Home page All episodes sorted by rank All episodes sorted alphabetically All episodes sorted by writer All episodes sorted by director All episodes sorted by season Episodes with the most polarized opinions Episodes largely forgotten by fans Best and worst streaks of episodes An analysis of what makes episodes great Buffy writers sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy directors sorted by the quality of their episodes Seasons of Buffy sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy characters sorted by their possible contribution to episode quality Predicted episode quality based on writer, director, characters, and when aired Episodes that are much better or much worse than predicted Tastes in episodes Episodes ranked by taste Seasons ranked by taste Characters ranked by taste Writers ranked by taste Directors ranked by taste How the results on this site were obtained Ranking important contributors Reviews and Essays Frequently Asked Questions The links page Go to the sitemap

SCHOOL HARD (ep #2.03)

(a.k.a. There's a New Vamp in Town)

Teleplay by: David Greenwalt
Story by: Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt
Directed by: John T. Kretchmer
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Robia La Morte as Jenny Calendar
Andrew J. Ferchland as the Anointed One
James Marsters as Spike
Alexandra Johnes as Sheila
Gregory Scott Cummins as Big Ugly
Andrew Palmer as Lean Boy
Brian Reddy as Chief of Police (Bob)
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Co-Starring: Keith MacKechnie as Parent
Alan Abelew as Brian Kirsch
Joanie Pleasant as Helpless Girl

Plot Summary

Spike and Drusilla came to Sunnydale, tried to kill Buffy, and took over the local vampire guild.

Plot Details

Principal Snyder brought Buffy and Sheila into his office, declaring them to be the most troublesome students in the school. Therefore, these two would be the perfect people to run the school's parent-teacher night. His comments to their parents would depend greatly on how well they performed, and there would also be a little competition, with the loser getting expelled. Buffy appeared to be willing to cooperate, but Sheila did not seem to care.

When Buffy told Xander and Willow about this, Xander seemed to think that there would not be a problem because nothing bad can happen. A very upset Buffy and Willow reminded him that thinking nothing bad will happen will cause something bad to happen.

That night, to the sound of heavy guitar music, a vampire (Spike) drove a car into a Welcome to Sunnydale sign. It sounded like he was planning to stay a while.

In the Anointed One's lair, vampires were discussing the need for a new leader to succeed the Master, despite fears that the new leader would meet the same fate as the old leader. One talkative one decided that the one who kills the slayer should be the new leader. Soon will be the night of St. Vigeous, when the vampires will be at peak strength. A very talkative Spike entered and made his case. He was just starting to talk about how he killed two slayers, when a woman (Drusilla) walked in.

Joyce was surprised that Buffy had neglected to tell her about parent-teacher night. It seems that she wanted to keep up with Buffy's schooling, much to Buffy's chagrin.

The next day, Giles and Ms. Calendar came with bad news. She had apparently figured out that the Night of St. Vigeous was coming up, and Buffy needed to prepare. Buffy was willing to prepare but did not want to be expelled as a consequence. Giles did not seem to understand.

In the Bronze, Willow tutored Buffy in French, with little success. Xander was easily able to lure Buffy to the dance floor, where they danced in a much less provocative way than in the first episode of the season. Unfortunately, Spike was watching them. He sent a vampire to attack a woman outside while he asked for a phone to call the police about a man trying to bite someone.

Buffy took the bait and went to the rescue. She fought the vampire while Willow led the victim to safety and Xander fetched a stake. After pulling a yo-yo and a tampon out of Buffy's purse (the latter caused much discomfort for Xander), he found a stake that Buffy used to dispatch the vampire.

Spike applauded Buffy's effort and told her that he would kill her on the upcoming Saturday. Soon afterward, Spike noticed Sheila walking out of a bar with two men. He quickly made the men "sleepy" and convinced her to go with him instead.

In the library, Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, and Ms. Calendar discussed the new vampire. Giles thought that Spike would not be worse than any other threat that they faced, but Angel entered and strongly disagreed, saying that Spike was relentless. Buffy wanted to discuss why Angel did not go to the Bronze the previous night and how to keep her mother away from Principal Snyder on parent-teacher night. Willow wanted to talk about the number of dates that Angel had over the course of his existence and why a flail is called a "mace." Ms. Calendar wanted to talk about Buffy not dying on the night of St. Vigeous. Angel simply disappeared.

In the vampire lair, Drusilla was chiding a gagged doll for speaking out of turn. She punished it. Spike came and begged her to eat Sheila. She complied.

In the library, Willow eagerly played with a crossbow, Xander and Cordelia whittled stakes, and Buffy eyed a machete, which she used to chop cucumbers for a vegetable plate. Cordelia was fairly pessimistic about Buffy's chances, but Buffy did not seem to notice. Parent-teacher night was to start in an hour, and she had yet to make punch.

Buffy's mother showed up early. A panicked Buffy had Willow take her on an extensive tour of the school, which almost succeeded in keeping her away from Principal Snyder. Near the end of the night, Snyder managed to take Buffy's mother into his office for a nice long chat. She looked very displeased when it ended.

Fortunately, Spike and four other vampires created a distraction by crashing through the window. Apparently, Spike did not want to wait until the Night of St. Vigeous. Buffy managed to lead most of the remaining people, including her mother and Principal Snyder, down a hall to a science classroom. Willow and Cordelia decided to be contrarian and ran the other way to a janitorial closet.

In the classroom, Buffy asserted control. Even Principal Snyder backed down. She decided to sneak up on Spike by crawling through the ceiling. She failed to surprise Spike, but she did distract him from kicking down the door to the closet where Willow and Cordelia were hiding. Meanwhile, Giles sent Xander out to get Angel.

A vampire was about to ax his way into the classroom, but Buffy dropped through the ceiling and staked him. She started staking another vampire when Sheila showed up. Buffy trusted her and even turned her back on Sheila as Sheila picked up the ax. Fortunately, Sheila waited until Buffy walked past the library before she struck. Giles shouted a warning as Buffy staked the vampire she was stalking. Sheila fled. Buffy then led the people in the classroom to the library and safety.

Angel dragged Xander into the school. Spike seemed to be quite pleased to see Angel, who offered to share Xander with Spike. However, Spike was not fooled. He punched Angel and sent three of his minions after Angel and Xander, who wisely fled outside. This left Spike alone to confront Buffy. They had a good fight that ended when her mother decided that she needed to save Buffy from Spike.

In the aftermath, Principal Snyder and the Chief of Police decided not to tell the truth but to say that the attack was caused by gang members on PCP. Ms. Calendar appeared not to be scared away from Giles despite the danger that they usually encounter. Buffy's mother forgave Buffy for whatever Principal Snyder talked about in their meeting. Willow and Cordelia remained hidden in the closet, apparently forgotten by everyone else.

The next morning, Drusilla comforted a downtrodden Spike. He started to beg forgiveness from the "Annoying One," but instead decided to expose him to sunlight and take over.

The Good

When I rewatched "School Hard" for this review, I found that I liked it better than I remember. I still think that it is overrated, but I get that there is more to like about this episode than the fact that it introduces two popular characters.

The main thing that I like is the best fight scene that we have seen so far in the series. Action took place in several different locations. Fights were made up of more than just a couple of blows and an off-screen staking.

The Bad

It is safe to say that Spike and Drusilla are supposed to be villains. It is OK to love to hate them as long as the hate is there. Instead, the writing staff found that fans actually loved Spike and Drusilla. This was very disconcerting for the staff. The problem is that the writers forgot that television is a visual medium. The show should tell us as little as possible and show us as much as possible. We should have seen Spike be evil, not simply have Angel and Giles tell us that Spike is evil. We did see Spike score two kills, but one was an extra and the other was a villain, albeit a pathetic villain who looked like a child. Spike gets responsibility for Sheila's death as well, but she was annoying. We needed to see him kill someone we liked and cared about, even if it is just a guest character. We needed to see him do something reprehensible, not just crash a parent-teacher night.

Overall Rank: 86

Action: 9

Buffy and a minion vampire fought outside the Bronze.

Spike and his minions raid the school toward the end of parent-teacher night. Willow and Cordelia fled to a janitorial closet. Buffy's mother, Principal Snyder, Buffy, and four other people fled to a science classroom. Buffy snuck around and staked a couple of vampires. In the end, Spike and Buffy fought until her mother came to the rescue, and Angel and Xander fought minion vampires outside.

Comedy: 2

No episode with Drusilla will lack for comedy. Her scene with Miss Edith stands out.

Drama: 1

Principal Snyder presented Buffy with the possibility of expulsion.

Romance: 1

Buffy failed to meet up with Angel at the Bronze.

Ms. Calendar did not look like she intends to start avoiding Giles despite the excitement they have with each other.

Character Development: 9

This episode was designed more for character introduction than character development, but it has development as well.

Spike is a young vampire, at least when compared to Angel. He appears to be smarter than the typical vampire. He actually makes an effort to study Buffy before he engages her. Unfortunately, he does not seem to have the patience to carry out any plans that he does have. However, if one plan fails, he is ready to try the next one. He first tried to be alpha-vampire by killing Buffy. When he failed, he exposed the Anointed One to sunlight. He also loves to talk, especially about himself.

He appears to be completely devoted to Drusilla. When she is in the room, his attention is on her. He does whatever she asks him to do.

Drusilla appears to be fairly eccentric if not completely insane. She seems to be a restraining force in Spike's undeath, making sure that he does things like try to get along with the other vampires.

Principal Snyder, along with the police chief, is definitely aware of some of the things that goes on in Sunnydale. They see it as being part of their duty to suppress information about the supernatural activity that goes on. It is possible that his distaste for Buffy may come from the fear that she may learn too much and expose what is going on. This would explain why he seems to want to expel Buffy, although his animosity toward her feels personal. If this theory is correct, then he probably does not know that she is the slayer and probably knows more than he does.

Ms. Calendar has seen the danger that accompanies Giles's life and does not seem fazed.

Joyce is beginning to recognize the disconnect between what she hears about Buffy and what she sees. Principal Snyder said many bad things about Buffy, but, in a crisis, Buffy saved several lives. One of the people who died would have survived if he had only listened to Buffy. This probably would have been a good time to tell Joyce about who Buffy is and her role in the world.

Xander apparently trusts Angel enough to let Angel use him as bait.

Angel seems to have reverted back to "cryptic guy" phase. He knows a lot more about Spike than he said. He is allegedly Spike's sire and his "Yoda." At this point, it is not clear what that means, but They do have a connection.

Importance: 8

The main importance of this episode comes from introducing two of the most interesting villains of the series, Spike and Drusilla.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

I am writing this review soon after writing the season 1 summary when I discovered that Buffy won only three MVPs all season, and none after the fourth episode. She must have realized that she cannot rest on her status as title character. Instead, she must earn the MVPs. She did in this episode, earning her first since "Teacher's Pet." Anyone who wonders why she deserves it can go to her mother's speech at the end of the episode that is in the Memorable Quotes section.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Giles

This is a poor episode for figuring out things. Giles did discover information about Spike, some of which is true. This gives him an easy award.

Goat of the Week: The Anointed One

Spike looked like he was about to get this award. He came in, claimed that he could kill Buffy, made a plan to do so, got impatient and charged in, and blew everything. However, he did not let that failure stop him. He came back, took out the Anointed One, and took over.

The Anointed One earned the Goat because he was in charge. He gave control to a vampire who talked big but could not deliver. This depleted his forces. Despite all this, Spike was still able to oust him in a bloodless, albeit dusty, coup.

Random Commentary

Principal Snyder seemed to want to create a competition between Buffy and Sheila. Had Buffy told Principal Snyder the truth about Sheila's lack of effort, Buffy might have looked good in comparison. I have to give Buffy credit for not taking the bait and actually covering for Sheila.

I am not a slayer and am not experienced in using weapons. Still, I could have chopped cucumbers much less clumsily than Buffy did, even with a machete.

From his conversation with the police chief at the end of the show, many people come to the conclusion that Principal Snyder's first name is Bob. Snyder was calling the police chief Bob, not the reverse.


Sheila may have stabbed a teacher with pruning shears, and Buffy may have burned down a building at a previous school, but none of them have eaten a principal. Why are they considered to be the worst students at the school? Granted, the brats in "The Pack" were possessed, but does anyone think that Principal Snyder would accept that excuse? It is possible that Principal Snyder believes the official story that wild dogs ate his predecessor, but the brats still did enough other bad things, such as eating the school mascot, to warrant being in Sheila and Buffy's league.

Furthermore, how could someone be as troublesome as Sheila apparently was without being noticed until now?

When Willow decided that she should not talk about Angel going on 400 dates, she changed the subject, gestured toward a weapon, and asked why we call it a "mace." We do not. We call it a "flail."

Why would Buffy want to fight Spike without weapons. He will still have his teeth, so he can kill her. She would be able to hurt him, but she could not kill him.

How is it at all plausible that Willow could still be trapped in the closet without Xander or someone else desperately trying to find her?


The Anointed One Supposedly, the Anointed One was killed because the actor was about to hit puberty, and vampires are not supposed to age. However, I could not see him sticking around for long anyway because he was not that interesting.

The Anointed One worked in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date." Many people in the audience would assume that the big tough vampire who talked a good game was the new force that was supposed to help the Master free himself and take over the world. We would not expect a boy to be this great force. In subsequent episodes, the need to train the Anointed One provided a good excuse for the Master to talk and discuss his view of the world.

With the Master gone, the Anointed One became unnecessary. For an episode, it was amusing to see strong vampires being subservient to a boy. However, it would get old very quickly. Sunnydale villainy needed fresh blood (pun unintended but not unwelcome). It is a good thing that Spike and Drusilla are in town to provide it. The Anointed One had to go.

The Annointed One left the show with zero MVPs, zero Sherlock Holmes Awards, and one Goat.

Memorable Dialogue

"A lot of educators tell students, 'Think of your principal as your pal.' I say, 'think of me as your judge, jury, and executioner.'" Principal Snyder

"Home sweet home." Spike

"If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock." Spike
"I oughta rip your throat out." Vampire
"I was actually at Woodstock. That was a weird gig. I fed off a flower person, and I spent the next six hours watching my hand move. So, who do you kill for fun around here?" Spike

Yeah, I did a couple of slayers in my time. I don't like to brag. Who am I kidding? I love to brag." Spike

"La vāche doit me touche de la jeudi. Was it wrong? Should I use the plural?" Buffy
"No, but you said 'The cow should touch me from Thursday.'" Willow
"Maybe that's what I was feeling." Buffy

"Slayer!" Vampire
"Slayee!" Buffy

"Who are you?" Buffy
"You'll find out on Saturday." Spike
"What happens on Saturday?" Buffy
"I kill you." Spike

"If they're gonna attack in force, aren't we thinking vacation?" Xander
"We can't run; that would be wrong. Could we hide?" Willow

"I was being cool. Come on, you've been dating for what, like, 200 years? You don't know what a girl means when she says maybe she'll show?" Buffy
"Wow, two centuries of dating. If you only had two a year, that's still like 400 dates with 400 different... Why do they call it a mace?" Willow

"Miss Edith speaks out of turn. She's a bad example and will have no cakes today." Drusilla

"Can I go now? She doesn't need this many stakes. If this guy, Spike, is as mean as you all said, it should be over pretty quickly. We're still all rooting for you on Saturday. I'd be there myself if I didn't have a leg wax." Cordelia

"Giles has us locked in there working on your weapons. Even slaves get minimum wage." Cordelia

"I'm a veal kind of guy. You're too old to eat [crunch], but not to kill." Spike

"Come up against the slayer yet?" Spike
"She's cute. Not too bright, though. Gave the puppy dog, I'm all tortured act. Keeps her off my back when I feed." Angel
"People still fall for that Anne Rice routine?" Spike

"You think you could fool me! You were my sire, man! You were my Yoda!" Spike

"You get the hell away from my daughter!" Joyce

"Principal Snyder said you were a troublemaker, and I could care less. I have a daughter who can take care of herself, who's brave and resourceful, and thinks of others in a crisis. No matter who you hang out with or what dumb teenage stuff you think you need to do, I'm gonna sleep better knowing all that." Joyce

"If you get me out of this, I swear I'll never be mean to anyone ever again, unless they really deserve it or if it's that time of the month, in which case, I don't think you or anyone else can hold me responsible." Cordelia

"I was rash, and if I had to do it all over again... Who am I kidding? I would do it exactly the same, only I'd do this first." Spike
"No!" The Anointed One
"From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here." Spike

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 5, 2012