Graduation Day, Part II
originally aired July 13, 1999 (season finale)

read Ken Tucker (of Entertainment Weekly)'s review

Cordelia Synopsis

With all the terrible events of the first part (Faith supposedly getting killed, Angel getting shot, Buffy denouncing the Watchers Council) and the intense opening of Part II with Angel feeding on Buffy, Cordelia has kind of been left in the dark.  So, when Giles and Xander are working in the library trying to find out something about the Ascension, Cordelia walks in demanding an explanation:

Xander: For what?
Cordelia: Wesley.
Xander: Uh, inbreeding?
Cordelia: So very funny, any minute I'm sure to laugh.
Cordelia pleads for them to tell her what's going on, so Giles tells her that Buffy said she was no longer answering to the Council.  Then Cordelia says:
"Well does he have to leave the country?  I mean, you got fired and you still hang around like a big loser.  Why can't he?"
Cordelia agrees to help Giles and Xander, but not without first saying what she thinks about the situation:
"It's just such a Buffy thing to do.  She's always thinking of herself."
Later, once Buffy has gotten out of the hospital and had her vision with Faith (where Faith gave her some hints to stop the Mayor), the whole Scooby Gang is sitting in the library listening to Buffy's plan (which the audience doesn't get to hear).  The following conversation ensues:
Cordelia: I personally don't think it's possible to come up with a crazier plan.
Oz: We attack the Mayor with hommus.
Cordelia: I stand corrected.
Oz: Just keeping things in perspective.
Cordelia: Thank you.
Cordelia then goes on to say that "slay gal"'s plan is basically the only way and she therefore supports it.  When Buffy says that they need to prey on the Mayor's human weakness and Angel tells everyone that he's not crazy about germs, Cordelia comes up with an idea:
Angel: 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 uh...or, it doesn't even have to be real - we can just get a box that says Ebola on it and then, chase him!
(everyone looks at her strangely)
Cordelia: With the box.
Xander: I'm starting to lean towards the hommus offensive.
Oz: He'll never see it coming.
During their conversation Wesley walks in and says he wants to help, making Cordelia say:
"That is so classy!  Isn't he just so classy?"
Once Buffy's plan is set into action Wesley and Cordelia start putting books from the library into boxes.  The two of them are alone, packing away books, facing away from each other with an awkward silence.
Wesley: Cordelia.
Cordelia: Yes.
Wesley: You know that, when this is over...
Cordelia: Yes?
Wesley: Well, should we prevail, I'll be going back to England.
Cordelia: I know.
Wesley: With Buffy no longer working for the Council there's really no place for me here.
Cordelia: I guess not.
(slowly walking towards each other)
Wesley: No...reason to stay.
Cordelia: No.
Wesley: course to hold.  I...might be needed.
Cordelia: Needed.
Wesley: Or...wanted.
Cordelia: Wanted.
They have an awkward kiss, groping each other in a strange way.  They stop, with their lips still touching, look at each other, and then pull away only to start kissing again.  They stop again, pause, look at each other, and quickly say:
Cordelia: Good luck in England.
Wesley: Mmm, yes, thank you.  I'll...drop you a line.
Cordelia: That'd be neat.
They both walk back to the shelves and start packing away books again.

The episode comes to a climax at the graduation ceremony with Mayor Wilkins doing the commencement speech.  While he's in the middle of his speech there is a complete solar eclipse and he transforms into a 60-foot lizard demon while his vampires gather around the students and guests.  Buffy then gives the signal and all the students throw off their graduation gowns, revealing crosses, stakes, crossbows, stakes, and other weapons.  An incredible battle ensues with Xander coordinating the flame-thrower and crossbow attacks on the Mayor, Angel leading the fight against the vampires, and Oz and Willow shooting flaming arrows and crossbows.  Everyone (including Cordelia, Harmony, Larry, Jonathon, etc.) takes part in the battle and we even see Cordelia stake a vampire.  Once most of the students escape, Buffy takes out Faith's knife (stained with Faith's blood) and lures the Mayor into the school building, leading him into the library.  She runs out the other side of the library and right when the Mayor realizes that it is a trap, Giles detonates the explosives rigged inside the school, blowing the whole school up and killing the Mayor.

Later, our favorite graduates from Sunnydale High (Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, and Willow) sit together and think about what's actually happened (Angel already left for LA).  Cordelia says:

"Well, that was the most fun you could have without actually having any fun."
Willow says she enjoyed the kicking of "demon ass" part and emphasizes that they survived.  They survived not only the Ascension, but more importantly, high school.  After they take a moment, the gang walks off together, talking and laughing.

Most memorable line

Cordelia had so many great lines in this episode but I feel that this one is another great example of how delightfully honest she can be:

"Well does he have to leave the country?  I mean, you got fired and you still hang around like a big loser.  Why can't he?"
Most memorable scene

The scene between Cordelia and Wesley (with the Scooby Gang scene coming in a close second) was very emotional and funny at the same time.  It was a very strange but satisfying closure for their relationship.

What we learn

Story arcs Comments

Mesuvius: Wow, what a wonderful Cordelia and all-around episode.  Everyone put in great performances and it was a nice closure of the several story arcs that have been building up throughout the season.  I like how innocent Cordelia was compared to the battle-hardened Buffy and the worn-down Scooby Gang and Cordelia stole all the scenes she was in.  The last Scooby Gang scene in the library (and the last gathering of the Scooby Gang as we now know it) had some great dialogue and some very memorable moments.  The battle scene at the end was also absolutely amazing and I loved the way each character was dealt with during the climax.  Overall, I think that "Graduation Day, Part II" is a perfect counterpoint to last season's season finale, "Becoming", as it deals more with the big picture instead of focusing primarily on Buffy.  I congratulate Joss and the cast and crew of Buffy for delivering another excellent season and especially Charisma who has taken the character of Cordelia in so many wonderful and brilliant directions this season.  I can't wait until September 28 when the new seasons of Buffy and Angel premiere!

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