Guest Starring: 
 Alexis Denisof: 
 (Wesley Wyndham-Price) 
 Emma Calfield: 
 Eliza Dushku: 
 Harry Groener: 
 (Mayor Richard Wilkins) 
 Mercedes McNabb: 
 Ethan Erickson: 
 Armin Shimerman: 
 (Principal Snyder) 
 Larry Bagby III: 
  22. Graduation Day, Part 2.  
  The mayor's ascension is upon the people of Sunnydale, but the Scooby's are getting help to fight the final battle this time.  
  Great quotes:  
The mayor is angry.
  • Xander: "Coffee brewed from the finest Columbian lighter fluid."
  • Snyder: "You've all proved more or less adequate."
  • The distain on the faces of Willow and Buffy as they realise the Mayor is going to do the entire speech; Willow: "Man just ascend already!"
  • Cordelia's plan: ""We get a box that says Ebola on it and chase him. With the box."
  • Giles: "A synchronicity that borders on predestination one might say." Buffy: "Fire bad tree pretty."
  • The Mayor's final instruction to his minions is: "Boys, let's watch the swearing." Genius.
  • Faith: "...miles to go, little Miss Muffet counting down from 7 3 0."
  • Buffy: "If someone could just wake me when it's time to go to college that'd be great." Behold the magic of DVDs!
  Fantastic moments:  
Weapons in an American school? Surely not.
  • Angel drinking Buffy's blood, about as sexually explicit as the program ever got, and only after Angel and Buffy had broken up.
  • Cordelia and Wesley trying to kiss. Hilarious.
  • The dream sequence between Buffy and Faith is beautifully shot and has one wondering weather Faith is redeemed of her sins by her telling Buffy "Take what you need, I'm not going to use it." before Buffy wakes up and kisses Faith in the forehead. The cryptic message for Buffy's fate in 2 years time is very hard to get without prior knowledge of what to look for, but at least with hindsight you can tell the writers knew where the series was going.
  • The 'aftermath' scenes are simple and round the third series off in an understated but fulfilling way. Angel disappears into the mist, Cordelia gets a rather odd final line "I'm for it." while BtVS's literal interpretation of graduation (the school burning down) plays out in the background.
  Duff Bits:  
  • The build up to the finale is a little too long, I understand it's necessary to let the tension build, but the episode is effectively 60 minutes old by then and it's starting to run out of steam.
  • Why are they playing 'Land of Hope and Glory' at the graduation ceremony? There must be some nuance of the American schooling system that has passed me by.
  • They didn't really need to get Giles to present Buffy with her graduation certificate (just in case anyone didn't SPOT THE METAPHORS in the last two episodes) did they?
  Dean's comments:  
School's out forever.
How on earth does Joss Whedon keep getting away with ridiculously blatant sexual references on a TV program that is aired before 9pm? Buffy's tangle with Angel as he drinks her blood is fairly sexually explicit and is really the episode's highlight. I was a little let down by the finish; I felt that once Faith was out of the way the Mayor was an after-thought. Faith is, after all, a focus for the Mayor too (look at the vacant and remorseful expression on his face as she lies in the hospital) and he seems more concerned about her than his ascension. The final battle was never going to be as good as the finale in part 1; and although the ending is suitably spectacular there's something about the ease with which the Mayor is finally torched that is unsettling. They put a lot of thought and preparation into that final symbolic destruction of the school. Cordelia gets to stake her first vampire (I'm shocked that this is true but the DVD extras insist upon it) while Jonathan seems to have taken on the 'all action hero' role smoothly.
Angel's shirt comes off for the final time.
I'm sure that the 'snake demon' SFX will date with time but that's not really the point is it? The final scenes wrap everything up nicely, setting up Angel the series and preparing everyone to move on. The ending would serve well as an ending for the series too if that were necessary, all loose ends are tidied up, high school is over and the world is their oyster (so to speak).
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