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.

mpoetess

2002-05-08 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

(con't)

When he says "Buffy, I didn't..." he's not saying "I didn't hurt you, you have to forgive me" She comes back with "Because I stopped you" and it's very pretty, dialogue-wise, but logically, it makes no sense. She's responding to "I didn't mean to [go that far, hurt you, insert realization here] with "Because I stopped you." And no, her stopping him has nothing to do with his intention, and it's not a coherent response to his attempt at apology. Which is understandable -- no one expects her to be coherent at this point. But people are picking up on that "Because I stopped you" as a logical response to something Spike said -- and it's not. Buffy is responding to what she's thinking about, and not listening to Spike's words.

I saw Buffy almost get raped. I saw Spike almost rape Buffy. I saw it from both their POV's, and from Spike's, I saw that he *didn't* understand that such is what was happening. None of which has anything to do with the crypt scene, which is what you commented about as your evidence that Spike was evil and sociopathic, and what I responded about. But since you asked.


But to say that he is somehow absolved of sin (my personal definition of redeemed, yes) because he feels bad, or to say that he is confused because he feels bad and has no frame of reference for these feelings - well, neither of these make me want to let a guy out of prison. Which again, not the best analogy, since he's a vamp, but after last night, he should at the very least be denied access to humanity. So call it a life sentence if you're against execution, but this ain't a guy I want in my neighborhood.


I didn't say he was absolved of sin because he feels bad (though absolved of sin is not my definition of redeemed). I didn't say he was redeemed because he feels bad, either. I said that the fact that he is *able* to feel bad shows that he has the *potential* to be redeemed.

As for denying him access to humanity, I'd say that's pretty much Buffy's call. If he were a human that she was in a relationship with and she'd treated him exactly the same way, and things had played out exactly the same way, it would be her call as to whether she wanted to press charges. He's not a serial rapist, that we're aware of, so it's not a matter of protecting humanity from someone who's going to go out and do this again tomorrow night. In fact, with the chip, he *can't*. He committed one crime, against her, that she has the choice of pursuing or not, in her own way.

(Yes, he committed millions of crimes in his unchipped vampiric past, but that's a different argument. If she were going to lock him up or kill him for that, she should have done it long ago. And I mean long ago, pre-relationship.)

kita0610

2002-05-08 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

((Does it make him sociopathic because he didn't give a shit if he hurt her or not? No, because once it was brought loudly to his attention that Spike, you're out of your mind and I'm going to kick you across the room now, he was shocked. Horrified. He *did* give a shit if he hurt her -- he just hadn't realized he'd been doing so. He was shocked at what he'd done, not pissed that Buffy had stopped him, not guilty because he'd been caught -- um, who "caught" him? Like if he'd planned it, she wouldn't have noticed he was raping her? What does that mean? ))

You lost me there wiht your last line.... ? I don't think he PLANNED anything. He's bad with the planning. He gets bored, he gets anxious and bad things happen. Usually, however, they are entirely his fault. And we are going to have to agree to disagree on his motivations following the assault. He looked confused, that I give you. But I stand by my opinion that his confusion is not an excuse, nor does it even mean he felt bad about *what he had done*. He wanted something, he didn't get it, he got his ass kicked instead. He may or may not have a clue about why what he did was unacceptable, but I wouldn't wanna be the one to teach him. And certainly, if Buffy had any kind of self-preservation or self-esteem at this point, she wouldn't wanna be either.


((When he says "Buffy, I didn't..." he's not saying "I didn't hurt you, you have to forgive me" She comes back with "Because I stopped you" and it's very pretty, dialogue-wise, but logically, it makes no sense. She's responding to "I didn't mean to [go that far, hurt you, insert realization here] with "Because I stopped you." And no, her stopping him has nothing to do with his intention, and it's not a coherent response to his attempt at apology. Which is understandable -- no one expects her to be coherent at this point. But people are picking up on that "Because I stopped you" as a logical response to something Spike said -- and it's not. Buffy is responding to what she's thinking about, and not listening to Spike's words. ))

Strongly disagree. He looked at her, and saw that she felt violated. His "but I didn't", to me, meant 'but I didn't fuck you'. Her "because I stopped you" is then self evident.


((I didn't say he was absolved of sin because he feels bad (though absolved of sin is not my definition of redeemed). I didn't say he was redeemed because he feels bad, either. I said that the fact that he is *able* to feel bad shows that he has the *potential* to be redeemed. ))

And I would agree with you wholeheartedly, if I bought the fact that he feels guilty for assaulting the woman he claims to love. But I don't. Which may be where our debate will end up at a draw, because I doubt either one of us can convince the other on this point. I see Joss as playing this purposefully vague, because we are not supposed to know what is coming up for Spike. But I see Joss as playing Spike purposefully inconsistent overall, because Spike IS inconsistent. I see this entire season as a mindfuck on us all, and on the Scoobies. They let the pretty vampire in, and all but Xander (and dear lord here I am taking Xander's side, it's the apocolypse, I tell u) forgot what he is. He is charming, and pretty and he has a cool coat and he can help kick demon ass, and he is capable of appearing to show emotions including tenderness. But it's an act. He is selfish and he is a survivor, and he will do whatever it takes to get his needs met. Monster, as you said, certianly apt. And so, right now? No, not redeemable the way I see him.

(cont.)

halleluja end of reply

Anonymous

2002-05-08 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

((As for denying him access to humanity, I'd say that's pretty much Buffy's call. If he were a human that she was in a relationship with and she'd treated him exactly the same way, and things had played out exactly the same way, it would be her call as to whether she wanted to press charges. He's not a serial rapist, that we're aware of, so it's not a matter of protecting humanity from someone who's going to go out and do this again tomorrow night. In fact, with the chip, he *can't*. He committed one crime, against her, that she has the choice of pursuing or not, in her own way. ))

I think this was probably the most painful and pivotal part for me. She could have killed him. She didn't. Such a little girl response, and so realistic. (maybe it was my fault, maybe I deserve this, etc etc.) Again, no Slayer there. Just a woman in alot of pain. This jarred the shit out of me more than almost anything else, besides the ending ofthe show.

(Yes, he committed millions of crimes in his unchipped vampiric past, but that's a different argument. If she were going to lock him up or kill him for that, she should have done it long ago. And I mean long ago, pre-relationship.)

((Oh so agreed. But she never did. Because he fooled her. And he fooled us. And now she pays the price, and so do we. It's angsty and icky and Joss rules again.))

Peace

-D