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"Beneath You" Church Scene - Original Vs. Produced Version

Joan the Vampire Slayer

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As some of you might know, the last scene in "Beneath You" was re-written by Joss before going into production.

This is close to being my favorite scene in the entire Buffyverse, so I think it's particularily interesting that this scene has been revised.

Since I love analyzing and fanwanking, I think it'd be interesting to compare and contrast the different versions. They differ greatly, and I'd like to open this up for discussion for anyone that's interested.


Here is Petrie's:

A CEMETERY. It's dark, long shadows cast from headstones. Buffy comes running into the cemetery, stops.

She looks around, searching.

But the place is empty. Buffy turns to go, then stops. She looks back to the sole source of light casting these long headstone shadows ...

Buffy's P.O.V.: We see, at the far end of the graveyard, a solitary CHURCH. A single light comes from within.

Buffy stares at it a moment, some kind of peace coming over her. Then she walks toward the church ...

INT. CHURCH - NIGHT

Twin heavy doors swing slowly open and Buffy enters the church. She hears the sound of sobbing.

She walks in, cautiously, drawing a stake.

Buffy's P.O.V.: We see a figure, its back to us, sitting in one of the pews, rocking gently back and forth.

Buffy approaches. It is Spike, sitting alone, looking as lost and frightened as he can. He speaks softly and sanely.


SPIKE
I figured it out. Took awhile, yeah,
but ... I think the real problem
is ...
He looks to Buffy, eyes wide, vulnerable,


SPIKE (cont'd)
I was once this really nice guy.
Buffy remains cautious, keeping her distance.


BUFFY
So that's the problem.
SPIKE
I think.

BUFFY
Got news, Spike. You're not that
nice.

Spike laughs, quietly, enjoying the irony of a good joke.


SPIKE
Yeah. I've been ... well come on,
Let's face it, been a one-man
slaughterhouse, last hundred years.
Raping. Murdering. And for what?
(heat)
Kicks.
He stands in the pew, bows his head in reverence.


SPIKE (cont'd)
William the Bloody awful poet,
skipping down the lane ... good boy,
bad boy, all the sodding same.
You like it? Wrote that one myself.
He rolls his head around slowly, up to the ceiling, staring.


SPIKE (cont'd)
Is it hot enough in here to burn all
your mortal sins away?
And suddenly, vampire-fast, he stands straight up.


SPIKE (cont'd)
Or am I just crazy?
He laughs, steps from the pew, into the aisle.


SPIKE (cont'd)
Stuffy. Stuffed. Full, packed,
sorry mate, no room, out you go,
we're packed to the bloody brim,
standing room only and no room for
that. We. Are. Full.
Buffy steps back, giving him a wide berth. Spike lurches forward, up the church aisle, zig-zagging left and right, but always moving forward.


SPIKE (cont'd)
Full of sin. Full of guilt. Full of
hate and love and loss and feeling.
Full of it, quite frankly and it's
been so long.
(laughs)
Since we felt anything here. Rusty
switchboard, sparked to life, bound
to be more'n a few sharp shocks.
Buffy slowly following behind, never losing grip on that stake, and watching ...


SPIKE (cont'd)
Right? RIGHT?!? Shh. Quiet.
Church. His house. Place of clasped
hands, reverent hymns, and massive
raw amounts of BEGGING. On your
knees, boy. Beg him. BEG HIM ...
And we see where Spike is heading: at the head of the altar, there stands a large, carved-stone CRUCIFIX.


SPIKE (cont'd)
... for forgiveness.
BUFFY
Spike ...

SPIKE
Buffy. I can't sleep. Can't think.
There's voices and darkness and
blindness and pain and help me, I
I...

He keeps walking, slowly, up the aisle. Gets to the altar's steps and keeps going ... straight to the cross.


BUFFY
You have a soul.
Spike stops at the cross. Responds without looking back.


SPIKE
I do indeed.
He wearily lets his head rest upon the stone crucifix. And STEAM rises from where his flesh makes contact. He grimaces, but does not scream.


SPIKE (cont'd)
And it's killing me.
He reaches out and HUGS the crucifix with both arms. Steam rises from his palms.


SPIKE (cont'd)
God ...
He releases the cross, slowly pulling back and turning to Buffy


SPIKE (cont'd)
God hates me. You hate me. I hate
myself more than ever.
Buffy wants to step forward but does not.


BUFFY
But why'd you do it ...?
SPIKE
You know why. I got my soul back ...

He keeps turning, now facing Buffy, barely able to stand on his feet, wobbling a bit - and holding his arms out wide.


SPIKE (cont'd)
... So I could be the kind of ...
(laughs)
... Person ... you could care for,
the man you would come to ... the man
you could love.
Spike GRINS through bloody teeth. The burn marks stand out fresh upon his forehead and palms. He looks like death, and any second he's going to collapse.

And still, it's like something terribly sad is actually, deep down funny - and only he gets the joke.

He walks toward Buffy. Staggering gently. Eyeing the stake she still holds in her hand. He's drawn to it - and to her.


SPIKE (cont'd)
I was the enemy, then I was nothing,
and now I'm God's garbage, not even
a joke, less than, less than, less
than all His creatures combined so
tell me, dear Buffy ...
Buffy lets him approach, unmoving, but not letting go of that stake, either.

He barely makes it to her - and SLAMS straight down, to his KNEES. And opens his arms wide.


SPIKE (cont'd)
How ya like me now?
Buffy's mind goes a long way trying to come up with the answer, but her mouth cannot speak and we:


BLACK OUT.

END OF SHOW

And, Joss' version, re-written:

(Or, the [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSwo6kkBTVU&feature=related"]video[/ame] if you'd rather review it that way)

Buffy walks through the silent graveyard, looking for Spike. She sees a small
church with lit candles flickering in the windows and makes her way toward it.

CUT TO:
SUNNYDALE CEMETERY"” CHAPEL"” NIGHT 24

Buffy opens the door and walks inside. The chapel is apparently deserted.
Suddenly Spike appears out of the darkness behind her and she whirls around,
angry.
SPIKE
It didn't work.
BUFFY
What the hell are you"”
SPIKE
It didn't work.
He stands before her, shirtless, the scars on his chest prominently displayed. He
tosses aside his blue shirt.
SPIKE
Costume. Didn't help. Couldn't hide.
BUFFY
No more mind games, Spike.
SPIKE
No more mind games. No more mind.
BUFFY
Tell me what happened to you.
She reaches out to touch the scars and he flinches away from her.
SPIKE
Hey, hey! No touching! Am I flesh? Am I flesh to you? Feed on
flesh. My flesh. Nothing else. Not a spark. Oh, fine. Flesh, then.
Solid through. Get it hard, service the girl.
He starts to unbutton his pants and Buffy reaches out to stop him.
BUFFY
Stop it! You"”
Spike seizes her by the throat and she breaks his grip and throws him across the
room where he lands on the church pews, shattering them.
SPIKE
Right. Girl doesn't want to be serviced. Because there's no spark.
Ain't we in a soddin' engine?
BUFFY
Spike, have you completely lost your mind?
SPIKE
Well, yes. Where have you been all night?
BUFFY
You thought you could just come back here and be with me?
SPIKE
First time for everything.
BUFFY
This is all you get. I'm listening. Tell me what happened.
SPIKE
I tried to find it, of course.
BUFFY
(annoyed)
Find what?
SPIKE
The spark. The missing"¦ the piece. That fit. That would make
me fit. Because you didn't want"¦ god"¦ I can't! Not with you
looking.
He stands up and moves off into the shadows.
SPIKE
I dreamed of killing you.
Spooked in spite of herself, Buffy bends down and picks up a splintered piece of
wood and wields it as a stake.
SPIKE
I think they were dreams. So weak. Did you make me weak?
Thinking of you, holding myself and spilling useless buckets of
salt over your"¦ ending. Angel, he should have warned me. He
makes a good show of forgetting but it's here in me"¦ all the
time. The spark. I wanted to give you what you deserve. And I
got it. They put the spark in me"¦ and now all it does is burn.
Buffy is stunned.
BUFFY
Your soul"¦
SPIKE
(laughs)
A bit worse for lack of use.
BUFFY
You got your soul back. How?
SPIKE
It's what you wanted, right? (looks up) It's what you wanted,
right?
Spike puts his hands to his head and winces.
SPIKE
And now everybody's in here, talking. Everything I did,
everyone I"¦ and him"¦ and it"¦ the other. The thing beneath"¦
beneath you. It's here, too. Everybody. They all just tell me go.
Go"¦ to hell..
BUFFY
(horrified)
Why? Why would you do that?
SPIKE
Buffy, shame on you. Why does a man do what he mustn't? For
her. To be hers. To be the kind of man who would nev"” (beat)
To be a kind of man.
Spike approaches the large cross standing at the head of the chapel.
SPIKE
And she shall look on him with forgiveness and everybody will
forgive and love"¦ and he will be loved. So everything's okay,
right?
Buffy watches in stunned silence, a single tear tracking down her cheek, as Spike
drapes his arms over the cross and rests his head upon it. Smoke starts to curl up
around him as the religious icon singes his flesh.
SPIKE
Can we rest now? Buffy, can we rest?
FADE TO BLACK
END
Now, there are many differences I find intersting between these two versions, but I want you ask you all: after reading both, which do you prefer? Who do you think Joss felt the need to re-write it?

I like Petrie's - it's a good piece of writing - but not for Spike. I can't shake this nagging feeling that it's OOC in some way. Petrie notoriously writes Spike badly (case in point: "As You Were"). There is so much self-hatred...While I like the fact that Spike is reciting poetry in Petrie's version, strangely, I feel like Joss' is more poetic.

Also, it's interesting to me that in Joss' version it's in the script for Buffy to cry, while that is not the case in Petrie's version.
 

Taake

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Wow, those were really different.
I like Petrie's version I do - it makes Spike sound more torn and driven to craziness by the soul - but I don't really get a true Spike feeling from it either.
Like you said there's just too much self-hatred in there.

Also "How ya like me now" can't really compare to "Can we rest now? Buffy, can we rest?"

Petrie's version was all right but I can see why Joss felt the need to re-write it, just cause the tone was a hint off and Buffy felt kind of - cold? (to me at least)

So I definitely prefer Joss' version, I always thought that was one of the best parts of s7, it's haunting and beautiful.
 

Kelsey

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I like the beginning of the original, with Spike's babbling poetry and his mention of what he's done. I also like the talk of God and religion and everything, but I don't like the reveal or the end. Buffy saying, "You have a soul now," and Spike replying, "I do, indeed" just doesn't really compare. Also, like Taake said, "How do ya like me now?" is a poor substitute for, "Can we rest now, Buffy?" And Petrie's does have a measure of coldness to it that doesn't make Spike as sympathetic. And he's also far too lucid when he's saying he did it for Buffy--though I'm sure James could have played it tortured and made it seem madder.

Also, I always found a peotic beauty this line: "They put the spark in me, and now all it does is burn." It'd be a shame to lose it.
 

Joan the Vampire Slayer

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Yea, I'm in agreement with everyone else that Joss' version is far better. There is something cold in Petrie's version, and Buffy is written far less sympathetic towards Spike.
 

dan k

Bangel Is Eternal
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I liked the start of Petrie. "Got news for you Spike your not that nice" that's typical Buffy, i can imagine her saying that. However i don't think he writes for Spike aswell as Joss does.

What's so great about Joss version is how remorseful Spike is and how emotional the scene is with a tear rolling down Buffy's face etc. In Petrie's however the emotion is lost on the poem which i don't really like and the How'd you like me now" just doesn't fit with what's going on.

What Spike says in Joss version in my opinion comes across as having more meaning than what i see in Petrie's.
 
brinkster130
brinkster130
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Kelsey

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Petrie's is darker and more shocking, I think. The end scene would have left me feeling horrified, and probably the same with Buffy. Joss' version, on the other hand, is quietly tragic and strangely sweet.
 
S
StarSlayer
Agreed! I would not have liked to see Petrie's ending. I like Joss's ending much more :)

Skytteflickan88

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I can't decide which one I like better. They both basically have the same message, but Joss version have a tiny bit of humour("Well, yes. Where have you been all night?") and that it's shorter with less crazy talk makes it more poignant, at least on papper. I think they both have pieces I really think should have been in the episode, and parts I care for less, so I would have liked to see JM's delivery and SMG's reaction to be able to truly compare them.

Where did you find Petrie's version?
 
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Someone posted the link on LJ.

HisMrs

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I don't like Petrie's version. I think it's poorly written and out-of-character for Spike.

I'm so glad that they realised it wasn't working, and Joss rewrote it. It's one of my favourite and one of the most moving scenes in the series.

There's a really great meta on this subject, here:

Doug Petrie's "Beneath You" Church Scene
Well said! I agree 100%. Doug Petrie's version is good, but it doesn't feel like SPIKE to me. When I read those lines, I can't imagine Spike doing and saying some of those things.
 

StarSlayer

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I don't like Petrie's version. I think it's poorly written and out-of-character for Spike.

I'm so glad that they realised it wasn't working, and Joss rewrote it. It's one of my favourite and one of the most moving scenes in the series.

There's a really great meta on this subject, here:

Doug Petrie's "Beneath You" Church Scene
I agree on both counts. Poorly written and Spike seems way out-of-character, especially for such a crucial moment in his journey. I don't get a feeling of sympathy or emotion from Spike after reading Petrie's version. Instead, I feel like it's become all a big joke to Spike. And with Buffy, I don't like how he portrays her and her actions. For instance, she goes into the church already armed and holds the stake the entire time, even after she realizes Spike has a soul. Where as in Joss's version, she picks up a stake later on, since she's not sure what Spike will do. She then lowers it after she realizes Spike does have a soul. And I think her realization is much more shocking and believable in Joss's version. From there on, everything suddenly is coming together and she's understanding what Spike's words truly mean.

Joss's words also have such a better poetic feel and symbolic nature than Petrie's version, which makes that scene so beautiful and memorable. Referring to Spike's soul as "the spark," how it burns (which was symbolic of his relationship with Buffy), how he wanted to be the kind of "man" (rather than person as Petrie puts it) who would not hurt Buffy, and then walking up to the cross reciting what sounds like scripture (I don't think it is though, correct me if I'm wrong) - "And she shall look on him with forgiveness and everybody will forgive and love, and he will be loved."

And the ending, with Petrie's version, I feel like that image of Spike would have scared the crap out of Buffy (and probably the audience too) rather than having her feel sympathy and empathy. But, with Joss's version, we all get that Spike truly feels guilty over everything he's done and Buffy realizes that too, which shows in her tears. And the final shot on Spike on the cross, wanting to burn for his sins since that's all he has felt since getting his soul...ugh, so heartbreaking but brilliant!

Lol, I get very passionate about this kind of stuff if you haven't already noticed :D
 
D
dan k
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Joan the Vampire Slayer
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Nice post! Welcome to BB, by the way! ;)

TheChosenTwo

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"You have a soul."
"I do indeed"

LMFAO.

Petrie's version is pretty poorly written, IMO.
The original scene is just the best.
 

Taake

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There is something cold in Petrie's version, and Buffy is written far less sympathetic towards Spike.
Yeah I didn't like the "Got news for you Spike, you're not that nice." line.
Maybe season 2 Buffy would've said that but come season 7... no way.
 
S
Skytteflickan88
Really? Sounds like something Season 6 Buffy would say to Spike when she wanted to hurt him. Which she would, in Beneath You.

dan k

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Yeah I didn't like the "Got news for you Spike, you're not that nice." line.
Maybe season 2 Buffy would've said that but come season 7... no way.
I think early on in season 7 she would have said something like that. The way she treated Spike when he came back was of one of caution and trying to separate herself from him as much as possible. That sort of sly off cuff remark from Buffy wouldn't have surprised me personally.
 
S
Skytteflickan88
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Joan the Vampire Slayer
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Yeah, I think it would have made a big difference in how Sarah played the line. I could imagine her saying that it is was sort of in a joking sort of way.

Kelsey

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I keep coming back to this thread to watch it now. It's been a long time since I've seen it, and I'd almost forgotten how awesome it is. That realization that he got his soul back, the fact that he did it for her, the look on her face as he hangs onto the cross--so good!

I do wish I could've seen Petrie's version acted out, even if it wasn't as good. I always like different takes on scenes and moments I love.
 

Joan the Vampire Slayer

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I keep coming back to this thread to watch it now. It's been a long time since I've seen it, and I'd almost forgotten how awesome it is. That realization that he got his soul back, the fact that he did it for her, the look on her face as he hangs onto the cross--so good!

I do wish I could've seen Petrie's version acted out, even if it wasn't as good. I always like different takes on scenes and moments I love.
Agreed. It really is one of the best scenes between the two -maybe in the entire series. It's just so haunting and beautiful.
 

TaylorSwift

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I prefer the Joss version..it's got more emotion, it's deeper and you can just see when it's Joss writing the scenes. It's always perfect.
 

dan k

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Its an awesome scene, so intense, brillantly acted from both Sarah and James. I disagree with you Joan in the fact that Sarah would have said "Got news for you Spike, you're not that nice" in a jokey way. Buffy had a callous side to her nature and i could imagine her saying that before she fully understood what Spike had gone through. Like i said she was determined to keep him at arms length and making those kinds of comments was a way for her to do that. Kick him when he was down etc not allow him to hurt her again, to make sure she was the one in control.
 
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