|The Evil of...||Warning: this page contains info about episodes up through season 6 BtVS/season 5 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.|
|Order and Armageddon: The Master was more interested in power than he was in hunting and eating. He long waited for the day that, according to ancient prophecy, he and his progeny would bring the "old ones" back from hell to reign over humans on the Earthly plane. Even when he used "the Vessel" to go out among humans and feed on their blood, it was to serve that larger plan. If the events in The Wish are any indication of what "his world" would be like, it is a new hierarchy where demons and vampires rule and humans are cattle.||
Until his rise to power was dusted by Buffy in 1997, the Master led the Order of Aurelius, a powerful blood-line "family" of vampires dating back to the 12th century. They believe they are the elite--certainly superior to "the human pestilence", but also "the select" among vampires as well. This family line arguably creates stronger, more commanding vamps: its progeny includes Darla, Angelus, Drusilla, and Spike.
"Someone's mommy didn't teach him to play nice."
--a bad guy, to Angel
Deception: Darla put the "vamp" in vampire. She is a predator who lulls the unwary with sweetness and vulnerability before she wreaks unholy havoc on them. In 1753, Darla approached Liam of Galway as an unassuming noble woman and turned him into the vicious vampire Angelus (B1, The Prodigal). In WttH, she used a sweet school-girl persona to convince a boy to lower his guard. Once she was sure they were alone, she sucked him dry. In "Angel", school-girl Darla convinced Joyce that she was one of Buffy's classmates who intended to tutor her in history. Joyce invited her into the house.
The vicious vampiress who becomes whatever you want her to be before she kills you. I have always drawn the analogy between her and a cat...coy and careful, but when taunted or cornered or in the hunt is a vicious killing machine who toys with her prey before doing it in (notice how she played Ms. Innocent playing on the boys machoness in WttH? Perfect example). Darla can be little Ms. Schoolgirl one moment (note her earlier use of catholic school uniforms) and then a threatening foe the next (killing a member of the Three, blazing away with double revolvers, etc.) (Shalazar, Jun 2 21:37 1998).
...The accent and the femmy affectations combined with pile-of-evil play off each other well.... Plus... [s]he was the first Buffyverse vamp to think of shooting the Slayer. That merits coolness points (Anya G., 3:38 pm Nov 17, 2000).
Temptation and Corruption
Darla is the queen of sweet deception in part because of her disdain for religion. The religion of her mortal days rejected her and her lifestyle, and as a vampire, she took great delight in holy wars and destroying the pious. The impious, impudent Liam of Galway must have seemed like a perfect recruit in her unholy war.
...the Angel/Darla power relationship. I thought it was very clear based on last year's episodes that Angel would not have been as evil as he was without Darla's tutoring. She's the bonsai master of the emotional beating (K. Howell, 2:10 pm Oct 19, 2000).
Darla thought the handsome, womanizing Liam had potential, and she developed it. When Angelus was cursed, though, she rejected Liam's "filthy soul". But she always wanted to find a way to get her Angelus back. When the gypsies refused to reverse the curse, she directed Dru and Spike to kill every man, woman, and child who touched the gypsies girl's life. In 1997, she tried to bring Angel back to the Master's fold by having him kill the slayer, but Angel ended up killing Darla instead.
Now she's back. Wolfram and Hart have raised Darla as part of a plan to separate Angel from the PTB's. At first, she enters her offspring's dreams and appeals to Angel's need for comfort and support. Then when her presence is revealed to Angel, Wolfram and Hart put Angel in the position of having to save the human Darla from them. And he did try, only to watch helplessly as Lindsey brought Drusilla to turn Darla into a vampire again.
The new VampDarla is interested in two things: regaining her former power and getting her Angelus back. She starts work on the first goal with a thirteen-body memo to Wolfram and Hart. And this being Darla, the Special Projects Division didn't even see it coming. When she finally gets her chance to turn Angel, though, it doesn't work. Darla takes it as a personal and professional insult--she was his long-time lover and a former sex professional. Why shouldn't she give him perfect happiness?
Darla might not have been able to give Angel happiness, but but she did give him something special instead--a child. At first, she tries to get rid of this impossible pregnancy with the help of shamans, but when that doesn't work, she arrives at Angel's seeking his help. Being pregnant hasn't made her vulnerable, however. She's more a force to be reckoned with than ever.
Darla redeemed? Under the influence of her unborn child's human soul, Darla comes to love her baby. She realizes that she will probably kill her own child once he is born and she becomes unsouled and evil again. When it looks like the child will not even be born at all, Darla decides to take her own life. Did Darla die redeemed?
He was the most vicious creature I ever met.
"She thought I'd returned to her... an angel."
Angelus has less of a taste for outright killing than mind games and torture.
1898: The gypsy curse restores
Angel's human soul
1998: The romantic hero turns into a vicious enemy, and nobody understands Buffy like this enemy does--"To kill this girl, you have to love her." Angelus knows that Buffy's weakness is her feeling for her friends:
On destroying the world: One gets the impression that Angelus' desire for Armageddon comes mostly out of a desire to torment Buffy in the biggest way possible. He seems only vaguely interested in the Judge in Innocence, more interested in hurting Buffy.
2003: Angelus returns. A dangerous attempt to find out information about the Beast ravaging Los Angeles brings the most notorious vampire in modern history back.
Why is Faith the first human we see Angelus try to kill?
[When] Darla turned Liam... the demon alchemized Liam's hatred of his father's hypocrisy, Liam's general loutishness and dissatisfaction with society into a particularly nasty brand of sadism, centering on family and familial bonds. Angelus specialized in terrorizing the ethnic enclaves of Europe, breaking apart the bonds of the tribe, mainly because they represented everything the darker part of Liam's psyche despised about human society.
In "Calvary," Angelus gaily sauntered out into Los Angeles, expecting to find the streets packed to the rafters with the same human offal/snack food he'd loathed and preyed upon for the last 250 years. But this was a different world. The humans were mostly dead or holed up in their homes, waiting for the sunlight to re-appear. This was a new society. A demon society.
Angelus, with his Rebel Without a Cause attitude, was thrust into the peculiar position of maneuvering in a society ruled by his fellow demons. Sounds great, right? But Angelus discovered that a demonic society has just as many rules, just as many idiots, and a loud, pompous leader-type, who gives just as many boring speeches as his father did. No wonder he bristles at the thought of following His Master's Voice: it would be like Liam eating his vegetables and cleaning up his room. This is why he's only killed demons--they're the ones running the show, and Angelus hates ANYONE who's "running the show" (cjl 3/13/03 10:09).
The nature of Angelus' sadism
Angelus vs. Spike
"...he was the meanest vampire in all the land. I mean, other vampires were afraid of him, he was such a bastard." --Doyle
It is one thing for Angelus to torture Buffy, who "made him feel like a human being." It is another to torture a fellow vampire he used to have a "yoda-like" relationship with. In BBB, Passion, and IOHEFY Angelus insults Spike's disabled status and flirts with Drusilla to get a rise out of the emotional Spike. Spike begins to realize that Angelus has less of an interest in killing Buffy than hurting whomever responds the most.
In many ways Spike is like the little brother that can never quite catch up with his big brother. Angel's always been just a little bit stronger, just a little more patient, and definitely more versed in history. That was especially clear when Angel was Angelus--what was also clear was that Angel/Angelus really knows how to get under Spike's skin (Suzanne, Oct 20 09:39 1999).
Angelus: "A real kill. A good kill. It takes pure artistry. Without that, we're just animals."
Spike does like the killing; it's an adrenaline rush for him, but it's straightforward. Angelus is very cat and mouse; he like complications, machinations, manipulation. Ritual (E. Griggs, 7:28 am Feb 14, 2001).
I like this metaphor--Spike as champion of evil, Angelus as saint of evil. Spike "acts out" in the world, fighting, causing revolutions and panicked mobs. Angelus gets inside individuals, making their nightmares real.
Both are equally evil, but in different ways. To me, Angelus' evil deeds seem more personal, and Spike's seem less so. Angelus likes to get close to his victims, torture them, make them miserable or crazy before the kill. Spike seems more interested in causing chaos and less interested in getting close enough to see the fear/misery in his victims' faces--look at how gleeful he was in the second-season episode Halloween, and how excited by the mobs in Fool for Love and Bargaining. He likes unpredictable violence and smashing stuff. He really gets off on the danger posed by the unpredictable nature of the whirlwind. I imagine he would gleefully arrange a sixty-car pile-up, then stand close enough to get hurt himself, and get all giddy at the impact with twisted metal and body parts flying all over. Angelus probably would be bored by such a thing because he wouldn't be twisting any minds, hearts, or souls.
Spike does seem to take the Slayers personally, but his interest in them seems to arise from the danger they pose to him--the thrill of accepting the danger and overcoming it by killing the slayer. ...Whereas Angelus kills individual humans because he loves exercising power over them, Spike, I think, kills nonslayer individuals mostly to eat, or because he's bored, or maybe to entertain Dru, or because they are in his way, or some other pragmatic reason. So which is more evil? (Pilgrim, 11/08/02 12:02)
Spike's Oedipal Complex
|Drusilla||Predatory evil with a heavy dose of insanity: Drusilla was insane before she was vamped. This insanity carries over to the behavior of vampDrusilla (other cases: Andrew Borba, Zachary Kralik). She is predator who is virtually without conscience. She enjoys preying on children, loves the "intoxicating" smell of fear, and called the gypsy's cries of mercy during the mass slaughter of the Kalderash "pretty, pretty music."|
Only her affection for her "family"--Spike, Angelus, and Darla--is an exception to her whacked-out enthusiasm for evil. Drusilla was deeply disappointed with souled Angel, and the slayer- loving Spike however. No wonder she was so pleased with bringing Darla back into the legions of the undead. When Drusilla returns to Sunnydale to bring Spike back into the fold of her vampire family, she tells him of her efforts to do the same in L.A.:
"Darla got mojo'd back from the beyond. You vamped her, and now she and you are working on turning Angel into his own bad self again." --Spike, Crush
Sadism: Early evidence of Drusilla's sadism comes from her torture of Angel in WML. But weak Drusilla was more dependent on Spike. After her strength returned and Angelus became a part of their un-lives, Drusilla was drawn to him (BBB, Passion, IOHEFY, but she enthusiastically contributed to the Angelus/Spike rivalry from day one). Drusilla understands Angelus' sadism, and how it overwhelms the need to kill--he would rather hurt Buffy than annihilate her. This puzzles Spike, who is a pragmatic vampire. When Spike joins forces with Buffy against Angelus, he betrays everything Drusilla values, and she leaves him.
The perversion of good: How much of the human personality is left over after vamping? We saw the human Drusilla in B1 and Dear Boy. and she appeared to be the "sweet, chaste" girl Angel describes in Lie to Me. Now she is a rapacious vampire who would "only bite harder" if someone begged for their life. Beyond her predictable predatoriness, though, she is highly sexual and outgoing.
Drusilla's apocalyptic tendencies: "This will be the best party ever... because it will be the last." Drusilla was very disappointed about the destruction of the Judge in Innocence and the failure to wake Acathla in B1. She wants to see the Earth go to hell pretty badly, it seems.
"Who do you kill for fun around here?"
Spike has never been ...evil, like the hordes of demons who are forever attempting to bring an end to the world; but he is completely amoral. Nearly as bad. He isn't only looking for a good time, unless you realize that his idea of a "good time" is inflicting pain and woe on everyone in his path (Llewellyn, Jan 19 20:14 2000).
Don't be fooled by Spike's ability to love and be hurt by love. William the Bloody is still a demon with no human soul, and kills men, women, children, slayers, and other vampires without remorse (e.g., breaking the teacher's neck for no reason whatsoever in School Hard, and making an enemy of a pre-fame Count Dracula, or so he claims). He is an impulsive killer who acts out of anger as often as predatory need. More than once he has had his goals thwarted when he wouldn't follow his own plan. Rather than wait for the vamp-empowering Night of St. Vigeous, he got bored and attacked the high school too early. In In the Dark, he gave up his careful surveillance of Angel and had to depend on a duplicitous vamp to torture the information he needed out of him.
Above all, Spike is a self-serving pragmatist. He knows when to compromise with the the forces of good to get what he wants. He's one of the most morally ambiguous characters on BtVS because his evil is a full gamut of human evils--selfishness, arrogance, anger, and unprincipled vengeance.
Highlights of Spike's pragmatic evil
The birth of Spike
Spike arrived in Sunnyhell intending to nurse his beloved sire Dru back to health. But an injury inflicted by Buffy in WML and the return of Angelus derailed his hopes. By Becoming, Spike had lost control of what he once had in Sunnydale--power, self-respect, and Drusilla. He compromised with Buffy to get these things back (i.e., away from Angelus), and got the hell out of Dodge.
Spike vs. The Anointed One
Spike vs. Angelus
Spike is a "shell of a loser" when he returns to Sunnydale to pine over Dru (Lover's Walk). When he returns again, it is to restore his former power. Buffy and Angel take the fabled Gem of Amara away from him, and in classic Spike fashion, he decides to get revenge on the slayer. Before that can happen, though, Spike is implanted with an Initiative pain chip. Can behavior modification "cure" our favorite bad-ass vamp of his nasty ways?
"You're not the 'big bad' anymore. You're not even the 'kind of naughty'." --Xander
"I'm bad! It's just I can't bite anymore, thanks to you wankers... " --Spike, GI
The implant isn't like being neutered at the vet; neutering takes away the ability to "perform" and the desire. Spike is still evil:
"You feel smothered. Trapped like an animal, Pure in its ferocity, unable to actualize the urges within. Clinging to one truth. Like a flame, struggling to burn within an enclosed glass. That a beast this powerful cannot be contained. Inevitably it will break free and savage the land again" --Adam
The morally ambiguous Spike
Spike's finest moments
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This page last modified 5/09/04