Handling rejection as a sign of character growth: A comparison of Fool For Love and Crush

by Alane


When someone says that Spike is irredeemably evil and cannot change, I wonder what show he or she is watching.

Spike shows tremendous character growth during Season 5, and nowhere is it as apparent as when comparing affairs of the heart and they way that a wounded heart handles rejection in "Fool for Love" and "Crush."

Thanks to Psyche Transcript and Fan Fiction site http://www.psyche.kn-bremen.de/ for the transcript excerpts.

Both "Fool for Love" and "Crush" set up parallels between William/Cecily and Spike/Buffy.

In both cases, William/Spike is pressed by the lady in question to state his intentions. There's no evidence in either, really, that William/Spike would have confessed his innermost feelings if the woman did not broach the subject first.


CECILY: You and I? I'm going to ask you a very personal question and I demand an honest answer. Do you understand?

He nods.

CECILY: Your poetry, it's... they're... not written about me, are they?


BUFFY: What ... is this? (Spike stares at her) The late-night stakeout, the bogus suspects, the flask? (Spike raises his eyebrows)


Once he had that opening, however, he takes advantage both times.


WILLIAM: They're about how I feel.

CECILY: Yes, but are they about me?

WILLIAM: Every syllable.


BUFFY: Is this a date?

SPIKE: (loudly) A d- Please! (pretending to be amused) A date?
You are completely off your bird! I mean -- (quietly) Do you
want it to be?

Both women claim to be shocked (even invoking the name of the Almighty). One has to wonder, however, how much of a surprise it should have been for Cecily, since she already had had strong suspicions based on the poetry. And Buffy had already been tipped off by Dawn, and started to put the pieces together for herself.


CECILY: Oh, God!


Buffy makes a little groan, with an expression of disgust. She moves past Spike back into the warehouse.

BUFFY: (upset) Oh my God.

Neither Cecily nor Buffy wants to hear any more of the truth once they get it -- even though William/Spike begs each of them to believe that he can be good and that he is sincere. Both women cut him off.


WILLIAM: Oh, I know... it's sudden and... please, if they're no good, they're only words but... the feeling behind them... I love you, Cecily.

CECILY: Please stop!

WILLIAM: I know I'm a bad poet but I'm a good man and all I ask is that... that
you try to see me --


SPIKE: Something's happening to me. I can't stop thinking about you.

BUFFY: Uhh. (turns away)

SPIKE: And if that means turning my back on the whole evil thing--

BUFFY: (turns back) You don't know what you mean! You don't know what feelings are!

SPIKE: (offended) I damn well do! I lie awake every night!

BUFFY: You sleep during the day!

SPIKE: Yeah, but -- (through his teeth) You are missing the point. This is real here. I love -- 

BUFFY: Don't!

Then comes complete rejection, with both women leaving the room, and William/Spike left with nothing.


CECILY: I do see you. That's the problem. You're nothing to me, William. You're beneath me.

She stands and walks off, leaving William devastated and alone.


She puts up a hand to stop him. He sighs.

BUFFY: Don't say it. (Spike stares at her) I'm going.

She starts to walk toward the door again.

SPIKE: Oh, come on, we need to talk-- 

BUFFY: (turns back) We don't need to do anything! Okay, there is
no we! Understand?

She turns to leave.

SPIKE: Buffy.

She opens the door and exits. Spike watches her go.

After each rejection William/Spike goes to a place where he can
be alone to cry.  In both cases, Drusilla swoops in, offering him salvation. William/Spike is transfixed by her insight. In both scenes, he touches Drusilla's chest, where her heart would be beating, and he wants so badly to believe what she is telling him.


DRUSILLA :(smiles) Don't need a purse.

She points to his heart and head in succession.

DRUSILLA: Your wealth lies here... and here. In the spirit and... imagination. You walk in worlds the others can't begin to imagine.

WILLIAM is riveted by her insight into his character.

WILLIAM: Oh, yes! I mean, no. I mean... mother's expecting me.

Drusilla opens the collar of his shirt.

DRUSILLA: I see what you want. Something glowing and glistening. Something... effulgent.

WILLIAM is beside himself. Finally someone who understands him.

WILLIAM: (sotto) Effulgent.

DRUSILLA: Do you want it?

William has never wanted anything more.

WILLIAM: Oh, yes! (touches her chest) God, yes.


SPIKE: Right, so you've heard. Poor Spike's become a cautionary
tale for vampires, right? "You better be good, kiddies, or else they might wire you up someday!" (Kicks something across the room)

DRUSILLA: I don't believe in science. All those bits and molecules no one's ever seen. I trust eyes and heart alone. (Walks over to him) And do you know what mine is singing out right now?

She takes Spike's hand and puts it over her heart. He stares at her.

DRUSILLA: You're a killer. Born to slash ... and bash ... and... (gives a little gasp of pleasure) oh, bleed like beautiful poetry.

Dru breathes faster, getting excited. They turn in a circle, still with Spike's hand on her chest.

DRUSILLA: No little tinker-toy could ever stop you from flowing.

SPIKE: (whispers) Yeah.


SPIKE: (shakes his head, removes his hand from her) But the pain ... love, you don't understand, it's ... it's searing. It's, um, blinding.

She puts her hand on the top of his head and pulls it down toward her.

DRUSILLA: All in your head. I can see it. Little bit of ... plastic, spiderwebbing out nasty blue shocks. (moves her fingers across his head imitating a spider) And every one is a lie. (Spike keeps his head bent) Electricity lies, Spike. It tells you you're not a bad dog, but you are.

She runs her hand around behind his head and then across his face, takes his chin and lifts it to look at her. Spike growls. They gaze into each other's eyes.


In "Fool for Love, William surrenders himself and his spirit to the darkness that Drusilla offers him. For more than a century, he is hers, and he sets out to be the evil creature worthy of her decision to choose him as her "boy."

Initially, it appears that he is going to follow the same pattern in "Crush." Spike and Drusilla go to The Bronze, where they stalk a couple of lovers. Drusilla snaps the woman's neck and throws her over to Spike, while she feeds off the man. Spike is reluctant to drink from her, but with Drusilla's prompting, he does.

Then, back in his crypt and with the young woman's fresh blood still on his lips, he allows Drusilla to shock Buffy into unconsciousness. It appears at this point that Spike has returned to his evil ways.

Has he? He does chain up Buffy and begs her to give him a "crumb" that he might one day have a chance with her -- or otherwise get fed to Drusilla, whom he also has shocked and tied up.

Ultimately, however, when Drusilla gets loose and threatens to eat Buffy for real, Spike pushes his former lover to the ground -- despite the fact Buffy has already told him that he will never have a chance with her. He unlocks Buffy, and he stands by her side, ready to face off with Drusilla, if necessary. But she pronounces him "so lost" and leaves.

At this point, Spike could run after her and scream for her to take him with her. He could beg her not to leave him, even as she does.

But he doesn't. Amazingly, he shows no interest at all in Drusilla, the women he had called the "face of my salvation." Instead, he stays with Buffy.

And how does the Slayer react? The same way she does in the final act of "Fool for Love."


The tension is rising between them.

BUFFY: Spike...

His passion aroused, Spike leans in to kiss her. She backs away in horror.

BUFFY: What the hell are you doing?

He grabs Buffy by the arms, his words coming in a breathless pant.

SPIKE: Come on. I can feel it, Slayer. You know you want to dance.

BUFFY: Say it's true. Say I do want to.

She shoves him to the ground and looks down at him with disgust.

BUFFY: It wouldn't be you, Spike. It would never be you.

She tosses the wad of cash at him contemptuously.

BUFFY: You're beneath me.

Buffy turns and walks off into the night, leaving Spike alone in the dark alley.



Buffy turns to Spike. He takes a deep breath and looks at her, anticipating.

Buffy punches him in the face. He goes flying backward into the Buffy Shrine, bringing the mannequin and all the pictures crashing down.

Buffy turns and walks off.

But, just as Spike has a different reaction from William, he has a different reaction in "Crush" than he did in "Fool for Love, just three months before.

In "Fool for Love," Spike -- relying on his vampiric impulses -- was ready to once again kill Buffy for the indignities he has suffered.



He begins to gather up the money, stifling a sob. As Buffy's words ring down through the years, he becomes the same spurned and awkward young man he once was. Her words have hurt him more than her blows ever have. He closes his eyes in anguish, takes a deep breath, and when he looks up again, only murderous hate remains.

In "Crush," he harbors no murderous rage, no desire to do violence against the woman who has rejected and humiliated him -- and who, by knocking him down -- once again reminds him who has the physical advantage.


Spike sits up, covered in Buffy pictures, and sighs.

No anger. Just a sigh.

Spike, the soulless vampire, shows better judgment than the human William, who allows himself to be totally consumed by Drusilla. This is character development.

Spike, the supposedly irredeemably evil vampire, shows he has no longing for violent revenge against Buffy, as he had so many times in the past. This is personal growth.





Spike throws open an old trunk and starts searching through the contents. HARMONY looks at him with concern.

HARMONY: Spike, what are you doing?

SPIKE: (to himself) Beneath me... I'll show her.

He takes out a double-barreled shotgun, cracks the breech and loads two rounds.


Put her six bloody feet beneath me. Hasn't got a death wish? Bitch won't need one.


Cut to: Buffy walking quickly down the street near her home.

Spike runs up behind her.

SPIKE: Buffy! Come on now, stop.

He reaches her and begins walking by her side.

SPIKE: You can't just walk away from this.

BUFFY: What part of punching you in the face do you not understand?

SPIKE: So we had a fight. It's not our first, love, and it doesn't change anything.

BUFFY: (stops walking, turns to him angrily) It changes everything, Spike! I want you out. I want you out of this town, I want you off this planet! You don't come near me, my friends, or my family again ever! Understand?

She walks off. Spike shakes his head and follows.

SPIKE: No, it's not that easy. We have something, Buffy. (Buffy is walking up the stairs to the front door of her house. Spike follows) It's not pretty, but it's real, and there's nothing
either one of us can do about it.

Spike doesn't want to harm Buffy. He doesn't want to bury her six feet in the earth beneath him.

He just wants to talk it out in an adult manner. As equals.

How very sensible. How very human.

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