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|"Fool for Love"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Nick Marck|
|Written by||Doug Petrie|
|Original air date||November 14, 2000|
"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 aired later on the same night on The WB network; both episodes include multiple flashbacks to the history of Spike and Darla, shown from their respective viewpoints.
After a common vampire nearly kills her with her own stake, Buffy turns to Spike to learn how other Slayers met their end so as not to make further mistakes.
Buffy receives a serious stab wound while fighting a run-of-the-mill vampire at the cemetery; she is saved only by the unexpected arrival of Riley. Despite his encouragement that she is not losing her edge, Buffy wants to research ways to avoid making more mistakes. She and Giles start looking in the Watcher diaries for information about past Slayers' deaths, but Giles tells her there won't be much information because the Watchers usually also died or found it too painful to recount the incidents. Buffy then remembers they have another witness to Slayers' final battles: Spike.
Buffy drags Spike from his crypt, takes him to the Bronze and pays him to tell her about his battles with the two Slayers that he killed. He starts out by describing how he was turned in 1880 London, revealing (to the audience, if not entirely to Buffy) that he was the meek poet William, ridiculed by his peers and rejected by the love of his life, Cecily, who declared him "beneath her," before Drusilla sired him and took him with her to travel Europe with her sire Angelus (Angel sans soul) and his sire/paramour Darla.
Spike further describes how, mere months later, he became far more assertive, already using his new name "Spike," speaking in a more forceful, working class accent, and preying upon innocents not for sustenance but for fun, calling too much attention to the group as far as Angelus was concerned. Angelus preferred meticulous, artistic kills, and Spike's love of brawls and riots required them to flee London. Spike mocked Angelus' attitude, and the older vampire lost control, almost staking him, but Spike only laughed at having provoked Angelus to such an extent. Infuriated, Angelus remarked that maybe one day an angry crowd would teach Spike the folly of his excesses, adding "That...or the Slayer," a comment which instantly intrigued Spike. In the present, Spike reveals that, upon learning of the Slayer, he became obsessed with her; unlike other vampires, who feared the Slayer, Spike actively sought her out, craving the challenge she would provide.
Meanwhile, Riley, Xander, Willow and Anya take over Buffy's patrol. Riley is very methodical, but the rest of the Scoobies are rather lax about the process. They do discover a nest of vampires, including the one that injured Buffy. They make plans to destroy it the next day when the vampires won't be active.
Back at the Bronze, Spike tells of killing the Chinese Slayer during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, defeating her after a long and brutal fight, describing her as "all business" and getting nostalgic about how Drusilla was excited afterward, calling the event "the best night of my life" (much to Buffy's disgust). Spike also points out that while the Slayer can kill thousands of demons and vampires, all it takes to kill her is for one of them to have one lucky day.
Riley, rather than waiting for daylight, goes back to the vampire lair at night, stakes the vampire who wounded Buffy and then firebombs the crypt, killing the others.
Spike's reminiscences continue as he discusses his second Slayer kill (Nikki Wood), whom he describes as more improvisational like Buffy, and whom he killed on a New York City subway about 1977. After he finishes, he reveals that he won by exploiting the Slayers' curiosity about – and wish for – death, further claiming that every Slayer has a death wish, including Buffy herself. Buffy rejects his conclusion and becomes angry and disgusted when Spike comes on to her, trying to kiss her and challenging her to prove him wrong. Knocking him to the ground, Buffy, echoing Cecily, contemptuously informs Spike that he is "beneath her" before walking away. Spike's feelings of sadness and humiliation, which cause him to briefly succumb to tears, are quickly overtaken by anger and frustration. He arms himself with a double-barreled shotgun at his crypt, determined to kill Buffy for this insult.
When she gets home, her mother reveals that she needs to go into the hospital for some more tests, and that her condition may be serious. Unable to bear this information, Buffy retreats to the back porch in tears. At that moment, Spike approaches with his shotgun, but Buffy's distraught state changes his mind and he attempts to comfort her instead. He takes a seat next to her and gently pats her on the back, an action that Buffy does not rebuff, though her shock is clear.
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