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Discussion of 2.03 "School Hard" - Aired 9/29/1997 (WB-US)

DeadlyDuo

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@EarthLogic

I don't think Angel actually had a plan set out, he was making it up as he went along, hence his answer to Xander. Would Angel have let Spike bite Xander? Possibly, in order to lure Spike into a false sense of security which would've allowed Angel to gain the upperhand. Would he have let Spike kill Xander? No.
 

white avenger

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Angel would not do 'anything' for the greater good.
You want an example? Jasmine in S4; he stopped Jasmine's 'for the greater good' plot because the price was too high.
That wasn't Angel's idea of the greater good, it was Jasmine's. Angel's idea of serving the greater good are things like leaving Sunnydale at the end of Season 3, wiping out his day of mortality in his own Season 1, wiping all of his friends' memories in Season 4, killing Drogyn in Season 5, and making a bargain with Twilight in Season 8. Any one, or all, of those decisions can be defended on the grounds that Angels actions were justifiable, but the fact remains that he made decisions affecting others, often in quite extreme ways, with neither their knowledge or consent.
 

EarthLogic

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Black Thorn
@EarthLogic

I don't think Angel actually had a plan set out, he was making it up as he went along, hence his answer to Xander. Would Angel have let Spike bite Xander? Possibly, in order to lure Spike into a false sense of security which would've allowed Angel to gain the upperhand. Would he have let Spike kill Xander? No.
Yeah it makes more sense that he was making it up as he went along. I still don't buy that he would have even let Xander get bitten. I know he doesn't like the guy, but Angel's guilt is also still going strong and I think the idea of letting Spike -a reminder of his past, and a product of it - hurt a human would be a step too far at this stage IMO. I don't think he would have risked Buffy's anger either.
 

Jam

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As much as I hate Spike, I can admit this is a well-done character introduction episode.

Was there ever any doubt that Drusilla was a vampire? I just remember not being sure until she cuts Spike's cheek.

Parent-Teacher nights were so not a big deal when I was in high school. Then again, I did not have Snyder for a principal.

Angel leaving mid-conversation lol! My guess is he tries to go out and find where Spike is.

The sugarless lemonade jokes are great.

The way Snyder starts turning off lights immediately after Buffy and Joyce leave makes it seem like he organised this whole thing just for the purpose of meeting with Joyce... I would not put it past him!

There's some good but subtle Buffy/Giles stuff; he – with little hesitation – is ready to go out into the hallway and fight Spike and his gang, then when Buffy falls through the ceiling he's so relieved she's okay. Watching their relationship develop is one of my favourite things!

The first hints of Snyder knowing about the supernatural!

Tagline for School Hard: "I have at least three lives to contend with, none of which really mesh." or "A Slayer with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the brochure."
 

thetopher

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That wasn't Angel's idea of the greater good, it was Jasmine's.
Doesn't matter, 'greater good is greater good so its incorrect that Angel 'would do anything', clearly there are lines that he would not cross.

Angel's idea of serving the greater good are things like leaving Sunnydale at the end of Season 3
Uh, this was his choice; he told Buffy and he told her why. There was a whole episode about it.
Angel wanting to end his relationship with Buffy WAS mostly about him and about his place in the world- as any breakup ultimately is- but also about her.

wiping out his day of mortality in his own Season 1
His body, his fate, end of discussion as far as I'm concerned. Buffy's life in the balance. He also told her why even though he didn't have to; that's respecting somebody else.

wiping all of his friends' memories in Season 4
His SON, his choice. These are not- strictly speaking- for the greater good arbitrary decisions that Angel just decides to make. They are deeply personal to Angel and only to him.


I would agree with Drogyn though. That's one dick move out of eight years on a tv show, hardly indicative of a character flaw.

The Twilight thing is reprehensible but that's also on Buffy as well since she what she did.
Plus her decision at the end of Chosen puts her ahead of Angel doing this arbitrary decision 'for the greater good' stuff, and yet she never gets called out on it nearly as much.


You actually could've used a much better example- like him firing his friends from A.I in S2- that might be considered 'for the greater good'... except it wasn't and Angel knew it wasn't.
He knew he was turning his back on 'the powers' (Cordy's visions) in an attempt to redeem himself through killing Darla and destroying one of the manifestations of evil on earth. Basically a suicide mission.

Angel's real flaw (yes, I can admit that characters I like have substative flaws...) is much more complicated than you make it out to be; its about how he's himself, redemption and whether or not there can really be a 'quick fix' to his past actions; whether with suicide, the gem of Amara, his perfect day with Buffy, his one-war on W&H, taking over said company, etc. It's his biggest flaw.

Anyway, this is where I get off. :)
 

RomanticSoul

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I really don't understand where this idea of Angel being callously willing to feed Xander to Spike comes from. I've seen it so many times in fandom. People seem determined to see Angel as this Machiavellian, utalitarian character from day 1 when that clearly isn't the case.
I don't understand why people take it so seriously.
Now if Spike had done it, that same part of fandom would totally support him. And they would have found the whole thing funny on top of it. But when Angel does the same thing he's a mustache twirling, evil asshole. It's probably the same part of fandom that argues that Angel doesn't have Liam's soul (despite no canon evidence to back it up) and that he willingly let himself be turned because he knew what Darla was (despite all canon evidence to the contrary). It's fruitless to get into such debates, people see what they want to see whether it makes sense or not. Anything to fit their view of a character.
 
thetopher
thetopher
Accurate! :D

white avenger

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Angel's real flaw (yes, I can admit that characters I like have substative flaws...) is much more complicated than you make it out to be; its about how he's himself,
A flaw, yes, absolutely, and I agree that it's a necessary flaw, like the element in Green Lantern's power ring that makes it not work against anything yellow. It's necessary to his character. Call it extreme self confidence or overinflated ego, or whatever else you prefer, it all comes down to, he ultimately trusts his own judgement over everyone else's. That's great if you like that in a character, I just can't get past the fact that I have known a few people like that in real life, and they always wind up getting other people hurt.

(And yes, I know that Angel isn't the only one in the Buffyverse who displays that trait, he's just the only one that we were discussing here)
 

thrasherpix

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I just finished rewatching this. The only thing I thought I'd share is that Buffy talking to Joyce through the door (that was partially chopped open) reminded me of Buffy doing the same in Restless, only it's the walls (Joyce also said she made lemonade, hopefully better than Buffy's). I don't know if it's at all intentional, but I like how the Restless dream could have part of its roots in Buffy's experiences in School Hard.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Given that Snyder and the police detective covered up the vampire attack as "a gang on PCP" (which seems to be the regular cover story), and we know the Mayor is in power at this point in time, do you think the Mayor ever uses "dealing with the gangs on PCP" as an election pledge?

I'm not American so I don't know the ins and outs of American politics, but surely every few years, the Mayor would have to go through the theatrics of re-election? He probably runs unopposed so he knows he'll win or he'll hire a really weak opponent to run against him so that he'd win, but to keep up the pretence of a democracy, he'd have to make pledges on what he'd do if he was re-elected.

How many times do you think he's used the "gangs on PCP" as an election pledge?
 

thetopher

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How many times do you think he's used the "gangs on PCP" as an election pledge?

'I'll continue the fine work my grandfather did and root out the menace of roaming gangs of PCP-users once and for all.' So like, quite a few times.

Also The Mayor used the political tactic of saying that his election opponent would ensure that Sunnydale would eventually drop into a massive sinkhole if they won. 4 short years later...
 

Mr Trick

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Spike instantly explodes with energy and charisma. He has such a presence and you buy him as a threat from the word go. Think this remains the greatest debut in the Buffyverse and one of the best on TV. Its a great introduction to his relationship with Dru too. The scenes at school at night are so tense and thrilling. Buffy and Joyce coming together is fantastic. Joyce's supportive of Buffy at the end is one of her best moments on the show.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Spike instantly explodes with energy and charisma. He has such a presence and you buy him as a threat from the word go. Think this remains the greatest debut in the Buffyverse and one of the best on TV. Its a great introduction to his relationship with Dru too. The scenes at school at night are so tense and thrilling. Buffy and Joyce coming together is fantastic. Joyce's supportive of Buffy at the end is one of her best moments on the show.
I completely agree with you. What I love about villain couples is the little domestic moments away from the villainy. So we have Spike saying he'll kill Buffy and the scenes at the school, then we have the little domestic moments with Drusilla such as trying to encourage her to eat something then when he returns from the failed attempt at the school, she comforts him about his failure and at the end after killing the annoying one they're going to see what's on tv.

You can tell that these two love and care for each other and they really give depth to the Buffyverse vampires as a whole, they're not just some mindless monster for Buffy to kill. I wish they were used more in the show beyond Season 2 as a couple.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Agreed. The thematic stuff links up perfectly. Its a really well written episode.

RDHWesley

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My second favourite Buffyverse character is introduced in true style, with one of my favourite quotes of the entire series:

'You'll find out on Saturday.'
'What happens Saturday?'
'I kill you.'

Dru is awesome as well, one of my favourite characters. Spike and Dru's little moments together in Season 2 are so well acted and devised: they brought life among the dead! Snyder is funny as always and the plot is tense and exciting throughout. Season 2 was off to a fantastic start.
 

Btvs fan

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Angel is a bit of a d#%k in this episode.
He shows up, tells people how Spike is worse than other Vampires then chooses to leave without giving any information 😳

Then later, his plan with Xander makes no sense and needlessly endangers Xander.
 
spikenbuffy
spikenbuffy
Completly agree with the scene in the library when he doesn't say goodbye before leaving.
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