Going on a Patreon Adventure: Why Spike is Better than Angel (also: burritos)
Greetings friends and welcome to a new monthly feature where the topic is decided by my Patrons over on Patreon. Once a month I will add an extra post to my schedule, and it could be about anything. Honestly, I was expecting something more Serious than this, but the people want what the people want!
If you’ve been around for awhile, you might know that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is tied for my favorite show of all-time with the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series. I am vocal in my strong preference for Spike and love for James Marsters, and now I get to tell you why. If you like seeing me pick about themes and theorize about science fiction, this post is for you… and if you like pictures of food, this post is also for you!
Let’s Talk about the Burrito
I am currently eating the most delicious burrito of my life as I write this post because my Patrons love me. It is so good that my taste buds are drunk, which will inevitably make this post even more of a mess.
I mean… look at this majesty. What we have here is a California burrito, which essentially is a Carne Asada (grilled steak) burrito with potatoes. Inside we have grilled, marinated steak, potatoes, cheese, and guacamole. It’s the size of a small child and I am looking forward to my upcoming food baby.
I want to take a moment to discuss the difference between NorCal and SoCal burritos (Northern and Southern California). TL;DR: burritos in NorCal are not worth your time. They add rice and beans in everything as filler, which means less meat, and the tortillas are different (which I cannot even describe). One time when I was drunk, I had the great idea to get my burrito without rice and beans because I thought it would essentially be close to SoCal burritos. No dice, the damn thing had the thickness of a taquito. And it still was $3 more than the far superior burritos I am accustomed to.
Suffice to say, when I visit home in Southern California I eat as many burritos as I can to get my fix! And now that you have some insight into how much I love burritos, here’s the main attraction!
Why Spike is Better than Angel
Even though the series finale aired in 2004, I suppose that I should mention that this post has spoilers for the series. In the event that you haven’t seen this iconic show yet and somehow haven’t already been spoiled, tread lightly if that’s your thing.
The reasons are listed from the silly/superficial reasons to philosophical ones.
1. William Henry Pratt, known as Spike or “William the Bloody,” has an accent.
That’s right, he has a brilliant English accent. Sure… Angel originally hailed from Ireland, but Liam lost his accent along the way (and I’m sorry, but David Boreanaz could have done better).
2. He’s hot.
I vividly remember in 2003 when I was in a theatre company. I was doing a romantic scene with the guy I was dating at the time, and after rehearsal Coach asked me something to the effect of “who turns you on?” and Eric responded, in front of everyone, “Spike.” It’s been 16 years and I don’t think I will ever be over it. But seriously, just look at him. And then listen to him speak after Angel. Tell me your thoughts. I’ll wait.
Sure, Angel is pretty and broody. If you like that sort of thing. But look at this.
3. He’s also funny as hell (and insightful to boot).
Spike honestly has some of the best lines as he is often the comedic relief in the later seasons. From yelling about Timmy being stuck down the well in a soap opera to singing a rock ballad in the music episode *swoon*, I just adore almost every scene he is in.
Angel is just a broody stick in the mud; the only quotes of his that I resonate with are from “Passion” in season two… and he is evil.
4. Before being turned by Drusilla, Spike was a hopeless romantic and a poet.
Okay listen, Spike was a (terrible) poet when he was human and it is adorable. This Big Bad Vampire, one of the worst, killer of two Slayers in his time, Billy Idol’s trendsetter, a guy who curses like a sailor. He was a hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than to have his affections for Cecily returned. Angel, on the other hand, was a drunken lout who bedded women for sport and got into bar fights. Cream of the crop, there.
5. Even as an evil vampire, Spike retained parts of his humanity.
Deep down, Spike’s essence as a romantic never went away when he lost his soul and became a vampire. Drusilla became Spike’s longtime paramore once he was turned and as evidenced in season two’s episode “Surprise” when The Judge essentially smells their humanity.
Spike: (rolls over to him in Dru’s defense) Ho, ho, ho. What’s that,
Judge: You two stink of humanity. You share affection and jealousy.
Their pairing is rare, and there is much discussion in the Buffyverse about the soul and how a lack of it means the vampire is incapable of love. But despite that, they share something as close as it… only it isn’t both ways. Drusilla not only slept with Angel (seen in a flashback in season 5, which Spike did NOT take well), but also left Spike for a Chaos Demon when they fled to South America after season 2. Spike was heartbroken and didn’t have a soul. Compare this to Angelus (unsouled), who slept with his mate’s paramore while “in a relationship” with Darla, who took pleasure in driving Drusilla insane before turning her, and who likely was sleeping with her in season 2.
6. When he was chipped, his personality permanently changed.
Angel was cursed to suffer for his misdeeds and given his soul. This brought back his conscience and he was unable to continue gallivanting around Europe with his pals wreaking havoc anymore. His behavior changed as a result. Except for the fact that if he loses his soul, he’s back to his old tricks. He is only a better person, fighting for the Good Guys because he was essentially forced into it.
On the other hand, Spike was captured by The Initiative and given a behavior modification chip in his brain. On a surface level this served the same purpose as Angel being ensouled: Spike was no longer capable of inflicting any pain or violence against another human without being shocked. But when he discovers that the chip only affects humans and he can fight vampires and other demons, he becomes an eager puppy to fight alongside the Scoobies. But unlike Angel, when Spike’s chip stops working he does not revert to his evil vampire self. He continues to fight alongside the Slayer and he friends, not because he had no other purpose but because he wanted to.
7. The Bathroom Scene made him want to be a better man. (cw attempted rape)
We have to address The Bathroom Scene in season six’s episode “Seeing Red.” Buffy has broken off her sex-buddy relationship with Spike, but he tries to rein her back in as he has all the previous times. When Buffy stands her ground he gets forceful with her in a devastating scene where Buffy says, “Ask me again why I could never love you.”
I won’t excuse his actions, because they are inexcusable. But it was a wake-up call for Spike as he realizes the consequences of his actions. As a vampire without a soul, he could never be capable of being truly good. But he isn’t a bloodthirsty demon anymore, either. “It won’t let me be a monster. And I can’t be a man. I’m nothing.” So he makes a choice and undertakes demon trials to win back his soul.
“Angel—he should’ve warned me. He makes a good show of forgetting, but it’s here, in me, all the time. (walks around toward her from behind) The spark. I wanted to give you what you deserve, and I got it. They put the spark in me and now all it does is burn.”
(Honestly, this is one of my favorite scenes in the series. If you want to watch it, click here and skip to 35:40.)
Angel essentially keeps a tally of his good deeds because he read in a prophecy that he might earn redemption in the fight against evil. And this is him with a soul! So not only is he forced into being a White Hat, but he hopes to get something out of it. Sure, near the end of Angel season 5 he decides to no longer keep score, but let’s not forget his intense jealousy and righteousness at the possibility that the prophecy was never about him to begin with.
Thank you so much to my Patrons for supporting me and my content! This was a really fun post to write that I likely would never have read if not for you, so thank you and I hope it lives up to your expectations!
If you would like to support my work for as little as $1 per month, check out my Patreon!
Do you have any opinions on the Angel versus Spike debate? Are you also a burrito connoisseur (or strangely Passionate about a different food)? Let’s chat in the comments!
Let’s go on another adventure together!