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Did Spike began changing before getting a soul?

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Spike has always retained a bit more humanity in him than the average demon. The Judge makes it clear enough in Spike's first season that he stinks of it and as we get to know him we see how Spike is, indeed, driven by destructive, yet very human emotions from his preserved love for his mom, to his insecurities and desire to prove himself within the Whirlwind. He still remains a fairly normal, surely evil vampire, though.

Well he does up until the chip incapacitates him to physically harm people and puts him in a strange position. Additionally, he falls in love with his mortal enemy and begins fighting for the good team, though his reasons for that (getting to punch someone and impressing the Slayer) are definitely selfish. Or at least they are in the beginning. The question is what happens afterwards.

There are quite a few moments later on, such as him looking after Dawn over the summer following Buffy's death, a period when winning her affection was no longer an option, that can be difficult to attribute to an utter selfishness. So was there a change in him? Did he gradually, as a combination of both his inherent predilection and unusual situation, begin to cultivate some ability to act at least somewhat from a place of sincere care for others, or even to develop a form of artificial, incomplete, askew, and confused moral compass? Did that possible change and his fractured identity play a role into his decision to get back his soul? Lacking consciousness, he may have still been miles away from being a (good) person, but was he just as evil as before getting a chip?
 
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thrasherpix

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I think he genuinely liked Joyce (perversely, the axe to the head may have helped rather than hindered that sentiment :p ), and was pleasant to her even without the chip. (I'm suddenly wanting a scene of Joyce complaining about Buffy to Spike and Spike egging her on on how insufferable Buffy is. :D )

Oh yeah, I've wanted them to include a scene of Joyce visiting Gile's apartment while Spike was tied up in the tub or some such and expressing deep concern and wondering who the real monsters are (with Spike going "bloody right you are!") as Buffy politely but firmly tells her mother to stay out of it (Joyce telling Buffy not to talk to her that way) and Giles feeling all awkward over it. Anyway, back to topic.

I also think he showed similar signs of liking Dawn in season 5 with conversations in his crypt, breaking into the Magic Box, etc. At first it was "just for Buffy" but after awhile he seemed to like her. Though by then, Dawn (and sometimes Joyce) were the only ones to actually treat him nice besides Clem. And vampires seem to desire company much like humans do. So I can see why he looked after her while Buffy was dead (though he seemed to lost a lot of interest in Dawn once Buffy was back).
 

Puppet

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I've never thought of Spike as the exception to the vampire rule - if anything, Angelus is the one that doesn't act accordingly. I think anyone in Spike's situation (except for Angelus) could have ended up where he was - on the side of good. I mean, Darla on AtS is somewhat proof of this, depending on what you take from it as a viewer. And I don't mean when she was being influenced by Connor's soul.

That being said, I think that things just aren't as simple as soulless=selfish, especially as we humans - who probably have souls - are prone to selfish acts more often than selfless ones. Everything that Spike does soulless cannot be called solely selfish - such as going out of his way to keep Drusilla alive - just as everything Spike does or says after getting a soul cannot be seen solely as selfless, either.

Do I think the chip helped? Of course. Had Spike never been chipped, he more than likely wouldn't have been put into a position to go through those same changes from canon. And if another vampire (Penn, Lawson, whoever isn't Angelus or an insane Drusilla) had been chipped and forced to find another way to survive (fighting demons for survival) there's no saying they wouldn't, with time, come to a place where they saw humanity as more than just happy meals on legs.
 
GreyWalker1958
GreyWalker1958
Somehow a chip Dru would result in her reacting the same way to with a soul: Wanting it out even if it must be murder

AlphaFoxtrot

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My headcanon is that one of the cosmic factions doesn't entirely trust the final battle to Angel and his Gypsy curse, and are manipulating Spike into being a backup champion. My other theory is that Angelus was trained by Maestro to shun humanity, (what we saw was an abridged version of events) whereas Spike was raised by the whirlwind during their hedonist phase.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Spike has always retained a bit more humanity in him than the average demon. The Judge makes it clear enough in Spike's first season that he stinks of it
The Judge also made the same comment in regards to Dru because she and Spike shared "affection and jealousy". Dalton also had humanity in him.

As @Puppet says, Angelus seems to be the exception to the rule, being completely devoid of humanity, rather than Spike.

I think he genuinely liked Joyce (perversely, the axe to the head may have helped rather than hindered that sentiment :p ), and was pleasant to her even without the chip.
I think that could very well be the case. If vampire hierarchy works the same way as hierarchy in nature, then the dominant vampire is usually the strongest one who from time to time will have to fend off challengers or surrender the position. They're respected by the rest of the group who are submissive and don't want to challenge the leadership. Joyce hitting Spike in the head with the axe earnt some respect from him as it was a display of force- the "leader" of one group warning off the leader of another.

And vampires seem to desire company much like humans do.
I think vampires are social creatures hence why they tend to live in groups. It also explains why Spike stays with the scoobies, they're the closest things he has to friends since he's not welcome amongst the demon community anymore.
 
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I've never thought of Spike as the exception to the vampire rule - if anything, Angelus is the one that doesn't act accordingly. I think anyone in Spike's situation (except for Angelus) could have ended up where he was - on the side of good.
Yes, I do agree that Angelus's utter lack of humanity was the truly peculiar case in a vampire world that has its share of lovers, dreamers, and unicorn-collectors. I only meant that Spike's heightened capacity for human emotions, probably inherited from the passionate personality of William, makes his transition easier than it would have been for let's say a vampire who spent their human days laying around, not caring about much, and whose un-dead existence reflects that.
 

NothingVentured

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Ask the girl in the alley he attempted to murder.
 
EffulgentBitca
EffulgentBitca
He attempted other terrible things as well. And not to random by-passers. ”Begin to change” doesn't mean he stopped being a soulless vampire. But it also doesn't negate the possibility of some inner, subtle workings going on beneath the surface.
K
katmobile
Which the writers admitted was ambigious - does he want to bite the girl or does he want to want to bite the girl?

WillowFromBuffy

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There are quite a few moments later on, such as him looking after Dawn over the summer following Buffy's death, a period when winning her affection was no longer an option, that can be difficult to attribute to an utter selfishness.
I think selfishness becomes a complicated concept with Spike. Spike is a romantic. Dedicating his life to protecting the orphaned sister of his dead love is exactly the kind of thing that appeals to him. Forever mourning the love of his life is his idea of a good time. It is much more meaningful for him than watching Knight Rider with Clem.

Spike is quite unhappy in S4, and I don't think it is just because of the chip. I think his unhappiness stems from not having a woman to dedicate himself to. Without Drusilla, he just drifts around aimlessly. Falling for Buffy gives his life meaning, even after she has died.

I don't think soulless Spike changes that much. We see his sensitive side long before he falls for Buffy. We see it with Drusilla in S2 and with Joyce in S3.

I have this theory about Spike and women.

1. In Drusilla he sees Cecily.
2. In Joyce he sees his own mother.
3. In Dawn he sees himself.
4. In Buffy he sees all of the above.
 
EffulgentBitca
EffulgentBitca
I really like your analysis of Spike. It's not for nothing he is described as love's bitch and a fool for love, after all. A Romantic (and romantic) poet to his core. And your theory is truly something to think about.
GreyWalker1958
GreyWalker1958
#2 was dead on. 1, maybe since Halfrek was on the job and wanted William out of her hair

NothingVentured

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I think people drastically overestimate Spike's role in the lives of Joyce and Dawn and he in theirs.

Spike protects Dawn because of Buffy. He doesn't not tell Glory because of Dawn herself. He says as much. It's for Buffy. Buffy asks him to look after them and he does because Spike is loyal. The only time we see him interact with Joyce is at Buffy's behest. He takes flowers to Buffy's house, not to Joyce's gravestone. Once Buffy returns, he shows no interest in Dawn and doesn't have much issue using her as leverage to stay in Buffy's life.

It is quite possible he liked them, but that doesn't mean there was some shift in the universe over it. There are plenty of vamp/human interactions throughout the show. They populate demon bars as do humans.

Which is to say... No, not really. He had his options limited. Yes, he was mad obsessed and "loved" Buffy but "love" wasn't uncommon to vampires.

I'd also add that I think people ignore a lot of the forest for the trees about Angelus as well. When you look at the whole of the BtVS/AtS storyline, he had plenty of human-esque qualities to him, surely enough to put him on par with Dalton. He loved the arts. He "loved" Darla.

EffulgentBitca He attempted other terrible things as well. And not to random by-passers. ”Begin to change” doesn't mean he stopped being a soulless vampire. But it also doesn't negate the possibility of some inner, subtle workings going on beneath the surface.
When the terrible things undermine the superficial changes, I would say that they do.

The S6 storyline makes a good case that in spite of what even he himself thought, he hadn't really changed at all.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Spike may have gained some points with Buffy over not telling Glory about Dawn but don't forget, it was in his overall interest as well. Vampires can tolerate a lot of injury and not be that mindful of the pain but in this case, if he told Glory, she would collapse all the dimensions into each other and that would be as bad for Spike as for everyone else. He was the one who said about Acathla that he liked this world:

Spike: We like to talk big. (indicates himself) Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' (looks at the officer) That's just tough guy talk. (steps over to the car) Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. (sits on the hood) The truth is, I like this world. (pulls the cigarette pack from the officer's shirt pocket) You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. (pulls one out and drops the pack on the officer) And you've got people. (exhales) Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. (lights the cigarette and takes a drag) But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... (exhales) passion for destruction. (takes another drag and looks at Buffy) Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Picadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?

Glory getting her way would be another case of the same thing. It was in his self-interest to stonewall Glory.
 

NothingVentured

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That's not true. Spike and Joyce interact five times, only two of them is at Buffy's behest.
School Hard: Axe to the head.
Becoming: Business.
Lovers Walk: A mope and he was looking for someone else.
Checkpoint: Buffy takes them there and he demands payment.
Crush: A ploy to get to Buffy. It's later revealed that Joyce thinks he's a sicko.

That's it. It's never implied anywhere other than Spike's (sometimes delusional) words that they were on any level friends.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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looking for someone else.
Something else.
That's it. It's never implied anywhere other than Spike's (sometimes delusional) words that they were on any level friends.
I think they were friends on the level Spike implies they were friends. She was nice to him, even when she had no reason to. And he clearly enjoys the attention she lays on him in Lovers Walk. If Buffy hadn't showed up, I imagine he could have sat there drinking cocoa and marshmallows for hours, telling her about all his sorrows.
 

TriBel

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@EffulgentBitca "”Begin to change” doesn't mean he stopped being a soulless vampire. But it also doesn't negate the possibility of some inner, subtle workings going on beneath the surface."

I think it's this. He's in transition: Monster ➡ Man (though the two are never clearly separate and on some occasions the direction's reversed) and this involves a relocation of his sense of self. It's a process of becoming that's also a learning process (enforced by the chip - then out of choice. It's debatable how "free" he is to make a choice and there's always a price to be paid (we all make sacrifices in order to belong).

If we presume that vampires are (traditionally) driven by the Id and governed by the pleasure principle, what we see in Spike is the re-education of his ego as he comes into conflict with the reality principle. This is a learning process that involves testing boundaries. In this he's no different than a child. So, I'd agree with this.

In Dawn he sees himself.
From this perspective, his expectation he'll be thanked for not feeding from the victims of the troll attack is not unreasonable; that he stays with Dawn despite the attractions of joining in with the hellions could be applauded as part of his self-education. His attack on the woman in the alley is preceded by debate. In all cases, there's delayed gratification.

As Wiki puts it: "Allowing the individual to defer (put off) instant gratification, the reality principle is the governing principle of the actions taken by the ego, after its slow development from a "pleasure-ego" into a "reality-ego": it may be compared to the triumph of reason over passion, head over heart, rational over emotional mind.

What I like about SR is the tiled floor in the bathroom - a tessellation of black/white tiles. By attacking Buffy, he literally crosses (the) line(s)...just as the bullet that kills Tara crosses the line (from outside to in). One of the things I like about Lessons, is Giles patrolling fences in England (reinforcing lines/boundaries).

his fractured identity play a role into his decision to get back his soul
For me, this is his primary reason for seeking out Lloyd. Chip removal or soul insertion - doesn't matter which - either will give him the stability he seeks. Bugger "becoming" - he just wants to BE. It's not until his conversation with Lloyd (Lloyd refers to him as dark warrior - Spike refers to himself as warrior) that we get some intimation of the direction things will take. I'm not sure Spike's consciously aware at this stage.

It's not until the third task that he drops the word "Slayer" in exchange for Buffy. Note, he's "penetrated" as he was by Drusilla (as Tara is by the bullet) and reborn (as he was when he was first turned). As is Buffy when she climbs from her "grave" for a second time (doesn't the editing parallel these moments?). She actually moves into the light. He, for obvious reasons, does it figuratively. The "nature" of light/enlightenment is questioned on S7.

1. In Drusilla he sees Cecily.
2. In Joyce he sees his own mother.
3. In Dawn he sees himself.
4. In Buffy he sees all of the above.
Interesting. I'd argue that Cecily is a replacement for his mother (who he knows he'll lose soon. That aside, it's a common axiom); Dru replaces Cecily. She rebirths him and becomes his second mother (they admit this). Joyce - I agree (quite poignant that he misses her funeral as well as Anne's). Buffy - the actress who plays Anne was chosen because of the resemblance to Buffy (and Joyce I presume). Broadly speaking, I agree (though *sigh* I'd probably make it more complicated :rolleyes:). It's an accumulation that's consolidated imaginatively and symbolically in Buffy.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Interesting. I'd argue that Cecily is a replacement for his mother (who he knows he'll lose soon. That aside, it's a common axiom); Dru replaces Cecily. She rebirths him and becomes his second mother (they admit this). Joyce - I agree (quite poignant that he misses her funeral as well as Anne's). Buffy - the actress who plays Anne was chose because of the resemblance to Buffy (and Joyce I presume). Broadly speaking, I agree (though I'd probably make it more complicated :rolleyes:). It's an accumulation that's consolidated imaginatively and symbolically in Buffy.
I don't think Cecily or Drusilla are all that motherly. Spike's mother is very kind and nurturing. Cecily and Drusilla are both quite harsh. He is drawn to them for their glamorousness and sex appeal .... their effulgence.
 

TriBel

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I don't think Cecily or Drusilla are all that motherly. Spike's mother is very kind and nurturing. Cecily and Drusilla are both quite harsh. He is drawn to them for their glamorousness and sex appeal .... their effulgence.
Doesn't he tell his mum she's glowing? LOL! never under-estimate the power of the unconscious! 😊
 

WillowFromBuffy

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Doesn't he tell his mum she's glowing? LOL! never under-estimate the power of the unconscious! 😊
Yes, but Drusilla is the complete opposite of his mother in every way.

And he has been writing love poems about Cecily for quite a while it seems, so I feel he is tempted to leave the nest, even though he has a hard time doing it. I don't think he was just looking for another woman to care for him. If he had been, he would have found someone else than Cecily.
 
TriBel
TriBel
BTW, just to clarify, when I use the word "reductive" below I wasn't casting a slur at you. I simply meant I didn't have time. :)

katmobile

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I got likes for a comment that Angel and Angelus are an on/off switch with a dimmer function as Angel does go dark(er) with a soul on occasion, Spike is a continuum but what propels him along it is neutral - i.e. his feelings - they're neutral as they are only about one person's welfare. I still maintain that a lot of his toxic behaviour towards Buffy in season six is a lack of understanding of her general altruism and how much it is a fundamental part of her - that's why he's killing her. Season seven he gets it but perhaps he still doesn't really understand why she started it - depression is not feeling pain but nothing and I don't think Spike has ever felt nothing. People say that Spike does nothing altruistic but actually what gears Buffy into helping him is ....in he wades in to save a girl he doesn't know from Adam and punches the bad guy when every time he does the pain rips his head off. Later on he instinctively barrells into Caleb to save Xander from being completely blinded when him and Xander have never been pals and Buffy is distracted enough she'd never know if she didn't. He will also help talk Angel out of sacrificing millions to save Fred on the grounds she wouldn't have wanted it despite both liking Fred and being in debt to her for helping save her ass it because it kill a lot of other people, all of whom are strangers so have no personal connection to him. He also dies for the greater good, currying favour with Buffy is no good if you're not around to enjoy it, with is powered by the soul people deny.

He needed a soul but to deny either he did some good without one or that he is no different with you is wrong.
 

TriBel

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Yes, but Drusilla is the complete opposite of his mother in every way.
Only consciously...and he gets to shag her. Thus fulfilling a repressed childhood wish. It's Sunday and I'm not having a reductive discussion about Oedipus/the Oedipal complex on a Sunday. ;) Besides, I have to take my own mother shopping.

He writes poems to Cecily but reads them to Anne (and looks for her approval). You could then have the whole debate about the authenticity of speech/writing (I think it's significant we don't see the letter in Touched). I don't think he gets to read the Effulgence poem himself under the final episode of Angel does he? After he's "saved" a boy child.

And opposites don't necessarily preclude similarities.
 

katmobile

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Only consciously...and he gets to shag her. Thus fulfilling a repressed childhood wish. It's Sunday and I'm not having a reductive discussion about Oedipus/the Oedipal complex on a Sunday. ;) Besides, I have to take my own mother shopping.

He writes poems to Cecily but reads them to Anne (and looks for her approval). You could then have the whole debate about the authenticity of speech/writing (I think it's significant we don't see the letter in Touched). I don't think he gets to read the Effulgence poem himself under the final episode of Angel does he? After he's "saved" a boy child.

And opposites don't necessarily preclude similarities.
I've never bought into that Freudian Oepidal bs it's a gross oversimplification and sexist to boot penis envy doesn't exist unless you're desperate for a piss far from a loo or with an enormous queue for one in front of you, when you're facing patriarchal bs or if you're a binary trans man - at which point it's tricky but problem can be solved.

I recommend an essay called 'Love's Bitch but Man Enough to Admit It' about Spike's complicated gender ID - I'm not saying he's trans but they same essay points out that at least one person who has those issues ID's with him as a result of that. I think Spike like Xander tends to relate better to women than other man due to experiencing other men as either indifferent or abusive on some level even it's the casual verbal contempt of their male peers. Both tend to put women in general and Buffy in particular on pedestals because of it.
 
DeadlyDuo
DeadlyDuo
The whole Buffy on a pedestal thing could just be because she's the lead. It's common in a lot of shows for several male characters to lust after the female lead.
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