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If Spike had been killed off would you have kept watching ?

Would you have kept watching if Spike had been killed off

  • Nope, no Spike no me

    Votes: 5 9.8%
  • Hell Yes I watch for Buffy not for Spike

    Votes: 46 90.2%

  • Total voters
    51

Mott1

Townie
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Messages
24
Age
48
As much as I love Spike now (ironically I thought he was a damn nuisance when I first watched in s4) I think the show would have survived by that point without him, tho I would miss him a lot now!

But on a narrative level it would've been much different as he was such a central character in season 7: his redemption storyline rather pushes Willow's to one side, particularly in the middle. I think it's why Buffy is seen as a more optimistic show than Angel, despite the misery of season 6 in particular. I know some who hate Angel being 'replaced' by Spike as Buff's love interest, but I think they miss the point that the show had changed and so had its themes and purpose by then.
 
KaitKat
KaitKat
I honestly don’t think any of her love interest were presented as being right I think they were all meant to teach her about herself so she can grow which I love.

KaitKat

Potential
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
360
Age
30
Honestly I LOVED Spike’s character is Season 4. He’s snarky, he had great chemistry with SMG, and his identity crisis after becoming chipped was an excellent story line. With that being said I could have done without his arc is Season 5 and 6 everything from the creepy Buffybot to the mutually abusive relationship is Season 6. I know a lot of people loved Spuffy, and I did on theory I loved the idea that he could challenge her and make her look at things in ways she didn’t before and he’s always giving her a perspective that none of the other characters will voice, I don’t like how Spuffy was executed though. I honestly think his scenes with Joyce and Dawn were perfection. I do think I would have kept watching without Spike but they would have needed other character with big personalities such as Cordelia or Faith to fill the void. Side note I love the idea of Buffy being friends with other females with strong personalities such as the two mentioned above who would tell it like it is and call her out then turn around and have her back. Looking back I do think that is one of the things the show gets wrong.
 

Faded90

Scooby
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
968
Age
64
Honestly I LOVED Spike’s character is Season 4. He’s snarky, he had great chemistry with SMG, and his identity crisis after becoming chipped was an excellent story line. With that being said I could have done without his arc is Season 5 and 6 everything from the creepy Buffybot to the mutually abusive relationship is Season 6. I know a lot of people loved Spuffy, and I did on theory I loved the idea that he could challenge her and make her look at things in ways she didn’t before and he’s always giving her a perspective that none of the other characters will voice, I don’t like how Spuffy was executed though. I honestly think his scenes with Joyce and Dawn were perfection. I do think I would have kept watching without Spike but they would have needed other character with big personalities such as Cordelia or Faith to fill the void. Side note I love the idea of Buffy being friends with other females with strong personalities such as the two mentioned above who would tell it like it is and call her out then turn around and have her back. Looking back I do think that is one of the things the show gets wrong.
For me the thing I wanted for Buffy is for her to have another friend that isn’t Willow, Xander or one of their partners. Buffy has plenty of people in her life who call her out (sometimes to an insanely harsh degree) but I think she needed someone who she can share things with that she can’t share with Xander and Willow. when I think about it I think Faith is the only character who is pretty exclusively her friend - obviously she is friendly with both Xander and Willow but past F, H and T both seem to somewhat lose interest once her new friend shine wears off

One of the biggest themes in her story throughout all 7 seasons is her loneliness and this is something she can’t share with Willow/Xander as they’d (understandably from their POV) feel upset about this - interestingly it’s Faith that they again use as the one she can speak to about this and it takes till End of Days before she can openly speak about this with anyone. Buffy needs that friend whose a bit more laissez faire and who she bounce things off without that fear of judgement

Because of Eliza’s unavailability for a more regular role I’d have liked them to create a bit of a cynical demon type in Willy’s Bar who she has a recurring friendship. Someone like Halfrek who can just say straight ‘you know not everything is your fault right?’ Although I suppose that probably wouldn’t have fit into the martyrdom stuff they like to do with Buffy a lot 😂
 

KaitKat

Potential
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
360
Age
30
I agree with wanting Buffy to have a friend that isn’t Willow/Xander or their significant others, I do think that’s why she ended up so attached to Spike. I honestly would have preferred to see Cordelia as Buffy’s friend rather than Xander’s girlfriend. I loved how she was on Buffy’s side in Dead Man’s Party yet called her out in Revelations. I also loved them attempting to beat the crap out of that creep for each other in Helpless before Cordelia gave her a ride home no questions asked. I honestly think Buffy needs friends like this. Faith and Buffy were such a missed opportunity at a friendship that wouldn’t been like sisters completely with sibling rivalry, they are capable of understanding each other on a deep level and we got enemies. With that being said I do think that they are one of the best done rivalries between teenage girls on television but I so wish they could have been friends. I do think Buffy was able to talk to Faith and not down to her after everything she went through in Season 6 and 7 and of course Faith got to see that Buffy was just as lonely as her while having the weight of the world on her shoulders. I loved the seen in Chosen where Buffy gave Faith the scythe and was so disappointed that that dynamic moved backwards instead of forward in the comics. Something I will say for them is even when they don’t like each other they love each other, look at Season 7 they didn’t agree with each other and had tons of bad history yet stuck up for each other. I do wonder how the story would have played out had ED had more availability.
 

BuffyNvrForgets

Little Albatross
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
274
Location
Here and now, I suppose.
Personally, my thoughts on Spike are complex, but I definetly would have continued watching if he "shuffled off his IMmortal coil".
(To be clear, I watched the whole series earlier this year, so my fandom is new, but never the less very passionate and strong.)

Spike was never my favorite, but I thought Spike was incredibly cool fun in the beginning. He and Dru (And Angelus) are probably, in my opinion, some of the best villians in the entire show.
I thought he was a great addition to the Scoobies when he had the chip, and had the dynamic of "I'm only helping because I crave violence and this is how I get it". His situation was ridiculous, and they did it well.
I jumped off the Spike train when he got obsessed with Buffy. Yes, some of that was played up for laughs, and it was cute to see him acting all confused and annoyed with his feelings, but for each of those scenes, it felt like there was one of him doing something incredibly creepy, twisted, or just plain over the line.

Let's just say there came a time I actually was rooting for him to "bite the dust".

That being said, I'll never deny he is a great character. With one of the best character arcs! But the show for me was never about "Ah, Hot Vampire bad boy romances", and I thought it actually detracted. But that's just me.

Anyways, that was a long way of saying:
Yes, yes I would watch the show without Spike. I get why people wouldn't, but I would.
 

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,705
Age
40
Personally, my thoughts on Spike are complex, but I definetly would have continued watching if he "shuffled off his IMmortal coil".
(To be clear, I watched the whole series earlier this year, so my fandom is new, but never the less very passionate and strong.)

Spike was never my favorite, but I thought Spike was incredibly cool fun in the beginning. He and Dru (And Angelus) are probably, in my opinion, some of the best villians in the entire show.
I thought he was a great addition to the Scoobies when he had the chip, and had the dynamic of "I'm only helping because I crave violence and this is how I get it". His situation was ridiculous, and they did it well.
I jumped off the Spike train when he got obsessed with Buffy. Yes, some of that was played up for laughs, and it was cute to see him acting all confused and annoyed with his feelings, but for each of those scenes, it felt like there was one of him doing something incredibly creepy, twisted, or just plain over the line.

Let's just say there came a time I actually was rooting for him to "bite the dust".

That being said, I'll never deny he is a great character. With one of the best character arcs! But the show for me was never about "Ah, Hot Vampire bad boy romances", and I thought it actually detracted. But that's just me.

Anyways, that was a long way of saying:
Yes, yes I would watch the show without Spike. I get why people wouldn't, but I would.


Here's an add on question I just thought off, how many people didn't watch the Angel spin off but then did when Spike moved over full time 🤔
 

BuffyNvrForgets

Little Albatross
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
274
Location
Here and now, I suppose.
For me the thing I wanted for Buffy is for her to have another friend that isn’t Willow, Xander or one of their partners. Buffy has plenty of people in her life who call her out (sometimes to an insanely harsh degree) but I think she needed someone who she can share things with that she can’t share with Xander and Willow. when I think about it I think Faith is the only character who is pretty exclusively her friend - obviously she is friendly with both Xander and Willow but past F, H and T both seem to somewhat lose interest once her new friend shine wears off

One of the biggest themes in her story throughout all 7 seasons is her loneliness and this is something she can’t share with Willow/Xander as they’d (understandably from their POV) feel upset about this - interestingly it’s Faith that they again use as the one she can speak to about this and it takes till End of Days before she can openly speak about this with anyone. Buffy needs that friend whose a bit more laissez faire and who she bounce things off without that fear of judgement

Because of Eliza’s unavailability for a more regular role I’d have liked them to create a bit of a cynical demon type in Willy’s Bar who she has a recurring friendship. Someone like Halfrek who can just say straight ‘you know not everything is your fault right?’ Although I suppose that probably wouldn’t have fit into the martyrdom stuff they like to do with Buffy a lot 😂
Ohhh, you are so totally right! I keep thinking "So many things would be better in later seasons if they hadn't separated the scoobies!"
Has anyone else noticed that? after season three, they begin to drift apart, and they keep having big fights tht never truly get resolved...Eventually Buffy feels she can't come to them or rely on them and she's not always wrong...

You have a great point. She really did need a friend, or someone she could have bounced off of.
honestly it was hard watching some of the later seasons. Buffy was so lonely, I just wanted to hug her and give her a cookie lol.
 
T
thrasherpix
What was stark to me upon rewatch is Buffy singing "What can't we do if we're together" (as long as they stand by each other) in OMWF, and starting immediately after that song, in the ep itself and snowballing, they fall apart from each other.

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,705
Age
40
For me the thing I wanted for Buffy is for her to have another friend that isn’t Willow, Xander or one of their partners. Buffy has plenty of people in her life who call her out (sometimes to an insanely harsh degree) but I think she needed someone who she can share things with that she can’t share with Xander and Willow. when I think about it I think Faith is the only character who is pretty exclusively her friend - obviously she is friendly with both Xander and Willow but past F, H and T both seem to somewhat lose interest once her new friend shine wears off

One of the biggest themes in her story throughout all 7 seasons is her loneliness and this is something she can’t share with Willow/Xander as they’d (understandably from their POV) feel upset about this - interestingly it’s Faith that they again use as the one she can speak to about this and it takes till End of Days before she can openly speak about this with anyone. Buffy needs that friend whose a bit more laissez faire and who she bounce things off without that fear of judgement

Because of Eliza’s unavailability for a more regular role I’d have liked them to create a bit of a cynical demon type in Willy’s Bar who she has a recurring friendship. Someone like Halfrek who can just say straight ‘you know not everything is your fault right?’ Although I suppose that probably wouldn’t have fit into the martyrdom stuff they like to do with Buffy a lot 😂

That's difficult in the world of TV you've got regular characters you love and who are contractually on the show every week.
As shown with Riley (admittedly a love interest instead of friend) the Potentials and to a certain extent with Dawn, the audience reaction is more "Who is this person , why are they on my TV screen, get them off and get a character I care about on" Introducing a friend for Buffy is not so easy. Plus you got the actor too, Seth Green made no bones he left because he was bored because all he'd do on the show was just agree with Buffy
 

Stake fodder

What about my me?
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
1,157
Location
Caught on a root
Here's an add on question I just thought off, how many people didn't watch the Angel spin off but then did when Spike moved over full time 🤔
I did! I am watching all of AtS now, but I started with S5, because I really wanted another BtVS season, and I thought Spike and Willow were both on it (wrong about Willow, obviously). So that was the original draw of AtS for me.
 

BuffyNvrForgets

Little Albatross
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
274
Location
Here and now, I suppose.
Ohhh, you are so totally right! I keep thinking "So many things would be better in later seasons if they hadn't separated the scoobies!"
Has anyone else noticed that? after season three, they begin to drift apart, and they keep having big fights tht never truly get resolved...Eventually Buffy feels she can't come to them or rely on them and she's not always wrong...

You have a great point. She really did need a friend, or someone she could have bounced off of.
honestly it was hard watching some of the later seasons. Buffy was so lonely, I just wanted to hug her and give her a cookie lol.

@ Thrasherpix Right??? Wasn't it just tragic??? that really is where it all fell apart...Huh.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
43
I get it, but to me this is not Spike as character but Spike as 'function'; what is Spike's function in S2, 3, 4 and so on and of course its going to be different because he was inserted into the show about midway on whilst the writers are figuring out how to use him. Nothing wrong with that.

And every time Spike’s function changes we learn more about his character and who he is, and who he is informs how he performs those functions. For example, if Spike was actually the Spike we meet in S2, which, if he was a normal (i.e. static) vamp, he should have been, he would perform those functions very differently than he actually does. He’d stay 100% a villain and he’d be 100% focused on taking down Buffy once and for all in any and every way he could. Once we're told who he really is in S5, that retroactively informs his past behavior. He's no longer a character who operates in terms of his assigned function in the narrative, but a character who's impacted by what happens to him within that narrative and responds in a way his character would in that situation.

If Spike was static, he wouldn’t be able to deviate from his base demon desires which revolve around death, blood, destruction, killing, etc, in the first place, but he does at the end of his introductory season by joining forces with Buffy to save the world. He should have been all in with Angelus’s plan even with the jealousy and competitiveness by his very nature. What kind of vampire wants to save the world for whatever reason? What kind of vampire actively changes his persona?

The fact alone that he felt the need or desire to acquire his Spike identity in the first place challenges the idea of his being a normal vampire. If William had stayed William as he should have done, he would be a vampiric Giles or maybe Wesley or, y’know, Randy. He’s already broken from the idea of vampires being incapable of change before we even meet him. So maybe he is ‘special’ like the writers default to after all. I used to argue against that but now I’m not actually sure. Someone suggested once somewhere (I can’t remember if it was here or tumblr) that maybe being sired by Dru could have something to do with it – something along the lines of her seeming to mostly exist in this strange liminal space (so her demon does as well) which maybe allowed the barest scraps of William’s humanity to remain. Idr it exactly, but it was an interesting explanation and I’d personally prefer some kind of reason like that then just landing at ‘special’.

Xander or Willow changes from season to season because they are souled characters. Their circumstances change in realistic, relatable ways; they go to class, they date, they graduate, on to college (or not) and try and find their way. Because of this their characters evolve slowly but more substantively that Spike's change in circumstance.
By the end of the series they are much changed from the school kids that they were, and we say that happen pretty organically.

Once the show figures him out is when Spike's character growth actively happens (and this isn’t any different from any of the other main characters on the show, it’s just that his growth starts in S5 when everyone else’s does in S1). S5 is when he goes from being a villain motivated purely by demonic impulses and selfishness to being willing to sacrifice for others, to genuinely caring for others who aren’t Dru – he submits to torture to protect Dawn, brings Joyce flowers after her death, comforts Dawn when she thinks she must be evil, is moved to comfort Buffy when he sees she’s in pain, expresses kindness and understanding towards Willow and Tara when Tara is suffering from the effects of being harmed by Glory, is willing to die to protect Dawn, is genuinely horrified when he knows he’s failed, sticks around in Sunnydale after Buffy’s death to try and atone for his failure, is there for Buffy before it gets twisted, fought to get his soul – he technically should not have been able to do any of these things as a soulless vampire even with the chip.

Spike getting a chip (something that was done to him) that caused him to change/evolve is not any different for me narratively than Buffy getting ripped from heaven (something that was done to her) that caused her to change/evolve or Willow losing Tara (something that was done to her (well, to Tara, but you get my point)) that caused her to change/evolve. All of these things/changes in circumstance caused very substantive changes in these characters bc that’s how storytelling and drama work, but how they respond to these changes is dictated by who they are as characters in the first place and Spike is not any less of one than any of the others.

As to whose changes are more substantive overall is a matter of opinion. Willow is recognizably Willow by the end of the series – her transformation into villain/anti-villain is temporary. She starts off one of the good guys and ends as one of the good guys. Buffy’s changes from S1 to S7 are more significant imo which makes sense bc of all the trauma that’s been heaped on her, but still, she starts the series as a Hero and ends the series as the Hero. The same is not true for Spike. His character by end of series has changed completely so imo his character has changed the most from conception to completion (on BTVS). He’s still recognizably the self we find out that he is in S5 just like Buffy and Willow are recognizably themselves, but he is no longer the villainous creature he was introduced as – that’s not just function-change, it's a change that comes from the character’s own growth and choices and I actually think his going to get his soul and sacrificing himself is organic to the character arc the show began with him in S5 - and even in terms of sacrificing himself to 'save the world', that ends up being a pretty great callback to his S2 self.

In S2 or 5 or 7, at heart he's still all about the girl...until those last moments of the last episode.

And Buffy’s still all about saving the world. It’s not about a character’s core changing completely - that's why it's a core. It's about how they approach things, how they feel about things, how they behave regarding those things evolving and changing.

To be honest its only here-post-soul where he becomes a disappointment to me; I'd rather he changed more rather than being yet another plot function for a season.

I get that – a lot of folks really, really don’t like souled Spike. I do bc to me anyway it feels like it’s what he’s been building towards for the entirety of his S5-7 arc. Ultimately it’s pretty satisfying for me which idk how popular of an opinion that is lol.

I think he does change, and pretty profoundly actually, and while he is intrinsically tied to Buffy until he moves on to ATS, I don’t agree his soul-fulness is just a plot function. I don't think I'm sure exactly what you mean by that actually? Do you mean in the sense of his being the one to wear the necklace and close the Hellmouth which he couldn't do without having his soul? His getting a soul is about way more than that (and considering he was just going to be resurrected later, Angel could have fulfilled that particular need if that was the only reason for him getting his soul). Imo the whole Buffy/Spike Thing of S7 is primarily an emotional arc more than anything else. You take him out and the plot could be (mostly) what it is, but you lose the emotional journey Buffy goes on which is necessary for the closure she gets at the end - and not just closure re: what happened between her and Spike but with what she has been struggling with throughout the series. He may not technically be as important to the overall plot as folks maybe think he should have been to justify his being there at all, but he's important to Buffy and her story which is more than reason enough for him to be there imo.

I still maintain that throughout most of his life Spike was never a reject, he was happy with the gang and happy with Dru; he got everything that he wanted that William was denied, he got 'well stuck it to the evil' and had loads of fun for over a century until the chip.

I don't doubt he was happy and living his best demon life, but I always imagined he was practically joined at the hip with Dru and if anyone else joined the party it was temporary and due to jobs or capers that needed to be done for whatever reason. If he were better socialized, I don’t think we would have seen him as alone as he is through most of his time on the show post the Dru breakup (barring when he has Harmony). The majority of the time we see him he's out and about on his own or in his crypt alone. Either way we haven't seen most of his life so it could go either way.

I find the whole William was rejected and then Spike was rejected comparison to be a little bit spurious; William was rejected because of who he was whereas Spike was rejected by what he does- his actions; he kills demons because he loves violence and can't kill anything else (so much so that before his discovery life loses all meaning and he attempts suicide) and the consequence are that, of course, he's rejected by those he prays upon.

Whether it’s bc of who he is or what he does the endgame is the same. He’s an outsider amongst outsiders, he’s a misfit. He was when he was William, and he is over and over again as Spike. Anyway, this isn’t just my take - any number of essays that have been written about his character have picked up on this as well which means there's probably something to it.

But when he changes his behavior at the end of S5 he is, in a way, accepted by Buffy and then the group as a whole. And then even after Buffy's death until he walks away from them after her resurrection- he wasn't 'rejected again', he made a choice.
And lets not forget he regular plays demon-poker in S6 and seems to have made some kind of peace with the Sunnydale underworld; not much of a reject.

Never completely, and he walks away bc he wasn’t told about this massive thing the group did which absolutely impacts him too and if they had taken a second to consider him at all which you do when you actually consider someone part of your group, they would have registered that. Xander not being able to come up with an actual reason beyond "we just didn't [tell you]" says a lot. It sounds like it didn't occur to them to at all. “You didn't tell me. You brought her back and you didn't tell me... I worked beside you all summer…” There is hurt in the delivery of those lines. Not being told, not being included, not being remotely considered is rejection. It's confirmation that whatever he does – fight by their side to stop the world ending, fight demons beside them for months, babysit Dawn – he’s never going to truly be accepted as part of the group. I wonder now if this ultimately was decided not just bc it makes sense to leave him out for Dawn-plot reasons these first three episodes bc you know he would have been at that gravesite (and probably with a shovel bc c'mon guys), but it also puts him in a similar space as Buffy re: being outside the group. Idk, new thought.

Re: the demon-poker, he busts in on the game, kicks out one of the players who verbally objects to his being there and takes his place at the table. None of them seem particularly thrilled to see him in the first place. Idk if it’s made peace as much as you let me do what I want or I kill you.

Buffy, Willow, Xander and co are rejects and Spike yet looks down on them for the most part (unlike Angel who empathizes those who are in some way isolated from the main; Buffy, Doyle, etc).

I could argue he looks down on them bc he recognizes himself in them the same way he uses derogatory language about men who exhibit traits he associates with his old self. And I could absolutely be forgetting a lot but doesn't he really only go after them hard as 'losers' in one episode when it's part of his plan for Adam? I think it was really just in The Yoko Factor where he does this. And idk if he truly does look down on them after a point in the first place. He and Xander don't get along (although interestingly Xander doesn't join in on the Why Doesn't Spike Get A Sword Through the Chest Too discussion Anya tries to get him on her side for in S7), but he seems to generally like Willow and is more sympathetic to her than her own friends are after her breakup with Oz. He wants to be a part of the group - mainly for Buffy, but even when she’s gone he still does. He purposefully aligns himself with them and, as I said above, seems genuinely hurt when he feels he's been left out (which he has been). He is a reject who is rejected by the rejects. They’re all misfits and he still doesn’t fit. Angel has a soul, so that comparison doesn’t really work.

The only Scoobie he has any kinship with is Anya; she is, like him, a character trapped between two worlds searching for an identity. It always seems like Spike's journey is seeking out identity rather than seeking out belonging, like one might expect a reject to do.

Spike’s identity changes are ultimately about belonging. The first one is prompted after Angelus humiliates him, gives him a whole you're new here so I'm gonna tell you what's up speech and then literally tells him he should get a new name bc 'William' "doesn't strike the right amount of terror". He toughens himself up and becomes second only to Angelus in evilness bc he's modeled himself after him (at least in terms of viciousness). (Side note: the *whoops we're gonna retcon this later* moment where Spike says, "You were my sire, man!" in School Hard doesn't need to be retconned at all if you accept the idea that while Drusilla sired William, Angelus sired Spike which Spike actually says to him in Destiny.)

The one time we see Spike significantly change his outfit before S7 (and not for a mission like in S4 or bc he’s in hiding in S6) is in S5 when he dresses like Riley in order to be someone Buffy can see herself dating – he’s trying to fit in/belong with Buffy. He’s less abrasive, tries to be polite, friendly, courteous. He switches his duster for a jacket. It doesn’t last very long bc it doesn’t work at all, but the attempt is made. If it had been successful, we’d have seen a lot more khaki.

In S6 he still wants to belong with Buffy, but this time he doesn't have to change bc she starts coming to him as he is (he does start adding a lot of jewelry to his look though which cracks me up) and when he finally realizes that he is not what she wants he goes to seek the thing that he thinks will ‘make him fit’.

I can’t separate Spike’s identity/costume shifts from wanting to belong somewhere and ultimately with someone. I think Anya’s also ultimately looking for where she belongs. Our identities are usually what determine if we do or not and people change themselves all the time for the purpose of fitting in bc it can be really painful when we don’t (and in some cases outright dangerous). They’re interconnected things.

To me Spike spends all of S7 trying to figure out who he is and doesn't actually manage it at all.

I don’t think he really manages it either but as I've already said, that’s not a negative for me – it took Angel a century to even begin to figure it out, idk why we have to be in such a rush with Spike when he's already well ahead of the curve lol.

He has no new identity that comes with the soul (that I can see) so I don't view him as 'a composite' as all, he is William pretending to be Spike. Think of 'LMPTM'; Spike finds out about these painful, drenged up memories from so long ago that he's forced to deal with. Does he actually deal with them? Do they change hiis sense of self in how he behave? Nope, because he's cloaked in the Spike-identity so deeply at that point that poor William doesn't get to process it.

I don’t think it’s new exactly bc he still only has himself to work with. I think once Buffy asks for Old Spike, and ultimately gives him permission to access that part of himself which he’s been trying not to do is when he starts to become a real composite. It feels like it stabilizes him and allows him to integrate both parts of himself (I actual feel like Angelus is a result of Angel either being unable or unwilling to do this). Buffy actually does him a huge favor here and he ultimately acknowledges that with a "tussle like that... is good for the soul..."

I think we’re meant to think he does bc the trigger is well and truly deactivated, and also it’s in the speech:

"I'll tell you a story about a mother and son. See, like you, I loved my mother. So much so I turned her into a vampire... so we could be together forever. She said some nasty bits to me after I did that. Been weighing on me for quite some time. But you helped me figure something out. You see, unlike you, I had a mother who loved me back. When I sired her, I set loose a demon, and it tore into me, but it was the demon talking, not her. I realize that now. My mother loved me with all her heart. I was her world."

I think the speech is doing two things. The realization that "it was the demon talking, not her" - the separating of the two and realizing that she did love him - helps deactivate the trigger. If the demon twisted his mother, made her say and do things that she never would have said and done or even believed without the demon pulling the strings, that tells Spike that maybe he isn't entirely responsible for his actions when he didn't have a soul which is something that Buffy has been insisting on and that he has been rejecting. I think there's a slight shift with him from this point on through the end of the season which I had originally attributed to Buffy allowing him to access Old Spike, but I think now it's ultimately because of this. There's a bit of weight lifted (not all of it but enough to be able to just move forward and accept that he can't change the past and there's not much of a point in dwelling on it) and from here on out he's a little more recognizable as Spike, just a Spike tempered by the soul/William. What Robin does does change his sense of self (I'm not the monster I was, or, more importantly, I don't have to be) and as for behavior, an immediate example is that he didn't kill Wood. Pre-soul Spike would have killed him and even Buffy recognizes he was well within his rights to do so.

I think he only stops pretending away from Buffy over on Angel when he has to dwell on his future and his purpose.

I’m not sure what you mean by pretending? Either way I love that he gets away from Buffy and I feel like I've already said somewhere that I feel like it happens at the perfect time, but it really does for me. It’s bc of her he was allowed to access his old self so by the time he’s on ATS we are getting more of a true composite and idea of what a souled (and stable) Spike truly looks like. He was getting there at the end of S7 but he doesn't really get to thrive until ATS5. That rhymes.

As for awareness; I just don't see him having any real insight into Buff- because the soul skews all his previous memories and contextualizes them to such a degree he's basically remembering somebody else's actions (maybe if he had another hundred years to pick over the memories he could garner some wisdom)- nor do I see Buffy having insight into him; he's a stranger to her, a blank slate with traumatic memories attached.

He has insight as to what was actually happening when they were together that he absolutely did not have or was capable of having before. There's a reason for that scene in the bedroom when he's tied to a chair - it's to signify this. And I think he does have insight in general - It’s not perfect, but usually while Spike isn't always 100% right he's rarely 100% wrong and the only time I can really remember where he was entirely was when he just could not understand that Buffy didn't love him. He gives her what she needs in Touched by seeing her completely and telling her that he does. It's a partner to "I believe in you" and it's what she needed to hear. In End of Days he prods a little but immediately backs off after "Does it have to mean something?" Old Spike would not have the emotional insight or maturity to do that. He wouldn't have had the ability to just let that sit and be whatever it is without pushing for more. Buffy even offers him a "maybe..." and he doesn't leap on it. He lets it go.

He very much does not seem to view himself as somebody else (even with his later realization in Lies it's more about understanding that the demon was driving the car and not him even if he did occasionally manage to get his hand on the wheel) – he actively argues against that in the basement scene in Never Leave Me. He fully owns everything even when Buffy is telling him he doesn’t or doesn’t have to (and I think he still does, just in a different way after Lies). He’s not perfect obvs and he shouldn't have to be, but he has the ability now to be better and make different choices and when he’s considering someone or something else now he’s not automatically doing it through a filter he can't remove. When he says his "eyes are clear" I believe him.

I don’t at all think he’s a stranger bc he’s not a completely different person with the soul – this isn't an Angel/Angelus situation, and he’s not at all a blank slate. They have a history that they both recognize and respond to and try to repair. Nothing that happens between them could happen if he was a blank slate.

Huh. I don't see that at all. Buffy and Spike seem to spend a lot of S7 in an awkward halfway state; they don't have that many meaningful or deep conversations, especially from Buffy's end. Lots of significant glances and stares.

There's some awkwardness, but of course there would be - they’re figuring out what they are to each other throughout the season and also just their history in general which… woof, but I also see a lot of gentleness and carefulness (in the caring sense more than the wary sense but that’s obvs there in the beginning too). When she saves him from The First they ease into a new place where they are much easier with each other and are partners. And Buffy is clearly enjoying it in Potential. And they have meaningful conversations in Sleeper, Never Leave Me, Touched, End of Days, not only in regards to content but the fact alone that they have never really talked to each other the way they do here. Straightforward, honest, not hiding behind snark or insults. Buffy is an equal participant in all of them. And looks and gestures are absolutely significant. After Buffy rescues him from The First she is constantly touching him or rushing to his side to check on him. Her looks in Showtime, Chosen (both when she touches his face in the basement and that final moment). All of these things tell a story and it's completely different from previous seasons'.

I understand why Buffy is invested- 'got a soul for you' but its mostly because of circumstance; The First is using him so he might be of use as a warrior. As for Spike he is just happy to be in her company come what may, being accepted back is what he wanted.

She’s invested bc she cares about him – she has feelings for him which she admits in S6 and they don’t just go *poof* after the assault – if they did he’d still be in the basement. Nothing in S6 or S7 works if you don't think Buffy actually cares for him, which the show makes very clear she does. Idk how happy he is at all – I mean he wants to be near her and with her in any way he can be bc he still loves her, but I think the only time we get a flash of happiness or peace is in Touched while she sleeps and End of Days when she tells him she was there with him. He tries to go away twice and I believe him when he says he thinks he should. He doesn’t put up a fight when she says no the second time (he totally pushes back on her reluctance to kill him the first time he tries), but I absolutely think he would have gone if she had wanted him to. Even as early as Beneath You he puts that ball in her court.

It comes across as more co-dependent based on what one feels that the other needs rather than as any deep trust. Buffy can't really trust anybody she doesn't know, especially if they don't really know themselves. Basically the trust that she shows is mostly conditional and circumstantial until Empty Places where she is at her lowest point and she gives in because she's tired.
After that? Only then is there something real there between them...and its far from what Spike wants and is pushing for.

I think there is a degree of co-dependency and it’s there for many reasons – they need each other to work out what happened between them and resolve it, no one else in that house understands what's happening with them bc what happened between them was deeply private and none of their business. I don't blame Buffy for not filling folks in, but it does come at a cost.

The trust is deep by Touched and its genuine. Buffy calls him back when he goes to leave so she can sleep in his arms which is one of the biggest acts of trust a person can offer. I trust that you will care for me at my most vulnerable, I trust that you will not hurt or take advantage. This is huge considering everything they have been through, and she ends up holding him right back as he sleeps.

Spike really doesn’t push – he gently prods in End of Days but very quickly backs off when he asks what it means that she was there with him and she responds "Does it have to mean anything?" If that is not growth, I don’t know what is lol. He actually backs off a lot in S7 which is another sign that he’s changed.

Anyway, I have no real interest or passion in talking about Spuffy so I'll get away from that tangent.

Fair enough lol :). The last thing I'll say is I don't need Spike to be any of the things I think he is or have suggested he is over these last few posts. I'm sure whatever else the writers could have come up with for him I would have been happy with - even keeping him an unrepentant villain and never giving him any kind of love plot with Buffy at all, unrequited or not. JM could have chemistry with a toaster, so if they had decided to do that with his character I'd be here for it. I proooobably wouldn't feel inclined to talk about it tho...
 
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I love Spike in jewellery

TheMaster666

Potential
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Catch-22. I love Buffy, not just the character but the show entirely, but at the same time Spike definitely became a huge part of it, so it's difficult to imagine him without it. Even though Riley was originally supposed to be the replacement for Angel, Spike is the one who adequately fit that role over time, and the evolution of his character, along with James Marsters' magnetic appeal, Spike's bad boy attitude, and the strong tensions/chemistry between him and Buffy made the character a huge part of the show, particularly in Seasons 5, 6, and 7. Sooo...yes and no?

Plus you got the actor too, Seth Green made no bones he left because he was bored because all he'd do on the show was just agree with Buffy

Are you sure about that? I read in some article from the time that Seth left because he was offered a part in a movie. Anyway, it's not that uncommon. Most actors that weren't the key original group didn't seem to stay for more than a couple of years at most. Cordelia, Oz, Riley, Tara. I don't know how many of those (except for Cordy obviously) were because of contractual arrangements vs intentional decisions by writers for the characters, but none of them seem to want to be doing the same thing for too long.
 
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