|yourlibrarian (yourlibrarian) wrote in mind_over_meta,|
@ 2007-10-30 12:18:00
|Entry tags:||angel the series, spike|
Between the dotted lines
As buffyversetop5 is wrapping up its Classic Recs run this year, I will be interested to see if 2007 will bring more stories about a post-Shansu Spike. Given that AtS: After the Fall will start next month, the trend that seemed to build in 2005 may die out. There were stories about a Shansu!Spike before AtS S5 even started, but knowing what happens in the alley may change things. In any case I’m still hoping for a definitive version. I’ve read wonderful interpretations of Souled!Spike and Chipped!Spike, PreChip!Spike, newly-raised Spike, William, Jerk!Spike and Romantic!Spike. But so far, while there have been some enjoyable takes at Shansu!Spike, I don’t know if any of them have been completely satisfying. And I wonder if this is because, well, we really have no idea what he’d be like. We’ve seen all those other incarnations in canon, but from the sound of it we will never see a Shansu!Spike, so that one is left completely to our imagination.
I’m also wondering what it is I expect to see. It’s not true to say that there has been no difference among all those incarnations of Spike, but I do think he doesn’t actually change all that much, we just get to know him better over time. What little we saw of William prior to being turned is really not enough to know how much of him remains in Spike. The consensus seems to be that all his gentler, more civilized leanings come from the remnants of his human self and the self-challenging, restless, impetuous, and imperious aspects come from the demon. But it could also be that these things existed in William before, and becoming a demon merely allowed any societal restraints to be lifted. In some ways it comes down to who was right about William -- Spike or Angel -- during their fight in “Destiny.”
SPIKE: 'Cause every time you look at me... you see all the dirty little things I've done, all the lives I've taken... because of you! Drusilla sired me... but you... you made me a monster.
ANGEL: I didn't make you, Spike. I just opened up the door... and let the real you out.
I tend to believe they’re both right. Spike is very strongly influenced by whomever he admires and whose admiration he wants in return. I suspect part of this difference between them accounts for the difference in their relationship to their parents. Liam may have wanted his father’s respect, but not enough to become the son his father wanted. It’s hard to imagine William would have denied his mother anything had she made her wishes completely clear. And according to Angel, as well as the examples of people vamped on the show (Harmony, Holden, Lawson, Willow, Xander), who the person was before is altered but still fairly consistent with who they are afterwards, especially when it comes to their interests and the pillars of their personality. So while Spike would not have become Spike without Angelus influencing him, Angelus simply tapped into what was already in William’s nature.
One other interesting clue is in a seeming reversal in their behavior. One of the few things we know about Liam is that he was irresponsible. Angelus, on the other hand, was responsible. He did care about the things he did, and was also to some degree leading a group of people for long periods of time. His acts defined him. For a soulless killer, his version of responsibility was to lead and to plan. One of the few things we know about William is that he was responsible, concerned about his mother’s well being, about looking after her. Spike, on the other hand, was unconcerned about everything, interested only in having a good time. And we know planning wasn’t exactly his strong suit.
SPIKE: Just threw myself in. Thought it was a party. I liked the rush. I liked the crunch. Never did look back at the victims.
ANGEL: I couldn't take my eyes off them. I was only in it for the evil. It was everything to me. It was art.
It seems however that the real change was in what held them back. Liam was irresponsible because he didn’t want to live under his father’s yoke and cared only for his own interests. After his death no one controlled him and he could follow his own nature without constraint. William was responsible because he cared about certain people, something which ended with his mother but continued on with Dru. What ended was a social need to be responsive to the opinions of many others as opposed to only a few.
So if Spike had to return to human constraints, how would this affect him? We can see with the soul that he becomes more considerate, more tolerant of the people around him. He still doesn’t like being inconvenienced, and he’s only a little less outspoken, but his behavior with Andrew pre and post-soul is, I think, one of the best indicators of the change. The fact that he grows to care about Angel’s team and works relatively well with the Potentials is something that may well not have happened without the soul. However he is still a vampire, outside of many social boundaries, and not a real part of human life patterns. So what if he was?
For one, I think he’d go through a bad period of adjustment, but that he would adjust, fairly well in fact, provided he had people who cared about him and for whom he cared in return. It’s in his nature to make the most of any particular situation he finds himself in. He’s not going to like being constrained but he’s not going to angst over it forever either. I see it more as being a source of perpetual annoyance but one he learns to work around. I think he’s going to become testier than he was post-soul, because more things are going to irritate him than ever and, as often as he’s been around humans, he’s still going to find himself befuddled by things he’s never had to deal with before. I also think his mortality is going to affect him in philosophical ways. He’s died, and been prepared to die, a great many times. It’s very different however from knowing that he is in a long, slow, death arc. Death isn’t a possibility to be cheated, it’s a certainty to be faced. I think he’s going to become aware of things around him in a way he never was before. I think he’s going to find more solace in the company of others. I think it may even bring him some wisdom (as opposed to just insight). He’s truly seen it all and this is his final act. I think he’s going to go out grumbling, flawed, but at his peak. As Angel once said to Buffy, once you strip away everything else, what’s left? Just him.