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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S2E3 "School Hard"

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A match made in Bedlam.

"If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would've been like Woodstock."

Directed by John T. Kretchmer.

Written by David Greenwalt, Joss Whedon, Rob Des Hotel, & Dean Batali.

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, the "WELCOME TO SUNNYDALE" sign is flattened beneath the tires of a 1959 DeSoto Fireflite, marking the arrival of the vampire world's answer to Sid Vicious & Nancy Spungen, 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. The Anointed One tells Spike to wait for Saturday night to attack Buffy, as that particular Saturday is essentially a holy night for vampires and will strengthen their mooks. Spike agrees, and in the meantime he 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 Sheila.

Xander returns to the school with Angel, who pretends to be Angelus. Though Spike first welcomes Angel 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 Angel 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 a fire ax, 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. Looks like there's a new el jefe in town, one who looks like he may stick around for a while. You know, for fun and frolic.


  • Air-Vent Passageway: Buffy gets out of a locked classroom and gets the drop on Spike by crawling though the space above the drop ceiling (she is at least shown traversing a wooden catwalk). Also worth noting, Spike notices, and in a singsong voice says “some-one's-in-the-cei-ling”.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sheila ends up falling for Spike not long after meeting him. Unfortunately for her, he was just luring her so he could feed Drusilla.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Joyce's speech to Buffy at the end.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration
    Sheila: Did you really burn down a school building one time?
    Buffy: Well, not actually one time.
    Sheila: Cool.
  • Artistic License – Religion: St. Vigeous, Patron Saint of vampires. One wonders how a saint dedicated to demonic predators was canonized in the first place. Presumably, it's just their name for him. Or maybe vampires have their own religion, including saints?
  • Asshole Victim: Sheila is a flakey delinquent who leaves the entire responsibility of preparing for Parent-Teacher night on Buffy, and ends up being seduced and kidnapped by Spike to be fed to Drusilla.
  • Axe Before Entering: One of Spike's minions is trying to break down a door. Spike tells him to use his head, grabs him by the scruff of his neck, and uses his head to break the glass on the fire axe case beside the door.
  • 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!"
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Buffy can't kill the Anointed One, partly because she's prophesied not to but mostly because he's a kid. Luckily, Spike does it for her.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: So long, Anointed One.
  • Beard of Evil: Beard-mook a.k.a. "Big Ugly". "Lean Boy" also sports one.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Mocked by Spike when he calls out of the Anointed One's mooks for lying about being at the crucifixion. Played straight by Spike himself, who was present for both the Boxer Rebellion (briefly mentioned by him before Drusilla enters the room) and Woodstock.
  • Blatant Lies: Snyder re: the Red Shirt teacher.
    "I told him not to go out that window."
  • Bound and Gagged: After Spike kidnaps Sheila, he has her hands bound and her gagged when taken back to his hideout. Poor girl couldn't even scream when Drusilla kills her.
  • 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.
    • 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 after getting intrigued by Spike after leaving the Bronze and then captured. Spike has her bound up in Drusilla's room. Unlike most examples, no one comes to save her and turned by Dru.
  • 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. Buffy was planning to inform her about this when? "For the last two weeks."
    • 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. Spike's attack couldn't have come at a better time.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Spike's fire ax changes hands quite a few times, but ultimately ends up in Joyce's possession. She uses it to bash him in the head before he could kill Buffy.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are:
    • Spike does this to Buffy, complete with singsong tone (though he doesn't actually say the line; instead it's "Someone's in the ceiling...").
    • He does say "Here, kitty-kitty", which may as well be an alternate title for this trope.
  • Conflict Killer: The show jettisons the last of the Master's old-fashioned order in favor of a more modern Unholy Matrimony couple.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Spike spent six hours doing this at Woodstock after feeding off a hippie.
  • Continuity Nod: Reference is made to Buffy burning down the school building, which got her kicked out of her previous school. She also says it's not the only time she's done this; presumably a reference to "Some Assembly Required".
  • 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 ax from earlier beans him on the head, knocking him down. He looks up to see that Slayer powers aside, the asskicking gene runs in the Summers family. "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 is talking with Spike.
  • 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. Are you getting a word picture here?!"
  • Cut Phone Lines: Giles tries to call for help, but discovers that the phones have been cut.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Joyce wonders what Buffy's teachers will have to say about her scholastic performance. "Well," Buffy declares, "I think they'll all agree that I always bring a pen to class, ready to absorb the knowledge."
  • Death of a Child: 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.
  • Delinquent: Sheila was a major one in life, having said to have attacked a teacher with pruning shears (and quite proud of it), blowing off the punishment to help with the Parent-Teacher Conference and hanging out with other bad company to boot. It's ultimately what ends up losing her humanity when she fell for a "bad boy" like Spike.
  • Description Cut: Spike topping off his grand introduction by asking, "So, about this Slayer. Is she tough?" Cut to Buffy running a comb through her split ends and whining. "Ow."
  • Die Hard in A School Invaded By Vampires: John McClane never looked so good.
  • Double Entendre: When Spike and Buffy meet up for their big battle, they're both holding weapons and Buffy asks if they're really necessary. Spike replies; "I just like them. They make me feel all manly." He then tosses his weapon aside, as, being Spike he's clearly Not Compensating for Anything.
  • Dramatic Irony: Drusilla's foreshadowing to Spike that she might one day become so old, her hair will fall out. Spike: "Never happen."
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Whedon was forced to kill the Anointed One here before he really got to do anything due to fears that the actor would age out of believably.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Spike's relationship with Angelus was clearly not quite finalized when this episode was written. First, he refers to Angelus as his sire; later episodes would confirm that it was Drusilla (though they also got around this by saying that vampires refer to everyone in their siring line as a "sire", a distinction not previously shown). He is also shown to be very friendly with Angel when he believes that his soul is gone again, while later episodes would show they had a bitter rivalry even before his soul was returned.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: A variant. Buffy runs into a seemingly-normal Shelia while stealthing her way through the school and gives her an axe so she can back her up. Of course by this point, we know Sheila has long since been killed and is now an undead. As Buffy makes to stake another vampire, the camera pans to the side over her shoulder where we see Sheila in vamp face, readying her ax to kill Buffy. Luckily Giles spots this from one of the classrooms and shouts out a warning to Buffy.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
  • Establishing Character Music: Spike drives into Sunnydale to a heavy metal guitar riff.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: One of the Anointed One's mooks says that someone needs to take the Master's place, and that the one who kills the Slayer should wear his mantle. This is hinted to be Spike's agenda, though we quickly learn that he's only in it for the action. In the end, Spike ends up dissolving the Master's order entirely.
  • Eviler than Thou: Spike unceremoniously dusting the Anointed One.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Sorta. After Buffy meets Sheila during the school raid, she's of course in human form. But when they approach a vampire. The camera has Buffy in front of her and as she sneaks up on him, moves aside to which we now see Shelia in Game Face, readying her ax to kill Buffy.
    • An inverse happens with Spike, as the audience gets their first glimpse of his human face as he turns back to Drusilla (and the camera).
  • Fake Defector: Angel, vamped out and holding Xander in a headlock. He acts chummy with Spike, giving the impression that he's been Evil All Along. They embrace, although Spike gets an ambiguous look when his face is on Angel's shoulder.
    Xander: I knew you were lying. Undead... liar guy.
  • 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.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Long before Spuffy was on the agenda, Spike seems overly fascinated by his intended victim, stalking Buffy at the Bronze with an intense, sexual vibe.
    • According to James Marsters, he played Spike as having an attraction to Buffy from the beginning.
    • For that matter, when Buffy does show up for the final fight, she bears herself in an almost seductive way, coming out of the shadows.
  • Foil: Sheila is essentially one to Buffy to showcase Principal Snyder's Horrible Judge of Character. While Buffy isn't exactly a saint, she's leagues above Shelia whom Snyder lumps together (And that's only because of hearing of Buffy past "delinquency" i.e. burning down her gym, and just singling her out for it).
  • 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.
    • Drusilla does this when she's about to kill Shelia while telling her "naughty" doll, Ms Edith, that she could've "watched with the rest" if she had been good.
    • Shelia herself when she attempts to attack Buffy from behind.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: Thugs with deformed faces and superhuman strength attacking the school = a gang on PCP.
  • Gilligan Cut: Spike finishes off his badass tirade by asking if the current Slayer is tough. Cut to Buffy in her pyjamas, glaring at herself in the mirror and muttering "Ow!" under her breath as she brushes a stubborn tangle out of her hair.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The first thing Spike does after his Feet-First Introduction is light up.
  • Half-Truth: Joyce asks what 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.
  • Hero Killer: Spike has personally killed two of Buffy's predecessors, and comes close to killing her.
  • Homage: The episode is an homage to Die Hard, complete with Buffy sneaking around in the ceiling.
  • Hypocritical Humor
    Willow: We can't run, that would be wrong. Could we hide?
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Snyder rhetorically asking Buffy and Sheila who is the worse 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 corrects, grinning. "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 into the wall. While he's stuck, she kicks him for good measure. Then he pulls a wooden beam out of the wall and clocks Buffy with it.
  • In Case of X, Break Glass: Buffy's high school actually has a fire axe in one of these emergency glass cases by the door of the school. In this episode, Spike breaks said glass with *the face* of one of his own minions in order to get the axe.
  • 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 (having seen her being fed on earlier by Drusilla). Oops! Shelia raises the ax and about to swing when Giles spots her through a glass door and shouts a warning.
  • It Runs in the Family: When Joyce talks back to him, Snyder snarks that he sees a "mother-daughter resemblance".
  • Invincible Classic Car: Spike crashes his car, a 1959 DeSoto Fireflite, through the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign, and the car isn't damaged at all. The paint doesn't even get scratched.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The episode opens with Snyder giving a speech describing himself in these terms.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Spike disposes of The Anointed One.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Anointed One gets offed at the end of the episode, when Spike tosses him in a cage and hoists him up into the sunlight.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Two examples.
    • The now vamped Shelia does this after her sneak attack on Buffy fails and she sees a fellow vampire get dusted.
    • Spike decides to cut his losses for the time being after Joyce prevents him from killing her daughter.
  • 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're—you're all slaves to the, uh, television...young people nowadays..."
  • Laughably Evil: The main difference between Spike and the old-fashioned Order; Spike's snark is just as hilarious as it is badass and intimidating.
  • 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 ax. 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 hungover. Not surprising she ends up as a vampire, really. Outside the school, Buffy immediately tries formulating a schedule with her, bust she's more interested in joining up with her punk rocker friend (someone called "Meat Pie") and walks off.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: So long, Anointed One. Hello, Spike and Dru!
  • Mama Bear: Joyce hits Spike in the head with an ax. "You get the hell away from my daughter!"
  • 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 have raised a red flag though Buffy figures she came in right before Spike's attack). Of course the audience knows she's a vamp since last we saw her before this point was Dru making a meal of her. But Buffy is unawares.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Grabbing Sheila's ax, Buffy turns to swing at a vampire mook. He ducks, and the ax 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: While studying French, Buffy says something in French that translates to "The cow should touch me from Thursday."note  And she said it wrong.note 
    Buffy: La vache...doit la...jeudi. [looks at Willow] 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 sexual tension 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!
    • Spike's "I smell the blood of a nice, ripe...girl".
  • Noodle Incident: Dru complains to Spike 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 an "Inquisitor" and thrown into a Prague jail. Spike didn't fare much better, as he got tossed into a lake by an angry mob.
  • 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 back-kicks Lean Boy as he's hauling the Annoying One into the cage, also without turning around.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Sheila's final human expression as she turns to Dru, who's in vamp face after addressing her dolls...then proceeds to feed on her.
    • Giles also has this reaction upon discovering Spike is a Hero Killer who has taken out two past Slayers. He subsequently admits to Xander that his suggestion of running away that Saturday "might've been a good one."
  • 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 Overcorrectness: 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.
    [Sheila gasps and turns to her, seeing Dru in game face. Dru turns to her, smiles, then lets out a growl as she proceeds to bite her neck]
  • Prophetic Name/Punny Name: Sheila Martini?
  • Punctuated Pounding: Buffy using Spike's henchvamp 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., 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. That's probably why he said Angelus was his "Yoda".
    • Giles claims Spike is "barely 200", when later it will be revealed he's not even 150, even counting his human lifespan.
  • The Remnant: After the Master's death and the Order of Aurelius' failed attempt to resurrect him, only the Anointed One and a few others are left, and they decide that whoever kills Buffy will take the Master's place. When their plot is ruined due to Spike's Leeroy Jenkins tendencies, he decides to simply kill the Anointed One and takes control of what's left of the order, dissolving it completely.
    Spike: From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here!
  • 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 does this deliberately with his car in his first scene and then 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.
    • Spike is introduced with his Game Face on and the audience won't see his human face until Drusilla enters the room and he begins doting on her, firmly tying his humanity to his capacity for (romantic) love—something which becomes a major feature of his character and overall arc down the line.
  • Rule of Threes: Spike has killed two Slayers already; the third will prove problematic.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: As he's sparring with Buffy, Beard-faced vampire yells at Spike to give him a hand. 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.
    Willow: [facepalming] Ask for some aspirin.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Vampire Sheila's no fool. She quickly withdraws once she sees one of Spike's men getting staked. Ironically, this likely could stem from the fact that her devil-may-care attitude got her killed before by blindly following Spike when she first met him. She just came back as an undead, so she's not wasting her newfound semi-immortal (if cursed) existence fighting somebody she can't win against.
  • Shadow Archetype: Sheila 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.
    Buffy: That's what mom sees when she looks at me. A Sheila.
  • 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. "We would have known he bought it."
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Spike quotes Othello when he vows to cut Buffy into messes.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Spike uses (and will continue to use) some rather rude British swearwords.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Had Sheila bothered to help out in the group project, she wouldn't have run into Spike and become Dru's meal, losing her humanity in the process.
  • Spiked Blood: Spike claims that he got high feeding off a hippie at Woodstock.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Angel, naturally. He shows up in the library to warn Buffy about Spike, banters a little, then vanishes.
    Xander: I'm putting a collar with a little bell on that guy.
  • Super Powered Mooks: Giles and Ms. Calendar inform Buffy that Saturday will be the Night of St. 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") chides Spike for not having someone guarding the perimeter, which prompts Spike to quote this.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Nickel's "Stupid Thing" is being performed in the Bronze during Buffy and Spike's first scene together. Non-diagetic music cuts in after the singer gets to the lines "I'm one step away from crashing to my knees/One step away from spilling my guts to you", so it was probably meant to reference the fact that Spike has an elaborate plan, the next step of which is to kill Buffy. However, the song as a whole depicts an unhealthy relationship from which the singer wants to escape, but lacks the willpower, which accidentally foreshadows much later developments. The song also foretells a major development for the final season: "You see, there's this huge chunk of me missing/It's gone/And I can't feel it, I can't feel it, I can't feel it."
  • Tap on the Head: After beginning with KO'ing the Beard, Spike then goes on to knock Sheila's male dates unconscious. ("They got sleepy.")
  • 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 gonna happen!
      Xander: What do you mean? Nothing'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?? Or were you even thinking at all?!
      Cut to Spike arriving in Sunnydale.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Well, Sheila wasn't exactly nice as a human, but it's not surprising that she joined in on the attack at her school once she became a vampire.
  • Trojan Prisoner:
    Xander: You know a lot about this Spike guy, so, got a plan?
    [Angel grabs Xander by the throat and drags him into the school]
    Xander: Good plan.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Giles is initially unconcerned with Spike's threats, remarking that he's "barely 200" (vampires being Stronger with Age). Then he reads further, and promptly goes Oh, Crap! upon discovering that Spike has killed two past Slayers.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Spike and Drusilla, although they probably aren't actually married.
  • Use Your Head: Possibly the Trope Namer. Outside the hostage room, a vamp tries unsuccessfully to break down the door. He tells Spike, "Door'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 the emergency fire ax that's mounted right next to the door.
  • 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 Red Shirt 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.
  • Watsonian versus Doylist: The Watsonian explanation is that the Anointed One died because Spike is a wild card. The Doylist explanation is that they wanted to shift to a more fun, modern tone by having Spike mix things up, and the AO was noticeably aging so they needed a way to write him off the show anyway.
  • 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 Happened to the Mouse?: Shelia, the delinquent that was fed to Drusilla, turned and joined in on the school raid, was last seen fleeing from Buffy after watching her stake a fellow vampire. Buffy doesn't go after her and she hasn't been seen since.
  • Wham Episode: This is the first appearance of Spike, a stylish and infamous vampire who has killed two slayers before. He crashes into town, kills off the Anointed One and asserts himself as the new Big Bad, officially marking the show Growing the Beard. He would go on to grow into one of the most pivotal characters on the show, joining the main cast down the line and becoming, for all intents and purposes, Buffy's Second Love.
  • Wham Line: This exchange near the end of the episode, which reveals Snyder and the police know about the supernatural happenings of Sunnydale and are covering it up, Foreshadowing the villain of the next season.
    Police Chief: I need to say something to the media people.
    Snyder: So?
    Police Chief: So, do you want the usual story? Gang-related? PCP?
    Snyder: What'd you have in mind? The truth?
    Police Chief: Right. Gang-related. PCP.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Spike is utterly unfazed by the Anointed One being a Creepy Child and kills him without a lick of remorse. 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 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! First!" He stuffs the A.O. into a hanging cage and hoists it up into 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 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.
  • Your Vampires Suck: "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 Won't Feel a Thing!: Spike menacingly states, "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!


Video Example(s):


Buffy [School Hard (Vamp Faces)]

Edited clips from Buffy the Vampire Slayer", third episode of the second season "School Hard". Drusilla shows off her vamp face when about to feed and later her victim, Sheila, does the same when about to attack Buffy.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GameFace

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