|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 3, Episode 20|
|Air date||May 11, 1999|
|Written by||Marti Noxon|
|Directed by||David Solomon|
"Graduation Day, Part One"
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Emma Caulfield|| Anya |
|Bonita Friedericy||Mrs. Finkle|
|Andrea E. Taylor||Sales Girl|
|Tove Kingsbury||Tux Boy|
|Michael Zlabinger||Student at Mic|
|Monica Serene Garnich||Pretty Girl|
|Damien Eckhardt||Jack Mayhew|
|Stephanie Denise Griffin||Tux Girl|
"The Prom" is the twentieth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the fifty-fourth episode altogether. It was written by Marti Noxon and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on May 11, 1999.
Angel decides to do the right thing and break up with Buffy. Heartbroken, Buffy tries to make sure the rest of her friends can enjoy their senior prom without the interference of a pack of Hellhounds.
Buffy wakes up in Angel's bed at the mansion after the two fell asleep after patrol. Buffy talks a bit about bringing some of her stuff over so every once in a while she could spend the night and she mentions going to the Prom. When she opens the curtains to check for the sun, she accidentally lets in a strong beam and it hits Angel but he manages to move before it really burns him.
At school, Anya, still a mere human being, asks Xander to the Prom. Both are dateless and desperate, so he says yes. Later, Buffy, Willow, Oz, and Xander discuss prom plans, and dresses. Joyce visits Angel at the mansion and tells him she's worried about the effect he's having on her daughter. She tells him that he can't get in the way of her future and if Buffy can't see that he'll have to do something about it.
Buffy and Willow are talking prom dresses while Giles is continuing research for the Ascension. Using the pages that Willow ripped out of the Books of Ascension, it's been determined that, upon Graduation Day, the Mayor will transform into a demon. However what kind of demon he will transform into is still unknown, and there's no further information at this point. As a result, the discussion moves onto the prom. Giles and Wesley (who both don't see the point of it) will both be chaperoning the prom, which Buffy protests is going to be the one and possibly last night of fun they'll have in Sunnydale. Meanwhile, in a small house, someone plays a video for a caged dog beast that makes the dog go wild.
Buffy and Angel are in a church getting married. As they exit the church, Angel is fearful of the sun, but it is Buffy that burns up and dies - not him - when they come in contact with the sun's light. Angel awakes from the dream.While patrolling, Buffy and Angel have an argument. Angel is still disturbed by his dream, the visit from Joyce and the Mayor's words to them. Finally, Angel tells Buffy that they need to talk. He tells her that it's unfair for her to be in a relationship with him because of all the things he can't give her. In order to make her realize how serious he is, he breaks up with her and tells her he doesn't want to be with her. He plans to leave Sunnydale after the ascension. Buffy goes to Willow for comfort and she realizes that Angel was right; the two of them really can't be together. But, after such a long and dedicated relationship falls apart so quickly, Buffy just feels horrible and cries.
At April Fools, a store where Cordelia Chase is working, Xander spots her through the window and goes in to tease her for what he perceives as her spending a long time trying to pick a dress. However he is stopped short when an assistant chides Cordelia for speaking to a customer. Cordelia then reveals that because of her father committing tax fraud, she's now working there to save up for a prom dress because her family lost all of their money, and now she has nowhere to live and she can't afford to go to any of the colleges that accepted her. Xander is clearly shocked by this and can't come up with any words in response, while Cordelia says that he can go back to his friends, and laugh at her getting her comeuppance for teasing them all this time. However, their argument is cut short as one of the beasts that broke free breaks through the window. It initially attacks Xander, but then it spots a guy wearing a tux. Leaving Xander, the beast kills tux guy before suddenly leaving.
At the library, they study the video of the attack, and realise that the beast has a preference for people in formal wear. Giles and Wesley recognise it as a Hellhound, a vicious demon foot soldier bred for war. Suddenly someone is spotted on the tape who appears to be controlling the Hellhound. It turns out that the person is Tucker Wells, who used to have a chemistry class with Oz. Tucker has plans to ruin prom night by sending a hellhound trained to attack those in formal wear after the students. Buffy vows not to let this dog ruin the big night and issues orders for everyone to split up and search for clues. She ends up finding an address at the butcher where Tucker ordered cow brains to feed the dogs. She runs into Angel and the two have a post-break-up argument. As Cordelia leaves work, she finds that her prom dress has been paid for.
Buffy returns from her searching and orders everyone else to attend the prom while she takes care of the hounds. She tells Giles that Angel is leaving town. She finds Tucker in his basement and confronts him about why he would want to destroy the best night of a senior's life. Tucker refuses to divulge his reasons (although it's revealed in a flashback that the reason is nothing more than the fact that the girl he asked to go with said no) so Buffy ties him up before he can release the hound, but she also finds out that there are four dogs, and three are already on their way to the school. After killing all of the dogs, Buffy changes into her prom dress and shows up for the dance. Everyone looks amazing dressed up in their tuxes and formal dresses. Cordelia shows up and clings to Wesley (after thanking Xander for paying for her dress, restoring their friendship) while Anya tells Xander of her past, and Willow and Oz just enjoy the evening.When Class awards are given out, Xander is snubbed for Class Clown. But Buffy is actually honored with the Class Protector Award. It turns out Sunnydale High students were actually aware of Buffy's actions when protecting them from the evils of the Hellmouth the whole time. She's given an ornately decorated parasol for the award. After she accepts the award, the students continue to dance when Angel surprises her by showing up in a tux. While Angel assures her that his presence doesn't change their status, Buffy is just glad to be held in his arms as they dance.
- This episode marks the end of Buffy and Angel's relationship. He would leave Sunnydale after the season finale and start the spin-off Angel.
- Buffy achieves the high school moment she dreamed of ("Homecoming") and was floored to be recognized by her peers for her work.
- We learn in this episode that Cordelia's father was guilty of tax fraud of some sort, reducing her family to near poverty. This change eventually leads to her migration to LA, where she will team up with Angel. ("City Of")
- Buffy's line "miles to go before we sleep", references the famous Robert Frost poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". Faith later references the poem in a dream sequence in "Graduation Day, Part Two" saying, "Miles to go—counting down from 730" this was a reference of Buffy's death which occured 730 days after Faith's prediction (it could also be construed as foretelling the arrival of Dawn). Buffy also says "one night of Glory" foreshadowing Glory who would play a role in her death.
- Tucker Wells has an even more obscure brother, Andrew, who will become involved starting in season six.
- Due to the episode "Earshot" not being aired out of respect for the victims of the Columbine massacre, television viewers of this episode were unaware of Buffy stopping Jonathan from committing suicide. The fact that Buffy saved his life makes his presentation of the Class Protector Award to her even more significant.
- Up until this point, it was normal for civilians in the series to not mention supernatural events that they experience. Giles explained this as the ability of people to "rationalize what they can and forget what they can't" ("The Harvest"). This episode is the first time that the students of Sunnydale High openly show awareness of the supernatural events at their school. While Buffy is presented with the Class Protector Award, students shout out "Zombies" ("Dead Man's Party") and "Hyena People" ("The Pack").
- One vampire, dusted by Buffy
- Tux Boy, killed by a Hellhound
- One Hellhound, killed by Buffy with a crossbow
- One Hellhound, killed by Buffy with a knife
- One Hellhound, neck snapped by Buffy
Behind the Scenes
- In the scene where Angel breaks up with Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted that she "could not stop crying," and the set was closed for 25 minutes to allow her to recover.
- Jessica Johnson, the winner of the "A Buffy Christmas" sweepstakes, participated in this episode.
- Buffy's prom dress was designed by Pamela Dennis, while Vera Wang designed her wedding dress. Incidentally, Wang also designed Sarah Michelle Gellar's wedding dress when she tied the knot with Freddie Prinze Jr.
- This exchange was cut due to length:
- Giles: "Fine. You're all suffering from a touch of spring madness, if you ask me."
- Oz: "Mine is more space madness. But I'll feel better once I get used to the weightlessness."
- Willow: "Promise me you'll never be linear."
- Oz: "On my trout."
Pop Culture References
- The movies Tucker Wells uses to train the Hellhounds to attack the prom include: Carrie, Prom Night, Prom Night IV: Deliver us from Evil, Pump up the Volume, Pretty in Pink, and The Club.
- Xander's "Sock Puppet of Love" routine is reminiscent of Señor Wences, a ventriloquist who would draw a face on his hand and speak through it with a funny voice.
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- At the prom when Giles and Wesley are at the snack table Wesley is holding a red napkin. When it cuts to Cordelia walking in Wesley chokes and Giles looks at him he says the salsa is hot. Cut to Cordelia. Wesley says very hot. When the camera cuts back onto him the napkin is yellow.
- Buffy states that Angel is 243 years old. Since he became a vampire in 1753, by 1999 he would have been a vampire for 246 years. She is also not taking into account the 100 years he spent in a hell dimension following the events of "Becoming Part Two". This puts Angel at roughly 346 years old. She also doesn't account for his 26 years of life before becoming a vampire, making him 272 or 372.
- Christophe Beck - "Class Protector"
- Christophe Beck - "Deadly Beloved"
- Christophe Beck - "The Beginning of the End"
- Cracker - "The Good Life"
- Fatboy Slim - "Praise You"
- Kool & The Gang - "Celebration"
- Prince - "1999"
- Sister Sledge - "We Are Family"
- The Lassie Foundation - "El Rey"
- The Sundays - "Wild Horses" (included on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album)
- A photo of Buffy and Angel in their wedding attire from Angel's dream sequence, appeared in the US TV Guide magazine, and created all sorts of rumours in fan circles.
|Anya - "You know, you can laugh, but I have witnessed a millennium of treachery and oppression from the males of the species. And I have nothing but contempt for the whole libidinous lot of them."|
|Xander - "Then why are you talking to me?"|
|Anya - "I don't have a date for the prom."|
|Xander - "Well, gosh. I wonder why not? It couldn't have anything to do with your sales pitch."|
|Anya - "Men are evil. Will you go with me?"|
|Xander - "One of us is very confused, and I honestly don't know which."|
|Giles - "I will be wearing pink taffeta as the chenille does nothing for my complexion and can we please talk about the Ascension?"|
|Joyce - "I don't have to tell you that you and Buffy come from different worlds."|
|Angel - "No, you don't."|
|Joyce - "She's had to deal with a lot, grow up fast. Sometimes even I forget that she's still just a girl."|
|Angel - "And I'm old enough to be her ancestor."|
|Joyce - "She's just starting out in life."|
|Angel - "I know. I think about it more now that she's staying in Sunnydale."|
|Joyce - "Good. Because when it comes to you, Angel, she's just like any other young woman in love. You're all she can see of tomorrow. But I think we both know that there are some hard choices ahead. If she can't make them, you're gonna have to. I know you care about her. I just hope you care enough."|
|Oz - "Once again, the Hellmouth puts the "special" in "special occasion"."|
|Wesley - "Mr. Giles. I'd like your opinion. While the last thing I want to do is model bad behaviour in front of impressionable youth, I wonder if asking Miss Chase to dance would-"|
|Giles - "For God's sake, man, she's eighteen. And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about."|
|Wesley - "Right, then. Thanks for that."|
|Xander - "You work here?"|
|Cordelia - "Yes. Yes, I work here."|
|Xander - "But, uh, why?"|
|Cordelia - "I'm trying to buy a dress."|
|Xander - "But don't you already have all the dresses?"|
|Cordelia - "I have nothing, okay? No dresses. No cell phone. No car. Everything's been taken away because Daddy made a little mistake on his taxes. For the last twelve years. Satisfied? Are you a happy Xander now? I'm broke. I can't go to any of the colleges that accepted me. And I can't stay home because we no longer have one."|
|Xander - "Uh, wow."|
|Cordelia - "Yeah, neato. Now you can run along and tell all of your friends how Cordy finally got hers. How she has to work part time just to get a lousy Prom dress on layaway. And how she has to wear a name tag!"|
|Jonathan - "We have one more award to give out. Is Buffy Summers here tonight? Did she, um... [the crowd turns and finds her; she looks surprised at the attention] This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, well, t-the prom committee asked me to read this. "We're not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn't mean we haven't noticed you. We don't talk about it much, but it's no secret that Sunnydale High isn't really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here."|
|Student #1 - "Zombies!"|
|Student #2 - "Hyena people!"|
|Student #3 - "Snyder!" [people chuckle]|
|Jonathan - "But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you or helped by you at one time or another. We're proud to say that the class of '99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history, and we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks and gives you, uh, uh, this." [he produces a gold, glittering, miniature umbrella with a small metal plaque attached to the shaft] It's from all of us, and it has written here, "Buffy Summers, Class Protector"."|
|Wesley - "Well I must say this is all rather odd to me."|
|Giles - "Truely is. Being at an all-male preparatory, we didn't go in for this sort of thing."|
|Wesley - "Ah. Course not. Unless you count the nights you made the lower classmen get up as girls and watch them-" [Giles glares at Wesley] "Dip is tasty, isn't it?"|