Our Woman of the Month series has been so much fun that we decided we’d start a similar series for our Favorite Fictional Men. No one can ever call us sexist. This first entry is Caitlin’s.
After almost 27 years of being on this earth, I’ve finally watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer in its entirety. Normally when I fall in love with a show I have a favorite character. Most of the time this has a lot to do with the actor/actress themselves, not this time (I do like James Marsters, though). My LOVE is for the character, Spike, also known as William the Bloody.
We first met Spike as a villain in Season 2 of Buffy. He shows up in Sunnydale with Drusilla to kill his 3rd slayer, Buffy.Throughout the rest of the series, Spike evolves from villain, to anti-hero, to ally, to confidant. I’m going to touch on my favorite things about Spike (while doing my best not to rant).
Spike begins his story as a mamma’s boy and aspiring poet; “William the Bloody” was first used as a nickname because his poetry was “bloody awful” (this nickname later continued because of his love for violence). He was sired (turned vamp) as an adult by Drusilla (thank God, because seriously, his life was boring), making Angelus his grandsire. The three wreaked havoc all over Europe along with Darla. When we first see Spike in Sunnydale as a villain out to kill our favorite slayer, he’s accompanied by Drusilla, who is now his lover and really crazy. We see Spike as vicious, but also a romantic who is completely infatuated by Drusilla. He attacks Sunnydale High and ends up temporarily paralyzed and in a wheelchair, and, long story short, Angel loses his soul (causing him to become evil again and giving him back his old name – Angelus) and rejoins the group. Spike isn’t a huge fan of this because Angelus begins making romantic advances towards Drusilla. (The two were lovers previously.) Spike betrays his vamp crew to team up with Buffy and the Scoobies in order to defeat Angelus which begins his reluctant progression. Drusilla dumps him after his betrayal seeing him as ‘going soft’. We next see Spike kidnap Willow and Xander to force them to do a love spell. He’s not only heartbroken, he’s drunk.
After realizing why Drusilla left him, Spike sobers up and leaves to torture her into loving him again. He returns to Sunnydale in Season 4 briefly, shacking up with the annoying Harmony. He decides again to kill Buffy by using a magic ring that would allow him to become invincible. Buffy takes the ring from him and sends it to Angel. Next, Spike is captured by The Initiative who implants him with a chip that makes him unable to hurt a human being without feeling immense physical pain. He then reaches out to our Scoobies for help since a helpless vampire still needs to eat. He allies with them offering knowledge of The Initiative in exchange for housing, cash, and safety. He’s fairly hopeless and very harmless.
After learning he is able to harm demons, though, Spike begins fighting alongside the Scooby Gang to feed his need for violence. Unfortunately, though, he had zero problems selling out his new found gang to their enemies. Season 5 brings about a whole new Spike. We see his hilarious progression of falling in love with Buffy. He starts having sex dreams about the slayer.
Spike becomes more involved in the Scooby Gang’s shenanigans after his realization that he’s in love. Buffy rejects him, wholeheartedly. Spike even kidnaps her and Drusilla, offering to kill Dru to prove to Buffy that he really loves her. She is disgusted and shuns him completely from the group, rescinding his invitation to the Summers’ household. Ever the fateful romantic, Spike forces Warren to create the Buffybot! All this does is disgust Buffy even more. Shortly after though, Spike proves to be a trustworthy and loyal ally by being violently tortured by Glory and not giving up Dawn. He was almost killed and that is something Buffy says she will “never forget”.
Spike then fights by Buffy’s side up until she dies to protect Dawn from Glory. Spike’s reaction to Buffy’s death made me ugly cry like a sissy.
While Buffy is dead, Spike helps Willow and Tara raise Dawn. He protects her with his life just as he promised Buffy and fought as an active member of the Scooby Gang. Keeping the Buffybot around was helpful to the Scoobie’s (and anyone else thinking about questioning the death of The Slayer) but obviously heartbreaking for Spike who couldn’t even look at it. After Buffy is brought back from the grave, feeling detached from her friends, she looks to Spike as her confidant. He is the one person she feels comfortable around. Finally in “Once More, With Feeling!” the two have their first, real, passionate kiss. AND IT WAS AWESOME!
The two then begin a fairly violent sexual relationship. Buffy hates herself for this and eventually tells Spike she’s using him and breaks things off. Spike, heartbroken and angry, knowing she feels more for him, attempts to rape her. This is an insanely hard to watch scene (especially for someone who adores Spike with all her heart). Spike realizes what he almost did and flees, determined to show Buffy what kind of man he can be.
He fights and overcomes several trials to gain his soul back. In Season 7 we see Spike in the basement of the high school, completely insane and trying to deal with the guilt of his past. Not just the past with Buffy, but his entire past as a vampire. He faces all of the terrible things he’s done in order to become a better man for Buffy.
Eventually he is coaxed out and begins helping Buffy again, remaining loyal to her until the end. Being tortured again by The First, Spike stays strong because he knows that Buffy now believes in him. When the potential slayers and Giles, along with the rest of the gang, reject Buffy as their leader, Spike is there to bring her back in the BEST speech in the series. I bawled the entire time.
And now you’re crying. You’re welcome.
Spike finally understands that he doesn’t need Buffy to love him romantically; it is enough just to know that he loves her for who and what she is. It’s beautiful. In the end, Spike is the reason (most of) the gang survives. Using the amulet Angel gave Buffy, he is able to defeat the ubervamps and seal the hell hole in exchange for his life.
Spike had more character development than any other character in the entire series – maybe all of them combined. He started out as a violent, selfish, murdering monster and ended up a loyal, loving, selfless man.
No one can throw shade like William the Bloody. His comebacks and insults are PURE gold. He is as witty as he is strong. Instead of me just rambling about that, I think I’d rather just show you:
Spike loved harder than any other character. Sure Angel and Buffy are probably soulmates and really love each other (when Angel has a soul that is), Willow loved Tara, Xander loved Anya, but Spike? Spike loved with his entire heart – soul or no soul. Even before Spike was turned into a vampire he was a lover. William loved a woman named Cecily. He wrote his “bloody awful” poetry for and about her. People made fun of him for this and she rejected him. He was hurt and wandered the streets leading to him being sired by Drusilla. We also find out later that he loved his mother deeply. So deeply he turned her to save her from tuberculosis. Once turned, she was purely hateful to him and this was something that caused him pain for the majority of his life until he dealt with this after being used by The First. Next, Spike loved Drusilla. He was completely and totally enamored and infatuated with this woman and fellow vamp. When he and Dru arrived in Sunnydale she was weakened and helpless. He waited on her hand and foot and was her complete caregiver. He brought her to the Hellmouth hoping it would give her strength. He brought her gifts and showered her with love. When Angelus shows back up, Spike allowed Drusilla to do whatever she wanted, even if he did not approve. He risked a staking by teaming up with Buffy and The Scoobies to rid the world of Angelus, all so that he would have no competition for Drusilla’s affection. Once Dru leaves him, he is utterly distraught. He feels he’ll never have love without her. Obviously this isn’t true because later we finally see his love for Buffy. As I mentioned earlier, I do believe Angel and Buffy were soulmates. However, I also believe Spike loved Buffy in a way Angel never could. Spike loved Buffy without a soul, and even more with one. He loved her for everything she was and supported her even when she didn’t want him to. He protected her family, grieved the loss of Joyce, and always stood by her side. The guy traveled far and wide to face a frigging dude with fire fists and numerous others just to get his soul back, no matter the cost, to prove to Buffy that he could be a good man. And it worked. She sees that Spike is a changed man and a good man. If that isn’t beautiful love, I don’t know what is.
I love that Spike is such a passionate romantic. It makes his character so easy to adore. As a hopeless romantic myself, I value that in a man.
My favorite part of Spike’s character arc was his guilt and remorse over his actions. Spike was a soulless demon much much longer than he was a human. Spike was extremely bad for a very long time – hence why “William the Bloody” stuck. He was violent, bloodthirsty, he raped and killed. He did awful things to good people. None of this phased villain-Spike. Once Spike gets his chip he is unable to harm anything but demons so he couldn’t do too much to feel sorry for.
Then he almost rapes Buffy.
I posted a gif of this scene earlier. I won’t make you watch that clip because it is seriously HARD to watch. But you all remember it. I won’t even try to justify what Spike did. I can’t. There are 0 justifications. He was wrong, no ifs, ands, or buts. I could try to say that Spike didn’t have a soul (which was true at the time) but it still isn’t enough justification; especially when I just finished telling you that I believe Spike loved Buffy regardless of having a soul or not. What he did was awful. Buffy was scared and it was heart wrenching.
I do believe that after this event, Spike truly felt remorse. He was horrified by what he had tried to do. He knew he did something unforgivable and inexcusable. Even without a soul, the man who had probably raped plenty of women in his day, finally felt guilt. This event prompted Spike to do what he had to do to get his soul back. To prove to Buffy he is worthy.
After he gets his soul back, Spike is forces to cope with all of the horrendous things he’s ever done, including what he’d done to Buffy. He has to come to terms with all of the people he’s ever killed or harmed or wronged. He nearly goes insane living in the basement of the high school on top of the hell mouth. He also must try to gain Buffy’s trust back. After an event like that, it looked nearly impossible, but he succeeded. His guilt and change allowed him to have Buffy’s trust back and allowed him to show him he was a truly changed man.
I wanted to end on a high note and include some of Spikes funnier moments. We already talked about his way with words in throwing shade but man, Spike had some of the funniest scenes in the show. Some of these clips are long, but totally worth watching again!
This is my FAVORITE episode. I love everything about it.
Love you, Randy.
Spike and Invisible Buffy!!
I seriously died during this.
Pretty much all of Something Blue
And Ill just leave you with this montage for good feels.
Blondie Bear – you are my fave.