Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | March 6, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E03 – School Hard

School Hard
Season 2, Episode 3
Original airing: September 29, 1997

My Rating: 85

The Good: This is a good episode made better by the introduction of Spike and Drusilla as season two’s Big Bads. These characters come onto the scene with a power and vibrancy which gives new life to the show after dealing with the death of the Master. Spike is a powerful presence from the start as he works to increase his Slayer kill count from two to three. He not only attacks Buffy, but her family and friends as well. He isn’t scared to bring the fight straight to her. Meanwhile, he’s also protecting and caring for Drusilla, who is introduced as very fragile. Drusilla is obviously insane and it’s interesting to see the affection she shares with Spike. It brings up the idea of demons with emotions and it’s a welcome dimension to the characters. It was also interesting to see Spike and Angel’s reunion and realize that there is a very deep connection between them that has only had the surface scratched. All in all, I’m thrilled to see these two replace the Anointed One as the threat of the show.

Meanwhile, we had continuing character development for Buffy. She’s working harder than ever to balance her real life with her Slayer life. And in the end, it’s this aspect that keeps Buffy alive. It’s indicated that other Slayers have fallen because they always work alone. But Buffy is saved at the end of the episode by her mother. And her friends are there to help her throughout with preparing for the vampire attack as well as Parent Teacher Night. Buffy is more vulnerable for having people she cares about to protect, but she’d also never be able to do everything on her own.

It was also interesting to see an indication that Principal Snyder and the police chief know there was more to the attack than a gang on drugs. They don’t come out and say that they know it was vampires, but they definitely hint that it’s supernatural and not something which can be printed in the papers. If Snyder does know about vampires, this explains a lot about his interest in Buffy and desire to kick her out of school.

The Bad: Sheila was an unnecessary addition to the cast. She served very little purpose except to show us that Buffy really is a good person placed in poor circumstances. But we already knew this from the last season, so there was really no point in illustrating it again.

Favorite Moment: The writers of the show recall so perfectly the powerful issues in Buffy and Giles’ relationship. At the end of last season (S1E12), Buffy is upset with her prophesied death and Giles’ position as her watcher, when he’s acted so much more as a father. It’s recalled here as Giles is about to risk his life to fight Spike because he’s Buffy’s watcher and he’s responsible for her. It’s a short moment, but very powerful for what has happened before.

The Bottom Line: This was an excellent introduction episode for Spike and Drusilla.

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