"Fool for Love"
Written by Doug Petrie; directed by Nick Marck

In a cemetery, Buffy fights a punk vampire who stabs her in the abdomen with her own stake. She runs from him, but he chases her. He is about to try to do her in when Riley tackles him. The vampire runs off and Buffy passes out in Riley’s arms. At her house, Riley tends to her wound and she admits that she was only attacked by one vampire. Dawn comes in and warns them that Joyce is on her way upstairs. Joyce spots the rubbing alcohol Riley was using for sterilization and Dawn lies that she was using it to remove nail polish. In appreciation for Dawn covering for her, Buffy lets her know what happened. Riley tells Buffy that he’ll patrol for her that night and she asks him to take the Scoobies with him.

That night, Willow, Xander, and Anya tag along to the cemetery with Riley but seem to have forgotten all of the stealth skills they used to have. At the Magic Box, Buffy looks through Watchers’ diaries to learn more about other Slayers. She is frustrated that she is unable to find any information about any of the Slayers’ final battles; she wants to know what she can do better in order to live longer. Giles tells her that the Watchers probably have a hard time writing about the final battles because they’re too sad. He points out that no one else would have witnessed these battles, but Buffy realizes that he’s wrong. She heads to Spike’s crypt and demands that he show her how he killed two Slayers. At the Bronze, Spike pontificates about beer until Buffy urges him to talk. “We fought. I won. The end. Pay up,” he replies, more interested in the money than anything. He tells her it’s “not about the moves,” then tells her to order him some buffalo wings. He notices that she’s injured and realizes that that is the catalyst for her curiosity. “Were you born this big a pain in the a%$?” she asks. “What can I tell you, baby?” he says. “I’ve always been bad.”

Actually, as we see via flashback, he was born William and lived in London in 1880, where he wrote really bad poetry and had worse hair. Rather than blood, his biggest priority is finding a word that rhymes with “gleaming” so that he can impress his crush, Cecily. (Fans note: Cecily is played by Kali Rocha, who later plays Halfrek.) Some aristocrats discuss a series of disappearances from the area, and they decide to ask William’s opinion. He replies that he doesn’t want to waste his time worrying about “such dark, ugly business,” and prefers to focus on “creating things of beauty.” One of the aristocrats grabs William’s poem and reads it: “My heart expands / 'tis grown a bulge in it / inspired by / your beauty effulgent.” (See “Not Fade Away.”) The aristocrats are amused but Cecily is slightly embarrassed. “They call him William the Bloody because of his bloody awful poetry!” an aristocrat announces. “I'd rather have a railroad spike through my head than listen to that awful stuff!” says another.

Cecily asks William if he wrote the poem about her, and he admits that he did. He professes his love for her and asks that she try to see him. “You’re nothing to me, William,” she replies. “You’re beneath me.” Upset, William leaves, running into a barely-seen Angelus and Darla on his way down the street. (Note: see “Darla” to piece everything together.) He destroys his poems in an alley and is approached by Drusilla. She tells him, “You walk in worlds the others can't begin to imagine,” and though he is intrigued, he tells her that his mother is expecting him. (See “Lies My Parents Told Me.” On second thought, don’t.) Drusilla tells him that he wants “something glowing and glistening. Something...effulgent.” She proceeds to sire him.

Back in the cemetery, Riley spots the vampire who stabbed Buffy, and the Scoobies follow him to a lair he shares with some other vamps. Riley decides that they should return in the morning and catch them off-guard. At the Bronze, Spike shoots pool and tells Buffy that being killed was the best thing that ever happened to him. He tells her that he got a gang together, but according to a flashback, it seems more like Angelus allowed him to join the gang he already had with Drusilla and Darla. Spike tells Angelus that his name is no longer William and Angelus notes that Spike has dropped his London accent for a less upper-class one. Angelus tells Spike that every time he kills someone, people come after them. Spike describes how much he enjoys fighting and Angelus says that a good kill requires “pure artistry.” The two fight, and Angelus warns that some day, either a mob of people or the Slayer will get the better of him. “What’s a Slayer?” Spike asks.

At the Bronze, Spike tells Buffy that he quickly became obsessed with the Slayer and actually sought her out. “Lesson the first: a Slayer must always reach for her weapon,” he tells her. He vamps out and tells her that he already has his. In a flashback to China in 1900, we see Spike fighting the Chinese Slayer. She cuts him over his eyebrow, giving him his now-famous scar. After a long battle, Spike kills her and says, “A fella could get used to this.” Drusilla arrives and congratulates him on his accomplishment. In the street, Darla and Angel (now reensouled, unbeknownst to everyone else) meet up with Spike and Dru, who happily tell them that Spike killed a Slayer. In the present, Spike tells Buffy that it was the best night of his life and she is disgusted to note that he “got off on” killing the Slayer. He tells her that she can kill as many vampires as she wants, but all it takes to end her life is for one vampire to have “one…good…day.”

Riley walks through the cemetery again as the vampire tells his buddies how he got the better of Buffy. Riley stakes the vamp, then sets off a grenade in the crypt, successfully killing the other vampires. Outside the Bronze, Spike tells Buffy, “Lesson the second: ask the right questions. You want to know how I beat ‘em? The question isn’t ‘how’d I win?’. The question is ‘why’d they lose?’.” He demonstrates some of the moves he used on the Slayer in New York and Buffy notes that his chip isn’t hurting him. He explains that it’s because he knows he’s not actually going to harm her. Buffy asks again how he killed the New York Slayer.

As Spike and Buffy fight in the present, we see intercuts of Spike’s fight with the Slayer in New York City in 1977. (Note: in season 7, we learn that her name was Nikki.) They fight on the subway as Spike speaks words that Buffy hears in the present. He tells her that death is always after her, and part of her wants it to catch up with her, because she’s “just in a little bit in love with it.” Spike kills Nikki and takes her leather coat, which is now his trademark. In the present, Spike tells Buffy that he will be there when her time is up and will have himself “a real good day.” She tells him to get away from her and he challenges her to hit him. He leans in to kiss her but only succeeds in horrifying her. “You know you want to dance,” he says. She shoves him to the ground, throw money at him, and replies, “You’re beneath me.”

Spike angrily heads to his crypt, searching through a trunk as Harmony asks him what’s going on. He pulls out a shotgun and announces that Buffy’s time has come. Harmony tells him that Buffy will beat him but he refuses to believe it. She reminds him that his chip won’t let him hurt her, but he says it’ll be worth the pain. As he runs off, Harmony yells after him that he had plenty of chances to kill her before he was chipified and he didn’t do anything then. Indeed, in a flashback to South America in 1998 (some time after “Becoming, Part 2” and before “Lovers Walk”), Drusilla asks Spike why he didn’t kill Buffy. She tells him, “I look at you...all I see is the Slayer.”

Buffy returns home to see Joyce packing a suitcase in her bedroom. Joyce tells her that she has to stay at the hospital overnight for some tests - her headaches might be an indication of something serious. Buffy tries to be brave, but winds up on the back porch, crying. Spike heads into the yard with a gun and she asks what he wants. He quickly goes from furious to sympathetic and asks her what’s wrong. She replies that she doesn’t want to talk about it. He asks if there’s something he can do, then sits down next to her on the porch.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: The clothes make the man.

GRADE: B I’m not much for historical flashbacks, but the fight between Spike and the Slayer in New York is excellent, and it’s fun to see where Spike gets certain aspects of his character.

WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH: Nikki

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Dawn: “When do I get to patrol?”
Buffy: “Not until you’re never.”

(Riley makes a gesture like the one you’d do when you want a truck driver to honk his horn)
Xander: “What’s with the hand move? Does that, like, mean something?”
Willow: “It’s code. I think it breaks down to ‘choo-choo.’”
Anya: “It means to follow him. That, or wait here for him.”
Willow: “Ask.”
Xander: “Hey, Riley! What's the [does the gesture] all about?”
Riley: “It means yell real loud so the vampires who don't know we're coming will have a sporting chance.”

Drusilla: “The King of Cups expects a picnic! But this is not his birthday.”
Darla: (humoring her) “Good point.”

Chinese Slayer: “Tell my mother I’m sorry….”
Spike: “I’m sorry, love, I don’t speak Chinese.”

Spike: (re: Nikki) “I could have danced all night with that one.”
Buffy: “You think we’re dancing?”
Spike: “That’s all we’ve ever done. And the thing about the dance is, you never get to stop. Every day you wake up, it's the same bloody question that haunts you: is today the day I die? Death is on your heels, baby, and sooner or later it's gonna catch you. And part of you wants it...not only to stop the fear and uncertainty, but because you're just a little bit in love with it. Death is your art. You make it with your hands, day after day. That final gasp. That look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know: What's it like? Where does it lead you? And now you see, that's the secret. Not the punch you didn't throw or the kicks you didn't land. Every Slayer...has a death wish. Even you. The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world...your mum, your brat kid sister, the Scoobies. They all tie you here, but you're just putting off the inevitable. Sooner or later, you're gonna want it. And the second - the second - that happens…you know I'll be there. I'll slip in...have myself a real good day. Here endeth the lesson. I just wonder if you'll like it as much as she did.”

Spike: “Come on. I can feel it, Slayer. You know you want to dance.”
Buffy: “Say it’s true. Say I do want to. It wouldn’t be you, Spike. It would never be you. You’re beneath me.”


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