I feel like even here, where everybody *knows* I'm a slashwhore, I have to protest that I do *not* like Buffy/Spike. I like Spike. I tolerate Buffy. I'm overjoyed that she cut him loose, and I thought it was a) wonderful tht she called him William and b) totally uneven, given her "Ooh, he could be my boyfriend" behaviour last ep.
However. People calling for Spike's staking (as a result of this latest fiasco) make me grit my teeth. Or "Spike should have been staked long ago..."
The progressing Spike-arc (and part of the Angelus arc, I suspect) has been about showing how staking a vampire or other demon *isn't* just black and white. How Buffy & Co's assumptions that they're always doing the right thing *should* be challenged.
Vampire attacking Buffy or someone else physically? Stake it. Immediate defense. Vampire simply existing? Well, certainly Season 1 morality would say that it's evil, it will continue to do harm, and just because it isn't doing harm right now, doesn't mean that it won't kill someone tomorrow.
Of course, it doesn't mean that Joe Blow on the streetcorner isn't a completely evil human who's just never gotten up the gumption to kill somebody before. He's got a licensed gun. He *could* harm humans. And Rocko Blow, just released from prison after doing 20 for murder in a convenience store robbery?
There are going to be questions. Buffy *should* be questioning whether everything she does, her whole Slayer mission, is right. She's been working on instinct and intuition for six years, and it's served her pretty well -- but it doesn't always serve those who are supposed to be on the side of good. Faith killed a human. Angel killed a demonic Champion. Buffy killed Riley's vamp-ho in ITW in a move that was so much out of anger and rage at Riley and herself, and so one-sided, that I'm more concerned that she doesn't feel guilt over that, than that she allegedly felt guilt over Katrina. That vampire-junkie girl seemed to be totally dependent on handouts/payments, and unllikely to harm any human, ever. How wasn't that murder on Buffy's part again? Oh, right, because she's a Vampire Slayer. She's got these cool powers and a destiny.
I'm pissy at As You Were itself not because I think Spike is too smart to get involved in the egg-smuggling-whatever, but because I damn well think he's too smart to hide the eggs in the chamber next to his bed --- you know, where he and Buffy do occasionally manage to fall before shagging like bunnies? She drops by unexpectedly all the time. He was going to what -- throw a blanket over them and claim to be redecorationg? He's not that stupid. Not even latter-season Spin-the-Wheel-and-Pick-a-Xander-Charact
I'm also pissy at the ep because it didn't give any explanation of what Spike was supposed to be doing. It left us to believe that his entire plan was to sell the eggs on the black market -- though of course, he never got the chance to even try to explain himself, if there was an explanation, what with Buffy going back into punch-him-cos-I'm-pissed mode. Defenseless. Just because he's an asshole doesn't mean it's okay to hit him as an expression of her anger. Sure, he can hit her back, but she knows he won't, in that situation -- and moreover, she did it in front of Riley, who *would* have staked him for hitting back.
But mostly, my Spike-protector instincts are coming to the fore. It's okay to stake him, but not to torture him? Er? It's not okay to do either. When someone acts like a person, and you treat him like a person, you change the rules for whether you're allowed to dispense justice on him as if he's an animal. During Harsh Light of Day, it would have been appropriate to stake him. During The Initiative when he was attacking Willow, even though he was defenseless, it would have been appropriate to stake him, because they didn't *know* he was defenseless. Etc. But now?
Spike is about annoying the hell out of us, and making some of us lust, and showing that there's a mind and a set of emotions behind both of those things. He's about making Buffy question everything about who she is and what she does. And that's right and good. He's also about being a chracter in his own right, who doesn't need to be staked to prove that Buffy is finally acting in keeping with the viewers' version of morality.
Someday, I'll convince the world, including Joss, that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not about the little blonde girl walking down the spooky alley, who turns around and kicks the monster's ass. The first episode was about that. Possibly the first season. But it's not about Buffy anymore -- it's about the world she lives in, and her friends, and how they deal with it and her.
Buffy is not a moral person -- she never was. None of them were, really. Giles thinks she's a hero, and she is, but the only reason she couldn't have strangled Ben was her own cowardice in not wanting to *admit* that she does the same thing to other thinking creatures every day, and she can't allow herself to stop and consider that. Not because she was too good and pure to do it.
Buffy may need to develop a morality beyond her instincts, since those are failing her more an more often as she rediscovers what it is to be alive -- but there's more to the show than that. At least, there would be if Joss (or Marti, or David, or Jane) would bloody well wake up and pay attention to what they're doing!
Last thought: Spike. Human. They're Going There, with a capital G and T. Anvils bigger than Willow's druggie ones, imho. I thought I wanted that, to see what kind of person he would become -- but if it's just to make him palatable as Buffy's Perfect Man, I may gack.