"PCP! It's a gang on PCP!"
The first time I watched "School Hard" with two of my Buffy fan friends, they both giggled with excitement because, omg, it's Spike's first episode! Spike will go on to become one of the show's most popular characters. I find his appearance on the show a little lackluster compared to the fascinating character he turns out to be, but I should say that I think James Marsters is hands down the best actor ever to appear on the show. It's cruel how many times they put him in scenes with David Boreanaz.
Onto the episode! Buffy's met her bad girl match. Sheila, who stabbed a horticulture teacher with pruning shears, meet Buffy, who burned down a gym. Principal Snyder puts them in charge of Parent's Night--yet another brilliant idea from Sunnydale High's most revered principal!
But there are more important matters at hand. Who should come crashing into the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign blasting menacing rock tunez, smoking a cigarette, and wearing a long leather trenchcoat but...Spike!
I knew Spike was a fan favorite, so imagine my surprise that he's a vampire! Okay, so it's not quite as climactic as Angel's big reveal. But in all seriousness, I didn't know anything about Spike besides the fact that he was a big heartthrob and fans loved him. So I was quite shocked to find out that he was a bad guy, and the true villain of this season. Who knew!
Spike waltzes into the Anointed's lair and make no mistake--he isn't too impressed. He sasses the Anointed's lackies, and better yet, he's British! Hey, I might kinda like this Spike guy! He promises the Anointed that he'll go kill the Slayer, nbd, does it every day.
But what is this demented jewelry box music? Who is this strange wispy woman trailing behind Spike? It's Drusilla, Spike's girlfriend and Rose's Official Third Most Obnoxious Buffy Character Ever! She will spend the entire series on opiates, saying ridiculously twee things with a macabre punchline and taking five minutes to spit out each word. She approaches the Anointed and says, "Do you like daisies? I plant them, but they always die!" You see, Drusilla is ~*~*~craAaAaAzy~*~*~! She does craaaaaaazy things all the time! And her British accent is so bad that my British friend was completely shocked when I told him that she was even supposed to be British.
Anyhow, Buffy is busy on the Parent's Day decorating committee. Sheila ditched Buffy, but Buffy covers for her cos she's one down chick. She doesn't want any trouble complicating this high stakes Parent's Day gig because Joyce is looking forward to meeting Principal Snyder, who has some not-so-nice things to say about Buffy's potential.
Meanwhile, all of the vampires are gearing up for what sounds like Sid Vicious Day [Note: Later research has revealed that the holiday is actually St. Vigeous Day--whatever], another sacred vampire holiday in which bad things are supposed to happen if they are not thwarted by Buffy, which they always are. Spoilers! Spike is in town on vacation and hopes to join in the festivities, and brings Sheila to Drusilla as a little appetizer. But Drusilla is busy fondling her creepy doll collection and chastising them for speaking out of turn cos she's CRAAZY!!!
It's Parent's Night, also the eve of Sid Vicious Day. Giles, Xander and Jenny lock themselves up in the library to do research on this new Spike fellow. Bad news--he likes to torture victims with railroad spikes and has killed not one but TWO slayers! In other news, Buffy gets in big trouble with Joyce after she talks about Buffy's delinquency with Principal Snyder. Just when she's about to dole out the punishing, Spike and co. come crashing through the school windows because they just could not wait for Sid Vicious Day.
All of the parents and teachers lock themselves in the classrooms per Buffy's insistence. Snyder and Joyce are like, "No way Buffy, you can't face those guys, they're on PCP! There's something wrong with their faces!" Instead, she crawls around in the airducts, bein' a pro, takin' names, I don't know, stuff like that.
Xander has to run and find Angel, a task he whines and whines about because Buffy loves Angel and Angel is soooo annoying and what does she see in him anyway? And oh yeah, Xander is a tool. It turns out that Angel and Spike have a history--they used to be pals! Not only that but, as Spike yells, "You were my sire, man! You were my Yoda!"
Lots of stalking about the high school ensues. And yet, for all of Buffy's Slayerness, it's Joyce that gets Spike to run away by hitting him over the head with a blunt object. "Women!" Spike yells. Yes. This is all very likely.
So all is resolved? No? Everyone goes on believing vampires are PCP gangs, Joyce accepts that Buffy is a bad girl, Jenny and Giles walk away hand in hand, and...Snyder reveals that he knows vampires are real and willingly spreads misinformation! Uh oh, this is coloring my opinion of him :(
But wait, we're not finished! It's Sid Vicious Day, and Spike has to go prostrate himself before the Anointed One because he failed to dispose of the Slayer and ruined everyone's holiday. But Spike isn't the prostrating kind, and he throws the Anointed One (whom he affectionally calls "the Annoying One") into the sunlight for an insta-cremation. Jesus, it's about time!
"From now on, we're going to have a little less ritual and a lot more fun around here!" is his parting note. I think I'm going to like this season.
Favorite moment: Annoying One bites the dust, obviously.