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Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 3 E 22 Graduation Day Part 2
Change you can believe in!
We're back on the balcony; Faith has just taken her swan dive. Buffy is in a state of shock over what's she done. She scurries down the fire escape — just missing Mayor Wilkins and his henchvamps, who emerge upstairs. Wilkins surveys the shattered window and pieces together what happened. He orders one of his mooks to find the Slayers: "Put everyone on it." The mook meekly reminds Wilkins that they're on a tight timetable here...

Eep! Uh, I'd obey the crazed-with-grief-soon-to-be-demon if I were you, dude. The henchvamp exits as the Mayor quietly goes bonkers.

Back at the mansion, Willow and Oz are tending to Angel, who is delirious. Buffy enters, and they ask if she found Faith in time. Buffy asks to be alone with Angel. Naively, her friends take their leave, no doubt assuming she's come to pay her last respects. Buffy goes into Angel's room, where he tells her he's ready to die. She disagrees, then slips off her jacket:

"Drink me."

Angel's having none of that. He begs her to not make him drink, and she punches him in the face. ..And when that doesn't work, she punches him two more times. This triggers the game face. She pushes her shirt aside and pulls his face to her neck. He begins to feed. Buffy goes weak, and they fall to the floor. He ends up taking too much and Buffy passes out just as Angel finally breaks free ... but gets no response from an unconscious Buffy.

Angel rushes Buffy to the hospital, then goes to use a payphone. In a nearby room, a doctor is telling the Mayor that Faith has broken bones, damage to the kidney, head trauma, and severe blood loss—there is almost no chance that she will ever awaken. The nurse comes in to tell the doctor about the other girl with severe blood loss. A lightbulb goes off. The Mayor realizes who it must be, walks into her room, and puts his hand over her mouth, trying to smother her. The nurse tries to stop him and calls for security. Angel bursts back in and yanks the Mayor away, causing a scene. The Mayor, all smiles again, dusts himself off and tells the onlookers the "show's not over — but there will be a brief intermission." Angel grrs that he'll be there.

The Scoobies arrive, having received Angel's phone call. Xander notes with mock sincerity that when chips are down and things look grim, Angel can be counted on to save his own ass. Angel apologizes, but Giles icily insists that Angel go; the sun will be up soon. The lonely figure of Angel departs down the hall as the others go see how Buffy's doing.

Buffy finds herself in Faith's sunny apartment, which is full of moving boxes. It's a dream, of course, which Buffy seems to realize. The two trade cryptic comments, and Faith offers Buffy a tip: "Human weakness. It never goes away. Even his." Faith reaches up to touch Buffy's face, thus awakening her.

Buffy wakes up in the hospital, and walks into Faith's room. She compassionately kisses the unconscious Faith on the forehead, and walks away. Then, after changing from the hospital gown into her street clothes, goes out and tells the gang to get Angel; she's ready for war.

Back in the library, Buffy has just finished describing her plan to the gang. Wesley enters, and Buffy tells him she's in no mood for orders, but he says he is there to help of his own volition; not on behalf of the Watcher's Council. He tells them the Ascension will be preceded by an eclipse, putting Angel "back in the game." Xander and Willow are to recruit other students for help, while everybody else is put on "volcano detail." Buffy instructs Giles to get "weapons, weapons, weapons." In Giles' office, Angel tells Buffy that he's not going to say goodbye; when the whole thing is over, he's just going to go.

The students march in to the Graduation ceremony. A little way into the Mayor's speech, the sky goes dark. He doubles over in pain. Characteristically, he tries to continue with his upbeat speech. But to no avail. The Mayor suddenly morphs into a giant serpent/dragon thing.

Buffy calls, "Now!"

The students take off their gowns to reveal a full range of medieval-type weapons, plus a few flame-throwers. The Mayor finds himself attacked with fire. Snyder finds this whole scene unacceptable. Xander gives the order to "Fire!", and the students rain down flaming arrows on the vamps. The vamps turn to flee, but are walled off by a pack of good guys, including Angel, Wesley, and Percy. Snyder shouts warnings at Olvikan, insisting on maintaining order on his campus. He is interrupted when Olvikan eats him. Buffy shouts up at the Mayor, holding the knife he gave to Faith as a gift. Remember this?

"You wanna get it back from me? Dick?"

Buffy scurries back into the school, the Mayor right behind her, head-butting through entire walls. She runs through the library, then ducks out a window, leaving Olvikan surrounded by fertilizer explosives.

Giles sets off the explosives—and the library, the Mayor, and the whole darn school are awash in a sea of flames, smoke, sparks, smoke, and still more smoke.

In the aftermath, fire trucks and ambulances litter the area. Giles congratulates Buffy on a job well done, and pulls out her diploma, which he fished out from the wreckage. Buffy spots Angel twenty yards away. They exchange a long, plaintive look. He turns and walks away, disappearing into the haze.

The gang gathers together, taking stock of the situation. Oz thinks they should take a moment to reflect on the fact that they survived. Buffy comments that it was a hell of a battle, but Oz says screw that noise: they survived High School. They all stare blankly at the smoking ruins. Oz is spacious. "We're taking a moment."

The girls get antsy and leave.

"...and we're done." Everyone walks off together.

Tropes:

  • Achilles' Heel: While briefing his lackeys, Wilkins warns that he'll be temporarily vulnerable after his Ascension. He'll need to devour some attendees quickly to sustain his power.
  • Arrows on Fire: The students have a flaming arrow unit in their offensive against the Mayor. Justified as Buffy-verse vampires tend to be about as flammable as the average person after a dip in the ol' gasoline swimming pool.
    Joss Whedon: ... And the students shooting flaming arrows, because, well ... you gotta' have flaming arrows ...
  • Asshole Victim / Killed Mid-Sentence: Principal Snyder is eaten by Olvikan in mid-tirade. "You're on my campus, buddy!"
  • Awkward Kiss: Wesley and Cordelia and how. So awkward that it even gets referenced as a Running Gag when the two reunite on Angel.
  • Badass Normal: Percy West fights vampires alongside Angel and a bunch of other jock-type guys.
    • Xander, too. He's the one who directed the students with weapons.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence
  • Book Ends: When Buffy reawakens in the hospital, she approaches Faith's bed and returns the forehead kiss that Faith had given her in "Enemies."
    • Irony chuckles at the fact that right before their climatic fight, Faith told Buffy to "give [her] a kiss." Pretty sure that's not what she meant.
  • Brick Joke: Principal Snyder is killed in this episode by being eaten. This after Snyder made such a big deal back in his first appearance ("The Puppet Show") about how former Principal Flutie got devoured by hyenas because he was too soft on kids.
    • Willow suggested to Buffy in "The Harvest" that one way she could get out of school would be to "blow something up." Can do!
    • At City Hall, as the vamps are leaving, the Mayor reminds them to "watch the swearing." Mayor Wilkins is nothing if not sincere.
  • Bridal Carry: When Angel takes Buffy to the hospital after feeding on her, he bursts through the doors of the ER carrying Buffy in his arms.
  • Bury Your Gays: The snake's tail whacks Larry, killing him. Sorry, Larry.
  • Call Back: Xander thinks a rocket launcher oughta work on Olkivan, but Buffy says that won't get it done. It took a volcano to bury Olvikan last time.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Xander: Hey it's Mr. States-the-Obvious.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the scene with Oz comforting Willow in his van, Jonathan and Larry cryptically unload bags of fertilizer from the back.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: In her dream, Buffy looks down at her hand, where the knife she stabbed Faith with appears and then disappears.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Xander's military knowledge is used to make the bomb.
  • Collapsed Mid Speech: The Ascension begins a bit earlier than planned. "I had this whole section on civic pride."
  • Convenient Coma: Faith's down for the count.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Buffy has just outlined her plan, and wants to know if she's crazy. Willow offers, "Crazy is such a strong word...", but Giles says not to rule out that adjective. Cordy challenges the world to come up with something crazier.
    Oz: We attack the Mayor with hummus.
    Cordelia: I stand corrected.
    Oz: Just keeping things in perspective.
    • As the gang tries to figure out what the Mayor's "human weakness", and Angel mentions the whole germ thing. Cordelia suggests chasing him with a box labeled 'Ebola virus'. An exasperated Xander is now starting to lean toward the Hummus Offensive.
  • Credits Gag: The Mutant Enemy zombie wears a graduation cap.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Buffy lampshades this in her dream. Faith apologizes, chalking it up to her bruised noggin.
    • She says "lotta new stuff", perhaps in reference to the prophetic knowledge she's trying to pass on to Buffy.
    • The gist is that the Mayor — even as a giant snake — is still human, and that weakness can be used against him. Faith's 'baggage' is just that; Buffy's going to have to carry it now.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Graduation time! Ceremonial music plays as the kids file in to their seats. Snyder congratulates the kids, saying that they were "more or less adequate."
  • Death Glare: Giles to Angel when he reveals he drank Buffy's blood.
  • Description Cut: Cordelia complains that ditching the Council is a classic Buffy maneuver, as "she's always thinking of herself." Cut to the remaining Scoobies tending to Angel, who is dying in bed.
  • Defensive Feint Trap / Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Buffy grabs the Demon Mayor's attention, and holds up Faith's knife. She taunts him about stabbing Faith with it, then hightails it back into the school, with the enraged Olvikan in pursuit.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything? / Kiss of the Vampire: The scene of Buffy forcing Angel to drink her blood has an overt sexual vibe. There's a lot of thrusting going on, Buffy and Angel fall to the floor, Angel's making sounds of enormous ecstasy. While he's lying on top of her, she grabs a metal object for support, and it just crumples. She also wraps her legs around him, then spasms kicking a table in half.
    • The Season 5 premiere "Buffy vs. Dracula" confirmed that being bitten by Angel was pleasurable to Buffy.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In the Buffy/Faith dream, Faith comments, "Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0", which roughly comes at 2 years (730 days) before Buffy dies.
    • Actually, going by the date that the episode was supposed to air, and given the fact that the year 2000 was a leap year, it was exactly 730 days.
    • "Little Miss Muffet" also foreshadows the arrival of Buffy's little sister, Dawn. In Season 5, the poem is quoted several times with regard to the Key, which Glory is furiously searching for.
  • Dying Declaration of Love / Hallucinations: Back at the mansion, Willow and Oz are tending to Angel, who is delirious. He's professing his love for Buffy. Who is actually Willow. Whoops.
    Willow: He's delirious. He thought I was Buffy.
    Oz: (nods understandingly) You too, huh?
  • Environmental Symbolism: The final shot is of a charred SHS yearbook, emblazoned with the words, "The Future Is Ours."
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Buffy takes advantage of this and finishes with a Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? moment to lure the Mayor into a trap
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Oz's requisite moment of silence.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The Mayor smiles at the class of '99 and says that it's a special day, the town's centennial, Blah blah blah journeys are about change blah. Buffy gets a look of horror on her face when she realizes he's going to do the entire New Era Speech. "...Evil."
  • Food Slap: The Great Hummus Offensive.
    Oz: He'll never see it coming.
  • Good Is Not Soft: After Buffy fails to kill or capture Faith she tells Angel to drink her own blood, as that would cure him. Angel refuses, so Buffy punches him until he vamps out then makes him feed on her.
  • Goshdang It To Heck: Played for Laughs when the Mayor's Famous Last Words are a mild "Oh Gosh!" Not so earlier when he has an uncharacteristic burst of anger and calls Buffy a whore.
  • Graduate from the Story
  • Half Truth: When the doctor asks how Buffy lost so much blood, Angel mutters, "Something bit her."
  • Healing Hands: Buffy wakes up when touched by Faith in her dream.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Presumably, whatever was good in Faith gave Buffy the clue to destroy Wilkins.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday
  • Hypocritical Humor: Snyder takes the podium. He acknowledges that this is "a time for celebration," and tells everyone to sit still and shut up. He orders Xander to "spit out that gum." At last, Snyder introduces the Mayor, but not before an aside: "I saw that gesture. You see me after graduation."
  • I Want Them Alive: Inverted; At City Hall, the Mayor orders the vamps that there is to be no snacking, only killing.
  • Killed Off for Real: Snyder, Larry, and Mayor Wilkins. Of course, this being a genre show, two of those characters reappear later on (as a nightmare and a meatsuit, respectively).
  • Kill It with Fire: This ain't no science project volcano.
  • Last Kiss: Following her dream conference with Faith, Buffy wakes up in her hospital. She thinks a bit about what happened, and rises. She slowly walks over to where Faith lies, looks down at her, then softly kisses her forehead.
  • Madness Mantra: "Faith's a good girl. She'll be alright. She'll be alright. She'll be alright."
  • Mathematician's Answer: During their tender moment in the van, Oz takes Willow's hand and promises they will live through the day. Willow asks if he's sure. Oz considers for that a minute.
    Oz: I sound pretty sure, don't I?
    Willow: Yeah.
    Oz: Then I must be sure.
    Willow: Is that just a comforting way of not answering the question?
  • Mauve Shirt: Larry's flamethrower jams, and he gets swiped to the ground by the Mayor's tail, breaking his neck. His death was vague enough to warrant confirmation in Season Six ("Smashed").
    • Harmony proves useless in the ensuing battle, getting munched on by a vampire. Guess that "no eating" rule is a wash. Harmony returns as a vampire in Season Four. The circumstances of her siring is agreed by most to be a Plot Hole.
      • Maybe she just hadn't been killed the first time, but was attacked again at some point
  • The Merch: A bona fide Sunnydale High yearbook was was released as a tie-in after this episode aired.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The episode opens with Buffy on the roof, in a state of shock from having just 'killed' Faith. After casting a look around, she disappears down a ladder on the side of the building. Back in the penthouse, the Mayor steps into the picture just as she leaves.
    • This happens again in the hospital scene, before the Mayor finally gets wise. Even the camera pan between rooms is similar.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome / Crack! Oh My Back!: Wesley runs into the fray, and gets knocked down with a single punch. He spends the rest of the fight on the ground, whining for help.
  • Never Say Goodbye: Buffy returns to Giles's office to find Angel preparing weapons. They exchange updates, and Angel abruptly says that he's not going to say goodbye. She looks gobsmacked. He tries to continue, saying that he won't be sticking around when the dust settles, but Buffy cuts him off with a hand gesture. True to his word, he does not.
  • No, Except Yes
    Oz: Are you nervous?
    Willow: Only in a terrified way.
  • No Sparks / Now or Never Kiss: Wesley tells Cordelia that, should they survive, he's going back to England. They inch closer as Wesley removes his glasses. They kiss. ...And it's the most forced, out-of-sync kiss imaginable. The dramatic romantic music stops. They pause, realizing it's not going so well. They give it another go. It's even worse than before. They give up.
    Cordelia Good luck in England!
    Wesley: Yes, uhm, I'll drop you a line sometime.
    Cordelia: That'd be neat.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Xander fetches Giles coffee, then wonders why Giles isn't drinking tea.
    Giles: Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense.
    Xander: OK, but you're destroying a perfectly good cultural stereotype here.
    • Though Giles' expression reveals that he obviously hates it.
      • May be an Actor Allusion joke. Before Tony Head played Giles, he was widely recognised in Britain as "The guy from the Kenco coffee adverts."
    • After a whole season of easy amiability, Wilkins finally loses it. He snarls a threat at Buffy, furious at what's been done to Faith. Angel says he's not exactly misty-eyed over the loss.
    Wilkins: Well, I'd get set for some weeping if I were you. I'd get set for a world of pain. Misery loves company, young man, and I'm looking to share that with you and your whore!"
  • Out of Order: The season finale was due to air May 25, but was delayed by the network because of the attack on the school. The decision came about as a result of the recent shootings at high schools at the time. The episode "Earshot" was also delayed for this reason (though for a much longer period of time).
    • Joss' verdict at the time was, "Bootleg the puppy."
  • Parenthetical Swearing: "Wanna get it back from me... Dick?"
    • The Mayor's last words.
  • Percussive Prevention: Buffy tries convincing Angel to drink her blood, but he's adamantly against it. Reaching a standstill in the argument, Buffy resorts to her fists. After the third wallop, Angel vamps out and bites her neck.
  • Percussive Therapy: Angel carries Buffy into a gurney and yells at a nurse that she needs a transfusion. A doctor starts overwhelming him with pertinent questions, none of which Angel can reasonably answer. In his concern, Angel rips the door handle out of a door, prompting the doctor to ask yet another pertinent question: namely, whether he's on drugs.
  • Plunger Detonator: Giles gets to do the honors.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: Implied with Willow and Oz in the van, which explains their lateness to the ceremony. They both hurry to their seats, pretty clearly post-coital.
  • Prepare to Die: "It has begun. My destiny. [beat] It's a little sooner than I expected. I had this whole section on civic pride. But I guess we'll just skip to the big finish!"
  • Prophecy Twist: Back in "Amends", The First (as Jenny Calender) told Angel, "Sooner or later, you will drink her." In this episode, he does.
  • Psycho Strings: The Mayor strolling into Buffy's hospital room as jangly music plays.
  • Psychic Link: The dream sequence subtly implies that Slayers' minds are linked somehow. Buffy asks Faith if this is her mind or Faith's, but Faith doesn't know.
  • Punched Across the Room: Wilkins gets in Angel's face, calling Buffy a "whore." At this, Angel sends him flying across the room.
  • Put on a Bus: This episode is the last in which David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter are series regulars, and marks the final appearance of Cordelia and Wesley. The trio will make their triumphant return to the Buffyverse that following season on the spin-off show, Angel. However, Angel will continue to appear at least once per season (either in person or in flashbacks), with the exclusion of Season Six. (Looks like you're stuck with him, Xander.)
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Cordy bursts into the library and demands an explanation for what happened to Wesley. Xander responds, "Inbreeding?"
  • Roar Before Beating: Olvikan.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Giles congratulates her on defeating the Mayor, and hands her her diploma, saying he fished it out of the wreckage. "I'd say you earned it." Damn right!
    Buffy: Fire bad, tree pretty.
  • Rule of Three: Buffy punches Angel to get him to vamp out. Of course, she hits him once, twice, aaand the third time does it.
  • Scaled Up: Mayor Wilkins.
  • Screaming Warrior: Jonathan hilariously lets out a war cry before barreling into some vamps.
  • Security Cling: Cordelia cowers behind the diminutive Jonathan just as the school blows up.
    • Throw It In: According to Danny Strong, this scene was an idea of Charisma's, because she never got much screen time with him.
  • Series Fauxnale
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Olvikan leering down at Snyder and (later) Buffy.
  • Sickbed Slaying: In Faith's hospital room, the camera moves in for a close-up of her comatose face, and the Mayor strokes her hair. He desolately tells her, "It's your day." His face hardens, however, when he hears a nurse telling the doctor that they have another young girl with severe blood loss. He walks in on an unconscious Buffy in her room and tries to suffocate her.
  • Skewed Priorities: Wilkins' mooks are scheduled to hit the school just as he's winding up his speech. He backpedals that he's sorry they're going to miss the good stuff, "because I think it speaks to every one of us."
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Running Gag of Angel suddenly disappearing is averted; he walks off into the night watched by a heartbroken Buffy.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The school explosions was filmed at 5am in Torrence, California (where the show's outdoor scenes had been filmed for three years). The huge explosion woke up many residents, broke windows, and set off car alarms, causing the town to disallow future BtVS filming in the town.
  • Swallowed Whole: Snyder. Gulp.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: The seeming reconciliation between the two Slayers in their dream.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Buffy has a dream in which Faith appears to reconcile with her, giving a clue on how to defeat the Mayor.
    Faith: "You want to know the deal? Human weakness - never goes away. Not even his."
    Buffy: (with a half smile) "Is this your mind or mine?"
    Faith (laugh) "Beats me."
  • This Means War!: All Better now, Buffy walks out out her hospital room fully-dressed and greets the Scoobs. They're all flummoxed at her quick recovery. She tells them to get Angel and the others, because she's ready. For what? "War."
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot
  • Tranquil Fury: The Mayor wordlessly putting his hand over Buffy's unconscious face. Buffy starts thrashing around until the nurses try to pull him off, but Wilkins continues to choke her with an empty smile.
  • Trash the Set: Bye bye, Sunnydale High.
    • It'll be back.
  • Trench Coat Warfare: Looking on with horror, the guests try to flee. The kids, however, stand their ground. We see about twenty vamps approach the scene from the side opposite the Demon Mayor. Buffy shouts, "Now!" The kids throw off their gowns, they're all wearing crosses and armed with stakes, crossbows, and flamethrowers.
  • The Triple: Giles wearily telling Xander to keep scanning the books for any mention of Olkivan. "Powers, weaknesses, hat size, anything..."
    • Buffy says she'll need all of them, but that Xander is the key figure. "Key? Me?" He's predictably pleased. "Okay, pride, humility.. and here is the mind-numbing fear."
  • Trouble Entendre: Wilkins inviting Angel to stayed tuned for his "second act", in full view of witnesses.
    • In the middle of his speech, Wilkins makes eye contact with Buffy in the crowd. He darkly goes on that some people who should be there aren't.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: A planning session in the library, where Buffy is briefing the Scoobies. Meanwhile at City Hall, the Mayor is laying out his plan for his lackeys.
  • Two-Part Episode
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee
  • Villainous BSOD: Wilkins goes a little nuts when he finds Faith's disappeared. After she turns up in a coma, we see a doctor describing her condition to Wilkins, who is almost catatonic with grief.
  • You No Take Candle: Giles comes up, and asks Buffy she's all right. She says her brain isn't functioning on the higher levels; all it can formulate is "Fire bad, tree pretty."

Graduation Day, Part 1Recap/Buffy the Vampire SlayerThe Freshman

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