James Marsters totally understands why some Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans are Team Angel and others are Team Spike. “People like to fight,” says the actor. “They like to get into teams and push against the other team and prove the other side wrong. I think what the show was saying very clearly was that Angel was her One, but it was impossible. I think the show was equally clear that Spike was not the right answer.”
Season 6, in particular, showcased the more brutal side to Spike as he and Buffy entered into a violent sexual relationship. At one point, the vamp nearly raped the slayer. “I think that many people, myself being one of them, have often chosen the wrong sexual partner,” says Marsters. “You see Buffy make that mistake. I think [the writers] were trying to remind the audience, ‘Guys, Spike is evil! He’s got a nice swagger, but he’s evil!’ And it was frustrating, I know to the writing staff, that it was hard to make that point, or the audience didn’t seem to care. I think what they came up with—the almost-rape scene in the bathroom—was the most dramatic thing that I could possibly think of. It was a big risk.”
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In the series finale, though, it’s Spike who ultimately earns a soul and saves Buffy and her friends by sacrificing himself. “His redemption at the end was realizing how much he loved her but also that he was not yet good enough for her,” says the actor.
For members of Team Spike, Marsters thinks ultimately there’s a world where the blond vamp and Buffy would be together. “I always said if you give Spike enough time to figure out what to do with his new soul, he could grow into the vampire that deserves her.” Then he adds, “But it would take some years.”