Spike #4: Review etc.
Preview pages. Bugs plot, being wary of Morgan. Spike and Morgan talk in the solarium and Morgan starts digging about Buffy.
It quickly turns into flirtation - actually, she's pretty much propositioning him - but they're interrupted by the ship approaching the other Hellmouth, which it's revealed is on Easter Island. As they land, Morgan resumes her seduction routine, telling Spike that she misses existing for somebody else. Spike lights a cigarette. The bugs argue some more and Sebastian has Frisky hauled away and locked up for disloyalty.
Morgan senses Spike's need and it's like an aphrodisiac for her. She decides that she doesn't need to get back to her own dimension if he's her purpose, and leads him back into the solarium (though it's night now). He resists on the grounds that he doesn't exist just to give her purpose, then stops, appearing to have a revelation. Morgan compares the way he feels about her to the way that Buffy must have felt about him, and says Buffy made a mistake turning him away. She keeps up the pillow talk, offering him power, and finally draws him close enough for a kiss. It's a romantic moonlit moment, but then he sees the beer ad from the first issue, and breaks away, apologizing. He gives her the it's-not-you-it's-me speech, claiming he prefers what he had with Buffy because it was "real".
She slaps him, insulted that he's refusing her, and says she's going back to her plan to return home. Spike says it would be a bad idea to open the Hellmouth even if she could, and then suddenly realizes that she's been stuck on it because she's had a shard of the Seed on her the whole time. He asks, she denies, he threatens, she goes demon, she attacks, he vamps out, they fight. The bugs, having released Frisky, come to the rescue with an electric net cannon. They ensnare Morgan, but the zap doesn't knock her out and she rips through the net and then crashes through the solarium window.
The ship pursues her as she flies out to the giant heads, but it's nowhere in sight when she crouches and coughs up the shard. On the last panel she turns human again and says, "Let's crack open a Hellmouth."
Taking into account of course that my expectations for any part of Season Nine aside from Angel & Faith haven't been that high, this issue wasn't too shabby. The subplot of Morgan was essentially resolved - there's a lot we don't know about her, and she's on the loose now, but Spike's feelings about her won't be conflicted anymore. He made his choice before she went bad, which is Buffyverse for "It's over no okay now it's REALLY over." And of course he learned a valuable lesson along the way.
Hm...what exactly was that lesson...well, I already had a problem with his beer ad logic, so I'm not satisfied with the reasoning that what he could have with Morgan would be false and therefore undesirable. It's true, of course, but it's flipped around: Spike decides how he feels about sensations based on their source, rather than understanding the source by examining how it makes him feel. I have a hard time explaining this to other fans, but this is one way in which I identify with the character quite a bit. I've been known to savor my misery just because the misery feels justified and therefore real, satisfying an internal need that people like Spike and me have for self-validation. The problem, as we're seeing now, is not only that misery should not be savored, but that Spike's feelings about Buffy are all about Spike, not Buffy.
The conversation took its most interesting turn when Morgan bluntly compared herself to Spike as he was in relation to Buffy. She's totally right, though I didn't realize it until she said so. Buffy doesn't exist to give Spike purpose; it's a fine thing to have someone adore you, but Buffy isn't the type to stand there and accept adoration if she can't return it, no matter how much Spike might think he benefits from that kind of relationship. The parallel fails when Morgan says Buffy was wrong to turn him down. Spike isn't an incubus; Buffy's need couldn't sustain him, and he couldn't offer her anything beyond his devotion.
So, perhaps he understood that, and that's the valuable lesson he learned. If he doesn't get past the romanticized view of his heartbreak, I'm not sure what point the miniseries will have as far as his character development, but there's one more issue left to go. Anyway, I'm probably not reading it the way they intended. His revelation will probably be more along the lines of "I'm awesome and I don't need a girlfriend!", which is fine. One way or another they've got to connect the story to the rest of the season and put Spike in a new place, which can only be a good thing.
You know, I read Morgan's backstory in the last issue with an arched eyebrow, but I kind of like the way it was expanded in this one. All of a sudden it made sense that she was independent but missed her old job. A succubus who devotes her entire being to a man isn't a metaphor for a woman who does the same thing - she's a contrast. There isn't any kind of human in the world who isn't complete without serving another human being. Morgan shows us what it would be like if there was, and she shows us in a way that's kind of chilling.
I'm over the bugs. You?