"Graduation Day, Part 2"
Written and directed by Joss Whedon

Buffy is still on Faith’s balcony, where the latter Slayer has been stabbed and has jumped into the bed of a truck (see “Graduation Day, Part 1”). Buffy puts down Faith’s knife and climbs down the side of the building. The Mayor arrives, surveys the damage, and orders his vampire minions to find Faith. One of his minions reminds him about the Ascension, but the Mayor is more concerned about Faith. He tries to convince himself that she can handle whatever Buffy did to her and that she’ll be all right. Xander brings Giles coffee in the library and they continue to look for helpful demon information. Cordelia enters, demanding to know why Wesley is so upset. Giles tells her that Buffy quit the Council and Wesley will have to go back to England. She asks why he can’t stick around, saying to Giles, “I mean, you got fired, and you still hang around like a big loser.” Xander reminds her that they’re trying to save everyone and gets her to help them. However, she thinks that Buffy has made a mistake and is only thinking about herself. At the mansion, Willow tends to Angel, who tells her that he needs her and was wrong to want to leave. She realizes that he’s delirious and thinks she’s Buffy. In the main room, Willow tells Oz that she feels guilty because so many bad things are happening, but she’s still personally had a great night. Buffy arrives and asks Willow and Oz to leave so that she can be alone with Angel. They tell her that since Faith is out of the picture, they’ll look for another cure. Buffy goes in to see Angel and tells him that she can cure him. She offers her neck to him and says, “Drink me.” He refuses, even when she tells him that he can drink enough to be cured and still not kill her. In the main room, Buffy begins hitting him until he vamps out and grabs her. In a very subtextual scene, Angel bites Buffy and drinks some of her blood, healing himself but leaving her weakened.

Angel carries an unconscious Buffy into a hospital, frantically trying to get a doctor to help her. He tells the doctor that “something bit her” and, after impatiently ripping off a door handle, denies that they’ve been using drugs. He goes to call the Scoobies and, nearby, a comatose Faith is tended to and the Mayor is given information on her condition. The Mayor hears that another girl was admitted with blood loss and realizes that it must be Buffy. He heads to her room and tries to suffocate her, but is caught by a nurse. Angel throws him aside and the Mayor furiously promises to cause him and Buffy as much pain as Buffy has caused him. Angel throws him across the room and the Mayor gets up laughing. He tells Angel that the show’s not over and that the final act will be something big. Angel promises to be there. Later, he meets up with the Scoobies and assures them that Buffy will be okay. Xander is upset that he was willing to put Buffy’s life in danger to save himself. Giles sends Angel off, reminding him that the sun will be up soon, and Angel reluctantly leaves. In Faith’s apartment, Buffy walks around the living room, which is full of cardboard boxes. A cat jumps up onto Faith’s bed and Buffy asks who will take care of him. Faith says that the cat is female and asks, “Aren’t these things supposed to take care of themselves?” Buffy says that there’s something she’s supposed to be doing and Faith cryptically replies, “Miles to go. Little Ms. Muffet counting down from 7-3-0.” (For hardcore Buffy fans: 7:30 is generally accepted as a reference to the episode “The Gift,” which aired 730 days after this episode. 7:30 is also referenced in “Restless.”) The cat briefly turns into a girl, then back into a cat. Faith asks if the window she and Buffy broke will ever be fixed, then assures Buffy that she herself can be. Buffy looks down and Faith’s knife briefly appears in her hand. Faith tells her that “human weakness” never goes away, “not even his.” She tells Buffy that she now owns Faith’s things, advising her, “Just take what you need.” Buffy wakes up in the hospital, goes to Faith’s room, and kisses her on the forehead. She meets up with the Scoobies in the hallway and tells them that she’s ready for “war.”

At Sunnydale High, everything is set up for graduation and Snyder has the diplomas at hand. In the library, the Scoobies (including Cordelia and Angel) gather for their final meeting. Buffy asks if her plan is crazy and the Scoobies aren’t quite sure it isn’t. Buffy says that she needs everyone on board and calls Xander “key guy,” which pleases him. She mentions that Faith told her about the Mayor having a weakness and Willow wonders if this was before or after Faith went into a coma. Unfortunately, Buffy isn’t sure what the Mayor’s weakness is. Angel says that he doesn’t like germs, and Cordelia suggests chasing him with a box of Ebola. Angel realizes that Faith is the Mayor’s weakness and Buffy says that she can do something with that. Wesley enters and warns that she doesn’t have much time, but Buffy isn’t interested in hearing what he has to say. She tells him that she’ll call him if she needs “someone to scream like a woman.” Wesley replies that he wants to help even without the Council backing them up, a move with Cordelia pronounces as “classy.” As Buffy parses out tasks to the Scoobies, the Mayor goes over his plans with his vampire minions. He tells them to hold off the people who try to run and one of the vamps reminds him that it’ll be in the middle of the afternoon. The Scoobies read about the Ascension and learn that an eclipse will occur, which will allow Angel to take part in the fight. Buffy tells him that he and Xander will have to work together and they proceed to bicker like “little old ladies,” according to Buffy. The Mayor instructs his minions not to feed on any humans, just to kill them. Willow and Oz try to figure out an acceptable substitution for a volcano (again, see “Graduation Day, Part 1”) and Buffy asks Giles if he wants to help do the honors. The Mayor gives his minions some final details, telling them to “watch the swearing.”

Xander pulls Harmony aside to talk to her and Willow does the same with Percy. Cordelia and Wesley pack up library books, stealing glances at each other and finally deciding to discuss their feelings. Wesley says that since Buffy has quit the Council, he’ll be returning to England after the Ascension. After a few unsure moments, the two finally kiss, but their chemistry proves to be lacking. They try again, both dissatisfied, and Cordelia finally just wishes Wesley good luck in England. Outside, Larry and Jonathan unload sacks of fertilizer from Oz’s van and try to head off without anyone spotting them. Willow admits to Oz that she’s terrified, but he’s sure that they’ll survive. He manages to distract her with some more kissing. Buffy and Angel encounter each other in Giles’ office and Angel announces that he’s not going to say goodbye to her. After the Ascension, assuming they survive, he’s just going to leave. She doesn’t want to hear any more from him, so he leaves. She unwraps a white cloth, revealing Faith’s knife. In the quad, graduation gets underway and Snyder humorlessly (of course) addresses the students. Willow and Oz arrive as the Mayor is taking the stage and Willow asks Buffy, “Am I late? Do we fight?” The Mayor gives a speech about how special the day is - in addition to being graduation day, it’s also Sunnydale’s centennial. Buffy and Willow realize that he’s going to give his entire speech and wish that he would just get everything over with already. The Mayor muses about everything that’s happened to the students and says that there are people who aren’t there but should be. He talks about journeys, change, and ascension as the Scoobies anxiously await the big fight. The sun is eclipsed and the Mayor suddenly begins to experience pain, marking the beginning of his transformation. He turns into a giant snake and, understandably, a number of people run off. As the Mayor’s minions arrive to stop people from leaving, Buffy shouts, “Now!” The graduation students take off their robes, revealing weapons and crosses.

The seniors get to work, using flame throwers at Buffy’s orders and following Xander’s instructions to shoot crossbow lances. The Mayor begins feeding and Snyder expresses his disapproval of the chaos taking place. The vampires attack and some students fire flaming arrows at them, then engage in hand-to-hand combat. Angel, Wesley, and Percy lead another group of students in an attack on the vampires and successfully hold some of them off. Wesley, however, is almost immediately knocked down and remains on the ground. Larry’s flamethrower stops working and before he can use another weapon, the Mayor kills him with his tail. (‘Bye, Larry! Amy will miss you in “Smashed.”) Snyder continues to yell that everything has turned disorderly and doesn’t think that the Mayor is showing respect. The Mayor retaliates by eating him. (Good riddance, Snyder! See you again in “Restless.”) Xander’s group of students grab stakes and begin to attack the vampires as Buffy runs off. The vampires Angel was holding off make a break for the students and suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage. Harmony is bitten and seemingly killed, though her true fate will be discovered in “The Harsh Light of Day.” Jonathan jumps on a vampire and Cordelia gets to stake her very first vamp. Wesley is…still on the ground. Buffy gets the Mayor’s attention and holds up Faith’s knife, bragging about stabbing her with it. She runs off and he chases her through the building to the library. She jumps out a window while he remains inside, surrounded by fertilizer and diesel fuel. “Well, gosh,” he says. Outside, Giles pushes down on a plunger and detonates the explosives inside the library, both killing the Mayor and destroying the school.

Later, the police and firefighters have arrived and the fire in the school is out. Paramedics take away Wesley, who would like to be given painkillers or simply knocked out. (He’ll resurface in the Angel episode “Parting Gifts.”) Xander and Buffy discuss how miraculous it was that they survived and he assures her that Angel made it through the battle. Giles approaches and congratulates Buffy on a job well done. He then (suspend your disbelief) gives her her diploma, which he found in the wreckage. He heads off to check on Wesley and Buffy spots someone through the smoke - it’s Angel, who spots her as well before walking off. (He’s off to L.A. for his own show.) The Scoobies meet up and Cordelia complains that the battle wasn’t fun. They head off to get some sleep, Buffy saying that she’d like to just be woken up when it’s time to go to college. Oz announces that they should take a moment to think about the fact that they survived. Buffy agrees that the battle was huge, but Oz is talking about their success at completing high school. The Scoobies walk off together - Cordelia in her last Scooby moment (she’ll show up in the Angel series premiere “City Of”) - and we see a Sunnydale yearbook entitled “The Future is Ours.”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Don’t go to graduation ceremonies.

R.I.P.: Larry, Snyder, Harmony (technically), the Mayor, a bunch of other random people

GRADE: A- Come on! They blew up the school! What’s not to like?

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Xander: “Aren’t you supposed to be drinking tea anyway?”
Giles: “Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense.”
Xander: “Okay. But you are destroying a perfectly good cultural stereotype here.”

Cordelia: “I demand an explanation.”
Xander: “For what?”
Cordelia: “Wesley.”
Xander: “Uh…inbreeding?”
Cordelia: “So very funny. Any minute I am sure to laugh. I just got off the phone with him. He could hardly speak, he was so upset. He said there was something about a fight? And he is leaving the country.”
Giles: “Should I assay remorse?”

Willow: “He’s delirious. He thought I was Buffy.”
Oz: “You too, huh?”

Angel: “Don’t do that!”
Mayor: “I will. I do that and worse. Murderous little fiend! Did you see what she did to my Faith?”
Angel: “Hadn’t any plans to weep over that one.”
Mayor: “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!”

Cordelia: “I personally don’t think it’s impossible to come up with a crazier plan.”
Oz: “We attack the Mayor with hummus.”
Cordelia: “I stand corrected.”
Oz: “Just trying to keep things in perspective.”
Cordelia: “Thank you. My point, however, is, crazy or not, it’s pretty much the only plan. Besides, it’s Buffy’s, and she’s slay gal; you know, Little Ms. Likes to Fight. So….”
Xander: “I think there was a ‘yea’ vote buried in there somewhere.”

Angel: “Well, he’s not crazy about germs.”
Cordelia: “Of course, that’s it. We attack him with germs!”
Buffy: “Great! We’ll corner him, and then you can sneeze on him.”
Cordelia: “No! No, we’ll get a box with the Ebola virus and…and…. Or, it doesn’t even have to be real, we can just get a box that says Ebola on it and…um, chase him…with the box….”
Xander: “I’m starting to lean towards the hummus offensive.”
Oz: “He’ll never see it coming.”

“Congratulations to the class of 1999. You all proved more or less adequate. This is a time of celebration, so sit still and be quiet.” - Snyder

Buffy: “He’s going to do the entire speech.”
Willow: “Man, just ascend already.”
Buffy: “Evil.”

“I haven’t processed everything yet. My brain isn’t really functioning on the higher levels. It’s pretty much ‘fire bad, tree pretty.’” - Buffy to Giles

Giles: “There is a certain dramatic irony that’s attached to all this. A synchronicity that borders on…on predestination, one might say.”
Buffy: “Fire bad, tree pretty.”

Cordelia: “Well, that’s the most fun you can have without having any fun.”
Willow: “How about the part where we kicked some demon a$#? I didn’t hate that.”

Oz: “Guys, take a moment to deal with this: we survived.”
Buffy: “It was a he$# of a battle.”
Oz: “Not the battle - high school. We’re taking a moment… (Willow and Buffy get up to leave) …and we’re done.”

“Guys, we blew up the school! It’s the best day ever!” - Xander (from the original script)

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