|Current mood:|| thoughtful|
Spike, Spike, it'a all about Spike
So I just got Season 5 of Angel, my Buffyverse collection is complete. I spent the last week watching, and remembering why I am head over heels for Spike. (Yes kittens, flaws and all, he’s my idea of the perfect man) If you aren’t a Buffy:TVS fan or an ATS fan, you won’t get this:
Why Spike is better than Angel/us…
1. First thing Angel did when he became a Vampire? Killed his family. First thing Spike did when he became a Vampire? Turned his mum. OK, so maybe there isn’t much difference between killing and turning, but William was a mamma’s boy through and through. She was dying of consumption. His first thoughts were for her welfare- he didn’t change much when he became a Vampire (more on that later) and probably assumed that she wouldn’t change, either. When she did, became mean and nasty, and tried to have sex with him, he was horrified and staked her- to save her, save his memory of her. The whole episode scarred him so deeply, that 100+ years later, the First was able to mess with him just by singing a song his mum used to sing. Angel, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care. Every now and then, he’d throw it out as a “how bad was I?” comment, but it didn’t seem to mess him up much, even after he got his soul back.
2. Angel surpassed his sire in evil. He taught Darla some new things, became an extremely sadistic bastard. Spike, however, wasn’t so much evil until he was influenced by Angel to live up to his example. The Spike/Drucilla/Angelus triangle has a rather oedipal dysfunctional family structure to it. Spike is, and always has been, motivated by love. That carried over from William, the poet. He saw the shining stars in Dru’s eyes, the midnight sky in her hair. She was his salvation, his reason for being, and his devotion to her did not waver until she dumped him for good. Even after he had begun to change for the better, when she came back for him, he was tempted. He loved her fiercely and with great passion, forgiving her for her romps with Angelus, though it hurt him deeply. He saw how much Dru admired Angelus, and so he strove to become more like Angelus. To win the heart of Dru, Spike became more of a badass. He killed the only 2 slayers he met- did Angelus EVER kill a slayer? He didn’t try and steal Darla from Angelus; he thought they loved one another and respected their relationship. Imagine a child raised by murderous psychotics- say, Mickey and Mallory of Natural Born Killers were to breed. That kid would be pushed to be bad from the moment he was born. He would be taught to ignore his conscious and that the only way to survive in the family was to be as much a badass as he could. I believe that this is what the vamps on Buffy are like- although they are animated by demon souls, we know from cannon that not all demons are evil. Some are good, some are… ambivalent. But when a Vampire first comes out of the ground, he is taken in by his sire or other vampires, and given examples of how to live. All but the ones with the best hearts would turn evil. Remember the nest in season 5, the vampires who fed off the humans, but left them alive? Sure, Giles said that they got money out of it, but honestly, you’d think they’d get more by threatening humans with death unless they got their pin number, then killing them and ransacking the ATM. Or just robbing the ATM for that matter, aren’t they strong? I suspect that the vampires who fed off humans and let them live were compromising between the desire to kill and their conscious. It’s not that hard to see why Spike, exposed to higher ideals, would choose, without a soul, to live up to those higher ideals, live up to different expectations. And in the same vein…
3. Spike can love. Angelus cannot. As I’ve said, Spike’s main motivation is love. It took an enormous amount of love to change Spike’s mother into a vampire: Dru was rather confused when Spike said he would be turning her, and he didn’t ask, just assumed, like this was an everyday occurance. It took an amazing amount of patience and love to put up with Dru’s battiness (I would have staked her after 5 minutes, accurate prophesies or not), her infidelity (She seemed to enjoy having the two men fight over her, and cheated not just with Angelus, but also a chaos demon, and Spike STILL loved her), and her weakness when ill(he cared for her, watched out for her, was gentle and devoted when she first came to Sunnydale). It took a great deal of love to work for the Scoobies, even as they spat on him, to love Buffy even as she used and abused him, to carry on as champion after she died and keep the promise to watch out for Dawn. Angelus has proven time and time again, he does not have the capacity to love. Even Darla, whom he spent some 200 years with, he had no feelings for other then that she was a good lay to have around. Each Vampire would sell the other out to save their own skins. While Angel did learn how to love, it was some time after he was ensouled. Spike loved from the first moment he metaphorically drew undead breath.
4. Angel took 100 years to get out of moping over having a soul. What finally did it? A 15 year old, and the promise of a relationship. That’s illegal in most states. Spike, however, spent a summer crazy, and that was most likely due to the influence of the first. After he got out of the basement, he did fine.
5. Spike never bemoaned his past misdeeds. He understood that what he did was without a soul. He felt guilty, yes, but knew that the only way to atone was to try and do better. Angel brooded, moped, brooded, moped, whined that he was a bad, bad man, and felt he didn’t deserve redemption- so he didn’t try all that hard.
6. Angel fell again and again on his path to redemption. He let the people in the Hyperion to the mercy of a demon. He didn’t try and stop the mugger in the café in the 70’s. He was tempted by Darla in S1 of Buffy. He tried to kill himself in S3 of Buffy. Angel didn’t want to become a champion until Doyle showed up in S1 of Angel. He beat up Riley because he was jealous of him in S5 of Buffy. He kicked out his friends, tried to lose his soul, and let a whole roomful of lawyers die in S2 of Angel. Sure, he did good, too- saved a baby, saved a puppy, saved the world a few times, But Angel walked a thin line between good and evil. Perhaps because the man wasn’t so good (a hedonistic libertine who intentionally disappointed his father at every turn and took pleasure in diddling the servants) and the demon was bad, even for a demon (he impressed the master, and had a strong desire to destroy the world- slayer or not, if that desire wasn’t rare, the world would be gone by now). Angel faltered, stumbled, which isn’t bad in itself. Who among us hasn’t stumbled again and again while trying to improve ourselves? But when compared to Spike, Angel is a lot closer to stumbling then him. Since spike obtained his soul, he hasn’t really faltered. He didn’t try and lose his soul, didn’t try and eat anyone, and wasn’t tempted by the dark side. Even without the soul, after he started on the path to redemption, he had very few missteps. Yes, yes, I am aware of the whole “Seeing Red” attempted rape thing- but that wasn’t as clear-cut as some saw it, and is the subject of a whole other essay. A few others sum up the sentiment rather well:
http://www.allaboutspike.com/kristen.html (By far, the best one)
http://www.allaboutspike.com/gender.html (Great article about the dangers of feminism when used to replace men’s roles with women, and vice versa- seeking superiority instead of equality)
Spike fought towards the light, even as those he was trying to emulate were
pushing him down and telling him he would never, ever be good. If Angel had
suffered the same roadblocks, then would he have come as far? I think not- he has proven with his stumbling that he isn’t yet strong enough.
7. Spike doesn’t get anything for free. Angel is showered with goodies. Angel gets the connections with TPTB, the support of Buffy and the Scoobies, the support of Westley, Cordelia, Gunn, and Fred. Shanshu is automatically assumed to be his, even after Spike is ensouled and proves he wants it more in the race to the gleaming cup of Mountain Dew. Did anyone ever wonder why The Senior Partners weren’t interested in Spike? After all, Shanshu said that it the vampire with a soul would pay a pivotal role in the apocalypse- for which side was not clear. Maybe they knew something that no one else seemed to get: That Spike is just incorruptible, and their chances with Angel were much better. Spike had to fight for everything, and even then, what he got was a big bowl of nothing. The only people who seemed to respect him were Faith in S7 Buffy, and Fred in S5 of Angel.
8. Angelus as a soulless vampire wanted to destroy the world, bring hell on earth. Spike as a soulless vampire likes the world:
“We like to talk big. Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Picadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?”
Even as a vampire, even as a demon from hell, he is happy with the world. He
likes T.V., even though his choices are questionable (Passions? Dawson’s creek?
Maybe he is evil). He likes onion blossoms and beer. He’ll sell out his
cronies to save the world, and when they reject him, he joins the other side. Spike
takes the role of hunter in the Buffyverse, the predator. Is the wolf evil just
because it eats the deer? The deer may think so, but the wolf is a natural,
necessary part of the cycle of life. Who’s to say vampires aren’t humanities’
natural predators, and the ones who want to destroy it all aren’t merely the rabid,
9. Angel was never meant to have a soul. Spike was. Although personaly, I believe that fate is the most powerful of influences in our lives, I do admit that we all have choices in which directions we allow our fates to take us. Angelus is cursed with a soul, he did not choose it. Left to his own devices, he haunts alleys and fails to be good; it is only when Whistler rescues him and tells him of his destiny, that he finds reason to work to improve himself. After he hears of Shanshu, he happily does what he is supposed to so that he could have his reward, blindly follows the path that otherworldly beings have set for him. It is only after those higher beings use prophesy to manipulate him and the people he cares about for selfish reasons, that he decides the whole destiny thing is bunk. Still, he begins to cling to it again in S5. He loses the race to the cup because he doesn’t want it enough, and a few episodes later when he does want it back, he is tormented by dreams that Spike is the one mentioned, not him, and he will be forced to step aside and live in eternal misery. Spike, however, is the epitome of existentialism, the antithesis of fate. He seeks out his soul to better himself, to be more lovable, to protect the woman he loves from his darker side. He could care less about fate and destiny, he loudly complains about the thought that TPTB have yanked him out of eternal slumber so he can do good, doesn’t seem to care much when the cup of woe is a fake. In fact, the whole motivation behind that race seemed to be one of sticking it to the old man. He chooses a soul, and does more with it in 2 years then Angel did in 100.
10. Better hair (especially when it’s all ruffled)
11. Cheekbones that could cut diamonds (Although I’m not shallow)
12. Abs that could grate cheese (Not shallow at all)
13. Leather duster, combat boots, and black nail polish
14. He can sing
16. He doesn’t take life too seriously
17. He’d be fun to hang out with. Angel would just get depressing. And annoying.
18. He can kick ass when he wants to.
19. He knows how to maintain an advantage.
20. Two words: Barry Manilow