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Characters / Buffy The Vampire Slayer Spike

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Spike, né William Pratt
"I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
Played By: James Marsters

British vampire who served as the villain for early Season 2. Was planned to die, but his popularity saved him. He showed up in one episode in Season 3 before returning for good in Season 4. Had a chip in his head that prevented him from hurting humans, so he joined up with the Scoobies for survival and so he could get his kicks by fighting demons. Eventually fell in love with Buffy, and had a twisted relationship with her in Season 6. Got a soul at the end of Season 6 and made a Heroic Sacrifice in the finale. Reappeared on Angel, and in both the Buffy and Angel comic continuations.

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  • Absentee Actor: "The Body" is the only episode after Spike joined the main cast in Season 4 not to feature him.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Season 10 shows Spike usually sleeping in a tank top and boxers after moving in with the Scoobies. Even in the basement in Season 7, Spike was fairly known for sleeping naked. Presumably one reason for this change is Spike constantly getting woken up and called to action right out of bed (including a major part of an arc where he and Xander are both in their sleepwear), which would require a lot of tricky angles from the artist in order to keep the comic's rating.
  • Adorkable: Has moments of this after he starts working at Wolfram & Hart, for instance, unironically describing himself as a "motivated go-getter", and acting childishly protective of his clipboard.
    • In the season 7 episode "Storyteller", it seems like he's aggressively scolding Andrew against recording him on camera, only for Andrew to chime in behind the camera to let him know he's blocking the light. Spike immediately drops the aggression, apologizes, reorients himself for the better shot, and restarts his angry bad boy act from the top.
    • The fact that he is completely unironically invested in soap operas to the point where the comics note that he has boxes upon boxes of soap opera tv digests in his possession that he considers an "essential reference library". It was also a point of bonding for his and Joyce's Odd Friendship.
    • Pre-transformation William Pratt was very much this, writing his dreamy but terrible poetry with complete earnestness.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Drusilla tended to call him "my love" and "my sweet" and Harmony called him all sorts of cutesy pet-names, but most notably "blondie-bear" and "boo-boo".
  • All of the Other Reindeer: In season 4, mostly. He begins to be shunned by at least a portion of the Sunnydale demon community after he begins demon-hunting as a method of sating his Blood Knight tendencies. Additionally, the Scoobies don't treat him as one of their own and often made him the target of snark or insults. By the end of season 5, he's accepted the reality that he doesn't really fit in with humans or demons anymore, but earnestly thanks Buffy for treating him like a person anyways.
  • Always Second Best: To Angel/Angelus, as both a hero and a villain. In "Just Rewards," Wesley and Angel outright state that Spike's reputation for evil and bloodshed is second only to Angelus'. Granted, given that he's half Angelus' age, that's a rather horribly impressive feat in itself.
    • Averted a few episodes later in "Destiny," where Spike becomes determined to prove that it might in fact be him, and not Angel, who is the "champion" featured in the Shanshu Prophecy. This culminates in an all-out brawl between the two over who should get to drink from the Cup of Perpetual Torment, and while both get in a good deal of damage (physically and verbally), Spike definitively wins the fight. Although the Cup proves to be a fake, the result is enough to shake Angel into wondering whether or not he truly is the subject of the Shanshu Prophecy, and he admits to Gunn later on that Spike was stronger and truly wanted to bear the burden more than he did. Angel later has nightmares where Spike becomes The Hero and stops the Apocalypse single-handedly, and he's left pushing the mail cart.
    • Subverted in the comics, where in Season 10, Buffy makes it clear to Spike that she chooses him over Angel and Willow tells Angel she thinks Spike is more capable than Angel of being in a relationship with Buffy due to his greater capacity for change. Finally on top of Angel in one area, and the one that would matter most to Spike. Even when the two break up prior to the start of Season 12, their subsequent interactions are far less awkward and tense than Buffy's and Angel's could be post-relationship, with each making sure to show how much they still care for the other.
  • Amazon Chaser: Drusilla, Slayers in general and Buffy in particular — it's not a stretch to say he's only interested in women who can (and do) kick his ass. It's outright stated in the After the Fall comics.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He managed to improve his social skills over the course of a century, but he has a mixed bag of vaguely bipolar, obsessive, borderline and schizoidal tendencies which come and go with the story. Whenever he's bored, he'll do something ridiculously suicidal just for the hell of it, he stalked Buffy for over a year, and once had a full-blown psychotic episode.
  • Amicable Exes: He and Buffy practically serve as the epitome of this in the Season 12 comics. Despite breaking up at some point after Season 11, they share nothing but warm exchanges and are extremely supportive of each other.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In "Damage," his hands are cut off by Dana, but reattached by the end of the episode. He's shown playing video games in "You're Welcome" and "The Girl in Question" as physical therapy.
  • Anti-Hero: Was a Nominal Hero, but plowed his way up to becoming an Unscrupulous Hero.
  • Anti-Villain: Before becoming an Anti-Hero, he was this for his single appearance in Season 3. He was just too heartbroken to go all-out with the evil.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Does this in "Pangs." When Willow, out of White Guilt, is reluctant to fight back against Hus and suggests they try to reason with him, Spike points out that their ancestors wiped out Hus' people, and nothing they do could possibly get him to back off; this finally snaps Willow out of it.
    Spike: You exterminated his race. What could you possibly say that would make him feel better? It's kill or be killed here. Take your bloody pick!
  • Ascended Demon: He arguably became this at the end of Season 6, as he voluntarily chose to have his soul restored, whereas Angel's soul was forced upon him as part of a Gypsy Curse and is always forced back in whenever he loses it. The comic continuation of the series further reinforces this: vampires (apart from the ensouled Spike and Angel) are established to be Always Chaotic Evil due to their lack of a soul, but after temporarily losing his own soul, Spike remains good and initially refuses to take his soul back because he wanted to give it to Drusilla; he took it back because her restored conscience only drove her crazier.
  • At Least I Admit It: He's man enough to admit that he's love's bitch.
  • Author Appeal: Marti Noxon has an affinity for Naked!Spike.
  • Badass Longcoat: Even before killing Nikki Wood, Spike was a fan of leather trench coats as a certain dead SS officer can certainly attest to. Didn't really bother removing the swastika armband though (in that regard, Angel mistook him for a Nazi).
  • Bad Boss: In Season 2, Spike sacrifices a vampire mook on two separate occasions ("School Hard" and "Halloween") just to get an idea of how the Slayer fights. When he comes back for one episode in Season 3, his former henchvamps now work for the Affably Evil Mayor and make it a point to tell Spike how their lot has improved since he left town.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the final episodes of Season 6, it's initially believed that he went to Africa and underwent the Demon Trials so he could have his chip removed and go back to being evil again. As it turns out, in the season finale, he actually went there to get his soul back so he could give Buffy "what she deserved."
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: He'll use a weapon if he's facing a particularly strong opponent or expects to be outnumbered or at a disadvantage, but he'll usually fight with just his fists.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In Season 5's "Spiral," he stops a Knight of Byzantium's sword from stabbing through the roof of their Winnebago and impaling Buffy through the skull, managing to hold it in place long enough for Buffy to get out through the roof hatch and take the fight to the Knights. It's played realistically: his hands are gashed and bandaged for the remainder of the episode.
  • Basement-Dweller: Spends parts of Season 4 and 7 hiding out in basements.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: In Season 6, uses Buffy's obvious PTSD and depression in order to manipulate her into striking up a sexual relationship with him, and later attempts to rape her after she calls it off. Buffy, however, was hardly any better, constantly verbally degrading him, trying to force him into sex when he didn't want it in "Gone", and violently beating him bloody before leaving him on the ground in "Dead Things".
    • Completely subverted for both of them in their second attempt at a relationship in seasons 10 and 11. They communicate in a healthy manner, apologize when needed, and generally treat each other with respect and affection. Spike himself makes it very clear that he reviles the actions of his soulless self, and even notes that he hadn't really loved Buffy because his soulless self couldn't be selfless enough to truly give up on her.
  • Battle Couple: With Buffy in season 6, and properly in seasons 10 and 11. Averted with Drusilla and Harmony, as despite Spike's Blood Knight tendencies, neither Dru nor Harmony were terribly prone to or adept at fighting.
  • Battle Trophy: His Badass Longcoat is one: he stripped it off the body of the second Slayer he killed.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite being the Iron Butt Monkey, he's also Mr. Fanservice and thus, his handsome face rarely sees any visible signs of how much he gets smacked around.
    • Subverted in "Intervention" and "Dead Things", in which his severe beatings from Glory and Buffy are Played for Drama and he receives lasting, serious injuries. Also subverted in "Lessons" and "Beneath You", where he has extremely visible Self-Harm marks on his chest from trying to cut his soul out of his chest that take both episodes to heal.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: William Pratt was a bumbling, socially awkward and shy victorian poet, unable to get the girl he liked to so much as look at him. Upon being turned into a vampire, he became brash, confident to the bone and perfectly able to weaponize his bad boy swagger to seduce women.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: He bonded with Joyce and Dawn Summers for this reason, and he shows his better side when Buffy treats him respectfully.
    • He had a similar dynamic with Fred, the only member of Team Angel who had no preconceived notions about him and readily accepted him as a hero. It's to the extent he decides to stay with Angel's crew in L.A. after Fred's body is hijacked by Illyria because Fred would have wanted him to.
  • Becoming the Mask: Initially, his Lower-Class Lout persona was a pose to try to move away from his past as a failed poet and posh wimp. At some point in the intervening hundred years or so, it became his true personality.
  • Been There, Shaped History: He was involved in the Boxer Rebellion; it was when he killed his first Slayer.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: He didn't steal Billy Idol's look. Billy Idol stole his!
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Aesthetically and personality-wise, he's more the Veronica to Angel's Betty. With or without a soul, Spike is much less strait-laced than Angel and has a permanent "bad boy" attitude, whereas ensouled Angel is (mostly) very earnest and formal and Angelus is a much more traditional type of villain. However, comparatively speaking, he's less evil than Angelus, as he had a good side even while soulless while Angelus did not. After gaining his soul, he's also better at being Just Friends with Buffy than Angel is.
  • Big Bad: For the first half of Season 2 of Buffy. However, he loses the position to Angelus in the second half.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Drusilla in the first half of Season 2. Also tries to be one with Angelus before he establishes himself as the dominant one.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: In subsequent seasons, he tries to reclaim his former position, but ends up slowly making a Heel–Face Turn when he fails.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He takes pains to keep Dawn from harm in a few episodes when Buffy or the Scoobies are unavailable to do so.
  • Big Fancy House: In After the Fall, Spike takes over the Playboy Mansion and uses it as his residence after dusting a vampirized Hef.
  • Blood Knight: Fighting isn't all he lives for, but it's a good portion of it. He especially likes it when he really can't tell who's going to win, which Angelus found unsophisticated.
  • Bond Breaker: In the Season 4 finale. He didn't create the problems the Scooby Gang were facing, but made them likelier to anger and alienate each other. He calls it the Yoko Factor.
  • Bored with Insanity: In early Season 7, he's been driven crazy by his soul and newly restored conscience, as well as harassment from the First Evil. With Buffy's help, he's able to shake it off. Angel lampshades and complains about it in "Just Rewards". It's suggested later in that season, after he was kidnapped by an insane Slayer who mistook him for her abuser, that it hadn't completely hit him yet:
    Angel: You asked for a soul, I didn't! It almost killed me! I spent a hundred years trying to come to terms with infinite remorse! You spent three weeks moaning in a basement, and then you were fine! What's fair about that?!
  • Book-Ends: In his earliest canonical appearance, Spike (under his human identity, William) recites a bad poem to his crush and gets shot down ("Fool For Love," Buffy S5). Spike delivers the same performance at a poetry slam in the Angel Series Finale; this time, the whole audience applauds and cheers.
  • Butt-Monkey: When he was wheelchair bound, Angelus persistently kept making fun of him and taunting him. Later, it was revealed that he was not as wheelchair-bound as he seemed. When he was chipped, absolutely everyone took great satisfaction and pleasure in humiliating him. This was justified, given that he spent the majority of it insulting everybody back and telling them that he was going to kill them all as soon as he got the chip out.
  • Breakout Character: He started out as an Ensemble Dark Horse, than his role got larger as the show went on and he became one of the major characters, which continued when he appeared in Angel. He even got his own miniseries in the After the Fall/Season 9 comics.
  • Breakout Villain: Joss originally intended for him to be killed off midway through the second season, but Spike ended up so popular with audiences that he changed his mind.
  • Break the Haughty: For a guy that cocky, his face sure does seem to be a fist-magnet.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: He immediately establishes himself as this in his debut episode. He comes crashing into town with a bad reputation and a badass flair, shows up at the lair of the Anointed One offering to kill the Slayer... then looks on with concern and goes to wait on his Ill Girl girlfriend when she tries to come in with him.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Buffy tries to fool herself, Spike lays it out straight.
  • Bungled Suicide: In "Doomed," having been reduced to a mere shadow of his former self by his Restraining Bolt, and with Xander of all people explicitly telling him that he's Not Worth Killing, Spike tries to dust himself by falling on a stake... only to be distracted by Willow and Xander's sudden appearance and miss the stake.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When he meets an android replica of Wesley's dad, Spike doesn't remember them previously crossing paths when Roger came across him slaughtering an orphanage.
  • Casual Kink: Is into chains with Drusilla, dress-up games with Harmony, and introduces Buffy to bondage. The sexual enjoyment he gets from slugging it out with Buffy is lampshaded in several episodes.
  • Catchphrase: "Bloody hell!"
  • Celebrity Resemblance: He has a punk look which strongly resembles that of Billy Idol (or rather Idol resembled Spike).
  • Character Check: He has several once he becomes an Anti-Hero from Season 4 onwards, reverting back to some of his old villainous persona. Lampshaded in "This Year's Girl," where Giles and Xander approach him for help tracking down Faith, only for Spike to declare he's going to track Faith down, tell her where the Scoobies are, and watch as she kills them all; much to Spike's annoyance, Giles and Xander are genuinely shocked that he's not going to help them stop Faith.
    Spike: Can't anyone of your damn little Scooby club at least try to remember that I hate you all?
  • Character Development: Joss Whedon has described that he felt Spike "ultimately became the most fully developed character in the Whedonverse".
  • Closet Geek: While the Scoobies are holding him hostage in Season 4, his biggest concern is missing the next episode of Passions.
  • Closet Sublet: With Anya gone, Spike ignominiously moves into a 'spare room' in Xander's apartment.
    "I know it looks like a closet, but it's a room now."
  • Clothes Make the Legend: His original trenchcoat gets burned to tatters but Wolfram & Hart immediately supplies him with eleven exact duplicates of the coat.
  • Combat Sadomasochist:
    • Lampshaded on several occasions, such as when Spike makes his Anguished Declaration of Love.
      Joyce: Honey, did you somehow, unintentionally, lead him on in any way? Send him signals?
      Buffy: Well, I do beat him up a lot. For Spike, that's like third base.
    • Buffy even accuses him as such in "Smashed," stating outright the real reason he loves her is because he enjoys getting beat up by her.
      Buffy: You're in love with pain. Admit it. You like me... because you enjoy getting beat down. So really, who's screwed up?
  • The Confidant: For Buffy in the first half of Season 6. He's the only one who knows that the Scoobies actually pulled Buffy out of Heaven rather than saving her from Hell until the events of "Once More, with Feeling."
  • Cool Airship: In Seasons 8 and 9. IDW's Spike series reveals he stole it from Wolfram & Hart while investigating their activities in Las Vegas.
  • Cool Bike: That he stole from a demon biker in Season 6.
  • Cultured Badass: Can quote Henry V with the best of them. "We band of buggered."
  • Cunning Linguist: In addition to his native English, he's proficient in Latin, Luganda and Fyarl.
  • Daywalking Vampire: When he got his hands on the Gem of Amara, he took great pleasure in attacking Buffy in broad daylight.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's rarely not laying down some snark. His parody of a conversation between Angel and a Distressed Damsel in "In the Dark" is awesomely hilarious.
    • In Season 5 of Angel, when Wesley asks him if remembers any "strange sensations" from the amulet.
    "Oh you mean like my skin and muscle burning off the bone, organs exploding in my chest, eyeballs melting in their sockets? No, no memory at all, thanks for asking."
  • Defiant to the End: He refuses to reveal Dawn's identity as the Key under brutal torture from Glory in Season 5... which wins him back some good favor with Buffy.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Spike's level of evilness after being chipped seems to depend on who's writing him. Borders on Heel–Face Revolving Door. This is also the case with how smart he is.
    • Just how effective the chip is in harming Spike also seems to vary at points. At first, it seemed that any action even bordering on a threat to a human was enough to give Spike a shock, as shown in "The Yoko Factor" when he gets one even after casually pointing a fake gun in Xander's direction (though he wasn't aware that the gun didn't work, to be fair). In later seasons, there are episodes that indicate he can actually still spar with humans as long as he doesn't intentionally aim to hurt them ("Fool for Love", "Potential"). However, even in "Potential", Violet is shown reacting with mild pain to some of Spike's training lessons (even saying as much), which in previous cases would seem to be enough to earn him a shock.
      • The latter could be explained by the fact that ensouled!Spike is somewhat suicidal and simply has far less self-preservation instincts than his soulless self. It's possible that he is still getting shocked, but ignores it because he doesn't think he deserves to avoid the pain.
  • Despair Event Horizon: He crosses it in "Doomed." Unable to hunt for blood anymore, and being told off and considered Not Worth Killing by Xander of all people, Spike tries to dust himself, and is actually happy another apocalypse is coming and hoping Buffy fails. When he discovers the chip doesn't stop him from hurting demons, he gets better.
  • Deuteragonist: He is the second most important character in Season 7 after Buffy.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In the final episodes of Season 4, he schemes to break up the Scoobies by exploiting the existing tensions between the group, and then planting evidence to lure Buffy into a trap as part of Adam's plan. However, after all is said and done, Adam points out that Spike gave Willow said evidence, and Willow won't be speaking to Buffy now; Spike quickly goes out to rectify it.
    • On the DVD commentary for the Season 4 episode "Primeval," episode writer David Fury admits that in the previous episode ("The Yoko Factor"), Spike's oversight of giving Willow the disk before prodding the Scoobies toward implosion was an oversight on the part of the writers. It was their plan, and once they realized that it was flawed, they just made it an instance of this trope. The Author's Saving Throw actually makes it better than if they had scrapped the bad plan, showing that Spike isn't The Chessmaster he thinks he is.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In Angel Season 5, he stabs through Angel to kill a demon behind him. Angel accuses him of just wanting to stab him. Spike is offended — he prefers bashing Angel with blunt objects.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In-universe, Spike being chipped is often compared to an impotent man, or a neutered animal.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In Season 4, Willow and Xander take him along with them while going to prevent an apocalypse to prevent him from staking himself. Spike thanks them by taunting and insulting them, blatantly stating that he doesn't want pity from people who he perceives to be even more useless than he is.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: In "Just Rewards," he gives off such a rant in response to his Heroic Sacrifice in Sunnydale and current ghostly state, particularly his jealousy of Angel for all he has as the current CEO of Wolfram & Hart:
    Spike: You got it too good! You're king of a thirty-floor castle, with all the cars, comfort, power, and glory you could ever want. Here I save the world, throw myself onto the proverbial hand grenade for love, honor, and all the right reasons, and what do I get? Bloody well toasted and ghosted is what I get, isn't it? It's not fair!
  • Dying Smirk: In the final episode of Season 7. Even as his flesh and muscle is being toasted off and the Hellmouth is crumbling around him, Spike still smirks and laughs as he crumbles to dust.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "William the Bloody" actually refers to his bloody awful poems, not blood drinking.
  • Environmental Symbolism: A sign saying BEWARE OF DOG is shown behind Spike on several occasions.
  • Entitled Bastard: After being chipped and pursued by the Initiative, he fully expects Buffy and the Scoobies to help him despite being one of their worst enemies at the time.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first encounter with the Anointed One establishes that he has little respect for old fashioned ritualist like the Order of Aurelius, that he's a dangerous fighter, and that he loves Drusilla in a way that vampires shouldn't be able to.
  • Eternal Love: What he hoped he had with Drusilla. Then they had a falling out.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: William's hope was to live in blissful trinity with his vampirized mum and Drusilla (to Dru's consternation). The Plan went sour when his mum promptly tried to molest him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Spike is a Blood Knight and is considered one of the most evil vampires in history, but nonetheless, he genuinely loved Drusilla and was devoted to her for a century.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Spike has a low tolerance for "poseur" vampires who act above their station, believing they give the undead a bad name. Contrary to his love of brawling, he's also averse to wanton destruction; Spike enjoys the good life and isn't going to let Angelus destroy the world if he can help it.
    • In "Family", even he's appalled at Tara's father's awful method of parenting.
    • When Buffy snubs and insults him in "Fool for Love," Spike snaps and is fully prepared to blow her away with a Sawn-Off Shotgun... until he sees her scared and crying over Joyce, who has to go to the hospital.
    • He genuinely liked Buffy's mother, and was upset at her death.
    • Contrary to Darla and Drusilla, even as a vampire Spike found some of Angelus' actions disgusting such as when Angelus deliberately slept with Drusilla just to get under Spike' skin. In modern times, Spike claimed Angelus only wanted another Spike around to try and make someone be as vile as him.
    • His newly vampiric mother propositioning him for Parental Incest was deeply horrifying enough to him, even as a soulless, Always Chaotic Evil vampire, that he ends up staking her immediately after.
  • Evil Brit: At first. Now he's more of an anti-heroic Brit.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • In Season 4's "The Yoko Factor," Spike shows that he knows what The Power of Friendship is... but also shows that he doesn't understand it yet. He identifies Buffy's friends as strong assets... but is absurdly confident that he of all people can cause a permanent falling out between Buffy and the Scoobies on the eve before their big fight with Adam. Spike's sowing of discord causes a semi-dramatic quarrel that angers the Scoobies for all of a half episode. Then they rally about, and unleash epic ass-kicking. Friends fight, but friends apologize and make up too.
    • In Season 6 "Dead Things," Buffy thinks she's accidentally killed an innocent bystander. Spike wants to dispose of the evidence and sweep the matter under the rug, and can't understand why Buffy wants to turn herself into the police.
      Spike: Why are you doing this to yourself?
      Buffy: [tearful] A girl is dead because of me.
      Spike: And how many people are alive because of you? How many have you saved? One dead girl doesn't tip the scale.
      Buffy: That's all it is to you, isn't it? Just another body! You can't understand why this is killing me, can you?
    • This becomes inverted when Spike says that he won't let Buffy turn herself in because he loves her. Buffy responds by savagely beating Spike, implying that she's the evil thing who can't comprehend Spike's selfless actions.
  • Evil Counterpart: He was this to Angel, until he stopped being evil. Now he's just his Foil.
  • Evil Is Petty: After being chipped, he often indulges in this.
    • In "Doomed," after nearly staking himself, Willow and Xander take him along out of pity. Spike doesn't want their pity and gives them a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, showing he can still inflict damage even with the chip in his head, and smirks evilly to himself once his back is turned.
    • In "A New Man," he nonchalantly grabs Xander's radio when packing up to leave Xander's apartment. When Xander calls him on this, Spike replies, "And you're what, shocked and disappointed? I'm evil!"
    • In "Crush," he steals money from Xander at the Bronze to buy himself drinks.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: At the end of Buffy Season 2, he forms an Enemy Mine with Buffy to stop Angelus' plan to awaken Acathla and suck the whole world into Hell. He may be evil, but he actually enjoys human society and isn't about to let Angelus destroy everything.
  • Eviler Than Thou: At the very end of his debut episode, he personally kills the Anointed One and takes command of the remnants of the Order of Aurelius.
    Spike: From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here!
  • Evil Virtues: Spike displayed a few:
    • Ambition: Most vampires fear Slayers and will avoid drawing the attention of one if possible. Not Spike. The minute he found out there was a line of people with the job of killing his kind, he immediately devoted his life to finding and killing as many of them as he could. He succeeded in killing two before he met Buffy.
    • Honesty: Spike isn't exactly honest, but he does seem to object to people lying for the sake of feeling better about themselves or of making others think more highly of themselves. As part of his Establishing Character Moment, he tells a vampire who says "and I would know-I was at the Crucifixion" that "if every vampire who claimed they were at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock. And I would know-I was at Woodstock." In his sole Season 3 appearance, there's also his "Love's Bitch" speech in which he calls out Buffy and Angel for denying that they're still in love, and it's clear that he's pissed-off by it.
    • Love: In their own sick, twisted way, Spike and Drusilla loved each other. Later on in the series, Spike comes to fall in love with Buffy.
    • Passion: Spike has a real passion for violence. When the Initiative chips him to make him incapable of hurting people, he tries to kill himself, only finding meaning in his own life again when he realizes he can still hurt demons.
    • Valor: See Ambition.
  • Ex-Big Bad: He starts out as the Big Bad of Season 2, only to lose the position to Angelus come the second half of the season; after forming an Enemy Mine with Buffy to take Angelus down, he later tries to regain the Big Bad title, but fails and ends up pulling a Heel–Face Turn, going from one of Buffy's most dangerous enemies to one of her most trusted allies.
  • Expansion Pack Past: It comes as a surprise to learn his entire persona is a lie. "Spike" is really William Pratt, a wimpy poet who was considered the runt of his original pack.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: His hair acts as something of a barometer of where he is on the Heel-Face spectrum at any one time. Usually, the more slicked down it is, the more evil he is, and the more tousled it is, the more good.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: As he says to Buffy prior to his Heroic Sacrifice in "Chosen":
    Spike: I wanna see how it ends.
  • Fake Nationality: Played with. He is actually British, but flashbacks show him speaking with a posh Received Pronunciation accent. After getting turned, he switched to a Cockney/Estuary accent to go with the tough guy image he created.
  • Fatal Flaw: Lack of impulse control is Spike's biggest weakness. It often ends up negating his intelligence and tactical abilities and lands him in hot water with the other heroes. Even post-soul, he's been known to have this problem.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Before getting chipped. Comparing him to Mayor Wilkins is a good lesson in the difference between Affably Evil and Faux Affably Evil.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: Despite the pain chip in his head, Spike has proven capable of pushing past and ignoring it on two occasions:
    • In "After Life," he's so furious that the Scooby Gang concealed their plan of resurrecting Buffy from him that he grabbed and manhandled Xander. On close examination, Spike can be seen wincing from the pain the chip inflicts for his actions, but he is so angry he does not care.
    • In "Help," he assists Buffy in fighting off the cult trying to sacrifice Cassie Newton, punching the leader multiple times despite the chip repeatedly shocking him.
  • For the Evulz: Before his Heel–Face Turn, Spike loved killing for the sake of it and didn't bother to give his victims another glance.
  • Freudian Excuse: Two of them.
    • The first was Spike siring his mother, who he adored, only for her to try and seduce him as a vampire, leading to him being forced to stake her. Naturally this would be very traumatic and likely sent him off the rails.
    • The second is Angelus. It's been discussed in the show that Angelus made Spike evil (well, worse than he'd have been without it) and Spike hated that Angelus did so in order for there to be someone as disgusting as he was before as Liam and after as a vampire.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Among the Scoobies, particuarly in season seven - most of the Scoobies neither like nor trust him (lampshaded by Anya), but Buffy insists he stick around—both because he's valuable and because she's too emotionally attached to let him go, even when he offers to leave.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Trope Namer, though it was on Angel and he was being sarcastic. Unlike Angel, he gets roped into saving people by a fork-tongued Lindsey McDonald, attorney at law.
    • Becomes this for real in the comics, including being friends with a police detective.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was an unsuccessful poet and Momma's Boy as a human. He ultimately became a deadly vampire who killed not one, but two Slayers, though he's still Always Second Best to Angelus.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Before his soul, like any vampire, he killed and fed without remorse. Post-soul he no longer qualifies, as though he's less angsty about actually being a vampire than Angel, he still doesn't feed on humans and relies on blood from the butcher's shop (and rats, while he was insane).

  • The Gadfly: When brought back as a ghost and magically restrained to Los Angeles city limits, he decides to spend eternity "haunting" Angel by following him around and being annoying.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Midway through Season 2, he's crushed by a collapsing pipe organ during a fight with Buffy and left wheelchair-bound for several episodes.
  • Genius Bruiser: He might not know all that science stuff and whatnot, but he's a lot more cultured than he lets on and as smart as he is strong. He's just generally too impatient to use this to his full advantage.
  • The Glasses Got To Go: Needed them while alive, but tossed them afterward. His appearance gradually became more unkempt as he worked to build his reputation as a real killer - a street-fighting vampire.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Saves a woman from a vampire in a dark alley in "Soul Purpose," and then chews her out for being dumb enough to walk through an alley alone, in impractical heels, at night.
    • He is brutally undiplomatic with how he goes about pointing out that Robin Wood's true anger was towards his mother for never prioritizing him over slaying, rather than at Spike himself for killing her. However, in doing so, he breaks Robin's trigger that was being used by The First to control/manipulate him. Spike also spares his life despite that Robin had just lured him into a cross-covered shed to beat him to death, on account of having killed Nikki while soulless, though threatens not to keep extending that courtesy if he tries it again.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Dawson's Creek and Passions.
  • Headbutting Heroes: He and Angel didn't really get along when they were soulless. In the fifth season of Angel, even when they are working together with souls, they still don't get along. At all.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In Season 4, he constantly goes back and forth, helping anyone who's willing to help him. First, he helps the Scoobies in exchange for shelter and food, then he helps Adam in the hopes of having the chip removed, then when Adam goes back on the deal, he helps the Scoobies, and freely admits he's only doing so so they won't stake him for his betrayal. It's even lampshaded.
    Xander: Spike's working for Adam?! After all we've done — nah, I can't even act surprised.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Slowly over the course of four seasons, but he goes from being one of Buffy's most dangerous enemies to one of her most trusted allies.
  • Heel Realization: Oddly, it occurs well after his Heel–Face Turn. While, after 'three months moaning in a basement', he was more or less fine after getting his soul (in contrast with Angel's century of remorse), he realises this when a deranged Slayer kidnaps and tortures him, mistaking Spike for a man who tormented her during her childhood. At the end, despite being innocent in this instance, Spike realizes and points out that it didn't matter that he never laid a finger on the girl, because he'd done plenty worse to other people.
  • Hero Killer: He's killed two past Slayers, a fact he takes much pride in.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Prior to getting his soul back, for a usually limited amount of heroic.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the Buffy Grand Finale he dies keeping the Hellmouth closed. He gets better.
  • Hero with an F in Good: In Seasons 5 and 6, he frequently falls into this trope, often doing things not because it's right but because it's what Buffy would want.
    Spike: I'm not sampling, I'll have you know. Just look at all these lovely blood-covered people. I could, but not a taste for Spike, not a lick. Knew you wouldn't like it.
    Spike: Well, yeah.
    Buffy: You're disgusting.
    • It starts back in Season 4, when he's "forced" by his condition (he only could hurt monsters, but not humans) to fight alongside the good guys.
    Spike: What's this? Sitting around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say, we go out there, and kick a little demon ass. What, can't go without your Buffy? Is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her. She is the Chosen One, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty. Let's annihilate them. For justice, and for the safety of puppies, and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil. Let's kill something. Oh, come on!
  • He's Back: Spike gets more than one.
    • When he discovers he can hurt demons, he promptly cuts loose and beats the shit out of one.
    Spike: That's right! I'm back, and I'm a BLOODY ANIMAL! YEAH!!
    • In "Get It Done," he has a pretty epic one, complete with the return of the Badass Longcoat.
  • Hidden Depths: He's extremely observant and surprisingly astute at reading people:
    • He's generally good at predicting Willow's behaviour; in "Something Blue" when Buffy and Giles think she's doing okay after her breakup with Oz, Spike scornfully points out that "she's hanging on by a thread!" He also accurately predicts her lying about not trying to get revenge on Glory. "What if it was Dawn?" is enough to let everyone know that yeah, if it takes a Heroic Sacrifice then Willow's gonna do it.
    • He has Buffy and Angel's relationship down to a tee: "You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it make you quiver, but you'll never be friends." Buffy later admits he was spot-on: "I can fool my friends. I can even fool Giles. But I can't fool myself... or Spike, for some reason."
    • He's easily able to read Parker for a manipulative playboy, and manages to guess exactly how he got close to Buffy despite barely interacting with him and mostly observing from afar.
    • He quickly susses that Tara's relatives have been lying about the women of the family becoming demons once they hit a certain age, in order to keep their womenfolk under control.
    • Once he has a soul, he's actually very good at taking care of Buffy on her own terms and often knows what to do or say to pull her and others out of a slump. Her realizing his aptness for this is what prompts her to attempt a Relationship Upgrade in season 10.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: When first introduced, he's well established as a Hero Killer and a very dangerous threat to Buffy and the Scoobies, nearly killing Buffy in their first fight, and only being stopped by Joyce belting him over the head with an axe. Come Season 3, he's a drunken wreck after Drusilla dumps him, and after a brief return to badassery when the Gem of Amara in Season 4, it's taken even further after being chipped, where he becomes the series' Butt-Monkey and tries to stake himself.
  • Hyper-Awareness: When it comes to people, he proves himself pretty damn observant and sometimes manages to accurately sum a person up based on a couple of surface-level interactions. He also nearly figures out how to fight Buffy through watching her fight another vampire, and likely would have successfully killed her if Joyce hadn't stepped in a decked him in the head with an axe during their first fight.
  • Hypocrite: In Season 2, he is against Angelus' plan to revive Acathla and suck the world into hell, and forms an Enemy Mine with Buffy to stop it. That being said, he had previously resurrected the Judge, a Nigh Invulnerable demon with the power to destroy the world, as a birthday present to Drusilla.
    • He calls Buffy out for being a Fatal Attractor when she attempts to restart their relationship in season 10. Upon recounting the story to Xander back at their apartment, Xander calls him on the exact same thing, pointing out Spike's own tendency to go for women who are incapable of being in healthy relationships.
  • I Am Very British: Before becoming a vampire, he was, at minimum, well-educated upper middle class, with the upper-crust accent that went with it. After being turned, he instead affected the image of a thug and eventually a punk, and adopted the Cockney/Estuary accent he's used ever since.
  • I Am a Monster: He tries to convince Buffy of this in season 7 by pointing out how evil he'd been without a soul and implying he'd even hurt girls as young as Dawn, all but begging her to stake him before the First makes him hurt anyone else.
  • Iconic Item: His leather trenchcoat. He's almost never seen without it and admits it's basically his "second skin".
  • I Hate Past Me: Unlike Angel, who fears Angelus, ensouled!Spike believes his soulless self was a selfish idiot who always screwed everything up and he expresses nothing less than complete loathing towards him. In Season 10's "Return to Sunnydale" arc, when fighting a soul-eating demon, he goes so far as to order Buffy to just stake him in the event the monster eats his soul, preferring to die over going back to his evil soulless self.
  • Inconvenient Attraction: He is not happy when his Erotic Dream makes him realize he's become infatuated with Buffy.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • In Season 7, he encourages Buffy not to worry about him with regards to her date with Wood, stating plainly that he's completely disillusioned with the idea that Buffy and himself could ever belong together. After she thanks him and walks away his expression immediately falls, making it clear that he was really only saying it for her sake.
    • In Season 9, he wants Buffy to have as normal a life as possible and is avoiding any romantic entanglement with her because of it. He even says he would be thrilled if Detective Dowling wanted to date her. Both Dowling and Eldre Koh can tell that he's still carrying a torch.
    • Gets called on it multiple times in Season 10. Xander calls him out on turning down Buffy's offer to try getting back together when it's obvious Spike still wants to be with her, and when he tries to later break up with Buffy out of fear he'll just utterly screw it up down the road, she lets him have it. Spike realizes that his own idolization of Buffy coupled with his low self-esteem and this trope are actually the real problems and relents.
  • Immortal Immaturity: He's a hundred and forty years old, and yet he mopes like a teenager when Drusilla breaks up with him. He gets some motherly advice from Joyce Summers, a human woman a fraction of his age. (The fraction in this case being 'less than a third but more than a quarter'.) Unlike his polar opposite, Angel, his flashbacks to the past usually involve a bonfire, mod clothing, or a disco.
    Angel: Wait a minute... I wasn't in Italy in the fifties!
    Spike: Oh, right. Guess you weren't. (beat) Really missed out.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He acts cocky and arrogant to the bone, but all the superior remarks of his are for convincing himself as much as convincing everyone else. This is particularly apparent in his dynamic with Buffy and his century-long feud with Angel.
    • Particularly illustrated when Buffy attempts to give a relationship with him a real shot in season 10, and he shoots her down. Despite having a good, mutually respectful and often flirty relationship for a couple of years by that time, his first instinct is to assume Buffy only wants him because she thinks she can't have him anymore rather than that she's genuinely fallen for him.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: There's an entire video here detailing how often Spike gets his ass handed to him by just about everyone in the cast, and rarely suffers much of a scratch for it. Justified as he's a vampire, so he can take the beating better than most and would heal pretty quickly from most minor injuries.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Though he prefers to cut straight to the kill, he learned from Angelus, a master Torture Technician. This is demonstrated when he tortures Dr. Sparrow for information on Illyria's plan in "Shells." After returning to Angel and Wesley to inform them of what he learned, he comments on having gotten "screams, various fluids, and a name" out of Sparrow.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Spike's legendary "Love's Bitch" speech in Season 3:
    Spike: You're not "friends." You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.
    • Buffy even acknowledges this later:
    Buffy: I can fool my friends. I can even fool Giles. But I can't fool myself... or Spike, for some reason.
    • In "Pangs," the Monster of the Week is a Native American ghost who's killing white people the same way bounty hunters killed his people as revenge. Willow is reluctant to act because she feels really guilty about what the colonists did, and everybody else is trying to convince her that they do have to fight him because he's killing innocent people. It's Spike of all people that finally gets through to her. He points out that the Europeans invaded with better weapons, killed the natives and took their land, which the whole point of conquering new territories. Humans have been doing it for as long as they have been around ("It's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying, "I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it"). He then goes on to say that the Team is not going to be able to save anybody if they keep their Political Correctness Gone Mad attitude up, and the ghost does not care if they feel bad for the gruesome actions of their ancestors — it's pissed off and wants them all dead. When Willow then suggests that they could talk to the ghost, he asks her what she could possibly say to make him feel better about white people exterminating his tribe, destroying any and all argument against fighting the ghost. This is especially poignant because Giles made those exact same points earlier.
    Xander: ... Maybe it's the syphilis talking, but some of that made sense.
  • Heartbroken Badass: In Season 3, when Drusilla breaks up with him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After his Heel–Face Turn, he's still an asshole but he's heroic now.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When Spike comes crashing through the Sunnydale welcome sign, gets out of his car and says "Home sweet home", it marks the beginning of a storyline that takes the entire series in a darker direction.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: After his Heel–Face Turn. He'll save lives and help the helpless, even if he doesn't really like it all that much, but you can also expect him to to give the saved person a roasting for being so damn stupid.
  • The Lancer: To Buffy in Season 7. He's her lieutenant in all but name, is frequently seen at her shoulder, and always lets her know when he disagrees before supporting her anyway.
  • Lack of Empathy: Before getting his soul, like most vampires; best shown in "Crush." For all the comic shenanigans, he casually steals from Xander, boasts to Dawn of murdering an entire family, uses and abuses his girlfriend Harmony, participates with Drusilla in the joint murder at the Bronze (he does hesitate to drink from the body, though possibly just because he's worried the chip will go off), kidnaps Buffy to force her to respond to his affections and completely fails to see why this behavior would fill Buffy with revulsion, assuming she's just Playing Hard to Get.
  • Large Ham: He's got a flair for the dramatic and likes to make a big show of himself and whatever he may be feeling in that particular moment. Perhaps because getting a soul made him more mindful to those around him, this tones down considerably the further along he is in his Heel–Face Turn, but never all together. Even a fully-reformed Spike still has a love for Casual Danger Dialogue and opts to use a Booze Flamethrower in a fight early in season 10.
  • Laughably Evil: "In the Dark." When we next see him four seasons later, he's reformed his ways.
    Cordelia: Heard you weren't evil anymore. Which kinda makes the hair silly.
  • Layman's Terms: This became his gimmick during the gang's expository speeches (on both shows).
  • Leeroy Jenkins: On more than one occasion, his lack of patience has resulted in him heedlessly screwing up his own evil plans.
    Spike: I had a plan!
    Angel: You? A plan?
    Spike: A good plan! Smart plan! Carefully laid out! ...But I got bored.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In his first fight with Buffy in "School Hard." Despite being armed with an axe, he tosses it aside before taking on Buffy hand-to-hand. While Spike isn't exactly honorable, he is a Blood Knight who fights for the sake of fighting, so taking on Buffy equally was more entertaining to him. Of course, this comes back to bite him; when he has Buffy on the ropes and is about to finish her, Joyce uses that very axe to bash him in the head and drive him off.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He's rarely seen without his duster. Lampshaded when he refers to it as his second skin.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: This sums up the differences between him and Angel in a nutshell; he doesn't regret becoming immortal, he revels in it.
  • Living Lie Detector: Combined with Brutal Honesty. Mocks Buffy and Angel's attempts at being "just friends", points out that Willow is "hanging on by a thread" after breaking up with Oz, and accuses Buffy (and, by extension, all Slayers) of having a secret death wish in Season 5.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: In "The Initiative," when he's going after Willow, she threatens to scream as he prepares to kill her. Spike just smirks and responds, "Bonus."
  • Lovable Traitor: In season 4. He basically screws over the Scoobies completely for the opportunity to have his chip removed, and when that falls through, saves them to score last-minute brownie points so they won't stake him afterwards. It works.
  • Love Hurts: As he says, love likes to make him its bitch.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: In "Crush," he speaks of his obsession with Buffy as if it were an Assimilation Plot by her, and agrees with her to some extent that the whole situation is Sick and Wrong.
    Spike: ...this, with you, is wrong. I know it. I'm not a complete idiot! You think I like having you in here? Destroying everything that was me, until all that's left is you, in a dead shell. [scoffs] You say you hate it, but you won't leave.
  • Love Martyr: Lampshades it with both his character quote and the page quote. In Season 7, Buffy is shocked that Spike would damage himself so badly by getting a soul just for her sake.
    Buffy: Why? Why would you do that—
    Spike: Buffy, shame on you. Why does a man do what he mustn't? For her. To be hers.
    • Season 10 shows how it's a bad trait for him to have, with Harmony noting that it leads to him over-idealizing the people he loves and when he's unsure about relationships he starts causing problems just to make the other person break it off so he can played wounded martyr. Thankfully Spike manages to defy the trope in the end, initially trying to break up with Buffy before he causes problems to push her away and (after a well-earned chewing out from her) admits he should stop thinking of her as some symbol and really try to be with her as a person.
  • Love Redeems: Unlike Angel, whose soul was forced on him, he sought out someone to return his soul so he would be more like someone that Buffy deserves.
  • The Mad Hatter: In early Season 7. While he's clearly suffering from Sanity Slippage, Spike knows it, and at several points, his usual Deadpan Snarker attitude shines through.
    Buffy: Spike, have you completely lost your mind?
    Spike: Well, yes. Where have you been all night?
  • Make Room for the New Plot: Managed to adjust to having a soul, come to terms with the guilt of his decades of bloodshed and build himself up from shattered wreck to world-saving hero over the course of a season, when it took Angel decades of misery and angst - though it does come back later in Angel, when he gets a belated Heel Realization. Lamsphaded when they encounter each other again:
    "You asked for a soul, I didn't. It almost killed me. I spent a hundred years trying to come to terms with infinite remorse. You spent three weeks moaning in a basement, and then you were FINE! What's fair about that?"
  • Manchurian Agent: In the seventh season, the First forces him to kill again whenever he hears "Early One Morning."
  • Manipulative Bastard: When he puts his mind to it, Spike is quite adept at using others' feelings against them, such as when he drove a wedge between the Scoobies with just a few insightful comments.
  • Maybe Ever After: In season 12, Buffy admits that seeing him fight alongside her filled her heart and that she could see them getting back together at some point. However, until then, they agree that it's more important for them to simply be present in each other's lives.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: With Buffy, the mortal human. Though the trope is less obvious than with Angel, due to Spike being a Pop-Cultured Badass. However when they get back together in Season 10, Spike brings it up as a potential issue in the relationship.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Many fans lost all respect for him after his Attempted Rape of Buffy. They were perfectly okay with him killing thousands in horrible ways as a soulless vampire because it happened mostly offscreen. And not just killing - "Do you know what I've done to girls Dawn's age?"
    • Aside from his initial period of remorse and insanity, this seems to be his unspoken attitude to his crimes as an un-souled vampire - though he does spare Wood after the latter's murder attempt, specifically because Spike had killed his mother (though as he pointed out to Wood, she was a Slayer, he was a vampire, and that was how things went). This changes in Angel after his kidnap, torture, and the temporary removal of his hands by a deranged Slayer who mistook him for her abuser (it doesn't help that the Slayer collective memory, which she's more tapped into than most, recognised him as the murderer of two past Slayers). As he points out, while he wasn't guilty of what had been done to her, he had done just as bad, and much, much worse, to many, many others.
  • Momma's Boy: He turned his mother into a vamp so they can be together forever. It's also the root of his attraction to Drusilla, his sire. It's likely also the reason he got along so well with Joyce.
  • Mommy Issues: He has some serious hangups about his mother, the worst of which concerning the fact that he'd attempted to save her from worsening tuberculosis by siring her. It does manage to save her health, but he is horrified when she becomes extremely cruel post-transformation and comes onto him, which leads to him having to stake her. His realization that that had been the demon in her talking and that his mother had loved him is what allows him to shake off The First Evil's hold on him.
    • Season 10 suggests that, while he did love her, he also somewhat resents his mother for coddling him growing up.
  • Monster Roommate: Was this for Xander in Seasons 4 and 7, to their mutual dislike. Season 10 has him sharing an apartment with Xander willingly as they've managed to become friends.
  • More Than Mind Control: Pulls this off on the Scoobies in Season 4, exploiting the existing tensions within the Scooby Gang (Buffy's intense focus on her newfound relationship with Riley, Giles' feelings of uselessness, Xander's lack of direction, and Willow's recent gay relationship with Tara) in order to Divide and Conquer. As he himself points out, he didn't create said tensions, he just manipulated them and brought them to the surface.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Moreso than even Mr. Boreanaz, given his tendency for the Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Musical Trigger: The First takes control of Spike with the folk song "Early One Morning", which Spike's mother often sang to him when he was human.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • In "Into the Woods," after leading Buffy to the vampire bite den Riley is at, Spike looks guilty after seeing the devastated look on her face. He has succeeded in Removing the Rival, but now Buffy hates him more than ever.
    • In "Seeing Red," he attempts to force himself on Buffy, before she fights him off. He's absolutely horrified by what he almost did... which is what motivates him to get his soul back.
    • A more downplayed example in Angel, after his kidnapping and brutal torture by a deranged Slayer who conflates him with her abuser (Slayer memories of Spike killing two Slayers didn't help), when he has a Heel Realization - namely, while he wasn't responsible for what happened to this girl, he had done as bad (and much, much worse) to so many others.

  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: It's made very clear that he often over-emphasizes how "evil" he is in an attempt to save face when people start to notice his softer side (he chokes and acts outright offended when Dawn claims to feel safe with him in Season 5). Add in his tendency to watch soap operas and well-buried love of poetry...
  • The Nicknamer: He often nicknamed the people in his life, both as insults and as terms of endearment. He referred to Dawn, for instance, as "Little Bit", "Nibblet", and "Platelet". He called Drusilla and Buffy "Pet" and "Love" and often referred to Buffy as "Slayer". He also nicknamed Willow "Red"; Xander "Harris"; and Angel "Poof", "Peaches", and "Captain Forehead"; Gunn "Charlie Boy"; Illyria "Little Shiva", "Smurf", "Blue", and "Blue Meanie"; and Jeremy "Jerry". He also called Buffy "Slutty the Vampire Slayer" and, on one occasion, "Goldilocks". He had given himself the nickname "Big Bad", a reference to the nickname for the major enemies faced by the Scooby Gang.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: He comes about as close to a televised version of Lobo as you could get. He rode a bike, lived for battle, hated all forms of authority, smoked cigarettes and listened to rock n'roll. He becomes an unreliable ally of the Scoobies after getting chipped by the Intiative and later makes a true Heel–Face Turn after falling in love with Buffy.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Was a vampire ghost for the first half of Season 5 of Angel.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: In Season 2, he displays traits as such despite his Blood Knight tendencies. When not focusing on healing Drusilla, his plans were to-the-point attempts at killing Buffy and the Scoobies with little screwing around. During "What's My Line," he hires the Order of Taraka to kill Buffy and keep her from interfering with his plans, which his henchman Dalton considers overkill, and after Angelus enters the picture and begins a long, drawn-out campaign of Mind Rape against Buffy and co., Spike repeatedly tells him to just kill her and be done with it.
  • Noble Demon: Even pre- Heel–Face Turn, he had a drop of humanity in him. While still overall amoral, he was genuinely devoted to Drusilla and was even willing to give up his opportunity to get rid of Buffy in order to save Dru's life. And though their Moral Dissonance becomes a big factor in their break-up in season 6, he's more than willing to commit good, even selfless actions to protect or make Buffy happy.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: In "Triangle," he brushes off Xander's request that he try to fight Olaf the Troll because he's "paralyzed by not caring very much."
  • The Not-Love Interest: During Season 5 of Angel, he fills this role due to their long history and complex relationship.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: This becomes his hat in Season 4. Buffy and company get used to thinking of him as harmless thanks to the chip implanted in his head that prevents him from physically attacking any humans, but he occasionally shows them that he could still cause them problems or even get them all killed, even if he can't attack them directly.
    • When Faith wakes up from her coma and plans to go on a rampage against the group, Giles and Xander run into Spike, and because he's lived with them, fought demons together with them a few times, and generally been unable to harm them, they make the mistake of assuming he'll be an ally. They ask him if he's heard anything about Faith, and Spike feigns concern, which makes them fill him in on the whole Faith situation (as Spike has never seen or heard of Faith before) complete with a physical description and the fact that she's looking for vengeance against the group. With this information in hand, Spike announces that he's going to find the rogue Slayer so he can tell her where they are so he can watch as she kills them. And thanks to their assumption that he's harmless, he even has a rough description of the person he should be looking for.
      Spike: What do you need?
      Xander: Her. Dark hair, [raises a hand to about Faith's height] ye tall, name of Faith, criminally insane.
      Spike: Is this bird after you?
      Xander: In a bad way, yeah.
      Spike: Tell you what I'll do then: head out, find this girl, tell her exactly where all of you are, then watch as she kills you. [Spike smiles at Xander and Giles, then sighs in annoyance at their shocked expressions] Can anyone in your damn little Scooby club at least try to remember that I hate you all. Just 'cause I can't do the damage myself doesn't stop me from aiming a loose cannon your way.
      Xander: Go ahead. You wouldn't even recognize her.
      Spike: Dark hair, this tall, name of Faith, criminally insane. Like this girl already. [Xander and Giles watch him go]
      Xander: ...We're dumb.
    • Near the end of Season 4, he manipulates the existing tensions within Buffy's friends and successfully gets them to turn against one another.
    • He was also this during "Lovers Walk." While a drunken, tearful mess over his breakup with Drusilla, and willing to tell his sob story to anyone who will listen (even laying his head on Willow's shoulder and invoking a "There, There"), Spike still proves himself quite dangerous. He kills a magic shop owner in broad daylight, kidnaps Willow and Xander while using Xander's life to threaten Willow into casting a love spell on Drusilla for him, gets Buffy and Angel to help him gather the ingredients in exchange for their friends' lives, and is such a Wild Card that Mayor Wilkins arranges for a vampire pack to go after and kill him before he can "rock the boat."
    • It happens again in "Fool for Love." The episode makes it perfectly clear that Spike is capable of killing Buffy even with the Initiative chip in his head, and implies that the real reason he's never actually done so is because he's never truly wanted to. When Buffy responds by taunting Spike and cruelly (though unknowingly) pouring salt on an old wound, Spike is so pissed over it that he goes to Buffy's house with a shotgun in hand, only relenting at the last minute when he sees Buffy in tears over her mother.
  • Not So Different:
    • To Buffy — they love to fight (and when forced to fight together, cooperate instinctively), refuse to be bound by tradition, and seem addicted to doomed unconventional relationships. Spike pushes this line when trying to court Buffy in Seasons 5 and 6; and while Buffy angrily denies the idea it's clear she also secretly believes him, fueling her decision to enter into a Destructive Romance that highlights all the ways they're not alike.
    • Season 10 notes he's also become this to Angel after getting his soul back. The best difference Spike can think of on short notice is that he's English and Angel is Irish.
  • Not So Similar: For all their similarities, Willow also notes that Spike is far more open to change than Angel is, doing things like going out and earning his soul.
  • Not Worth Killing: In Season 4's "Doomed," Xander, during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, remarks that, though he knows that he could easily kick Spike's ass as a result of his being chipped, he's so pathetic right now that he's not worth the effort.
  • Obfuscating Disability: After healing from his Game-Breaking Injury in Season 2, he continues to pretend to be crippled to deflect suspicion while he plots against Angelus.
  • Odd Friendship: With Joyce. The two shared several hot chocolate moments together and talk about Passions. He was genuinely saddened by her death, and planned to leave unsigned flowers for her, suggesting that appealing himself to Buffy had nothing to do with the gesture.
    • With Dawn. In season 5 she is justifiably fed up with the other Scoobies treating her like a child, so she starts hanging out with Spike and considers him pretty cool, as he actually talks to her as an equal. He, in return, develops a Papa Bear protectiveness over her. The friendship was largely broken off in season 7, as Dawn hadn't forgiven him over the events of "Seeing Red", but a few lines here and there suggests Spike himself still held a soft spot for Dawn. They pick up their friendship again in the comics, particularly in season 9, when he stays with her as she begins fading from existence, and has to keep reminding her who she is as her memories begin disappearing.
  • Older Than He Looks: Goes without saying, character-wise, but even out of universe, James Marsters was 35 when he first played Spike.
  • One Steve Limit: An interesting aversion: "Liam" is the Irish form of "William", meaning he and Angel technically have the same (human) name.
  • Only in It for the Money: During Season 4 and most of Season 5, when he wasn't helping the Scoobies for the sake of a good fight, he was giving them info or combat assistance in exchange for cash.
  • Only Sane Man: Quickly assumes he's this when Glory's spell makes everyone forget Glory is Ben every time he explains it to them.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Does this often when he's trying to court Buffy.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Temporarily turned incorporeal after he burns up in the Hellmouth. Angel's amulet brings him back as a ghost, though one that is radiating heat. Also, according to Fred's scans, Spike had no ectoplasm; thus, he technically wasn't a ghost.
  • Papa Wolf: One consistent character trait of his, both before and after getting his soul back, is that he is violently protective of Dawn.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Even before he was chipped, he honestly liked Buffy's mother Joyce, visiting her in Season 3 to have a friendly chat.
      • And when she died, he planned to leave flowers for her. When Xander and Willow find him heading to the graveyard, Xander stops him and gives him a hard time, assuming he's just being opportunistic and hoping to look good in front of Buffy. Spike protests that he honestly just wanted to pay his respects because Joyce was always kinder to him than any of the Scoobies. Xander doesn't believe him until he storms away and Willow notices the bouquet was cardless and thus intended to be anonymous.
    • "Fool for Love" ends with him about to kill Buffy with a shotgun, only to stop when he sees her crying over her mother's illness. He becomes sympathetic and concerned, awkwardly comforting her and just sitting with her with some hesitation; Buffy did not resist, too miserable and overwhelmed to care.
    • He helps Dawn gather the ingredients for the spell to resurrect Joyce, but makes it clear Buffy isn't to know he had any hand in it. When Dawn asks why he's bothering to help then, he admits he just doesn't like seeing Summers women in so much pain.
    • His reaction to brainsucked!Tara exposing him to sunlight is to simply shrug it off and assure her it's fine.
    • Though he'd been angry and vengeful about his own breakup for most of the rest of the episode, he sincerely comforts Anya about Xander leaving her at the altar, making it clear to her that it isn't her fault the relationship fell apart and that she's a still catch.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Becomes this when he joins Season 5 of Angel, especially in the second half of the season when Fred's death turns Lorne into a Sad Clown. In addition to his usual snark, Spike has many humorous moments when dealing with Illyria.
  • Poisonous Captive: In Season 4, Spike was often this to the Scoobies.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Expresses some prejudice toward Native Americans in "Pangs."
    Spike: I just can't take all this mamby-pamby boo-hooing about the bloody Indians.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: He appeared to be a fan of pop culture; when held captive by the Scooby Gang, his biggest concern was missing his favorite soap opera, Passions. He makes references to movies and shows such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Dawson's Creek, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Ghostbusters (1984), Knight Rider and The Nightmare Before Christmas. After his hands were cut off by Dana and subsequently reattached at Wolfram & Hart, he was instructed to play video games for physical therapy, including Donkey Kong and Crash Bandicoot and played a Game Boy Advance.
  • Popularity Power: He was originally intended to be a one-shot villain, but a combination of his popularity and the fact that the actor playing the Anointed One was getting a little old to convincingly pull off the eternal child thing meant that he stuck around.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Pre-Heel–Face Turn, the majority of his plans were to-the-point attempts at killing Buffy and the Scoobies or healing Drusilla. This becomes especially noticeable once Angelus enters the picture and begins playing drawn-out mind games with Buffy, much to Spike's dismay. Best displayed in "Passion"; Spike furiously chews out Angelus for killing Jenny and leaving her body in Giles' bed, not because he's against the murder itself, but because Angelus' constant screwing with Buffy and the Scoobies' heads is going to do nothing but piss Buffy off and give her real cause to come after them.
    Spike: I love a good slaughter as much as the next bloke, but his little pranks will only leave us with one incredibly brassed-off Slayer!
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: From Season 4 onwards.
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: Subverted in "Crush", when he threatens to let Drusilla loose to kill a chained Buffy if she won't admit that she is attracted to him. However, as soon as Dru manages to slip from her bonds on her own, he rushes to unchain Buffy so she can defend herself despite that she had just thoroughly rejected him.
  • Prophetic Name: His mortal surname "Pratt" is pronounced the same as "prat", which means "idiot" in English parlance. Also, while human he was dubbed "William the Bloody" by his peers as a jab towards his "bloody awful" poetry. Later, as a vampire, he lives up to the name in the most literal and terrible manner and adopts it as a fearsome epithet.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: In Season 4 and the early part of Season 5. Due to the Initiative's chip, he can't hurt humans, but he can hurt demons. In general, he either helps the Scoobies out because they pay him for his services, or simply to sate his Blood Knight tendencies.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Being one of the more observant characters in the series, it's practically his Character Tic. Early on, during his villainous tenure, it tended to be either a form of intimidation or way of showing that he was preparing to attack. Later on, after he engages in a relationship with Buffy, it pops up more as a way for him to register or respond when she comments on her feelings for him (or lack thereof).
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He knows that he's man enough to admit that he's love's bitch. He's not just saying it too. He's one bad vampire.
    • Despite being ready to deride Angel as a prancing poof, he's got an affinity for poetry, gothic jewelry and black nail polish.
    • While held hostage by the Scoobies in Season 4, his biggest concern is missing the next episode of Passions.
    • In the comics, rescues kittens from kitten poker and keeps them as pets. He genuinely seems to enjoy them in later issues.
  • Rebel Relaxation: When you're a ghost, there's not much else to do but kick back and annoy the hell out of Angel.
  • Red Baron: When Hell-A is split up between various demon "Lords" in After the Fall, Spike crowns himself Lord of Beverly Hills (although everyone knows the real lord is Illyria). "William the Bloody" and, well, "Spike" (based on a stated but never demonstrated preference for torture with railroad spikes) also count.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Even after his attempts at redemption, he is almost never really trusted by the Scoobies, who continually hound him with abuse and scorn. On the other hand, 120 years of him killing for fun.
    • When he was originally forced to beg for their help, he spent a lot of time telling them how much he hated them and how he was going to kill them all, first chance he got. The abuse and scorn weren't exactly one-sided. Even when he started trying to be what Buffy wanted, some of his attempts were... off, and the gang knew quite well that he was motivated by feelings for Buffy rather than a genuine desire for redemption. There's a difference. Even if he was planning not to repeat his past evil actions, he didn't actually feel remorse for them.
    • Even after Spike gets his soul, Xander remains wary of him (the years of antagonism between the two of them not going away that simply) while Giles spends a good amount of Season 7 dismissive of his capacity for change and instead criticizes Buffy for leaning so closely on Spike as an ally. It gets to the point where Giles, worried about the consequences of the First Evil's brainwashing effect on Spike (and annoyed that Buffy removed the chip in Spike's head after it started malfunctioning instead of installing a new one), decided to help Robin Wood in his attempt to kill Spike rather than trust that the vampire had the capacity to overcome the trigger.
    • Eventually subverted in season 10, in which he has become fully integrated into the Scoobies friend group. Giles seems to have dropped his hostility towards him and Willow acknowledges that, despite her initial skepticism, he's proven himself pretty good guy now that he has a soul. Even Xander, who was once his most open detractor, becomes his friend and roommate and actively pushes him to accept Buffy's offer to get back together.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Is fond of recalling the Slayers he has killed.
  • Restraining Bolt: Once the Initiative puts a chip in his head, he was unable to kill humans. Other vampires and demons, however, are fair game.
  • Retcon: Angel being his sire and that he respected him. Flashbacks show Drusilla sired him and that he and Angel were always at each other's throats. Word of God explains this by saying that vamps refer to anyone in their bloodline before them as their sire, so Spike would refer to Darla and The Master as his sires too.
    • The former could perhaps be explained by the fact that most of his unlife had passed since he last saw Angel for any length of time, and when Angel left after being ensouled, he was just starting to make his own reputation as a terrifying master vampire. His initial joy at Angelus' return quickly pales when he realises that this relegates him to second fiddle.
    • Additionally, Giles states he's "barely 200" years old when they first research him in season 2, but Spike is later revealed to have been turned in 1880, which makes him less than 150 even accounting for his human lifespan. In season 4, he outright states he's "only 126", making Giles' original assertion way off.
  • The Rival:
    • To Angel, as revenge for all those times Angelus humiliated him and stole his girlfriend. Then the Shanshu prophecy mentions a vampire with a soul, not Angel specifically; of course, Spike's interest in the Shanshu is more about trying to one-up Angel than becoming human again.
    • He butted heads with Riley on frequent occasions.
  • Sanity Slippage: During early Season 7; being tormented by his restored conscience after having his soul returned, along with harassment from the First Evil, largely reduced Spike to a babbling, incoherent mess who freely admits he's gone "bug-shagging crazy."
  • Saying Too Much: After his Yoko Factor plan successfully splits up the Scoobies during Season 4, Spike has a subsequent encounter with Buffy and mentions her falling out with her friends; as he wasn't actually there when the Scoobies had their big fight, Buffy puts two-and-two together and realizes that Spike set them up.
  • Self-Harm: In season 7, he has several cuts across his chest when Buffy finds him in the school basement. When she asks him what happened, he admits to having tried to cut his soul back out of his chest.
  • Sense Freak: Briefly after being recorporealised.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He's definitely the Scoobie who is most cavalier with cursing. Some of this is due to Did Not Do the Bloody Research, but it's also a character trait.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Smokes Morley cigarettes and looks badass doing it.
  • Sour Supporter: After being chipped, he helps but he hates it. He becomes a more enthusiastic Scooby after falling in love with Buffy.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Like it or not, Spike eventually became the center of gravity for the entire cast. This started out gradually, kicking into overdrive once Marti Noxon took the helm. There's a reason it's just him and Buffy on the Season 7 box.
  • Stalker with a Crush: How he acts initially after falling in love with Buffy. He breaks into her house repeatedly, gathers pictures, smells her laundry, loiters around her house, and even makes a Stalker Shrine to her. When Buffy finally realizes what's going on, she's disgusted and has Willow revoke his invitation.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Happens quite a bit in Season 2 with Angelus' return. While Angelus insists on playing mind games with Buffy and the Scoobies, Spike insists that he should just kill Buffy before she gets really mad and kills them all. He's proven right: when Angelus kills Giles' Love Interest Jenny Calendar, not only did they have to contend with a very pissed-off Slayer, but she was hot on the heels of her Watcher, who set their hideout on fire with a Molotov cocktail before beating Angelus senseless with a flaming baseball bat.
    Spike: Why don't you rip her lungs out? It might make an impression.
    Angelus: Lacks... poetry.
    Spike: It doesn't have to. What rhymes with lungs?
  • The Starscream: He worked first for Anointed One, then to Angelus, and betrayed them both successfully.
  • Start of Darkness: "Fool for Love" talks about Drusilla siring him back when he was "William Pratt".
  • Street Smart: Zig-zagged. He generally presents as more street smart rather than book smart, as most of his intelligence lies in his observation skills. However, he has his moments of book smart too, like when he'll sometimes casually rattle off some obscure supernatural factoid or when it's revealed he's fluent in multiple languages—including some demon ones. He was also an upper-class writer when he was alive, so was very likely quite well-educated for his time.
  • Strong and Skilled: Being over 120+ years old, Spike is considerably stronger and faster than other vampires, and nearly beat Buffy in their first fight. He's also quite a skilled fighter, able to adapt to the power of the godlike Illyria, dodge her blows, and even get a few shots in himself.
  • Stylistic Suck: Spike's bloody awful poetry.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He was initially brought into the group as a way of filling the gap left by Cordelia. Joss felt the absence of both Cordy and Oz left the heroes without a dissenting voice.
    • Curiously enough, to Angel. Eventually even the slightly-different motivation, the behavior-dampening hardware placed in his brain, is written out and he is given a soul just like his counterpart. And yeah, they both date Buffy. Their personalities are not remotely similar, though. The Scoobies occasionally seem to forget which of the two vampires they are dealing with, trusting Spike with information and roles appropriate to Angel, while he casually betrays them and frustratedly reminds them that he's 'evil, remember?'
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Whenever he's forced to work with Angel; the two just can't resist snarking at each other.
  • There Is Another: Spike gradually takes on the 'Angel' mantle in Seasons 5-7, whereupon he gets treated to guilt, hallucinations, eating rats — the works.
    Robin Wood: Because the military gave him a soul?
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: After he gets chipped, he ends up playing "annoying house-guest" to both Xander and Giles. Among other failings, he eats Giles's entire supply of weetabix.
    "I thought vampires were supposed to eat blood?"
    "Yeah, well, sometimes I like to crumble up the weetabix in the blood. Gives it a little texture."
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: He calls his human-self out for this in season 10, stating he'd once believed in the romantic ideal that true love conquers all but now understands things are more complicated than that.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: What's he doing outside Buffy's house? Five words or less. He's "Out. For. A. Walk." *Beat* "Bitch."
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Ends up in a wheelchair after a church organ falls on him, but he gets better in a few episodes' time. Though he kept up the charade to deflect Angelus' suspicion.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Was this to the Scoobies during Season 4 and part of Season 5; he only helped them out for money or for the sake of a good fight, and stated on multiple occasions that once he found a way to have his chip removed, he was going to kill them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Heralded by adopting the name Spike, he was no longer a wimpy amateur poet. After being kicked around a bit in the main series, he also took one in Angel, in which he fought Angel and won. Bear in mind this is the Angel who, after getting his own spin-off, also Took a Level in Badass.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: While it started as a creepy obsession about Buffy, he genuinely became a nicer guy around after the time Glory tortured him, and it more or less continued upwards. Except towards Angel. He'll always be a dick to Angel.
    • In the comic continuation he's taken another level, seeming making more of an effort to keep a handle on his temper and reason with the rest of the Scoobies. His restarted relationship with Buffy often leaves him in a good position to use that skill with her when she and Willow have a falling out, admitting he's on Buffy's side by default but also explaining why Willow's position makes sense. After Dawn and Xander stay behind in another dimension he initially is too upset to even hug Buffy, but after the initial shock wears off is the only one of the Scoobies not to engage in infighting to the point of not speaking and essentially becomes the team's voice of reason with Dawn and Xander both temporarily unavailable.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Aside from blood, obviously, he fancies those onion blossoms and buffalo wings served at The Bronze, even though he can't digest them. He also likes to sprinkle Wheatabix into his blood bags for "texture."
  • Trenchcoat Brigade: Spike is rarely seen without his trademark coat. He pulled one of them off a soldier's corpse and then another off a slayer's.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He's a genuine bad boy—what with the leather duster, the smoking and Hero Killer reputation—and he quite frequently fills the Mr. Fanservice role once he's a series regular.
  • Tsundere:
    Spike to Buffy, after he's caught lurking outside her house: "And I never really liked you anyway, and and you have stupid hair (beat) [Leaves]."
    • Played shallowly in his fling with Harmony, where the Deredere is mostly an act, partly a rebound crush, and the Tsuntsun is because she's that annoying.
  • The Unchosen One: When he comes back in Season 5 of Angel, he takes an interest in the Shanshu Prophecy, though mostly just to one-up Angel; as the prophecy doesn't address the vampire with a soul by name, and Spike himself became a champion when he sacrificed himself to put an end to the First's plans, he is a possible candidate for the Shanshu. It is ultimately subverted come the After the Fall comics, where it's revealed that the Shanshu Prophecy always concerned Angel alone.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Discussed in Season 10; Spike remarks to Xander that it would be a challenge for him to get a job, pointing out that he has no social security number, can't work daytime shifts, and has a hundred year gap in his resume; he explains that most vampires support themselves by robbing their kills, which his soul prevents him from doing. Xander suggests he get a job as a consultant for the S.F.P.D.'s supernatural crimes unit, which Spike confesses isn't a bad idea.
  • Undying Loyalty: After the Scoobies kick Buffy out of the house in favor of Faith, Spike is the only one of them to remain by her side; his support helps Buffy get back her self-confidence and win back the Scoobies' loyalty.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Lampshaded by Spike himself. "Flash-fried in a pillar of fire saving the world. I got better."
  • Upper-Class Twit: When he was human, he was an educated upper middle-class wannabe poet with no real friends due to his social awkwardness. Then he was turned by Drusilla and reinvented himself into a Street Smart Blood Knight with a Lower-Class Lout flair and never looked back, even upon regaining his soul.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Outside of perhaps Darla, he's probably the most overtly sexual vampire in the show and often uses seduction as a tactic to lure prey. This softens considerably once he has a soul, but even then, he still often ends up fulfilling the role of Mr. Fanservice and has no trouble getting girls (and potentially some guys) to walk off alone with him in season 7.
  • Villain Cred: In "Just Rewards," both Wesley and Angel remark that Spike's reputation for evil and bloodshed is second only to that of Angelus'. He's noted by Lloyd to be a "legendary dark warrior" in "Grave," and he also has quite an infamous rep for having killed two previous Slayers before Buffy.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: In his one Season 3 appearance, Spike visited Joyce and had hot chocolate with her.
  • Villains Never Lie: Zigzagged. Spike isn't exactly honest, but he does seem to object to people lying for the sake of feeling better about themselves or of making others think more highly of themselves. As part of his Establishing Character Moment, he tells a vampire who claims he was at the Crucifixion that "if every vampire who claimed they were at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock. And I would know-I was at Woodstock." In his sole Season 3 appearance, there's also his "Love's Bitch" speech in which he calls out Buffy and Angel for denying that they're still in love, and it's clear that he's pissed-off by it; Buffy even admits she can't fool herself, "or Spike, for some reason."
  • Villains Out Shopping: In "A New Man", Giles and Spike run into each other while Spike is 'house hunting' — visiting crypts with a tape measure. Spike has also been seen walking home with groceries, playing 20 questions with his girlfriend, and hanging out in bars.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Angel. They constantly bicker and state on more than one occasion that they hate each other, but are shown on other occasions to have some kind of affection for each other. In "School Hard," Spike seems genuinely happy to see Angel (posing as Angelus) and even hugs him. In Season 5 of Angel, the two bicker near-constantly but do end up fighting alongside each other throughout the year to the point where Spike joins Angel's plan for the last stand against Wolfram & Hart in the series finale. It continues in the comics, where the two often get on each other's nerves (especially where Buffy is involved) but also always support each other when it comes time to face evil.
    • With Xander in the comics. Though they frequently exchange Snark-to-Snark Combat, it's clear that they truly have become good friends. Not only do they become voluntary roommates, but they often confide in each other about their romantic woes and offer advice and support. Despite once being Spike's most vocal detractor, Xander pretty much helms the Spuffy ship in season 10, making an active effort to encourage Spike to take up Buffy's offer to get back togeter.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: More like walking nude scene. In season 6 he probably spends more time without clothes than with them.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: In "Triangle," he tries to impress Buffy by helping people injured in a roof collapse, and wants credit for not drinking their blood. This disgusts Buffy, but he actually has a point: he is a soulless monster who feeds on humans so restraining himself from drinking their blood really is a noteworthy effort from him.
  • Warrior Poet: Literally as he was a poet before he was transformed into a kickass vampire. Angel shows that he still writes them, and the comics continually bring it up.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • While testing Illyria's powers, Spike (who is usually no slouch in the strength department) gets knocked around the room constantly by her godlike strength, commenting that she hits "like a mack-truck". Over time he begins to adapt and dodge her blows and gets a few shots in. Illyria disparages him as being weak for adapting and compromising, to which Spike retorts that it is a strength because he is learning.
    • In general, Spike is the youngest non-Villain of the Week vampire the Scoobies have faced. He's just over a century old, which means while he's a lot stronger than the average human, he's on the low end of the raw strength scale as far as vampires and demons go. He's also killed two Slayers and is considered one of the most dangerous threats around by the Watcher's Council.
  • Wham Line: Several.
    Spike: "So you'll give me what I want. Make me what I was. So Buffy can get what she deserves."
    Demon: "Very well. We will return...your soul."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Season 7, he gives such a speech to the Scoobies when he discovers that they ousted Buffy from the group.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In "Intervention," he's kidnapped by Glory, who brutally tortures him for information on the Key. Spike knows that Dawn is the Key, and all of the Scoobies, Buffy included, firmly believe that Spike will sell them out and that they have to kill him before he does. Instead, Spike endures the torture and openly mouths off to Glory, later confessing to Buffy (who was posing as Spike's Buffybot at the time) that he couldn't live with himself if anything happened to Dawn and was perfectly willing to let Glory kill him first.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: More than once, characters have cracked wise about the weirdness of "Spike" as a name. Played with, as it's a nickname and his actual name is pretty common and mundane.
  • Wild Card: Spike has a natural ability to upset the expected order of things, especially with Buffy and Angel/us. During his sole appearance in Season 3, Mayor Wilkins outright describes him as a loose cannon and arranges a "welcoming committee" to get rid of him.
  • World's Best Warrior: Buffy deems him as such during Season 7, which is why she chooses to give Spike the amulet which proves instrumental to their victory against the First. Others consider him as such as well; the demon he approaches to restore his soul in Season 6 describes him as a "legendary dark warrior", and he's gained a lot of Villain Cred for personally tracking down two previous Slayers before Buffy and killing them.
  • The Worf Effect: If someone's ass is gonna get kicked to show how powerful the Big Bad, odds are that it'll be Spike drawing the short straw.
  • X Must Not Win: By his own admission, this is the main reason he's interested in becoming the Shanshu Prophecy's Chosen One; he just wants to one-up Angel.
  • You Are Number 6: The Initiative brands him "Hostile 17".
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • Buffy usually refers to Spike by his given name when addressing him. However, when breaking up with him in "As You Were", she calls him "William" to underline how serious she is.
    • On the flipside, in the Season 12 comics, Buffy addresses Spike by his full name to comfort him and reiterate how much they mean to each other before heading off into the final battle.


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