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Buffy becomes invisible and so

goes to Spike's place to initiate sex.

Why does being invisible

make her want to have sex with Spike? I don't see how things would be different if she weren't invisible. She recently had sex with Spike and then regretted her actions. I would understand if she were having sex with Spike anonymously, but she makes herself known sooooo.....

So yeah, what's going on here?

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The episode is an interpretation of Plato's tale of the Ring of Gyges

He discovered that the ring gave him the power to become invisible by adjusting it. He then arranged to be chosen as one of the messengers who reported to the king as to the status of the flocks. Arriving at the palace, he used his new power of invisibility to seduce the queen, and with her help he murdered the king, and became king of Lydia himself.

So basically, because no one could see her, Buffy felt that she could do whatever you wanted and, as per Socrates, is enslaved by her desires.

Socrates ultimately argues that justice does not derive from this social construct: the man who abused the power of the Ring of Gyges has in fact enslaved himself to his appetites, while the man who chose not to use it remains rationally in control of himself and is therefore happy.

And yes, since Spike knew who she was, there really was no benefit to her invisibility in this situation. However, prior to that, she had successfully gotten away with things due to her invisibility and those successes due to anonymity have eroded her inhibitions such that she simply feels she can do what she wants without consequence.

  • I've read that part of The Republic, I think (if it was in the first chapter or so). Look the point of the Ring of Gyges is anonymity. For example, if you wouldn't steal only because you might get caught, then you would steal if you couldn't get caught. So again if Buffy were to anonymously initiate sex with Spike then that would make sense, but the thing is she makes herself known. So what's the point of the Ring of Gyges if you're revealing yourself? What's the difference between going to a store and stealing and being invisible, going to a store, stealing and identifying yourself? – BCLC Nov 16 '16 at 18:16
  • I think the point was more that all of the times she'd gotten away with things due to her visual anonymity had had an uninhibiting effect on her. Because she considered herself to be anonymous, she began to consider herself to be immune from retribution and therefore she could do whatever she wanted. I can state that more directly in my answer if you'd like. – FuzzyBoots Nov 16 '16 at 18:27
  • FuzzyBoots, how is Buffy immune from retribution with having sex with Spike? There are no consequences with her terrorising the social worker, but I don't see how visible sex is different from invisible sex – BCLC Nov 16 '16 at 19:11
  • Essentially, she shouldn't be in a relationship with him by the metrics of the series. He's an evil vampire. Their relationship is mutually abusive. And she has multiple responsibilities she's forsaking to have sex with him. Basically, her invisibility lets her do whatever she wants, so now she's doing whatever she wants, right or wrong. – FuzzyBoots Nov 16 '16 at 19:18
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    You're missing my point, I think. Her previous actions, under the cloak of anonymity, have made her feel that she can get away with anything. She got away with those things. And that's changed her, making her feel that she can get away with anything. Compare how many criminals get caught because they succeed a few times, and get convinced that they're invincible. Or Ronda Rousey. You believe you can't lose even when you move to a scenario where you no longer have your advantage. – FuzzyBoots Nov 16 '16 at 19:35
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The thing is, Buffy isn't hiding from Spike. The fact that Spike knows perfectly well it's Buffy he's having fun with in his posh crypt doesn't concern Buffy at all.

She is hiding from the rest of the world.

Let's return to a scene at the time of another 'it's complicated' non-relationship of Buffy :

We're not friends. Never were. I can fool Giles, I can fool my friends, but I can't fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason. ~Season Three - Lovers Walk

Season six Buffy is in deep depression. Her friends returned her from heaven, and she is not taking it well:

BUFFY ... I think I was in heaven.

Spike stares, takes it in. She looks at him.

BUFFY And now I'm not. I was torn out of there...by my friends. Everything here is bright and hard and violent... Everything I feel, everything I touch... this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that... knowing what I've lost...

She's said too much. He's speechless as she rises, starts out of the alley. She pauses, not even looking back.

BUFFY They can never know. Never.~Season Six - After Life

That's essentially it. Season six Buffy is miserable, and for the first time, she is truly isolated from the Scoobies. Her friends dragged her out of heaven and she is suffering, but she doesn't want them to know how deeply miserable she is. Spike - well, in Buffy's opinion, Spike can take it. And anyway, Spike sees through her (forgive the pun), she never could lie to him. He can also engage in slayer-style recreational activities, Buffy doesn't need to hold back or pretend. And at least she can feel something. As she sings in their duet:

"This isn't real / But I just want to feel"~ Season Six - Once More With Feeling

What they have is an unhealthy affair Buffy is ashamed of, because she is the Slayer and he is just a soulless demon with a government chip in his cranium:

from here - spoilers beyond the episode the question refers to

Buffy: You don't... have a soul! There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real! ~Season Six-Dead Things

and she is afraid that her friends, Giles and her little sister will find out what she does at nights when she is supposed to patrol the graveyards to protect the citizens of Sunnydale.

So while Buffy is struggling with her depression, Willow's addiction, social workers, a resentful Dawn, unemployment and bills beside her Slayer duties and trying to hold it together and not think about her guilty affair with a persistent vampire - he drops in. In bright daylight, when these things are supposed to be hidden. Not the best timing, and he unsurprisingly gets thrown out. At this point, it's less about regret and more about keeping the affair secret. In season six there is a conflict between Spike, who wants to tell the Scoobies about their relationship, and Buffy, who denies that there is a relationship in the first place:

SPIKE: What is this to you? This thing we have. BUFFY We don't have a thing. We just have... this. That's all. SPIKE Do you even like me? ~Season Six - Dead Things

So when she gets hit with the Trio's invisibility ray, Buffy finds the situation hilarious. No one can see her, so she can do whatever she likes. She doesn't have to pretend to be the perfect friend, sister, and guardian. She can play with Spike with Xander(!) in the room. There will be no consequences. She feels free:

INVISIBLE BUFFY: No! Maybe because for the first time since ... I'm free.

She tosses the sheet aside. Spike looks around, trying to figure out where she's going.

INVISIBLE BUFFY: Free of rules and reports ... free of this life.~Season Six - Gone

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Although my personal (headcanon) opinion is that she became unaccountably randy after handling the Kokopelli fertility idol, the reality is that Buffy's actions are simply driven by her desire for sexual release.

It's pretty clear from the fact that she's entertaining erotic (in fact borderline pornographic) fantasies about Spike that her decision to keep her relationship with him on a strictly professional basis is proving quite the challenge.

BUFFY (cont'd): Any reminder of what she's trying to stay away from might cause her to give in to temptation and--

She stops when she pulls out

HER POV - A familiar-looking silver lighter in her hand.

CLOSE ON BUFFY as she

FLASHBACKS to SPIKE (in Ep. 9) - kissing her, moving his hands all over her body, being inside her.

BACK ON BUFFY - As she draws a deep breath and snaps out of it. She looks around, shamefully, then eyes the lighter in her hand. After a moment, she tosses it into the box.

BUFFY: (to herself) And that would be bad.

Gone - Original Screenplay

When she becomes invisible, the lack of consequence means that she can give in to her baser instincts. She terrorises the social worker (something which is rather out of character for Buffy) and then flush with that success, she decides to go and have sex with Spike.

Beyond that, we don't really need to look for subtext. She decided that she wanted to have sex with him, then went and had sex with him. The invisibility is actually pretty incidental, albeit it probably made her more willing to go to his crypt in broad daylight rather than skulking round there at night.

  • I don't understand. There is a lack of consequence when she terrorises the social worker. Things would be very different if she terrorised the social worker while she was visible. I don't see how things are different if she went to Spike's place and had sex while she was visible. The one thing that comes to mind is that Spike can't see Buffy's facial expressions I guess. Also, Randy – BCLC Nov 16 '16 at 19:09
  • @BCLC - You're assuming that her goal was to remain anonymous throughout. It wasn't. She's simply around there to initiate sex. The fact that she's invisible gives the whole encounter an additional element of kinkiness, in much the same way that if he was blindfolded. "Why did she visit him?" "So she could have sex with him" – Valorum Nov 16 '16 at 19:14
  • Valorum, I seem to recall that Buffy did not want to have sex with Spike again but then after she was invisible, she had sex with Spike. My understanding is that she had sex with Spike because she was invisible. Anything there wrong? If so which? If not, why did Buffy want to have sex with Spike again? What does an additional element of kinkiness have to do with anything? She regrets having sex with Spike but then after she became invisible, what, she suddenly got irresistible sexual urges towards Spike? – BCLC Nov 16 '16 at 19:30
  • @BCLC - It's very clear from the flashback sequence that she's actively fantasising about Spike. That's the primary motivation for her actions in this episode. She finds him sexually attractive, then acts on that desire. – Valorum Nov 16 '16 at 19:40
  • @BCLC "I don't see how things are different if she went to Spike's place and had sex while she was visible." If she did that when she was visible, she would have wound up being caught by Xander. That's a possibility every time she visits Spike that someone sees and wonders why. A lot of times we don't refrain from doing wrong things SOLELY because they're wrong, but also because we fear the social consequences of being caught, the judgement of our friends, etc. Just like she could have snuck in and messed w/ the social worker in various ways while visible, but would probably have been caught. – starpilotsix Nov 18 '16 at 16:07

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