Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Recap/S2/E03 School Hard

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A match made in Bedlam.

It's Parent-Teacher Conference night at sunnydale High. In a fit of creative sadism, Principal Snyder assigns the job of preparing food and decorations to his two most troublesome students: Buffy, and a borderline-psychopath delinquent named Sheila. Whoever does the better job will not be expelled. Sheila's total indifference puts even more pressure on Buffy, who already has a tough time balancing slaying with a social life.

That night, a sinister vampire couple arrives in town: Spike and Drusilla, who interrupt a gathering by the Anointed One. Spike promises to kill Buffy as he has killed two Slayers already. Drusilla is quite ill, having been injured by an angry mob in Prague. Spike later brings Sheila, who is enthralled by his bad boy charms, to the weak Drusilla as food.

On Thursday night, Buffy plots to keep Snyder from delivering a bad report to her mother, but fails. Afterwards, a stern Joyce orders Buffy home just as Spike and the other vampires crash through the window, too impatient to wait for Saturday. Buffy takes command of the incredulous adults, tells them to stay put and climbs through the air ducts to reach the library and her weapons. Fighting a few vampires along the way, including a newly turned Shelia.

Xander returns to the school with Angel, who pretends to be his former evil self, Angelus. Though Spike first welcomes Angelus as a long-lost friend, he sees through the ruse and Xander and Angel are forced to flee but not before Xander hears Spike call Angelus his "sire" and "Yoda." His mooks give chase to Angel and Xander, leaving Buffy and Spike alone at last. Buffy is almost bested when her mother shows up and hits Spike over the head with the flat of an axe, causing him to retreat. Joyce tells Buffy that she trusts Buffy to take care of herself, whatever Snyder may say.

Spike returns to the vampire lair, where the Anointed One demands penance for attacking too early. Spike goes through the motions of apologizing -- then, fed up, he simply throws the boy in a cage and pulls it into the sun, killing him. Looks like there's a new el jefe in town.


  • Air Vent Passageway
  • All There in the Manual: In response to Spike's offer of food, Dru complains that she's hungry, and that she misses Prague. Spike points out that she nearly died in Prague; "Idiot mob." This was expanded on in the comics, where a flashback shows Drusilla being captured by a human "Inquisitor" and thrown into a Prague jail. The inquisitor proceeds to torture Drusilla in a unique chair built with retractable spikes. Spike didn't fare much better, as he almost got dusted and tossed into a lake by an angry mob.
  • Almost Kiss: A different take on this trope shown by Spike and Drusilla where they lean in toward each other...then do a simultaneous head turn to look at the Anointed One.
  • An Axe to Grind / Chekhov's Boomerang: Spike's fire axe changes hands quite a few times.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: One aspiring successor to the Master chatters on that when he kills Buffy, it'll be the greatest event since the Crucifixion. "And I should know," he smarms, "I was there." Behind him, Spike's sneering voice cuts in:

Spike: Oh please! If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would've been like Woodstock.

Sheila: Did you really burn down a school building one time?
Buffy: Well, not actually one time.

Sheila: Cool.

  • Asshole Victim: Sheila.
  • Badass Boast: Spike approaches the Anointed One, saying he's read about him. He also knows about the A.O.'s Slayer problem. "Do you know what I find works real good with Slayers? Killing them." The A.O. asks if he can do it. Spike shrugs that he's iced a couple Slayers in his time, but, "I don't like to brag. [[[Beat]]] Who am I kidding? I love to brag!"
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sheila.
  • Beard of Evil: Beard-mook a.k.a. "Big Ugly". "Lean Boy" also sports one.
  • Beverage Spill: Buffy 'accidentally' spilling lemonade on Snyder before he can intercept Joyce.
  • Blatant Lies: Snyder re the Red Shirt teacher.

I told him not to go out that window.

  • Buffy-Speak: A hero's journey is not always an easy one:

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

    • Buffy's lack of focus on her studies. Willow blames this on "Angel missage." (Though the live band music can't help)
  • Bound and Gagged: Sheila, pre-turning
  • Brick Joke: At the end of the episode, after Buffy has saved the day and all the vamps have cleared out of the school, Willow and Cordelia are still shut up in the closet waiting to be rescued.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Joyce flipping through her mail to find a reminder note about Parent-Teacher Night. ...and Buffy was planning to inform her about this when?
    • Buffy leaving the Scoobies alone with the hors d' oeuvres. Xander and Cordelia reach for some. Buffy psychically senses this and pops her head back in. "No."
    • Following her conversation with Snyder, Joyce storms over to Buffy and tells her to get in the car immediately, which is parent-speak for "you're in for a world of pain." Snyder registers a "Boo-yah!" face in the background.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Spike sent six hours doing this at Woodstock.
  • Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: Spike actually gets the drop on Buffy, knocking her to the floor with a large wooden beam. He raises the beam on high, but the axe from earlier beans him on the head, knocking him down. He looks up to see a very Mama Bear-looking Joyce. "You get the hell away from my daughter." Spike snarls, "Women!" and takes off.
  • Creepy Child: Dru has the mentality at least as this is her debut episode. We see her playing with dolls while she talking with Spike and of course this little line before she feeds on Shelia

Drusilla: (To her dolls as she points the bound and gagged Shelia to them) You see Ms. Edith, if you had been good. You could've watched with the rest. (Shelia gives an Oh Crap and turn to Dru who now had changed to her vamp face. Dru faces her, smiles and goes for her neck).

  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Dru mentions that she "can't see" the Slayer for some reason; there's some kind a psychic shield around her. "Kill her, Spike.", she mews. "Kill her for princess?" Spike says it's as good as done. "I'll chop her into messes." They nuzzle. (This would actually be cute in a different context.)
    • In the school, Spike is getting impatient. He calls out to the Slayer. "I find one of your friends first, I'm gonna suck 'em dry!" Then, more irritably, "And use their bones to bash your head in."
  • Cut Phone Lines: Giles tries to call for help, but discovers that the phones have been cut.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Spike wonders why "Angelus" hasn't taken care of the Slayer by now. Angel counters that he saw Buffy kill the Master, and if Spike thinks he can take her, have at it. Spike says not to be silly, that they'll kill her together, and proposes they drink to it. They lean in to bite Xander, but Spike punches Angel, saying he can't fool him.

Spike: You were my sire, man! You were my Yoda!

Xander: I knew you were lying. Undead...liar guy.

  • Face Revealing Turn: Shelia during the school invasion, unlike Jesse from the series premiere we know she's a vampire as we saw Dru kill her.
  • False Reassurance: A henchvamp reports in to Spike, saying that they cut the power and nobody got out, but he doesn't know where the Slayer is. Frustrated, Spike turns to a human prisoner. "I'm a veal kind of guy. You're too old to eat." He snaps his neck. "But not to kill." Spike says he feels better.
  • Foreshadowing: Spike claims to have killed two Slayers in the past. These events are expanded on in later episodes: "Fool for Love", "First Date" and "Lies My Parents Told Me".
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Spike and Angel go way back.
  • Game Face: An Inverted Trope -- Spike is introduced in his vampire face, and we first see his human face (in both senses of the word) when he turns to look at Drusilla.
  • Gas Leak Coverup
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The first thing Spike does after his Feet First Introduction is light up.
  • Half Truth: Joyce asks Buffy's teachers will have to say about her scholastic conduct. "Well," Buffy hems and haws, "I think they'll all agree that I always bring a pen to class, ready to absorb the knowledge."
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Sheila stumbling drunkenly out of The Bronze, flanked by two guys. She asks if they were telling the truth about a Cadillac, and coos about how "leather seats" make her horny. Whatever, Joan Jett.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight

Buffy: I'm trying, I've just got a lot of pressure right now.
Joyce: Wait till you have a job.

  • Hypocritical Humor
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Snyder rhetorically asking Buffy and Sheila who is the worst student between them. As far as Snyder's concerned, they're well-matched; he can't figure it out. Although Buffy has never stabbed a horticulture teacher with a trowel. "I didn't stab anybody with a trowel," Sheila grins, "They were pruning shears."
  • I'll Kill You!: The Scoobies regard Spike warily as he compliments Buffy's work. She asks who he is, and he tells her she'll find out on Saturday. "What happens on Saturday?" "I kill you." he says, then withdraws. It's the casualness of his delivery that leaves Buffy looking wigged.
  • Improvised Weapon: At the start of the melee, the vamps start to charge in, but Buffy hurls a chair at Spike, knocking him into some other vamps like a set of bowling pins.
    • Buffy shepherds Joyce, Snyder, and a few other adults into a classroom, buying them a little time by rolling a janitor's cart into some pursuing vamps.
    • Cordy proves more or less useless in a fight, getting grabbed by a mook vampire. Willow grabs a bust from the wall and clocks the vamp with it.
    • Spike throws a punch at Buffy, but she ducks, and his hand goes through the wall. While he's stuck, she kicks him for good measure. However, he pulls a wooden beam out of the wall and clocks Buffy with it.
  • In the Back: Buffy tells Sheila to stay behind her. As she stalks her way down the hall, we see that Sheila is now in vamp face. Oops! She raises the axe. Sheila's about to swing when Giles spots her through a glass door and shouts a warning.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. For obvious reasons, we don't see the Anointed One get engulfed in flames; rather, the last shot of the episode is the still-smoking bars of his cage.
  • It Runs in The Family: Snyder snarks that he sees a "mother-daughter resemblance."
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The episode opens with Snyder giving a speech describing himself in these terms.
  • Knife Nut: Xander advises it's best to keep Sheila away from sharp objects.
  • Lame Excuse: Snyder recounting that famous instance of Buffy burning down a school building.

Buffy: Well, that was never proven. The fire marshals said it could have been mice. [Snyder glares] --Mice...that were smoking?

  • Last-Second Word Swap: Willow marveling at the number of dates Angel must have had in his 200+ years. Time for math! She starts doing the calculations until Buffy glares at her, whereupon Willow neatly segues into talking a spiked mace. "--So why do they call it a "mace"?"
    • Spike sics his goons on Buffy and Xander, but stop to sniff the air. Buffy's standing behind him. "Fee, fi, fo, fum. I smell the blood of a nice, ripe...girl."
    • Giles: "When it comes to combat, Buffy must fight alone. She is after all the Sla__(sees Snyder approaching) s-s-sla-slaves! You are all slaves to television...young people now days..."
  • Lethal Chef: Willow eagerly asks what kind of punch Buffy made. Buffy says punch is off the menu; instead, we have fresh lemonade. Willow asks how much sugar's in it before taking a swig. "Sugar?", Buffy asks innocently. Willow contorts her face and gags.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: A pole-wielding Spike turns to regard Buffy, who's holding the fire axe. She asks if they really need weapons. Spike jokes they make him feel "all manly," then throws aside his weapon. Buffy follows suit.
  • The Load: There are monkeys who could coordinate a party better than Sheila, who looks like she's perpetually hung over.
    • Outside the school, Buffy immediately tries formulating a schedule with Sheila, who is more interested in joining up with her punk rocker friend (someone called "Meat Pie") and walks off.
      • Karmic Death: If she had bothered, she wouldn't have ran into Spike and became Dru's meal, losing her humanity in the process.
  • The Mole: In the darkened school hallway, Buffy hears a noise behind her. It's Sheila. Phew, forgot about her. She apologizes for being late (the fact that the event is over should raised a red flag).
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Grabbing Sheila's axe, Buffy turns to swings at a vampire mook. He ducks, and the axe buries itself in the wall. The mook grins, but looks down to see a stake in his heart. Poof.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: At The Bronze, Xander attempts to dance in the background while Buffy sits a table, studying French. It's hard to say which effort is more tragic.

Buffy: La vache... doit me... touche... de la... jeudi. Was it wrong? Should I use the plural?
Willow: No. But you said, 'The cow should touch me from Thursday.'
Buffy: [defensively] Maybe that's what I was feeling.
Willow: And you said it wrong.
Buffy: [slams pencil] Oh, je stink.

  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Snyder storming into the lounge and asking Willow and Xander if they're standing in for Sheila's absence. They deny it, but he puffs out his chest in anticipation. "I feel an expulsion coming on." Seriously, he almost seems to get aroused by expelling people.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Spike observing Buffy dancing in The Bronze. Yep, definitely some Foe Yay right off the bat, here.
  • No Periods, Period: Xander frantically fishing through Buffy's purse for a stake. He finds a yo-yo, which is a nice bit of continuity from "Some Assembly Required," then a tampon, which he hilariously throws up in the air when he realizes what it is, and then finally a stake.
    • In the broom closet, Cordelia says a prayer to God that that she won't be mean to anyone ever again.... unless they really deserve it, or it's "that time of the month."

Willow: facepalming Ask for some aspirin.

Cordelia: And can you please send some asp... Hey!

  • Offhand Backhand: When Spike interrupts his boast, the beard vampire rushes at him, but Spike closes his hand into a fist and knocks the beard out without looking back.
    • Spike backkicks Lean Boy as he's hauling the Annoying One into the cage, also without turning around.
  • Playing Hard to Get: Buffy reminding Angel that he said he might show up at The Bronze. Angel counters that she said she wasn't sure she was going. Buffy makes doe-eyes and lampshades this by saying she "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?"
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Spike is incredulous at Angel helping out humans. "Man, I can't believe this!! You Uncle Tom!"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Drusilla turning one of her dolls ("Miss Edith") toward the wall for setting a bad example for the others. Um, sure. Spike encourages her to eat something, and we see Sheila is tied up and gagged in the corner.

Drusilla: You see, Miss Edith? If you'd been good, you could watch with the rest.

  • Prophetic Name: Sheila Martini?
  • Punctuated Pounding: Buffy using Spike's hechvamp as a punching bag as she calls out for a weapon. "AND! A STAKE! WOULD BE NICE!"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The death of the Anointed One was forced upon the writing staff when they realized that Andrew J. Ferchland (Colin) had grown like a weed over the summer hiatus, and vampires aren't supposed to age. Because of Ferchland's growth spurt, he remains seated for most of his scenes in Season 2.
  • Red Herring: Giles and Jenny's endless talk about The Night of St. Contrivance...er, Vigeous.
  • Retcon: Spike refers to Angelus as his "sire", a fact later retconned when it is revealed that Drusilla is in fact Spike's sire, making Angelus his grandsire (Spike amends this in the Angel episode "Just Rewards").
    • Word of Joss, however, claims that both mean the same thing and that he always intended for Drusilla to be Spike's sire.
    • This is clarified in Angel S5 ("Destiny"); while Drusilla turned Spike into a vampire, Angelus is the one who taught him how to be a vampire. Spike meant "sire" in the metaphorical sense.
  • The Reveal: This is the first episode in which we get a hint that Principal Snyder might be more than he appears to be. The Police Chief says he needs something to feed to the media, and asks whether they're going with if the usual "gang-related PCP" chestnut. Snyder sarcastically asks if he'd prefer the truth.
  • Reverse Psychology Backfire: While working on a banner, Willow reminds Buffy that they're supposed to go to the Bronze, because Buffy thought Angel might show up. Predictably, Xander advises Buffy to study and ditch Angel. Besides, the idea that Angel might "meet some other nice girl" because Buffy doesn't show is ridiculous. Instantly, Buffy jerks her head up and announces, "I'm going to The Bronze."
  • Running Gag: Spike knocking over the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign at the city's limits. He first does this deliberately with his car in his first scene, and again while drunk in "Lovers Walk"; both times, he exits the car saying, "Home sweet home." He knocks the sign over one final time by closing the Hellmouth in "Chosen."
  • Rule of Symbolism: Buffy has a red paint smudge in the same position as the cut on Spike's face.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: As he's sparring with Buffy, Beard-face vampire yells at Spike to give him a hand. But Xander chucks the stake to Buffy, and she quickly stakes him. Beard-face belatedly gets the hand he asked for as Spike starts clapping.
  • Say Your Prayers: Stuck in the janitor's closet, Cordy asks Willow what they should do. "Pray." is the response. Willow will regret this suggestion before the night is up.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here / What Happened to the Mouse?: Sheila's no fool, and quickly withdraws once she sees Spike's men getting pummeled. She is never seen again. (Ironically, she is the last vampire in The Master's bloodline).
  • Shadow Archetype: Shiela is exactly the sort of Ax Crazy delinquent everyone thinks Buffy is. Played straight with Spike, who has interesting similarities to Buffy in his love of combat, contempt for tradition, and willingness to form emotional attachments. The parallels between them become more overt as the series continues.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Joked about (or was it?) when Angel recounts how he didn't know whether Spike would buy his act. Xander asks what would have happened if Spike had bitten him. Well, "We would have known he bought it."
  • Stab the Salad: In the library, the camera pans over the Scoobies grimly sharpening their weapons. Finally, we come to Buffy holding a large machete... and then she proceeds to chop vegetables.
  • Superpowered Mooks: Giles and Ms Calender informs Buffy that Saturday will be the Night of Saint Vigeous, named after the leader of a vampire crusade, and that during that night, the natural abilities of vampires will be enhanced. Subverted by Spike, who is too impatient to wait two days. (The A.O. is understandably peeved.)
  • Super Window Jump: Spike and several other vampires crashing through the large window in the school's lounge. Somebody likes to make an entrance.

Spike: What can I say? Couldn't wait.

  • Surrounded by Idiots: Angel (as Angelus) chiding Spike for not having someone guarding the perimeter, which prompts Spike to quote this.
  • Tap on the Head: Beginning with KO'ing the Beard, Spike then goes on to knock Sheila's male dates unconscious. ("They're sleeping.")
  • Tempting Fate: Buffy shirking her job so she can meet Angel at the Bronze. No problemo, she assures everyone. "I can study and party and do Parent-Teacher night and make my mother proud as long as I don't have to-- [Giles and Jenny come walking in] ...fight vampires." D'oh.
    • Let's not forget one of the more classic lampshades.

Xander: As long as nothing really bad happens between now and then, you'll be fine.
Buffy: Are you crazy? What did you say that for? Now something bad is going to happen!
Xander: What do you mean? Nothing bad's going to happen.
Willow: Not until some dummy says, "As long as nothing bad happens."
Buffy: It's the ultimate jinx.
Willow: What Were You Thinking??

  • Transhuman Treachery: Well Shelia wasn't exactly nice as a human but it s not surprising that she'd join in on the attack at her school once she became a vampire.
  • Trojan Prisoner

Xander: You know a lot about this Spike guy, so, um... you got a plan?
Angel grabs Xander by the throat and drags him into the school.
Xander: Good plan.

  • Suspiciously Apropos Music
  • Use Your Head: Possibly the Trope Namer. Outside the hostage room, a vamp tries unsuccessfully to break down the door. He tells Spike it's solid. Does he have to do everything around here? Spike quips, "Use your head., then shoves the mook's face through the glass housing of an emergency fire axe.
  • Wait Here: One of the hostages tries prying open the slats on one of the windows, against Buffy's explicit instructions. Joyce shouts, "Don't be an idiot!" Snyder tells her to shut her trap and and joins in. The redshirt] opens the slats wide enough to climb through, but starts flailing about as we hear a vamp growling outside.
  • Walk in Chime In: Giles says Spike can't be worse than any other creature they've faced. Giles obviously has yet to get Buffy's jinx lecture: On cue, Angel's voice cuts in. "He's worse. Once he starts something, he doesn't stop, until everything in his path is dead." Sounds delightful.
  • We Need a Distraction: Joyce complaining that Willow's dragged her to every classroom in the building, but that in each one she visited, all of Buffy's teachers have mysteriously stepped out. Buffy, seeing Snyder coming, babbles that Joyce hasn't seen the boiler room yet.

"The boiler room is really interesting! What with the boiler being in the room and all."

  • What Could Have Been: James Marsters originally auditioned for the role of Spike using a Texan accent for the character. He and the writers eventually decided that this was not a good choice for the character, and so instead of a cowboy, Spike became a limey.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Though, to paraphrase Spike on another series, "You gotta admit, he had it coming."
  • You Are Grounded: Cordy snickers that Buffy will still be grounded at her tenth high school reunion.

Willow: Cordelia, have some lemonade.

  • You Can Panic Now: Giles thinks that perhaps Xander's suggestion to skip town for the weekend wasn't so bad after all, as Spike has fought two Slayers in the past century, and has killed them both.
  • You Have Failed Me...: Following his spectacular failure, Spike figures he'd better go make nice with the A.O. He kneels at the 'Annoying One's' feet. The A.O. tells him he failed, and Spike offers penance. A henchvamp barks that he should lay down his life. Thanks, but no thanks: Spike starts to say that if he had to do it all over -- "Who am I kidding? I would do it exactly the same, only I'd do this!" He stuffs the A.O. into a hanging cage and hoists it up the sun's rays, incinerating him.
  • You Just Had to Say It: Xander consoles Buffy that Parent-Teacher Night is no big deal; it'll go great, as long as something bad doesn't happen between now and Thursday. Buffy and Willow immediately join ranks against him for 'jinxing' everything, saying that now something bad is destined to happen. Xander, now alone, hugs his backpack and weakly shouts after them, "Well, you guys don't know! Maybe this time it'll be different!" Smash Cut to Spike barreling into Sunnydale in his black DeSoto.
  • You Watch Too Much X: "Angelus" and Spike chat about the Slayer. Angel says he's been duping her with his "I'm all tortured" act. Spike chuckles, "People still fall for that Anne Rice routine? What a world!"
  • You Must Be Cold: Spike's first Pet the Dog moment is when he takes his Badass Longcoat and drapes it around Drusilla.

Drusilla: I'm a princess.

  • You Will Be Spared: Spike menaces that the last Slayer he killed begged for her life. (Not actually true, but anyway.) He goes on that Buffy doesn't seem like the begging type. After a bit more posturing, he smirks, "Tell you what: As a personal favor, from me to you, I'll make it quick. It won't hurt a bit."

Buffy: No, Spike. It's gonna hurt a lot."

"From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here."