Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lies My Parents Told Me   Rewatch 
May 12, 2016 5:26 AM - Season 7, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Efforts to understand Spike's trigger lead to revelations about his mother. Robin, moved by vengeance, convinces Giles that Spike is too dangerous to keep around.
posted by yellowbinder (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just before the end of our rewatch, I lost my notes! Oh well, it wasn't so long ago that I watched these, but I will have less stray observations at the end.

This is a solid episode, but it's always struck me as a little weird, in terms of how the characters act. Spike's decision to bite Wood at the end seems... strange, and at odds with how he's been this season. It's not that vampires with souls don't bite people, they absolutely do, but Spike has been feeling pretty guilty about that, so to engage in it, against someone whose mother he killed? Hmm. His logic is that Wood is trying to kill someone who doesn't exist anymore, which is sort of true, but I just don't buy Spike's action there, in part because it seems to be put there as a bit of a fake out for the audience, who wouldn't be blamed for thinking Spike plan's to kill Wood. But these kind of temporary fakeouts are good for a cheap shock and nothing else, and really undermine the show. See "That bitch" in a few episodes time.

On the roster of people acting weirdly, we have Giles' and Buffy's conversation in the graveyard. I think we should strongly contrast this episode with Giles' reaction in Empty Places, in just two episodes time. How did Buffy get so callous? It's not just her willingness to sacrifice Dawn, it's her blase attitude towards it. Buffy does get moments to actually express emotion, but a lot of the time we see the same cold hard Buffy everyone else does. And the only one really pushing her to be like this is Giles, who has clearly read the script and knows that the threat coming is meant to be quite large. At least we have an army of vamps now providing a post hoc motivation for Buffy, but it's really annoying that Giles is telling off Buffy for not being hard enough, when her problem is in fact being too hard. I just think the writers seem to have forgotten that Giles actually had a tremendous amount of empathy, particularly for Buffy. I know Giles can and does make the cold hard choice sometimes, but he's also the one who had to seperate himself from Buffy via an ocean to stop himself from saving her when he knew he shouldn't. The idea that he would come back just to lecture her... eh. And there's a mention of Buffy's speeches here, which just underlines the problem that the show just doesn't show Buffy interacting with the potentials (outside of Potential).

But, for all my complaints this is an enjoyable episode to watch, and seeing Spike work through his problem is quite fun (although, while very funny, I'm not sure I buy vampired Spike as quite so devoted to his mother). This and Dirty Girls are probably the highlights until we get to the last episode.

-Why did Giles get the doodad if he was thinking that Spike needed to be put down?
-Again, why did the First want Spike dead. If the First thought that Spike was likely to be de-triggered soon, why not just trigger him early? Or kill him while Spike is in it's possession.
-Drusilla's reaction to Spike wanting to bring his mum with him on a campaign of slaughter is just so great.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:14 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Super late for this, but I recently rewatched this one and need a distraction at the moment.

-Why did Giles get the doodad if he was thinking that Spike needed to be put down?

I think Giles brought the Prokaryote Stone because he was willing to work with Spike. It's what happened after the Prokaryote Stone attempt that convinces him that Spike needs to be put down.

1. Spike vamps out, tries to attack Buffy, and throws a cot at Dawn, and is only restrained by his chains.

2. After Spike comes back to himself, he demands to be let out of the chains, and claims he's fine.

3. Spike gives evasive non-answers to Giles' questions about the trigger, and when pressed, yells at Giles.

4. Giles makes it clear he thinks the trigger is still in effect and that Spike is refusing to cooperate with the detriggering process:
(whispering) This is pointless, Giles. He doesn't know anything. Your prophylactic stone didn't work.

(whispering) Because he's not cooperating. This process takes time. He's blocking whatever's flooding his consciousness. And what he does—he's endangering us all.

So, the trigger's still working?

Much as ever. (turns away in disgust)

5. When Giles tries to convince her to keep Spike chained up, Buffy refuses to hear him out.
Think about what you're doing.

I have. (unchains Spike, then walks toward the stairs, with Spike following her)


(continues walking without stopping) Don't.

6. Buffy and Spike never raise an alternative plan for getting rid of the trigger. As far as Giles could tell, their strategy was "let's hide under some coats and hope that everything turns out ok in the end."

This is an unpopular opinion, but I think Buffy and Spike are awful in this episode. Buffy's demanding enormous sacrifices from everyone else on the show this season--why isn't she demanding that Spike either work on the trigger or stay chained up until they figured out a different way to disable it? And what kind of champion is Spike? He'd rather risk being triggered into murdering even more innocents, as long as he can avoid dealing with some painful memories of his mother? And yet, later, when it's his own life on the line, he suddenly develops the emotional fortitude to do it? Screw that.

I don't blame Giles for thinking that Spike wasn't truly committed to the good fight, and that Buffy was being irrational about Spike. And since Buffy refused to talk about how to deal with Spike's trigger, Giles really didn't have any good options.
posted by creepygirl at 11:04 PM on April 26, 2019

More distraction:

It's super-interesting to me that this episode is part of a crossover with Angel, with Willow going to L.A. to restore his soul. And Willow isn't entirely truthful with Buffy about this:

Buffy? Hey, I, uh, just got a phone call. I'm gonna have to take off for a while. Maybe a day or two?

What's wrong?

Nothing you need to worry about. I'll give you the full scoop later. Maybe I'll even bring back some good news?

I can understand Willow not wanting to burden Buffy with yet more Angel drama, but I think she should have told Buffy that she was planning on doing some pretty powerful magic while she was away. And while Angelus seemed to be fixated on his Angel Investigations crew this time around, it wouldn't hurt for Buffy to keep a really close eye on Dawn until the soul got restored. Weirdly, I never see fans criticizing Willow for this, not even the ones who hate her guts, or the people who generally go ballistic over characters doing things behind Buffy's back.

The million dollar question for me is whether Willow told Giles. Given their interactions earlier in the season, I think it's pretty unlikely that he'd let her go on a trip on her own with some vague "I need to take off for a day or two" explanation. And if she told him the truth, that could dredge up some bad memories of Buffy being irrational about her vampire lover, and people dying because of that.
posted by creepygirl at 11:23 PM on April 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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