Graduation 2

Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon

Lizbet's Synopsis | Perri's Review

Lizbet's Synopsis

After Buffy watches Faith fall from the top of the building, she drops the knife she used to stab Faith and walks away. The Mayor and a fanged flunky find Faith's loft trashed and Faith gone, and, startlingly, the Mayor is genuinely upset.

Back in the library, Xander and Giles are pouring over research. Cordy comes in to demand why Westly is upset, and finds out that Buffy quit the Council. She stays to help with research.

Angel is in the mansion being watched over by Willow and Oz. He wakes briefly and thinks Willow is Buffy, and tells her that he can't leave, he can never leave her. Willow tells Oz that she feels guilty that everything around them is so horrible, but this is the best night of her life. Buffy returns and asks to be left alone with Angel. Angel wakes up again and tells her that he didn't want to die without seeing her again. Buffy insists that he is not going to die, and tells him to drink from her. When he refuses, she attacks him until the demon comes out and drains her.

Angel brings her to the emergency room. In the room next to Buffy's, the doctor is explaining to the Mayor that Faith's injuries are so severe that she will never wake up. The Mayor hears the nurse tells the doctor that there is another young girl with blood loss, and follows them into Buffy's hospital room. When no one is looking, he tries to smother her. Angel drags him away from Buffy and the Mayor blames her for Faith's state. Calming down, the Mayor threatens that worse will come.

Giles, Willow, Oz and Xander show up, and Angel explains exactly what happened (with a few potshots from Xander). Giles tells Angel to go home, the sun is rising. Buffy dreams that she is in Faith's loft. Faith tells her that some things will never be healed, and offers her whatever Buffy wants to take. Her last advice is that human weakness never goes away, not even the Mayor's. Buffy wakes up in the hospital, healed, and goes to Faith's bedside. She kisses her forehead, then dresses and joins the other Slayerettes.

Snyder is out in the Quad, nervously waiting, Buffy outlines her plan to everyone in the library. They all think it's insane, but barring anything else -- like another plan -- they're willing to follow her. Angel tells them that Faith is the Mayor's weakness. He lost it when she was injured. While they are planning, Westley comes in and asks to help. He informs them that there will be an eclipse during the graduation ceremony. The Mayor and Buffy lay their plans out for their troops, then Buffy leaves. While she is gone, various Slayerettes track down Sunnydale High students and enlist their help. Jonathan and Larry help Willow and Oz unload the van, then leave them there to... wait. *g* Buffy returns with Faith's knife, and Angel tells her that when this is over, if they are alive, he's just going to leave, without saying goodbye.

Graduation starts. Snyder snidely congratulates the graduates, then introduces the Mayor. "Today is about change," the Mayor tells them. As he speaks, the eclipse begins. The Mayor Ascends... into a 60-foot long serpent. The graduating class is ready for him, however, and fights back, armed to the teeth and ready to kick some demon ass. Xander and Angel command flank attacks, while Snyder gets munched. Larry goes down, and Harmony is bitten by one of the Mayor's vampire lackeys. Buffy distracts the Mayor by explaining in detail how she stabbed Faith, and lures the serpent to the library, which has been emptied of books and filled with explosives. Giles blows it up, and the Mayor is destroyed.

Buffy looks for Angel in the confusion afterwards, and Xander reassures her that he's okay. Westley is loaded into a ambulance, whimpering only slightly from pain. Giles compliments Buffy on her battle plan, but Buffy can't take anything in. She sees Angel at a distance, and watches as he walks out of her life. The Slayerettes gather to look at the remains of their old school, then they go home to sleep until college.

Perri's Review

Well, as Jossian finales go, the trauma is significantly lower than Becoming 2 (although the body count is higher). Really outstanding (and watchable) episode; the WB has rocks in their heads.

Lizbet did it.

The Mayor is quite dead -- and so is Sunnydale High School. RIP. Principal Snyder bought it, along with (apparently) Harmony and Larry.

Faith is in a coma -- not dead, so no new Slayer will be called. She may have given something -- knowledge and/or strength -- to Buffy in a dream.

Angel survived his poisoning, but has left Sunnydale for the forseeable future.

Buffy and Angel are splitville -- they both know their feelings aren't going to change, but Angel leaving town sort of puts a damper on the coupleness. For now.

Cordelia and Wesley, not for lack of trying, are a non-event. < g > Don't you hate it when that whole 'no chemistry' thing happens?

If I was Buffy, I would just dread the end of the school year. Once again, she lost Angel, but at least he's still alive this time around. Small comfort -- but this year's battle felt a lot more like a victory that last year's. Hopefully, she can take some comfort from that. Because she's got a helluva fight coming next year, guaranteed.

Angel just didn't get out of Sunnydale fast enough. I have no doubt he's going to let himself guilt over almost killing Buffy for quite some time to come, even though she gave him almost no choice. His intense distress in the emergency room was heart-wrenching -- and a superior performance from David. I'm also quite proud of Angel for remembering to call people. And, I have to agree with his decision not to say good-bye. They've said everything they con possibly say -- to walk away, he had to do it faast, and as clean as possible. That said -- yes, I sniffled. A lot.

Oh, dear, I think I'm going to have to smack Xander again. But, he's excused by not knowing the circumstances when he went after Angel for feeding off Buffy (although, if he was on Angelwatch, he should have known that Angel was in no condition to force anything on Buffy). But he comes through in a big way by helping pull everything -- including Angel -- together when the facedown against the Mayor came. And he won back major point by trying to reassure Buffy that Angel survived the fight.

Wesley, dude -- I had faith in you and you came through! That's my boy -- the Council isn't going to be happy with him, but he puts that aside and came through to get the real work done. We had better get him back next year!

Cordelia and Oz are both very good in their appointed roles -- the reality check (although the ebola thing was going a little far, Cordy). Cordy, of course, is bummed by the complete lack of chemistry with Wesley, but doesn't complain once about having to stop the end of the world. Oz is his usual mellow, deal-with-it self -- even when he's visibly scared to death -- and we love him for it. Can't wait to see what's going to happen next year when both of these two have more screen time.

Not much for Giles and Willow to do -- Giles is lovely dealing with the destruction of his library, and worrying about Buffy. Willow gets off a few zingers and plays backup. Again, I want more screentime next year for these two.

Well, there's no doubt now that the Mayor did not set Faith up to be killed by Buffy; in fact, he loved her as much as he could love anything. Trying to smother Buffy after he found Faith in the hospital was the one and only time we've ever seen the man completely lose it. You could almost feel sorry for him for a second there. Then, of course, he turned into a giant snake and tries to eat the Class of '99, so sympathy dies kind of fast.

Well, hate Harmony as much as you like, but she -- along with the rest of Sunnydale High -- came through at the end. Our boy Larry, Jonathan, Percy -- alll the names and faces we've started to know over the last three years. The one thing the vamps have always counted on, the one thing the Mayor never planned for, was for the kids to turn their backs on willful blindness, and gang together to fight -- to turn the hunted into the hunters. I'm annoyed that Larry died, but Joss didn't wuss out on the finale battle, and I'm glad for that. And he went out a hero, like all of the kids did. RIP, Lar -- and yeah, you too, Harmony.

Best Moments:
The beautiful scene with Angel incoherently believing Willow is Buffy. Just beautifully played! And the follow-up with Oz's "You, too, huh?" is a nice touch of surreal humor.

Angel's 'deathbed' scene and Buffy goading him into draining her. Serious, serious angst, well played by all concerned. Could have done without the slurping sounds, though. < shudder >

The Mayor and Angel facing off in the ER. The Mayor calling Buffy a whore and Angel's instantly violent reaction were intense, but not nearly as scary as the Mayor instantly getting it back together.

The dream sequence. Surreal as hell, nicely edited, and great performance from Eliza. Faith goes out with style, I'll give her that.

Wesley coming back to offer his help. I was so proud!

The simultaneous war councils. The deadly serious and overmatched Slayerettes and all of their allies, and the Mayor's equally serious and quite surreal meeting with the vamps is a beautifully intercut sequence.

~Cordy and Wesley kissing in a tree....~ < snicker > Beautifully played and painfully true to life -- a lovely twist on the relationship, done in true Jossian style!

Snyder's intro speech at graduation. < snicker > Damn, I'm going to miss the little troll.

"Man, just ascend already." Willow, you just keep rocking more and more.

The kids fight back! The best Buffy scene ever, bar none! From the throwing off of the robes, to the archers against the vamps, to Angel leading hte Sunnydale basketball team from the back, to Cordelia's Slayer-perfect staking.... just a wonderfully done finale and damned hard to top. I trust Joss to find a way, though. < g >

"Well, gosh." < snicker > Okay, we love you, buh-bye!

"Fire bad. Tree pretty." Best con button at MediaWest (RE: The Phantom Menace): "Sith bad. Jedi pretty."

Giles giving Buffy her diplome. < sniffle > Lovely moment.

The farewell. < major sniffles > Bye Angel. See ya in L.A.

Questions and Comments:
No fair! No fair killing Snyder when Armin was finally going to have time in his schedule. < pout > Not fair at all!

So what was up with that dream sequence with Faith? What, if anything, did she give Buffy besides the information about the Ascension?

Angel bit Buffy in the same place her mother was bitten in 'Angel', when Darla set Angel up. Not earthshattering, but interesting.

Lovely continuity still remembering Xander's turn as a soldier. They're getting a lot of mileage out of 'Halloween'.

Niiiice FX on the Ascension and Snake Boy.

Wow, talk about 'Last Knight' flashbacks. "Take just a little" = "Not if you don't take it all" a little too closely for my peace of mind thank you. Someone's been watching Forever Knight reruns, and this show didn't need any more help with the angst quotient, ya know?

Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Nice send off for Angel and Cordelia, a great way to kill off the Mayor


"It _was_ a very action-y evening, wasn't it? I'm still wishing we'd gotten the uncut version, with Xander having more fun. He was doing well playing Field Marshall last night, but I just get the feeling it could've been a *lot* more coherent without whatever editing was required. I should also add that now that I've got a really decent copy, it's incredibly obvious when David Boreanaz is throwing the punches, and when it's Jeff Pruitt. Not that I care, it's all fun."
"Mike Massa is David's stunt double. Not to be picky but... *g* And it is obvious. Still, David's doing a lot more stuff than *some* people *cough*Sarah*cough do." -- Chris and MB

"Larry's dead, Harmony's maybe-dead, Jonathan survived (at least until they blew up the Mayor, I saw him in the crowd then), Percy was in the vanguard of attackers with Angel but I don't know if he made it--- Joss had a lot of fun with his established extras this time. But Amy's still a rat! Is she going to be a rat forever? How long do rats *live*, anyway? She's going to die onscreen pretty soon if they don't get her re-humanized."
"They generally live 2-4 years, I believe. And I'm still more that half-convinced they have the wrong rat, and that Amy got re-humanized umpteen spell attempts ago, decided that was the last straw, and bid a hasty farewell to Sunnyhell." -- Chris and Val

"Buffy did the whole "I'm in pain" thing again. I hope she gets some happy eps next season. She needs to cheer up or she's going to have a nervous breakdown. It's not that she doesn't have *loads* of reasons, and she's acting way more mature than 1st season -- *I* just want her to have some good eps. Maybe a boyfriend who doesn't have a demon inside or any plan on world domination. The usual." -- Dawn

"And just W-H-E-R-E-?? was Scott Hope? He didn't grad? He didn't go to the ceremony? What?? Are we supposed to forget Buffy's weird and futile trip into teenage angst? What? (I'm asking because I wanted the mayor to eat him)." -- Dawn

"Snyder. A few last snarky comments and POW -- he's gone forever. snif. We'll miss you you angry little toad. No more principals stopping Buffy from leaving school grounds. If she skips in college, they don't care. They just fail you." -- Dawn

"I just think this episode was visually stunning as well as emotionally. I mean, the feeding scene, the slow-mo, the almost 3-minute tracking shot in the hospital, and the really cool circular stuff over the Battle preparations.... they really helped set the tone here. They sucked me in. And the music was phenomonal! " -- Mary Beth

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