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Were Angel's Trials ("The Trial" (A 2.09)) or Spike's Trials (BtVS 6.20-6.22) harder?

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  • Were Angel's Trials ("The Trial" (A 2.09)) or Spike's Trials (BtVS 6.20-6.22) harder?

    All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.

    What’s said in this post/comment is what I remember, my opinions, etc.




    Don't consider the "needing to be dusted" part because that made Angel's Trials harder given Spike didn't need to dust himself to be ensouled.

    So, focus on what Angel had to go through before that versus Spike's Trials.

    In addition, we don't actually know the timeline of how long Spike's Trials were. They could have lasted maybe less than an hour or they could have lasted months. He fights the Flames Hand being in "Two To Go" (B 6.21) and the Trials end at the end of "Grave" (B 6.22), but that doesn't mean the timeline tracks with the other events of "Two To Go" and "Grave". For all we know, Spike arrives in Africa well after the other events of "Grave".

    In addition, try to not include Angel's want to cure Darla and Spike's want to be re-ensouled and just focus on the Trials themselves.
    8
    Angel's Trials ("The Trial" (A 2.09))
    12.50%
    1
    Spike's Trials ("Villains" (B 6.20) to "Grave" (B 6.22))
    62.50%
    5
    I don't know
    25.00%
    2

  • #2
    Ugh I think this is really difficult because Angel's first and last trial seem to me a great deal harder than the other. Plus we actually see a lot more of how Angel feels and faces about the trials put before him, whereas with Spike we see what he had to endure and then that he got through it. So when it comes to something like the scarabs it is hard to know if he just had to not move for a couple of minutes or endure being invaded/consumed for hours (sorry to be grotesque). That potentially was the most awful trial. But could he have stopped it once it all started anyway? Was there a safe word which meant he would have been able to call it off? It was supposed to be a die or succeed type situation I think, so presumably there must have been something he personally did which got him through that trial. Not knowing any of that really makes truly comparing them tough.

    When it comes to Angel's willingness to dust at the end I don't think you can discount that. It is an important part of the mental strength of being committing to the trials no matter what is put in front of you. The epitome of the most that can be asked of you, whether you're truly willing to put your own existence on the line. And in this sense I think you can fairly argue that Spike's trials include this within them in that there is that air that he will either succeed or die trying in those, so I think you could say it is present in both of them anyway. But there is a difference between walking in and triggering something that you are then committed to and being given that moment to consider and choose your life for the thing that you have put on the line. And then the fact that dusting would have eradicated Spike's reason for being in there rather than achieving it means that his belief he could survive as always a factor in his. It is more that the two purposes aren't truly comparable.

    Then there is the factor that the mindsets and personalities of the people being asked to put themselves on the line can vary. You could argue that Angel's focus on redemption and his guilt about his past means that he would be more inclined to see sacrificing himself as just. If he's achieving good by doing it too then there could almost be a sense of closure and achievement through succeeding that way. Not to take away the mental strength and heroism of giving up your very existence, but just in answer to the question of which is 'harder'. If there is some release and satisfaction wrapped into it then can the choice to die for another, to give up what you could have, have the same weight as it would for someone who hasn't had as much of their life realised yet and doesn't have those feelings of needing to make reparation.

    So that ties to whether you're thinking 'harder' in terms of physical endurance or mental or both. And then the complicating factors of what the characters believed and felt, the frames of mind that they take into the trials with them become a factor too. What is harder for one person isn't for another. Although they are both similar situations, they are both facing trials for a purpose, it is just very difficult to compare them when you start to pick apart the factors involved.

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    • #3
      All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.

      What’s said in this post/comment is what I remember, my opinions, etc.




      * Spike would have gotten through Angel's first 2 Trials. The last one must be not considered because Spike in "Doomed" (B 2.11) was trying to commit suicide. Angel's being willing to commit suicide so that Darla can live (if Angel actually thought the Powers That Be would let him die) must to not considered so that Angel's and Spike's Trials can actually be compared.


      * It's not difficult at all to compare Angel's Trials and Spike's Trials. Again, you might as well compare "Doomed" (B 2.11) to "The Trial" (A 2.09). And even that would require that Angel could do as well with the chip and endure the chip and escape the Initiative, survive being hunted by the Initiative, deal with Buffy's dating Riley Finn instead of him, deal with being humiliated by Xander, etc. And Spike arguably does much better against one of those Apocalypse demons than Buffy does and easily beats one.

      Comment


      • #4
        Why would we discount Angel's final test and willingness to sacrifice himself? It was his final trial, so it doesn't make any sense to me that we would should have to ignore it?

        "Spike didn't have to dust himself to be ensouled" doesn't justify ignoring it. After all, Spike didn't have to put his hand into a pool of holy water, walk on crosses, or chop up a seemingly un-killable demon either. Likewise, Angel didn't have to fight flamey-hands guy, horned demon, or endure bugs crawling inside of him. Their trials were different and came with different obstacles but if you want to compare them, surely you'd compare all of it?

        ~ Banner by Nina ~

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        • #5
          I think they were both willing to sacrifice themselves. Angel was willing to dust to save Darla. Spike was willing to become someone else - a literal sacrifice of self.

          I do love Angel and Darla - but Spike's trials went on for three episodes, and by normal BTVS standards that means he faced trials for that entire period of time.
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bespangeled View Post
            I do love Angel and Darla - but Spike's trials went on for three episodes, and by normal BTVS standards that means he faced trials for that entire period of time.
            That's tricky though because Villains - Two To Go takes place just less than 24 hours. Villains begins in the morning of a new day (Willow and Tara had just got dressed) and Grave ends at daybreak the following morning. Most BtVS episodes take place over a longer period of time then that just on their own (often multiple days/nights) so I don't think we can really use them as a guide. It also doesn't help that the timeline of Spike's trials makes no sense against the Sunnydale scenes they're intercut with as it's impossible that Spike could have travelled to Africa (especially on motorbike ) the morning before Villains (he departs the night before the morning of Tara's death in Seeing Red) and already have arrived there as Willow is unleashing havoc. It must mean that even though we're seeing the scenes intercut, that Spike's trial actually occurred at some point after Willow's reign of terror. It could've been days, weeks or possibly even months later if what Angel says in Surprise is to be believed (about vampires having to use cargo ships to travel as there's no guarantee of protection against the sunlight on planes).

            ~ Banner by Nina ~

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            • flow
              flow commented
              Editing a comment
              Also, on AtS 5 Spike and Angel both confirm they have never travelled by plane before.

            • vampmogs
              vampmogs commented
              Editing a comment
              flow great catch about Angel/Spike confirming they'd never flown before. I'd forgotten about that

          • #7
            I don’t believe that we even saw half the trials that Spike endured. As far as I know, they were supposed to be more extensive but Marsters wasn’t fully available during the last part of season six because he was auditioning for a movie and most of his scenes were shot after everyone else had closed up shop. At least that’s what I remember.

            It’s insinuated that the trials happened after Dark Willow was stopped and the end of Season Six because Spike looks at the drawings of Willow skinning Warren on the cave walls and D.Hoffryn mentions that ‘Lloyd’ had sketches on his wall after the event because he was so impressed. So who knows how long the trials actually took after Buffy climbs out of the ground with Dawn. If Spike used magic to transport himself to Africa and back, then for all we know, the trials took months and then he was zapped back to Sunnydale within an hour to live in the school basement.

            From what the writers have said, they were severely abbreviated and I imagine we were supposed to imagine they were much more numerous than the few we see on screen. Spike looks pretty horrendous at the end and there isn’t a lot of explanation as to why.

            I agree with Stoney that the bugs entering Spike’s body were probably devouring him from within - especially if you think about what they mean in various mythologies. So that’s a different way to go, but just as gruesome as Angel’s final trial.

            I think both vampires are immensely brave and it’s impossible to compare the difficulty because Angel was fighting for Darla’s life and Spike was fighting for his own. Very different.



            Comment


            • #8
              I have estimated once how long Spike probably would have to travel to Africa but sadly I can't find the thread anymore.

              So, I am gonna start again. We saw him go by motorbike. He could have gone to L.A. but since he was heading to Africa it would have made more sense to drive to the East Coast. It's 44 hours non-stop by car to N.Y. and a bit less to Savannah. He can only drive safely by night and he would have taken longer on a bike. Let's make that seven days (or nights) until he arrives at a port. He would probably need about two weeks by cargo ship to the West Coast of Africa. Let's add another two or three days until he finds a ship and the ship is leaving. The most likely port in Africa would be Tangier. Let's assume he steals a car in Africa because a car can go faster and allows for more protection against the sun. He would then need about two weeks to reach Uganda. He is already on the road (and ocean) for five and a half weeks. Travelling back will take at least the same amount of time, probably even more because he is guilt wrecked and might have qualms using the stolen car. Therefore he must have been travelling for at least eleven weeks, maybe even twelve.

              I think Californa high schools start the new term in mid-August. If Spike started his journey in mid-May, he could just have made it there and back. The trials can't have taken more than a couple of days in that case, approximately a week or so.

              flow

              That means the
              ................................ Banner by buffylover

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              • vampmogs
                vampmogs commented
                Editing a comment
                Brilliant breakdown

            • #9
              Originally posted by flow View Post
              I have estimated once how long Spike probably would have to travel to Africa but sadly I can't find the thread anymore.

              So, I am gonna start again. We saw him go by motorbike. He could have gone to L.A. but since he was heading to Africa it would have made more sense to drive to the East Coast. It's 44 hours non-stop by car to N.Y. and a bit less to Savannah. He can only drive safely by night and he would have taken longer on a bike. Let's make that seven days (or nights) until he arrives at a port. He would probably need about two weeks by cargo ship to the West Coast of Africa. Let's add another two or three days until he finds a ship and the ship is leaving. The most likely port in Africa would be Tangier. Let's assume he steals a car in Africa because a car can go faster and allows for more protection against the sun. He would then need about two weeks to reach Uganda. He is already on the road (and ocean) for five and a half weeks. Travelling back will take at least the same amount of time, probably even more because he is guilt wrecked and might have qualms using the stolen car. Therefore he must have been travelling for at least eleven weeks, maybe even twelve.

              I think Californa high schools start the new term in mid-August. If Spike started his journey in mid-May, he could just have made it there and back. The trials can't have taken more than a couple of days in that case, approximately a week or so.

              flow.
              Hey flow!

              Fantastic rundown of how Spike could have gotten from the West Coast to Africa enroute the US to the East Coast and then Tangier. I was actually thinking that he just used magic.

              However, there is one thing that I know only because someone I know worked at the customs ports in Southern California. When I asked about any shipping from LA to Africa, they said that there was a direct route from Los Angeles to Lagos in Nigeria that takes from 21 to 26 days to get there. Then from Lagos to Uganda is about a 70 hour drive which is about six days if Spike could only drive at night. So it would take about one month at the worst (if the month had 31 days) to get there.

              I worked out the chronology of Season Six a while ago and I think that it makes sense. If one assumes that Spike didn’t use magic and took a ship, I think we could work out the chronology to make sense.


              I always love to try and make the timelines work even though the writers were pretty vague about the whole thing. Assuming that Buffy died near the airdate of The Gift which was Tuesday May 22, 2001, we can get a rough timeline of all the events of Season Six thanks to Spike’s line:

              SPIKE: Hundred forty-seven days yesterday – um, one-forty-eight today. 'Cept today doesn't
              count, does it? (AfterLife)


              If we strictly adhere to the date of her death as May 22, 2001 it actually works out surprisingly well. And it gives a good head canon reason why 9/11 was never mentioned – Buffy was dead during the time and she returns well over a month later. The Trio also seemed to have banded together after that point.

              We know that Bargaining takes place over three consecutive days – if the final day was Buffy’s return and we assume it was past midnight, that would put the dates of Bargaining as October 14 – 15 and Buffy’s return to her house after midnight on October 16, 2001. Afterlife runs from October 16 to October 17 with Buffy telling Spike about heaven the day after her dead of night return and subsequent chasing of the hitchhiker demon.

              Willow says to Tara in AfterLife that Giles will be there in a couple days. That was the evening of October 16th and he returns at the beginning of Flooded which most likely takes place the day after the end of AfterLife – which would be October 18th. That’s also the day that the Scoobies tell Buffy about her financial problems and she goes to get a bank loan only to find the Trio’s demon robbing the bank. Buffy leaves to see Angel the following day on October 19thand returns for the beginning of Life Serial late that evening. Life Serial takes place over a five day period according to the shooting script and so it ends on the evening of October 23 with Spike playing Kitten poker and Giles giving Buffy a large check. So far, Buffy has only been back for eight days.

              All the Way takes place on Halloween – October 31, 2001 fell on a Wednesday – and we hear Giles mention that Buffy’s been patrolling every night for a week until Halloween. Assuming that this took place after Life Serial, Buffy was patrolling from October 24 to October 30 – which weirdly works out perfectly with the timeframe. This means that Once More With Feeling took place in the time period from Thursday, November 1, 2001 to Tuesday, November 6, 2001 according to Buffy’s line in the Magic Box.

              If we assume that a few days have passed, there are clues that tell us when the episode begins. Willow casts her spell and Xander announces his engagement in All The Way on Wednesday. From looking at lines in the text, Xander’s summoning of the demon happened in the time period of Thursday, November 1 through Saturday, November 3. Which means that Xander’s fears about his upcoming wedding were so great that within a three-day time frame after the announcement, Sweet was called to Sunnydale.

              Spike tells Buffy that people have been singing for two days. Looking at the script, Once More With Feelingseems to take place on three consecutive days. The opening of the episode begins on Sunday morning, November 4 and Buffy’s song “Going Through the Motions” happens on the evening of Sunday, November 4 – which would also take place the same evening as Anya’s song in Selfless. “I’ve Got a Theory” takes place on the Monday (Dawn is in school) morning, Under Your Spell is Monday afternoon and Sweet’s first murder happens Monday evening. Xander and Anya perform “I’ll Never Tell” the morning of Tuesday, November 6, Giles walks with the couple through the streets of Sunnydale past “The Parking Ticket” Tuesday afternoonand Buffy visits Spike for “Rest in Peace” early evening on Tuesday. The rest of the episode – Dawn’s kidnapping, Buffy’s training, Tara’s discovery, Buffy’s long walk to the Bronze and the finale take place late Tuesday evening and it’s possible that Spike and Buffy kiss in the alleyway behind the Bronze in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 7th once Dawn has been rescued.

              Tabula Rasa seems to take place a few nights after – enough for Spike to try and see Buffy again and not long enough where the memory has faded. So we could posit it happens from November 8th – November 10th. Between Tabula Rasa and Smashed? Spike gives us a clue in the opening scene:

              SPIKE: You're a tease, you know that, Slayer? Get a fellow's motor revvin’, let the tension marinate a couple of days – then Bam! Crown yourself the ice queen. (Smashed)

              And later:

              SPIKE: You know, as long as we're both here, you might as well tag along. I mean, as a team, we could –
              BUFFY: Yeah, that never really seems to end well, does it?
              SPIKE: It did the other night. (Smashed)


              A “couple of days” is a colloquialism that should technically mean two days, but can often mean more. However, the “other night” generally refers to either last night or the night before. However, there is talk of how well Willow’s doing in dealing with magic in both the Dawn/Tara talk and the Magic Box scene – which wouldn’t be happening after one day and probably not even two.

              So stretching Spike’s meaning, we can probably safely say that the events of Tabula Rasa happened two to three days before Buffy and Spike met the human muggers in Smashed – which means that it ranges between November 9th – November 12th. Which means that the Buffy/Spike sex takes place on the second day, placing it between November 10th – November 13th. Wrecked happens the next day on November 11th – November 14thand Gone takes place the next two days on November 12th-November 16th. In DoubleMeat Palace, some time has gone by. It’s likely that it’s December because of two things – Willow’s line:

              AMY: Hey, Will. It's your birthday.
              WILLOW: Um, no, it's not. Although now that you mention it, Buffy's is next—(DoubleMeat Palace)


              Willow either is going to say next month or next week – since Buffy’s birthday is January 19th, and we know that Dead Things takes place shortly before that (from Spike’s battered face), DoubleMeat Palace either takes place the week before or the month before Older and Far Away. But we have one more clue that tells us it’s a month:

              WILLOW: No, it's okay. I don't expect you to stop doing magic just because – you don't have to hide it. I'm not – I'm – I'm doing better. No spells for 32 days. I can even go in the magic shop now. As long as someone's with me. (Dead Things)

              If Willow is referring back to the moment when Amy gave her magic for her “birthday,” that would date DoubleMeat Palace from December 10th to December 18th. Then, as you say, we have Xander and Anya mentioning that their wedding is one week away in As You Were and Normal Again takes place a day or two after Hell’s Bells. Buffy mentions at the start of Entropy that she tried to kill her friends one week ago:

              BUFFY: You know why? I tried to kill my friends, my sister, last week ... and guess how much they hate me. Zero. (Entropy)

              Our other firm date is the day of Tara’s death – which is clearly written on the tombstone Willow visits in Help as May 7, 2002. So working our way backwards, we have absolute proof that Seeing Red takes place from May 6 to May 7, 2002 which means Entropy took place from May 3 to May 5, 2002.



              So the fateful scene in Buffy’s bathroom definitively takes place on May 6, 2002. Which means that it has been six months since Buffy first kissed Spike at the end of Once More With Feeling. Buffy and Spike’s sexual relationship began one week later and lasted approximately from November 10, 2001 – April 18, 2002, give or take a few days. Which is 23 weeks or 5 months and one week or 157-160 days. Just about the same amount of time that Buffy was dead, give or take ten or twelve days. And Spike “moves on” by sleeping with Anya around 18 days later in Entropy.

              Starting with Bargaining, here’s a timeline that fits all of the information we’re given in Season Six:

              Bargaining – October 14 – October 16, 2001
              AfterLife – October 16 – October 17, 2001
              Flooded – October 18 – October 19, 2001
              Life Serial – October 19 – October 23, 2001
              All the Way – October 31, 2001
              Once More With Feeling – November 4 - November 7, 2001
              Tabula Rasa – November 8 – November 10, 2001
              Smashed – November 9 – November 13, 2001
              Wrecked – November 11 – November 14, 2001
              Gone – November 12 – November 16, 2001
              DoubleMeat Palace – December 10 – December 17, 2001
              Dead Things – January 10 - January 17, 2001
              Older and Far Away – January 19 – January 20, 2001
              As You Were – April 13 – April 18, 2002
              Hell’s Bells – April 20 – April 23, 2002 (20the is a Saturday, so that’s the most likely date for the wedding)
              Normal Again – April 21 – April 27, 2002
              Entropy – May 3 – May 5, 2002
              Seeing Red – May 6 – May 7, 2002 (Spike ran off to get his soul May 6, 2002)
              Villains – May 7, 2002
              Two to Go – May 7, 2002
              Grave – May 7, 2002 – May 8, 2002

              So Spike ran off to get his soul on May 6th and won the trials sometime between May 8 and late August/early September, 2002. After Xander stops Willow from the total destruction of the earth and Buffy emerges with Dawn, the script cryptically says “Later” when returning to Spike. Could have been weeks later for all we know.

              But let’s say that Spike took the boat from Los Angeles to Nigeria and then drove to Uganda. Giving him a day before boarding the boat, he would have arrived in Nigeria between May 28-June 2, 2002. There’s no train between Nigeria and Uganda, so he would have to drive (only at night) for 69 hours. That’s just about six days, which would put him at the cave between June 3-June 8, 2002. Returning would take at least 31 days.


              If we assume that Sunnydale is Santa Barbara, the school district started August 20th of that year. So dating backwards, we see Spike had to leave at the latest July 20, 2002. So Spike would have arrived around June 8th and left at some point before July 20th. That leaves a possible time span of about 42-44 days in which Spike could have endured the trials. Of course, they could have taken place in three days and he laid around in a stupor because of his new soul and took endless amounts of time to return.

              But in my fantasy fandom, I want to believe that we only saw a tiny portion of the trials and Spike endured around 40 days of hell trials, both physical and psychological. It really should be no less to return a vampire’s soul.

              Besides, 40 days has huge religious significance. Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the Ten Commandments, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert tempted by Satan and the punishment for the Jews worshipping the golden calf was a trial of 40 years in the desert. The number 40 is seen in the Bible many times as representing a period of trial, of testing to be cleansed and perfected. Remember, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights with Noah’s Ark. Goliath challenged the Israelites for 40 days. 40 days was the time from the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension.

              It’s the same in Islam - Muhammad was 40 years old when he received the revelations by the archangel Gabriel. In Russian Orthodox, 40 days is the time period in which spirits linger after their death before appearing before God. In Hinduism, religious prayers consist of 40 stanzas and fasting periods are 40 days. Sikhism also relies on the 40 day paradigm as their prayers are 40 paragraphs and end with reading the 40th paragraph.

              It’s a composite number and the sum of the first four pentagonal numbers which is probably why it’s an important number even going back to the Sumerians. The god Enki was represented by the ideogram for ‘40’, becoming a sacred number. So I like to think of Spike as suffering the trials for 40 days because of the worldwide belief that 40 is the appropriate number for pain and suffering and redemption.

              Most of this is covered in my upcoming last part of the rewatch Seeing Red which I hope to post very soon!
              Last edited by American Aurora; 15-08-20, 04:22 PM.

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              • flow
                flow commented
                Editing a comment
                Wow, this is amazing. I love it! <3

            • #10
              I always imagined Spike's Trials happening over the course of a few days. We're not given a good sense of how long he was fighting and enduring the Trials, but my headcanon is that he was fighting for several days. Whereas Angel, maybe, um, an hour? Can't say for sure, but I believe Spike's were harder. Plus, the whole thing was an exercise in self-sacrifice (soul or bust! and if soul, then that's loss of his whole way of living/everything he knew of life before), which I can't imagine someone having the strength and conviction to endure for an extended, prolonged length of time.

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