Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | February 24, 2014

Cordia’s Review – S7, E17 – Lies My Parents Told Me

Lies My Parents Told Me
Season 7, Episode 17
Original airing: 3/25/2003

My Rating: 72

The Good: I found this episode quite fascinating. It was really fun to see more back story on Spike that doesn’t contradict anything we already know. I also liked the story’s use of Robin and Giles. I can’t say I’m happy about the fallout of all this, but it is some of the most interesting drama we’ve seen in a while.

Spike’s history, especially his early vampire life, has been explored before, so I’m glad they were careful not to contradict the prior information. In some ways, it makes a huge amount of sense that Spike was obsessively attentive to his mother. He has always seemed to really latch on to women and make them his world – he did it first with Drusilla, then with Buffy. Coming to terms with this was a neat way to resolve his trigger issue. And I can believe that essentially he isn’t sorry for the killing he did as a vampire. Buffy points out that Robin tried to kill a man who doesn’t exist anymore and I think Spike sees it that way too. He’s a different person now with his soul and why should he apologize for those past behaviors? I may not agree with him, but I think I see the logic.

Meanwhile, I really, really liked Robin’s story. The flashback of his mother fighting Spike was a wonderful bit of dual story telling. We know Spike was on a Slayer hunt at this time and his reference of that was a nice nod to Fool for Love (S5E7). But I really liked the conversation after the fight when Nikki pointed out the only thing that matters is the mission. I’m guessing this is one reason most Slayers don’t have children. As Robin learned, and Spike pointed out, the child will never be more important than the need to slay.

I think Robin’s decision to trigger Spike pointed out Buffy’s assertion that Spike is a different man now. Robin says he wants to kill the monster that killed his mother, specifically. He wants Spike to vamp out and fight back. Otherwise, he could have easily staked Spike in the dark and been done with it. Instead, he risks everything, including his own life, to do it the hard way. I think it also strengthened Buffy’s position on Spike that Spike let Robin live. Spike really is their strongest, best fighter and Buffy will do anything to keep him fighting on her side. If only Giles had been there for that moment.

It was painful to watch Giles betray Buffy. It put me in mind of his injecting her with the weakening serum in Helpless (S3E12). He doesn’t want to do it, but he thinks it’s for the best. There was similar fallout, but this betrayal was worse. He was forced by the Watcher’s Council to inject her. His decision to help Robin kill Spike was all his own. And even after learning Spike is cured and alive, he holds to his party line. I think Buffy was quite justified in closing the door in his face. Now that Spike is ensouled and trigger-less, any of Giles’ arguments just seem abusive. For him to still argue against Spike shows an incredible lack of faith in Buffy’s judgment.

The Bad: Nothing struck me as particularly poor in this episode, although I do think Spike laid it on a bit thick at the end. He really rubbed his mother’s love in Robin’s face.

The Unknown: I imagine if you haven’t been watching Angel that the phone call from Fred was quite confusing.

Favorite Moment: Spike and Nikki’s fight was a great nod to Spike’s prior mission to kill Slayers. It also reminded me of when he first came to Sunnydale to kill Buffy in School Hard (S2E3). Perhaps it’s weird to be nostalgic of it all, but we haven’t seen that Spike in a long time and he really was a wonderful villain to hate.

The Bottom Line: I greatly enjoyed this episode. I think it solidified Buffy’s defense of Spike and gave some very interesting layers of tension to our allies. How will Robin fit into the group after this? Will Buffy forgive Giles? I like an episode that leaves me interested in seeing the fallout.

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