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Thread: BtVS rewatch: SEASON 6

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    All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




    * It seems clear that Spike didn't 'make a move' on Dawn at any point from "The Gift" (B 5.22) to "Afterlife" (B 6.03). Nothing indicates Spike's EVER thought of Dawn sexually.

    The idea that Buffy in "Villains" (B 6.20) should consider that Spike might rape Dawn is almost asinine.

    A major reason Buffy takes Dawn to Spike is Buffy wants to see Spike again. But Buffy in BtVS S5 took Joyce and Dawn to Spike's.

    Willow likes Spike and Spike has at least a chance to protect Dawn from Willow.

    It's actually rather odd and 'out of character' that Buffy in "Crush" (B 5.14) had Giles protecting Joyce and Dawn. Giles, AKA someone who has around zero chance to protect those 2 from Glory.


    * Xander until sometime during "Him" (B 7.06) or after is against Buffy/Spike. There was no logical reason Spike shouldn't be allowed to watch over Dawn. Buffy in "Seeing Red" stopped Xander's going after Spike because Buffy didn't want Xander's trying to murder Spike.


    * Buffy doesn't 'let' Drusilla live. It's not as if Buffy assumes she'd beat Dru in a fight. Buffy doesn't kill Harmony because Buffy doesn't want to lessen Buffy/Spike. Buffy after "Becoming Part II" (B 2.22) never even suggests to anyone that Dru maybe should be dusted.


    * The attempted rape in "Seeing Red" (B 6.19) still makes around zero sense. Spike never tried to rape Drusilla. Spike never tried to rape Harmony. He somehow in the Bathroom Scene becomes overcome with lust for Buffy.

    The scene was done to try to lessen James Marsters's power and negotiating position for BtVS S7. It backfired.

    Anyway, the AR isn't more important than what Spike tells Buffy before the AR and it's not more important than what Buffy tells Spike after the AR.

    Spike to Buffy describes a love that can pretty much only exist between immortals who don't physically age. And then Buffy implies that she should have dusted him years ago but simply didn't because she was into him.
    Last edited by MikeB; 09-09-19 at 06:22 PM.

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    The attempted rape in "Seeing Red" (B 6.19) still makes around zero sense.
    Spoiler:


    <points at the gif>

    It makes perfect sense.
    Last edited by a thing of evil; 10-09-19 at 10:00 AM.

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    Oh God, take it away

    The sexual assault is hardly without precedent. Spike has done vile things to Buffy before. What have would happened if Buffy lost the fight in "Smashed"? And remember that Spike goes to torture Drusilla until she loves him again in S3. And in S2, he beats her up and abducts her.

    I think a crisis point was inevitable. Spike was mostly good, mostly because he felt it was working. During "Seeing Red," Spike worries that Buffy may be serious this time, and that she will not come around and take him back.

    If I were to sum up Spike in three words, it would be romance, sex and violence. For Spike, they are linked. It is through violence (specifically violence upon women, i.e. the slayers) that Spike proves himself worthy of Drusilla's love. Violence is also a big part of his relationship with Buffy. He fights demons with her. And he fights Buffy herself in "Smashed" to prove that he is not some neutered weakling that she can ignore.

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    Sex and violence have definitely been very recurring aspects in Spike's story for sure and I think a sense that his desperation to be accepted again would lead to a breaking point is just realistic. We've discussed during the rewatch in the past how he pushes women to try to receive the response that he wants and doesn't handle rejection well but often aggressively. But I'm not sure I would ever have summed the character up with those as two out of three key words. But I think that may be more about it being difficult to restrict to three and gain a broad enough view of the key character traits. His adaptability and determination are too significant to be missing for me when considering the character as I think they play such a huge part in how he constantly strives to try to reach for whatever he wants and how his story often drives forward. As do his insecurities and focus on image and identity. They don't always lead to positive actions of course or, as in the case with seeking his soul, can bring him more than he could have foreseen. A side effect of going with your gut often rather than careful thought and planning. I do agree that the violence and sex were a very big part of his relationships, including with Buffy. It was hugely about having a sense of equality and wanting to be 'seen' and respected when he fights with her and we see how this links to how he cultivated his image and managed to become someone that he wasn't ashamed to be and didn't feel was weak any longer.

    Willow's and Spike's stories are very deliberately played alongside each other of course for how they look to move away from a sense of having been perceived as weak, right back to the attack in S4. Both have that constant fear about being exposed as still being the same mocked person underneath that they started out as. Obviously the theme of violation and abusing power runs over the season for them as well as for so many of the other characters. I'm really looking forward to watching the ep and reading your thoughts on it and can only apologise for how long it is taking me to get to it. The other rewatch that I'm doing is with a relative (it's their first watch of the show) and we're hitting SR this week. So I've been waiting until after that before watching Villains so that I don't muddle the chronology and make my brain ache when trying to focus on Villains.
    Last edited by Stoney; 10-09-19 at 01:54 AM.

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    Hey, Guys!

    I’m finally done with my current job and hope to respond to Willow from Buffy’s fantastic review soon - truly one of the best I’ve read on this board so far.

    Willow from Buffy, - I loved, loved, loved your thoughts on Willow and the themes of Season Six! Some truly brilliant insights into the title, the nature of Willow and BtVS and your follow up was even more engrossing. I’m so behind now - I want to respond to you first and then finish up Seeing Red, which is way overdue. Hopefully, in the next few days - and the discussion on this thread is really fascinating. Amazing responses from everyone - wow, flow and SpuffyGlitz and AndrewS and vampmogs.! - real food for thought.

    I thought you did a wonderful comparison with Carrie in terms of making that kind of behavior explicable (I have read the book and I’ve seen the movie - and you are spot on!) and Willow’s journey in the last three episodes is so directly tied to Spike’s actions in the AR that I find it hard to separate them.

    I did want to note, however, that I find it fascinating that of all the things in your review, the focus of so many of the responses are about the aftermath of Spike and the AR - especially Buffy bringing Dawn to his crypt. I find it far more disturbing that souled Willow has literally skinned someone alive and subsequently tries to kill Andrew, Jonathan, Dawn, Buffy, Xander and pretty much everyone in the world - perhaps because Spike is unsouled and Willow is not. Perhaps it’s also because of the complex parallels between Spike’s actions in the AR and Willow’s actions in terms of cruelty and moral intent.

    I do want to point out that Buffy’s strange trust in Spike and mistrust of Willow is ironically proven correct in the end. Perhaps it’s a Slayer gut sense that goes beyond human reason, but Spike isn’t even in his crypt because he’s gone off to get a soul (even while soulless) whereas Willow (with a soul) actually threatens Dawn’s life the second she meets up with her. And I think this is intentional as the two redemptive lines cross with Buffy and Xander in the middle - all the themes of moral disgust, ‘magical’ thinking and the Buffyverse theory of the ‘soul’ come together in the last few episodes as a kind of moral relativism vs. ethical naturalism debate.

    I agree with Stoney that Spike and Willow’s storylines have been linked for a while and naturally come together at the end of Season Six in a way that kinda shatters both characters - forever changed from Grave onward.
    Last edited by American Aurora; 10-09-19 at 07:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    Hey, Guys!

    I’m finally done with my current job and hope to respond to Willow from Buffy’s fantastic review soon - truly one of the best I’ve read on this board so far.

    Willow from Buffy, - I loved, loved, loved your thoughts on Willow and the themes of Season Six! Some truly brilliant insights into the title, the nature of Willow and BtVS and your follow up was even more engrossing. I’m so behind now - I want to respond to you first and then finish up Seeing Red, which is way overdue. Hopefully, in the next few days - and the discussion on this thread is really fascinating. Amazing responses from everyone - wow, flow and SpuffyGlitz and AndrewS and vampmogs.! - real food for thought.

    I thought you did a wonderful comparison with Carrie in terms of making that kind of behavior explicable (I have read the book and I’ve seen the movie - and you are spot on!) and Willow’s journey in the last three episodes is so directly tied to Spike’s actions in the AR that I find it hard to separate them.

    I did want to note, however, that I find it fascinating that of all the things in your review, the focus of so many of the responses are about the aftermath of Spike and the AR - especially Buffy bringing Dawn to his crypt. I find it far more disturbing that souled Willow has literally skinned someone alive and subsequently tries to kill Andrew, Jonathan, Dawn, Buffy, Xander and pretty much everyone in the world - perhaps because Spike is unsouled and Willow is not. Perhaps it’s also because of the complex parallels between Spike’s actions in the AR and Willow’s actions in terms of cruelty and moral intent.

    I do want to point out that Buffy’s strange trust in Spike and mistrust of Willow is ironically proven correct in the end. Perhaps it’s a Slayer gut sense that goes beyond human reason, but Spike isn’t even in his crypt because he’s gone off to get a soul (even while soulless) whereas Willow (with a soul) actually threatens Dawn’s life the second she meets up with her. And I think this is intentional as the two redemptive lines cross with Buffy and Xander in the middle - all the themes of moral disgust, ‘magical’ thinking and the Buffyverse theory of the ‘soul’ come together in the last few episodes as a kind of moral relativism vs. ethical naturalism debate.

    I agree with Stoney that Spike and Willow’s storylines have been linked for a while and naturally come together at the end of Season Six in a way that kinda shatters both characters - forever changed from Grave onward.
    The thing with Willow is that her story was changed (from her lust for power and then to it's a drug) ie she was consumed by the bad magics, so she herself is not responsible. Supposedly during S6 AH thought her character was being written as to unsympathetic so JW changed it for her.
    Its significant that Same Time Same Place is plot is centred around Willow worrying if the Gang will still like her which I find a bit of a straw man (the anwser was always going to be yes) and not on her flaying a guy alive. Hell it was used as a joke comparison with Wesley in Orpheus on Ats.
    I noticed her character type is on most Whedon shows. Ie Fred on Angel and Kayleigh on Firefly. Whom the audience is always supposed to love and root for and is the cutest pickle thing ever in the whole of Toyland.

    With Spike it was done simply to remind the audience that he's evil and souless and Buffy shouldn't be with him. Even the actor has confirmed thats what the AR was about.
    On the Buffering podcast interview he even talks about how annoyed Joss was of the audience rooting for Spike. That's the difference imo. Willow was one of Joss faves whereas Spike was kept around more because if the audience liking him than anything else. Joss ignores him in the comics until the end of S8 where he just shows up to give exposition and transportation and Buffy already seems to know he's still alive.

    Interview link

    https://player.fm/series/buffering-t...james-marsters


    P.s
    Another minor thing I noticed is that for his shows Joss will bring back Alexis Denisof/Amy Acker Tom Lenk and others for even bit part roles but James Masters is always absent
    Last edited by BtVS fan; 10-09-19 at 07:47 AM.

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    Hey, BtVS fan!

    Quote Originally Posted by BtVS fan View Post
    The thing with Willow is that her story was changed (from her lust for power and then to it's a drug) ie she was consumed by the bad magics, so she herself is not responsible. Supposedly during S6 AH thought her character was being written as to unsympathetic so JW changed it for her.
    Its significant that Same Time Same Place is plot is centred around Willow worrying if the Gang will still like her which I find a bit of a straw man (the anwser was always going to be yes) and not on her flaying a guy alive. Hell it was used as a joke comparison with Wesley in Orpheus on Ats.
    I noticed her character type is on most Whedon shows. Ie Fred on Angel and Kayleigh on Firefly. Whom the audience is always supposed to love and root for and is the cutest pickle thing ever in the whole of Toyland.

    With Spike it was done simply to remind the audience that he's evil and souless and Buffy shouldn't be with him. Even the actor has confirmed thats what the AR was about.
    On the Buffering podcast interview he even talks about how annoyed Joss was of the audience rooting for Spike. That's the difference imo. Willow was one of Joss faves whereas Spike was kept around more because if the audience liking him than anything else. Joss ignores him in the comics until the end of S8 where he just shows up to give exposition and transportation and Buffy already seems to know he's still alive.

    Interview link

    https://player.fm/series/buffering-t...james-marsters


    P.s
    Another minor thing I noticed is that for his shows Joss will bring back Alexis Denisof/Amy Acker Tom Lenk and others for even bit part roles but James Masters is always absent
    You are absolutely right, BtVS fan, in pointing out that Whedon was deliberately pulling back the idea of power-hungry Willow and pushing forward the idea of evil Spike in order to convince the viewer how bad Spike was despite his love for Buffy and how Willow was likely consumed by bad ‘magicks’ instead of turning bad. I agree that there’s a specific intent to reshape the narrative so that we felt sorry for Willow and angry at Spike by Seeing Red. Great point about Same Time, Same Place - Willow doesn’t really show that much remorse for what she did to Warren until The Killer in Me and even then, it’s a bit dicey.

    And thank you for that wonderful interview with Marsters - really interesting - and there’s no doubt that he’s right in believing that Whedon needed to remove audience sympathy and punch home the idea that Spike is NOT redeemed without a soul.

    Still...

    I think for me, the problem lies in the prior shaping of the characters of Willow and Spike before Season Six. Unlike Buffy or Xander or Giles, we get a really fascinating evolution in which both early shy Willow and socially inept William are very different from Dark Willow or Vampire Spike - and yet, there’s a sense that the darkness that inevitably envelopes both characters (through magical means) isn’t unrelated to an essential sense of self. The psychological makeup of Dark Willow and Vampire Spike stems directly from who they were before and we see a series of mirror Willows as Willow from Buffy points out and several William/Spikes in which the same kind of repetitive behavior (the same themes of ‘bored now’ and ‘beneath you’ are present in both) stretches from the earliest depictions of the characters to their extreme Season Six counterpart.

    So one could say that Willow isn’t really responsible for everything she does as Dark Willow because the magic fundamentally changes her just as one could say the same for William and the dark magic that turned him into his alter-ego Spike. And yet - the viewer gets the sense that whatever is fundamentally troubling or horrifying about Dark Willow and Spike was already present in some weird way in young Willow Rosenberg and William Pratt - that it’s a secret part of them that isn’t necessarily newly created, but simply an aspect of them unleashed - and this leads to the terrible suspicion of both that there was something fundamentally ‘wrong’ to begin with. And that’s part of what drives the characters to act out as insane as they do at the end of Season Six - including ending the world and gaining a soul.

    When one looks at Buffy or Xander, there’s a different sense of movement - they both suffer from self-loathing and slowly grow and undergo tremendous change, but there’s a fundamental sense of decency, mercy and love in both Xander and Buffy that ends up saving both Willow and Spike (and the world) in the end. There’s darkness there, but neither Buffy nor Xander seem to have the kind of terrible, self-destructive mania that hovers at the psychological core of both Willow and William. Xander is horrifying as a vampire in The Wish, but he seems to lack the sheer sadistic glee of Vampire Willow in torture and death that is mirrored in Dark Willow’s actions with Warren and Dawn and others. And to give SMG the chance to play a truly evil Buffy (as opposed to drunk Buffy or soulless Buffy), Whedon had make her a figment of the First’s imagination.

    What always made BtVS so original is the idea that an Angel could easily slip into Angelus - and the ways in which the show managed to make the character utterly convincing as the same person whether souled or unsouled is what gave it such a metaphorical dramatic punch.

    So even though Whedon may have tried to shape viewer opinion, the problem is that he and his writers did such an excellent job of creating prior complexity of character that we don’t fully buy it. So in the smaller sense, Whedon kinda failed, but in a larger sense, he brilliantly succeeded.

    Interesting note that Whedon never used Marsters again - I guess he has his favorites.
    Last edited by American Aurora; 10-09-19 at 09:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BtVS fan View Post
    With Spike it was done simply to remind the audience that he's evil and souless and Buffy shouldn't be with him. Even the actor has confirmed thats what the AR was about.
    On the Buffering podcast interview he even talks about how annoyed Joss was of the audience rooting for Spike. That's the difference imo. Willow was one of Joss faves whereas Spike was kept around more because if the audience liking him than anything else. Joss ignores him in the comics until the end of S8 where he just shows up to give exposition and transportation and Buffy already seems to know he's still alive.

    P.s Another minor thing I noticed is that for his shows Joss will bring back Alexis Denisof/Amy Acker Tom Lenk and others for even bit part roles but James Masters is always absent
    I think it is well known that Joss and James had a falling out, or at the least unpleasant tension that could have impacted Joss inclination to cast him again. Here's a transcript from the Sep 07 Dragon Con (there are plenty of other occasions JM mentions this issue). "I'm still a little mad at Joss because at the end of Angel, they asked him who the best ingenue was for Angel and he said the best ingenue they ever had for Angel was Spike. And I come from theater and in theater there's a saying. You should never work with children, animals, or boy ingenues whenever possible. Because all three of them are performers that haven't had enough experience yet to pass the ball effectively, so you will be picking up after their mess the entire time, but they'll get all the attention. So, it's the worst...and that's the thing, Joss didn't understand what it means to me when he said that. But he basically called me a talentless, no-nothing pretty boy. And I told him, I don't even want to know where you live, man. The thing that incensed me is he kept saying it was a compliment."

    But Joss has spoken of Spike as one of his most evolved characters, so I don't think he dislikes the character. Also, I'm not sure how tied up Spike was to the IDW comics still running when S8 was happening. Like with the use of Angel in S8 him appearing only towards the end possibly related to that. And he was hardly ignored from then on when both he and Angel went over to DH too. This is getting a little off topic though.

    Great post Aurora. I think the reason that I loved both Willow's and Spike's stories the most from the first time I watched the show and why S6 was my favourite was in how the through lines worked so incredibly well for them both and drew firmly from character traits that could be seen right back to the start of their stories. Where they then go on to in S7 too has a strong overall direction. Fantastic point about how Buffy's and Xander's characters differ and the roles they play in saving Willow and Spike at the end of the season, loved that.
    Last edited by Stoney; 10-09-19 at 11:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    When one looks at Buffy or Xander, there’s a different sense of movement - they both suffer from self-loathing and slowly grow and undergo tremendous change, but there’s a fundamental sense of decency, mercy and love in both Xander and Buffy that ends up saving both Willow and Spike (and the world) in the end. There’s darkness there, but neither Buffy nor Xander seem to have the kind of terrible, self-destructive mania that hovers at the psychological core of both Willow and William. Xander is horrifying as a vampire in The Wish, but he seems to lack the sheer sadistic glee of Vampire Willow in torture and death that is mirrored in Dark Willow’s actions with Warren and Dawn and others. And to give SMG the chance to play a truly evil Buffy (as opposed to drunk Buffy or soulless Buffy), Whedon had make her a figment of the First’s imagination.
    Awesome analysis. I've always seen lots of parallels and similarities between Buffy and Xander, not to mention that their overall arc is the same in a way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I think it is well known that Joss and James had a falling out, or at the least unpleasant tension that could have impacted Joss inclination to cast him again. Here's a transcript from the Sep 07 Dragon Con (there are plenty of other occasions JM mentions this issue). "I'm still a little mad at Joss because at the end of Angel, they asked him who the best ingenue was for Angel and he said the best ingenue they ever had for Angel was Spike. And I come from theater and in theater there's a saying. You should never work with children, animals, or boy ingenues whenever possible. Because all three of them are performers that haven't had enough experience yet to pass the ball effectively, so you will be picking up after their mess the entire time, but they'll get all the attention. So, it's the worst...and that's the thing, Joss didn't understand what it means to me when he said that. But he basically called me a talentless, no-nothing pretty boy. And I told him, I don't even want to know where you live, man. The thing that incensed me is he kept saying it was a compliment."

    But Joss has spoken of Spike as one of his most evolved characters, so I don't think he dislikes the character. Also, I'm not sure how tied up Spike was to the IDW comics still running when S8 was happening. Like with the use of Angel in S8 him appearing only towards the end possibly related to that. And he was hardly ignored from then on when both he and Angel went over to DH too. This is getting a little off topic though.

    Great post Aurora. I think the reason that I loved both Willow's and Spike's stories the most from the first time I watched the show and why S6 was my favourite was in how the through lines worked so incredibly well for them both and drew firmly from character traits that could be seen right back to the start of their stories. Where they then go on to in S7 too has a strong overall direction. Fantastic point about how Buffy's and Xander's characters differ and the roles they play in saving Willow and Spike at the end of the season, loved that.
    This also might be of interest from a few years back. I don't agree with the opinion at the end it should be said

    There writers were far from united in what Spike's story was supposed to be.

    David Fury

    Spike and the Spuffy relationship are points of great contention not only in the fan community, but also among the writers. Through the years, writer David Fury, for example, has been quoted a number of times saying that Spike is a villain, and not an acceptable choice as a romantic partner for Buffy. His most infamous comment was posted in 2001 on the largest Buffy fan board, The Bronze (now defunct), in response to a number of fans who were clamoring for a Buffy/Spike relationship. He said, "It is beyond my limited imagination to see a strong, independent, female character end up falling for a murderer who would be killling [sic] innocent people were he not suffering from chip affliction," and compared fans of the Spuffy relationship to women who write love letters to imprisoned serial killers. After the Episode "Seeing Red" appeared, he was asked if Buffy and Spike would ever "reconcile". His response: "Never trust your attempted rapist." (DavidFury.net, 2003). Mr. Fury is renowned in fandom for this dislike of this storyline and its fans.

    Jane Espenson

    Writer Jane Espenson, on the other hand, believed differently. When asked in an interview about the Buffy/Spike Relationship, Espenson said that it didn't "work out" not because Spike was evil, had no soul, and tried to rape Buffy, but because Buffy "finds it so hard to love." She goes on to say, "I love Spike. I was very worried about the attempted rape...it's very hard to come back from." (Candy, 2002.) In another interview, Espenson says that the Buffy/Spike relationship was her favorite storyline on the series: "...my number one has got to be the Buffy and Spike love story. I think that is just a gorgeous story. Spike and Buffy have something so much more complicated [than her relationship with her first love, Angel] that it's got that romance and all this other stuff on top of it which makes it so interesting for me." (DiLullo, 2003.) Does "all this other stuff" refer to the violence and attempted rape?

    Joss Whedon

    Creator Joss Whedon said, " [The Buffy/Spike relationship] was something that we on staff have been debating for years, and we figured our ambivalence was exactly what we wanted to project, and we used that on the show. We knew that we couldn't come back from an attempted rape to a romantic sexual relationship. But what we did want to say was that we could come back to a place of trust between these people. That man could redeem himself... that was the best possible message to get out there." He went on to warn that rapists shouldn't be "demonized," as that makes them look like "monsters," and absolves them of responsibility for their actions. (Sanderson, 2003).
    Given the reported "ambivalence" of the writing staff in regard to the nature of the Buffy/Spike relationship and their apparent dismissal of the seriousness of rape, it is hardly surprising that there was anger, confusion and dissention among fans. The viewpoints expressed in fandom can generally be broken down into two categories: casual viewers and "Spikistas," hyper-dedicated fans of the character of Spike. The opinions of the former group tend to run fairly close to Mr. Fury's, and express horror over the attempted rape and disgust over the relationship in general. The latter group's opinions parallel more with Ms. Espenson's, with people endeavoring to excuse or deny Spike's behavior, or blame the incident on Buffy if they address the attempted rape at all.
    Last edited by BtVS fan; 10-09-19 at 03:45 PM.

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    In Buffy‘s season 5, you were fairly adamant that Spike was not redeemable. Then in season 7, you seemed to change your mind, solidifying that when Spike moved over to Angel. What made you change your mind?

    "Ah, yes, the Spike debate again. It was my personal conviction, based on the show’s mythology, that a soul-less vampire like Spike was incapable of being redeemed. Otherwise, Angel having a soul was irrelevant. Spike could be domesticated, sure, he could be conditioned via the chip in his head not to kill, but he was still a soul-less killer. My opinion shifted after two things happened: Spike was given a soul at the end of “Grave,” and I began to see that Spike was an anomaly in the vampire world. A small part of William’s humanity was left within him after the vampire Spike took over." https://www.popgurls.com/2006/04/30/...ew-david-fury/

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    I always really dislike the 'William had some humanity/Spike was an anomaly' pov and I have seen many quotes from Fury that present this interpretation. It doesn't work for me and what I really like about S6 and Spike's inability to draw the line and them choosing to give proof of his need for a soul is that it pulls Spike in line with the verse mythology of the soul and shows him as limited soulless. Spike's connection to William, aspects of the memories/personality of the human he was, works just the same for him as it does for all the other vampires. His individual priorities and motivations differ of course and one main focus stays on love and this informs a lot of his choices. But as a soulless vampire although his focus on love can result in some good actions the focus is often very selfishly driven to his own wants. Consequently it can also result in very negative choices and inappropriate behaviour because he lacks the moral and emotional depth to see the boundaries until souled.

    I have also heard quotes from David Fury that indicate his views on the relationship shifted as it developed too, such as this one too... "Spike and Buffy also have beautiful moments together as their relationship blossoms. It's not quite what Buffy and Angel were. It's not quite what Spike and Buffy were... It's something else. It's respectful of what's gone before. -- David Fury (Dreamwatch, 8-03)." Opinions develop and change and the Buffy and Spike relationship moved into an entirely different phase in S7. Joss at the recent reunion drew the distinction between their relationship in S6 and 7. I understand that Spike getting the soul didn't make a difference to some fans just like Angel being very emotionally vulnerable and needing emotional acceptance and support in the early seasons doesn't make a difference to some fans that dislike the age issues between him and Buffy. I know we are constantly looking to reflections to real life but the verse context matters in times like this when accepting things within the storylines/character paths I think. Equally when it comes to Spuffy I don't draw a tight real life equivalency on it as Buffy restarting a relationship with her attempted rapist because souled Spike is fundamentally different. The soul has specific meaning in verse which gives some degree of separation whilst retaining some character continuity too and that context of their relationship matters.

    I really don't think that fan opinions/interpretations/understanding of the situation, characters and relationship dynamic of Spike and Buffy's relationship can be split into either matching David Fury's initial feelings whilst Spike was still unsouled or Jane Espenson's (with excusing Spike or blaming Buffy as slight variants). I neither look to deny or excuse Spike's behaviour or blame Buffy and despise it when opinions lean towards victim blaming Buffy especially. I think Spike's character tendencies towards aggressive responses to rejection as mentioned earlier were very well established. The links also to sex and violence in the relationship as also raised earlier are there too. The coherency of Spike's path towards the violence and limitations that SR exposes works well for me. But I am then able to accept that he fundamentally changes when souled, beyond anything he could possibly have understood before he sought his soul, and see verse context to how his relationship with Buffy can then take a very different positive direction in the following season. It doesn't excuse him as the path to what happened and why he did it is there and solid to me. But inverse context applies to what follows and how he/they are able to move on after.

    I have to at this point echo Aurora's surprise that the conversation about Villains has been so thoroughly dominated by this. I am hoping to watch the episode tomorrow evening after rewatching SR in the morning and then hope to get to read/respond to the review and offer some wider thoughts before the weekend when the review of Two to Go will be due.
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    Stoney:

    I always really dislike the 'William had some humanity/Spike was an anomaly' pov and I have seen many quotes from Fury that present this interpretation.
    I wasn't putting it forward as my understanding and I haven't read the rest of the thread. It was merely to make the point that Fury changed his mind. If I'm honest, I really don't give a flying flamingo what Fury says.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    I wasn't putting it forward as my understanding and I haven't read the rest of the thread. It was merely to make the point that Fury changed his mind. If I'm honest, I really don't give a flying flamingo what Fury says.
    Gonna miss John Bercow.

    I wasn't taking it as you doing so, my response was to Fury's suggestion about Spike. I understood that you were offering it as indicative that his pov changed, which is why I also offered another quote from him that also indicated he later felt differently as Buffy and Spike's relationship changed once Spike was no longer unsouled. So my thoughts were very much in response to his, to part of what he said in what you quoted.
    Last edited by Stoney; 10-09-19 at 09:24 PM.

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    Just throwing in some other quotes that speak to the points/discussion BtVS Fan raised:

    Joss Whedon at the 20th Anniversary of Buffy (2017):

    "In terms of a long-term relationship, Spike's kinda your guy. You know he actually went and got a soul because of her. He was evolved in a different way." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPJweCeKOSw
    Joss Whedon (2016): "I’m a Buffy/Spike shipper. I always felt like he was a more evolved person, but that’s like saying Juliet’s going to be so happy with Benvolio and everyone will love it. Buffy/Angel is for the ages; Buffy/Spike is maybe for me."

    - Frazier Tharpe:
    https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/...edon-interview


    Specifically, with regard to the soul, Joss doesn't seem to place a "real life" connotation on terms like "soul" (he calls the soul and the resurrection "beautiful concepts" even if they aren't directly transposable to real life).

    But he does stress its narrative importance in the Buffyverse, how it shapes verse mythology. There's no denying he specifically tried to create a line between souled Spike and soulless Spike, how Spike could not function at a certain moral level without it:

    JOSS WHEDON (MAY 16, 2003, New York Times):

    Spike was definitely kind of a soulful character before he had a soul, but we made it clear that there was a level on which he could not operate. Although Spike could feel love, it was the possessive and selfish kind of love that most people feel. The concept of real altruism didn’t exist for him. And although he did love Buffy and was moved by her emotionally, ultimately his desire to possess her led him to try and rape her because he couldn’t make the connection —- the difference between their dominance games and actual rape.

    With a soul comes a more adult understanding. [...] It does fall prey to convenience, but at the same time it has consistently marked the real difference between somebody with a complex moral structure and someone who may be affable and even likable, but ultimately eats kittens. [...] I’m not sure why it is that redemption is so fascinating to me. I think the mistakes I’ve made in my own life have plagued me, but they’re pretty boring mistakes: I committed a series of grisly murders in the eighties and I think I once owned a Wilson-Phillips Album. Apart from that I’m pretty much an average guy, yet I have an enormous burden of guilt. I’m not sure why. I’m a WASP, so it’s not Jewish or Catholic guilt; it’s just there. Ultimately, the concept of somebody who needed to be redeemed is more interesting to me. I think it does make a character more textured than one who doesn’t.
    As for Joss's relation with James Marsters, I'm sure its had its ups and downs but overall they seem to hold each other in high regard. If the Chosen commentary is anything to go by, it's pretty glowing:

    The great Marsters, with a chemistry with Buffy that is just completely different from Angel's. And different than David's and yet works very, very well. He's more on Buffy's level. He's more… their vulnerabilities come out – and I don't just mean as characters but as actors – around each other. And that really works, it works on a very different level. Their relationship clearly has been through a lot [...] and you feel that history. These two; and they bring it to the set every time they come to work. And that's why we still came to work; because they did.

    And James: the ability to turn on a dime is a very rare thing in an actor. From incredibly noble or scary to completely dorky or disarming. He does it with the 'tongue' line earlier, he does it here. You'd be amazed how few people can actually do that: and the last person I'd ever expect to be able to do it would be a theatre-trained guy, but yet, he's got the chops. He can go from Dracula to Jack Benny in a heartbeat, which is one of the reasons that I love him. That and his shiny, shiny hair.

    As for the soul-quest, I don't actually think the AR was some accident by the writers, solely intended to be detrimental to Spike's arc. It was done to make sure we registered he was "evil' soulless, definitely, but it was also meant to spark off his redemptive soul-quest:

    "Spike's quest was, and ALWAYS WAS, to get his soul restored for Buffy, despite any misleading leaks we may have put out that you fell for."
    - David Fury on the Bronze Beta, 11/19/02
    Moderator: "At the end of the finale, I thought Spike wanted to get the chip out, not get his soul back?"

    Joss Whedon: "Noooo.... but you were meant to think that. I personally devised something called a plot twist."
    At the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences panel "Behind the Scenes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer," 6/18/02
    "Spike looked into his soul at that moment [the attempted rape], and saw the demon in him, and that's what made him want to go get a soul .... We did a big ole mislead on you all, where we wanted you to think he gonna go get the chip out. We knew, the whole time, from the very beginning he was gonna go get a soul. And when he says I want Buffy to have what she deserves, he means a lover with a soul."
    - Jane Espenson, Buffy writer
    Radio interview on the Succubus Club, 5/22/02
    ~~o~~

    OK, to jump back to what was being discussed earlier...

    Really excellent points by American Aurora! (I love the idea of "bored now"/"beneath me" as recurring iterations of their identities running through Spike & Willow's intersecting journeys.) Just thought I'd add some thoughts to the whole 'Buffy-takes-Dawn-to-Spike's-crypt' thing before we move on:

    For me a text isn't "badly" written if characters don't behave like moral exemplars at all times. If everyone behaved flawlessly all the time it would be unrealistic, didactic and hard to even believe in characters as real people instead of fictive constructs. What matters to me is if the characters' actions feel plausible for them. And to me, Buffy taking Dawn to Spike's crypt in Villains is pretty in-character, for a bunch of reasons:

    a) If we think about her in this specific moment, she's been through a maelstrom of emotionally draining/ dangerous events in rapid succession: first, she was dealing with the emotional whammy of witnessing Spike's sex with Anya at the Magic Box (Entropy), at a point when she herself admitted she had feelings for him as has been pointed out. In comparison to what comes next, this feels very trivial, but it's important to consider the effect each successive event has on Buffy's state of mind. Then, she escapes an attack on her life by the Trio (Seeing Red), her jacket visible proof of how close she came to being killed. Another near-death experience that feeds anxiety about the danger afoot. She next suffers a back injury whilst engaged in combat with a vampire, something that would feel debilitating and make her feel even less in control. Next, the AR occurs in the bathroom and leaves her completely shaken. There's really been not a single moment of calm where she can sit back and think over recent happenings, gather her wits, calmly make plans. I agree with flow and Sosa Lola that time does not afford her this. The next thing she knows after reuniting with Xander, she's been shot by Warren, Willow magically pulls out the bullet, Tara is dead, Willow has gone "dark" with grief and rage. She's not feeling any sense of stability that she needs as the Slayer to lead: it all comes at a period when she needs to feel ready for battle at a moment's notice given that Dark Willow is now genuinely dangerous. Buffy previously had also registered Dawn's sadness when she said wistfully "He's not going to be coming around any more, is he?" Buffy isn't unaware of what a stable familial structure and safety means for Dawn, she has registered her sense of feeling forsaken on three major occasions now, in Forever (in the aftermath of Joyce's death), in Dead Things and in Older and Far Away. And usually, every time Dawn feels lost or ignored, she tends to attract trouble, or at least actively seems to go looking for it (too many episodes to count where this has happened.)

    Buffy didn't choose to become her legal guardian, it was thrust on her while still very young after losing her mother, but she fought to keep that status so she wouldn't lose Dawn. It isn't only because it was Joyce's last wish (that Buffy should take care of Dawn) or because Buffy loves Dawn so much, but also —more importantly— Buffy can't risk placing Dawn under the care of anyone who is unaware of supernatural danger. Buffy carries the responsibility of not just being the Slayer but having the unique knowledge of the existence of supernatural threats in the world, in a way that regular people don't (save for the Scoobies). Now, she hears that Dawn would feel safe at Spike's. Buffy has not had time to process anything, but on instinct, she trusts Spike with Dawn. It's possible that this is because of the way Spike fulfilled his vow of protecting Dawn when she had been dead. But it's also because Buffy is a tactical leader when she needs to be, and at this point, she can't afford to fall apart emotionally. Despite his chip, Spike was effective at protecting Dawn in Bargaining 1 and 2 and all through the summer. Does it feel strange that she's still trusting Spike with Dawn, given the AR? Yes it does, but given Buffy's style of leadership, I can understand why she's compartmentalising. She tends to do this in times of crisis. Recall Forever where she admits she can't afford to break apart because she needs to keep it together to take care of Dawn. In fact, the scene poignantly drives home the unfairness of how Buffy has to suddenly assume 'mom' responsibilities which even Dawn implies is too much to expect of her:

    BUFFY: I have to do these things [...] And I'm trying, Dawn, I'm really trying to take care of things. [...] Mom always knew!
    DAWN: Who's asking you to be mom?
    BUFFY: Who's gonna be if I'm not? Huh, Dawn? Have you even thought about that? Who's gonna make things better? Who's gonna take care of us? I didn't mean to push you away, I didn't. I couldn't let you see me--
    And similarly in Into the Woods, Buffy told Riley that she needed to be "on top of things" all the time, because that's part of what being a Slayer is. I agree with HardlyThere that this may not have been about protecting Dawn from Dark!Willow as much as it was about protecting her from other dangerous elements in Sunnydale. Dawn would certainly not be safe from these at Janice's. (Earlier this season she had got embroiled in a risky teen-vampire situation she needed rescuing from.) Leaving her with Xander wouldn't particularly accomplish anything plus Buffy may need Xander around if the need arises (she knows the Willow situation is unpredictable.)

    b) Buffy is not only pragmatic, she also has a Slayer gut-instinct/ Slayer sense, as American Aurora has highlighted (her instincts aren't easily dismissed since Slayers do value their instincts, especially in times of crisis and danger, seen as early as Out of Mind Out of Sight). Buffy has always treated each situation with a focus on its specificity. In New Moon Rising, for instance, Buffy asks Forest "What kind of demon was it?" when she hears of an attack to the Initiative men. Riley snaps contemptuously "Does it matter?" Well, yes, to Buffy, it does matter. Context in different situations matters to her as a tactical leader. Buffy has certainly not been blind to Spike's evil, the dangers he represents, his lack of a moral compass, it's in fact one of the reasons she repeatedly tells him she can't love him, because he's a "serial killer" on a leash without his soul. It's the reason she breaks up with him in the first place. So she's the last person to be accused of naivety when it comes to Spike's limitations. However, in this specific scenario, we learn that she does not view Spike as a threat to Dawn, she seems to locate his danger specifically as it relates to her. So when she says "Besides, he wouldn't," I believe that she believes Spike wouldn't harm Dawn and would protect her, and her instinct turns out to have been proven right. I don't think she's in any shape or form being deliberately slack about Dawn's safety, Buffy is the last person to be lax when it comes to Dawn. As Willow from Buffy says, Dawn keeps her afloat.

    Now, if I were in Dawn's shoes, I would absolutely feel angry, indignant and outraged, and I'd have every right to feel that way. Dawn has no clue what's been going on for months. She mistakenly assumed the Spuffy break up happened because Spike broke up with Buffy (according to the shooting script). For her to find out from Xander that the chipped vampire she has so far seen as a protective presence actually attacked/ tried to rape her big sister would justifiably freak her out beyond WORDS. And that is completely justified. I actually think it's a totally healthy reaction that she and Xander are protective of Buffy. I think it's testimony to the fact that they care about Buffy and I love them for it and I'd actually be a little weirded out if they behaved any differently. So I really can't fault them for their reactions at all.

    c) But it can't be denied that if Buffy were to open up to either of them about something as traumatic as what she's recently been through, particularly when Xander has mocked her judgement recently (and they've only just reached a shaky truce) and Dawn isn't likely to understand what's gone on without also questioning Buffy's leadership/ wisdom (which might further cause Dawn upset at this point), then neither would be receptive to what Buffy might say. Buffy could have lied to Dawn but what would that have achieved? She hasn't thought of a backup plan for where Dawn can stay as there don't seem to be any other options that satisfy her. In addition, Dawn is usually pretty good at catching on when she's being fed excuses. So Buffy pulls one of her "I'm the leader, I get to make an emergency decision" without telling Dawn the context. I truly believe she does it for Dawn's best shot at safety in the current scenario, so I really don't hate Buffy for it. I can understand being puzzled by the decision, disliking the fact that Buffy continues to trust Spike in the circumstances (where Dawn is concerned), but I don't hate Buffy for any of her actions here as she's running on her gut instincts as a leader, adrenaline and genuine good intention. I also fully understand why Dawn would be justifiably furious and distrustful of Buffy later when she finds out. But I'm looking at this specifically from Buffy's POV, and I don't think it's particularly out of character or unbelievable for her to think of leaving Dawn with Spike as a viable option in extremely dire circumstances when time is of the essence.

    Finally, a word about sexual assault: I think it's a really great point raised, in fact one of the primary reasons sexual assault survivors sometimes choose not to speak up is because they're afraid of judgment over how they reacted, why they didn't speak up sooner, judgement over their decision making, the way they "handled" their assault, the things they said or didn't say, why they kept quiet, etc. So I think it's an absolutely valid point and it's something that gets overlooked when one jumps to questioning Buffy's morality or her actions here. It isn't a question of whether she's a legal guardian to Dawn or not. When a person suffers an attack or trauma, the emotions they would feel/ the bewilderment they would go through has got to be the same, on a human level, whatever their responsibilities or commitments. I don't think any sexual assault survivor deliberately acts "irresponsibly", so to lay that on Buffy does feel like a roundabout way of blaming her for the repercussions of something that happened to her. Buffy has also grappled with her mental health and depression this season, which brings in an added dimension as to why I think she especially deserves to not be judged for how she authentically reacts in the circumstances. How one reacts to trauma isn't something that's actually under a person's control, she is bound to go through a period where she needs a few months at the very least to heal from everything that's happened. If anything, given everything she's been through, it's incredible that she has the ability to take leadership decisions at all especially at the speed with which she does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    I’m finally done with my current job and hope to respond to Willow from Buffy’s fantastic review soon - truly one of the best I’ve read on this board so far.
    Wow! That's really nice of you. Sadly, as I haven't read any reviews other than my own, it is hard for me to return the compliment. I promise to have a look at your "Seeing Red" review. The length and number of these reviews have so far been putting me off, especially seeing as I am so late to the party. When I was first brought into this, I was living abroad and was like super-super busy.

    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    I did want to note, however, that I find it fascinating that of all the things in your review, the focus of so many of the responses are about the aftermath of Spike and the AR - especially Buffy bringing Dawn to his crypt. I find it far more disturbing that souled Willow has literally skinned someone alive and subsequently tries to kill Andrew, Jonathan, Dawn, Buffy, Xander and pretty much everyone in the world - perhaps because Spike is unsouled and Willow is not. Perhaps it’s also because of the complex parallels between Spike’s actions in the AR and Willow’s actions in terms of cruelty and moral intent.
    I see your point, especially if you think coldly and analytically on it. Still, I do find Spike's assault of Buffy more disturbing, even if the pain it causes Buffy is a lesser evil than death would be. The rape of a loved one is an extreme breach of trust. It is a perverse act. On one level, I can understand it. We want sex and love, and we humans have a tendency to take whatever we aren't freely given. WANT, TAKE, HAVE. But on the other hand, I couldn't imagine harming a loved one in that way.

    Willow's killing of Warren follows a simple eye-for-an-eye logic. I could never imagine myself abusing a loved one, but I could imagine myself attacking someone who had harmed or killed someone I loved, even if I hope I would be able to rise above it and allow the police to deal with the matter. I do find it hard to blame Dark Willow or Carrie for their need for revenge, even if I logically now it is misguided and over blown. There is something extremely cathartic about watching them.

    Willow's previous acts disturb me more. Willow's erasure of Tara's memory of their fight and attempt at erasing Buffy's memory of Heaven is more disturbing, even if it is less violent and therefore less instinctively indusing of horror than Spike's assault. The attempt to erase Buffy's memories could even be defended from a radical utilitarian standpoint.

    However, the moment this season where Willow's behaviour really makes me sick to my stomach is her aborted movie date with Dawn. That is such a cruel act towards someone who looks up to Willow as a parental figure and who has always acted as a older sister/friend. Still, it is not as serious as sexual assault, and it is only a one-time occurence. Willow learns from this mistake, makes some painful admissions about herself, accepts the guilt and grows from it.

    Until "Villains," Willow remains on her best behaviour. The worst you could accuse her of is being lazy, as she does not help Buffy support their little household financially, but she is in recovery, does non-magical Scooby work and helps out with the wedding.

    As for Willow talking about shedding Dawn's human-ness in the next episode, I think we must keep in mind that Willow has lost her marbles at this point. Of course, he put herself in this state, but by doing that, she has completely lost control and perspective. And she is not trying to do anything to Dawn that she is not doing to herself. She knows the magix will burn her out. She no longer wants to be human. When she mocks Dawn, she is really talking about herself. "Boo Tara, Boo Buffy." Who is like that? Regular Willow is.

    Wanting to kill Dawn is a precursor to wanting to destroy the world, but this does not come from malice. It is meant to spare Dawn and the world from the pain of being human. It is Willow's twisted idea of salvation.

    The attacks on Buffy and Giles are truer, in a sense. These are two role models Willow feels has abandoned her, and so she has grown deeply resentful of them.

    I don't want to steal the thunder for next episode's reviewer, though, because this is really interesting, and I am sure there are many opinions on Willow's actions here.

    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    I do want to point out that Buffy’s strange trust in Spike and mistrust of Willow is ironically proven correct in the end. Perhaps it’s a Slayer gut sense that goes beyond human reason, but Spike isn’t even in his crypt because he’s gone off to get a soul (even while soulless) whereas Willow (with a soul) actually threatens Dawn’s life the second she meets up with her. And I think this is intentional as the two redemptive lines cross with Buffy and Xander in the middle - all the themes of moral disgust, ‘magical’ thinking and the Buffyverse theory of the ‘soul’ come together in the last few episodes as a kind of moral relativism vs. ethical naturalism debate.

    I agree with Stoney that Spike and Willow’s storylines have been linked for a while and naturally come together at the end of Season Six in a way that kinda shatters both characters - forever changed from Grave onward.
    I really don't agree with you here. Buffy has some problems with Willow, as she blames her for bringing her back to life, but they become friends again quite early in the season. And I don't see Buffy has having any intuitive trust towards Spike. I mean, she trusts Dawn and Joyce with him, but I think that is because she understands that he wouldn't try to harm her that way, as his ultimate goal is to make her love him.

    And I do see Spike getting a soul as a bit of a fluke. It wouldn't be possible for him to get a soul unless he had an ulterior motive. The real process towards change starts after he gets the soul.

    Of course, I have strong Willow-bias here. But in my head Spike is an evil creature and Willow is first and foremost a powerful agent of good. Spike happens to fall in love with Buffy, who matches his ideal of womanhood: beautiful, powerful and just out of reach. Willow strives towards good, but her belief in her own goodness, her anxiety and her need to protect her ego lead her astray for a bit.
    Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 11-09-19 at 10:57 AM.

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    Just finished rewatching SR, Villains tonight!

    For me the context to both Spike's and Willow's actions makes me understand and accept them. Willow is thrown out of control by her grief and is powerfully affected and running on that from the end of Seeing Red. The phrase even visually depicted on that closing shot of her which I think really draws emphasis to how blinded she is by her emotions. In his despair and desperation to try to force Buffy to respond how he wanted Spike tried to force a response from her, to make a connection again with her that he felt had been successful before. Now how Spike moves on from this is what makes it possible to forgive the character to me, but in understanding the act itself there's still relevant context as Spike is soulless and doesn't see the boundaries of his actions and manage to draw the lines morally in a way that could have controlled him. This is shown in his confusion in the crypt afterwards when he is asking what he did as well as why he didn't do it. He finally starts to see that he can't walk the line, he's not monster nor man. Now Spike doesn't have the capacity to understand and Willow isn't able to hold herself back in her grief and anger. Neither were committing premeditated and calmly considered actions. This is what separates them from Warren. We understand some of his driving motivations and insecurities from what we glean about his background and how he has been bullied and clearly feels insecure. But he both has the moral capacity to understand his choices and time and consideration to control himself. Even running on the fuel of his humiliation from Buffy smashing his orbs it is the day after that he has fetched a gun and goes and attacks her again. His actions are seldom presented as being in the moment or out of his control and when things do occur that could fit to that, Katrina's murder for instance, he makes no moves to hand himself in and confess what he has done as the overall context in which that went out of his control was already a very considered violent violation of her. How Jonathan is shown to be increasingly disconcerted by Warren's behaviour and then Andrew's desire for violence in Seeing Red adds into the sense of Warren being distinct and dangerous in a way that is framed to be less sympathetic than any other characters I think.

    I wouldn't see Spike getting a soul as a fluke as he deliberately goes to do it. It is however, I would agree, something more than what he understood. Spike realises that he can't be what he wants (acceptable to Buffy), can't get what he wants (Buffy) and so he goes to do something that he thinks will fix that. As often happens the action is good but the motivation was primarily fixed on what he wanted to achieve. Of course once he is souled he is able to see things differently and move beyond what he was. Both Willow and Spike are able to progress from where they are at their worst points at the end of S6 and I really like the point Aurora made of the roles others play in how they come to that. Of course Buffy's influence on Spike is something he carries forward after SR in how he chooses to respond to events, Xander's intervention with Willow is more active of course. But both of which result in my favourite season ending so I'm eager to keep watching and get to it.
    Last edited by Stoney; 11-09-19 at 04:32 PM.

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    All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.



    * Spike never attempted to rape Willow.


    * Joss Whedon and James Marsters didn't have a true 'falling out'. It's simply that James Marsters wants to be a certain level of money. James wasn't going to guest star in Dollhouse just to please Whedonverse fans. It seems James was going to have some involvement in Firefly if that lasted longer than it did. Joss was pretty much the only one who made any money from Dr. Horrible . I forgot the name of his Shakespeare movie, but that was largely done for fun and the actors unlikely were paid much.

    James Marsters left Smallville because he didn't want to move to Canada. He still got significant money if an episode mentioned Brainiac.

    Alexis Denisof has a very small role in the Avengers franchise. It's not as if Joss signed TV Whedonverse people multi-million dollars contracts in the MCU and left out James.

    And it seems James was remained friendly with Jane Espenson and David Fury.


    James simply wanted to stay in Santa Monica or wherever and he didn't want to leave to do a job. Runaways films close to where James lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpuffyGlitz
    Finally, a word about sexual assault: I think it's a really great point raised, in fact one of the primary reasons sexual assault survivors sometimes choose not to speak up is because they're afraid of judgment over how they reacted, why they didn't speak up sooner, judgement over their decision making, the way they "handled" their assault, the things they said or didn't say, why they kept quiet, etc. So I think it's an absolutely valid point and it's something that gets overlooked when one jumps to questioning Buffy's morality or her actions here. It isn't a question of whether she's a legal guardian to Dawn or not. When a person suffers an attack or trauma, the emotions they would feel/ the bewilderment they would go through has got to be the same, on a human level, whatever their responsibilities or commitments. I don't think any sexual assault survivor deliberately acts "irresponsibly", so to lay that on Buffy does feel like a roundabout way of blaming her for the repercussions of something that happened to her. Buffy has also grappled with her mental health and depression this season, which brings in an added dimension as to why I think she especially deserves to not be judged for how she authentically reacts in the circumstances. How one reacts to trauma isn't something that's actually under a person's control, she is bound to go through a period where she needs a few months at the very least to heal from everything that's happened. If anything, given everything she's been through, it's incredible that she has the ability to take leadership decisions at all especially at the speed with which she does.
    I agree with the bolded part completely, but I don’t agree that criticizing Buffy’s decision or the writing in “Villains” is blaming her for the repercussions of her sexual assault. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my primary point of contention with the AR in general is that it does such a lousy job at attempting to show Buffy’s perspective. Spike attempts to rape Buffy and it is an extremely huge part of his character development, but it is absolutely irrelevant to hers.

    During the last three episodes of S6 and throughout all of S7, there is no meaningful exploration of the AR from Buffy’s perspective. We get a couple brief moments where Buffy flinches at Spike (in “Beneath You” and “Him”), but it’s wildly inconsistent (see their interactions in “Lessons” and "Same Time, Same Place"). Most of the time the AR is addressed, it is to emphasize the point that ‘he has a soul’ and ‘it’s different’ now. This bothers me and the moment that we’re discussing – Buffy’s defense of him in “Villains”, which I took as showing that her feelings toward him have not changed – is a huge example of this. It’s really hard for me to view Buffy’s decision in “Villains” as a logical reaction of her experience of sexual assault because the narrative itself seems to purposely shy away from portraying her experience as a survivor of sexual assault.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpuffyGlitz View Post
    Buffy has certainly not been blind to Spike's evil, the dangers he represents, his lack of a moral compass, it's in fact one of the reasons she repeatedly tells him she can't love him, because he's a "serial killer" on a leash without his soul. It's the reason she breaks up with him in the first place. So she's the last person to be accused of naivety when it comes to Spike's limitations. However, in this specific scenario, we learn that she does not view Spike as a threat to Dawn, she seems to locate his danger specifically as it relates to her. So when she says "Besides, he wouldn't," I believe that she believes Spike wouldn't harm Dawn and would protect her, and her instinct turns out to have been proven right. I don't think she's in any shape or form being deliberately slack about Dawn's safety, Buffy is the last person to be lax when it comes to Dawn. As Willow from Buffy says, Dawn keeps her afloat.
    I disagree with this. While I think Buffy loves Dawn more than anything, she does fail Dawn many times both in terms of her safety and as a guardian. She spends much of Season 6 neglecting Dawn in order to have sex with Spike. She is incredibly passive about the Willow situation that resulted in Dawn being injured/nearly killed in “Wrecked”. Buffy is clinically depressed throughout the season, which is the reason for these lapses in decision-making so I don’t judge her too harshly. However, one of the main points of S6 is that Buffy is making all of the wrong decisions especially when it comes to Spike, so I don’t think it’s unfair for one to question her judgement/thinking when it comes to him (including her trying to leave Dawn at his crypt).

    It just frustrates me so, so much because this isn’t an isolated incident. It is a pattern in Buffy and Spike’s relationship that gets worse in Season 7. Another moment is in “Lies My Parents Told Me” when a chained-up but triggered Spike threw a cot at Dawn and then Buffy ended up trying to untie him merely a few moments later. Dawn could have been seriously injured by him but while Willow is comforting her, Buffy doesn’t think much about it because poor Spike is uncomfortable.

    While I think Buffy and Spike’s relationship is extremely toxic (in S6 AND S7), I will admit it’s a realistic -- albeit inconsistently-written -- depiction of a toxic relationship. Buffy is in way too deep when it comes to Spike. The people outside of the situation – Xander, Dawn, (the audience, haha) – can see how messed up some of her decisions are, but of course Buffy can’t see because she is so invested in it. That's often how it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by BtVS fan
    Given the reported "ambivalence" of the writing staff in regard to the nature of the Buffy/Spike relationship and their apparent dismissal of the seriousness of rape, it is hardly surprising that there was anger, confusion and dissention among fans. The viewpoints expressed in fandom can generally be broken down into two categories: casual viewers and "Spikistas," hyper-dedicated fans of the character of Spike. The opinions of the former group tend to run fairly close to Mr. Fury's, and express horror over the attempted rape and disgust over the relationship in general. The latter group's opinions parallel more with Ms. Espenson's, with people endeavoring to excuse or deny Spike's behavior, or blame the incident on Buffy if they address the attempted rape at all.
    BtVS fan, thanks for providing those quotes. It’s amazing how divisive Spike is, not only among the fans but among the writers as well. Spike being such a dynamic character was something that worked for him and against him in many ways. It seems the writers had such differing views on him and it was made all the more complicated by the fact that none of them (not even Whedon) ultimately knew what direction his character would end up in. No wonder the writing for his character was so inconsistent. But despite these things, Spike ended up having one of the most cohesive character arcs on the show so I think they ultimately made it work.
    Last edited by Andrew S.; 12-09-19 at 05:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    I agree with the bolded part completely, but I don’t agree that criticizing Buffy’s decision or the writing in “Villains” is blaming her for the repercussions of her sexual assault.
    Great post Andrew S.! I'm not implying that criticism of Buffy's actions equals blaming her for the repercussions of the AR, at least not from a Doylist level. I get what you mean and you've made a lot of convincing points. I'll think about it from a different perspective when I rewatch these episodes. But I want to clarify -- what I'm saying is that I understand where Buffy's coming from in the text, I feel sympathy for her. I totally get having a massive problem with Buffy taking Dawn to Spike's crypt from a Doylist perspective (especially so soon after the AR.) That's open to criticism and I understand people having huge problems with it. From a Watsonian perspective, considering the context and time, her judgement likely *is* still clouded by everything that's happened (and is continuing to happen.) So I agree that it's hard to judge her especially given her depression this season. I'll think about your criticism when I rewatch, but I still can't help feeling like Buffy's placed in a tough situation with no real time to pause and consider. As you say, S6 Spuffy was definitely toxic, but I thought Buffy made a valiant effort to put the brakes on it. Spike's barging into the bathroom didn't really have to do with her at this point.

    Maybe she should have established boundaries sooner, but that's part of her arc as you say, and by As You Were she had done this. The fact that she still struggles with housing feelings for him is something I don't see as being under her control, she's done her best to put an end to it. Considering the toxicity of the relationship has only recently ended, it's still in her fairly recent past. Being totally clear-headed at this point doesn't seem realistic to me. It would probably need to take a bit more time before she gets there. As for S7, I don't necessarily see it as "toxic" so much as a messy "work-in-progress", it's not ideal and everything is still very raw. I follow the DH comics and feel like their relationship went on a continuum from there. I get your frustration with how some things are written on BtVS though, I had a similar sense of frustration earlier with the Giles-Willow kitchen scene in Flooded (which I've gotten over now, lol), so I empathise with feeling frustrated by aspects of the text. And I also tend to roll my eyes a little when there's excessive Spike sympathy at the cost of Buffy so you're not alone there either (although I probably do see S7 differently.) I won't pre-empt discussion on S7 yet, though -- I'm sure there will be multiple viewpoints when we get to it which will be interesting.

    I disagree with this. While I think Buffy loves Dawn more than anything, she does fail Dawn many times both in terms of her safety and as a guardian. She spends much of Season 6 neglecting Dawn in order to have sex with Spike. She is incredibly passive about the Willow situation that resulted in Dawn being injured/nearly killed in “Wrecked”. Buffy is clinically depressed throughout the season, which is the reason for these lapses in decision-making so I don’t judge her too harshly. However, one of the main points of S6 is that Buffy is making all of the wrong decisions especially when it comes to Spike, so I don’t think it’s unfair for one to question her judgement/thinking when it comes to him (including her trying to leave Dawn at his crypt).
    You're right, Buffy does neglect Dawn on these occasions (and in fact, herself admits to Willow in Gone that she was so caught up with her own issues that she didn't notice her best friend was sinking), but I wouldn't place the blame for what happened to Dawn in Wrecked solely on Buffy's shoulders either (plus ironically, her association with Spike ended up helping her locate Rack etc). Like you say, her escapism was owing to her struggles with her depression and it's something that's addressed by her. The fact that she saw the relationship as an escape was something she put an end to, plus she did feel horribly guilty all throughout it, and I think her own arc in some ways was meant to parallel aspects of Willow's downward spiral so maybe that's what made her less perceptive to what was going on with her best friend (and Dawn) while she was going through it. There's this saying, you don't see your own eyelashes despite them being above your own eyes, I think it's something similar. Maybe I over stressed her protection of Dawn, because I agree with your examples, but I think in spirit if not always in deed, Buffy has consistently been worried about/ protective of Dawn, it's one reason why she tries so hard to shelter her this season. She does own up to her choices towards the end, and I kinda love that she and Giles both end up laughing hysterically over it as cathartic release. Since Buffy's not an actual mom (she's a Slayer multi-tasking and adjusting to life after death), her lapses in judgement as Dawn's legal guardian to me are still sympathetic/ understandable. Still, I'll consider everything you say when I rewatch.
    Last edited by SpuffyGlitz; 12-09-19 at 11:49 PM.
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