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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||John T. Kretchmer|
|Story by||David Greenwalt|
|Teleplay 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 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' 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. Principal Snyder is considering expelling these two, but if they do a good job in Parent-teacher night they won't expel them. A new pair of vampires arrive in town, Spike and Drusilla. Spike promises the Anointed One (Andrew J. Ferchland) that he will kill Buffy, as he has killed two slayers already.
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.
Spike tells Buffy that he will kill her on Saturday. He later kidnaps and brings Sheila, who is enthralled by his bad boy charms, to the weak Drusilla who feeds on and kills her.
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. Angel and Spike knew each other for a long time. Later, Giles finds a reference to Spike as "William the Bloody," and discovers that he has indeed killed two slayers.
On Thursday night, the Scoobies are making weapons in the library while Buffy is preparing the buffet. She fails to keep Snyder from meeting her mother. Afterwards, a stern Joyce orders Buffy home just as Spike and the other vampires crash through the window. In the ensuing fight, Buffy leads the adults to safety in the science room. Xander is sent to fetch 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 science room, she runs into Sheila, who is now a vampire. At first, Buffy doesn't realize this, but she is able to thwart Sheila's attempt to ambush her thanks to Giles.
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.
Buffy and Spike finally meet in the hall, and fight. Spike seemingly has Buffy beaten and is about to kill her, but she is saved when her mother shows up and hits Spike over the head with the flat of an axe. Hurt, Spike flees the scene. 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.
Spike returns to the vampire lair, where the Anointed One demands penance for his failure. After starting to go through the motions, Spike simply throws the boy into a cage and raises it into the sunlight.
- 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."
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.
- Spike and Drusilla are introduced. Spike will become a major character in Seasons Four to Seven of Buffy and Season Five of Angel.
- This episode contains the first hint that Snyder and the police force are aware of the supernatural occurrences in Sunnydale.
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