Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 22

Graduation Day (2)

4
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jul 13, 1999 on The WB
9.5
out of 10
User Rating
656 votes
27

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
During their battle, Faith manages to escape from Buffy, so Buffy forces Angel to drink her own blood to rid his body of the poison. With Buffy in a coma, the gang must devise a plan to defeat the Mayor once and for all.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Graduation Day (2)

    10
    A perfect conclusion to what looks to be BtVS's most consistent season. Is this as good as Whedon's own "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22) from last season? Well, nothing really is since it's my favorite episode. It's also interesting to note that I don't think this episode tops "Innocence" (2x14) or "Passion" (2x17) either. One of the few things I don't like about S3 is the lack of any real danger and minimal outpours of emotion. More discussion on this topic will be had in the S3 review. That's not meant to diminish what this episode accomplishes though. A lot happens here and all of it is fantastically entertaining. This is an example of an episode being able to fully entertain me without wondering if the good guys will fully win. We got shock and heartbreak last season, so this is actually a nice break from the usual. There are some incredibly powerful scenes crammed in this baby though. So lets dive in!



    We pick up right where part one left off, with Buffy on a rooftop outside of Faith's apartment. She morosely, thinking she's actually killed Faith, climbs down the ladder and heads back to Angel's place. This is where, I must admit, a beautiful and oddly erotic scene takes place. Buffy knows she's the only one who can cure Angel now so she offers herself to him. She tells him to not take all her blood so she can survive long enough to get blood back in her system. He at first refuses to do it. Then she literally punches him in the face trying to get him to vamp out. She finally succeeds and puts his face on her neck. Angel then finally lets the hunger inside him take over a little bit and bites into her. They fall onto the ground together while Buffy is clearly in significant pain. After a few seconds pass, though, Buffy appears to getting some kind of sexual satisfaction out of the experience. The way Angel's positioned on top of her and in between her legs helps propel this idea further. After crunching a helmet with her hand and breaking some wood with her feet she finally loses conciousness.



    I've spent so much time describing this scene because I find it envirgorating. In Angel's eyes drinking Buffy is probably more satisfying, in a way of course, than having sex with her. All season long there's been massive sexual tension between these two and this is where it's passionately let out. All that frustration is poured into this moment and the First comes away with its first truthful statement in the show's run ("you will drink her" in "Amends" [3x10]).



    Angel now, back to more than full health, rushes Buffy to the hospital to get blood back in her system. This brings me to a possible complaint. Why wouldn't Buffy just carry Angel to the hospital before letting him drink her? Then she'd get immediate medical attention. Was Angel so sick he wouldn't have made it to the hospital, or is the hospital right next door to Angel's place? I'm just not clear on why this route was taken. Anyway, Buffy gets tended to and we find out Angel's strength has increased significantly from having Buffy's blood in his body.



    While Angel is calling the Scooby Gang to the hospital we find out that Faith is alive but stuck in a coma. The Mayor is there looking after Faith and hears about Buffy. So he walks over to her bed and tries to choke her while unconcious. This just really underscores how, even though we kind of love his personality, the Mayor is still extremely evil. Even through this evil we see that his anger stems from his love of Faith. The Mayor is genuinely affected by Faith's disappearance at the very beginning of the episode, and now he's genuinely enraged by what Buffy did to her. The Mayor choking Buffy is difficult to watch, so when Angel comes in to protect her with some of her own strength, it's extremely satisfying.



    I'd like to briefly talk about Faith's coma. I feel this is a really smart move by Whedon and it works on many levels. The first is that Buffy's not a killer anymore even though, as I discussed in "Graduation Day Pt. 1" (3x21), she still feels like she is. When I first thought about this I was kind of disappointed that Buffy got off the hook again ("Ted" [2x11] comes to mind). It would have been fascinating seeing Buffy having to deal with killing a human, but I see now that in this case it's different. Faith's a fantastic character that you don't want to off just yet. With her coma she can wake up any time the writers want and come back into the story. This happens in "This Year's Girl" (4x15). So in reality I'm pretty pleased the way the Faith and Buffy arc ends up.



    Right before Buffy regains conciousness she has one of her prophecy dreams. The specifics, such as if that's really Faith or not, are confusing so I'm going to focus on the important information. Buffy, while looking at the cat on the bed, asks Faith, "Who's going to look after him?" Faith replies, "It's a she. And aren't these things supposed to take care of themselves?" I could be stretching here, but since I have seen the series I'm going to put out some possibilities. I translate Buffy's line into meaning "Who's going to look after Dawn?" even though she doesn't know the sex or name of the person. Faith clarifies that it's a 'she' and that Buffy need not worry about these things--they are outside her influence.



    Buffy then asks, "A higher power guiding us?" Faith responds, "I'm pretty sure that's not what I meant." I take this as meaning Buffy thinks it's a higher power that's going to bring forth Dawn. Faith points out that it's not. And it isn't, monks reform the Key to be Dawn. Buffy says, "There's something I'm supposed to be doing." Faith comes back, "Oh yeah. - Miles to go - Little Ms. Muffet counting down from 7-3-0." This means that there's still two years until Buffy's death and the resolution to Dawn's conflict. There's still a lot of work to do before all that happens. Faith then says some stuff I don't know what to make of but eventually says, "You want to know the deal? Human weakness - never goes away. Not even his." Faith is obviously referring to the Mayor here.



    Buffy concludes, "How are you going to fit all this stuff?" Faith says, "Not gonna. It's yours ... Just take what you need." I interpret that as meaning Buffy's now back to being the only Slayer again and that she needs to take the important experiences she had with Faith and move on. This is when Buffy wakes up, walks over to Faith, and gives her a sweet kiss on the forehead. This is an amazingly packed dream sequence. If you look carefully enough you can spot many instances of foreshadowing before, but this dream is proof that Whedon really had things planned out in advance. This is another charm of the series added to the already long list of them.



    After the intriguing dream sequence comes another really cool scene. The Scoobies are planning their method of defense in the library. This scene is intercutted with the Mayor's planning scene in City Hall. These two scenes blend back and forth into each other and is edited expertly; this scene looks fabulous. Even though we're basically just being fed exposition, it feels important and grand mostly due to that great editing and the wonderful music.



    A smaller moment worth mentioning is Angel's final words to Buffy. He tells her that after the fight he's going to take off without saying anything. I see why he'd want to go this way, but by telling her he's not going to say anything kind of defeats the purpose of not saying anything. All this accomplishes is making Buffy feel bad. A poor decision on Angel's part but still completely in character. It only underscores the need for him to leave.



    Now we arrive to the Mayor's big commencement speech. He tells everyone that the speech really speaks to everyone involved, and it really does. It's so relevant that I'm going to put it right here. He says, "It's been a long road getting here. For you- for Sunnydale. There has been achievement, joy, good times,- and there has been grief. There's been loss. Some people who should be here today- aren't. But we are. - Journey's end. And what is a journey? Is it just- distance traveled? Time spent? No. It's what happens on the way, it the things that happen to you. At the end of the journey you're not the same. Today is about

    The end of the Mayor's speech leads right into his transformation into a giant snake. This is done with mediocre CGI and is barely pulled off as believable. From a distance the snake looks acceptable, but up close it's not very good at all. I know budget was the issue here and it's a shame. Even looking past the cheap CGI, the Mayor comes off as a much scarier and interesting villain as a person. That really says something about how amazingly well the writers built his character. This is a truly unique villain to the television landscape. In many ways I'm sad they did away with him. Anyway...



    Then there's the big fight. In "The Prom" (3x20) all the students came together to honor Buffy as a protector, and here Buffy is able to share her burden with the rest of the graduating class. It's thrilling seeing the whole class take their robes off and fight back as one army. Some smaller characters we've come to love (or quite possibly loathe), such as Larry and Harmony, get killed and I even feel a little remorse for them. This is the way this season had to end. It simply works on all levels and is a smaller example of what Buffy will accomplish in "Chosen" (7x22). Also, who doesn't get excessive satisfaction out of seeing vampires being killed by flaming arrows and the school blowing up? The metaphor comes through beautifully: high school is over, time to 'destroy' all that fear, annoyance, and isolation. It's time to move on. This is an excellent episode that caps off an excellent season. Buffy says, "If someone could just wake me when it's time to go to college, that'd be great." Sounds great Buffy, I'll see you there!moreless
  • TV will never be this good again

    10
    The Good;

    The final battle and the end of SDH (for the moment, at least). The chance to see some familar faces again and to say goodbye to others. Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies finally graduate into the adult world and if not exactly putting childish things aside growing past them. So great to see the kids of Sunnydale High fight back at last (although has this spoiled the survival record they were all so proud of in The Prom?) Snyder's introductory speech is a definite highlight. It's all terrific and I think we should all be proud to say that we graduated Sunnydale High, class of 1999



    The Bad;

    Are you kidding? Well, actually one thing that always bothered me was after we see a devastated Mayor visiting Faith in hospital he seems awfully chipper when briefing the vamps for the Graduation? Maybe the briefing the vamps scene was supposed to in a different order in the script?



    Best line;

    Willow; "Man, just ascend already!" just beating Xander's 'Good to know that when the chips are down you can feed on the girl who loves you to save your own ass!' Also fond of Oz 'Our lives are different to other peoples'.



    Character death;

    Byebye Larry (although his death isn't confirmed until season 6, I for one had no idea if he'd survived or not). Byebye Snyder who quite obviously had no clue what was going on. We see Harmony bitten but we don't see her sired? And byebye the Mayor, Harry Groener will be missed, he brought a lot to the table. Glad we'll see him again a few more times. Also unless I'm mistaken Cordy bags her first solo vamp.



    Shot;

    Vamps with flaming arrows, great idea straight out of every western you've ever seen.



    Knocked out;

    Faith still in a coma and will remain so for over a year. Buffy also unconscious. A pained Wes asks at the end could he be knocked unconscious.



    Women good/men bad;

    The Mayor refers to Buffy as a whore, a nastily misogynist remark. Buffy says Wes 'Screams like a woman' and compares Xander and Angel to squabbling old ladies.



    Jeez!;

    Watching the Mayor try to smother an unconscious Buffy is awful



    Kinky dinky;

    Angel biting Buffy. The sexiest scene you'll ever see between two fully clothed lovers, once again a vamp feeding is seen as a sexual act with violence as foreplay (the second time Buffy has been bitten by a vampire but by no means the last). Willow loses her virginity to Oz, it's all so sweet. Their van sex proves Cordy's theory about danger being an aphrodisiac. Willow says that its the best time of her life.



    Calling Captain Subtext;

    The entire Buffy/Faith dream sequence is just one huge Buffy/Faith love in, especially Faith's caressing of Buffy's face and Buffy kissing an unconscious Faith. Face it, they love each other, they're meant to be together. And remember it's Faith who gives Buffy the secret of defeating the Mayor. Angel in his delerium also mistakes Oz for Buffy, THAT would have been an interesting conversation! Wes and Cordy's kiss is a disaster, one day they'll love each other plenty but not like that.



    Guantanamo Bay;

    Buffy gets Angel into vampface by slapping him around a little. Is Buffy going to let Angel drain Faith entirely or give them a bit of each of their blood?



    Scoobies to the ER;

    Buffy is taken to hospital for blood loss whilst Wes is carted away at the end. The Scoobs must be such frequent visitors there the staff must know them by name.



    Where's Dawn?

    Safely out of town with Joyce. However I think it's no great leap of imagination to say that the cat in the dream sequence is representative of Dawn. Indeed this could be the moment it's decided she's Buffy's sister rather than Faith's. Faith remarks about 'Little Miss Muffet, counting down from 730' which of course is 365x2 and it'll be 2 years before Dawnie shows up.



    Questions and observations;

    Goodbye Angel, he makes a fantastic exit. Again, what exactly is the Mayor's plan? He obviously believes in a sort of idealised vision of Sunnydale, how is being a huge snake going to achieve that? Also although this is referred to as an apocalypse it really wouldn't be the end of the world, we've had demons like this before and the world goes on. Also surely the Initiative/Military/National Guard would just blast the Mayor to bits? Xander's soldier knowledge once again comes in useful. Although I'd really have liked to have seen the hummus offensive.

    The Mayor says Faith doesn't like to be cooped up, prison must have been tough for her then. Why should Wes leave the country? Would the Council really give up that easily? Shouldn't the hospital staff call the police when the Mayor tries to smother Buffy? There's a great picture of Wes in the Sunnydale High Yearbook asking 'Who is this guy? The first mention of shrimp in the Buffyverse. Anya refers to her car but then in 'Triangle' says it's the first time she's driven? The Mayor says Sunnydale is 100 years old but surely the town dates back to Spanish/American times?

    Lot of fanfic based on the concept of 'what if?' the ascension had succeeded. Like the one where WR&H, the Initiative, Doyle, Gwen, Spike, Fred, Warren, Lorne, Tara, Gunn etc team up to set the world to rights, also fond of the monks sending Dawn to Faith as her sister, Glory killing the transformed Mayor in her quest for The Key and Faith killing her then being won back over to the good guys by her little sis' love. All time favourite though is Faith realising the transformed Mayor doesn't love her anymore so she goes to the Oracles and turns back time, even if it means she ends up in a coma.



    Marks out of 10; 10/10 and no mistake. For me Buffy peaks at exaclty this point, it's still a wonderful show for the next 4 years and never jumps the shark but this is the best of the best and we'll never see TV consistently as good as this ever again.

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  • The Dark Lord Ascending. Except it's not Harry Potter, and by no means as breathtaking.

    7.5
    With Faith lost, Buffy sees herself left with only one option to cure Angel: To let him feed off her. Meanwhile, the whole of Sunnydale High prepares to take down the mayor who is about to turn into a giant snake. Of course.



    The weakest season finale ever on Buffy, I think, Graduation Day (2) sees the final battle of Sunnydale High and the exit of several characters: Angel, Cordelia, mayor Wilkins, principal Snyder. The Angel/Buffy storyline comes to an end, making the episode's greatest impact with the very haunting feeding scene (hello, intercourse) and Angel's highly emotional departure at the end, impressively executed without a single word or tear. The Buffy/Angel-arc has in deed been one of the most beautiful and gripping that the show ever did, but it was wise to let it end here, while it's still interesting.



    The big battle at the end is intriguing only because of the effects and the spectacle. Unlike Charmed, Buffy never bothered to have the mortals in the heroine's surroundings respond realistically when exposed to supernatural forces, and here we have all the graduates united to fight a giant snake, readily and willingly. It is unrealistic even by unrealistic standards.



    The mayor gone snaky was more laughable than frightening. All this building up to the great Ascension, and this was it? There wasn't at all that sense of actual danger, as there usually is when the villain is human, i.e. Spike, Angelus and the Master.



    But then again – it would be hopelessly naïve to expect a thrilling conclusion to the arc of the dullest big bad that Buffy ever did (I exclude the trio for now); to this day I cannot grasp, cannot fathom, cannot begin to comprehend why anybody would ever find mayor Wilkins frightening. I have heard people argue that it is exactly his lack of fangs that makes him so scary – well, then I guess I'm a fang guy. Groening is nothing short of boring as the big bad, and more than once I've found myself wanting to fast forward whenever he showed his face on the screen. The 'psychotic nice guy' could have become extremely frightening, but alas, in the hands of a limited actor, this happens in stead.

    I'll however give the writers credit for his rather touching relationship with Faith, whose character and storyline are by far the strongest asset of season three. Superb.



    As is often the case, the humour is spot-on. The intense kissing scene between Cordelia and Wesley made me laugh out loud.



    By no means a disaster episode – a Buffy season finale never is – Graduation Day (2) was simply too interested in wow'ing effects and too careless about suspense. A nice suspense/horror story, carefully balanced with a strong pathos story, makes for the perfect Buffy story, but this one, sadly, is no such thing. It's got the pathos part down, though, and that is what makes this episode work.



    (And finally –how long will the writers be milking Xander's military experience from the Halloween episode??)moreless
  • Graduation Day (2)

    10
    Graduation Day (2) was the season three finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This was a Perfect episode combining a great story line, personable characters, and action of course. Both Buffy and Faith survive the ordeal the each went through. The Mayor upset about Faith continues with his plans for Ascension with a vengence in his heart. Buffy comes up with a crazy plan that just might work. Every one does their part and helps in different ways. It was so cool to see every one work together. The graduation and ascension was a great part. It was a great ending to the season, and I look forward to seeing what happens with Buffy now that High School is over and Angel has left town.moreless
  • A great season finale!

    10
    ISo I am working my way thru Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I think I would say this was my favorite episode yet! I think it did a great job of finishing out season three. I loved how Buffy's entire class banded together to defeat the mayor. I thought the special effects in this episode were amazing. It was also great that Xander was finally importnat in a plan! Angel leaving was sad, but I knew it was coming, so I was expecting it. I think the writers of this episode did a wonderful job leading up to the showdown at the graduation. I must say Cordelia & Wesleys cringe-worthy kiss was well, cringe-worthy! Although I was happy to see that storyline put to rest! Anyway, all in all this was a great finale to a great season!moreless
Paulo Andres

Paulo Andres

Dr Powell

Guest Star

Susan Chuang

Susan Chuang

Nurse

Guest Star

Tom Bellin

Tom Bellin

Dr Gold

Guest Star

Harry Groener

Harry Groener

Mayor Richard Wilkins III

Recurring Role

Alexis Denisof

Alexis Denisof

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce

Recurring Role

Danny Strong

Danny Strong

Jonathan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (14)

    • In the episode "Amends" Jenny Calendar/The First has told Angel: "Sooner or later, you will drink her." In this episode, he does.

    • Goof: During the Mayor's speech, the tassel on Buffy's graduation cap is on the wrong side. Every other student's is correct.

    • Goof: When Buffy is in a coma and the mayor is suffocating her, you can clearly see that his hand is only covering her mouth, leaving plenty of room for Sarah to breathe through her nose.

    • Goof: As Buffy runs to a doorway into the school with the Mayor chasing her she runs down a covered walkway that has widely spaced support columns. The scene changes to an interior shot as Buffy enters through the doors and now there is a concrete wall with sculptured openings in it outside the door that wasn't in the exterior shot.

    • When Buffy awakens from her unconsciousness in the hospital, she approaches Faith's bed and returns the forehead kiss that Faith had given her towards the end of the episode "Enemies".

    • Principal Snyder is killed in this episode by being eaten [by the Mayor in demon form]. This, after Snyder made such a big deal back in "The Puppet Show" (Season 1, Episode 9) about how former Principal Flutie was a loose and easy-going principal which was why "he was eaten" ("The Pack" - Season 1, Episode 6). Are we to draw the same conclusions about Snyder's abilities as a principal? or is it just funny irony? Either way, Whedon has a knack for making clever links between episodes.

    • Goof: When Buffy hits Angel for the last time and he vamps out, you can see that he's already done it before the sounds effects and he turns back to look at Buffy (meaning he was vamped before Buffy hit him that last time).

    • Goof: The Mayor says during his speech that Sunnydale is celebrating it's centennial. But on the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign Spike ran over in "School Hard" and "Lover's Walk" it said that Sunnydale was established in 1909, making it 90 years old, not 100.

    • Goof: During Cordelia and Wesley's awkward kissing scene she pauses and her hand is down by Wesley's waist. They change angles and it is on his throat.

    • Nitpick: Look closely during the final battle, and you can see some students smiling and obviously enjoying their time on the camera.

    • Nitpick: When Cordelia stakes the vampire during the graduation battle, she uses no force in her attack. Since she is not a Slayer, it does not seem likely that the stake would be able to break through the Vampire's clothes and rib cage.

    • Nitpick: When Angel brings Buffy into the ER room, there's a security guard positioned outside. The guard can be seen when Angel steps into the hall to call Giles and Co. But when the Mayor and Angel get into a skirmish in Buffy's room a few minutes later, the nurse calls for security and nobody comes. The guard couldn't have gone that far.

    • Goof: When Angel takes Buffy to the hospital after feeding on her, he bursts through the doors of the ER carrying Buffy in his arms, but you can see that Sarah is still holding on to his shoulder from when he just picked her up prior to the start of the scene. As he moves through the ER, Sarah realizes she's supposed to be unconscious and relaxes her hold on him to let her arm just flop naturally.

    • Goof: Angel's reflection can be seen several times in the hospital, when he uses the payphone and in the glass door of Buffy's room.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Wesley: You haven't an enormous amount of time.
      Xander: Hey, it's Mr. States-the-Obvious.
      Buffy: The council is not welcome here. I have no time for orders, if I need someone to scream like a woman I'll give you a call.
      Wesley: I'm not here for the council, just tell me how I can help.
      Cordelia: That is so classy! Isn't he just so classy?
      Buffy: It's a start.
      Wesley: So is there something I can do...? Besides scream like a woman.

    • Oz: Guys, take a moment to deal with this. We survived.
      Buffy: It was a hell of a battle.
      Oz: Not the battle. High School. We're taking a moment... And we're done.
      Xander: Well! School's done. That is so cool!
      Willow: Why do demons even come here? I mean, don't they know how bad we are?

    • Cordelia: Well, that was the most fun you could have without having any fun.
      Willow: What about the part where we kicked some demon ass? I didn't hate that.

    • Oz: Are you nervous?
      Willow: Only in a terrified way.
      Oz: We're gonna make it through this.
      Willow: Are you sure?
      Oz: I sound pretty sure, don't I?
      Willow: Yeah.
      Oz: Well, then I must be sure.
      Willow: ... Is that just a comforting way of not answering the question?

    • Buffy: Faith told me to play on his human weakness.
      Willow: Faith told you? Was that before or after you put her in a coma?
      Buffy: After.
      Willow: Oh.

    • Cordelia: My point is, crazy or not, it's pretty much the only plan. Besides, she's Buffy and she's Slay Gal. Little Miss Likes-to-Fight. So ...
      Xander: I think there was a Yay vote buried in there somewhere.

    • Faith: Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0.

    • Cordelia: I demand an explanation.
      Xander: For what?
      Cordelia: Wesley.
      Xander: Uh... inbreeding?
      Cordelia: So very funny. Any minute, I'm sure to laugh.

    • Giles: Buffy no longer needs a Watcher.
      Cordelia: But does he have to leave the country? I mean, you got fired and you still hang around like a big loser. Why can't he?

    • Principal Snyder: 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. Spit out that gum. Please welcome our distinguished guest speaker, Richard Wilkins III. I saw that gesture. You see me after graduation.
      Mayor: Well. What a day this is. A special day. Today is our centennial. The 100th anniversary of the founding of Sunnydale. And I know what that means to all you kids... not a darn thing. It has begun. My destiny. It's a little sooner than I expected. I had this whole section on civic pride. But I guess we'll just skip to the big finish.
      (turns into a giant snake monster)
      Principal Snyder: This is not orderly. This is not discipline. You're on my campus, buddy, and when I say I want quiet, I mean...
      Mayor: *CHOMP*.

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

    • Cordelia: Well, I personally don't think it's possible 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.

    • Buffy: See this, I took it from Faith, stuck in her gut. Just slid in her like she was butter. You wanna get it back from me, Dick?

    • Buffy: My God he's gonna do the entire speech.
      Willow: Man just ascend already.
      Buffy: Evil.

  • NOTES (10)

    • In the end battle scene between the students and the vampires, just as the school blows up, Cordelia can be seen hiding in Jonathan's shoulder. This is a strange thing to happen as Cordelia and Jonathan never really get along, and Cordelia treated him quite badly throughout the series. However- according to Danny Strong in the season three featurette, Season 3 Overview- this scene was an idea of Charisma's, because she wouldn't see Danny again for a long time and she never got much screen time with him.

    • One of the students who dies fighting the mayor is Larry Blaisdell (Larry Bagby III), although this was only confirmed in season six. Larry started out as a boorish bully, but, after coming out as being gay, he become a nicer, more heroic, character later on in the series.

    • In the episode "Choices" Faith mentions that after the Ascension she would be sitting at the Mayors right hand, then adds "Assuming he has hands after the transformation." In this episode we find that the Mayor does turn into a demon with no arms or legs. This may be a bit of a foreshadowing come to fruition.

    • In the original script, Xander says "Guys, we blew up the school! It's the best day ever!" As funny as that is, it was cut due to length (and, possibly, the line's lack of political correctness).

    • Marti Noxon mentions the explosion scene in her DVD commentary. It was filmed at 5am in Torrence, California (where the show's outdoor scenes had been filmed for three years). The huge explosion woke up many residents, broke windows, and set off car alarms, causing the town to disallow future Buffy filming in the town.

    • This is the second time that Buffy has used modern methods to dispose of an enemy that was previously invincible. The first was the Judge's disposal using the rocket launcher in Season 2's "Innocence".

    • This episode marks the first time Cordelia stakes a vampire.

    • The "Grr Arg" Mutant Enemy slogan at the end of the credits was altered for this episode. The monster wears a graduation cap.

    • The season finale was due to air May 25, but was delayed by the network because of the attack on the school. The decision came about as a result of the recent shootings at high schools at the time. The episode "Earshot" was also delayed for this reason (though for a much longer period of time).

    • Angel quietly leaves Sunnydale at the end of this episode, allowing the character to go off to LA and his own spin-off show, which had got the green light at around this time.

  • ALLUSIONS (4)

    • The Mayor: It's to the woodshed with you boys.
      This is an expression used (mostly for comical purposes nowadays) to signify that you will be punished for doing something. In the past, when parents would spank a child they would often do it somewhere away from the house (like the woodshed) so that the noise wouldn't bother the rest of the household. And, of course, the phrase carries more weight in this particular instance as The Mayor is issuing this threat to vampires - there is an undertone that they will be staked.

    • Faith: Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0.
      "Miles to go" is a line from the Robert Frost poem "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening".
      "Little Miss Muffet" is a nursery rhyme.

    • Mayor: Looks like someone has been eating his spinach.
      The Mayor talks about Angel's strength with a reference to Popeye. The cartoon character derived his amazing strength from eating spinach.

    • Xander: Still batting zero? But I mean in cricket.
      Xander tries to cover up his use of a baseball term (an American sport) by applying it to cricket (a British sport). In baseball batting zero means that you haven't gotten a hit. Or in this case that you've had no luck discovering how to stop the Ascension.

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