I'll try to keep popping in here too but I am behind on the Farscape rewatch I'm involved in, am midway through doing a piece on Becoming for one of the challenges and am supposed to be doing MA stuff so, alongside the rewatch/comics it might be spasmodic. But then I often think my 'as and when' is another person's 'obsessionally' so you probably won't notice the difference!! ;D
Wow -- that is one huge slab of text. (And I'm seeing it twice too.) I must confess the lack of lay-out is putting me off from reading it. Stoney, I know you have no time right now, but if at some point you could maybe add some paragraph breaks, that would be really helpful.
Ha, it was only like that because I did literally just type my thoughts straight down. I still haven’t edited it, time restraints etc, but I have dropped some paragraphs in if that helps and reposted below. :)
Right, I am going to just type this as a literal stream of consciousness. I'm not going to read back/edit or anything because it would probably take ages. I will also no doubt miss things and would tweak the angle or details of my opinion if I thought more carefully about it but it will at least give a rough idea of where I see Spuffy Chosen to now, basically how they got to the start of S10 post Hellmouth. So I think a rough mix of what we see and my fill ins goes like this...
By the time Spike was corporealised in AtS 5 he had had time to let Angel's belittling of his relationship with Buffy add to his own internal doubts. He was going to return to her but he didn't know how to walk through the door and announce his return. He felt that it would destroy his sacrifice and the image/status that he had managed to attain with her and that he could possibly lose the very positive light she saw him in, manage to spoil it, and/or have to see that she was uncomfortable because of the feelings she declared to him post the event. He is assuming, however much he believed her or not, that she very possibly wouldn't feel the same outside of the intensity of the time leading up to the battle and during and certainly wouldn't want him popping up and creating uncomfortable pressure about it now. He was very unsure what to do in a day-to-day sense to be a hero and wanted to 'know' that before walking back in front of her so that she could see him as permanently and genuinely what he last was in the Hellmouth.
So he looked to try and work it out, was played by Lindsey and lost confidence in himself and so was pulled into just following Angel and his kamikaze plan. Although he didn't approve of Angel's status in W&H, his choice to be there (as per his starting position in the series), he convinced himself Fred following Angel meant that it couldn't be 'all bad' and used that/her as his judgement guide to get involved. But really it was about the fact that there was a comfort in being led, and an 'I can do that' to putting himself on the line and sacrificing himself and that was what the damned to hell vampire that he was could offer. He had worth in his sacrifices. So he stayed away and had time (AtS/AtF) to be a hero with and without guidance so that he started to feel more confidence in himself as someone who made a difference.
The Twilight issues played his hand and he was pushed to walk back into Buffy's life. I think part of that was self destructive, go and see her with Angel as she wants to be and face the truth. But he entered the scene full of bravado having finally found a way that you really can make an entrance after going out like he did in the Hellmouth, on a friggin spaceship! Buffy, who had somehow found out he was back sometime post AtS had (according to Willow in Spike's comics) knocked down doors demanding to know what happened and as part of that possibly found out that he hadn't wanted her to know and that stemmed her reaction/response. So Spike enters when the world is going to shit because of bad choices she has made at the end of a period of great vulnerability when she would have greatly benefited from his S7 esque support. So she is humiliated and pissed and she is defensive and snappy at him. But it doesn't take much for his presence to calm her and her to lean on him again. But as they fight against Angel Spike gets shoved away and the bugs rescue him from burning up. They chase down one of the monsters which takes him off again.
On his return (web comic) Buffy is emotional and pleased and wants to check if he is 'home' now. They are uncertain around each other in S9, not really knowing where the other is at and trying to tentatively probe. Buffy watches him make out with other women at the party and she tries to keep her barriers up, stumbling away from him off the fire escape (the new back porch) when things get emotional. She is distressed to see the chance he might die at the hands of the siphon and when faced with the upset of her pregnancy wants to lean on him again. He takes her away for a break to give her time out and offers to give her the support she wants from him. But Buffy is worried still, doesn't know how he feels, is scared of the turns her life is taking and is not convinced she is mature/stable enough to deal with parenthood. She instinctively wants to share it with him and at the same time feels that there is something fundamentally 'wrong' about it.
Dowling tells her Spike loves her and she rushes to him to find out if that is true because she has wanted to know that and hasn't been able to figure it out and finds out it is true and he wants her still and a normal life with her. She is moved/pleased and then everything goes up in the air. And Buffy can't quell her doubts (or control her mouth!) and voices her belief that Spike doesn't mix with the real/normal life she should want to strive for. She finds out she is residing in a robot body and everything she has been feeling may be questionable (it isn't but you can hardly blame her for feeling off kilter). Amidst her stress/confusion she sees that whilst she has the traumatic life her buffybody has been living a calm suburban dream and she looks on longingly. Spike sees the falseness of hankering after that image that shows no aspect of her real life inside it's restricted walls.
Having not had a response and feeling that he won't ever be accepted in the way he wants he lays it out a little. He has spent the time since he returned hovering around the edges of her life and it isn't what he wants. He offers the chance to go away with him to leave all these pressures and then retracts it before she has to work out how to turn him down because really he knows that she wouldn't do that and leave the others, even if it is him she turns to. So he goes and Buffy watches him leaving again.
Spike sinks into a depression about what he can't have with Buffy and what he had visualised trying to achieve (sun room) to give her light in his world. He comes to understand that it isn't a good thing for him to pin his happiness on her and direct his life around one person and his expectations of their reactions to him. He was still trying to pull her away from her life, trying to draw her into the periphery isn't being part of her life. He comes to terms with the idea of moving past trying for a relationship with her. He realises that leaving like that isn't making him happy because he doesn't want to keep wandering but wants to belong and he is finally looking to satisfy his soul beyond just putting himself on the line for the fight all the time. That goodbye that he gave William at the poetry recital in AtS as he was at that stage giving the potential to live in a way that focuses on satisfying his soul to keep fighting the fight and putting his existence on the line has finally swung the other way. Perhaps he finally feels worthy of having a home/family and not being the dark place, not living on the edges of the lives of the people he loves most, Buffy and Dawn. And he would rather be around those he feels for and it not be ideal/perfect than have something fake elsewhere with someone. So his desire to be around them is openly not about the romance and is about them as his family.
He goes to join A&F to help fight as requested and his Angel insecurities give him a punch in the face, he will never be Angel, the one who Buffy does have moments of weakness and fantasy aspirations with. She won't want him like that. He sleeps with Harmony to try and make himself feel wanted/appreciated and lets it gloss over his hurt. Hearing Dawn is in trouble pushes him past his avoidance of returning though and he is off again. (An aside, the thing I loved in the crossover, yes there was something, was the nod to the whole 'ben is glory' thing they did when Spike talked of Dawn and Angel had no memory of her). Spike returns and focuses on Dawn and now he is back he intends to stay and make an attempt to have a 'normal' life that isn't focused on being love's bitch and his wishes on other people's choices. Buffy is pleased that he came back when needed and Spike telling her it was for Dawn and not her takes a pressure of her and working out how she feels for him.
I think the intent in S10 was then to show that he and Buffy are looking to concentrate on working together, being family and getting close in a platonic way. To a great degree the notion works because they have shown the signs of friendship before and Spike thinks he can do this and appreciate the friendship, perhaps finally move on at the same time as Buffy sees the potential that they have together and worries about the possibility of missing her chance. Neither are sure that this is the best decision, there is so much past between them, Buffy is still guarded emotionally and uncertain, but essentially what they feel for each other has them wanting to find out rather than risk never having given it a chance. Their past, how they have changed, how they fear they haven't, past mistakes/failings/insecurities are dotted around and it is hard to tell until we go further if any of these will play a significant part going forward for them yet. It is probably safe to assume that Spike's concerns about the monster that is still within him is going to play into it for him individually and for them as a couple. Enter Archaeus to force the issue. Buffy's big step in many ways has been seeing that the best match/potential partner she has in her life, that she wants to try a relationship with, is a vampire and as much as she knows about him there are some concerns rising because of that step being taken after telling herself for so long that it can't work. S10 really is a Spuffy work in progress, highlights to be confirmed. *and breathe* :D
Stoney, I think you have done a great job of explaining Buffy and Spike's relationship since the end of Chosen, based on the info we have-and the fact that we don't have more of it is one of my big pet peeves.
Aurora asked me to explain, once again, why I was unhappy with Buffy and Spike's reunion. The reason is that we really didn't get a reunion, and the fact that we didn't get the reunion is an example of what I feel has damaged the comics as a story-and will continue to do so-and that is the fact that they have left out things that are important in terms of how the characters connect emotionally with each other-and to those of us still at least trying to be engaged with the story. The "powers" that be that are creating and administrating the publication of the comics have decided that we, the fans, should be able to fill in the blanks. The trouble is they are leaving so many dang holes for the readers to "fill in" the story is turning into Swiss cheese. The only thing we know about Buffy and Spike between the end of the series and the moment he turns up again is-nothing. Nothing in terms of canon, at least, because no one knows, for sure, if Bryan Lynch's Spike story is canon-even though Willow is in the story, and tells Spike that Buffy knows he's alive(though she doesn't give any details on how Buffy found out)and it also introduces how Spike got the "bug" ship. So, Spike and the bugs are canon from the moment they entire the Dark Horse publication-but not before? Makes no sense to me, but this kind of thinking is doing a great deal of damage to the credibility of the current storyline, IMO.
Let me take a moment to say something about Spike in AtS. Buffy, of course, was not in the picture-at least, physically-in that last season of Angel. I think Stoney pretty much covered Spike's feelings and his ambivalence on the Angel series. Buffy's feelings, I always felt, were supposed to have been conveyed by Andrew in "The Girl in Question." I know some people don't like that episode, but I have to say that-as imperfect as it is, I always did find it humorous. I still feel that it was their attempt, at the time-since the Buffy series was already over, and they knew that the Angel series was also ending-to have Buffy tell the two guys that she's off doing the "slayer" thing, so she wanted them to go on and do their own "thing," whatever that was, and maybe their paths would cross again. My take on Spike then was that he had decided that he probably never had a chance with Buffy, so that was one way to make peace with staying in Los Angeles and not leaving and facing Buffy to find out if he'd truly lost his chance with her when he died. I also felt that Spike's time in LA gave him the opportunity to fight the good fight because it was important to him-and no one else. His feelings about any future relationship with Buffy, though, were certainly pretty negative. It's true that Angel didn't help by also falling back into his old patterns of feeling insecure about Spike taking his place, and therefore trying to diminish anything Spike accomplished-but Spike had plenty of misgivings on his own, which he certainly still has in the current season.
To be honest, at the end of the Buffy series, I never understood why Buffy wasn't at least shedding some tears for Spike as she stood there at the edge of what had been Sunnydale. Yes, she did tear up while talking to him, and when they had their incredibly personal moment with the "flaming" hands-but why wasn't she tearful after she knew that he had just died? I always felt that she accepted what he did because she knew that it was important to him that he do something heroic-something that was undeniably "good" and something that really mattered in the great scheme of things. However, Spike is rarely even mentioned in early season eight. Even if Buffy didn't "love" Spike-and, as a Spuffy, I certainly believe that she does-you'd think that she would have missed the fact that Spike, basically, had become her "rock." He was her adviser and her confidante-something Giles chided her for in season seven. So, I think that Buffy certainly should have been shown-at least once-grieving over what she had lost when she lost Spike-but she wasn't, as far as I know. I think Spike is first referenced during some fantasy/dream Buffy has about both he and Angel, where she's in a nurse uniform, and the men are both nude, and chained to Buffy-and George Jeanty said that Joss told him to draw Angel closer. The only other time I think is when she's talking to Satsu, and she includes Spike when she says that somehow she always loses people who are close to her. We have absolutely nothing to go on about how Buffy feels about Spike until he shows up in the bug ship-and then the first thing she says is that "this can't be good" or something similar. Joss just loves these "Gotcha" moments, IMO, because when did Spike show up? Right on the heels of Buffy and Angel having wanton sex across the entire planet/universe. When did Spike have a horrible nightmare about massacring two people as a vampire, and then finding out that the two people were "real" and had been brutally killed by a vampire? After Buffy finally decided she was willing to try and have the real, intimate emotional and physical relationship he'd been wanting for years.
I will never like how their reunion was written. As I mentioned in my much earlier post, I have moderated my first impression some, because I do think it is realistic for Buffy to feel uncertain about Spike because he didn't return after he was resurrected. Still, even if she didn't run up and hug him-and kissing him certainly would not have been the right "greeting" either-I don't see why she couldn't have told him, sincerely, that she was glad that he was okay, and that she had missed him. They didn't write it that way, so it does come off like she really didn't care that much that he'd never returned to fight along side her and the other Scoobies.
Then we go from her being rather cool and distant to her showering in his cabin to wash off all the demon goo from her battle, and then they actually have a conversation that is more like "old times. Of course, then we are first fooled into thinking that she'd actually gone from sexing Angel up across the world right into Spike's bed, only to find out that, to her chagrin, she found herself fantasizing about sex with Spike-which I have always attributed to the fact that she was still under the effect of the Twilight glow that had made her sex drive go into overdrive in order to "birth" the New Universal Order that would have been Twilight. So, she always had been sexually attracted to Spike(and still is)so the glow also seemed to apply to him.
However, with the exception of Spike admitting his disdain for her tryst with Angel, and some mildly flirtatious comments by him when he and Buffy do the freefall to Sunnydale just before they get into the battle with other demons and Twangel-the two of them act as if they actually are "exes," but amicable ones. Unfortunately, when she thought she was pregnant, she once again started the "pull close to Spike, and then pull away" behavior. She did it once again, briefly, when she found out that her "consciousness" had been put in RoboBuffy. Spike, once again hurt and frustrated, waited until he felt that Buffy was in a position to take care of herself-as in having her mind and body reunited-and then decided that he needed to distance himself from Buffy in order to try and sort his own feelings out about how to handle them and the whole situation. I remember Buffy was drawn looking very tearful and distraught when he turned to go-but she didn't stop him.
We then see him have his last adventure on the bug ship, where he does seem to come to the important realization-that Stoney also referenced-that he would rather have an imperfect reality than a "perfect" fantasy. He didn't want to pretend that he was on a beach-with Buffy or any one else-and he also didn't want to settle for an existence with Morgan where he'd have, perhaps, "real" sexual satisfaction, but it still would be a fantasy based on Morgan using her power to manipulate things to what she assumed would be their mutual advantage. So, success would not be gotten because of talent or effort, but because of Morgan's machinations-and Spike wisely turned her offer down.
Of course, then we go from Spike having this important epiphany to him acting a fool in London-which I found extremely annoying like so many others, but mainly because it seemed to run absolutely counter the epiphany Spike just had experienced. Anyway, I try to just chalk that up to Mr. Gage taking Spike's character too far when it came to his issues with Angel, and then "move on," because I think it is just idiotic for Spike to resist the sexual charms of Morgan, and then be hot to try and bed Faith and Giles' aunts-and then once again settling for temporary sexual satisfaction with Harmony, of all people.
Dawn's life then became in danger, and Spike sincerely returned just on her account. His return, though, showed Buffy, IMO, that Spike was still going to be there when things really got bad. I think Spike's continued steadfastness and loyalty led to Buffy, at least in part, to re-examine her relationship with him and realize how much that relationship-and him-mean to her. That is, of course, where we are now.
Great Post - both of you. Excellent summation of their history and relationship that has led them to this current time and I can't help but feel that this will be the final time for them. Or I should say, the final time for Buffy to either finally reach out and hold on to, what I think would be a great relationship based on a deep and equal love or she can once again fall back on her distrust and fears that has always kept her from allowing Spike to be her Love and Life partner.
Sadly and tragically Buffy has always been the one that holds the power in their relationship, she primarily was the one who set the parameters for them for the darkness of their relationship. To contrast their darkness, Buffy has also been his effulgent/light and his guide back into Spike's own light/humanity. When the writer of BS8 writes Angel her partner of the Yin-Yang, to me it's one of the greatest missteps in the story of Buffy - for it is not Angel who makes the duality of her life complete and powerful, it is Spike who I think fills that role. The tragedy of Buffy and consequently that of Buffy & Spike, is that she has always given that place to Angel. Joss Whedon ended the series with Angel as the "still potential love" even with all the grand symbolism of the final joining of Buffy and Spike , it was still Angel who was given the spontaneous expression of her affection and love and her "I do? sometimes think that far ahead."
Buffy is always pulled back into the "It's about Angel and my love for him" and we are now at the final time for Buffy and the franchise to finally put away Angel as the anchor and the baggage of her love life.
Spike has cleansed himself of his sins against her and has transformed himself from his evil only vampire life. Spike has also gone through his second phase of transformation by keeping himself away after he emerges from his death in the amulet. It was right and necessary that he do this - Spike had to find his own strength and individuality away from Buffy as his guide and light. It was just as vital that he refuse to live in the dark place/outer edges of her life and refuse, put away the longed for dreams of Buffy returning his love and accepting him as the person whom she wants to share her life with. Buffy has been his guide/savior as a fellow warrior and friend, but she has never given him her love as two people who choose to share their lives together in a relationship of love and equality and acceptance in full measure.
Love, equality and acceptance in full measure; the Yin-Yang of self and as Life Partners. This, for me is where Buffy and Spike are now - it's their great test. I have faith in Spike that irrespective of Buffy's choices and this new battle for his life, strength, dignity and self-identity he will prevail and continue to fulfill one of the fundamental tenets and themes of the Buffyverse - find your inner hero.
Great posts Lulu/Cil. I think there is real strength in the coherence of Spike's story. I do understand the frustration of having gaps in canon around the non-call but I personally find that the logic is strong enough around it (including how defensive/hurt/snippy Buffy is that breezes past any pleasant greeting). But I do think just knowing how she found out and how she felt at that moment, even if she wouldn't share it with Spike, would have been great. I do take the Willow comment in as my head canon because, perhaps incorrectly I'm not definite, I thought that Joss agreed for Lynch to use Willow if he would introduce the bug ship and if Joss had final say over Willow's script. That could, as I say, not be true and I can't remember where I got that from. But yes, that period of not returning to Buffy and finding his own path, his own way to be a hero, eventually away from Angel as well was really fundamental in him becoming 'more'. It really underscores for me too that he didn't get a soul JUST for Buffy. It related to his own control over his decisions on who he would be too and that is so key to his character, his determination and the way he strives for what he wants.
Great points Cil about the balance that Spike brings to Buffy. Their mutual support was so key in S7. I think that Buffy and Angel had that in the early seasons too, they were strengthening each other emotionally at the start of their journeys, but it was about (to me) guarding themselves from their fears of the lives ahead of them. Buffy would see Angel as a man and Angel would see Buffy as a girl. They felt 'normal' together in some ways. I think that is why Buffy doesn't relate her relationship with Angel to being 'abnormal' in the same way that she does with Spike because, as a step onwards/forwards, her relationship with Spike is never about turning away from who they are and how it 'shouldn't' be. I'm sure this comes from their foundation going right back to being enemies and not allies, it just places it differently. So the fact that she is now, even more directly once she makes that choice that being with Spike could be her desired choice, despite being 'wrong', having to face the detailed truth of his nature in a way she never did with Angel does make some sense. It also is right that she saw the equality between him and Angel unsouled but is still having to do this, because this is about facing the complexity and full picture, integrating light/dark in a more complete way.
We all have inner monsters and I'm not sure the story/relationship wouldn't lose an edge if Spike lost his and it became something they no longer had to face.
Again, no time to read back/edit guys, sorry if it wasn't clear in places. But hey, I hit return a few times as I went along. :D
Wow - thanks so far for these amazing recaps of their relationship. Got a lot to do today, but I want to respond to your lengthy and thoughful posts.
Yes, I know it's debatable as to what is canon, but I'm going to look over the Angel comics in sequential order for all references to Buffy and/or anything that pertains to Spike and Buffy's relationship.
I'll post a transcript of any scenes or lines here when I find them.
Hopefully, this will be helpful for everyone here. :)
I can't remember where it was in S8 but there is definitely a reference from Buffy to missing 'that sex' which I think is quite a clear Spike reference (shame it is just reducing things to the physical alongside the fantasies, the nurse uniform and the other comic, was it called Always Darkest or something similar). Perhaps we can argue that either it was only physical for Buffy but that ignores S7 entirely so I think it just shows again her longing for him and avoidance. And yeah, missing the great sex. :D
Thanks, yes that helped!
I have no time to post anything substantial of my own, so I'll just say it was good to read your thoughts and those of Lulurose and Cil too.
Oh and as far as I know, you are correct about Brian Lynch using Willow in the Spike series and introducing the bug ship in return.
Ha, it was only like that because I did literally just type my thoughts straight down. I still haven’t edited it, time restraints etc, but I have dropped some paragraphs in if that helps and reposted below. :)
It's been a very long time since I had a look at BS8 - pretty sure that the sequence when Buffy makes reference to "the sex" is when she is thinking about missing her family and Sunnydale and her loved ones. I think this is the one where Buffy tells herself to "Grow Up" Either BS8 issue 1 or 2
I'm pretty sure she says 'that sex' which obviously is more specific in its reference, but I think it was early on so Cil is probably thinking of the same thing and I'm being super lazy because I can't summon up the will to go downstairs and dig out the hard copy to check, perhaps later. :)
BEST OF LUCK WITH YOUR EXAMS -