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From Angel Magazine


Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

By K Stoddard Hayes

Saturday 3 January 2004

Just William: the Spike Story

By K Stoddard Hayes

`"Go on, play the big, strapping hero while you can. You have a few surprises coming your way...a visit from your old pal Spike...and, oh yes, your gruesome, horrible death." This is Spike, spying on Angel in `In the Dark’ - the last time he had the chance to really visit with his former comrade-in-slaughter. At the time, Spike is still his old, bad self, the bloodthirsty vampire who had been the companion of Angelus, Darla and Drusilla for decares of slaughter; and his idea of a nice visit with good guy Angel is a long and nasty torture session. `Things have changed a lot since then. Spike’s own comeuppance (or salvation, depending on how you look at it) begins when the Initiative effectively de-fangs him by putting a microchip in his brain, a chip which gives him a blinding headache whenever he tries to hurt a human. His transition to `toothless’ vamp is one humiliation after another. First he fails to bite Willow; then he is forced to accept the Scooby Gang’s protection from the Initiative, tied up in Giles’s house, fed pigs blood and shot full of arrows; then he makes a botched attempt to commit suicide by staking himself. He reaches the nadir of humiliation when he’s forced to wear Xander’s outrageously nerdy Hawaiian shirt instead of his own super cool threads (Buffy’s comment that she can spot a vampire by his out-of-date clothes definitely does not apply to Spike!). `Spike’s world starts looking a bit better when he discovers that, though he can’t harm humans, he can whomp demons all he likes; and the discovery makes him suddenly very enthusiastic for helping Buffy and her friends, as long as he’s stuck living with them. Of course, his help is always a matter of looking out for his own interests - or more likely his pocketbook - until he falls under a completely unexpected influence: love. `Vampires, as everyone knows, are soulless demons incapable of love. And it’s hard to say whether Spike, in all the years he spent with Drusilla, truly loved her, or whether he was willing to sacrifice friends, enemies and loyalties for her sake because he is dependent on her companionship, in life and in bed. But no matter what his feelings for Drusilla, it’s a big day when the bleached blond bad boy wakes up to find he has fallen in love with his worst enemy - the Slayer! Spike’s first reaction is utter horror. But he can’t help his feelings, and he starts hanging around Buffy’s house, keeping an eye on her, and even trying to do things to get her attention. Of course, this behaviour totally creeps out Buffy and her friends, who just think he’s stalking her. `The first crisis comes after Spike gives Buffy lessons in how he killed his first two Slayers. He warns her, with his usual insight, that the minute her fascination with death gets stronger than her ties to life, that he’ll be able to kill her. And then he tries to kiss her, and she utterly spurns him, telling him he’s beneath her contempt. The injured lover decides that he’ll show her what’s what, so he heads to Buffy’s house with a shotgun, intending to have it out with the Slayer once and for all. He finds Buffy alone on the back stoop, crying over the news of her mother’s brain tumour. And Spike’s world turns upside down. With a earth-shaking revolution of feelings, he hides the shotgun, sits down beside her and tries to console her. `He tries to court her in the ordinary way, doing things like hanging out with her at the Bronze - but she spurns him again. He even grows fond of some of her nearest and dearest, particularly Dawn, whom he tries to protect in his own Spikey ways. None of this makes any difference to the Scooby Gang, who still treat him as an outsider, and especially to Buffy, who shows him open contempt. You’d expect a vampire scorned to welcome the return of Drusilla to help him take revenge on the woman who scorned him - but not Spike. When Dru helps him capture Buffy, he turns the tables on her and offers to prove his love to Buffy by killing Dru. Buffy still isn’t having any, though, and her rejection drives him to the kinkiest romantic choice any BtVS character has ever made; he orders a robot replica, the `Buffybot’, programmed to act like an insufferably cheerful Buffy who’s totally infatuated with him. `As kinky as the Buffybot is, the real turning point in this bizarre relationship is Buffy’s discovery that Spike is willing to die rather than surrender Dawn to Glory - not for Dawn’s sake but for Buffy’s, to protect her from so much pain. From that moment on, Spike becomes Buffy’s trusted ally in the battle with Glory, and a full-fledged member of the Scoobies - whether the rest of the Scoobies like it or not. `When Buffy is raised from the dead, Spike is the only one of her friends who really understands what she’s going through, because only he has also been dead and clawed his undead way out of his coffin. Buffy confides only to him that she was in Heaven - but not because she feels closer to him, because she doesn’t. She’s not worried about hurting him, the way this secret would hurt Willow or Xander or Giles. And when they start a sexual relationship, it’s not love, at least not for her; it’s just so that she can feel something. Spike knows that she’s using him - how could he not, when she insists on keeping their relationship a secret from all her friends? But still, when she decides it’s bad for her and breaks off the relationship, Spike is hurt and furious. That’s when he takes a consolatory tumble with Anya - on the table in the Magic Box. And Buffy, though she dumped him, is still furious at him for his `infidelity’. `Spike makes one more attempt to get Buffy to love him - in the worst way, by trying to force himself on her. She fights him off, and he’s so ashamed of himself for the attempted rape, that he leaves Sunnydale determined to make himself worthy of her. He undergoes a series of supernatural trials, involving horrific suffering, to win a prize of major mojo - he gets his soul back. `Being re-ensouled after a century or so as a demon, is even more confusing for Spike than it was for Angel, and he seems quite mad for a while. However, much of the madness probably comes from the meddling of the First Evil. The First plants a subconscious trigger in Spike, so that when he hears a song his mother used to sing, he falls under the First’s control and starts killing again. This makes Spike the flashpoint of conflict between Buffy and her followers. Buffy insists that Spike be taken care of until they can free him from his trigger; while the others, especially Giles and Robin Wood, think he’s too dangerous to keep around. Finally, Giles and Robin hatch a scheme to kill Spike behind Buffy’s back. Robin never comes close to killing Spike - but he does help Spike come to terms with the death of his own mother. Young William loved his mother so dearly that he turned her into a vampire so that they could live together forever. Unfortunately, the vampire mom turned on her son with some nasty abuse, so William staked her. Now, at last, he realises that his real mother loved him, and only the demon hated him, so he’s free of the First’s trigger, and also the shame of his mother’s humiliation. `When the Slayer’s followers challenge her leadership, Spike is the only one who supports her completely, and stays with her on the loneliest night of her life - a night which he describes as the best night of his life, even though all he did was hold her and watch her sleep. She tells him that he gave her the strength to find the Scythe, and with it, to take her place as the leader again. Who’d have thought Spike would ever be the source of moral strength? `And he’s not yet done being heroic. When Angel shows up with an amulet for a champion to use against the First, Spike claims it without hesitation, and wears it into battle in the Hellmouth. His soul is so purified that its power pours through him, burning up the armies of the First and starting an earthquake that destroys the Hellmouth, and Sunnydale and, incidentally, Spike. But not before he’s heard Buffy tell him she loves him, and not before he’s had a chance to rejoice in his good power and his heroism in saving the world. `Who could have foreseen that, on the day Spike arrived in Sunnydale to kill the Slayer?’

There’s a small sidebar, probably by the same author, called:

`A Tale of Three Vampires and Two Souls

`Spike has had a long association with Angel and Angelus. Angelus is Spike’s grandsire through Drusilla, and their relationship, even when they were boon companions, has always been competitive - with Spike generally feeling a touch inferior. After all, Angelus is a much older vampire, with a much nastier reputation. And Angelus was Drusilla’s lover (in his sick, perverted way) before she sired her faithful lover Spike. `In `Darla’, during the Boxer Rebellion, Spike takes great pleasure in bragging that he killed a Slayer, while Angelus (now Angel) was saving missionaries and eating rats. In BtVS’s `What’s My Line?’ Angel (who, like his demon alter ego, always knows exactly how to hurt a person) hints that he knows how to satisfy Drusilla’s sick sexual cravings better than Spike does. This reminder that he was there first so infuriates Spike that he nearly stakes Angel on the spot. `In BtVS’s `Becoming part 2’, the weakened Spike makes his deal with Buffy just to get Drusilla away from his rival. `In `In the Dark’, Spike arranges to have Angel tortured to death, as slowly and painfully as possible. Unfortunately, he still can’t get the satisfaction of seeing Angel lose his cool, or show anything but amused contempt for Spike, even under torture. `In BtVS’s `Something Blue’, when Spike and Buffy are `engaged’, his love for her is totally bogus and spell-induced - but the jealousy he feels when she brings up Angel is totally real. `In `End of Days’, the First Evil tries to use Spike’s jealousy to win Spike over again, when he sees Buffy and Angel kissing. `Spike has grown enough that he need no longer feel inferior to Angel - after all, he did die saving the world! Still, it appears that Angel, not Spike, is the vamp of Buffy’s heart, no matter how much Buffy cares for Spike and his heroism. And Angel is still alive on the physical plane - which is a definite advantage when it comes to winning the girl! Should Spike feel self-confident around Angel? Probably. Will he? It’s safe to say that even for vampires, relationship patterns are hard to break.’

6 Forum messages

  • > Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

    4 January 2004 05:33, by Anonymous
    I thought that summed up spike well. that was great to who ever wrote it.
  • > Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

    4 January 2004 07:59, by Anonymous
    "Make himself worthy of her"? Different from what I saw. Saw him not want to be somebody who would do that.
  • > Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

    4 January 2004 16:37, by flora

    Felt the article was an accurate listing of events; however, failed to show the intensity of the character of Spike at all. While it’s helpful in providing a capsulized view of the character’s six year history in Sunnydale, it’s merely a dry repetition of facts containing none of the passion necessary to accurately describe the character of Spike.

    As to the Spike/Angel portion of the article, again an uninsightful listing of dry facts. The relationship of these two men is much more complex than depicted here. While their rivalry and competitive natures often reaches comic proportions, they are bound together as family, possessing a sense of loyalty they cannot ignore (though they fight it at every turn).

    I don’t recall ever encountering fictional characters who have spurred as much in depth analysis by fans and the media, as well as creating such an intense loyalty among their fans that it sometimes borders on the frightening.

  • > Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

    6 January 2004 07:38, by Anonymous
    The article was good on the facts but lousy on opinions. If Angel is the one in Buffy’s heart...well, let it stay that way. Human William was a much better person than drunken diseased Human Angel. Let Angel keep her then.
  • > Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

    6 January 2004 16:24, by Katie Rolph
    Is Spike Still alive and why did he die if he died?
  • > Just William : The Spike Story - Angel Magazine

    7 January 2004 17:04, by SpikeRulz04
    No spike is dead and he died from the sun attracted from the amulet he had round his neck destroying him. But watch out for Ghost Spike!!