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Discussion of 7.02 "Beneath You" - Aired 10/01/02 (UPN-US)

Athene

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Sineya
I interpreted Spike laying on the cross as him demonstrating to Buffy that despite the fact that he has a soul, he's still very much the same man that has done the same things as pre-souled Spike. Spike lays on the cross, it burns him and that's showing that God still rejects him because of the evil inside him and because he's still a vampire. Spike was full of pity for himself so of course he just accepted the burns and hugged the cross.
 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
But in what way does the cross represent Spike's evil? The cross was the punishment Jesus endured for the wickedness of mankind.
Because after all the trials Spike went through in an attempt to become not evil, he is still a vampire and crosses are harmful to vampires. By falling onto it he is accepting that becoming ensouled didn't stop him from being a demon. And at this point Spike is saying he is basically done trying to stop being a monster. The evil inside of him, which includes a weakness for crosses, will always be there. He can choose to punish himself for it (Beneath You) or ignore it (Destiny). @Athene just beat me to some of these points:confused:
 

Priceless

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I interpreted Spike laying on the cross as him demonstrating to Buffy that despite the fact that he has a soul, he's still very much the same man that has done the same things as pre-souled Spike. Spike lays on the cross, it burns him and that's showing that God still rejects him because of the evil inside him and because he's still a vampire. Spike was full of pity for himself so of course he just accepted the burns and hugged the cross.
I think there is a little self-pity in Spike, because he didn't understand how the soul would affect him. But more that, there is self-loathing, he hates himself in that moment for what he's done, and 'can we rest now' is about death. Death is the final rest, the RIP. I think he's hoping to burst into flames by laying on the cross. He wants to burn out the soul by burning himself out, it's attempted suicide in a way.
 

TriBel

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He wants to burn out the soul by burning himself out, it's attempted suicide in a way.
I think you're right about that. I also thought it was significant there was a lit icon of the Madonna and Child - it's the first thing you see in the church.
 
I think there is a little self-pity in Spike, because he didn't understand how the soul would affect him. But more that, there is self-loathing, he hates himself in that moment for what he's done, and 'can we rest now' is about death. Death is the final rest, the RIP. I think he's hoping to burst into flames by laying on the cross. He wants to burn out the soul by burning himself out, it's attempted suicide in a way.
I think he has a greater tolerance of crosses than Angel - doesn't he? Plus - as far as I'm aware, the Powers That Be aren't particularly Christian gods are they? Which raises the question of why a Christian symbol would burn vampires.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I think he has a greater tolerance of crosses than Angel - doesn't he? Plus - as far as I'm aware, the Powers That Be aren't particularly Christian gods are they? Which raises the question of why a Christian symbol would burn vampires.
Perhaps anything holy would burn vampires but as crosses are easily recognisable, it makes sense to use them?
 

Priceless

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Perhaps anything holy would burn vampires but as crosses are easily recognisable, it makes sense to use them?
I can't remember the episode, probably season 2, but Willow nails a cross to her wall and says her father wouldn't be happy for his Jewish daughter to do that. The Star of David wouldn't keep a vampire out, but a cross would
 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
I can't remember the episode, probably season 2, but Willow nails a cross to her wall and says her father wouldn't be happy for his Jewish daughter to do that. The Star of David wouldn't keep a vampire out, but a cross would
This is a good point, and that happens in Passion. They are doing the spell to de-invite Angel/Angelus.
 

thrasherpix

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Perhaps anything holy would burn vampires but as crosses are easily recognisable, it makes sense to use them?
My headcanon is that lost in the ancient past (and perhaps by the same people that created the First Slayer) was an epic spell that affected all vampires (just as a spell can affect all Slayers, at least when one has the Scythe). Just as the Scythe was used for Slayers, I'd say the cross was used for vampires, because the cross would represent how a vampire is both demon and human (and some demons would say a vampire is not either, at least not completely). That is just as the cross is made of 2 intersecting sticks, so is a vampire the "cross" of human and demon. It's the symbol of two natures that is powerful here.

Either as a side effect or deliberate intent, the cross gained a mystical power against vampires, but the reason for this is magickal, not religious. The cross became a Christian symbol because Jesus died upon one, as have countless others (and the Romans weren't the only one to practice that form of execution), which makes it believable to me that the cross becoming a Christian symbol was just coincidental to the cross also being used in a magic ritual. Naturally, when crosses were seen to have worked then Christians would (wrongly) attribute the power of God rather than the power of magick...and even vampires raised in Christian lore could make that mistake.

That said, it begs why holy water work. It's not stated that ONLY Christian holy water works, but assuming that is the case then that would suggest another epic spell by one who is Christian, or at least aided the Church in exchange for helping wipe out vampires.

'Course another explanation is that Christianity is the one true religion (which strikes me as even sillier than the vampire lore of Buffy), but that opens another can of worms...like why are vampires the only demons affected by crosses, as well as having other weaknesses limited only to them?

And just for the record, I like how Stephen King handled such matter in Salem's Lot in which it wasn't the cross or anything else, it was the faith. The priest in it was called "shaman" and in the novel there are references to many forms of "white magic" that isn't restricted to Christianity that the vampire has come to grudgingly respect (if in a hateful way), though not the priest who is too much of an alcoholic to have the necessary faith. When the priest refuses to throw away the cross, showing his faith was in the trappings than in God, then the cross loses its power, something that disappointed the master vampire who had hoped he had found a worthy adversary. In contrast, a little boy with perfect faith is even able to ward off a vampire with a toy cross taken from a monster model set, while a couple of others thinking fast make a cross out of tongue depressors (saying Psalms 23 over it, IIRC). But in this version then the Star of David should also work since the trappings are irrelevant, only the faith is important.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Just as the Scythe was used for Slayers, I'd say the cross was used for vampires, because the cross would represent how a vampire is both demon and human (and some demons would say a vampire is not either, at least not completely). That is just as the cross is made of 2 intersecting sticks, so is a vampire the "cross" of human and demon. It's the symbol of two natures that is powerful here.
I love that theory and it makes so much sense. :)
 

Ethan Reigns

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Sineya
Vampire lore is descended from Bram Stoker's "Dracula" where the Roman Catholic religion was assumed to be correct. Crosses would have the effect of hurting vampires because Vampires were demonic and the crosses were from their opponent, Jesus. Robin Wood tried to defeat Spike in a garage with dozens of crosses on the walls. Similarly, holy water is a Catholic item and it was used to defeat Kralik in "Helpless" but it also burned Darla and a few other vampires. Consecrated soil in the cemetery burned the hands of the vampires who dug up the bones of The Master. The nun immediately recognized Angel as a vampire, showing the increased spiritual awareness of a member of a Catholic order.

One thing is certain - Joss is an atheist, so sensitivity to religious artifacts would not have been something he invented.
 

emnemnemnem

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Wow, this episode was so sad. It was devastating both to see Spike lose his mind and Buffy relive the moments of the rape scene. The only sorta happy thing that happened was Anya listening to Xander and reversing her vengeance spell, ultimately choosing her Scooby friends over her demon friends (yay!). This episode really emphasizes that Xander and Anya both still haven't gotten over their relationship/break-up. Xander is having trouble finding another girl to date, while Anya is visibly softer than the vengeance demon she once was, not being the demon Cecily looks up to anymore.

Didn't really have a favorite part of the episode, as it was all pretty gloomy. I guess I liked the scene where Spike comes in to help Buffy and the others, though, to everyone's surprise. And the scene when Dawn threatens Spike.
 

FeministMedia

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That was the BEST Vengeance creation EVER! Turn an abusive BoyFriend, into a BlockBuster, spineless, worm.
Maybe the BoyFriend was emotionally abusive. So as a vengeance, turned him into Physically Abusive. Cause to turn a Physically Abusive BoyFriend into a BlockBuster, is too much.
 
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