Francine - harvest
I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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It's far too late, and I am in bed, sleeping. One of my cats is typing this; I haven't yet decided which one. Tomorrow, I will think about first lines, and the MMoM (which I have a scary and probably never to be unleashed upon the public idea for) and possibly even Seeing Red. Though probably not, because my cat has this to say:



Nekkid cute (dysfunctional) lesbians! Whee! (Thought Tara had a few flat moments, oddly. "Oh, there was plenty of magic" was just a clinker of a line, though, so I forgive Amber.)

Slashy cute (criminal) geeks! Whee! (Andrew is so being fucked by Warren. Or wanting to be fucked by Warren. And possibly by Spike.) Er, Andrew is cute. Warren is not. Warren needs to be in a plexiglass cell.

Okay, that over with,

The Scene. I liked it. I was disturbed by it. The acting was exceptional, the direction was skilled, the cinematography was... did I say disturbing? But good.

I think -- think -- I'm not up for defending Spike in this instance. Not defending in the "Were his actions defensible/is there ever a situation in which they could have been right?" sense. No. They weren't. There isn't.

But -- do I think his actions at any time in this episode were evil? No. Which is why I think the evilistas who are jumping up and down and shouting nyah nyah will find their joy shortlived. His actions weren't evil -- they were sick. And not incurably sick -- because he recognized that they were wrong, after he was brought up short. It doesn't matter in this sense whether that was before or after the fact. In fact, the fact that he only recognized it was wrong after the fact makes an even better case for him *not* being either evil or sociopathic in his act.

Evil would have gone in with the intent to hurt. Sociopathic would have realized at some point that he was hurting her, scaring the hell out of her, and not cared. In my viewing of the scene, I saw darkness and desperation and a determination to make her love him -- but his reaction after Buffy kicked him off, the shock, suggests that he truly didn't realize he'd done something so awful, until she took that step. He wasn't disregarding wrongness in order to get what he wanted -- he was insanely unaware of wrongness -- but when he *was* made aware of it, he felt remorse, and self-disgust.

Someone -- many someones probably -- will want to jump in and say that remorse after the fact doesn't excuse his action, and this is true. I'm not defending his action. (I still stand by my assertion that his action was the culmination of a psychological situation that Buffy contributed to just as much as he had, but that doesn't make it not wrong, or make the specific action Buffy's fault.)

Remorse after the fact -- when it's brought to his attention that there's something to feel remorse about -- shows me, though, that he isn't completely evil, and the sort of human insanity that he may parallel is *not* sociopathy. Sociopaths do not feel remorse. They don't get confused by what their place is in the world, and wish that they didn't feel remorse, and make big shivery dark statements about big changes coming soon, oh yeah. (*) What Spike showed was a form of insanity that might or might not be "curable" by the application of time, or forgiveness, or understanding, or, yes, a soul. Yes -- his actions were sick. The relationship was sick, and his actions were at least twice as sick, and I'm not suggesting they weren't.

Do we kill sick people? Do we say that they *deserve* to be executed? Or do we try to treat them? If they're a continuing danger to humanity, we lock them away. If they can't be treated -- and imho, no one has ever tried to "treat" Spike in any conclusive way -- we do the same. Lock them away. But we don't kill them. Is it okay to kill him because Spike's a vampire and Buffy has license to kill vampires to protect the world? Hmm. Did he rip Buffy's throat out? Or did he commit a purely human crime/act of insanity?

Granted, as an anti-death-penalty person, I'm not the most unbiased in this area. I don't think anyone has the moral right to kill. As revenge, as punishment, as any damn thing except defense. I don't believe anyone has the moral right to kill Warren for murdering Tara (though, sickly, I'm going to enjoy watching Willow do it) or the moral right to kill Spike for almost raping Buffy. Of the two, though? Warren gets my stake in his heart first. Because he went in meaning to hurt -- Buffy -- and didn't care that he killed -- Tara. That makes him evil in a way that Spike wasn't in this ep, and sociopathic in a way that Spike also wasn't.

But -- back to why I think my friends and fellow writers who are fans of shivery evil Spike won't be singing the neener song for long: is Spike going to come back the sinister scary Big Bad? Spoilers don't point that way, and neither do my instincts. Hey -- if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It won't be the first time. But what I see happening is Spike getting a monkey's paw, when he wanders off to darkest Afrique to get whatever it is he's supposed to be seeking.

I see human Spike coming out of this. Because the soul is Angel's gig, and while souled Spike is cool for fanfic, I don't see it happening in the extended canonverse. But human? Angel's been promised this at a time that's conceivably some distant post-series future. Another vampire character getting it in the present doesn't take away from Angel's specialness.

This is plot stuff -- just that. Just me saying I *don't* think this ep marks the return of School Hard Spike, or even Becoming Spike. I think the big changes are going towards something else.

And this is opinion stuff -- if Spike comes to a concrete understanding that what he did in Seeing Red was wrong, and makes some sort of apology that Buffy accepts, I don't believe it will be selling her character short. Making misogynistic (and I fear the way that word gets tossed around fandom, but that's another issue) statements about a once feminist icon. Because in the case of any individual human, it's her choice to forgive an act of harm done to her. And if Buffy is ever going to resonate for me as a character, it has to be because she's human. *Not* because she's a small blonde girl in stylish yet affordable boots who kicks ass in a world where small blonde girls in stylish yet affordable boots don't usually kick ass. I'm not a small blonde girl in stylish yet affordable boots. Never have been, never will be. I am, however, a human.


(*) Footnote: Which, bravado much? Spike *wants* to be only evil again, because that's easier. It doesn't hurt. Love hurts. Rejection hurts. And yes, remorse hurts, and he doesn't want to hurt. Oh, yes. He doesn't want to take responsibility for having done something wrong -- he argues against it, to himself. He rides off, growling about change, and looking sinister. S'crap. It's no more and no less than Xander's need to tell pointless jokes that cover up what an insecure little boy he is. (**)

Footnotenote: Which, er, go Anya, except, at the heart of it, why is it *wrong* that Xander's a scared insecure little boy? He's 21. He's been put down all his life. He's always felt useless and marginalized. And he hides this behind pointless jokes? How terrible of him. Considering the number of needlessly hateful ways that *most* scared insecure little boys try to hide.

I want to hug them both. Then smack them both. Then hug them again and point them at anyone but each other, because yes, they *are* wrong, so wrong. But still. Ow. And how much do I love Xander, when he *finally* comes to Buffy, and they talk? There is no such thing as too little too late. Needs to be such a scene with Anya, even if it's about them having blown it for good.

Oh yeah -- and Tara died. There were no tears. I will cry next week, or possibly tomorrow when I watch it again. I'm... I *love* Tara. But like Jess, I think it will take next episode to get my tears flowing.

iroshi

2002-05-08 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)

In my viewing of the scene, I saw darkness and desperation and a determination to make her love him -- but his reaction after Buffy kicked him off, the shock, suggests that he truly didn't realize he'd done something so awful, until she took that step.

May I point out that the first time Spike and Buffy slept together, and several times since then, all he had to do to rouse her passion was to fight with her. I don't think, like I suspect some do, that he was trying to rape her in any way...he just wanted to get her mad at him so she'd fight him and then love him, like she's done so many times before.

I think -- think -- I'm not up for defending Spike in this instance. Not defending in the "Were his actions defensible/is there ever a situation in which they could have been right?" sense. No. They weren't. There isn't.

Defensible? No, not really...except that Buffy has been in the *habit* of telling him no when she really *does* mean yes. It's understandable that he act wrongly when he's been getting confused signals from the start. Do I still think what he did was wrong? Of course. I just don't think Buffy was strictly a victim in this instance...and Spike did stop when he realized she was actually serious this time. I don't think it had anything to do with, "Because I *stopped* you," because seriously, she's kicked him across the room before and they went ahead and fucked. I think it had to do with him realizing she was freaking out...and he was honestly confused as to why.

Needs to be such a scene with Anya, even if it's about them having blown it for good.

He *tried* to have such a scene with Anya, and she refused to listen to him. She was too busy trying to figure out why her cursing didn't work.

Oh yeah -- and Tara died. There were no tears. I will cry next week, or possibly tomorrow when I watch it again. I'm... I *love* Tara. But like Jess, I think it will take next episode to get my tears flowing.

We weren't supposed to cry this time. It was too sudden, too harsh. Tears don't come right away when something happens, shock does. It will be the grief of the characters, when we get to see it next week, that will make us cry. The shot, and the fall...yes, our brains know something tragic happened, but we haven't seen the aftermath. We're not living the show, after all, and it's over for us at the end of the hour and we go on about our lives. Next week, when we return to that universe for an hour, then it will hurt. Now? Now it's just a TV show. ^_^ I cried last week when Tara and Willow got back together. The line, "Can we just skip all that, and can you just be kissing me now?" will stick in my brain for a long, long time. I didn't cry this week, though I laughed out loud a few times, like when Andrew admitted he was in love with Warren, or Dawn's gleeful, "I am so not here! I'll just go downstairs and watch TV, loud, in the basement." I expect I'll be crying next week.

I'm not a small blonde girl in stylish yet affordable boots.

I'm a medium auburn girl in stylish yet affordable boots, does that count? ^_^

(Deleted comment)

Re: what she said

mpoetess

2002-05-08 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay! Dragon NaturallySpeaking (I dictate to my computer) heard "Xander" as "androgynous".

Bwhahahaha. Awesome.

I think they're *all* acting like buttheads. Anya was willing to twist his intestines into knots -- it doesn't matter that it didn't *work*. But so very few people are calling her on that. And Xander was buttheaded in the extreme with his crap about "If he got the chip out, would you trust Dawn with him then?" Um, yeah, cause Spike couldn't have invited every demon in a ten mile radius to snack on Dawn while he watched and laughed, at any point while *you* were trusting him to babysit her, Xan. Twit.

*smaps Xander*

Re: what she said

iroshi

2002-05-08 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Um, yeah, cause Spike couldn't have invited every demon in a ten mile radius to snack on Dawn while he watched and laughed, at any point while *you* were trusting him to babysit her, Xan. Twit.

Ooooh good point! Extremely valid point. Besides, Spike was protective of the Summers women *long* before he got that chip in his head. He *liked* Joyce; she gave him cocoa and actually talked to him. He's always felt very big-brotherish to Dawn, chip or no. Not that Xander ever believed any of that.

Spike's never been totally evil, in the same way that, for instance, Angelus was. Spike *loved* Drusilla. Angelus doesn't love anything. I don't know...especially when you compare him with other vampires in the Buffyverse, Spike's always had a startling amount of William in him. One wonders if he doesn't have at least part of his soul remaining...stubborn poetic soul that it is. Perhaps that part of him has been able to grow stronger since he can't revel in hurting others.

Don't get me wrong...I could like an evil-Spike, too. And I'm not *trying* to make him not-evil...it's just that he's never really fit what I see the Buffyverse as portraying as "soulless". He's always ACTED like he had a soul (albeit a rather black one, but still, one capable of love), unlike most of the vampires they show.

Re: what she said

iroshi

2002-05-08 10:33 am (UTC) (Link)

? Let's us see, his adult role models are Joyce -- dead -- and Giles, who has his own head firmly stuck up his behind

Oh, let's not forget his OWN parents, who we hardly know anything of, except that I'd like to smack 'em one myself... I know a lot of fanfics have posited than Xander's parents were abusive; I don't know whether there's canon evidence for that or if it's just theorized from the data of his behaviour.

Re: what she said

mpoetess

2002-05-08 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

I don't think there's any canon evidence that his parents were physically abusive. His dad is emotionally abusive to his mom, at the wedding, and there's quite a bit of canon implication that they're both at least emotionally neglectful of him. Given his dad's treatment of his mom, it's realistic to extrapolate that he's emotionally abusive to Xander, as well, especially given Xander's dream sequence in "Restless" wherein his father comes downstairs and accuses him of making his mother cry and thinking he's too good for them.

So yeah. Xander has very few good parent type role models -- and the few good ones he does have? Joyce, divorced and never did find another relationship that didn't end badly and Giles, who had a good relationship with Jenny Calendar, but Xander never got the chance to see it blossom because she was killed. Other than that, Giles has an "orgasm friend" -- which is fine but doesn't actas an example of how to have a sustained close love relationship -- and vague implications of nasty heartstrings with Ethan Rayne that can never be cut.

Re: what she said

ex_kimera823

2002-05-08 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh! Oh! I remember one scene in early BtVS... season 2? Where Xander calls home to say he's sleeping over/studying at Willow's or something (they're really researching stuff, but not the issue). He tells the person on the phone "It's *Xander*." He's an only child, having to remind his parents who he is?

Re: what she said

iroshi

2002-05-08 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! I knew there was textevd somewhere. Oh, wait, what do you call it when it's not a textual medium? Canevd? Videvd? :)

mpoetess

2002-05-08 09:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Needs to be such a scene with Anya, even if it's about them having blown it for good.

He *tried* to have such a scene with Anya, and she refused to listen to him. She was too busy trying to figure out why her cursing didn't work.

Oh, totally agree. There just needs to be another. There needs to be another and another and another, until they finally both communicate at the same time.

Yes, I think you're right about Tara. I need the grief reactiosn of those who lost her -- right now, it's just fictional shock, made even less shocking by the fact that I've been spoiled for the event itself for months.