You should all know by now that I loves me some polling questions that makes ya thinky the thoughts, even if I can't really answer with anything definitive - never more so than when it involves any aspect of the Buffyverse.
This polling will be coming to you straight from Ms. Scarlet's Section of the Universe, in which we all just orbit. Whenever we talk about morality, things can get quite complicated and possibly rambley, but I'll try to answer with short, terse answers. Are we ready?
Of the two, which was more morally reprehensible?
Drusilla killing Kendra, or Professor Walsh's attempt to off Buffy?
Well, as much as I don't like Dru bagging the Slayer with the weird shirt and accent, clearly Walsh was more evil. Dru was a vampire going after a Slayer, which in the scheme of the Buffyverse, seems entirely "fair" and within reason. Plus, she's insane, so it's hard to hold somebody morally responsible for their evil when they kind of don't have control of that. On the other hand, I find serial killers to be reprehensible and one could argue their nutso-cuckoo and not in control of themselves, too.
But, though evil - Dru is following the normal, moral direction of her demonic species... Walsh on the other hand was entirely human. She should have known better. Plus, she was trying to kill Buffy because of some weird jealousy over Riley and to protect the Slayer's perfectly innocent curiosity over the locked 314 lab door. Hardly a capital offense. Finally, human on human murder, I think, will nearly always trump a vampire doing what a vampire does in the moral evil sweepstakes.
Spike killing the Magic Box shop keeper, or any other hapless victim for a meal, or Warren attempting to shoot Buffy dead?
Stupid Spike and his stupid, evil ways. But Warren is clearly the true, evil psychopath here. As much as I love Spike in S5, when he can't bite people and finds his way toward an accommodation and purpose with our Scooby Gang, back in S4, he was still a vampire doing the demonic thing. Evil and soulless, but that makes him much less evil than souled Warren - although, technically I suppose we can't say definitively if Warren isn't empty, as well.
But still - vampire on human or human on human: Warren is more morally culpable -- and reprehensible.
Angelus killing Jenny Calendar to make sure his soul didn't come back, or The Mayor selling his soul for immortality so that he could one day become a big ass snake demon to eat people?
Stupid Angelus and his stupid, evil ways. But how can you compare a vampire not wanting to be 'locked away' inside his own head with a person who decides to exchange his soul for being a demon?
Mayor Wilkins... you're a bad, bad man.
I think far more interesting would be to compare Mayor Wilkins morality with Aud's.
Spike attacking Buffy in the bathroom, or Warren using the cerebral dampener to control Katrina in order to be his sex slave?
I'm a little more toward the center of torn on this one, just because by the end of S6, Spike should have learned something about himself, Buffy, and treating her with respect if not exactly gently. On the other hand - still a demon under the chip. This is something, we should be more in the habit of remembering... and so should all of the Scooby Gang.
Whereas, again... Warren. Warren is more morally disgusting than vampire-Spike.
Warren using the cerebral dampener to make Katrina his sex slave, or Willow using her spells to erase Tara's memories of a fight, and later has sex with her?
Okay, now this is where things get much, much more on parity. I'm not sure that I can say that Warren was more morally disgusting than Willow in this case, even though I think their motivations were far different. Warren wanted to victimize Katrina - probably in some twisted 'I love you, I have to have you, Don't walk away from me bitch' thing. He very deliberately targeted her for this purpose.
But Willow's effect in doing what she did was nearly the same, even if her motivation was entirely opposite. This wasn't about victimizing Tara. In fact, by this point, I don't think Willow even realized the implications of what she had just done. It was about her need to control her environment and avoid painful, ugly confrontations. It was about her wanting to 'fix things' to match her own view of how life should be. Not that this was okay - clearly it 100% was not.
But I think that Willow wasn't thinking, "I'm going to strip Tara of her right to choose so that I can get what I want" so much as "I don't want to fight, and I can fix this by making Tara feel better instead of so angry at me". A justification? Damned right. Despicable? Yes, yes, and more yes.
But as repugnant as Warren? Hmmm. I think I still have to give it to Warren on this, simply because of the ugliness of his intentions - the clear willingness to force Katrina to be a mindless sex toy for his needs. Willow's intentions wasn't about the sex (Assuming she and Willow had sex that night - was that explicit in the episode? I don't remember - I know they cuddled, but I don't remember if the morning after there was a comment about a passionate night.), it was about avoiding conflict. The sex would have been because Tara's free choice to be angry and spend the night fuming with her back turned on Willow was taken from her.
Warren's was "I want sex with her - and I don't want her resisting". Willow's was "I don't want to fight with her or have her mad at me."
So even though, in effects, I'd say that they're closing in on parity in the moral wrongness - Warren is still more despicable.
Giles smothering Ben to stop a hell god, or Buffy shanking Faith, to save her boyfriend?
Before we get into this, I have to specify that I would consider this to be more of a 'What If' question when it comes to the Buffy/Faith confrontation. Buffy didn't actually shank Faith for Angel here - she did it because she was about to get thrown off the roof. If Buffy had knocked Faith out or otherwise rendered her helpless, then presented her to Angel - with or without the knifing - that would have been arguably as bad as Giles' moral transgression. But, that isn't what happened.
To me, in the way the episodes presented the facts, Giles is much more morally reprehensible than Buffy. His actions wasn't in the heat of the battle, or to save his life in an extreme situation. Ben couldn't fight back. Ben wasn't responsible for Glory's actions, even if he was culpable in them by choosing to side with her to save his own skin. Buffy was fighting for her life against someone who could easily have killed her - even if her original intent in going to Faith's was exactly for this confrontation.
Now, what if Buffy had shanked Faith specifically to save her boyfriend? Well, personally, I would have been fine with that. Faith made this mess and her blood cleans it up - sounds like cosmic justice to me.
But morally, Buffy would have been wrong. Although I may find justice in Faith, in effect, being executed to save Angel, whom she is responsible for nearly murdering (he has a human soul - ergo - murder, unlike with the usual slayage) him, it would have still been using Faith - a person - as a tool to reach an end. By killing Faith specifically to save Angel, Buffy strips Faith of her humanity by turning into a means to an end, which is morally wrong and disgusting, even in so dire a circumstance. Now, one could argue that Buffy had to have Angel to save the world at large from the Mayor, but I don't believe for one second that would be the reason for Buffy's egregious action. She wouldn't have stabbed Faith for the thousands that would have died in Wilkin's rampage, but because she wanted to save Angel. Her reasons weren't just, so her actions can't be morally just.
Under this scenario, I think things are far more unclear. Giles' actions were awful, but if he was correct that Glory would return, then Ben's murder was toward the greater good. Glorificus was clearly an unhinged godling, and it isn't hard to imagine that her retribution would not have ended with Buffy or he or Dawn, but with humanity far beyond the Scooby Gang.
But there is the rub. Would Glory have returned? We don't know. We only have Giles' statement to Ben - we never received any other indication that this was so once she missed her window of opportunity. Clearly Glory was weakened as her deadline arrived, or Buffy - even with a Troll hammer (upgraded to Troll god in an unnecessary botched revision) - wouldn't have been able to beat her into submission. For all we know, Glory would have remained gone for another thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand years. Or, she could have just as easily died with Ben when he made his mortal exit in 50 years. We can't know for sure. I don't doubt Giles' intentions, though, the way I'd doubt Buffy's.
I think Giles, acting to save 'innocents' would be less morally despicable than Buffy's acting to save her boyfriend.
Angelus, clearly insane, wanting to suck the world into a hell dimension, or Willow, clearly insane, wanting to obliterate life?
Again, we're down to demon morality vs. human morality. Doing horrible evil as a souled person is clearly the most morally bankrupt of these two - Willow loses. Now, if it was an insane Angel or and insane Willow - now we've got an argument.
Of these characters, who exhibited evil behavior in s6? Buffy, Spike, Willow, Xander, Giles, Warren, Tara, Andrew, Jonathon, Anya.
I've said Spike, Willow, Warren, Andrew and Jonathon.
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Buffy in s6? 1
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Spike in s6? 7
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Willow in s6? 10
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Xander in s6? 2
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Dawn in s6? 3
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Warren in s6? 10, or possibly eleventy-hundred
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Andrew in s6? 8
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Jonathan in s6? 7
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Anya in s6? 7
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Tara in s6? 1
On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being "evil," how would you rate Giles in s6? 2
Of these characters, who was the most evil in s6? Warren. Even with Willow's torturing, skinning and world threatening.