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Question What if Buffy tried to R*pe Spike?

Discussion in 'Season 6' started by smgismyqueenjpg, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Stoney

    Stoney Spiked!

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    We know that SMG disliked the sex scenes and Buffy going through such a dark patch in S6, she was/is quite open about it. I've heard it said (but I don't know how accurate this is because I don't remember it being sourced), that Joss suggested to SMG that perhaps her early adulthood was just too different to allow her to personally connect with the struggles they were wanting to show Buffy go through in S6. Just as fans differ in their responses, so too can the actors. SMG felt Buffy was acting out of character in the season, so the suggestion of a lack of connection seems fair to me because that aspect serves purpose, the degrees to which this is true are a deliberate part of her season's path. Buffy, Willow and Spike all struggle with inner balance during the season. There are differing pulls, but failing to control or resist darker impulses is part of the season for most characters. Xander's fears and Anya's return towards vengeance also come to mind. The season ended with a sense of reaching better balance or towards gaining balance, recovering what was lost for most of them. But it was a new starting point, rather than a final destination that was reached.

    My understanding is that Joss assured SMG that S7 would fix it all, I think she even mentioned this at the recent anniversary meet up. I don't think this was in the sense of correcting S6, as if it was wrong, but in the sense of how the 7th season follows the 6th by taking the negative paths that had been explored, taking them from those new starting points and showing positive development from it. I tend to think of the two seasons as very much two halves of a whole. The corruption of power in S6 becomes a story of empowerment in S7. Buffy had withdrawn in S6 but then offers her strength to Willow and her open support to Spike in S7. Her issues of distance and superiority are acknowledged and she ends the season trusting others to save themselves more by empowering them instead. Willow and Spike both work to find their dark/light balance, to learn that just because power can be corrupted doesn't mean that power is corrupt. Rather than avoiding that side of themselves they learn to access it, to use that strength to follow the path for good that they both want to walk. So a lot of the positive messages of S7 follow on from the darker experiences of S6.

    The choices of what to show in the dynamic between Buffy and Spike during S6 should have have some narrative purpose for one or both of them, and in consideration of their season's paths. For Buffy, acting on her desires to have a sexual relationship with Spike is both a release and also a self-punishment, allowing herself to do something that she fundamentally believes is a bad choice confirms she isn't as she should be. Along with the guilt over how she was feeling about being back, it solidifies her lack of connection and disassociation to outwardly make choices she wouldn't have before.

    So if we're considering a 'what if' scenario where Buffy sexually attacks Spike we have to ask what would be the purpose in it and the likely result? Firstly, it isn't something that an unsouled vampire would react to in the same way that Buffy reacted to Spike's attack of her. As I said before, the attempted rape as it occurred in canon was there for Spike to see that he couldn't reliably choose to not hurt Buffy whilst unsouled. It is her reaction to the attack that is key. It is her humanity shown in stark contrast to his demonically driven act. Spike fully accepts a level of violence in a relationship that just isn't acceptable by most human standards. In S3 he was going to find Dru intending to torture her into liking him again. Another use of force displaying his demonic side, not anything Buffy would want. In S6 he felt the sexual relationship with Buffy showed a greater level of acceptance of him, because she was choosing to share her body with him, so he tried to force that connection again. Unsouled he is fundamentally unable to draw the correct boundaries and can't walk the line simply by choice, despite what he thought. So there is narrative purpose to underscore the gap in morality by seeing Buffy's reaction to Spike's attack and then his response to the realisation from it. But in an exact reversal, precisely because of his lack of boundaries, Spike wouldn't react the same way Buffy did and so the scenario doesn't switch.

    Secondly, as has been agreed, it would just be fundamentally changing Buffy's character for her to attempt rape. This isn't to say that violence is beyond Buffy. I think part of Spike's attraction for her is being able to use her physical strength more fully with someone. That in and of itself is not a 'bad' thing, but it certainly has its negative moments within the relationship which features a lot of mutual abuse. Also, we have seen Buffy use violence for cathartic release in the past and this tendency plays negatively within her relationship with Spike in Dead Things, the beating shown as a distinct and darker act. But narratively there is a clear difference between the notion of Buffy trying to rape Spike in an act of violence and Buffy beating Spike in DT. For a true reversal of the scenario in Seeing Red both Buffy and Spike would be acting out of character, whereas Dead Things uses previously established character traits/weaknesses for them both and not only keeps them both 'in character' but has narrative purpose for them both on top.

    Buffy's loss of control in DT touches somewhat on that darker side to being a slayer which embraces violence, a part which somewhat draws her to Spike and which ties to the use of violence as a release. The existence of this link within Buffy's own story lends support to it as a loss of control that we can understand through the moment's emotional context for her. Like Faith, Buffy releases her fears and worries about herself and how she perceives her behaviour as wrong. She can't be who she wants to be, can't be her complete true self, if she is giving in to this negative relationship. She fears having killed Katrina and who is she, what has she become, if she has now killed someone too? Her negative feelings towards herself are a major reason for what she does and is why she tells Spike the relationship was killing her. So the contextual loss of control is understood and her reaction is supported by previous indications towards these coping mechanisms. A sexual assault would be a deeper loss of her humanity and morals, very outside of anything she has done before. It wouldn't have worked in the same way for expressing self hatred further and would have taken her down a very different path.

    Dead Things also works into Spike's path for the season and within existing characterisation. Spike's acceptance, his willingness to be beaten, for her to lay it on him, how he readily accepts violence in the relationship differentiates his boundaries to human norms. Obviously this has narrative relevance to what comes later and by showing Spike offering something distinct to Buffy outside of their sexual relationship but which again emphasises the lack of boundaries he has unsouled, it works as a clear indication of how his limitations don't lead him to conduct a healthy relationship.

    So it isn't just that Buffy is a hero and can't do bad things. It isn't that Buffy wouldn't get things wrong and hurt someone. The season is greatly about the times when we can just make bad choices and end up hurting others and ourselves. The problem with considering the reversed scenario where Buffy is trying to force herself on Spike and Spike is actively trying to stop her, is that it takes them both out of character, has them acting to extremes that aren't supported previously. It doesn't make narrative sense for where the season is going and so would change their paths as well as their characterisations too.
     
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  2. LeeJones41

    LeeJones41 Townie

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    Buffy tried to sexually assault Spike . . . in the Season Six episode called "Gone". She was invisible at the time. She went into his crypt, shoved him against a wall and started to rip off his clothes. When she began to feel him up and giggled at the same time, he recognized her voice and consented to have sex with him.

    What I found repulsive about this scene is that it was played for laughs.
     
  3. smgismyqueenjpg

    smgismyqueenjpg I'm not a QUEEN! I'm Khaleesi!

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    Black Thorn
    True. But I'm talking about R*pe.
     
  4. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    In Dollhouse, Dewitt brainwashed and raped Victor. Does this count?
     
  5. Blaze

    Blaze Let it Burn

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    Black Thorn
    It's definitely a VERY grey area. In one sense, it is a violation, but at the same time, the person agrees to being a doll knowing what that entails (although this is also grey and we see that the consent isn't always truly there). Regardless, Adelle was always a morally grey character, unlike Buffy who is very white, for lack of better term. That's why I love Adelle, she's not as straight forward. And the show is definitely not in the same vein as Buffy, who is all about showing the right thing to do. Dollhouse is a different beast, where I think they could approach the topic because it made sense with the characters they have (most of them are definitely not good guys, but not entirely bad guys either). The rape storyline definitely would have gone against everything that Buffy is about. However, it does not go against what Dollhouse is about, so it's definitely a better show to talk about that topic.
     
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