Buffy touches Angel's face

About:

Title: Buffy S2.E21 “Becoming, Part I” + Buffy S2.E22 “Becoming, Part II”
Released: 1998

Drinks Taken: 24
Vamps Dusted: 6

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, Kandis helped ratchet down the Angelus tension a bit with “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “Go Fish.” This week it ratchets back up in a big way! Can you believe we’ve reached the end of Season 2?

Let’s drink to all the fun new cast members we met in this, the series’ fantastic sophomore season: Spike, Dru, Jonathan, OZ (!!!!) and a far more interesting version of Angel than we’re accustomed to:

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Two Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Cordelia says something cutting but true
Buffy and Angel share a romantic moment
Principal Snyder hates on students
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Drusilla says something nutty
Spike has mad swagger

Drink twice every time:

We see the entrance to Sunnydale High
We see a scene from the credits
Giles cleans his glasses
Jonathan appears in a scene
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house

Let’s close this season out with a bang!

Buffy running in the iconic leather teal coat

2.21 “Becoming, Part 1”

We open with an unfamiliar voiceover talking about fate or what have you. We get a title card that tells us we’re in Galway in 1753. We meet a human and very irresponsible Angel, and listen, a lot of these next two episodes are very dark, so go ahead and allow yourself to laugh at David Boreanaz’s heinous Irish accent and even worse wig, because there aren’t many laughs ahead.

Angel back when he was human and Irish

What we have here is something of a flashback episode! Scattered throughout this episode, we see important scenes in Angel’s life: Darla turning him into a vampire in Ireland, Angel stalking a very demure human Dru in 1860 London, Angel being not-gypsy-cursed in the Romanian woods in 1898, and then being all mopey and rat-eating in 1996 Manhattan. That’s where we meet the source of our voiceover: Whistler! He’s, as Buffy guesses with very amusing accuracy later, “some immortal demon sent down to even the score between good and evil,” and it turns out The Powers That Be think a besouled Angel just dicking around, eating rats and doing nothing for a full-ass century, counts as evil. This, by the way, is Whistler. I like his hat.

Angel's friend Whistler in a hat

Whistler tries to show Angel there’s a better way, a vampire slaying way, and he takes Angel to see 1996 Los Angeles Buffy, who is my dang IDOL, may I say, I love her look so bad. She seems so fun! Even up to and including her very first vampire slayage.

Younger Buffy, with a lollipop, saying goodbye to her friends
Buffy, to various friends: “Call me! Call me! Call me!”

Also notable: aww, it’s the first time Angel stalks Buffy! The first of MANY. Because after Angel watches Buffy for five seconds, he decides he’d do anything to help her “stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness.” Cut to today, where he’s still stalking her, but his motivations are a little murkier. 

Those motivations include this giant block of stone that just arrived at the Sunnydale museum, and Dru has one of her vision things and realizes that block contains the demon Acathla, who, if freed from the stone by a worthy so-and-so, will suck the world into hell. Angel and Dru are obviously VERY interested in this whole hell-sucking thing; Spike seems less into it.

Poor Buffy’s got more than just Angel and the mouth of hell to worry about – it’s finals time! Willow’s helping her study, and Will is so cute and firm that Buffy WILL pass her finals, it gives me feels. While they’re studying in the computer lab, Buffy drops her pencil and finds the floppy disk Ms. Calendar used to save Angel’s soul-retrieving spell. She and Willow quickly figure out what it means, and after a little research, Willow thinks she can conduct the spell. It helps that Giles has an Orb of Thesulah he’s been using as a paperweight! Xander BALKS at the idea of restoring Angel’s soul, and he’s such a jerk about it to everyone, even saying to Buffy, “The way I see it, you want to forget all about Ms. Calendar so you can get your boyfriend back.” Eat shit, Xander! Giles points out that THIS IS WHAT MS. CALENDAR WANTED, but the way I see it, Xander wants to forget all about Ms. Calendar so he can get his single crush-object back.

While they’re all arguing about that, Kendra shows up! Her Watcher got the scoop about Acathla so Kendra’s here to help, and it’s really cute and also deeply sad to see her and Buffy being such good buds, considering what’s about to happen. Angel sends a vampire to summon Buffy in the middle of class, and the vampire bursts into flames in front of everyone and… we never hear about that again? How did they cover up THAT one? Buffy goes to fight Angel while Kendra stays behind to protect the Scoobs in the library (first giving Buffy her lucky stake, which she calls Mr. Pointy, oh MAN I love Mr. Pointy), but of course it’s another damn trap. Angel’s minions kidnap Giles so he can torture our favorite librarian into giving up how to free Acathla, and the rest of this scene goes very badly: Xander’s knocked unconscious (well, that part’s fine with me), Cordy runs, Willow bonks her head so bad she ends up in a short-term coma, and, GAH, Dru murders Kendra. It really sucks!

Buffy returns to the library in time to see the carnage, and she’s bent over Kendra’s body when the police show up and tell her to freeze. TO BE CONTINUED! 

How many times do I have to take a drink?

13

Vamps Dusted

3

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

Angelus is exasperated
Angelus: “And you fall for it every single time!”

Every single time, with the damn trap!

Cameo

A man with a very bushy mustache

Buffy’s LA watcher is played, not by Donald Sutherland (as in the movie), but by Office Space‘s Richard Riehle. (He has 398 other credits! But I’ll always think of him as the “jump to conclusions mat” guy.)

Willow sitting in a hospital bed surrounded by candles

2.22 “Becoming, Part 2”

We open exactly where we left off, with Buffy and the cops in a stand-off over poor Kendra’s body. Principal Snyder shows up and makes it much worse, as he tends to do, and these episodes make it even more clear that he’s not just a crummy principal, he’s a sinister dude with ties to the mysterious Mayor (more on that cool guy next season!). Buffy uses violence to get away from the cops, which doesn’t make her look the most innocent, but she doesn’t really have time to tangle with Sunnydale’s finest just now. She goes incognito to the hospital and Xander gives her the scoop: Giles is missing, Willow’s in a coma, he has a broken arm, and Cordelia is so sweet and sorry about running away, though Buffy assures her she did the right thing. 

Meanwhile, we cut to Giles being tortured in Angel’s lair, and it’s painful to watch, especially when Dru hypnotizes him into thinking she’s Jenny to get the info on freeing Acathla. Whistler arrives to be of some sorta use to Buffy, telling her in his very roundabout way that if Angel opens the portal to hell, the only way to close it is by killing him. Turns out, Whistler’s not nearly as useful as Spike, who skips the enigmatic fate-speech and instead just tells her that Angel and Dru are trying to end the world, and he LIKES the world, so he wants to work with Buffy to stop Angel. Basically, he’ll deliver up Angel and Giles, and Buffy has to let Dru and Spike go free. Buffy VERY reluctantly accepts this deal, but it really does turn out to be super helpful. 

Less helpful: the fact that a lot of this negotiating goes down in front of Joyce, who also sees Buffy slay a vampire, and she’s so stunned and confused and keeps talking to her like the intolerant parent of a gay teen, asking if Buffy’s tried NOT to be a vampire, etc etc. Buffy does her best to be patient but finally blows up at Joyce, who does not handle the outburst well, and Buffy storms out while Joyce tells her not to come back. Oof! It’s not the worst thing that happens in this episode, but it’s pretty brutal.

Also not the worst thing that happens in this episode, but adding to Buffy’s troubles: she goes back to the library to get a sword to stop Angel, and she runs into Snyder, who expels her. Ask Buffy exactly how much she cares?

Buffy looks at a sword and vaguely threatens Snyder
Buffy: “You never, ever got a single date in high school, did you?”
Snyder: “Your point being?”

Back at the hospital, Xander’s giving an impassioned speech over an unconscious Willow, telling her that he loves her, and Willow makes my whole entire week by murmuring, “Oz?” Yes! Oz shows up and is so cute and great, and while this whole love rhombus goes sideways next season, for now, I’ll just enjoy Xander being rejected by the girl he spent years rejecting. Especially because he’s even more of a jerk here in a minute: Willow decides, now that she’s awake, that she wants to try the spell again, and she’s super determined no matter how much anyone tries to dissuade her. She tells Xander to let Buffy know she’s working on it, and Xander instead tells Buffy that Willow just said to “kick [Angel’s] ass,” meaning Buffy goes into this fight with Angel having no idea that Willow is working to restore his soul. I HATE XANDER SO MUCH IN THESE EPISODES. 

Buffy arrives at the lair right as Angel has figured out how to open the portal. They start fighting, and Spike joins in, beating the hell out of Angel while Buffy takes care of his minions. Dru is super displeased and starts fighting Spike, but he lovingly knocks her out and returns to the fray. Meanwhile, Willow’s getting all magic-voiced and intense in the hospital, and soon the rest of the vampires are dead, Spike has carried Drusilla out of the lair, and that leaves only Buffy and Angel ensconced in a fully rad fight scene. He seems to have the upper hand, but that’s forgetting that Buffy Anne Summers is the toughest and baddest slayer in centuries, and she’s very close to killing him when Willow’s spell works, Angel’s eyes fly open, and he’s clearly her besouled boyfriend again.

But, of course, it’s too late – the portal is already open, and the only way to close it is with Angel’s death. Poor Buffy kisses him goodbye and has to kill him to save the world, because being The Slayer is a truly rotten job. It’s pretty heartbreaking, and as ever, SMG blows us away with her performance. 

Later, we see Joyce reading a goodbye note from Buffy on her bed and breaking into sobs, while the rest of the Scoobs are at school, wondering if Buffy’s okay and what happened with Angel. Buffy watches from afar for a bit and then sadly rides a bus out of town. 

And that, my friends, is the end of Season 2 🙁

How many times do I have to take a drink?

11

Vamps Dusted

3

The Beginning of a Beautiful (?) Friendship (??)

Spike and Buffy reluctantly team up
Buffy: “Let’s get inside.” *Spike nods*

Poor Joyce

Joyce is shocked as Buffy admits she's a vampire slayer
Buffy: “Mom…I’m a vampire slayer.”

Joyce + Spike 4Ever

I legit live for scenes between these two. One day I’ll write a fan fiction spinoff for them.

Best Grrrl Power Moment

Angelus taunts Buffy
Angelus: “That’s everything, huh? No weapons, no friends, no hope.”
Buffy grabs the sword in her bare hands, and smashes the pommel into Angelus' face
Angelus: “Take all that away, and what’s left?” Buffy: “Me.”

And that’s it for the second season! What are your favorite S2 episodes? Mine are “Halloween” and “Innocence,” but really I dig this whole season, even the dumber episodes like “Go Fish.”

Meet Stephanie here next Wednesday morning as she takes us into S3 with “Anne” and “Dead Man’s Party”!

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.