In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will never learn the lesson that nothing good happens after 2AM. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:
- Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
- Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
- Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
- Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
- Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
- The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
- All the monsters look like wieners.
- If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
- Angel is a dick.
- Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
- Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
- Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
- Science and technology are not to be trusted.
- Mental illness is stigmatized.
- Only Willow can use a computer.
- Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it. Ever since I started writing these recaps, there has been a certain subset of my readership who has been waiting for THIS episode. THIS specific one, for a very specific reason. A blond reason. A black duster wearing reason. A reason that we don’t want to love, because we know what his character arc is going to be and that he drops the ball hugely later on in the series. But we do love him. We love him passionately and ardently, full of hope and joy and the exhilaration of fear and 40 volume developer fumes. We love him, because he is Spike.
“School Hard” opens with Principal Snyder pontificating:
Snyder: “A lot of educators tell students, think of your principal as your pal. I say, think of me as your judge, jury, and executioner.”
Actually, Snyder, “think of your principal as your pal” is a spelling mnemonic to learn the difference between “principal” and “principle,” rather than an inducement to get friendly with educational administrators. I learned that from a Ramona book and I’ve never forgotten it. By the way, if anyone can come up with a a good mnemonic to remember the difference between “capitol” and “capital,” send it my way, because that is my eternal struggle. Anyway, Snyder is taking sadistic pride in tormenting a stereotypical 90’s bad girl by asking who the “most troublesome student” is at Sunnydale, and alternateen’s gaze slides slyly to:
Snyder points out that while alternateen did stab a teacher (a horticulture teacher, because this is Hogwarts now), Buffy burned down a building, and the two of them are pretty much tied for other bad stuff like fights and cutting class. Because of this, he’s going to put them in charge of parent/teacher night.
Let’s really think this strategy through, Snyder. You think Buffy is a dangerous fuck up. You know this other kid stabbed somebody. You’re giving them this job why? Because he wants the girls to mess up, so he can expel them. But here’s the thing… he could have expelled alternateen for stabbing a teacher, right? Buffy hasn’t really done anything expulsion worthy yet, except maybe killing a vampire and wrecking up the library doing it.
Come to think of it… how did they explain all the damage to the library after the Hellmouth opened up and destroyed everything at the end of season one? Earthquake?
Buffy is eager to get out of parent/teacher night without any trouble, but alternateen doesn’t seem as enthused. Buffy catches up with Willow and Xander, who fill her in on the deets about alternateen. Apparently, she started smoking in the fifth grade. Hey, did I have “heavy handed anti-tobacco message” on the list yet? It’s there now, at #16. Now, I’m not pointing it out because I think smoking is super cool and good for you. I’m pointing it out from a, “This is a really obvious theme” viewpoint.
Xander tries to console Buffy on her bad luck:
Xander: “It’s no biggie. You’ll have a nice soiree. The parents will love it. As long as nothing really bad happens between now and then, you’ll be fine.”
Buffy: “Are you crazy? What did you say that for? Now something bad is going to happen.”
Xander: “What do you mean? Nothing’s going to happen.”
Willow: “Not until some dummy says, ‘as long as nothing bad happens!'”
Xander is chastened, but he protests that this time, things could be different. And then…
Oh, dear, dear reader. And then.
He lights a cigarette, so we know he’s evil, so #6.
In the Anointed One’s lair, a vampire is pontificating about how he’s going to kill the Slayer, and it’s going to be bigger than the crucifixion, and he would know because he was there. Then, the badass vampire– we all know he’s Spike, right? I can just call him Spike even though the narrative hasn’t named him Spike yet, right?– comes in and says:
Spike: “If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock.”
Spike has rolled in to town to kill the Slayer, since he’s already killed two. And he’s brought his girlfriend.
Drusilla is easily the most terrifying vampire of the entire series. Her characterization almost should fall under #14, but when her backstory is fully revealed, you can’t help but have sympathy for her and the sense that, yeah, they’re probably not overdoing it with the crazy. She’s a stone cold killer who appears vulnerable and can’t be reasoned with because she has no reason, and I live for her.
So, Drusilla and Spike straight up take over the Anointed One’s gang and start planning to kill the Slayer.
In her room, Buffy is lamenting the poor efficacy of her “cream rinse,” a term for hair conditioner I haven’t heard since, well, the 1990’s. Was that a marketing term? Why don’t you see it anymore? Joyce comes in and busts Buffy out about trying to keep parent/teacher night from her. Which Buffy deserves, since she was actively trying to hide it from her. But then Joyce does this shit again:
Joyce: “Look, sweetheart. Life is more than grades and homework and not getting kicked out of school. 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 want to do it again.”
Joyce: “What I don’t want is to be disappointed in you again.”
I get why this scene was necessary. So far, in season two, the reason behind Buffy’s move to Sunnydale hasn’t been covered. But Joyce. Come on. At some point, you have to stop reminding Buffy that her failure ruined your life. You’re not allowing her to move on at all, and if you keep telling a kid that they’re a bad kid, well… they just stop trying to be good, because what’s the fucking point? #3, Joyce. Your parenting strategy is #3.
At school, Willow is helping Buffy with parent/teacher night preparations, since Sheila the alternateen is a no-show. And Buffy is wearing this:
Can I just say that it’s time for overalls to make a fucking comeback already? They are the most goddamned comfortable item of clothing ever created by man. I’m furious that they went out of style. Although, one time this guy called Mike shoved a handful of dirty snow down the front of my overalls after a Rusted Root concert. It was worse than just having it shoved down my shirt, because it went all the way down both pant legs. But Buffy is in Southern California, so she doesn’t have to worry about that.
If anyone knows where to get plus-sized overalls, leave a link in the comments. I need some in a size 18.
Giles and Jenny Calendar catch up with the kids. They believe that the night of St. Vigeous– a vampire holiday, I guess, commemorating a medieval vampire crusade– is going to happen on Saturday. Buffy basically can’t worry about that right now, because she has parent/teacher night coming up. She promises that she’ll focus all her efforts on slaying, just as soon as she’s sure she’s not going to get kicked out of school. That’s when Snyder ambles over and he’s all, “expel this,” and “horrible kids,” that.
And for some reason, when he asks where Sheila is, Buffy covers for her. This is because Buffy is a nice person, but here, she’s being kind of a doormat. Sheila comes in massively hung over, and Buffy tries to make up some stupid story about alternateen being out looking for paint. Excuse me, but your school career is hanging on this, too, Buffy. You should have thrown Sheila under the fucking bus the way she threw you under it.
I think we’ve just established that Buffy is a way kinder person than I am.
Snyder warns them that everything has to be perfect on Thursday, but it’s pretty clear that he’s not buying the “Sheila was looking for paint,” story. Sheila asks Buffy if she really burned down a school building, and Buffy clarifies that it wasn’t just one building, and Sheila reluctantly begins to think that Buffy is bad ass. Because Sheila is exactly the type of girl who you want to impress for those exact reasons.
At the Bronze, Buffy and Willow are studying French for some reason. I’m always amazed at how much schoolwork happens at the Bronze, considering it’s a bar with live music. Buffy can’t concentrate, because she’s looking around for Angel. When Xander asks her to dance, she does, but not for the same reasons she did last time. And that’s when this happens:
That is Spike, getting his first look at the Slayer.
Remember this, people. Remember it always.
Okay, when you’re done squeeing and swooning (or, alternately, gnashing your teeth and wailing because you feel the show lost its direction after season five, and you blame Spuffy), check out this cool bit of characterization:
It’s hard to tell from a screen cap, but check it. Buffy and Xander are dancing. Willow is with them, but she’s not dancing. She’s just kind of awkwardly standing there, nodding her head and talking them. Because Willow is awkward and unsure of herself in every day life, that obviously extends to the dance floor. A lazy director (or actor, since we don’t know whose choice it was) would have found it much easier and better looking on screen to just have Willow dancing. This is a really important detail that you might not have noticed the first time you watched it, but trust me, it subliminally added to your perception of the character.
Spike sends another vampire out to “get something to eat,” then walks over to where Buffy is dancing and loudly announces that he needs to call the police because someone is being attacked outside. He’s a consummate predator, drawing his prey away from the herd.
In the alley outside, a woman is about to become a vamp’s meal, until Buffy shows up to save her. Their awesome fight starts with this awesome bit of dialogue:
I wonder if anyone has done a youtube super cut of all the times a vampire snarled, “Slayer!” at Buffy. Get on that, fandom.
The vamp is stronger than most, and Buffy really has to fight him. Xander and Willow take the would-be victim to safety and run off to get Buffy a stake, while Spike hangs out in the shadows, studying Buffy’s fighting style. Xander brings Buffy a stake just as the vamp shouts for Spike to help him, but being a villain, Spike doesn’t, and he starts an evil slow clap as soon as the vamp is dusted. He tells Buffy he’s going to kill her on Saturday (presumably, he’s waiting for the night of St. Vigeous), then fades away into the night.
In… another alley, I guess? How many alleys does the Bronze have? Sheila the alternateen is shown leaving with two rough looking guys, presumably to have sex with them. That’s supposed to show that she’s a bad girl, but I think it just means she’s awesome and sexually liberated in a way a lot of young ladies are not. So good job, Sheila. However, this “loose” behavior leads to both guys getting killed, and Sheila running into Spike. Another example of #1.
In the library, Buffy is telling Giles about Spike:
Giles: “Spike? That’s what the other vampire called him? It’s a little unorthodox, isn’t it?”
Buffy: “Maybe he’s reform.”
One thing Buffy (the character) never gets enough credit for is how punny she is. She comes up with some real zingers, and nobody ever laughs at them. Giles does roll his eyes at them a lot, and I think that’s technically the way Watchers laugh, but come on. Xander gets too much credit for being the funny one of the group.
The group is a little freaked out over Spike, and I’m not sure why. He kind of just came out of the shadows, threatened to kill the Slayer like every other vampire on this show does, then left. He was pretty threatening, but he didn’t display any real power, besides the power of shit talking. Giles tries to keep things in perspective by saying that he can’t be much worse than any other creature Buffy has managed to kill (the Master is a good example), and out of nowhere, Angel shows up and says that Spike really is worse. He then proceeds to deliver a description that basically covers what he’s going to be like when he’s Angelus, but Buffy isn’t concerned with the vampire who’s trying to kill her. She wants to know why Angel didn’t show up at the Bronze to make with the googly eyes.
Really? Is this really where we’re at in this episode? “Buffy, this deadly vampire threatened to kill you, and you’re in massive danger.” “Oh, Angel, you’re so sexy and mysterious! I don’t even mind that a vampire is trying to kill me, let’s work on our relationship.” That’s not cool, script. That’s not cool at all. #6
Giles doesn’t think it’s cool, either, so he reminds Buffy that they have more important things to worry about. Because #2. You don’t believe me now, but we’ll get there, dear reader. We’ll get there.
The Scoobies try to question Angel further, but he disappears all mysteriously.
Meanwhile, in a creepy vampire lair full of chanting and scary dolls:
Drusilla is punishing “Miss Edith” by making her face the wall, cementing her position as creepiest vampire of all time. If you’re thinking the eternal child/obsession with dolls thing is a little too Anne Rice, well. Just you wait until they name check Ms. Rice later in the episode. Drusilla doesn’t want to eat, even when a delicious looking Sheila is chained to the wall waiting for her. Drusilla would rather be in Prague. Aren’t we all a little bit like Drusilla?
At parent/teacher night, the Scoobies are all preparing weapons for Buffy’s showdown with Spike. Oh, except for Buffy. Because she’s preparing a veggie tray for her showdown with Snyder. And hey, look who’s part of the gang now:
Willow gags her way through Buffy’s sugarless lemonade, and Buffy enlists her in operation Keep Mom Away From Snyder. Willow drags Joyce off just in time for Buffy to lie to the principal about her mom not speaking English, but he takes off after her, anyway. Buffy spends almost three hours trying to keep the twain from meeting, so to speak, but it falls through at quarter to nine. She was so close!
But Buffy has bigger problems. Giles has found records on Spike, AKA William The Bloody, who earned his current nickname by torturing his victims with railroad spikes. Giles also finds out that Spike has killed two Slayers– it wasn’t just a vampire boast.
Here is where I get a bit hung up on story canon. I know that Giles has to confirm for the audience that Spike is a bad ass who’s killed Slayers. But later in the series, a Watcher says she did her senior thesis on William The Bloody, and she’s starstruck to meet him. So he’s obviously known to the Watchers. Plus, if he’s killed two Slayers, wouldn’t he be on some kind of Watchers’ Most Wanted list or something? It seems unlikely to me that Giles knows all sorts of arcane facts about all sorts of random demons, but he’s never heard of a vampire who’s racking up Slayer kills like punches on a Bigby’s coffee card?
When Snyder and Joyce rejoin Buffy, and Joyce looks pissed. She orders Buffy to the car like a MOM, and Snyder tactfully ends parent/teacher night by turning off the lights. Like, for real turning them off, while people were still sitting there. Also, I think the light switch is broken, because:
It’s Spike’s gang, and they’re crashing the party.
Okay, so, Buffy fends off an entire gang of vampires by throwing a $0.99 plastic chair and them. This works long enough for people to get somewhat away. Cordelia is grabbed by a vampire, and Willow uses a bust– seriously, like a big, bronze bust– to knock the vampire out. Not so little and quiet and cute now, huh?
The vampires trap Giles, Jenny, and Xander in the library, where the weapons are, but Buffy ends up in a room across the hall with frightened parents and teachers. Both groups barricade their respective doors, but I gotta say, Giles, Jenny, and Xander are pretty matter-of-fact about it. There’s no screaming or panic, like the last time they had to barricade the doors. Just moving furniture and looking bored.
The vampires cut the electricity and phones, so Giles sends Xander out through “an old, boarded up cellar” to get Angel for help. Ah, the convenience of old, boarded up cellars just lying around in Sunnydale. In the other group, the parents and teachers are freaking out, and Snyder declares that all the vampires are in a gang and on PCP. I have to give Armin Shimerman crazy props for this scene, because he’s so funny. Actually, he’s pretty much always funny, and a good example of how a villain can be as enjoyable as a good guy, so long as he’s a villain you can love to hate.
Snyder wants to open the windows and get everyone out that way, but Buffy shuts it down, telling him that they’ll all be killed. She has to stand up to him pretty hard, but she can’t exactly say, “Because I’m the Slayer.” Instead, she just has to be a student getting mouthy with her principal. Her mother tries to stop her by insinuating that Buffy isn’t as tough as her bad school records might indicate, but Buffy isn’t going to try and fight all those vampires. She’s going to crawl through the ceiling.
Spike wanders the halls, spewing threats to demoralize the Slayer into coming out and facing him. If he finds her friends, he’s going to kill them, etc. He pauses by a utility closet where Willow and Cordelia are hiding and is about to kick the door in when another vamp stops him to listen to the movements of the Slayer in the ceiling.
In the library, Giles is jamming stakes in his pockets. He grabs an axe and starts pulling furniture out of their barricade, and he is in a state:
Jenny: “Hey! What are you doing? There are at least three vampires in that hall, god only knows how many other in the building!”
Giles: “Listen. I am the Watcher. I am responsible for her, and I have to go!”
Jenny: “Rupert… be careful.”
Remember how I said before that Jenny Calendar is like, just kind of an older version of Buffy? Here’s where it shows. She doesn’t want Giles to go out there. She likes him, and she wants him to stay safe, but she knows he has to do his duty. How many times have we seen Buffy in a situation where she’s forced to choose between what she wants for herself and what she wants for her friends? Jenny Calendar has the same sense of selflessness in the face of danger.
Oh, this is also setting up a crucial part of #2, because it subtly establishes that no matter how he feels about anyone else, the woman in Giles’s life is always going to be Buffy. Everyone else is going to come second, because of his Watcher duties. But we’ll get there.
None of Giles’s bravado or Jenny’s rational acceptance matters, though, because Buffy falls through the ceiling, negating the need for heroics. She tells Giles and Jenny about the situation outside. Giles asks Buffy to let him fight with her, but she says no, he needs to make sure Joyce gets out, even if Buffy is killed. With her bag of weaponry, Buffy disappears into the ceiling again.
In the science lab, Joyce has had just about enough of Snyder’s constant pacing. Against Buffy’s warning, Snyder and another man start prying the windows open, while Joyce argues that they should do what Buffy said. So, Joyce trusts her daughter to handle this situation… could it be that mom is starting to realize Buffy might be something other than just a mild mannered delinquent? A vampire starts chopping through the door with a fire axe, and the guy who was helping Snyder open the windows is pulled out, screaming, by vampires.
Angel and Xander arrive at the school, and Xander asks Angel if he’s got a plan. Angel responds by grabbing Xander by the throat and steering him into the building.
Spike and another vampire use metal tubing of some kind that is just laying around, I guess it’s from the wreck they made of the windows and tables when they came in, to stab through the ceiling tiles in the hopes of skewering the Slayer. Buffy makes it past them, to crash down in front of the science lab, where she takes out the vamp trying to chop through the door. Joyce tells Buffy to get out, that she’ll be all right, but Buffy calmly tells her mother to stay in the room and not open the door until she tells her to.
This would have been a great time for Buffy to say, “By the way, this is my job, I’m a vampire slayer,” and it would have gone a lot better than it does later in the season.
Sheila finally shows up to parent/teacher night, and Buffy warns her that people are, you know, trying to kill them. Sheila picks up an axe and declares the whole situation fun, and the audience is like, “Argh, Buffy, why are you turning your back on her, we all know she’s a vampire now, because we saw Drusilla eat her!”
Angel and Spike have a touching reunion that is made even more special by the knowledge that with Xander’s head under Angel’s arm, he was stuck between two vampire crotches during their hug. Spike greets Angel as Angelus, and Angel chides Spike for not guarding the perimeter of the school. Clearly, the two are old friends:
Spike: “Come up against this Slayer yet?”
Angel: “She’s cute. Not too bright, though. Gave the puppy dog, ‘I’m all tortured’ act. Keeps her off my back when I feed.”
Spike: “People still fall for that Anne Rice routine?”
I love that they reference the queen mother of vampire fiction in the show about vampires. That is slick, yo.
Xander snarls that he knew all along that Angel was lying about being good, and Angel offers Xander to Spike to feed on before they team up to kill the Slayer.
Meanwhile, Buffy is sneaking up on a vampire, all quiet like, while Sheila follows along behind her with the giant axe. Giles is watching through the windows in the library door, sees that Sheila is a vampire, and he shouts a warning to Buffy just in time; she stakes the vamp, Sheila runs, and Buffy frees the people trapped in the science lab, herding them into the library.
Spike and Angel are about to tear into poor Xander, when Spike suddenly punches Angel in the face. Spike’s not buying the bad guy act, and he’s disappointed that his sire has gone soft.
That’s right. His sire. The single biggest continuity error in all of BtVS.
He also calls him an Uncle Tom. Which is… wow. I’m calling that one #12. That’s not a term for white characters to fling around.
Xander and Angel make a run for it, and all the vamps follow them. Except Spike, who stays behind to face Buffy and let another continuity error drop: he claims that the last Slayer he killed begged for her life. In season five, when we actually see the fight, we find this is not true at all. I’ll cover my theories on why season five was able to successfully retcon Spike’s backstory once we get there.
Spike faces off against Buffy, and I’d never realize how much sexual tension was in this scene until right now. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the whole series. Maybe it’s because I just find James Marsters superbly hot in the role. For whichever reason, there does seem to be an undercurrent of danger!flirting in their banter:
Buffy: “Do we really need weapons for this?”
Spike: “I just like them. They make me feel all manly.”
While Buffy and Spike dish out epic ass-kickings to each other, Angel and Xander fight the vampires on the lawn. Giles is getting everyone to safety via the convenient cellar, but Joyce hangs back. We see why in a moment, when Spike is about to smash Buffy to pieces with a giant chunk of wood. Because this happens:
Having been bashed in the head with an axe, Spike snarls, “Women!” and runs away. Let’s really examine the shit out of this, why don’t we?
- We just saw Spike take numerous hits and kicks from Buffy, including one that buried him shoulder-deep in a wall.
- We know he’s tough, and he’s killed two slayers.
- Joyce is a human, and he could easily just take the axe from her and kill her, right in front of her Slayer daughter.
So, why does Spike opt out and run away? Not just because Buffy could potentially kill him, and as one of the season’s “big bad” villains, he needs to survive for a while. But because it’s funny to show two women ganging up on a vampire, who runs away because, gosh, women are just the worst, right?
I think they should have let Joyce get a few more serious swipes with that axe, and that’s what sends Spike running.
Here’s another continuity thing for us all to think about… Buffy’s mom came in during a huge fight scene. Dude, I think you have to be in some deep denial to not go, “Huh, that’s weird. I didn’t realize my kid knows martial arts.”
Later, when the police are on the scene, Snyder talks to a detective:
Detective: “It’s over. They all got away. I got a body inside, and I got another one on the south lawn. It looks like he was pulled right through the window.”
Snyder: “I told him not to go through that window.”
NO YOU DIDN’T, JERK OFF!
Meanwhile, Giles and Jenny walk out of the school:
Jenny: “Well, another wonderful fun-filled evening.”
Giles: “Uh, yes. You know, um, I will understand if you decide to start avoiding me.”
But it doesn’t look like that’s happening too soon:
Xander asks Angel why he didn’t hit Spike first, and Angel says he had to know if Spike was buying his act. He would have known if Spike had bitten Xander. So, yeah, Xander. Maybe don’t be so openly disdainful of a vampire while he’s in ear shot, because he might just use you as expendable bait some day.
The police detective tells Snyder he’s going to need a cover story:
Detective: “So… you want the usual story? Gang related? PCP?”
Snyder: “What did you have in mind? The truth?”
Detective: “Right. Gang related. PCP.”
So this PROVES that the people of Sunnydale are fully aware that there are vampires! And the people charged with keeping them safe are covering it up! #8! #8! Wake up, Sunnydale!
As Buffy and Joyce walk away from the school, Buffy asks her mom what Snyder told her. Joyce tells her that Snyder called Buffy a troublemaker, but Joyce doesn’t care. She says that she’s happy knowing her daughter is brave and will help other people in times of crisis, and that Buffy can take care of herself. Let’s see how well this sticks at the end of the season, when Buffy tells her mom that she’s a Slayer.
Hey, what happened to Coredlia and Willow? They’re still in the broom closet. Poor Willow.
A lovely morning dawns over the factory where the Anointed One and his minions live. The Anointed One and his right hand man are furious that Spike jumped the gun on the St. Vigeous thing. Spike is truly repentant and begs for forgivene HA HA, no, I can’t even. Of course he doesn’t do that. He hoists “the Annoying One” into direct sunlight and burns him alive. Then he and Dru go see what’s on TV.
I feel like the show runner should have realized what an important episode this was going to be, and that they had used that knowledge and put the writing of it in the hands of someone other than David Greenwalt. He’s one of the weakest writers on the show, and it was apparent in this episode. The “Buffy is in charge of parent/teacher night” subplot was totally unnecessary in an episode that already had a lot going on. Too much time was devoted to introducing Sheila, who we never see again, and whose presence as a vampire was diminished by the presence of so many other bad ass vampires. Her storyline didn’t even wrap up. Willow and Cordelia’s storyline in the closet was pointless, as well, and they could have easily just been trapped with Jenny, Giles, and Xander, or been given something more useful to do. The entire episode feels like Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt were so married to the notion of Buffy’s involvement in parent/teacher night that they were willing to sacrifice screen time that could have been used for the really interesting stuff, like the introduction of the bad ass new villains, Spike and Drusilla and how they’re related to Angel. And Joyce’s easy acceptance of Buffy’s ability to handle gang members on PCP is asking the viewer to suspend too much disbelief; even if Joyce is supposed to be the clueless parent stereotype, it’s unlikely that someone isn’t going to notice that their kid suddenly fights like she’s into MMA.
Overall, the only thing that saves this episode is that it introduces a villain we all end up loving. It’s not even necessarily problematic on a large scale. It’s just chaotic, and it didn’t need to be. Cut the stuff about St. Vigeous, which never comes to fruition as a plot, anyway, cut Buffy’s toiling over parent/teacher night, and you’re left with a pretty tight story about a vampire who comes to town and attacks a school with his gang. Who may or may not be high on PCP.