Becoming, Part 1 (1)

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  • 9.5

    Becoming, Part 1 (1)

    By arkanitoo, Jul 09, 2012

    The end of the season is finally upon us! What a fantastic finale! This episode has quite different goals than part two though. The highlight of the proceedings are the stunning sequences in earlier time periods where we learn how the players 'became' who they are today. The associated people are Angel, Drusilla, and Buffy. There is also important and interesting backstory that really ties things together. The other standout moment was the entire fight in the library and Buffy's frantic run back to the school.

    The history sequences are so important to this episode I'm going to cover each one of them in some detail. It all begins with Angel who we find out, as a human in 1753, was a bit of a womanizer and a drunk, but an innocent drunk. He spots Darla and in a drunken stuper says, "show me you world." This sequence is beautifully shot and when Darla bleeds her chest and makes Angel drink from it a powerful music cue swells over top. This music continues throughout the rest of the introduction where Angelus is watching Buffy fight from afar.

    Next, in 1860, we see a human Drusilla in a church attempting to repent for her 'sins.' She goes into the confessional to talk with the priest, only the priest is being killed by Angelus. Drusilla then talks to Angelus thinking he's the priest and reveals that she has visions. Angelus uses this opportunity to start poisoning her mind and telling her she's a devil child and should just give in to evil. He then ends the conversation by telling Drusilla, "god is watching you." This is really quite creepy because Angelus thinks of himself as god over Drusilla from this point on. After this he goes on to kill off her entire family, throw at her every form of mental torture known to man, and then turn her into a vampire on the day she was to become a nun! This is why she's completely insane now.

    In 1898 we see Angelus being punished for killing the beloved girl of a Gypsy clan with the restoration of his soul. We can see that at first he doesn't remember anything he'd done (this happens again in "Becoming Pt. 2" [2x22]). Thus begins Angel's reign of isolation and brooding (though not quite yet as we find out in AtS S2 episode "Darla"). Angel soon after fled to America where he hung around doing much of nothing for a good many years.

    Then, in 1996, Whistler (a character who was to have been the demon with the visions on AtS, but didn't because of casting issues) convinces him to check out the new Slayer who just got called in Los Angeles. In this fantastic sequence we see Buffy's first watcher, Merrick, explaining to her that she is the Slayer. The scene in Buffy's bathroom where she's crying while her parents are arguing is really heartbreaking, especially since we know that she gets expelled from her school and her parents divorce. Angel hides in the background as Buffy fights her first vampire. She seems to have made quite the impression on Angel, so he heads back to Whistler and agrees to help this Slayer. All of this sets up Angel's character for when Buffy first meets him in the pilot, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (1x01). This new information connects with Angel's S1 arc perfectly and is simply really cool to know.

    All of that's a lot of really useful backstory on some of the characters and is incredibly enjoyable to see. This brings us back to the current situation: Angelus is trying to bring forth the demon Acathla to suck all living life into hell. Here's where my only only complaint of this episode is. That complaint is the plot is kind of stupid. Why would Angelus want every living thing sucked into hell? There would be nothing to eat if that happened! Pretty dumb plan. The only reason why I'm not going to make a bigger deal out of this is because it acts as a fantastic catalyst for character development and overall forward plot movement in the grand scheme of the series. They could have had a better plot, but I can forgive the stupidity of the plan because of its effect on all the characters. I suppose you could explain it by saying Angelus has gone completely insane, but then he still comes across as a bit out of character. His torturing antics are far scarier than this.

    There are a couple big character scenes in the middle of all the chaos. The most notable one is the big library encounter after Buffy and Willow discover the Spell of Restoration on that floppy disk left on the ground in "Passion" (2x17). This propagates the confusing question of whether they should even try to restore Angel's soul rather than simply killing him for what he's done. The big outburst between Xander and Giles is particularly powerful as Giles is inclined to restore Angel's soul because it appears to be what Jenny died for. Buffy is pretty much just confused with the whole situation and isn't sure what to do, at first.

    In the same scene, Xander lays the harsh reality onto Buffy when he says, "You can paint this any way you want. But the way I see it is that you wanna forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back." Willow can't believe she heard Xander say that as she can somewhat understand Buffy's emotional state. This comment creates quite the wedge between Buffy and Xander which appears in "Dead Man's Party" (3x02).

    The end of this episode is utterly superb and is the perfect lead-in for part two. Angelus is being smart again and uses his knowledge gained in "When She Was Bad" (2x01) against Buffy. He lures her away from the library so the vampires can capture Giles, and then tells her about the plan after he knows his vampires are done, thus leaving him free to torture Giles. The vampire attack at the library is suitably brutal. Xander's arm is snapped, Willow is put in a coma, Giles is knocked out then caputured, and Kendra's throat is slit by Drusilla. All of this chaos culminates in Buffy's frantic run through the town to get back to the school. The slow motion part as she turns the corner into the school hallway with Whistler's voice over about the "big moments" (see final quote below) is heartbreaking.

    My final judgement on this episode is that it introduces great backstory, puts a lot of main characters in danger, kills Kendra thus enabling the activation of Faith (a much better character), and is extremely entertaining. It only misses the coveted P score because of Angelus' stupidity in wanting to bring forth Acathla.moreless

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  • 10

    Stand by for a great finale

    By joxerlives, Jan 19, 2012

    Becoming pt1

    The Good;

    The glimpses of Liam and Drusilla in their human forms are just too tragic for words, especially Dru. Good scenes with Whistler and of course Kendra back. Angelus' suicide telegram for Buffy (would they allow that post 9/11?). Snyder's chair shortage gag

    The Bad;

    David's accent. Where is it supposed to be from exactly? Are they after his lucky charms?

    Best line;

    Spike; "It's a big rock. Can't wait to tell my friends, they don't have a rock this big"

    Wheldon Cliches;

    Character death; yep, byebye Kendra, making it one recurring character dead every 8 eps or so. A shame to lose her but I think most would agree that Faith is better as both a character and a Slayer. And if she hadn't died? I figure Faith would have turned up as one of the potentials in season 7 and she rather than Kennedy would have hooked up with Willow.

    Knocked out; yep, Xander, Willow and Giles

    Questions and observations;

    We get to see pre-Slayer Buffy in LA and a different version of Merrick. In this version Buffy does indeed miss the heart first time out as she later tells Dawn. The 'Do you know what time it is?' line is very clever, the same words as Joyce says in the movie but with a completely different meaning. Presumably Angel as a tramp is following the diner incident in the 70s we later see in season 4 of Angel. Willow once again play's the bashful virgin for comic effect. Whistler's 'puppets' speech is interesting when you consider Jasmine manipulating the Fang Gang over the course of Angel. Willow attempts her first spell.

    10/10 no contest


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  • 9.0

    Season 2, Episode 21.

    By Wanted23, Apr 19, 2009

    Angel's past is revealed through flashbacks, such as when he was sired by Darla and when he sired Drusilla. In the present, however, Angelus tries to bring Hell to Earth.

    Angel looked incredibly sexy in the flashbacks, especially the first one. Rawr. I didn't realize that most of the scenes I've seen already have already happened in this episode. Drusilla's confession was one of them, and Buffy and Willow finding the Restoration spell was another. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a really good actress and she is beautiful, too. Not a bad episode at all. I kinda liked that all those flashbacks were included, but at the same time some weren't needed. Awesome episode. :)moreless

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  • 10

    Great flashbacks! Awesome episode!

    By TheHappyHermit, Mar 08, 2009

    This was an awesome episode leading to an even better finale. The flashbacks in this episode did so much to enrich the Buffy lore with backstory elements that fans had been wishing for. I also loved Spike and Drusilla in this episode. Spike had a couple of very funny lines, and you start to feel for him as he watches Angel interact with Drusilla. It was also nice to see the character of Darla come back in a flashback. She hadn't appeared in the Buffy universe since the middle of the first season. This episode has almost everything. It has great drama, humor and action. All it's missing is romance and a small portion of that is coming up in Becoming, Part II.moreless

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  • 10

    Whistler: Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.

    By addict666, Aug 01, 2008

    This episode starts the end of the second season and it starts off very well. All the Angel flashbacks are really good and it is fun to see him being a monster. The way he tortured Drusilla and drove her even further towards madness shows how far he is willing to go with his victims. The Whistler is also introduced in this episode and even though he is only here for such a short time he is still such a great character and brings a lot of interesting questions and all of his lines are really deep. Seeing Angel as the pathetic street urchin is nice as well. Kendra's reappearance is also at a good time and watching Drusilla take her out is priceless. I really like Xander as well in this episode, because he understands that Buffy doesn't want to kill Angel because she wants the old Angel back and he calls her out on her refusal to do so. I love how Buffy falls for Angel's trap and sets up the catastrophe at the end with a hurt Willow and a dead Kendra. This episodes leaves you dying for what happens next.moreless

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  • 9.7

    A Very Good Episode...

    By RosAzzo, Jun 11, 2008

    I really didn't think that things would turn out this way.

    We have seen a lot of things which are new. We have learn how Angel was turned into a Vampire and how he was Cursed. We have seen how Angel turned Drusilla and last but not least we have seen how he knew about Buffy exactly when they told that she is going to be the Slayer. That is when he decided that he wants to help her.

    We see another Trick or Trap by Angel to meet Buffy at the Cemetery but it was a play so that he can take Giles.

    I guess Xander has a Broken hand and Willow was unconcious.

    I was very disapointed that Kendra's was Murdered by Drusilla.

    I am looking forward to the next episode.. I am hoping that Angel will be good again...moreless

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  • 9.8

    Race Against The Apocalypse

    By lenzinoH20, Jan 16, 2008

    Becoming, Part 1-Through flashbacks, we see much of Angel's history. We see him sired by Darla in 1753, driving Drusilla mad and then siring her in 1860, and being cursed with a soul by the Kalderash clan in 1898. In the present, Angelus hatches a plan to awaken the demon Acathla, who will open a gateway to a hell dimension, and bring Hell to Earth.

    A glorious first parter to one of series' most emotional and epic finales, "Becoming, Part 1" sets up an amazing apocalypse storyline but answers a few questions about Angel's past. All the flashbacks are well written and beautifully directed as we see the dark moments of Angel's past. Julie Benz returns for the infamous sire scene of when Darla turned Angel to a vampire and it's a quite the powerful scene. Also, Angelus stalking a pre-vamped Drusilla is a great scene as Drusilla seeks help and Angelus continues to drive her insane. It's also touching development as we find out Angel saw Buffy before she became a slayer.

    The plot with Acathala is a brilliant one as his M.O. of opening a portal with a single breath is inventive. Also, Spike and Drusilla were great throughout with Dru being her usual pshyco self and Spiek making jokes about Acathala by calling it, "a big rock". Another great aspect is Buffy and the gang finding the spell to curse Angel again. The whole scene where they agrue about what to do has some strong characterization. I love how Buffy's obviously happy about getting the chance to get Angel back but knows that she think about the consequences of Angelus. Giles is the most confused as his hate for Angel makes him uneasy about what to do and of course, Xander is a bastard attacking everyone for even suggests to help cure Angel. It's annoying on Xander's part, but obivous that he would react that way even it what he said was harsh. Other great scenes is the return of Kendra and the scene where Angelus sends Buffy a personal message in the form of a vampire walking into her class and burning into flames. The big attack scene toward the end in the library is one of the most intense moments of the series. We see Willow get knocked out, Xander's arm get broken and Kendra struggling to save everyone. The brief fight between Kendra and Drusilla is good yet Kendra's demise is anti-climatic. It kinda of cheapens the character as Drusilla just hypnotizes her and cuts her throat.

    The best part of the episode is without a doubt the ending as Buffy runs back to the school to save her friends. It's powerful sequence as the direction slows down with Buffy running and Whistle speaks about "that moment in everyone's life". It gives a sense of dread and hopelessness as Buffy fails to save her friends and looks at a lifeless Kendra on the floor. All and All, a powerful start to this epic finale and Part 2 is truly unforgettable.moreless

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  • 10

    Buffy's world falls apart.

    By jayble, Jan 14, 2008

    Yikes. Even having watched it all so many times before it always gets me.

    I always hope that this time Jenny Calendar will make.

    I always hope that this time, Buffy won't fall for Angel's ploy.


    The scene with her running through the halls of the school, in that blue coat with the voice over, "Bottom line is even if you see 'em comin' you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does... So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are..."

    Also, the starting off with Darla telling Angel "Close your eyes." and ending with Buffy telling him the same thing.

    Good writing this show, even though I have procrastinated for days to not have to watch Becoming 1 & 2 because it is hard to see.moreless

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  • 10

    A beautiful episode.

    By tiewashere, Dec 05, 2007

    This is one of televisions finest moments. From Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz's acting to the wonderful story this episode will sure have you intrigued from the first second to the last. This is a major episode to the story arc of season two and I highly recommend you either know the story of season two before watching or don't skip it if your watching on DVD (if you do you'll be sorry).

    This episode's main focus is Angel. Seeing his life from the start up until now makes you feel sorry for what Angel has become and makes you cheer for his hearty return. Drusilla, Spike, and Angelus hatch up a plan to awaken the demon Acathla and send the world spirally into hell (literally). As this is going on Willow, Buffy, Xander, Giles, and Cordelia find Ms Calender's disk (which everyone was probably rooting to happen) and they start their death defying spell of returning Angel's soul into Angelus.

    The first thing that hit me from the opening of this episode was the speech given from Angel's watcher much like in the episode "Passion" where Angel gives his little speech throughout the episode. From that moment, I knew this would be a great one. I held on, strapped in, and was taken for a ride as the story of Buffy and Angel slowly comes to climax. The acting by Sarah and David is up there with their top performances on the show and is a sure fire Globe deserver. I loved seeing Angel's past starting from the very beginning up to this point and time. It really makes you feel sorry for Angel that all he wanted was to help Buffy since the first time he saw her back in Los Angeles. I also loved seeing Buffy from beginning (although it isn't much different from the movie, but was with Sarah). Seeing Willow get deeper into her witch side is awesome again (just wish I saw some Oz). The episode before this, "Go Fish", also helps to make this episode seem much more structured and exciting (as it goes from a monster-of-the-week to a story arc episode.) The ending is great and I won't ruin it for people that haven't seen but overall its worth the watch.moreless

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