Mon
May 6 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Weird love’s better than no love? Seriously?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Buffybot

“Intervention,” written  by Jane Espenson

One week after Joyce’s funeral, we open on a cozy domestic scene at the Summers home. Dinner is over, and Giles is helping with dishes. Buffy says that she and Dawn are getting into a routine. Naturally enough, Giles takes this as an opportunity to suggest she resume her super-uber Slayer training.

Buffy balks. Recent events have made her fear that she has become too emotionally shut off. Could all the killing, death, mayhem, slaughter, hospitalizations, betrayals, fire-setting, blood-letting, and demon-bludgeoning be to blame? She talks about her various recent failures to share, citing the break-up with Riley, her remoteness, last week, from Dawn, and finally admits she isn’t even sure if Joyce knew she loved her. “Maybe being the perfect slayer means not being able to love at all.”

That’s a pretty rotten thing to be afraid of, and rather than offering up the opinion that maybe this is just a pattern of behavior with her, Giles suggests that she go on a quest. It’s not a Grail quest, despite recent encounters with Knights, but rather a seeking after answers at the nearby sacred place (did we know they had one of those?) in the nearby desert (did we know we had one of these?) Buffy doesn’t want to leave, particularly, but Dawn urges her to pursue the truth if it’ll help.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Dawn

This is good sister and self-care on Dawn’s part. An emotional, functional Buffy is obviously gonna be a better parent figure.

Elsewhere on the Hellmouth, Spike is unwrapping his shiny new Buffybot. Warren has given him his very best work, and I’m impressed, because it looks exactly like Sarah Michelle Gellar. The things they can do with special effects these days!

It says something that Warren (I mean, really, Warren!) is creeped out by Spike’s requests, specifications and fantastic smut scenarios. But the Buffybot is happy to see Spike and, for the moment, that’s all that matters. Heck, I’m happy to see her. She may be a pleasure toy, but she’s peppy.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Buffybot

Now the smart thing at this point, clearly, would be for Slayer Barbie and her Bloody Boyfriend to leave town. Like, immediately! But Spike, while he’s plenty clever in some ways, is not so bright in others. This, of course, makes for better TV. So he takes her back to the crypt, where anybody who’s anybody can find them. 

After the credits, we drop in on the glamorous and tasteful Glorificus. This season’s Big Bad is whinging to her minions about Ben getting stronger. Time is getting short if she wants to free herself and destroy the universe(s) for the win, and for that to come together, she needs her Key. So far, all stuff we already know, but now whine time is over: Glory and her scabrous peeps decide to get proactive. Marching orders are issued: it’s time to figure out who’s new, shiny and special in Buffy’s life.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Giles

Buffy’s not feeling very shiny as she and Giles take the Sacred Place exit off the I5 and arrive in the desert, clad in complementary leather coats. (They’re kind of browncoats, Firefly fans. And they look great against the desert palette. Who says questing can’t be fun and fashionable?) There’s some cute banter between them about the hokey pre-quest ritual Giles must perform. It’s not a belly-laugh, but we take the chuckle from it.

Giles turns himself around and shakes his gourd, and, after a bit of wandering, Buffy finds a mountain lion, who also looks good against the desert sand. She follows him or her to a likely quest spot, a place she kind of remembers from her vision back in “Restless.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Buffybot, Spike

Back at the crypt, Spike and Buffybot are playing at sex. She’s filled with enthusiasm for all things Spike. It’s both funny and faintly distasteful, and post-coital Spike has hilarious hair. I’m not sure why, but this episode has turned me into Fashion Cop.

Even as the two of them are busy staking each other, the Key search brings out snooping minions all over Sunnydale. There’s one peeping through the window at Xander’s place as XandAnya guards Dawn and Dawn steals a pair of earrings. (This guarding thing is a rather peculiar Scooby situation that has been popping up, with ever more frequency, ever since Buffy got a sister: one or more of the gang being tasked with protecting the Key against something they can’t possibly defeat.)

That has to be a weird feeling: they can’t leave Dawn alone, but if the magical alarm goes off to say Glory is coming, anyone with the kid has to know they’re toast. The ‘we’ll run like stink’ option isn’t very realistic.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Buffybot, Spike

Getting back to the topic of the minions, there’s one watching Willow wrap up a chemistry class later that evening. And a few more are out looking for other Key clues in the graveyard. This becomes inconvenient when, as Spike sleeps off round one of his icky sex fest, Buffybot goes out to do some slaying. There she runs into XandAnya, who have swapped Dawnsitting duty for vamp patrol.

(It’s possible the Scoobies don’t get enough credit for how hard they work on Buffy’s behalf this season. I mean this is seriously unsung hero stuff. Xander probably put in a full day on a construction site somewhere, too, and Anya was at the store covering for Questing Giles. Wow. I’m exhausted just writing about it.)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Anya

Spike arrives on the scene too late to keep the bot from being chirpy and extravagantly weird to Buffy’s friends. Then, thankfully, some disposable vamps show up. The fight distracts everyone from the Buffybot except the Glory minion watching it all. He sees her being extremely protective of Spike and draws the wrong conclusion.

Xander, like the minion, is also adding one and one together and sort of getting three. One: Buffybot didn’t ask about Dawn. Two: she was acting strangely. Three: she didn’t quail at the mere sight of Spike and instead sent her friends home. His Scooby sense draws him back to the graveyard, just to check, where he and Anya see  what he will later refer to as ‘the straddling.’

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Xander, Anya, Tara, Willow

Off XandAnya runs to tell the gang: “Buffy’s boinking Spike!” Even the ever-patient Tara agrees that this is not a good life choice.

Xander goes off to the crypt to deliver a warning on behalf of the gang. He’s midway through threatening Spike very seriously indeed when several Glorious minions show up. They smack Xander down and are thoughtful enough to say, loudly, that they’re grabbing Spike for Key purposes.  (They also don’t even try to kill Xander. It may be that, like Ben, they lack villainous follow-through. Anyway, we’re all grateful, so I shouldn’t kvetch about it.)

Back at the ritual, Buffy has come face to face with something that looks awfully like the first Slayer. “You are full of love,” it tells her. “Love is pain and the Slayer forges strength from pain. Risk the pain, it is your nature.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention

And then she adds: “Love will bring you to your gift.”

“Huh?” says Buffy. Thinking, I’m sure: Questing was supposed to make things clearer, Giles. All this thing’s telling me is run towards the pain.

Amid all the scrambling back in town, Buffybot has ended up with the Scoobies. Since she really does have a one-track mind, she is worried about Spike. Willow is trying to rationalize Fake Buffy’s exciting new sexual preference, and the bot is brightly, perkily, delightedly unrepentant. She offers to draw pictures. Willow is hilariously grossed out.

Real Buffy’s gift turns out to be “Death.” She’s not impressed with this answer.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Spike, Glory

The minions bring Spike to Glory. Initially, she rejects him: he’s a vampire and thus not pure enough to be Key material. But they persist, saying Buffy treated him as though he were precious, so she buckles down to tormenting him. And why not? If someone brings you a chocolate torte when you would have preferred a croissant, you’re still gonna eat the torte, am I right?

Back at Chez Summers, things not related to Slayers, love and death are getting clearer: Slayer Barbie goes upstairs to change, and actual Buffy shows up. Oh! The gang really should do a collective facepalm here. Unfortunately, there’s no time, since Spike knows about Dawn and Spike is being carved up by Glory.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Buffybot

He’s enduring it manfully. Vampfully? He even manages to tell Glory that the Key is Bob Barker and, when that fails to convince, that Buffy will kick her “skanky, lopsided ass.”

Glory throws him through a wall, which is what he was hoping for: it gets him free of his chains. He makes a pretty decent attempt to flee, or at the very best get killed trying. Sometimes it’s very easy to see how Spike has survived for so long.

Just as Spike’s attempt to run for it is looking rather doomed, the Scoobies show up for the save. Xander fights well! The ’bot gets zapped by loose wires. Glory couldn’t be bothered to come downstairs and join the fray, so Team Good wins this round. They drag the extremely battered Spike and the ’bot away.

The story wraps when Buffy dons the pink dress and pretends to be the ’bot, trying to discover if Spike told Glory about Dawn. He tells her the truth: he’d die before causing Buffy that much pain. She rewards him with one little smooch and tells him she won’t forget what he’s done for the two of them.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Intervention, Spike

“Intervention” is one of those episodes that comes off, in retrospect, as a bit of a grab bag: it is less a coherent story than a collection of bits and pieces meant to nudge us closer to the season finale. The Knights who say Key don’t make an appearance, but Glory is actively hunting a person now, Spike reveals a bit of his best (pre-souled) self to Buffy—thereby thawing relations between them—and the ’bot itself becomes available to the gang for the final battle. We get the important ‘Death is your Gift’ prophecy from the First Slayer, and, as an extra bonus, Dawn embarks on her life of petty crime.

The Jane Espenson scripts in this season tend to be the ones that have a bit of humor in them, despite all the grim. She mixes darkness and froth nicely, better than many of the other regular BtVS writers, perhaps better than anyone besides Joss himself. The introduction of Buffybot brightens things up considerably. Giles is the other source of warmth in the mix: his unstinting support of Buffy and their Watcher-Slayer pre-quest schtick offer a bit of cheer.

But Joyce is still dead, everyone’s still pretty sad, Dawn’s still in danger and none of the gang has any clue about how to go about defeating a deity.

Next: Tarabrains, Tarabrains, for Breakfast Dinner and Lunch


A.M. Dellamonica has tons of fiction up here on Tor.com! Her ‘baby werewolf has two mommies,’ story, “The Cage,” made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2010. There’s also “Among the Silvering Herd,” the first of a series of stories called The Gales.

Now you can read her novelette, “Wild Things,” that ties into the world of her award winning novel Indigo Springs and its sequel, Blue Magic.

37 comments
AndersDop
2. AndersDop
The Buffybot humor and the touching ending makes this one of my favorite - I'd say top 5 - Buddy episodes ever.
AndersDop
3. AndersDop
"Buffy", not "Buddy". :-P
Alyx Dellamonica
4. AMDellamonica
It is an awfully touching ending, Anders, I agree.
AndersDop
5. Eric saveau
The expression on Xander's face when he sees Spike and the Buffy-bot getting it on in the graveyard is one of the Best Things Ever.
Rob Rater
6. Quasarmodo
Can't say enough good things about Buffybot!
Jack Flynn
7. JackofMidworld
It's the little bits and pieces like this, with Spike being willing to tick off a deity to protect Buffy, that make me think that even though a vampire doesn't have a soul, maybe love can act like a surrogate soul. A rent-a-soul, if you will. I mean, seriously, if it had been Anya in that position, I don't know if she'd have held out. Not for Dawn, anway. For Xander, sure, but I think a couple of good swats and she probably would've spilled the beans (even if she did regret it immediately).

And I like the way the Scoobies accepted Buffybot as a useful member...well, a useful tool as quickly as they did (just not using her for her *shudder* original purpose). Gotta admire their ability to use - and master - all the tools they have at their disposal!
Constance Sublette
8. Zorra
I quite liked the BuffyBot-Anya scenes as BuffyBot has no more capacity to filter than Anya does. It was rather fun to see Anya getting her own sort of unvarnished truth telling for a change.

Still, sexbot s exceedingly disgusting, whichever episode or season or show they show up in -- or movie, as in Serenity.
AndersDop
9. Dr. Thanatos
And as always, an evil god who can be distracted by being told her buttocks are asymmetric is worth tuning in for...
Vicki Smith
10. EclecticMayhem
I'm a confirmed Spuffy shipper but that innocent little kiss - where we see exactly when Spike realises she's the real deal - is more sizzling hot than most of the S6 encounters.
Marie Veek
11. SlackerSpice
And now for the unpopular question - when do you think the Scoobies could have realized that 'dealing with grief' wasn't really what was going on with the Buffybot? (Assuming that comedy over character isn't in play.)
Aaron V. Humphrey
12. alfvaen
"Anya! How's your money?" "Fine! Thanks for asking!" (Anya, not noticing that Buffy's acting oddly.)
AndersDop
13. build6
this is hands-down my favourite episode of the series

if I feel like watching an episode and have time for only one, more often than not this is the one I load up. if I've only time for a few minutes I'll fast forward to the ending at the crypt :-)

it's packed full of good stuff, so much that they don't need to highlight them (pretty much par for the course in Buffy, excluding S7 of course), a real contrast with the way shows with e.g. basically only one joke would have to really build up to it.

Everything from snort-out-the-nose laughs ("how is your money?") to really hilarious "asides" ("we should listen to the other Buffy guy-les", "he's *completely* useless") to genuine tension/worry ("enough, no more" - I really thought Spike had been "broken" by the torture, and there'd be a whole bit about him saying stuff along the lines of "even after all I'd done for them, they never appreciated me") to moments of real awesomeness ("good plan Spike", "and the robot?").

It left an impression on me how they showed how *burdened* S5 Buffy was, without having to talk about it, just by the visual difference between how the super-cheery buffybot looked vs. how the "real" Buffy looked (it reminded me of the Buffy that got killed by the Master in The Wish in S3, the Buffy who had no friends/support) - it really needed the contrast to bring it to the fore. And the buffybot saying "why is everyone looking at me?" said something too.
AndersDop
14. Dianthus
Alyx, I've gotta disagree with you on Spike's hair. I love it! Give me bed head over gel helmet any day.
My favorite ep. Yay!
I've never been as squicked by the 'bot as I was meant to be. Buffy's horrified post-quest reaction to it is hilarious, but the 'bot isn't really so skanky as she imagines, IMO. Sure we kinda see the 'bot servicing Spike in a special way, but we'll sorta see Buffy herself doing the same in Gone. I think the other stuff (special responses) is more Slayer/Vampire stuff. I think Warren was actually kind of impressed. He'd never come up with it on his own.
It's kinda funny how the Scoobs all tumbled to April right away, but not to the 'bot. Buffy's response to that was funny, too. As was her response to Willow at the end. Willow is clearly impressed by Warren's skill in robotics, and Buffy's none too happy about it.
Also, as the 'bot wasn't really meant for public...er...consumption, there was no reason for her to recognize Buffy's friends, except then she wouldn't be Buffy. I love how Spike manages to sum them up so neatly. He's very observant, and I think that comes from being low in the pecking order of whatever group will have him.
Also, too, since the minions only grab him cuz "The Slayer" is treating him as 'precious' he definitely gets his comeuppance.
I love it when Giles calls out for Buffy to come help, and the 'bot, who's heading for Spike, changes direction to answer his call. Spike's hurt, but he isn't dust, so he'll be okay. Meanwhile, Guyles Giles needs her more.
"Weird love is better than no love." Oh, Buffy...if only. Considering what's in store, this line just makes me crazy.
Death is her gift: her's to give, and to receive in return.
AndersDop
15. Dianthus
Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.
Ya know who/what else they make monster movies about? Werewolves. Didn't seem to matter, tho. I liked Oz as much as anyone, but they're seen very differently.
Maybe it's the dog thing? I've always been more of a cat person myself, and cats , not unlike vampires, are rather cheerfully psychotic.
Even Xander is a little bit sympathetic towards Spike at the end of this ep. He doesn't even like Spike (or vamps in general), altho' he sometimes forgets to hate Spike, just like Buffy. Could there be a connection there?
They actually work pretty well together as a team. There are Spander 'shippers out there, and good for them. Not my thing, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
I'm not sure what got me 'shipping Spuffy really, not this late in the game. I started watching from the beginning, so I was totally Bangel while that was going on, but I loved Spike from the very first time he crashed into the Sunnydale sign. Something Blue and Intervention certainly primed the pump. I think it was Spike's grief at the end of The Gift that really sealed the deal.
I have sympathy for this (charming) devil here cuz Spike had so much of his identity tied up in his Big Bad persona. It's reflected in the 'pillow talk' btwn him and the 'bot. No one's feared him for some time, least of all Buffy. Even his attempts to win her respect by doing good have fallen flat. It's like he just can't win. In fact, he must be feeling like the butt of some great Cosmic joke, making him far less scary (and thus more acceptable as a regular character).
He always seemed to me more of a contemporary for Buffy and the others, unlike the more paternalistic Angel. In part, I think that's cuz he's also trying to figure out who he's gonna be, now that he can't be who he was.
Angel even went back to his vampire family for a time. Spike's vampire family (the Dru part of it at least) has already tried and failed to get him back. The Scoobs are some help, but it's kind of the halt leading the lame - if I'm still allowed to use such a phrase.
Emma Rosloff
16. emmarosloff
SMG gets serious props for her portrayal of the Buffybot in this episode (and in general). It's such a ridiculous concept, but she totally nails it. I believed her, enough to be as startled as Spike when she drops the facade at the end.

Ah, Spike. I love him for all these little moments, where it seems like William, the real William, the one he never got to be, shines through. And you see just how deeply his feelings runs -- she's his whole world.

I think what sealed the (Spuffy) deal for me was the first time he looks at her post-resurrection. The look in his eye, the way his whole face lights up, like he was in the dark. Like he can see again. It's just perfect. And when he confesses his remorse to her. Every night I saved you.

But this is a great moment, too. Usually Spike's the one cutting through the bullshit, but it's Buffy's turn here. Yes, the Buffybot is gross, but Spike loves Buffy enough to give his life for her and the people she cares about. I think it's very telling that Buffy acknowledges that here, with a kiss, no less. It says that his devotion to her matters. That it means something to her. Maybe he hasn't gone about it in the best way, but she's finally beginning to understand that in his own twisted way, Spike's intentions are pure.

Angel was paternalistic, as some of you have said. Even though he loved Buffy (emotionally, physically), his devotion to her felt similar to Buffy's devotion to Dawn, particulary once it became clear that they couldn't be together. She became a symbol of all the things he'd do anything to protect.

Riley would do anything for her, too, but they're disparate creatures when you get to the core of things. He's just too human; his "power", even when it was super-human (thanks to Walsh's drugs), wasn't rooted in darkness, the way Buffy's is. The way Spike's is.

Spike and Buffy are fundamentally the same in some ways. Both superhuman, super strong, both deep wells of endurance. Both driven to kill for very intrinsic reasons. And while Spike might have started on the other side of the fence, that doesn't mean he can't understand her. Regardless of her feelings for him (which are constantly changing) she comes to really depend on him, more and more all the way to the very end.

Spike falls short in many other ways, but in this one way, he's just right for her. They're both heavyweights. She's got the world on her shoulders, and she can lean on him and not worry that he won't be strong enough to shoulder the load.

To the Slayer, I'd say that's worth a lot.
AndersDop
17. nm
One of my all-time favourite Spike quotes: "Angel's lame! His hair goes straight up and he's bloody stupid!"
AndersDop
18. build6
@16 - yes!!!!!!!
@17 - yes also!!

I was totally fooled re: BuffyBot at the end of Intervention too - I'd thought (as I'm sure Jane Espenson intended) they'd reprogrammed the BuffyBot to go back and pump (haha) Spike for information, had not expected it to be actual-Buffy at all. For Buffy to kiss Spike was something that felt really spontaneous and in her own words, "real".

S6E3 with Spike at the foot of the stairs with Dawn as Buffy walks down is also another of my favourite scenes. "Every night I saved you" - indeed. And Spike's reply to "how long was I gone?" was a little bit overdone :-P, but still liked it anyway. Of course, Spike's never one not to take things too far and he had to go be an idiot the rest of S6 and ruin things, sigh.

incidentally re: "wierd love better than no love", it always reminds me of this line in a song from this old British band called XTC - "Plots and sex scandals failed outright/Peter merely said/Any kind of love is alright" (Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead)
AndersDop
19. Dianthus
@18. I don't think it was Spike being an idiot that ruined anything. Spike's love for Buffy was formed prior to her abusive behavior. There are some strong parallels btwn their relationship and Bangel. The gender roles are flipped, but Buffy kinda still loved Angel even when he was evil, cuz she'd loved him before that. Spike doesn't love Buffy cuz she treats him like crap, but despite it.
As for the events of Seeing Red, I really do think it wasn't to show that Spike was still evil, but how much he'd changed. He'd forced himself on plenty of women previously, but this time was different, cuz he was different. His response says it all.
It's not just the look on his face after she (finally) fights him off. It's the monologue in his crypt, and the trip to Africa. It's a real wake-up call for him. Her, too ("He knows what he did was wrong.")
No, I don't like it, either, but there was a point to it.
It seems most (if not all) the breakthroughs these characters have come out of something negative.
I loved Spike's answer (147 days). Very much in character, IMO.
AndersDop
20. Gardner Dozois
One of the few episodes left in the whole series that has a strong humorous element to it ("Tabula Rasa" and "Once More With Feeling" have some funny moments, but there are few laughs in that entire season, or what's left of this one; from here out, things get increasingly morose). The Buffybot stuff was very funny, and Sarah Michelle Geller was very good as the Buffybot, just as she had been good as the Cave Slayer in "Beer Bad"; she has a nice touch for light comedy, when they let her play it.

Yes, "Angel's lame! His hair goes straight up and he's bloody stupid!" is one of my favorite lines in the whole series.

On the more serious side of the episode, Spike's willingness to be tortured and killed if necessary rather than reveal the Key's identity, because he knows it would destroy Buffy if Dawn was killed, shows once again what a strange vampire he is, and that his feelings for Buffy are strong and sincere, whether he has a soul or not. Although Angel might have done the same, he HAS a soul. It's hard to imagine Angelus, the same sort of souless vampire that Spike is supposed to be, suffering any of this without pragmatically giving the identity of the Key up, he certainly wouldn't die to keep her secret, although, being Angelus, he'd probably be scheming to find some way to turn the situation around to his advantage while still saving his own skin.

As for Warren, if he can build robots like this, decades and decades ahead in sophistication of anything in the real world, he's a complete fool for hanging around Sunnydale making fake girl friends for himself and scheming to rob banks and museums and so forth. He could go work for the corporate world and become fabulously rich, and then probably get all the real girls he wanted. Or for the government/military.
Constance Sublette
21. Zorra
Spike is an immortal character creation. Like everyone else this viewer also has to line up applauding that quote describing Angel.

Angel supposedly was an 'artistic' predator and killer. But there's an entire lack of wit in that character, a lack of ballon (that splending French Ballet term) and lack of joy in Angel and his supposed 'art.' Whereas Angel began as a lout, Spike, on the other hand, started as a poet. Whether a bad one or not, the human Spike had the temperment and sensibility of a poet, for poetry. This includes, no matter how poorly he executed it, he also has a sense of rhythm, of structure and shape. Angel merely thuds. Or broods.

Spike -- he is Special. Even those who begin, and with excellent reasons too, hating him, end up loving him. Even Angel.

Love, C.
AndersDop
22. Dianthus
@21. I was unfamilliar with the term ballon. I had to go look it up. Thanks for the intro! It's a very apt description. Also, elan. Spike has it, Angel doesn't.
JM once referred to Spike as a 'Cadillac role,' IIRC. He really is something else. It's why I/we love him.
AndersDop
23. Dr. Thanatos
@22

Spike is like Dumbledore.

Order of the Phoenix: "Like him or hate him, he's got style..."
Chris Nelly
24. Aeryl
@20, Warren always struck me as one of those people who will work harder to be lazy, than he would ever work to be successful. In addition, I don't know how outside the realm of possible what Warrren's doing is supposed to be. Ted's robot was years ahead of his time when he made it 20 years ago, so I think we are supposed to accept that the technology has progressed enough.
Constance Sublette
25. Zorra
... Spike as a 'Cadillac role,' ...
One wonders though, whether that would have been the case if it was James Marsters inhabiting Spike? Spike as we came to love him didn't arrive immediately, but he evolved.

I think I started to love him -- beyond finding him interesting -- in that Season 4 episode that has the scene of Spike bopping across the cemetery with his brown bagged groceries + carton of Marlboro Reds, heading back to his crypt, just minding his own business, sort of light-hearted, probably looking foreward to Jack Daniels, his smokes and something on his rescued-from-the-garbage telly -- and he gets pounced on by the Initiative. Is this right? Am I remembering that scene correctly as what happens and when it happened?

Love, C.
Constance Sublette
26. Zorra
There's a reason that the term was invented by the French, and went right into ballet; they also invented 'panache'!

Ballon and penache are the heart of swashbuckling as invented by Alexandre Dumas in The Three Musketeers!

Love, C.
Chris Nelly
27. Aeryl
That scene is during This Year's Girl, when Giles and Xander see him and want help with Faith, where he turns the tables on them, and says if he sees her, he'll tell her exactly where to find them.

The scene where the Initiative pounces on him, is when he's monolouging about Buffy.

They are both great scenes though. The first, with the Initiative, was all about cutting the Big Bad down to size, which is always funny. And the other pointed out how quickly and easily our perception of Spike changed after he was chipped.
Constance Sublette
28. Zorra
Thank you for setting me right!

There was just something endearing about Spoike with a brown bag of groceries and smokes -- and as deeply distressed as anyone by getting mugged and losing her not-that-easy-to-pay-for supplies!

Loive, C. :)
AndersDop
29. Dianthus
@27. & @28. The scene in This Year's Girl where Giles and Xander ask Spike for help with Faith actually takes place in town (in an alley?), IIRC.
I think the scene you're referring to is when Spike has to run from the Initiative guys, maybe when they tag him with the tracking device? The Initiative is definitely involved somehow and Spike has to ditch his groceries. Presumably he'd even paid for the stuff, rather than just nicking it.
I'm sort of an Anglophile anyway, so I was predisposed to like Spike.
AndersDop
30. Dianthus
This is a comix related post, but it's not a rant. In an effort to be fair, I thought I'd mention something they're doing that I do like. In the current issue they signal an effort to heal the old rift btwn Spike and Dawn.
It's very much a call back to s5, IMO, cuz Spike once again assumes temporary guardianship of her while Buffy's otherwise occupied. I am interested in this development and hopeful that it will succeed. It's about bloody time.
It should, presumably, have a positive effect on relations btwn him and Buffy as well. With any luck, it could lead to some much needed forward momentum.
Chris Nelly
31. Aeryl
I think there's definitely forward momentum in the fact that he walked away. Buffy learned she couldn't keep him in limbo, neither friend nor lover. He's not her doormat anymore.

If anything, that complete one-sidedness of their relationship is what turns Buffy away. Look at Riley vs Angel, Riley completely adored her and she couldn't reciprocate. Angel was always talking about walking away which made her needy. Spike finding a balance between adoration and abandonment is going to wonders for both of them.
AndersDop
32. Dianthus
This is the kind of thing I expected from the start; what I've been waiting for - actual storycraft. Dawn's current crisis is due to her Keyness, and Spike was the only one with her when she discovered her Keyness in the first place.It's a lovely bit of symmetry.
Constance Sublette
33. Zorra
@29 --
... the scene you're referring to is when Spike has to run from the Initiative guys, maybe when they tag him with the tracking device? The Initiative is definitely involved somehow and Spike has to ditch his groceries. Presumably he'd even paid for the stuff, rather than just nicking it.
That exactly how I am remembering it. I looked at This Year's Girl and that definitely wasn't the episode.

It was the brown bagged groceries, and all that was implied by that small property, including that Spike paid for what was in it with real money, that not only then got us to sense pathos in this small action, but was also somehow endearing. It was so normal. But -- it was Spike! A vampire! It was that carton of ciggies, sort of like a loaf of Wonder Bread, sticking out.

Gads, that's all so good, a combination of writing, scene dressing -- none of this with words. Woo!

Love, C.
Emma Rosloff
34. emmarosloff
I've said this before, but for me the fun with Spike was trying to figure out how exactly he came to be in a place where he and Buffy kiss in Once More With Feeling, which was the first (and only) episode I saw for years and years. It was like snapping a circle -- granted, I had no idea what happened after that, which is quite a bit, but still.

I remember when Spike first arrives on the scene clinging to Dru (and making quick dust out of the child vampire we were supposed to be intimidated by) and thinking: Wait... doesn't he profess his love to Buffy in song?? How in the heck is that going to happen? His capture by the Initiative was my first real indicator. I remember my gleeful squeals when they chipped him, and when he has that first dream about kissing Buffy. It solved a little mystery for me.

But I think what made me fall in love with Spike (not just the idea of Spuffy) was Fool For Love. The title of the episode encasuplates the plot, and really what's so captivating about Spike to me -- he's a fool for love, and that permeates everything, even his souless vamprie nature.

My boyfriend and I like to joke that if he were a DnD character he'd have super high charisma, a stat that not only can affect your powers of persuasion, but contributes to your overall willpower. Spike's endurance goes beyond physical; it's mental, too. He's always one of the first to figure out when something's off (like at the end of OMWF when he snaps out of singing the closing song and stalks off), and of course, to cut through the bullshit when it's warranted. That makes him pretty valuable, despite his other flaws.

On an unrelated note, I always wondered why none of the Scoobies siezed upon the idea of making more (non sex-toy) Buffybots, given her propensity for slaying. I guess it's possible that they could fall into the wrong hands/be tweaked for evil, and we wouldn't want that.
AndersDop
35. Dianthus
@33. Exactly. He'd gotten money from Giles for helping him in A New Man and then he had to return what he hadn't spent for Giles's help with something else. It's brilliant. Maybe Spike had a little thing for the cashier at the shop? You can imagine all sorts of reasons why he might do something so mundane.
@34. Morally Ambivalent Spike was my favorite incarnation of the character for a long time, and the one he inhabited the longest in the series. You never quite knew which way he'd jump.
Also, I found it a lot more interesting than just he's a Good Guy so he does what's right. He had his own reasons for doing what he did, some of them clear, some not, some noble, some not.
Even Good Guy Spike is not the most predictable guy. Buffy does her duty, Angel does pennance, and Spike does what's necessary.
Constance Sublette
36. Zorra
Spike was never a cliche, never a stereotype, of any sort!

Love, C.
AndersDop
37. Dianthus
So true. He's too tricksy for that. Try putting him in a box, and he'll just bust right out of it.

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