The vampire Angelus, now known as Angel, has a human soul, but committed terrible crimes in the past. Seeking forgiveness and trying to redeem himself, he moves from Sunnydale (and a relationship with Buffy Summers, of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") to Los Angeles.
Spike, a vampire, is an old companion of Angelus and one of Buffy's major enemies in early seasons, although they later become allies and lovers.
Powers and Abilities
In addition to possessing the common powers and weaknesses of vampires, Spike's age and experience makes him a highly effective, skilled, and versatile fighter in both armed and unarmed combat. For example, he is able to briefly overcome Illyria during a testing of her abilities prior to her powers being greatly reduced by Wesley. Illyria criticizes his (and others') ability to adapt, calling it "compromise." He is able to withstand excessive amounts of pain for extended periods of time, particularly when properly motivated, as seen in the episodes "Intervention" and "Showtime." While not as skilled or as sadistic as Angelus, Spike also proves himself to be effective at torture, noting he had gained "screams, various fluids, and a name" from Doctor Sparrow. Much like Angel, he is highly proficient in various forms of martial arts, and his typical fighting style blends karate, kung fu, and others.
Spike often displays insight and skills in perception and observation, especially with regard to relationships and personalities, so long as the relationship in question doesn't concern him personally. This ability allows him to wield powerful psychological weapons as easily and effectively as physical ones. For example, when he wants to create disharmony among the Scoobies, Spike divides-and-conquers with the "The Yoko Factor", exploiting tensions that exist under the surface to alienate Buffy and her friends against each other. He explains to Buffy he was able to defeat two Slayers because he sensed and exploited their secret desires to be free of their burden. Spike's skills of analysis allowed him to be the first to see through Tara's abusive and controlling family, forced Buffy and Angel to admit that they were more than "just friends" and identify when and why some relationships, such as between Buffy and Riley, are not meant to last, masterfully feeding Riley's insecurities in an effort to sabotage his relationship with Buffy, so Spike can pursue her. His analytical skills also help him in battle from time to time; for example, in "Time Bomb", he identifies Illyria's fighting style as a Tae Kwon Do/Brazilian Ninjitsu hybrid.
Although capable of developing sound battle strategies, Spike (particularly in the days before receiving his chip and being re-ensouled) often loses patience with anything more complicated than outright attack.
He is also impatient to fight the Slayer upon his initial arrival in Sunnydale; the attack is supposed to coincide with the Night of St. Vigeous (when a vampire's natural abilities are enhanced), but he "couldn't wait" to go after the Slayer and attacks the night before, thus ruining the Order of Aurelius's plans. However, Spike did exercise patience throughout the latter half of Buffy Season Two, when he was confined to a wheelchair for several months after a brutal battle with the Scoobies in the episode What's My Line left him paraplegic. Feigning weakness, he endured tortuous weeks watching Angelus sexually pursue Dru as he waited for the right time to strike against his enemy.
Spike's "vampire constitution" provides him with an extremely high tolerance for alcohol (which he regularly consumes in copious quantities). Due to his experience in criminal activities, he is skilled at picking locks, hotwiring cars, and pick-pocketing. He is also capable of easily operating various vehicles, such as various cars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle ("Bargaining"), and a Winnebago ("Spiral"). He has also been shown using video game systems and a computer, treating injuries, and playing poker and pool. Spike is also seen speaking/understanding Latin, Luganda (a language of Uganda, where he meets the demon shaman), and the language of Fyarl Demons, two of whom he once employed as underlings during his pre-Sunnydale days. He is also shown to be capable of recognizing literature; in the last episode of season five, he paraphrases a line from the St. Crispin's Day Speech while in conversation with Giles after Buffy tells them her plan of attack on Glory.
When Spike was transformed into a ghost-like intangible state following the destruction of Sunnydale and the Hellmouth and his subsequent materialization at Wolfram & Hart, he was capable of walking through solid objects. He was initially unable to make contact with objects around him until he learned how to focus his abilities through desire, allowing him to make brief contact with people and things if he concentrated enough. This ability was relatively useless in a fight; he was unable to pick up a wooden bar to hit the demon Tezcatcatl in "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco", and required a few moments to properly punch a cyborg strangling Gunn in "Lineage". Naturally, he lost these capabilities when he was recorporealized by Lindsey.
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