Buffy, “Lies My Parents Told Me”

Peaches? Is that you?

By Sarah Kuhn
March 27, 2003

I haven’t called Spike “Peaches” since season 5. Truth be told, I haven’t really enjoyed the character since s5, with a few notable exceptions (“Tabula Rasa,” for example) sprinkled in here and there. And while I’m not quite ready to don my “Love’s Bitch” Fan Club beanie again, at least this episode plumbs the depths of this character in a new and intriguing way, providing for a nifty sequel of sorts to season 5’s “Fool For Love” and proving that Spike can still be an asset to the show.

In this ep, Giles offers up a device that he thinks may deactivate the trigger in Spike’s consciousness (the one Fake Odo has been making gleeful use of). Said device is a little worm thing that Wrath of Khans its way into Spike’s head and stirs up painful memories. We see him reciting shitty poetry as William, then newly-sired and courting Dru. We also learn that Spike vamped his mom — and once she became an evil creature of the night, he killed her. Meanwhile, Wood is still determined to take Spike down, and enlists Giles to the cause. While Giles distracts Buff, Wood lures Spike to his weird room full of crosses and prepares to kick his ass.

The flashbacks, while not as amusing as Angel singing “Mandy” in last week’s “Orpheus,” illuminate a new side of Spike, especially Spike-as-William, who is the biggest mama’s boy this side of the many Walton offspring. Naturally, these scenes are nicely juxtaposed with the vision we get of young Wood and his own mama (I could have done with a few more of those, actually). And I always love seeing Dru, whose icy glare and beautifully curved lips enliven theBuffy universe in a single gaze. The final encounter between Spike and his vamped Mumsy is disturbing, to say the least, but underscores an important point that’s been mentioned before: the vamped individual, sans soul, is merely a demonic shell. Spike has been a difficult character to reconcile, as souled Spike has a demeanor quite similar to non-souled Spike (compared to Angel/Angelus, anyway). I guess this is a way for Spike to start reconciling the heinous acts he committed as non-souled Spike with who he is now. Anyone else think that would make a good Oprah?

I couldn’t help but feel bad for ol’ Wood, though. Souled Spike! Is it really necessary to imply that Wood’s mommy didn’t love him? Yeah, so he tried to kill you, but then you kicked his ass and got some free therapy on the side. Throw him a bone. I’m also a little concerned about the increasing brittleness of the Buffster, but I imagine they’re going somewhere cool with it. My heart broke just a little when she shut the door in Giles’ face, though, especially as it made me recall touching Slayer/Watcher bonding moments from “Helpless,” “The Prom,” and so many others. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m pleased that Spike seems to be on his way to somewhere other than CrazySpike Land, and that he’s managed to pique my interest yet again. Not enough to call him “Peaches,” but these things take time.