Sadly though, he often fights for shit. The show uses him as if he were just an ordinary human--he never gives the appearance of tipping the scales in a battle, and often goes down quickly in the background of a melee against unexceptional enemies, or struggles and exchanges blows on a par with the rest of the Scooby gang, like in the final battle against Glory's hobbits and halfwits. Plus there's the dumbness with the troll hammer, where we're supposed to believe it could rest on a set of flimsy shelves and yet be too heavy for Spike to wield, though Buffy can swing it with casual ease. (Not to mention that she whacks Glory--a *god* even if a weakened god--with the thing and Glory takes it hard, whereas when Xander is smacked again and again, he keeps getting up with minimal damage. He should simply have died with massive cerebral trauma when Troll Guy bonked him on the head with it as if pounding a nail.)
Spike on the tower, trying to save Dawn, fails against a mild-mannered old demon fellow. I've decided that his arrogance tripped him up and allowed him to be taken by surprise, and that when Mild Demon stabbed him, the knife had a magical paralytic agent on it which immediately rendered him helpless. Never mind that he seemed to use the same knife on Dawn a minute later. This explanation helps me sleep at night.
Also inconsistent: Spike's tolerance to sunlight. In "Harsh Light of Day" he stays exposed for several seconds as the ring comes off and he sprints for cover. In any number of other eps, he is perfectly fine in ambient sunlight--in his crypt, in Giles's apartment. He has also been known to run out into broad daylight with only his coat over his head. But in "Spiral" his hand is nearly flambeed by a stray beam of light from Tara's twitch of the curtain. Eh. Whatever.
Going back to mid-to-late S4, Spike's an undead slacker. Untethered from Dru and chipped, he seems very aimless. He doesn't pull together a gang, doesn't have any apparent ambitions to power at all. What's also interesting is that he lets himself be marginalized: he's an old vampire, smart, capable of restraining gameface, who has no particular allegiance with vampire culture or pro-vamp philosophy. He can pass for human--this opens up a wide range of possibilities. He could work or find a wealthy patron, blend into high society or low. He could join a band, get groupies, and crash in the apartments and houses of dozens of casual acquaintances. Instead he lives in a crypt and ekes out an existence on thin resources, game-facing to mug passers-by.
My theory is that he takes up crypt living to prove how tough he is. In the past, he probably did pass in human society, rub shoulders with socialites and blues singers and anyone who amused him. But now he resists assimilating into human society; the chip makes him insecure. He has to be a loner, an outcast, to affirm that he's still a monster and not soft like a human. The worst thing for his pride at this time would be to live off humans in some dependent way that doesn't involve feeding. He isn't very self-aware of all this though. And even though he's not big on vamp solidarity, this mental place he's in makes him susceptible to Adam's monster jingoism.
"Doomed" is a forgettable episode with only a few fun moments; so is "Blood Ties." "Something Blue" still cracks me up; so does "Triangle."
Xander's outfit at the beginning of "Goodbye Iowa"--most hideous thing ever. Later he is wearing a shirt that says "I [heart] dirt" several times. Y'kay.
Giles and Olivia: one episode and she's gone. What's up with that? What was their relationship, one that brought her from England to Sunnydale when she didn't even know about the supernatural? I'd forgotten that she didn't have that background when I rewatched "Hush" yesterday. I always think of her as someone Giles knew from his watcher days, but apparently he had a life outside of the council. So they were close once, and she seems to have come specifically to visit him, though that's not for certain, and yet he doesn't meet her at the airport, and after a brief visit, she apparently decides that the supernatural elements of Giles's life are too much for her to take and departs never to be seen again. Poor Giles. All his lovers, sacrificed on the altar of the A-plot.
I still want someday to make a comprehensive list of all the movie "quotes" in BtVS; all the homages to and conceptual lifts from various movie sources. Like in "The I in Team" when the Initiative agents are standing on the street with their trackers and Xander has flushed the homing device and the signal gets closer and closer but there's nothing visible--that's "Aliens." I've seen lots of other examples, but they are often quite small so I never remember what they are; I only notice when I rewatch an episode.
I don't want to move from this couch, but I think I must make myself go to the coffee shop for a while and sit on a straight-backed chair and write. The longer I sit on the couch, the further my back goes out. But coffee shop means no Internet connection and no TV in the background. Hmmph. Someday the world will be properly wireless, no matter where you go and what computer you're using.