The Best Spike Episodes From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The Best Spike Episodes From Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Posted 2024-02-10 by Marisa Quinn-Haisufollow
Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). Mutant Enemy Productions. Image Link.

Buffy Summers: "Do we really need weapons for this?"
Spike: "I just like them. They make me feel all manly".

Spike and Buffy, "School Hard", Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Spike (played by James Marsters) was a fictional character and one of the main cast members on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike is a vampire who is famous for having bleach-blonde hair and for wearing a long leather jacket. He is legendary for having killed two Slayers in his lifetime and for having a history of torturing his victims with railroad spikes.

Spike appeared in over 100 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and several comic books and tie-in novels. He was first introduced in season two as a 'Big Bad' villain but came back in future episodes to play an anti-hero, trickster, and then a romantic interest. He always had a funny one-liner to say, which were often delivered dripping in sarcasm, which made him a favourite among fans. Spike was never meant to be a recurring character, but he proved immensely popular with fans, due in part to Marster's amazing performance. Spike became such a breakout character James Marsters won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor in a TV series in 2000 and 2003 and was nominated for the award in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Spike was placed first in SFX's "Top Vampires in Television and Movies" list and appeared in Forbes magazine's "Hollywood's Most Powerful Vampires" list alongside Angel.

In 1999 Spike won a TV Guide Award for "Scariest Villain" and in 2017 Spike was included in a list of "25 Villains We Love To Hate from the last 25 Years" for the 25th anniversary of Syfy. There are a lot of reasons to like Spike. He is an anti-hero who has a dry and sarcastic sense of humour, he is intelligent, carries himself with a swagger, is fiercely loyal, does not fear Slayers, and is unafraid to love deeply. In this article, I will be reviewing some of the best Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes that featured Spike.

1. School Hard

Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “School Hard.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video).
Link to YouTube.
Episode Details: Season Two, Episode 3
Air Date: 29 September 1997
Written by: David Greenwalt and Joss Whedon
Directed by: John T. Kretchmer
Best Quote:

“You were there? Oh, please! If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock. I was actually at Woodstock. That was a weird gig. I fed off a flowerperson, and I spent the next six hours watchin' my hand move.”

Spike, “School Hard”, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Spike's first appearance was in the season two episode "School Hard". He arrives in Sunnydale accompanied by his sire, Drusilla, to attend The Night of Saint Vigeous, a holy night of attack for vampires, and to meet the Anointed One, the local ruling vampire, who was sired when he was still a small child. Spike offers to kill Buffy for the Anointed One, bragging that he has killed two Slayers before, so that the Night of Saint Vigeous can come to pass.

The Anointed One agrees to let him try, so Spike puts together a gang and begins plotting how he is going to kill Buffy. He goes to a local nightclub, named the Bronze, where he spots Buffy dancing with her friends and watches her from the shadows. Intrigued, Spike sends one of his minions to attack her. After Buffy slays him, he steps out and introduces himself, and tells her that he will kill her on Saturday. But then he gets inpatient and decides to attack her at her school on Thursday night during Parent-Teacher night instead.

"School Hard" is a great Spike episode. James Marster's performance is absolutely electric. Spike oozes bad boy charm and a punk rocker vibe. He is eager to kill Buffy and goes after her like a wild animal. I love the fight scene that happens between them at the school. When Buffy asks him if they really need weapons for this, Spike's reply and his body language really says a lot about his character. He gets excited by violence and death. It's all a game to him and he is eager to add Buffy to his score.

Unknown to Spike, there is something different about Buffy, that sets her apart from other Slayers that he has faced. She has family and friends. He's never encountered that before. He discovers this in a very painful way, when Buffy's mother, Joyce, creeps up behind him and whacks him on the back of the head with the blunt end of an axe and tells him to stay the hell away from her daughter.

2. Fool for Love

Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “Fool for Love.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video). Link to YouTube.
Episode Details: Season Five, Episode 7
Air Date: 14 November 2000
Written by: Douglas Petrie
Directed by: Nick Marck
Best Quote:

"The only thing about the dance is, you never get to stop. Every day you wake up, it's the same bloody question that haunts you. Is today the day I die...? Death is on your heels, baby, and sooner or later, it's gonna catch you... And part of you wants it... not only to stop the fear and uncertainty, but because you're just a little bit in love with it... Death is your art. You make it with your hands day after day, that final gasp, that look of peace. A part of you is desperate to know... What's it like? Where does it lead you? And now, you see, that's the secret. Not the punch you didn't throw or the kicks you didn't land. She merely wanted it. Every Slayer... has a death wish... Even you... The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world... Your mum, brat kid sister, Scoobies. They all tie you here, but you're just puttin' off the inevitable... Sooner or later, you're gonna want it. And the second, the second that happens, you know I'll be there... I'll slip in. Have myself a real good day... Here endeth the lesson. I just wonder if you'll like it as much as she did."

Spike to Buffy, "Fool for Love", Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the season five episode "Fool for Love" we learn about Spike's past. After Buffy is almost killed by a regular vampire, she goes to Spike to ask him how he defeated and killed two Slayers so she can learn from her mistake. Spike has been in Sunnydale for a couple of years at this point. Drusilla dumped him a while ago and he is no longer considered a 'Big Bad' by Buffy and the Scoobies ever since the government put a chip in his head that makes him unable to bite and hurt humans. Spike is more of an antihero and a trickster at this point in the show, who hangs around the Scooby gang for protection and to annoy Buffy and her friends. In season five, Spike has come to the realisation that he has fallen in love with Buffy, so when she comes to him in Fool for Love with her request, he is pleased to be given a chance to spend some time with her.

In a series of flashbacks, we see that Spike hasn't always been bad, before he became a vampire, he was a mild-mannered gentleman and an aspiring poet named William Pratt who lived in London in 1880. William was a sentimental and shy young man who lived alone with his ill mother, Anne. He had strong feelings about love and loyalty and liked devoting his time to creating things of beauty. He struggled to fit in among London high society, who often made him the subject of jokes, and even gave him the nickname 'William the Bloody' for his bloody awful poetry. After William is rejected by a love interest, he flees a party in tears, and bumps into Drusilla. Drusilla takes an interest in him and turns him into a vampire.

What's interesting about Spike is how after he is turned into a vampire, he still retains several of his human traits, like his capacity for loyalty and love. In the next few flashbacks, we see Spike as a vampire over the next century, slowly becoming more and more savage. In a flashback set in China, during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, we see him battling a Chinese Slayer, Xin Rong. Unlike Buffy, Xin Rong fights alone. Moments before he kills her, she begs him to tell her mother she is sorry, but Spike just snaps her neck and tells her, 'Sorry love, I don't speak Chinese'. Spike gets very excited over the Slayer's death and proclaims it to be the best night of his life. As he walks away from the carnage he created, holding Dru in his arms, he has an arrogant smirk on his blood-streaked face as China burns all around him. It's his rock star moment.

In another flashback, this time set in New York in 1977, we see Spike battling another Slayer, Nikki Wood, on a subway train. Spike looks a lot like a punk rocker now, he has his trademark bleach-blonde hair, and is wearing stone-washed jeans, piercings, and a leather shirt. He dances with Nikki on the train, whooping in excitement, before straddling the young woman and snapping her neck. As he looks up, he speaks to Buffy, telling her that he understands her, and that he knows she wants to dance with him.

Buffy is disgusted, and rejects Spike, throwing the money she'd promised to give him in his face, and then walks away from him. Spike begins to cry softly, feeling angry and humiliated, just like his old self felt back in 1880 when his romantic interest rejected him then as well. He gathers together the bills, goes back to his crypt and gets a loaded shotgun, determined to kill Buffy for insulting him. But when he goes to her house, he finds her sitting alone in her back garden crying, and he hesitates. He lowers the gun, tortured with human emotion, and asks her 'What's wrong?' instead. He even sits down next to her and attempts to pat her on the back. This is what makes Spike so different from other vampires. He is still a Fool for Love who has echoes of his old self, William Pratt, left inside him.

3. Intervention

Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “Intervention.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video). Link to YouTube.
Episode Details: Season Five, Episode 18
Air Date: 24 April 2001
Written by: Jane Espenson
Directed by: Michael Gershman
Best Quote:

"Anything happened to dawn, it'd destroy her. I couldn't live her being in that much pain. I'd let glory kill me first. Nearly bloody did."

Spike shows Buffy that even soulless he still has capacity for loyalty and selflessness, "Intervention" , Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The season five episode "Intervention" marks an interesting point in Spike's development. At the beginning of season five, a new character is introduced to the show, a young girl called Dawn Summers, who is revealed to be Buffy's younger sister. Dawn has never appeared up until this point and is written into the show as if she has always been there. Buffy later discovers that Dawn hasn't always been there and that she used to be The Key, a magical ball of energy that has the power to bring down the walls between dimensions. Dawn was transformed into a young girl by a group of monks dedicated to protecting The Key. The monks then inserted Dawn into Buffy's life and family and gave them all fake memories to think she has always been there to protect The Key from Glory.

Glory is a God who was exiled to Earth from her Hell Dimension and forced into sharing a human male's body as punishment. Unhinged from being on Earth, Glory is erratic and determined to find The Key so she can return to her Hell. After Buffy discovers Dawn is the Key, she devotes her life to protecting her. News that The Key has been made into a human later reaches Glory, and that the Slayer is protecting it and treating it as precious. Glory begins to suspect that someone close to Buffy might be The Key, so she sends her minions to watch the Slayer and her friends. Her minions come to the belief that Spike is The Key, so they kidnap him. They came to this conclusion after seeing Spike spend time with a Buffybot, a robot he had made to look like Buffy and love him.

After Buffy hears about Spike's kidnapping, she vows to dust him to prevent him from revealing the truth about Dawn. She believes that Spike is evil and selfish and doesn't have enough good inside him to want to protect Dawn. When Spike is brought before Glory, she recognises he is not The Key, but decides to torture him to find out more information. After a series of tortures, Spike begs her to stop and tells her he will tell her who The Key is, but then laughs and subjects her to a series of insults instead. He does the right thing, because he knows that if Glory ever got her hands on Dawn it would destroy Buffy, and he couldn't live with seeing her in that much pain.

Spike proves again that he is a paradox among vampires, who is able to challenge vampire conventions and limitations and has the capacity to fight back against his evil side to be a better man. At the end of the episode, Buffy visits Spike in his crypt and gives him a tiny kiss on the lips, to thank him for his good deed. She promises she won't forget what he did for them, leaving him stunned.

4. Get It Done

Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “Get It Done.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video). Link to YouTube.
Episode Details: Season Seven, Episode 15
Air Date: 18 February 2003
Written by: Douglas Petrie
Directed by: Douglas Petrie
Best Quote:

Spike: "And just what brings our good principal to this neck of the gloom?"
Buffy Summers: "I'm showing him our operation. Us."
Spike: "Fine by me. Big fight against evil comin' up. The more good guys we've got, the longer we'll all live."
Principal Robin Wood: "Is that what you are? A good guy?"
Spike: "I haven't heard any complaints. Well, I have heard a few complaints over the years, but then I just killed whoever spoke up, and that was pretty much that."
Buffy Summers: "He's joking."
Principal Robin Wood: "No, he's not."
Spike: "No, I'm not."

Spike, Principal Robin Wood and Buffy, "Get It Done", Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In season seven Spike returns to Sunnydale after reclaiming his soul. As an ensouled vampire, he struggles with guilt over his past actions, and all of the violence and death he was responsible for. He also becomes a target for The First, an incorporeal being that is the personification of evil itself. The First gets into Spike's head and makes him think he is seeing things, which coupled with the weight of his new soul, unleashes an out of control and blood thirsty side in Spike that The First can trigger to use as a weapon.

In the season seven episode "Get It Done" The First has launched a campaign against Buffy and the Potential Slayer line. Spike is working with Buffy and the Potentials to train them against The First. After The First talks one of the Potentials into killing themselves one night, Buffy gives a lecture to the rest of the group, telling them that she doesn't think they are doing enough to fight The First. She singles out Spike in particular, telling him that ever since he got his soul back he has been holding back from violence, and that he was a better fighter back when he was a monster. This outrages Spike, who fought hard to get his soul back because he thought it was what she wanted, but what Buffy wants is a Spike who can be depended on in a fight.

Her speech has a powerful impact on Spike. After Buffy disappears into a portal searching for information and unleashes a demon, Spike vows to defeat the demon to bring her back. He knows that he can't let himself be weighed down by guilt anymore or his fear of his savage side. Buffy was right about him. He has a job to do and he has to get it done. He goes to the local high school and gets his trademark leather duster, which he stole from Nikki Wood's dead body, out of a box and puts it back on with a flourish. He then goes and finds the demon and channels his old self to fight it. After the demon falls to the ground dead, he lights a cigarette over its corpse and tells himself a tussle like that is good for the soul.

5. Lies My Parents Told Me

Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “Lies My Parents Told Me.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video). Link to YouTube.
Episode Details: Season Seven, Episode 17
Air Date: 25 March 2003
Written by: David Fury and Drew Goddard
Directed by: David Fury
Best Quote:

"I don't give a piss about you mum. She was a Slayer. I was a vampire. That's the way the game is played".

Spike to Principal Robin Wood, "Lies My Parents Told Me", Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the season seven episode "Lies My Parents Told Me" Spike's past is explored once again. Buffy, Giles and Principal Robin Wood discuss The First's hold on Spike and how important it is that they find out what Spike's trigger is so they can and stop it. Buffy, Giles, Robin and the rest of the Scoobies lock Spike up in the basement of Buffy's house and attempt to use magic to find out more about Spike's trigger. Spike relives his past as William Pratt and the relationship he used to have with his mother.

His mother, Anne, loved him dearly, and used to sing him a song called 'Early One Morning' to soothe him when he was a child. It is this song that The First is using to trigger Spike using a post-hypnotic suggestion in his head that makes him turn violent when he hears the song. Robin speaks to Giles and convinces him that Spike is too evil and dangerous to let live. Giles finds out that Robin is the son of Nikki Wood and has a vendetta against Spike because he murdered his mother.

Giles agrees to distract Buffy while Robin takes care of Spike. Robin takes Spike to an isolated cabin where the walls have been covered in crosses. He tells Spike that he knows he murdered his mother, but he does not want to hurt him, he wants to hurt the monster that took his mother away from him. He turns on a computer and starts playing a recording of 'Early One Morning' to trigger Spike into fighting him.

As the fight unfolds, Spike experiences a series of flashbacks. He sees himself as William Pratt, newly risen as a vampire, dancing with Drusilla in his mother's house. He is exhilarated to be reborn and feels stronger, and more confident, than ever before. When his mother enters the room and is distraught to find him with Drusilla, he tells his mother everything, before biting her. In his selfishness, William sires her as a vampire, so that the two of them could be together forever. But when Anne rises as a vampire, she is nothing like her previous self, and subjects her son to a series of verbal insults before he is forced to stake her. Spike's trigger is the guilt he feels over her death.

After Spike realises this, he regains control of his mind and breaks the trigger. He tells Robin that he has no guilt over Nikki's murder. She was a Slayer, he was a vampire, that's how the game is played. It wasn't Spike's fault that she didn't love Robin enough to give up being a Slayer. Unlike Robin, Spike had a mother who actually loved him back. He throws this in his face, tauntingly, before biting him.

6. Touched

Whedon, J. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “Touched.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video). Link to YouTube.
Episode Details: Season Seven, Episode 20
Air Date: 6 May 2003
Written by: Rebecca Rand Kirshner
Directed by: David Solomon
Best Quote:

“You listen to me. I've been alive a bit longer than you, and dead a lot longer than that. I've seen things you couldn't imagine, and done things I prefer you didn't. I don't exactly have a reputation for being a thinker. I follow my blood, which doesn't exactly rush in the direction of my brain. So I make a lot of mistakes, a lot of wrong bloody calls. (looks into her eyes) A 100 plus years, and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of: you. Hey, look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy.”

Spike speaks from his heart to Buffy, “Touched”, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This is one of my favourite episodes of Buffy because of the excellent writing and character development of Spike. The episode begins with Spike and Andrew returning from a road trip with important information about The First and that Caleb might be keeping something secret from Buffy. When they return to Buffy's house, they find out that while they were gone Giles, the Potential Slayers and the rest of the Scoobies kicked Buffy out of the house because they disagreed with the decisions she was making as a leader.

Spike is speechless with rage to hear about this. Furious, he calls them all traitors, and asks them how they could all betray Buffy like this. When Willow tries to argue that they are still her friends, he laughs in her face. He reminds them all that Buffy has saved the world again and again and even died for them. He doesn't understand how they could betray her like this. Faith intervenes and the two of them get into a physical fight. After throwing a few punches, Spike grabs his jacket and leaves the house to go and search for Buffy.

He follows Buffy's scent to an abandoned house where he finds her curled up on a bed and looking defeated. Spike tries to cheer her up by telling her that she was right about Caleb hiding something from her at the vineyard, but Buffy doesn't seem to care. She is too broken and depressed over the fight she had with her friends. Spike sits down in front of her and gives her a speech that shows to her how much he has grown and matured over the past seven years. I love this speech so much. He explains to Buffy that when he says he loves her, it has nothing to do with him or that he can't have her. He loves her kindness and her strength and how she always tries to do the right thing. He has nothing but respect for her and all she has done.

In this scene, we see Spike complete his character journey, from a soulless vampire who used to torture his victims with railroad spikes, to a vampire with a soul who is the Slayer's most trustworthy and loyal friend and fighting companion. It was a wonderful conclusion to an anti-hero character who started off as a Big Bad and then fought back against the demon inside him so that he could become a man that the Slayer could trust.

Bonus: Spike visits Joyce

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). “Lovers Walk.” Mutant Enemy Productions. (Video). Link to YouTube.
Just for fun I thought I would include the scene where Spike visits Buffy's mother Joyce but instead of killing her the two of them sit down and share a cup of tea together and he talks about his feelings.

More Buffy the Vampire Slayer Articles by Marisa
Great Villains From Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Best Musical Moments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Best Joyce Summers Moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer


85570 - 2023-06-11 07:11:10


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