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Hot Topic: Spike Breaking Up with Buffy

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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In breaking up with Buffy in Season 10, is Spike finally doing what he wants rather than what Buffy wants, or is he being lazy and getting out before it gets too hard?
 

Stoney

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Well I would hardly say being with Buffy isn't exactly what he wants, or that he was trying to take an easy route, no. They looked to cover a lot in S10 around the relationship, their history and any initial uncertainties/worries they had. I haven't reread it recently but I'd say they were emphasising that both of them had moments of uncertainty beforehand and around the start as they were worried about losing or damaging the friendship/working relationship that they had developed, and I'd say were somewhat concerned for the group dynamics too. Personally I think it was one of many points where we were seeing them taking it seriously. It wasn't going to be casual or a fling, they both wanted a mature, adult, ongoing relationship and so were shown putting thought into what it meant to choose to be together and give it a go. At this point by addressing fears of failure.

As I remember, Spike had allowed some of the concerns to rule his thinking again. Hadn't they specifically had Harmony and Vicky trying to press on both their insecurities about how the relationship could go wrong, that the reality of being together wouldn't satisfy them? And we'd previously had Angel's perspective that Spike's unrealistic expectations would have it fall down. They seemed pretty understandable worries to me, but ones that they then faced and countered by the choice to not break up. Buffy's perspective, that what they had together made it worth trying for and taking on the risks for, that they could work through difficulties and bad times was what was needed to push them back on track. It just gave Spike's confidence a boost it was what they both wanted and were choosing with their eyes open. So I'd say he was just allowing fears around the risk of the relationship going wrong, of spoiling things, rule his choice briefly, but it wasn't what he really wanted to do and it wasn't about trying to avoid difficult times. It's essentially about how much his relationship with Buffy means to him. Both in trying to get the actual relationship right, and how badly his insecurities that he'd make a mess of it flared, but also how much it matters beyond the romance too. I don't think he would have been happy if they had split like that, without giving it the best shot they had at making it work. How it has gone on and strengthened since shows that, whether temporary or not in the long run, they have something worth trying for that they are both very much invested in.
 
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Priceless

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The question is framed in a way that seems that Spike never does what he wants to do, which isn't true. As for being lazy, well Spike has never taken the easy route towards anything, so I don't think he can be called lazy at all. He strives for everything he has and everything he wants.

They are a new relationship in season 10, starting out as friends, trying to work together and putting the past behind them. In many ways they've changed places, in that Spike says he couldn't truly love her before getting the soul, and Buffy saying 'there was always good in you Spike, so strong, it didn't need a soul to come out'. They only actually become a couple half way through the season, and it's a pretty slow build up. When it finally happens, Spike says he's the happiest man in the world.

Unfortunately they get together at one of the worst times in Buffy's life. She has to carry the burden of having to re-write the whole of magic and all that entails, then Dawn and Xander going through a portal and perhaps never returning. The pressure has built up and Buffy takes it out on Spike, eventually throwing Angel in his face :eek: Spike thinks he's making Buffy's life worse, just by being around, and this is what makes him suggest breaking up.

The great thing about Spuffy in Season 10, is not that it all falls apart, or that Buffy cries and begs, as we've seen her do with break-ups before, or Spike does something incredibly stupid. This time Buffy takes her time, there are no knee-jerk reactions, and eventually they discuss the situation like mature adults and both agree to give it a real go and be honest with each other and to work through their problems.

I don't think Spike cares how hard it gets. It got pretty tough in S6 & 7 but he never stopped loving Buffy. I think they are just trying to grow up together, and he doesn't want him being there to be detrimental to Buffy or her mission.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

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I thought it was a misguided attempt to give Spike more depth. I want Spike to be Spike. I don't want him to mature. I want him to remain life's bitch.
 

TriBel

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In breaking up with Buffy in Season 10, is Spike finally doing what he wants rather than what Buffy wants, or is he being lazy and getting out before it gets too hard?
a) You imply it's the first time he's stood his ground but this happened in S9. He leaves despite her giving him reasons to stay.
upload_2017-12-18_17-36-11.png
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In S10 it's the culmination of a series of concerns - concerns not always articulated by B&S but articulated by the text via others. First there's the concern about normality (initiated by Giles' leaving to live with the Fae). Then there's the disagreement between them about Dawn going through the portal. The subtext of both incidents amounted to freedom of choice. IMO, what we see in 10 is similar to what we saw in 5 & 6 - it's life that's the big bad. Spike recognises the impact of events on their relationship and the impact their relationship is having on their decisions. Rather than make do and cling on to what they have (which is what happens in 6) he suggests a break. It's not what he wants but he thinks it might be for the best ("lazy" is the wrong word, though admittedly, there's part of him that's frightened of getting hurt). The decision to stay together is mutual. That both reference 6 (she mentions facing up to her fears - he talks about using her as a symbol) is an indication of how far they've come.
I don't want him to mature. I want him to remain life's bitch.
Tough! :D If wishes were fishes and all that.
 

Buffy Summers

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a) You imply it's the first time he's stood his ground but this happened in S9. He leaves despite her giving him reasons to stay.

I was talking about specifically the scene in Season 10. Because that was the season I was reading when I thought of the question. lol

So I had written down that question to use a long time ago, when I first read the comic, but I just went back to the issues I was referencing, Season 10 #27 & 28. If I look at this bit of dialogue from Spike:

spuffy.png

And it seems part like Spike standing up for himself, recognizing it's a bad situation for him and not just going along with what Buffy wants like previously this season. And part that he wants it to be "easy", and skip any of the bad stuff that might come along if they don't end it then.

spuffy2.png
Buffy says breaking up would be the easy thing to do, that they both have the instinct to run.

spuffy3.png

And with this panel, it's kind of a new start, where Spike is in the relationship because he wants to be, not because he needs to be. So I really see this as a big moment for Spike in the comics, where he's shrugged off that "lap dog" stigma, and being his own man, equally driving the relationship with Buffy rather than allowing her to be in charge of it. But I suppose the case could be made that Buffy is still in the driver's seat, because she refuses to let him go. Thoughts?
 

Stoney

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Well, as I said before, I do think S10 really focuses on them working through insecurities in their relationship and issues from their past. Spike coming back to SF because he wanted to integrate in the group rather than hanging everything on his love interest in S9 was already a significant break in previous behaviour and it did just continue to change and play its part in where they have gotten to, a much more even and functioning, mature relationship. What he shows here he also displayed when questioning getting together in the first place I think. It is all about them considering the relationship, the effect it will have on them individually as well as together and within the group, what is at stake, but both choosing to go forward together to try and make it work because it is what they both want. It does feel a lot more balanced than it has been at points in the past and that originates from Spike joining the group and integrating I think and it continues into S11 too.

Personally I think too much emphasis can be put on Spike being a 'lap dog' sometimes. I do think he is looking at what he wants in the relationship and how it works for him. There have been times for sure where he has questioned things less and been happy to just 'follow', but he stopped fitting in without wondering on where it was going and what he was getting from it in S9 when he left for the mini, no longer wanting to be viewed as being the dark place and then the start of the changes and his wish to 'belong' affected their interactions. That would be the start of the significant turning point in their dynamic for me I think. But really it all works coherently back through AtS 5 and is all part of the shifts that started when he became souled. It has just realistically taken time to work through and work out for him I think. Buffy of course has gone through some points of development too that have played their parts in where they have come to be as well.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
I don't like it at all. All his lines there seem to deliberately contradict everything he used to say on the TV show. I fell in love with Spike on the show. This just feels like a watered down Spike. It's as if Captain Ahab suddenly sighed and said, "You know Starbuck, I don't think catching this whale is going to make me feel any better."

Spike isn't patient. Spike does not want thing to be easy. Spike does not care that it hurts. Spike does not mature. And Spike does not learn from his mistakes. :p That's my two cents, at least.
 
SunnydaleGlitz
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TriBel
TriBel
I do empathize - the perils of growing up. I'll stop reading if they start discussing mortgage rates.

TriBel

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I was talking about specifically the scene in Season 10. Because that was the season I was reading when I thought of the question. lol

I thought it was that scene you were referring to - which is why I said " ("lazy" is the wrong word, though admittedly, there's part of him that's frightened of getting hurt)". What I think is driving him is fear - he thinks it'll be less painful (easier) now than later (and I'm not sure if Angel warned he'd do this). That - I think - is the irony in their situation. As Slayer and Vampire they're both fearless (they're not like us) - as Buffy and "William" they're both a bundle of neuroses (like most of us). The reason I like the S9 incident is he doesn't know whether he's done the right thing. The final frame as he flies away is "This could be a mistake". It's not clear initially who's talking saying it but I think it's Spike. He's falls into a deep depression about it but he finds the strength to stay away.

"But I suppose the case could be made that Buffy is still in the driver's seat, because she refuses to let him go". Yes - I also considered that but you can't see this as capitulation on Spike's part. He hasn't stayed because he doesn't love her - he stays because he does - because it's what he wants. This is the point I was making about S6. In 6 he refused to let her go and this lead to the AR. The AR was wrong but I think he was right about her loving him (she admits to it in First Date). However, in many ways, he was forcing her to show it. In 6 she was the one acting out of fear - fear of losing her identity (a Slayer can't possibly love an unsouled vampire) and fear of what her friends would say. Emotionally, in the extracts above, we're at a similar place to Seeing Red, (I'm not underplaying the AR and I'm not making a direct comparison) but the roles are reversed - he's fearful - she's insistent. However, this time there's reflection from both of them and no denial from either.

The "lap dog" stigma doesn't bother me (although the wording does): a) because compromise (which is a much nicer phrase) has traditionally been seen as a "feminine" trait and possibly the characteristic has been denigrated because of this association and b) the idea that everyone must be a leader is deeply ideological and probably the result of an ethos of individualism - an ethos that isn't universal. Spike's strength has always been that he's "gender fluid" without losing his maleness (theoretically, one would argue he always has a penis but not always the phallus). In fact, "gender fluid" is the wrong term, he's always been "other" and as other he can stand in for oppressed groups. To my mind, this makes him a powerful weapon in Whedon's political arsenal.
 

Stoney

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Interesting points about the lap dog wording @TriBel. I agree that Spike is a very fluid character. His ability to adapt is often a character plot point, but it is something that we see in terms of his fit with different dynamics and the roles he takes on for sure.

What bothers me about how Spike is labelled as a 'lap dog' (in the way I've always taken it as a derogatory phrase to imply mindless capitulation), is that often he is doing as he wishes in following someone and sticking around, as you say. But also, because I think his behaviour on this does understandably alter once he is souled and as he progresses further in examining his differing circumstance. Sure he returned to Buffy when he first got his soul, he reached out to her again, but he didn't return once he was recorporealised in AtS 5. There were insecurities bound up in that and possibly some fear of rejection, but he stayed away for a long time and got to know himself souled a bit better and became more sure of what kind of path he wanted to walk. In fact he didn't return for very long before he decided he wasn't happy and didn't want to be placed in the dark any longer and left for his mini. That really triggered the change in his dynamics with Buffy and the group. So he does keep returning because, as you say, he loves her and he wants to be with her. But he doesn't stay irrespective of everything else and despite how he feels.

I think it is sometimes hard for fans to accept some of the changes to his character that are evident when he becomes souled because they don't want to lose a character they have enjoyed watching for five seasons. But in some respects that is just what happens. Whilst he still shows many of the same motivations and character traits, he is a complete person as Angel is linked to his human and unsouled selves too, his perspective has meaningfully altered and who he is and the path he wants to follow are very much under exploration from then to now. Spike is a progressive character that develops throughout the tv show and has continued to do so beyond. What satisfied him and was 'enough' in S2-6 isn't going to fit the person he is in S7 onwards. Not completely. A lot of what we've seen in the comics has been a continuation of him determining who he is now and who he wants to be. He strives, he changes, he progresses and he keeps moving forward. It's what he has always done and I love the added depth we get from this journey and how logical what he wants for himself is now in the throughline for characterisation but with the context and experiences he has had along the way informing his choices. :D
 
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