Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 3, Episode 22

Graduation Day: Part 2 (13 Jul. 1999)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,167 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

On Ascension Day, Buffy and her friends prepare for the ultimate battle as they face off against the mayor and a hoard of vampires.

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Title: Graduation Day: Part 2 (13 Jul 1999)

Graduation Day: Part 2 (13 Jul 1999) on IMDb 8.9/10

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Oz
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Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
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Larry Blaisdell (as Larry Bagby III)
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Storyline

Now mortally wounded Faith has thrown herself on a truck so Buffy can't bring her blood to Angel, she proves her love for him by insisting he drinks his medicine, slayer blood, from her neck, even if she has to beat him till his vampire instinct takes over long enough. He does pull away before she's drained and carries her, unconscious, to hospital for a human blood transfusion. The mayor brought Faith in at the same ward; already healed Angel stops his attempt to smother Buffy, who soon feels 'ready for war' herself. Both camps make attack plans. Wesley has returned to help fight the ascension against the council's will, asks Cordelia to follow him to England in case they prevail, sealed with kissing but the chemistry doesn't kick in; Willow and Seth are accomplished, matched kissers, Angel confirms his intention to leave after a victory stands. The next morning is the graduation ceremony, with the mayor's guest speech about graduating as ascension, till a solar eclipse starts his ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Action | Drama | Fantasy

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TV-PG | See all certifications »
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13 July 1999 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the Season 3 DVD, Joss Whedon reveals that since Charisma Carpenter was leaving Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) to transfer to the spin-off Angel (1999), she asked if Cordelia could kill a vampire during the final battle. She got her wish. See more »

Goofs

When Angel goes to use the pay-phone at the hospital, you can clearly see his reflection in it. See more »

Quotes

Angel: [about the mayor] Well, he's not crazy about germs.
Cordelia: Of course, that's it. We'll attack him with germs.
Buffy: Great. We'll get him cornered and then you can sneeze on him.
Cordelia: No! No, we'll get a container of Ebola virus and, and, um- Or, it doesn't even have to be real. We could just get a box that says Ebola on it and, um, chase him.
[long pause]
Cordelia: With the box.
Xander: I'm starting to lean towards the humus offensive.
Oz: He'll never see it comin'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Angel: City of... (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
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User Reviews

Takes One To Know One
9 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Buffy the Vampire Slayer acquired two trademarks in its seven-season long television run. The first is the ability to portray its characters to the audience, for the scene to travel deep within the viewer's soul, then stinging the cords on the inside that makes us identify with a character, a feeling, or a situation without it being exactly the same as our own. It's second trademark is the show-stopping season finales it brings. The season finale is usually unanimously the favorite episode of the season. So what happens when you sit all seven of the finales next to each other in a line to compare? The ones that don't have the same gutting material to work with don't always stand out. That's how I've always felt about Graduation Day.

This episode is a showcase for Joss Whedon's radical directing skills. Whedon is the type of writer who was born to write. When his pen meets paper sparks fly into the air because it's that revolutionary. With the toned-down writing this time, Graduation Day allows the Buffy fan to really be captured by Whedon's vision for the adieu to childhood. There isn't much here to write about. Anything he would've thrown us would come off as unappealing to the adrenaline ready Buffy fans waiting to be shaken off our seat by the finale, but all things considered, the writing is good. It has a few laugh-out-loud moments as well as great dialogue.

The scope of this episode, the meaning, and the emotion for Graduation Day, however has never been fully realized by myself until this point and time. I've seen it numerous times before, but never really understood what Whedon really intended to with it. He goes back to Trademark 1. We get to experience graduation. As the characters depart from high school, the audience members who have traveled through high school and successfully graduated will understand every nuance here. I watched this on the night of my graduation, it's the perfect time to revisit it. The feeling of extreme love and warmth to everyone around you, wanting to be united with everyone around you, and realizing you are finally in the position to step away from what has taught you right from wrong all your life (such as Buffy does in the first-rate scene where she quits the Watcher's Counsel). All the characters get a moment to show their maturity and the person they've grown into from high school. We can feel our high school memories haunting back into our mind as Buffy gets to live her experience.

One of my biggest objections with this episode has been the Buffy/Angel subplot that links part 1 and part 2. That is all that used to be to me, a chain linking the two halves together, but this section is undeniable and their relationship comes to a close with poetry. Buffy and Angel were clearly meant to not be together. This season gets to explore the devastating news that destiny has not intended for two people in love to stay together. Once High School is over, there are many things that have to be abandoned. Often high school romances are one of them.

Season 3′s biggest fault in my eyes is feeling to convoluted and too manipulated into it's own little universe instead of stemming off in the real world, which the others do. Although, most of this took place in the earlier episodes in the season, the backwash is still felt here. That being said, Season 3′s arc, which is captured in Graduation Day, is prodigious. It questions our morality, explores our psyches, tests our emotions. Wait, our? I meant the character's morality, psyches, and emotions but if the shoe fits

Graduation Day gets to depict a war film as well as being a compelling drama developing its strong characters. The metaphor of the students teaming up together to defeat the Mayor is one of the strongest metaphors of the season. Great acting from Eliza Dushku, Harry Groener, and the always dependable Sarah Michelle Gellar, as well as the entire ensemble. This episode also stirs up a wonderful dramatic score. The visual effects of the Mayor's transformation, though, are something to be desired. Decent for the '90s, but come on Joss Whedon! The iconic moment of the episode is the showdown between Buffy and Faith. The two slayers, evolved from friends to enemies finally get to face off in Graduation Day and trust me the fight was worth the wait.

Epic and worthy as a finale, the episode itself doesn't shimmer like the past finales do, but it's still one of the top episodes of the series. The development of the characters is something all shows strive for, few ever succeed in finding, but what Buffy has copyrighted. The best scene is Buffy's coma-dream sequence. It's a beautiful scene that does what this show does that makes it the best: puts two characters in a room that speak to the audience and move their soul. The final fight is a tad underwhelming, that of Buffy and the Mayor, but it still creates a successful conclusion to the season. Directing his way to victory, Joss Whedon takes a stride with this finale!

NOTE: watch Part One and Part Two, back to back, you'll leave more fulfilled.

Rating: 9.5/10

Grade: A


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