PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Trigger, a Soul, and a Chip

Episode 7.17: Lies My Parents Told Me. Original Airdate 3.25.03

"Robin Wood seeks revenge on Spike for killing his mother nearly 30 years ago, whilst everyone else tries to find out how The First has control over him."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Exterior. Rainy LA to look like Rainy NYC.
  • Itty Bitty Principal Wood watching momma kick ass.
  • Interesting that Nikki Wood calls it “the mission”
  • Man, I forgot that this is the episode that the writers take a huge dump on Giles.
  • “Have you seen the new library?!”  I love you Giles.
  • Side note:  Wood has a small version of “The Thinker” in his office.
  • “Boring, Old and English,...just like you….Yul….Brenner…”
  • Hey, they put the chains back….
  • Oh, snide, sassy Giles. Spike:"With all the rubbish people keep sticking in my head, it's a wonder there's room for my brain." Giles: "I don't think it takes up that much space, do you?"  Heh. 
  • Oh, that wig, William.  OMG.
omg, that wig

  • I’m bored, where’s Anya? 
  • Oh there she is.  With a weird fucking hat
Is ... she going swimming?

  • Anya: "Don't waste your time on that road.  Spike's got some sort of "Get out of Jail free" card that doesn't apply to the rest of us."  AMEN.
  • Yay! Drusilla!  “Smells of daffodils and viscera…”
  • I love that they paint old Spike as such a pathetic momma’s boy – even after he’s turned, he still wants be with his mother.  And Dru’s reaction to Spike wanting to bring her along is hilarious.
  • Spike: The original Norman Bates
  • Why is Buffy being a total asshole to Giles?  So disrespectful.
  • The thing is, Wood is acting on revenge, sure – and it’s unhealthy, sure – but do any of us blame him?
  • “The way I’ve treated my friends and family and…Andrew?”  Small thing, but I’m glad she didn’t say ‘and Anya’.  See Anya is her friend.  That’s what I got out of that…
  • Oh man, that computer that Wood has.  A lot has changed in 14 years…
  • Wood takes off his shirt; we all swoon.
  • It feels like his mother’s death had more effect on his reaction to the world then being vamped did… a trigger, if you will.
  • I mean, it’s nice to see how being vamped and resouled is different for everyone.  Angel is a completely different person when he loses his soul.  Spike is pretty much the same when he gets his soul back.   There are more triggers on personality than just ‘absence of soul’.
  • Omg, I love Richard the vampire.  “My name’s Richard.”  Aww.
  • Eww.  It really is more like Norman Bates than I could have imagined.
  • Interesting that Spike’s mom gives a small smile as she turns to dust…as if it’s what she wanted all along.
  • “She was a slayer, I was a vampire.”  No, Spike, No.  “She knew what she was signing up for”.  SHE DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR IT, SPIKE.   “Not enough to quit.” SHE COULDN’T QUIT, YOU DICKHOLE. OMG, I HATE HIM SO MUCH.
  • I really can’t stand this episode.  Yet another episode that raises Spike up while putting everyone else down.  Everyone is wrong but him.
  • How did Buffy know where Spike was?
  • “He even so much looks at me funny again? I’ll kill him.”  A common threat by anyone but by Spike? This is the guy we want on our team?
  • But I guess that’s Buffy now, too.  “I’ll let him.”  Whatever.  So done with this episode.
  • And there it is.  Shitting all over Giles.  So glad he came back for that.
  • Done.

Zelda's Thoughts: 

  • an apt title, considering Giles betrays Buffy's trust in this episode FUCK YOU GILES
  • flashback time!
  • so did flashback Spike not know or not care that there was a tiny child watching his fight with the Slayer? given our knowledge of his obsession with killing Slayers, I'm gonna go with doesn't care
  • "you can play with those spooky doodads that you like" I assume she's referring to the shadow puppets in the leather bag?
  • While I don't approve of his coping mechanism, I do feel for Wood's confusion. He's confirmed, or as much as he can, that Spike is the one who killed his mother, but he sees that Spike is trusted by Buffy, is fighting on the side of good, but there he is, wearing his mother's coat. How to reconcile that?
  • I do enjoy the chip exchange, especially with DB Woodside being hilarious.
  • "So he has a trigger, a soul, and a chip?" "Because the military gave him a soul?"

  • Just like yo-ul Brynner
  • JM's accent has been getting shakier this season. I blame Tony Head abandoning us all. It'll get even worse when he goes onto Angel and has no role model.
  • "Hark! The lark!" god he's such a silly fool. good commitment from JM.
  • Apparently the actress who plays Anne, William's mother, was cast because of her resemblance to SMG, which WHY did they have to go creepy? (to say nothing of the fact that her name is Buffy's middle name slash LA alias)
  • Okay so question. Other times Spike's been triggered by the song, he's gone scary calm (and evil). This time it made him feral? Why? Like? Why???? Just so that everyone will stop trusting him? So that Wood will have seen the "monster" and feel justified in his planned attack?
  • Aww "shouldn't you check on Dawnie?" throwback to when Spike and Dawn were actually buddies
  • Ugh William was pretty Norman Bates-y.
  • Wow Willow doesn't tell Buffy that Angelus is back. I wonder if she ever does (never mind, she does, offscreen).
  • Man. Seriously. Fuck how Giles treats Buffy. I get that he is having trouble balancing how he used to instruct her when she was a teen, but he's pressed her into the role of general this season, and then freely goes about sowing mutiny and plotting against her with Wood. He KNOWS Wood is too emotionally twisted up about Spike, and he still goes along with the plan.
  • "I just need you to keep Buffy away for a few hours." Godammit, Wood. Godammit, Giles.
  • "The other day I gave an inspirational speech to the telephone repairman."
  • I like how carefully neutral Spike keeps his face, once he realizes why Wood's acting the way he is. "Killed a lot of people's mothers." No inflection.
  • Wood has only one song in his entire iTunes account. Y'all, that's a psychopath.
  • There's debate in the fandom about Anne and her vamp self - is what she speaks the real truth she wasn't expressing while human, or is it a more thorough separation of character? We've seen that vamp William is, at first, pretty similar (if more murdery) than human William. But vamp Anne is much crueler than her human self. Has this always been what she thought, or what she thinks now? On my first watch, I took it all as true, that she just hadn't said it, which meant Spike's speech at the end to Wood is pure delusion. But the internet has pointed out to me her face when he finally stakes her - that she smiles at him a moment, back in her human face, happy to be dying permanently. So if that's a proper reading of her expression, then she's saying all this, pushing him to this point, so that he'll kill her. She doesn't want to be this. Does that mean that she still loves him? Does that mean it's all a lie? I still don't quite know what I think. I can see the different readings as canon. Spike certainly thinks she loved him, and that she loved him more than Nikki loved Robin (did he really need to go there?)
  • So I guess my actual question is, is the lie Spike's mother told him that she loved him, or that she didn't?

  • Lotta references to how many speeches Buffy makes. I'm gonna guess the writers noticed the complaining on the fan boards.
  • Whichever way you read the scene, the showdown between William and his mother is so well acted by these two. Big props to Caroline Lagerfelt.
  • While I think it's complete and absolute bullshit garbage, what Wood and Giles do, I do think Spike is needlessly cruel, for someone who canonically does repent his evil actions, even if he doesn't mope for decades about it like Angel did. Some of what he says needs to be said - and same for what Buffy will say to him - but what the fuck is all this about Nikki not loving Robin enough to quit? He understands the mission.
  • And he's wrong. We see that too. We see that Nikki loved Robin. She lost one fight with Spike. That doesn't mean she didn't love her son. She didn't choose to die (regardless of whether his death wish theory in "Fool For Love" is correct). She had one bad day. She wanted to come back. She wanted to raise her son.  Spike talks with conviction, and he sounds smart (sometimes), but he doesn't always have the insight he's touted to have. He understands obsessive love (which is why he can see past Buffy and Angel's "just friends" in "Lover's Walk"), but having NEVER ACTUALLY SEEN any interactions between Nikki and Robin, his reading of their relationship is cruel and bollocks.
  • When Buffy says she'll let Spike kill Wood, she doesn't mean she wants Wood dead. She means she can't have this sabotaging infighting in her army, if they have a shot at winning. We can't have allies trying to take each other out. We see how badly things go when they actually boot her out.
  • "I think you've taught me everything I need to know." yeah Giles you done fucked up

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: William: "You'll like her." Drusilla: "To eat, you mean?"
Zelda: The entire Who's On First routine with Buffy, Giles, and Wood regarding Spike's trigger, chip, and soul.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recuring: Nikki Wood, Principal Wood, Giles, Potentials, William's terrible wig, Drusilla
  • Crossover! Fred calls for Willow to come un-Angelus Angel and also pick up Faith
Anya's Hair - honey blonde, flip, and a weird hat
Dead Humans - 0
Dead Undeads - 3
Dead Flashbacks - 2 (both are Anne)
Dead Potentials - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0


  1. I like pretending this episode doesn't exist, because it basically makes me hate all our characters (except for Anya, of course). Stop, season 7! Just stop.


    1. We're all going to be pretending Empty Places doesn't exist, right? Even Anya's not excepted in IHATETHISTHINGYOUAREDOING there ...

    2. Empty Places? That's weird, never heard of it.


  2. Much more with Daniel on this one. Always hated how much leniency Spike gets throughout the series, and I love Anya's quote regarding that. Best just to pretend this one doesn't exist...and some of the ones before...and some of the ones after...

    1. isn't it weird how Selfless was the final episode of Buffy?

  3. I'm going to have to agree with Daniel more too, regarding the Spike stuff. He was a legitimate danger and threat to the entire team and yet, he constantly got a pass.

    Wood was a way better ally than Spike. I don't care if Spike became the deux ex machine that saved them all in Chosen, he sucks and is awful and JM will always skeev me out because of how smarmy he comes across.

    1. "Smaramy"? Care to explain further?

  4. I don't have a huge problem with what Spike does because Wood is knowingly doing what the First wants him to do. He also knows that Spike is not the monster who killed his mother - because that's why he plays the song. Buffy is all about resisting the temptation to do something evil - in this case what the big bad wants - for personal gain. Everyone was tempted by the First - only Wood planned and carried out the mission the First gave him.

    BTW - Spike's mother lived with him. Bit of a difference there. Back in Victorian times the men inherited.

  5. I actually like this episode. I don't have an issue with Spike wearing the coat (trophy) and Wood knew the deal with slayers whether or not he liked it.

    There is a bit of heavy-handedness in proving the point that the demon and the ensouled are not the same. That's why Spike's mother is so poignant. As to the remanufacture of Spike as the "saviour" it's unfortunate but at this point Buffy is quite an unlikeable character. Not that her friends have been much help - I don't know how I would cope with all these people coming to my house and no income other than my minimum wage job and all these people expecting me to make decisions.