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.

Image result for spike british gif
Episode 6×8: “Tabula Rasa”

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.

Image result for spike buffy gif 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.

Image result for angel dancing gif

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.

Image result for spike gif

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.

Image result for spike effulgent gif
Episode 5×22: “Not Fade Away”

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.

Image result for spike and drusilla gif
Episode 2×6: “Halloween”

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.

Judge: You!

Spike: (rolls over to him in Dru’s defense) Ho, ho, ho. What’s that,
mate?

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.

Image result for drunk spike chaos demon gif
Season 3×8: “Lover’s Walk”

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.)

Image result for spike on cross gif

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!

Michelle  |  Sam  |  Haley  |  Destiny

If you would like to support my work for as little as $1 per month, check out my Patreon!

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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!

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

34 Comments

  1. Tammy

    July 31, 2019 at 6:54 AM

    Love this post, Kal! I’m a HUGE Spike fan as well, although I do love Angel, I’ve always loved Buffy and Spike together (I know that’s not a popular opinion). Spike had such a complex character development over the years, and even when he went over to Angel his character stayed really interesting. I miss him and those shows so much!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:56 PM

      Spike is the best! I loved him from his first appearance and definitely came to ship him and Buffy together. I agree with you that Spike had a lot of character development through the series, and I loved the nuance (even though it kind of pushed at the boundaries of the show’s own lore) of his character never really fitting as an evil being. Season 5 of Angel was honestly magic; the chemistry between James and David is amazing.

  2. jamsu

    July 31, 2019 at 11:22 AM

    I don’t know about burritos but I’m obsessed with chicken rolls. I feel like I’ve bought them too often after I moved to my own apartment.

    I think Spike would win Angel any day. I mean Spike tried to do good even when he was evil (it was for Buffy but still!) while Angel first ate rats (can you say eww) and then was capable of still killing and turning people, even turned his back when Darla and Dru went to kill all those lawyers just to get back at them.

    I love both Spike (as good or evil it doesn’t matter) and Angelus. I do like Angel but I guess he’s more likable to me as evil. It’s nice that he wants to be better but all that brooding can be boring.

    I could go on and on about the whole Spuffy vs. Bangel debate, even write a whole post about why Spike clearly was better for her but I rather not . Amazing post Kal! I wish we talked more about out love towards this show and it’s characters, especially Spike because how can you not love his character growth?

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:58 PM

      Mmm… I want to see these chicken rolls. Because by my imagination they sound delicious!

      I also found Angelus more interesting as a character than Angel, which is kind of a bummer honestly. And the rats are def EW. You’re totally right though that even as Angel he wasn’t perfect – his series got really dark. And I am down to talk about Spike ANY DAY.

  3. TheCaffeinatedReader

    July 31, 2019 at 11:52 AM

    ALL THE YES TO THE BURRITO AND SPIKE who let’s face it, is a Vamp burrito himself, just one you wanna wrap up in a blanket and protect from evils and himself lol. This was so good, and man, I’m so glad I’m a patreon lolol. Honestly, I feel we should talk shop about Spike sometime, Angel was okay, but he was bland, Spike has depth and though he does some inexcusable things, he does good things too and ugh complex hottie with an accent

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 9:00 PM

      YES I love the idea of a vamp burrito (although now I am imagining a burrito with Spike’s head on it which is a mental image). Angel WAS bland! And I am legit always down to talk about the Buffyverse, I am and will always be obsessed. Thanks for being a Patron and helping birth this post!

  4. brigidldowney

    August 1, 2019 at 6:30 PM

    Spike all the way! Also I love his rock ballad in the musical episode so much it’s one of my most listened to songs on spotify!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 9:14 PM

      Yaaas another Spike fan!

  5. waytoofantasy

    August 3, 2019 at 5:47 AM

    But I like rice and beans! 😀
    In the Buffy show I never liked Angel, at all. I always had a thing for Spike. I like a bad guy turning good or at least partly good. Once Angel got his own show, I liked him much better.

    1. Kal

      August 3, 2019 at 3:25 PM

      I like rice and beans too, just not acting as filler so there is barely any meat (and the burrito being more expensive with cheaper ingredients)! Sorry, I have a lot of feelings about burritos haahahaha

      I honestly think that my adorable for morally grey and villain redemption arcs stems from my adolescent ass falling in love with Spike. I do agree that Angel was more interesting on his own show, but I still got kind of pissed at his whole approach to being good as a means to an end of redemption.

      1. waytoofantasy

        August 4, 2019 at 7:30 AM

        Yeah, I get that lol!
        That makes a lot of sense, the Spike vs Angel thing. I really do live a good redemption arc. I guess I don’t think of redemption much when I think of Angel because his whole redemption thing always seemed rather week and badly written, I can agree with that.

        1. Kal

          August 4, 2019 at 11:37 AM

          Same here! It’s funny how you never really think about these things. I remember in uni my thesis advisor replied to the fact my favorite band is Bad Religion with “that makes sense.” And then I really thought about how the punk music I listened to growing up shaped me as a person. Angel’s redemption arc was boring and forced! He didn’t want to change, he just had to because of the soul.

          1. waytoofantasy

            August 4, 2019 at 1:41 PM

            Exactly! Yeah, it was definitely more a case of the character serving the plot vs the character driving the plot. I’m a character focused reader. Still, I did enjoy him once he because his own protagonist (but I always still liked Buffy better than Angel).

          2. Kal

            August 5, 2019 at 11:03 AM

            Oooh yea you have a good point!

  6. Alex

    August 4, 2019 at 12:48 AM

    I love this! I always preferred Spike but could never explain why, other than “he’s hot” haha. Your reasons are perfect!

    1. Kal

      August 4, 2019 at 11:36 AM

      “He’s hot” is a valid reason, lol! Thank you for reading AND agreeing with me! It’s funny, when the show was first airing I was literally alone in my Spike love… but not it seems everyone is on my side.

      1. Alex

        August 6, 2019 at 1:33 AM

        I only watched it for the first time a few years ago but I think I would have felt the same about Spike if I’d watched it when it was first airing 😉

  7. Norrie

    August 5, 2019 at 8:48 AM

    Ugh… we have a few “mexican” places around here, and i tried a few burritos. I don’t know how authentic they are (or how authentic the restaurants are for a fact), but they were all sort of yucky. They were full of fuckin’ beans 😀 😀 Just like the ones you said ain’t worth the time. Oh, some also had the rice. So yea, rice + beans is just nope. And they didn’t even use nice beans. So burritos for me are one of those foods i don’t risk anymore when i eat out.

    1. Kal

      August 5, 2019 at 11:19 AM

      Like rice and beans are fine (and depending on the region in Mexico, authentic), but a meat burrito shouldn’t be 80% rice and beans and cost $9. Sorry you don’t have quality burritos where you live!

  8. Clo @ Book Dragons

    August 7, 2019 at 8:00 AM

    You made me tear up Kal waaaaaa *wipes the tears away* I watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer when I was erm…still in primary school xD I think I started watching it when I was in year 4 or year 5…I was 9 I’m pretty sure when I started watching this show for the first time. My mum rewatched it, as we basically watched it together since she has the DVDs (and I still use her DVDs for when I need a fix!) But as a kid I missed a lot of the erm…more mature moments/themes cause I was living my best innocent life and falling head over heels for the characters, the world and everything.

    No one I knew irl aside from my mum and one of her friends, had seen the show so I had no one to fangirl with about this show. Anyhoo, I used to love Angel like when he left in season 3 I was pure devastated. Then Spike comes back and slowly I warmed to him, eventually loving him more than Angel because his character arc was way better and his character overall was just…a lot better imo than Angel’s.

    I concur with all your points about Spike and Angel. As much as I love Angel…Spike just beats him. Oh also can you please sob with me over what happens to Spike in season 7. I was full on ugly sobbing as I watched that and my parents literally came in saw what I was watching and then left me to it xD gah my heart isn’t ready to get torn apart like that again. OH CAN YOU PLS RANT ABOUT RILEY IN A POST AT SOME POINT PRETTY PLS BECAUSE I WANNA KNOCK THAT IDIOT INTO THE NEXT LIGHT YEAR (I despised Riley even now I hate him.)

    (also I don’t here Spike’s accent but I do love the fact that he says “love” haha) and yassssss he’s hot af and I can’t even tell you how gutted I was when I learned how old the actor was in real life. My mum found it hilarious *sniffs*

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 5:03 PM

      I also have the DVDs of the series (boo hiss to the HD remaster!) and love rewatching the series on occasion. I keep imaging little innocent Clo watching Buffy and missing out on a lot of the subtext and themes, precious!

      Angel’s character arc did get a bit better when he got his own show, but I agree that Spike’s overall was just… way better. Nothing against David Boreanaz as an actor, but you can only do so much with the writing, you know?

      Spike in season 7 *sobs eternally* Did you watch Angel season 5 when Spike moved over after Buffy ended? Because that season is ICONIC. And HELL YEA I would love to rant about Riley. He’s boring! Stupid Corn Fed Iowa Boy.

      1. Clo @ Book Dragons

        August 25, 2019 at 7:53 AM

        I was innocent. I was so innocent that so many of the themes, subtext went right over my head and it’s only now that I get some of what I watched xD

        Yeah that’s true, the writing could’ve been better for his character I feel.

        Noooo I still need to watch all of Angel but like I watched a few of the first episodes and I think I died laughing when Spike appeared in one and called Angel a fluffy bunny or something like I adore Spike haha

        Ugh Riley. He’s so judgy and just I hated him, I never liked him like whilst he was dating Buffy I was wanting her to get with Spike xD

  9. Ginger

    August 8, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    Yes, yes, yes, oh yes. About Spike, that is. I don’t have anywhere near as strong opinions about burritos. I was already in my early 30s when I first set eyes on Spike but as a former post punk college DJ and club girl who, at 16, fought through the crowd to get to the stage at a Billy Idol show, the first time I set eyes on him every cell in my being said, “Oh yes, come to Mama!” Mind you, as a grown woman watching Buffy, the Buffy/Angel teenage angst was already giving me a headache. Wes and Cordelia perfectly summed up my feelings about them in the hilarious little play they put on for Fed and Gunn. The most interesting thing Angel did while on Buffy was lose his soul. He didn’t grow a personality until he moved to L.A. Everything Spike did was interesting. When he was bad. When he was trying to be good. When he was pathetic. When he was nekkid. (Especially then;-). It was impossible to take your eyes off him.

    Besides, Spike’s sacrifices are voluntary. He gains a soul voluntarily and he dies to save the world voluntarily. We know how Angel got his soul and we all remember how shocked he looked when Buffy sent him to Hell.

    Oh and it’s documented that, in the sack, Spike um “got the job done.”

    What’s not to love?

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 5:15 PM

      I don’t think that many people have strong opinions about burritos, but this is my cross to bear. XD

      Spike is a dreamboat though! And I can’t imagine how frustrating seasons 1-3 would have been as an adult viewer, because even rewatching them now in my 30s annoys me — and I have nostalgia on my side! I agree with you though, Angelus was interesting as hell (it is not surprising that my favorite episodes and quotes tend to be from the latter part of season 2) — his personality was bland. I think that may be in large part because the writers didn’t know what to do with him since he wasn’t the focus of the show, but he did get somewhat better when he (and Cordy and Wes) moved to LA.

      Ginger, I must say that we have the same CORRECT perspective on Spike, and I want to be friends with you lol. Thanks so much for reading & commenting!

  10. Meeghan reads

    August 10, 2019 at 3:57 AM

    I wholeheartedly agree that Spike was so much better than Angel, but I had forgotten so much of this!! It’s making me want to rewatch this series all over again!! 💕

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 5:19 PM

      *whispers* Rewatch the series, fall in love all over again!

      1. Meeghan reads

        August 20, 2019 at 12:28 AM

        I need something now that the VR reboot has destroyed my dreams…

        1. Kal

          August 21, 2019 at 12:07 PM

          That’s a big fucking mood. I’ve retconned season 4 from my life.

          1. Meeghan reads

            August 21, 2019 at 3:17 PM

            I’m ok with most of. I’m just deleting the last 15 minutes or so.

  11. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    August 23, 2019 at 6:18 PM

    I must admit, I’ve never watched Buffy before! It’s on my list of “tv shows to watch before I die”, so I promise I’ll get to it some day! Also, I completely feel ya with the burrito situation. SoCal burritos are the BEST! It is so irritating when some burritos are filled with nothing but rice and beans! I need the meat and guac! Haah!

    1. Kal

      August 27, 2019 at 12:04 AM

      *gasp* Actually, since you are smol and were like 3??? when the series ended, it’s okay! But I really do recommend the show because it was seminal for television and just so good. I recently added guac to a California burrito and my life has been changed for the better!

  12. Monthly Rewind: August – Book Dragons

    September 4, 2019 at 8:02 AM

    […] Kal @ Reader Voracious discusses Why Spike Is Better Than Angel […]

  13. Monthly Rewind: August – Cuppa Clo

    October 2, 2019 at 1:23 PM

    […] Kal @ Reader Voracious discusses Why Spike Is Better Than Angel […]

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