Graduation Day, Part One

"Give us a kiss." The Faith bit opens with her looking very sexy, as always, in her trademark leather and killing a professor. Then we have her in the apartment talking to the Mayor (btw, this was the first time I ever saw Faith. I was in France... and I'm sure you all wanted to know that.) She comes in in a pink dress, which I agree isn't her. I have a deep-rooted loathing for any pink clothes. But like Mr. Mayor says, nobody knows who she really is.

Cut, eventually, after a lot of graduation and ascension discussion, to Buffy and the gang in the library, discovering the murder ("one of Faith's pieces. I recognise the brushwork.") She decides to go off to the apartment and someone warns her about Faith. She responds with "Been there, killed that. She's not much for follow-up." This could be a reference to her "get some, get gone" attitude which B may have had a chance to discover for herself. Wesley then says "Don't let your feelings about Faith interfere with your work." What feelings might he be talking about? Well, I can answer that one - passionate, fiery tortured love, passionate fiery hate and passionate, fiery anger at the betrayal.

Then Faith shoots Angel. These hurt-Buffy tactics are getting monotonous. Buffy's not the only angry one, Faith's angry too ("I never knew you had so much rage in you.") I can think of two reasons why she's angry. Either becayse Buffy chose Angel over her, or simply because Faith loved her, and she doesn't like it that anyone can put those kinds of feelings in her. She's trying to deny it and putting the blame on the other.

And then we discover what's needed to cure Angel. "Good." says Buffy after a long pause. "No. It's perfect. If Angel needs to drain the blood of a Slayer then I'll bring him one." Willow says: "Buffy, if Angel drains Faith's blood, it'll kill her." "Not if she's already dead." This isn't at all what Buffy wants to do. You can hear it in her voice. But she has to. She was torn between Faith and Angel - she loved them both. Faith left her, betrayed her in the worst way she could have. So she's not gonna let Angel die because of Faith. But she's absolutely completely not wanting to do it. Willow never seemed to care about Faith before. She's only recently woken up to the fact that Buffy loves Faith, and she doesn't know if this is the right thing for B to do or whether it's just anger and the wrong decision. "This is how she wants it," says Buffy, but Buffy *doesn't* want it like this. She's got to do it. It's such a tragic episode because what could Buffy less want to do? And who's noticed that the show's repeating itself... Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Faith.... the scenarios are identical. Almost.

Then we get fast-cutting - there must be a name for them - scenes. Buffy in front of a mirror, psyching herself up for it, looking very much like she's been crying. Angel's delirium, boring. Faith working off her rage on a punching bag. Then we get her lying on her bed, reading some comic, with music blaring. We see Buffy standing by the door, dressed in red leather pants and a black leather jacket. She turns the stereo off. Let's have this scene in full.

Buffy: Thought I'd stop by.

Faith: Is he dead yet?

Buffy: He's not gonna die. It was a good try, though. Your plan?

Faith: Uh-huh. The Mayor got me the poison. Said it was wickedpainful.

Buffy: There's a cure.

Faith: Damn. What is it?

Buffy: Your blood. As justice goes, it's not un-poetic, don't you think?

Faith: Come to get me? You gonna feed me to Angel? You know you'renot going to take me alive.

Buffy: Not a problem.

Faith: Well, look at you. All dressed up in big sister's clothes.

Buffy: You told me I was just like you. That I was holding it in. (They approach until they're standing face to face.)

Faith: Ready to cut loose?

Buffy: Try me.

Faith: Okay then. Give us a kiss.

Wow! Amazing line or what. I don't think I need explain it... Faith's bisexual, if you're gonna categorise like that, Buffy is too, Faith admits it, Buffy's in denial, Faith tried it on (in "Bad Girls" is my guess) with her after the major flirting of the early days, Buffy freaked, and now this is an invitation to "cut loose" in the way she wouldn't earlier. The entire scene is fraught with unbelievable tension. There's something hanging in the air between them. And then they begin to fight. This is the best fight scene I've ever seen on Buffy. It's amazing, and it's so full of pain it's almost unbearable. Buffy handcuffs Faith... not quite the circumstances we'd like to see it in, but hey... in a reversal of "Enemies". ("Stick around.") When Faith sees her knife, she says, "That's mine." "You're about to get it back," Buffy replies and her voice is so aching and despairing. Again, there's *nothing* she would like less to be doing. (And I've said that how many times?) They go to the very edge of the building. "Main, I'm going to miss this," Faith says, losing concentration for a moment while looking over Buffy's body.

And Buffy stabs her. They both look stunned for a moment. Then Faith smiles.

"You did it," she says weakly, and then punches her.

"You killed me." And climbs on to the wall. "Still won't help your boy though. Shoulda been there B, quite a ride." She falls herself off the roof and falls onto a passing truck. She's not gonna let her rival for Buffy's affections get her last strength. I wish I'd seen this when it first aired in the US, so I wouldn't have known whether she was dead or not. Anyway.

From the roof Buffy looks down, stunned, horrified, incredulous, staring down at the road which has carried the two people she loves the most away from her.

Normally this would get 4 subtext stars, but because of the sheer intensity of the final scene, I'm bumping it up to 4 and a half. Ditto the episode overall, for the same reason.


On to Part Two

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