Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lies My Parents Told Me

Robin: "So he has a trigger, a soul, and a chip?"

The basic plot was straight out of The Vampire Lestat. Lestat adored his mother, Gabrielle; they were exceptionally close, she was near death from consumption, he made her a vampire so that they could be together forever... and she rejected him.

What struck me throughout was how much Spike has changed. Despite the ugliness of what he was reliving, there was a calm about him, even while he was manacled. He complained about it, but didn't fight the "prophylactic" stone, and he talked about his "mum" and Nikki so matter-of-factly to Robin.

When crazy Spike was screaming about his childhood, it was clear he had been abused, so I kept expecting Anne to turn on him. And she did... but not while she was human. The way she taunted him sexually and ridiculed his love for her made me squirm. It was downright agonizing to watch. And Spike has been carrying that around with him for over a hundred years, thinking that his mother never really loved him after all? It explains why he changed his name and threw himself so wholeheartedly into being another person, into being Drusilla's lover. But despite his evil, he always carried a big piece of William's humanity around with him, didn't he? In a sense, this episode finally explains how he could love Buffy to the point of giving up his vampire identity in order to regain his soul. It reconciles the two different faces of Spike's vampire self.

The scene that touched me most was not when William was staking Anne, or when she was verbally tearing him to pieces, but when he told Robin, "My mother loved me with all her heart. I was her world." He believed it. He's accepted his past, forgiven himself, and moved on.

The New York 1977 sequence was okay, although I still wish they'd used the original actress; she had more chemistry with Spike than the new one does. There were some interesting parallel statements: both mothers, Nikki and Anne, made remarks to Spike about impotence (Nikki: "You actually look a little wet and limp to me," and Anne: "Darling, that's who you'll always be. A limp, sentimental fool"). The Slayers echoed each other, too; in the beginning, Nikki told Robin, "Always gotta work the mission," and at the end, Buffy told Robin, "The mission is what matters."

Robin's little fortress of cross-filled solitude actually shocked me. Robin taking off his shirt like that had a weird sexual vibe, didn't it? And I was freaked when I thought Spike was going to kill Robin; good fakeout. Will Robin try it again when things get rough? "If you try anything again, he'll kill you. More importantly, I'll let him."

Sadly, this episode marked Buffy's final step into adulthood, symbolized by her closing the door on Giles at the end ("I think you've taught me everything I need to know"). And how cool is it that even though her reasons are based on a battle perspective, Buffy still chose Spike over Giles and Robin?

Bits and pieces:

-- James Marsters was wonderful, as always. Caroline Lagerfelt (Anne) was his equal, and that's saying a lot. So was D.B. Woodside, who did an incredible job in this episode.

-- You could hear the L.A. traffic during the Buffy/Giles cemetery scene. I've been in that cemetery and it's in the middle of town.

-- The phone call from L.A. (from that effeminate-sounding man, Fred) was fun, although the episodes didn't air in the right order. Interesting that Willow didn't bother telling Buffy about Angelus. Willow also said, "Maybe I'll even bring back some good news," and we all know what that's going to be.

-- In one of the earlier 1880 flashbacks, William mentioned calling for "Dr. Gull." This was probably lost on you if you're not into Jack the Ripper lore.

-- Did you notice the gorgeous, curly hair on Anne after William sired her? Possibly another small acknowledgement of Interview with the Vampire?

-- I enjoyed the William/Drusilla love scene. Has it really been two years since the last one? Also loved Juliet's reaction when William said, "You, me, and Mother."

-- William didn't have a funeral, like Liam did. Also, William still loved his mother after being vamped. Remember what Angel did to his mother?

-- The subway slayer's name was finally, officially established as Nikki Wood. Her watcher's name was Bernard Crowley. And Cecily's last name was Underwood.

-- There was very little Dawn, and only minimal S.I.T.'s, who must have been down in the basement or out on the lawn. This is good. Speaking of which, Giles said that if Buffy were faced with the same choice today as she was in "The Gift," she would let Dawn die, and I think he's right. Is it me, or has Buffy become way too detached?

-- Spike kept the coat.

-- I was intrigued by Spike's statement to Robin about Slayers fighting alone; is that a little preview of the series finale, perhaps?

-- Had to transcribe the poem. She must have loved him, to sit through this and call it magnificent:

[?], it doth linger
Painting pictures in my mind
Her eyes, balls of honey
Angel's harps, her laugh
Oh, lark, grant a sign
If crook'd be Cupid's shaft
Hark, the lark
Her name it hath spake
Cecily, it discharges
From 'twixt its wee beak.


Giles: "Everything's terrible. Total catastrophe."
Buffy: "Giles, what's wrong?"
Giles: "Have you seen the new library?"

Buffy: "It was boring, old, and English. Just like you... ull. Yul Brynner. A British Yul Brynner."

Anya: "Spike's got some sort of get out of jail free card that doesn't apply to the rest of us. I mean, he could slaughter a hundred frat boys, and (pause) forgiveness makes us human, blahdy blah blah blah..."

Andrew: "Willow. Call for you from L.A. Somebody named Fred. The guy sounds kind of effeminate."

Fascinating episode, with some extremely emotional moments and more wonderful Spike back story. Four out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. One thing about Spike that is not at all considered: He entered the Vampire life willingly. This means that he is responsible for all of the death and evil he committed as a Vampire.

    In short, there never was a reconciliation. Spike is still at fault.

  2. My gosh, you're right. He had tons of time to consider what he was getting into while Drusilla was biting him in that alley.

  3. Those poems of his are awfully similar to our little comment poetry.

  4. Remco, this is my favorite comment of the week. :)

  5. I think our comment poetry is more effulgent.

  6. I actually yelled at the TV at the end of this episode. I can't believe that Giles betrayed Buffy's trust like that or that Buffy's rejected him so completely.
    The more detached part of me loves it but I love the characters too much and it will cause so much pain that I really hate them doing it.
    Also Buffy would sacrifice Dawn?! I didn't see that coming. I thought their relationship had grown.
    Damn it Whedon, why must you make me fall in love with your characters and then out them through such hell.

  7. @Josh, I can believe both Giles action and Buffy's reaction. He's done it before (Helpless, Season 3).

    Loved the episode, but one thing I can't quite figure is why some people retain so much more of their human character when they become a vampire (e.g. Spike, Harmony, Drusilla who retained the insanity Angelus had driven her to), while others, like Spike's Mom and Angel seem entirely different.

    An interesting aspect of Spike's vampire-human selves not being as disparate as Angel's is that even pre-chip, pre-Buffy-love Spike was willing to act to ally with the Slayer to stop an Apocalypse in Season 2. And while anonymous may argue that he chose to become a vampire, he also chose to regain his soul, a choice Angelus would never have made.

  8. magritte, to answer your question it is because Angel's personality is so thoroughly based in morality and morality is something that definitively cannot exist in a soulless vampire that his personality becomes almost the opposite of Angel with a soul. Spike on the other hand, has a personality that is based on things like feelings that are not strictly moral so that is why the difference between Spike with and without a soul isn't as drastic. It is also why it didn't take as long for Spike to adapt to having a soul as it did for Angel.

  9. what is a vampire slayer doing bringing a child into the world in the first place?

  10. Why does a vampire slayer bring a child into the world in the first place? How come Nikki doesn't leave Robin at home? Trying to keep a balance of slayerhood and motherhood, I suppose slayerhood was the better option?


  11. Was Nikki a slayer when Robin was born, or did she already have Robin when she was called? Im not sure that was ever made clear?

  12. >>"And how cool is it that even though her reasons are based on a battle perspective, Buffy still chose Spike over Giles and Robin?"
    Definitely. I found out I never forgave Giles for murdering Ben after Buffy accepted the risk of sparing a liability and made her choice, so it was extra satisfying to see her shut the door on him (it's hard to say something like this about Giles). But I wish it came up again.

    >>"Also loved Juliet's reaction when William said, "You, me, and Mother.""
    Yeah lmao. You... you wanna bring your mum wif us?

    >>"Speaking of which, Giles said that if Buffy were faced with the same choice today as she was in "The Gift," she would let Dawn die, and I think he's right."
    That shocked me tbh. I don't believe it...

    Anya: "Spike's got some sort of get out of jail free card that doesn't apply to the rest of us. I mean, he could slaughter a hundred frat boys, and (pause) forgiveness makes us human, blahdy blah blah blah..."
    That made me laugh

    Reading the comments made me realize a Slayer mother might actually be a tad more interesting than a Vamped Slayer... shame we never got anything more on Nikki and that whole situation. Flighty mothers... interesting. It's a very hard way to live.

  13. Fantastic episode. So Spike is finally chipless, free of the mind control trigger, past the insanity, and gaining a sense of self. Took a while! Will this finally allow things with Buffy to move forward? We are due some much anticipated smooching. Please, pretty please. Although, as Billie said, Buffy seems somewhat detached. She's so focused on the mission, the fight, that I'm not sure how the writers are going to make space for them connecting again. I feel Buffy needs some of her vulnerability back in order for this to work.

    This is not my favorite season, but the highlights for me are Andrew's character (just wonderful and very funny) and Robin's story line. The potentials are just not interesting. My main interest is Buffy and Spike's relationship and the connection between them has been a bit wasted so far. And there's not a lot of time left.. :(.

  14. Spike (James Marsters) has great chemistry with everyone he plays opposite of. He and DB Woodside (Wood) were awesome!


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.