Down The Rabbit Hole: An Analysis of Spike and Buffy's Relationship
Some of the relationships on BtVS and Angel were certainly better than others. However, it didn't take long before Spike unleashing all of his vitriol on someone incapable Willow and Kennedy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The relationship between Spike and Buffy Summers is oftenly called Spuffy (Sp/ ike and B/uffy) It rivals Bangel, Spaith, Fuffy, Spangel, Sprusilla and Spillyria. Her Watcher, Rupert Giles, also commented that Buffy's connection with Angel and Spike was quite poetic, as she, a Vampire Slayer, had her truest relationships.
They were able to move past Eyeghon, the demon Giles raised in his youth, possessing Jenny. After that, there was the hurdle of Jenny having lied to Giles about basically everything. Not only did it prove that Angelus was unequivocally evil, but also that Joss Whedon had no problem delivering a proper gut punch. Robia LaMorte was incredibly likable and Jenny really fit into the Scooby Gang nicely, so it was sad to see her go.
Jenny was the only real relationship we saw Giles have and it was cruelly snatched away from him far too soon. After spending over a thousand years as a demon, Anya had quite a lot to learn about being human. Anya may have had to drag Xander into their relationship kicking and screaming, but she wound up being the love of his life.
They grew together, with Anya learning how to be a human and Xander learning how to be a grownup. He did leave her at the alter, but he obviously never moved on and neither did she. Had she not been unceremoniously sliced in half — which we are also still crying about — these two would certainly have gotten back together.
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After watching Willow pine for Xander for a season and a half, it was a relief to see her find someone who recognized how amazing she was. Their relationship was both happy and healthy.
It was also the most drama-free romance on the show, despite the fact that Oz was a werewolf. They even continued dating when they went to college together.
However, by the time he did, Willow had already moved on — and so had we. That kind of turned the lore of the series on its head. Spike was a monster to everyone but Drusilla and he accepted her just the way she was, crazy and all. James Marsters and Juliet Landau had the most incredible chemistry. They were, without a doubt, one of the most fantastic couples in the Buffyverse. Spike and Dru were held so dear that when Spike initially fell for Buffy, fans were actually upset about it, because this meant that he and Dru were really over.
Still, even in flashbacks, these two lit up the screen. His obsession with her was completely creepy, regardless of how you felt about him as a character. He had no soul, so he was no different from Angelus.
Yet, he was a bit different, somehow.
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Spike showed an emotional spectrum that far outmatched that of his grand-sire. His feelings for Buffy — although taken to extremes that ranged from mildly disturbing to truly terrible — did become something real. He may have been a lovable monster, but he was a monster just the same. However, season 7 gave Spike a chance at redemption and as Buffy watched him become a champion, her feelings for him began to change. Although the series ended with them in a place of uncertainty, their relationship in the comics has really blossomed.
It took both of them a while to come around to it, but these days, they are in a loving and supportive relationship. They have fun together, which explains their being a good pairing. Could the Joyce and Giles matching be as well depicted under normal circumstances? The oddness of it all is sold in subsequent episodes, where the two behave awkwardly or attempt to avoid each other altogether.
This basically cements their inability to ever explore anything serious, an aspect of the show that still puzzles some. A genuine Joyce and Giles relationship could have been special. This culminates in his also not having much respect for Buffy, both as the Slayer and as an individual.
Without question, their union is a far cry from her relationship with Angel during seasons one, two, and beyond. Willow is a devoted girlfriend and Oz generally behaves as a doting, albeit sometimes absentminded, boyfriend.
Communication issues are known to stifle their progress, and are typically glossed over. Even their final break-up, though sad, is endearing and sweet. The affection shared between Willow and Oz is unlike almost any other on Buffy.
Spike does fit this qualification, for a while anyway. He regularly composed dreadful verses in an attempt to win over socialite Cecily, who declared him as beneath her. While this behavior is at times wonderfully comedic, it is nonetheless undeniably creepy. He takes it to its most extreme form when he, the obsessed lover, threatens murder in the name of the beloved.
In addition to obsessed lover however, the courtly lover in Spike is also still active. The robot may be uncanny in appearance but is a simplified and degrading version of the real thing that Spike programs to talk dirty and pleasure him. Similarly, Buffy also steps back from her attitudes when she displays her first genuine regard for him. She acknowledges his loyalty with a soft kiss that is not driven by formality but by a gratitude held between friends.
She articulates this sentiment afterwards: What you did, for me and Dawn, that was real. The fifth year for Buffy and Spike began with a relationship based on mutual hatred to a relationship based on imbalance, with Spike becoming a courtly lover, an obsessed lover, and at times a hybrid of both.
When Buffy is determined not to sacrifice Dawn to save the world, she goes further to say that she will kill anyone who even goes near her, a pointed comment that gives insight to her apprehension, even for her friends.
And yet, Spike is the one that Buffy personally counts on to protect Dawn because she instinctively knows that he will. Buffy may not trust him, but she values him in a conditional manner.
This concept is best demonstrated in the scene when Buffy and Spike return to the Summers home for supplies. When Buffy is on the staircase, he calls her and she stops halfway to listen: But you treat me like a man. This is precisely why a utility friendship fits them in these circumstances. Spike loves Buffy, Buffy values Spike conditionally. The beginning of the sixth season finds Buffy gone and her friends and sister carrying on the fight against evil without her — and then there is Spike.
Having wept openly at the sight of her lifeless body, Spike fights alongside the Scoobies all summer and continues to look after Dawn. Spike believes that he has failed Buffy, and can only make up for it by protecting her sister in life where Buffy, having died, cannot.
Gone is the notion of courtly love, obsessive love, and the perversity of the previous season — Spike has entered another league in his emotions towards Buffy, even without her in the picture anymore.Sucker For Pain/ Buffy & Spike
This is not to say that their sentiments have not changed however, for Buffy connects to Spike in ways that she cannot with anyone else — note that he is the only one that she allows to touch her without an initial flinch when he takes her bloodied hands in his.
Only Spike knows instinctively what Buffy went through, and it is in this shared trauma that a deeper bond is forged.
Buffy then accepts Spike as her confidant by confessing only to him that she was torn out of heaven and not hell, a level that no longer qualifies their relationship as a utility friendship. Buffy, however, steps out of the dark and into the sunlight after swearing Spike to secrecy. They express the same desire in the other partner in wanting to feel, but it is grounded by lust. Their kiss is not like any kiss that Buffy has shared with Angel and Riley — it is not a sensual, soft, close-lipped kiss that is framed in glorious close-up, but rather a hungry, open-mouthed, lunge that is framed wide in order to include their bodies, which are being heatedly pressed against one another.
They each recognize the ability to feel something through their partner, but the situation is hardly ideal. When Spike discovers that his chip no longer activates with Buffy, the two engage in foreplay in the form of a full-fledged fight that culminates when Buffy mounts him, pulls a zipper down, and begins to thrust erotically.
The fact that their first sexual encounter takes place after a knockdown fight that brings walls down is an easy metaphor and foreshadow of a literally destructive companionship. Pressed against a yellow wall with a dumpster just a few feet away, they are hardly in an ideal location for romance. The fact that they go at it in this environment is a product of their erotic desires. Though their sex is not loving and romantic, it is the first instance where a confidant becomes a lover.
Confidants in the series, to a large extent, have been nonsexual and are people that are turned to when they want to talk about love relationships with other people. The fact that Buffy and Spike are the first to make the shift from confidants to lovers is not insignificant. They have a history that progressed to this point rather than one that starts from it, an early indication to a more mature and messy adult relationship, even in light of being currently driven by lust and not love.
When Buffy and Spike acknowledge the ability to feel something through their partner through sex, they both engage in mutual enjoyment. The problem with their pleasure friendship is that falling into lust under separate pretenses proves harmful to both of them. They both desire the other partner to make them feel, but while Spike is in love with Buffy, Buffy is using Spike for sex.
What is clear, however, is that Buffy is ashamed of herself. Spike, on the other hand, is and always has been the one more emotionally invested. While Spike enjoys sex with Buffy, he continues to push for something deeper with her despite her insistence that it will never happen.
In a climactic moment, Buffy, in a manner that Wilcox notably points out is similar to when Faith beat on her own body, pummels Spike in the face mercilessly while insisting that he or substitute she cannot love or feel anything real because he she is dead.
The problem with Buffy and Spike is that lust cannot survive on its own. Through the lust, they are able to express the same desire to feel through the other partner, but they do not feel equally. Spike feels love, while Buffy feels shame.