• Thank you for visiting Buffy-Boards. You obviously have exceptional taste. We just want you to know that:
    1. You really should register so you can chat with us!
    2. Twelve thousand people can't be wrong.
    3. Buffy-Boards loves you.
    4. See 1 through 3.
    Come on, register already!

Was Spike almost raping Buffy really necessary?

Status
Not open for further replies.

TriBel

Scooby
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
2,675
Location
Manchester
Joss frustrated with fans liking Spike to much and wanting to remind them that no he is evil like JM says
I tend to take a lot of what James says with a pinch of salt. For me, there's a deep, structural logic that necessitates it. That said, I also think JW underestimated the response to it and went into a defensive damage limitation mode with his remarks after the event.

Either he's evil and we shouldn't like him because look what he did.
Or he's confused and fighting the monster inside of him which leads him to do evil things and now he's taking steps to become better because he knows he can't do it alone and he wants to be better - isn't that noble?

But to have him commit an act to try and get fans to stop liking him only to redeem him immediately is counterproductive to say the least.
I'd go along with this. His "redemption" - in the fullest sense of the word - isn't immediate (baby steps) but i do think the text generates sympathy towards him which kinda belies James' claim.
 

Moggin

Tasty Townie
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
340
Totally necessary. Spike, before he fell in love with Buffy, was a rapist and a murderer. It's implied heavily throughout the earlier seasons. If you look at it as a bad guy slowly turning good, rather than a good guy going bad, then it becomes less shocking.

I've mentioned elsewhere that Spike's attempted rape is not nearly as rape-y looking as his attempt to bite Willow after being chipped. When attempting to bite Willow, Spike throws her to the bed and completely disregards her screams, even revelling in them (my own experience with an attempted rapist was very similar). By contrast, when attempting to rape Buffy, Spike starts out pleading, immediately looks horrified at what he nearly did, and continues to be disgusted with himself later. Love for Buffy has been changing Spike by degrees, enough that this last shred of evil is about to be doffed, and in a big way.

The attempted rape is the end, not the beginning, of Spike being a bad guy. First, he learned to kill for a good cause (Buffy's cause). Then he learned to protect those weaker than him (Dawn). The rape was the last thing to be ended. How else are you going to show that?

Of course Spike let his desires control him. He is still evil, but his love for Buffy chips away even this last shred of evilness, and without a soul, he makes the decision to become what Buffy deserves. This is love on an epic level, to change what nature dictates for the benefit of another. Season 2 Spike wouldn't have bothered, but, then again, Season 2 Spike loved a vampire, not a human.
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9,005
Age
30
Spike, before he fell in love with Buffy, was a rapist and a murderer. It's implied heavily throughout the earlier seasons.
I have to disagree about Spike being a rapist. In films and television, you have the "rape is a special kind of evil" trope. It's basically where a villain is somewhat redeemable in the eyes of the audience up to the point where they rape. Once they cross that "moral event horizon", that's it, there's no going back, they're beyond redemption. It is sometimes paired with the "even evil has standards" trope where even bad guys think something is a step too far. This is the main reason why I think Spike is not talking about rape when he talks about "girls Dawn's age". You don't have a male character admit to raping underage girls when you want the audience to be sympathetic towards him. If you do, it means you think your audience is stupid and that they'll feel how you tell them to feel because they can't think for themselves.

It's why the AR is such an odd choice of device to use, especially since the writers are relying on the audience to have sympathy for Spike in Season 7. Aside from the fact the aftermath isn't handled too well (not counting the fact that Buffy tells the guy who tried to rape her that she loves him- Spike's "no you don't" saves that scene from the terrible message it would've sent) but the writers put Spike in a position where the audience might lose all sympathy for him yet they want the audience to have sympathy for his plight in the next season.

It's also why they make a clear distinction between Angel and Angelus. Angelus is a rapist and he is supposed to be treated as terrible by the audience whereas Angel isn't. There is no such distinction with Spike. Spike is Spike whereas Angel and Angelus are two different entities sharing one body so the audience can hate Angelus but like Angel because they are two different people.

Season 2 Spike wouldn't have bothered, but, then again, Season 2 Spike loved a vampire, not a human.
Season 2 Spike was much happier. It was a far healthier relationship too.
 

Moggin

Tasty Townie
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
340
I have to disagree about Spike being a rapist. In films and television, you have the "rape is a special kind of evil" trope.
I get the trope, but it is only good if the writer wants to deal in tropes. This was based on a real event, and the writing team had a history of pushing the boundaries of storytelling.

There are also plenty of other times it is hinted that Spike has raped before, and in spite of what you say, I think it's pretty clear that Spike is referencing rape in that quote about "girls younger than Dawn". What else is he supposed to be alluding to? Torture? Murder? He's a vampire. They kill. They're evil, and Buffy has seen examples of torture by Spike and Drusilla in season 2. Why would this be a revelation now? He's talking about rape.

You don't have a male character admit to raping underage girls when you want the audience to be sympathetic towards him.
You might if you're Joss Whedon and think you're a writing God who can do anything seemingly impossible. The man loves to challenge himself (Hush: made almost entirely silent, OMWF: made as a musical), and even though he wasn't the writer credited, he was still a big part of the round table.

Spike's "no you don't" saves that scene from the terrible message it would've sent
As my old English profs used to say, "writing and art do not have a responsibility to send messages or underscore moral values. Art is for art's sake." You have writers who want to deal in messages, and those who don't.


It's also why they make a clear distinction between Angel and Angelus... There is no such distinction with Spike.
Pre-Soul vs Post-Soul. Seems clear to me. Granted, Spike always seems to be devoted to one person at a time, but the soul does make some changes.


Season 2 Spike was much happier. It was a far healthier relationship too.
I humbly disagree with this one. If anything, Evil Spike was trying to fashion his relationship with Buffy in the same twisted way as his relationship with Drusilla ("tie her up and torture her until she likes me again"). Buffy was just low enough at the time to be mentally more akin to a vampire in love than a human.


I will also say it here, though I've said it more eloquently on another thread. Accepting your points, for the sake of argument, Spike still gets a pass on the attempted rape largely because he doesn't read as a rapist in that scene. Let me explain.

We all get led by our emotions at some point in time. Most of those impulses are fleeting, less than seconds. Ever been so mad you could kill? But how many of us are actually murderers?

Spike begins his suit by pleading with Buffy. He's desperate, and obviously not in a position of power. Rape is about power, who has it, and exerting ones will on someone who doesn't have it. Eventually, as Spike becomes desperate, the scales tip, and this does become a rape attempt. For all of the few seconds this lasts, though, he looks in pain. He's still begging, though his actions become forceful. The line between begging and forcing is blurred.

When Buffy kicks him away, no sooner does he hit his head on the bathroom wall than he is back to his senses, and we can already see he genuinely regrets what he has done. How much of an impulse could it be, though, when hitting your head is enough to make you stop? Old Spike, and any true rapist, would double the efforts. It's still about power.

Also, Spike is clearly affected by Buffy's tears. True rapists don't care about their victims' tears. They are like Spike from season 4, "Bonus". Buffy has already changed him considerably.

So, this is why Spike can attempt the rape in this moment, but still not be categorised as a rapist.
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9,005
Age
30
There are also plenty of other times it is hinted that Spike has raped before, and in spite of what you say, I think it's pretty clear that Spike is referencing rape in that quote about "girls younger than Dawn". What else is he supposed to be alluding to? Torture? Murder? He's a vampire. They kill. They're evil, and Buffy has seen examples of torture by Spike and Drusilla in season 2. Why would this be a revelation now? He's talking about rape.
Buffy has never seen "William the bloody" the most violent vampire in history, second only to Angelus. In Season 2, Spike was preoccupied with curing Dru then he was wheelchair bound. In Season 3, he was drunk, then Season 4 onwards he was chipped. Spike could've skewered the girls Dawn's age with railroad spikes and really dragged out the torture. Something must've been particularly noteworthy about that form of torture for Spike to garner a new name from it. Having the victims be girls Dawn age would do it, especially as within that time period women were seen as delicate and innocent, more so the younger they were.

You might if you're Joss Whedon and think you're a writing God who can do anything seemingly impossible. The man loves to challenge himself (Hush: made almost entirely silent, OMWF: made as a musical), and even though he wasn't the writer credited, he was still a big part of the round table.
You're comparing apple and oranges. "Let's have a main character admit to raping underage girls and expect the audience to sympathise with him" is in no way similar to "let's do an episode without dialogue" or "let's do a musical". Joss may be arrogant but he isn't stupid. Raping underage girls is basically paedophilia (at the very least that's the association that goes with such an action), do you honestly think Joss would choose to make Spike a paedophile just because he wanted to "challenge" himself.

As my old English profs used to say, "writing and art do not have a responsibility to send messages or underscore moral values. Art is for art's sake." You have writers who want to deal in messages, and those who don't.
"Hey! Let's have our female heroic lead (who is considered a feminist icon) tell a multiple rapist and paedophile that she loves him. What could be wrong with that?"

That is what happens if you subscribe to the theory that Spike is talking about raping underage girls and has raped multiple times in the past rather than the AR being a particular crossing the line moment for him personally.

Pre-Soul vs Post-Soul. Seems clear to me. Granted, Spike always seems to be devoted to one person at a time, but the soul does make some changes.
Disagree. Repeatedly saying "he has a soul now" isn't making a distinction between pre-soul and post-soul characterwise. Look at how differently Angelus and Angel are portrayed, they are clearly two different characters. Spike acts the same as he did before, albeit a bit more mopey. There is no clear distinction between souled Spike and unsouled Spike. If you completely missed the end of Season 6 and Spike's madness at the beginning of season 7, would you even know Spike had undergone a major "transformation" if you weren't beaten over the head with "he has a soul now". If you missed Surprise/Innocence, you would know there was something weird going on with Angel because he was acting evil which isn't like him.

I humbly disagree with this one. If anything, Evil Spike was trying to fashion his relationship with Buffy in the same twisted way as his relationship with Drusilla ("tie her up and torture her until she likes me again"). Buffy was just low enough at the time to be mentally more akin to a vampire in love than a human.
Disagree.

1. Spike and Dru were into BDSM, so their definition of "torturing" each other is most likely meant in a sexual manner rather than a wanting to hurt the other person kind of manner.

2. Buffy had agency in Spuffy and was just as culpable in the mess it became. She was using the "came back wrong" as an excuse to justify her behaviour. When Tara told her she didn't come back wrong, Buffy was upset because her excuse (and it could be argued permission) to behave as she did was taken away. Her poor behaviour was all her and not because she "came back wrong".

3. Spike and Dru had quite a healthy relationship considering they were soulless vampires and they were together for over a century. Spuffy made both Spike and Buffy miserable.

I will also say it here, though I've said it more eloquently on another thread. Accepting your points, for the sake of argument, Spike still gets a pass on the attempted rape largely because he doesn't read as a rapist in that scene.
That's all dependent on that being his first "offence" so to speak. Why should the AR be treated as such a crossing the line moment by Spike himself, so much so he self-harms by getting a soul (which is its own discussion), if it's not his first rape attempt? Just because Buffy is the main lead character, why should her victim status be treated as more important than the other hypothetical Spike rape victims. Why is it okay for Spike to rape others (which supposedly includes underage girls) and get a free pass, but how dare he subject Buffy to the same treatment he has inflicted on others?

If Spike has raped multiple times before then the whole "he didn't go there to rape, things just got out of hand " defence goes completely out of the window because he's done it before. Not only that, but Buffy confesses her love to a man who raped underage girls and multiple women. That's a damning indictment upon her character.
 
Last edited:

Moggin

Tasty Townie
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
340
Buffy has never seen "William the bloody" the most violent vampire in history, second only to Angelus. In Season 2, Spike was preoccupied with curing Dru then he was wheelchair bound. In Season 3, he was drunk, then Season 4 onwards he was chipped. Spike could've skewered the girls Dawn's age with railroad spikes and really dragged out the torture. Something must've been particularly noteworthy about that form of torture for Spike to garner a new name from it. Having the victims be girls Dawn age would do it, especially as within that time period women were seen as delicate and innocent, more so the younger they were.
I'm not saying that he didn't do this as well, but I think sanitizing his vampiric past only makes the attempted rape that much more problematic. I also think it's quite a stretch asking us to accept that Spike wouldn't have done such a horrible thing, especially as a lot of this theory hinges on us not accepting full chunks of the series.


You're comparing apple and oranges. "Let's have a main character admit to raping underage girls and expect the audience to sympathise with him" is in no way similar to "let's do an episode without dialogue" or "let's do a musical". Joss may be arrogant but he isn't stupid. Raping underage girls is basically paedophilia (at the very least that's the association that goes with such an action), do you honestly think Joss would choose to make Spike a paedophile just because he wanted to "challenge" himself.
Yes. Yes, I do think he would do something like that.

I once had a poetry prof who routinely asked us to go dark with our writing. One poor bloke who had to take the class because of scheduling was actually a theology major and struggled so badly. He could never go dark enough for the prof. I'm guessing Joss had some similar experiences. Remember, he is supposedly the one who asked all the writers to go digging for their worst day, and chose this one.


"Hey! Let's have our female heroic lead (who is considered a feminist icon) tell a multiple rapist and paedophile that she loves him. What could be wrong with that?"

That is what happens if you subscribe to the theory that Spike is talking about raping underage girls and has raped multiple times in the past rather than the AR being a particular crossing the line moment for him personally.

Buffy refuses to let herself love Spike fully until he gets a soul. It is mentioned many times that she is disgusted with herself for sleeping with him, and that he is different post-soul, especially by Buffy. I believe she loved the good qualities in Spike, without forgetting that he was still evil. It was partly why she got confused in season 6, wanting to love someone yet being disgusted by him. Once he got the soul, it changed him, to the point she had to ask for Dangerous Spike back. Spike eventually gets back the "good" qualities of his evil self, but now with a spanking new soul to inform his decisions.


Disagree. Repeatedly saying "he has a soul now" isn't making a distinction between pre-soul and post-soul characterwise.
So, you're saying we should take chunks out of the plot to fit your theory?


If you completely missed the end of Season 6 and Spike's madness at the beginning of season 7, would you even know Spike had undergone a major "transformation" if you weren't beaten over the head with "he has a soul now".
Don't miss episodes of a show. It's like skipping scenes in a movie to get popcorn or take a pee. They are building blocks to the story.


3. Spike and Dru had quite a healthy relationship considering they were soulless vampires and they were together for over a century. Spuffy made both Spike and Buffy miserable.
I'm not going to address 1 and 2, because I'm pretty sure we're on the same page, but Dru did make Spike pretty miserable at times, largely when she takes up with Angel, and later when she takes up with the chaos demon.

If Spike has raped multiple times before then the whole "he didn't go there to rape, things just got out of hand " defence goes completely out of the window because he's done it before.
Love conquers all, and I don't mean Buffy loving Spike, but rather love transforming Spike. I already mentioned how he has slowly been stripped of his evil ways over the course of the series. It should not be possible for a vampire to want a soul so badly, yet he does. He doesn't understand what's happening to himself, but knows he's not good enough for Buffy. So, he goes for the soul.

Not only that, but Buffy confesses her love to a man who raped underage girls and multiple women. That's a damning indictment upon her character.
No, she confesses to a re-ensouled vampire, not the rapist.
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9,005
Age
30
I'm not saying that he didn't do this as well, but I think sanitizing his vampiric past only makes the attempted rape that much more problematic. I also think it's quite a stretch asking us to accept that Spike wouldn't have done such a horrible thing, especially as a lot of this theory hinges on us not accepting full chunks of the series.
I disagree. Spike still has his dark past of murdering and torturing to designate him as a former villain.

In my view, having Spike rape in the past is what makes the AR more problematic because why should that one be considered more important and his turning point. Why is Buffy so special in regards to the other victims? Why should Buffy's victimhood be held above others?

Yes. Yes, I do think he would do something like that.

I once had a poetry prof who routinely asked us to go dark with our writing. One poor bloke who had to take the class because of scheduling was actually a theology major and struggled so badly. He could never go dark enough for the prof. I'm guessing Joss had some similar experiences. Remember, he is supposedly the one who asked all the writers to go digging for their worst day, and chose this one.
Having a male character admit to raping underage girls in a season reliant on the audiences having sympathy for him is not a good look. Also why is it assumed that Spike is talking about rape other than the fact that the victims are female? Are women/girls incapable of being victims of anything other than rape?


Buffy refuses to let herself love Spike fully until he gets a soul. It is mentioned many times that she is disgusted with herself for sleeping with him, and that he is different post-soul, especially by Buffy. I believe she loved the good qualities in Spike, without forgetting that he was still evil. It was partly why she got confused in season 6, wanting to love someone yet being disgusted by him. Once he got the soul, it changed him, to the point she had to ask for Dangerous Spike back. Spike eventually gets back the "good" qualities of his evil self, but now with a spanking new soul to inform his decisions.
I always think the Spuffy storyline is Season 6 is the real "addiction" storyline with Buffy as the addict and Spike as the drug. It could even be argued that Buffy kicking Spike away in the bathroom is her finally "kicking the habit".

I've discussed the parallels in other threads such as how Buffy starts off in control, she decided when and where she uses. However over time the addiction starts taking control, showing up at Buffy's work, home and when she's out with friends and encouraging her to use. The balcony scene is basically Buffy shooting up in the corner. Also she uses Spike to make herself feel better before feeling guilty about it then uses him again to make her feel better etc.

So, you're saying we should take chunks out of the plot to fit your theory?
No, I'm saying look at how Angelus/Angel are portrayed in comparison to Spike. Angel and Angelus are treated as two different characters, Spike is treated as one character regardless of if he has a soul or not.

Don't miss episodes of a show. It's like skipping scenes in a movie to get popcorn or take a pee. They are building blocks to the story.
You're missing the point. If you take out the "transformation" scene, you can clearly see that Angel and Angelus are two different people. You don't get that clear distinction between pre-soul Spike and post-soul Spike. Show, don't tell. We're shown that Angel and Angelus are not the same person, we have to be repeatedly told that Spike is different. because "he has a soul now".

I'm not going to address 1 and 2, because I'm pretty sure we're on the same page, but Dru did make Spike pretty miserable at times, largely when she takes up with Angel, and later when she takes up with the chaos demon.
I don't think the Dru and Angelus stuff is as cut and dry as Dru being "a big ho". I think Angelus trained Dru to react to him that way (there was 20 years between Dru being turned and Spike being turned), she responds that way specifically to Angelus, not Angel, as if she recognises when her "master" is present. Also the only time Dru ever reacts positively to Angel is if he is acting somewhat like Angelus.

Also the fact that Spike doesn't blame Dru for what she does with Angelus but is quick to call her out on the chaos demon shows that he's not blind to her faults but that there is an underlying issue within the Dru/Angelus dynamic that isn't addressed. It should also be added that the chaos demon comes ater Spike's "betrayal" (which is treated as him cheating on Dru as evidenced in Lovers Walk eg "I told her it didn't mean anything, that I was thinking o her the whole time") so Dru was deliberately trying to hurt Spike with the chaos demon because in her view he hurt her first.

Also it's a common misconception that Dru just drops Spike when Angelus returns on the scene. This is categorically not true. Angelus refers to Dru giving Spike "pity access", we see Dru caring for Spike and there are several occasions where Angelus physically separates them eg before they go to the mall with the Judge, Dru sits on Spike's lap and kisses him whilst Angelus takes her hand and pulls her away. In IOHEFY, Dru invites Spike on the hunt and it is Angelus who rejects the invitation.

Love conquers all, and I don't mean Buffy loving Spike, but rather love transforming Spike. I already mentioned how he has slowly been stripped of his evil ways over the course of the series. It should not be possible for a vampire to want a soul so badly, yet he does. He doesn't understand what's happening to himself, but knows he's not good enough for Buffy. So, he goes for the soul.
I dislike the notion that Spike has to change a part of himself he had no issue with before (being soulless) just so that he'd be considered "acceptable" to Buffy. Add in the fact it's a form of self-harm which he is then rewarded for committing, I just find it very problematic. It would be like a woman, who had no issue with her weight, falling in love with a man and deciding she needs to be thin so that he would find her "acceptable". She achieves this by sticking her fingers down her throat and throwing up. The man then rewards her for doing this to herself by deciding she has now reached a level where it is acceptable for him to love her. Spike getting a soul is one of the main reasons I dislike the Spuffy ship because of the connotations that go with it.

Also the whole "love conquers all" is essentially "I can change him with my love" and that comes with its own issues.

No, she confesses to a re-ensouled vampire, not the rapist.
Again, because there is no clear distinction between souled Spike and pre-soul Spike, as they are treated as the same character unlike Angel and Angelus, Buffy is still telling the man that tried to rape her that she loves him. She is also telling the man that admitted to her that he had raped underage girls in the past (if you go with that narrative) that she loves him.

The first is bad enough but it is what it is, add in the second and Buffy becomes a terrible person.

Rape is not a device you use in the middle of a redemption arc.
 

Moggin

Tasty Townie
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
340
This debate is becoming cyclical. I've already answered some of the questions you asked again, rather succinctly. I don't think there is anything more to be said or answered. We could debate this forever. Essentially, you are free to like whatever plot or storyline you wish. Cherry pick or mentally develop whatever back story that allows you to enjoy it best. I, personally, like the discomfort this storyline tells, in its entirety. I don't just like parts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; I like it warts and all. Unlike so many other shows where the sudden shift in character feels awkward, I thought the Spike/Buffy situation was done sensitively and was artistically brilliant. There is nothing more to be said.
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
9,005
Age
30
This debate is becoming cyclical. I've already answered some of the questions you asked again, rather succinctly. I don't think there is anything more to be said or answered. We could debate this forever. Essentially, you are free to like whatever plot or storyline you wish. Cherry pick or mentally develop whatever back story that allows you to enjoy it best. I, personally, like the discomfort this storyline tells, in its entirety. I don't just like parts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; I like it warts and all. Unlike so many other shows where the sudden shift in character feels awkward, I thought the Spike/Buffy situation was done sensitively and was artistically brilliant. There is nothing more to be said.
I thought it was a terrible plotline executed badly. SMG and JM are what carry it because the writing doesn't do them any favours. Also you've not really answered questions but it's clear neither of us will change our positions so let's leave it there.
 

Moggin

Tasty Townie
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
340
I thought it was a terrible plotline executed badly. SMG and JM are what carry it because the writing doesn't do them any favours. Also you've not really answered questions but it's clear neither of us will change our positions so let's leave it there.
Well, there is one thing we can agree upon. Without the superb acting it would have gone sour very quickly, even for me. The acting is very important, and fortunately, SMG and JM did their jobs well. As for it being poorly written, I can still find better examples of that...Game of Thrones, anyone?
 

thetopher

Member of the Church Of Faith
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
10,315
Location
The Moot, England
Sineya
Incredibly poorly executed but totally in character. From their very first encounter in S2 that was laced with creepy sexual innuendo because Spike (and vampires in general) equate sex very strongly with violence, stronger in fact that humans do.
This makes sense with vampires because they are pure Id- if it feels good then do it and damn the consequences. No guilt, no remorse. Some vampires have preferences but generally speaking they all do the same appalling things. This whole 'Spike wouldn't do this evil thing' is nonsense and just the romanticizing of a favorite character. Spike is very personable, but he's still evil, happily burns down orphanages, massacres people, kills children and yes, also rapes. In the annuls of vampires crimes mass murder trumps rape every time.

So it was probably the most logical/in character way for Spike after Buffy kissed him and then them embarked on their 'gruntathon' together. Other scenarios for having Spike get a soul just don't hold weight. Souless creatures just don't hvae that capacity for guilt or regret so hurting/almost killing somebody wouldn't particularly work in Spike's case (and then there's the fact that the chip wouldn't allow this, back when the chip was consistant).
I think love in a particularly dark, possessive form would have to play a significant part in his development. So twisted, violent 'love' actually fits.

My problems with the rape scene are two-fold:
1) The Buffy/Spike relationship in S7; everything post-sexual assault and even remotely sexual/romantic/intimate is going to be extremely problematic for most viewers who aren't heavy Spuffy shippers. For many it is strange how the focus is almost entirely on Spike and how Spike got his soul, is suffering for his sins, 'got a soul' for Buffy, 'loves her' (he states these to her multiple times, always unprompted) and generally is depicted as now being worthy' of her. We never get anything about how Buffy has coped with her trauma, how she worked through her pain. Something I'm sure many of us would've liked to see, how a survivor deals with that violation of trust -just like how we saw Buffy deal with the Angelus aftermath, her mother's illness, her depression, etc.
I found it especially baffling how Buffy reacts to Spike in 'Lessons' when he lurches out of nowhere in a dark basement babbling and then touching her face. I think somebody who had experienced actual sexual assault would written Buffy a little differently. Certainly less passive/confused

What do we get from Buffy?
Not much, from the...sith episode its mostly lazy justification, Buffy end up defending and making excuses for Spike. Saying he has a soul now, she feels that he's different, he might be killing people but that's just the trigger and he has my back. Urgh. No struggle really, no earning of trust, just lazy melodrama.
Oh also, the show does go ouit of its way to emphasize that Buffy 'used Spike' and treated him horribly (her graveside confession to psych-vamp), all in all trying to create a weird sort of equivalency, a cover in which is generally say 'well, he did bad things....buuuuuttt she also did bad things so lets just move along and have sexual tension already!'

Sorry, but NO. NO.
Buffy and Spike had a toxic horrible relationship with badness on both sides. Which is why Buffy finally stood firm and ended things between them, told Spike again and again her reasons for doing so (she didn't love him) for weeks on end and basically treated him with the respect that was lacking during their other times together.

Then he sexually assaulted her, because he loved her, in his way.
In this context it doesn't matter what Buffy did to Spike or vice versa in their relationship, because she gave clear, unambiguous signals as to her feelings, respecting but not sharing his. It's only because of one off-hand comment from Dawn that leads Spike to visit Buffy, step uninvited into her bathroom and then try and force himself on an already injured slayer. He sought her out and tried to 'get her to love him like he loves her'.
I actually think that's the problem many overlook. Spike getting a soul for Buffy is exactly the same motivation as his rape attempt, another way of forcing Buffy to admit her feelings for him. It's sort of the problem with the whole sorry saga.


2) Many in the fandom. As a result of the AR scene there are those in the fandom who will try anything to excuse the rape attempt and/or use false equivalency to excuse and diminish the crimes of their favorite character, which is a shame. They take their cue from the show I guess
A couple of other thoughts about things that have popped up in this thread:

- Angelus did rape. Absolutely. He's an evil vampire.
He also massacred hordes of defenseless nuns, ate babies, killed his whole village and all manner of worse atrocities. I actually think Angelus targeting the church so regularly is why his reputation is the way it is. In the 18th and 19th century the clergy/Pope would likely go to great lengths to emphases those monsters that went after them specifically.
But the thing is, Angel accepts responsibility for all these things, he doesn't equivocate ata all. He doesn't pick and choose. He doesn't blame others for 'making him a monster' and he doesn't glorify some of his more impressive evil deeds such as, I dunno, casually bragging about the slayers he's killed or wearing their clothing for a wheeze.

- Xander in 'The Pack' did assault Buffy, and their was a sexual component to it, but it seems clear (and I've watched this episode recently) that Buffy is
- Faith didn't attempt to rape Xander. She tried to kill him. This isn't an excuse since the latter is infinity worse than the former. Taking a life is the worst thing you can do and Faith was going to kill Xander to see if she could.
- If you think Faith raped Buffy then by the same reasoning Angelus raped Liam; an 'other' takes over the body whilst the soul is elsewhere without their consent and goes on to do horrible things that the 'host' (for want of a better term) would never do. It's basically a metaphorical rape.
- If you think Faith raped Riley then I agree with you. A denial of consent is rape. Then you must also say the same about Spike denying Buffy's consent in 'Dead Things'. She said no and he didn't respect her consent, so he raped her. Cut and dried.
Obviously the same goes for Willow playing with Tara's memory in S6, denial of consent.

Personally I think the crime of rape is more encompassed by a desire to control, violate and dominate somebody else in a sexual way. But we live in a culture where 'regret rape' is a thing so there are obviously different moral views on the issue.

For the record the AR isn't my top twenty as to why Spike is a pretty crappy person. I really don't care about the morals of a horrible demon.
Most of my problems are with the creep who has a soul and not for the charismatic and fun bad guy we got from S2 to 5.
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
Vampires contain much of their human selves so Angelus is part Liam. Whereas there is no Buffy in Buffy's body when Faith takes it - but it is still Buffy's body at risk of disease and pregnancy when Faith has sex in it. Not really comparable

Faded90

Scooby
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
504
Age
63
Incredibly poorly executed but totally in character. From their very first encounter in S2 that was laced with creepy sexual innuendo because Spike (and vampires in general) equate sex very strongly with violence, stronger in fact that humans do.
This makes sense with vampires because they are pure Id- if it feels good then do it and damn the consequences. No guilt, no remorse. Some vampires have preferences but generally speaking they all do the same appalling things. This whole 'Spike wouldn't do this evil thing' is nonsense and just the romanticizing of a favorite character. Spike is very personable, but he's still evil, happily burns down orphanages, massacres people, kills children and yes, also rapes. In the annuls of vampires crimes mass murder trumps rape every time.

So it was probably the most logical/in character way for Spike after Buffy kissed him and then them embarked on their 'gruntathon' together. Other scenarios for having Spike get a soul just don't hold weight. Souless creatures just don't hvae that capacity for guilt or regret so hurting/almost killing somebody wouldn't particularly work in Spike's case (and then there's the fact that the chip wouldn't allow this, back when the chip was consistant).
I think love in a particularly dark, possessive form would have to play a significant part in his development. So twisted, violent 'love' actually fits.

My problems with the rape scene are two-fold:
1) The Buffy/Spike relationship in S7; everything post-sexual assault and even remotely sexual/romantic/intimate is going to be extremely problematic for most viewers who aren't heavy Spuffy shippers. For many it is strange how the focus is almost entirely on Spike and how Spike got his soul, is suffering for his sins, 'got a soul' for Buffy, 'loves her' (he states these to her multiple times, always unprompted) and generally is depicted as now being worthy' of her. We never get anything about how Buffy has coped with her trauma, how she worked through her pain. Something I'm sure many of us would've liked to see, how a survivor deals with that violation of trust -just like how we saw Buffy deal with the Angelus aftermath, her mother's illness, her depression, etc.
I found it especially baffling how Buffy reacts to Spike in 'Lessons' when he lurches out of nowhere in a dark basement babbling and then touching her face. I think somebody who had experienced actual sexual assault would written Buffy a little differently. Certainly less passive/confused

What do we get from Buffy?
Not much, from the...sith episode its mostly lazy justification, Buffy end up defending and making excuses for Spike. Saying he has a soul now, she feels that he's different, he might be killing people but that's just the trigger and he has my back. Urgh. No struggle really, no earning of trust, just lazy melodrama.
Oh also, the show does go ouit of its way to emphasize that Buffy 'used Spike' and treated him horribly (her graveside confession to psych-vamp), all in all trying to create a weird sort of equivalency, a cover in which is generally say 'well, he did bad things....buuuuuttt she also did bad things so lets just move along and have sexual tension already!'

Sorry, but NO. NO.
Buffy and Spike had a toxic horrible relationship with badness on both sides. Which is why Buffy finally stood firm and ended things between them, told Spike again and again her reasons for doing so (she didn't love him) for weeks on end and basically treated him with the respect that was lacking during their other times together.

Then he sexually assaulted her, because he loved her, in his way.
In this context it doesn't matter what Buffy did to Spike or vice versa in their relationship, because she gave clear, unambiguous signals as to her feelings, respecting but not sharing his. It's only because of one off-hand comment from Dawn that leads Spike to visit Buffy, step uninvited into her bathroom and then try and force himself on an already injured slayer. He sought her out and tried to 'get her to love him like he loves her'.
I actually think that's the problem many overlook. Spike getting a soul for Buffy is exactly the same motivation as his rape attempt, another way of forcing Buffy to admit her feelings for him. It's sort of the problem with the whole sorry saga.


2) Many in the fandom. As a result of the AR scene there are those in the fandom who will try anything to excuse the rape attempt and/or use false equivalency to excuse and diminish the crimes of their favorite character, which is a shame. They take their cue from the show I guess
A couple of other thoughts about things that have popped up in this thread:

- Angelus did rape. Absolutely. He's an evil vampire.
He also massacred hordes of defenseless nuns, ate babies, killed his whole village and all manner of worse atrocities. I actually think Angelus targeting the church so regularly is why his reputation is the way it is. In the 18th and 19th century the clergy/Pope would likely go to great lengths to emphases those monsters that went after them specifically.
But the thing is, Angel accepts responsibility for all these things, he doesn't equivocate ata all. He doesn't pick and choose. He doesn't blame others for 'making him a monster' and he doesn't glorify some of his more impressive evil deeds such as, I dunno, casually bragging about the slayers he's killed or wearing their clothing for a wheeze.

- Xander in 'The Pack' did assault Buffy, and their was a sexual component to it, but it seems clear (and I've watched this episode recently) that Buffy is
- Faith didn't attempt to rape Xander. She tried to kill him. This isn't an excuse since the latter is infinity worse than the former. Taking a life is the worst thing you can do and Faith was going to kill Xander to see if she could.
- If you think Faith raped Buffy then by the same reasoning Angelus raped Liam; an 'other' takes over the body whilst the soul is elsewhere without their consent and goes on to do horrible things that the 'host' (for want of a better term) would never do. It's basically a metaphorical rape.
- If you think Faith raped Riley then I agree with you. A denial of consent is rape. Then you must also say the same about Spike denying Buffy's consent in 'Dead Things'. She said no and he didn't respect her consent, so he raped her. Cut and dried.
Obviously the same goes for Willow playing with Tara's memory in S6, denial of consent.

Personally I think the crime of rape is more encompassed by a desire to control, violate and dominate somebody else in a sexual way. But we live in a culture where 'regret rape' is a thing so there are obviously different moral views on the issue.

For the record the AR isn't my top twenty as to why Spike is a pretty crappy person. I really don't care about the morals of a horrible demon.
Most of my problems are with the creep who has a soul and not for the charismatic and fun bad guy we got from S2 to 5.
Brilliant post and I agree with all of it. I think my issue is the ‘pick and choose’ aspect of Soulled Spike we see. Spikes slate is basically wiped clean in S7 so they don’t need to deal with the AR. However Spike is allowed to take credit for getting the soul ‘I got a soul for you!’ (Buffy of course never asked him to) and is able to throw Buffy’s bad behaviour back at her ‘you used me’ and yet he can say ‘I didn’t have a soul m’lord it wasn’t me’ Spike is basically able to wash his hands of his bad deeds while keeping the better ones oh and he can still hold Buffy’s bad deeds against Soulless Spike against her. It yet again is the set up for an incredibly toxic power dynamic in their relationship and why frankly Buffy is best off walking away from it

S7 Spuffy I see a lot of parallels with S7 Faith returning. Both Spike and Faith return in S7 after hurting Buffy. It would be perfectly understandable for Buffy to never forgive either of them, Faith appears to understand this while Spike doesn’t. Spike multiple times uses the ‘I got a soul for you!’ Card (again even though she never once asked him to) and says ‘you used me!’ Against Her - something Buffy has already acknowledged and apologised for. Even saying in Hells Bells she’s fully deserving of Spike making her jealous

Whereas Faith comes back and doesn’t bring up that Buffy nearly killed her (obviously there was mitigating circumstances we understand) and never once uses the ‘I went to jail for you!’ Card (something that Buffy actually DID ask her to do). Faith fully accepts that Buffy may never forgive her or like Faith once said herself ‘I can’t ever make it right’. She’s literally just back because ‘Willow said you needed me. Didn’t give it a lot of thought’. There’s even differences in their language when they are making their redemption decisions, from ‘just tell me how to make it better’ to ‘bitch is going to see a change’

I feel the same as you that the issue isn’t necessarily about the AR itselfbut the aftermath and the way it’s handled. As an extra point but I can’t bear the romanticising of it and ‘oh he just loved his Mommy’ stuff that they try to use to retcon a lot of what Spike was about, which was being a vampire that was known for torturing his victims with railroad Spikes
 
thetopher
thetopher
Faith returning is basically Spike done right; a little time and space and no demands or expectations.
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
But Faith didn't go to jail for Buffy, she went to jail a) for murder and b) for her own attempt at redemption.

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,375
Age
39
Brilliant post and I agree with all of it. I think my issue is the ‘pick and choose’ aspect of Soulled Spike we see. Spikes slate is basically wiped clean in S7 so they don’t need to deal with the AR. However Spike is allowed to take credit for getting the soul ‘I got a soul for you!’ (Buffy of course never asked him to) and is able to throw Buffy’s bad behaviour back at her ‘you used me’ and yet he can say ‘I didn’t have a soul m’lord it wasn’t me’ Spike is basically able to wash his hands of his bad deeds while keeping the better ones oh and he can still hold Buffy’s bad deeds against Soulless Spike against her. It yet again is the set up for an incredibly toxic power dynamic in their relationship and why frankly Buffy is best off walking away from it

S7 Spuffy I see a lot of parallels with S7 Faith returning. Both Spike and Faith return in S7 after hurting Buffy. It would be perfectly understandable for Buffy to never forgive either of them, Faith appears to understand this while Spike doesn’t. Spike multiple times uses the ‘I got a soul for you!’ Card (again even though she never once asked him to) and says ‘you used me!’ Against Her - something Buffy has already acknowledged and apologised for. Even saying in Hells Bells she’s fully deserving of Spike making her jealous

Whereas Faith comes back and doesn’t bring up that Buffy nearly killed her (obviously there was mitigating circumstances we understand) and never once uses the ‘I went to jail for you!’ Card (something that Buffy actually DID ask her to do). Faith fully accepts that Buffy may never forgive her or like Faith once said herself ‘I can’t ever make it right’. She’s literally just back because ‘Willow said you needed me. Didn’t give it a lot of thought’. There’s even differences in their language when they are making their redemption decisions, from ‘just tell me how to make it better’ to ‘bitch is going to see a change’

I feel the same as you that the issue isn’t necessarily about the AR itselfbut the aftermath and the way it’s handled. As an extra point but I can’t bear the romanticising of it and ‘oh he just loved his Mommy’ stuff that they try to use to retcon a lot of what Spike was about, which was being a vampire that was known for torturing his victims with railroad Spikes
I actually have more of an issue with Spike in Angel Season 5 cracking rape line/innuendos "Fred seems like a goer I'll think I'll have a go at that Fred"
After all of S7 he wouldn't be saying this but apparently he is. Only in Damage do we get some self reflection.
 

katmobile

Scooby
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
1,475
Age
49
I actually have more of an issue with Spike in Angel Season 5 cracking rape line/innuendos "Fred seems like a goer I'll think I'll have a go at that Fred"
After all of S7 he wouldn't be saying this but apparently he is. Only in Damage do we get some self reflection.
He's bluffing to try and make the bad guy act look convincing to the necromancer. He's over egging it but even so ....his behaviour to Fred speaks louder than the gross words.
 

katmobile

Scooby
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
1,475
Age
49
Buffy never used Faith sexually the way that Buffy used Spike but Faith did rape Buffy. In a sense Angelus did rape Liam except Liam consented to it he couldn't have understood all of the implications of his action but he said 'show me the world'. Also Angelus is a part of Liam his dark half Faith may be symbolically a shadow self of Buffy but she's an isn't actual part of Buffy ergo the situation with Faith body swapping which she did know all of the implications of is very different.

I think it's very ambitious as to if Faith was going to rape Xander as well as kill him but it's still going to be traumatising for him - it's still murder with a sexual undercurrent. The point with hyena Xander is that Buffy understands that there is a difference you to what can hold a souled being too and what you can hold a demon possessed souless one too - that they are different and when dealing with a man you write off what the unfettered demon does. You can agree or disagree with it but that's how Buffy understands things and what enables her to not even 'tell' Xander what he did and to not hold Angelus against Angel. She's a lot more consistent about this than many fans are.

In a sense Faith is a bit more like a real life situation in that as she committed her evil acts souled (and yes I know that Faith is a damaged girl so that's not a condemnation) it's a lot harder for Buffy to gage how genuine she is in her reformation and to draw that line. Faith has had longer to think things over too at this stage - getting on for three years in prison - she hasn't had a big bad manipulating her the whole time she's been reformed.

Spike does feel remorse for what he's done Damage makes that clear as do his incoherent ramblings and his not so incoherent statements in his own defence in Sleeper. He was not responsible for what the First made him do against his will but he did make a choice to regain his soul because he hated he'd hurt Buffy - you can see it in his face after she pushes him back. He doesn't expect instant forgiveness in fact some of the acts thetother likes to hold against him are obviously self sabotage like that. Also he tells her about the soul quest in a moment where he's barely holding himself together and then goes onto to commit a highly masochistic act. When he goes into more detail it's at Buffy's request and comes off a statement of his that he understands her self hatred now he's experiencing it. All of the way through Never Leave Me he doesn't spare himself and deliberately emphasises the aspects that will chime with Buffy to motivate her to kill him but she knows he made a choice to change. When Spike seemingly acts against this it's part of a struggle for balance Buffy makes him realise he needs his demon side to be effective and he sees all the tears in the world won't bring back his past victims so he decides to just do what he can in the present and not think about it too much. You can read the brilliant review of Never Leave Me on the Buffy forums if you really want insight into this.

As to the accusation Spiffies want to have their cake and eat it too - well preserving humanity in the face of lacking a conscience or a superego ergo no way of understanding anyone who has one while having a demon inside you that craves blood and ratchets every spiteful and violent instinct you have up to eleven IS a fricking achievement as the deck is staked against you here. It's like swimming upstream and the moments you fail are like the tide taking you back down again. I also acknowledge the role of circumstances here too.

This is not a point scored over Angel. Spike risked and sacrificed to gain a soul - Angel makes considerable sacrifices to keep his. They are paying a price at different times in different ways and using their free will to do so.
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
I don't think its ambiguous if F is trying to rape X or not, she kisses him aggressively but once she gets serious about choking him, there is no continuation of it - she's all business and all about death. It's a murder attempt pure and simple

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,375
Age
39
He's bluffing to try and make the bad guy act look convincing to the necromancer. He's over egging it but even so ....his behaviour to Fred speaks louder than the gross words.
There were other ways to do that scene. I blame the writers more than Spike though. Fury does a rape line/reference in a lot of his episodes so its more a Fury thing
 

thetopher

Member of the Church Of Faith
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
10,315
Location
The Moot, England
Sineya
Well, a lot to unpack here:

Buffy never used Faith sexually the way that Buffy used Spike
True but how is this relevant? Buffy used Spike in a mutually consensual and mutually abusive manner during a relationship. Then Buffy ended thing. The violent sexual assault and the relationship are completely separate issues that have nothing to do with each other.
Somebody cannot just demand sex from an ex because they used to go together, even soulless Spike understands that most of the time.

but Faith did rape Buffy.
Not literally, metaphorically. And if we open that door then Spike did literally raped Buffy in 'Dead Things' like I said.

In a sense Angelus did rape Liam except Liam consented to it
Nope. Liam was drunk and had his eyes closed. He thought he was going to get lucky with a noblewoman, not become an immortal terror of the underworld and damn his soul into the bargain.

Also Angelus is a part of Liam his dark half Faith may be symbolically a shadow self of Buffy but she's an isn't actual part of Buffy ergo the situation with Faith body swapping which she did know all of the implications of is very different.
Angelus is only part of Liam because that's how vampirism works. The demon hijacks the body FOREVER, not just twenty four hours or so. So the demon is bonded to Liam and this in turn (the memories and such) create Angel.
When Faith took over Buffy Buffy was entirely absent, and when she came back to herself Faith had left. It's not 100% analogy but in the case of metaphorical rape it comes close.

Spike does feel remorse for what he's done Damage makes that clear
Well Damage is way, waaay off in Buffy S7, Spike has so many obnoxious, self aggrandizing things to do and boast about, like killing Wood's mum and wearing her coat, blaming Angel for making him a monster and other lame excuses.

his incoherent ramblings and his not so incoherent statements in his own defence in Sleeper.
Do we know how much of this insanity is coherent guilt or just The First's manipulations. I honestly can't take much of it seriously given how Spike acts away from the high school, fairly high functioning and not that guilt-ridden.

. He was not responsible for what the First made him do against his will
Sure, but his is responsible for what he does after he knows what the First made him do right? Ignorance is no excuse after that.
And he happily walks around most of the time with a trigger in his head so its, again, hard to see his remorse as anything deep or genuine. I get that he felt horrified when he discovered what he'd done. But one little pep talk from Buffy and he's all better? Kinda shallow in empathy terms no?

but he did make a choice to regain his soul because he hated he'd hurt Buffy - you can see it in his face after she pushes him back.
Well that's speculative. We do know that Spike was shocked? Afraid of what might happen? Puzzled as to why he didn't go through with it? (Urgh) And so to get back with Buffy and force her to acknowledge her feelings for him he goes on a noble quest of beating things up until he gets what he wants.
Why should Spike';s sense of monumental entitlement to the things he wants be celebrated and glorified?

He doesn't expect instant forgiveness in fact some of the acts thetother likes to hold against him are obviously self sabotage like that.
But he DOES expect forgiveness at some point, that's the problem. His expectation. He makes the grand gesture, walks back into Buffy's life, never asks about her and makes it all about him and how he did this marvelous thing for her.
It's kinda like the old joke: y'know 'my god beleives in noble self-sacrifice and then never shutting up about it'.

Also he tells her about the soul quest in a moment where he's barely holding himself together and then goes onto to commit a highly masochistic act.
By barely holding himself together you mean assaulting Anya without provocation and taunting Buffy into having another go up on the balcony? Seems pretty calculated to me until he stabbed the worm guy and then totally lost it.
Yes, draping himself over the cross is powerful imagery. But again, even here its all about how badly Spike was used by Buffy and about what he did for her.

When Spike seemingly acts against this it's part of a struggle for balance Buffy makes him realise he needs his demon side to be effective and he sees all the tears in the world won't bring back his past victims so he decides to just do what he can in the present and not think about it too much.
It really isn't that deep. Buffy tells Spike to 'man up' in a fairly public, obnoxious way and so Spike figures the best way to do that is to dress up in his old costume. The whole struggle with his inner darkness takes less than one episode and is never hinted at again. More shallow characterization.

But that's getting off topic.

As to the accusation Spiffies want to have their cake and eat it too
We non-Spuffies just tend to quote Spike, in context, and the rest is self-explanatory. Spike is a character who pretty much gets to do what he wants without much in the way of consequences. I mean, what is the chip plot device if not writer's fiat to have Spike standing around saying Spike things and not getting staked because he's 'helpless' now? Actions without real consequences.
So many times Spike should've been staked but for what he did and yet he was kinda...let off by everybody. Spike says 'I did this for you without a soul but forget about these bad things I did to this guy's Mom because I didn't have a soul then'...It's the definition of cognitive dissonance.
 
B
Btvs fan
That Spuffie argument could also be used for Anya too. She literally jokes about killing people and the writers play it for laughs up until Selfless anyway

katmobile

Scooby
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
1,475
Age
49
Well, a lot to unpack here:



True but how is this relevant? Buffy used Spike in a mutually consensual and mutually abusive manner during a relationship. Then Buffy ended thing. The violent sexual assault and the relationship are completely separate issues that have nothing to do with each other.
Somebody cannot just demand sex from an ex because they used to go together, even soulless Spike understands that most of the time.



Not literally, metaphorically. And if we open that door then Spike did literally raped Buffy in 'Dead Things' like I said.



Nope. Liam was drunk and had his eyes closed. He thought he was going to get lucky with a noblewoman, not become an immortal terror of the underworld and damn his soul into the bargain.



Angelus is only part of Liam because that's how vampirism works. The demon hijacks the body FOREVER, not just twenty four hours or so. So the demon is bonded to Liam and this in turn (the memories and such) create Angel.
When Faith took over Buffy Buffy was entirely absent, and when she came back to herself Faith had left. It's not 100% analogy but in the case of metaphorical rape it comes close.



Well Damage is way, waaay off in Buffy S7, Spike has so many obnoxious, self aggrandizing things to do and boast about, like killing Wood's mum and wearing her coat, blaming Angel for making him a monster and other lame excuses.



Do we know how much of this insanity is coherent guilt or just The First's manipulations. I honestly can't take much of it seriously given how Spike acts away from the high school, fairly high functioning and not that guilt-ridden.



Sure, but his is responsible for what he does after he knows what the First made him do right? Ignorance is no excuse after that.
And he happily walks around most of the time with a trigger in his head so its, again, hard to see his remorse as anything deep or genuine. I get that he felt horrified when he discovered what he'd done. But one little pep talk from Buffy and he's all better? Kinda shallow in empathy terms no?



Well that's speculative. We do know that Spike was shocked? Afraid of what might happen? Puzzled as to why he didn't go through with it? (Urgh) And so to get back with Buffy and force her to acknowledge her feelings for him he goes on a noble quest of beating things up until he gets what he wants.
Why should Spike';s sense of monumental entitlement to the things he wants be celebrated and glorified?



But he DOES expect forgiveness at some point, that's the problem. His expectation. He makes the grand gesture, walks back into Buffy's life, never asks about her and makes it all about him and how he did this marvelous thing for her.
It's kinda like the old joke: y'know 'my god beleives in noble self-sacrifice and then never shutting up about it'.



By barely holding himself together you mean assaulting Anya without provocation and taunting Buffy into having another go up on the balcony? Seems pretty calculated to me until he stabbed the worm guy and then totally lost it.
Yes, draping himself over the cross is powerful imagery. But again, even here its all about how badly Spike was used by Buffy and about what he did for her.



It really isn't that deep. Buffy tells Spike to 'man up' in a fairly public, obnoxious way and so Spike figures the best way to do that is to dress up in his old costume. The whole struggle with his inner darkness takes less than one episode and is never hinted at again. More shallow characterization.

But that's getting off topic.



We non-Spuffies just tend to quote Spike, in context, and the rest is self-explanatory. Spike is a character who pretty much gets to do what he wants without much in the way of consequences. I mean, what is the chip plot device if not writer's fiat to have Spike standing around saying Spike things and not getting staked because he's 'helpless' now? Actions without real consequences.
So many times Spike should've been staked but for what he did and yet he was kinda...let off by everybody. Spike says 'I did this for you without a soul but forget about these bad things I did to this guy's Mom because I didn't have a soul then'...It's the definition of cognitive dissonance.
I've never argued that Buffy 'deserved' what Spike did to her but it does mean that she's going to feel that she has interest in his redemption in a way she didn't with Faith Also if Buffy's bad actions towards Spike don't accuse Spike's action then Spike's don't excuse Buffy's, With Faith Buffy where she can claim legitimately that she tried her best to help her. She's right when she tells Faith 'I gave you chance after chance and you spat at me'. Also if Buffy's bad actions towards Spike don't accuse Spike's action then Spike's don't excuse Buffy's, Also if previous dubious consent which contradicted saying she wouldn't justify rape nor does being merely metaphorical and I disagree it was still Buffy's body being used against her will even if she wasn't in it at the time. You are still raped if you are unconciious and don't 'suffer' when someone does it.

Spike is not 'all better' after Buffy's pep talk - in Killer in Me he is still chaining himself up in the basement when he's not with Buffy in case he gets triggered again. The coat is more to Spike than a trophy off Nicky it's become a bit of reclaiming a part of himself he needs to be effective. Wood was trying to kill him - I think not playing nice and stating in a sense what is a truth. is understandable if not justifiable

If you don't understand the idea of suicide by cop and how a part of Spike acts the way he does because he doesn't think he deserves to forgiven then I can't help you.

Drunk does not excuse your actions while drunk - Angel certainly doesn't think so and also he wasn't so insensible that he can't follow Darla. Again Angelus is a part of Liam too.

You are paying a blind bit of attention to anything Spike says in Never Leave Me are you? Also a lot of time when he talks about getting a soul for her he's either losing his marbles, defending himself agaisnt what he thinks as false allegations in Sleeper or he's downplaying it in Never Leave Me so much so Buffy initially says 'just like that?'.

You are assumning that everyone who isn't a Spuffy thinks like you - I don't think so. Spuffys aren't a monolith nor are non Spuffys. You are just as biased as I am I'd argue more and you are hopelessly blind when it comes to Faith,. Don't speak for other people like you're some unbaised moral authority becasue you are not. At least I'm willing to acknolwedge the filters I see things through and I don't think you have to be a Spuffy to see that I've got some points.
 

darkspook

Potential
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
127
Age
36
Incredibly poorly executed but totally in character. From their very first encounter in S2 that was laced with creepy sexual innuendo because Spike (and vampires in general) equate sex very strongly with violence, stronger in fact that humans do.
This makes sense with vampires because they are pure Id- if it feels good then do it and damn the consequences. No guilt, no remorse. Some vampires have preferences but generally speaking they all do the same appalling things. This whole 'Spike wouldn't do this evil thing' is nonsense and just the romanticizing of a favorite character. Spike is very personable, but he's still evil, happily burns down orphanages, massacres people, kills children and yes, also rapes. In the annuls of vampires crimes mass murder trumps rape every time.

So it was probably the most logical/in character way for Spike after Buffy kissed him and then them embarked on their 'gruntathon' together. Other scenarios for having Spike get a soul just don't hold weight. Souless creatures just don't hvae that capacity for guilt or regret so hurting/almost killing somebody wouldn't particularly work in Spike's case (and then there's the fact that the chip wouldn't allow this, back when the chip was consistant).
I think love in a particularly dark, possessive form would have to play a significant part in his development. So twisted, violent 'love' actually fits.

My problems with the rape scene are two-fold:
1) The Buffy/Spike relationship in S7; everything post-sexual assault and even remotely sexual/romantic/intimate is going to be extremely problematic for most viewers who aren't heavy Spuffy shippers. For many it is strange how the focus is almost entirely on Spike and how Spike got his soul, is suffering for his sins, 'got a soul' for Buffy, 'loves her' (he states these to her multiple times, always unprompted) and generally is depicted as now being worthy' of her. We never get anything about how Buffy has coped with her trauma, how she worked through her pain. Something I'm sure many of us would've liked to see, how a survivor deals with that violation of trust -just like how we saw Buffy deal with the Angelus aftermath, her mother's illness, her depression, etc.
I found it especially baffling how Buffy reacts to Spike in 'Lessons' when he lurches out of nowhere in a dark basement babbling and then touching her face. I think somebody who had experienced actual sexual assault would written Buffy a little differently. Certainly less passive/confused

What do we get from Buffy?
Not much, from the...sith episode its mostly lazy justification, Buffy end up defending and making excuses for Spike. Saying he has a soul now, she feels that he's different, he might be killing people but that's just the trigger and he has my back. Urgh. No struggle really, no earning of trust, just lazy melodrama.
Oh also, the show does go ouit of its way to emphasize that Buffy 'used Spike' and treated him horribly (her graveside confession to psych-vamp), all in all trying to create a weird sort of equivalency, a cover in which is generally say 'well, he did bad things....buuuuuttt she also did bad things so lets just move along and have sexual tension already!'

Sorry, but NO. NO.
Buffy and Spike had a toxic horrible relationship with badness on both sides. Which is why Buffy finally stood firm and ended things between them, told Spike again and again her reasons for doing so (she didn't love him) for weeks on end and basically treated him with the respect that was lacking during their other times together.

Then he sexually assaulted her, because he loved her, in his way.
In this context it doesn't matter what Buffy did to Spike or vice versa in their relationship, because she gave clear, unambiguous signals as to her feelings, respecting but not sharing his. It's only because of one off-hand comment from Dawn that leads Spike to visit Buffy, step uninvited into her bathroom and then try and force himself on an already injured slayer. He sought her out and tried to 'get her to love him like he loves her'.
I actually think that's the problem many overlook. Spike getting a soul for Buffy is exactly the same motivation as his rape attempt, another way of forcing Buffy to admit her feelings for him. It's sort of the problem with the whole sorry saga.


2) Many in the fandom. As a result of the AR scene there are those in the fandom who will try anything to excuse the rape attempt and/or use false equivalency to excuse and diminish the crimes of their favorite character, which is a shame. They take their cue from the show I guess
A couple of other thoughts about things that have popped up in this thread:

- Angelus did rape. Absolutely. He's an evil vampire.
He also massacred hordes of defenseless nuns, ate babies, killed his whole village and all manner of worse atrocities. I actually think Angelus targeting the church so regularly is why his reputation is the way it is. In the 18th and 19th century the clergy/Pope would likely go to great lengths to emphases those monsters that went after them specifically.
But the thing is, Angel accepts responsibility for all these things, he doesn't equivocate ata all. He doesn't pick and choose. He doesn't blame others for 'making him a monster' and he doesn't glorify some of his more impressive evil deeds such as, I dunno, casually bragging about the slayers he's killed or wearing their clothing for a wheeze.

- Xander in 'The Pack' did assault Buffy, and their was a sexual component to it, but it seems clear (and I've watched this episode recently) that Buffy is
- Faith didn't attempt to rape Xander. She tried to kill him. This isn't an excuse since the latter is infinity worse than the former. Taking a life is the worst thing you can do and Faith was going to kill Xander to see if she could.
- If you think Faith raped Buffy then by the same reasoning Angelus raped Liam; an 'other' takes over the body whilst the soul is elsewhere without their consent and goes on to do horrible things that the 'host' (for want of a better term) would never do. It's basically a metaphorical rape.
- If you think Faith raped Riley then I agree with you. A denial of consent is rape. Then you must also say the same about Spike denying Buffy's consent in 'Dead Things'. She said no and he didn't respect her consent, so he raped her. Cut and dried.
Obviously the same goes for Willow playing with Tara's memory in S6, denial of consent.

Personally I think the crime of rape is more encompassed by a desire to control, violate and dominate somebody else in a sexual way. But we live in a culture where 'regret rape' is a thing so there are obviously different moral views on the issue.

For the record the AR isn't my top twenty as to why Spike is a pretty crappy person. I really don't care about the morals of a horrible demon.
Most of my problems are with the creep who has a soul and not for the charismatic and fun bad guy we got from S2 to 5.
Well said! It's certainly in character but is so badly handled. Season 7 felt very off with a number of out of character moments from pretty much all the main characters. The aftermath of the AR is so badly handled and sends out so many bad messages.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom