TV - The Seven Seasons of Spike

Spike in a coat

Susan Omand goes a bit fan(g) girl as she gets up close and personal with the changing character of Spike...

I have the Buffy box set.  The musical on DVD and CD. The posters.  The limited edition Spike plush puppet they brought out after that episode when Angel got turned into a puppet and they did a "what if it was Spike instead" thing.  Hellmouth, I even called the cat Spike... erm, yeah you could say I'm a bit of a fan of William the Bloody.

For William the Bloody he was (his given name was William Pratt) before he took the name Spike.  According to legend (ok, season 5 episode 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) he got the name William the Bloody for being "bloody awful" at poetry.  He took the name Spike after he was sired as a vampire by Drusilla because of his habit of torturing people with railway spikes... as you do... or maybe it was more to do with someone saying they'd "rather have a railroad spike through their head than listen to his poetry".  A lot of Spike's back story is revealed in flashbacks and anecdotes throughout both the Buffy and Angel series, like where his feud with Angel started.

Billy Idol Spike

We also find out where Spike's signature "look" came from (Spike is a fan of The Sex Pistols and The Ramones) and it was not borrowed from Billy Idol - apparently Billy Idol stole it from him. That coat was taken from a previous Slayer, Nikki Wood, whom Spike fought in 1977 and, after the destruction of the original coat in season 5, he was supplied with identical ones by the supernatural law firm,Wolfram and Hart.  I covet that coat.  His obsession with Slayers, having now killed two, was what led Spike to Sunnydale.

It's difficult to even contemplate, but Spike wasn't in Season 1 of Buffy.... no really, he wasn't. So there's really only six seasons of Buffy style Spike.

Vampire Spike and buffy

Season 2 Spike - Big Bad Spike.  Throughout series 2 Spike and Drusilla became serious enemies of the Slayer, attempting to kill her at any opportunity.  After yet another fight with Angel, who is also in Sunnydale having gained and lost a soul (but that is a different story), Spike is left seriously injured and wheelchair bound.  This incapacity lasted for several episodes and, even once he had recovered, Spike still used the chair for several more episodes, feigning weakness to avoid suspicion while he plotted against Angel. The first shift in alliance for Spike happened at the end of season 2 when, with Buffy's watcher Giles' life on the line, Spike allies himself with Buffy against the again soulless Angel, driving him out of Sunnydale.  Yay - good Spike.

Season 3 Spike - Undecided Spike.  Depressed because Drusilla has left him in disgust with his Slayer alliance, and kidnaps Willow and Xander in a bid to win Dru back with a spell from Willow. A return to bad Spike then.  However he then tells Buffy where to find the kidnap victims (good Spike) before resolving to torture Drusilla into loving him again (good/bad, I dunno!).

Spike and Buffy

Season 4 Spike - Scooby Spike.   This series marked a major alliance shift as Spike gets implanted with a chip by the Initiative (Season 4 Big Bad), a shadowy government agency, which means he can no longer harm humans without crippling pain, so he resorts to fighting demons, often alongside the Scooby gang.  At this point, Spike becomes a major character in the show, appearing in every episode from now on, bar one (The Body, in case you were wondering).

Season 5 Spike - Slushy Spike.  Spike shows his more human side by falling in love with Buffy.  Or rather his stalker-y obsessive side by kidnapping Buffy to make her watch him killing Drusilla to prove his love. Ummm. Quite.  And that's before we even get to the Buffy-bot episode....  Anyway. Buffy thaws considerably towards Spike when she finds out that he is trying to protect Dawn, Buffy's sister and "the Key", from being discovered by Glory, this season's Big Bad.  He is grief stricken when Buffy is killed in the battle.

Season 6 Spike - Sexy Spike. Or Singy Spike because this was also the season with the musical episode in it.  Buffy gets resurrected from the dead in this season and they grow close as she confides in him about her sadness of being brought back.  The whole Spike/Buffy secret relationship then gets physical, messy and destructive then gets outed and ultimately and violently finished all within the space of a few episodes.  The aggressiveness of the ending of the relationship causes Spike to leave Sunnydale for the first time in 3 years.  He travels to Africa to undergo a set of trials and then returns to Sunnydale as

Spike in handcuffs

Season 7 Spike - Soulful Spike.  Yes, the African trials gave him his soul back. And now he has to cope with the guilt of everything he's done as a vampire. With that, and being triggered by the First Evil (the season 7 Big Bad) to unwittingly kill humans again he begins to lose his mind and is rescued by Buffy, who gets The Initiative (yes them) to remove the now malfunctioning chip from his brain and they form a strong, emotional, close bond. This is demonstrated when Spike is the only one to remain loyal to Buffy when the rest of the gang mutiny against her.  In the final, epic battle at the Hellmouth, Buffy declares her love for Spike as he sacrifices himself and saves the world.

So that's it.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended, Spike is a big pile of dust at the now closed Hellmouth and ... but wait... that's only SIX seasons of Spike because he wasn't in the first season. (Again, no really, he wasn't).

Which brings us to the seventh season of Spike.

Spike in final Angel series

Angel Spike.  Or more properly Ghost Spike for about half of it.  Spike first appeared in the series Angel for a one off episode in season 1, done as one of a crossover episode pair with one in season 3 of Buffy.  However he was a major character in the final season.  Once he had been killed at the Hellmouth in the final episode of Buffy, Spike arrived in non-corporeal form, after being mailed to them in an amulet, to stalk the halls of the Wolfram and Hart building that Angel and his gang had taken over at the end of the previous season.  After fighting the Reaper trying to drag him into hell, Spike regains solid form due to a mysterious gift that is sent to the offices.  This, admittedly makes fighting a lot easier, and he finally and successfully challenges Angel to prove he is the Champion.  This rivalry fades however when Fred is killed and Spike joins Team Angel in her honour (yes it did get a bit silly at that point - like it wasn't already, yeah ok).  Cue a trip to Rome with Angel to try and find Buffy, a pre-final battle poetry slam and rescuing a baby (WHY!) in a bid to bring down the Senior Partners of Wolfram and Hart.  Spike finally joins Angel, Illyria/Fred, and a badly-wounded Gunn and they prepare to go out in a blaze of glory in an apocalyptic battle.

Maybe this should have stayed at the six seasons of Spike.

But I still want that coat.

Images from BBC