Greatest Flashbacks

2 Buffy The Vampire Slayer

“Fool For Love”

Type of flashback: Spike bragging about past antics
Flashback to: Spike pre-siring, Spike immediately post-siring, Spike killing a Slayer during the Boxer revolution, Spike killing a Slayer in a subway train in the’70s

This is about as epic as TV flashbacks get, as we learn about key moments in Spike’s life, from his days as a lovestruck wannabe poet spurned by the object of his affection, through his siring by Drusilla to his two successful attempts at Slayer-slaying. Such reminiscing kicks off when Buffy is stabbed by a common-or-garden vampire. Worried she’s losing her edge, she grills Spike for info about his Slayer-killing antics in the hopes it may give her a clue about how to regain her mojo.

The episode mines the flashback formula for as much fun as it can have. Pre-Spike William is hilariously wet, and we learn that he gained his nickname “William The Bloody” not – as we thought – from his vampire antics, but because his poetry was bloody awful. Spike is also seen embellishing his tales to big himself up at times, while the flashback reveals the true story. And during the final flashback, thanks to some ingenious editing, Spike from the past actually starts talking out of the flashback directly to Buffy in the present.

All this, and we get a brilliantly brutal slugfest between Spike and the ’70s Slayer too… at the end of which he nicks her leather coat for himself.

The same day that “Fool For Love” aired, Angel showed the episode “Darla” which is a direct sequel (see number seven).

The kind-of sequel, “Lies My Parents Told Me” from season seven is excellent as well. We’d have probably included it in this list if it weren’t so Whedon-heavy already. And, to be honest, the flashback is a lot less ambitious. In this one, we learn that Spike, having just been sired by Dru, returned home to turn his ailing mother into a vampire (in a vampire’s kiss sequence that would have given Freud kittens). The episode is worth watching for the look on Dru’s face when Spike tells her he wants to bring his mum along on a killing spree. Unfortunately dear old mum proves a ungrateful bint, so Spike stakes her instead.