Spike's Hero's Journey

by Beth (AKA Peggin, AKA SISTAH "Sweet on Spike" Beth)


(written before "I Was Made to Love You" aired)

I've decided that Spike is on the Classic Hero's Journey. I've become convinced that Spike's increasingly pathetic behavior of late is necessary (and will probably get worse before it gets better) because in most Heroes’ Journeys, the would-be Hero has to reach his lowest point, the Abyss, before he can perform whatever heroic task is in store for him.

Spike Received the Call when the chip was put in his head (as evidenced by Giles's remarks in "The I in Team" that maybe there was a higher purpose in Spike's now being able to fight only demons). Spike spent about a year Refusing the Call (evidenced a lot of places, but most clearly in "The Yoko Factor" and "Primeval"), which almost every Hero does before embarking on his Journey.

Another of the major steps is Crossing the First Threshold, which our Spike has done with his efforts to do good things. During "Triangle," he was helping people in the Bronze, even after Buffy shot him down and made it clear he wasn't earning any brownie points. Even in "Family," punching Tara in the nose to prove her humanity was a "good thing," in my view, because (a) he didn't have to do it, he could have done nothing and let everyone go on wondering whether Tara was a demon; (b) he knew that Tara's situation would be improved by knowing she wasn't a demon, and he was the only one in a position to do anything to prove it; and (c) he got nothing out of it other than a sharp stab of pain. In short, it was a completely selfless act.

Next, there's usually a Mentor and a Goddess—the Goddess being someone for whom the Hero feels an eternal and spiritual love. Not that it can't be physical, too, but it's not just about lust. I would say that, however reluctantly, Buffy is playing both of those roles. She's obviously the Goddess—just listen to what Spike said to Riley in "Into the Woods"; there’s so much more than lust going on there. She's also the Mentor because it is her approval he is trying to gain, her standards he is trying to live up to.

The Hero is usually hit with a Temptation, in the Form of a Woman, to stray from his path. In "Crush," Drusilla showed up and offered him the chance to regain 95% of his old life: he would still have been able to plan major world destruction (like he did with The Judge), and he would have been able to feed off of humans—he just would need someone kill them for him first. He was tempted, but in the end he resisted the Temptation and turned her down. His Quest (we don't know exactly what that is yet, but I'm guessing it will have something to do with saving Dawn) has become more important than the chance to regain the life he once had.

The ultimate proof of this, to me, will be if at some point either Angel shows up on Buffy, or if Spike shows up on Angel, and the two of them reach some kind of understanding—the vital "Father Atonement" aspect of the journey. I swear, if that happens, nobody will be able to convince me that I'm wrong about this.


Back to Essays