Wrinkles and Redemption - Clem as Template for Demonkind
Spike's demon friend Clem shows us clearly a vision of what may
be achieved by the Scoobies if they trust in Spike and follow his
We are first introduced to Clem in episode 5, Life
Serial, when he plays poker out the back in a demon bar
where the kitty is kitties and the bourbon makes Slayers drunk.
He's clearly Eeeevil with a capital-E, and it is a wonder that Buffy
doesn't clean him up on the spot. It's clear that at this stage
he is no friend of Spike's, and his snide comments prove this in
a way no barroom brawl could.
But by our next meeting with Clem, in Older
and Far Away, he has clearly become one of the Good Guys.
Now, we see a demon who - but for his unfortunate resemblance to
the Saggy Baggy Elephant and, perhaps, some unfortunate digestive
problems (refer the upstairs hall scene when Clem is clearly the
cause of the odd creaking in the bathroom pipes) - could be fully
integrated into human society. He interacts well with others, admires
healthy young specimens of manhood like Richard (clearly cured,
by this point, of his obsession with wrinkles - Unlike Buffy and
Xander, the New!Improved!Clem is no speciesist), and participates
fully in the total party experience.
We next see Clem at Xander and Anya's doomed wedding. As this episode
demonstrates, many demons are better behaved than humans, Clem chief
among them. Looking clean and presentable, he sits proudly on Xander's
side of the church, striking his own blow for human-demon interactions.
It is typical of the poison in the old man's mind that he chooses
to violate Clem's budding friendship with the Scoobies by insinuating
that Clem might take advantage of Future!Xander and have an affair
with Anya; when in doubt, blame it on the demon is clearly a pervasive
But how has Clem's metamorphosis occurred, and through what agent
of change has the polarity of this wrinkly demon's neutron flow
been reverse? Clearly, it is his association with Spike that has
engendered this miraculous transformation. And it is through ongoing
interactions with Spike and the Scoobs that Clem will contribute
to their redemption also; for if they can accept one demon as a
friend, why not more. Clem is breaking down the prejudices of the
Scoobies as surely as water can break down a stone; and little by
little, their acceptance of him will translate to the wider community.
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