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Spike-a-licious-ness

Okay, embarrassing fangirl admission: I've now watched the Spike/Buffy basement scene in "Never Leave Me" about a dozen times. It still knocks my socks off. I find myself just watching it, getting to the harbingers, rewinding to Spike chained up on the floor, watching it again, getting to the harbingers, rewinding to Spike chained up on the floor, and so on.

I have a theory about Spike's stuff about Buffy liking men who hurt her, about her needing the hate they inspire. My theory goes something like this. Spike now loathes himself to such a degree that he can't see anything even remotely attractive or worthwhile about his pre-soul self. Therefore, he needed to find an explanation of Buffy's behavior toward him that allowed for Spike having been utterly worthless and horrible. And, given that limiting factor, the only reason he could see why Buffy would touch him, why Buffy wouldn't have killed him already, is because she needs someone as loathesome as him around, for some reason.

In short (too late), I think Spike's little philosophy about Buffy liking men to hurt her was actually not about her at all. It was about finding an excuse why she would put up with him, when Spike can't imagine any possible good reason she would do so. Well, that's my theory, anyway.

I've also watched the ending of the cellar scene in "Sleeper" about a dozen times ... maybe more. For this one, I rewind to just after Buffy has finished killing the last fledgeling. She walks up to Spike and looks down at him. The expressions on James Marsters' face in the next few seconds just get to me ... every ... single ... time. He looks up into Buffy's face, then slowly down at the makeshift "stake" in her hand. Then, with grief and resignation, he scoots forward, opens his coat, and in his movements I read such sorrow that he's tried so hard, done so much, and it has come to this, despite all his efforts and his love. He says, "Do it fast, okay?" and his lashes flutter. He looks up at her on the last word, with this small, sad, understanding smile.

Okay, so, yeah. I'm an obsessive fan. I am completely blown away by how crucial Spike's story is to this season's plot. To be honest, though I'd love to see Spike get what he has convinced himself he can never have (Buffy's love), I don't actually care that much exactly where they take this plot. Because wherever it goes, Spike's plot arc has gone in directions that have the power to make me cry.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a journal entry about why I like Spike. I wrote about the fact that I identify with him, with his need to feel that he can be forgiven (by others and by himself) for his past wrongs, that he actually is capable of change, that he can be accepted for who he is now. I've already gotten the story I wanted. The rest is gravy.

The only thing I specifically still want to see is Spike learning to forgive himself. In my own experience, that's a hell of a lot more difficult than earning the forgiveness of others.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
foo_faedra
Nov. 29th, 2002 01:50 am (UTC)
I have a theory about Spike's stuff about Buffy liking men who hurt her, about her needing the hate they inspire. My theory goes something like this. Spike now loathes himself to such a degree that he can't see anything even remotely attractive or worthwhile about his pre-soul self. Therefore, he needed to find an explanation of Buffy's behavior toward him that allowed for Spike having been utterly worthless and horrible. And, given that limiting factor, the only reason he could see why Buffy would touch him, why Buffy wouldn't have killed him already, is because she needs someone as loathesome as him around, for some reason.

Wow. I didn't think of this. How so very true. And as much as it was about Spike's self-loathing and disgust, I do think that Buffy likes men who are difficult, though Spike is at a point where he doesn't see the difference between that and men "who hurt her."

Okay, embarrassing fangirl admission: I've now watched the Spike/Buffy basement scene in "Never Leave Me" about a dozen times. It still knocks my socks off. I find myself just watching it, getting to the harbingers, rewinding to Spike chained up on the floor, watching it again, getting to the harbingers, rewinding to Spike chained up on the floor, and so on.

I've watched that scene about 6 times and the Spike-torture about 1100 times. I'm a sick, sick fangirl.

kimberly_a
Nov. 29th, 2002 12:42 pm (UTC)
I do think that Buffy likes men who are difficult

Given how complicated her life is, it makes sense that Joe Normal (*cough* Riley *cough*) just wouldn't get her juices going. There's too much darkness inside her.
slipjig
Nov. 29th, 2002 05:22 am (UTC)
The only thing I specifically still want to see is Spike learning to forgive himself.

One word for you, comrade: Angelis. Ain't a-gonna happen, I'm afraid.
kimberly_a
Nov. 29th, 2002 12:39 pm (UTC)
You raise a good point. Now that I think about it, Buffy still hasn't forgiven herself for killing Angel, either. Maybe Joss has some issues of his own. Don't we all?
soulstar
Nov. 29th, 2002 06:13 am (UTC)
Ooo, yes, I like that reasoning. I hadn't thought of it that way, but I think you might well be right. What struck me more, is that for all that soulless Spike was hurt by some of Buffy's actions towards him, that was now clearly because it hurt his feelings. It's only now, with a soul, that he really comprehends what she did, and why it was really wrong. Interesting. Also, I was amazed and delighted by Buffy's attitude - especially the "I believe in you, Spike" conversation. Blew me away.

The other thing that occured to me was that Buffy seemed a bit taken aback at Spike's statement that she didn't love him. He spent all of last year insisting that she did, and she consistantly denied it. So what happens now? She always has been a bit contrary, after all... *g*
kimberly_a
Nov. 29th, 2002 12:46 pm (UTC)
I, too, thought Buffy looked a bit shocked when Spike said it wasn't love. But -- despite my 'shippy hopes -- I interpreted that as her just being surprised that he now seemed so utterly convinced of the opposite of what he'd previously believed.

The one thing I found slightly encouraging was the fact that Spike said, "It isn't love. We both know that," immediately before he went into another theory about something they "both know" ... which seemed pretty darn off-base because of his own self-hatred.
soulstar
Nov. 29th, 2002 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I figured it was surprise like that, too. And she's happily told all and sundry that she doesn't love him but does have "feelings" for him. But still, maybe his reversal will make her re-examine those feelings, and actually figure out what they are - whatever that may turn out to be. Eh, who knows? Silly American TV shows, having great big gaps in the middle of a season! Tcha.... ;-) Roll on January.
sabinablue
Nov. 29th, 2002 08:04 am (UTC)
...I think Spike's little philosophy about Buffy liking men to hurt her was actually not about her at all. It was about finding an excuse why she would put up with him, when Spike can't imagine any possible good reason she would do so.

ITA. I had hopes last season that ME would embrace the idea that rough sex isn't by definition unhealthy. I think it could have been presented as cathartic and even healing, and that would have been a daring and realistic presentation of the complications of many relationships. And how they can work. Oh, well. Hopes mostly dashed by Seeing Red and what I've seen so far this season.

Still, I'm mostly pleased with the shippiness this season. I'm not of the opinion that Buffy was about to declare her love for Spike in Never Leave Me -- I think, rather, it was closure on the previous relationship. What happens now remains to be seen -- I just hope it's not all hearts and flowers if they become lovers again in an attempt to "legitimize" it.
kimberly_a
Nov. 29th, 2002 12:52 pm (UTC)
Amen. I found it pretty offensive, actually, that they (*cough* Marti *cough*) identified rough sex very firmly as something enjoyed only by those who hate themselves.

There have been repeated hints that Xander and Anya engaged in a fair amount of kinky stuff (including spanking, biting, etc.), without that being portrayed as a bad thing ... but all of the other "good" sex on the show has been presented as sweet, romantic, soft, gentle, etc.

I'd love to see a sympathetic portrayal on BTVS of a healthy sexual relationship that didn't necessarily confine itself to hearts and flowers and the missionary position.
rashaka
Nov. 29th, 2002 11:01 am (UTC)
I find myself just watching it, getting to the harbingers, rewinding to Spike chained up on the floor, watching it again, getting to the harbingers, rewinding to Spike chained up on the floor, and so on.

Word. I just wrote my own journal entry about pretty mucht eh same nfan behavior. My excuse? I had to analyze the music, ya know? So of course I had to watch the scenes MANY MANY times to be sure.
kimberly_a
Nov. 29th, 2002 12:54 pm (UTC)
My only excuse is that I am hypnotized by James Marsters' beauty and acting talent ... and by the incredibly complex character that he and ME have created together.
rashaka
Nov. 29th, 2002 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re:
well, fine, go and use the same reason we all rewatch it but make it sound all eloquent and noble like....
strangebint
Nov. 30th, 2002 08:10 am (UTC)
Not just gravy! Need more meat!
Okay sooo..I read all you guy's stuff..And this is all coming from a person that was NEVER NEVER a shipper and a HUGE Buffy fan before all of Spuffy...And now I've become such a major shipper...
I am not really sure that Marty is trying to all-together say that rough sex is unhealthy...I really think the best sex on the show has been Spuffy sex..(And I judge that from the looks on faces and the amount of enjoyment people seem to be having)
Marti has always been a huge S&Mish writer. Every ep. she has ever written has some S&M in it...Maybe she is trying to say that the rough sex isn't unhealthy, but it isn't love...Which is what bugs me because I want it to be love Damn it! I really really want them to hook up, which I know is girlie and stupid.
I think the reason I want it so bad is 'cause I would really like a person that understands all the huge scary dark things about me to love me and be the healthiest person I can possibly be with. I would also like this person to be a force to be reckoned with and someone I respect totally. And be the top most of the time. But, I essentially want them to be my bitch and love me no matter what I do. ...What's that you say?? Not gonna happen. Get over yourself..Trying.
I feel like I have been led down the path of Buffy herself has been led down in regards to Spike. I was mostly lovingly pissed off at Spike. I always thought Spike was hot and really really cool, but I wasn't in love with him...I mean I was 25 at the time, I was above falling in love fictional people. You wanna know when I fell in love with him? In "Fool for Love" because of everything that happened...But, mostly because of the siring scene of him, AND the subway scene. When he was at his strongest and weakest, and talking about having a death wish. And saying that the second she wanted it he would be there...And then in the end he is there with his shotgun...But, he doesn't kill her. He asks her if there is anything he can do...It's like "the second you're at your weakest I'll be there and I'll the power to blow you away, but I won't. I'll help" SIIIIIGHHH! I feel like this 3-year build up and these moments have to mean something. They have to go somewhere else then just to a great romp.
I want peace! I want one week of peace and love for William and Buffy (yeah,'cause I can't get it my life.) Is that too much to ask! Is it!!

Maybe the message is that stuff like this can't work out. My friends have said I am too obsessed with finding the message here and maybe there is no message- just the story. But, I think there is a message. Especially with Marti.ANd don't believe for one second that Buffy wanted to punish herself and that was all that the sex was about! These things never have a one sentence answer, which is something that is Very good about Marti.. Sigh...You know what I think. She's going to say "I love you" and then drop dead or jump dimensions or do whatever for Sarah to leave.
I just hope they don't then ruin Spike's character by making him an Angel- Ho' who falls in love with every other girl so we can see him with his shirt off. William has loved 3 times, and I'm sure he could love a 4th, but they'd have to do it right.
Okay..Done babbling!
kimberly_a
Nov. 30th, 2002 09:12 am (UTC)
Re: Not just gravy! Need more meat!
Maybe she is trying to say that the rough sex isn't unhealthy, but it isn't love

The impression that I've gotten, as a fairly careful viewer, is that she's communicating a message (whether it's intentional or not) that rough sex/S&M may be enjoyable and exciting and sexy, but that it isn't good for you in the long run, and that it definitely isn't a part of real love. I personally know plenty of people in what seem to be very healthy, rewarding, long-term, loving relationships (some monogamous, some not) who engage in various levels of S&M, domination and submission, bondage, etc.

While I would agree (with Marti's implied stance) that there are plenty of unhealthy and/or abusive relationships that involve such sexual activities, there are even more unhealthy and/or abusive relationships that don't. And there are also plenty of healthy, loving relationships that do.

I don't like one-sided portraits. I guess I'd like to see a bit more of a Cubist influence on their portrait of S&M/rough sex. ;-)
vrya
Nov. 30th, 2002 11:41 am (UTC)

I have a theory about Spike's stuff about Buffy liking men who hurt her, about her needing the hate they inspire. My theory goes something like this. Spike now loathes himself to such a degree that he can't see anything even remotely attractive or worthwhile about his pre-soul self. Therefore, he needed to find an explanation of Buffy's behavior toward him that allowed for Spike having been utterly worthless and horrible. And, given that limiting factor, the only reason he could see why Buffy would touch him, why Buffy wouldn't have killed him already, is because she needs someone as loathesome as him around, for some reason.



I'm definitely on-board with your theory! I think Spike's long-established talent for finding the uncomfortable truth buried under outward show is still working as usual, but his own situation is so intense that it's causing him to over-state the case. Because there's definitely a signficant grain of truth in what he says... as early as season 4, she says: "But I can't help thinking - isn't that where the fire comes from? Can a nice, safe relationship be that intense? I know it's nuts, but.. part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting." And also, from season 2, to Kendra: "You feel it, right? How the anger gives you fire? A Slayer needs that." And Buffy *does* at times hate herself, as she admitted to Holden so recently (show timeline recently, if not our recently!). But I don't believe she feels that way all the time, and I think sharing those feelings with Holden was a moment something like finally telling Giles about how she had had to kill Angel after his soul was restored, cathartic. I think now she can start to move beyond that, and I *think* she managed to convince Spike of that (damn those Harbingers! cutting off the scene like that! They're *definitely* evil. *wink*) Or at least I hope. Because that's what *I* want to see. Spuffy or no Spuffy, whatever. But I'd like to see some major healing all around, esp. if this is the last season. I take heart from Morphy!Spike! telling Real!Boy!Spike! that he messed things up by "learning something about himself". And if he learned something, then, he learned it from Buffy, which means she has too...

Okay, so, yeah. I'm an obsessive fan. I am completely blown away by how crucial Spike's story is to this season's plot.



Me too, me too! Last season Spuffy was really all about Buffy, which would have been okay if it wasn't mostly about Buffy being all disconnected and thus not very sympathy-inducing. Rather than going back to the season 5 Spuffy formula (all about Spike) I think so far we've seen a nice balance between what's going on with each of them, which I'm really enjoying... let's hope this lasts!

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