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 redemptive path.

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 attitude indeed.

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.

- 01-Apr-2002

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