Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Lovers Walk

Summary

First, the good news. Buffy has a great SAT score and can get into any university she wants. Which makes everybody but her happy.

Now, the bad news. Spike is back in town. Dru has dumped him and he is now a lovesick drunk, looking to get her back. First, he wants to get revenge on Angel, who he blames for the breakup. But he soon switches to the idea of having budding witch Willow cast a love spell to bring Dru back. He discovers Willow in a witch supply shop - do these exist in places other than Sunnydale. She's buying an antilove potion, to turn off the love between herself and Xander. Both she and Xander are having second thoughts. Oz gives Willow a Pez witch and Xander discovers Cordelia has pictures of him pinned up her locker.

Spike pursues her and kidnaps both Willow and Xander. He takes them to the abandoned factory that was his old hangout and she agrees to make the potion. But she needs more ingredients. Spike locks them up and goes over to Buffy's place. Buffy discovers Willow and Xander are gone. Oz and Cordelia go looking for Giles, who is on a retreat in a nearby woods. Buffy learns Spike is at her place and goes home.

Spike is pouring his heart out to Buffy's mom over hot chocolate. Angel sees him and tries to get in, but he can't enter since he hasn't been invited. Joyce sees him and, since she still thinks he's evil, keeps him out. But Buffy arrives, invites Angel in, and takes down Spike. Joyce is very confused. Spike explains that what he wants is the love spell ingredients. So Angel, Buffy and Spike go to the magic shop to get them.

But the mayor has learnt Spike is in town and has asked Mr. Trick to get rid of him. The trio are met by a gang of vampires. A big fight ensues and our heroes win. Spike really enjoys himself. He realizes the love spell is not the solution to his problems. Instead, he will go win Dru back by being himself, the vampire she originally fell in love with. He makes a few comments about the relationship Buffy and Angel have, tells them where to find Willow and Xander, and takes off.

Meanwhile, Cordelia and Oz find Willow and Xander. Only they find them making out. Cordelia is distraught and runs away. But she falls through a rotted floor and is badly hurt. Later, we see Buffy trying to console Willow, who still has not reconciled with Oz and Xander trying to talk to Cordelia, who throws him out of her hospital room. Meanwhile, Spike is roaring down the highway singing along to the Sid Vicious version of My Way.

Analysis

I loved this episode. My only complaint is that I don't understand why Spike went to Buffy's place. Other than that, I can see nothing wrong here.

This is an episode about love, a funny thing as Spike notes. And about understanding who you love and what you have to do.

First, there's Spike. He loves Dru. And Dru has abandoned him. And he responds by wallowing in despair, getting drunk, and plotting first revenge (against Angel who he blames for Dru's change of heart) and later seduction via witchcraft. Both of these are desperation moves. It's pretty clear Spike just isn't thinking clearly. But love can do that to you.

Spike is a changed vampire. He's gone from punk rocker to pathetic loser. Buffy doesn't miss an opportunity to point this out. But Spike's experience in Sunnydale changes him. When he first came there, his intention was to kill the slayer. But he discovered that having Dru was more important to him than anything else and he made a pact with the slayer in order to get her. Now, that he's lost Dru, he's back. He's looking for revenge. Then he's looking for an easy way to get Dru back. But once again he makes a discovery. He learns that he can't be satisfied unless he wins Dru on his terms. By convincing her he is the man she loves. You can say a lot of bad things about Spike, but you've got to admit he learns from his experiences. He matures enormously in this episode and it's no accident that the most profound statement about love, that it is in your heart not your head, comes from him.

Next comes Willow. She's been riddled by guilt since she and Xander first kissed. But she goes into guilt overdrive when Oz gives her the Pez witch. Like Spike, she wants things to be the way they were. And, like Spike, she decides to resort to magic. Only, instead of a spell to make someone fall in love, she decides to cast a spell to make the love go away. When you come down to it, this is just as dumb as Spike's idea. They both want to rely on magic rather than solving their problems themselves. And, like Spike, she can't stick to one idea. At first, she wants to make the antilove potion. But a few hours later, she's making out with Xander. It isn't until they are discovered, Cordelia almost dies, and Oz just might leave her, that she discovers what she really wants. Now, as Spike has to convince Dru, she must convince Oz.

Xander, oddly, has been the most consistent character. Always immature, he wants his Pez and Cordelia too. When he sees his picture in Cordelia's locker, he's touched. But when Willow suggests the antilove spell, he's against it. When Cordelia is hurt, he's devastated. It's Xander who runs to her aid. It's Xander who cries out her name in anguish. It's Xander who visits her as soon as he can. It's Xander who's crushed when she won't see him.

After Spike, Buffy is probably the character who grows the most in this episode. And it happens because of Spike, because of his insight into her relationship with Angel. As she says, she can lie to everyone except herself and, oddly, Spike. Spike understands what it is to love someone against your will. To be driven by a love so strong, it controls your life. And he can see that Buffy and Angel suffer from the same curse. As he says, they can be many things. But they can't be friends. Buffy finally accepts this and breaks with Angel.

Most episodes end with the gang together doing something. This one ends with everyone alone. And almost all of them unhappy. Buffy walks off. Angel sits and mourns his lost love. Cordelia cries in her hospital bed. Xander is so disconsolate he's actually working in the library. Willow sits on the floor staring at her Pez witch. And Oz plays his guitar alone. Only Spike, hurtling down the road with his sunscreen up, smoking and playing the Vicious cover of My Way, is happy. Because only Spike knows and has accepted what he has to do.

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