I just realized why I was so turned on by "Equilibrium." Apparently I have this thing for evil bastards who rebel against their condition. I mean, no surprise. But the parallel between, say, Spike and John Preston is kind of interesting. Spike is supposed to be a demon, incapable of feeling remorse, with no vestiges of humanity. John Preston is supposed to be the perfect Grammaton Cleric: completely emotionless, controlled by Prozium, ruthless and unsentimental. Yet both of them change and begin to walk a path toward redemption at a time when their free will or volition should be constrained, Spike's by his demon state, John's by drugs. Spike chooses to go and get a soul, an ambiguous and conflicted choice with unclear motives, but still a choice; John destroys his scheduled interval--his drug dose--by an "accident" with subconscious undertones, then allows an opportunity for refill to go by. His actions are more or less passive at first, and yet these are the tiny critical decisions that crack the wall and allow the floodgates of emotion in.
Dude. Spike is a sense offender! He totally is. Watching "Equilibrium" gives me insights into how I think of Spike. The Librian government is patriarchal fascism stripped of all human joy and love--no art, no music, no fun whatsoever. Exactly what Spike would loathe. Imagine him in the world of Libria; this is a world where the Judge would nod approvingly at every citizen he touched. And *still* Spike would be judged too emotional, too human. Thus, a sense offender. He'd make a poor citizen. He's not "identical" to other people/vampires in the prescribed way. You've got to wonder whether there's something in him that rebels against the facist demon order. What is it that made him return to Sunnydale, fall for a slayer, help her fight his own kind when he didn't have to?
Interesting too that his change comes about aided by the trigger of the government chip; not a drug, but an artificial and imposed control nonetheless. That's actually the exact opposite of John's dilemma, since John only begins to be free when he removes what's controlling him.
I don't know where I'm going with these thoughts. Nowhere really. But there's this huge and mostly unexplored facet of BtVS mythology when it comes to the Initiative and the whole idea of drugs and technology as methods to control demons. For instance, I've flirted with the idea of experiments in drug therapy for vampires that could mimic a restoration of soul--a cocktail of antispychotics, mood enhancers, and chemicals that would lobotomize and/or reknit severed neural connections. (I have this whole wacky idea that souls might not be removed by vampirism, so much as conscience is suppressed or cut off from the host identity; or, even if souls were really gone, what if we could could create an ersatz soul, the way we might transplant an artificial heart into someone?) I could go for the idea of drug addiction as a means of achieving a semblance of sanity; that dependency would determine a vampire's existence and could be cruelly interrupted at any time, as in that famous
Peter Wimsey story (thanks, ellen_fremedon
!) I totally can't remember the name of*, where the bastard husband deprives his wife of the drugs she needs to treat her thyroid condition and she therefore appears insane.
I can see watchers trying this out on vampires--or, if not the official council, then some rogue watcher; or even Wes, offering unsouled Spike the benefit of his experiments (in some variations giving him the choice, in others forcing it on him). To me, that's almost sexier than Spike-with-soul (well, duh) because it would leave Spike in an inferior condition where he's this simulacrum of humanity, looked down on everyone, humans and vampires alike. He'd be caught betwixt and between, aware of his own imperfect condition and twisted up with angst over it--like a robot longing to be human. (Silver Metal Lover!)
Men in long black coats are pretty.
So far for dinner I've had Cheetos and whiskey. My god, I'm a well-adjusted soul. I think it's quite possible I will achieve enlightenment and release in this lifetime!
[* Ooh, this synopsis
puts it even better: "In the short story, 'The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey,' an unfortunate English woman living in the Pyrenees is assumed possessed by demons by all her neighbors, who believe a combination of Catholicism and local folklore. How else to explain that during part of the year, she is a beautiful woman...but part of the year she is an ugly, slobbering creature, almost an animal?"]