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28 May 2006 @ 04:48 pm
2.3: School Hard  
Cordelia: You're starting to look a little slagged. What, are you just skipping foundation entirely now?
Buffy: Cordelia, I have at least three lives to contend with, none of which really mesh. It's kind of like oil and water and a... third unmeshable thing.
Cordelia: Yeah, and I can see the oil.

Prompts and questions are there to spark discussion. If they're useful or interesting to you, go ahead and respond to any aspect of them. But please feel free to bring up anything else that interests you, as long as it somehow relates to the episode under discussion.

2.3: School Hard
Writer: David Greenwalt
Director: John T. Kretchmer
U.S. Airdate: September 29, 1997

1. Angel & Spike
Spike: You think you can fool me?! You were my sire, man! You were my... Yoda!
Angel: Things change.
Spike: Not us! Not demons!

Given all that we know about Spike and Angel's relationship now, it's fascinating to consider what we have to go on from this episode, the type of assessment we would make based only on what happens in "School Hard". What are some of the assumptions Spike and Angel seem to make about one another? What are the reactions of the other characters to them in relation to each other (i.e., how does knowing about Spike change any attitudes about Angel?). How well are these episode-specific conclusions and assumptions borne out later?

2. New Vampires in Town
Spike: From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual...and a little more fun around here.
Dru and Spike arrive in Sunnydale in "School Hard", and pretty much turn our expectations about vampires and villains on their heads. What are some of the most evident departures from other vampiric behaviors and appearances that we see? How do Spike and Drusilla demarcate themselves from other vampires -- what are the new defining moments, issues, activities? How is the show beginning to redefine villainy?

3. Mother/Daughter Relationship
Joyce: But we moved once because of you getting in trouble. And I had to start a new business, not to mention a new life in a whole new town.
Buffy: And you don't wanna do it again.
Joyce: What I don't want is to be disappointed in you again.

Buffy's relationship to Joyce, and Joyce's integration into the world of Buffy's high-school and slaying life, are central to this episode. What developments to the relationship occur during the course of "School Hard"? What more do we learn about Joyce that we didn't know before now? To what extent is the viewer sympathetic to Buffy? To Joyce? How do the adults' take on crisis differ from the students', and how do Buffy and Joyce influence their separate spheres during the vampiric siege of Sunnydale High?

Other potential topics for discussion: when does Spike realize Angel has his soul; Dru's psychic skills (also potentially in comparison to Buffy's); Spike as impatient and bored versus Spike as "thorough and goal-oriented"; the closed-set action of the middle act (all on school grounds); resemblances to Die Hard; the debate on Spike's sire; siring Shelia

If you're interested in guest-moderating for a future episode discussion at episodic_buffy, visit this entry and see which s2 eps are still available (as we get further along in s2, we'll open up s3 to guest-mod requests as well).

Because most of the people who weighed in seemed to support this option, our discussions will now take place once a week, in order to give everyone time to respond to the conversation and to watch the episode. Future posting days opening discussion will be Mondays. Thanks to those who provided feedback on that issue.
your royal pie-ness: don't speak latin (mouthfullofdust)entrenous88 on May 30th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
One of the things that has always intrigued me about this episode -- I cannot help wondering what the hell happened to Shelia.

It's interesting to see a vampire get away, even this early in the series. Of course Buffy has bigger fish to fry, but we actually see Shelia back off (as oppose to say Sandy or Harmony, who seem like they meet their deaths but emerge episodes later as vampire characters).

I've always assumed that Dru turned Shelia, but I'm curious to hear if anyone else has thoughts on that. It seems like Spike intended her to be food only (and only played with her/lured her on b/c he wanted to get her to Dru) but Drusilla seems interested in making another vampire here.

When Shelia does turn up in her vampiric identity, she doesn't appear to be part of Spike's coordinated holding of the school. Rather, she seems to be acting on her own, which is an interesting thing for a recently made vampire who didn't seem to have that much ambition as a human.

And I'll confess I'm interested in Shelia partly because she's so poorly presented. I don't know if the actress did well in other projects, but here she's strained and awkward, though of course Shelia is a pivotal character to the episode as Buffy's bad-girl trouble-seeking antithesis.
buffysvampirebuffysvampire on May 30th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
though of course Shelia is a pivotal character to the episode as Buffy's bad-girl trouble-seeking antithesis.

I think that's almost the one intention Joss had for the character of Shelia:
To show what happens to the bad girls in school (which we all know to well, don't we)just lurking around and not having a real future.
Like my mother always told me: these guys are no company to keep with, and it will all just end bad if you stay with them
cordelianne: Buffy Girl Powercordelianne on May 31st, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)
I agree that the actress who plays Shelia isn't the best actor. Some of her line deliveries make me cringe. I wonder if she doesn't reappear because they weren't happy with her performance?

I've also always assumed that Dru turned Shelia for similar reasons. I do enjoy the contrast of the "bad girl's" fear when she's faced with vampires as opposed to the not so bad girl's take charge reaction. And that Buffy doesn't have to fight Shelia to scare her off is fun (ie. the supposed bad girl's not so tough after all).

However, you make a good point about why she's at the school, because she seems to have arrived alone. It works alright as a surprise/reveal for the audience. But if you were someone who hated school as much as Shelia seems to and are turned into a vampire, why would you go back to school? Unless it's to kill everyone? Although the evening was ending. Maybe Dru sent her there? I'm in agreement that it seems like a weird decision.