Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Graduation Day, Part 1

Joyce: "You know, Buffy, looking back on all that's happened, maybe I should have sent you to a different school."

It was almost the ultimate chick fight. Buffy coming in dressed just like Faith, fighting in handcuffs like the old fights to the death with each contestant holding a handkerchief, crashing through windows, very cool. But can Faith really be gone, just like that? It seemed anti-climactic to me; is it possible she isn't dead? Dan and I both thought Faith would go out in a blaze of redemption, and instead, her last, suicidal act was to prevent Buffy from saving Angel.

I was totally freaked by the Mayor just walking into the Inner Sanctum. Obviously Giles and the rest of the gang were, too. For a moment, I thought the Mayor was going to skewer someone for the fun of it. And the Mayor can be killed after he ascends? Now that makes sense. I was wondering how they were going to get around that one.

Buffy joining Giles as an ex-employee of the Watchers Council was satisfying. In a sense, this was Buffy's slayer graduation. The scene where Buffy and Giles stood together and defied the Council in the form of Wesley was my favorite scene in this episode. Could be interesting to see how that plays out in the next season, now that it looks like we're going to get one.

Bits and pieces:

-- Blood red graduation outfits? How appropriate.

-- Faith murdered the defenseless Professor Worth in cold blood. Poor guy.

-- Let's hope Willow losing her virginity doesn't come back and bite her like it did Buffy and Xander. Maybe the third time is the charm.

-- Anya obviously didn't want Xander to die; she has feelings for him. I enjoy Anya, although I think a demon that hates men so much wouldn't change for someone like Xander. But the whole situation is so much fun that I don't mind.

-- I liked Percy the jock, too, and how Willow's doppelganger got him to shape up.

-- Pure demons and demi-demons? Giles really ought to have a demon database. It would save him a lot of index skimming.

-- The Mayor is definitely "wicked gross." That thing about the fiber? The only thing more bizarre than the Mayor is those Old Navy commercials.

-- Buffy packed Joyce's stuff and Joyce went. What a world of difference from the season two finale.

Quotes:

Xander: "I woke up the other day with this feeling in my gut. I just know there's no way I'm getting out of this school alive."
Cordelia: "Wow, you've really mastered the power of positive giving-up."
Xander: "I've been lucky too many times. My number's coming up. And I was short. One more rotation and I'm shipping state-side, you know what I mean?"
Cordelia: "Seldom if ever."

Willow: "Oh, I'm gonna miss her."
Buffy: "Don't you hate her?"
Willow: "Yes, with a fiery vengeance. She picked on me for ten years, the vacuous tramp. It's like a sickness, Buffy. I'm just missing everything. I miss P.E."
Buffy: "I think it's contagious. The whole senior class has turned into the Sixties, or what I would have imagined the Sixties would have been like without the war and the hairy armpits."

Xander: "Guess who our commencement speaker is?"
Willow: "Siegfried?"
Xander: "No."
Willow: "Roy?"
Xander: "No."
Willow: "One of the tigers?"

Anya: "Men like sports. I'm sure of it."
Xander: "Yes. Men like sports. Men watch the action movie, they eat of the beef, and enjoy to look at the bosoms."

Willow: "Oh, this is so frustrating."
Oz: "Nothing useful?"
Willow: "No, it's great. If we want to make ferns invisible or communicate with shrimp, I've got the goods right here."
Oz: "Our lives are different than other peoples'."

Willow: "Panic is a thing people can share in times of crisis."

Wesley: "You can't turn your back on the Council."
Buffy: "They're in England. I don't think they can tell which way my back is facing."

Xander: "Boy, it's a good thing no one ever wanted to check any of these books out, huh?"

Mayor: "We don't knock during dark rituals?"

It's hard to rate the first part of such a big two-parter. There was so much in the air that I didn't know what to think. So I'm going to wait on this one,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

15 comments:

Mark Greig said...

They've been building towards Buffy and Faith's ultimate chick fight for most of the season and it didn't disappoint for a second.

I've always liked how, despite the undeniable twistedness, there was genuine affection between Faith and the Mayor. It made them more fascinating villains. All the Big Bads that followed lacked any extra dimensions and were often too one note.

Billie Doux said...

I'm a big fan of the Mayor, too, but he's not my favorite Buffy villain. And some of the best episodes of the series are yet to come.

Mark Greig said...

It's strange, even though two and three are my favourite season, many of my favourite episodes are actually in later seasons. Six is one of my least favourite seasons and yet it has 'Once More, With Feeling' my all time favourite Buffy episode. Ever!

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here!

Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Post them here.

Juliette said...

I love Willow's comments about missing Harmony, and missing everything. Leaving school and possibly later college is such a weird feeling, and it hardly ever happens again (unless you end up making Lord of the Rings or something I guess). As ever, Joss captured that perfectly.

ChrisB said...

Although the fight is wonderful and has certainly been coming for some time, so much of this episode is setting up the next, not surprisingly.

The look on Buffy's face at the end of the hour always gets me. Talk about growing up.

Jane said...

Nice set up episode for part 2. Even though I'm not too fond of Xander, he had some of my favorite moments this time. His "We're gonna need a bigger boat," line as Giles unfolded the page depicting the mayor's future form made me laugh.

I kind of thought he was over Buffy, but his "I don't want to lose you," to her that she reassured absently while she grabbed Faith's knife was a very real moment for me. Here he is still pining for her without any encouragement while Anya is trying to overcome centuries of embitterment to connect with him. Very much an echo of his early relationship with Cordelia. He just keeps stumbling on these women who do want him while he's wanting someone else. That seems very real life to me.

Willow didn't impact me much here. Despite her big life step, I just didn't feel it. She and Oz seem so sweet together, but not passionate. Maybe that's the fault of his totally underplayed personality. I think it's possible to see sparks in that type of pairing but I've never gotten it from them.

Interesting to me that Buffy's stand against the council came when they refused to help Angel. No doubt their messed-up draconian test in "Helpless" played a part in it as well. But she didn't take her stand for herself, she did it for him. She may be young, but she does understand love.

Annie said...

Don't really have much to say on this one. I do like it but its really got that set up feel about it.

looking forward to part 2

Josie Kafka said...

I can’t believe they didn’t air part two immediately after this one. That would have killed me.

As you mentioned, Buffy’s real “graduation” is wonderful; it’s such a delight to see her stand up to the council. Although, of course, I feel terrible for poor Wesley.


a.m. said...

I can't say much about this one because, I'm a cheater, and I had to immediately watch Day 2. It would have been hard for me to wait a week, but for an unknown extended amount of time would have really gotten to me.

This episode was a great set-up episode. I loved the Faith/Buffy fight. The mayor really seems to love Faith, which is interesting considering his desire to destroy the town and the short amount of time that they have been together. He didn't seem fatherly with Mr. Trick but him cleaning up the apartment was such a dad thing. Plus, he's constantly trying to build up her insecurities. Also, I'm glad he was eating those spiders and they weren't unleashed on the town!

I also really appreciated Anya caring for Xander, and Oz's version of "freaking out."

Now I'll have to wait a few days to leave my comments for Day 2...

Jane said...

a.m., you bring up something I forgot to mention. Watching the mayor with Faith on this one I started to wonder, does he really mean for her to live through the ascension? He does seem very fatherly, but he also has that quiet cold-hearted thing going on and I can't tell if he is capable of caring for her as he appears to. So creepy.

sunbunny said...

Demon database? How very single entendre of you, Billie. (You'll get it shortly, newbies).

I'm not a big fan of this one. It was a solid episode, but is totally eclipsed by Part 2. I was never in the Faith Fan Club, so her last hurrah was less moving/upsetting for me.

So, did you have to wait months for this AND part 2 or just part 2?

Billie Doux said...

Just part 2. So we saw part 1, and then NOTHING. FOR MONTHS. I just looked up the original airdates on IMDb -- part 1 aired on May 18, and part 2 on July 13. And get this -- "Earshot" didn't air until the following September 28.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get a romantic vibe at all from Xander's "I don't want to lose you". What I got was that Xander didn't want his friend to be a murderer. I really liked the acknowledgement that this would be crossing a line, and would change Buffy. Yes, she's been killing things for three years, but this would be different.

It was an awesome fight.

-d

Suzanne said...

Rewatched this with my husband and son, both of whom watched Buffy the first time through with me but who are not rewatching everything this time, and we so enjoyed it. I had forgotten so much so the suspense was still there.

I actually see a lot of passion between Willow and Oz. I actually prefer it to Buffy and Angel a lot at times. The way Oz looks at Willow says it all. She has grown so much for many reasons, but Oz has helped her along the way.

Xander and Anya were great together here and so funny. I liked that they threw a bit of Cordelia in, too, for a contrast.

Of course, the Buffy and Faith fight was awesome. I do think they took Faith to a place that was too dark given her back story. I can't imagine her killing that professor so easily. My son told me not to open my door to any strange women. ;)

The scene with the Mayor in the library was wonderfully tense. I like the theme of the daddy stand-off between him and Giles that they introduced. Don't mess with Giles, Mr. Mayor.

Yes, I am so glad Buffy stood up to Wesley and the council.