November 27, 2021

Buffy 2.3, School Hard: Maybe Nothing Bad Will Happen

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

Yep, they’re here

Summary: Snyder has Buffy and a student named Sheila in his office for a little intimidation session. He knows some principals want their students to see them as pals. In Snyder’s case, he wants his students to see him as their judge, jury, and executioner. He asks who they think is the school’s most troublesome student. Sheila looks at Buffy, but Snyder says it’s probably a tie. After all, Sheila stabbed a teacher with pruning shears (and she’s proud of it), but Buffy burned down her last school. She blames mice. Snyder doesn’t buy that, of course. “Mice that were smoking?” Buffy offers.

Both girls have gotten in fights and cut a bunch of classes, so it’s a close race. The winner gets expelled. As punishment for their misdeeds, both girls will have to plan the upcoming parent-teacher night. If they do a good job, Snyder may have nice things to say about them to their parents. Buffy immediately agrees, even before Snyder warns that if the girls don’t succeed, the next time their parents come to the school will be to clean out their lockers.

Sheila jets off as soon as they’re done, and Buffy wonders if her mom sees her the same way everyone sees Sheila, as a bad seed. Xander thinks Sheila’s much worse. Willow says she started smoking in fifth grade, and Willow even served as her lookout once. Buffy thinks she should be allowed to fight and cut classes since she’s the Slayer. Is she the only Chosen One who had to go to high school?

Xander tells her that as long as nothing bad happens in the next three days, before parent-teacher night, everything will be great. Buffy and Willow slam him for jinxing things. Xander defends himself, saying maybe this time things will be different and nothing bad will happen. That night, a car drives right through the Welcome to Sunnydale sign, and out steps the one and only Spike. “Home sweet home,” he says.

The Master and Anointed One’s remaining faithful have gathered to discuss their #1 problem, Buffy. One guy thinks he can take her out. When he does, “it’ll be the greatest event since the crucifixion.” He would know, since he was there. Spike arrives in the lair and challenges that claim. If every vampire who says they were at the crucifixion was actually there, “it would have been like Woodstock.” Spike was at the actual Woodstock and spent six hours staring at his hand because of the drugs he ingested when he fed off someone.

Spike asks who the vampires kill for fun in Sunnydale, then introduces himself. He’s familiar with Collin and his problem with Buffy. Spike agrees that killing her is the best option. He’s killed a couple Slayers himself, not that he wants to brag. “Who am I kidding? I love to brag!” he says. As he starts telling his story, his girlfriend, Drusilla, comes in. She’s not at her full strength, and she’s not all there mentally, but she can sense Collin’s power. She tells him she likes planting daisies, but everything she puts in the ground dies. Drusilla tells Spike she’s cold, so he gives her his coat. She says she’s a princess, then cuts his cheek and licks the blood.

Spike announces that the two of them are moving in, and they’re ready to see who thinks they’re stronger than Spike. He’ll kill the Slayer as long as Collin keeps the other vampires from messing with him. Drusilla frets that she can’t see Buffy because it’s dark wherever she is. She urges Spike to kill Buffy for her. Spike would do anything for Drusilla, so he’s already on board. He asks the other vampires if Buffy is tough.

Currently, she’s not – she’s trying to deal with a new cream rinse she’s been using on her hair that has disappointingly turned out to be “neither creamy nor rinse-y.” Joyce tells her she’s gotten a notice about parent-teacher night, which Buffy never mentioned to her. Joyce wonders what Buffy’s teachers will say about her. Buffy thinks they’ll all agree that she’s always ready to take notes. Her test scores might not say much about her, though Joyce warns that they’ll say whether Buffy can still have a social life.

She tells Buffy that life is more than school, but she’d prefer not to have to move again. She’d also like to not be disappointed in her daughter again. Buffy doesn’t want that, either. She tells Joyce that she has a lot of pressure on her right now. Joyce thinks she should wait until she gets a job to complain about pressure. Of course, Buffy already has a job, albeit an unconventional, non-paying one.

At school the next day, Buffy enlists Willow to help her paint a banner for parent-teacher night, since Sheila didn’t show up to do her share of the work. Buffy asks Willow to help her study that night, but when she realizes that that means skipping an evening at the Bronze, where Angel might meet some other girl, she changes her mind. She’s sure she can juggle school, partying, and parent-teacher night. She just can’t throw slaying into the mix.

Too bad! Giles and Jenny tell the other Scoobies that that Saturday is the Night of St. Vigeous. Basically, the vampires are going to cause trouble. Giles doesn’t want Buffy to put the rest of her life before slaying right now, but Buffy doesn’t really have a choice. Xander and Willow promise to help Buffy prepare for the big battle, though of course, she’ll have to fight on her own.

Snyder catches the group and calls Willow and Xander out for helping Buffy in Sheila’s place. He threatens to expel Sheila, but Buffy covers for her, saying she’s been helping for hours and just left to get more paint. Sheila shows up just then, looking hungover. Buffy continues the charade, and Snyder either buys it or just lets it go. Sheila asks if Buffy really burned down a school. She thinks it’s cool.

That night, Buffy tries to combine studying and partying by doing her French homework at the Bronze. She’s distracted since Angel hasn’t shown up yet. Xander convinces her and Willow to take a break and dance with him. Spike shows up and gets his first look at the Slayer he’s sure he can defeat. She doesn’t look so intimidating on the dance floor.

Spike sends a lackey outside to find a snack, then announces within Buffy’s earshot that there’s someone outside trying to bite someone. Buffy immediately runs out to the alley to do her thing. Xander and Willow save the would-be snack, and Xander runs into the club to get a stake from Buffy’s bag (no, Xander, a tampon won’t help in this situation). The lackey gets Buffy on the ground and tells her he’s not going to wait until the Night of St. Vigeous to kill her. She gets back up, so he asks Spike for help. Too late – Buffy’s already taken out the lackey.

Spike steps out of the shadows and gives Buffy a slow clap. He tells her he’s going to kill her on Saturday. Okay, but don’t get any blood on her cool purple jacket. Elsewhere in town, Sheila leaves a bar with a couple of guys who suddenly disappear. Spike takes their place, then gets Sheila to come with him.

The Scoobies (plus Jenny) meet up in the library to discuss their new threat, Spike. Giles isn’t familiar with his name. Xander suggests that they all just run away if Buffy’s going to be facing a big group of vampires on Saturday. Willow says they can’t run. Maybe they can hide, though. Giles doesn’t think Spike can be any worse than any other enemy Buffy’s taken on. “He’s worse,” Angel announces as he comes in. He knows that Spike will keep killing until he’s gotten rid of anything in his path.

Buffy and Angel have a brief conversation about how she wanted him to come to the Bronze, and how she never said definitively that she would be there, and how he should know after 200 years of dating what it means when a girl says she might be somewhere. Willow remarks that 200 years of dating is a lot, and even if Angel only had two dates a year, that would be 400 dates with 400 different… She catches herself and changes the subject to a nearby weapon: “Why do they call it a mace?” Giles gets everyone back on track, asking about Spike’s other names, but Angel’s already left. Xander suggests that they put a collar and bell on him.

The vampires are preparing for Saturday like they’re a religious order preparing for some holiday. Drusilla is sitting this one out, instead spending time with her doll collection. Spike wants her to eat something, but she’s not hungry. She misses Prague, even though she almost died there, thanks to a mob. Spike thinks this new home will help her get healthy again, with the added bonus of providing them a bunch of people to eat and a whole town to burn. Drusilla tells Spike to go join the others so they’ll start to trust him. Spike agrees, as long as Drusilla eats something. Well, someone – Sheila.

The day of parent-teacher night, Cordelia joins the Scoobies for weapons prep, though Buffy’s using her weapon to cut up vegetables. Giles tells them that the vampires will spend three nights in a scourge, then commit a huge, bloody attack. Buffy’s more concerned with making sure everything’s ready for parent-teacher night. Cordelia thinks her three minutes of carving stakes is enough, since Buffy isn’t going to live that long anyway. Not that Cordelia isn’t rooting for her on Saturday. Too bad she scheduled a leg waxing that day, so she can’t come and cheer her on.

Buffy leaves to make punch, briefly turning back to tell the Scoobies not to eat any of the snacks that are supposed to be for the parents. Willow checks on her later and lies that her sugarless lemonade is good. Buffy’s next goal is keeping Joyce and Snyder apart. Willow lends a hand, rushing Joyce to a classroom before Snyder can approach her. Buffy tells Snyder that her mom doesn’t speak English anyway.

The hours pass and everything seems to be going well. Cordelia might disagree, since she thinks Buffy looks tired. Buffy reminds her that she has a lot of things going on right now, and none of them mesh: “It’s kind of like oil and water and a…third unmeshable thing.” Cordelia comments that she can see the oil. She spots Joyce and praises her moisturizing routine.

Joyce comments that, strangely, every time she gets to a classroom, Buffy’s teacher has just stepped out. Snyder approaches, and this time Buffy can’t keep them apart. It’s time for Joyce to hear exactly what Snyder thinks of her daughter. Cordelia predicts that Buffy will still be grounded at their tenth high school reunion. Willow tells her to try the lemonade.

In the library, Giles finally finds something about Spike in a book. His nickname is William the Bloody, but everyone calls him Spike because he likes torturing people with railroad spikes. He’s not as old as Angel – he’s barely 200 – which Giles thinks is good, but when he reads on, he discovers that it doesn’t matter. Spike has already killed two Slayers.

Joyce returns from her meeting with Snyder unhappy and tells Buffy they’re leaving. The night is over, and as Snyder starts turning off lights, a group of vampires jumps through the windows. Spike tells Buffy he couldn’t wait until Saturday. So really, the night isn’t over after all.

Buffy throws a chair at Spike to try to hold him off for a little while, then leads Joyce, Snyder, and another guy through the hallways to find someplace safe to hide. Spike tells his minions not to let anyone escape. Willow gets a moment of awesomeness when she hits a vampire with a big bust. Buffy gets her group into a classroom as Giles, Xander, and Jenny barricade themselves in the library.

The vampires cut the power, and one tells Spike that Buffy’s still in the school, though he doesn’t know where she is. Spike kills a human just to make himself feel better. Giles realizes the phone lines are out, so he can’t call Angel. He remembers that there’s a boarded-up cellar behind the stacks, and he sends Xander to get Angel. Xander doesn’t want to leave until he’s sure Buffy and Willow are okay. Giles says no one will be okay without Angel’s help.

The people in Buffy’s group aren’t sure what’s going on. Snyder says they’re under attack by a gang on PCP. He wants to go out through a window, but Buffy tells him that everyone in the room will die if they don’t listen to her. No one can leave until she says it’s okay. Snyder hates being challenged, especially by a child, but Buffy says she knows how to stop their attackers. She tells Joyce she’s going up through the ceiling.

Spike calls for Buffy in an empty hallway like she’s a missing cat. He warns that if he finds one of her friends, he’ll kill them. He’s approaching the utility closet Willow and Cordelia are hiding in, and he’s about to kick in the door when a lackey hears Buffy in the ceiling. Giles wants to go check on her, so he prepares to leave Jenny alone in the library. Before he can leave, Buffy drops down from the ceiling. She grabs some weapons, planning to take out the vampires in the hallway while Giles gets Joyce and any other civilians out of the school.

As Buffy goes back up into the ceiling, Snyder tries to deny that anything bad is happening, as if that will end it all. Joyce wants to follow Buffy’s orders, and she tells Snyder and Other Guy to stay put. Snyder notes that she and her daughter are a lot alike. A vampire tries to break open the door to their classroom, but it’s too strong for him. Spike tells him to use his head. Specifically, he should use his head to break the glass over a nearby fire axe, then use the axe on the door.

The vampire gets through the door as Snyder and Other Guy break through the slats covering the window leading outside. Another vampire is already out there, though, and he grabs Other Guy and drags him out. R.I.P., Other Guy. Joyce should get a medal for not telling Snyder why he should have listened to her and Buffy. Spike hears Buffy in the ceiling again and follows her along to her destination.

Xander and Angel arrive outside, and when Xander asks what the plan is, Angel grabs him around the throat and drags him inside. Willow and Cordelia decide to stay put in their closet, even though they don’t think there are any vampires waiting for them in the hallway. Spike and another vampire use long poles to poke through the ceiling, trying to get to Buffy. The vampire with the axe is close to getting into Joyce and Snyder’s hideout, but Buffy gets to him before he finishes. Joyce is peeking through the hole the axe made in the door, but she doesn’t see Buffy staking the vampire.

Buffy tells her mother she needs a minute, then goes to ambush another vampire. That’s when Sheila arrives, having missed all the festivities. She grabs the abandoned axe and joins Buffy for a fight. Meanwhile, Angel encounters Spike, who calls him Angelus. They’re old buddies. Angel acts like he’s still his old, evil stuff, even saying he’s fooled Buffy into thinking he’s a good guy. Xander, whom he’s still holding around the neck, calls him “undead liar guy.” Angel exposes Xander’s neck and offers Spike a snack before they go after Buffy.

Buffy continues sneaking up on a vampire, thinking Sheila’s her backup. If she looked behind her, she would see that Sheila’s now a vampire. Fortunately, Giles can see through a library window that Sheila has raised her axe to hit Buffy, and he calls out a warning. Buffy takes out the vampire she’s been stalking, and Sheila realizes this isn’t someone she should mess with, so she runs off. With the hallway clear, Buffy gets Joyce and Snyder out of their classroom so Giles can take them to safety.

Spike wonders why Angel hasn’t killed Buffy yet. Is his tortured-vampire thing an act? Is he “house-broken”? Angel says that Buffy killed the Master, so he doesn’t think he can take her on by himself. Spike agrees to have a snack with Angel, but as they lean in to bite Xander, Spike punches Angel. He knows Angel isn’t his old self. He’s upset, since Angel was his sire (sort of; more on that later) and his Yoda. They’re demons; they shouldn’t change. Angel’s an Uncle Tom.

Spike urges his minions to join him in finding Buffy, but she’s already found them and is ready to fight. Spike agrees to go hand-to-hand, no weapons. He tells her that the last Slayer he killed begged for her life. He doesn’t think Buffy will do the same. She tells him he shouldn’t have come, and she’s going to make sure she gets in a good beating before finishing him off.

As they fight, Giles takes Joyce to the library to escape. Xander takes on a vampire himself, though Angel helps him out in the end. Spike’s surprised that Buffy is such a good fighter, and he’s even more surprised when, just as he’s about to shove a wooden beam into her, he gets hit in the head with an axe handle. Joyce has come to find her daughter, and she’s not going to let some supposed stoned gangster hurt Buffy. “Women!” Spike huffs before running off.

Once the siege is over, Snyder meets up with the police chief outside to discuss the two dead bodies they’re left with. Giles tells Jenny that he’ll understand if she doesn’t want to spend any more time with him. She makes it clear that she doesn’t feel that way. Xander chastises Angel for using him to try to convince Spike they were on the same side. He’d also like to know what Spike meant when he said Angel was his sire. Snyder and the police chief agree that they’ll tell the press the same thing they always do: This was a gang-related, PCP-fueled situation. It’s not like they can tell the truth.

Buffy finally gets to ask Joyce what she and Snyder talked about. Joyce says Snyder called her a troublemaker, but after tonight, Joyce doesn’t care. Buffy is brave and resourceful, and she looked out for others in the middle of a crisis. Joyce will sleep well knowing that (at least until Buffy gets in trouble again and that good will disappears). Willow and Cordelia are still in the closet, by the way, and Cordelia’s praying. She promises God that she’ll be a good person from now on, as long as no one earns her wrath. Bored, Willow tells her to ask for some aspirin.

Spike goes home to Drusilla, whining that he didn’t sign up to fight a Slayer who has a family and friends. He calls Collin the “Annoying One,” then approaches him to grovel. A lackey thinks Spike should die because he ruined the Night of St. Vigeous and got a bunch of vampires killed. Spike admits that he was rash, but if he had a second chance…well, he’d do the same thing over again. First, though, he’d do what he’s doing now – locking Collin in a cage and raising it up to a window so he’ll burn in the sunlight. From now on, Spike declares, the vampires in Sunnydale are going to do fewer rituals and have more fun.

Thoughts: James Marsters’ (Spike) British accent is so good that when I learned a few seasons into the show that he’s actually American, I thought it was a joke.

This rewatch is reminding me of all my favorite random moments and lines from the series, like, “Why do they call it a mace?”

So somewhere in here, Cordelia has decided to become a Scooby. I wish we’d gotten details on that. Did they invite her or did she just start showing up to their meet-ups?

Also, please join me in imagining Cordelia literally cheering Buffy on as she slays, pompoms and all.

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