"School Hard"
Written by David Greenwalt; directed by John Kretchmer

Buffy and a girl named Sheila are in Snyder’s office, receiving a lecture about how they’re the front-runners in the Baddest Girl in School race. Sheila stabbed a horticulture teacher with pruning shears, a fact she is proud of, and Buffy burned down her old high school, a fact she denies. Snyder threatens them with expulsion and assigns them to organize parent-teacher night later in the week. After the meeting, Buffy tries to get Sheila to start doing some planning, but she’s not too involved. Buffy meets up with Willow and Xander and complains that she’s nowhere near as bad as Sheila; in addition, as the Slayer, she’s expected to do some fighting. Xander gives her a pep talk, trying to assure her that everything will be fine, “as long as nothing really bad happens between now and then.” Buffy and Willow blast him for jinxing things by saying that. That night, a classic car crashes into a Welcome to Sunnydale sign. A vampire named Spike (James Marsters) gets out and lights a cigarette. “Home, sweet home,” he declares.

Inside the warehouse that now belongs to the Anointed One, vampires discuss Buffy and the fact that she will kill any vamp that tries to take the Master’s place. One of the vamps says that if someone can kill her on the night of St. Vigeous, which is that weekend, the killer will become the new Master. Spike arrives and says that the only good Slayer is a dead Slayer, or something to that effect. He’s killed two, and is itching to kill a third. Drusilla (Juliet Landau) enters and Spike tells her that she shouldn’t be walking around. She says that the Anointed One has power and asks if he likes daisies: “I plant them, but they always die. Everything I put in the ground withers and dies.” Oh, and she’s also Spike’s princess. She scratches his cheek with her fingernail and licks some blood. (That’s not the half of it. Prepare yourself.) Spike announces that he and Drusilla are taking up residence there, and that he’ll kill Buffy as long as the Anointed One keeps his minions away from them. The Anointed One agrees to the deal. Dru tells Spike that she can’t see Buffy; “it’s dark where she is.” She asks Spike to kill Buffy for her, but he doesn’t need much urging.

At home, Joyce tells Buffy that she received a letter about parent-teacher night, which Buffy avoided telling her about. Joyce tells her that life is about more than school, but she would like Buffy to not get into a lot of trouble again. Buffy replies that she’s dealing with a lot of pressure, and Joyce tells her to wait until she gets a job. “I have a job,” Buffy says to herself as she looks at her weapons. The next day at school, Buffy and Willow paint a banner and Buffy asks Willow to help her study for French that night. Willow says that she thought they were going to the Bronze, in case Angel showed up, and Xander tries to talk them out of it, but Buffy sets her mind to studying at the Bronze. She is determined to juggle parent-teacher nigh, school work, pleasing her mother, and partying, as long as she doesn’t have to slay. Of course, Giles arrives to tell her that she’s going to have to slay. He informs the Scoobies of the night of St. Vigeous, but Buffy says she can’t focus on it until after parent-teacher night. Snyder breaks up the conversation, wondering where Sheila is; Buffy covers for her. Sheila shows up and Snyder doesn’t catch on.

That night, Buffy and Willow study (Buffy incorrectly says, “The cow should touch me from Thursday”) while Xander dances. He lures them onto the dance floor as Spike enters and watches them. He tells a vampire to go get a snack, then announces that a guy outside is trying to bite someone. Buffy heads outside and fights the vampire, telling Willow and Xander to get the victim out of there and get her a weapon. The vamp calls to Spike for help, but it’s too late - Xander has returned with a stake and Buffy does her job. Buffy asks Spike who he is, and he responds that she’ll find out on Saturday. “What happens on Saturday?” she asks. “I kill you,” he replies.

Later, Sheila exits the Bronze with two guys who suddenly disappear when she’s not looking. Spike approaches her and she follows him off, looking for fun. She doesn’t realize that he killed the guys just to get her alone. At the library, the Scoobies begin to research Spike. Giles says that he can’t be any worse than the vamps Buffy has fought in the past, but Angel arrives suddenly and says that he is worse. Buffy ribs him for not being at the Bronze, and Giles shifts the conversation back to the task at hand, namely figuring out what Spike wants. Giles asks Angel if Spike has another name, but Angel has disappeared. In Drusilla’s new room, where she keeps a collection of dolls, she punishes one for speaking out of turn. Spike tells her to eat something and she says that she misses Prague. He reminds her that she was almost killed by a mob in Prague (that’ll be important later, in “Lie to Me”), and tells her that being on the Hellmouth will make her stronger. They’re planning to destroy Sunnydale in a few weeks, and aren’t that interested in St. Vigeous. Dru suggests that Spike try to make the Anointed One think that he can trust him. He says that he will, if she eats Sheila. Deal accepted.

The next day, the Scoobies check weapons in the library as Buffy chops vegetables. Giles explains that the vampires will “scourge themselves into a fury” for three nights, then cap things off on Saturday with a huge attack. Buffy makes some last minute preparations, remembering that she needs punch, as Cordelia complains about having to help with the weapons for St. Vigeous. Parent-teacher night begins, and Buffy gives Willow a cup of the lemonade she made instead of punch. Unfortunately, she forgot to put sugar in it. Buffy says that she just needs to keep her mother and Snyder apart as Joyce arrives. Buffy sends her off with Willow and tells Snyder that her mother doesn’t speak English. Two and a half hours later, Cordelia emerges from the library and tells Buffy that she’s looking “a little slagged.” Buffy tells her that she’s too busy worrying about everything else going on to care too much about her appearance. Joyce returns, commenting that every time Willow took her to a classroom, her teachers had amazingly stepped out. Buffy spots Snyder and tries to send Joyce away again, but is too late. Snyder pulls Joyce away to talk and Cordelia tells Buffy that she’ll probably still be grounded by the time their tenth high school reunion rolls around. “Cordelia, have some lemonade,” Willow says.

In the library, Giles finds information on Spike, AKA William the Bloody. Apparently, he “earned his nickname by torturing his victims with railroad spikes.” (See “Fool for Love” for the truth.) After her no doubt unpleasant meeting with Snyder, Joyce tells Buffy that they’re going home, seemingly itching to ground her. As they’re leaving, vampires crash through a window with Spike in tow. “What can I say? I couldn’t wait,” he announces. Buffy fends him off and pulls Joyce down the hall as Spike and the vampires begin attacking others. Buffy leads a group of people, including Joyce and Snyder, away from them as Willow gets a vamp away from Cordelia. Willow pulls Cordelia into a closet as Giles, Xander, and Jenny see Buffy’s group running down the hall. She tells them what’s going on and Buffy’s group goes into a classroom while Giles, Xander, and Jenny head back into the library. As they’re barricading the doors, the lights go out and emergency lights come on. A vampire tells Spike that he doesn’t know which way Buffy went.

Giles tries to call for help but realizes that the phone lines have been cut. He sends Xander through the cellar above the library to find Angel. In their classroom, Snyder tells the group that the vampires are really a gang on PCP (this will also be important later) and that they need to get out of there. Buffy protests that if they leave, the “gang” will kill them. Snyder tells her that he should be in charge, but she stands up to him and orders him to stay put. “Who do you think you are?” he asks. “I’m the one that knows how to stop them,” she replies. She tells Joyce that she’s going up into the ceiling. In the hallway, Spike is calling for Buffy (“here, kitty, kittyyyyy”) and threatening her friends. In the closet, just feet away from Spike, Cordelia panics and Willow claps a hand over her mouth to keep her quiet. Spike is about to kick open the closet door, a vampire stops him, hearing something in the ceiling. Giles gathers some weapons, preparing to do his job as Watcher, while Jenny tries to convince him to stay where he is. Just before he goes, Buffy breaks through the ceiling and drops into the library. She tells Giles that Joyce, Snyder, and some others are across the hall and that she doesn’t know where Willow and Cordelia are. He tells her that Xander went to get Angel. She says that she’ll go fight the vamps and that he needs to get Joyce and the others out. He wants to help her fight, but she wants him to get Joyce out in case something happens to her. He agrees, and she goes back into the ceiling.

A man in the classroom with Snyder and Joyce decides that he can’t wait any longer and starts to go out a window. Joyce tries to stop him, telling him to listen to what Buffy said, but Snyder says that Buffy doesn’t know anything and helps the man out. A vampire in the hallway tries to get into the classroom, and Spike runs the vamp’s head through an emergency case to get an axe. Hearing the vamp try to break through the door with the axe, Snyder and the other man try harder to get through the window, but the man is pulled outside by something and Snyder changes his mind about escaping. Outside, Xander and Angel see the man’s body as Xander asks if Angel has a plan. Angel grabs him by the neck and pulls him towards the school. “Good plan,” Xander manages to say. In the closet, Cordelia thinks that Spike is gone, but Willow is afraid that he’ll come back. She suggests that they pass the time by praying.

Buffy continues her trek through the ceiling as Spike starts poking poles up to try to hit her. Buffy drops through the ceiling behind the vamp who’s trying to get into the classroom and easily kills him. She tells Joyce to wait for her signal, then open the door and run. She goes around the corner and encounters Sheila, who has been MIA the whole evening. Sheila grabs the axe and follows Buffy. Angel drags Xander into the hallway Spike is staking out (pardon the pun), and Spike greets him, “Angelus!” (Note: as we discover during the fifth season of Angel, Spike and Angel last saw each other in 1943 - see “Why We Fight,” if you don’t have anything better to do.) Spike asks if he’s encountered Buffy yet, and Angel says that he pretends to be cute and tortured so that she’ll leave him alone when he wants to feed. Spike laughs that people fall for the “Anne Rice routine.” Xander says that he knew Angel was lying (“undead liar guy”) and Angel asks Spike if he wants a bite of Xander before they go after Buffy together. Buffy and Sheila make their way down the hall, Buffy oblivious to the fact that Sheila has vamped out.

Giles spots Sheila through the door and yells to warn Buffy. Buffy fights Sheila and another vamp with the axe; she kills the other one, but Sheila escapes. Buffy yells for Joyce to run, which she does, taking everyone else in the classroom with her into the library. Buffy tells her that she’ll be out in a minute. Spike asks Angel why he hasn’t killed Buffy, and Angel says that she killed the Master and he doesn’t think he can take her out by himself. As he and Spike are preparing to make Xander a meal, Spike punches Angel and yells, “You think you can fool me?! You were my sire, man!” (Er, actually, he wasn’t - see “Becoming, Part 1.”) Angel tells him that he’s changed, but Spike says that demons don’t. (See “Fool for Love” and the Angel episode “Why We Fight” for more information on the post-Angelus, pre-Sunnydale years.) Spike invites the other vampires to join in the fighting, but Xander and Angel run off. Spike lets them go, preferring to face Buffy, who has appeared behind him. They decide to fight without weapons while Xander and Angel fight vamps outside and Giles gets everyone out of the library. As Spike is about to kill Buffy, he is hit in the head with an axe. He looks up to see that he’s been hit by Joyce, who says, “You get the h#%$ away from my daughter!” Spike takes that as his cue to leave.

Later, the police arrive and Police Chief Bob speaks with Snyder about the outcome of the night’s events. Giles tells Jenny that he’ll understand if she wants to stay away from him from now on, but it doesn’t look like she’s in favor of that. Xander asks Angel why he didn’t just punch Spike out before he could bite him. Angel explains that he had to know if Spike was buying his act. “And if he bit me, what then?” Xander asks. “We would’ve known he bought it,” Angel replies. Chief Bob tells Snyder that he needs to speak to the media and wants to know if he should tell the usual story - “gang-related? PCP?” “What’d you have in mind? The truth?” Snyder asks. “Right. Gang-related. PCP,” Chief Bob says. Buffy asks Joyce what Snyder said to her. Joyce replies that Snyder called Buffy a troublemaker, but she doesn’t care. “I have a daughter who can take care of herself. Who’s brave and resourceful and thinks of others in a crisis. No matter who you hang out with or what dumb teenage stuff you think you need to do, I’m gonna sleep better knowing all that,” Joyce tells her. She promises that this will last at least a week and a half before she starts bugging Buffy about stuff again. Later, after everyone else is gone, Willow and Cordelia are still in the closet. Cordelia is praying and Willow has grown tired to listening to her.

The next day, Drusilla comforts Spike as he laments that he wasn’t prepared to face a Slayer with family and friends. He asks after the Anointed One (whom he calls the “Annoying One,” which is much more accurate) and she tells him that he’s not happy. The Annoying One criticizes Spike for failing to kill Buffy and another vamp says that Spike should be killed as punishment for losing other vamps and ruining St. Vigeous. Spike tries to seem repentant, but announces that if he had to do it again, he would do everything exactly the same. Only first, he would kill the Annoying One - which he does, locking him in a cage and raising him up into the sunlight. “From now on,” Spike announces, “we’re gonna have a little less ritual…and a little more fun around here.” He clasps hands with Dru and they head off to watch TV.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Spike is hot, but deadly. Like fire!

R.I.P.: The Anointed One (AKA the Annoying One)

GRADE: B The perfect intro for Spike and Dru.


MEMORABLE QUOTES - “A lot of educators tell students, ‘Think of your principal as your pal.’ I say, ‘Think of me as your judge, jury, and executioner.’” - Snyder

Snyder: “On the other hand, Sheila has never burned down a school building.”
Buffy: “W-well, that was never proven. The fire marshal said i-it could have been mice.”
Snyder: “Mice.”
Buffy: “M-mice that were smoking?”
Snyder: “The two of you seem to be tied in the class-cutting and fight-starting events. You really are neck and neck here. It’s quite exciting.”
Sheila: “What does the winner get?”
Snyder: “Expelled.”

Willow: (re: Sheila) “She was already smoking in fifth grade. Once I was lookout for her.”
Xander: “You’re bad to the bone.”
Willow: “I’m a rebel.”

Vampire: “When I kill her, it’ll be the greatest event since the crucifixion. And I should know. I was there.”
Spike:You were there? Oh, please! If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock.”
Vampire: “I oughta rip your throat out.”
Spike: “I was actually at Woodstock. That was a weird gig. I fed off a flowerperson, and I spent the next six hours watchin’ my hand move.”

Spike: “Do you know what I find works real good with Slayers? Killing them.”
Anointed One: “Can you?”
Spike: “A lot faster than Nancy-boy there. Yeah, I did a couple Slayers in my time. I don’t like to brag. (pauses) Who am I kidding? I love to brag!”

Buffy: “I spent a good part of my allowance on this new cream rinse, and it’s neither creamy nor rinse-y.”
Joyce: “Life is hard, dear.”

Buffy: “What can you really tell about a person from a test score?”
Joyce: “Whether or not she’s ever going out with her friends again.”
Buffy: “Oh, that.”

Xander: “If they’re gonna attack in force, aren’t we thinkin’ vacation?”
Willow: “We can’t run, that would be wrong. Could we hide?”

Angel: “You said you weren’t sure if you were going.”
Buffy: “I was being cool. C’mon, you’ve been dating for, what, like, two hundred years? You don’t know what a girl means when she says maybe she’ll show?”
Willow: “Wow, two centuries of dating. If you only had two a year, that’s still, like, four hundred dates with four hundred different…. Why do they call it a mace?”

“Okay, that’s it. I’m puttin’ a collar with a little bell on that guy.” - Xander re: the Amazing Disappearing Angel

Xander: “Does anybody remember when Saturday night meant date night?”
Cordelia: “You sure don’t.”

Buffy: “You shouldn’ta come here.”
Spike: “No. I’ve messed up your doilies and stuff. But I just got so bored.”

Cordelia: (praying) “And if you get me out of this, I swear I’ll never be mean to anyone ever again. Unless they really deserve it. Or if it’s that time of the month, in which case I don’t think you or anyone else can hold me responsible….”
Willow: “Ask for some aspirin.”
Cordelia: “And can you please send some asp…. Hey!”

Buffy: “I don’t suppose this is something about happy squirrels?”
Giles: “Vampires.”
Buffy: “That was my next guess.” (from the original script)

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