Buffy Ep 3.22 "Graduation Day Pt2"

Well. Yet another kickass episode. I'm ever so glad that we didn't have to wait for it like they did in the states. I would have been spitting chips.  In some ways it was a bit emotionally overblown. On the other hand, it was a hell of a season ender.

A Synopsis. (Mine! All mine! And no silly claims about length, either!)

The opening scene carries straight on from where we left off last week. A shocked Buffy is standing on the rooftop from where Faith had just fallen. The knife she stabbed her with is lying next to her hand, covered with faiths blood. Slowly, she climbs down a ladder, leaving the scene.

Moments later, the Mayor and some hench-vampires are looking over Faiths apartment. The mayor is *really* upset, and obviously very, worried about Faith. To me, this answers the ongoing discussion about whether he truly cared about her, or whether it was all a setup. I really feel that he cared about her like she was his daughter.

After the credits, Xander walks into the library, carrying two cups of coffee.
Xander: Here's your coffee. Brewed from the finest Columbian Lighter Fluid.
Giles: Thankyou. (sips) Horrible.
Xander: Aren't you supposed to be drinking tea?
Giles: Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense.

They are still desperately searching for anything to give them a handle on the demon the Mayor is going to turn into. Cordelia turns up, having just recieved a distressed phone call from Wesley, that he is leaving the country. It would appear that he has accepted that Buffy has actually quit, even if he doesn't quite know what to do with it. Lovely line:
Cordelia: I demand an explanation.
Xander: For what?
Cordelia: Wesley.
Xander: er... inbreeding?

Angel is delerious. Willow is watching over him. Angel is so far out of it, he thinks Willow is Buffy. A bit shaken, she gets up and crosses to Oz. They're still waiting for news on Buffy.
Oz: Any change?
Willow: He's delerious. He thought I was Buffy.
Oz: You too, huh?

Willow is somewhat torn. On the one hand, things in general are falling apart. On the other hand, she's having a really good time being in lust with Oz.

Buffy returns, still badly shaken. She asks to be alone with Angel, and Oz and Willow go off. Buffy has decided that the only way for Angel to survive is for him to drink her blood. She thinks she *might* survive if Angel can stop from drinking all of her blood, but Angel is far from sure he *can* stop. Angel refuses, but Buffy slaps him around until his Vampire nature takes the better of him, and he feeds. Quite an erotic scene, if a rather violent. It would appear that stopping feeding is easier said than done... (the vinegar stroke?) but finally he manages to pull himself off her. She's very far gone... he can't have left a lot.

However, it's done the trick. He's recovered, almost completely.  He rushes Buffy to the hospital, and they give her a transfusion. (after a few tense words with the doctor, who wants to know if she's being doing drugs.) Angel finds a phone to call the others. In the next room, Faith is in the hospital bed. The Doctor there is giving the Mayor the bad news. Faith might survive the stab wounds, etc, but the brain damage sustained from the fall was too severe. It's unlikely she'll ever wake up.

The Mayor finds Buffy in the next room, and starts to smother her. Angel finds him, and pulls him off. The Mayor is *really* *really* upset... more than we've ever seen him. Angel throws him at a wall. Naturally, the Mayor is unharmed. However, he recovers his equilibrium, and walks off, after basically informing Angel that bad things are going to happen.

The gang arrive, and Angel reveals what has happened. He's not proud of it. The Gang aren't real thrilled, either. In any case, Angel has to go because the sun is coming up. However, it looks like Buffy is going to be OK.

This could be a copout... Angels "cure" was definately stated as having to "drain" a Slayer's blood, and Willow stated categorically that it would kill Buffy. However, there is an ongoing theme throughout the series that both the forces of evil, (and quite a few of the forces of good, for that matter), are behind the times as far as technology goes. There is little doubt that Buffy would have died if it wasn't for the transfusion. Personally, I like this as a theme. It's consistently one of the ways that Buffy and co have been able to keep their edge, so I'm not complaining.

Anyway, the next scene appears to be a "SlayerDream (TM)" (a term in use in a.t.btvs) ...  I'm going to transcribe this scene as closely as possible, because I feel there are hidden depths to it, which may become apparent later.

Buffy is looking a Faith's apartment. A cat jumps on the bed.
Buffy: Who's going to look after him?
Faith appears.
Faith: She. Aren't these things supposed to take care of themselves?
Buffy: A higher power guiding us.
Faith: I'm pretty sure that's not what I meant.
Buffy: There's something I'm supposed to be doing...
Faith: Oh, yeah. Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet, counting down from 7-3-0.
Buffy: Great. Riddles.
Faith: Sorry, it's my head. It's full of this stuff...(?) They're never going to fix this, are they?
(Just for a moment, the cat on the bed changes into Faith (on hospital bed) and then back again)
Buffy: What about you?
(Faith guestures to her own head.)
Faith: Scar tissue. It fades, it all fades.
(Just for a moment, Faith's bloodstained knife appears in Buffy's open hand, then fades again)
Faith: You want to know the deal? Human weakness... never goes away. Even his.
Buffy: Is this your mind or mine?
Faith: (laughs) Beats me. It's getting towards that time.
(Buffy looks around at the apartment, with all sorts of furniture and other things lying around it.)
Buffy: How are you going to fit all this stuff?
Faith: Not gonna. It's yours.
Buffy: I can't use all of this.
Faith: Just take what you need. You ready?

Buffy wakes up. I'm assuming that the whole apartment was a metaphor for Faith's knowlege and memories, (and possibly powers) and on some Slayer level she was gifting them to Buffy. Buffy gets out of bed, finds Faith, and gently kisses her forehead.

Then Buffy finds the gang.
Xander: You ok?
Buffy: I'm ready.
Willow: Ready for what? Buffy: War.

Next scene has Snyder surveying the scene of the upcoming Graduation. The background music sounds ominous. Then we switch to Buffy and gang, in the library.
Buffy: So that's my plan. Am I crazy?
Willow: Crazy is such a ... strong word.
Cordelia: Well, I personally don't think anyone could come up with a crazier plan.
Oz: We attack the mayor with houmos?
Cordelia: I stand corrected.

They are casting around, trying to work out exactly what the Mayor's "human weakness" may be, when Angel say that he was seriously upset about Faith. Wesley shows up, and offers his help.

The council(s) of War start. The scene keeps switching between the Mayor's final briefing for his vampires, and Buffy and the Gang. She's going to rely on Xanders "military" memories... (they've been used in the past, although I do think they get trotted out and put away a little conveniently) There's going to be an eclipse at the start of the ceremony, so Vampires (on both sides) will be in play.

All the troops go their seperate directions.  We see all the extras doing their part... people who have helped, or been helped by the Gang in the past... Larry, Anya... I recognized a lot of faces, even if I couldn't put a name on them.  Larry and friend pick up a bunch of unidentified sacks from Oz's van.

Then there is a sort of a pause... the preparations have been made, it's now just a matter of waiting. Wesley and Cordelia find themselves in the library (they are packing up the books) and exchange a passionate kiss.... which appears to be signifigantly less passionate that either expected. After a few moments, they just give up, and go back to what they were doing. So much for *that* romance... (heh, heh, heh. I was amused, anyway)

Oz and Willow decide there's *just* enough time for a last "cuddle"....

And Angel tells Buffy he's not going to say goodbye. When it's all over (assuming they survive) he's just going to take off. (*sniff*) (I might add, the night I got to watch this is also the same night that they showed Babylon 5's last episode, "Sleeping in Light". I was a serious emotional wreck by the time I got to bed.)

The students are all piling into the all. Snyder give his normal stirring speech. ("Sit down, and stay still") Willow and Oz show up, a little late, and a little dishevelled.

The Mayor launches into his speech.
Buffy: My god. He's going to do the entire speech.
Willow: Man, just ascend already.

As the speech progresses, an eclipse occurs (I assume magically enhanced in some way) and the Mayor starts to change.
Mayor: It's happening a bit earlier than I expected. I still had a whole section about Civic Pride... I suppose we'll just skip to the big finish.

And then the Mayor turns into a giant demon. (Long and thin. Think "Loch Ness Monster") (And as another note, Prime's add placing was less than ideal. Did anyone notice this?) At this point, the parents and teachers (not all that many of them, for the number of students... I wonder how many were tipped off) break and run. They are trapped by the surrounding vampires. And then...

Buffy yells "NOW!" and the entire student body throws of their robes, and they are all holding weapons! Yay!

General Xander takes command, and there is a rip-roaring battle scene.  The vampires are pushed back. Another group comes around from another direction, to find Angel and what appears to be the entire football team. Snyder appears to have stripped his gears, and just stands there telling the demon off because he isn't disciplined.  Some few of the students  break and run (and are eaten by vampires)

There is a lovely scene where a group of vampires en masse are charging the students, and then get really shocked when the students charge back. We see Larry, manning a flame-thrower, get picked up in the demons mouth, and spat out again. Is he still alive? I have no idea. Cordelia gets into the fight, taking out one or two vampires on her own. Wesley shows up just long enough to get knocked down.

The fight moves away from the quadrangle, leaving just Buffy and the Demon Mayor. She holds up Faiths knife.
"Remember this? I killed her with it."
The Demon goes after Buffy, who turns and runs. She sprints down the schools halls, the deamon pursuing, destruction in it's wake. (This is a *big* demon)

She runs through the library, Demon in close pursuit.  The library is packed with what appears to be sacks of ammonia based fertilizer soaked in diesel fuel. (This, BTW, is a very powerful home-made explosive) Buffy goes out the window, and the Demon has just enough time to say: "Well, Golly!" before Giles pushes the detonator, and the whole school goes up with an enormous bang.

Next scene, the ambulances have arrived, and lots of people are wandering around, looking stunned. Wesley is wheeled to a waiting ambulance.
Wesley: If I could just get something for the pain... it's rather a lot of pain actually... maybe an aspirin... or if I could just be knocked unconcious...

Xander tells Buffy that Angel made it through the fight, but he appears to have already taken off. Buffy is exhausted.
"My higher brain functions have shut down. It's pretty much: Fire bad, tree pretty."

Giles has rescued Buffy's diploma from the flames. He gives it to her, and then goes off to see to Wesley. We get one last shot of Angel. He looks at Buffy, she looks at him, and he turns an wanders off into the smoke.

The gang are watching the school burn down.
Oz: Guys, take a moment to deal with this. We survived.
Buffy: One hell of a battle.
Oz: Not the battle, high school.

They walk off into the night. The last scene is a slightly scorched yearbook: "Sunnydale 1999.... Looking Towards the Future"

and the little alien is wearing a little mortar (? you know, the square hat thing they wear at graduations...)

End of Synopsis

Whew. Pretty intense episode.

Not only the end of Highschool, but probably the end of Sunnydale High. At the very least, there will have to be extensive rebuilding before classes can start next year.

I got a real thrill when then students threw back their gowns, and were armed to the teeth, ready to stand shoulder to shoulder and give some back. It's out of usual mold of "Slayer and a handful of assistants fight evil", and I think that's nice.

I'd like to know who survived, and who died. Obviously, the major characters made it.  I know Angel is going off to his own series.  I thought I saw a number of recurring characters get hurt, but it was hard to tell whether they will survive or not. I thought I saw Anya being vampired, but, again, it's hard to tell. (even with video playback, there was a hell of a lot going on.)

Will Faith's Slayer powers enable her to recover? Or is she going to be in a permanent coma, in effect taking the Spare Slayer out of the circuit?

Buffy has severed ties with the Council. Are they going to lie down an take this? And if not, what are they going to do about it? They'd be on pretty shaky moral ground to take out the most effective Slayer in known history. On the other hand, they've been  on shaky moral ground before, and it hasn't stopped them...

Still... top ending to the Season.  And if Season 4 had not eventuated, it would have been a top ending to the show. However, Season 4 is go, and we've got plenty of story lines to carry on with.

Robbie Rating: A solid 9 and a bit, I think.
Stephanie Rating: I'm going to let her watch this, but I'm going to sit next to her when I do. Plenty of things going on, not too much for her to cope with, I think.

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