistake, and it's not going to happen again. 

Ah, E, but it did- in Tabula Rasa, Spike goes to the Bronze to see if Buffy was okay, what with Giles leaving and the mind wipe, and she blatantly ignores him, turning her head.  Spike gets upset, and storms off.  The next scene, we see them kissing.  This leads me to believe that after he walks away from her (and hey, in Buffy's mind, Spike simply *can't* do the walking away, ever), she gets up to follow him, confront him, and probably even initiated their second make out session.

What Spike was doing was trying to convince her that they were the same, so she would love him. Which I think, going back to the original post, is a little manipulative.

SPIKE: (slightly calmer) I hope you don't think this antidote's gonna rid you of that nasty martyrdom. (Buffy still not looking at him) See, I figured it out, luv. You can't help yourself. You're not drawn to the dark like I thought.

Buffy looks up at him now, still frowning.

SPIKE: You're addicted to the misery. It's why you won't tell your pals about us. Might actually have to be happy if you did. They'd either understand and help you, god forbid ... or drive you out ... where you can finally be at peace, in the dark. With me. Either way, you'd be better off for it, but you're too twisted for that. (pauses) Let yourself live, already. And stop with the bloody hero trip for a sec. We'd all be the better for it.

He honestly thought she did have a yen for darkness- and there were many things going on in their relationship to prove that she did, or at least, that it existed within her (which it did).  He wasn't trying to convince her to be dark or embrace it to try to get her love him- it was an honest assesment.  "Normal" things and "normal blokes" clearly weren't making her happy, so, why not try something else?  It's purely logical.  Especially being a slayer, and the fact that she enjoys slaying, why wouldn't she enjoy Spike's world to a degree?  I don't think that's manipulative, merely making point based on fact.

As for "Dead Things," it really wasn't out of character for Spike to stick by her after her beating him (after all, he thought he was helping), when he stuck with Drusilla after her many betrayals and infidelities.  Drusilla had to push him away and sleep with many disgusting looking demons and throw it in his face in order to make him leave.

And the whole balcony scene, well, who's to say that what he was saying wasn't apart of the kink of having sex in public?  If you think of it, what her friends would think, if it were to be anything negative, would be ridiculous, particularly with Xander and Anya, who has a penchant for talking about their kinky sex life in public.  The only thing that some would frown on is the fact is that she's opening up to her kink side with Spike.

In "As You Were," it wasn't OOC, for the simple fact that Riley set Spike up.  How in the blue hell can Spike be an arms dealer when he doesn't even have a phone?  And destroying those eggs, if he did have to give them to someone or owed someone money for them, wouldn't he be focused on leaving town?  Seriously, if the demons in that town would be out for his blood for *kittens*, I can't imagine what they'd do if he carelessly loss weapons of mass destrustion that he had to give to someone else.  "As You Were," was written so Buffy could have a "guilt free" way of officially ending their relationship.  And who better to destroy it than Riley?  He finally got his revenge.

Further more, it was totally obvious how much Spike *didn't* know about those eggs- if they were so dangerous, ready to eat the first thing they saw, why would Spike keep them out in the open, so the first thing they could snack on would either be him, or both him and Buffy?  He really was just holding those for a "friend" for a bit of money probably.  Riley utilized that info to his advantage.

Oh, and as for that demon running a rampage and killing humans, when we see it, sure lots of people are running around, screaming, but the demon is attacking newspaper machines and mail boxes- not the *people*.  Kinda blows Riley's theory out of the water about them wiping out civilization in Sunndale.  The demon only attacks when Riley and Buffy try to attack *it,* so it struck out in self defense, not to viciously kill humans.

And not rabidly tearing you apart here- just some more point counter point

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 11 2007 10:39 pm   #50ZoeGrace

*Apologies for the Length of this post*

Eowyn,

Sorry I had a moment of retardia.  In a previous post you said:

"I don't necessarily agree with your examples (I don't think sleeping with Anya, for one, was really manipulative or even something he should be held at fault for)"

For some bizarre reason, I read this as: BUT something he should be held at fault for.  I have no idea how my brain took "or even" and read "but"  But it did, and I thought you were saying that while you didn't think it was manipulative you still thought it was something wrong he did.  So sorry about that soapbox.

We're talking about two different issues.  You're talking about before the kissing she was nice to him.  Well, sometimes.  She still verbally took things out on Spike when he didn't say exactly what she wanted.  (which is how we got to the "I hope you dance til you burn"  Spike doesn't just say things completely unprovoked to the woman he loves.)  

But I think you are conflating that, with the Taunting her about coming back wrong.  Before that she HAD been treating him like dirt again.  After the kisses but before the taunting she DID punch him. (And I'm fairly certain it wasn't the first time that season.)  And he'd just figured out his chip didn't work on her.  So he didn't want to play her kicked puppy anymore.

And I don't think Spike was deluding himself about anything.  Buffy was just uptight. 

That "mistake kiss" happened twice.  Then she jumped on him in the abandoned warehouse.  Yeah, she sure is running from him.  Damn, he's initiating everything.  He didn't initiate either kiss.  He didn't initiate their first sexual encounter. (I'm not sure if he truly initiated much of anything the whole season.)  Exactly how is he pursuing her relentlessly? How is he hounding her at this point?  He wants to know after the kisses WHAT THEY MEAN?  He's not insisting they are meant to be together forever and ever.  That comes later, after she mauls him in the building.

Dark isn't the same as evil.  Being in heaven doesn't mean she's not dark.  And I DO think her problem for the most part is her darker nature and I think the heaven BS is just that.  Whaaa I was in heaven and got ripped out.  Well, guess what? You know it's there to go back to, if you don't want to live here there's a simple solution, otherwise, suck it up and move on with life.  I have very little sympathy for this.  Because she chose to keep it all a big secret.  She could have moved on from it if she wasn't spending most of her time resenting her friends and feeling sorry for herself.

He wasn't trying to draw her into the dark IMO so much as he was trying to get her to SEE her darkness that was already there. (and yes I know what I said, but I didn't mean it "like that")  Because it was there.  I believe she and spike WERE the same in many ways.

Also if it was a selfish act for Spike to do what he did.  Oh noes.  Forget how many selfish things Buffy did.  Over and Over and Over.  The difference though in a "spike selfish" thing and a "buffy selfish" thing is that when Buffy does something that we all agree is selfish she doesn't give two craps about what it does to anyone else.  When Spike does his selfish thing I believe he thinks it will help her too and is trying to look out for her best interest instead of JUST his own.  He's looking for a mutually satisfactory arrangement where they can both be happy.  He's not looking for his happiness over and forgetting hers.  Whereas on the other hand with Buffy...it's all about just her happiness or more like her convenience.

As for the balcony thing, I think the writers were trying to portray (badly) a foray into power games.  These things he's telling her, he's telling her because they excite her in a twisted way.  The way she leans up against him, the hollowness of her "no." She wants him to play the villain so she can play the victim, so she can be abdicated of guilt so she never has to face her own inner darkness.  She needs him to be bad for her so she can believe she's still good.  Spike is playing for her the role she has practically forced on him. (recall all the times he's tried to be more gentle with her but she won't have it, either physically or emotionally.)  No, it's not good for her.  But she's the one who keeps putting herself in these situations.   I could be wrong, but I truly believe for buffy and spike, this is the equivalent of "tell me you're my dirty little whore."  May not be your style, but hey...there it is.

The way the writers played this relationship with buffy and spike it was clear to me that while buffy was physically stronger she was constantly trying to abdicate that responsibility by making Spike play the villain.  She wants it rough.  She gives up responsibility and power, then takes it back again.  Basically giving trust and pulling it away over and over again.

And her friends WOULD have looked down on her if they truly knew her.  The things she did to Spike?  That's not the behavior of a hero.  It's not even about this power game they seem to be playing, it's that she's not playing it by the rules.  If she wants to give up responsibility and let Spike play the bad guy...then she should play it out and stop trying to take back the power and responsibility she keeps handing to him by getting into sexual situations with him and allowing him to do and say these things to her.

In the balcony she could have pulled away, she could have kicked his ass.  She could have said more than a hollow "no" that turns practically into a moan.  Yeah, that's convincing.

I think for Spike the real turning point is "dead things"  He's playing this "what kind of demon are you", "You came back wrong", "You're dark" blah blah blah angle, until she beats him in the alley.  I don't think he changes his tune because she beats him so much as because he sees its not helping her, that she's just as broken if not moreso.  THAT'S when he starts really pushing the "tell your friends or I will" angle.  

Spike doesn't freak out about her beating him because he LET her beat him, he invited her to put all her pain on him.  And he meant it.  That's Spike all the way IMO.  He let a hellgod torture him, he'd likely had much worse from Angelus than Buffy could think about delivering.  So IMO that's not necessarily the abuse victim crawling back.  That's what he asked her to do.  It was only when she did it and he saw it wasn't helping her, that he changed his tactics.  

Buffy's behavior makes her a monster, but Spike's already a monster (in the horror movie vampire sort of way)  Violence is part of their bread and butter.  But just because violence is a part of his nature and he can take more than most, doesn't mean Buffy's behavior is okay.  She's trying to have her cake and eat it too.  Behaving like a monster but still calling herself the hero of the piece.  And she can't have it both ways.

Spike's a demon.  I don't know whether he was "the doctor" or not, but I could see the motivation for that being to try to get Buffy some money so she wouldn't have to work flipping burgers.  I didn't find "the doctor" thing all that evil in the first place.  True or false I didn't see him as suddenly dangerous or evil.  Cause he's Spike.  And at the end of the day, Buffy was safe with him, and that's what matters, not his occasional forays into petty evil.

As for: "So, feel free to rabidly tear me apart now."  I'm not tearing YOU apart, I'm tearing your argument apart.  But even then I'm only expressing my own opinion.  This is all up for interpretation. Yours is different than mine.  I can discuss and argue it as long as you want, or I can agree to disagree, either way it doesn't matter.  I don't have the need to be "right" because you can't be "right" in story interpretation.  That's why it's called interpretation.


Jul 11 2007 11:26 pm   #51Maggie2

My brother and I really hashed out the details of the timing of how things went between Buffy and Spike in season 6. And here's how I remember it working.

Buffy comes back and accepts Spike's presence, indeed even seeks it out.  Things are nice for a bit.  Spike is NOT pushing for anything.  But then the UST starts to re-emerge.  We see this mostly in Buffy's hearing things in a double-entendrish way. The most blatant example is when Spike asks her if she's up for a rough and tumble, and she thinks he meant sex when he was really talking about going patrolling. About the time that happens, her comments get a bit darker -- c.f. the neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker.  She also goes barging into his crypt -- and Spike calls her on it -- how it's not civilized.  She does *not* apologize or even seem to register that he has a point (i.e. if they are friends she should stop barging in and ordering him around).  So when we get to OMWF, she comes to his crypt. Throws out another sexual innuendo, but declares she just wants information.  He's hurt cause he'd prefer to hear that she just wants his company. 

The spell causes him to spill his feelings about wanting her -- something he has refrained from doing all season.  She runs away.  She escalates things by refusing his help on the grounds of what he sang (in a way that really mischaracterizes what he sang).  He's angry.  Goes off singing about wanting to both save her and kill her.  But of course, he's the one (the only one) who intervenes to keep her from dancing to death.

She then initiates the kiss.  Then shoots him down hard for wanting the kiss to mean anything. Her rhetoric about him gets darker and darker.  She initiates another kiss.  Shoots him down VERY hard in their next encounter.  (He tries to help her with muggers, gets a bad chip-induced headache and she's very harsh about it all). In one of these exchanges she knocks him to the ground hard, and he instinctively strikes back.  That's when he finds out about the chip not working on her.  He confronts her, they have their big fight.  She jumps him.

etc. etc.

In short, Spike's almost always reactive.  Doesn't let him off the hook.  His reactions make things worse.  But it didn't have to go that way.  She could have listened to his song -- patiently explained that she couldn't pursue a relationship with him -- and promised to treat him with the respect and kindness he deserved.  But she didn't.  Presumably because she was very hot for him herself.  And her unwillingness to deal with that in anything resembling an honest manner creates a lot of confusion and suffering.

I also tend to think it angers her enormously that Spike is the good friend to her that she needs, not her 'friends'. Spike becomes the big scape-goat for all that ails Buffy. Her anger at her friends, at her self, at her calling. 

I agree that if Spike really was an international arms dealer that would be OOC. But there are way too many plot holes to believe that.  AYW is just a bad episode.  The balcony scene also strikes me as off -- though Zoe offers a decent explanation.  But pretty much all the rest of it makes sense to me as the way a person lacking a moral compass, but with a genuine desire to be a better man would respond to a situation as messed up as that.

I've gone too long -- but one throwaway comment about Buffy's experience of heaven.  When she tells Spike about it, she says that she knew that everyone was OK.  That was part of her peace and contentment.  But the funny thing about that is that everyone was not OK.  Sunnydale was about to be overrun by demons.  Things with Dawn and the social workers were hanging on the ability of the Bot to convince people she wasn't a Bot.  That detail has always made me wonder.

Jul 11 2007 11:43 pm   #52ZoeGrace

Maggie,  

Thanks for laying out the progression.  I agree that Spike wasn't perfect.  I'm not saying he never did anything wrong. (I know you're not saying I did lol, I just know I come off as rabid "spike is innocent" hehe.  It's not that, I just think Buffy is much much more guilty.  And most of Spike's "sinister" behavior really isn't all that sinister.)

I just don't think he was being written OOC.  I think people built up romantic fantasies of what he was supposed to be, then when he acted like normal people would, they freaked. (notice how in romance novels the hero never behaves in the way normal men do, then when you get back to your guy who is after all only human, he's not so "perfect.")  I feel like this same thing is being done with Spike.

Whether it's from fanfic, or something else, fans often have this image of Spike as the perfect boyfriend, and when he doesn't live up to their ideal on the screen the writers become the scapegoat.  I DO agree that the writers tried to turn the fans away from Spike and REALLY tried in SR.  And I do feel SR was pretty OOC.  I can come up with a logical progression of how it happened and where the characters were, but it still takes me out of the story and makes me think "this isn't real."  And when you read a story or watch a movie or show and you have a moment where you're pulled totally out of it and remember where you really are, to me that's called author intrusion, and that's where the writers tried to push an agenda rather than being true to the characters. (both of them.)  

I actually found SR more OOC for Buffy than for Spike.  Not because I think Spike could be a potential rapist, but because I just don't buy Buffy as "weak" unless someone drugs her or does something major that actually would take away her powers.  I don't buy that that fight took away her powers.  In pain or not, if she doesn't want Spike on her, she can kick him off, as she finally does after her bout of OOC histrionics.  Spike had been counting on that kind of reaction if she really meant no.

Also good point about the heaven thing.  Is the buffyverse view that heaven is a pretty lie?  And does Buffy prefer those lies to the truth?  Or did it mean that despite suffering in the cosmic sense everything would be okay and they'd all end up in happy floaty land together later?

I kind of feel like that heaven may have been "what you want it to be."  In Buffy's heaven all the pain gets numbed out and she can just live in a delusion of her own creation.  It doesn't really matter if it's real as long as it doesn't feel bad. Maybe?

Buffy's heaven was very unattractive to me because it was very sterile and boring.  I found it interesting that Buffy thought earth was hell.  While in the buffyverse we know that isn't true (unless earth is one of many hell dimensions) I think it's an interesting concept and one that several religious traditions over time have supported.

But if this is hell, and where she was is heaven...wouldn't one prefer this hell? At least things happen here? Who wants to float around and be warm and generally euphoric (as if they're on some kind of drug as opposed to the happiness being triggered by anything around them) without anything ever happening? Forever?

Jul 12 2007 12:09 am   #53Eowyn315

Christ on a crutch, you people are killing me. Forget the merits of the argument either way, do you have any idea how much work it takes to respond to THREE novel-length posts every time I post one? This is why no one wants to be the lone voice of dissent, and probably part of the reason why you scared off the original poster. The effort it takes to sustain your argument, when the other side outnumbers you by several times, is much more than one person can really expend, especially when this is "free-time entertainment," and not, you know, a job.

Okay, responding to Scarlet, and then I have things to do, so I'll come back to the other two later.

But he did- he said "Forget them Slayer, I've got your back."  That's pretty much the same thing.

No, it's not the same thing. That's what *prompted* her to say, "I thought you wanted me to stay away from you." What I was suggesting was that, when she points out his inconsistency, he give an *explanation* for why he's changing his mind, instead of getting pissy. (Of course, the explanation is, "I'm completely Buffy-whipped, and even though it might kill me to be around you, I'll still do it.")

Actually, when he tries to help her find the frost monster, she punches him so hard that he spins, and winds up on the ground.  It was completely unprovoked.

I did forget about that one, my bad. But still, she doesn't punch him a single time until episode nine. That's gotta be some kind of record for Buffy restraint. And I think it's significant that she doesn't start punching until after both kisses. Before that, they were actually friends.

Ah, E, but it did- in Tabula Rasa, Spike goes to the Bronze to see if Buffy was okay, what with Giles leaving and the mind wipe, and she blatantly ignores him, turning her head.  Spike gets upset, and storms off.  The next scene, we see them kissing.

I still don't think that changes things. Buffy can't make the same mistake twice? God knows I've hooked up with a guy, sworn it would never happen again, and then it does. Doesn't mean I don't still think it was a mistake after the second time. 

As for "Dead Things," it really wasn't out of character for Spike to stick by her after her beating him (after all, he thought he was helping), when he stuck with Drusilla after her many betrayals and infidelities.

I don't expect him to stop loving her - but I'd expect him to at least *say* something about it. Like I said, he was able to stand up for himself in other situations (and he confronted Drusilla about her infidelities, even if he didn't stop loving her), why didn't he say, "You went too far." And I would argue that he *did* think she went too far, even though he started out thinking he was helping, afterwards it was obvious that it *hadn't* helped. (Which was something Zoe mentioned, and I'll probably come back to.)

And the whole balcony scene, well, who's to say that what he was saying wasn't apart of the kink of having sex in public?  If you think of it, what her friends would think, if it were to be anything negative, would be ridiculous, particularly with Xander and Anya, who has a penchant for talking about their kinky sex life in public.  The only thing that some would frown on is the fact is that she's opening up to her kink side with Spike.

I disagree. I don't think it was just about having sex in public - that's just a side issue. I think the kink is that Buffy is having sex with someone she claims is evil. *That's* the part that's "wrong," that's the part her friends would have a problem with. I'm sure all the dirty stuff they do adds to Buffy's shame, but I think the main issue is the fact that it's Spike she's doing it with.

In "As You Were," it wasn't OOC, for the simple fact that Riley set Spike up.

Sorry, but no. That's a complete and utter fanwank. If it makes more sense to you that way, then fine, in your own fanfic, think of it however you want (I'm tempted to do the same thing). But in a conversation about whether Spike was written OOC, we *have* to stick to the intention of the writers. It's blatantly clear (from interviews and commentary) that the episode was set up to make Spike seem evil. The intention was for us to believe Spike was the Doctor, or at least had some nefarious role in the scheme. You can't just explain it away with things that aren't in the episode, especially when you're doing it in order to *make* Spike be in character, when that's the crux of the whole discussion. But the fact that you just did that pretty much proves the point that Spike, as written, *was* out of character in that episode.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 12:27 am   #54ZoeGrace

Eowyn,

I'm sorry that all the posts are overwhelming. I know they are long, I know all of us tend to be pretty verbose, and I've totally been in your shoes in debates where I was outnumbered.

I have tried not to bring in extra points that weren't addressing your actual points (if I've brought in too many tangents then I apologize and will try to keep that more brief and just stick to your actual points.)

Maybe the debate would be easier if we narrowed it down a bit.  You are using several examples to support your points, but we're arguing each example with you.

Maybe we should pin down whether we are arguing mainly about the writers writing OOC or Spike's level of fault as a character.  I know it's hard to always separate the writers from the character, but we seem to be blending and conflating these two things a lot in this discussion.

Jul 12 2007 02:23 am   #55Scarlet Ibis

E, no show is perfect- plot holes are inevitable.  However, that being said, there were just *way* too many in "As You Were" that made no sense whatsoever.  It isn't a fanwank that the demon is not attacking anybody.  It's not a fanwank that Spike doesn't own a phone.  It isn't a fanwank that Spike was upstairs in his crypt, reading a book, with no type of protection against the demon babies that hatch only moments after the big confrontation- and that his chest of weapons is in the same room as said demon babies.  It's not a fanwank that he was on a hit list of demons for not paying his kitten poker debts, nor is it a fanwank that he (obviously) stuck around Sunnydale after the egg incident with no consequence.  It is also mentioned in an essay about this ep that in the beginning, when Buffy is at the DP, one of her coworkers is talking about "The Prince," or Lyndon B Johnson and Nixon, and this simply cannot be a coincidence- the writer's wouldn't be that random.  Fill in the blanks here- what does all of that tell you?  How could Buffy, the Slayer, not know that Spike was an arms dealer?  It's "her town," and I'm sure if he was, he'd have to have been the Doctor for quite some time.  Since he spent all of his spare time with her, I'm sure she would've expected something, unless she's so clueless and blind, etc.

None of it made any sense whatsover.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Jul 12 2007 02:49 am   #56slaymesoftly

 Trying to keep this brief, so I'm only going to comment on the whole "Spike is a wuss because he didn't call Buffy on her beatdown and leaving him." This happened at least several days before her birthday - a full week in real time.  We don't know what she did between the time she left him and the time he showed up at her door for the party.  I, personally, have come up with 3 or 4 ways she could have made it up to him, and I think in only one of those BTL fics does it change their relationship enough that it leaves canon.  Think about it - we're told nothing about what happened in between - so I think we are free to imagine that she had second thoughts and went flying back to rescue him.  Okay. I'm done.

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jul 12 2007 04:04 am   #57Maggie2

Slayme -- It's true that we have room to fill in the blanks.  But I really don't see her having run off to see to him at any time between the alley way and the birthday party.  It just doesn't seem in character to me.  I can't think of any instance during this part of season 6 where Buffy shows anything like concern for Spike.  And her visible feelings of guilt never seem to move her in the direction of doing *anything* proactive.  (In fact, that's why the guilt keeps accumulating -- at least on my reading.)

In any case, my one line of support is from the birthday party, where Spike asks her if she's going to beat him again (it's not heavy with accusation; but not devoid of it, either).  My point is that it gets mentioned in a way that to me suggests that the subject has not been dealt with between them.  It would be rather un-Spikelike to be even mildly accusatory about an issue that had actually been dealt with.  My take, anyway.  The show does provoke lots of different perspectives, doesn't it?

Jul 12 2007 04:17 am   #58slaymesoftly

Oh, that's a good point, Maggie - and not one that I remembered at all.  I actually watched that epi not terribly long ago to double check what Buffy was wearing and still didn't notice that line.  I guess we hear what we want to hear, huh?  Thanks for pointing it out; it does put a different slant on the situation - I've been assuming that he said nothing to her, and felt that freed me up to pretend that she had done something right.  I'll have to watch the epi again and find that line and see if my take on it is the same as yours.  I just felt that with all the flirting and teasing going on, that they had to have dealt with the issue at some point in order to be so comfortable with each other.  It was one of the few episodes where they actually seemed like a couple to me (a secret couple, given; but a couple, never the less) and I can't imagine that happening unless they had worked it out.  Spike's very forgiving, but even Buffy should have felt that she needed to do some apologizing after that - especially when she found out she was wrong about killing Katrina.  Damn! Now you've spoiled all my happy BTL ficlets!  LOL

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jul 12 2007 04:36 am   #59Eowyn315

Maybe we should pin down whether we are arguing mainly about the writers writing OOC or Spike's level of fault as a character.  I know it's hard to always separate the writers from the character, but we seem to be blending and conflating these two things a lot in this discussion.

Well, the original question was about the writers writing Spike OOC, so that’s what I’m going with as the argument. I think the problem lies in that, in order to determine whether he was *out* of character, we run into different interpretations of what is *in* character. And that brings in broader questions of whether Spike was provoked by Buffy’s actions, how often should we expect Spike to do the right thing – and following from that, did he really need the soul. So, clearly, it can spiral way out of hand and produce several tangents that could each sustain their own thread. In my responses, I’m going to try to keep going back to the original question, and how each point relates to it. 

Plugging my way through all this stuff... you know, I do have fics to write, lol, and here I am writing 1200-word posts on this (seriously, I typed it in Word). I'll put up a response to Zoe, and then we'll see if I'm not too bleary-eyed for anything else.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 04:51 am   #60Always_jbj

Plugging my way through all this stuff... you know, I do have fics to write, lol, and here I am writing 1200-word posts on this

LOL...see THAT is why 99.9% of the time I try to stay out of these debates...they are FAR too time consuming!

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


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Jul 12 2007 04:57 am   #61ZoeGrace

hehehe Woot! 

The one thing I think we can all agree on is...the people on this site watch WAY too much Buffy.

Jul 12 2007 05:07 am   #62Eowyn315

Okay, here we go, in response to Zoe:

Spike doesn't just say things completely unprovoked to the woman he loves.

Exactly. And maybe this is just down to different interpretations of the scene, but I thought the remark was unprovoked… thus, out of character. She hasn’t been “verbally taking things out” on him in this scene, and honestly, I don’t think she’s really mistreated him thus far in the season. So, I see it as unprovoked. If you have a different interpretation of the events, you’re probably going to see it as provoked, in which case it’d be in character.

But I think you are conflating that, with the Taunting her about coming back wrong.  Before that she HAD been treating him like dirt again.  After the kisses but before the taunting she DID punch him. (And I'm fairly certain it wasn't the first time that season.)  And he'd just figured out his chip didn't work on her.  So he didn't want to play her kicked puppy anymore.

Well, I’d disagree that she was treating him like dirt. She did punch him after the kisses, but only once before the confrontation in the alley, and before that things were pretty good between them. I’m not saying that, once he knew he could, he shouldn’t have punched her back when she hit him. But I don’t think it warranted throwing it in her face that she came back wrong. IMO, it’s a serious situation – Spike didn’t know *what* was wrong with her; it could’ve been something really bad, the spell could’ve been screwed up, and so I think he should have told her in a manner that suited the situation, not goading her with it in the middle of a fight (which also wasn’t the best way to bring up that the chip didn’t work on her).

This time, I think whether Spike is in character is a matter of whether you think Spike would do the right thing or the wrong thing. I think, since he loves Buffy, the idea that something may be wrong with her would be a cause for concern. I think he’d be a little more careful about how he told her.

Exactly how is he pursuing her relentlessly? How is he hounding her at this point?  He wants to know after the kisses WHAT THEY MEAN?

He wants to know after the first kiss what it means. After the second kiss, he's mostly just asking for more.

BUFFY: Just have to get your rocks off fightin' demons.
SPIKE: (suggestively) There are other ways.
BUFFY: And to that, an extreme 'see you later.'
SPIKE: Buffy.
BUFFY: Spike ... it's late, okay, can we just finish this another time?
SPIKE: Oh, so you wanna jump right to the kissing then, eh?
BUFFY: I am not kissing you, Spike. Once was-
SPIKE: Twice.
BUFFY: But not again.


Then, after she’s said it’s not going to happen again, he brings it up again…

BUFFY: You really seem awfully fixated on a couple of kisses, Spike.
SPIKE: And you seem awfully quick to forget about them.
BUFFY: Look. I'm sorry, okay? I'm-I'm sorry if you thought that it meant more.
SPIKE: But...
BUFFY: But ... when I kissed you ... you know I was thinking about Giles, right?
SPIKE: You know, I always wondered about you two.
BUFFY: What? Oh, gross, Spike! He left. I was depressed. Ergo, vulnerability and-and bad kissing decisions. Okay, but that's all that it was. You have to let it go.

That seems pretty straightforward to me. Whether she secretly has feelings for Spike or not, it’s pretty obvious that she’s not looking for more, but he keeps pushing her, won’t let her leave, and doesn’t stop until she hits him. In that instance, I’m not sure I blame her for it.

SPIKE: Did it work?
BUFFY: What?
SPIKE: You convince yourself?
BUFFY: Please, stop.
SPIKE: A man can change.
BUFFY: You're not a man. You're a thing.
SPIKE: (grabbing her shoulder) Stop walking away.
BUFFY: Don't touch me!
As Spike turns her around, she punches him with her other hand. He pulls back and backhands her. Buffy falls to the ground.


And, actually, this was from a while back, but whoever said Buffy hits him hard enough to knock him to the ground – worth mentioning that *he* knocks *her* to the ground first.

I admit that things get muddled when Buffy continues to initiate, and it turns into sex - but at the point when it was just kissing, she's pretty clear on the not wanting to do it again, and Spike pursues her until she physically makes him stop.

I can’t actually remember how this ended up being a point in the OOC discussion, but I think it had something to do with whether or not he had a basis for taunting her. It feels pretty tangential, though, so I’m going to vote that we drop this one and stick to issues that directly reflect potential OOC moments.

And I DO think her problem for the most part is her darker nature and I think the heaven BS is just that.  Whaaa I was in heaven and got ripped out.  Well, guess what? You know it's there to go back to, if you don't want to live here there's a simple solution, otherwise, suck it up and move on with life.  I have very little sympathy for this.  Because she chose to keep it all a big secret.  She could have moved on from it if she wasn't spending most of her time resenting her friends and feeling sorry for herself.


Hmm… I agree with everything except that first sentence. I think Buffy made her problems worse by keeping it a secret, and I agree that she could’ve moved on if she wanted to. But I don’t see how that relates to her darker nature. Are you saying that her darker nature is what makes her dwell in her problems? “Addicted to the misery,” as Spike says. Because that’s not the interpretation of “dark” that I thought we were using. But, again, kind of tangential, IMO, since Buffy's character isn't really the issue here. (Random aside, I actually thought Buffy was remarkably in character - and I say remarkably because of how badly they screwed up some of the others *cough* Willow - up until Seeing Red, which was wildly OOC for her.)

Also if it was a selfish act for Spike to do what he did.  Oh noes.  Forget how many selfish things Buffy did.  Over and Over and Over. 


I feel like this is going waaay off on a tangent. We’re not comparing Buffy and Spike. We’re comparing Spike and Spike. Whether or not Spike is out of character has nothing to do with how selfish Buffy was. I agree with you that Buffy is selfish – that’s sort of the definition of using someone.

As for the balcony thing, I think the writers were trying to portray (badly) a foray into power games.  These things he's telling her, he's telling her because they excite her in a twisted way.

I don’t know, maybe you’re right, but I tend to see things as less twisted than that. I tend to think that scenes like this are meant to show Spike as forcing Buffy to do something “bad” and for her to be disgusted that she enjoys it. (Same thing with the handcuffs.) Because, for the writers, Buffy is the heroine, she’s the one we’re supposed to root for, and Spike is still the bad guy. Isn’t that what Seeing Red is supposed to be all about? Showing us that Spike is evil and Buffy is the victim, and we should be on her side? (But pleeeeease don’t take that as an indication that I want to discuss the AR… that deserves its own thread and, oh wait, it already has one. Just pointing out a scene where the writers’ intent was pretty clear, and applying similar intentions to this scene.) So, in that context, I think they’re writing Spike as OOC by making him manipulative and suddenly (for no apparent reason other than to make her feel dirty) changing his tune about telling her friends. 

So, did that pare things down into relevant and irrelevant topics? Sort of? Maybe?

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 07:14 am   #63Guest

Eowyn,

I made a post but I'm at my mother's house and weirdness ensued. It's now in a .txt file and I can't C/P it cause my mother's computer is stupid.  I emailed myself.  I'll post it tomorrow.

Jul 12 2007 07:15 am   #64Guest

Eowyn,

I made a post but I'm at my mother's house and weirdness ensued. It's now in a .txt file and I can't C/P it cause my mother's computer is stupid.  I emailed myself.  I'll post it tomorrow.

Jul 12 2007 07:16 am   #65Maggie2

Slayme -- do let me know what you think of that line.  After posting, it also occurred to me to observe that if there was anything like an apology, it was too important to be left off-screen.  If, as many think, the aim of the writers was to whitewash Buffy, at least to some degree, they'd have shown the exonerating evidence.  (Personally, with the possible exception of SR, I don't think the writers meant to whitewash her behavior at all -- but another story for another day.)

Eowyn, forgive me for intruding, but you point to a crucial scene, and then read it quite differently than do I.

SPIKE: Did it work?
BUFFY: What?
SPIKE: You convince yourself?
BUFFY: Please, stop.
SPIKE: A man can change.
BUFFY: You're not a man. You're a thing.
SPIKE: (grabbing her shoulder) Stop walking away.
BUFFY: Don't touch me!
As Spike turns her around, she punches him with her other hand. He pulls back and backhands her. Buffy falls to the ground.


This is before the sex, and you seem to take this as "OK" behavior on the part of Buffy.  But for me this is the red flag of a big problem.  She had said to him (back in season 5 before she came back wrong) that what Spike did for her and Dawn was "real" and that she would "remember".  In the Gift, when he thanked her for treating him like a man, she accepted the thanks with an understanding that said that "yes, I'm giving you room to be a man." 

In this scene she completely reneges on that promise.  "you're not a man.  you're a thing."  Those are catastrophically ugly things for her to say to Spike.  In one breath she erased everything beautiful that had transpired between them.  She's saying "yes, I've forgotten what you did for me and Dawn; I'm choosing to reject any genuine understanding and compassion you've offered to me since my 'friends' brought me back".  To me these words are worse than the alley way.  They happen before the sex.  And yes, they trigger a very nasty response for Spike.  Because as he told her in the Gift, he knew she'd never love him, but her respect was worth everything.

Sorry.  But this is probably ground-zero of my inability to have compassion for Buffy in season 6.  The measure of a hero is the space she creates for those who want to join her fight.  Here she empties out that space.  And the only reason she does it is because *she* has UST and other issues with him that she doesn't want to deal with.  She kissed him, regrets it, and wants to kick him to the curb.  But does she just say, "I'm sorry, go away"?  Nope.  She takes away the only thing she ever gave him that was of value.  Her respect.  Spike is emphatically not a thing at this point.  Shame on Buffy for saying so.  Deep shame.

Jul 12 2007 07:22 am   #66ZoeGrace

Maggie, I definitely echo this (and it's in my stupid post trapped in my email client where for some reason I can't C/P it here argh, lol)

I just felt I had to point out making a big deal about this too so you won't say I'm copying your point

Jul 12 2007 07:40 am   #67ZoeGrace

Eowyn,

Okay I have to communicate "now" so like a psycho I'm typing this for the third time and hopefully I won't go offline.  I know it's very long, but please bear with me, this is my third time typing it after all.

Your post points out a problem I have.  I've been arguing from a "but buffy is worse" frame of mind.  Because whenever Spike's behavior is discussed, especially if it's "bad" it feels like an indictment against him and a reason to hail the virtues of Buffy.

I was trying to talk about this by doing the five year old "but she did it first" routine.

Practically anything Buffy says to Spike IMO is provocation.  In the above quotes she referred to him as a "thing." To me this is way over the line.  He took torture for her sister for god's sake.  So while you show examples where Spike is pushing a bit, I see her call him a thing and to me it just invalidates everything.

I think we can agree that OOC or not, many of the writers had a clear agenda to make us dislike Spike.  My question is...if they wanted us to dislike him so much, why insist on making Buffy so deeply unlikeable?

You are right that she keeps telling him she doesn't want more kisses.  I could respect that if she didn't turn around in that same ep and jump on him like she was in heat.  

To answer your question about "dark," to me it's her love of the hunt.  She likes to kill things, sentient things that are often as smart as humans.  Even if they are evil, going around killing them every day and liking it is rather dark.  (She may complain a lot about being the slayer but she protests too much, sort of like with Spike.)

In season 6, sex and violence are very mixed together and when Spike says: "It's your calling" (referencing her mad crazy sex skillz), I think there is a lot of truth in that.  She 'does' need a bit of monster in her man, and to me that is "dark."  It's not "wrong" or "evil" it's just not fluffy.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned her darker nature and heaven in the same paragraph.  I think what I was trying to say was I feel like "heaven" is a red herring.  It's her initial problem, but as the season wears on, her bigger problem becomes her inability to face her own darkness.  She's got such black and white morality that she has to find ways to justify everything she does.

She already justifies hunting.  She's "saving the world."  But she sure does seem to like to beat the snot out of them.

With the relationship with Spike, her justification is: "he's the evil monster taking advantage of me."

As to the balcony scene, I'm not sure if there is one definitive way we can go with it.  That was just the way I took it.  I saw a very unhealthy power exchange going on.  So all the things that happened between them for me was interpreted in that light.

The writers may have been trying to make Spike look "bad" like he was forcing her to do something bad and she felt disgusted for enjoying it.  The point to me was: A. she could stop at any time but didn't.  And B. She did in fact enjoy it. And it seemed to me all part of this game they were playing.

I think the problem was, Buffy couldn't really justify it to herself because she knew Spike didn't really have the power, (though I think she wished he did so she wouldn't have to feel guilty or bad about it.)  If she'd faced herself and admitted she liked her men a little dark and that was okay, there wouldn't have been all this need for subterfuge and running hot and cold all the time.

I know the writers were trying to get us to go: "Oh,  Spike, Bad."  But diff people reacted in diff ways.  Some thought Spike was bad, some thought the writing was OOC, some thought: "Well, that's just hot!" (I don't think it's a question which camp I'm in. )

I didn't have a moral problem with Spike doing any of it because I felt he understood what she needed to still feel "good" and so he was making that happen.  To me that was implicit in the way I took his behavior throughout this season.  That he was playing a "role" for her.  It didn't fully register with me what the writers were trying to do in regards to fueling spike hate until SR.

Again, sorry this is so much Buffy. 
















Jul 12 2007 08:34 am   #68Scarlet Ibis

Okay, overall, I do think that (some of) the writers were attempting to manipulate the audience into thinking that Spike was "bad" or "evil," (which is ridiculous when from point one, we see him with some form of humanity, and by default didn't look evil in comparison to Angelus, but simply just "bad ass," which is totally different).  However, I don't feel that Spike's reaction, no matter what they were, were OOC. 

Some may say that what he seemingly attempted to do in SR was OOC, but in "Entropy," when Xander is attempting to stake him, Spike has an expression on his face that I saw as resignation.  He wanted it to happen.  More importantly- he waited.  Sure, at that point, he couldn't take Xander on in hand to hand combat, but he didn't even try to get away.  He stopped caring about his own well being, and to me that says tons about what followed after.  Emotional breakdown- it's that simple.

As for him being bad for Buffy, trying to bring her down with darkness, yada, yada, yada, I don't agree.  He was simply a guy in love, and being the type of man that Buffy wanted him to be, which was unfortunately not one at all- either thing or monster.  If she treated him even an iota of the way she treated Angel, how different would season 6 have been?  This is not to say, however, that I wanted Buffy to be his moral compass.  Absoultely not.  I just think that if encouraged properly, he could have become even better than what he was (cause he'd already changed for the better) on his own.  He already surpassed what's in his nature, and there's no reason why he couldn't have progressed naturally had Buffy actually supported him- had she actually gave a damn.  That most certainly held him back- you know, the verbal abuse.  If she'd just been indifferent or behaved as a friend the way they initially started out that season, and I'm talking no sexual relationship here, Spike still would have had that room for progression, and the support of a friend.  Instead, he had nothing.

Oh, and in OMWF, he actually stands up to Giles and asks if he's gone mad to send Buffy out there alone, and then follows up with the "Forget them Slayer.  I've got your back," statement.  That should be more than obvious that yes, he was more than willing and ready to help Buffy save Dawn from the hell demon.  Her bringing up his song, in front of her friends, was a verbal slap in the face, and an obvious "no" to his offer of help.  She could've asked him that after they left to save Dawn.  Instead of focusing on the fact that he was the only one to stand up to Giles and his assesment of Buffy going to fight alone, as opposed to her "friends" who knew her longer, and cared for her longer, yes, it was a not so good thing for her to question or bring up right in that moment.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Jul 12 2007 10:19 am   #69Guest

Yes, she brought up the song to embarrass him and make him go away, or hoped he'd go away. She made something that was basically private and out of his control, into a very public issue in front of the people that are mean to him. I would have been pissed off in his place, too.

Very good point, Maggie. I really, really disliked that Buffy took away her promise. Now, maybe that last night when she let him back in the house is fuzzy to her after the stay in heaven, so maybe she doesn't really remember......but maybe she does, and it still wouldn't erase what came before when Dawn was protected. I never got her reasoning for taking it out the most on the only people who DIDN'T have anything to do with ripping her out of heaven.

I don't see Spike out of character at all until SR, and even then, he was acting out of desperation and an emotional breakdown....Buffy is more OOC in that scene, as has been mentioned.

And "As You Were" is dumb.

CM

Jul 12 2007 05:44 pm   #70Eowyn315

Maggie, a few thoughts on your progression:

We see this mostly in Buffy's hearing things in a double-entendrish way. The most blatant example is when Spike asks her if she's up for a rough and tumble, and she thinks he meant sex when he was really talking about going patrolling.

Did you listen to him when he says that line? It's so obviously sexual I'd be surprised if she *hadn't* reacted that way. Maybe it's just that James Marsters is absurdly sexy, and *everything* that comes out of his mouth sounds naughty, but I took it more as him deliberately being double-entendre-y, and when she freaked out, he acted as though he "innocently" meant patrolling.

She also goes barging into his crypt -- and Spike calls her on it -- how it's not civilized.

Even though I get why people get up in arms about this, I kind of have a problem with chastising Buffy specifically on this one. Kicking the door open is excessive, but haven't you noticed that *everyone* barges in on everyone in this show? Seriously, in season 4, people waltz into Giles' apartment all the friggin' time – and Spike makes comments about it. Everyone pretty much bursts in and out of the Summers home, too (Spike the most violently, usually because he's on fire). Of the many appalling things about Seeing Red, maybe this is one of the more trivial - but it drives me crazy that not one, but THREE people just walk into the bathroom when Buffy's in there. First Spike, then Xander, then Willow. Inappropriate, people! It's a *bathroom*! Have you not heard of PRIVACY? It's my conclusion that none of these people (including Spike) have any sense of boundaries or privacy whatsoever. They're also pretty dumb and don't lock their doors. But, uh, that's kind of off-topic, lol.

Throws out another sexual innuendo, but declares she just wants information.  He's hurt cause he'd prefer to hear that she just wants his company. 

I think he's hurt before the sexual innuendo. He says something along the lines of, "Oh, so you just came to pump me for information?" like he's kinda put out, and that's when she says, "What else would I want to pump you for?" The innuendo probably didn't help (even though she's pretty clear it wasn't deliberate), but it seems like the fact that she's there for information and not to just spend time with him is why he gets upset.

Overall, though, I do think it's a pretty good layout of the back and forth of Buffy and Spike's relationship. Something that's interesting (which I never really thought about) is him spilling everything in the song. I always felt like it wasn't new information – we were pretty clear way back in season 5 that Spike loved Buffy and was kinda conflicted about it, so to hear him say it in the song was a no-brainer. I mean, it's almost the same thing he says to her in Crush, just with rhyming. But (and I can't believe I'm opening this up for *more* discussion) is it actually a revelation for Buffy? Now it makes me wonder if that's some kind of turning point for Buffy, because his conflicting emotions seem to amplify her own conflicting feelings about him. You know, like the point in a friendship when one person confesses non-platonic feelings for the other, and then it gets monumentally awkward because the other one has to either shoot them down or get involved in a relationship and risk ruining the friendship? And here's where I tie it back to the original discussion - I could see that being a really vulnerable moment for Spike, and him suddenly feeling the need to be defensive with Buffy (which would be a change in his character). And since the kissing comes immediately after his confession, I can see how he might take that as an indication that Buffy returns his feelings, which would be an immense relief from the vulnerability, immediately wrecked by Buffy saying it didn't mean anything.

I guess the difference is that, if you approach the song as a "well, duh" moment, it wouldn't prompt a change in either of them. But if it's a significant turning point, it would. Hmmm. Something I never thought about before.

But pretty much all the rest of it makes sense to me as the way a person lacking a moral compass, but with a genuine desire to be a better man would respond to a situation as messed up as that.

Maybe that's part of the problem. "Person lacking a moral compass" to me says Spike needs a soul. Like I said before, as much as I hate to make the discussion so broad as to include the soul debate, it seems like whether or not Spike is in character depends in part on whether or not you think he needs a soul.

Now… onto the "you're not a man, you're a thing" line. I agree with you that it's a shitty thing for her to say, especially in light of her promise in season 5. I think I'd have to watch it to see what Spike's facial expression is when she says that line, but I took it as him refusing to accept her multiple brush-offs. She explains it doesn't mean anything. He doesn't let it go. She asks him to please stop. He doesn't. She lashes out verbally, and he still pursues her, grabs her, so she lashes out physically. I didn't take it as a shift in the scene – i.e. he's pursuing her about the kiss, she insults him, and suddenly he's angry about being insulted. I took it as him not letting the kiss go, even after she insults him. In neither instance does it make what she said right, but it changes Spike's intent in the scene. 
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 06:37 pm   #71Maggie2

Hi Eowyn, I'm going to start with the point that bothers me the most, which is the last one.  When a friend shows non-platonic feelings that you do not wish to return (a) you don't kiss them; (b) you don't kiss them twice; (c) when you tell them you don't feel that way, you do so nicely.  Buffy fails on all three counts.  I don't recall a single time she tries to tell him 'no' when she does so kindly.  Her rejections are all dripping in contempt.  And I think that's why he doesn't hear them.  They had been cultivating a friendship and all of a sudden she's treating him as if he's some kind of monster.  The sudden shift in attitude just screams 'denial'.

Perhaps the difference in our reaction to this is that you seem to be applying the standard of how to turn down an acquaintance or stranger who expresses an interest -- though even by that standard Buffy is pretty rude about it.  But that's not the standard here. The standard here is that they were friends.  She crossed a line she should not have crossed.  If she's going to back off, she needs to do it in a way that at least maintains the friendship.  Instead, she jumps to treating him like she did in early season 5.

The scene between Buffy and Spike before this one starts off with her being gratuitously uncaring towards him.  He'd tried to help her with a fight only to be laid out with a huge headache because they turn out to be human muggers.  Sympathy from Buffy?  Nope. She says she never needs his help and he totally deserves the headache for attacking humans, even though she herself was attacking said humans. 

That this shift in tone matters to Spike can be seen in the rest of the episode.  I think it's a big explanation for why he tries to eat the woman in the alley way even though he clearly has to talk himself into it.  (He says some people forget that he's a monster -- but since Buffy obviously remembers, I think he's talking about himself --  since, as I just said, he has to talk himself into the attack).  And her re-classification of him as a monster has everything to do with the fight at the end.  Spike wouldn't have gone from trying to be good to trying to embrace his inner monster if those ugly, ugly words from Buffy hadn't struck home.

In short, his persistence is because she's not shooting him down like a friend; and even if he's being annoying as all get out by not letting it go -- she crosses a huge, huge line in my book by erasing every good thing that had transpired between them from Intervention through OMWF.  I mean honestly, can you imagine giving someone the brush off by telling them they are a THING and not only saying it, but then treating them like a THING over and over and over again? 

Sorry.  Still exercised about that one point.  I totally read the "rough and tumble" scene differently than you.  If he'd meant the double-entendre there'd have been some waggle or smirk when she caught on.  But here there wasn't.  We see what we see. 

I think the point that his feelings come out under the spell is important because I think Spike is pointedly not pushing for a romantic relationship.  As he said in the Gift, he had come to accept that she would never love him.  So he was settling for friendship.  If he had just started pushing for sex or love, I think your reading would make more sense.  But he didn't.  The spell forced out his feelings.  Even then, he probably wouldn't have pushed.  He only starts pushing when she kisses him.  Which in my book is an incredibly shitty thing to do to a friend who has feelings for you which you don't return.  (A bit of personal bitterness here.  Sorry.)  And to repeat, once Buffy has made that mistake she could have chosen to act like a friend to him about it and let him down gently, and apologized for crossing the line.  But we got what we got.

So I'm guessing we'll have to disagree about all of this.  I do agree, however, that he does need a soul.  I think the people who think he doesn't are mostly wanting to say that he's no Angelus.  And that's certainly true.  But without a moral compass of his own, he's not able to make moral judgments for himself.  That's a big problem in season 6.  And even though he would unquestionably have done better if Buffy weren't being an unbelievable bitch to him, I think he would have always been limited.  And I like my heroes to have unlimited possibilities.  Which Spike has after the soul. 

Jul 12 2007 06:44 pm   #72ZoeGrace

As for the "moral compass" thing.  I think a moral compass is something you need when you don't know the difference between right and wrong.  I think Spike, as well as Angelus and all the other demons know the difference between right and wrong.  In order to choose wrong all the time you have to know which one it is.

So I don't think it's ever been the issue of Spike not KNOWING the difference between right and wrong, it was him not CARING because he didn't have to feel guilt about it.  So I don't think the soul is so much a moral compass as it is like an electronic leash.  (sort of like the chip, but in a different way.)

Some kind of bad reaction happens when he does bad.  With the chip it's physical pain, with the soul, it's emotional pain.  But if he hurts Buffy he hurts too.  So while she isn't meant to serve as a moral compass, she is a touchstone for him.

So no, I don't think he needs the soul.  Whistler even said that Angel needed to make a connection with humanity because one day it was going to get too tempting. (Or maybe it was more Doyle that said it.  I know Doyle said it, but Whistler may also have said it.)

Point being, the soul isn't what makes any demon "safe" anymore than it makes a human that way.  Witness Buffy's monsterific behavior, Willow's bad magic trip, Xander's xanderness, etc.

By season 5, Spike already clearly cares, at least about the scooby group.  It seems to me the buffyverse writers equate "soul" with conscience and human with "soul." 

But to me, conscience is about not becoming disconnected from humanity, the farther removed one is from society, the less they care about society's social and other consequences.

Not to throw more out there before you've answered my last longass post, but Spike, IMO doesn't need a soul.  Spike already feels bad when he does wrong things by Season 6. (And a few times in season 5)  And let's face it, while most humans aren't running around eating people, we care more when we  upset our friends than random strangers generally, so Spike's preference for not hurting the Scoobies over other random people is understandable (though he won't hurt other random people because of the Scoobies, mostly Buffy but i would think Dawn plays a big role in that as well.  But how much of OUR human moral behavior is decided for us by: "what our family might think of us?"  I'd say more than most want to admit.)

Maggie, awesome points! I also agree we can't brush Buffy's treatment of Spike right after the kiss away, or the fact that she kissed him knowing what it would mean to him.  She  used him from the VERY FIRST KISS.  That's really crappy.  I agree with everything you're saying, except of course the soul issue, but for different reasons.  

Largely because I don't like "heros" they are generally self-righteous, and annoying.  I like anti-heros.  I like a little darkness, a little realness.  Spike offered those things.  And I preferred him without the soul. (but then I already rambled on very long about that in this post)

Jul 12 2007 06:50 pm   #73Maggie2

 Eowyn, doing some research for an essay on Buffy and Faith that I'm writing, I came across this line.  Faith wants to know why Buffy hasn't had sex with Xander, and Buffy replies:

"I think it ruins friendships to do stuff like that".

Zoe, the soul thing is one of the rare instances where we'll have to disagree.  Consider what Spike says to Angel at the end of Damage -- about not ever having considered the consequences for the victims before the soul.  There are lots of things like that.  Another example is in LMPTM where Spike makes his own decision about how to handle Robin, without having to rely on Buffy's guidance.  I don't think he could be his own man like that without a soul.  I agree it's not necessary for big picture moral stuff.  But it matters a lot that one *care* if one is going to get the nuances and hard calls right.  Plus it's just so cool that he went out to fight for it.  Puts him leagues ahead of Angel, the cursed one.  That always makes me happy.

Jul 12 2007 06:57 pm   #74ZoeGrace

hehe Maggie, after your last post, I edited my last post to mention the soul thing and another reason why I don't like Spike with the soul.  I think it comes down to my preference for anti-heros rather than heros.  To me anti-heros are self-motivated and therefore ultimately stronger characters.  Heros usually work out of duty, obligation, guilt, and I don't find those things all that morally impressive.  To me that's all the soul gives him.

To do it on his own, without the soul, IMO means more and is possible.  But yes, we will likely have to agree to disagree on that.

Jul 12 2007 07:03 pm   #75Eowyn315

No! Don't agree to disagree! You two should fight about the soul! That'd at last give me time to catch up! lol

Anyway, I wrote this last night, but the forum kept freezing my browser every time I tried to post, so this is in response to Scarlet's As You Were theory, and also sort of slaymesoftly's Dead Things apology theory.

Scarlet, I’m not disputing any of the facts you pointed out from the show. I think there are a great many things in As You Were that don’t make any sense at all. I think it’s great that you’ve found a theory that ties things together in a way that’s reasonable to you. But I have never, in anything I’ve read, seen, or heard related to the show, found any indication that the writers intended for it to be a set-up by Riley. I think if it were intentional, we would know for sure, if only so the writers could have their “gotcha!” moment. If it were maybe season 2 or 3, I’d say, yeah, that’s awesome and subtle, and kudos to them for not rubbing our faces in it. But the writers of season 6 have proven over and over that they do not know the meaning of the word subtle (see Willow), so I can’t see them doing that.

Since we have no confirmation (except fan theorizing) that Spike was being set up by Riley, we have to go by what we’re given, which is that Spike was apparently somehow involved in the scheme. Especially considering that we *know* the writers deliberately tried to make Spike appear evil. I’m not sure if this episode was directly mentioned as an example (I think it was, but I can’t point to where), but we know it was done with Spike trying to bite the woman in Smashed and the AR scene in Seeing Red, so I think it’s likely this is one of those scenes as well.

The same goes for the time between Dead Things and Older and Far Away. We don’t know what happened in between, though I’m tempted to agree with Maggie and say that they didn’t resolve things, because of Buffy’s tendency not to show concern or act on guilt. I, too, missed the line, and I’m not sure how that affects my view of Spike, but I would definitely avoid presuming they dealt with the issue at all.

We’re fanfic writers, we thrive on the what ifs and the in betweens, and that’s fun – so don’t let it ruin your BTL fics! But in a discussion about the writers’ intent, we shouldn’t muddy the argument with speculation about things we didn’t see on screen. We do enough speculating about the things we *did* see on screen!

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 07:14 pm   #76Guest

I agree, Maggie. Spike getting the soul was also about growing up, too - the primary theme of the show. Spike pre-soul is much like a teenager. Once he has the soul, he's an adult. Fully talking on the adult responsibilities and all the consequences that come with them. Spike pre-soul wouldn't have had empathy for Dana, for instance. I'm sure he hurt children and watched Dru hurt children plenty over those 120 years. He would have assigned her 'rotten luck', and that would have been about it. Spike pre-soul wouldn't hurt Joyce or Dawn because of his feelings for Buffy, but it's only the consequences he would achieve if he hurt the Scoobies that deters him. It's not that he cares for *them* personally. It's that he cares about what will happen to his own hide.

Without the soul, he's a "white hat" because he's following Buffy. If you had plucked Spike out of Sunnydale and told him to do the same "help" in another city in the world, he totally wouldn't have done. Outside of Buffy's watchful eye, he wouldn't have cared about all the random people, would have gotten the chip out, and gone back to the old Spike. He needs the empathy of the soul to be able to take him anywhere for anyone and still do good things.

And Spike with the soul is anything but self-righteous unless he feels he has a right to be. Like Maggie, I don't think he's his own man if he constantly has to ask himself "what would Buffy do?". That chains him to her morality (and the Scobies), and she's anything but a good example!

Caro Mio

Jul 12 2007 07:35 pm   #77Maggie2

Hey Zoe. Since Eowyn wants the soul discussion to continue, I can only oblige her!

I don't think the soul represents duty and obligation to Spike.  He was already moving in the direction of doing good because he *wanted* to.  The soul serves as a tool to help him in that quest.  I love Spike's 'heroic' quest precisely because it is from first to last all about following his heart.  The idea of the soul as something that imposes duty and obligation is something we get from Angel.  And of course for him it is, because Angelus would never in a gazillion years have sought his own soul.  But Spike is a better hero than that.  'Tis another essay that I'm going to write one of these days...

Jul 12 2007 07:42 pm   #78ZoeGrace

CM,

I think if Spike had gone to a different city he would have had a hard time hurting people.  He identifies too much with his food.  (This is why when you live on a farm, you don't name the baby lambs.  I think Spike is strictly a vegetarian now unless we want to argue that only nature and not nurture has any affect on our future behavior.)

I started another thread on this so we don't hijack this one and I go more into why I don't believe Spike needs a soul for anyone interested in my rambly theories.

Maggie,

Meet me in the soul thread, let's hash it out there.   To be very brief here, the fact that Spike seeks out his soul, proves he doesn't need it.  To me it's like dumbo's magic feather, not inherently magical at all in and of itself.

If Spike WANTS his soul, then that's all fine and good, but he doesn't IMO NEED it.

Jul 12 2007 07:59 pm   #79Eowyn315

I've been arguing from a "but buffy is worse" frame of mind.  Because whenever Spike's behavior is discussed, especially if it's "bad" it feels like an indictment against him and a reason to hail the virtues of Buffy.

I think that's sort of a disconnect in the argument. It's not about Buffy, except in the ways that she influences Spike's behavior. Whether or not Buffy is worse than Spike has nothing to do with whether Spike is OOC. I completely agree with you that Buffy is worse – I really, really dislike her in season 6. It frustrates me that they took this route with her, because it made the entire season unlikable. I need a show where I can root for at least *one* of the characters. I thought Willow was absurdly OOC, Spike was somewhat OOC, Giles was gone, Tara was marginalized, and everyone else was just detestable or irredeemably annoying. I appreciate that they were trying to show the heroes failing, but come on, people, you gotta give me someone who's likable!

The point is, I don't think that calling Spike's behavior bad makes Buffy's behavior good or right. They both had a hand in the downward spiral – Buffy definitely caused it, but there were several points along the way where Spike could've put a stop to it or pulled them in a different direction, and he didn't. Whether that's because he didn't know how, or wasn't capable without a soul, or because he thought he was helping, or because he would rather be in a messed up relationship with Buffy than no relationship at all, it's still bad behavior on Spike's part. Depending on your reasoning, you can excuse him for it, or you can say he deserves blame, too (though most likely not as much as Buffy).

I think we can agree that OOC or not, many of the writers had a clear agenda to make us dislike Spike.

I agree… and it's my opinion that in order to make him unlikable, they sometimes made him do OOC things.

My question is...if they wanted us to dislike him so much, why insist on making Buffy so deeply unlikeable?

Honey, if I knew the answer to that… well, I don't know what, but I've been trying to figure it out for a while now! See above rant on needing a likable character, lol. If the point of the season was to show the characters failing, I feel like there must have been a way to do it without making them unsympathetic. In fact, I think they did it unintentionally with Spike – no matter how much they tried to show him screwing up and being evil, we still sympathized with him. I think the difference is that, generally, Spike was trying to do the right thing, and Buffy and Willow weren't – they were looking for an easy way out, and when it blows up in their faces, we have no sympathy.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned her darker nature and heaven in the same paragraph.  I think what I was trying to say was I feel like "heaven" is a red herring.  It's her initial problem, but as the season wears on, her bigger problem becomes her inability to face her own darkness.  She's got such black and white morality that she has to find ways to justify everything she does.

Hmmm… that's an interesting point. I think heaven is important in that it sets her up as separated from her friends, and willing to spend time with Spike. But it's true that the heaven thing *could* have been resolved before the sex even started. Her friends already know at that point, and they could've sat down and talked it out, tried to make things easier for Buffy… but that never happens, and she uses her depression to get involved with Spike. I think, like I said before, she also uses the "came back wrong" excuse as a reason to indulge in her darker impulses.

Maybe this is a grand-scale thematic complaint, but it seems like we've approached the "darker nature of the slayer" several times in the course of the series, and it seems like the whole exploration of sex and violence thing could've been handled a lot better. It feels like we, as the viewers, have to do an awful lot of legwork to draw conclusions about what's going on between them and what it's supposed to say about Buffy… and it seems like the "darker nature" aspect is secondary to distracting us with lots of sex and naked Spike so we won't notice how badly the writers are screwing up the season.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 08:04 pm   #80ZoeGrace

hehe I can't find anything to rip apart here. Dammit!

you said:  "and it seems like the "darker nature" aspect is secondary to distracting us with lots of sex and naked Spike so we won't notice how badly the writers are screwing up the season. "

If you haven't already, check out the "parody" thread and read that story.  hahahahaha.  Totally appropriate comic relief from this.

Jul 12 2007 09:03 pm   #81Eowyn315

Ha! Sorry to disappoint. Try this one, Zoe... (I'm just speeding through some of this, so I've lost track of who said what, so it's all kinda jumbled together.)

As for him being bad for Buffy, trying to bring her down with darkness, yada, yada, yada, I don't agree.  He was simply a guy in love, and being the type of man that Buffy wanted him to be, which was unfortunately not one at all- either thing or monster.

My only problem with this is that his "you're a creature of the darkness" talk starts before she calls him a thing. He first mentions it when he takes her to the demon bar (and they're still pretty friendly). She doesn't call him a thing until Smashed.

She made something that was basically private and out of his control, into a very public issue in front of the people that are mean to him. I would have been pissed off in his place, too.

Well, like I said before, I didn't view it as a private thing - everyone knew he was in love with Buffy during season 5. And since they didn't actually know the context of the song, hearing that Spike wants to stay away from Buffy would actually sound like a good thing to them! But, like I said, it takes on a different meaning if you consider it a new development in their relationship.

And speaking of... *sigh* Dang it, Maggie, I was all set to agree with you on that one, and you had to pick *that* point to disagree with me on. Now I gotta go back to arguing... lol.

Perhaps the difference in our reaction to this is that you seem to be applying the standard of how to turn down an acquaintance or stranger who expresses an interest -- though even by that standard Buffy is pretty rude about it.

I wasn't actually applying any standard... I wasn't talking about Buffy's reaction at all. I was talking about Spike's song being that sort of confession of non-platonic feelings for a friend, and how it affects *him* (making him more vulnerable and more defensive) - since this was originally about Spike's character. And I could see how the effect of that would make him do things that might not have seemed in character to me if they'd happened before the musical.

With regard to Buffy, I think she's startled and confused at first (when she runs off) and then she starts to get angry and upset about it. And no, she's not always nice about it. However...

I don't recall a single time she tries to tell him 'no' when she does so kindly.

I think she does make an effort... "Look. I'm sorry, okay? I'm-I'm sorry if you thought that it meant more." But yes, at some point, she stops letting him down gently and goes for the insults and the hitting. And, as I'm sure we've all said, many, many times over, that's wrong. *does Faith-in-Buffy's-body impression*

But on the other hand, what does it say about Spike that that's what it takes to get him to give up? He only responds to the physical violence – and, in fact, he might not have given up even then, if the chip revelation hadn't happened. And... oh. I think I just got it... in a behind-the-scenes production kind of way. Buffy *had* to hit Spike, because Spike *had* to hit Buffy to discover that the chip didn't work. If that exchange hadn't ended in violence, we wouldn't have had a plot for that episode. Of course, you could argue that they could've found a different way to do it (hurting her accidentally or something) but this is Buffy and Spike we're talking about, and thus everything must be violent. It's a Mutant Enemy rule, I think.

I think it's a big explanation for why he tries to eat the woman in the alley way even though he clearly has to talk himself into it.

You know, I never really understood why he would go after the woman. Even having to talk himself into it, the fact that he thinks of it at all seems to go against his whole "becoming a man" thing. I guess I can see how Buffy's rejection would prompt it, but I don't think Spike's the type to give up that easily. "Oh, well, she called me a monster, so that's what I'll be." Besides, if he'd killed the woman, it would only prove to Buffy that he is a monster and give her more reasons to reject him… and isn't that counterintuitive to what he wants? Does he think that, after all this time, she would stake him now that he's (supposedly) unchipped again? Because going out and killing someone would certainly be a good way to *get* her to stake him.

"I think it ruins friendships to do stuff like that".

That's interesting. I didn't remember her saying that. (Of course, Spike's not around that season, so I don't watch it quite as religiously, lol.) Do you think she's deliberately sabotaging her friendship with Spike by doing this? Or does she just not think of him as a friend?

And "As You Were" is dumb.

Amen, Caro!

And I did read the parody story... I actually remember reading it before, but it's still funny the second time around.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 09:18 pm   #82ZoeGrace

hahaha but to me Buffy IS a creature of darkness.  Again, not saying "evil." To me Buffy's entire nature is pretty damn dark.  It's her constant struggle with this and lack of ability to come to grips with it and understand that dark doesn't equal evil, that causes her so much angst. IMO Spike is trying to show her who she is and get her to accept who she is, and showing her that HE accepts who she is.

This is essentially why she can be more herself around Spike than around anyone else, because Spike "gets" it.  She just wants to deny it because it's not the comforting black and whiteness she's used to.

I thought the woman in the alley thing was very in character considering Spike's penchant for "proving" he's the big bad.  He's always thought of himself as bad.  He was willing to change that image for Buffy, but when she rejects him, it's like he has no identity anymore.  He can't be a man for Buffy because she won't let him, so the only other identity he has to latch onto is "Spike."


"Spike" is a persona he's created.  First to protect himself from Angelus' cruel treatment, and now to protect himself from Buffy's.  So I think him reverting to the "big bad" is entirely in character here.

As for the friendship thing, I truly don't think Buffy sees Spike as a friend.  She doesn't want to get even THAT close emotionally to him.  I think from the very beginning she's using him.  First for his friendship, and then for what he can make her feel physically.

I'll tackle your soul thread comments after I go to the gym and cook and clean and you know...do stuff I'm supposed to do so my husband won't leave me.

Jul 12 2007 09:20 pm   #83Caro Mio

For a brief moment, he's just happy to have the chip not work, so he thinks he can be "the Big bad" again. He's got his identity back, his power, the comfort of being the him that he was for 120 years. However, there's that pesky compass nagging at him now, and he has to talk himself into it. Because he knows there are consequences, even if he doesn't care about the woman. But, for that one moment, Spike saw *freedom* again.

I didn't mean that his love was private - the song is. And the song was more than his confession of still loving her. She knew the singing made him vulnerable, because it was making everyone vulnerable, and she used it against him in public. *That* was the slight.

As far as ruining friendships: I think she's both sabotaging the friendship, and *wanting* to not think of him as a friend. By the Scoobies' view, she's not supposed to want to be friends with him, let alone anything else, so I think she acts on that.

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Jul 12 2007 09:22 pm   #84ZoeGrace

If he has a compass and understands consequences and hesitates with the woman...doesn't this show he can change on his own without a soul?

He's already shown a real change in how he views people.  This isn't just about Buffy.  He probably could have killed this girl and Buffy never have found out about it.  Lots of people die from neck trauma in Sunnydale.  I think its more complex than that.

Jul 12 2007 09:33 pm   #85Caro Mio

He's not choosing "good" because he prefers it, though. That's where there's going to be a problem. His compass is external, not internal.

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Jul 12 2007 09:55 pm   #86ZoeGrace

Human beings don't always prefer "good" either.  Usually there is a whole host of why human beings choose to do good not having to do with their personal preference.  Among them: Social pressure, consequences with the law, consequences with the person they wrong, guilt, etc.

If human beings naturally for the most part chose good based on their personal preference, then there wouldn't be so many prisons, or organized religion to keep the flocks in line.  Those who choose good just for the sake of it the majority of the time I think are in the minority of humanity.

I can't count the number of times I've heard someone say they needed "heaven and hell" in order to choose good.  In fact one major argument religious people level against atheists is: "What is your motivation for being moral?"  (not "where do you think morals come from?" though they ask that too, but..."What is your motivation.")  Clearly many humans aren't evolved enough to move past carrot and stick morality.


Jul 12 2007 10:21 pm   #87Maggie2

Hi Eowyn, round #5,383 (ha ha):

She doesn't try to let him down gently at first -- though you do give a quote where she does hit that note at least briefly somewhere in the mix.  But her first reaction (in Tabula Rasa) is not so nice.  Spike approaches Buffy and asks if they can talk.  She tries to give him the brush-off.  The friendship has already vanished into smoke.  Then she tries to dismiss the kiss as being a result of the spell.  Then she tells him (vehemently) that it will never ever happen again.  No taking responsibility for crossing a line.  No expression of remorse that she might have encouraged feelings in him that she's not about to requite.  Oh yeah -- then she does save his life.  But walks off saying her life would be much simpler if she just let him dust.   In any case, there's never any point when she 'stops letting him down gently' cause she's pretty much slamming him down from the word go.

What does it say about Spike that he doesn't just give up?  As I said, her 180 on the friendship screams denial.  He's not the sort to let something he thinks they both want to not happen because she's in denial about it.  If she could muster some honesty about her feelings she could have stopped him.  Or at least if she had tried that, and he had still persisted -- then I might be tempted to get on board with you.

The eating of the woman thing is an expression of his confusion about where he is right now.  He hasn't had a chance to confront the question of what he would do if the chip came out.  But here the question comes up right when Buffy has pulled the rug out from under Spike by suddenly treating him like he's a monster again.  I mean, the guy has been trying for quite some time now -- and she can just forget about *all* of that.  So he's confused and that's what gets him to the alley way.  It's not where he wants to be, but at this point he doesn't really know who or what he is.  And Buffy had a material role in inducing the confusion.  Don't get me wrong here -- that he's still not clear on the man or monster thing is a strong reason why Buffy shouldn't be romantically involved with him at this point.  But Buffy has failed badly as a friend.  (And she *ought* to be his friend by now).

I wouldn't have remembered that line, either.  It just popped out on account of the discussion we're having.  Anyway, I think she was his friend, before she died even.  Certainly after she returned.  But just like Spike hasn't thought through about whether or not he's a monster, I don't think Buffy's thought through whether she's Spike's friend.  And so when she finds herself being (apparantly) uncontrollably sexually attracted to him, she can't handle it and reverts to old pre-friendship patterns.  Neither of them are big on thinking things through, are they?  In generally, the characters in the Buffyverse are remarkably un-self-reflective.  It's a big source of most of the dramatic tension.  Frustrating to watch!

Jul 12 2007 10:52 pm   #88Guest

Ditto, Maggie.

I think our own belief systems are going to color how effective we think Spike will be soul vs. no soul. Yes, humans aren't perfect, never will be, but most of us want to strive for *better*. Some even love it. And all humans have motivation. Everything comes down to motivation. Feeling hungry is motivation to eat. Needing money is motivation to either work, or steal. We all develop a code from the time we're born, and when we reach the age of true free will, we start picking and choosing what parts we're going to stick to. There are plenty of murderers that would never dream of raping a woman or child. Owning free will makes us more accountable than any other life on the planet.

CM

Jul 12 2007 10:52 pm   #89Eowyn315

IMO Spike is trying to show her who she is and get her to accept who she is, and showing her that HE accepts who she is.

I think, oddly (or maybe not so oddly, because this *is* Buffy), the fact that it's Spike who wants her to accept her darkness just enforces her idea that it's wrong. You know, if someone evil thinks it's good, then it must be bad. The way she always reacts when he calls her an animal or something, and the way she gets upset when he says they're similar. In that regard, Spike was probably doing the wrong thing by pushing her and encouraging her to be dark, even if it was her nature.

I thought the woman in the alley thing was very in character considering Spike's penchant for "proving" he's the big bad.  He's always thought of himself as bad.  He was willing to change that image for Buffy, but when she rejects him, it's like he has no identity anymore.  He can't be a man for Buffy because she won't let him, so the only other identity he has to latch onto is "Spike."

I can understand that argument, but it just seems like he reverts so quickly, and so easily. Doesn't it just illustrate that the fears of what if the chip came out, or what if Spike stopped loving Buffy, were pretty well-founded? Apparently, the answer is, "He'd bite people."

So, I'm not sure if he's out of character (i.e. he should be more evolved by this point) or if he's just disappointing because it shows that he *does* need the soul. Even though he has to work himself up to it, his first instinct was obviously to kill someone as soon as he realized he could - that's not exactly a shining endorsement for a soulless Spike.

It's not as bad as killing her without hesitation, of course, but most people don't even get to the point where they're even seriously contemplating killing people. And, in the end, the hesitation was just that - a hesitation. It was the chip that actually stopped him from biting her, not his own conscience or whatever you want to call it.

And the fact that it comes right after Buffy's rejection only supports the fact that he needs a soul, IMO. As soon as Buffy stops treating him like a man, he stops trying to be one. That's a pretty decent indication that he is relying on Buffy to be his moral compass, and he needs the soul so that he can do it his own.

Then she tries to dismiss the kiss as being a result of the spell.

I don't think she's using the spell as an excuse so much as she believes it has to have been the spell because she can't accept actually being attracted to Spike. (Denial is a powerful thing.) So, she wouldn't need to take responsibility or apologize – it was out of her control. (Not that I agree with that, but I think that's her take on it.) The second time, when there *is* no excuse, other than "I felt bad about Giles leaving," she apologizes and tells him she didn't mean to lead him on.

I don't know, maybe I sympathize with the idea of making a really bad kissing decision (yes, even twice), and wanting to just ignore it until it goes away. But then it won't go away, because the guy won't stop asking about it. (Or maybe I was just a bitch to that guy. ) That's really the vibe I get from their first two interactions - she's uncomfortable about it, and she just wants it to go away. And once she realizes he's taking it really seriously, she gets serious and apologizes. It's not until the "you're not a man" that I think she gets really unreasonably harsh.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 12 2007 10:55 pm   #90Guest

Yes, yes!!

Jul 12 2007 11:17 pm   #91ZoeGrace

I agree that Buffy isn't going to take the "you're dark" thing from Spike.  Though I think Spike's right about it, Buffy isn't quite evolved enough to yet see the gray area that both she and Spike live in, though coming from opposite directions (though which side each is coming from becomes questionable in season six IMO)

I'd started a discussion some time ago about how maybe Spike shouldn't have pushed on the "you're dark" issue.  Buffy just is too repressed to admit it and if she wants to be denial girl, he doesn't need her.

I argue about the soul issue in a separate thread.  It's too big of a philosophical thing for me to bat back and forth in this thread.  The soul thread i started is: "Nature vs. Nurture: Soul = guilt?"

I personally just don't believe Spike would have killed her.  If the chip hadn't stopped him from biting the girl in the alley I don't believe he would have had the heart to kill her.  She would have been screaming and crying and I don't think he could have done it without seeing Dawn or Buffy's face. 


Jul 12 2007 11:29 pm   #92slaymesoftly

Wow! this is going to go down as one of our all-time best discussions, I think.  I'm reading through so fast that I have no idea who said what, but I found myself nodding away at almost everybody. (The curse of being an aquarius - you see all sides of an argument. Or, you're wishy-washy - take your pic. lol)

The only comment I have to add is about the song Spike sang. If we take as a given that Buffy is self-centered (even more so after her resurrection than before) and somewhat oblivious - I think what she had to take away from Spike's song is that it was hurting him to be around her all the time and to be treated as no more than a companion or friend when she clearly knew he wanted more.  Perhaps, at the end of Season V he was more than happy to be whatever she would allow - a fringe member of the Scoobies, a fighting partner, a friend.  For a vamp who'd been told the only chance he had was when she was unconscious, that acceptance and the accompanying respect might well have seemed to be all he could hope for.  But when she comes back, he's had 147 days to realize exactly how much he loved her, and he's had a good bit of one-on-one time with her in which she shares things with him.  Leading him to maybe think he was becoming more important to her and in a more than friends kind of way.  By the time we get to the song, he is realizing that she is using him (it begins!) to avoid her friends more than because she really wants to be with him (or, she is convincing herself that is her reason - I think we have to assume that she is not so oblivious as to not have noticed how attractive he is and how much he wants her).  I think she runs away because his song reveals the level of feeling that he has been keeping damped down so as to not make her life any more unhappy.  She is forced to recognize that she is hurting someone who loves her  - and, by this point (voice of dissension here), she doesn't want to do that. (Clearly, she gets over it. lol) Or, she doesn't want to see herself as someone who would do something like that.  So, she runs away because she has no idea what to say to him.  "I want you, too" is just too big a jump from the previous year's "over my dead body" for her to accept that as an option.  And yet, she's been all about the innuendos for awhile, so he can tell that it's on her mind.  It's there; so a pleasant "I'm sorry, I really like you, but not like that" isn't really an option either.  It's Buffy - so she runs away.  And Spike's plaintive "so, you're not staying then?" shows that without the influence of the song he is still willing to be whatever she wants him to if it will keep her around.  

Okay, went on way to long, so not going touch any of the other themes. I think everybody's pretty much covered everything there, anyway.

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jul 12 2007 11:42 pm   #93Maggie2

Eowyn, the one nice line which is so important to you is sandwiched between a whole lot of not nice lines.  I guess I put a lot more weight on the nastiness before the nice line and the unforgivable vileness of the "you're a thing line" which *immediately* follows.  I guess the rest is just very different sensibilities about how to weigh these things.  But in my book, a person who intiates kisses on more than one occasion with someone she KNOWS has feelings for her had better expect to have an emotional mess to deal with as a result.  All the onus is on her to handle it well.  And being nasty 9/10 times you speak to the person doesn't hit the mark in my book.  You should be compassionate to a starving man when you are taking away his crumbs... especially when you are the one who gave them to him in the first place.

And leaving all of that aside.  The claim that he is a thing is beyond the pale.  I don't care how much of a jerk she might have thought him to be for having his feelings revved up by the kisses she initiated.   I'll try to let you have the last word on this -- we go 'round and 'round. 

Jul 13 2007 01:33 am   #94Scarlet Ibis

 TARA: So, is, um... (looks around) Spike coming?
BUFFY: No. He may be a chip-head, but ... he still doesn't play too well with others.

BUFFY: Besides, I'm definitely not ready to, to...
TARA: (turns back) Come out.
BUFFY: (smiles) Yeah. I'm all ... stay-inny.

Somehow, I get the impression that she hadn't talked to Spike since that incident. I know she most definitely isn't referring to telling the others about Spike, so what else could she possibly be referring to?

As for "As You Were," please check out all excellent points made about the ep here: http://theohara.livejournal.com/162286.html

As for him hesitating with the woman in the alley, remember, he also hesitates in "Crush," when Dru kills the woman for him, and he looks at her in shock (and what I think is slight disgust) as she begins to feed on the boy. When she looks at him expectantly, he finally goes and feeds from her. He hesitated, and that says a lot about his frame of mind. And that was pre-s6.

As for "being dark," Buffy clearly didn't have a problem with him referring to her being dark or for her "trying it on" in the beginning in the season in "Life Serial":

SPIKE: So you, uh, just what? Gonna let this whoever play you till it figures out what kills you?
BUFFY: (shrugs, puts down her glass) Giles is working on it.
SPIKE: (laughs) Oh, good, 'cause Giles wields the mighty force of library books.
BUFFY: You'd do better?
SPIKE: Damn right! I'd hit the demon world. SPIKE: Ask questions, throw punches, find out what's in the air. Hmm? It's fun too.
BUFFY: (slurred) It's not my kind of fun. (screwing cap back onto the flask)
SPIKE: Yeah. It is. (quietly) And your life's gonna get a lot less confusing when you figure that out.
BUFFY: (slurred) You have had *so* too much to drink at this point, I am cuttin' you off.

They both empty their glasses again. Buffy again makes her alcohol face.

BUFFY: Blaaah! (shakes head)

Spike watches this with a smile.

SPIKE: You're not a schoolgirl. You're not a shop girl.

Buffy pours from the flask into her glass again, emptying the flask.

SPIKE: You're a creature of the darkness. Like me. (Buffy looks at him) Try on my world. See how good it feels.
BUFFY: Are there drinks in your world?

Spike grins.

So, see? She only bitches about it after the sex.

Now I'm off to the soul debate...

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jul 13 2007 01:40 am   #95ZoeGrace

I think she WAS talking about not "coming out" about her relationship with Spike in OAFA. (yay a new abbreviation.  how come we never use this one?)

Also good points on her not getting weird about the darkness until they have sex. It makes you wonder how dirty it got off screen

Also, that AYW analysis was truly brilliant.

Jul 13 2007 05:07 pm   #96Eowyn315

Eowyn, the one nice line which is so important to you is sandwiched between a whole lot of not nice lines.  I guess I put a lot more weight on the nastiness before the nice line and the unforgivable vileness of the "you're a thing line" which *immediately* follows.

I think the difference is that I don't see her as being particularly nasty *until* the "you're a thing" line. I think, before that, she's frustrated and avoidy – which isn't the best way to deal with the situation, but I think it is an understandable reaction – and very much a Buffy-like reaction. But you said I get the last word, so are we agreeing let this one go?

I know she most definitely isn't referring to telling the others about Spike, so what else could she possibly be referring to?

What makes you think she's not referring to telling the others about Spike? That's obviously what Tara was referring to, and I'm not sure what else at this point there is to "come out" about. Unless you're implying that Buffy's not ready to see Spike, and Tara gets the wrong idea, but Buffy goes with it so she doesn't have to admit to Tara that she beat him up?

As for "being dark," Buffy clearly didn't have a problem with him referring to her being dark or for her "trying it on" in the beginning in the season in "Life Serial"

Well… at that point, Buffy has had so much to drink, I'm not sure she even really understood what he was telling her. She does, however, tell him that *he's* had too much to drink, which implies she thinks he's saying silly things because he's drunk, rather than making a profound statement about her darker nature, lol. She's also only swayed to "try on his world" because there's alcohol. I think, at that point, she's just trying to dull the pain, and it's not really registering what he's saying.

As for the As You Were analysis… interesting idea. Shall we start a new thread about it? I'd love to poke some holes in it.

In all seriousness, I think it's a very clever re-envisioning of the episode. There are still unanswered questions, but admittedly, less than there are when you take the episode at face value. As an appeal to logic, I am more than willing to accept it as an explanation for what happened, if only to make the episode bearable. But my one hang-up is that this TV show didn't occur in a vacuum. When you have a series where the actors, writers, directors, and producers have been so vocal about the show, in interviews, commentaries, and convention Q&As, I'm finding it hard to believe that this has never once come up. I don't know how long this theory has been around (at least a few years, judging by the date on the LJ entry), but how has no one ever asked Joss or Doug Petrie about it? If it truly is the piece of brilliance this analysis makes it out to be, why would Joss and co. let everyone go on thinking it's one of the worst episodes of the series?

My only theory is this… Doug Petrie, obvious Spike fan, is asked or volunteered to write an episode for season 6. He's instructed that the overall arc is "Spike is evil and needs a soul," Spike and Buffy are in a bad relationship, and Buffy needs a reason to break up with him. But Doug "I wrote Fool For Love" Petrie doesn't like that idea, so he decides to be subversive and write AYW. On the surface, it's a story about how Spike turns out to be evil, but hidden below the surface is a story about how Riley is jealous and scheming, and Spike was set up – in essence, a big "fuck you" to the Spike-haters at Mutant Enemy. Of course, it's got to be hidden so well that Marti Noxon and the other execs don't realize it's there. The episode airs, and everyone hates it because it makes no sense – but of course, Petrie can't *explain* it, otherwise he'd be giving away his secret "fuck you." ME can't explain it, because they don't know. They just shake their heads and say, "Man, that Petrie's slipping. Remember when he wrote episodes that made sense?"

Okay, that makes me feel like a conspiracy theorist… but that's the only explanation I can think of for why they wouldn't reveal this secret plot – either by giving us one scene that explicitly shows Riley setting Spike up, or if that's not subtle enough, by admitting it in interviews and commentaries later on. Why not take credit for a brilliant episode, especially when it's a terrible blot on your record otherwise?

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 13 2007 07:49 pm   #97Caro Mio

I've heard plenty of talk on the other side saying Doug Petrie is a Riley lover, and Joss fixed a lot of his FFL stuff to get us to the episode we saw.

CM

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Jul 13 2007 08:14 pm   #98Eowyn315

Well, in that case, I have no explanation. Anyone else want to take a crack at why no one associated with the show would mention the set-up plot, if it were actually intended to be in the episode?

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 13 2007 09:52 pm   #99slaymesoftly

I don't know enough about Doug Petrie to comment on that - I do remember reading the O'Hara's fan wank essay a long time ago. Cannot remember if she convinced me or not and am too <strike>uninterested</strike> lazy to go read it again. I've seen the theory expressed in fan fics in which Riley does set Spike up, but I can't say that I ever got that feeling from watching the episode. (Another one of those things I'll watch for when I re-watch). I pretty much took it at face value; although,  I don't by any means think that Spike is "The Doctor".  I'm comfortable with the idea that he saw a chance to make a bit of money for Buffy by minding the eggs for who or whatever the Doctor really is, without actually knowing just what they were.  I can certainly see an irate demon setting him up - or even Warren (don't remember what the evil trio was doing at that point in the season).

As far as Buffy and Tara's convo about "coming out". I can't imagine that she is referring to anything but telling her friends about them.  It's all part and parcel of the things that occurred in that episode that made me see them as being all couply.  I'll watch it again for things that I missed, but to me, that party was a tiny glimpse of how Spike was understood to be part of the "group" (albeit, not everyone's favorite member), and I saw signs of weakening on Buffy's part. (in terms of letting people know about them) 


I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Jul 13 2007 10:56 pm   #100ZoeGrace

Eowyn,

Honestly I don't need nor want to poke holes in that AYW analysis.  Its the only thing making it possible for me not to hate that episode.  Let me have my happy.  But OMG I love your conspiracy theory.  I'm totally latching onto that.  I love the idea of Petrie writing it as a big "fuck you" to ME for making him write a Spike hater ep. hahahahahahaha.  That would so rock.

I do think that analysis makes freaky good sense though.  So much sense in fact that your conspiracy theory, while making you feel crazy, might not be that crazy afterall.

Petrie was a Riley fan, he created the initiative afterall, but...He was also a Spike fan.  FFL wasn't the only episode he wrote that was sympathetic to Spike.  I think maybe he tried to outwardly show Riley support, while subversively showing Spike support.  Though it could have been Joss.  sometimes I think Joss is a closet Spuffy shipper.  I mean I know he says Spike and Buffy are meant to be together but with everything else you think he's just paying lip service to the fans.  But then...there are all these scenes he rewrites that are often sympathetic to Spike.

I just really don't get the AYW references at the beginning of the episode if its not about what the LJ poster thinks it is.  Making it about Spike doing the wrong thing for the greater good doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since if he's truly "holding them for a friend" it wasn't a moral dilemna.  He's not choosing to do a small bad thing.  He doesn't think it's a big deal cause he doesn't really know what it is.  If he knew what it was then it wouldn't be just a "small bad thing."  Also Riley is the type who considers himself more a leader who does things for the greater good, not Spike.

Also, there is no evidence he's the doctor. He can't be the doctor.  That makes no sense at all.  (But the fact that Riley just HAPPENS to blow into town and just HAPPENS to catch Spike and Buffy together...no that's not suspicious at all)

Further, I don't think Spike was paid for it.  At least not in cash.  Maybe beer and cigarettes.  But if he'd been paid he would have given the money to Buffy.  And we never have any evidence that Spike got his ass kicked for anything.  (Because I don't think Spike would just hand the money back over)  Also I think if he'd been paid in any way, then he would have said something to Buffy explaining that that was why he was holding them.  I don't see Spike not sharing "hey, I was doing this for you, you stupid bint" information.  But in that closing scene, he's got nothing.  The only piece of info he ever gives is: "holding them for a friend."  Which doesn't really sound like a business deal to me in the first place.

The only way it makes sense IMO is if we go with something like that analysis.  And Eowyn's analysis is awesome too.  I think AYW will always be like a whodunit.  And we'll never really know for sure.

The thing with AYW is...we can brush it off as a really bad episode but...at the end of the day, all the things that don't make sense, add up perfectly to make sense if we're being told a different story than we think we are.

Patti,  I think the "coming out" reference, when Tara says it, it's about "spike and buffy as a couple"  When Buffy says she's all "stay inny" I think she's letting Tara believe what she wants about it, but buffy is actually speaking of the fact that she hasn't seen him since the alley and hasn't had the nerve to approach him.

I think this might be why Buffy is nicer than normal to Spike.  I think she does realize it was a wrong thing to do (as later evidenced when she breaks down with Tara) but Buffy is really bad at apologizing.  

As for AYW, I had never seen an analysis like that, but I was always pretty sure there was some kind of set up going on.  Everything with Riley being there, when he showed up, running off by himself, it was all just too weird for me to grok otherwise.

Jul 14 2007 12:04 am   #101Eowyn315

Honestly I don't need nor want to poke holes in that AYW analysis.

I'll be honest, Zoe, that makes me really, really sad, because while I was at work today, I started working on it... It was actually kind of fun, which made me both like the episode a lot more, and also hate it a lot more. I liked it, because it made me have to think critically about tiny details I would normally gloss over, but also made me hate it, because we shouldn't have to do this much damn work to understand an episode.

If you're curious, the end result of my analysis of the LJ analysis was that Spike is obviously not the Doctor, Riley knew that and called him the Doctor to make him seem evil to Buffy... BUT (and here's where I depart from the LJ theory) I don't think it was orchestrated by Riley from the beginning. I'm probably gonna post it anyway, and you don't have to read it if it will shatter your illusions too much, lol, but I did all that work...

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 14 2007 12:18 am   #102ZoeGrace

lol.  Hey, as long as it makes the episode make SENSE.  But you have to account for everything.  I think Riley set him up and the suvolte thing was a red herring from the beginning.  I don't think the eggs were really dangerous or that there was an international weapons deal at all.  In fact I sort of think the entire episode is a red herring.  Plus I like saying the words "red herring" It makes me feel like Perry Mason except with girl parts.

Jul 14 2007 01:18 am   #103Eowyn315

Ha... well, I don't think I can account for *everything*. I don't think there's any theory that could do that... but I'll try. And lol at Perry Mason... "red herring" usually makes me think of 24, I don't know why, except that they do use them a lot. Anyway... let me first say upfront that I do like the LJ theory. It makes more sense than the actual episode – but then again, that’s not hard to do. The stories I wrote in kindergarten make more sense than the actual episode. But that’s not to say the theory doesn’t have its own flaws. Some of these points are just alternate explanations for questions the LJ theory raises as proof that there’s something deeper going on. Others are actual holes that aren’t accounted for.

Okay, let’s take this from the top. I’m gonna go in the order of events in the episode, since the LJ entry skips around a little bit.

1. The Machiavelli reference. I’m not convinced it’s about Riley. It certainly could be, but, as was mentioned in the LJ comments, it could just as easily be a reference to Spike doing something ethically gray (getting involved with the Doctor) for the greater good (to make money for Buffy). Zoe, I know you mentioned you didn't think Spike was getting paid - I'll come back to that at the end.


2. The LBJ/Nixon reference. That could be about Riley and Spike. But the relationship described (one getting tossed out for the other) has already happened. Nothing about that is relevant to the plot, except that Buffy’s ex-boyfriend happens to be in the episode, so I don’t think it’s really a clue that Riley has an ulterior motive. Also, considering Joss’ penchant for inserting bizarre foreshadowing regarding things that won’t happen until two seasons later, I wouldn’t put it past them to be referring to Buffy getting voted out of her own house in favor of Faith in season 7. (Okay, I’m mostly kidding about that one.)

3. How did Riley know where Buffy worked? The LJ theory’s explanation is that he was spying on her when she was having sex with Spike on the lawn and noticed her DMP uniform. First of all, she was wearing a *coat*, and it's pretty obvious she's wearing a turtleneck sweater underneath it - not her uniform. I don't know when and where she changed, but she's not even carrying it with her. So, how did he know? Riley works for the government/military – and a pretty powerful, secret (I think… that wasn’t quite clear post-Initiative) branch, in fact. It’s pretty easy for the government to figure out where a person works. That’s the great thing about this country – we all gotta pay taxes, including Buffy and the Doublemeat Palace, and hey, the government controls the IRS. They also have the FBI, who could probably figure out where Buffy works (I mean, if they knew about my pot-smoking college roommate…). The point is, Riley has plenty of resources for finding out where Buffy works. He doesn't need to have been spying on her, and thus, wouldn't have seen her with Spike.

4. Why does Riley go right to the Doublemeat Palace instead of checking her house first? Maybe he did… and found no one home, since Buffy was at work, Dawn was at school, and Willow was at class. Logically, the next place he’d look for Buffy is work. Even if he went to Xander’s apartment first, or Giles’ old apartment, he wouldn’t find anyone there (Xander and Anya were driving to the airport), and Riley would still have to check her work. They’re not going to show that, because it would make *really* bad TV to show Riley knocking on people’s doors and have no one answer. Plus, it would ruin the surprise when he finally sees Buffy. Maybe they should’ve thrown a line in about how he checked other places first, but they do mention that he tried to call.

5. Why does Riley leave a message for Xander and Willow, mentioning that he’s married, but doesn’t tell Buffy? Well… first of all, they never say *when* Riley left the message. They could’ve called from the car on the way back to Buffy’s house, for all we know. But let's assume Riley tried to call *before* he saw Buffy. Willow says she got the message, and remember - she lives in Buffy’s house. More than likely the message was for *Buffy* and Willow just came home first. Riley should’ve mentioned he was married when he first saw Buffy and it became apparent that she hadn’t heard the message, but I think Riley’s just insecure enough that once he saw her, he decided to keep that information from her just to see whether or not she’d flirt with him (which she does) and reveal that she’s still attracted to him. If she knew right away that he was married, she’d have been all business, and he wouldn’t have had the satisfaction of knowing she still cared.

6. Okay, here’s a question I have, that hasn’t been addressed either in the episode or in this analysis: If the demon “came to the Hellmouth to spawn,” why did Riley and Sam spend two days on a “homing mission,” tracking this demon all the way through Central America? Why didn’t they just kill it *before* it got to the Hellmouth and laid its eggs? Are they saying they *couldn’t* kill it? I mean, Buffy killed it in about 5 minutes, with her bare hands. I know neither Riley nor Sam is a Slayer, but come on, they do have weapons.

7. Why does the Suvolte demon, which apparently decimates towns, leaving only body parts, get to Sunnydale and knock over newspaper stands, not killing *anyone*? I think Zoe asked this question, and we don’t get an answer, either in the episode or in the analysis. 

8. “Why did [Riley] call Xander and ask him to leave a houseful of guests and come over if the mission was "no civilians"?” First of all, Sam says they expected Willow to do a locating spell. So, obviously the original plan required civilians. The “no civilians” rule only comes out when they’re doing the ground work looking for the nest. Also, we don’t even know for sure that Riley called Xander. *Willow* was the one who said, “We got your call.” We – perhaps meaning “those of us who live in the Summers household”? Especially since Dawn was there, too. It’s entirely possible that *Willow* called Xander and said, “Hey, Riley’s back, left a message, something about needing help with a mission. Wanna get away from your crazy relatives for a while?” and Xander hopped right on that idea train. I've seen Hell's Bells, and I'd want to get as far away from those relatives as possible.

The length of this post is getting wildly out of hand, so I'll let you chew on that and post the rest of it in a bit.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 14 2007 02:53 am   #104Eowyn315

Okay, who's up for round two? Continuing right along...

9. Why does Riley send Buffy and Sam to look for the nest in a graveyard when the eggs are supposed to be kept frozen? Actually, he didn’t give them specific instructions on where to look. He just said, “Find that nest.” Also, presumably, the Doctor can’t *control* the Suvolte demon, what with it being a supposed man-eating terror and all. So, I would imagine that the demon laid the eggs wherever the hell it wanted to, and the Doctor would have to steal the eggs from the nest. My interpretation of the plan is this – Buffy and Sam are trying to find the nest before the Doctor does. Meanwhile, Riley is trying to find the Doctor before he finds the eggs and gives them to the foreign powers. So, if they’re looking for the nest, they wouldn’t be looking for frozen eggs. The Suvolte demon isn’t going to freeze her own offspring. And, since there are plenty of uninhabited, easily accessible crypts in Sunnydale, where a single mother demon might go to hatch some eggs in privacy, a graveyard is actually a really good place to look.

10. “Why would [Riley] team up Sam and Buffy?... Why would Buffy or Sam need backup to go shoot a bunch of (theoretically) frozen eggs?  Why doesn't he need backup to go confront a dangerous arms dealer?” Well, like I said in the previous point, they’re not looking for frozen eggs, they’re looking for eggs in a nest, and they might encounter the Doctor who was also looking for the eggs. Riley, on the other hand, isn’t going to *confront* the Doctor necessarily, he’s still trying to find him – recon, basically. If he were going to actually confront him, he could always call Sam for back up. I assume they have radios.

11. “Riley finds out that some or all of the eggs have been given to a guy named Spike.” Wow, *that’s* convenient. The Doctor just happened to give the eggs to the person Riley was planning to set up? I’m pretty sure Zoe pointed this out as well, but what the hell would Riley’s plan have been if Spike hadn’t been the one with the eggs? I think it was just Riley’s dumb luck that the person with the eggs happened to be someone he knew.

Here’s the thing. I don’t think Spike is the Doctor. It’s completely ridiculous, and I find it hard to believe that even ME expected us to believe that he was the Doctor. I do, however, think we’re supposed to believe that Spike was involved in a nefarious plot in order to get money for Buffy. I think Riley was doing his recon, stumbled upon the knowledge that Spike was involved, and burst into Spike’s crypt to find the two of them post-coital. He’s pissed off and calls Spike the Doctor to get Buffy to think he’s evil. It doesn’t matter to Riley – evil is evil, whether you’re the head honcho or just a middleman. Plus, he’s always had a grudge against Spike, even before he caught them together. But I don’t think it was a well-thought-out plan that started as soon as he arrived in Sunnydale. I think, if Riley had seen Buffy and Spike having sex at her house, he’d have gone to the crypt the next day and staked him. He’s not a cunning schemer; he’s a man of action. Riley has always been the “following orders” type of guy – the soldier, but never the general. He doesn’t have the finesse to truly set Spike up. But he *can* think quickly enough on his feet to point the blame at Spike in the heat of the moment.

12. “Why isn't Sam with Riley when he shows up at the crypt?” This one’s not really explained in the analysis, either. The options are either she never found him, or Riley got rid of her somehow. It’s possible that Sam was with him to acquire the information about Spike – after all, if the Doctor is as rich and powerful and connected as he would have to be to pull off this deal, he probably has bodyguards or something. It’d be hard for Riley to take him out by himself. Anyway, they do it, and find out the location of the eggs. Now, Riley knows he’s going to confront Spike – and not someone actually dangerous – so he could’ve convinced Sam he didn’t need help. He might even have told her the truth. I mean, he could’ve said, “Hey, turns out the guy with the eggs is a vampire – formerly one of the Initiative’s captives. He has a chip in his head and can’t hurt me. I’ll be fine!” I also think this would be something Riley would want to do without Sam, because of the history between him and Spike, and the potential for Spike to say something Riley wouldn’t want Sam to hear (“vampire whores” springs to mind).

13. “[Spike] says he's just holding the eggs for a friend.” Uh… what friend? The LJ analysis points out that Spike “is loathed by every demon in town who isn't Clem.” Since Clem is, as far as we know, also not an international arms dealer, I think we’re pretty clear Spike is lying. Why? Because he’s doing this whole thing to get money for Buffy. But, if Buffy knew where the money came from, she wouldn’t accept it. I mean, really, can you imagine that conversation? “Where’d you get the money, Spike?” “I baby-sat a bunch of demon eggs that are being sold to foreign powers to be used as weapons of mass destruction to kill innocent people by the townful.” “Oh, awesome. I’ve been needing a new pair of shoes.” Not so much. Buffy *can’t* know he’s doing it for money if he wants to help her, so he tries to cover by claiming to have more than one friend. And, even though it’d be hard for him to give her the money once she knows (since she’d probably be suspicious), I would bet that he doesn’t even get paid in the end – after all, he lost the precious commodity, for which money had already been exchanged (between the Doctor and the foreign powers, not Spike… middlemen don’t get paid in advance). 

Now… Zoe offered an alternative suggestion – what if there was no Doctor and the *whole thing* was a set-up so that Riley could break Buffy up. Well, as should be expected, I have a few problems with that theory as well.

While that would provide a satisfactory answer to problems #6, 7, and 11 above, it raises even *more* questions. (Quotes taken from Zoe’s comment on the LJ post.)

1. “what if...Riley's entire point for coming to Sunnydale is to break up Spike and Buffy?” How did he know Buffy and Spike were together before he got to Sunnydale? If Buffy’s closest friends didn’t know, I can’t imagine that Riley, all the way in Central America, would know. Finding out where she works is one thing. Finding out who she’s sleeping with? Definitely harder. Maybe it was a rumor in the demon world that managed to travel south of the border and make its way into the ears of a human? Not likely. I think, despite their tendency for sex in public places, Buffy would go to great lengths to make sure that no one knew about her relationship with Spike.

2. “So [Riley] may be privy to info [Sam] isn't, and conversely can MAKE UP info.” I don’t think so. Riley may be Sam’s commanding officer, but he obviously has to answer to someone higher up himself. Maybe he could fudge details, but I don’t think he could make up an entire mission that involves them leaving whatever they were doing in South America and coming to Sunnydale. Unless they were on leave (which I think Sam would have known), they’d be AWOL. And we know that Riley and Sam did actually track this demon for two days – first of all, why put that much effort into a cover story if they’re only going to Sunnydale to break up Buffy and Spike? And second of all, how did they get the tracker on the demon if it wasn’t a real government operation? Plus, this trip required other resources besides the tracker – Riley’s (government-issue) car for one. Also, they get picked up in a helicopter at the end (apparently not cool enough to ride on the inside, they have to dangle by a rope, presumably all the way back to Belize). I think it’s just too involved to say that the mission wasn’t real.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 14 2007 04:43 am   #105ZoeGrace

I don't believe Spike is lying about holding them for someone.  It's possible he hadn't been paid since he's a middleman.  It still doesn't explain why he didn't try to explain his behavior at the end as trying to get money to help Buffy.  Because frankly I think it would have helped his case as opposed to "petty evil for the sake of it."

I think it's possible he agreed to hold them for a friend for beer and cigarettes or maybe he has more kitten poker debt and someone is willing to erase it if he holds the eggs for them.

We are at least in agreement that Spike isn't the Doctor.  Though I still genuinely don't believe there IS a doctor.  The whole thing is just too convoluted to me.  Maybe it's Petrie trying to relive his initiative glory days and just a bad episode.

There are reasons I don't think Spike is holding the eggs with awareness of what they are for.  For one thing, the machiavelli reference makes it plain it's a "small evil, for the greater good."  Being part of  an international arms deal is NOT a small evil and Spike knows enough to know that's not something Buffy would like if she found out.  And from previous experience with schemes in Sunnydale he knows Buffy always finds out what's going on in her town.  IMO Spike wouldn't risk it.  Even to get money for her.  He can go back to scaring people for money.  As a middleman he wouldn't stand to gain THAT much money.

If it's not a set-up, I have a hard time believing "the doctor" would entrust Spike with the eggs.  Even if he is just a middle man.  Spike doesn't have the most trustworthy reputation in the demon world, so the person who gives him the eggs has to be somewhere bordering a "friend."  So Spike isn't lying.

And as the LJ poster made clear Spike doesn't seem THAT freaked out about the eggs being down there.  He doesn't know anything about the doctor at all.  He's completely out of the loop.  He may  not know the exact purpose of the eggs, but someone has sold him a bill of sale.  I don't think he believes the eggs to be harmful.  Otherwise, why would he let Buffy fall asleep near them?  Does this seem in Spike's character? That he would let the love of his unlife sleep near potentially killer demon eggs?

No Spike would have to choose a BIG evil.  One I really don't think he would choose at this juncture in his path to redemption.  The demon he's holding the eggs for could be a kitten poker buddy. (he only owes the shark dude kittens, not necessarily every demon in sunnydale.  Though at the same time it could be to pay off the kitten poker debt.  It would explain why Spike never told Buffy why he did it.  Maybe he's trying to pay off Shark dude.  Spike's always trying to explain his behavior to Buffy only here he's very silent.  Though he says in an earlier episode he can get Buffy money, that may or may not be why he held the eggs for a friend.

Also, when Spike took Buffy to the demon bar to play kitten poker that episode, the bar guy was friendly to him, the demons there were friendly as far as demons go and none of the demons there were the shark demon.  So Spike DID have other acquaintances and connections besides just the scoobies.  Someone who he might reference as a "friend" in the casual way people do without lying and trying to make it sound like they're bossom buddies or something.

There are people I refer casually to as: "my friend" who I really consider more of an acquaintance, but saying: "my acquaintance" seems cold, so "my friend" is shorthand for "hey, i know this dude."

I will admit that the LJ idea makes some more sense than mine in some places.  One would have to construct an entire detailed backstory to fill in all the plot holes in this episode, but...I think Riley being the control freak that he is, very well could have kept tabs on Buffy and very well could have known something about Spike if he'd had someone watching her.  

From Sam's description, Riley seemed unable to let Buffy go.  I can see him using connections to have her watched.  We have evidence in AtS that Angel does some similar surveillance with Buffy, so clearly Buffy can be watched without knowing it, and Riley always struck me as a human version of Angel.

And I think Riley, rather than just killing Spike (note how he couldn't do it last time and had a fake stake. ) would want to HURT him.  He wants him to live with how pathetic he is and losing Buffy will hurt him the most.  Why would he go for the kill when he can go for the pain?  He HATES Spike.  That warrants more than a casual dusting.

Something to remember is...the primary reason her friends don't know about her and Spike is because they are just so stupid and oblivious.  There are so many clues and the only real reason for them not to know or at least suspect is that they don't WANT to know.

Also if this breed of demon must spawn on a Hellmouth, why has Buffy never dealt with this breed before?  Maybe it's a rare breed, but rare isn't the same as extinct, the chances that no other of it's kind would have come to Sunnydale in six years is insane.

I agree with you Riley himself has higher ups.  There is no reason he can't make arrangements then report on the "threat" then come riding into Sunnydale to the rescue.  Or maybe it's true, this breed of demon DOES spawn on the Hellmouth.  

But we know from former experience with the initiative, that demons are demons just like for Buffy, so how dangerous it is is all up to how dangerous it's reported to be.  Riley can come in with "zomg this super dangerous demon is headed to sunnydale lieutenant."  

Or maybe his higher ups want to study that breed.  It isn't all that dangerous, but wouldn't this be a great opportunity to go on a boring retrieval mission and break up his former honey and Spike?  I think, yes.

Most military ops things are on a need to know basis.  Riley would have more info than Sam and the discretion to share or hold back whatever info he deemed necessary.  Since it WAS a bag and not a kill, we can be reasonably certain that the higher ups DO want to study it (he may have even said that) but it doesn't have to be because it's super duper dangerous.  That might just be something Riley tacked on.

Riley probably could have captured the demon before getting to sunnydale, but if he did that, he can't let it Spawn, get the eggs through an intermediary to Spike and set him up.  I totally see Riley doing this.  He's covert military guy and he'd get a total hard on for this spy vs. spy  type nonsense. (note how he makes a big show of all his gadgets and his helicopter.  Showing up and rescuing Buffy from Spike is like a wet dream for him.  This is his opportunity to ride in, play the hero, and say: "look at what you gave up, honey.")

And the demon isn't actually harming people.  Another clue right there.  It's attacking inanimate objects.  Probably in a rage that it's eggs have been stolen. 

To me the clue that there IS no doctor is that we never see evidence of one.  We only see Riley's bungled story and eggs in Spike's crypt.  I also agree with the LJ poster's assessment that it's weird Riley doesn't want any more information about who Spike got the eggs from.  We know Spike's not the doctor.  Surely Riley is smart enough to know he's not the doctor, else how did he even get IN this branch of the military?

But if there IS a doctor, then Riley would logically ask Spike who gave him the eggs specifically, but he doesn't.  After all, the doctor would be dangerous and wouldn't stop  with this zany caper.  This can't possibly be JUST to facilitate a break up between Buffy and Spike unless it's all a red herring so he can break up buffy and spike.  If there is no doctor, it makes perfect sense that Riley doesn't interrogate him further.  The LJ poster claimed Riley could have already killed the doctor, and that's true, he could have.  Or else there never was a doctor.

Jul 14 2007 04:54 am   #106ZoeGrace

Sorry I'm making a separate post, that one was really long.  Here is the short version of the hypothesis I'm going with, since I had a lot of tangents above and not one specific theory. (explanations of course are above)


 Riley, is having Buffy watched (for her own protection of course), finds out about Spike, that sits on the backburner in his mind.

* A search and retrieve mission comes up.  Boring, not high risk, but hey...it's Sunnydale, Buffy's there.  Here's an opportunity to show her what she lost...and the wheels they start a turning.  He makes up the idea that the demon is dangerous and passes on this "classified info" to Sam.

He keeps screwing up the retrieval so it gets to sunnydale and spawns, where he's already arranged someone to pay someone to get the eggs to a "friend" of Spike's and then to Spike.  This "friend" jumps at the idea because Spike, that lameass vampire helping the slayer owes him kittens, if he can make some money and screw him over some how, good times for him.

Riley plays the hero, and rides off into the sunset, getting the "last word" in his rivalry with Spike and confident that Buffy knows what she gave up and has lost what she had.

Or, it's just a crappy episode.

Jul 14 2007 06:25 am   #107Eowyn315

You know, the whole "Spike keeping the eggs for someone else" thing is just weird. Even if it *was* a friend - if the goods are that valuable, why would anyone leave them with Spike, who obviously knows the Slayer? Even if no one knows they're sleeping together, there's still a chance she could walk into his crypt at any time. Why take the risk and involve an extra person, especially Spike? I'm not sure it matters whether he did it for money or just for a friend, it's still weird. (Granted, that would lead to the set-up theory, but I think there are too many other problems with that.)

Anyway... I don't think it really would help Spike at this point to tell Buffy he was doing it for her. I think, if he'd said it while Riley was around, she'd have thrown it back in his face. And when she's dumping him, she says she doesn't care about the stupid scheme anyway, and I think saying "I did this for you" would just make her feel like he was guilting her into not dumping him. Knowing Buffy, even trying to do a good gesture would backfire on him.

For one thing, the machiavelli reference makes it plain it's a "small evil, for the greater good."

Has anyone actually gone back and checked what the actual Machiavelli reference is? I mean, what Todd actually says isn't anything about the small evil for the greater good... he says "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Which I think is a pretty blatant reference to Buffy keeping Spike "close." So, I feel like the small evil/greater good thing got latched onto - by both sides, those who want it to prove that Riley was conspiring, and those who want to believe that Spike is doing this for Buffy. But actually, it's not in the show at all. Or are we just saying that, since the show mentioned Machiavelli, all Machiavellian allusions are applicable? Because I could go on a "better to be feared than loved" tangent with Buffy and Spike's relationship... lol.

Just because I'm a dork, and I own a copy of The Prince, I was skimming through it, and I found this:

"A prince also wins prestige by being a true friend or a true enemy, that is, for revealing himself without any reservation in favour of one side against another."

I just thought that was interesting, considering there's so much muddling in this episode of who's good and who's bad, and those who are potentially working for a certain side are never clearly revealed to be doing so. But that's neither here nor there. (Damn you for making me break out the Machiavelli!)

Anyway, back to Spike and his "big evil." I think you're right that Spike wouldn't get involved in an international arms scheme. If we're going to say that, we might as well assume he was the Doctor himself. Either way, he's not going to choose to be that evil. So, I doubt that Spike knew the scope of what was going on. But he had to know that it was *something* bad. I mean, what the hell would a person being doing with demon eggs that was actually on the up-and-up, you know? So, I think it's surprising that Spike would get involved in it at all, knowing Buffy would find out. I think he'd value his relationship (such as it is) with Buffy over any friend, acquaintance, or anyone who might have asked him to watch the eggs. I think the only reason he'd take the risk is in order to help Buffy out.

Now, keep in mind there's a difference between "bad" and "unsafe." I know one of the arguments is, if Spike knew what he was getting into, he wouldn't have been hanging out in his crypt with potential man-eating demon babies, and he wouldn't have let himself and Buffy fall asleep upstairs. But just because he knew what they were used for doesn't mean he thought they were dangerous at the time. He obviously assumed they weren't going to hatch in his basement - the whole point was to keep them and then hand them off (still as eggs). Since he didn't realize they were supposed to be frozen, he probably wasn't aware of the danger. He may have known that they could be dangerous once hatched, but didn't think he was in any danger with the eggs.

I don't know that I agree with your characterization of Riley. I think he's a straight shooter - I don't see him as conniving, and though I agree that he hates Spike, I don't see him as being out for the pain. He's always been a quick kill kind of guy - he's an Iowa farm boy, he doesn't have that darkness that likes torture. He tried to be dark in season 5, but I just don't think it's in him. Riley has always seemed to be the least stalkerish of Buffy's boyfriends, so having someone watch her doesn't seem like him, especially now that he's married. And, while I see him wanting to make Spike suffer, I don't see him pulling it off. The one time he tried - when he staked Spike with the plastic stake - he ended up sitting around drinking with Spike! (And they have a conversation, I should point out, in which Spike tells him he's not dark enough for Buffy.)

Also if this breed of demon must spawn on a Hellmouth, why has Buffy never dealt with this breed before?  Maybe it's a rare breed, but rare isn't the same as extinct, the chances that no other of it's kind would have come to Sunnydale in six years is insane.

Well, there are other Hellmouths. At least one in Cleveland, and I would imagine there's at least one on each of the other continents. (Maybe not Antarctica. It might be too cold for hell.)

I still question the idea of Riley getting one past the military on this mission. I don't think Riley would be able to report something untrue about the demon - either how dangerous it is, or what its "spawning" patterns are - to the higher ups without someone investigating it. *Maybe* he could get orders for a retrieval mission and fudge the details to Sam - but the military doesn't "study" demons anymore. The military guy with Graham says as much when he recruits Riley: "It's not the Initiative, Finn. We don't do experiments. None of us give a damn what makes monsters tick. We just stop 'em." So, I'm not sure why they'd be doing a retrieval mission in the first place. The only reason they'd be tracking it is the one they gave - to destroy the eggs.

And the demon isn't actually harming people.  Another clue right there.  It's attacking inanimate objects.

I'll be honest... I don't think this is evidence of anything. We've seen other supposedly terrifying demons that don't really seem to do much. Here's my "cynical producer" response to that: "Even though we like killing people on this show, Standards and Practices has issues with us showing demons ripping people to pieces and leaving piles of body parts in their wake. But property damage is cool. Also, attacking people requires too many stuntmen and special effects." Annoying as it may be, sometimes things like this really come down to stupid behind the scenes issues like this.

For example, why doesn't Riley tell Buffy right away that the demon shouldn't be killed? Because if Buffy didn’t kill the Suvolte demon, they could just track it to the eggs, and the episode would be much less interesting. It's the sort of thing that they try to slip in because they can't think of another way around it, and they hope you won't notice.

I also agree with the LJ poster's assessment that it's weird Riley doesn't want any more information about who Spike got the eggs from.

Yeah, that is weird... unless Riley already knows who the Doctor is, which he probably would if he were able to find out that Spike had the eggs. I don't think there's really evidence either way - the Doctor could just as easily have never existed as he could've been taken out by Riley.

The bottom line, I think, is that, no matter what the intended plot was for this episode, there are always going to be holes and inconsistencies. Even the best episodes have them. But there are enough holes in this one to be able to fill in the blanks with several different narratives, and there are at least a few that hold up reasonably well (if you tilt your head sideways and squint really hard). Like I said initially, I don't think we're ever going to find a single theory that answers every possible question. But isn't it fun to try?

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 14 2007 06:52 am   #108ZoeGrace

Some lines from AYW:

RILEY: (resumes walking) We've been tear-assing through every jungle from Paraguay up, taking out nests. As soon as we put one Suvolte down, a dozen take its place. They're breeders, Buffy. One turns into ten, ten becomes a hundred. This gets out of hand and there's a war with humans? Humans are gonna lose.

*******

So these aren't rare demons.  So if they come to the hellmouth to breed, Buffy would have seen one before.  Also, they likely would have taken over the world already.  I totally don't buy this.

Also though it's been awhile since I've seen this.  They were tracking it to find the nest, not to take it back.  For some reason I thought it was a retrieval mission.

I also think Riley doing this to Spike isn't exactly him "torturing" him.  Plus, it's for "buffy's own good."

The bottom line I think is, we're making the best of a crappy episode.  All our theories are BS, but they keep us from screaming and yelling.  I like my backstory, you like yours.   As a self-professed Riley hater, I mean DEEP loathing, more than any contempt I've ever had toward Buffy, I like seeing him as all sinister and stuff.  And the "there never was a doctor" dun dun DUN! is much cooler for that.

LMAO @ "standards and practices" reminds me of a funny ATHF ep.

Jul 14 2007 06:52 pm   #109Eowyn315

Well, maybe you'll just say that Riley is making it up as he goes along, but he *does* tell Buffy they're rare demons. "Rare, lethal... nearly extinct, but not nearly enough." I don't see how something nearly extinct could take over the world. And yet, the line you quoted comes approximately three sentences later.

As a self-professed Riley hater, I mean DEEP loathing, more than any contempt I've ever had toward Buffy, I like seeing him as all sinister and stuff.

I've never liked Riley, either... but he's not a top priority on my hatred list. I just don't think much of anything about him most of the time ("Captain Cardboard" is extraordinarily accurate, IMO). Also, even though some viewers may see him as sinister, I don't think the writers/directors/producers (wait... that was ALL Doug Petrie in this ep, lol) think of him as sinister, so I don't think that's what they were really going for.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jul 14 2007 09:33 pm   #110ZoeGrace

I have a hard time seeing how "1 turns into 10, 10 turns into a hundred" can have anything to do with a "rare breed."


Jul 14 2007 11:31 pm   #111FetchingMadScientist

This has nothing to do with AYW, but it is an annoying little tidbit.  

Through pretty much the entire show, Buffy has this "vampires=bad" outlook, except of course for Angel, but that's beside the point.  Does anyone remember "Nightmares" from season 1?  Buffy becomes a vampire.  Wouldn't that make her at least more empathetic when it comes to Spike's struggle to do right without a soul? That is, presuming she didn't have a soul while she was a vampire?

To me, Buffy seems awfully forgetful.  She forgot what she promised Spike in "Intervention," and it looks like she forgot what it was like to walk a mile in his, soul lacking, shoes in "Nightmares."

I dunno...I tend to think that knowing your prey would make you a better hunter.  And, that is what the Slayer is, after all.

"Never a fetching mad scientist about when you need one." -Spike
Jul 15 2007 07:20 am   #112ZoeGrace

Well I mean she makes the comment in "nightmares" that she's "getting kindof hungry" so one would assume she means for blood.  But yeah, Buffy forgets a lot. Maybe its all those diet cokes she drinks.  Who knew Aspartame could be so evil?

Jul 15 2007 05:07 pm   #113Eowyn315

If you notice, though, when Buffy is a vampire, she still has her exact same personality, just with an extra taste for blood. I think, because that is season 1, and we are dealing with the soul/no soul dichotomy (as this is before Spike is introduced), we should assume that Buffy keeps her soul, and just physically is turned into a vampire. Since it *is* just a nightmare, anything goes, really, and since she doesn't seem to be evil at all (and is, in fact, horrified to have become a vampire) the implication at that point would be that she still had her soul.

So, basically, no, I don't think she really got a sense of what it was like to be a vampire, and I don't think there was much that she could relate to Spike (or any other vamp) from her experience.

Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.