Why hate the way Joss has handled Spike when he's fully behind the writing wheel? I think the most recent interview making the rounds with Whedon has shown that while he guides the bus, he also lets the writers under him have much personal freedom. He basically says that if they're not invested, they why are they here? I personally feel that the biggest highs have all been guided by Joss.
(Yes, only Jane Espenson had the wisdom to argue against the AR but in my book Spike was capable of evil at that point and the AR was an evil act. Was it handled well? Not exactly. Nor was the plot psych-out of Spike's soul-quest. I know Joss makes much of saying he was as involved in Season 6 as all the other seasons, but note how this is the only Season where he doesn't write neither the season opener and/or the season finale. So talk a big game, Joss, and back up Marti, but you weren't as hands-on there, were you? Once More, With Feeling was the only episode written and directed by Joss - that's pretty sparse for the guy in terms of involvement compared to all other seasons)
Anyways, I diverge. People are bracing themselves. I don't really feel the need because the best of Spike seems to come when Joss is writing him. (After that would be Jane Espenson imo.) And it's now been confirmed that Spike will arrive later on in a script yet to be written - I'm calling that a Joss script.
Joss gave us poet!Spike. He had created Spike's background and worked closely in writing Fool For Love with Petrie. He again works closely with Petrie in rewriting the final church scene in Beneath You. (Note how well Petrie does with less Joss involvement in As You Were. I've heard no interviews saying Joss did much touching up on that script and I suspect he didn't do much at all - so this is speculation, but I think that episode is noticably lacking on Joss' touch.) Joss rewrote the Hell's Bells "you glow" "that's because the dress is radioactive" scene. He directed the actors to "love" each other in the final scene in Chosen. He wrote the OMWF romantic kiss at the end when the music rises.
Joss wrote Spike as the leading man. He wrote so much of what made Spike a glorious character.
So here's my question - can anyone point to a scene where Joss has writer's credit (meaning he is 100% hands on the way he'll be with Spike's appearance in Season 8) and say "Damn, Joss, you let me down."? Because I can't. And here's why:
"I know you'll never love me. I know I'm just a monster. But you treat me like a man."
"I made a promise to a lady."
"I hope she fries, I'm free if that bitch dies/I better help her out."
"Life's not a song, Life isn't bliss, Life is just this, It's living. You'll get along. The pain that you feel, You only can heal, By living. You have to go on living. So one of us is living."
"Why does a man do what he mustn't? For her. To be hers. To be the kind of man who would nev—to be a kind of man. She shall look on him with forgiveness, and everybody will forgive and love. He will be loved."
Buffy: (looks at the amulet) Angel said the amulet was meant to be worn by a champion. (Spike looks disappointed, then surprised when Buffy places the amulet in his hand)
Spike: Been called a lot of things in my time.
Joss' Spike is a hero. A poet. A lover. A champion. He's also "more evolved." He's the guy who fought for his soul and earned his redemption.
I have no fear that Joss will do an injustice to Spike's character. Joss may tear Spike down, but only to lift him back up, reborn brighter than ever. Joss might kill Spike, but that's not an injustice. Not if done with "glory and sod all else." I can't think of a better end for Spike than to die in battle, but, hell, he's already done that so I doubt that will happen. :D