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Spike's character arch in Angel/ Angel's ending.

Toliveinit

Townie
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Hey guys, I was really saddened to see how Spike was portrayed on Angel.
Yes he was super fun to watch, and it took away some of the pain of the Buffy series ending, but he wasn't his redeemed self. That made me sad.

Him lusting after Harmony and various other female characters meant he reverted back to Spike pre Season 7 and it was almost like his redemption was lost.

Surely he'd have wanted Buffy to know he was alive- ish? Him not being interested in her and then suddenly trying to track her down creepily with Angel was really strange to me.

I also really hated the Angel ending. :(
I kept saying "Is this it"? Whereas with the Buffy ending it felt like closure.

What do you guys think?

Also Xander and Dawn, ew.
 

AstridDante

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Well I think there was some regression in the character initially compared to the Spike we got in Season 7 BtvS. However the Harmony thing was more he just got his body and wanted a release. I don’t have a huge problem with this but I do think he treated Harmony horribly again which wasn’t nice to see. He was a little flirty with Fred but that was mostly a friendship. He was really sweet with her. Anyway my point is I dont think at any point was he not interested in Buffy when he first appears his first impulse is to ask about her, tell Angel he didn’t know what they had. I think as time went on his insecurities about Buffy and her feelings made him afraid to pursue it or her. He thought he couldn’t top going out a hero and I think he was afraid to find out whether her ‘I love you’ was real or any said because he was sacrificing himself. You can see when he goes searching after her in TGIQ he still holds a torch for her. He refers to her as ‘my girl’ but still he doesn’t think he really has a chance. Apart from that I think his stint in Angel was good to see him being heroic and then the right thing for himself and the team outside of Buffy’s influence.
 
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crazy chicklet

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What redemption?
Spike didn't redeemed in Buffy.His "redemption" was all about trying to get in Buffy's pants not
"I am horrible person.I want to be good"His sacrifice is still about Buffy not the world.Spike was only kind to Buffy not the other people.Remember When He said "Your mother didn't loved you" to Principal Wood who is a son of a woman he killed.You think This is a redemption.For me Its clearly not.I like Spuffy but...




Other hand in Angel;He had a character;

a sarcastic asshole but in a kind way.Spike can feel pure-remorse now but He is still a demon.Despite He has a soul,He is still a vampire who needs blood.He fighted for world on final episode of the Angel.He had a friendship with Fred without any advantage.But He is still mean and self-centered.THATS THE REDEMPTION ARC.Spike cannot be pure-good.Not ever.


I respect your opinion but I am so glad,Spike bringed to Angel's final season and he had a storyline besides being a brooding,annoying love interest in BtVs S7
 

Bop

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Sineya
Why should Spike lusting after other women have any correlation to his redemption? That just meant that he's bit quick as a man- and inconsiderate because he literally grabbed Harmony and made off with her to have sex with.
Personally I think Angel season 5 was the best redemption season for Spike because he started doing good without the personal reward of Buffy motivating him and I also loved how the ending was unfinished because it reflected Angel's themes about the neverending fight. I don't see how a traditionally happy ending like Chosen would be better.

But we could have used a followup movie or season set after Not Fade Away.
 

janas

Bangel in the soul
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"Not Fade Away" is the best series finale I've ever seen. Perfect for Angel.
While in "Chosen" in Sunnydale, after closing the Hellmouth, we see the sun shine,
in L.A. darkness falls and the fight begins, because Angel's fight will never end.
"Let'go to work" it's perfect.

As for Spike I prefer not to express myself, I'll just say that his presence was truly unbearable, and that if he stayed where he was it would be better for everyone.
For me definitely.
 

Stake fodder

What about my me?
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Hey guys, I was really saddened to see how Spike was portrayed on Angel.
Yes he was super fun to watch, and it took away some of the pain of the Buffy series ending, but he wasn't his redeemed self. That made me sad.
I really agree. I found Spike's arc fascinating at all stages, from evil to annoying pest to obsessive to ensouled. But going from ensouled back to annoying pest was really disappointing to me, and I liked this iteration of Spike the least, until "Damage," when he began to shape up again and have some self-reflection.

Him lusting after Harmony and various other female characters meant he reverted back to Spike pre Season 7 and it was almost like his redemption was lost.
Yeah, that was the worst part. When he was treating Harmony like trash, I thought, "A fat lot of good a soul has done him." He never redeemed himself from that.

Surely he'd have wanted Buffy to know he was alive- ish? Him not being interested in her and then suddenly trying to track her down creepily with Angel was really strange to me.
That really made no sense to me, either. Obviously, they had to keep him in LA, and I also concede @AstridDante's points about Spike's self-doubt about Buffy's (lack of) love. But BtVS Spike, the "fool for love," would have found out for sure; he always acted on his emotions, even if he got punched in the face for it. Plus, even if he was sure Buffy was not in love with him, I think he knew she did care about him on some level, so not telling her he's alive just seems cold and selfish and un-Spike-like. Why not just make a phone call, at least?

Lots about TGIQ had me rolling my eyes, but it was just goofy and fun, so I went with it.

I also really hated the Angel ending. :(
I kept saying "Is this it"? Whereas with the Buffy ending it felt like closure.
I felt like that on first watching, but it grew on me, the idea that the fight never ends. It works for Angel, as he feels like he is never done working on redemption.
 

Plasma

Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes! ❤️
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They wanted Spike to be the snarky rendition of himself that gelled so well with Angel, so they cheated a little and regressed his character. Some of his best jokes are in S5 of AtS (“Makes you quite the crap jailer, doesn’t it?”) but it does feel like a step back from where he was in S7 of Buffy. They also neglect the Spuffy & Bangel elements because the show had moved way beyond that several seasons ago. To reintroduce it would have felt like a step back in the show’s writing and would have made it feel like AtS was crutching on the success of BtVS as opposed to its own merits.

As far as the AtS ending? I find it difficult to strike them on that due to the fact that the show was cancelled abruptly. Joss and co. had more to the story, but an executive made a rash decision and told them early in the season that they wouldn’t be renewed. As such, they had to work with what they had and retooled a lot. It’s a massive cliffhanger, but it isn’t really their fault due to corporate meddling.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
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What redemption?
Spike didn't redeemed in Buffy.His "redemption" was all about trying to get in Buffy's pants not
"I am horrible person.I want to be good"His sacrifice is still about Buffy not the world.Spike was only kind to Buffy not the other people.Remember When He said "Your mother didn't loved you" to Principal Wood who is a son of a woman he killed.You think This is a redemption.For me Its clearly not.I like Spuffy but...

Spike's redemption in S7 was related directly to Buffy and what happened between them because that was something he could atone for or at least try to because she was still alive unlike literally everyone else he harmed. He knows there is nothing he can do to make up for what he's done because it's already done. He doesn't dwell like Angel does (thank God), he moves forward which is very much in line with his character, and in ATS specifically, he decides to actually help and actively try and do good not out of any sense of guilt for his past which again, he can't do anything about so what is the point (which is a completely valid take btw), but because it's the right thing to do. He could easily go on his merry and do whatever he wants but he chooses to stay and fight by Angel's side and he's not doing it for any kind of reward. He does not get his soul to "get into Buffy's pants", he gets a soul because he is being torn in half with not being able to be a monster or a man, and he actively chooses the man over the monster - specifically a "man who would never" [do what he did] which speaks to his contrition - something he shouldn't be able to feel in the first place as a demon which he still is despite how far he has come and how far he thought he had come. He also does it to be worthy of Buffy, to be the kind of man he thinks she deserves to have which he believes at that point at least that he can be, he just needs that missing piece. It has never just been about sex with Buffy. He is clearly unhappy with the relationship they have in 6 by As You Were but would rather take what he can get than nothing at all, so it just always irks me when it's said that that is all it's about for him because it's a total misrepresentation of his character. When he returns with his soul, he does not put any moves on Buffy nor does he try to manipulate their relationship in a romantic or sexual direction - he lets Buffy dictate everything, he lets her decide what she wants and needs - unlike Angel btw - and as for his saving the world being just about Buffy - she literally gives him an out, says he's done and he can leave with her and he chooses to stay, to die, in order to make sure the job is finished and the Hellmouth closes once and for all. How is that not about saving the world?

Spike has canonically been kind to Joyce, Dawn, Willow, Tara, and Anya, all before he ever had a soul. He's also sweet to Fred and seems to genuinely like Gun just off the top of my head once he's on ATS. He's horrible to Harmony which is the biggest mischaracterization in his character development at that point imo, and not so much that he wants to have sex with her - not being able to touch or eat or drink anything must have been a particular kind of torture for him - but the way he's so handsy about it. It's a gross scene, not in the least because Harmony is ultimately into it, but well, it's the early 2000s which was pretty gross. In BTVS7 he is p much siloed but he eventually gets to be on good enough terms with Xander of all people to the extent that they work well together and Xander doesn't join in on Anya's whole Spike-should-get-a-sword-through-the-chest-too campaign. Willow doesn't seem to have any problem with him either and never really had one anyway once he was chipped. He doesn't owe Wood who is trying to kill him in the middle of a war where Buffy has made it clear that she needs him, anything. He won the fight with Nikki fair and square in a kill or be killed situation. What happened between them in that subway car has absolutely nothing to do with Robin. Could he have been kinder? Sure. Maybe he would have been if Robin hadn't purposefully led him into a trap specifically with the intent of killing him and also intentionally triggering him. I absolutely feel sympathy for Wood and were I in his position I would probably do the same thing, but he does not deserve anything from Spike after that. Spike's whole point about Robin's mother is that she was a Slayer first and she chose that over him because that's what Slayers do so get over it and move on we have a war to win. Wood gets some tough love that frankly he needs and Buffy herself independently backs what Spike is saying up. Also, a soul doesn't make Spike any more perfect or good than it makes Angel, it just makes him closer to human than demon. Being pissed off at someone who literally tried to murder you when you were supposed to be on the same side is a pretty human emotion.

Other hand in Angel;He had a character;
a sarcastic asshole but in a kind way.Spike can feel pure-remorse now but He is still a demon.Despite He has a soul,He is still a vampire who needs blood.He fighted for world on final episode of the Angel.He had a friendship with Fred without any advantage.But He is still mean and self-centered.THATS THE REDEMPTION ARC.Spike cannot be pure-good.Not ever.

Spike is not any more of a demon than Angel is at the point he has his soul back and Angel has about a hundred years head start on him on figuring out who he wants to be and for most of that time he did absolutely nothing and what he did do wasn't particularly heroic. At what point has Angel ever stopped also being a vampire and needing blood? In what universe has Angel always done the right thing and been his best self? The whole point is he's not a good person but he's trying to be, but Spike canonically was a good person before he was turned. His first instinct even after being turned is to save his dying mother while Angel slaughters his whole family, and ATS, based on how Destiny ends up, is in support of the idea that it was Angelus who made Spike into the monster he became as a vamp, which rings 100% true when looking at those flashbacks. This idea that seems to be prevalent in some fan spaces that Angel is a "better person" than Spike is just not at all supported by the text, and it's not about being better anyway. They are different people with different approaches to being souled vampires but quite frankly Spike decided to be a hero and do good for the sake of doing good independent of Buffy within a year and a half of getting his soul while it took Angel decades. That says something about Spike's character.

I agree ATS5 is when Spike really begins his actual redemption arc. His arc prior to it is primarily in regard to him and Buffy which makes sense bc it's Buffy's show, and it sets him on the path of who he's going to be now and who he can be - not just a champion but also a hero, which is what he's becoming on ATS5. As for Buffy, he immediately asks after her when he comes back and Angel is a dick about it bc of course he is (and side note, the show literally erases Buffy's "I love you" which is just an embarrassingly insecure thing of the show to do but seems about right because how dare it be implied Angel is not the only man who matters to Buffy 🙄). He is actively prevented from going to her immediately which he clearly has every intention of doing because he is a ghost and gets yoinked back to W&H if he goes too far anyway for his first 7 episodes, and in the one where he becomes corporeal there's the Shanshu business and Angel, again, is a complete dick about Buffy so it's no surprise to me at all in the very next episode where Spike intends to go to her he ultimately decides not to out of obvious insecurity - which I would argue Angel exacerbates - and also because, well, he has to stay on the show. I think the show making him physically unable to go to her for the first third of the season is the only way they could make his not going make sense. The show has to actively keep him from being able to just long enough for doubt and worry to set in, which even if Angel wasn't pressing those buttons, I think just being around him all the time would do that anyway. He doesn't have the same certainty he used to have post-soul in general, and although Buffy spent her last nights before the possible end of the world with him and told him she loved him in that moment, she was still kissing Angel less than 48 hours beforehand. If she hadn't been I could see him feeling a little more confident and sure about where they stood. I actually love it lol because that means things can be drawn out, there's more story to tell to get them back to each other and had we had a S8 there's no doubt in my mind they would have been Together by the end of it if not sooner.

I absolutely agree ATS regresses Spike. I personally don't agree one whit that he is like Angel in S7 beyond his circumstances, they have completely different personalities and viewpoints, but he has to be more antagonistic than he was in his last season, especially next to Angel because you can't have Spike directly challenging his status as Hero on his own show, which, if they had kept his characterization from S7 he would have. The show actively flirts with this which is great actually, but has Spike be his S4 self about it so he has somewhere to go and so he's not too much of a threat. It takes nearly half the season to find a good balance for him which imo is lazy writing and I just fanwank that Spike is still adjusting after the massive trauma of being brought back to life and then being a ghost who is then going to be sent to hell despite literally saving the world (and honestly I think he's a bit pissed off that he was brought back at all in the first place), but where he ends up around late-mid season if I'm remembering correctly feels about right to me. He and Angel are great together imo - their dynamic is really fun and their snarkiness and irritation with each other just makes the moments where they are on the same page and even nice-ish to each other even better. In the long run the adjustments to Spike's character eventually work imo, it's just the first chunk of that season is really difficult especially if you've really appreciated the journey he'd been on for the last three years and it's also just really difficult from a continuity perspective which would bother me even if I wasn't invested in Spike's journey. I don't like unnecessary sloppiness and I think staying true to where your characters are in their journey is important otherwise why should we invest in any of them?

As for the finale, I love it. I agree with others that say it's right in line with the show's ethos and I do think while we do get closure with Chosen, Buffy's world has now opened up beyond Sunnydale. It feels to me like there are more stories to tell just like it feels with Not Fade Away that there are (potentially) more fights to be had after this one. I think in their own way both series end with the sense that the story does go on, but with Buffy we got to close a chapter. With Angel because of who he is he is going to be on this chapter for the foreseeable, but either way, they're both going to keep on fighting beyond where the story ends for the audience because it's what they do and it's who they are. I think that's a nice bit of simpatico between the series actually, but I totally get the feeling of "is this it?" with Not Fade Away - I can't think of too many series that end on a cliffhanger lol, and I do remember that feeling of WAIT I WANT TO KNOW IF THEY WIN! But winning isn't really the point in ATS, fighting is, so the fact that the show goes out with them fighting... yeah, I love it lol.
 
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AstridDante
AstridDante
Amazing post. Agree with all of this
Antho
Antho
I like because I agree with what you said about Spike but you are kinda hard with Angel in my opinion. But you are mostly right about Spike
nmcil12
nmcil12
Excellent - great points and I also agree - the writers have to put the primary star character in first priority status, and I do think there was a good balance between Angel and Spike. Destiny and Damaged were, IMO, particularly outstanding.
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After rewatching both series, I dislike Spike immensely. I don't want to get into any debates or huge discussions, but aside from how he attempts to hurt Buffy in season 6, his mistreatment of Harmony is one thing that always irked me. We clearly see this in season 5 still, and that's after he has a soul.

We constantly see Spike obsessing over the women he 'cares' about. He turns his mother. He does everything to pull Drusilla away from Angelus, even going so far as to align with Buffy. Then he returns in season 3 to have a spell cast in order to have her love him again. He obsesses over Buffy. Steals her clothes. Smells them. Has a robot made to play out his fantasies, and then what happens in season 6. Even goes so far as to get a soul so he can 'give her what she deserves'. Whether you believe he wanted a soul or to have his chip removed doesn't exactly matter in this scenario because both options are about Buffy.

And then there is Harmony. We constantly see her being mistreated by Spike. It's the very definition of a toxic relationship. He even stakes her, and the only reason she's alive is because she had on the gem of Amara. Then he uses a cross on her to test it out and promptly takes the ring. He doesn't care if he hurts her. He has no regard for her feelings whatsoever, and yet when he was with Drusilla, or even when he obsessed over Buffy, there were still glimpses of how he cared about them and their well-being to a certain extent. With Harmony, there was just none.

I personally think how Harmony was portrayed as liking it sometimes, and constantly going back to him was terrible, and a huge disservice. However, it also represents how some people return to abusive relationships. Not to mention, Harmony was turned at her high school graduation, so she would have been 17/18 at that point. Even with the demon being inside her, she likely doesn't have the maturity to understand a normal and healthy relationship, and we still see this in season 5 of Angel.

When Spike is corporeal again, his first thought is to sleep with Harmony. He has no concern for her well-being, even though we have seen him be nice to many of the other characters in the show at that point, Fred included. I know they're exes, and I know he never really liked her, at least probably not beyond the sex. However, as mentioned above, I think saying that Spike doesn't apologize for stuff because he knows it won't make a difference is problematic at best. It doesn't matter if it makes a difference or not. It's the whole point of it. He still continued to treat Harmony like garbage and never once apologized to her for the way he acted, even when it clearly upset her. Maybe the apology wouldn't have meant very much, but at least it would have been something. It would have meant something to her. It would have showed that he felt remorse for his actions.
 

Bop

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Sineya
I'm personally always going to side with Angel's method of redemption over Spike's method. It just feels so much more in line with what redemption actually means imo. Angel 'moping' in the sewers for years wasn't helping anybody, that's true, but it's how I would expect somebody in touch with their conscience to behave after feeling the deaths of hundreds of people at their hands- they shouldn't be able to shrug it off so easily and quickly, with a 'what can you do' attitude, I just don't see somebody who actually cares about what they've done behaving like that in that scenario. With the support of various people, Angel manages to be both a proactive source for good and somebody who lets the fact that he's done so much evil get to him- as he should. So there's a healthy balance to be found- no good being like sewer Angel forever but it's a necessary chapter of redemption in my eyes. Faith is Angel's prodigy in that way and Angel's sewer days are kind of like Faith's prison days- she needed that time out to sort herself out and also because she thought she deserved to serve time for as long as she was sentenced. That was cut short but only because Angel specifically needed help and then his message to her was essentially that she needs to rejoin the fight out in the real world now and in that way she becomes a force for good again.

And Spike follows more of Angel's style of redemption in the end and that's when I actually start to buy him as a souled being trying to do better so clearly I just have a type and I don't like Spike and Anya's take on redemption, it's just not for me.
 
Skeletor Rigby
Skeletor Rigby
I totally respect this!

Toliveinit

Townie
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Such interesting replies, thank you.

Spike was a nice character pre being turned, I sometimes feel he acted like he thought a vampire should act. Which is why he is still very silly- to Joyce, and kind to various characters as that is almost his "true self", without the demon.

He is also very sensitive, which fits in with his initial character. His pettiness- siding with Buffy initially, is all part of his immaturity. He was also turned very young and was constantly competing with Angelus for top dog. He was also belittled as a young human man so probably has some residual trauma.

I agree that the way he treated Harmony was horrific. Not condoning this in any way. Could it be the writers way of reminding us that that's how Harmony treated others before being turned. Specifically Jonathan who was smaller and weaker?

I hate what they made him try to do to Buffy, there were other ways of showing him as a monster. He could have tried to bite her!
 
NileQT87
NileQT87
William wasn't "young" when he was sired. He was canonically 30 (still younger than James ever was playing him and over a decade younger than he was when he shot those flashbacks). Liam, by contrast, was younger at 26 (how old David was when hired).
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I think saying that Spike doesn't apologize for stuff because he knows it won't make a difference is problematic at best. It doesn't matter if it makes a difference or not. It's the whole point of it. He still continued to treat Harmony like garbage and never once apologized to her for the way he acted, even when it clearly upset her. Maybe the apology wouldn't have meant very much, but at least it would have been something. It would have meant something to her. It would have showed that he felt remorse for his actions.

The point I was making is that Spike recognizing that endlessly self-flagellating won't make a lick of difference to the hundreds of people he's killed because they're dead and don't care how bad their murderer feels about murdering them so it's ultimately pointless to fixate is how he's markedly different from Angel and he should be. We don't need another souled vamp who behaves the exact same way or feels the exact same way Angel does on the same show, but just because Spike doesn't dwell on his past deeds to the extent it becomes a character trait doesn't mean he doesn't feel shame or remorse over them. When he's confronted with his past via Dana in Damage he's clearly pained. It's one of the few callbacks we get to S7 Spike if not the only one because ATS is not interested in Spike for that kind of story especially because they're already telling it with Angel.

I wasn't talking about Harmony or anyone who is still alive to apologize to with the above, but re: Harmony, Spike absolutely owes her an apology if not several but for some reason, the writers thought getting a few 'laughs' in and continuing to treat her like a punchline was better than actually continuing on with Spike's established post-soul characterization and allowing her an ounce of dignity. I 100% agree with everyone about how Spike treats Harmony once he's souled being absolutely terrible. His little pep talk to her at the end of Harm's Way isn't nearly enough especially when there is a clear opening to apologize when we see him register that Harmony is referring to him. It's bad writing, not because I don't like it (which I don't more for Harmony's sake) but because I don't buy S7+ Spike would behave the way he does with her in ATS5. Pre-S7, absolutely, it's completely in line with their whole dynamic, but post, no. There may as well be someone holding up a poster board mise en scène(s) that says "ITS FUNNY WHEN PEOPLE ARE MEAN TO HARMONY AND IT'S OK IF THEY ARE BC SHE'S SOULLESS AND EVIL AND WE NEED SPIKE TO BE S4 SPIKE BC S4 SPIKE IS MEAN AND FUNNY" scrawled on it. His behavior towards Harmony is where the regression of his character to fit into ATS is the most blatant imo and is probably the biggest problem I have with his characterization - pretty much everything else I can fanwank into place, but that I just have a hard time doing because it really seems like it's just there for 'laughs'. Either way, at the end of the day I'm not going to hold it eternally against his character for not apologizing for being an assh*le when the first time Angel sees Giles after S2, he apologizes for bothering him, but not for, you know, murdering his girlfriend and leaving her dead body for him to find in his bed and torturing him. There are plenty of things other souled characters do that are a lot worse than anything souled-Spike does *cough*FaithLehane*cough* and yet somehow Spike is the eternal Bad Guy of the Buffyverse for some people.

Angel 'moping' in the sewers for years wasn't helping anybody, that's true, but it's how I would expect somebody in touch with their conscience to behave after feeling the deaths of hundreds of people at their hands- they shouldn't be able to shrug it off so easily and quickly, with a 'what can you do' attitude, I just don't see somebody who actually cares about what they've done behaving like that in that scenario.

Spike absolutely feels guilt and pain over what he's done and he does care - he doesn't 'shrug it off easily' and that's not at all what I meant to imply. He's overtly in agony over what he's done in S7 and literally asks Buffy to kill him when he finds out he's not in control of himself and is in danger of hurting people again, and he actively pushes back against her insistence that it wasn't him that did those things. He takes full responsibility and ownership for his actions when he was unsouled. Spike's version of Angel's time in the alley is his school basement period - they show him chasing rats to make that connection. He's going through the same waves of intense guilt with the added bonus of The First also messing with him, it's just truncated because A) he actually gets help and support and B) we are not going to watch a character be in this headspace for 100 years especially a character who is not the lead. And it's only his time in the basement that gets abbreviated. Spike is in constant pain in S7. His past deeds sit on his shoulders for the entirety of it - they're just not going to become a defining character trait for him once he comes back from the dead and joins ATS because that's Angel's deal. Spike already gets dinged for being too much like Angel and then he gets dinged for not being enough like Angel. They're completely different people and their journey's are similar but they're their own. Spike doesn't really have to carry the baggage Angel does especially after his epiphanies in Lies My Parents Told Me and Destiny, because William was a decent person. He was turned into a monster twice over. He doesn't deny that that's what he was and that he did every single thing that he did, but he also seems to understand that that's not who he actually is which makes moving forward now that he has complete control over his own choices easier for him. It doesn't mean the slate's wiped clean, he was still "Spike" for 100 years, he's way more a part of him now than William ever was so he's going mess up, but he knows enough about himself to know that he is not a bad person at his core and I think Angel struggles with that which is one of the things I find compelling about him and is another contrast between these two characters.

I also think a really important distinction to note comes from Damage when Angel and Spike are talking in the infirmary:

SPIKE
The lass thought I killed her family. And I'm supposed to what, complain 'cause hers wasn't one of the hundreds of families I did kill? I'm not sayin' you're right... 'cause, uh... I'm physically incapable of saying that. But, uh... for a demon... I never did think that much about the nature of evil. No. Just threw myself in. Thought it was a party. I liked the rush. I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the victims.

ANGEL
I couldn't take my eyes off them. I was only in it for the evil. It was everything to me. It was art. The destruction of a human being. I would've considered Dana a masterpiece.

I think the fact that Spike "never did look back at the victims" is key. It seems he was primarily about the physical and sensory aspects of vampirism, the thrill of the act of hunting and killing, the way it felt to do it and be good at it. He was a lion, they were gazelles, too bad for the gazelles, etc, etc. When it comes to Slayers, however, they're both lions. Angel's approach was different - the cruelty was the point. It wasn't just about the kill, it was about the suffering. It makes total sense that he would be haunted in a more intense way than Spike might be and that his past would sit on him in the particular way it does. I always felt when Spike's soul comes back, he's seeing his kills as people for the first time and truly understanding what he took. They're not Happy Meals with legs anymore. Angel has, in a way, more to answer for because his behavior as a demon went beyond an animalistic urge and the demons natural revelry in death and destruction. He saw his victims as people the whole time and personalized their deaths and/or torture accordingly. It wasn't just physical it was psychological, emotional, mental. Spike killed people. Angel(us) destroyed them.

Either way, it's not about one redemption arc being "better" than the other - that's a matter of what you (universal you) personally find interesting and what you're looking for in a story. I'm a lapsed Catholic so I 100% understand where Angel is coming from, especially in terms of how evil his deeds in particular were, and I genuinely have a lot of sympathy and empathy for him, but there comes a point when it just starts to feel a bit masturbatory to me and I don't always have the patience for it. I feel sorrier for the people who were murdered and tortured than for the person who did the murdering and torturing myself, and my respect for Angel (which I do have) is not based on how badly he feels, but that he is ultimately active in his redemption even when it's hard. In my mind, redemption has to be active to actually matter. It's not just about feeling bad or wearing a metaphorical hair shirt until the end of time.

Re: Spike, once we get to ATS5, I personally don't need to see him perpetually guilt stricken to know that he feels guilt. I also don't need to hear him talk about or show how much pain he is in because of the things he did. S7 was his space to establish that as a character and I found it totally compelling and moving and it was enough for me to get the point that he feels guilt, he feels remorse, but he's not going to let his past be the albatross it is for Angel as he moves forward - he already learned from Buffy how not helpful that is. His ATS5 journey is about who he is going to be now that he is in complete control of himself and independent from Buffy and that mirrors the beginnings of Angel's own journey. His also begins focused on Buffy - his road to redemption starts with helping her just as Spike's does in S7. He learns how to be a hero from her and then he goes off on his own to attempt to redeem himself. The main difference with Spike there is that he doesn't start off in ATS5 with an intention to redeem himself. He has a few more immediate things on his plate to deal with upon his return first of all, but when those things are sorted and he really gets to begin, the way he does is different. The thing about Spike is even when he's protesting and growling I'm not you, I don't need to redeem myself, piss off, he can't help but try to help. We see this in BTVS too. His better nature wins over more often than not, he's naturally inclined towards heroism especially when it's encouraged. He was always going to end up teaming up with Angel, he was always going to end up redeeming himself (or beginning to) whether the act of doing so was a driving motivation or not. He doesn't need guilt or a need for redemption to drive his good deeds. It's, again, an interesting contrast between these two characters, and again, it doesn't mean one character or journey is better than the other, they're just different and they should be because they're different characters. Beyond that, Spike's been brought on to ATS to punch things up, to give the show a kick in the pants, to once again be the Cordelia to a degree, or at least the Tact is just not saying true stuff version and more importantly to be a foil to Angel. He can't be those things if he's constantly embroiled in guilt and I think the path they have chosen for him - and the one he has chosen for himself - really works based on what we know of him as a character and for me at least that's the most important thing.
 
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Bop
Bop
I just have a lot more criticism about Spike in season 7 than you do and I also don't really see how William was a better person than Liam.
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@Bop Totally fair, and your opinions there are probably far more popular here than mine are lol.

As for William and Liam, and who's a 'better person', when I said "This idea that seems to be prevalent in some fan spaces that Angel is a "better person" than Spike is just not at all supported by the text, and it's not about being better anyway" I stand by that - the text does not support that reading, subsets of fandom does but that's not the same thing. The only way that even remotely works as a reading is if you're doing the very popular thing of comparing souled Angel to unsouled Spike and leaving out Angel's history as Angelus entirely and discounting anything remotely good that Spike does (which is also p popular). You do an actual comparison demon to demon, souled vamp to souled vamp, Angel does not come out on top there imo. To be fair to him he's 100 years ahead of Souled Spike so more time to rack up some questionable decisions, but point still stands.

I never actually said that Liam was a bad person btw and I don't at all think he is, he's just not a particularly good one based on what we are allowed to see of him. It's not until we get a flashback with his father 15 episodes into his own series 3 and a half years down the line that Liam even becomes particularly sympathetic - without that flashback he's just an overgrown frat boy pawing at women, lying to them to get them into bed and starting drunken fights in taverns. Darla chooses him for a reason - she sees the potential in him to be the kind of partner she wants and seems particularly impressed with him from the jump after he rises from his grave and the first thing he wants to do is take a village. The point is Liam is supposed to be in contrast to Angel. Angel is introduced to us as a Good Vampire and when we see that he didn't start off as a particularly good man it's supposed to be ironic or at the very least a bit of a surprise based on what we know of him so far. Same stands for Spike who is introduced to us as a Bad Vampire, and a particularly bad one, so his human self is similarly going to be contrasted. William is not portrayed in a negative light - we see him writing love poetry at a party, getting humiliated once it's taken from him and read out loud, being rejected by the woman he loves and then running away to cry alone in an alley - he is immediately portrayed as sympathetic. His other human flashback shows him as a doting and caring son who is a bit too old to still be as tied to her apron strings as he seems to be but again, he is not being portrayed negatively in any direction - if anything, again, the opposite. When he is sired he does god knows what with Dru before coming home, but his first significant 'kill' is an attempt to save his dying mother's life. This is in stark contrast to Liam who kills his entire family including the sister we know he loves. If I think William was a 'better person' than Liam (and I already said it's not about who's 'better'), it's the show itself that's inviting me to make that assumption based on what it is choosing to show me of those two men. I didn't write those scenes for them and I didn't write this dialogue -

ANGEL
I didn't make you, Spike. I just opened up the door... and let the real you out

SPIKE
You never knew the real me.

- in an episode that actually supports what Spike is saying when he says "Drusilla sired me... but you... you made me a monster". Angel's lines are very telling about how he sees himself, and when I said Spike "knows enough about himself to know that he is not a bad person at his core and I think Angel struggles with that" I didn't mean that Angel is a bad person at his core, I meant that Angel thinks he is.

I just want to clarify before I bow out here, I like Angel. I've been critical and a little snarky on this thread sure, but it's because I think he could use quite a bit more criticism than he gets if only to level the playing field between him and Spike which imo should be a lot more level than it routinely is.
 

Bop

Scooby
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Sineya
@Skeletor Rigby Fair enough 😄 I've heard people mention the Liam/William thing before but I guess I've never thought of it being that significant. Liam just seemed to have a much more damaged home life than William, I think Liam killing his sister was just a transference for the hatred he had for his father just persuading him to want to get rid of his whole family. William was just a mummy's boy who didn't want to leave his mother ever in life so him not wanting to leave her as a vampire either just made sense, he killed the people who mocked him at the party with no issue.
 
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@Bop Oh, totally - the way Liam responds to his family vs the way William does to his makes total sense based on what we've seen. I'm not in any way trying to imply that William isn't evil when he's sired just like every other vamp, he's just canonically 'unusual' in that he has the capacity to commit any acts of love at all misguided and/or twisted they may be. I would argue however his wanting his mother to be healthy and whole is just as much a motivating factor for turning her as wanting her with him considering that's just as big a focus in the dialogue. It's selfish but also completely genuine. That's unsouled Spike in a nutshell imo.
 
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