Graduation Day, Part Two

Graduation Day, Part Two

Infobox Television episode
Title=Graduation Day, Part Two

Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Airdate=July 13, 1999
Writer=Joss Whedon
Director=Joss Whedon
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Prev=Graduation Day, Part One
Next=The Freshman

"Graduation Day, Part Two" is the 22nd episode of season 3 of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Plot synopsis


Buffy and the students of Sunnydale High battle the Mayor during their senior graduation.

Expanded overview

After stabbing Faith, Buffy stands stunned for a few minutes, then drops the knife and escapes from the rooftop just before the Mayor enters Faith's empty apartment with a group of vampires. The Mayor, devastated by the thought of losing Faith, orders the vamps to find her.

At the library that night, Xander and Giles search for information on the demon Olvikan, while at the mansion, Willow watches over Angel; delirious, he mistakes her for Buffy and confesses how much he needs her. When Buffy finally returns, she sends Willow away, and tells Angel that the only cure for the poison is Slayer's blood. Angel asks about Faith, but Buffy tells him that she killed Faith. However Buffy knows another source of the blood...herself. She suggests that if he's careful he can drink enough to cure himself without killing her. He refuses, weakly, but she won't take no for an answer and strikes him to bring out his vampiric nature. Eventually Angel vamps out, and Buffy exposes her neck to him. Angel can resist no longer and bites her. He drinks deeply, however he loses himself in the pleasure of drinking human blood. Seeing that Angel isn't going to stop feeding and quickly approaching the point of no return, she tries to get him off to no avail. Angel finally lets go, cured of the poison but Buffy slips into unconsciousness, suffering major blood loss. Angel rushes Buffy to hospital, explaining that she's lost a lot of blood. In another room, a doctor tells the Mayor that Faith's head trauma coupled with massive blood loss means she is unlikely to regain consciousness. The Mayor notices Buffy in bed, and, enraged by her attack on Faith, tries to smother her until Angel tears him away. The Mayor leaves with a message not to miss the second act of the show. Meanwhile the rest of the Scoobies arrive at the hospital and when Oz notices that Angel is cured, Angel explains that Buffy put Faith in a coma and that she made him drink from her. Xander takes him to task about this but Giles takes charge and orders Angel to return to the mansion.

Dreaming, Buffy visits Faith, who is packing up her apartment. Faith says human weakness never fades, "Not even his." Faith tells Buffy that it's time to go and then Buffy wakes up in the hospital bed. She walks over to Faith and kisses her forehead, then strides into the waiting room, telling her friends to get ready for war.

At school, Buffy outlines a plan which relies heavily upon Xander's mystical military training and exploits the Mayor's human weakness - Faith. Meanwhile, the Mayor explains to his group of vampires that when the eclipse takes place, he wants the vampires to keep the people from running, as he must feed within the first few minutes to sustain the change. Angel and Xander get to work creating a bomb, which Giles is assigned to detonate. While putting away books, Cordelia and Wesley finally kiss, and discover they have no sexual chemistry. Oz reassures Willow that "We'll make it through this", and they kiss, passionately. In the library, Angel tells Buffy he'll simply disappear when the battle is over, because to say goodbye would be too painful. Buffy is left alone, with the most vital weapon to be used against the Mayor... Faith's knife still stained with her blood.

At graduation, the Mayor starts his speech, but is interrupted by the eclipse, which triggers his transformation into the 60-foot snake demon "Olvikan." The parents scatter, and the students gather together in one large group. At Buffy's call, everyone rips off their robes, revealing weapons and crosses. Under Xander's guidance, the students attack the demon with flame throwers and flaming arrows. Principal Snyder is eaten by the snake-demon in mid-lecture. Some students break from the group and run in fear - right into the mayor's vampires approaching from behind. Students in the rear mount a ranged counterattack and drive the vampires back into a group of students at the rear led by Angel and Wesley. A melee ensues as both groups attack the vampires (although Wesley goes down in one punch after two seconds). Cordelia stakes her first vampire, but other students - including Larry and Harmony - are killed. Suddenly Buffy shouts at the Mayor, brandishing Faith's knife. Buffy boasts about stabbing Faith, and then calls him a dick (a play on words, since the Mayor's name is Richard, which is commonly shortened to "Dick"). She then runs into the school and the Mayor, enraged, chases her. Buffy runs for her very life as the Mayor smashes through the hallways. After leading the Mayor into the library, Buffy escapes the building through a window. The snake smashes through the doors to find the room laced with explosives, and speaks his last words: "Well, gosh." Giles hits the plunger, exploding the Mayor as well as Sunnydale High.

As Wesley is taken away in an ambulance, Giles congratulates Buffy on a job well done, presenting her diploma which he pulled from the rubble. After he leaves, Buffy sees Angel at a distance. The two stand there, near tears, until Angel turns and walks away. Buffy meets up with her friends and they prepare to head for home, but Oz says they should take a moment to reflect... they survived. Buffy remarks it was a hell of a battle. "Not the battle," Oz clarifies, "high school." After a few seconds of reflecting, the gang decide to head for home. As the friends walk off into the distance, we see a charred Sunnydale High Yearbook nearby, stating "The Future is Ours!".


During the time of its airing, the episode caused a great deal of controversy in the media. The Columbine High School shootings which occurred in April 1999, caused huge tension between the public and the Entertainment Industry. "Buffy" at the time was viewed as a very violent show that took place in a high school setting, and was considered inappropriate, especially after the Columbine shootings. The WB Network had already pulled the plug on an earlier episode "Earshot".cite news
first = Joyce
last = Millman
url =
title = "Finale thoughts"
work =
date = June 1, 1999
accessdate = 2007-09-12
] When the media saw several clips from "Graduation Day, Part Two" they feared that several scenes would provoke high school students to do the same thing, especially those depicting the entire graduating class handling weapons against the mayor. On May 25, 1999, "Graduation Day, Part Two" was all set to air. However, only a couple of hours before the network was going to air the season finale, they suddenly decided to pull the plug due to all the pressure they were receiving. Instead, a re-run from earlier in the season was aired without any kind of notice.cite news
first = Charles
last = Taylor
url =
title = The WB's Big Daddy condescension
work =
date = May 26, 1999
accessdate = 2007-09-12

The sudden move by the WB received huge attention in the media and thousands of letters were sent to the network demanding them to air the season finale. Sarah Michelle Gellar publicly spoke out against the decision the network had made, although Seth Green agreed that the episode would seem "callous and inappropriate" after the Columbine shootings. [cite news
first =Liane
last = Bonin
url =,,84403,00.html
title = School Daze
work = Entertainment Weekly
date = May 25, 1999
accessdate = 2007-09-11
] The WB would not air the episode until July 13, 1999, almost two months after it was originally supposed to air. At that point, the network felt that all real life graduations had already passed, so it was safe to air the episode. The episode attracted 6.5 million viewers, which is atypically high for the WB during the summertime. Even though the show aired in mid-summer, the ratings for the episode were on par with what the other episodes of the season had received.This episode was aired in Canada at the time it was supposed to have aired in the U.S., however, therefore many bootleg digital downloads were available for American viewers.cite news
first = Howard
last = Wen
url =
title = 'Buffy' fans distribute postponed finale online
work =
date = May 28, 1999
accessdate = 2007-09-12
] The creator of the show, Joss Whedon, stated, "Bootleg the puppy." [cite news
url =,,273808,00.html
title = Network Outage
work = Entertainment Weekly
date = June 18, 1999
accessdate = 2007-09-11

"Buffy" novel "The Evil That Men Do" was also delayed due to the Columbine incident; it was published one year later than planned.



*Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
*Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
*Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
*Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
*David Boreanaz as Angel
*Seth Green as Oz
*and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles

Guest starring

*Harry Groener as Mayor Richard Wilkins
*Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
*Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson
*Larry Bagby as Larry Blaisdell ( as Larry Bagby, III )
*Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall
*Ethan Erickson as Percy West
*Eliza Dushku as Faith Lehane
*and Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder


*Paulo Andrés as Dr. Powell
*Susan Chuang as Nurse
*Tom Bellin as Dr. Gold
*Samuel Bliss Cooper as Vamp-Lackey

Production details


*Christophe Beck - "Aftermath"
*Christophe Beck - "Drink Me"
*Christophe Beck - "Little Miss Muffet"
*Christophe Beck - "One Last Look"
*Christophe Beck - "War"
*Edward Elgar - "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1"


* Italian title: "La sfida - II parte" ("The challenge - Part 2")
* German title: "Tag der Vergeltung" ("Day of retaliation")
* French title: "La cérémonie, deuxième partie" ("The Ceremony, Part Two")
* Japanese title: "卒業の日 パート2" ("Sotsugyō no Hi Pāto 2" - Graduation Day, Part 2")
* Spanish title: "El día de graduación,parte dos" ("The graduation day, part two")

Quotes and trivia

*The yearbook seen in this episode was released as a tie-in product, Sunnydale High Yearbook

*Doug Petrie wrote a "Buffy" comic that takes place immediately after this episode; "Double Cross" concerns events after Angel left Buffy.

*The Mutant Enemy zombie that always appears at the end of each episode is wearing a black graduation cap.

*The cat in Buffy's dream briefly turns into Faith, in her comatose state, and then back.

* This marks the end of David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter as series regulars. Leaving for L.A., he would start a new TV show, "Angel". The same also applies to Cordelia, who leaves for L.A., unable to afford college. However, unlike Cordelia, Angel does reappear on Buffy.

* According to Marti Noxon in a DVD commentary, the explosion scene was filmed at 5am in Torrance, California where the outdoor scenes had been filmed for the last three years. The explosion was so huge it woke up many of the residents, broke windows and set off car alarms. As a result, the town refused to allow any more Buffy filming in the future.


Arc significance

*Willow mentions to Buffy in Season 1 "The Harvest" that one way they could get kicked out of school is to "blow up the school".

*Angel is chronologically the second vampire to bite Buffy. She was bitten by the Master in Season 1 and later by Dracula in Season 5.

*This episode sees the destruction of Sunnydale High, the scene of a great deal of paranormal activities thus far in the series. As the Mayor said, "Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing."

* Xander again shows his military prowess, acquired in episode "Halloween", engineering with Giles the mining of Sunnydale High.

*In the Buffy/Faith dream, we encounter the first foreshadowing of Buffy's death at the end of Season 5. Faith's comment, "Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0", comes (roughly) 2 years (730 days) before Buffy dies. The term "Little Miss Muffet" is a reference to Buffy's little sister, Dawn's arrival. A crazy man also refers to "curds and whey" when he accosts Dawn in "Real Me". Glory also makes references to "sitting on a tuffet" when she goes looking for the key during Season 5. Also, exactly one year from this episode, Buffy sees a clock in her room during her dream reading 7:30, which Tara tells her is completely wrong, as one whole year has passed ("Restless").

*Cordelia and Wesley discover through two bad kisses that their dalliance will lead nowhere.

* Although Larry Blaisdell dies in this episode, his death is not confirmed until the Season Six episode "Smashed".

* In the beginning of the battle between the crowd of pupils and the vampires, there's a brief scene of Harmony Kendall running down and getting bitten by a vampire. She returns in "The Harsh Light of Day" as a humorously inept vampire.

* This marks the final appearance of Cordelia on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". She was a main character on Spin-off "Angel"


*Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

ee also

*Sunnydale High Yearbook (Buffyverse)


External links



* [ Peripheral Visions Review]
* [ Section 31 Review]
* [ Swing the Sickle Review]

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