Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Buffy: 2.21 ‘Becoming – Part 1’

A short preview of Becoming – parts 1 & 2

Writen and directed by: Joss Whedon

What's the sitch?

We learn though flashbacks how Angel became a vampire after being sired by the gorgeous Darla (Julie Benz) in a dirty alleyway in 18th century Ireland. Then, years later, we see his soul being restored by the gypsies after he killed their princess, so that he will know suffering and will not be able to have a moment’s true happiness ever again lest he lose his soul once more. Then things skip forward and we see him being picked up from the gutter in 1996 by the good demon Whistler and taken to covertly see Buffy at her original school in LA. Angel is smitten by the girl and vows to help her from that moment on. Flash forward to 1998 and Angelus has stolen a recently excavated stone demon called Acathla from the University. The vampire has realised just who Acathla is, and that once revived the powerful demon will suck the entire world into hell. Something Angelus can’t wait to do. Meanwhile Buffy finds the disk of Jenny's with the spell to restore Angelus' soul and Kendra returns to town after her watcher tells her that a dark power is about to rise in Sunnydale. She has also come bearing a sword from the knight who first defeated Acathla, which should be able to slay the demon once again if needed. Across town in his new mansion, Angelus tries to awaken Acathla, but is unable. So Drusilla takes her gang to go and kidnap Giles in order to make the learned watcher tell them the correct way to awaken the sleeping demon. At the same time, Angelus distracts Buffy, luring her away from her friends in order for Dru to go capture Giles. This leaves Kendra alone to try and defend the Scoobies from Dru. But Kendra fails and she dies at Dru’s hands, having her throat slit by the insane vampire. During the fight Willow is put into a coma, and Xander has his arm broken and knocked out. After realising she’s been duped, Buffy rushed back to the library. But she’s too late. She finds Kendra's body just as the police arrive. They point their guns at the Slayer and go to arrest her for murder.

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

Joss likes his one-word titles that sum up his episodes perfectly. Becoming parts 1 & 2 are both about exactly that. They are about people growing, changing, adapting, becoming what they want to be, what they need to be in life. There are hard choices and painful decisions throughout. There are past loves and new agonies. There’s terrible loss and utter heartbreak. Life moves on and growing up is painful, never more so than in Sunnydale. And Joss brings the pain here, as always, slowly stripping everything away from Buffy. By the end of part 2 she will have nothing. But she will ultimately become stronger as a result. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

Angelus and Dru

Why it rocks

It’s a Joss Whedon written/directed by.

The themes are rich and the drama hugely compelling.

There is a ton happening here with lots of action and major character developments. It’s basically one massive set-up for next episode’s epic pay off.

Xander’s fish-stick re-enactment of Buffy fighting and staking a vamp.

Kendra (Bianca Lawson) is back…with a sword and her awful accent.

Bianca Lawson is Hot!

Kendra gives Buffy her lucky stake to use. She calls it ‘Mr Pointy’. :)

Why it sucks

Yet again Angel’s age is inconsistent. From latter episodes it seems that this one is wrong.

Angel’s Oirish accent. Oh dear.

The scene of Buffy listening to her parents argue in Los Angeles in 1996 conflicts with what was said in "Nightmares," aired in May 1997. In that episode Buffy says that her parents divorce was "finalised last year, but they were separated for a while before that."

Angel seeing Buffy from afar in 1996 does not jibe with his attitude the first time he met her in "Welcome to the Hellmouth."

Acathla makes for two world ending demons this season. Blimey! They're like busses...

It's Buftastic

That shot of Buffy running back in to the school corridor to go to her friends. The camera pans around as it follows her and cranks up in to slow motion partway through as Buffy, panic-faced, runs at us for all she’s worth.

Dialogue to die for

Cordelia (about Principle Snyder after he’s just left): How about because you're a tiny, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?

Spike: (looking unimpressed at Acathla's tomb): It's a big rock. Can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big.

Buffy (on the phone to Willow): Well, I'll do a couple of sweeps, and then I'll stop by. Yeah, Xander was pretty much being a... Willow! Where did you learn that word? My God. You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Kendra: In case de curse does not succeed, dis is my lucky stake. I have killed many vampires wit it. I call it Mr. Pointy.
Buffy: You named your stake?
Kendra: Yes.
Buffy: Remind me to get you a stuffed animal.

Angelus: Jeez, is it me, or is your heart not in this? Maybe I'll just go home, destroy the world.
Buffy: Well, I think Mr. Pointy'll have something to say about that.

Whistler (end voiceover): Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are. You'll see what I mean.

And another thing

Angel was made into a vampire by Darla in Galway, Ireland, in 1753, and first met Drusilla in London in 1860.

Drusilla was precognitive before she became a vampire.

Becoming won the 1998 Emmy for best music composition for a series

How many stakes?

It’s a killer cliffhanger. 5 (out of 5)

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