April 6th, 2013

buffy & sam

Spike's insanity

Someone once said that it would have been interesting if Spike had been sane when he came back with the soul. That it was a bit of a cop-out for him to be crazy, because of course Buffy would feel sorry for him.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I can see their point. The show has definitely relied on Buffy-feeling-sorry-for-Spike to deal with the things he’s done to her. “Intervention”, for example. Both the viewers and Buffy are encouraged to feel sorry for tortured Spike, so that we can forgive him for the sexbot. Obviously, the fact that Spike endured the torture to protect Dawn is what makes him one of the good guys again, but the torture itself helps to regain our and Buffy’s sympathy after the events of “Crush”, and the ordering of the Buffy bot.

On the other hand, I think it’s good that Buffy has to take care of Spike in early S7. It forces her to stop playing the “I-hate-you-but-you-can-come-into-my-house” game, i.e. where she insists that she hates and despises him while simultaneously letting him into every part of her life. She’s never had to put any work into her relationship with Spike: He was there when she wanted him to be, and there when she didn’t. Spike needing her help in early S7 forces her to ask herself if Spike, and her relationship with Spike, is worth putting effort into, and if so, why?

On the other hand, I really liked their interactions in “Beneath You” when he seemed to be sane…it would have been interesting to have more of that.

On the other, other hand I think it’s interesting that the way the writers handled the attempted rape was by, essentially, having Spike gradually lose or give up all power and control to Buffy, culminating in the basement scene in “Never Leave Me” where he tries to convince her to kill him, and fails, losing that last little bit of control (“You don’t know me. You don’t even know you.”). And putting Buffy in a position where she has all the control and she is very careful to treat Spike well and not misuse it is a good way of showing that she’s not S6 Buffy anymore (“I don’t hate like that. Not you, or myself. Not anymore.”).