Friday, February 09, 2007


Spike is a classic example of a hero’s journey. Spike first appeared on Buffy as a bad guy who would eventually be killed off but instead turned out to be the one who saved the world and the girl in the final episode.

How did Spike go from bad guy to hero?

They writers put him through extreme pressure.


Spike started out as a villain. A punk rock vampire who treated people like walking happy meals and slayers as the really cool prize in the box. His rush was the kill and he kept it simple. Spike must feed. Spike must kill to feed. Spike was the essence of Evil. Not a good guy at heart. He didn’t have a heart. But Spike was very popular. For those of you who don’t know him think Billy Idol with an aristocratic sniff. So how did the writers turn Spike from bad guy to save the world?

1. They gave him a passion. Druscilla. Spike cared deeply for Dru as much as a man without a soul could. He would have died for her. And that gave him a tiny spark of humanity. Why did he love her? Because she was the first woman to treat him like a man and she saved him from his humdrum existence. “I may be loves bitch but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”

2. They gave him a back story. We find out that Spike was a poncey ickle mommie’s boy who spent his days writing poetry in hope to win his hearts desire. She tells him he’s beneath her (as Buffy does) and he goes off crying with a broken heart after being told that it would be better to have a railroad spike driven through one’s brain that listen to his poetry. Druscilla changes him at his weakest moment. He goes back, drive railroad spikes through peoples brains, which gives birth to his name. He goes home, tells his mommy, changes her, then kills her because he realizes he doesn’t want to have to listen to her anymore, nor does he want to for all eternity. Spike goes on a hundred year killing spree. “I don’t want to be this good looking and athletic but we all have our crosses to bear.”

The back story makes us sympathize with Spike. After all we’ve all felt geeky and unwanted at sometimes in our lives. And we would all love to have gotten revenge.

3. They set the stage for Spike’s return. But he’s a vampire and Buffy is a slayer. So how can they coexist? They put a chip in his head that keeps him at bay. He’s now a tame vampire. “We like to talk big…vampires do. I’m going to destroy the world. That’s just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You’ve got dog racing… Manchester United. And you’ve got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs.” So what do tame vampires do? Spike dreams about Buffy. She is after all the bane of his existence. He loves killing slayers but he can’t kill her because of the chip. He also becomes humanized. He gets hooked on Passions. He chats up Buffy’s mother. He drinks hot chocolate. He rummages through Buffy’s underwear drawer. He becomes obsessed with Buffy. Which is something we can all relate too. Because he is obsessed with Buffy he hates her. Why? Because Buffy emasculated him. He’s once again the weenie boy spouting poetry to the girl who thinks he’s beneath her. “I hope she fries, I’m free if that bitch dies. I better help her out.” Spike decides to kill Buffy no matter how much external and internal pain it causes him. Instead of pulling the trigger he comforts her because she’s crying over her mom’s death.

Spikes internal conflict is does he love her or hate her?

4. Spike does something wonderful. Spike promises to take care of Buffy’s sister Dawn. Something very human. Buffy dies (she comes back) so Spike keeps on watching over Dawn because he promised Buffy. “I do remember what I said. The promise. To protect her. If I’d done that…even if I didn’t make it, you wouldn’t have had to jump. I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course. But after that. Every night after that. I’d see it all again , do something different. Faster or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways…Every night I save you. Then just when Spike is the hero, or tries to be he does something so totally bizarre that reminds us that he is a vampire. He has sex with the Buffybot. He’s constantly at war with his inner demon. The human part which is growing stronger every day is fighting the vampire part.

More Internal Conflict.

5. Buffy comes back from the dead and Spike is able to hurt her now. Spike realizes that instead of him having to be good for Buffy, she’s bad like him. But she denies it. Which leads to internal and external conflict. So the conflict between the two keep building until they have sex and in the sex act they bring down a building. Which also reinforces that this is just a physical act. No love there because technically Spike can’t love because he doesn’t have a soul. So now Buffy is using Spike to do the nasty but he wants more. Then she decides he’s dragging her down so she rejects him and he tries to rape her because he loves her in his own twisted way.

Spike is tortured by his internal conflict. He believes that Buffy is his redemption.

6. Spike decides that he doesn’t want to be redeemed. Because he feels emasculated. And being a vampire is a big high for him. “If every vampire who said he was the Crucifixtion was actually there it would’ve have been like Woodstock. I was at Woodstock. I fed off a flower person and I spent six hours watching my hand move.” Spike takes off to the one place where he believes he can get the chip removed. But instead he gets his soul back. Now he’s really tortured. He sees the horrible things he’s done. He has a bout with insanity.

Character is what rises to the top when put under extreme pressure

7. Spike saves the world. Spike saves the world and Buffy because he knows deep down in his restored heart that Buffy will never love him. He did it for Buffy but ultimately he also did it for himself. He made the ultimate sacrifice. And in doing so he knew that Buffy would never forget him. And even after he became corporeal again he didn’t go to her. Because he wanted to keep the memory of Buffy considering him a hero alive in his mind and hers.


  1. Not my cup of tea. To each his own. It takes all kinds.

    Nothing about the tv show ever appealled to me. Nothing about Spike is in any way interesting to me. And I would not classify him as a hero at all.

    Probably doesn't help one bit that I think vampires are just plain icky.

  2. I wasn't a fan at first. IT wasn't until the show hit reruns that I watched it and only because I knew Marc Blucas. Then I became fascinated with Spike's character and realized the what a journey he'd be on. A great bit of writing And yes he was a hero. He did save the world.