There are many aspects of Lies My Parents Told Me that I quite like. On the other hand, much of what I like leaves me a bit perplexed. This is a rare occasion (not counting dreams or cryptic visions) that we are allowed inside a characters head. As Spike relives his past, the audience is there with him. Even so, his reminiscences are clouded by his perception. And to further complicate matters, Spike’s ultimate interpretation of events does not, in my opinion, agree with what both he and the audience have witnessed. Is this the result of creative failure - the actors and writers not clearly conveying their intent? (Note to Mr Fury, if you are going to dive into the psychological motivations of your characters please, *please*, do not use Freudian theory. It’s as lame as Angel’s hair.) Or, could we be witnessing Spike yet again twisting the ‘truth’ to suit his needs. Maybe he and Andrew (who, as Storyteller showed, prefered the ‘reality’ of his imagination) are alike in that they are both choosing to see what they want to see. Even so, I'm not sure Spike is completely wrong in whathe chooses to believe.
Spike takes great pleasure in informing Robin that, unlike Nikki, his mother did love him. But, is this the truth of the matter? Is it so black and white? No. To begin with, I believe Robin’s mother did love him, but she was not able to put him first. While it would be easy to blame fate - she was the Chosen One and was unable to escape her duty - it’s also true that part of her probably relished that duty as have other Slayers before and after her did.
Secondly, did Spike’s mother love him as he perceived she did? I do believe Anne loved her son, yet, she may have also felt some resentment of him and his neediness. Those feelings remained buried until the demon allowed them to be released. In the first scene we see of them together, she did ask him to stay with her, seemingly to provide comfort, when she could have asked him to go. She also seemed genuinely relieved to find him home after being missing for several days. These are hardly the actions of someone who doesn’t care at all.
Further leading me to concurwith Spike that the demon was at work was her telling William, “I use to hate to be cruel”. This to me says that it was not in Anne to hate that such feelings made her uneasy. After all, if her previous demeanor had been all an act why not say ‘I pretended to be kind’?
Her calling William “a limp, sentimental fool” made me think about vampirism within the universe created by ME. Over the years, the black and white definition given to us by Giles in Season 1 has given way to shades of grey. It seems to me, after seven seasons of Buffy and four of Angel, that when one becomes a vampire, what emerges are the worst traits within that individual. These traits are then taken to the extreme by the demon within. There is Angelus’ selfishness, callousness and cruelty - hints of which could be seen in Liam. We have Dru’s childlike qualities and insanity. In LMPTM, we see Anne’s frustrations and resentments released. This doesn’t necessarily negate the fact that she loved her son. Only that there were times that she felt smothered by her son as well as perhaps societies expectations for her during that time period.
But what of William and his journey to becoming Spike? Think of Anne’s words to him. We know Spike is far from “limp”;), but he is, by his own admission, a “sentimental fool” - “love’s bitch”. Was that Spike’s worst trait as a human? I’m beginning to believe yes. There has been nothing to contradict that as a human he was a sweet, loving, devoted man who abhorred violence. It seems he was much the same after he was turned as he was before. His anger a result of his failure with his mother and his viciousness gained through experience in his years with Dru, Darla, and Angelus.
Ironically, his history of attaching himself to women - first his mother, then Dru, and finally Buffy - is a kinship he and Robin are loathe to admit they share. Robin states of Nikki “she was my world” to which Spike replies “And you weren’t hers”. Spike has questioned that of himself for over a hundred years. Neither man wants to face the truth of that possibility. Both buried the pain in their psyches. Both are desperate for a love that they question if they ever really received. If we are to assume Spike is correct in his analysis of his mother’s behavior (and I cannot wait for the DVD commentary on this episode in hopes that it will clarify), Spike had the advantage of knowing his mother in adulthood as well as time - giving him the opportunity to finally come to the truth. Robin had neither and is only left with more questions than answers.