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Spike and Riley comparisons

Btvs fan

Scooby
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Noticed on the rewatch that the writers seemed to beat the viewers over the head with the Spike/Riley comparisons and how much cooler one is over the other.
They both fought Angel in In the Dark amd Yoko Factor and both written by Doug Petrie.
Now both lose (obviously Angel has his own show) but of the 2 Riley despite being human he actually fares better than Spike if you compare the In the Dark and Yoko Factor fights.
Then in Prime Evil both fight Forrest. Spike only barely escapes cowardly running away after burning his eye with a Cigarette while Riley of course rescues Buffy from him then defeats and destroys Forrest.
Then we get to Buffy v Drac where they have a stare down before Spike meekly lowers his head in surrender.
Then you've got As You Were which if you've ever read the script nuff said 😐
 

Oromous

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Sineya
I mean, Spike was chipped. It's not even a fair comparison.

That being said, I think the main reason why Riley is boosted up over Spike is because he's Buffy's Love Interest of the Season. It makes sense why they wanted someone replacing Angel to look good and be heroic, not to mention normal and non-vampiric. Spike, on the other hand, is a serial killer. It's a given for a show like Buffy to make him look bad, especially when Spuffy isn't a thing yet prior to season 5 and 6. In most shows that I know of, a flawed or villainous character only gets away with being evil or nasty if his actions are balanced out by humiliation or other forms of punishments. I'm not saying Spike can't be interesting and evil at the same time - it's certainly a valid storytelling technique - but to me, it makes sense why the writers chose to go in that direction. Because Riley was supposed to be the hero.
 
B
Btvs fan
He wasn't chipped when he fought Angel

Priceless

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This is one of the reasons I don't think the writers 'loved' Riley from the start and they always knew he was just the transition guy. They are constantly comparing the two and Spike is by far the more entertaining and interesting. Riley is just the midwest soldier who goes to church on Sunday and only becomes interesting when he discovers his own dark side.
 

Btvs fan

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This is one of the reasons I don't think the writers 'loved' Riley from the start and they always knew he was just the transition guy. They are constantly comparing the two and Spike is by far the more entertaining and interesting. Riley is just the midwest soldier who goes to church on Sunday and only becomes interesting when he discovers his own dark side.
I'd agree if I'd not read what Joss and others have said about Riley and the fact it was so 1 sided. I mean he's even an incompetent Arms dealer
 
burrunjor
burrunjor
LOL I'll give you Spike hiding the eggs was a very bit of stupid writing. I almost thought it was meant to be a joke. Who was he selling them too? What for?

LemonBanana

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I dont think its fair to compare a chipped Spike to a strong Riley, Riley was a good fighter, but Spike had years and years of experience (we see how strong he is in Angel, when they fight for the cup) and it was just he was in a bad place at that time, and found it easier to give up! Only in S5 did he begin to regain his confidence! Saying that, Riley was impressive when he fought and put on a good show! I liked the constant comparisons between the both of them, but really, when you REALLY think about it, they are both as bad as each other! Love this thread, thanks 😊 💕
 

Oromous

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But the didn’t matter with Forrest as he was a demon by then
True, but that wasn't really my point, his capability in fighting. See LemonBanana's post for a better explanation regarding Chipped Spike and how it affected his confidence and portrayal as a weakling. Putting aside his battle with demon-Forrest, you were right in saying that his portrayal wasn't as flattering as Riley. My point was that it's partly attributed to the chip, but the main reason, as I mentioned, is because Riley was supposed to be the hero in season 4.
 

Priceless

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I'd agree if I'd not read what Joss and others have said about Riley and the fact it was so 1 sided. I mean he's even an incompetent Arms dealer
I know what Joss says, and the rest of the writing team etc., but how can anyone who is watching the show actually believe Riley was set up as the long term love interest in the same season Spike was a regular? It just makes no sense to me. I really rate the Buffy writers and yet they struggled to make Riley engaging. His hobby is driving, both deeply dull and the one thing Buffy cannot do. Is it meant to be an attraction of opposites? It doesn't even work on that level for me. And within a couple of eps of setting up the Riley/Buffy relationship, they have Something Blue. I know they said it's to make a Buffy/Spike relationship look untenable, but did they not watch the dallies?
 

burrunjor

Potential
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Noticed on the rewatch that the writers seemed to beat the viewers over the head with the Spike/Riley comparisons and how much cooler one is over the other.
They both fought Angel in In the Dark amd Yoko Factor and both written by Doug Petrie.
Now both lose (obviously Angel has his own show) but of the 2 Riley despite being human he actually fares better than Spike if you compare the In the Dark and Yoko Factor fights.
Then in Prime Evil both fight Forrest. Spike only barely escapes cowardly running away after burning his eye with a Cigarette while Riley of course rescues Buffy from him then defeats and destroys Forrest.
Then we get to Buffy v Drac where they have a stare down before Spike meekly lowers his head in surrender.
Then you've got As You Were which if you've ever read the script nuff said 😐
I agree with Oromous. Spike is kind of like Doctor Smith from Lost in Space in season 4 of Buffy. He's obviously a lot cooler than Dr Smith who was just a total joke character, but he's kind of the same trouble maker, cowardly, self serving, funny character that viewers love watching, but would hate to live with LOL.

I don't think Riley did fare better against Angel personally anyway. Riley had a taser which Connor used to knock Angel out cold in a few seconds, and he still got beaten to the point where he could barely stand. Spike had a 2by4, but even that's not as effective, and most of the fight was one on one and he still knocked Angel about a bit more.

Also Riley got an absolute beating from Forrest and only survived because he had the explosives. It makes more sense for Riley to be more willing to fight Forest at that point. Spike at that point in the show has always been shown to be a self server right down to his core. He had earlier abandoned Buffy in Becoming after he got what he wanted, Dru, and he betrayed the Vampire in The Initiative. I actually preferred him this way as the self server who could play everyone against each other, but that's another point.

As for Buffy vs Dracula, well Spike has the chip at that point so there is nothing he can do. They do make it clear in a later episode, Into the Woods I think that if the chip wasn't there Riley wouldn't last two seconds.

"If I didn't have this chip in my head I've killed you long ago, ain't love grand."

As You Were is a bit of character shilling for Riley, I'll admit, but to be fair it was his last episode before he was shunted off to South America and barely ever mentioned again LOL.

It also served as an important bit of development in Spike's character too, so it's not like he got completely short changed.
 

white avenger

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I don't think its fair to compare a chipped Spike to a strong Riley,
I had always hoped that Spike and Riley could someday have a rematch after the chip had been removed, just so see the look on Riley's face when he found out that he was no longer beating a helpless vampire (illogical, I know, since Riley apparently was the one who gave permission to have the chip removed in Season 7) Beyond that, it was pretty well established that no normal human, regardless of skill or experience, would have much of a chance against a fully powered master vampire without the element of surprise, the help of some sort of serious weaponry, or both.
 
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