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Lies My Parents Told Me

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  • I do not agree with most of what Mike B. says:

    We have very different views of Spike, of the Buffy-Spike
    relationship, of all that flows from both—

    However, I do concur with him on one point:

    Harsh as they were, Spike's words to Robin at the
    end about Nikki, about her love for him, they were not
    unduly cruel: Spike was speaking truth then, a
    truth Robin needed to hear if he were ever to find
    a way to live with Nikki's death, his loss of her, ever
    to move beyond that last moment with her in the
    park—

    I have avoided this thread because, despite the making of
    some excellent points—yes, vampmogs, why, after
    her initial fervor in Never Leave Me, did Buffy forget
    all about the trigger? (among a few other things...)—the
    conversation became so circular...

    But one matter was never raised:

    Yes, of course, Spike absolutely had to be deactivated—the
    trauma of siring and murdering his mother—events he never
    fully experienced and thus never remembered, given the
    workings of trauma—a trauma that left him vulnerable to
    The First's manipulations—of course it had to be resolved,
    and Giles was the only one who made any effort to do so...

    (I won't go further into the matter of the unchaining, as that
    has been discussed fully... )

    What has remained unthought: that opening scene, the one in
    the park, when Spike is about to bite Nikki and child-Robin
    kicks the trash can, distracting him, saving his mother. Having
    done that, he can barely wait for Spike to leave before,

    Child!Robin: Mamma—!

    Nikki: You did real good, baby-boy! You stayed down, just like I told you—

    Child!Robin (plaintively): Can we go home now?

    Nikki: Nu-uh. It's not safe there anymore. Howabout if I leave you over at
    Crowley's house? And you can play with those spooky doo-dads that you like?

    Child!Robin (more plaintively): No—I want to stay with you...

    Nikki (turning away, in the direction of Spike: I know you do... But remember,
    Robin-honey, what we talked about: always gotta work the mission—

    (Child!Robin looks to the ground with dull resignation)

    Nikki: Look at me. You know I love you—but I got a job to do. The mission
    is what matters. Right—?

    (Robin nods, slowly, forcing a vague smile to his lips.Nikki rewards him with
    a broad smile and clutches his arms.)

    Nikki: That's my boy. Come on.

    (They get up, begin to walk away, but Child!Robin runs back for Nikki's stake.

    Nikki (turning back): Robin—?!

    Cut to an alley in Sunnydale, to adult Robin, who is battling a vampire, turns his
    head as if he hers her calling—
    This is, we may assume, the last night Robin spent with his mother: Nikki dropped
    him off at Crowley's, and soon after that, Spike found her on the subway...

    While I would not term her death, his loss, traumatic in the strictly clinical sense, it
    clearly scarred him, shaped him, continues to shape him, shapes him in a way that
    opens him, as well, to the manipulations of The First:

    After what has been a largely one-way firght in Robin's favor, Spike has a final
    re-memory, one of his discovery of his vampire-mother and his murder of her—after
    it has passed, he begins to fight back. Fight back—and speak:

    Spike: I'm sorry—

    Robin: You think "sorry's" gonna make everything right—?!

    Spike: I wasn't talking to you—

    (More blows between them)

    Spike: I don't give a piss about your mom: she was a Slayer; I was a vampire—

    (Spike hits Robin again)

    Spike: That's the way the game is played—

    Robin (furiously): Game—!?

    (More blows, with Spike beginning to get the better of the fight... )

    Spike: She knew what she was signing up for...

    Robin (more furiously): Well I didn't sign up for it—

    Spike: Well that's the rub, now isn't it: you didn't sign up
    for it, and somehow it's my fault—

    (Through these next lines, Robin attempts to strike Spike, but
    Spike just deflects his blows... )

    Robin: You took my childhood—you took her away. She was all
    I had—she was my world.

    Spike: And you weren't hers—doesn't that piss you off?

    Robin: Shut up.You didn't know her.

    (More blows.)

    Spike: I know Slayers. No matter how many people they've got
    around them, they fight alone. The life of the Chosen One. The
    rest of us be damned. Your mother was no different.

    Robin (in bad shape, groaning): No... She loved me...

    Spike: But not enough to quit, though, was it? For you—to walk away...
    Let me tell you a story...
    Here, Spike is not gloating, comparing his loving mother to Robin's
    deficient one, nor is he being cruel:

    He is revealing something essential about Robin's drive for vengeance and,
    even more, something about his mother—and about Robin himself...

    Robin went, he told Buffy, through "this vengeance-stage," trying to find
    Spike—sought him in the hopes of closing the wound of Nikki's loss, a
    loss that he blamed on Spike...

    And, on the most obvious, causal level, Spike was, of course, the responsible
    party. He did murder Nikki. Murdered her with extreme pleasure.

    But on another level, a level quite evident in Child!Robin's face—his deep
    desire for recognition, which Nikki does not give him; for home and normalcy,
    which she also denies him; for a world with her, which she, as much as Spike,
    takes from him by not quitting, not walking away. By insisting, always, that
    "the Mission is what matters"—meaning that it mattered far more than he did.
    She knew what a Slayer's life-death was, so by adhering to it, by putting the Mission
    before her son, she assured that she would abandon him.

    Robin blames Nikki for abandoning him—"You didn't raise me at all!" he tells
    Nikki!TheFirst angrily—and in blaming her, he blames himself, certain that the
    fault lay with him, that somehow he was simply not enough somethingish, enough
    to displace the Mission and be her world as she was his.

    And in speaking to Robin as he does, Spike actually gives Robin a gift: he
    tells Robin very plainly that the problem lay not with him in the least—Nikki
    was a Slayer, and for Slayers, well, "the rest of us be damned." Nothing Robin
    could have been would have been enough: the Mission would always have
    mattered more—

    And here, in telling Robin about his mother, Spike is not rubbing the contrast
    in his defeated opponent's face: he is making a logical contrast. His mother was
    a normal woman, one without a Mission, one able to love him "with all her heart
    and soul"—until, out of his own love, he turned her into something else, something
    beyond, and the demon he unloosed within her devoured that love. Their mothers
    were not comparable, nor where their loves. On the other had, the violence Spike
    felt toward his vampire-mother, while not exactly comparable to that which Robin
    may feel towards Nikki for her abandonment of him, it in some sense gives Robin
    licence to feel the long-bound hostility he has harbored. This is not to say that Robin
    did not, at the same time, deeply love his mother—Freud writes of how ambivalence
    towards those whom we love moves within us with a fundamentally shaping force.
    It means, rather, that now—or, rather, in some future time, after the apocalypse, when
    he has some room to think—he can also admit to his hate, let go, at least a bit, of his
    feeling of wrongness, of not being enough to be her world, and and thus find a
    different, less pained way of moving through the world...



    Last edited by StateOfSiege97; 01-12-19, 07:08 AM.

    Comment


    • That's a fascinating aspect to consider SoS. I can see how Spike's words could release some of the sense of fault Robin might feel, justify and redirect his anger. Yet I do think there is an aspect of lashing out that is behind Spike's intention with what he says, even if it has a positive result it isn't his reason for speaking and there is a cruelty in the desire to say what he does. The demon talking as it were. His words also denies consideration to the sense of duty that a slayer feels which can be born, as we see in Buffy, out of a deep love. In fighting and putting her life on the line Nikki is also fighting for her son too. So whilst I can see how Spike's perspective could move Robin forward in dealing with his mother's death a denial of her love as 'not enough to quit' is still somewhat problematic for me.

      - - - Updated - - -

      EDIT: There is an appealing contrasting pattern in Spike being able to move forward from the trauma of his own mother's death by looking beyond, even turning from and denying, the potential seed of truth behind the words thrown at him. Focussing on the truth of the loving relationship they had. Against Robin successfully moving on himself by focussing on the pain he felt, getting a sense of legitimacy to that hurt, the sense of not being enough, even though this includes somewhat reducing the sacrifice and love for him which may have driven his mother's choices. (EDIT - again! - the latter has a more damaging effect to the memory of the relationship with the lost loved one potentially of course, at least at first)

      Right, now I really am going to bed. I love it though when new perspectives and suggestions have my mind turning it over again and reexamining the different facets so it is hard to put it down. Such an incredible show and such great food for thought as always SoS, thank you.
      Last edited by Stoney; 01-12-19, 09:46 AM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Stoney View Post
        That's a fascinating aspect to consider SoS. I can see how Spike's words could release some of the sense of fault Robin might feel, justify and redirect his anger. Yet I do think there is an aspect of lashing out that is behind Spike's intention with what he says, even if it has a positive result it isn't his reason for speaking and there is a cruelty in the desire to say what he does. The demon talking as it were. His words also denies consideration to the sense of duty that a slayer feels which can be born, as we see in Buffy, out of a deep love. In fighting and putting her life on the line Nikki is also fighting for her son too. So whilst I can see how Spike's perspective could move Robin forward in dealing with his mother's death a denial of her love as 'not enough to quit' is still somewhat problematic for me.

        - - - Updated - - -

        EDIT: There is an appealing contrasting pattern in Spike being able to move forward from the trauma of his own mother's death by looking beyond, even turning from and denying, the potential seed of truth behind the words thrown at him. Focussing on the truth of the loving relationship they had. Against Robin successfully moving on himself by focussing on the pain he felt, getting a sense of legitimacy to that hurt, the sense of not being enough, even though this includes somewhat reducing the sacrifice and love for him which may have driven his mother's choices. (EDIT - again! - the latter has a more damaging effect to the memory of the relationship with the lost loved one potentially of course, at least at first)

        Right, now I really am going to bed. I love it though when new perspectives and suggestions have my mind turning it over again and reexamining the different facets so it is hard to put it down. Such an incredible show and such great food for thought as always SoS, thank you.
        He's not moving on from any trauma as there is none. He talks about it all the time on Angel "I don't know if you but I killed my mum, then she tried to shag me so i had to" Spike mimes staking.
        Its played for pure comedy right there

        Comment


        • I think we've talked about this before. Spike's repression of the memory and avoidance of it allows for the trigger to be hidden. How he behaves in AtS post BtVS S7 is greatly different for many reasons that I think we can consider against his struggle with his soul still, dealing with returning in an incorporeal state, fearing his worth and where his path will lead him, and still dealing with all that has passed. None of this removes that he was traumatised from the incident in the first place and having to recall once souled that he killed his mum. Having been used by the enemy due to the memory of what happened with his mum being repressed so that the trigger could be attached to it I can reason that his brash, blunt referencing to it is a way of dealing with it having been used against him and in trying to deal with the memory by not shying from it. Just because someone acts in a flippant way doesn't mean they feel flippant about something. The show gives such layers to the characters that we don't just read things only from what is on the surface in the moment. The histories of the characters are always relevant. Even if he is behaving differently and regresses in some ways around Angel it doesn't change all that has passed and its meaning to him, it is just how he is reacting and dealing with things now. But I agree that they play it for comedy in AtS and I've said before that it irritates me when they do it over important plot points from Buffy. But I can find reasons why he'd behave like that which have a logical throughline and so don't destroy what came before or how he moves on from there to what follows either for me. So I've made some peace with it, even if I still don't like it.
          Last edited by Stoney; 01-12-19, 05:13 PM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by StateOfSiege97 View Post

            And, on the most obvious, causal level, Spike was, of course, the responsible
            party. He did murder Nikki. Murdered her with extreme pleasure.

            But on another level, a level quite evident in Child!Robin's face—his deep
            desire for recognition, which Nikki does not give him; for home and normalcy,
            which she also denies him; for a world with her, which she, as much as Spike,
            takes from him by not quitting, not walking away. By insisting, always, that
            "the Mission is what matters"—meaning that it mattered far more than he did.
            She knew what a Slayer's life-death was, so by adhering to it, by putting the Mission
            before her son, she assured that she would abandon him.

            Robin blames Nikki for abandoning him—"You didn't raise me at all!" he tells
            Nikki!TheFirst angrily—and in blaming her, he blames himself, certain that the
            fault lay with him, that somehow he was simply not enough somethingish, enough
            to displace the Mission and be her world as she was his.

            And in speaking to Robin as he does, Spike actually gives Robin a gift: he
            tells Robin very plainly that the problem lay not with him in the least—Nikki
            was a Slayer, and for Slayers, well, "the rest of us be damned." Nothing Robin
            could have been would have been enough: the Mission would always have
            mattered more—
            NIKKI (looks back over her shoulder, then back at Robin) Yeah, I know you do, baby. But remember, Robin, honey what we talked about. Always got to work the mission. (Robin looks down) Look at me. (Robin looks at Nikki) You know I love you, but I got a job to do. The mission is what matters...right? (Robin nods) That's my boy. Come on.

            I've brought this up before though not as eloquently as you have here, and been shot down every time - told that I am showing disrespect for every single mother, and every parent with a dangerous job. That's a deflection. His pain is rooted in her words. Any young child who hears the words "The Mission is what matters" is hearing "You are not what matters." This isn't the same as I'll see you tonight or I'll be back as soon as I can. This is "We have talked about it and the Mission is what matters. Those repeated words may be well intentioned but in his immature understanding they had to be devastating.

            ROBIN (not moving, choking a bit) No, she loved me.

            SPIKE But not enough to quit, though, was it? Not enough to walk away... for you.


            And this is Spike with the weaponized truth bomb. I don't know if he's aware but there is truth there. Canonically Nikki did leave slaying for a period of time, but she was drawn back to it. She actually was torn between slaying and Robin, and she did choose slaying. While we can all list the reasons why she had to go back to slaying, the fact is the mission is what mattered and she didn't love Robin enough to to walk away from it. Sometimes A parent is drawn toward a dangerous job that simply has to be done but there is an actual physical and mental cost to their children that shouldn't be ignored. There is fear - sometimes terror. There are too many nights spent awake listening to sirens, too many things you can't talk to friends about because they can't understand and you want to be normal, and there is an overwhelming feeling of abandonment. It isn't an indictment of working mothers nor is it misogynistic to bring this up in discussion. This is simply a reality

            Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
            He's not moving on from any trauma as there is none. He talks about it all the time on Angel "I don't know if you but I killed my mum, then she tried to shag me so i had to" Spike mimes staking.
            Its played for pure comedy right there
            Having come from trauma I can stay that it is in no way uncommon to feel free to talk about what was once buried. Given Spike's absolute lack of boundaries and his need to one-up, I can see him throwing that out, and immediately trying to clear it up with Harmony. I can also see him trying top use it to comfort Wesley.
            Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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