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Graduation Day, Part One

Graduation gowns are being passed out at school, and Cordelia disapproves of the color (maroon) — she lobbied for teal. Xander likes them; he thinks they're dignified. They exchange some banter and Xander tells her he's convinced he's not getting out of school alive. Willow is approached by Harmony, who tells Willow how smart she is and that she hopes they don't lose touch, and they sign each other's yearbooks. Buffy catches the tail end of the conversation and doesn't understand why they were being so friendly. Willow acknowledges that she hates Harmony but will miss her nonetheless. Buffy claims she doesn't feel as mushy about graduation as everyone else does and states that she can't go to graduation because she'll be fighting the Mayor. Xander comes up and, hearing this, tells them that the Mayor is giving the commencement speech; apparently the Ascension will take place at the graduation ceremony.

Faith, sent by the Mayor, goes to visit a Professor Lester Worth at his apartment. After asking if they're alone, she pulls out a knife and tells him the Mayor wants him dead, though she didn't ask why. She stabs and kills him.

At Faith's apartment, the Mayor is straightening up while Faith changes into a dress he has given her — a frilly pink flowered dress. She doesn't think it's "her," but the Mayor disagrees. He tells her that the Ascension isn't just his day, but hers, too, and that no father could be prouder.

As Willow arrives at school on her bike the next day, Percy approaches and shows her the B- he got on his History final. He thanks her for her help and patience, and mentions that now he can "forget all this crap" after graduation. Oz, who has come up, makes light of the graduation situation, and Willow tells him it's not a light situation and that they have to find a spell or something to stop the Ascension.

Xander arrives late to class, and the teacher insists that even though finals are over, the class still must participate ... in playing Hang-Man. Anya, who is sitting next to him, invites him to do something that weekend. She's convinced that men like sports, and after he scolds her for her generic assumptions, he apologizes; he is on edge because of the Ascension. Anya looks startled.

The Newspaper Headline Buffy shows Giles and Wesley (who are practicing their fencing) the newspaper headline about the murdered professor; she is sure it was Faith, on assignment by the Mayor. Now they just need to figure out what the professor had or knew that the Mayor wanted to hide. Buffy plans to go the crime scene and see what she can find. Xander comes in with Anya, who has witnessed an Ascension involving the demon Lohesh. She tells them that the village where it took place was destroyed within hours and only about three people escaped alive. Anya explains that the demons walking the earth are not pure; an Ascension turns the person into the pure form of the demon, which, for one thing, is bigger.

Principal Snyder is showing the Mayor the graduation setup. The Mayor tells Snyder that he has done a good job, and that Sunnydale owes him a debt for that, which will be paid.

Willow and Oz enter the library, where Willow is none too thrilled to find Anya with the gang, until she is told why she's there. Anya says the rituals are different for each demon, and the Mayor is not going to become Lohesh. As they press her for more information, the Mayor himself walks in. Buffy mouths off to him, prompting him to state that he will eat her. Giles grabs a sword and shoves it into the Mayor, who scolds him for setting a bad example in front of the children. The Mayor wipes the sword clean and promises them "one heck of a speech" at the Graduation.

Later, Anya tells Xander that she's leaving town, as the Ascension cannot be stopped. Cordelia asks what her problem is, and Xander tells her that the Mayor is going to kill them all during graduation. "Oh," she says, "Are you going to go to fifth period?"

At Buffy's house, Joyce arrives home to find Buffy packing a suitcase for her. Buffy tells her mom to leave town, and she refuses. Buffy explains that she can't fight this thing and worry about Joyce at the same time; she insists that Joyce trust her and leave.

At Willow's place, they are searching for an Ascension-stopping spell. Willow is discouraged, since she can't even change Amy (who is in a cage in Willow's room) back into a person. Oz cracks another joke, and Willow berates him; she wishes he would act like he cares about what's going on. She wants him to panic. In the middle of her tirade, he kisses her passionately. She asks what he's doing, to which he replies "Panicking." They continue to kiss, leaning back onto the bed.

Buffy is searching the professor's apartment when Angel arrives (Giles sent him). Buffy tells him that the victim was a "volcano-ologist or something," and she found a report of his to bring to Giles. He wants to help her; he follows her out into the street. They argue; Buffy has a hard time being around him, but he claims they have to work together for right now. "This is my last office romance," Buffy says. Angel says she's acting like a brat, and just as she's responding, Angel is suddenly hit with an arrow. We see Faith on top of a building with a vampire. "Missed the heart," he tells her. She replies coldly, "Meant to."

At the library, Buffy pulls out the arrow, glad that Faith's aim is so bad (she's sure it was Faith). Angel tells them that he heals quickly. Wesley, reading the report Buffy found, states that the professor had found a huge carcass buried under an old lava bed near a dormant volcano and thought it might have been an undiscovered dinosaur. Assuming that that was the kind of demon the Mayor is going to turn into, they realize that he won't be invulnerable once he's become the demon. Angel stands up, only to pass out. They realize that the arrow was poisoned, and Wesley states that the Council has all known toxins on file. He goes to call them.

Willow and Oz nekkid! Willow and Oz are lying in bed naked (under the covers, of course). Willow feels different. The phone rings, and Willow tells him they have to go.

Faith goes to the Mayor, and tells him she succeeded; Buffy will be distracted for a while. The Mayor tells her there's nothing more for her to do right now, and that he needs to eat some of the bugs in the Box of Gavrok. She wants an assignment, prompting him to call her a little firecracker, which she reveals that her mom used to call her. She shares a couple of childhood stories, and he reassures her he will still need her after the Ascension.

The gang is doing research at school that night when Anya approaches Xander, asking him to leave Sunnydale with her. She tells him she will die if he stays, and that thinking about that makes her feel like she might throw up. He refuses, which makes her tell him she hopes he dies. He walks off, leaving her to ask, "Aren't we gonna kiss?"

At the mansion, Buffy is tending to Angel, who is sweating immensely. Wesley arrives and tells them that the Council will not help them (it's not their policy to save vampires, under any circumstances), even though he tried to convince them. He tells her that their orders are to concentrate on the Ascension, and she tells them she will no longer be taking orders from him or the Council — she is no longer working for them. "This is mutiny," he tells her. But Buffy "like[s] to think of it as Graduation." She goes to help the others, leaving Giles to watch over Angel. On the way out, she tells Wesley to get a job.

Willow has found out that the poison is called Killer of the Dead. Oz finds that the cure is to drain the blood of a Slayer. Buffy says that she'll bring him one, then. When Willow points out that Angel draining Faith's blood would kill her, Buffy responds, "Not if she's already dead."

Buffy Willow and Oz find out for Buffy where Faith is living while Xander tries to talk her out of it. Buffy gets the knife that Faith left in the wall (the Mayor's gift to her in "Choices"). Faith is at her apartment beating the heck out of her punching bag while Buffy is in the bathroom at school, mentally preparing. Faith later lays on the bed with the music blasting, until Buffy appears behind her and turns the radio off. Buffy tells her there's a cure for Angel's poison: Faith's blood. Faith tells her she'll never take her alive, and Buffy tells her that's not a problem. They fight, ending up out on the balcony. Buffy handcuffs their arms together.

Willow and Oz are watching Angel, who is calling for Buffy. Giles and Xander are in the library, where Giles finds out the demon is called "Olvikon." The picture of him takes up a three page fold-out. The Mayor is eating his bugs, telling his vamp henchman how great he feels, when another henchman enters and tells him there's trouble at Faith's place.

The Slayers are still fighting. Faith manages to break the handcuffs. Buffy pulls out Faith's knife and, perched on the edge of the balcony, stabs her in the stomach with it. Faith manages to punch Buffy, and is surprised that Buffy actually did it, but tells her she still can't help Angel. Faith falls backwards, landing on a moving truck, and is carried away ... either unconscious or dead.

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