When people ask me what my favorite season of Buffy is, I immediately think seasons 2 and 3. These seasons are hilarious, romantic, suspenseful, and unlike anything else that I've ever watched involving vampires or not. The show moves at such a fast pace, and I really wish current shows would learn from its example. Becoming Part II, at least in my mind, embodies everything that is great about this show's early seasons.
Joss Whedon never fails to make season finales epic. I hate finales that are anti-climatic, but this episode was chopped full of so much television gold that it's hard to pinpoint one quality that made it so monumental. But I'll try to point out a few.
First of all, what an epic sword fight. I don't really care for the genre of action that much, but there is no denying that the choreography and presentaion of this particular fight was amazing.
And then there's the character development. Hint hint, Willow's witchy powers are growing and she's good at it. Hint hint, Spike isn't your average evil vampire, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. These seeds are planted early so that it makes sense that they grow so much in later years.
And then there is the complete devastation and beauty that comes with sending Angel to hell. Viewers watching the show for the romantical elements could not have been disappointed by Buffy's heartbreak when shoving the sword into her lover, but those who hate the romance could still appreciate what Buffy must have felt because it wasn't a mushy scene or shoved down the viewers' throats.
Overall, this episode is just brilliant. This is what television is all about.