Fool for Love (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)

Infobox Television episode
Title=Fool for Love

Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Airdate=November 14 2000
Writer=Douglas Petrie
Director=Nick Marck
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Fool for Love" is episode 7 of season 5 of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". It is a companion to the "Angel" episode "Darla", which first aired later the same night on The WB network; both episodes include multiple flashbacks to the history of Spike and Darla, shown from their respective viewpoints.

Plot synopsis


Buffy receives a serious stab wound while fighting a vampire at the cemetery; she is saved only by the unexpected arrival of Riley. Faced with the real prospect of her own mortality, she pays Spike to tell her about the final battles of the Slayers that he has killed. He recounts his experiences in detail, including some painful personal memories. He reveals that he killed both Slayers by exploiting their "death wish", their secret desire to be relieved of their burdens. Spike reveals his attraction to Buffy and she rejects him. Infuriated, Spike plans to kill Buffy with a shotgun, but instead comforts her when he finds her on her back porch crying over her mother's illness.

Expanded overview

In a routine patrol at the cemetery, Buffy fights with a vampire. Buffy has the upper hand, but when she attempts her killing blow, the vampire turns her stake around on her, and she is stabbed in the abdomen. She attempts to flee but is cornered and nearly bitten. Riley appears, attacking the vampire with a taser and scaring him off. Early the next morning Riley patches up Buffy's stab wound; the embarrassing irony of nearly being killed by a lesser vamp with her own stake is not lost on her. While Riley suggests she go to the hospital, Buffy feels it would only upset her mother, and her enhanced healing abilities will kick in soon enough. Dawn comes in to tell them Joyce is coming up, prompting Riley and Buffy to hide the gauze and medical supplies they were using. Joyce notices a bottle of rubbing alcohol and asks if they are disinfecting something, prompting Dawn to say it was hers. Buffy asks Riley to take the rest of the gang to sweep the cemetery that night.

Giles and Buffy research to find out how previous Slayers died. Unable to find any useful information, Buffy remembers that Spike killed two, and confronts him in his crypt. Later, at the Bronze, she lays down ground rules: if he tells her what she wants to know, Spike gets a wad of money. Though initially resistant to giving her anything useful, Spike barters with her for a plate of spicy Buffalo wings, as he refuses to talk on an empty stomach. In doing so, Buffy inadvertently reveals her stab wound, leading Spike to annoy her further. Asked if he's always been this annoying, Spike says "I've always been bad," though the next scene proves him laughably wrong.

There is a flashback to London, 1880. William is a quiet, shy gentleman who feels disconnected from others in British society. Whilst at a society ball, he works on a love poem, looking for another word for "gleaming" ("a perfectly perfect word as many words go but the bother is nothing rhymes, you see"), but his unfinished work is snatched from his hands and read out loud, to the rude amusement of the boorish crowd. William is dubbed "William the Bloody" because of his "bloody awful poetry". One listener declares that he would rather have a rail spike through his head than hear more of William's poetry. The poem reveals his feelings of love and adoration for a woman. He speaks with the object of his affection, Cecily, whom he has loved from afar. She does not care for him and, when he admits the poem is about her, she rejects him, telling him that she feels nothing for him, and that he is 'beneath' her. William, devastated, leaves the house in tears, bumping into a group of strangers (Angelus, Darla and Drusilla) in the street. In a hay barn, he sits ripping up his love poems, when Drusilla appears before him. She asks what brought him to tears and comforts him by telling him that she sees his greatness and worth. She promises him a better future by her side, siring him after only minimal persuasion.

Back in the present, Riley and the gang find several vampires loudly and drunkenly reveling in a crypt, including the one who staked Buffy. They decide to return in the morning when all the vampires are asleep, rather than take on the entire nest awake.

Spike plays pool while continuing his tale. After his siring, Spike was completely different. Tired of being left out by the world, he became empowered and destructive.

Yorkshire, 1880. Angelus is throttling William at the bottom of a coal mine, asking why they haven't killed him yet. William, now having adopted his distinctive accent and swagger, notes that he goes by the name 'Spike' now (because of the insult one of his acquaintances used about his poetry at the party in London). Spike's strong tendency to incite mob riots simply for the joy of the fray is causing trouble for his new vampire family; his most recent hijinks resulted in their having to hide in an abandoned mineshaft. Angelus feels that Spike's uncouth behavior is putting them increasingly in danger from being hunted by angry mobs. Spike feels Angelus only engages in fights that he knows he will win, rather than fighting with zeal and veracity. Angelus prefers the artistry of killing, seeing it as separating them from being mere animals. Spike's insults finally cause Angelus to lash out viciously, and he very nearly stakes Spike before Spike notes that he has proved his point. The elder vampire notes that if he cannot teach Spike the error of his ways, someday an angry mob would; that, or the Slayer. Spike sits up, suddenly interested, and asks, "What's a Slayer?"

Spike explains to Buffy that thereafter he became obsessed with finding and defeating the Slayer of that era. He notes, as the first lesson, that a Slayer must always reach for her weapon, but a vampire already has all the weapons he needs (he vamps out to demonstrate this). To illustrate this point further, he tells her of the first Slayer he killed.

China during the Boxer Rebellion, 1900. Spike fights with the Chinese Slayer, and after a long battle, he kills her when she reaches for her stake that she had dropped during the fight. While Spike and Drusilla revel in the kill of the Slayer and the taste of her blood (which Spike declares to be a powerful aphrodisiac), Angelus seems distracted and suggests they leave soon, as the rebellion is boring him. (Only later, in the subsequent, corresponding episode of "Angel", will we learn the real reason for his distraction: the recent return of his soul, a secret he had kept from all except Darla.) Spike proudly claims that it was the best night of his life, "and I've had some sweet ones."

Buffy is disgusted at how he got off on it, but he counters that even if Buffy kills tens of thousands of vampires in her lifetime, all it takes to kill a Slayer is for one vampire to have "one good day", and that Buffy simply got complacent at the moment of truth.

Meanwhile, Riley returns to the vampire nest alone, despite agreeing to wait. After staking the vampire that hurt Buffy, Riley blows up the rest of the vampires in the crypt with a grenade.

Billy Idol] Spike tells Buffy how he killed the second Slayer (Nikki Wood) in New York, 1977. Spike and Buffy fight out a play-by-play of the battle, which took place on a subway train. Spike notes that this second Slayer was not all business like the first - she had a style more closely resembling Buffy's. After he snapped the Slayer's neck, he took her black leather duster for himself, and has worn it ever since. Spike then explains that the key to his victories was not in the particular moves or blows; the key was that each Slayer has a death wish, a desire to experience death, after causing so much of it. They want to know what comes next, because they wish for a final peace after a lifetime of being solely responsible for protecting the world from demons. Spike explains that the second that that desire takes over, the Slayer will die, because there are countless vampires just waiting to take advantage of this.

Spike and Buffy are standing almost nose to nose by this point, and Spike leans in to kiss her. Shocked and confused, she resists. Spike seizes her by the arms and tells her that he knows she wants to 'dance'. "Say it's true," she replies. "Say I do want to." And as she pushes him away and to the floor, she finishes coldly: "It wouldn't be you, Spike. It would "never" be you. You're beneath me." She tosses the pile of money at him, walking away into the night.

After she leaves, Spike starts crying, feeling the same sting of rejection that he had received from Cecily. He sobs for a few moments, blindly gathering up the bills that represent all that Buffy thinks he is worth, before his anger takes over. Furious, Spike returns to his crypt and arms himself with a shotgun, intent on killing Buffy for her final insult. Harmony begs him to reconsider his plan, because he has tried and failed so many times before. She reminds him that the chip in his head will not let him hurt a human, and the Slayer will only beat him up again, if not stake him outright. Spike retorts that his pain will last for a couple of hours, and Buffy will be dead much longer than that.

South America, 1998. Drusilla turns away from Spike's devoted love because she cannot look at him without seeing and feeling the Slayer, after Spike and Buffy's original alliance against Angelus. In the background is a Chaos Demon, with huge slimy antlers, with whom Drusilla had been shamelessly flirting. She recognizes, long before Spike does, his feelings for Buffy, and rejects him because he is no longer the same creature that had satisfied her for so many years. He insists that he did it all for her, to protect her, because he loved her, but she cannot be convinced.

Buffy returns home, still shaken from the combined experiences of the last 24 hours, and finds her mother packing clothes and toiletries into a suitcase. She inquires where Joyce was going, and her mother explains that her health condition has worsened to the point that she is going to stay in the hospital for observation and a CAT scan. This final revelation is too much for Buffy, who retreats to her back porch in tears. Spike approaches with his shotgun, full of resolve born of rejection and anger. However, he slows his pace when he sees that she is crying. Her pain stays his hand, his demeanor softens, and all his plans to shoot her are abandoned. He asks her what is wrong, and how he can help. She is surprised and confused at his reaction, and has no response, so he sets the gun down and takes a seat next to her on the porch. Spike, somewhat puzzled at his own behavior, hesitantly lays his hand on Buffy's back and gently comforts her; she does not rebuff this.



*Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
*Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
*Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
*Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
*Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins
*Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
*James Marsters as Spike/William
*and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles

Guest starring

*David Boreanaz as Angelus/Angel
*Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall
*Julie Benz as Darla
*Juliet Landau as Drusilla
*and Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers


*Kali Rocha as Cecily Addams
*Edward Fletcher as Male Partygoer
*Katharine Leonard as Female Partygoer
*Matthew Lang as 2nd Male Partygoer
*Chris Daniels as Stabbing Vampire
*Kenneth Feinberg as Chaos Demon
*Steve Heinze as Vampire #1
*Ming Liu as Chinese Slayer
*April Wheedon-Washington as Nikki Wood

Production details


*Avenue A - "Run Cold"
*Johann Sebastian Bach - "Partita 3.III for Violin Solo in E Major"
*Crushing Velvet - "Xxx"
*Felix Mendelssohn - "Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream"
*Holly Golightly - "Run Cold"
*The Killingtons - "Balladovie"
*Virgil (Elephant Ride) - Heal Yourself"


* Italian title: "Pazzi per amore" ("Insane (ones) for love").
* German title: "Eine Lektion fürs Leben" ("A lesson for life")
* French title: "La faille" ("The Flaw")
* Spanish title: "Allar Del amor" ("Fool for Love")

Quotes and trivia

* The actress who plays the Chinese Slayer came back to Buffy in the final episode, playing one of the strong slayers shown after Buffy stands back up after being stabbed.

* Spike says in "School Hard" that the last slayer he killed (Nikki Wood) begged for her life. It is learned here that he was lying.

* It is learned that Spike has been in love with Buffy since they teamed up to save the the world in "Becoming, Part Two", but he only realises his feelings for her in "Out of My Mind".

* The poem snatched from William's hands and read out loud (to public ridicule) is a portion of the same poem that Spike later reads (in its complete form) at the open-mike event in the series finale of Angel "Not Fade Away."

* According to the comic "", Cecily was already Halfrek, a vengeance demon (and longtime friend of Anya), at the time of her meeting with William, and subsequently massacred the room of people who had laughed at his poetic efforts. Actress Kali Rocha played both Cecily and later Halfrek.

* As a vampire, William adopted the name Spike and claim that both the nickname and his former title as "William the Bloody" derived from his practice of torturing people with railroad spikes. This episode reveals the true origin of these nicknames: one listener to William's poem in the flashback comments that he would rather have a rail spike driven through his head than listen to any of William's poetry, and notes that William is referred to as "William the Bloody" because of his "bloody" awful poetry.

* It is revealed in the Angel episode "Darla" that Angel had already regained his soul when Spike killed the Chinese slayer.

* After Spike kills the Chinese Slayer, Angel states "Well, I guess that makes you one of us." This implies that Angel, Darla, and Drusilla have either killed or come across a Slayer before.

* The "Spinning" part of the scene where Spike kills the second slayer will be part of Spike credits through season 6 and 7.


Arc significance

*Crossover with "Angel": This episode consists largely of flashbacks from Spike's viewpoint. Some of the same events recounted are seen from Darla's viewpoint in "Darla", first aired later the same night.

* The actor playing Cecily will return in several future episodes as the vengance demon Halfrek.

* This is the first time Spike shows real affection and caring towards Buffy on the series; a foreshadowing of his joining the "good" side later on.

* The second Slayer Spike kills, Nikki Wood, has a son named Robin, who later appears as Sunnydale High's new principal in the seventh season. In "Lies My Parents Told Me", we see him as a child witness an earlier fight between Spike and his mother, as well as try to get his revenge on Spike in the present day for his mother's death.

Continuity violation

* This episode shows Drusilla siring Spike, apparently contradicting the third episode of season two, "School Hard", in which Spike calls Angel his sire. Joss Whedon later verified that any vampire in a line can be referred to as a sire. Darla sired Angel, who sired Drusilla, who sired Spike – forming a "familial" line.

* This episode reveals the true origins of Spike's name and his nickname "William the Bloody", both of which had recently been told as having violent origins.

* In "School Hard" Giles said that Spike was "barely 200", but in "The Initiative" Spike said that he was 126 years old. This episode definitively establishes that he was sired 120 years ago.


* Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

External links


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