"Lies My Parents Told Me"
Written by David Fury and Drew Goddard; directed by David Fury

Nikki fights Spike in a New York City park in 1977. They trade banter as a four-year-old Wood watches from behind a park bench. Spike says, “Don't want the dance to end so soon, do you, Nikki? The music's just starting, isn't it? By the way…love the coat.” He leaves and Wood comes out from behind the bench. Nikki tells him that he always has to “work the mission…. The mission is what matters, right?” In the present, Wood, Spike, and Buffy fight vamps in an alley. Spike saves Wood from a vampire but Wood isn’t exactly grateful.

At the high school, things have calmed down since the seal was closed. Wood tells Buffy that she reminds him of his mother. Giles rushes in, shocked that the library has been replaced with a computer lab. He and Buffy try to explain Spike’s chip, trigger, and soul to Wood, who is understandably confused. They wonder if the song (last heard in “Never Leave Me”) really is his trigger, and whether it’s still active. Giles says that he has a magical method to keep Spike from killing again and to find out more about his trigger.

Everyone gathers in the basement of Buffy’s house and Spike is chained to the wall again. Giles produces a rock called a Prokaryote stone, which he will place in Spike’s brain to “reveal the root of the trigger’s power.” Once they figure out what the trigger is, Spike can keep it from affecting him. Willow speaks some magic words and the stone turns to liquid. The liquid moves itself up Spike’s cheek, through his eye, and into his brain. He flashes back to England in 1880 - he’s William, reading a poem to his mother. His mother compliments the verse and he promises to always take care of her. (He won’t need to for much longer - she seems to have consumption.) She asks him to sit with her, then sings him that familiar song: “Early one morning, just as the sun was rising / I heard a maid sing in the valley below. / Oh, don't deceive me. / Oh, never leave me. / How could you use a poor maiden so?”

Back in the basement, Spike suddenly vamps out and throws Buffy across the room. The Prokaryote stone comes out and Wood glares. After he’s calmed down, Spike tells the others to unchain him and asks if the stone did what it was supposed to. Giles asks if he remembers the trigger song; Spike tells him it’s called “Early One Morning” and his mother used to sing it to him. Upstairs, Kennedy and Rona are upset that Buffy let Spike be around them when his trigger was still active. Willow receives a phone call from Angel’s Fred, who Andrew thinks sounds awfully feminine for a guy.

Giles tries to get Spike to say more about his mother but Spike grows angry and refuses. Buffy tells Giles that she’s going to unchain him because he doesn’t know anything that can help them. Giles tells her that the trigger is still active and that the process isn’t over. Spike flashes back again, remembering the first time he brought Drusilla home. They talk excitedly about destroying Europe, but Drusilla isn’t as excited when she learns that Spike wants to bring his mother along. Spike’s mother comes downstairs and he tells her that he’s changed - he’s a vampire now. He offers to sire her, then bites her.

Back in the basement, Willow tells Buffy that she needs to go out of town for a few days. (See the Angel episode “Orpheus,” which actually aired before this episode but is supposed to take place after it. Long story short - Angel is Angelus again, Willow helps restore his soul, and she and Faith plan to return to Sunnydale.) Buffy unchains Spike and as they head upstairs, Wood and Giles remain in the basement. Wood announces that the First seems to have something important in mind for Spike and that they need to do something. Giles tells him that Buffy won’t agree to that and Wood tells him to use his influence as her Watcher to convince her that they’re right. Giles learns that Wood was Nikki’s son and was raised by her Watcher. He realizes that Spike killed Wood’s mother; Wood tells him that Buffy doesn’t know that. He asks Giles to keep Buffy away for a little while so that he can do “what needs to be done…for the greater good.”

That night, Giles takes Buffy to a cemetery, telling her he’s going to teach her some new skills. He says that she needs to look at the big picture, and that if she wants to be a leader, she needs to make difficult decisions. At Wood’s house, where Spike is staying temporarily, Spike finds out that the walls of the garage are covered with crosses. Wood says that he thinks of Spike as the sort of person who lives his life without worrying about what he does to other people. He reveals that Spike killed his mother but Spike admits that he’s killed a lot of people and doesn’t remember her. Wood cues up “Early One Morning” on his computer and Spike vamps out.

Spike flashes back yet again, entering his house and hearing “Early One Morning” playing from a music box. His mother, looking healthier, greets him and thanks him for siring her. He is happy that they’re together, but she reveals that she hates his poetry and doesn’t want to be near him anymore. As we cut back and forth between Spike and his mother and Spike fighting Wood, Spike’s mother tells him that if she had known how he would turn out, she would have killed him when he was born. Wood asks Spike if he’s feeling what Nikki felt when he killed her.

Buffy fights a vampire as Giles looks on, telling her not to kill him yet. He asks, “Would you let this vampire live if he began saving the world?” She says that she would and reminds him that they had this conversation in “The Gift.” He points out that things are different now, and that, after going through different things, she would now let Dawn die. Buffy confirms that she would, if doing so would save the world. Giles tells her that they can’t let anything jeopardize their chances of winning the Hellmouth battle and points out that Spike could stand in their way. Meanwhile, Wood accuses Spike of never caring about anyone but himself. Spike’s mother takes the scene into squicky Oedipal territory, and he breaks her cane and apologizes. Wood hears him say that he’s sorry, but he’s really saying it to his mother, right before he stakes her.

Spike stops Wood from staking him, then tells him he didn’t care about Nikki - she was a Slayer, he’s a vampire, and “that’s the way the game is played.” The two fight and Spike tells Wood that he wasn’t Nikki’s first priority. She was a Slayer, and Slayers always fight alone. He says that Nikki didn’t love Wood enough to quit being a Slayer. He cues up the song again but it no longer has an effect on him. He thanks Wood for curing him and moves in to kill him. Buffy continues to fight the vampire as Giles tells her that Spike is a liability. She replies that she wants Spike there, and that he’s different now. She realizes that Giles is trying to stall her. As she runs off, he tells her, “It's time to stop playing the role of general, and start being one. This is the way wars are won.”

Buffy arrives at Wood’s house as Spike leaves the garage with his leather jacket. She sees Wood, who has been beaten. Spike tells her that he let him live, since Spike killed his mother, but that this is his last reprieve. Buffy confides to Wood that her mother is dead as well. She tells Wood that killing Spike won’t change the fact that his mother is dead - he’s “looking for revenge on a man that doesn't exist anymore.” She argues that they need Spike to win the battle, and echoes Nikki’s words: “the mission is what matters.” At home, Giles tries to explain himself to Buffy, who tells him that Spike and Wood are both alive. He tells her that what he said earlier is still true and she still has things to learn. She responds, “No, I think you've taught me everything I need to know” and closes her door in his face.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: If you want Spike flashbacks, watch “Fool for Love.”

GRADE: C Even the Spike/Wood battle is boring. And no one likes it when Giles and Buffy aren't getting along.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “It wasn't like it had a catchy hook or anything, like ‘I'm coming up, so you better get this party started.’ It was boring, old, and English. Just like you - ull. Yul Brenner. A British Yul Brenner.” - Buffy to Giles

Spike: “With all the rubbish people keep sticking in my head, it's a wonder that there's room for my brain.”
Giles: “I don't think it takes up that much space, do you?”

Spike: “Drusilla - she…she has made me what I am. I am no longer bound to this mortal coil. I have become a creature of the night. A vampire.”
Spike’s mother: “Are you drunk?”
Spike: “A little bit.”

Buffy: “We need him. I’m in the fight of my life.”
Richard the vampire: “Really?”
Buffy: “Not you, Richard.”

Back to Buffy episode guides

Back to Fun and Games