Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Buffy: 2.22 ‘Becoming – Part 2’
A beautifully made video tribute to the Slayer
Writen and directed by: Joss Whedon
What's the sitch?
The police arrest Buffy but she escapes and heads to the hospital to check on her friends. Xander is up and about albeit with a broken arm while poor Willow is lying unconscious with possible brain damage. Giles, however, is missing. He’s been kidnapped by Dru and Angelus to help them figure out how to awaken Acathla.
On her way home, Buffy is stopped by another policeman, who is quickly knocked unconscious by Spike. Spike wants to stop Angelus from destroying the world as he likes the world just the way it is. He proposes that Buffy and he work together to stop and then kill his grandsire. In exchange for his help Spike promises to leave town forever, taking Dru with him. And so an uneasy alliance is formed, which is soon put to the test at Buffy’s house where they kill a vamp together in front of a shocked Joyce.
Buffy finally has to tell Joyce the truth – that she is the Slayer, and that she has to leave and save the world. Again. Angry and in denial, Joyce tells Buffy that if she leaves the house now she can never come back. Buffy, with no choice, leaves and runs to the school to find Kendra's sword, running in to Snyder, who, with much relish, expels her on the spot. Buffy takes the sword and goes to kill Angelus.
Meanwhile Angelus is torturing Giles, trying to get him to tell the secret of Acathla. But in the end it is Dru's hypnotic power pretending to be Jenny Calendar that tricks Giles in to giving away the secret. The secret is Angelus himself; it is his blood which will awaken Acathla. Back at the hospital Willow attempts the spell to curse Angelus with his soul again, while at the mansion Buffy arrives…and Spike makes his move. After neutralising the other vamp henchmen, Spike takes Drusilla and leaves the house and the town, leaving Buffy and Angelus in a fight to the death. But Angelus manages to touch his blood to Acathla, and the demon starts to awaken. Time is almost up for the world as the portal to suck it in to hell begins to open. Buffy knows that the only thing that can save the world and close the portal is to kill Angelus. And then the worst happens…the curse takes effect and Angelus's soul is restored.
Angel is Angel once more. The man Buffy loves.
But it's too late.
The lovers exchange a kiss and some intimate words, and then Buffy drives the knight’s sword through Angel, sending him to Hell.
Acathla's vortex closes. The world is safe once more.
The next day the gang's back at school, battered and broken but still (mostly) in one piece. But there's no sign of Buffy. They speculate that she may have gone off with a cured Angel for some alone time and hope to see her back soon.
But Buffy is not coming back anytime soon. She watches her friends from a distance and then turns and walks sadly away. We then see that she’s left a note on her bed for her mother, a note which makes Joyce cry when she reads it.
Our final sight of Buffy is of her sat alone on a bus, heartbroken, staring out of the window as the vehicle leaves town, passing by a sign which reads ‘You are now leaving Sunnydale. Come back soon.’
What's the sitch beneath the sitch?
See part 1. But also when Buffy is forced to ‘come out’ to her mom about being the Slayer, the whole thing becomes a major gay metaphor, as if Buffy is admitting to her mom that she’s a lesbian. Her mom’s shocked reaction and then throwing her daughter out of the house only makes it more metaphorey. Heh. Metaphorey. See what I did there? I made a Buffy word.
Who's giving us the wiggins this week?
Angelus, Drusilla, Acathla and Joss Whedon, the evil genius.
Why it rocks
What do you mean why? Just watch it for gods sake.
Whedon you bastard! Television simply doesn’t get better than this. Epic drama, intimate emotion, big excitement, full-on pulse pounding action, heartbreaking tragedy, smart metaphor, pain, blood, love, loss, pain, more pain…it’s all crammed in to 44 exquisite minutes so expertly and effectively crafted you wonder how on earth anyone could do it and do it so well. But then you remember that this is Joss we’re talking about. He does this stuff in his sleep, at least it seems like that as it just feels so effortless.
Everything about this episode is stunning. Every scene fizzes and pops with energy, story, character, emotion, depth. It’s a template for how to make a truly great series finale and is my second favourite of all Buffy finales just behind Joss’s The Gift from season five.
All the cast give their all and are utterly brilliant. But in the end, this rests solely on the tiny shoulders of Sarah Michelle Gellar. And boy, does she do good. If you didn't love Buffy Anne Summers before, then I dare you not to love her after this. By the end of Season 2, Sarah and Joss were quickly firming up Buffy's place as one of the greatest heroes of modern fiction. This was always Joss's freely admitted aim. He always wanted to make Buffy a beloved icon. And by the end of the series seven year run he'd succeed in doing just that.
Favourite bits? All of it, but okay…
Spike and Joyce making awkward small talk in Buffy’s living room. “So, do you live in town?”
Spike explaining why he wants to save the world. “Dog racing, Manchester United…”
Giles calling Angelus a pillock.
Drusilla as Jenny Calendar
Buffy and Joyce arguing about her being the Slayer and Joyce’s stupid, “Well have you tried not to be?”
The epic sword fight between Buffy and Angelus.
The part in the sword fight where Angelus thinks he has Buffy and says confidently, “Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends...No hope. Take all that away... and what's left?” He goes to ram the sword in to her face, to kill her, but at the last moment Buffy catches the blade between her palms and answers simply, “Me,” before smashing it back in to his face. It’s a real “YEAH!” punch the air moment.
The beautiful music by Christophe Beck titled ‘Close Your Eyes’ as Buffy kisses Angel and then kills him.
The whole sad epilogue as Buffy, heartbroken, leaves Sunnydale with the lovely song ‘Full of Grace’ by Sarah Mclachlan playing beneath.
The little Mutant Enemy guy at the end of the credits saying, “Oh, I need a hug,” instead of the usual “Grr Argh!”
Why it sucks
The hairline on Angel's stand-in during the climactic swordfight makes it obvious that it's not David Boreanaz.
It's been established in Buffy that vampires don't breathe, at least not in the "real" way that humans do. That is, they obviously can and do inhale and exhale air — it's necessary in order to talk (or smoke). But they don't actually need to. So, without that need for oxygen, the chokehold Spike puts on Drusilla should not make her lose consciousness.
Buffy catching that sword blade between her palms and striking back.
Dialogue to die for
Angelus (to Giles): I wanna torture you. I used to love it, and it's been a long time. I mean, the last time I tortured somebody, they didn't even have chainsaws
Spike: We like to talk big. Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?
Giles: You must perform the ritual... in a tutu. Pillock!
Angelus: All right. Someone get the chainsaw.
Xander: Cavalry's here. Cavalry's a frightened guy with a rock, but it's here.
Angelus: Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends...No hope. Take all that away... and what's left?
Angel: What's happening?
Buffy: Shh. Don't worry about it. I love you.
Angel: I love you.
Buffy: Close your eyes.
Mutant Enemy monster: Ooh, I need a hug
And another thing
The "Grr...argh" at the end of each episode was altered for this one... instead, it said, "Ooh, I need a hug." However, most of the US did not get this version after the original airing (due, apparently, to a mistake made by the WB). The altered version can be seen in syndication and on the official DVD release.
The house used as Angel’s mansion is Ennis house, 2655 Glendower Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027. It was designed and built in 1924 by world- famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was also Deckard’s house in Blade Runner and was recently put up for sale for a meagre $4m.
How many stakes?
I definitely need a hug. Poor Buffy. 5+ (out of 5)
And so ends my review/guide of Buffy season 2. Season 3 coming soon, my personal favourite season - mostly for one reason: Faith. Big smile.