Synopsis: Buffy and the Scoobies graduate high school with a bang--literally.
Review: In this episode, Buffy and gang blow up their high school. The WB postponed this episode two months after the first part. It was ridiculous to postpone the second part of a "To Be Continued..." episode so long. It was meant to be aired the following week. As in the case of Earshot, WB stated recent school violence as the cause of the postponement. I cannot argue as I did for Earshot that the positive message of Earshot overpowered the WB's reason for postponement. I do argue that blowing up the school was figurative and artistic and in no way would motivate a kid to blow up his school. If it would, that kid needs serious counseling anyway.
I am sure blowing up the school was partly a joke about Buffy burning down the gym of her previous school, which was a plot point in the original script that never made it into the movie but was referred to frequently in the series. It was also figurative of the Scoobies conquering high school. Buffy, Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz have had more than their share of high school difficulties including vampires and monsters. In the end, they not only survived, but they conquered. They each become heroes over the course of these past three seasons. When Joss Whedon began this series based on an ill-received movie as a midseason replacement, he probably never imagined it would make it to season three. The core concept of the series has been overcoming high school difficulties--the difficulties we all face (or faced). That premise is gone. The characters will move on with their lives and onto new issues. Blowing up the school was putting a seal on the old premise. It is gone, and the series is moving on to new things.
Angel and Buffy's moment of passion in season two did not prove their true love to each other. Angel proved his true love for Buffy in The Prom when he made the sacrifice of deciding to leave Sunnydale. Buffy proves her true love for Angel in this episode when she offers her own blood in self-sacrifice to Angel as the only way Angel will survive. I simply did not understand the Buffy/Faith dream sequence. That scene was a little weird.
The last act of this episode was an absolute joy ride. It was fun watching the entire school rise against the Mayor. The Mayor-turned-demon sighing, "Well, gosh" when he realizes he fell into a trap is icing on the cake. The last act combines action and comedy in a way I have only ever seen Whedon do. This was a great episode that served not only as a strong finale for the season but a strong finale for the three previous seasons together. I give it 8.8 out of 10. My favorite moment of the entire episode was the ending scene where Oz proclaims, "We survived." Buffy responds, "It was a hell of a battle," and Oz counters, "Not the battle...high school." You can't find dialogue much better than that.
Objectionable Content: It is pretty clear that the scene where Angel sucks Buffy’s blood is supposed to represent some kind of sexual encounter.
Rating: 8.8 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)