Episode Title: Fool For Love
Original Air Date: November 14th 2000
“Look, I realise that every Slayer comes with an expiration mark on the package. But I want mine to be a long time from now. Like a Cheeto.” – Buffy
Last week we got to learn the background for Tara who this week is noticeably absent throughout and with no reason given for were she might be we can only assume that her family must have succeeded in carting her back home to the farm. Still the history lessons continue as following a failed patrol which leaves Buffy being stabbed with her own stake she decides to find out how Spike killed two Slayers in an attempt to avoid a similar fate to her predecessors.
Slayers as we know don’t get to retire making it all the more surprising that Buffy hasn’t thought more about her predecessors until now. I mean this isn’t even the first time she’s had her own stake turned on her. Still its intresting just how little information the Watchers Council keep on how their Slayers die, which Giles muses could be down to the memories being either too painful or that their watchers were killed along with them.
Spike despite showing up in season 2 has surprisingly been one of the few characters whose backstory we’ve not seen and its fitting that we learn more about him in particular his greatest claim to fame that he was responsible for killing two Slayers. At the same time its equally fun to see what parts of his past he’s reworked to add to his own legacy such as “William the Bloody” and “Spike” not being linked to his vampire activity but rather his lack of ability as a poet seen here during a flashback to London 1880 were a human Spike is being regarded as “William the bloody awful” while the nickname Spike is derived from his poems making you want to drive a railway spike through your head, rather than anything to do with his preferred torture method as he would have you believe.
This episode really gives James Masters an opportunity to shine aswell as do something other than being the sarcastic pain in Buffy’s ass he’s generally been reduced to since he got a control chip put in his brain. Of course Spike being Spike he’s hardly forthcoming with the details of his triumph even though you’d expect him to be more than happy to brag about it. Still one plate of wings later and he’s more than happy to share his life story.
Here we don’t just find out about his victory over the two slayers he killed but how he was sired by Drusilla as well as his relationship with Angel which in a fun twist we get to see the alternative take on these scenes in the Angel episode “Darla”. Thankfully these flashbacks are a lot more exciting and generally interesting than the Angel flashbacks we’ve had previously while the fact that we get to see Spike in China during the Boxer Revolution and 70’s New York for a Subway showdown which really mixes things up from another dose of rural Ireland. We also get to see his break up with Drusilla which was previously hinted to in season 3 finally showing us what exactly a chaos demon looks like.
The Slayer fight scenes are both quite thrilling to watch and when they do meet their demise its actually pretty harrowing to watch reminding us that Spike is dangerous and certainly capable of some horrible things including taking his trademark leather coat from the second Slayer he killed which was actually pretty haunting to watch even now knowing what was coming.
The downside to the episode actually comes from the B-Plot as Buffy has to deal with her Mother’s declining health which due to its placement in the episode feels more tacked on than it should. Yes it provides a suitable reason for Spike not to shoot her (still not sure if that would have worked) as he instead comforts her but it could have certainly benefited from a more prominent position especially for such a meaningful subplot.
Ending aside this is a great episode and one which only further develops Spike’s character without taking anything away from him while equally providing fodder for later episodes which will call back to these memories.
Next Episode: Shadow