I got to thinking, after re-watching the episode, about my own hopes for the series finale. I sometimes see other fans writing things like that Spike deserves Buffy's love, because of all his devotion and effort and whatnot. He went out and voluntarily got his soul, for goodness' sake! I have a series of responses to this:
- I agree and really really want to see Buffy tell Spike she loves him.
- However, it's ridiculous to say that someone "deserves" love. Love either exists or it doesn't. You can't make someone love you, no matter how much you love them, no matter how many times you perform magnificent acts of self-sacrifice. If Buffy loves Spike, it isn't because he "deserves" it. Loves just happens. It can change from within, but it can't be coerced or "earned" as if it were money. Love just is or is not.
- However, that doesn't really apply here, because Buffy and Spike don't actually exist. They are characters in a story. And the gain or loss of love in a story should not be so illogical as love in reality. It should work as part of the plot.
- And so, see #1. I want to see Buffy tell Spike she loves him precisely because the plot progression of the past 3 years has made me want it. All of Spike's efforts and sacrifices and sufferings in the story have made me want the plot to conclude with him being rewarded with Buffy's love. In reality, such actions cannot earn love ... but in a story, things are different. In a story, characters' behavior leads the audience to want and expect certain results.
- However, stories don't always go the way the audience wants them to. As long as the plot issue is addressed and somehow resolved, I'll be content. I do not require that writers (of books, movies, television, or whatever) give me the endings I want. That's what modern-day Hollywood is all about: giving the viewers what they want. And that results in bland homogeneity. I usually prefer the stories that challenge me more than that. (When I first watched "Casablanca", I wanted Ilsa to end up with Rick. But how much better is the ending they came up with?) And so I won't bear any ill will toward Mutant Enemy or Joss Whedon if they choose to challenge me rather than pat me on the head and hand me what I want.
- No matter where things go, I'm enjoying the ride. It may not be quite the ride that Season 2 was, or even Season 5, but it's still a ride I'm glad to be experiencing and am grateful to ME for creating.
Once I have seen this season all the way through, and perhaps had a chance to watch it again from that more informed perspective, and taken the time to think about it as a gestalt ... maybe then I'll feel justified in saying that something or other didn't work or whatever. For now, I'm going to suspend judgment and wait and see ... and enjoy the story on its own terms.
ETA: Not intended as criticism of anyone in particular. Just me rambling about my own thoughts. I couldn't even name names if you asked me to, so I hope no one is offended.