School Hard

Perri's Review

Perri's Review

Solid thrills and a great set of new villains, plus some excellent moments from unexpected directions. But no real plot to speak of.

In a 'meeting' with Principal Snyder, Buffy and a deliquent classmate, Sheila, are assigned to organize the upcoming Parent/Teacher reception, in order to avoid being expelled. That night, a new vampire known as Spike arrives in town. He meets with the Anointed One and his flunkies, and informs them that he will kill the Slayer -- as he has killed two in the last century. His girlfriend Drusilla -- obviously quite psycho -- also appears.

Buffy's mother finds out about the Parent/Teacher conferences, and plans to attend, which sends Buffy into a tailspin of anxiety. To no one's surprise, Sheila shows up late to help with decorations; while helping Buffy, the Slayerettes make plans to go to the Bronze (looking for Angel), and Ms. Calendar tells them about an upcoming vampiric holy day that Saturday, the day of St. Vigius. Buffy promises to worry about it after she deals with Parent/Teacher night. At the Bronza, Angel doesn't show, but Spike does. He sets Buffy up to fight a vampire, who she defeats with Xander's help. Spike shows himself again, and informs her that he's going to kill her on the night of St. Vigius.

Outside the Bronze, Sheila gets 'picked up' by Spike, and goes off with him. Angel shows up in the library, and tells them that Spike won't give on anything he goes after. He then disappears (big shock). Spike and Drusilla discuss their plans for the Slayer, as a captive Sheila looks on --- and becomes Drusilla's dinner.

The Slayerettes (including Cordelia) assemble weapons in preperation for Saturday night, as Buffy assembles punch and refreshments for Parent/Teacher night. Despite heroic efforts by Willow, Mrs. Summers does eventually talk with Principal Snyder, and drags Buffy out for a major grounding. Before Buffy's social life can reach an abrupt halt, the reception is crashed -- by Spike and his gang of vampires.

The guests and Slayerettes scatter, Buffy herding Snyder and her mother into the science lab, as Willow rescues Cordelia and they take refuge in a utility closet. Blockaded in the library, Giles sends Xander to find Angel, and prepares to set out to rescue Buffy -- who arrives on the scene through the air vents, having left her mother and Snyder, et al, locked in the science lab. She heads out to face the vampires, after making Giles promise he'll make sure her mother gets out safely.

Angel and Xander arrive, and Angel instantly puts a plan into motions, approaching Spike while holding Xander 'prisoner'; the two apparently go way back. Spike, unfortunately, doesn't buy Angel's act, and he and Xander are forced to fight their way out. Buffy takes out the vampires in the hall (including a vampiric Sheila) and sends her mother and the others through the library to safety, before facing Spike. The two are evenly matched, and Buffy winds up on the losing end. Before Spike can kill her, though, he's taken down from behind -- by Buffy's mother, weilding an axe. Spike retreats.

In the aftermath, Snyder discusses how they will cover up the deaths by vampire with a cop. Buffy and her mother have a heart to heart talk, with her mother giving her approval for being able to take care of herself and everyone else. Spike, dressed down for failing to kill the Slayer, retaliates by killing the Anointed One.

The Annoying One is dead, and aren't we sad. On the other hand, we know know that yeah, he was a vampire, since sunlight killed him. On the other hand, he's dead, so it's not really all that pertinant.

Spike and Drusilla appear to be here to stay, and we know have proof that, yes, a vampire can be stark staring crackers. And Angel is Spike's sire. Literal or figurative? I sense Angel angst.... Oh, and Spike is about 200.

And Snyder knows! About vampires, at least, as do city officials. Well, duh!

Ms. Calendar ain't going anywhere! And this amuses the heck out of me.

I would really like a Buffy/Angel scene that doesn't involve fighting or being teen-cute. But, they're still dancing around trying to be normal, which is understandable.

Spike and Drusilla are obviously the centerpieces of this ep and I must say, Joss has come up with an impressive pair of baddies (aided by the oh-so-talented David Greenwalt, who I believe now qualifies as a minor deity in the Pantheon of the Cult of Joss). Aside from Spike's Q-tip hair (can we say LaCroix Lives?), he's great -- smart, cocky (with reason), utterly blood-thirty and with a really twisted sense of humor. But hey, anyone who kills Colin Devil Child can't be all bad. A worthy opponent for Buffy, to say nothing of the potential for scenes with Angel.

Drusilla is scary. She's crazed, and she's going to be utterly unpredictable. She doesn't seem to be too effective, but she is apparently psycic, and there's no doubt that she's psycho. Ophelia out for murder instead of suidice. *shiver*.

Snyder knows. Damn. I've suspected he had a clue ever since 'Puppet Show', when he warned Buffy about wandering around alone, but now we have proof. He probably doesn't know she's the Slayer, judging from how easily he ignored her advice, but he knows about the vamps and the creepy crawlies. So, is this the reason he's in Sunnydale? And who is he working for/with? Inquiring Slayers want to know....

Mrs. Summers rocks! I was a little annoyed at the guilt trip at the beginning, which was really harsh. But she really came through -- she didn't try to stop Buffy from doing what had to be done, and she hit Spike with the axe!!!! It is genetic! But she seems to be ignoring some evidence -- something along the lines of "I can't stop this, I'm just going to stay out of the way and support you from back here. Whatever it is you're doing."

Wow. Angel must have been really scary when he was a bad guy, judging from how well he slipped into it this time. He and Xander are getting quite good at working together; they didn't even have to discuss the plan, just did it. Not that it was much of a plan.... And it is true -- after 200 years, he still doesn't have a clue about women.

Xander shows more promise this week than last week -- he was quite cutely intense about not wanting to leave until he knew both of the girls were okay. But once, again, how the hell did Xander find Angel? I swear, those two are spending more time together than Angel is with Buffy!

Giles really has broken out of the Watcher mode for good. He's willing to take on anyone and anything that threatens to harm 'his' Slayer. Great scenes in the library.

Willow is Willow. Sure hope we get more of her in upcoming eps. And once again she spends a scene babbling in Angel's direction, yet they still don't exchange dialogue. This is making me nuts. On the other hand, Cordelia is wearing a bit thin, there was no reason for her to have been in on the stake party. But she called him "Giles", which is interesting.... I'm getting tired of saying Ms. Calendar rocks, since it's obvious at this point. Very nice concern for Giles, without trying to stop him from getting to Buffy, and taking his arm at the end was cool. I still miss the bickering.

Best Moments:
Xander frantically looking for a stake in Buffy's bag -- and finding other things he does not want to know about! *g* And a nice bit of prop continuity -- the first thing he pulls out is the yo-yo Buffy was playing with at the beginning of 'Some Assembly Required'.

Xander's "collar with a little bell" crack after Angel sneaks out again. ROTFL!

"Have some lemonade." Willow sneaks in another stealth blow to Cordelia...

Willow cracking the vampire with the statue. I love it when she gets into the act!

Giles and Buffy in the library. Giles all cute and concerned and determined to help, Buffy relying on him to get to her mother and his wholehearted agreement. Very nice.

Angel in 'bad boy' mode. Scary, and definitely oogy. I'm sooo glad they're letting David act this season.

Mrs. Summers beaning Spike with the axe. "You get the hell away from my daughter." Wow.

Xander and Angel rerunning the so-called plan. Angel has a twisted sense of humor; I love it. David and Nick were having way too much fun this episode!

Snyder with the cops, et al. Totally unexpected.

Mrs. Summers and Buffy as they leave. Mrs. Summers makes up for the initial guilt trip session, and finally gives Buffy the kind of unquestioning support she desperately needs. Very cool.

The Annoying One buys it! Truly a Kenny Moment!!! Thank you!!! Not to mention Joss using a fan phrase for him.

Okay, Cordy and Willow in the closet were very cute, but they would have heard the sirens, and Xander, at least, would have come looking for Willow. Let's get real.

So what the heck does 'sire' mean in the Buffyverse?

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5. Some very cool bits, good characters, good intros of the new bad guys, but seriously lacking in plot. Not that I'm complaining about the character stuff, but I sense much fast forwarding to get to the good parts in this episode's future.

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