Alright. Long, pro-Spuffy post.
Here we go.
Things to know before we start: I am pro-Spuffy, anti-Bangel. That being said, I do not hate Angel. At all. Or Buffy, even though I get a little heated about her in the post below. I didn’t watch Angel or read the comics. I read the synopses of both and watched the Spike scenes of S5 of Angel (because I love Spike). I am not forgiving Spike for attempting to rape Buffy. So, when we get there, remember I said that. I’m probably gonna be really thorough because I’m really obsessed with this show right now as I just finished it a week ago. Finally, I don’t like comparing Spike and Angel. Whether it’s with a soul or without. However, it’s sort of necessary to explain why I love Spike for Buffy. So, that’s why I’m gonna say again: I don’t hate Angel. But I need to compare the two because, basically, that’s what Buffy has had to do to make her choice. Soooo let’s get into it.
Basically I’m gonna break this down into three-ish Spikes. I won’t, like, stick to it very well, but it’ll be a basic outline. So: Pre-Buffy love, Post-Buffy love, Post-Soul. I’m gonna talk about Human!Spike as well and by the seasons. But let’s start with the Angel/Spike comparison to get it out of the way.
So, many people have said this before but, Spike fell in love with Buffy before the soul. This is important. We’ll come back to that. But let’s get something straight: Angel and Angelus are the same person. Okay, if you lot don’t wanna separate Soulless!Spike and Ensouled!Spike and want to say things like “How can Buffy love him after he attempted to rape her?!”, then we’re not gonna separate Angel and Angelus. Know what that means? Oh, yeah, you do.
It means that Soulless!Angel was, by and large, worse than Soulless!Spike. And not just because of what we saw in present day Buffy. Because of the flashbacks as well. William was once, even without a soul, a sentimental sweetheart. Yes, he still drank people, bad Spike. But it wasn’t until he had been broken and beaten down that he became “William the Bloody.” I mean, look at Angelus and Drusilla. Poor William was crushed when he caught them together. We saw that in S2 of Buffy when Angel was soulless, as well. On the other hand, Angelus didn’t give any shits about anything he did, who he did it to, or what it meant. For Spike, it was power that drove him. For Angelus, it was evil. Angel even said so in Angel. So, back to the before the soul love we were talking about. Spike was capable of it, even sought it out. Angelus could have been capable of it, who knows, but he didn’t want it. He wanted ruin. And, I know we’re all tired of hearing it, but it’s an important point that Angel had 100 years to grow into the soul and where he ended up when we met him in 1997 was basically where Spike was after 1 year with a soul. So.
Now, that doesn’t mean I wish Angel ill, at all. The whole “Angelus was cursed, him having a soul doesn’t count” argument doesn’t work except to backup what I just said: he didn’t want to be good, until he was forced to be. But he did become good. He tried and he felt the guilt and he atoned and at the end of the day, Angel is one hell of a guy.
But he’s not the one for Buffy. Here’s why:
When Spike fell for Buffy, he did not do a 180 all of a sudden. Obviously. He was still bad (as much as he could be with the chip) and he was still a douche. The reason that many of us still loved Spike at this point is because that’s Spike. Spike is crass and brutal and a sarcastic little shit. We wouldn’t want it any other way. But he changed. For her and because of her. And that story is so, so powerful. Shall we take a tour?
So, in “School Hard,” Spike comes to Sunnydale. He’s young, free, and in love. He’s also out to bag a third slayer. Who could blame him? He is a vamp, that’s what they do right? Throughout S2 of Buffy we see Spike go through an arc, from a cocky, entitled vampire to a broken, embarrassed, and hurt one.
Sidebar: I love how, at any given point during Buffy or Angel, you can just tell that Spike is the “baby” vampire between him and Angel. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just a really great relationship that they have, Angel treating him like an annoying brother and Spike lashing out at him while still feeling inferior.
Back on track. So, he teams up with Buffy. Our first glimpse at a mutually beneficial relationship for the two. Here we get a solidified notion of what Spike+Humanity would look like. The next time we see that is S3 of Buffy, “Lover’s Walk.” Such a great episode for Spike. It shows how much love can drive him crazy but also fill the empty space in him
where his soul should be. And it establishes Spike as an extremely intelligent creature, not just the mindless animal we thought him to be before (I’m talking about the “you’ll never be friends” speech, here).
S4. So Spike’s in Sunnydale looking for invincibility (lol, that lasted a long time, huh?). And then the chip happens. Oh, the chip. This is so important to his arc and, eventually, his and Buffy’s. So, as much as I would like to believe otherwise, Spike wouldn’t have reached for goodness or fallen for Buffy like he did without the chip. In my opinion, he still could’ve “fallen for her,” but it would’ve been much more of a “I want to get in your pants” deal than a “I want you to love me back” deal.
So, the chip neuters William the Bloody. And so he has to integrate himself into the Scoobies as much as he can, not only to get money, but also to kill…demons that is. Mini-sidebar: I love how Spike goes from “I guess I’ll have to kill demons instead” to “I know it’s wrong to kill people, so I’ll kill demons so I still get to kill” to “It’s wrong to kill, but demons are bad, so I will do it to protect the world.” Amazing.
I know, I know. This isn’t a Spike post! Get on with the Spuffy! Sorry, I just love him so much.
Here we are, S5. Spike realizes he loves Buffy. Here’s my take: S5 was Spike’s “unhealthy” phase (for the most part) and S6 was Buffy’s (until the attempted rape, obviously). S7 was peace, but we’ll get there. Okay, so Spike is obsessed with Buffy, right? Not in a cute way. In a I-steal-your-underwear-and-pictures-of-you-from-your-house-and-also-sometimes-also-stalk-outside-the-house-and-I-also-made-a-sex-robot-of-you way. I’d almost go so far as to say he reached actual stalker level what with the chaining her up in his crypt thing. But he didn’t, like, kill Riley or try to hurt her (and he wouldn’t of, either, regardless of the chip because he doesn’t hurt Buffy), so I’ll refrain from calling him a full blown stalker.
Okay, so from here on in, I’m gonna say something frequently that a lot of you won’t like: I was pissed off at Buffy and Buffy’s treatment of Spike to the point that I can’t go back and watch the full Spuffy scenes that involve her being “revolted” or rejecting him because it just pisses me off so much.
In S5, Spike’s love for Buffy was incredibly immature. You know when you get into your first relationship and everything is be all, end all? Like, everything they do makes you squee and you have to be around them all the time, but if you have a fight you just get so beyond pissed and sad that your life is falling apart? Yeah, that was Spike. Buffy obviously wasn’t his first, but I do firmly believe that he didn’t hold this type of love for anyone before. His love with Drusilla, for one, was mutual and they were on the same side. I think loving someone that was so opposite him really messed Spike up. He didn’t know how to love her. Not until the soul.
Okay, Buffy dies. That part where Spike cries??? Jesus Christ, ow. I thought I was dying. S6 now. Spike watched out for Dawn. Just like he said he would. If you don’t think that’s intensely powerful, who are you? He easily could’ve said “Nah, I’m just gonna go back to being alone” and left all of that behind. He didn’t know she was going to come back. But he loved her so much that he erased everything he had been for 100+ years to do the one thing she’d ever asked of him. Not to impress her, but because he knew it was the right thing. Because she treated him like a man.
When. He. Saw. Her. Alive. Again. Oh. My. God. Broke my heart. He counted the days. He was so gentle with her. He let her talk about whatever she wanted, he let her use him, let her do anything and everything just so she’d feel better.
The first real kiss: “Once More, With Feeling.” Oh, yeah. We’re gonna talk about the musical. A lot. Rest in Peace is such a heart breaking song. Because, honestly, Spike is 100% right. He shouldn’t have to suffer because he can’t have Buffy. Confiding in him is one thing, but what Buffy started to do was take advantage of him. That line in the song “You know/you got a willing slave”, explains it perfectly. Walk Through the Fire is a brilliant song, for one. But it also shows how much Spike wishes he could hate her, how he 100% knows that he’ll never do anything but love her, how he’ll follow her to the end of the world, and also how much he understands what it is that she’s going through, like no one else can. Something to Sing About, that little bit at the end that Spike sings to Buffy is so beautiful. All he wants is for her to live. And to want to live, to want to try. Where Do We Go from Here? is a group sing, yes, but for Spike and Buffy it’s sort of like a red herring combined with a really ironic ending (the kiss). It explains why Buffy hadn’t reached out to Spike before then, but also why it failed at the end of S6. It’s all about walking “alone in fear.” Buffy never allowed herself to be loved or to love.
That was too much on the musical, sorry. This is a long ass post. We rage on!
Important Sidebar: Spike never, even in S5-6, expressed his love for Buffy just to get in her pants. Never. He always wanted her to love him back. As fucked up and destructive as the two ended up being, the love Spike had for her was as genuine as it could’ve been at the time. Remember, he didn’t use her, she used him.
So, here’s the thing that pisses me off from this point forward: they kiss, Buffy brushes it off; they have sex, Buffy waves it away, and yet Buffy keeps coming back. Look, I don’t totally blame Buffy. Obviously. I mean, she got pulled out of heaven and then had to dig herself out of her grave. She has her own issues. I respect that. And she didn’t just take it out on Spike. She abused Giles and neglected Willow and whole bunch else. But the bottom line is: by the last third of S6, she knew what she was doing and she was totally clear headed about it. She knew what she was doing before, but she couldn’t stop herself. She needed it, so she could feel. But right around the time Riley showed up and she went to Spike’s and said “Tell me you love me, tell me you want me”, I knew she knew she was tearing into Spike and she didn’t give a damn. From there, the blame falls on Spike.
She breaks it off with him because she doesn’t want to keep using him (further backing up the fact that she knew what she was doing). And Spike loses it.
Here’s the thing: Rape is not okay, never, ever, but that wasn’t Spike. And I’m not talking about “not Spike” in a soul/no soul way. Spike is Spike, before or after the soul. And besides, people rape other people all the time, and they’ve got souls in them, right? This has nothing to do with the soul. I believe the episode title for the attempted rape episode is “Seeing Red.” That’s what it was. It was Spike in the sense of his body, personality, memories, etc., but that was not Spike’s mind. As I said before, he lost his mind. That’s not an excuse, but you can clearly tell that Spike knew instantly that he’d done something terrible, unforgivable. He was broken and hurt and an empty shell of pain. And the fact that he left Sunnydale to get his soul back, not only for Buffy, but to be a better man testifies that the bathroom scene was simply not him. He wouldn’t of done it as a human, he wouldn’t of done is at William the Bloody, he wouldn’t of done it when he was with Dru, it was a blind, senseless act that he’ll regret until the day he’s dust. That’s not me forgiving him, that’s me saying that all of us do despicable things and if we never reformed or help others reform, we’d have one hell of a miserable world.
Okay, S7. Spike was being controlled/tortured by the First, yes, but I do think that his new soul had something to do with his crazed state. Not as much as the First did, but some. And I say that because, remember Angel? Remember how sad and dilapidated he was because he was wracked with guilt? That’s what happened with Spike. It was just amplified because of the First.
Buffy is wary of him, and that’s good. She should be. But I think she also recognizes immediately, at least on some level, that Spike has changed (more than the obvious I-live-in-the-school-basement thing). When Spike is lucid, she has every right to be nervous like she was in the first chunk of episodes.
But by the end of S7, the fact that their relationship grows to the point of trust and love demonstrates just how much Spike changed and how good of a man he is.
So, I wanna talk more in depth about the pre-post soul thing. Here’s what I believe: part of the change Spike went through was due to the soul (the guilt he felt forced him to see everything in a different light than before, for example), but part of it was done on his own. Meaning, after the attempted rape, Spike would’ve taken steps to improve who he was anyway. The soul was one of those steps, and it helped him to “recover” fully, but he would’ve had some degree of growth regardless.
So, here we are, with my favorite version of Spike. I know some people don’t like “love’s bitch” Spike or “mushy-gushy” Spike, but I love it. Not because I’m gushy. Jesus, I’m so far from gushy. I love it because Spike went through a huge arc. We met him as William the Bloody, learned about Willy and his past, and what we’re left with at the end of the series is just purely Spike. He’s still sarcastic and a fighter, like William the Bloody, but his humanity and compassion shines through, like Willy. Spike is the perfect, final product of an epic journey of discovery.
Sorry, back to Spuffy.
Buffy learns to trust Spike again. Because she recognizes that the “bad” things he did (in S7) weren’t his fault, because she recognizes that he’s changed. One of my favorite things to talk about with Spike in S7 is his total backseat attitude when it comes to Buffy. He doesn’t try to get back with her, he tries to be conscious of how/if he’s touching her, he doesn’t make sexual comments/suggestions, he doesn’t confess his love over and over or beg her to forgive him or feel sorry for him. He’s totally and completely letting her have the control. That’s the real reason she trusts him again. Because he’s pure. He doesn’t need to say he loves her over and over or convince her he’s changed because it shows. Even when he doesn’t intend it to, his light shines through and draws Buffy to him once again.
Finally, I want to talk about the last three episodes of the series. The Spuffy moments, that is. At the point of “Touched”, Buffy trusts Spike again. This is one of the few times in the season Spike voices his feelings without filter, and it isn’t for selfish reasons like it sometimes had been in the past. It was to give Buffy confidence and worth. Because he loves her enough to that for her. The speech he gave is one of the best things I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s totally selfless. And when she asks him to stay with her, he’s prepared to sleep in a chair to make her comfortable; but then she asks him to hold her and, no hesitation, he goes to her. The fundamental difference between this Spike and the Spike in S6 is this Spike thought of Buffy first. He heard that she needed him and he went to her. I’d wager that he didn’t want to let himself think “this is the best night of my life” because he didn’t want it to be about him, he wanted to focus on her, be there for her.
And that brings us to “End of Days.” God, the dialogue between the two of them in the last three episodes is just amazing, yeah? The talk they had in the kitchen was so beautiful. Same thing, Spike didn’t want to make that night about him but he admitted that it was the best night of his life, and Buffy glowed. This is the first time, in my opinion, that Buffy got that fuzzy feeling in her belly because of Spike. Before, anything close to “I love you” from Spike made Buffy react like “Please don’t say that, I don’t want this to be serious, that’s too much to think about.” This conversation is the first time Spike says something like “I love you” and Buffy thinks “Oh my God, this amazing man thinks watching me sleep and holding me was the best night of his life.”
Okay, “Chosen.” I’m gonna cry. Pull it together! The basement scene. Buffy left Angel for Spike. She said she was “baking,” but, at least for the night, she was done baking and Spike got the cookies… Okay, ew. Sorry. Moving on. Spike being jealous of Angel in the way he was jealous of Angel was so sad and beautiful and sweet. It wan’t angry or even bitter. He wasn’t cursing Angel or thinking “great, he’s taking my woman again.” He was hoping, praying to anything and everything that he wouldn’t lose this girl. Not the one he really, truly loved. Not the one that brought out the better side of him, the one that he’d forgotten. Not Buffy.
And Buffy calling Spike a champion, kill me. It’s too beautiful for my heart to handle. And did you see how Spike glowed? He just felt so special, sort of like that moment in the previous episode with Buffy, you know, the “Oh my God, this amazing man” thing? Yeah, that. That’s how Spike felt. Seen, cared for, important, warm, hers.
Buffy caressing Spike’s face, and then Spike holding Buffy again just topped off the episode for me. Beautiful.
Okay. Now the hard part.
“I love you.”
“No, you don’t. But thanks for sayin’ it.”
Spike!!! But she does love you!!! And you didn’t believe it!!! She loved you as soon as your hands clasped. As soon as she looked into your eyes and saw everything she had, what she stood to lose. As soon as she saw you looking back at her. God that scene will forever make me want to die while singing the songs of heaven.
Buffy’s last word in the series being “Spike” is perfect. Fuck you if you don’t think so. Sorry, I’m not usually mean, but he deserved it. He’s a beautiful, lovely man. A good man.
I wish they’d had just one more season. Because the mature love they shared in that very last moment was just blooming and it deserved one more season. Alas. We get it in the comics, though. And we get some Spuffy dialogue from Spike in Angel. I just can never get enough of the two of them. They’re the most beautiful, heart breaking, transcendent love story I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. And I’m a hardcore Destiel shipper. It’s hard to get me to pull away from that. That’s how amazing Spike and Buffy’s love story is.
If you’ve made it this far, good for you. I just needed to say it, all my thoughts. I love them so much, they mean so much to me. Spuffy forever. Always.