Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

Becoming Part 2

This is one of the best Buffy episodes of all time. almost every list has this episode as first or second overall.

This is a very short cold open.  Buffy is a suspect in Kendra’s Murder and arrested. Snyder accuses her so she punches a cop and runs. In a sort of strange moment the cop fires at her.

After the credits she goes to check on her friends in the hospital. She sees Xander and they hide from the police. They go into Willow’s room. Willow is unconsciousness and it  seems very serious. Cordy comes in and her and Xander hug. This is a very sweet scene and one of the warmest between them.

Angelus wants to torture Giles.He is  very creepy in these scenes. Thankfully, we see none of the actual torture but the acting from Head is so good that the audience is able to feel for him.

The same smug cop from Ted warns Joyce about Buffy and tells her to call. Buffy meets Whistler at Giles’s house.  If there are any problems  with this episode it is Whistler. He seems more effective in part one, doing the flashbacks and voice over. He tells Buffy “your all you got”

A Cop stops Buffy, and is  knocked out by Spike. Spike offers a truce where they work together to kill Angel. This is easily one of the funniest scenes in the series. Spike is so great in these episodes, as the bad guy who just wants to kill people  instead of destroying the world.

It turns out he likes this  world, because of Manchester united, Dog racing and “people walking around like Happy meals on legs”. At this point he just hates Angelus  wants Drusilla. Most shows would have a hard time coming up with a reason why to enemies would team up, but the season has done a great job building motivation for his character to hate Angelus enough to work with Buffy. Spike wants to kill the cop, but Buffy stops him

The hospital  scene is shot in an interesting way. There are many overhead shots and as Xander goes into his monolouge about how he loves Willow, it is shot in extreme closeup. Oz comes in just Willow wakes up and calls for him

Giles continues to be tortured but does not break.

Joyce finds Buffy and Spike. They claim to be in a band where Buffy drums and Spike sings, but the plan falls apart when they are attacked by a vampire. Buffy admits she is the slayer.

Buffy talks to Willow on the phone and discusses their plan. Meanwhile Joyce and Spike sit in the next room making awkward small talk. Spike reminds her that she hit him with an ax one time.

Buffy comes in and negotiates a deal with Spike. They will attack Angel in the morning and  Spike gets to help Drusilla, as long as Gile’s survives. I love Spike’s excitement that Drusilla killed a slayer. “Although not from your perspective, I suppose”

After Spike leaves she  has her big fight with Joyce. Joyce seems very unreasonable here and completely  fails to understand what Buffy is going through. Buffy gives a monologue about the dangers she faces every day. Joyce gives her an ultimatum-if you walk out don’t even think about coming back. Buffy walks out and leaves the door open.

This is a great scene and phenomenally acted by Sutherland  and Gellar. There is  is so much pain in both of their performances. This works very well as a coming out metaphor, as well. There are so many layers to this scene, and it is amazing that this isn’t even the best scene in the episode.

Willow wants to try the spell again. Xander is strongly opposed, but can’t talk her out of it. Oz seems confused, having missed several episodes.

Angelus asks again for instructions. Giles recommends Angelus preform in a tutu. Angelus wants to bring out the chainsaw but is talked down by Spike. He gets Drusilla to use her mental powers on Giles. She apears as Jenny. Giles tells Jenny everything, that Angel has to use his own blood to open it.  This is a heartbreaking scene. Only Whedon could follow this up with a comedic scene where Angelus and Spike look on as Drusilla is still kisssing Giles.

Back at the school Snyder gloats  about expelling Buffy. interesting framing from  the side

 

Whistler still living in Giles house. Buffy asks for the remaining details, and comments she has nothing left.

At morning Buffy is ready for the fight. Xander comes to help and Buffy tells him to get Giles. Xander decides not to tell her about Willow’s curse and instead says “Kick his Ass”. This is one of the most debated moments of the series, and I believe that Xander did the wrong thing.

The ceremony begins and Buffy enters by killing a vampire. Angelus acts very smug until he is attacked by Spike. Buffy fights with a random vampire as Xander gets Giles out. Drusilla attacks Spike and they fight. Angelus sees the opportunity and opens Acathla.

Buffy and Angelus then have their final battle. The choreography her is excellent. This feels raw and important to all of the characters.  THeir sword fight is very intense, as you know Acathla is already opened. Angelus backs Buffy into a corner. Meanwhile Willow begins to chant her spell to restore Angel’s soul. Spike leaves with Drusilla and Buffy is alone.

In what may be the greatest scene of the whole series, Buffy is cornered against a wall. She has lost her sword and Angelus is about to finish her. He taunts her “no friends, no hope take that all away and what do you have”. Buffy grabs the sword with her bare hands and says “ME”. This is such a greath scene because she finally embraces her ability and is ready to do what needs to be done.

Buffy forces Angelus back and is about to kill him when Willow’s spell works. In a heartbreaking scene Buffy is forced to kill Angel in order to save the world. Buffy and Angel kiss and she tells him to close his eyes as Acathla begins to suck in the world. Buffy stabs him and watches as he gets sucked into hell.

After this scene there is a great final montage to Full of Grace, that ends with Buffy’s friends confused and Buffy’s mother finding that she has left. At the end Buffy gets on a bus and leaves.

 

THis is one of the most powerful episodes of television ever made. Season 2 is a great season because over the course of the season, everything builds creating real consequences for the characters. The end of the episode is devesting as Buffy loses everything.

There are a few flaws: Whistler is very anoying in this. The cop shoots at Buffy to kill. the Hospital scene was a bit melodramatic. Other than these problems, the episode makes up for it by having a real emotional punch.

 

Scenic Route:

Durring the great final fight, Buffy and Angel are fighting to the death, in order to stop Acathla. Angelus is about to kill Buffy, yet Buffy grabs the sword with her bare hands and throws it back in his face. Her preformance is so good as she does what she has to do. THis is one of the few scenes where Buffy makes the hard decision, and she kills him.

Final score-94/100

 

 

 

 

 

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