Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 21

Becoming, Part 1 (1)

8
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 12, 1998 on The WB
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (24)

9.5
out of 10
Average
757 votes
  • Stand by for a great finale

    10
    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

  • Becoming, Part 1

    10
    Becoming, Part 1 was another perfectly Classic episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I really enjoyed watching the flash backs into the times when Angel was turned into a vampire by Darla. These types of flash backs are awesome and really add to the characters. I also enjoy watching the deliciously mad Druscilla in action as well. This is a great second to last episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I also enjoyed the narration by Oz, or Seth Green. It was also sad to see the end of Kendra, the other Vampire Slayer. However this means that there will be a new slayer appearing at some point! I look forward to seeing what happens to wrap the second season up!!!
  • Great flashbacks! Awesome episode!

    10
    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.
  • 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.

    10
    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.
  • Buffy's world falls apart.

    10
    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.

    ::sigh::

    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.
  • A beautiful episode.

    10
    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 still...it 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.
  • to watch evil flourish

    10
    There is little reason to embrace evil. We watch it's effect, we watch the consequences and we see that being good is not always rewarding, and weasels get free play.

    This seems to show it all in a nutshell, annd there are plenty of sides to it al. There is the side of Drusilla where we see just why she is deemed dangerous. We see how demons have a few weak sides and all this is overcasted with the view of the growth of Angelus.

    The views on old-times is done pretty well, it leaves us with questions, but also with another view on Angelus/Angel.

    As we see how it goes back and forth and the view on the visionary Angelus, we also see that he is in a league of his own.
  • one slayer down, one to go...

    10
    Flashback to Angel’s history. He was sired by Darla in 1753 in Ireland. 1860 Angel torments Dru and eventually turns her in a vampire after she has gone crazy. 1898 Gypsy’s curse Angel giving him back his soul so he is tormented for eternity. 1996 a broken Angel is confronted by a man who shows Angel Buffy, the new slayer. Angel wants to help her and do some good. Present day. A tomb is found that worries Giles and it is put under secure watch. Dru has a vision about this tomb and goes to get it. When they open it the find Acathla a demon that could open up a whirlpool that would draw everything in this world into the demonic reality beyond, where all non-demon life would suffer eternal torment. He is stone now, a sword protruding from his chest where a virtuous knight impaled him. Angel wants to bring him back. Giles tells this to the gang. Kendra shows up with a sword blessed by the night that defeated him the first time. While studying Willow and Buffy find the disk to bring Angels so back. They are torn as what to do with it. Angel attempts to bring Acathla back and has no luck. He tells Buffy he wants to meet her. She goes alone, meanwhile Dru attacks the library killing Kendra and kidnapping Giles because he knows how to bring the demon back. Angel runs off and he really didn’t want to kill Buffy then. Buffy finds Kendra dead and then the police show up…
  • '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. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that.'

    10
    Ah, part I of the amazing season 2 finale ‘Becoming’

    The first part is mostly filled with flashbacks where we learn about how Angelus got made and how Angel met Buffy.

    The teaser begins with a beautifully filled flashback of Angel when he was human (Liam) meeting a mysterious noble woman who asks him if he wants to see her world, it’s Darla who turns him into a vampire.

    The flashbacks continue with more of Angelus and when he was cursed with a soul and turned into Angel and made to suffer. We also see him meeting a man, well demon named Whistler who gave him a second chance and told him to guard a girl. It was Buffy, we see her first time slaying and everything. Angel decides to take it and look after her.

    We also see a Drusilla flashback of when she was human going to a father, it was Angelus on the other side that had just killed the father and told her to give into evil because she’s the spawn of Satan for having the visions she has.

    Anyway, meanwhile there is a man who found a tomb and he thinks that it has something important buried in it. He calls Giles and tells him to wait for a while, naturally it was a dumb thing to do and Angelus and Dru come to pick it up and murder that man.

    Meanwhile they open it and it has a demon named Acathla who is going to swallow the world but first, Angelus has to open it. He does the ritual but it doesn’t work, so he plans to go back for some old friends.

    Meanwhile, Willow and Buffy found a disk of Jenny which she dropped in ‘Passion’ that has the cure. Willow knows a little bit about magic and is willing to help, but it’s different for Xander who desperately wants Angelus dead because of what he did to Jenny.

    Also Kendra is back in the mix and she brought a sword for Buffy that can stop Acathla. Buffy had a message and is going to fight Angelus, she hopes to beat him but that Willow will cure him before she has to kill him.

    But sadly, it was a trap and the scoobies get seriously damaged when Xander has his arm broken and Willow has a book case bushed onto her. Drusilla also is in for the fight and she murders Kendra with her finger nail. After Buffy finds out what really was gonna happen she runs back but is already late, Giles is taken away and Kendra is dead on the floor.

    ‘Big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that, you’ll see what I mean’

    To be continue.
  • Once again, this show triumphs!

    10
    Becoming part 1 is one of those episodes I love to watch over and over. We see just how far Angelus is willing to go. It was one thing to taunt and torment Buffy and Willow and kill Ms. Calander, but now he wants to kill everyone! It was nice to see this new attitude in Spike. And here we see a fatal flaw in Buffy that will ring true in several future episodes: Buffy thinking everything is about her. Let's face it, it was this singular flaw in Buffy that lead to Kendra's death. It is this flaw that will eventually lead to Willow's descent into darkness. And it is this flaw that will nearly allow The First to win in season 7.
  • Finally seeing Angel(us) past and the slayer gets slayed

    9.9
    I loved that we finally got to see Angel get turned and that we got to see his gypsy curse being performed. There was so much development in his character and in the family that he was making. This one had more of Drusilla too.

    It was also amazing because you could really see that Buffy was on some level ready to kill Angel. Ever since Jenny's death in "Passion" Buffy was building up to where she was here. It was great to see that she was ready for what she knew was eventually going to happen, and it was even greater because they found the reason that Jenny died. They found the spell that could cure him and bring him back and it was great to see that after Buffy finally seemed resolved to kill Angel.

    I loved the gang at lunch. Synder as always made everything greater. I loved Xander and Cordy joking around and then Synder coming and yelling at them for public displays of affection. Cordy was great when Synder walked away and she went on about him having a bug up his butt.

    I enjoyed the gangs response to Willow and Buffy finding the disc with Angel's cure on it. Xander was not gonna win any supportive friend awards for his speech there. I loved that Cordy actually backed him up.

    I enjoyed the return of Kendra as well. She was great in the library and it was so sad and scary when Dru killed her. I still cannot believe that Buffy took Angel's bait and met him like that.

    An Amazing episode.
  • "As I ascend, as I become…. everything that I am, everything that I have done has led me here" - Angel

    9.9
    Who’d be an Obscure Relics Renovator huh? That career path must have the same low life expectancy as Sunnydale High Caretaker or Magic Shop Owner. That aside, this is a humdinger of a first-parter. On one level, it’s about Angel and Dru plotting the apocalypse (“We’re going to make history….end”) versus Buffy’s desire to bring the fight to Angel, to finish him. On another it’s about killing Angel versus curing him by cursing him. And of course, it’s about destiny, how, as Whistler puts it: “….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. So what are we, helpless? No. The big moments are gonna come. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are”.

    So, Angel finally becomes the season’s big bad in his plan to unleash the demon Acathla, who will swallow the world. He outwits Buffy at every opportunity, a fact shown at the beginning of the episode where we see him stalking her whilst she slays. The scene turns to her perspective as she talks about school exams and so forth, but then straight back to Angel’s viewpoint. This is not going to be her night. She is forced to kill the vampire that she wants to send a message to Angel, whilst Angel manages to persuade a lady-vamp to be his immolate-a-gram to deliver a message which leads Buffy into yet another trap. She thinks it’s going to be the big face-off, but Angel (or is it Joss) is cleverer than that. The last time that Kendra de wompire slaya was here, Buffy walked into a big old trap set by Dru and Spike. On that occasion, she rushed off to save Angel, this time it’s to fight him. She did the same thing when Willow was kidnapped in Prophecy Girl. As Angel says: “You never learn do you? This was never about you. And you fall for it every time”. He has used his knowledge of Buffy’s weaknesses to set the snare which Buffy’s ego – believing his one desire is to fight her – falls into.

    “Not the turquoise coat!” I shouted when I saw Buffy set off in it, as if by wearing something different she could alleviate what I knew was coming. That slo-mo shot of Buffy shooting around the corner to find devastation is just wonderful. The awful approach of Queen Dru, after her drones have broken Xander’s arm, buried Willow under a bookcase and knocked out Giles, is its equal. Her blood-red dress compliments her crimson nails which she uses to slit Kendra’s throat; how ironic, since it was Spike who wanted to come to Sunnydale to bag a Slayer. And also ironic that it’s Buffy’s feeling of responsibility towards Ms Calendar and the world in general (“As long as Angel is fighting me, he can’t do the end of the world ritual”) which leads to the scene of destruction in the library. She is responsible for leaving her friends in danger. Even her taking Kendra’s stake, Mr Pointy, results in her ally being un-armed. Oh the inhumanity!

    Willow’s new teacher-confidence makes her think she can work the mojo that they find on the slipped disc, something that she and Giles are strongly in favour of and a plan that Xander, backed up by Cordy, dislikes (“you want to forget all about Ms Calendar’s murder so you can get your boyfriend back”). Personal feelings come into this – Xander hates Angel and Cordy loves Xander (and doesn’t want Angel in her car again). Giles wants to carry out Jenny’s last wish and Willow wants to prove herself by practising witchcraft. The person who should have the most emotional input into the plan – Buffy - is ambivalent. In the end, of course, the gang both kill and cure him. Rather like a pig (which is apt, since en-souled Angel drinks a lot of pig blood).

    I digress. The brilliance of this episode lies partly in the flashbacks; in them we see the four big changes in Angel’s life, all involving women and him being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. They also point toward the future Angel series in terms of showing Angel’s history and also re-introducing Darla to us. In the first flashback, we see Darla changing Angel from a bar-brawler into the vamp he is today - from Liam to Angelus, almost. The scene is highly sexualised, Angel chats up Darla by asking what a nice girl like her is doing in a place like this, in 18th century vernacular of course. Darla cuts her own bosom for Angel to drink from and the idea of her making him a man is definitely there, in an Anne Rice kinda way. The second flashback shows Angel accidentally meeting Dru as she makes her confession to the ‘priest’ about being psychic and foreseeing an accident in the mine (in London? What were they mining for, petticoats?) and we see Angel’s sense of warped playfulness with Dru that still exists today.

    The third pivotal moment is when the member of the Kaldarash clan re-ensouls him. In the odd-numbered flashbacks – when he becomes a vampire and when he regains his soul – Angel has little control over. He thought he was getting alleyway sex with Darla, not a lifetime of murder and kill. But in the even-numbered ones, he makes more of a choice. In the final flashback we see the pathetic derelict that Angel has become (and of all the bad wigs, the ‘90s one is the worst) and how, with Whistler’s help, he decides he wants to make something of his un-life: “I wanna become someone”. In the 19th century he chooses to torment Dru, in the 20th, he chooses to help Buffy. A blonde girl changed his life at one point in the 18th century, and once again in the 20th. As well as setting the scene for the concept of The Powers That Be in Angel, it is also an excellent explanation as to why Angel was in Sunnydale (although not how he gained so much confidence in so short a time or when he got the hair cut) and shows how he fell for Buffy straight away. Valley-girl era Buffy thinks she is destiny-free, but we know that is not to be and it’s adorable to see her kill her first vamp, not at all the hardened killer we see today. Joss also gets to indulge himself in showing the film-epoch Buffy The Vampire Slayer as he wanted it to be, SMG instead of Kirsty Swanson, no Donald Sutherland. Furthermore we see the Joyce/Hank conflict that led to Buffy’s parents’ separation and which also foreshadows Joyce and Buffy’s argument and their splitting up in the final episode of the series.

    Spike is under-used in this episode but this, mirroring his pretence that he is still wheelchair-bound, is a fake-out to cloak the fact that he will be pivotal in the last ep. There is a throwaway line in which Whistler says: “Not all demons are dedicated to the destruction of all life” – a neat nod to Spike’s intentions in the second part of this finale.
  • Race Against The Apocalypse

    9.8
    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.
  • The first episode where we get a real good insight into the history of Angelus.

    9.8
    I'll say this right off the bat, this is a fantastic episode. It's still not as good as pt 2 but. What I love about this episode is we get our first glimps into the history of Angelus/Angel with some fantastic flashback sequences.

    We get to see where it all begun with Darla giving birth to the vampire Angelus. We get to see how sadistic Angelus really is as we see him hunting down Drusilla and driving her crazy. Also we witness Angelus in Romania being cursed with a soul by the Kalderash clan.

    Revealed to us is how Angel ended up in Sunnydale, with a flashback showing the new character Whistler coaxing him into helping out the slayer.

    Outside the the flashbacks we see a tomb that has been unearthed containing the demon Acafla, who was turned to stone but if activated will suck the world into hell.

    Kendra the vampire slayer also returns to Sunnydale as her watches senses a dark power on the rise. Angelus leads Buffy away from the group but it's a decoy as meanwhile Drusilla and a host of other vamps attachk the scoobies in the library. Drusilla bags herself a slayer, killing Kendra. There target was Giles who they believe will be able to tell them the ritual to awaken Acafla.

    The episode ends with Buffy making her way back to the library to find Kendra dead and Xander and Willow knocked out. Just when it appears things can't get worse the cops show up thinking Buffy is to blame for all of this.

    In reflection this is a great episode. We have the flashbacks of Angelus/Angel's histor. We have the death of a slayer and the episode leaves us desperate to find out what will happen next setting up a cliffhanger season finale.

    9.8/10
  • Another great two parter

    9.8
    Seeing Angle's history was erally interesting, it helped you to build a picture of what he was like before he came to Sunnydale and before he was turned.

    Trying to raise Acathla is the current project in Drusilla and Angel's minds but Spike doesn't look too happy about it as it means that they are spending a little too much quality time together. But Spike can walk now and that means that everything has changed.

    The face off between Angel and Buffy is approaching and I can't wait for it, a decent fight scene will just cap off this brilliant season!
  • A Very Good Episode...

    9.7
    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...
  • History of Angel/Angelus

    9.7
    Favorite Quote: Angelus: There are moments in your life that make you, that set the course of who you're gonna be. Sometimes they're little, subtle moments. Sometimes... they're not. I'll show you what I mean.

    Im skipping over all of the flashbacks to when Angel first met Whistler/saw Buffy and when he was turned to a vamp, though those bits were great. Angelus and Dru have a new pet project; the demon Acathla. It seems a ritual has to be performed and the sword removed from the stone demon and then the demon will open his mouth and suck the world into hell. Sounds like fun, huh? Willow and Buffy also discover the disk in Ms Calendars classroom with the spell to restore Angels soul. Kendra comes to assist Buffy with stopping Angelus. Unfortunately, Angelus has plans of his own. He distracts Buffy while Dru and her henchmen attack the library. Dru kills Kendra and injures everyone except Cordy, who ran away and Giles whom they took with them. Seems they needed Giles all along to help with the ritual for Acathla. Poor Buffy, at the end of this ep she is discovered over Kendras body by the police.
  • Becoming, Part 1 (1)

    9.5
    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.
  • Buffy decides its time to stop Angelus for good (finally!) when he plans on sucking the world into Hell with the help of a new demon.

    9.4
    There is so much about this episode, despite being a 'set up' episode that is so good. It starts a little slow with Angelus just stalking again, but from the time that Kendra shows up until the slow motion run of Buffy down that school hallway, knowing that something horrible has happened, its just non-stop.

    The highlights: Angelus vs. Spike in the snark contest, the confrontation with our gang concerning Angel's resouling (especially the Xander/Buffy/Giles argument):

    Giles: Curing Angel seems to have been Jenny's last wish.
    Xander: Yeah? Well, Jenny's dead.
    Giles:(approaches Xander angrily) Don't you *ever* speak of her in that tone again!
    Xander: yells back) Can't you hear what I'm saying?
    Buffy: Stop it! Stop it!
    They all shut up and glare at each other for a moment. Buffy turns away and goes over to Willow, very upset. Giles paces away, also very upset.
    Willow: quietly) What do you wanna do?
    Buffy: (sighs)I don't know. What happened to Angel wasn't
    his fault.
    Xander: Yeah, but what happened to Ms. Calendar is.
    Buffy and Willow stare at him in disbelief.
    Xander: (angry) 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.


    The attack on the library while Angelus is keeping Buffy occupied is also exciting and disturbing. Special mention should go to the wonderful music during this ending segment.
  • Slayer Got Slayed

    9.3
    Apocalypses have always been center stage of every Buffy season finale. What would a season ender be without the world at risk from some kind of apocalyptic chaos? In Becoming Part One, we are introduced to Acathla, or, as Spike calls him, "a big rock", a powerful demon cast in stone whose mouth opens a gateway to hell. The apocalyptic themes of this episode are raised a lot higher than any other finale, with a ton of memorable "end of the world" lines, including Angelus' awesome "we're about to make history... end".

    This episode also featured the first use of flashbacks, with us being shown Angel's siring and Buffy being told of her destiny. All the flashbacks are excellently done, with Angel's siring being both dramatic and overtly sexual, whilst Buffy's first slaying is hilarious, in particular the 90210-style big yellow jacket she wears whilst on patrol.

    One character I was pretty much indifferent to in Part One was Xander, since he turns into a complete jerk wherever Angel is concerned. He attacks Buffy for getting everybody to completely forget about Jenny's death in order to support getting Angel back, and I have to disagree with his actions. Yes, Angelus killed Jenny, but that isn't Angel. Whilst everybody else (even Giles) can see that both sides of Angel are two different people, Xander completely disregards that fact, possibly because of his attraction to Buffy, which seemingly never goes away.

    Probably the most memorable scene in this episode is the massive assault on the Scoobies in the final act. Whilst the scene is emotionally painful and exciting, in retrospect, I couldn't help but feel let down, mainly due to Kendra's death. Kendra is a slayer, but her death doesn't feel in any way special or memorable, especially since all Drusilla did was hypnotize her for a couple of seconds and slash her throat with her fingernail. Maybe such a lame death was written in to show how weak and inexperienced Kendra was compared to Buffy, but, since Buffy's head-strong, almost selfish, attitude led to the attack on the library, I guess it shows that both Slayers sometimes fail to save the day in times of crisis.

    Whilst undeniably powerful and featuring some of season two's best writing, there are too many little problems which stop the episode from being a complete masterpiece. Part Two on the other hand...

    Director: Joss Whedon
    Writer: Joss Whedon
    Rating: A-
  • Season 2, Episode 21.

    9.0
    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. :)
  • The pieces come together as things with Buffy fall apart.

    9.0
    As the season revs up for the climactic showdown between Angelus and Buffy, this two parter escalates everything. The major themes of this season are brought back to the forefront as everything Buffy knows and loves falls apart. Her desire for a normal life, the distance between her "real" life and her calling, her obsession with destroying Angelus and the consequences of such actions collide throughout the episode. Any problems with subpar filler like "Killed By Death" and "Go Fish" are distant memories by the time this episode's over.

    The episode primarily focuses on how Angel's reacted to several major moments in his life: his siring, the restoration of his soul and his first glimpse of Buffy. In the present, Buffy deals with major events in her life while Angelus prepares to unleash hell by allowing Acathla to suck the world into hell. The flashbacks pull double duty: showing how Angel became a vampire and later how his lost soul found its calling fighting evil. While the character backgrounds aren't always episodically consistent (particularly the first time Angel sees Buffy), this episode's information is undisputed canon.

    After his soul was first restored, Angelus spent the better part of a century moping about his evil deeds while feeding upon rats in the gutter, the vampire equivalent of rock bottom. It seems unlikely that the powers that decided Angel should fight on the side of good would have him suffer for that long, but perhaps they felt it would prepare him to accept his responsibility. Whether they planned that never has been confirmed.

    Angel's backstory illuminates details on two major female players. Drusilla's human counterpart is a shocking contrast to the aloof killer she'll become. The only thing these women had in common was precognition, albeit Drusilla's is fractured considering her mental state. The incident in the church illuminates the history that has been alluded to in the past. As seen since "Innocence", Angelus has gotten a kick out of torturing Buffy in her fragile emotional state, so it's fitting he'd do the same thing when the human Drusilla begged forgiveness. If only they had time for more in this episode.

    Buffy, before she was chosen, wasn't much different than Cordelia. Concerned with popularity, boys and not much else, she was rather shallow. Unfortunately, she had a troubled home life as she had to listen to her parents fighting. Ultimately, Whistler or the Powers picked her to help Angel find his way because she would be an outsider whose life was altered dramatically by a moment just like him.

    Now this part has been subject of some controversy, as Angel's behavior in the first episode hinted that this was the first time he'd seen her. I disagree with that assessment, believing that Angel merely behaved that way so as not to make her think he was stalking her. While that may be scoffed at because of Angel's lack of social skills, it doesn't explain why he's drawn to her besides her being the pretty new girl unless he'd been following her for some time.

    It was nice to see Darla return for this episode. Besides being very attractive, Darla's importance in Angel's story is invaluable, as seen eventually on "Angel". Although she doesn't appear outside of the prologue, this brief appearance provides foundation to the Angelus story that would be developed in future seasons and his show, as well as calling back to the early days of "Buffy".

    Whistler's appearance is the first instance of a benevolent demon in this universe. Considering where "Buffy" and "Angel" went as their series evolved, it's hard to believe that it took them this long to introduce this concept. Even a few would be credited among the main cast for both shows. Unfortunately, he was unavailable when time came to shoot the pilot for "Angel", so his role was tweaked into the character Doyle, who garnered his own following

    Whistler's role in this episode explains Angel's motivation and storyline, which would be further explored on his show. A benevolent demon, sent by powers far greater than him, tells Angel that he's meant to fight on the good side for a larger purpose. To establish this more than a season before is rather impressive. He also serves to reinforce the episode's central theme: humans can't control the big events in their lives, but they can choose how they react to it. With his soul, he can fight the evil that has plagued his conscience for a century.

    One thing worth noting, as the DVD version is what's reviewed, is that the original monologue that opened the episode was done by David Boreanaz. Subsequent airings use Max Perlich, who played Whistler. After some brief research, I couldn't find any explicit reason why they switched voices for future airings, but perhaps after "Angel" they felt the idea of destiny would've been better said by the person literally directed by fate to set on of the characters on their way.

    Acathla, much like The Judge earlier in the season, serves more to motivate the plot than as the motivation of the characters. It gives a high stakes apocalypse scenario that is fitting for the end of the season. Although they don't need another reason to defeat Angelus (either by restoring his soul or killing him), plotting to destroy the world makes it an event. Also it was amusing to see Jack McGee, who I'm more familiar with for his work on "Rescue Me", as the archeologist Drusilla kills.

    Buffy and Xander stand on opposite sides regarding the restoration spell, both motivated by their feelings. Xander's anger and desire to see Angelus dead is the proper follow up to his speech in "Passion". It goes so far as to even provoke Giles to fight, had no one been around to stop him. Buffy wants to see Angel restored because he isn't the guilty party. Xander has been bitterly jealous of what Angel's been able to have with Buffy and Buffy still loves Angel, even if the being "wearing his face" is a remorseless killer.

    Willow's curiosity in the magic left on Jenny's computer explodes when Buffy stumbles on the back up disk Willow knocked between the desk and file cabinet in "Passion". Considering Willow's ambition, it would make sense that she would accept the challenge of trying the restoration spell herself, even if it is years beyond her experience in magic. This is something Giles recognizes, but doesn't forbid. Instead this concern serves as foreshadowing of events that won't happen for several seasons. It was nice to see Kendra return. Her appearance reinforces the theme of how much detachment from others is necessary for slaying. It would've been nice to see more about what she did during her absence and it's unfortunate that she was killed off rather quickly, but ultimately where they were going would more than make up for this.

    Buffy's determination to get Angelus for what he did makes things even worse. Playing on Buffy's emotions, Angelus gets her to leave her group of friends for a fight, making them easy targets even with another slayer among them. Following Jenny's death, she swore it wouldn't happen again. Now Kendra's dead and everyone besides Cordelia's incapacitated. This cataclysmic series of events is another turning point for Buffy this season. She has been wondering how much distance she needs with other people, and considering what happened to those close to her because of her emotional investment, it'll be hard to reconcile keeping anyone close.

    Despite the dark material, there are some in-jokes for fans. Giles turns out to be one of those "New Agers" who used an Orb of Thesulah as a paperweight (which seems a bit hard considering its shape). Another instance is newly chosen Buffy having difficulty locating the heart when fighting her first vampire. For all the fights with vamps she has, I'm surprised even a seasoned vet has the accuracy she has. Has she ever missed the heart when she's gotten a stake in a vampire?

    It's hard to review part one of a two parter like this since it is really only half the story. Regardless, this episode is a fine set up for the conclusion. This is all about how our reactions to the major events in our lives determine who we become. Buffy's friends are decimated following Drusilla's sneak attack. Her support systems are gone and now she is facing the law. How will she react to all this?
  • really good two parter

    8.2
    this was one of the shows that really tells viewers what led angel down the roads he has travelled. i really enjoyed it. the flashbacks were the best the way they travelled back and showed how angel became a vampire and how he was cursed and wandered the earth in misery.
  • omg...i've most definatly seen much better.

    4.9
    omg...i've most definatly seen much better as many people i'm sure have agreed to that...it was stupid and i'm not sure what the actors felt about wasting their time even filming this episode but i'm sure they probably did have fun doing it. thx for letting us have something tho.
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