Buffy Ep 3.21 "Graduation Day Pt1"

 And the tension ratchets up another notch.

This, the penultimate episode of season 3, is certainly building up to a major season finale. I can understand why they were so pissed off in the States when part 2 was pulled. Fortunately (touch wood) we should be seeing it next week.


The opening scene (after flashbacks) was Xander and Cordelia picking up their graduation gowns. They are back to being quite civil (relatively, anyway). Cordelia is concerned because she doesn't like the color of the robes (Maroon).
Xander is concerned because he really doesn't expect to live past graduation.  The Mayor's ascension is fast approaching. (And guess who's going the be addressing the school on graduation day?)
Willow is busy signing yearbooks.
Willow: I'm going to miss her.
Buffy: Don't you hate her?
Willow: With a fiery passion. But I'm still going to miss her.

Faith shows up at a Professors' place, and kills him. We don't know why, yet. Faith is definitely getting to be  a stone killer.

The mayor then demonstrates his unusual relationship with Faith... he buys her a nice, pink, dress. It really looks as the he is thinking of her more as a daughter than anything else.

We see an appearence from the Jock (Percy) that Willow was tutoring back in 'DoppelGangLand'. He's passed, a B-

In class, Anya, somewhat clumsily, asks Xander out. She really seems to be attracted to Xander, even if she doesn't quite know what to do with it.  Xander agrees to go out the following weekend. Providing he survives the Ascension.  Guess who was a the last one?

Giles and Wesley are practising their fencing in the Library. Giles is obviously heaps better than Wesley (no surprise), parrying quite easily while reading a newspaper.  Buffy has picked up on the death of the Professor, recognising Faith's handywork.

She and Giles decide that she should check it out.
Wesley: You will go to the Professor's place tonight, and investigate.
Buffy:  I just love it when you take charge, you man you.
Wesley: ... er... was that a yes?

Anya reveals that all the Demons that they have faced up til now have been "tainted", relatively little ones. When the ascension comes, they are going to be facing a "pure" demon. For one thing, they're bigger.

The mayor is at school, arranging for his address the next day. Snyder is still toadying. The mayor promises to pay Snyder for all he's done. Sounds ominous.

The gang are brainstorming in the library when the Mayor works in! (My comment... what the F***? ) He's not scared. He's impervious.  Which he demonstrates when Giles runs him through with a sword. (Giles gets a lecture about demonstrating that sort of behaviour in front of kids. The Mayor is weird.

Anya decamps. (Very sensibly)
Anya: If there was a lunar shuttle leaving, I'd be on it.

Cordelia: What's up with her?
Xander: She's freaking. The Mayor's going to kill us all at Graduation.
Cordelia: I'm thinking of skipping 5th period.
Xander: Good plan.

Buffy trys to persuade her mum to get out of town. Again, sensible, but I'm not sure Joyce is actually going to go for it.
Joyce: What's happening? You're running away again!! And you're taking my clothes...?

Willow and Oz... well, they get together. A nice, romantic scene... and no more unicorns for them, either.

Buffy is investigating the professors office, and Angel shows up to help. Buffy and Angel are taking some papers and books back for Giles to check out (and arguing... Buffy is finding it really hard to cope the Angel's impending departure) when Angel get shot with an arrow.
Goon: Missed the heart.
Faith: Meant to.
(Confirming that you need a heart shot to kill Vampires)

Buffy manages to get Angel back to the library, were Angel is patched up.  He's not to worried, Vampires heal pretty quick. They gang has been trying to work out exactly what kind of Demon the Mayor is intending to turn into. In the Professor's papers, they find some evidence that the Mayor's imperviousness will disappear when he turns. (A bit suss, I think)  However, that's about the time that Angel faints. It would appear he's been poisoned. (Which none of us guessed, of course, thanks to Primes amazing 'no spoiler' policy.) (sarcasm off)

Willow and Oz wake up after an obviously pleasant night, and get the phone call (trouble at Mill)

The next scene has the Mayor preparing to eat a bunch of the spider things that he acquired in Enemies. Faith and the Mayor really seem to be developing a father/daughter relationship. Quite touching, really. Pity he's so evil.

Xander is sent off the get ingredients from the Magic Shop (he comments that he's short of cash... a reference to his paying for Cordelia's dress last week?) Anya has not quite left yet. She shows up to offer Xander a last chance to get away with her... she really is quite keen on him. But, she still really doesn't understand it.

Xander: That humanity thing is really still a work in progress, isn't it?

Angel is getting weaker, when Wesley announces that the Council is refusing to help Angel. It's not policy.  Buffy tells Wesley to take a hike, and basically quits. She wants nothing more to do with the Council. They've been more trouble than they were worth, recently. She's not working for them any more.  Wesley: This is mutiny. Buffy: I like to think of it as a Graduation.

Willow and Oz find the cure. Bad news... it requires draining the Blood of a Slayer. Buffy goes off to get one.  She's now out for blood, and Faith is for the chop. Given a choice between Faith and Angel... no contest.

Xander tries to disuade her... he's afraid of her going the way Faith went, losing her humanity, but Buffy is determined. To the death.

She shows up at Faith's place, and, as expected, a tremendous fight ensues. Finally... Slayer vs Slayer. For real. The fight we've all been waiting for. Buffy finishes the fight, in the end, by stabbing Faith in the stomache with her own knife. Faith , though, takes a header off the top of a several story building, landing in a passing truck. It would appear that this last move was deliberate. She wasn't expecting to survive, she was just making sure that Buffy didn't get the blood that Angel needed. As to whether she did survive... we'll have to wait to find out, won't we, because that's where it ended.

An interest cut scene was the Mayor being informed of trouble at Faith's place (he's just finished his meal of spider, and is seriously powering up for the big day) Again, he seems genuinely worried about Faith. (Though who can tell what this really means?)

In another cut scene, Giles finally finds a reference to the Demon that the Mayor is going to become. He's big... very big.

End of Synopsis.

An interesting episode for quite a few reasons. We see Cordelia's and Xander's relationship has improved. Will there be romance again? Probably not, but at least they seem to have sorted something out, and seem to be able to talk civilly again.

And what of Anya? (Ex-goddess of scorned women) She seems to be building up to be a signifigant character. Will be turn out to be Xander's love interest next year? Could be. Not sure... Xander doesn't seem to be real interested just yet. Mind you, he's a bit distracted...

The plot, of course, rockets along.
What will happen to Angel? How will the good guys win? (assuming they do, of course.)
What *is* the mayor's actual goal? After the Ascension, I mean. What's he going to do with all that power? I can't imagine that it's an end in itself. He has to have a plan. Rule the world? Traditional, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's not that simple.

And then there's Willow and Oz, of course. I'm assuming they're both sensible, and would have taken precautions. Wouldn't they? Admittedly, they might not have been thinking past the next few days... which could make some interesting complications if they survive.

And did Faith survive? Her demise certainly left the way open for a return. Admittedly, that was a serious stomache wound she took, not to mention the fall. On the other, this is TV, and if you don't have the body... and, of course, she's a Slayer, and that means "toughness".

And what will Wesley/the Council do now that Buffy's told them to get stuffed? What *can* they do? *sigh* A week to wait (and I'm going to be on the bus coming back from Melbourne when they show it, so I'll be relying on VCR (shudder))

Robbie Rating: 8.6  Good plot advancement, good character advancement, finished halfway...
Stephanie Rating: OK for kids (possible exception Faith being stabbed, but most kids will take that in their stride.)

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