I think the thing that makes me different from some Spike fans, is that part of what I loved about him is that, well, he’s a bad guy. And was for a very long time. A very long time. That’s a major part of who he is. And I see other Spike fans who want to give him credit for EVERY LITTLE GOOD THING he does, and take the most sympathetic interpretation of everything he does. And then if he does anything wrong, it’s not his fault, because no soul. He should get credit for the good he does, but not the bad, because he is soulless.
And, yes, obviously Spike doesn’t have a soul, and that’s not really his fault, and because of that, he may not be entirely responsible for the things he does. Especially the really evil things.
But…the very fact the soulless Spike is capable of good means that, to some extent, he is responsible for the bad (I have similar thoughts about Faith--yes, her life was very hard, and she was in a very bad situation when she made her decision to go evil in S3, but her life was even worse when she made the decision to redeem herself later. So she is capable of choosing not to kill people no matter how horrible her life is). And looking solely at the good side of Spike, seeing Spike as such a wonderful vampire because he loved Buffy and helped the Scoobies, I mean, that interests me, but not as much as seeing a Spike who was, really, just as evil in S6 as in S2, but also just as much love’s bitch in S6 as S2, and this time taking his identity from a slayer as opposed to another vampire. I think it’s more interesting, because instead of Spike being super-special and unique (although, obviously, he is very unusual; few vampires are that romantic, and that adaptable), it’s just stretching the definition of what it means to be soulless. We saw in “School Hard” that Spike was a devoted lover. We saw in “Lie To Me” that he was willing to give up his prey in order to protect his love. We saw in “Becoming, Part 2” that he was willing to betray his own kind and ally with his mortal enemy in order to get back to Drusilla (and also saw that his love for Dru, while at times selfless, could also be very selfish; he took her back against her will). What happens if someone like that falls in love, not with another vampire, but a human? A human hero? Could a soulless vampire, then, be good? What does it mean to be good? What if the human he loves starts to be less good, starts to become more like a vampire? What then?
And I don’t want Spike to get credit for every little good thing he does, because it makes it less meaningful. If Spike’s soullessness means that he is responsible only for the good he does, but not the bad, why should I care about either? Part of why I love Spike is because he was so evil, for so long.
But it’s strange—because I also get defensive of Spike, and even watching Evil Spike can make me uncomfortable at times, so maybe I’m overcompensating? Working so hard at accepting Spike’s evilness because I don’t like it? I don't know.