Dawn was the single-most redeeming factor about Season Six.
Good. I now have your attention. Today I’m actually discussing the single-most annoying factor about Season Six (a season which was annoying no matter how you slice it). And then I’ll finish off with a tribute to Dawn, the single greatest feature to that doomed year. Okay, actually I won’t finish off with that tribute. But still, ya gotta love a klepto character.
Wanna know what was really screwed up about Season Six? You guessed it. Spike. Spike was the single-most disturbing feature to the entire year. Why? Because this bleeched vampire had the ability to annoy the living shit out of me with every damned episode he took part in. That, in itself, is quite an achievement. And the fact that I will actually be partially defending Buffy in this article should tell you just how badly we are dissecting into Spikey’s little brain today.
But hell, you don’t have to take my word for it. Ask the man who portrayed this vampire whether or not he likes the way Spike was portrayed in that year of television. For even James Marsters admits that the way he played Spike in Season Six was not the way he now wishes he could have. Truth be told, I have no doubt if Marsters knew where the writers were going with the character he would have worked the vamp a bit more into the soulless feel. I might buy that a soulless creature can find love (in a certain obsessive sense of the word)…but love after death is what I’m having the trouble seeing. And that was exactly what started this season of television off…Spike hanging around Sunnydale to impress the dead girl.
Does this even make sense? I would argue that no it does not make sense if he was merely there to impress the girl who had already died. It doesn’t make sense for the pure reason that it goes against a very fundamental feature about the character of Spike…and that feature is that he is indeed a soulless creature of the night. If he wanted to hang around to get his jollies off of more nightly fights and patrols…then that’s one thing. And one must naturally assume that this was the only thing running through Spike’s mind at the time. However, there is another possibility. Perhaps this unsouled murderer knew somehow that Buffy would be brought back from the dead. Hm…always possible. Or still…perhaps he was simply finishing up the last of his moping about losing another girlfriend. It took him a little bit of time to fully get over Drusilla, if memory serves correctly…so perhaps it was something similar to this. However, him sticking around simply out of the goodness of his heart…I’m not buying it.
Soon as Buffy died, Spike should have been right up to the next pretty gal who walked by in line. Why? Shortly after he and Dru broke things off, this was his natural objective in life…err, death. And Dru was a girlfriend he’d had for well over a hundred years. Some would say this is because Spike loved Buffy more. However, keeping true to his character, I have drawn on to the conclusion that he simply was more obsessed with Buffy than he was with Drusilla. Dru didn’t give him a hard time…didn’t play hard to get. Buffy, on the other hand, was the truly unachievable gal. The one he couldn’t have…and that made him want her more.
But why stick around for Buffy? She’s dead…she’s not coming back (at least, as far as he knows at this point in the story or in a hypothetically perfect world)…and yet he still sticks around. It goes against his character…and that annoyed me more than anything. And if it DOESN’T go against his character, then I question how ethical it is to slay vampires in the first place. Why not just reform them if it’s really that easy?
I think James Marsters said it best in that a person who hates the world is not going to be good for a relationship or treat their partner well. He was a little disappointed that the season gave off that vibe. To tell the truth, so was I. For when you think about it, there is some essential truth into that opinion. And if you ever bother to watch Season Six, you’ll actually see that this is inherently true, even with the ever-changing way in which Spike was portrayed. Spike attempted to rape Buffy toward the end of the season. Thus, proving a point about soulless love. And what is that point? Well, that point is that soulless love isn’t really romantic love at all. It’s not love that is true, nor pure. It’s basically obsessive love…the same type of love that stalkers and rapists claim to have for their victims.
There was a really popular 80s song that had lyrics that went something like the following…
You are an obsession.
You’re my obsession.
Who do you want me to be,
To make you sleep with me?
Almost sounds like a ballad for Spike, doesn’t it? He was so obsessed with Buffy that he was willing to pretend to be anything just so that she would want to sleep with him. Let’s not forget, this vampire hated the world. Sure, he loved it to the point of eating people, but he hated it when you really boiled down to his essential politics, being a demon of evil and all. He didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything unless it had to do with Buffy. Is that love? No. If Spike truly loved Buffy, he would have left her alone from the very moment he fell in love with her. At no point in the series did he do this. He was always thinking about himself first…what he needed rather than what Buffy needed. I am reminded of words that Oz spoke to Willow shortly after their temporary break-up. Oz said he needed time to himself…Willow pressed him…Oz reminded her that he had already told her what he needed and if she wasn’t listening then she was only in it to make herself feel better…which wasn’t what he needed. Willow understood at that point and gave Oz what he needed. Why? Because that’s love. Not sticking around and pressing a person for your own self-interest.
Spike used Buffy and led her on at a point when she was vulnerable. I’ve heard a lot of people argue that Buffy used Spike. Hm. This is actually not completely accurate since Spike had already confessed to knowing Buffy would never love him. So if he was duped by his own creation…that’s one hell of an idiot.
Buffy had just come back from the dead…was dealing with the greatest emotional burden of her entire life. Did Spike act maturely or in a fashion that anyone could naturally say was loving? Umm…NO. He once again acted in his own self-interest and didn’t respect the girl enough to not let her hurt herself more, despite how much pain she was feeling already. He offered a temporary pleasure which would only create a snowball effect for the slayer…and he knew this. And this was done by a man who in Season Five claimed to know that Buffy would never love him.
So, to summarize, he knew she didn’t love him, knew she’d never love him, but still allowed her to abuse herself…because he loved her? Now we’re just grasping for straws, if you ask me.
In Season Five, we watched as Spike pretended to be good. In fact, he played it off as a joke countless times during that year. He did good deeds simply to impress Buffy. If Buffy wasn’t around to see, he didn’t even bother. We watched him awkwardly engage Buffy into conversation, try to befriend her friends, and even try to develop relationships with her family just so that he could force Buffy into spending more time with him. And when that failed, he simply had Warren build him a machine that looked like Buffy so that he could pretend to have sex with her.
And despite all of it, somehow he still knew it would never work. He knew she’d never love him in return. Yet he kept on at this until the bitter end. This is called obsessive behavior…not loving behavior. The fact that he knew Buffy would never love him only leads to a logical conclusion of the following…
If Spike loved Buffy, he would have left her alone knowing that he had no future with her and any future consisting of the two of them together would only be painful for Buffy in the long run. On the other hand, if Spike was obsessed with Buffy, he would have stayed and tried anything to get into her pants, only looking out for his own self-interest rather than Buffy’s. And, ladies and gentlemen, just look at the attempted rape to get your answer as to which one of these two psychological profiles fit Spike best.
Can we truly say that Spike was ever in love with Buffy? Perhaps we should turn to Season Seven to find this answer out. But even here we run into snags. Toward the end of the season, Spike’s strength was appreciated by the team to help out in fighting the First. The prophecy of the souled vampire (even though not revealed to anyone) was sort of a keystone to winning the battle. Maybe if the characters knew this better, we could make an argument that Spike finally learned to love the world. But without this, all we are left with is that he simply only saw Buffy and nobody else mattered. He simply fought because Buffy wanted him to; because she called him a champion. This perhaps is a good excuse for him not leaving. And because of this excuse, I doubt anyone will ever be able to have the real answer to the question of whether or not he loved her purely in the very end.
It’s hard to understand the motives of Spike sometimes. But looking at Season Six we can easily see the way he duped Buffy when she was vulnerable and only looked after his own self-interest. Hm…and now we’re done. Here endeth the lesson. Go ye into the world and do good things.
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