The Spike Thread (Buffy related and LONG)

It seems like every time a new Buffy comes along, somehow the conversation turns to the big Spike question. Well, here it is - The Spike Thread. This is where we can have a comprehensive discussion about Spike’s status and maybe resolve the issue one and for all. And then when the next episode comes along, we can bump it back up.

I’ll start with my premise as the grounds for discussion. I’ve come down against Spike before and I remain there. Let’s start the fun:


I think we can assume that before he came to Sunnydale Spike was a nasty piece of work. He was a vampire and he killed two slayers. Probably killed lots of other folk too. He got the name Spike 'cause he tortured his victims with railroad spikes. I really only bring this stuff up for the sake of completeness. Most Pro-Spikers think that his behavior since getting chipped indicate the actions of a reformed soul who fights the good fight and would make good boyfriend material.

Post-Chip Problem #1: The lady in the alley in Smashed. I’ve heard some people say that he would never have really hurt this lady if the chip hadn’t kicked in. Pure speculation. He tried to hurt her. Not the action of a white hat.

Post Chip Problem #2: The demon eggs in As You Were. Regardless of whether you like the episode or not, Spike was actively involved in a scheme that was likely to have hurt or killed lots of people. I have again heard the excuse that he was trying to get money for Buffy. Until I hear some evidence to back this up, I’m not buying it. Besides, when he gets caught, this is not his excuse. This is what he tells Buffy:

Besides, the idea that it’s acceptable to cause mayhem, destruction and death because Buffy has a crappy job doesn’t impress me much.

Post-Chip Problem #3: In Bargaining Part 2 he says that the chaos being caused by the biker demons “looked like fun”. Not very white-hat.

I think a comparison can be made to Angel/Angelus. Angelus killed lots of people, including Jenny. He tortured Giles and stalked Buffy. But he at least paid for his crimes. He spent several hundred hears in a hell dimension being tortured and he brought his better half (Angel) along for the ride. I don’t think Spike should get a Get Out Of Hell Free Card until he pays for his crimes as well.

Excuses, Excuses:

Following are some other ways I’ve heard people excuse Spike’s behavior:

  1. But he loves buffy.
    I’m willing to believe he does. But so what? Ted Bundy had a girlfriend too. It’s all those pesky other people he killed that got him into trouble. Just because Spike has killed people off screen or in the past (or was willing to do so) doesn’t get him off the hook, no matter how he feels about one person right now.

Besides, I’m not too impressed with his idea of love. He said in this past episode that he would never hurt Buffy, yet at the end he tossed out that “It was good enough for Buffy” line in a situation that looked pretty hurtful to me. And how about all those other situations where he was being deliberatly manipulative?

  1. But he helps fight demons.
    Well, sure. But in Doomed we are led to believe that he only does it 'cause he enjoys the beating-things-up and the causing-pain. There’s probably some trying-to-impress-Buffy too. Motivationaly speaking, we aren’t talking sainthood. There may be some gray here, but I’m not that impressed.

  2. I’d like to address something pepperlandgirl said in this thread:

I, for one, am uncomfortable excusing his violence on the premise that “She was asking for it.” None of this gives Spike the right to kill people.

  1. The Anya problem.
    Let me go on record here. I think Spike should spend several hundred heard paying for his crimes. If you want to toss Anya into the same hell dimension with him, I have absolutely no problem with that. The only progress I see that Anya made is from this line from Shadow:

At most this gets her out of the hell dimension a few years early. But that’s it.

So, that’s my thinking. I see no reason to think Spike is reformed, redeemed or the world’s most perfect boyfriend. If he’s being abused, it’s because he’s an unrepentant criminal. I’m not saying that it’s impossible for him to be redeemed, but he ain’t there yet.

I now open the floor for discussion.

I’m sick of Spike. Spike is the Wolverine of Buffy. He came in, everyone thought he was cool, so he became a regular and a “good guy”. Ho-hum.

“You like this chocolate? Here, have fifty tons of it rammed down your throat!!!”

The Spike card is way overplayed. He’s become a cartoon, a shadow and a joke of his former self. Stake him and let him go out with dignity. You can have him saving Buffy’s life if you want, but right now I have no idea why people find the character interesting. To me he’s far less interesting than he was before he got neutered.

First off, Pepper’s quote was taken out of context. Someone else asked how on earth Spike could’ve killed two slayers, because he’s basically inept. Pepper responded with the absolutely correct quote above… he killed them not because he was a better fighter, but because they wanted it. So we can’t really address #3.

I’ve always see Spike as neither good nor evil. He is, in essence, neutral. A hedonist, if you will. He does what he does because he wants to, because to him it feels good, and because he can. It doesn’t excuse his actions, certainly, but it point to the fact that we cannot judge him based on the standards of the other characters. His situation is unique.

Post Chip Problem #2… the evidence that Spike was getting the eggs for Buffy was in the DoubleMeat episode… here’s the exchange:

SPIKE: You’re not happy here.
BUFFY: (quietly) Please don’t make this harder.
SPIKE: You don’t belong here. You’re something … you’re better than this.
BUFFY: I need the money.
SPIKE: I can get money. (gestures with his head) Walk with me now, come on.

The quote you have is in response to Buffy telling him “No more games.” His response, which you quote, is geared more toward her statement. He has never played games with her- he’s only been himself. He never got to a point where he could offer an explanation for his behavior. You state “the idea that it’s acceptable to cause mayhem, destruction and death because Buffy has a crappy job doesn’t impress me much” but it’s not YOU, it’s Spike, and he doesn’t care about anything outside his sphere of “who to care about vs who to kill.”

Post Chip Problem #3: Well, Spike isn’t a White Hat. He’s a reluctant participant in the fight for good. We cannot continue to hold him up to the standards of the others, who have always been on the side of good. And it did kinda look like fun. This also would cover your #2… he helps because he really has no other choice. Spike is a pariah, in any community, much like Angel. He has a need to get his jollies as he can, and if that means killing demons, then by god he’ll do it.

Here’s how I look at Spike. He has a harder road than Angel does, because Angel has a conscience. The soul keeps him in line, enables him to cage his demon. Spike has no such benefit. He battles constantly with who he is vs what he is capable of doing. Angel is a more sympathetic character because he has a concrete shred of humanity; what people ignore is that Spike’s humanity comes purely from his strength of will. He is a demon who is still capable of love, still capable of acting out of kindness and decency (he did, after all, sacrifice himself for Dawn, and took care of her after Buffy’s death). Spike was a pansy-ass human who was turned and spent decades under the tutelage of the psychological master, Angelus. It’s no wonder he’s a bit warped. The surprising thing is that he’s capable of any positive actions at all.

Ironically, Angel’s soul is his get-out-of-Hell card. It took a bit of doing, but in the end everyone accepted Angel back into the fold and treated him as if all was forgiven. Even Giles, who had lost the most. Spike has been fighting on their side for years now- reluctantly or not- and is still treated like crap. He could easily relocate somewhere where they don’t know about his ‘problem’ and live out a relatively content life, but he doesn’t. Angel takes off, and is elevated to sainthood. Spike sticks around, but is kicked around like a mangy puppy.

I think what is so attractive about Spike is his ability to love completely. It’s easy to overlook what he does outside of the relationship because within the relationship he is totally dedicated. The transcripts aren’t up yet, but in Entropy when Buffy confronts Spike about the cameras, his response is “I would never hurt you like that.” She remarks “I know.” Spike’s appeal is that you know once you’re in the circle, he will be completely devoted to you. I think even he would admit that the Scoobies are in the circle right now.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say later. :slight_smile:


I kinda disagree with that, Lego. Yes, he’s become more boring now, but occasionally we get to see just how eeevil he is without all the physical destruction.

Item 1) In helping the HITMark Adam, he successfully turned the Scoobies against eachother with only a few well-placed remarks.

Item 2) In whatever episode it was (Wrecked or Smashed or whatever) he was boning the Buff in the Bronze, making her watch her friends be happy, normal kids while enjoying being filthy adn obscene with him, “You belong with me … in the dark.”

I really enjoy watching evil work. I enjoy the effects he has on all the doo-gooders in the show. He is the one who tempts the kids with the dirty things they want as human beings.

I don’t delude myself with the idea that he’s a good guy. Nor do I think he should be a good guy.

He is the walking embodiment of all the dark secrets and filthy thoughts the all-too-angelic Scoobies hold, and it’s his place in their lives to point out what the human goodies could do and get away with if only they didn’t know it was wrong.

He is their living conscience, in a way. Or non-living, if you will.

Spike deliberately kills Slayers and willfully sells demon eggs, knowing that untold multitudes would be killed – and he’s merely morally neutral? I don’t think so.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. All this Spike-worship, – and the disclaimers that “Oh, he’s just misguided, not evil” --demonstrate why so many women fall for abusive men.

Good stuff bobkitty. I’d like to address a few points if I may.

First - Yes, pepper’s quote was kinda read badly by me. I didn’t see it as adressing the post above it for some stupid reason on my part. Sorry 'bout that. But my point remains - these are crimes for which he has not paid.

The eggs. I know all about the exchange in a previous episode. I’m not convinced that it has any relevance. Did he think Buffy would not ask about the money? Did he think she would be able to quit and never need money again? Did he think she would be OK with his methods of making a little cash or join him in his life of crime?

So? Like I said before, just because he kills or is willing to kill other people then he’s redeemed? He doesn’t need to pay for his crimes just 'cause he’s not killing the main characters?

Right on. In fact, that’s the kind of thinking that abused women often use. “Yes, he may be doing bad things, but he’s doing them because because he really loves me.”

Newsflash: Killing others for the sake of the woman you love is NOT a good thing. It does nothing to make the crime less despicable.

As for saying “It’s Spike, and he doesn’t care about anything outside his sphere of ‘who to care about vs who to kill,’” there’s a term for that kind of person. It’s called “sociopathic.”

You’re missing an important part of Spike that’s been present since the very beginning.

Spike is a romantic.

Think about it. What other vampire (one without a soul, I mean), was in love with someone? And I don’t mean Buffy; Spike was in love with Drusilla long before. That side of him in connection with his evil (and evil gets boring – “I get it. You’re evil” – since evil villains in media are all alike) is what makes him interesting. Gray areas are always better than black or white.

I tend to think that Spike is developing a soul. Sure, the chip is the reason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually the chip fails and he finds he can’t get back to his old ways.

And isn’t “paying for his crimes” a rather Old Testiment way of looking at things.

As far as the eggs were concerned, BTW, Spike obviously didn’t know much about them – “You didn’t freeze them?” – and was just out to make a quick buck; he probably didn’t know just how dangerous they were.

He’s not a good guy, but why does that make it hard to see Buffy loving him? Why do we have to stick with the usual good person loving good person? Why not expand that horizon?

Spike’s character and actions are going beyond the usual “good vs. evil” cliches. Why insist that they stick with the familiar?

RealityChuck, I, too, am waiting for the chip to fail… one time he is going to just “react” to a situation with Xander or Buffy or something and be successful, hurt one of the Scoobs, and then flee from the gang because of anguish.

Spike is OK, IMO. Yeah, he’s evil or a Scoobie, but tolerable for a vamp (I’d not say “demon” because of Anya, someone I don’t want to get into). You don’t expect retards to perform advanced statistical analysis, and you don’t expect Scoobs to do evil. You expect a vampire to do his thing. (not a justification yet, so stear clear of quoting this out of the following comments, please)

Now, Spike can no longer do his thing. In what manner can we look at him? In some ways he still gets his evil in when he can, and in some ways we can think that perhaps he really only replaced Dru with Buffy as an object of devotion. When we look at Spike like this we see that “good” as the Scoobies would call it (or us, for that matter, as I assume we are all sympathetic to their cause) still eludes him entirely. He does what he does.

When Spike was with Dru he did good things for her, too. Take out your cookie cutter and replace Dru with Buffy and nothing has really changed on the Spike side.

“Good” and “evil” are convenient labels, but they are relative to the person using them. If we disregard trying to analyze the morality of this character and just look at what he does I think it is safe to say he isn’t a different person at all, chip or no chip. So any label we applied to him previously should hold, and hence Spike is still evil, and a bastard, and so on and so forth.


Spike was paraplegic for a while. He got better. He’s been shot with arrows. This didn’t seem to leave any permanent damage. Riley put a plastic stake through Spike’s heart. Again, this seems to have been only a temporary inconvenience.

     So why hasn't Spike figured out how to get rid of the chip?

At present, it could be argued that Spike doesn’t want to remove it. But for a long time, he did. Given his vampiric condition

 -With help of trusted assistant (Harmony would be acceptable) freeze himself solid. Just find a big enough freezer and wait. Then, have the assistant thaw him. The changes in temperature would cause the chip and Spike's brain to expand and contract. The chip might crack , or become disconnected from the brain.

  -Really big magnet. I know of no electronic device that can't be destroyed by a big enough magnet. 

     -Operate on himself. Get a bunch of x-rays  surgical tools, and mirrors. Any neural damage should heal.

  -Dark magic strike a deal with the right demon or sorcerer. Surely one of them has an ability that could do it.

AUUGGGGGHhhh. I had a great reply, and it’s all gone. Dammit. I’ll try to re-create.


Thank you, and absolutely.

Perfectly okay… it was in the middle of a discussion on something else, and an easy mistake to make.

Let me posit this. Angel has not fully paid for his crimes. That’s the point of his shanshu and the work he does in LA. If the PTB thought the time he spent in hell was enough of a punishment, he’d be human right now. Obviously this is a lengthy road.

Why, then, do we expect Spike to pay immediately? Can’t the loss of his objects of affection and the constant, day-in-day-out punishment of the chip be considered the first steps on his own road to redemption? Can’t we say he’s being punished right now?

Think about it this way. Angel has a soul, thus has something that prompts him to work for his redemption. Spike has no such thing, and would probably somewhat enjoy a few hundred years in hell (his relationships are as much take as give in the violence department), so his road has to be different.

In a word… yeah. Remember what his experience has been in the past:

I’m not saying he’s redeemed. What I am saying is that he’s suffering every day. The original intent behind the chip was to deny the vamps a food source, render them harmless until they starved. In order to survive, Spike had to turn to the people he hated the most, be taunted and abused and humiliated and dependent, which for him is almost worse than the final death. The chip prevents him from being who he is. It’s like pulling a lion’s teeth out so you can give it to your kid as a pet. The essential nature of the lion is there, but it can’t act on it. Spike is a demon. He has something in him that allows him to love, but in the end he’s still a demon. He just can’t do anything about it, and I think that for him it’s far, far, far greater a punishment than any time in hell.

And yes, I think Spike is morally neutral. Chaotic neutral, for you D&Ders. A hedonist, as I said earlier. And I don’t think that automatically translates into an explanation for why women wind up with abusive men.


How so? The concept of paying for one’s misdeeds transcends the Old Testament, the New Testament and Judeo-Christian tradition in general. Think back to Hercules and his twelve labors, for example.

From RealityChuck::

You would prefer I use the phrase “paying his debt to society”?? If you wanna stick him in a jail cell for however many consecutive life sentences are involved, you’ll get no complaint from me. Go with the American Legal System way of looking at things if you want.

From bobkitty:

God, talk about a glacial pace. And if he is in fact trying to cause trouble in the meantime (the eggs again), then it looks like he going deeper into his “debt to society” instead of pulling out. Besides, the loss of his object of affection seems a pretty lame punishment. I’ve had a broken heart too. What was I being punished for? I’d rather see a direct punishment, not something that just happens to your average shmoe.

And as far as the eggs are concerned - regardless of what he thought he could get out of it or how well he thought it would work, the act was evil, selfish and likely to cause pain and death. Incompetence is not an excuse, nor is Buffy-Love.

Interesting thread, JThunder. I like Spike as a character. And as a character, I prefer evil, opportunistic Spike to gooey, lovesick Spike. To paraphrase the nursery rhyme, when’s he’s good, he’s very good, but when he’s bad, he’s better. However, I like that he’s nuanced. He has done a lot to help Buffy and the Scoobies and I believe he truly loves Buffy, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s often a real bastard.

What disturbs me is hearing other women go all moony over the character. Though I believe he cares for Buffy, his relationship with her is, IMHO, very troubling. The scene at The Bronze where he kept repeating to Buffy, “You’re bad, you don’t belong with your friends, etc,” gave me the shudders. It seemed like the classic actions of an abusive mate trying to isolate his partner from her support network. He is very emotionally manipulative. While this makes for an interesting character, it makes for a really lousy romantic model.

No, it doesn’t… but then again, nobody claimed that his allegedly neutrality automatically translates into an explanation for women seeking abusive men. Rather, the manner in which some women seek to justify Spike’s behavior does illustrate how women similarly excuse the actions of abusive men.

Let’s face it; Spike is not morally neutral. He may not care what other people think of his actions, but that doesn’t make him morally neutral. It makes him a sociopath. It makes him evil.

All the punishment in the world doesn’t count for diddly-squat unless he’s genuinely remorseful and repentant. Being punished doesn’t automatically make you a better person.

And that’s where the parallels between Angel and Spike fall apart. Some have argued that if the gang could accept Angel, then they should accept Spike as well. Quite simply, that conclusion does not follow. Angel was remorseful, and he sought to make up for his deeds. Spike isn’t, and doesn’t. He may have pain in his life, but that’s not a direct punishment for his misdeeds, and he clearly has not been turning away from his homicidal bent.

Well, I don’t think he’s given the chance to be remourseful. The way the SG treats him, he is constantly on his guard, constantly on the defensive, constantly trying to justify his very existance.
I love Spike because of his troubles, because he’s a gray character, because I don’t know what exactly is going on in his mind. He’s a TV Character, and as a character, he’s a great one. Would I date him? Probably not. Would I consider having a wild-crazy-one-night-stand with him? Yes. :wink:

I don’t understand why people are so afraid of having a gray, nuanced, disturbed and disturbing character as a main character. Xander and Buffy are so boring because they are so good. They never surprise us! Ever! We always know exactly what they are going to do. Willow, to me, is is a little different…because as demonstrated in Season 5 she can be a real bad-ass when she’s angry. I think she’s a little unpredictable. Anya is fairly predictable as well (we knew she would try to do horrible things to Xander after she was dumped.)
My point? Spike is my favorite character because really, I don’t know what he’s going to do, what he’s thinking, and what his motives are.
I don’t blame Buffy for trying to distance herself…however, I think he’ll continue to act the way he’s treated. I don’t even want much…just a little bit of gratitude. “Hey Spike, remember when you protected Dawn? Thanks, I appreciate it.” Or “Hey Spike, remmber when you helped me catch the Demon that poisoned Buffy? Thanks, I appreciate it.” Or “Hey Spike, you know how you actually help when you go with Buffy to patrol, as opposed to just getting in her way like we did for years and years? That’s awfully cool of you.”
But then, maybe appreciation isn’t required because maybe he’s not helping them. That’s the beauty of the character, we don’t know!!!

And I think he finally told Xander about him and Buffy “It’s ok for Buffy” because
A) Buffy basically told him to earlier that episode.
and B) It would hurt Xander.
Well, A makes it look like he was waiting for her permission, because he certainly never told anybody else, even though he wanted them to know. (Not-evil) However, he did do it to hurt Xander. (Evil?)
But on the flip side, the one with the “soul” was saying horrible things about Spike and his “Love”…Xander has done some pretty rotten things in his day.
And this post is starting to lose direction, so I’ll stop now.

Come now. I don’t think anyone’s saying that Spike shouldn’t be a main character, or that he’s not engaging. Rather, the question has been whether Spike is reforming, has been redeemed, or is worthy of Buffy’s love.

Succinctly, the answer is no. Spike-lovers may protest, but he is simply evil. Not redeemed, not reforming, and not morally neutral, but evil.

From pepperlandgirl:

Oh, I have no doubt that he did it primarily to hurt Xander. But it seemed that he didn’t care that it was likely to hurt Buffy (who was standing right there), despite what he said earlier.
From burundi:

Hey, I started this thread. What’s a guy gotta do to get some respect around here? Kill someone?

He has had every opportunity to be remorseful. It’s not as though being remorseful takes a lot of time… and the Scooby Gang isn’t exactly beating him up 24 hours a day.

By his very actions, Spike has demonstrated an utter lack of penitence for what he has done. There’s no point in making excuses for the man.