Asta 2

I Was Inspired to Analyze

For those of you who don't know, I've been rewatching Season 7 this summer. I've been writing some thoughts down as I go in the hopes of doing one big ol' post once I've completed my viewing. But, while watching Lies My Parents Told Me the other night I had some thoughts I just feel compelled to share now. If you are so inclined...



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.
  • Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Great insights into the episode! I agree with you that Spike was completely wrong in telling Robin that Nikki didn't love him - why is it so hard to believe that she could love both her son and her duty?

Also, a big YES to the notion that vampirism causes the worst traits of the individual to emerge. That seems to be true for all the major vampire characters we've seen on the show, and makes a lot more sense than the idea that they're bodies are completely taken over by a demon.

Is it wrong of me to wish that Mr. Goddard rather than Mr. Fury had penned the Spike portions of this episode as well as the Buffy/Giles scenes?
</i>Is it wrong of me to wish that Mr. Goddard rather than Mr. Fury had penned the Spike portions of this episode as well as the Buffy/Giles scenes? </i>

If it meant doing without the Oedipus Complex crapola, then another big YES!
See, I never got that Spike was telling Robin that Nikki didn't love him. My take was this: Robin's whole hangup was that his mother had, in his childish perception, chosen "the mission" over him. All his life, he had nurtured his revenge fantasies against her killer, but actually what he really resented was that he was not the only thing in her world. Any 4-year-old wants to believe that they are the center of their parents' universe, but his illusions were shattered early by his mother's calling and early death. Robin's deep-seated fear was that his mother didn't really love him enough, that if she had only loved him more, she would have stayed with him instead of going after Spike. We, and Spike, know that this is not the case: she quite probably loved Robin dearly, but her calling obligated her to hunt down the dangerous creature. She had a life outside of her son, an important life, but that doesn't negate his importance in her life as well. He just never got the chance to work that out for himself.

Spike, on the other hand, was the center of his mother's world, even as an adult. This had a lot to do with the era and the society in which he lived, since his mother quite literally had nothing else, no other life. After he turned her, he discovered that she resented him for it, and he had to stake her because what she became as a vampire was such a horrible perversion of their prior relationship, and revealed the bad sides he had never known existed.

When Spike taunts Wood with the line about Nikki not loving him enough to give up slaying, I don't think he's stating the truth, or even what he believes to be the truth, but rather what he knows is the root of Wood's insecurity. He's also telling him that, since his experience was quite the opposite, being at the center of your mother's world isn't as wonderful as you may think. Spike's telling Wood that it's time to get past his mommy issues, as he himself finally has.

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.

I agree with you about the love's bitch theme carrying over from pre- to post-turning. I don't agree about the violence and anger, though, since part of his conversation with Drusilla while they're making out in the sitting room involves him gushing about how they'll lay waste to Europe and destroy all the snobs (with Mummy in tow, of course).

Man, I'm just all kinds of contrary today, aren't I? ;)
I don't think you are being that contrary really. I actually agree with much of what you said. Especially regarding Robin's state of mind and his perception vs the reality of the situation. He was looking for someone or something to blame for his mothers death. Spike was the scapegoat. But Spike was correct in informing her that she was the Slayer, knew the risks, and died in the line of duty. Just as he was doing what any vampire would do.

I also agree that Spike was taunting Robin - feeding into his insecurities. As much as Spike grew as a character over the course of Season 7 he still seemed to relish rubbing salt in old wounds - especially when it involved someone he obviously did not like. I wish I could give credit for Spike getting over his own issues and trying to tell Robin to do the same, but I'm not so sure.

Spike, on the other hand, was the center of his mother's world, even as an adult...After he turned her, he discovered that she resented him for it, and he had to stake her because what she became as a vampire was such a horrible perversion of their prior relationship, and revealed the bad sides he had never known existed.

Fascinating take. I had not thought of it in those terms. And he did have to stake her because she was no longer the women he had known. And while I'm sure relizing she held some resentment towards him was as shock, I think he was wise enough to relize it didn't negate the love she felt for him. Interestingly, for the only time on the show, they chose to show Anne's human - true face - before she turned to dust. Maybe I'm worng, but it may have been a way to show Spike was not completely off base.

I don't agree about the violence and anger, though, since part of his conversation with Drusilla while they're making out in the sitting room involves him gushing about how they'll lay waste to Europe and destroy all the snobs

I agree and disagree with you here. All vampires by their very nature are killers. And, similar to his mum, he held resentments. In this case, towards society as a whole. I just question whether Spike would gained the reputation he had without the influence of his 'gang' or desire to please Dru.
I don't think you are being that contrary really.
Oh, good! I'd hate to argue with you in your own journal. ;)

I wish I could give credit for Spike getting over his own issues and trying to tell Robin to do the same, but I'm not so sure.

I know a lot of Spike fans were distressed by Spike's behavior here. I actually thought it was pretty classy of him to give a little helpful advice--however snarkily administered--and a simple warning bite to a man who had just tried to kill him in a very deliberate, carefully planned out vendetta. Spike's a blunt guy, souled or unsouled. I like that about him, even when it makes me wince.

I just question whether Spike would gained the reputation he had without the influence of his 'gang' or desire to please Dru.

It's probably my utter lack of interest in Fang Gang dynamics and history that makes me say so, but from what we saw in FFL he didn't seem to be egged on by anyone. It's always seemed to me that he nurtured his own personal brand of violence and rage, without much care for what the others thought of his methods.
I'm not sure there's really much canon to go on here, either way. It's most likely just a matter of perception.
I'm not sure there's really much canon to go on here, either way. It's most likely just a matter of perception.

ITA. It explains why the way I see it makes sense to me but I can also understand your take on it as well. But, that's what makes Buffy so great, the ability to have so many different takes on the same piece of material.

Having seen William in FFL and LMPTM, it just doesn't seem to me that he would be predisposed to some of the atrocities that both he and Giles have alluded to. It's my interpretation that he was 'egged on' in a sense out of his desire to please Dru and to gain the power and acceptance he never achieved in life. But, I relize this theory is in large part due to me filling in the blanks myself. Seldom is there canon to back up some of my wacky notions. :p
"I know a lot of Spike fans were distressed by Spike's behavior here. I actually thought it was pretty classy of him to give a little helpful advice--however snarkily administered--and a simple warning bite to a man who had just tried to kill him in a very deliberate, carefully planned out vendetta."

Yup. He's souled, not saintly. I wouldn't be much for a bonding session after someone tried to kill me either. That's why I never held it against the Scoobies for not greeting Spike with open...arms...immediately :)

Good analysis, asta and everybody. I like the idea that the demon freed up Anne's inner rage and gave her the ability to express it.

I think Spike's besetting sin or big issue was his need to form his identity around someone else. He couldn't work it out himself, he needed a focus and he changes to suit that focus. Cecily, Dru, Buffy...he tries to be what they want.
I agree and disagree with you here. All vampires by their very nature are killers. And, similar to his mum, he held resentments. In this case, towards society as a whole. I just question whether Spike would gained the reputation he had without the influence of his 'gang' or desire to please Dru.

I think this is a good point, because remember when Spike said he'd "give up the evil thing" for Buffy? Much of it was his nature, but most of it was his eagerness to please the woman in his life at the time.

Excellent analysis. It's a very complex situation, but I do feel that David Fury isn't always up to the nuances that such a subject requires. Mr. Goddard proved he was up to it in his first season as a writer, but he was a long-time fan of the show, and brought a different perspective to his writing.

Apparently Goddard did write some hilarious stuff for Drusilla in the flashback scenes, but they were cut due to time constraints. Damn.
Spike's mother did love him, I'm sure. It makes me think of several things, including Angelus, about Buffy: "To kill this girl, you have to love her", and D'Hoffryn, "Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain."

The things Vampire Mom said to him - I think they may or may not have been aspects of her human feelings toward him. I'm not sure it matters. The demon is going to say whatever is most hurtful, and that kind of pain is most excruciating when it's delivered by someone you love. It doesn't have to be true, it just has to cut to your heart.

In all of Spike's exchanges with Wood, the one that struck me hardest is when Spike replies, "I killed a lot of people's mums". I thought that was incredibly telling. That seems to be the kind of vampire with a soul he is. No "namby pamby boo-hooing" about what he did as a demon, because that what demons are about.

It's part bravado, of course, given that he really does not want to "hurt the girl" any more. But Spike has always been about the rush, the thrill. Even William, in his awkward, repressed way, clearly preened under his mother's rapt attention, during the "'twixt its wee beak" reading. He was even almost ready (during FFL) to hope for the approval of his peers, in spite of how clearly he was held in disregard. See, we get to write a lot of this stuff. William may have exhibited some of Spike's ADD: maybe he could never quite finish a book of poetry, or maybe he dropped out of any attempt to learn a gentleman's occupation. Fun, fun, fun. Plus you should see him naked, I mean, really.
I think even the 'I killed a lot of people's mums' was based on the current situation with Wood. Spike does feel remorse over his past. In Sleeper, he tells Buffy "I can barely live with what I did" and in NLM, he regrets the girls that he tortured and killed.

However, that's private and personal, and he's NOT going to share it with Wood, who is his enemy at the moment. It's telling that Spike lets Wood off because he acknowledges that Wood's anger is legitimate.

Angel does the same thing (sorry to compare you with Angel, Spike :) ). With Holtz, he agrees that he treated Holtz horribly and he regrets it, but that doesn't mean Holtz gets to kill him or Connor.
It's obvious from the start of the season that Spike feels guilt and remorse over his past actions. Yet, he's also logical enough to realize "Hello, Vampire, that's what we do". And let's face it, when he was turned, blood banks weren't exactly an option and he had to feed in order to survive.

Unlike Angel, he didn't wallow in misery for over a hundred years. Of course, Angel didn't have the advantage of the woman he loved caring enough to kick him in the ass when need be. :p Nor, was he constantly reminded about how much he was needed in the face of impending doom. I think all that helped Spike to come to the conclusion that he would just have to accept his past because reliving it would not accomplish anything. If he wished to atone, he would just have to look to the future.
Interesting how Buffy serves as a focus for both Spike and Angel. It's after Whistler shows Buffy to Angel that Angel starts to pull out of the funk.
Now, why can't everyone be as wise as us? :) Without Buffy Angel would still be wallowing in misery and filth and Spike would still be out every night leaving a bloody path in his wake. Buffy saved them from themselves. So much for the selfish, evil, bitca theory. :P
The wonder of us
I always tell everyone they would be much happier if they were either just like me or did what I told them. :)

It seems to be Buffy's gift. She calls out the hero in others...Willow, Xander, even Cordelia.