God, I love this show.
I was a wreck when this aired last year. Sobbing, unwilling to even consider writing fic, furious that Spike was dead even though I knew he was coming back to Angel this year (and more than a little mad because that meant I had to watch Angel when I'd avoided it thus far). I'm not keen on a lot of S7 for various reasons, and I don't even begin to presume to start making any sort of mythological or philosophical arguments regarding the messages it conveyed. I'm always blown away by people who come up with all these global significancies becaues Buffy has never been about that for me. It's always been about the people. Though I might not have been able to sympathize with various predicaments that they went through (and yes, I'm one of the few that "The Body" leaves cold), I feel for what these people go through. Some, maybe, a little more than others, but there is not one character---on either show, really---who hasn't filled my heart in some way.
- Buffy, feeling so isolated and done with it as S5 wore on and then throughout S6
- Willow, and her constant conflict between what she thinks in her head she can be and what she feels in her heart
- Xander, trying to be so damn brave all the time
- Dawn, who finally won me over in S7's Potential
- Giles, struggling between an enforced sense of responsibility and instinct
- Anya, whose search for a sense of self hit me out of the blue in S7
And then there's Spike.
I'm an unabashed Spike fan. For a lot of reasons---incredible writing, incredible acting, tremendous character potential. Curiosity about him is the reason I started watching the show in the first place, though I was hooked long before that curiosity got sated. His arc, from William to Spike to Slayer of Slayers to his souled final incarnation, was one I found myself most intrigued by, the one I most identified with. The need to find the mask to best protect oneself from getting hurt again. The anger at getting hurt in the first place and the drive to lash out in response. The dichotomy of our inner selves and outer selves struggling to find an equilibrium (though, really, that's applicable to most of the characters). And so much, much more.
When they killed him last year, I was devastated. What an awful way for his path to end, I thought, when there's so much more yet to explore.
Well, I'm officially changing my mind. Because watching Chosen again, I get it. It was time. It was necessary. It was oh-so-fitting for this character. And it still breaks my heart.
I wasn't in a happy Buffy place last year, either, but going back and rewatching earlier seasons helped me alleviate that over the past year. Seeing Chosen again, though, made me ache for her in a way that didn't happen last year. I believed her in every single moment, and I was proud of her at the end, the same way I was proud of Spike. This was where the road led, and they handled it with grace and conviction, and that is always beautiful.
I'll admit, I don't really ship Spike with anyone other than Buffy, though I don't discount anyone else doing it (after all, that's their right). Sure, I read the odd Spillow fic, and even less occasionally a Spander. There was even a Spara fic in there once. I don't even read Spike/Dru fic, but that stems more for my intense dislike for Dru than anything else (OK, she's probably the sole exception to my comment above regarding being affected by everyone...oh, and Harmony). It's not that I'm so pro-Spuffy that I can't envision either with anyone else. It's just that in the show I watched (and I agree, everyone sees something entirely different when they see the show), Spike wanted Buffy. So, because I love both characters so much, that's what I support.
I've enjoyed this season of Angel, though I'm definitely a latecomer to this end of the fandom. I tried getting into Angel when it got spun off from Buffy, but to be honest, they took the two characters I was least interested in and put them on a show with a third character I cared little about, and I just couldn't make it after the second episode. Spike is the only reason I gave it another shot. Even then, it wasn't until Doyle's death and Wesley's appearance that I started to actually enjoy Angel.
While I'm enjoying myself, and while I'm thrilled to get more of Spike, the longer the season goes, the more convinced I am he should've just stayed dead. Especially after rewatching Chosen. The closure from a year ago was much better than the inconsistencies I'm seeing this season. Not that I don't understand why we're getting what we are, and not that I'm not laughing and crying along with the rest of the fans about the various episodes this year. But...I'm not sure it's enough for me.
I'm on the fence regarding The Girl in Question. I didn't hate it, but I didn't think it was so terrifically funny as other people did, either. I'm also relatively ambivalent as to the whole ship thing. I totally buy that Buffy would be caught up with The Immortal. Hell, if sluts of the century Darla and Drusilla thought he was God's gift, then what chance does Buffy have? I also buy that Spike and Angel would be as petty about the whole situation as they were; neither one of them is the king of maturity when it comes to keeping jealousy out of their relationships, now are they?
Do I wish Buffy would end up with Spike? Oh god yes. Do I think it's possible she could end up with Angel (though not on the show, because hey, no SMG and no more episodes)? Yep. Does it matter that I get resolution on this issue? Nope, not at all.
Because in the end, nobody's going to change their minds anyway. Bangel shippers are still going to imagine a world where Buffy and Angel have their perfect white wedding. Spuffy shippers are still going to pretend that the two go killing off into the sunset together. And everyone else is just going to continue with whatever UC they ship, because in those worlds, Tara never dies, and Oz never leaves, and Xander decides he's gay, and Giles realizes his life will never be complete without Anya in his bed.
And that's OK.
Because in my world, Spike finally gets to be happy. And Buffy finally gets to be happy. So I just make sure that they're happy together.
Which makes me happy.
Even though I'm still crying about Chosen. ;)