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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.
 
 
 
zandra_x on May 30th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
It's hard to separate all the impressions we’ve gathered of Spike from all the subsequent episodes we seen him in, all the fanfic written about him, all the background that's been provided for him, and look at him with fresh eyes. I saw BtVS in reruns and out of sequence; I wish I had had the experience of seeing him appear in this pristine condition.

The tone of the Spike-Angel interaction strikes us as odd because of all that comes after, revealing their history, just as the Darla in the first season is hard to reconcile with the sophisticate we see roaming the world with Angelus. And of course, we have that conundrum that baffles every newcomer to the series, But, but, Spike says Angel's his sire, but I thought Drusilla was. And there's the 'when did Spike find out about Angel's soul?' question, because he obviously knows about it now, but didn't in their submarine journey. If only the writers had known how much Spike there was going to be in the series. As it is, there is a lot of canon; the two Slayers he killed (one in the Boxer Rebellion), William the Bloody, his long association with Angel. I think one of the reasons people respond to this series is the care the writers took in weaving the storylines as best they could. It makes the series as a whole hang together and repeat viewings, gratifying.

I think that Buffy establishes a personal relationship with Spike right from the start. She calls him by name. She wants to fight with him a more (should we say) intimate way, discarding their weapons. Most of the vampires she’s staked have left the wisecracks to her, replying with grunts or with wit on the level of ‘so’s your old man’. With Spike, Buffy engages in banter.

Does Joyce see Buffy as another Sheila, or is this teenage hyperbole? I always see Joyce as a lax disciplinarian, considering Buffy’s background (what with the arson and all), but she’s given to fits of over-restraint when she feels scared about what’s happening. (Ha, it’s a family trait, when she gets scared, she gets mad.) But the ease with which she accepts Buffy’s leadership in the crisis points to her having a bedrock belief in her daughter.

Has anybody written a fic where Angel did come to the Bronze that night?
your royal pie-ness: buffy iconentrenous88 on May 30th, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
Does Joyce see Buffy as another Sheila, or is this teenage hyperbole? I always see Joyce as a lax disciplinarian, considering Buffy’s background (what with the arson and all), but she’s given to fits of over-restraint when she feels scared about what’s happening. (Ha, it’s a family trait, when she gets scared, she gets mad.) But the ease with which she accepts Buffy’s leadership in the crisis points to her having a bedrock belief in her daughter.

Lots of great stuff in your comment, and I'll have to take up more when I get home from work, but I just love this paragraph/observation so I wanted to jot something down before I took off. Joyce is something of a lax disciplinarian, I agree, and she does seem to have that too-much-turn-about quick angry reaction similarto Buffy's. I actually find the way the Principal and other parents react to Joyce, as irritating and too-harsh with them, as kind of charming, given how it gives us a tie between Joyce and Buffy in the way they respond to a crisis.

I still wonder, though, whether Joyce's laxness doesn't go beyond discipline into a type of wilfull ignoring. She just lets the fact that Buffy can shimmy into ceilings and take out a gang on PCP go? Sure, it's wonderful Buffy thinks of others first, and it makes sense in the show not to have Joyce examine things too closely.

But it's certainly an odd little development in her comprehension of what Buffy's life is like, though also helpful preparation for when she later learns that Buffy is the Slayer.
buffysvampirebuffysvampire on May 30th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
And of course, we have that conundrum that baffles every newcomer to the series, But, but, Spike says Angel's his sire, but I thought Drusilla was.

Oh yes! And this is the only sequence of the whole serie that the german translation is more definite than the english words are.
Because I think Spike telling Angel(us) that he was his sire is more about that he was his paradigm (hope this is the right word, huh).
His mental leader like it is said in the german version.
zandra_x on May 31st, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
Ha. Yes, if they had just said "You're my Yoda" or mentor,(and not had him say "You were my sire") hundreds of people wouldn't have gotten confused over the years.