PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Suspense is Killing Angel

Episode 3.21: Graduation Day: Part 1. Original Airdate 5.18.99

"In an effort to distract Buffy from the Ascension, the mayor instructs Faith to poison Angel."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • “I’ve been lucky too many times.”  No sentence uttered by Xander has more fully encapsulated him.

  • I love this scene between Willow and Harmony.  They’re so mushy and nice even though they hate each other.  And it’s so true.  I remember getting yearbook signings from people and they always said such nice things whether we even knew each other (or liked each other) or not.
  • Brought to you by Coke!  Though, I have to admit, product placement on TV back then was a lot subtler than it is today.  At least they’re not openly eating Subway.  I’m looking at you Cougartown & Community.
  • Faith is getting way too into the killing.  It’s sad.
  • Opening Credits: Zelda and I both sang along to the opening electric guitar strum at the exact same time. Someone has melded our brains.
  • The dress Faith wears is so perfect.  It’s so un-her, which is the point, but she’s so pretty in it.  And it visually represents what they’re looking for.
  • Percy is graduating!  Good, since he’s…like…30.
  • Love this teacher.  He’s not using hangman as a busy technique…he actually enjoys it and revels in the fact that a student got a wrong letter.
  • Anya is amazing.  Have I mentioned that?  I will do it a lot.  Be prepared.
  • She’s trying to flirt. It’s adorable.
  • Giles also is amazing.  I love that he’s reading while fencing with Wesley.  AND WINNING.
What's a five-letter word for badass? Is it Giles?

  • Anya has the answers! 
  • Why are they setting up for graduation so early?
  • I love that Giles stabs the Mayor, even though he knows it won’t kill him. It’s a purposeful act of aggression, defending Buffy.
  • It’s nice that Cordelia and Xander are sort-of friends again.
  • Amy the rat!  She’s missing graduation!
  • Oz is the perfect boyfriend.  I honestly think the writers write him as a sort of ideal.
  • I like when Angel does funny. (The tripping over the door thing).
  • Such a weird thing to point out but these extras are terrible in this scene.
  • Oh no, Angel! You can’t die!  What would they call the spin-off!
  • Aww, Willow.  Oz is the first…and last guy you will ever sleep with.
  • I wonder where Anya lives, gets her clothes and food and stuff.  Did someone adopt her or did she just steal all this stuff?  I wish they explored Anya in this series more than they did.
  • “Are you really … Aren’t you going to just get in the way?”  Anya to Xander.  Well said.
  • Can you call someone your lover if you’ve only slept with them once?  I could go into the etymology and implications of the word “lover” but…I’ll save that for another blog. [I've heard it used to indicate one who loves without the sexytimes, but typically in period stuff, like Jane Austen. - Z]
  • I’m glad Buffy is quitting the council but…is it really that big of a deal?  How much say do they actually have in what Buffy does ever?
  • “The suspense is killing Angel.”  Tactless as always, Xander.  But also…kinda funny.
  • I love Buffy’s leather red pants but holy COW, how can you fight with those?
  • Greatest girl fight ever.  Only one that comes close is Sydney/Fake-Francie in Alias.
  • Oh, the self-referential humor.  “It’s a good thing no one ever checks these books out.”
  • Tootsie roll spiders!
  • How conveeeeeenient that a flat-bed truck is passing just as Faith wants to jump off the building.  I wonder if she was going to jump regardless.

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Why is Cordy talking teal as an option for graduation robes? Our robes matched our school colors. Sunnydale is maroon and yellow. Be grateful you're not in yellow, Cordy.
  • "Know what I mean?" // "Seldom if ever."
  • "Aw I'm gonna miss her." // "Don't you hate her?" // "Yes, with a fiery vengeance. She picked on me for ten years, vacuous tramp." All in the same sappy voice. Kinda amazing.
  • Okay, I didn't say anything last week, but Willow was wearing a pink-and-white striped sweater. And this week SHE'S WEARING ANOTHER EFFING PINK SWEATER AND WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO.

  • Oh hi Faith. We kinda forgot all about you. Whom are we killing this week?
  • "I'll scream." // "Who wouldn't."
  • Aw, Mayor's tidying up.
  • "No father could be prouder." Dang, I'm invested in this evil relationship. HG is just so good.

  • And just to keep a running tally:

  • "They always go for the E." Teacher Beardface is awesome. 
  • "Men like sports. I'm sure of it." 
  • Aw man I freaking love Alexis Denisof.

  • Yay Anya gave us useful exposition. But also ohhhhhhh shit all the demons we know are measly hybrids we in troooooooooooouble.
  • Awwwwwww shit son. Mayor Wilkins just strolls into the library and it's terrifying. He's seriously, he's just the best villain ever.
  • YEAH GILES STABBING THE MAYOR IN THE HEART. Too bad ... it ... y'know ... didn't do any good.
  • Though Shenanigans that Giles and Wesley would spar with uncapped foils. (is that the word for it? basically they should be blunted foils)
  • I do love how Cordy takes bad news. "Oh. Are you gonna go to 5th period?"
  • "But there is something I do that I can do better than anyone else in the world." Yay Buffy owning what makes her special.
  • Oz's form of panic is really sweet. d'awwwwwwwwwww they're so cute
  • Also I like seeing that some people on the show are allowed to have sex without one of them turning evil.
  • I wonder why they had Angel trip into the door. I mean, it's funny, but ... random?
  • DB is pretty baaaaaaaaaaaad in this scene. Like awful enough for me to cheer when he gets an arrow through his torso.
  • And we have definitive proof that Angel's heart is the tiniest heart known to vampire. HOW DID THAT SHOT NOT KILL HIM. It would kill any other vamp. Besides Spike.
  • Aw, even Wesley is gonna try to help.
  • It's interesting, you can see some of the sadness when the Mayor looks at Faith. A hint of what we'll see in the video he leaves for her that we see in S4. The belief that one of them might not survive the Ascension, but a father's love for her, too, and sadness for the hard life she's had.
  • Aw Anya wants to keep Xander alive. It's sweet. "Like I might vomit."
  • Bye Anya! You're fantastic. See you next season.
  • YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS BUFFY QUITTIN' THE COUNCIL. And THAT'S her graduation into adulthood.
  • Slayah Fight! This is awesome. I'm not writing notes because excited.
  • "Boy it's a good thing nobody ever wanted to check any of these books out," Xander rationalizes for us.
  • "We're gonna need a bigger boat."
  • Ewwwwwwwwwwww tootsie rolls spider legs.
  • Wow the Mayor just made a poop joke.
  • I like that once they're handcuffed both Buffy's and Faith's strategy is SLAM HER HEAD INTO ALL THE THINGS.
  • "That's mine."//"You're about to get it back." I like that Buffy's voice shakes slightly on that line. Subtle work from SMG.
  • HOLY SHIT BUFFY GUTSTABBED FAITH WHUT. (Yes, shut up, we all knew it happened, but still hot damn)
  • And Faith won't let her win, even with a mortal wound - she'll take her body away so Buffy can't use it.
  • "Shoulda been there, B. Quite a ride." - Faith. Good last line. Except for how she's not dead, but still.
  • AHHHHH I FORGOT THAT WAS THE END OF THE EPISODE HOW CAN I WAIT TO WATCH THE - oh right, Daniel and I are gonna watch the next one now. But you guys have to wait.


Blackboard: What event in the 20th century had the biggest impact on the most people?
Zelda: Buffy!
Daniel: I'd say ... World War II?

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: "I hope you die. Aren't we gonna kiss?" - Anya
Zelda: "Our lives are different than other people's." - Oz

90s Factoid:
Faith wears glitter jeans

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurrings: Harmony, Faith, Mayor, Percy, Snyder, Joyce, Anya, Amy the Rat, Teacher Beardface
  • Anya's seen an Ascension before. And now we know that every demon we've yet encountered isn't a pure demon, but a hybrid - smaller and less powerful. Ascensions are when they become pure demons.
  • Willow and Oz have sex.
  • Buffy quit the Council.
  • Buffy goes after Faith with the knife Faith got - and left behind - in Choices.

Retraction: We would like to retract our previous stats/scoffs of Choices where we mocked Sunnydale's sudden acquisition of both an airport and a university. Sunnydale's airport first reared its implausible head in What's My Line: Part 1 (when Kendra arrived), and Sunnydale's Crestwood College's Frat House o' Penises (Delta Zeta Kappa) made an appearance in Reptile Boy. But for the record, Crestwood is not UC Sunnydale, so ... snap.


Oz's Hair - blonde with his roots coming in
Anya's Hair - honeyblonde
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 1
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0 
Shenanigans Called - 1
Apocalypse Called - 0

Note: Since the Ascension is set to decimate only Sunnydale and not Life As We Know It, we're not counting it as an Apocalypse Called, despite Anya's fears.


  1. "I like that once they're handcuffed both Buffy's and Faith's strategy is SLAM HER HEAD INTO ALL THE THINGS."

    Made me crack up, gonna laugh now next time I watch that fight.

    And great point about Anya, I never thought of that! Until she basically moves into Xander's musty basement, where the hell does she live? Do ex vengeance demons get like a pension she could use to rent a flat with? Or did she win over a family by telling them she likes to bowl, is good with "math"(s) (though she wasn't at Sunnydale, she flunked it), boned a troll and wreaked some wrath? Guess we'll never know. But there could be many fanfics exploring the possibilities.

  2. Yay, my favorite season finale!

    One gripe: "For one thing... they're bigger." - Anya (referring to pure demons) Yeah, apparently the ONLY THING. When the Mayor finally does ascend, he does nothing special. Buffy even uses his "human side" to kill him! COME ON!

    1. Corey - I comment on that on the human side thing in part II: Stay tuned :)

  3. I love this episode. I remember being so shocked when Buffy was actually able to stab Faith in the gut. Not that I didn't think she could do it physically but that I didn't think she could mentally. That was a rather dark moment for her. I loved that fight scene.

  4. i loved her pink sweater in dopplegangland. if it didnt have the daisies...