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Thread: Positives And Negatives - Season 5

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I think 'seduced' is overstating it. I think he's there, he sees what everyone else has. He's stuck without a body, not being able to leave, and he wants to be 'seen', he want them to acknowledge him and validate his situation, work to solve it etc. Asking for an office is his way of saying he's still there, he's important, and of course it's another way to piss off Angel.

    He has a place. That's what he wanted, and Angel didn't allow him that, wouldn't even give him an office. What else is Spike to do? He has to live somewhere. I can see why he'd go along with Lindsay, when it's Lindsay giving him these things that Angel has denied him.

    It really doesn't seem inconsistent to me. Spike returns as a ghost, relying on his 'enemy' for everything he has. He can't leave W&H so is stuck there with Angel, who constantly tells him he's worthless, a nothing, a side show that Fred shouldn't waste her time on. I totally see Spike's pov in everything he does. He seems incredibly human to me. I know no-one who is surrounded by power, privilege, money, the added extras, that wouldn't want them, while despising where they come from, because it's those added extras that become the validation, rather than your deeds. And that's the issue that Angel is shown to suffer from throughout the season, so it all works for me. Spike is a mirror of Angel, showing him how easy it is to be seduced by those privileges while forgetting you're meant to be about 'helping the helpless'. Spike's arc is a mirror for Angel
    I don't have a problem with Spike going along with Lindsay and taking the housing (except, I think he should have been with Buffy/the Scoobies before Lindsay even approached- see below). I just said that Spike squatting in the crappy apartment that Lindsay gave him proves to me that he's not seduced by W&H's trinkets and baubles.

    I also don't fault Spike or the show's writing for him not leaving W&H when he was a ghost stuck to W&H. How could I? Spike was LITERALLY incapable of leaving. My issue was when Spike became re-corporealized, I think it was sloppy writing to have him remain in Angel's orbit and then, at W&H instead of returning to Buffy. Spike had been making the case (although plead inconsistently as vampmogs said) that AI was being swallowed by the belly of the beast or how they were being changed by the corporation. And then, apparently, Spike's words mean nothing retroactively because he decides to get swallowed by the belly of the beast when Fred died even though Fred's death (and Gunn's corruption and stint in hell) was an object lesson in being swallowed by the belly of the beast and how you don't change the corporation but the corporation changes you. I could understand it if Spike had nowhere else to go and Angel was his only model for heroism. That's why I understand Fred/Wes/Lorne remaining at W&H. But that's not Spike's situation. His true "home" for heroism is with the Scooby Gang. That's where Spike had all of his heroic time. If he's looking for validation, I don't know who validates him more than Buffy and I guess, Andrew. Buffy was like, soulfully looking in his eyes or giving an inspirational speech for almost, every S7 ep. And Spike actually loves her, as opposed to Angel. He'd find a better model for heroism and more validation if he called Buffy- and I think Spike knows that.

    Even Spike's flimsy, dumb reason for not going to Buffy once corporealized because it would ruin the drama of his big sacrifice is pretty much destroyed by Damage. Does Spike really think that Andrew isn't going to run home and gossip to Buffy that Spike's alive? Has he met Andrew? Angel informed Spike that Andrew and the slayers don't trust them. Does Spike really want his reputation maligned to Buffy as a partner of W&H? Spike's presence on AtS through the entire season even when he can leave seems very much dictated by network requirements than what's organic for his character. Why doesn't Spike go back to the Scoobies? Because BtVS is over as a show and the WB mandated that Spike had to be on AtS and the writers can't think of better reasons for keep Spike at W&H once the Incorporeal!Spike story died.

    With regard the office argument in Destiny, I can agree that Spike cares more about validation than the office itself. As I said above, Spike's personality is to roam, it's not to sit in an office. However, he's written like a hypocritical moronic a*shole there. That's how Spike goes about getting validation? By trying to steal Wesley's office out from under him when Wes is on mental health leave and loudly shouting in a crowded W&H lobby about how his mother came onto him? I'm not even a Spike-girl but I think Souled Spike is supposed to be better than that. And as vampmogs said above, his entirely correct point that Angel traded in his heroism for a comfy chair is necessarily dulled when he's begging for the same comfy chair and will take advantage of a team member's absence to go grab it.

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  3. #62
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    You're right and it is inconsistent and not what we expect of the character that we have come to know. So we have to find a through line that works and that does involve accepting that he feels he can't return to Buffy and Co right now because he was being artificially placed in that position by the network. There's no doubt he is worried about who he can be now as that tracks through from S7. Not wanting to lessen the big gesture he made on one level I can see and particularly accept that he would want to simplify it to just that to not expose other insecurities, because I think it has to be more than just that to keep Spike away from the person he loves most. It's such a core drive to his motivations/wants/needs to seek that and hard to feel he'd turn from it easily. There are ways of seeing it, of his fears for what Buffy said, losing that, not believing in it, worrying that he'd destroy it or never be able to be the person again that inspired it etc etc. It is a character shift to hold back from love still though, but it can be fanwanked to find something to hang it on. It's just that the heavy lifting for that shift, the actual effort, is virtually all made by the viewer with the wider picture in mind who wants to try to explain it for them. And it's a real struggle to work past him then feeling his issues about returning so strongly that he walks into a potentially dusty death instead of heading back to Buffy & Co. It would have to come from more than just a big sacrifice being hard to follow/being diminished, some deeper issue/depression, and that isn't really there on screen. So we fanwank as best we can and then the character starts to make a lot more sense in the comics when the writers are using him organically and it can be reasoned that he has come through a lot of his uncertainty and found a self confidence in his path/purpose that eventually leads him back home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    You're right and it is inconsistent and not what we expect of the character that we have come to know. So we have to find a through line that works and that does involve accepting that he feels he can't return to Buffy and Co right now because he was being artificially placed in that position by the network. There's no doubt he is worried about who he can be now as that tracks through from S7. Not wanting to lessen the big gesture he made on one level I can see and particularly accept that he would want to simplify it to just that to not expose other insecurities, because I think it has to be more than just that to keep Spike away from the person he loves most. It's such a core drive to his motivations/wants/needs to seek that and hard to feel he'd turn from it easily. There are ways of seeing it, of his fears for what Buffy said, losing that, not believing in it, worrying that he'd destroy it or never be able to be the person again that inspired it etc etc. It is a character shift to hold back from love still though, but it can be fanwanked to find something to hang it on. It's just that the heavy lifting for that shift, the actual effort, is virtually all made by the viewer with the wider picture in mind who wants to try to explain it for them. And it's a real struggle to work past him then feeling his issues about returning so strongly that he walks into a potentially dusty death instead of heading back to Buffy & Co. It would have to come from more than just a big sacrifice being hard to follow/being diminished, some deeper issue/depression, and that isn't really there on screen. So we fanwank as best we can and then the character starts to make a lot more sense in the comics when the writers are using him organically and it can be reasoned that he has come through a lot of his uncertainty and found a self confidence in his path/purpose that eventually leads him back home.
    Yes, this is true. I actually really love the Spike/Illyria relationship at the end of S5, partly because I think it fits in with how Spike could feel a calling to stay with AI. I would have loved it if Spike stayed after Shells, not to prosaically "honor Fred" or because Angel's "fight is important" but instead, if he said something like, "Angel, it really seems like your gang is f*cked over. I just met Cordelia and she apparently is dead for good. Now, Fred just died by a sarcophagus taken into W&H. Gunn is in the hospital and Wesley is going insane and Lorne is drunk. I would go off and be my own agent or try to re-unite with Buffy but frankly, you and your remnants of a gang are too pitiable to leave. As I said when I rescued you from the demon bugs, I'm helping the helpless" I think Angel has too much Protagonist Privilege for Spike to up and say that. And I think Spike ends up on Angel's Carousel of Bad Decisions in Shells, Underneath, The Girl in Question, and NFA because Angel is the protagonist and so, Spike's not going to be in the position to re-orient Angel's ship away from the iceberg.

    However, I do think that dynamic that I quoted somewhat lives in Spike's behavior in the last few eps of S5, especially in how he deals with Illyria. Illyria is the walking emblem of how AI screwed up by going to W&H. They enabled putting an amoral over-powered Old One in the body of a human hero. However, Spike does his part to turn lemonade out of those lemons by engaging with Illyria so well and having the physical courage to go in and spar with her. I also *loved* the story in Power Play where Angel willfully turns away from Wesley's lead about a demon murdering children at an amusement park and Spike jumps in to handle it clearly with multiple good intentions to rescue the children at the park, protect the city that Angel is abandoning, comfort Wesley that the gang is actually helping save innocent lives, AND give Illyria a mission where she can channel her immense energies and frustration productively because he also knows what it's like to feel chained and depowered but find joy in the fight (BTVS S4). I may be shooting my wad for Positives already but it's such a great moment for him in Power Play. I would have loved it if there was more of that but the show was ending when they were really finding a special Spike-voice through Illyria.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 07-12-18 at 09:52 PM.

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    Why We Fight

    Positives:I like the idea, trapped on a submarine with no chance of escape, hunted by vampires. Spike is fun as always, as are the other vampires. Love Angel not wanting to get trapped under the sea and Spike not wanting be be experimented on, that dialogue just has to make you smile. I'm of the opinion that Spike and Angel don't have a bad scene together.

    Negatives: This is just a Boys Own tale of daring-do on a submarine. Lawson just isn't scary or charismatic in the present, his performance is much better in the 1943 scenes. The vampires are played for laughs which just feels odd in a story about Angel/Lawson's existential crisis. I also don't feel we need another mirror for Angel's current situation, as an audience we already know what's going on in S5, so this just feels like filler.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Smile Time

    Positive: Angel is a puppet. This is iconic and brilliantly done. Love his embarrassment and anger at his situation. His fight with Spike, 'I don't have puppet cancer!' and the self-esteem song, Nina ripping him to shreds, all of Lorne's dialogue, all just so good.

    Negative: I find the paedophile vibe so strong, it's off putting. I understand it's part of the story, it just feels so odd in an episode that is so often played for laughs. More Nina, gratuitously naked. Angel and Wesley's conversation about attraction and 'get over it' and 'what are we talking about here', just makes me cringe.

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    A Hole In The World

    Positive: Wonderful opening, with Fred and her parents, hit exactly the right emotional note. Angel and Spike are good together. Fred's collapse was well done, and her death very moving. I also enjoy Knox and Gunn and Gunn's shock and disbelief that it's partly his fault, that's a great moment for the character.

    Negative: Fred and Wesley. I know lots of people appreciate their relationship, but I just don't get it. Wesley is like a case study in how not to live your life. Wesley and Gunn discussing permission to date Fred. Wesley shooting the lawyer in the kneecap and Lorne punching Eve just seen incredibly over the top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Negative: Fred and Wesley. I know lots of people appreciate their relationship, but I just don't get it. Wesley is like a case study in how not to live your life. Wesley and Gunn discussing permission to date Fred. Wesley shooting the lawyer in the kneecap and Lorne punching Eve just seen incredibly over the top.
    Wesley didn't ask Gunn's permission to date Fred. I get that you don't like Wesley. That's fine. But you bash him inaccurately. Gunn played a very mean practical joke pretending that he and Fred got back together, because he learned the Fresley office gossip already. When Wesley learned that Gunn knew about them, he asked "Is that allright with you?" Not "May I date her?" Do you really think that Wesley would stop dating Fred if Gunn said "no"? Neither do I. However, Wes could use that information to be sensitive about not being coupley in front of Gunn if Gunn really had a problem with it.

    Here, Wesley is consistent and Gunn is hypocritical. In Couplet, Wesley felt hurt that his best friend Gunn didn't tell him that he was starting a relationship with the girl they were mutually interested in and didn't seem concerned about his feelings but instead just paraded the relationship around without having a conversation. In Couplet, Gunn acted like he had no responsibility to have such a conversation. In AHITW, Wesley has that conversation of informing Gunn and asking after his feelings. S5 Gunn acts like Wesley owed him such a conversation ("A year ago, you wouldn't have asked me that. The man becomes civilized.") even though in similar roles, S3 Gunn felt no such obligation to Wesley.

    I'm cool with attacking Wesley for knee-capping the lawyer. That was actually wrong. Asking after Gunn's feelings was nice.

    Damage

    Positive: The actress who played Dana is really good. I was in pain watching her because I really bought her as that tortured. I was generally in favor of the slayer-empowerment spell and I don't think the events of Damage quite dispel that. I don't think an action becomes unethical just because there's one bad anomaly out of thousands of cases of created heroes. However, it's cool to see the good and bad aspect of the slayer spell in action. It's also a great use of Spike to see him actually confronted with a slayer tortured by the memories of the slayers that he murdered when he didn't have a soul. Then, I felt like I was in pain watching Spike without arms but <ugh> so horrible and creepy.

    Negative: I can't stand Andrew. The Scoobies look ridiculous to have elevated Andrew from the "funny guestage" role into actually having the authority to be a Watcher in command of tens of deadly, superpowered Slayers. I don't believe Andrew has the intellectual, practical, or moral authority to have such a responsibility. Pick any of the Watchers mocked in Checkpoint except maybe Travers himself- I can't imagine they're worse than Andrew. Giles seems like a petty moron to be gossiping to Andrew about how Wesley was incompetent as a Watcher (at least four years after the fact) as he's elevating Andrew to the position of Watcher. Casting Andrew also feels like willful determination to keep this plot about Team Buffy rejecting Angel and discovering that Spike is alive as shallow as possible. If Giles/Willow/Xander/Dawn were in Andrew's role in this ep, it would have necessarily been written much deeper and transformative. Angel really would have felt rejected by someone on the inside- who he has a history with (even if it's a fake history in Dawn's case.) If Giles/Willow/Xander/Dawn were there, they'd be attuned to Buffy's emotions enough to really question Spike on why he hasn't told Buffy that he's alive. Instead of Andrew just focusing on Spike as if Spike is just his love interest.
    Last edited by Dipstick; Yesterday at 11:24 PM.

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