Finally Buffy and crew will be facing off against The Mayor, but how will they defeat something that last time they needed a volcano to kill. The buildup to this ending has actually been very good and the character of the Mayor has completely been my favorite bad guy up to this point. Can they keep the enjoyment going until the end or will it end like the other “big bad” guys?
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“Graduation Day (part 1)”
Season 3 episode 21, originally broadcast May 18 1999
Written & directed by Joss Whedon
So graduation is upon the Buffy crew and as the day approaches so does the day of ascension. The big problem is that the Mayor is also preparing for Buffy. Angel has decided to break up with Buffy and there are problems on that end. Well the Mayor gets Faith to poison Angel by shooting him with an arrow. It turns out that the only way to heal Angel is by letting him drink the blood of a Slayer, so Buffy heads to Faith’s place. Oz and Willow have sex, Anya talks about an ascension that she actually witnessed and then Buffy and Faith fight. In the end Buffy stabs Faith and she falls/jumps from the roof of her building onto a passing truck.
Fine episode that does a pretty good job of building up the ending of the season, with a bonus of hearing about how bad an ascension is through the eyes of Anya. Not a great episode but it does have some really good moments…then came Part 2…
“Graduation Day (part 2)“
Season 3 episode 22, originally broadcast July 13 1999
Written & directed by Joss Whedon
Buffy returns to everyone and tells them that she couldn’t get Faith so she allows Angel to feed from her. He does but ends up taking a bit too much. He rushes her to the hospital where, a little later, she has a dream that Faith appears to her and tells her how to defeat the Mayor and she also sees that Faith is also in the hospital and that she is in a coma that she may never wake from. Buffy tells the rest of the crew about her plan and everyone gets ready for graduation because the Mayor is going to be giving a speech at the ceremony. The ascension begins and he changes into a strange demon thing. As suddenly as that happens the students suddenly pull away their gowns and show that they are covered in weapons. A fight starts with the students, the Mayor, Buffy and crew, and other vampires. It all ends in a big bang and that’s about it.
This episode follows the same pattern as all of the other “big bad” episodes. They build them up to be the toughest and hardest to kill, but in the end it just a big letdown. So let me get this right, the last ascension it took a volcano to kill it, but just some explosives will kill it this time? On top of that, where did they get so much? Will they get in trouble for it? Other questions come from the Buffy and Faith fight. So they fight and are pretty much blow for blow, except for the stabbing (it was just a gut stab, by the way) and the fall, and in the hospital we have Faith in a coma and completely beat up, but Buffy who after the fight got most of her blood drained by Angel is perfectly fine about an hour later. They are both Slayers and it has been clearly stated that they have incredible healing, so why doesn’t Faith heal at all? I cry fowl (yes the bird)! I just think they couldn’t come up with any other way to get her out of the story so they did that. Lame! In fact most of this episode is just one big letdown. The reveal that the students have weapons and them fighting is pretty good, but in the end it’s a pathetic end to a good season.
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