In the fourteenth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, well, that was uncomfortable, wasn’t it? If you’re intrigued by this, then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.
Well, what the hell just happened? I figured the show would have to openly address Spike’s feelings for Buffy soon enough, but like 50 million things just occurred, and I’m feeling overwhelmed as all hell. Can I just ask a lot of questions, half of which are probably going to be irritatingly rhetorical?
- Who killed everyone on the train? Are we supposed to believe it was Drusilla? Not that that isn’t a believable thing, but it’s never outright told to us. I suppose it makes total sense that it was her, but it seems like a strange thing not to spell out for the audience.
- Wait, so what did Buffy tell Willow to go take care of while she went off to confront Spike? That entire plot was just abandoned.
- So, I didn’t comment on this in the last Buffy review, but why couldn’t Dawn remember Ben changing into Glory? Ben clearly remembered the incident himself. Hmmm.
- Is this the start of Willow trying out more intense spells? I also didn’t comment on the fact that her teleportation spell affected her health rather adversely. Wait, is Buffy having her set a spell?
- I am leaving all of this here just so you can see my brain working, but I just fucking realized that Buffy had Willow rescind Spike’s invitation into her house. Hahahaha, I am smart, I swear. I KNOW THINGS.
- Why is Harmony even with Spike anymore? That’s not a criticism of her. It’s her choice. While I certainly laughed at the sight of her role-playing as Buffy, I then felt kind of sad for her that this is the only way that she can get Spike to pay attention to her. I kind of feel like this fits into the general idea of this episode, which is SPIKE IS REALLY, REALLY AWFUL TO WOMEN. Yes, that’s a good theme.
- This isn’t a question, but regardless of how shitty Spike is in this episode, I kind of like the growing friendship between him and Dawn. It’s cute, and I’m glad she finds comfort in it.
- Here’s a general question: WHAT WAS SPIKE THINKING? Before this, his general cluelessness was hilarious and entertaining for the most part. But in “Crush,” it’s taken to a horrifying and unsettling level, most of which is to exhibit just how unhealthy his obsession is. But honestly, how on earth did Spike believe that forcing Buffy to either admit he has a chance with her or DIE BY DRUSILLA was a good thing to do?
- Why isn’t Drusilla in everything? Like, for real, the second she appears in Buffy or Angel, that episode’s quality improves. She’s become such a fascinating, entertaining character to me, and I cannot get enough of Juliet Landau’s talent. Goddamn, that woman is incredible with this character.
You know, I just sort of realized that there’s a specific scene in “Crush” that subtly frames this episode. There’s that moment when Tara, Willow, and Buffy come out of some sort of literature lecture, and they’re discussing The Hunchback of Notre Dame. “All of Quasimodo’s actions were selfishly motivated,” Tara says, and it’s this brilliant commentary on what we witness here in Spike. I hadn’t been able to place my finger on what was wrong with the way he pursued her, and that’s it: his heard isn’t in it. He is genuinely trying to be good sometimes, but a lot of times he’s only doing it to get Buffy. That is the problem. It’s a selfish reason for being a good person, and Buffy can see right through it. Yet even when he gets the chance to express his feelings to Buffy, he speaks to her as if she owes him a relationship. This is Nice Guy Syndrome taken to a disturbing extreme. It’s kind of neat to me that the show isn’t hiding what a horrifying asshole Spike is being. We sort of explored that same notion with Xander in season one, but for real, Xander was never this bad with Buffy.
It’s just that I can’t get over the idea that Spike truly believes there’s an obligation on Buffy’s part to concede to him. That sense of entitlement is most certainly based in a misogynistic tendency of men to believe that women are owed to them, and then Spike adds this weird redemptive path he’s on to make it even more fucked up.
I think there might have been something to a Spike and Buffy relationship, but after this episode… sweet baby Jenny Calendar, this is not something I want to see without some severe soul-searching on the part of Spike. Ha, that’s a funny term to use because he doesn’t have a soul. GET IT???? But honestly, this episode has done a fine job of squashing any potential Buffy/Spike shipping on my part. Ew Spike. He really is gross.
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