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.