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flow
14-03-18, 10:24 PM
The discussion in the Lies My Parents Told Me thread has got me thinking, about the scene we saw in the flashback to the seventies in Fool For Love.

There are two different "plot holes" (or maybe they are not plot holes at all ?) that bother me.

When Spike talks to Buffy in School Hard, shortly before their first fight, he tells her "The last Slayer I killed, she begged for her life"

When we see the fight between Spike and Nikki in Fool For Love however, we don`t hear Nikki begging for her life.
Of course, Spike might just have been bragging in School Hard, or the writers just retconned that bit, because in School Hard the second Slayer, Spike killed, did not have a face, a name and a story but in Fool For Love they wanted to flesh her character out and it seemed more appropriate, to make a strong and fearless warrior, than someone begging for her life.

But in Damage Dana is talking to Spike and she says "Please don`t. I have to go home to my son....to my Robin."

She is clearly reliving or having a vision about something, that has happened to Nikki.

We did not hear Nikki say those words to Spike on the subway train. It is possible, that she said it on a completely different occasion to someone else. But that seems a bit far-fetched to me.

The writers might - again - have retconned that scene and gone back to the original version from School Hard.

Or maybe the flashback, we saw in Fool For Love was never what happened in reality but only what Spike wanted Buffy to see. It might have suited him, to leave that bit out, because it would have lessened his victory, if Nikki was someone who begged for her life. Or maybe, it was just not important to him at that point.

I cannot make up my mind about this and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

The second issue I have is about Buffy not recognizing Robin as Nikki`s son in First Date. From the way the flashback in Fool For Love has been shooted, I always had the impression, that Buffy sees - or is told - what we are seeing. The impression is given by the way, seventies Spike talks directly to Buffy from the bottom of the subway train, while stripping the leather duster off Nikkis dead body.

But when Buffy meets Robin in season 7 and he tells her, that he is the son of a slayer, who was killed by a vampire, when he was a kid, Buffy never makes the connection to a slayer that was killed by Spike about 30 years ago in NY. Even if Spike had not told Buffy, that Nikki was black, Robins age and that he was an American
fitted so well, that she should have had a clue, unless, she has never been told the same tale, that we saw in the flashback in Fool For Love.

I can`t make my mind up about this either.

What do you think ?

flow

Priceless
15-03-18, 10:49 AM
I've always thought that what we see in Fool For Love is unreliable, because Spike is talking over his memories, so giving Nikki no room to speak. I think she probably did beg, or at least talk, but we didn't see that, we only saw what Spike thought was important to impart to Buffy. Of course, as this is Spike, I also think there was a little bragging going on too.

I think either Spike didn't hear Nikki say 'I have to go home to my son . . . Robin' because the adrenaline was flowing, the excitement was high and he was perhaps a little scared, so he simply didn't register the words Nikki was using, only that she was 'begging'.

Buffy isn't told everything that we see in Fool For Love. She's only told what we hear Spike telling her, which isn't what we see. There are 3 narratives going on here (I think), 1) what we see, which is unreliable because it's through Spikes eyes 2) What we hear Spike tell Buffy, which is all I think he tells her, and is also unreliable because he's not telling her everything 3) what we the audience have both seen and heard, which gives us a more rounded view of both Buffy and Spike then they have of each other or themselves.

There might actually be a 4th) In that what we don't see and don't hear also informs our understanding of the scenes and adds to our knowledge, but not to theirs (if that makes sense). So what is left out is as important as what is included.

Do we even know Robin exists in Fool For Love? I haven't seen it in a while and I didn't think we saw child-Robin until S7?

vampmogs
15-03-18, 11:07 AM
I think Dana 'channels' Nikki's memories but that doesn't mean that Nikki ever actually said those words. Dana may simply remember Nikki thinking about Robin and then expressed that. It's also unclear that even if she had said those words, that Dana isn't remembering another time in Nikki's history and not specifically when she was face to face with Spike. Dana jumps all over the place and doesn't recognise Spike until he brings up Nikki after hearing Dana mention Robin.

But I agree that Spike is a very unreliable narrator in Fool For Love and that we should take what we see with a grain of salt. I agree with Priceless that I always interpreted the train scene as being skewed towards Spike's POV and that Spike may have omitted things said about Nikki simply because he didn't remember or cared. Obviously the scene would have played out differently in reality because Spike wouldn't have been staring at the camera "talking" to Buffy so it's very possible Nikki did say something to Spike whilst he had her pinned to the floor. That scene had to have played out at least somewhat differently than to what we actually saw.

And no we don't find out about Robin until S7.

Priceless
15-03-18, 11:14 AM
I think Dana 'channels' Nikki's memories but that doesn't mean that Nikki ever actually said those words. Dana may simply remember Nikki thinking about Robin and then expressed that. It's also unclear that even if she had said those words, that Dana isn't remembering another time in Nikki's history and not specifically when she was face to face with Spike. Dana jumps all over the place and doesn't recognise Spike until he brings up Nikki after hearing Dana mention Robin.


This is a very good point. The Slayers dreams are often metaphors, allusions, not based on the reality of what has actually happened or even on what will happen, and so there's no reason why a Slayers memories aren't the same. There is no reliable information here at all, either from Spike or Dana's side.

TriBel
16-03-18, 09:52 AM
I'm never happy with the idea that things are simply retconned on a whim. I don't like the term anymore than I like the term "plot holes". In respect to the latter, gaps in the story (what is told) are often filled by the discourse (how the story is told). I don't deny that both things happen but I think there are ways of understanding the actions that enhance our understanding.

"The term appears to have its roots in a 1973 book by E. Frank Tupper titled The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg: “Pannenberg’s conception of retroactive continuity ultimately means that history flows fundamentally from the future into the past.”

The statement in bold makes perfect sense to me - particularly in a text that actively writes psychoanalysis in.

I'm more than happy to go along with the idea of an unreliable narrator - the text is richer for it and other things testify to it.


I think either Spike didn't hear Nikki say 'I have to go home to my son . . . Robin' because the adrenaline was flowing, the excitement was high and he was perhaps a little scared, so he simply didn't register the words Nikki was using, only that she was 'begging'. God reasoning but given Spike's ambivalent feelings about Anne (his love/hate for her) I can see why he'd repress/suppress the remark. In fact, I can see how Nikki being a loving mother would spur Spike on.


There might actually be a 4th) In that what we don't see and don't hear also informs our understanding of the scenes and adds to our knowledge, but not to theirs (if that makes sense). So what is left out is as important as what is included. Yes - it does make sense and it's an important point.


But when Buffy meets Robin in season 7 and he tells her, that he is the son of a slayer, who was killed by a vampire, when he was a kid, Buffy never makes the connection to a slayer that was killed by Spike about 30 years ago in NY. Even if Spike had not told Buffy, that Nikki was black, Robins age and that he was an American
fitted so well, that she should have had a clue, unless, she has never been told the same tale, that we saw in the flashback in Fool For Love.

This I'm just not sure about - she's very uneasy when Robin first mentions it - she's hoping Nikki was killed by a demon not a vampire. She's also very uneasy in the car. However, if she has an inkling that Spike was responsible for Nikki's death, why entrust him to Robin's care? Unless it was to show us how her trust in Robin was misplaced?

Silver1
16-03-18, 10:00 AM
When Spike talks to Buffy in School Hard, shortly before their first fight, he tells her "The last Slayer I killed, she begged for her life"

Well obviously from a production viewpoint the writers didn't even know at that point Spike would end up being one of the main cast otherwise I imagine they would have written it differently, but head cannoning it I always saw that as Spike doing what he does best when in battle and thats using his words as well as his fists against his opponent. He was simply trying to frighten/undermine her.

bespangled
16-03-18, 11:04 AM
I simply assume that they didn't show every minute of their interactions. Nikki might well have begged Spike any time that she realized he was stalking her. I didn't have to happen during the final fight.

ghoststar
16-03-18, 03:20 PM
There's one point in their fight where we definitely don't see everything that happens, which is when the lights flicker out and the train screeches. When the lights go out, Nikki is straddling Spike; when they come back on, their positions have been reversed. We don't know how Spike managed that, or what, if anything, either of them said. If Nikki begged for her life, it was probably then.

- - - Updated - - -

My problem with this is that flat-out lying, for Spike, is neither a preferred tactic nor a particularly effective one. He resorts to it a lot in season 4, but that's because his usual methods are no longer at his disposal, and it rarely works out well for him. While he's sometimes incorrect, and he frequently cherry-picks facts, he's simply not a good liar. He keeps his deal to turn Ford, his attempt to deny that he's holding Willow and Xander at the factory is laughable, he can't tell Buffy that they aren't on a date when she asks him directly, and he has reason to believe that Buffy has indeed changed when he tells her she "came back wrong." So trying to win a fight with the Slayer by psyching her out with lies doesn't sound like it would be something he'd try in round 1.

flow
17-03-18, 09:07 PM
Thanks everyone, für sharing your thoughts. I am convinced now, that it is indeed possible, that

a)Nikki never begged for her life at all
b)Nikki only thought those words without saying them loud
c)Nikki said those words at a different time in a different context
e)Nikki said those words to Spike, but he never noticed them
f)Nikki said those words and Spike was aware of what she has said but he never mentions it to Buffy in in Fool For Love (maybe because it would not have supported his point of a slayer having a death wish)

What I find intriguing, is how many different angles there are, from which we can look at one single scene or line.

flow

SpuffyGlitz
18-03-18, 08:09 AM
I think Spike's narrative in Fool for Love is reliable - everything he imparts is drawn from the truth of his lived experience. What he says in School Hard is probably half-bravado, half truth. As Ghoststar has mentioned, Spike isn't a great liar at all. One of his trademarks is being a truth-teller.

The "begging" could have been as simple as a muttered "Please.." (this could easily have been whispered in the train when the lights flickered out and their positions changed - Nikki had a supplicating look at that point - she knew she'd lost the upper-hand...) What Dana said could have been echoing Nikki's thoughts/feelings, not words she had a chance to say out loud.

But great question!

TriBel
18-03-18, 10:39 AM
I think Spike's narrative in Fool for Love is reliable - everything he imparts is drawn from the truth of his lived experience. What he says in School Hard is probably half-bravado, half truth. As Ghoststar has mentioned, Spike isn't a great liar at all. One of his trademarks is being a truth-teller.

The flashback in FfL begins by introducing him as unreliable narrator: "What can I tell you, baby? I've always been bad" is followed by a cut to wimpy William. Personally, I want to know who the enunciating "I" is - is it an "I" that begins after he's turned? A performative I that's suppressing or repressing William's memories? For various reasons, I don't think we're getting the full truth. It's really nothing to do with Spike being an active liar and more to do with the impossibility of narrating traumatic memory. That he refers to what they're doing as "diggin' up past uglies" implies that the past has unsavoury/painful moments that we can't or won't reveal. He has a reputation for insight but it doesn't necessarily follow that his awareness of the other is matched by self-awareness. Memory may be "true" in the sense that it's not made up (ie. false or implanted memory) but it doesn't mean it's "the truth".

If it was purely Spike's observances - "his lived experience" , we couldn't - logically - have the translation of Xin Rong's words. What we have is the medium intervening - breaking the fourth wall with subtitles "Tell my mother I'm sorry..." (doesn't Spike himself break the fourth wall at some stage by looking directly into camera?). It could be that he's lying and DOES speak Chinese but, either way, it's clear we need to know these words - that they have importance. He says during the fight - "Just like I pictured it". A "picture" will always be representation - it can never be "the real". Even "pictures" that purport to tell the truth or show the real - for instance, photographs, - can't tell the whole truth because they're framing a singular moment in time. It's this inadequacy (and paradoxical plenitude) of representation that S7 deals with. Oh yeah - all IMO (with bits pinched from Barthes' Camera Lucida)

SpuffyGlitz
18-03-18, 04:31 PM
The flashback in FfL begins by introducing him as unreliable narrator: "What can I tell you, baby? I've always been bad" is followed by a cut to wimpy William.

Great observations!! There's definitely a fourth wall he breaks, and there's always a Rashomon-like angle to the truth here.
What I meant was that the narrative in FFL is reliable to me precisely because Spike often says what is the opposite of his true meaning: when he says he wants to kill the Slayer, we know it's the opposite at this point because he loves her.

So, his "truth" often lies in the twist to his words. When he says "I've always been bad", we see the flashback to ineffectual William, and we're given to believe that the flashback we're seeing is what Buffy is receiving. If she's being fed a different version, then she wouldn't benefit, and it wouldn't be useful or empowering to her.

What we see in the flashbacks carry emotional truth, and his literal choice of words can be read for their true meaning. If Buffy hadn't been told about ineffectual William, it certainly is a ripe coincidence that she taunts him with exactly those same words: "You're beneath me." Spike and Buffy often taunt each other with what they perceptively see as the other's fears.