Once the show gets into its later seasons, it explores a bit what it means and what it may be like for a typical vampire to make "good" choices, and that illustrates the difference between a vampire "choosing good" and a vampire having a soul.
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 9: “SMASHED”
I’m really quite intrigued by this relationship and don’t object to it nearly as much as I might have had Buffy not been somehow changed (presumably) by the experience of being yanked out of Heaven. I’m curious to see where this plot development goes, too.
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 10: “WRECKED”
If you had to sum up the Buffy/Spike relarionship at this point, which word would you use? I used “unique” yesterday, but that’s not very descriptive. The first word other than that that pops into my head is “twisted,” but that’s a little too harsh. “Unhealthy,” I think. Buffy feels herself attracted to Spike yet is repulsed by that very attraction, so they beat each other up. Actually, that is kind of twisted. It’s good to see Spike back in the game, though; when he was suicidal he was just pathetic.
The other day I remarked that evidently even vampires can be classically conditioned, but that’s not really true; it’s something more than that. As soon as the unconditioned stimulus (pain) was taken away (or so Spike thought), so to went the conditioned response (niceness) and he immediately reverted to his old ways and attacked an innocent girl. Now that the chip no longer reacts to Buffy, however, he still hasn’t killed or turned her. Sure, they beat each other up, but that’s the only way Buffy allows him to express his feelings toward her. I’m still not sure vampires are capable of feeling real love (or merely an incredible simulation). What Spike really is is obsessed (like Barnabas Collins was with Josette).
Okay, enough armchair psychology!
The scenes between Dawn and Willow show us the flip side of the “Dawn/Tara” coin, but the real metaphor here is the treatment of Willow’s addiction to magic liked to a junkie’s behavior. She has hit rock bottom, and it’s pretty obvious that the only reason Buffy is willing to forgive her is that she sees a reflection of her own destructive behavior in Willow. I don’t know if I would have been so forgiving. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it. Not to use the anonymity of the internet to go all goopy, I found myself in a similar situation (as Buffy in regard to Willow) and turned my back. You know how much I like Willow, though, so I’m trying to find it within myself to forgive her and hope for a full recovery.
I’m going to have to add Amy to my list of characters to pay more attention to my second time through the series.