Saturday, April 21, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: School Hard

Buffy's principal-induced torture for today is planning the high school Parent-Teacher conference...and OMG OMG SPIKE'S HERE!!!

True story.

Buffy's up to her ears in banners and lemonade in a desperate bid not to get expelled by Principal Snyder, all while trying not to disappoint her mother and still fulfill her duties as Slayer.  Yeesh.

And it doesn't help matters that there's a new player in town who is (somewhat reluctantly) joining up with the Anointed One.  It's Spike, the bad ass English vampire who refreshingly seems more interested in having a good time than destroying the world.  And he's brought along his girlfriend Druscilla, who's more than a little out of her tree.

He's got his eyes on the Slayer.

And his first order of business is to crash parent-teacher night, so that he can take on Buffy himself.  Which means that all three of Buffy's responsibilities have somehow become fused into one.

Things I Like:

UM SPIKE AND DRUSCILLA??  No, seriously, I love them.  They're such a breath of fresh air after so many grandiose vamps who take themselves way too seriously.  And I think it's really interesting how there's genuine affection between them, at least on Spike's part.  Right off the bat that's something that sets them apart from any other vampires we've seen (except for Angel, obviously).  They're the Sid and Nancy of the Buffyverse: wild, self-destructive, and crazy in love.

"You were there?  Please!  If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock." Best first lines ever.

Some of my favorite moments on Buffy are when her Slayer life and her regular life get all mingly.  I love her having to fight off the vampires while her mom and a bunch of other parents are trapped in the school.  "Giles, my mother's in that room.  If I don't make it out of here, I know you'll make sure she does."  "Bloody right I will."  

I enjoy the reunion between Angel and Spike.  So very touching.  And thus a thousand raunchy slash fics are born.

"You get the hell away from my daughter."
Joyce, in an episode literally overflowing with badassery, I hereby award you the Crowning Moment of Awesome.  Molly Weasley, please take note: Joyce did it first, Joyce did it better, and Joyce did it with an axe.  Not only that, but Joyce is able to see the big picture: her daughter knows how to take care of herself and others.  Sometimes those skills are more important than the ones you learn in French class.

"I was rash, and if I had it to do all over again...who am I kidding?  I would do it exactly the same, only I'd do this. *kills the Anointed One*  From now on, we're going to have a little less ritual, and a little more fun around here."  Amen.

Things I Don't Like:

I never understood why Buffy didn't just warn her mother about Snyder beforehand?  Joyce might not have believed her about Snyder's irrational hatred, but at least she would have been prepared.

I know they're just starting out and the characters weren't fully developed, but I have to admit that the accents were a little wonky in this episode.  Just a teensy bit.


Xander rushes over to Buffy's purse to get her a stake.  And I have to wonder why Buffy carries a yo-yo around in her purse.  Also, I love Xander's reaction when he accidentally pulls out a tampon.


I think I've made my feelings about this episode pretty clear.  It's a really strong introductory episode for one of my favorite characters.  School Hard does so many things right, least of all ending the Anointed One storyline promptly and with gusto.  I really didn't know where they were going with it, so I was happy when Spike was just like Screw this, I don't want to play your little reindeer games anymore, and kills him.  I'm so over the melodramatic vampires who have these big melodramatic plans.

9 Stakes Out of 10

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