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Discussion of 5.18 "Intervention" - Aired 4/24/01 (WB-US)

Mylie

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This is one of my favourtie episodes. I do think we have to earn love, we can't just expect it because we want it, except from out parents if we're lucky. Love, like respect has to be earnt. You love the person who does things for you, tries to make your life better, gives you comfort in hard times, and takes the hits for you, and that's what Spike did, he took Glory's punishment because he didn't want to hurt Buffy. It may have been self-serving in a way, as he was a soulless vampire, but the result was that he protected Dawn and Buffy appreciated that. Love is a reward, you earn it and give it for the same reasons.

Of course we should earn the love we do have. If I love someone and they treat me like shit, then the reasonable thing is to ask myself why I love them in the first place. But it shouldn't be the other way around. Just because someone you've made it really clear that you don't like, you've said no to multiple times loves you and tries to earn your love by protecting you and being nice doesn't mean they're entitled to your love. I hate the fact that this is the story they told. And I agree with people who've said this sends a bad message.
 

Priceless

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Of course we should earn the love we do have. If I love someone and they treat me like shit, then the reasonable thing is to ask myself why I love them in the first place. But it shouldn't be the other way around. Just because someone you've made it really clear that you don't like, you've said no to multiple times loves you and tries to earn your love by protecting you and being nice doesn't mean they're entitled to your love. I hate the fact that this is the story they told. And I agree with people who've said this sends a bad message.

I agree, love isn't a one way street. You can't make someone love you, it's either there or it isn't, but for a soulless vampire I think Spike is doing the absolute best he knows how to do to prove to Buffy that he's worthy of her love. He doesn't fully understand what she needs/wants because he's a demon, but he's trying, and taking that beating was something he could do for her, and he did it gladly.

Buffy may have told him many times she's got no romantic interest in him, but her lips say different :) She kissed him on the mouth. Xander is an absolute hero, he helps Buffy all the time, she's got a lot to be grateful for where he's concerned, but not once does she kiss Xander on the mouth to say thank you.

Why the kiss? It's written by Jane 'Spuffy' Espenson. The end.

One of the best writers on the show, Spuffy was lucky to have her on their side
 

Mylie

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I agree, love isn't a one way street. You can't make someone love you, it's either there or it isn't, but for a soulless vampire I think Spike is doing the absolute best he knows how to do to prove to Buffy that he's worthy of her love. He doesn't fully understand what she needs/wants because he's a demon, but he's trying, and taking that beating was something he could do for her, and he did it gladly.

Buffy may have told him many times she's got no romantic interest in him, but her lips say different :) She kissed him on the mouth. Xander is an absolute hero, he helps Buffy all the time, she's got a lot to be grateful for where he's concerned, but not once does she kiss Xander on the mouth to say thank you.

I'm not sure you understand where I'm coming from so I'll try to be clear. There's absolutely no need to defend Spike in the narrative (well unless you really want to of course), that's not what I'm criticizing. I'm criticizing the writing of that relationship. Of course a soulless vampire will not care about pushing and not respecting boundaries, of course it can be argued that Buffy already started feeling something for him, etc. What I'm saying is that the fact that they went there and told that story makes me uncomfortable. I'm not criticizing Buffy for «rewarding» Spike, I'm criticizing the fact that the writers thought that was a good idea. Does that make sense?
 

RomanticSoul

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One of the best writers on the show, Spuffy was lucky to have her on their side
Totally debatable. To me, one of the worst. Jane's preference for making everyone bonkers (Pangs), tertiary characters (Jonathon) and demeaning a certain scoobie (buttmonkey Xander) is not my kind of good. Also her romanticized view of Spike is one of the reasons later Seasons Spike is all over the place, characterization wise.
 

thetopher

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Still think a kiss on the cheek would've been better than a kiss on the lips.

Spike, to Buffy in 'The Gift' says: 'I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster, but you treat me like a man.'

So I honestly think the kiss isn't a problem. Buffy gave it simply as a shorthand for 'I thank you for what you did and respect your feelings for me as real, not obsession' and as far as Season 5 Spike goes, he had the sense to know this. So clearly Spike didn't see it as encouragement.
The picture only really changes in Season 6, but that's a different problem entirely.
 

Priceless

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I'm not sure you understand where I'm coming from so I'll try to be clear. There's absolutely no need to defend Spike in the narrative (well unless you really want to of course), that's not what I'm criticizing. I'm criticizing the writing of that relationship. Of course a soulless vampire will not care about pushing and not respecting boundaries, of course it can be argued that Buffy already started feeling something for him, etc. What I'm saying is that the fact that they went there and told that story makes me uncomfortable. I'm not criticizing Buffy for «rewarding» Spike, I'm criticizing the fact that the writers thought that was a good idea. Does that make sense?

I'm obviously not understanding you, sorry :( Are you saying that the writing of the Spuffy relationship makes you uncomfortable? Can you expand on why? What is it that makes you uncomfortable, so I can understand a bit better where you are coming from? Is it something as specific as the kiss in Intervention, or is it a more broad sense of discomfort about the relationship in general? Hey, there are lots of people who hate Spuffy with a passion, so you are not alone, I just happen to be on the opposite side of the fence and enjoy the way their relationship is written.

I think you can view it two ways, either be into the romance of Spuffy and love the characters together, or you can see it as part of a tv show and even though you don't like the relationship, you can appreciate the art within the writing. I'm not a fan of Bangel, but I can appreciate the intricacy and depth of the writng of an episode like Amends - I don't appreciate the relationship but I admire the warmth of the writing. (But to be clear, I am also into the romance of Spuffy :))

Totally debatable. To me, one of the worst. Jane's preference for making everyone bonkers (Pangs), tertiary characters (Jonathon) and demeaning a certain scoobie (buttmonkey Xander) is not my kind of good. Also her romanticized view of Spike is one of the reasons later Seasons Spike is all over the place, characterization wise.

It's all just a matter of taste, and we obviously have different tastes. I find Espensens writing to be warm and sympathetic and she has a good grip on characterisation, you can feel the joy she feels within these characters; she makes it feel like they are a pleasure to write for
 

RomanticSoul

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It's all just a matter of taste, and we obviously have different tastes. I find Espensens writing to be warm and sympathetic and she has a good grip on characterisation, you can feel the joy she feels within these characters; she makes it feel like they are a pleasure to write for
For her favorite characters and relationships she has a lot of love. Everyone else not so much. She was never shy about her Jonathon or Spike or Spuffy love. She also always buttmonkeyed Xander.

Spike, to Buffy in 'The Gift' says: 'I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster, but you treat me like a man.'

So I honestly think the kiss isn't a problem. Buffy gave it simply as a shorthand for 'I thank you for what you did and respect your feelings for me as real, not obsession' and as far as Season 5 Spike goes, he had the sense to know this. So clearly Spike didn't see it as encouragement.
The picture only really changes in Season 6, but that's a different problem entirely.
And isn't it funny that both Buffy and Spike end up at the end of S7 in the same place as they did in S5? Buffy already gave the 'cookie dough' speech in S5. And Spike gives basically the same speech when he is dying as he did in 'The Gift'. Then what the hell was the point of S6/7?
 

Priceless

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For her favorite characters and relationships she has a lot of love. Everyone else not so much. She was never shy about her Jonathon or Spike or Spuffy love. She also always buttmonkeyed Xander.

I don't think that's true. Espensen wrote The Replacement, a great Xander centric episode, in which we see the cool, mature, sophisticated and self assured part of Xander that we don't always get to see. Espensen makes us see that Xander is not the 'doofus' he is often portrayed as, and that there is another side of him and I think she makes him very sympathetic. The Scooby Dance alone is gold :)
 

Mylie

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I'm obviously not understanding you, sorry :( Are you saying that the writing of the Spuffy relationship makes you uncomfortable? Can you expand on why? What is it that makes you uncomfortable, so I can understand a bit better where you are coming from? Is it something as specific as the kiss in Intervention, or is it a more broad sense of discomfort about the relationship in general? Hey, there are lots of people who hate Spuffy with a passion, so you are not alone, I just happen to be on the opposite side of the fence and enjoy the way their relationship is written.

I think you can view it two ways, either be into the romance of Spuffy and love the characters together, or you can see it as part of a tv show and even though you don't like the relationship, you can appreciate the art within the writing. I'm not a fan of Bangel, but I can appreciate the intricacy and depth of the writng of an episode like Amends - I don't appreciate the relationship but I admire the warmth of the writing. (But to be clear, I am also into the romance of Spuffy :))

Ok, this is probably my fault because english isn't my first language and I sometimes struggle to express myself well and coherently.

I'm not a fan of the pairing (as you probably already know) for different reasons. One having to do with the way Spike was written post season 4 and all the sacrifices in the writing in general that were made to keep him on the show, as something other than a villain. Since the writing of his character is so closely linked to Buffy's (usually to her detriment) this ended up creating some inevitable bitterness that makes it really hard for me to enjoy anything Spuffy. I think this might be the difference? When you watch Buffy/Angel in seasons 1-2-3 do you feel like you like her less? Do you feel let down by the writing? Maybe, but probably not. That's the original Buffy we've met. The story is always about her. Whatever happens between her and Angel is always meant to make her look good and make us relate to her. I've lost that with Buffy in seasons 6 and 7 and that's mostly due to Spike/Spuffy. I rarely feel like I know how she's feeling and I have trouble relating to her more than half the time. Half of this is due to the writers not showing us how she feels and making that relationship mostly about Spike and the other half is probably me not being able to accept Spuffy because of my issues with the relationship and so it prevents me from understanding her. The fact that I feel this way about my favorite character only makes me dislike Spuffy even more. It's kind of a vicious circle.

The reason why Intervention makes me uncomfortable is because I have a real issue with the idea that love is some sort of competition where the winner ends up being the person who «deserves» you the most, where the person has to prove how much they love you, etc. so they can have you as a prize of some sort. Because those stories are always about the person who's «fighting». We're all supposed to root for this person to get what they deserve, right? And I'm not saying Spike was thinking about that while he was being tortured, I'm not saying Buffy kissed him because she gave up and gave him what he wanted. I'm saying the story is following that trope. They want the audience to root for Spike in this episode, even though Buffy has rejected him countless times. And the fan reaction was exactly that. This is one of spuffy shippers's favorite episodes and I understand why. Because after rooting for Spike/Spuffy for months, it's normal to be happy that Buffy finally gives him the time of day. That's his reward. And this is the start of that dynamic which lasts until Chosen where he's again rewarded when she finally tells him that she loves him. You love that story and it's fine. I just have problems with the persistence of the guy who doesn't take no for an answer and has to prove how much he loves the girl and then she has no choice but to say yes. I'm not saying Buffy had no choice but the show didn't help in that because we never really understand how she feels, we don't actually know why she does the things she does and/or if she really means them. It just ends up being all about the guy who got his reward. And really, the amount of times I heard the argument that «Spike got a soul for her» shows that that relationship was always about the guy trying to win over the girl.

I hope I was able to explain myself well without offending anyone. This is an issue I have with the relationship. I know many people have issues with Bangel that I can get past myself.
 
thetopher
thetopher
You're not the only one, even SMG didn't know how Buffy was feeling in that last season, which is why her acting suffers.
GraceK
GraceK
I love this entire post. I think you nailed it :)

Priceless

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Ok, this is probably my fault because english isn't my first language and I sometimes struggle to express myself well and coherently.

English is my first language and I often stuggle to express myself coherently, as you've probably gathered:)

I'm not a fan of the pairing (as you probably already know) for different reasons. One having to do with the way Spike was written post season 4 and all the sacrifices in the writing in general that were made to keep him on the show, as something other than a villain. Since the writing of his character is so closely linked to Buffy's (usually to her detriment) this ended up creating some inevitable bitterness that makes it really hard for me to enjoy anything Spuffy. I think this might be the difference? When you watch Buffy/Angel in seasons 1-2-3 do you feel like you like her less? Do you feel let down by the writing? Maybe, but probably not. That's the original Buffy we've met. The story is always about her. Whatever happens between her and Angel is always meant to make her look good and make us relate to her. I've lost that with Buffy in seasons 6 and 7 and that's mostly due to Spike/Spuffy. I rarely feel like I know how she's feeling and I have trouble relating to her more than half the time. Half of this is due to the writers not showing us how she feels and making that relationship mostly about Spike and the other half is probably me not being able to accept Spuffy because of my issues with the relationship and so it prevents me from understanding her. The fact that I feel this way about my favorite character only makes me dislike Spuffy even more. It's kind of a vicious circle.

I don't often watch individual episodes, I do full rewatches from start to finish, and I never dislike Buffy, she is, and always will be my favourite character. I feel that Spike just adds to my enjoyment of Buffy, he shows a different side to her. Many people think the later seasons became more about Spike than Buffy, but I've never seen that. Spike is an essential part of the show, but it's always Buffy's story to me.

Do you think one of my problems it that I haven't watched Angel? Would I think differently if I did? (I saw it many years ago but can't remember much).
I find Angel a difficult character to like because his USP - he's a vampire with a soul who loves Buffy - all happened before the show started. His story, seperate from Buffy, is already over, whereas Spikes story is all there, in great detail, to see and to judge. Does that make sense? Angel's character was complete before episode 1 and there was very little new to tell about him, which I think comes down to poor story/character development.

Angel rarely made Buffy look good. He makes her look like a whiny child, begging for his attention. (Halloween being a prime example, she feels she has to turn herself into someone else to get his attention) That line 'when you kiss me I want to die', is a fantastic line of dialogue but for me it encapsulates everything I dislike about the relationship. Angel makes all the decisions and makes it seem like Buffy's too young and dumb to make her own choices. I don't relate to that Buffy and I much prefer either the loving family-centric Buffy of S5, the depressed Buffy of S6 or the commander in charge Buffy of S7, all much more relatable to me. For me Angel highlighs Buffy's weaknessess and Spike highlights her strengths.

I don't think either of us are going to change our opinions are we? :) But that's a good thing, it's differing opinions that keep this board going, and why we are still celebrating Buffy 20 years on.
 

Mylie

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English is my first language and I often stuggle to express myself coherently, as you've probably gathered:)



I don't often watch individual episodes, I do full rewatches from start to finish, and I never dislike Buffy, she is, and always will be my favourite character. I feel that Spike just adds to my enjoyment of Buffy, he shows a different side to her. Many people think the later seasons became more about Spike than Buffy, but I've never seen that. Spike is an essential part of the show, but it's always Buffy's story to me.

Do you think one of my problems it that I haven't watched Angel? Would I think differently if I did? (I saw it many years ago but can't remember much).
I find Angel a difficult character to like because his USP - he's a vampire with a soul who loves Buffy - all happened before the show started. His story, seperate from Buffy, is already over, whereas Spikes story is all there, in great detail, to see and to judge. Does that make sense? Angel's character was complete before episode 1 and there was very little new to tell about him, which I think comes down to poor story/character development.

Angel rarely made Buffy look good. He makes her look like a whiny child, begging for his attention. (Halloween being a prime example, she feels she has to turn herself into someone else to get his attention) That line 'when you kiss me I want to die', is a fantastic line of dialogue but for me it encapsulates everything I dislike about the relationship. Angel makes all the decisions and makes it seem like Buffy's too young and dumb to make her own choices. I don't relate to that Buffy and I much prefer either the loving family-centric Buffy of S5, the depressed Buffy of S6 or the commander in charge Buffy of S7, all much more relatable to me. For me Angel highlighs Buffy's weaknessess and Spike highlights her strengths.

I don't think either of us are going to change our opinions are we? :) But that's a good thing, it's differing opinions that keep this board going, and why we are still celebrating Buffy 20 years on.

I can't say if not watching Angel is a problem for your enjoyment of the character. Some watch it and still don't like him, it's all subjective. It does give him a lot more depth though and develops his backstory in a very efficient way though.

I think the difference is I grew to like/enjoy Angel through Buffy. He wasn't a well developed character on the show compared to the other regulars and everything I felt for the character and the pairing was always because of how Buffy felt. But I assume most Spuffy fans already loved/enjoyed Spike before he got with Buffy. It makes the «shipping» process different I think.

And of course you can find her whiny etc. That's baby Buffy, it's her first love, she's learning. And this is what we're seeing. She evolves within the relationship. Of course you may not like it, but it's very easy to relate to that (or at least to me) as opposed to a relationship where you don't know (or understand) how the character feels through most of it. And when I said the relationship was meant to make her look good it's that not once on the show we're supposed to root for Angel. We're always supposed to root for Buffy in that relationship.

But we all relate to different things. It's easy to excuse things and be blind to issues when the story speaks to us.
 
I've realized this conversation went really off-topic and into comparing the relationships territory which wasn't my intention at all but now I can't edit my previous post.

Anyway bottom line is I have issues with the reward aspect in that relationship and it starts with that episode so that's why I don't enjoy it as much as I should.
 

Sharky

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The gang not figuring out the Buffybot only makes sense here when you consider she only recently lost Joyce. It made sense to me they all connect it with Buffy having some sort of breakdown.

This episode is pretty gross. I can make sense of Buffy kissing Spike at the end, she was probably overwhelmed with gratitude and relief that Spike protected Dawn, but it definitely sends the wrong message. Spike's love for Buffy at this point is so twisted and perverse it's nearing predatory behavior. Actually it already has crossed that line considering he's kidnapped her and threatened to have her killed if she didn't admit to loving him. Now he's violating her likeness and degrading her to be a brainless sex toy. Yuck.
 

EarthLogic

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The gang not figuring out the Buffybot only makes sense here when you consider she only recently lost Joyce. It made sense to me they all connect it with Buffy having some sort of breakdown.
I thought it was an embarrasing example of how dense they could be and it did them no favours. It didn't make sense to me at all that they'd connect it with Buffy having a breakdown - they'd seen what she was like at her lowest points before this. They all recognised April as a robot immediately but they couldn't make the same connection when face to face with the Buffybot? :confused: At the very least they should have questioned her speech patterns. It was played for laughs but didn't work with what we'd seen before and if you take it seriously then it really reflects badly on the Scoobies (and I'm not sure it was intended to).
 

thrasherpix

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Didn't Tara interact with the Buffybot? Because she's an Empath sensitive enough to know when Faith's mind/soul was in Buffy's body, so she'd sure as hell sense the Buffybot wasn't Buffy. IIRC, Tara was woken up so maybe she wasn't clear headed, but if anything I'd think that would make her empathic talents even stronger because there are less conscious thoughts to interfere.
 

Taake

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Didn't Tara interact with the Buffybot? Because she's an Empath sensitive enough to know when Faith's mind/soul was in Buffy's body, so she'd sure as hell sense the Buffybot wasn't Buffy. IIRC, Tara was woken up so maybe she wasn't clear headed, but if anything I'd think that would make her empathic talents even stronger because there are less conscious thoughts to interfere.

Haha, that's a really good point. Haven't thought about that before.
Now I'm off to google IIRC, you kids and your lingo. ;)
 

Sharky

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I thought it was an embarrasing example of how dense they could be and it did them no favours. It didn't make sense to me at all that they'd connect it with Buffy having a breakdown - they'd seen what she was like at her lowest points before this. They all recognised April as a robot immediately but they couldn't make the same connection when face to face with the Buffybot? :confused: At the very least they should have questioned her speech patterns. It was played for laughs but didn't work with what we'd seen before and if you take it seriously then it really reflects badly on the Scoobies (and I'm not sure it was intended to).

Well they aren't experts on grief, they could be viewing it as something that manifested over time or a delayed reaction. I don't think it's a huge leap in logic.

IMO the Buffybot would be slightly different than April from the scoobies perspectives. Buffybot was programmed to recognize her friends and knew enough to dialogue with them, unlike April who was going from person to person with the same request/mission of finding Warren. They also knew April was something inhuman from her display of strength which was the flag that lead them to the -robot- deduction, not just from her odd interactions. Lastly the Buffybot is showing obsession with Spike, not Warren, who they know is the creator of April. They have no reason to think he or anyone would create a Buffybot.

Personally I can buy it, but I can also see why some people don't.

To give some credit I actually think the scoobies would have figured out the Buffybot sooner rather than later if they weren't interrupted by the real Buffy. They were about to have an intervention after all because her behavior was so strange.
 
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