Copying this post from Xander Hoffman to here, to continue the discussion:
That's what Buffy believes, or wants to believe, but how do we know she is right? Anyway, she's talking about getting turned here. So even if it is true what she says, it doesn't mean that the same thing happens in reverse when the vampire gets souled. Angel didn't turn back into Liam when he got a soul, just like Spike didn't turn back into William.
Interesting. So SMG wanted to quit and that's why the show was cancelled? I didn't know that.
Personally I haven't seen many people claim that Spike was a good man in S6. He was trying to be good, but hadn't quite got the hang of it yet. Of course, I'm pro-Spike so I don't believe that Spike really was the Doctor. There was no conclusive evidence; Spike may well have been speaking the truth when he said he was keeping the demon eggs for somebody else. (Probably not a friend but someone who paid him to do it -- still, relatively small scale evil.)
Definitely agreed that they were abusive together (she as much to him as he to her). That was the crucial element of their relationship in S6. Fortunately they both moved past it in S7.
If we were to accept Buffy's definition of what a vampire is - her love and continued connection and attachment to Angel means that she loved a demon all that time. Her insistence that Angel somehow was a complete separate entity does not hold up logically. At least I don't think it does. For Angel to be totally separate for Angelus means that the demon would have to have been forced out of the body. Also since that body was killed by the demon, that means that the body would revert to its dead state. I don't think there could be an Angel, not if we use her definition of the life form of a vampire.
For Angel and Spike to exist with the souls, IMO, they have to be the same entity, one demon, same body, one soul. There cannot be this Angel who is separate from Angelus.
"To me it just smelled to much of the girlfriend who comes home with the black eye and justifies it saying "it's okay he loves me."
Here is an excerpt for "Dead Things" - not saying that this is what you are doing Xander Hoffman, some fans want to make Spike the "Bad Guy" responsible for the violence of S6 or that Buffy is being taken advantage of. That is not the case, I think that the majority of the violence was actually instigated by Buffy.
Are we having a conversation?
What? No. Sort of.
Well isn't this usually the part
where you kick me in the head and run
out, virtue fluttering?
That's the plan. Soon as my legs
start working again
I feel that Buffy and Spike dragged each other down in the majority of season six. Buffy wasn't emotionally strong enough to provide Spike the encouragement she had in the last half of season five. Spike certainly started out supporting Buffy in season six-he would listen to her. I think part of Buffy's conflict was that she started responding to Spike like he wasn't a vampire-because for whatever reason, Spike was written that way. Spike could control his impulses pretty well for an out of control demon. He is often criticized that he always had to have a reason that benefitted him, but, to be fair, even we humans have different reasons for different behaviors, and no one questions the motives, unless they are flagrantly ego centric, or harmful. This is the demon who responded to Joyce's motherly attributes, asking for little marshmallows in his hot chocolate, and even tried to bring her flowers to show respect after she died-and this was way before he was chipped.
Buffy then would be angry at herself for responding to Spike, and then she'd take it out on him. I found myself wishing that Buffy would stop sticking her head in the sand and discuss the situation with Spike. Ironically, it was Spike who kept trying to get some clarification. Buffy just kept on being in denial, though, and then Spike had finally had enough himself and struck back at Buffy. The two of them then began to let their violent streaks run amok. I think Buffy found it strangely cathartic-Spike probably did, as well-but then Buffy was also eat up with guilt about it. It was only after Buffy was "outed" by Riley's surprise return, and subsequent finding of Buffy in the buff, along with Spike, in Spike's crypt, that the humiliation of that-from her POV-made her face up to the destruction this was wreaking in her life. She even realized it really wasn't helping Spike, either, and tried to let him down easy. That was short lived, though. Unsouled Spike didn't mind being used if he was getting something he wanted out of it-it was later in season seven where he tells Buffy that he came to understand what she had been doing, and that self loathing was not something he understood, from his POV as an unsouled vampire at the time, but that he did after he regained his soul.
Even though it always makes me angry at Buffy in a lot of ways, I guess that Buffy just still didn't have the emotional strength to get back her equilibrium with Spike. I get so frustrated, and I hope I am not being redundant, when she treats Spike like she did in Hell's Bells, with kindness and respect. Spike once again responds. His actions show that he is willing to go back to friend mode with Buffy-he's wiling to go back to the way they were at the first of the season. Then, by the next episode, she's back to schizo mode-treating Spike like he's a regular person until her "friends" show up, and then she has to pull rank on him and act like she was in slayer mode because she can't let Willow, and especially Xander, see that she had actually accepted Spike in many ways.
The sad fact is that Buffy and Spike were pushing each others buttons all the way to the terrible confrontation in SR. Actually, to be truthful, I would like to thrash both Buffy and Xander in Entropy. They had both broken up with Spike, and Anya, and-although I understand that we humans don't just turn our feelings on and off like light switches, neither one of them had the right to act like they had been so wronged by Spike and Anya's actions. Xander certainly was out of control, but Buffy looking contemptuously at Spike was also beyond the pale, especially after she had so cavalierly told him he needed to "move on." Dawn didn't help matters any when she went and basically shamed Spike for apparently meaning to hurt Buffy, and informed him that he had. Dawn unwittingly gave Spike some false hope, IMO, because if Buffy really hadn't cared whether Spike got horizontal with Anya, or anyone else, she wouldn't have been that upset. While its true that she could have been upset with Spike for doing it with Anya because that hurt Xander, I don't think her reaction indicated that it was just on Xander's behalf that she was hurt and angry. Even looking at it purely from a pride POV on Buffy's part-"It didn't take long, did it?"-it seems that she seems more hurt than she should be if Spike was only a sex partner, and an evil souless thing she didn't really care about at all.
IMO, I think that Buffy is responsible for not realizing that her actions were confusing to Spike, as she'd swing from being caring enough to let him down easy to being a cold, uncaring twit. If she hadn't had her head stuck so far in the sand she might have realized how this was affecting Spike before he had his meltdown in her bathroom. I think even a human guy would have been frustrated by never knowing where he stood with Buffy.
That is where Spike's coping skills failed. He just didn't have enough of them to cope with Buffy's mood swings. One of Spike's faults always was that he over simplified things. One one hand, at times he had great insight. When it came to his own "affairs of the heart" though, he always seemed to think that A + B = C. He showed that with Dru when he though he would just return and torture her and "make" her love him again. It didn't work on Dru, and, it certainly wasn't going to work on Buffy. A personality trait of Spike's is his single mindedness of purpose. That can be both a blessing, and a curse. It kind of plays into the "A + B = C" fault. In this case it tragically led Spike into thinking that by perservering with his pursuit of Buffy, and trying to get back into a physical relationship with her, that she would relent. His stubborness in accepting that-even if her actions seemed to indicate that she still had some kind of attachment to him, which he believed was love, that she was not going to act on whatever feelings she had any longer-cost both of them dearly.
I feel for both characters. I feel for Buffy because she was caught in a very vulnerable position. She was still struggling to get back to being emotionally strong, and at that moment, she had been hurt physically, so even if she wasn't incapacitated, she still wasn't feeling up to par. She just wanted some "down" time. If only she could have had the foresight to ask Spike to wait downstairs before they got into any kind of discussion. She should have politely insisted that she did not want a "man" in the bathroom with her in her bathrobe-either former lovers or just good friends. At that point, maybe Spike would have complied, because I think that Spike-the way he was at that moment, was wanting to talk to her so badly that he would have been willing to wait. She could have returned to reasonable mode and explained to Spike-as the kinder, gentler Buffy that Spike responded to-that she still wanted their relationship to go back to where they were platonic allies, and that was final, and he was welcome to hang around under those terms; hopefully then things wouldn't have escalated. That's not how it was written, though. They always had to go for maximum pain, although I think they should have found a different, less damaging way to get the characters to the point where their journey would take them to a better place-both together and separately.
I feel for Spike, too. I don't think that Buffy ever realized, except maybe later in season seven, that she was all Spike had, in his current situation. Without Buffy, Spike was totally alone-well, he did have Clem as a friend, but Spike wasn't in a position to appreciate Clem at that moment. Buffy meant everything to Spike. He had done everything in his power to be what she wanted him to be. He had even fought and killed other demons. Granted, he did find personal satisfaction in having a way to fulfil his need for violence, but it was more important to him that he show Buffy that he could walk the straight and narrow path-that he could be "good." Spike was desperate. Although it doesn't justify what Spike tried to do, he was desperate not to lose Buffy. I think that at that moment it finally got through to him that she didn't want that intimate relationship with him any more, and he just couldn't face that. He thought that if he just touched her she'd give into her desire like she had been doing, but he was wrong. Buffy had gotten to the point where the discomfort of feeling what she did for Spike overshadowed the pleasure those feelings had given her-both physical and emotional. Sadly, it took Buffy having to kick him across the room for it to sink into Spike's consciousness. However, I will say that once Buffy did make him understand, if she'd been dealing with an earlier version of "Spike" that he might not have just looked at her with horror from across the room as he realized what he'd just done, and the ramifications of it. An earlier Spike might have reacted more in anger from the rejection, and then plunged head on to try and force her into sex. These are two people who were capable of throwing each other across the room, and if Spike had really wanted to, he could have started having a vicious fight with Buffy. Notice that he never once went into a vamp face, even when Buffy threw him across the room. So, I am not condoning what Spike did by any stretch of the imagination, but I am saying that if he wanted to "rape" Buffy, he was certainly capable of coming back at her with enough force that it would have been a terrible fight. But he didn't. As painful as it was, he finally realized that the only thing that would ever make him even possibly acceptable to Buffy was a soul, and so he went and fought for one-and also keep him from hurting "the girl." Now, I don't think its fair to use that last fight that Spike had with Buffy after he came back against him, because Spike was emotionally messed up himself at the time. He just didn't want Anya to open her big mouth about perceiving his "soul." Anya was a demon again, and she had just said she was going to kick Spike's a**, and I don't think she needed Buffy's help-she and Spike could have fought it out, and then maybe Buffy and Xander could have kept the woman from leaving the club, or realize she had left sooner. I think that Buffy wanted to take a shot at Spike, so she did. She had alot of unresolved anger, and a lot of conflicting feelings-she wanted the shot as payback for Spike's assault, but also, I believe, for betraying her trust, and leaving her on top of it all. I think Spike also realized that, because then he provoked Buffy by trying to convince her that he had totally reverted back to the Spike who had first come to Sunnydale-which is what Buffy really wanted to believe, since that is exactly what she said to him-and that would make it all so much less complicated, because then she'd have a perfect reason for being against him once again. Notice, though, that Spike only struck Buffy once, and after he smarted off, he totally allowed her to start beating him down-just like she used to-but she was interrupted by the fact the woman they were trying to help had run off. So, Buffy wanted to punish Spike, and Spike wanted her to. Later she would find out that Spike was being punished far more than she could punish him, but instead of gloating and telling him he deserved to suffer, she wept-and so did he.
Going back to SR, Spike had failed miserably. He not only hurt Buffy physically, but that wasn't the main thing. The one thing he did have left with Buffy was her personal trust. Since Buffy did take Dawn to Spike's crypt even after that incident, he obviously still had some of her trust. If it hadn't been for the look on Buffy's face when she found out from Clem that Spike had left I would have though that she was bringing Dawn over under the old "law," where Spike is basically ordered to watch Dawn, or else.
So, Buffy and Spike are both guilty of not facing the music concerning each other, in a lot of ways. Buffy still, even after being angry at Spike for assaulting her-and rightfully so, concerning that-still seemed to want to have it both ways with Spike. She wanted him to fulfil her needs when she needed him to, and then she wanted to just put him on a shelf and not be bothered with him until the next time. Even if it wasn't a sexual thing when she showed up with Dawn, it amounted to the same thing. She needed something from him-to watch Dawn. As Spike pointed out to her in AYW, she was always changing the rules. She was shocked to find out that Spike was no longer there to play along after their big confrontation. Buffy was used to playing "kick the Spike," and was shocked when Spike finally decided that he no longer would allow himself to be kicked.
I am glad that the characters were taken beyond that by the writers. I am sorry, though, that some fans can't seem to recognize that they were written as recognizing what they did wrong concerning each other, and forgiving each other, so why can't some fans?
First and foremost I do want to touch on the Dutchess question. I am not positive on the exact date but I think some where around January SMG did say she would not be doing Buffy season 8. She was walking away. At that point there was talk and speculation of what would happen to the show. So yes SMG quitting did pretty much end the show. There was talk of a Faith Spin off but E. D basically chose Tru Calling instead.
As for the soul issue Buffy was dating Angel at the time so one can assume she would have some inside insight on souled or un souled situation. I'm not going to give you a pass on this one but I guess it comes down to a matter of perspective. Angel spoke enough of his life in the past as Liam. He speaks in the first person so one would assume it him. Maybe it's just me to but isn't your soul you. I mean your soul is who you are and everything you are so to return your soul would be .....????
As for if Spike was The Doctor or not. I believe he was and that's not because I'm anti Spike. Buffy ends the episode obviously believing Spike to be the doctor. The other side to this is Riley. If Riley had the information on where the Eggs were and that was accurate one would have to assume he would be accurate on the rest of his info. Again it's perspective.
Now you yourself aren't disagreeing that Buffy and Spike's relationship was abusive. I'm not arguing she was just as abusive to him as he was to her but that just goes to prove my point destructive relationship is bad. They don't belong together.
Cil I basically read what you said and you make some valid points but the problem with these shows is they are full of contradictions with in the show. Maybe Buffy was wrong when she told Billy Fordman that. The argument remains open but just to clarify what I think. Angel with his soul was still the vampire but is inside the same person he was before he met Darla. Same for Spike. He got his soul back and I assume he was the whiny poet who wrote before he was sired. I remember the scene where Angel gets his soul back for the second time. Willow puts it in and he looks at Buffy wondering what's going on. He recognizes her and he is back. So one would assume it would happen the first time when the Gypsies did it. If it isn't his soul? Where did it come from? SoulsRUs?
As for Season 6 you mention that Buffy needs to get her head out of the sand and have a talk with Spike about where she is and what she is feeling. All of season 6 was about Buffy bottling up what she felt and keeping it inside. She didn't talk to anyone. Season 6 Buffy didn't let her defenses down much.
You go after Buffy and Xander a little in seeing red and I want to pick up there sword and defend them for a moment. Through out the show Xander has never considered Spike a friend. Some he would fight along side, an ally maybe but deep down he never liked him. So when he saw Spike and Anya together your natural reaction would be pain and anger. Should he have dealt with it better. Totally. You get angry you don't pick up an axe (maybe if you live in Sunnydale) but the pain of being wronged I get it. Now with Buffy I think she was there to stop Xander from killing Spike.
Again I hope Im not offending here but I have to say I think you are going to a little dangerous place when you say that Buffy should have asked Spike to wait down stairs in the bathroom scene. That maybe had she done things different he wouldn't have done what he did That to me smacks a little to much of the guys in the 60's who would say well did you see the way the girl was dressed she was asking for it. So please don't be offended but I would really rather just step away from that one.
Next I want to address the Spike with out Buffy he was alone thing. He is a vampire. He kind of should be alone. I know that probably comes off as cold thing to say but has anyone ever taken in the fact that when he was sired he chose to separate himself from the living. This isn't just a Spike argument. I'll say the same thing about Angel or hell that stupid glittery vampire Edward. Vampires belong with vampires and humans belong with humans. We are having sympathy for someone who I'm not sure deserves it. So I'm sure I'm going to get hate for saying this but you say with out Buffy Spike would be lonely but how is that Buffy's problem?
Lastly I want to address the forgiveness thing.I actually wrote something about this a week ago. Why can I as a fan forgive Spike for what he did? Honestly I think there is to much forgiveness in Sunnydale. It seemed a little unrealistic to me that you can just turn the knob and forgiveness flows so freely and non stop. Now there are varying degrees to forgiveness. I can forgive Tara for casting a spell on the scoobies so that they couldn't see Demons. I can't forgive Anya for killing 1000's of men through the years. I can forgive Buffy for trying to killing her friends in the basement but can't forgive Angel for kiling Jenny Callendar. In Sunnydale you couldn't hold on to everything cause at some point everyone on the show has had the taste of evil in there mouth. So you have to pick and choose who you want to forgive and who you don't.
Anyways thanks for the feedback it's late I'm tired Peace All.
I will always think that the writers and Joss Whedon made a very bad decision on using the AR for the plot device to finally breakdown both the couples and their abusive relationship. Especially since Buffy played such a big part part in all that happened. Using rape is the guaranteed Red Signal and Moral Degradation when applied to a character. Frankly, it's amazing that Spike was able to be integrated back into the series. The only reason that I think his return story was able to succeed at all was because of the horrible and tragic mutually abusive relationship. The writers took a big chance, but I think they knew the outstanding performers they had with James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Gellar, if any two could make it work post the AR, it would be those two with the great screen presence and charisma they had. The writers knew that they would lose a great many of the viewers who would turn against Spike and never accept him again. But they also knew the quality of the viewing audience and the powerful and compelling exploration they had presented in the BS relationship. They counted on viewers to accept the depth and complexity of the story they were telling with Buffy and Spike - that their story would ultimately be understood and accepted for its complexity. That the attempted rape developed from all their history together and that these were two extremely passionate and physically powerful characters who very easily lost themselves to violence.
As far as "As You Were" - I still maintain that Spike was not this super master arms dealer The Doctor. It's, IMO. utter nonsense to think that Spike was running arms or dealing in Demon Villains for Sale. Would Spike have been taking care of the eggs for hire - yes that is something that we would have done. If he was really the master mind behind the deal, is it even remotely logical that we would not have known that the eggs needed to be kept at a specific temperature? The answser is NO - an arms dealer, big enough to bring in the level of responders that Riley and Sam represented would ever have made the stupid mistake with their highly valuable product. It make no sense that Spike was The Doctor arms dealer - it's not even logical that those eggs would have been down there and not have been kept frozen.
Riley: "Suvolte demon. Rare, lethal ... nearly extinct, but not nearly enough. It's close." And Spike just happens to have access to this creature - "We've been tear-assing through every jungle from Paraguay up, taking out nests"
Riley: "We're gonna need more weapons. Spike screwed up. You didn't keep 'em frozen, did you ... Doctor?"
South American - the land where jungles freeze so that Suvolte demons eggs can breed in safety?
Now if we are going to disregard logic and just accept everything that Riley tells Buffy is Gospel, that is certainly one way to go and Spike will have been converted into master minding arms deals and selling demons for great profit - never mind that there are never any electronics shown in that crypt to support the premise that Spike is running a business. Look at the crap that Spike lives with - getting junk from the dump and we are asked to believe and accept that he also has the capacity to run arms.
No, I still believe, as the other members in the groups here know, that "As You Were" is an exploration of Buffy's mind and her emotional trauma and what the writers describe as depression. Read the script and look at the words that are used, look at the visuals, look at the behavior of Buffy, it painful to watch their first scenes and how she melts down into her pathetic ex-girl persona. I get piss off and disgusted and sad everytime I think about her conduct in this event - But that is exactly what I am suppose to feel because this is what is living inside her mind. Demon eggs that escape the confines of her mind and are eating her alive, killing her and Spike both. Why do you think that Mr. Perfect Husband and his Mrs. Perfect Wife are the metaphor and visuals and that Spike's home, where Buffy has used him in the most shameful way possible. Talk about emotional mind games and inner demons made flesh - this episode does it in grand style.
Xander Hoffman said:
Thanks, I didn't know that.
Can we say Spike was or wasn't the Doctor beyond a shadow of a doubt. NO. That being said it got me thinking. I looked to other message boards and wanted to see what other people thought and I have to admit there was a good amount of people who felt the same way you did. Using the argument that Spike the guy who picked through Sunnydale's Dump wasn't connected enough to run an international operation. There was post though that someone wrote I copied and thought it did an okay job at countering some of the points. Here it is.
1) Riley says "Money's been exchanged. There's a dealer in town, calls himself the, The Doctor."
That is all that we know. A "dealer" is just someone who has a product that other people want. Being in Sunnydale, Spike would have an easy time finding the occasional demon egg (he did this for Dawn inForever if you'll recall) so perhaps he sold them occasionally to interested parties. He was not trying to take over the world, he just wanted cash. No dedicated phone means that it's harder to trace you, and it's not needed for something like this. I've known a couple "dealers" in my sordid past. One was "professional" and had a cell phone. The other sometimes got a little extra and sold it to friends or acquaintances. The first one is now in jail, the second is now teaching High School. The moral is that phones are not necessary for illegal transactions, and can even be a liability.
This all fits in just fine with Spike being hated by the demons. He's killing them and/or stealing their eggs, after all.
Fact 2) Riley says "We're going to need more weapons. Spike screwed up. You didn't keep them frozen, did you... Doctor?"
Clearly Spike was just incompetent here. He didn't plan to destroy Sunnydale, and he certainly didn't plan to destroy his own crypt. He just didn't know that you had to keep the eggs frozen. Heck, he may not have known how dangerous the creatures were. He might have simply heard that they were valuable, made a contact through the black market, and arranged to sell them without ever knowing or caring what the buyer would use them for. Remember, he's still evil and soulless at this point.
The Doctor was never reported to be freezing the eggs, Riley just assumed that he would be because that is how it should be done. Also, he was never called powerful or well connected, just a "dealer".
As for the name, it may well have no connection at all to "Doc" from season 5. And if it did, then perhaps Spike used it (consciously or not) as a reminder of his failure. Think of Malcolm Reynolds calling his ship "Serenity".
And as for not getting in trouble/debt: if we assume that Spike has learned a little more about dealing with underworld/black market types since Tabula Rasa, then we can assume that everything was handled through middlemen. So that leaves the simple task of shifting blame to (or killing) the middleman and everything's fine.
Anyway, in the final analysis I see no reason to think that Spike wasn't "The Doctor." It makes sense in relation to the storyline and to the character, and I can see no contradictions anywhere
Okay so last thing I want to say on this whole Spike is Doctor or he isn't subject. Let's say that at the end of the episode you find out that Spike was telling the truth. The real Doctor steps forward and you find out Spike is just watching them or acting as the inbetween on the whole demon Egg thing. It still doesn't wash his hands of the situation. It's like the guy on the corner is guilty of selling drugs but the guy who pays to smuggle the drugs in the country is just as guilty. Anyways I don't expect a response one way or the other cause again this is another perspective thing. I will always naturally assume Spike is and you won't. Love of the character.
Last point I want to address is coming back to the forgiveness thing. I am equal opportunity on this whole forgiveness thing. It always bothered me that Giles could so willingly work with and forgive Angel after killing the woman he loved. But I hated that Xander could so willingly just look at a woman who has a past that was filled with death and pain and murder. So at least I'm equal opportunity on this forgiveness thing.
Dutchess I think it's amazing and says something about you that you endorse just forgiveness for everyone. The world might be a better place if we were less likely to hold on to grudges. For that I give you big time props. My only point was that it seems a little unrealistic to me that everything would be forgiven. My question is what would you have to do in Sunnydale to make the scoobies throw there hands up and say nope never going to forgive you.
If the risen Master came to them in season 2 and said I've learned my ways and I'm really really sorry I love all of you so much now lets go find some puppies and eat ice cream. Would the scoobies have been all Yay Master Good?
Sure, I can see Spike selling the occasional demon egg to make money. But to quote Cil, that would hardly make him an international arms dealer "big enough to bring in the level of responders that Riley and Sam represented". And yes, I agree that if Spike wasn't the Doctor that doesn't mean he was blameless.
Concerning forgiveness and the example you gave: I think if the risen Master proved by his actions that he was really reformed and repentant, then yes, the Scoobies would accept that. I do think it would take a while (possibly forever) before they'd be ready to go eat ice cream with him though...
Spike as the arms dealer - I don't think so. Spike as becoming involved in this "deal" as a way to get quick cash, as I stated earlier, totally something that he would do. But is it a good plot development for the character within the context of how he lived during this time? Spike is not shown as having anything beyond bare subsistence levels of money - if it were that important to the character to have access to money, his living in Sunnydale would have been the last thing he would be doing. The Slayer and her inner circle would not have allowed Spike to set up an effective break and entry scheme. On the contrary, we have the encounter with Anya and Spike when it is disclosed that he sometimes uses his game face to scare people into giving him cash. It is stealing, absolutely. Nor am I not saying it was OK for him to shake-down people but again, how successful would it have been shown his life style in Sunnydale? Logic again, this is a business deal with the end goal to sell a product for profit, a product that was so important that it could eventually result in a war between humans and demons - and we are expected to believe that this vital "have to be kept frozen" was left out of the arrangements?
If the intended idea was that Spike is The Doctor who is selling these demon eggs for profit, the plot, IMVHO, did not work. That Suvolte demons existed in Sunnydale at least long enough to have lain their eggs and have those eggs hatch and that the demon under world knew about them and their sell-ability without also knowing the birthing cycle and conditions is a big stretch of logic.
I can totally see a scenario where Spike did try to sell demon part for profit, but the episode, the arc of Buffy and how she sees her relationship to Spike, her emotional trauma and depression, their past mutually abusive relationship and the resolution to that arc was done in metaphor and dreamscape imagery. This is not in anyway a stand alone episode, it is part of the entire exploration of the mental condition of Buffy Season 6 and her relationship to Spike. Mr. Joe Normal and Mrs. Joe Normal represent everything that Buffy so desperately tried to find in her life post Angel/Angelus with Riley. It is the metaphor for what in her mind is Loss, Pain, Suffering, Wanting to find Love and Connection with the world again. The Big Monster in all this is that she found escape from all that with Spike, and he was everything that she had been thought to despise, to see as evil and destructive to the human social order and her duty as The Slayer.
If you want to look for a connection to Spike as "The Doctor" and how that term connects with this episode of "endings" look to the earlier part of the season and how she had wanted and look to Spike to be her cure and help against for her life's problems. That is all finally destroyed, blown apart to use the metaphor of AYW. Look at what words Buffy uses when she goes on her last, and IMO, shameful use of Spike - LOVE. Love is what Spike wanted to give her and his LOVE was exactly what Buffy could not accept from him. Buffy was depicted as emotionally suffering from the trauma of being resurrected and having to learn how to live in this world again and tragically for both Buffy and Spike, it all went to hell when Buffy initiated and then used their physical bodies as an escape from her emotional trauma.
I realize that the AR is a touchy subject. I certainly do not think that Buffy "brought" the attack on herself, or caused it, and certainly did not deserve it. However, we all can be victims of our own wrong choices.
Just as an example, concerning an assault. Say a lady had gone somewhere, and she ended up staying later than she though she was going to. She has to walk to her car. There is a lighted way to her car, but there is a shorter way, but its not as well lighted. She's tired, and just wants to get home, so she decides that she will take the chance and go the shorter way. On her way to the car she is attacked by someone who was waiting in the shadows. Now, did the lady "ask" for it? Of course not. Did her decision to not take the safer route have any effect on her well being? Yes, it did, and she is responsible at least for choosing to take the route that she knew was less safe, knowing the risks. People do foolish things all the time. People still do foolish things like try to drive across railroad tracks when a train is coming, thinking they can beat it, and find out they were wrong-sometimes losing their lives in the process.
My scenario about asking Spike to leave and wait down stairs was just meant as a big "what if." However, I really do not understand why a young woman would let any guy just come walking into ther bathroom when she was in a state of undress-unless he was her fiance, or something-and especially if he was an "ex." I am an older person, but I have always thought that was not considered something that was acceptable to do. To be fair to Buffy, I also realize that she was being characterized as very tired and weary on a whole bunch of levels, and really didn't want to get into any kind of confrontation with Spike-either verbally or physically. So, even though Buffy didn't do anything directly that caused Spike to meltdown in the bath, the whole situation didn't just fall out of the sky, either. It was a process of things, and Buffy did make some bad decisions that contributed to the situation as a whole deteriorating. Yes, I realize that Buffy was not emotionally healthy, which also contributed to her bad decisions, but that doesn't change the fact that she made them, and suffered the consequences of them, and I am not just talking about dealing with Spike. I don't think it demeans Buffy just to point out that some of her decisions led to her suffering some bad consequences later.
I would also like to say that, without going into any detail, that being in an abusive relationship is something that I have experienced, personally, so I am not trivializing the abuse that went on in the Spuffy relationship. Xander, you believe that the fact that their relationship was abusive means that they don't belong together, but I don't see how that applies in the whole scheme of things. Buffy did get herself out of the relationship, and started to heal. Spike, too, started making the right decision, and got his soul, and then started to become a better person. Yes, these are all fictitious, fantasy people, but there is a real life lesson here, I think-Joss is big on those-and that is that a person can change, but one has to make the decision to change, and it's not easy. However, even if an individual has to make the changes by using their own will, having the support of others is also necessary. The way the story was written, Spike is a much different person "now" in the story than he was when he was first introduced. I guess the same can be said for all of them, really-maybe by different degrees. Therefore, I don't think its fair to judge Spike by the way he was back in season four, because he was not operating on the same level later. Spike is a flawed character, but so is everybody else in the Buffyverse. Buffy always judged Angel the way she judged other humans because he had a "soul," and she later applied the same judgement to Spike once he obtained his soul.
I really don't want to debate in circles about why the writers started out saying one thing about vampires, when that obviously wasn't how they all were characterized throughout the run of either Buffy or Angel. I can go and find dialogue where the characters contradict themselves, and scenarios that look very contradictory, too. I feel the most logical explanation is that they realized that having a bunch of "Luke" like vampires was not going to be very interesting over the long haul. If one goes and looks at many reruns of tv shows, you can see where they started in one direction when they first started off, and then changed it for the remainder of the series. Lots of times you can even see where characters had different middle names-heck, they've even written out characters and never explained why. It wasn't so glaring back before people only saw a show the first time, and then later on one rerun, because obviously the audience at large would forget it. In the Buffy era, when the shows can be seen over and over, and you also have a fan base that lives to dissect them, then all the inconsistences seem to be front and center. So, part of it I think is because they first weren't going to flesh out the vampires, and later changed their minds, but that is just IMO. Concerning Spike, though, Joss himself said that Spike was always designed to have layers. He wasn't going to be a one dimensional villain-a card board cutout of a run of the mill vampire designed only to exist long enough to appear on Buffy's radar just so she had a vampire to dust. Spike alone forced Buffy to rethink her black and white view when she discovered that he had almost allowed Glory to torture him to death rather than reveal that Dawn was the Key, because "anything happen to Dawn, it'd destroy her(Buffy.) I couldn't live her being in that much pain." So, Spike wasn't your run of the mill vampire. Buffy would have expected a vampire to join forces with Glory-not risk their own "life" to help even another vampire, must less the being that is supposed to be their worst enemy.
So, I don't really aspire to the idea that Buffy and Spike don't belong together because their relationship was destructive, because it wasn't always that way. By the end of the tv part of the series, they had a very nurturing, caring relationship. They didn't kiss, but they slept in each others arms, and we saw that Buffy caressed Spike's face, and also later we saw her caress his hands while he was sleeping. Does that mean that there aren't complications in maintaining a vampire/human relationship? No. Besides the complications of being a slayer, Buffy can't have children with Spike-if she indeed wants to(which we don't know, as I don't think they have every had Buffy say one way or another, mostly because she thinks she won't live to do that). She also will grow old, while Spike stays young, and at some point it probably wouldn't feel like a romantic relationship any more, because as she ages, the physical attraction would probably fade. Now, I actually think that Spike would still love Buffy, and would hang around because he did, but Buffy might not be comfortable with that as she grows older.
Concerning the tv Xander, I think that Xander probably is the only human guy-at least so far-that had any idea of how to cope with Buffy as a slayer. However, having said that, there is a difference between worrying about your dear friend's well being-even if you have loved that friend on different levels-and the well being of the person you are involved with romantically. So, if Buffy and Xander did get involved on a romantic level, it would put how they relate to each other concerning Buffy's slayer duties in a whole different category. One of the things that Xander seems to have adjusted to is his limitations as just the regular human. If he was involved with Buffy, he would be more inclined to put himself at risk, other than to just let Buffy handle it when it was a situation where he definitely could not do anything but possibly get himself killed if he tried to fight.
One of the advantages that Spike does have is that he can fight along side of Buffy, and, though he isn't invincible, he is a lot harder to kill-under most circumstances-than a human is. Also, its not a matter of his ego, the way it is with Riley and Angel. Spike doesn't have to be the "leader," although he is capable of leading. He is more than willing to be Buffy's lieutenant.