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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Drusilla and Spike make their presence known
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||John T. Kretchmer|
|Teleplay by||David Greenwalt|
|Story by||David Greenwalt
|Original air date||September 29, 1997|
"School Hard" is episode three of season two of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The story for the episode was conceived by series creator and executive producer Joss Whedon and co-executive producer David Greenwalt, with Greenwalt penning the teleplay. It was directed by John T. Kretchmer, the second and final episode he directed for the show. The narrative intertwines two stories, one of Spike and Drusilla, legendary vampires from Angel's past, coming to Sunnydale and Buffy Summers's attempts to keep her mother and Principal Snyder from meeting at Parent-Teacher night, which she has to organize. Unfortunately for her, this is when Spike chooses to attack.
Principal Snyder assigns Buffy and Sheila Martini (Alexandra Johnes) to prepare the school lounge for parent-teacher night on Thursday. Whoever does the better job will not be expelled. Sheila's continued indifference puts even more pressure on Buffy, who already has a tough time balancing slaying with a social life.
That night, a new pair of vampires arrive in town, Spike and Drusilla, who interrupt a gathering by the Anointed One (Andrew J. Ferchland) to discuss The Master's (Mark Metcalf) departure. 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.
While the Scoobies are busy preparing for the parents, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte) show up to inform 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. Buffy is unimpressed.
Buffy tries to combine school and social life by studying French at the Bronze. Spike is there, too, and sends one of his minions to attack someone, prompting Buffy to fight the minion. He watches while Buffy kills his minion, then steps out of the shadows and tells her that he will kill her on Saturday. He later brings Sheila, who is enthralled by his bad boy charms, to the weak Drusilla as food.
Giles does not recognize Spike from Buffy's description. Angel walks in on the meeting and tells them that Spike is a large problem, and then leaves. Later, Giles finds a reference to Spike as "William the Bloody," and discovers that he has indeed killed two slayers already.
On Thursday night, the Scoobies are making weapons in the library while Buffy is preparing the buffet. She eventually fails to keep Snyder from her mother. Afterwards, a stern Joyce orders Buffy home just as Spike and the other vampires crash through the window, too impatient to wait for Saturday. In the ensuing fight, Buffy leads the adults to safety in the science room while Xander (Nicholas Brendon), Giles, and Ms. Calendar barricade themselves in the library. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) hide in a utility closet Xander is sent out to get Angel. 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.
Buffy's location in the ceiling is discovered when Spike hears noises, and she has to avoid strikes made by the vampires to knock her down. After taking out the vampires trying to break into the classroom where the adults are, she runs into Sheila, who has been turned by Drusilla. At first, Buffy doesn't realize this, but she is able to stop Sheila's attempt to ambush her; however, Sheila escapes.
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."
Buffy and Spike finally meet in the hall, and Buffy is almost bested when her mother shows up and hits Spike over the head with the flat of an axe. With the curse "Women!", he retreats. Joyce tells Buffy that she trusts Buffy to take care of herself, whatever Snyder may say.
Snyder tells the police chief to say that the trouble was caused by a gang on PCP. When the chief wonders if people will believe it, Snyder asks if the chief would rather that he tell the truth (implying that they both believe it was a vampire attack).
Spike returns to the vampire lair, where the Anointed One demands penance for attacking too early. After starting to go through the motions, Spike simply throws the boy in a cage and pulls it into the sun, killing him. "From now on," he says, "we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here."
- The title of the episode is adapted from Die Hard, along with some plot elements such as Buffy crawling through the vents.
- Star Wars – Spike refers to Angel's having been his "Yoda".
- When Angel claims he has been pretending to be good in order to get closer to the Slayer, Spike remarks with a laugh that "people still fall for that Anne Rice routine."
- The way Spike scouts Buffy out at the party is similar to the way Arnold Schwarzenegger did in The Terminator.
- Spike's past friendship/rivalry with Angelus/Angel is elaborated upon in future episodes of both Buffy and its spinoff series Angel. "Fool for Love" and "Darla" reveal that, after being sired by Drusilla in 1880, Spike traveled Europe with Angelus, Drusilla, and Darla for eighteen years, wreaking havoc wherever they went. Although Angel left the group after being ensouled in 1898 ("Five by Five"), he rejoined them in 1900 China, where Spike killed his first Slayer (as seen in "Fool for Love"), but quickly parted company with them again ("Darla"); neither Spike nor Drusilla seem to have found Angelus' two-year absence worthy of comment at the time, perhaps because, for immortal vampires, such a timespan is comparatively brief. Per "Why We Fight," Spike and Angel last saw each other in 1943, fifty-four years prior to the events of "School Hard." Even half a century after the fact, Spike does not initially know that Angel possesses a soul, since he clearly expects Angel to join him in his mayhem.
- 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. Joss Whedon has said, however, that they both mean the same thing and that he always intended for Drusilla to be Spike's sire. Plus, as clarified in "Destiny," while Drusilla turned Spike into a vampire, Angelus is the one who taught him how to be a vampire.
- Despite Xander's earlier refusal to leave until he knew Buffy and Willow were ok, Willow and Cordelia are still in the janitor's closet after everyone has left.
- Spike and Drusilla are introduced. Spike will become a major character in Seasons Four to Seven of Buffy and Season Five of Angel.
- Spike kills the leader of Sunnydale's vampires, saying, "From now on, we're going to have a little less ritual, and a little more fun around here!" The remnant of the Master's Order of Aurelius is thus dissolved, leaving Sunnydale's vampires with no overall hierarchy.
- This episode reveals the fact that Spike has 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".
- This episode contains the first hint that Snyder and the police force are aware of the supernatural occurrences in Sunnydale.
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