Spike: He Don't Impress Me Much

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Title: Spike: He Don't Impress Me Much
Creator: Elynross
Date(s): November 11, 2002
Medium: online
Fandom: Buffy
Topic: Spike
External Links: Spike: He Don't Impress Me Much, Archived version
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Contents

Spike: He Don't Impress Me Much is an essay by Elynross.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.

Excerpts

I had a lovely chat last night with a friend I haven't talked to in far too long, and we rebonded over the fact that Spike? Just doesn't impress us that much anymore. Don't get me wrong, I think he was a great character, and can still add a certain, um, sharpness to things -- I'm hoping this will increase. But neutered Spike wore thin on me. Spike and Dru, unrepentant, fully evil Spike and crazy, crazy Dru, they were a sight to behold. Then we had Spike as the cock-up, defeated by love, fucking up at every turn -- and both funny and tragic in his attempts to regain Dru's love. It wasn't the main story, for me, given the meltdown of the Scoobies and their relationships, but it was all of a theme, and many of us won't ever forget the "love's bitch" speech Spike gave to Buffy and Angel.

Even the literally neutered Spike interested me, again funny, and kind of pathetic, but I had to feel sorry for him, all of his instincts thwarted. And I was intrigued by his obvious, growing obsession with Buffy, I liked the Beauty and the Beast motif -- but I wanted the Beast to stay a beast, I guess. Really, it's a tribute to Marsters' acting and the writing and the development of the character that I can both recognize that development, see how brilliant it is in so many ways, and still really just not like Spike very much.

And really, it boils down to that: I just don't like him very much, as an individual. As a person, if you will. I don't like the type of person he is, and I don't trust him. I'm not sure I'm supposed to, frankly. I'm very much with Xander on this, and it's no mystery to me why he doesn't give Spike a break. He doesn't like him, and he doesn't trust that if Spike were able, he wouldn't revert to his bloodthirsty, "isn't carnage a blast," jolly-well-met kind of guy.

And the fact is, at this point we don't know he wouldn't. Yes, he has a soul -- but so did Warren. So did Willow, when she flayed Warren. So, apparently, did Anya, while a demon and while not, IIRC. It's not the soul that makes you good, as far as I can see, in the Jossverse, nor, possibly, is it intrinsically the lack of soul that makes you evil. Do we know of any other demons that are explicitly soulless, but vampires? Because vampires are "born" in an entirely different way than other demons, and maybe you have to be born as a child to have a soul? Beings born by possession, or infection, or whatever brings about vampires also dislocates the soul, or suppresses it, though it clearly doesn't destroy it. Really, is the Jossverse soul anything more than a conscience? Something big has changed, if that was indeed Spike munching on the mortals, and God, I hope it was. Spike, ensouled and still bad, choosing bad, is different. It's interesting to me in a way moping, lovesick Spike really isn't.

The whole Buffy/Spike storyline last year ate at me, disgusted me, even, in that "too real" way, and this is entirely because I've been in that position, where you may care about the other person, but you aren't with them because you love them and want them, but because they give you something nobody else around can. They make you feel: feel attractive, feel powerful, feel connected, feel. And even while you feel this, you know they genuinely feel more, and it makes you feel dirty, and cheap, and manipulative. Even when there's mutual admission that you're using each other. Even when you're both getting off on it. And you really don't like yourself very much, you know? But the sad thing is, you really end up not liking the other person very much sometimes, either. You can grow to despise the fact that he's letting you use him. And if, as I saw in Buffy, the worm turns, and he stops being the "bring it on, I can take it" guy and starts realizing the power he has, if the power shifts and he starts being the user as much as you ever were...then it gets scary, even while it's a turn-on.