Chris (chrisjournal) wrote,

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In re: Wisteria's question about unspoiled reaction to Beneath You

So, here I am, A., almost two days since you asked me this question on IM, and I think I'm starting to find an answer. The short form is: it was so good that I think I'm still reacting. Haven't yet been able to bring myself to read the discussion lists about the ep, because it felt so damned personal. I just haven't been ready to dissect the horrible perfection that was Beneath You (obtw, wonderous screencaps, as usual, Alanna).

Thousands of random thoughts have been bouncing around. I guess they will for days.

Here's one that keeps sticking with me: What a unique twist on "make me what I was." Lurky (aka Joss) did just exactly that, but certainly not in any way I'd have predicted. Spike has *literally* been made into everything that he was. Suffering from the biggest case of crossbreed multiple personality disorder...all on screen right before our eyes. In the space of 40-odd minutes, JM showed us at least a half a dozen "Spikes" and several "Williams" as well. We started with pitiful, crazed vamp-in-basement, talking to the rats. Even in that small bit of time, I think we saw flashes of William, the gentle Victorian we met in FFL -- perhaps what he'd have been had he survived Cecily's rejection. Then, we miss out on some things with him -- anybody else wondering which Spike was in charge when he got the notion to use a costume? My breath caught in my throat when the pre-DT S6 Spike appeared in Buffy's living room. I was elated! "Spike's back!" And then I was devastated in the hallway, when Afterlife Spike, the mature, helpful partner, quietly took responsibility for his actions and refused to make excuses. But where was his joy at Buffy's willingness to partner up with him? It wasn't until that Spike faced Dawn in the living room that I started to realize that something was truly off. His emotional reaction was like a child being castigated for something he knows he's done wrong. The mask was beginning to slip, so that I could see it for what it was. By the time they were out walking around, I just *knew* that this "mature Spike", an extension of the character we knew and loved in early S6, was an act, and that under the veneer, he was still the wrecked creature from the school basement. *Sob.*

I wrote in my little handy dandy 'notebook' (actually an open screen on the computer): "That's not Spike."

But when did ME really blow me out of the water with it? When, in reaction to the violence that came of his attempts to keep Anya's big mouth shut, S2 Spike appeared on the scene. (and damn! I was just sure it'd be Anya who learned of the soul, but I would have sworn she'd smell it on him *g* -- demons always seem to smell souls. And did anybody else's heart just go out to her at the hope in her face when she realized what Spike did? Or am I nuts and she was gloating and preparing to make some serious fun of him?)

I stood up in my living room and screeched at the TV: he's frickin got MPD. Why can't they see it? Why *won't* she see it? Damn. "What he was", indeed. I'll leave the picking apart of how *this* equates to "what she deserves" for some other time.

So, let's have it, then... who's up for a count of the "he"s that appeared Tuesday night?

William, as rejected by Cecily. Spike the Big Bad of S2-4. Didn't see a lot of S4, chipped Spike, but perhaps the S4 Restless Spike we got in the alley after Ronnie was converted back to manhood was our reference point to the 'person' he was then. Heroic S5 Spike was there a couple of times, as well. Especially in fighting Ronnie. We got a version of S6 Afterlife Spike there in the beginning, along with a bit of a Spike that's never been -- thus, the costume of the Brilliant (but fake looking) Blue. And then in the church, at the end, we got a *solid* dose of post-AYW rejected, used, and abused Spike. And we got a good deal of William commentary thoughout. I think that was the most powerful moment of the ep for me, that little dialogue about flesh and servicing the girl... sigh. And who *was* that hanging on the cross. I swear to you, it sounded very much like a child, approaching the altar, saying prayers learned by rote on his way to communion. Then the final stake in my heart: Love's bitch, hanging on a cross. All he's ever wanted, all anyone really wants, is to be loved. "Can we rest now, Buffy" To the very end, he is 'servicing the girl', fighting his madness in an attempt to help her understand until he is so worn that he cannot go on. He sounded so much like my older son. "I'm tired, mommy." The statement his motionless body sizzling against the holy wood makes about the degree of pain and anguish he is living with constantly is truly frightening.

Gahhh. I could go on for hours here. My head is *still* spinning out of control on this. I've heard a lot of folks postulating that the ship has now sailed, but my heart quakes. He confessed what he'd done to Buffy, and she actually *cried* for him. How many times *ever* have we seen her cry????

But the scene ended with him hanging himself on a frickin cross. I just don't think that can be good... Sigh. Thanks for asking, and for listening. Next time on As the Chris Rants: Moral Superiority in 'Beneath You'.

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