Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S02E22 – Becoming, Part Two

In the twenty-second (and final) episode of the second season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I will need to be held until the end of time. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

The point at which I realized that the finale I was about to watch would be utterly horrifying occurs during the cold open of “Becoming, Part Two.” It’s a moment that is so unexpected and brutal that it’s a clear sign that all bets are off, that Whedon is ready to deliver a story that is going to go far beyond our expectations for a season finale.

Buffy punches a cop in the face.

I shrieked. I just yelled at the episode over and over again. In my head, this episode was going to show how Buffy has to deal with the police, similar to what happened in “Ted,” but in much more detail. And then she PUNCHES A FUCKING COP AND ESCAPES. My face? Take Principal Snyder’s look of pure shock and that’s what mine was doing. Buffy Summers was now a fugitive. HOLY FUCK.

If I can be honest with you, my dear Buffy fandom friends, if this was the final episode of Buffy ever, the series finale, and if there was never going to be another episode of this show after this, I would be satisfied. This is despite that things are left unanswered, that many story threads are not only left open but RENDERED CHAOTIC, and that we are given one of the most bleak stories I have seen on television.

I am just so satisfied.

I didn’t necessarily believe that this finale would be like “Prophecy Girl.” Most of season two pushed the boundaries of what Buffy could be about, and what Whedon could do to his characters. But I admit that I expected “Becoming, Part Two” to give a sense of closure to a lot of the story arcs that had been stretched over the last twenty-one episodes. This is, of course, before I watched a second of this season finale. That cold open pretty much crushed my dream of a neat and feel-good story being delivered my way.

I’m trying to learn. I swear.

The decision to follow up Buffy’s escape with a reunion between her and the rest of the Scooby gang is that sign I needed that this episode wasn’t going to be an easy thing to watch. Xander has a broken hand. Willow is in a coma. Cordelia is awash with guilt over running away from the library during the attack. And Giles is missing; we discover that Angelus is preparing him for a bout of torture in order to get the information he needs to wake up Acathla.

But the true horror here is how Buffy’s life has spiraled so terribly out of control that her shaky alibis are not going to work on her mother. I thought that perhaps Buffy might be able to come up with some sort of reason to protect her identity, but how on earth was she going to explain punching a cop in the face? Even worse, when the cop from “Ted” brings up Buffy’s “violent past,” then I  wanted to punch him in the face. My god, there are few things I despise more on the planet than authority figures trying to paint disingenuous stories of people they want to scapegoat and blame. Yet I couldn’t ignore two complications to this idea: Buffy did punch a cop, and Buffy did have a past of violence. How on earth was she going to justify herself this time while also keeping her identity as a secret? IT’S TOO MUCH. MY HEART HURTS JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

I’m not the biggest fan of Whistler, and aside from one moment he has, I think his character was best suited to frame the narration of “Becoming, Part One.” He is truly unnecessary to the story and to Buffy in this episode, speaking in bizarre, ambiguous code about himself, Angel, Angelus, and Buffy’s role in this whole affair. I was kind of glad that she blew him off because he wasn’t making any sense at all. JUST TELL HER WHAT TO DO AND STOP ACTING ALL ~*MYSTERIOUS*~.

And then she runs into Spike at the same moment that a police officer recognizes her and I start to think, “Oh, great, this is just great, can this girl please get a break, why can’t she – HOLY FUCKING GOD, WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? WHAT? WHAT WAS THAT? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?! HE WANTS TO FORM AN ALLIANCE WITH BUFFY? SO HELP ME WHEDON, THIS IS SO GODDAMN AMAZING. It’s just such a fascinating and game-changing twist: Spike is sick of Angelus. Spike doesn’t want to actually end the world. And Spike wants Drusilla back. So he’s willing to put aside a burning hatred for Buffy Summers, his number one threat as a vampire, in order to get ride of Angelus.


Even typing this sentence right now is giving goosebumps because it’s now time to talk about the one moment I thought I would have to wait years to get to. I admit that for a brief moment of time, as Buffy and Spike tried to come up with some awful cover story about being in a band, I was irritated. These lies that Buffy was coming up with just didn’t make any sense anymore, and I worried that Joyce would start to believe that her daughter was maliciously lying to her. How long could this show keep up the charade?

Turns out it was about thirty seconds. I sat in complete and utter shock as Buffy slays a vampire in front of her mother. I started laughing out of pure disbelief. I had no other way to react to this. Buffy just told her mother that she’s a vampire slayer. IN THE SECOND SEASON. I wanted this moment since the introduction of Joyce Summers, and I got it. That’s when Joss Whedon teaches me that I should never, ever desire anything ever from him, because he will promptly destroy it.

At this point, the story sort of bounces around between three main plots: Giles being tortured, Xander, Oz, and Willow at the hospital, and Buffy’s ongoing crisis of identity and fate. It’s never confusing at all, and I really enjoy how Whedon constructs the cutaways to give us this sense of growing chaos and complication. We have Xander declaring to Willow that he loves her. At possibly the most inconvenient time imaginable? I mean seriously. I thought it was a tad cheesy that this was the one thing that would wake her up, but then Whedon reminds me of his own taste for Misery when Willow asks for Oz first. WELL. This is going to make for an awkward season three, isn’t it? And I am just beginning to seriously like Cordelia and Xander as a couple! WHY MUST ALL THINGS BE RUINED? Oh god, and now Willow wants to try to curse Angel again? SO MANY THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT ONCE.

I suppose they’re not ruined yet. You know what is ruined? GILES. Angelus torturing Giles is bad enough, but when Spike intervenes in order to keep the man alive for Buffy, “Becoming, Part Two,” takes my heart, crushes it into sand, and then feeds me that sand, and then throws me under a bus that Joss Whedon is driving with glee on his face. We see Drusilla’s full power of mind reading at work against Giles as she tries to determine what his real weakness is, and when “Jenny” appears, I was pretty much ready to start sobbing endlessly. It’s a fucked up dynamic for the obvious reasons, but also because it shows that while Spike wants his alliance with Buffy to work for him and Drusilla, that doesn’t mean he is going to be friends with her or Giles. Truthfully, though, the scene feels like Whedon is just dumping salt in the wound. It’s no surprise that I think Jenny was one of the best-written characters on the show, and now I have to be reminded of that, of the chemistry that she had with Giles, and of the fact that I will never see her again?

You are a cruel man, Joss Whedon.

Though I suppose this whole episode is an exercise in cruelty. As I said before, I’d been eagerly awaiting the day when Buffy could talk to her mother openly about being the Slayer. Now, that day has arrived, and it’s FUCKING MISERABLE. Seriously, what the fuck did I expect? That her mother would joyously join her in killing demons and paranormal creatures? What an unrealistic fool I am. Joyce’s reaction here is entirely believable from the first moment she knows until the crushing ending. She doesn’t accept it. She doesn’t understand it. It’s not the answer to end all answers that Buffy (and myself) thought it would be. If anything, Joyce has more questions than ever, and now her daughter is running off to do something dangerous and violent again, refusing to talk to her. You may think that Joyce was being overly strict with Buffy by demanding her to stay, but what else was she going to do? Her daughter doesn’t talk to her. She just dropped the neutron bomb of reveals and now she’s just leaving?

Oh, Joyce. My heart breaks for you.

It eventually breaks for pretty much everyone, though, as the episode finally heads to its shocking endgame. Buffy consults the Whistler to learn how to stop Acathla: she must kill Angelus and use his blood to close the portal to hell. Of course, he makes some ambiguous reference to her having one last thing to lose in this battle and I hate him so desperately because COULD YOU JUST FUCKING TELL HER THAT INSTEAD OF MUTTERING IT AFTER SHE LEAVES? But it’s child’s play when you compare it to the actions of Xander, who has the most morally conflicting action in the entirety of “Becoming, Part Two.”

He doesn’t tell Buffy that Willow is trying to curse Angel again, instead egging her on to kill him. As soon as he said it, I screamed WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING????? at the television set. Because XANDER WHAT ARE YOU DOING? With some time to reflect on his choice, I feel less certain that it’s easy to determine whether he was right or wrong in his actions. Obviously, on its face, it’s a horrific lie, one that Buffy will suffer for greatly, so I do think there’s a whole lot to be argued for this position. But at the same time, Buffy has had the chance to kill Angelus before, and she didn’t. I don’t believe that Angelus is Buffy’s responsibility by any means. Yet she is truly the only person who could defeat him, and I think Xander didn’t want to derail the possibility that she might actually do it. Angelus murdered their friend and other people. He tortured Giles. He’s ruined lives, and now he is opening a door that’ll suck all of existence to Hell. Yeah, I don’t feel bad saying that killing Angel is pretty much excused in my own moral book if that’s what it will take to stop the world from going to hell.

I ultimately don’t want to make a judgment either way until I see what comes of this. My gut tells me that Buffy was wronged by Xander’s lie, and my brain tells me that he may have made the right choice. And then I think that perhaps there really isn’t a “right” or “wrong” in this situation anyway. And then I think about what happens next and I just want to curl up into a ball forever.

The final battle scene of “Becoming, Part Two” is organized chaos. It’s beautiful. It’s frightening. It’s brutal. It’s as if Whedon somehow acquired a doubled budget just for this episode, as the camera angles and production quality all seem leap years ahead of all of season two. You can see the emotion on Buffy’s face as she comes to terms with the fact that she has to kill Angelus once and for all, and then realizes that she’s losing, especially when Angelus removes the sword from Acathla. Even Spike truly believes that Buffy’s about to be killed, but he chooses to leave with Drusilla rather than stop it.

In the end, the Whistler’s ramblings prove to be true: Buffy really only has herself, and this season’s giant thematic arc is given to us. We have always been leading to this point, of Buffy being alone. When Willow succeeds at giving Angel back his soul, it’s at the worst possible time: Acathla has opened his mouth, and the vortex to hell has been opened. It is one of the most damning plot twists I’ve experienced, a moment of pure ironic terror. Buffy gets Angel back at the exact moment she must murder him. Sarah Michelle Gellar gives the best performance of the entire show as a young woman who must forever sacrifice someone she loves.

But I think what shocked me most was how in that instant, David Boreanaz is able to show me what Angel used to be. I have not forgiven him for what Angelus did, but I felt sorry for him. Sympathy can be a powerful thing, and now I know that there is at least a method for bringing about forgiveness. I said before that this would be the number one thing that I’d have a problem with because the writers crossed such a specific line with his character.

Still, that’s for another day. I don’t even think I could come up with a theory about how Angel is going to come back, so let’s not go there until tomorrow. For now, let’s just appreciate (and sob over) the end of “Becoming, Part Two.” Buffy leaves town. She leaves her friends, her mother, and her school behind. She has become exactly what she wanted to be long ago: a loner. She was always concerned about bringing people into her world, and now she’s going to pursue exactly what she thinks is best for her.


Tomorrow, I’ll post my predictions for season three, as well as neat feature I’d like to start doing at the end of each season, and we’ll start season three on Wednesday. In the meantime, I am going to ask that y’all provide some comfort to me in the form of cuteness in the comments. Because this shit has fucked me up.

Fucking Joss Whedon, I swear.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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679 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S02E22 – Becoming, Part Two

  1. MrsGillianO says:

    When it comes to Whedon, Mark, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR AS YOU MIGHT GET IT is only the start. He will twist the Thing You want till it is exquisitely painful and set it to music you will never be able to hear again without sobbing.

    And in the middle? He will make you laugh so hard. "Happy Meals on legs", "in a tutu", "Resolve Face".

    The laughter makes the hurt so much hurtier. That's why he does it.

    Roll on next Season. Not Prepared.

  2. Raenef_the_5th says:

    I can't even think of a season finale in any show that punched all the characters in the gut quite like this.


    Edit: And raise your hand if you watched this on the original airing and nothing was ever the same for you ever again.

  3. echinodermata says:

    Whistler's a pretty pointless character so far. I mean from a writing standpoint. There are better ways to give exposition and tell a character what to do or motivate them or whatever he was doing.

    Yay Spike and Buffy team up! One trope I've found I really love is when villains team up with the heroes because it suits their purposes – not because they want to do good or anything (normally the opposite), but because they find they have a common enemy and/or that it simply happens to be that their general goals match.

    Joyce finds out! Finally!
    "Joyce: Have we met?
    Spike: Um… you hit me with an ax one time. Remember? Uh, 'get the hell away from my daughter.'"

    Love it.

    I doubt if there's meant to be a whole commentary behind the veil of Joyce reacting incredulously to Buffy being the Slayer and saying things that reference how some parents react to their child being gay/bi/etc., but I'd be down with "the Slayer" being a metaphor for queerness. Mostly cause Buffy's a fantastic hero and the idea of her being a queer figure makes me feel happy. Even if that's not really the intention of the writers.

    Oh, Joyce. I suppose I understand her desire to want Buffy to…not be the Slayer, basically, and I don't even blame her for reacting the way she does, but I'd love for Joyce to be a positive, supportive figure for Buffy in all aspects, so I hate that she's not.

    "In order to be worthy you must perform the ritual in a tutu."
    Oh Giles <3

    I hate that Xander doesn't tell Buffy that Willow's attempting the spell. I think it's really petty and selfish of him to do that and it's sucky he both lies to Buffy and goes behind Willow's back like that. And even if he were motived by thinking of how best to equip Buffy for her fight, I'd frankly argue it's a bad move from a pure strategy perspective for Buffy to not know. She's so shocked when Angel comes back – I think it's fortunate and to Buffy's favor that once she's past her shock there's not much hesitation in her killing the man she loves once she realizes the portal is open. And if she can kill him without much pause when she wasn't expecting to get Angel back, I think her knowing in advance they were attempting the spell would only be good for her so she can emotionally prepare for that possibility. Ultimately this is all speculation on whether she'd have been better off knowing or not knowing in advance, and it's of course a fictional story so one can make the outcome in either scenario go either way, but I really think strategy-wise, it didn't help for her not to know and I think it actually could have been a really bad move for Buffy to not know because we saw how shocked she was – if she couldn't have killed him because she wasn't prepared for the possibility of having to kill Angel that would have screwed everything up.

    What we do know is that Buffy was in fact able to set aside her feelings for Angel and kill him, even when he had his soul back. So go Buffy! She's stronger than a lot of people give her credit for. (And if Xander's decision was based on strategy, then she's stronger than Xander gives her credit for.)

    Oh Buffy. Oh Buffy. Come back!

  4. stephanie says:

    no words.
    those already spoken.
    SO not prepared, Mark.
    soooo not prepared.
    even with the tears that come,

  5. todd says:

    Don't know if this has been posted yet, but here's a spot of levity:

    Natry: "V urycrq fnir gur jbeyq, lbh xabj."
    Fcvxr: "Yvxr V unira'g."
    Natry: "Lrnu, ohg V'ir qbar vg n ybg zber."
    Fcvxr: "Bu, cyrnfr."
    Natry: "V pybfrq gur Uryyzbhgu."
    Fcvxr: "V'ir qbar gung."
    Natry: "Lrnu, lbh jber n arpxynpr." guvaxf sbe n zbzrag "…lbh xabj, V urycrq xvyy gur Znlbe, naq, hu, Wnfzvar -"
    Fcvxr: "Qb gubfr ernyyl pbhag nf fnivat gur jbeyq?"
    Natry: cnhfrf "…V fgbccrq Npnguyn. Gung fnirq gur jbeyq."
    Fcvxr: "Ohssl ena lbh guebhtu jvgu n fjbeq!"
    Natry: "Lrnu, ohg V znqr ure qb vg."
    Fcvxr: tvirf Natry n qvforyvrivat fgner.
    Natry: "V fvtanyyrq ure jvgu zl rlrf."
    Fcvxr: "Fur xvyyrq lbh! V urycrq ure, gung bar pbhagf nf zvar."

  6. L_Storm says:

    After rewatching this last Friday, I immediately called my mother to say, "Everything is terrible, and nothing will be right again." She laughed when i told her why I felt that way…

    Guvf vf abg zl snibevgr frnfba svanyr. Abe vf vg naljurer arne gur zbfg rcvp (frira jnf qrsvavgryl gur zbfg rcvp, ab znggre vs lbh gubhtug vg jnf tbbq be onq… gubhtu svir vf n pybfr frpbaq.) Guvf rcvfbqr, ubjrire, vf ol sne gur fvatyr zbfg qrcerffvat svanyr. Va Bar jr trg gur znfgre qrsrngrq, naq rirelbar yvirf (riraghnyyl) naq guvaxf ner cerggl bxnl. Urer, abguvat vf bxnl, naq ybbxf yvxr vg arire jvyy or. Va guerr, gurl yvirq guebhtu uvtu fpubby ba gur uryy zbhgu naq tbg gb oybj hc fnvq uvtu fpubby, naq gurl nyy yvir snveyl unccvyl-sbe-gur-zbzrag nsgre. Frnfba sbhe, gurl'ir nyernql jba, naq gurl nyy unir n jrveq qernz… Svir, fher Ohssl qvrf, ohg va n pbzcyrgr naq hcyvsgvat jnl sbe gur fubj. Fvk raqf jvgu urnegjnezvat, nf greevoyr nf Jvyybj srryf, ubcr rkvfgf. Naq Frira trgf engure fvyyl, gubhtu va na njrfbzryl rcvp jnl. Crbcyr qvr, vg uhegf, ohg vg vf abguvat yvxr guvf…

    This is so depressing because it takes away what i feel is the one thing Buffy has left: hope. She kills Angel, sending him to hell. Xander, and in her eyes Willow, both want her to do this.


  7. quenstalof says:

    So this is super late, but I didn't get a chance to watch the finale until just now:

    I did not expect her to RUN from the police. How did Snyder get there so fast? Isn't it after school? I am so unprepared.
    I wish she didn't have to hide to find out if Willow and Xander are ok, but I am glad she got rid of that iridescent green coat
    See I wasn't the only one who didn't notice they took Giles…
    Spike….hmm. he wants to stop Angel too?! This should be fun. unlikely alliance = yay
    You bring him to your house?! Your own house? Where if you invite him in he can come get you when he's a baddie again?
    What a way for Joyce to find out!
    Well um…that did not go how i expected it to.
    Oh god now I want to see Angel in a tutu
    Why would that be good news for the mayor? THis is going to be a thing next season isn't it? Please?
    Oh shit Jenny. D-:
    He told Jenny. Oh Giles
    Xander what was that about?
    Eeek Willow….so creepy
    Ok that sword thing? Awesome!
    So that was lovely (and by lovely I mean heartbreaking but in a way that fits perfectly) but I think it would have had a much bigger impact if (not really spoilers) V qvqa'g xabj gurer vf na nffbpvngrq frevrf pnyyrq Natry. I mean I guess it could be a show about like his hero's journey back from hell or something…
    But..she'll have to come back because Sunnydale is on a Hellmouth right? Something is bound to happen…

  8. kte says:

    At least you don't have to wait an entire summer to see how this is resolved. During the summer of 98 I adopted a rescue dog and named her Willow. (She has red coloring.)That is how I coped.

  9. _Bailey_ says:

    "HOLY FUCKING GOD, WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? WHAT? WHAT WAS THAT? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?! HE WANTS TO FORM AN ALLIANCE WITH BUFFY? SO HELP ME WHEDON, THIS IS SO GODDAMN AMAZING. It’s just such a fascinating and game-changing twist: Spike is sick of Angelus. Spike doesn’t want to actually end the world. And Spike wants Drusilla back. So he’s willing to put aside a burning hatred for Buffy Summers, his number one threat as a vampire, in order to get ride of Angelus."

    Spike's speech here is one of my favourite things in the entire series.

    Another one of my favourite things in the entire series? Spike and Joyce sitting awkwardly in the living room.

    ILU Spike!

    • ajaxbreaker says:

      I love that twist too… And while it IS a surprise at that time, in hindsight it is not at all because Spike's justifiable hatred of Angel is built up so beautifully throughout the season. The bullying, the flirting with Drusilla, all are great reasons for Spike to hate Angel.

      • Bonnie says:

        Plus, you know, all the physical and structural parallels between him and Buffy. They're developed beautifully. The bottle blondeness, the red marks on their cheeks in School Hard, the thing about both of them being 'rash and impulsive', the whole 'wild card' factor they share, the scorned lovers thing, the structural neatness of Angel teaming up with Dru leading to Spike teaming up with Buffy etc. Joss knows his stuff.

  10. LadyPeyton says:

    This was the first full episode of BtVS that I ever saw, I was completely blown away and it sparked a life long obsession. I have never loved and will never love another show as much as I love Buffy and the reasons why are all pretty much spelled out in Becoming II.

    I'm a mom. I don't blame Joyce even for one minute for freaking out when she found out some of what was going on in Buffy's life. We do that sometimes. We're only human. She was shocked and terrified and reacted, instead of acted. It happens. And how cool were the scenes with her and Spike in the living room? Perfect.

    I also don't blame Xander for lying to Buffy. It's easy to forget that the best friend he had since childhood was killed by vampires. He doesn't like them. Not even the ones who appear cuddly and friendly but then turn around and murder his favorite teacher. And really, if he told Buffy that there was a chance, she might have held back. She was up against the fight of a lifetime. One withheld punch could have result in her death. And there was never any guarantee that Willow could pull it off this time. And it appears that if something hadn't taken over for her she wouldn't have pulled it off.

    In the end my heart broke for every single character in the show, even Spike and Dru.

    So yeah Favorite Obsession Ever.

    Although one of my least favorite things from the series is also in this episode. I totally hate David Boreanaz's posture after the sword is run through him and he's being sucked into hell is the absolute least convincing pose I have ever seen on TV. He's just standing there with his arm raised. That pose has ruined that scene for me for years. I love what's happening. I love SMG's acting but I just want to go and repose DB every time I see him. I mean dude! You're being sucked alive into an untold hell dimension! At least squirm a little!

  11. kelseyofcake says:

    -XANDER WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!???? I know you're upset about what happened to Willow, but this is just douchey! I don't know how to feel.
    -Betrayal!Spike is awesome! Knock-out-girlfriend Spike is not. But then they're vampires so for all I know that's how their relationships go. Also, uh, that shouldn't have knocked Dru out. Did no one think at any point "oh yeah they're vampires, they don't need oxygen"?
    -”And why would they make you see me?” “Oh, right let's go.”
    -”Save me a seat.” BAD. ASS.
    -So Spike won't get pulled over for having his windows painted black?
    -Noooooo, this is so sad. Why do you love tragic irony, Joss?
    -Don't cry, Buffy! You're gonna make me cry too!
    -That note. EVERYTHING HURTS.
    -Willow, your optimism is painful. :((((
    -I agree, Mutant Enemy. A HUG WOULD BE VERY NICE.

    I now come bearing gifs.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    Buffy punching a cop in the face: AWESOME.
    Now for the cute stuff
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • kelseyofcake says:

      Huh….over half of my notes on this episode disappeared somehow. I suppose it's just as well. My lists were becoming sillier and sillier by the day. I need to find a better way of organizing my thoughts so I can write better comments.

  12. Avery says:

    In When She Was Bad, Buffy attempted to provoke Angel, who refused to fight her: “Oh, come on! I mean, you must've thought about it. What would happen if it ever came down to a fight? You, vampire. Me, the Slayer. I mean, you must've wondered! Well, why don't we find out?” And finally, she does. With swords. That episode also opens with her returning to Sunnydale, feeling distant from her friends after getting bested by an enemy before she defeated him; the season ends with Buffy heading out of town (ntnva gb Ybf Natryrf) after the same kind of Pyrrhic victory. She wins, but it hollows her out. I’m interested in the idea that the show could have ended here and it would have felt perfect, orpnhfr vg erzvaqf zr bs gur fragvzrag V frr n ybg nobhg Gur Tvsg, juvpu zveebef Ohssl pbzvat gb grezf jvgu ure qhgl naq srryf fvzvyneyl pbzcyrgr va grezf bs punenpgre nepf. Vg pbzrf qbja gb crefbany cersrerapr, ohg gurl frrz yvxr fgenatr abgrf gb raq ba sbe zr orpnhfr gurer’f gur haqreylvat gurzr gung ivpgbel pbzrf ng na haornenoyr pbfg, naq gur erfg bs gur frevrf vf arprffnel gb tb shegure vagb ubj Ohssl erwrpgf ure pnyyvat ohg hygvzngryl erpynvzf vg. Orpbzvat naq Gur Tvsg ner snagnfgvp rcvfbqrf, ohg gurl’er gentrqvrf, juvpu gurzngvpnyyl V nffbpvngr zhpu zber pybfryl jvgu NgF.

    What gets me the most about Xander’s Lie (the caps are required) is that it denies Buffy the ability to make her own decisions about the fight and how to deal with Angel. I think he’s acting out of a combination of genuinely concerned and self-serving reasons, and the most charitable interpretation is that he’s trying to protect Buffy and thinks any hope could weaken her resolve and get her killed. There’s also no way to know whether that info would have changed the outcome. But if she had known, she could have stalled, and there’s a chance that knowledge could have spared her the heartbreak. And the bottom line is that this isn’t his choice to make.

    Buffy and Spike passing the vampire in front of her house back and forth while she pulls out a stake is like a visual endorsement for Mortal Enemies Teaming Up = THE GREATEST THING YOU WILL EVER WATCH. Also, lololol the original version of Spike’s speech includes The Love Boat as a reason to like the world after Manchester United. "Well, I sing." ALONG TO THE THEME SONG, OBVS. Ng guvf cbvag V qbhog gur jevgref unq tvira zhpu gubhtug gb uvf onpxfgbel, ohg V ybir fb zhpu gung bar bs gur qrgnvyf gung tvirf vg njnl vf Fcvxr’f gnfgr va gryrivfvba.

  13. Enigmatic Mr Wu says:

    About a year ago, me and two of our friends made a devils bargain with one of our coworkers. We each agreed to read twilight, if she would agree to one season of Buffy for each book we read. So two of us read the first book, and let me tell you, that was painful. (so what you're saying, is this Vampire guy is good looking?") and we didn't bother with any of the others, because we knew, with absolute certainty, that if we got her to this episode, she would be hooked. She's finishing the last season now.
    There were so many great things about this episode. I loved Spikes Manchester United Speech, I felt bad for Xander at the hospital. He had 16 years to tell her that, but this was a mean little twist of the knife on the writers part.
    On the matter of the lie, I'm going to disagree with a lot of people on that. Yes Xander was jealous of Angel, and yes Xander didn't like him to a degree, but that wasn't his only motivation by a long shot. People are basically saying that Xander was using this whole apocalypse thing as a clever pretext to murder a romantic rival, leaving the way open to seduce Buffy at some point in the future. I believe a person who would do that would have slept with Buffy in Bewitched, He would have told her that Angel had left her to die in the Masters Lair, and had to be shamed into coming to save her. He would have told her that Angelus had come to kill her in the Hospital, and he had saved her life, wouldn't he make a better boyfriend? But he did none of these things, and though that doesn't make him man of the year, I think it suggest he's better than the absolute slime people are calling him.

    I think if Xander dislikes Angel as the Vampire equivalent of Tuxedo Mask, he despises Angelus. Angelus hurt Buffy in so many ways, Angelus nearly killed Willow, did kill Jenny, Kendra, Giles. He does not get to go back inside his box, until the next time Angel feels happy, and it all starts over again. Naq V xabj Natry jbhyq nterr jvgu uvz. Ur jnf irel pyrne gb Pbeql naq Tha naq Jrfyrl, gung vs Natryhf rire tbg bhg gurl fubhyq xvyy uvz vzzrqvngryl.
    Add that to the fact that after a month of working her way around to it, Buffy is finally ready to kill Angelus, and losing that focus, could kill every person in the world I think Xander made the right call. And if jealousy was part of his reasoning, I think it was the least part.

    • UnstrungZero says:

      Upvoted. I agree with everyone that it was the wrong thing for him to do, but I disagree with a lot of people's interpretations of his motives. I agree with yours.

  14. Smurphy says:

    Do you know how many times you said something along the lines of "I can't wait until Joyce knows who Buffy is?" and every time you did that all of us (in ROT13) were just like "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING PLEASE STOP!" But no. You would say it again and again… which led you to this:

    "That’s when Joss Whedon teaches me that I should never, ever desire anything ever from him, because he will promptly destroy it." – and he did.

    How sadistic of me is it that I want someone to make a gif of this: "“Becoming, Part Two,” takes my heart, crushes it into sand, and then feeds me that sand, and then throws me under a bus that Joss Whedon is driving with glee on his face."

    I think this was when I first really fell in love with the show. At first it was just something I watched with my parents but this episode. I remember over the summer not being able to wait until Buffy came back on…

    Mark, 11 year old me is kinda hating on you right now for only having to wait 2 days. My avatar is 6 yr old me… 11 yr old me has longer hair… But she is staring at you all judgingly right now because you do not have to suffer an entire summer for more Buffy.

    Anyways. 12 years later this episode is still beautiful. Horribly beautiful. I'm going to go find my childhood stuffed cat and cry in the corner a bit. See you tomorrow.

  15. Bill says:

    V npghnyyl fgnegrq bhg nf n sna bs natry naq V fnj gur ragver frevrf frireny gvzrf orsber jngpuvat ohssl. Gung orvat fnvq, vgf ernyyl uneq sbe zr gb haqrefgnaq crbcyr fnlvat gurl'yy arire sbetvir uvz orpnhfr V'ir nyjnlf frra Natryhf nf n pbzcyrgryl frcnengr ragvgl. Fb V svaq zlfrys jbaqrevat, unir byq snaf bs ohssl orra noyr gb sbetvir Natry sbe uvf npgvbaf va guvf frnfba, be nz V gur bayl crefba abg ubyqvat n tehqtr?

    • Bill says:

      Npghnyyl, lrnu gur svefg ehaguebhtu bs natry jnf irel pbashfvat sbe zr orpnhfr V qvq ybbx ng gurz nf frcnengr ragvgvrf. Abj vgf zber yvxr fbzrbar jvgu zhygvcyr crefbanyvgl qvfbeqre V thrff, rkprcg gurl funer zrzbevrf. Vg'f whfg orpnhfr bs gung rneyl rfgnoyvfurq ivrjcbvag gung V'ir unq qvssvphygl frrvat vg nf uvf snhyg.
      Nyfb ng n pregnva cbvag vg bppheerq gb zr gung Natry vf va znal jnlf n cevfba sbe Natryhf, ohg n cevfba gung qbrfa'g ernyvmr vg vf. Zl ivrjcbvag vf pbzcyvpngrq, bxnl? Cneg bs vg pna or oynzrq ba ubj ybbfryl gur fubj qrsvarf n fbhy.
      V npghnyyl arire unq gur fnzr ceboyrz jvgu Fcvxr orpnhfr ur unf gur rknpg fnzr crefbanyvgl jvgu be jvgubhg n fbhy, jurernf Natry naq Natryhf ner pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag.

    • Bill says:

      Nyfb, vs n fbhy vf jung tvirf lbh lbhe crefbanyvgl be uhznavgl, naq gung vf zvffvat, gura ubj pna jung erznvaf or pbafvqrerq gur fnzr crefba? Vs lbh ybbx ng vg gung jnl, gura vg vf ernyyl jrveq gung crbcyr oynzr Natry sbe Natryhf'f npgvbaf. Gur jubyr senapuvfr frrzf gb npg ba crbcyr'f rzbgvbaf gbjneq Natry n ybg zber guna vg qbrf nal ybtvp be cuvybfbcul.
      Nf sbe Qneyn V ernyyl unir arire gubhtug nobhg vg, naq V unir ab vqrn ubj gb nafjre gung.
      V qb svaq vg zber vagrerfgvat gb frr Natry jvgu n fbhy fgehttyr gb znvagnva uvf zbenyf guna V qvq jngpuvat uvz fhssre sbe uvf npgvbaf nf Natryhf. Gung znqr n ybg zber frafr gb zr naq jnf zber bsgra gur cybg bs Natry. Gung'f jul V jnf n sna. Cyhf gur fubj unq Serq. Ubj pbhyq V abg yvxr vg?

      • Bill says:

        I just realized how little sense some of that made without further explanation which I don't have the skill to give. If it doesn't make sense, please ignore it.

  16. fantasylover120 says:

    It is really fitting that during the Mutant Enemy part instead of the usual grr argh they have the monster saying I need a hug. Because that's how this ep makes you feel. I like Whistler but I really don't understand the point of having him in the second part. Made sense in the first, doesn't make sense in the second.
    Daily Buffy Quotable:
    "We're mortal enemies. We don't get time outs."-Buffy
    "Let me take this oppurtunity to not care."-Buffy
    Joyce: Have we met? Spike: You hit me with a axe (FYI Joyce and Spike's awkward silence is my fav part)
    "There's no use arguing with me. See, resolve face."-Willow
    "Calvery's here. Calvery's a frightened guy with a rock. But he's here."-Xander
    "But we know the world didn't end because check it out."-Oz
    "All right. Someone get me a chainsaw!"-Angel
    "In case you haven't noticed. The Police in Sunnydale are slightly stupid."-Snyder (word dude)

  17. Hella says:

    And you are still never prepared Mark.

  18. kristinc says:

    Here's the comment I made when Angel initially lost his soul, un-rot13'd in its entirety now that it's not spoilery anymore.

    One feminist framing of this story arc that I've seen has to do with how often the most abusive, dangerous men are very charming in the beginning of a relationship. They're appealing, they're romantic, the relationship is like a fairy tale of true love and intimacy, and then wham, when she's in and it's difficult to get out and she's vulnerable they begin to reveal their true colors. Metaphorically, that's kind of what's happened to Buffy here.

    (And of course the same abusive partners often become charming and sweet again just when a woman gathers the strength and resources to leave the relationship or press charges. They're sorry, they're contrite, they're vulnerable, they suck her back in. The narrative doesn't let this happen to Buffy — if you look at her being poised to literally deliver the death stroke to Angel as a metaphor for ending the relationship, when he suddenly becomes her charming, vulnerable boyfriend again she retains her resolve, follows through and ends it.)

  19. Cass says:

    I've been waiting to say this: you know Buffy and Angel's big romance theme? The one that swells every time they've had an especially romantic theme this season (right up to their last scene together here)? This one!

    It's called Close Your Eyes. Just one more way small Whedon and his crew stab at your heart once you know it.


    <img src="; width="400" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I didn't come as unprepared for this episode, so for me, for you, the worst part of this episode was Giles and Dru/Jenny because OH GOD WHYYYYYYYYY (although Xander's quip later healed it a bit)

    I loved that this was a total engame episode AND IT IS ONLY SEASON TWO. GOSH THIS IS WONDERFUL

    Let's talk about Xander, since this seems the appropriate time. (And I'll get more on his actions in this episode specifically in my next comment) See, for me, Xander (as a character) is pretty perfect. (As a character.) I went to school with Xanders (and Willows, and Cordys etc etc.) so for me, seeing someone like this on a television show is pretty cool. Do I approve of everything he says or does? Absolutely not. But that's what's awesome about him (and pretty much everyone else on the show) is that he is a real character, and represents someone we have all had to deal with. I love identifying with characters on TV, and the best TV shows have those characters that we recognize in ourselves and in our real lives blah blah blah stepping off my soapbox.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    (more in my next comment)

  21. And now to the hard part.

    I've seen (not here) some comments on Joss and how he emotionally manipulates people and how the killing off characters becomes almost numbing etc etc.

    (time for poppet storytime)

    See for me, things like Buffy, and Firefly, (and Harry Potter and Hunger Games and Game of Thrones and so on) work so damn well because they admit (to quote William Goldman) that 'life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something.'

    I love that especially in this episode that there is no right answer and there is no wrong answer (maybe Xander could have told Buffy, and maybe she would have still succeeded. Maybe he could have not told her and she could have failed. The possibilities are endless. But he didn't tell her, and she succeeded and that's the timeline we have and we're forced to deal with it.) I love that life is this big gray area and no one really knows how to navigate it, because that is real life.

    I'm constantly struggling with the idea that right now, parts of my life really really suck, and parts are super awesome. Sometimes there are good days, and sometimes there are bad. But even in the bad I can still laugh and crack a joke, and even in the good I can be terribly serious and I love that Buffy (and all these others shows) can do this, because sometimes (and not all the time, because I love stories that take me away as well) it's really nice to have the catharsis of episodes like this to rely on when I'm having a day when I just need to cry dammit.

    /end story

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  22. yorkshiregal says:

    I really don't buy any of the arguments that Xander was motivated out of petty jealousy.
    Angelus: Jeez, is it me, or is your heart not in this?

    During the fight in Becoming Pt 1 Buffy's heart wasn't in it because she was waiting for Willow's spell to work. She already proved she would hesitate. The fury of the sword fight completely blitzed that first lame fight in Part 1. If Buffy hesitated then I'm convinced Angelus would have killed her.

    I think Xander originally intended to tell her what Willow was doing and then thought better of it because strategically that was the right thing to do. He still can think strategically. He's still got the soldiers' memories.

    I can appreciate that many think Xander is just some male jerk with a history of wanting Buffy. I don't see him that way but I can see what causes people to respond to his actions like that. In this case, in the context of the episode, I think it's a specious argument to say Xander was just trying to get Buffy for himself.

    Context of the episode:
    – Buffy already tried the delay tactic; Kendra died, Willow was put into a coma, Giles was captured.
    – Xander isn't remotely engaged in the sexual banter. Things are deadly serious to him right now.
    – Xander realizes he has feelings for Willow. it makes no sense to me for him to turn around and act out of jealousy given where his head was at.

    And most importantly, what would be the point of starting to tell Buffy what Willow said and then suddenly turning into a jerk with selfish desires? It doesn't make sense from a storyline. Now, if Xander had started off with the "you gotta kill Angelus" campaign and hadn't paused mid-sentence –maybe. But he didn't. He didn't plan this out. Far more likely that he realized at that moment, based on what he saw in Buffy's eyes, that he needed to encourage her to go all-out.

    And does he have the right to do so? YES, in my opinion. Buffy ultimately has to fight Angel to the death but hesitation for an extreme long-shot would be deadly to her and ALL THE WORLD. If this was just a limited cage-match between Buffy and Angelus, then sure, Buffy should have been told. But there was much more at stake than Buffy's life. Buffy is still human and not without flaws. She already demonstrated hesitancy on more than one occasion. When Buffy accepted the help of the Scooby gang, she invited them into the fight. She may be the primary warrior but they are fighters too. Certainly they had just nearly lost their lives for the cause. That's part of what makes Buffy a different Slayer than those others who die early. As Spike said, she has friends with her — and it wasn't in the brochure. Her friends participating in the whole "save the world" campaign comes with both strengths and weaknesses. Clearly it's been more good than bad. But to look at this one call by Xander as being out of line doesn't make sense to me. He's part of the team. Buffy may kick him off the team because of this, but that's the risk he takes by saying what he does. As far as he knows, if Buffy is successful and she talks to Willow later and finds out she was attempting the spell, she may very well ream him out for his lie. So exactly how is he putting himself in a better position with Buffy in this case?

    In short, no one knows exactly what is going to happen when Buffy goes into that mansion nor what the outcome will be. Xander made the best call to protect Buffy and the world based on the information he knew at the time.

    So, in short in my opinion he chose to protect Buffy.

    And then lets look at what actually happened:
    – Angelus started the spell before the sword fight even began. HE WAS DOOMED. If she knew Willow was trying to re-soul Angel she STILL would have had to fight Angelus to the death. So would it really have been better to know that tragedy while they were in that vicious fight?
    – Buffy STILL made the decision to toss re-souled Angel into hell. But at this point it was after he was re-souled and not fighting her. So Buffy is the one who choose to condemn souled Angel to Hell. But if Angel knew everything that Buffy knew, he would have gone on his own I think. Angelus opened the portal to hell, the only way to save it was for Angelus or Angel to use his blood to close it. There was no time for any other approach.
    – Did Xander know it would be too late? No. But I still don't see how he could think this was ever going to endear him to Buffy. At best she wouldn't beat him.

    Finally, Joss Whedon has said it was a strategic decision. For me, that is well supported by what was on-screen.

    BTW: IA with others: why did she have to send his whole body? Wouldn't a hand have done? Seriously.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Don't use the word "lame" on this site.

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      It wasn't up to her – Whistler said that one single blow would make both Angel and Acathla sucked into hell. The moment the blood dropped, he would've been sucked into hell, whether it's arm, chest, neck, whatever. The scene just has her put a sword through his chest because it looks more dramatic, she could've used his hand and it would get the same result. You can't kill a vampire by driving a sword through him.

  23. Sadie_TARDIS says:

    A few late mind-thoughts, with Season Seven commentary.

    V'ir nyjnlf orra gbea bire gur qrpvfvba gb erfheerpg Gur Yvr va na vapbafrdhragvny bss-unaq pbzzrag va Frnfba Frira. Va nabgure fubj, vg cebonoyl jbhyq unir orra qvfpbirerq va n znaare gb pnhfr znkvzhz natfg naq gebhoyr zvq-jnl guebhtu Frnfba Guerr. Ubjrire, va glcvpny Wbff fglyr, na rnfl, cerqvpgnoyr fbhepr bs qenzn vf tyrrshyyl vtaberq, naq vf riraghnyyl sbetbggra ragveryl ol gur snaqbz jub fcrag fb zhpu gvzr ba vg lrnef orsber. Naq gura, jung qb lbh xabj, vg pbzrf bhg vagb gur bcra frnfbaf nsgre vg jbhyq unir unq nal vzcnpg jungfbrire, naq vf whfg nf cebzcgyl sbetbggra ol gur punenpgref jubz vg jbhyq unir fb qrfcrengryl nssrpgrq ng bar cbvag va gvzr. Cneg bs zr guvaxf gung guvf jnf fvzcyl n ovmneer jevgvat syhxr; n cbvagyrff abq gb lrnef-cnfg pbagvahvgl juvpu qvq abguvat ohg cebivqr n syrrgvat zbzrag bs abfgnytvn sbe ybat-gvzr ivrjref. Ubjrire, V nyfb guvax gung vg unf n cvrepvat ryrzrag bs erny yvsr gb vg; na rirag be vagrenpgvba, juvpu vs qvfpbirerq, jbhyq unir jerpxrq eryngvbafuvcf naq ehvarq yvirf ng bar gvzr vf zragvbarq be nqzvggrq fb znal lrnef yngre gung vgf vzcnpg vf ybfg, naq fvghngvbaf unir nygrerq fb qenfgvpnyyl gung vgf cbgragvny cnfg ercrephffvbaf ab ybatre zrna nalguvat gb nalbar. V fvzcyl pna'g qrpvqr ubj V srry nobhg gung cnegvphyne qrpvfvba ba gur cneg bs gur jevgref. Vg jnf rvgure oevyyvnag be pbzcyrgryl cbvagyrff, naq V'z abg fher juvpu.

    • Sadie_TARDIS says:

      Lbh unir n inyvq cbvag, ohg V jnfa'g ersreevat va zl bevtvany pbzzrag gb gur haqbhogrq cnenyyryf orgjrra Ohssl/Natry naq Knaqre/Naln; V jnf nqqerffvat gur snpg gung Knaqre'f yvr, juvpu, vs qvfpbirerq, jbhyq ng bar cbvag unir ehvarq uvf eryngvbafuvcf jvgu Ohssl naq Jvyybj, vf erirnyrq gb obgu bs gurz va na vapbafrdhragvny yvar juvpu tvirf vg ab eryrinapr gb gur birenepuvat cybg be gb gurve ivrjf bs bar nabgure. V'z abg rira fnlvat gung vg fubhyq unir nssrpgrq nal bs gurz; fb znal lrnef yngre, V'z fher gung vg jbhyq tnir orra vzcbffvoyr sbe nalbar gb hapbire jung Knaqre npghnyyl qvq. Jvyybj, rfcrpvnyyl, jnf va ab cbfvgvba gb or erzrzorevat gur qrgnvyf bs gung punva bs riragf fb ybat nsgre vg bppheerq naq cregnvavat gb fbzrguvat gung Knaqre fnvq jura fur jnfa'g cerfrag. V'z npghnyyl ersreevat gb gur ybtvfgvpf bs gur jevgref qehqtvat hc gung ybat-cnfg cybg cbvag va beqre gb qenj n syrrgvat pbzcnevfba gb gur pheerag qvyrzzn, naq jurgure vg jnf jbegu vg be abg gb hfr n cerivbhfyl hagbhpurq cvrpr bs gur fubj'f pbagvahvgl va gung pbagrkg juvpu tnir vg ab eryrinapr be jrvtug.

  24. MMT says:

    "Plus, Spike and Joyce in the same room. BEST THING EVER, especially him explaining where she knows him from, it is just so funny to me. "

    If the end of the sword fight is the best dramatic (soul destroying) scene in BtVS then the Spike and Joyce living room scene is one of the best — I guess you have to call it humor — scenes.

    • Kickpuncher says:

      And even then, yngre Fcvxr/Wblpr fprarf ner rira shaavre. Rfcrpvnyyl gur fprar va Ybiref Jnyx jurer Fcvxr vf znxvat snprf ng Natry oruvaq Wblpr'f onpx.

  25. sporkaganza93 says:

    Damn, can you believe David Boreanaz in this episode is the same one from the beginning of the series who couldn't act at all? That's some serious growth as an actor.

  26. Well, I'm very late to the game because I had quite a bit to do today. Which really sucked because this is my very favorite episode of Buffy ever. As a result, I am going to post my thoughts anyway.

    Let me say it again:

    This is my favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever.

    This is actually saying quite a bit, because there are so many other episodes I love absolutely to death. And it's definitely a close call. But no other episode in this series affects me on such a personal level.

    First and most importantly:
    "No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?"

    I cry unashamedly every time I see that (and I have seen this episode many times.) I love it so much because, in spite of all of this pain and loss that is happening all around — no, because of it — it is one of the most uplifiting and powerful messages I've ever seen on television or in any fiction. You can lose everything, but you are still you. It seems like it is so easy to define yourself by external things. Possessions, careers, money, even family and friends. Which, sure, those things can be great. And, especially in the case of other people, even wonderful and fulfilling parts of your life. But those things DON'T define you. If you lose every single one of those things, you are still there and you can still be strong.

    I'm actually going to pour my soul out just a little bit on this aspect before I get to my more general thoughts on the episode, so feel free to skip down.

    Last year I was a freshman in college. This was, without a doubt, one of the most difficult years of my entire life. For the first time, I was off on my own and having to deal with things like a responsible adult. Not that I was an irresponsible high schooler, but it was new. My parents had never had much money, and though they loved me very much, they could not afford to help me out at all. So, for the first time in my life, I was completely financially, educationally, and emotionally on my own. I had a few friends at school with me, but not very many and they weren't the best company, especially as the first semester wore on. The real thing that was difficult was the fact that my girlfriend had broken up with me the summer before. I hate admitting it, but this really broke me. She was my first ever girlfriend, and I was so in love with her. We had been together for nearly a year when she broke it off.

    In hindsight, she was completely right to. Our relationship was not very healthy. But at the time it was absolutely devastating. Especially because we were going to the same school. I tried to soldier on as best I could, but for months I was extremely depressed and lathargic. After a month or so I stopped talking to my friends about it, because I could tell it was getting old though they would never say anything. So I put on a brave face and pretended publicly that I was fine. But this only seemed to make it worse. I had never felt this terrible in my whole life. Frankly, I think it was kind of a miracle I made it through that first semester at all. It wasn't until the end of spring semester that I really started to grow out of it. To climb slowly out of the pit of depression I had been in all year.

    Until one night I decided to watch this episode on a whim. Because it had long been a favorite of mine. And that moment — the "Me." moment — really hit me. The full meaning of it. I realized then something that had been brewing for months. That I didn't need a girl in my life to be happy. That my relationships didn't make me who I was. Power came from within, not without. It seems so obvious now. But this was a revelation for me. I really hate the word epiphany, because I don't believe in them. I think this was something that I was realizing slowly subconsciously for a long time, but didn't understand consciously until I watched this episode. (One of the best things about stories, in my opinion.)

    Anyway, long story short, life has continued to be difficult since that day. But it all feels kind of different now. Like… I know that no matter what happens, I can still rely on myself. It's actually kind of funny. A few weeks after that realization, I got back together with my girlfriend. We're still together. I don't necessarily believe that we will be together forever, but we are doing quite well. Our relationship is a lot more balanced now. But if she broke up with me tomorrow, I would be very sad, but I don't think I would be devastated like I was last time. I think that you could say that I lost something, because I don't seem to need her as much as I once did. But I think that I gained something. Maybe that makes me a bit less romantic, but I think it's a good thing.

    Anyway, soul pouring over.

    • Thoughts on This Episode
      In a completely arbitrary, nonlinear order.
      1. Xander, why do you have to be like you are? I love you so much, but then you go and pull something like this and it makes it harder for me to defend you to those that don't. "Kick his ass." Really dude? At the same time, I feel like people put too much weight on this one moment. It's bad, yes, I'm not denying that. But the way I've heard some fans talk about this you'd think he'd killed someone or something.
      2. SPIKE. "Just a sec, lemme kill this guy." I love you forever, Spike.
      3. SPIKE again. The awkward hanging out with Joyce is THE BEST. "You hit me with an axe one time. 'Get away from my daughter!'" "Oh. So… do you live here in town?"
      4. Angelus is so very evil and I kind of love it. I feel bad for enjoying it so much, considering the terrible things he's doing, but I do. David Boreanaz is really getting into the character and the evils and he just shines.
      4. I like the number four so much I decided to use it twice.
      5. I love the bit where Snyder expells Buffy and she pulls out a sword and he's like… O.O
      6. I would love to see Buffy in Spike ACTUALLY start a band. Buffy would be a great drummer.
      7. Willow is SO ADORABLE. "I know who's president and how many fingers, so they don't think my brain got mushed at all." Her delivery on this line is pitch-perfect and makes me want to give her all of the hugs.
      8. Willow and Oz are wonderful! "My head feels big, is it big?" "No, it's head sized." 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      9. Would they actually let Willow have all of that magic stuff in a hospital room?
      10. Am I weird for not interpreting Xander's "I love you" to Willow as especially romantic? I always saw it as the result of an extremely close friendship that they've had since they were little and it only feels like a big deal to say it because he doesn't throw that word around that much.
      11. Cordelia is downright WARM in this episode.
      12. The last 10 minutes of this episode are PURE GOLD. Nuff said.

      • amyalices says:

        But the way I've heard some fans talk about this you'd think he'd killed someone or something.

        Uh, well… he kind of did, or at least made sure Buffy did.

        Admittedly I'm being a bit Devil's Advocate-y here, since I do think it's a grey area, but his goal in changing Willow's message to Buffy was definitely that Angel/Angelus would die rather than be resouled and just stop what he was going. I think those fans that definitely divide souled!Angel as a good person and unsouled!Angelus as a completely seperate person are justified in taking that as a deliberate plot to get Angel killed. Of course, if you follow the fantheory that they are the same person, but souled!Angel is plus one conscience… it's far more muddy.

        😀 Oh, Buffy fandom. debate forever!

        Oh, and I totally agree with point 10. Xander/Willow friendship is one of my all-time platonic OTPs.

  27. Gorimek says:

    Here's my favorite Becoming "theme". Most people don't notice it the first time.

    Darla tells Angel "Close your eyes" before she kills and turns him.

    Buffy tells Angel "Close your eyes" before *she* kills him.

    Drusilla doesn't say the phrase when she does her hypnorape of GIles but he also closes his eyes.

    All three women gain the trust of a man, only to immediately violently betray him. I don't know what it "means" though I'm sure hundreds of theories can be spun by us buffyholics. I don't really need it to mean anything, I just find it beautiful!

    PS. Mark, I think you're prepared now!

  28. RoseFyre says:

    So, I actually have THOUGHTS. So even though it is like 12 hours after you posted, whatever, I feel like commenting, so I will comment.

    The alibis have been getting shakier as the season has gone on – the "gas leak", the "scavenger hunt", the "sewer back up". I'm not surprised Joyce finally hit a point where she simply couldn't deny what was in front of her face anymore – and I suspect it would have happened to anyone who spent that much time inadvertently involved in the supernatural. Joyce has not been directly involved as much, no, but she's been in a few episodes, and she's been affected – Ted, the Bezoar eggs, the love spell, Angel after he goes bad. So it was bound to hit. A band, though, is very clearly spur of the moment, and it's the one that just can't hold up anymore.

    I'm also so glad that they didn't go with the original plan of killing Spike, because this would not be possible if they had. He's been building to this since What's My Line, when he was put in the wheelchair, and especially since Innocence – when Angel came back and took over. To see it come to this amazing, awesome fruition is…wonderful.

    Giles being tortured. 🙁 Poor, poor Giles.

    Xander…I'm glad you didn't just hate him. Because while I think he's morally wrong here – Buffy has the right to determine her own destiny – I don't know if he's strategically wrong or not, because we don't see what would have happened if he'd told the truth. (Speaking of, if anyone has written/read/seen a fanfic where Xander didn't lie, I want a link, no matter the outcome – major fan of true AU here.) In addition, it's not just Buffy and Angel's relationship that's on the line here. It's the world. He knows that telling her could mean the end of the world if she delays, and while I'm sure that's not all of his motivation, I think it's part of it. He's not completely in the right, no, but I don't think he's completely in the wrong either. So, yeah, I'm glad you're seeing the ambiguity, because it is definitely ambiguous.

    Also, I want to know what other characters would have said, had they been the one sent to talk to Buffy. Willow, clearly, would have told the truth – because she sent Xander to tell Buffy in the first place. But if it had been up to Giles, or Cordelia, or Oz, what would they have done? I think Cordelia would have told the truth, but not necessarily because it was the right thing to do – but more because she identifies with telling the truth, rather than tact. Oz, also, probably would have told the truth, because Willow asked him to. Giles…Giles I'm not so sure about (though it is obviously moot because Giles was captured and tortured and all). Because as much as Giles sometimes plays the doddering librarian, he can be ruthless when he has to be (witness his treatment of Ethan during Halloween), and his job as a Watcher is to save the world – well, to prepare the Slayer to save the world. But are those reasons better than Xander's? It's all opinion, really, and a topic that will be debated til the end of time.

    The fight scene is truly amazing – I actually told the person I was talking to on AIM that I needed to not talk for the next ten minutes so that I could watch that scene without interruptions as I was rewatching. The one thing that bugs me about it is the very very obvious stunt doubles (there's bits where it's just so freaking blatant), but even so, it's a great scene.

    And I can't wait to see your predictions tomorrow!

    • UnstrungZero says:

      The point about other characters is a brilliant bit of brainfood. I do wonder how the fandom would've reacted if Giles had been the one to lie to Buffy. I think there would be less venom involved. (nygubhtu vs vg unq orra Tvyrf, V'z fher gung jbhyq unir orra rknzvarq naq erfbyirq va fbzr jnl va frnfba guerr ng yrnfg. >.<)

      • gonzoron says:

        Tvira jung jr fnj Tvyrf qb va "Gur Tvsg", V'z nofbyhgryl fher ur jbhyq unir fnvq "Xvpx uvf nff" nf jryy. (jryy, genafyngrq vagb fghssl-Oevgvfu-yvoenevna-fcrnx)

        • UnstrungZero says:

          Rkpryyrag cbvag, gubhtu gung jnf shegure nybat va uvf punenpgre qrirybczrag. Fgvyy V gbgnyyl nterr gung gurer'f n IREL fgebat cbffvovyvgl ur jbhyq'ir yvrq nf jryy. Ur'f cebira n srj gvzrf gung ur'f abg nobir ylvat gb trg Ohssl gb qb jung ur guvaxf vf orfg. (naq sbe jung vg'f jbegu, V nqber Tvyrf, ur'f gvrq jvgu Fcvxr sbe zl snibevgr punenpgre.)

      • RoseFyre says:

        Yay, I got called brilliant! 😀

        Naq V guvax lbh'er evtug nobhg vg orvat qvfphffrq – pbafvqrevat Ohssl'f ernpgvba gb Tvyrf orgenlvat ure va Urycyrff.

  29. @farwell3d says:

    SPIKE and JOYCE talking. God I love that moment.


    And, um, we're pretty much out of happy moments from this episode. So brilliant.

    I once had a VERY long discussion about Xander being right or wrong, but the only real conclusion is that you can't judge it. It's both.

  30. Glad to read your post about how much you enjoyed this one.

    This was the episode that turned me into a HUGE fan of the show. I had been renting the DVDs from Netflix but after this episode I immediately went online and purchased the complete series set. I knew I'd be watching this series over and over. I still get goosebumps watching the final 10 minutes of this one.

    Lots of great stuff still ahead of you Mark. Enjoy.

  31. Rebcake says:

    It's completely possible that was Xander's rationale. He may have even been right. We'll never know one way or the other. However, insisting that anyone who holds a different viewpoint is "irrational" is neither more charming nor more convincing on the internet than it is when Xander does it on the show.

    There's an acronym for that: RPMD, Reasonable People May Disagree.

  32. tanbarkie says:

    The irrationality of people (and understanding it) is an important theme in all of Joss Whedon's works. Boiling it down to utilitarian logic is, IMO, somewhat missing the point.

    In this scenario, I think the best one can possibly say about Xander is that he may have done the "right thing" for the wrong reasons. Do you really think he was being "rational" in that moment? No – he was being driven by his hatred for Angel, and in that, was every bit as irrational as Buffy or anyone else.

    • majere616 says:

      True enough, but I personally consider results and consequences to be vastly more important than motives and intentions. I'd much rather someone did the right thing for the wrong reasons than vice-versa.

  33. Lilah Quinn says:

    I know this is really inappropriate given that this episode is largely supposed to be about all the Buffy/Angel tragedy and heart rending sadness, BUT, I just need to take this time to rant about how much I love Spike. For reals. He was supposed to be a throw away character, only around for one or two eps, but look what happened. As far as I'm concerned, THE EVIL BRITISH PUNK ROCK VAMP CAN STAY AS LONG AS HE WANTS.

    Fav Spike moments from this ep:
    "You hit me with an axe one time."
    "Right, let me just kill this guy first."
    "Oh god, he's gonna kill her… *shrug*"
    "Billions of people walking around like happy meals with legs. I like this world."

    Fuck you Angel. Go be broody and lame in hell. I ship Spike and myself to the end of time. (yeah, I said it.)

  34. Emily says:

    Spike is awesome. That’s really all I have to say. 😀

  35. Nos says:

    I finally get to unrot the second in my Giles' Badass Quote of the Show list:

    "You must preform the ritual….in a tutu…pillock!"

  36. theduck says:

    Today's (yesterday's…) Badly Translated episode name:

    Original text:
    "Becoming: Part 2"
    …35 translations later Bing gives us:


    Things I remember from this episode:

    – Joyce and Spike's awkward conversation which is one of my FAVORITE MOMENTS EVER okay

    – Xander can you just not want every girl ever please? Nyfb vfa'g uvf qrpynengvba bs ybir sbe Jvyybj yvxr arire sbyybjrq hc? V xabj gurer'f gubfr srj rcvfbqrf va frnfba guerr jurer gurl xrrc xvffvat nyy gur gvzr, ohg vg'f arire ernyyl zragvbarq ntnva gung ur ybirf ure? PBASHFVBA.

    – I honestly felt nothing when Buffy killed Angel. I feel horrible saying it, but I was just like, "alright". Angel got really boring to me really fast, so I guess that's why.

  37. Xane says:

    I'm neutral on the "Kick his ass" thing. I mean, maybe he saved her life not to mention the world! She might have held back if she knew and lost.
    I love every Spike moment, not only, "just let me kill this guy" but also Buffy's response. The throat clearing and the look were hilarious! And that was enough to stop him.
    They should start a band!
    I was over Angel and ready for him to go, but I was still devastated because of how Buffy felt. Her reaction to it, SMG's acting made me cry like a baby. Poor little thing.
    The "me" agreed it was awesome.
    I never noticed the stunt doubles in this one.
    I don't fancy spending the next month getting librarian out of the carpet. OMG!!

  38. ladysugarquill says:

    I like Xander. But here, I FUCKING HATE HIM. I have shouted at the TV many times over the years, watching this episode.


    Now that's out of the way, I don't know if there's an explanation of the Angel/Angelus thing (I haven't watched all the series) but for me they'll always be two separate people, or at least Angel is not responsible of what he did as Angelus because he *didn't have a soul* – he literally had no way of feeling empathy, or separating right from wrong.

    And finally, I don't like Joyce. I never liked her as much as you guys did, and here I really dislike her. As if what her daughter needed was an ultimatum :/

  39. flootzavut says:

    It is beyond frustrating to me that I can't get my hands on these discs and watch along 🙁

  40. Don Sample says:

    "Xander Lied!" was the longest, and most contentious thread in the history of the newsgroup.

    (And I think that "What was that song at the end of Becoming?" was the most frequently asked question. Answer "Full of Grace," by Sarah McLachlan)

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