Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 3: School Hard Review
Aw, Spike. He came to be my favorite part of the show. This is his entry into the series. He's fun and bad-ass, but still not that captivating his first day. He is a welcome addition and replacement for the stodgy, old school vampires who had been the main bad guys thus far. A powerful vampire who just loves his job, and doesn't have any world domination plans, just wants to meet and kill new people and move on. He fails at killing Buffy, and I guess that's why he decides to hang around. That or he's giving Drusilla time to recuperate. Not sure which one exactly at this point. He comes in, offers to kill the Slayer, and generally irritates the self-important vampire populace. He fails at killing her, and is being berated by the Anointed One, when he basically says "fuck this", and sends the little guy for a walk to remember, in the sun. I really didn't see that coming the first time i watched this. Thought the kid was going to be around for a while. It makes perfect sense of course, he and Spike would never get along, and that is exactly what Spike would do to him. James Marsters does a great, believable, and fun job as Spike. Like he was born for the part. I just today found out Marsters isn't really British, he's from California. Had always just kind of assumed he was. Also found out Spike was only supposed to last 3 to 5 episodes then get killed off like most of the Buffy villains. But so many people loved the character that things were changed. That's a great testament to how great the character is.
Dru is fun too, but she tends to get lost in Spike's shadow, for me and many other fans. I love her insanity, it's darkly fun and entertaining. But, she get's annoying rather quickly and frequently. Without her there would be no Spike, literally and figuratively speaking, but I don't really look forward to seeing what she will do next, or miss her much when she disappears or dies.Juliet Landau does a great job playing her, and the madness feels real, you can see it in her eyes as much as her actions.
The episode itself is good, but nothing special. It is a very important episode, introducing Spike and Dru, and shifting things away from The Master and Anointed. The acting is all good, though only Spike and at times Joyce Summers really stand out. The plot is fun and entertaining but not very compelling, or believable. Most of the action and drama just wouldn't really work like that in real life. The principal is irritating, as is Shelia Martini. At no point did I really think any of the heroes were going to die. And it doesn't feel like Spike showing up is a major deal, which doesn't make sense unless you actually know he was only supposed to last a few episodes. Knowing what I know now of course, seeing his first appearance makes me warm and happy. It is pleasing and awesome seeing Buffy take charge and finally get some recognition for her work, and her mom supporting and protecting her are warm smile moments. This is an episode you absolutely can't miss, but afterwards all you will really remember is Spike and Dru showing up, and the kid vampire dying. The bit at the end with Snyder and the Sheriff is nice bit of foreshadowing and making you wonder.
Importance: 10 Action: 6 Suspense: 5 Plot: 6 Acting: 7 Comedy: 8 Horror: 4 Romance: 5 Dialog: 7 Overall: 7
Writers: Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Joss Whedon
Directors: John T. Kretchmer