Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | July 16, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E21 – Becoming (1)

My Rating: 78

The Good: This episode is a wealth of information after a drought. We get to see Liam become Angelus, Angelus become a broken Angel, and Angel become Buffy’s Angel. There’s an awful lot going on in this journey. The flashbacks are very effective time capsules and really allow for serious development of Angel’s character. It was especially fun to see his first interactions with Darla and Drusilla, as well as his first glimpse of Buffy.

In the present, we get to see Buffy’s determined face as she searches for Angelus to kill him. Willow gets to step up again and volunteer herself for some scary witchcraft. And Xander really pulls out all the stops to push for Angelus’ death, instead of a re-ensoulling. The main Scoobies are all quite powerful in this episode and, for the first time, they all end up in jeopardy at the end of it. Willow has been knocked unconscious, Xander has been injured and someone is holding a gun on Buffy. It’s a powerful cliffhanger before you even consider that Giles is now a prisoner of Angelus’.

Drusilla also ups the ante for herself. She reveals she has the power to completely ensnare someone’s mind, even that of a Slayer. Her casual killing of Kendra is made even more powerful by Kendra’s complete inability to resist her. In the past, it’s been stated that killing a Slayer is a very high prestige thing to do. The fact that Drusilla does so with such nonchalance is quite scary.

Finally, we get to see frustration bubbling inside of Spike. He is becoming restless and doesn’t seem to be fully on board with Angelus’ plan to destroy the world.

The Potentially Bad: It’s a little scary to see the show following in its own footsteps with the big scary demon setup. This feels very much like What’s My Line? Part 1 (S2E9), where the Judge was described as an unkillable demon who would wipe all decent people off the face of the earth. It begs the question: If there are so many powerful, unkillable demons out there, how come the world HASN’T been swept into hell yet? The show risks tripping over its own feet here by focusing all the super power onto Acathla instead of focusing on Angelus himself. The question is how it will be handled in part 2.

The Bad: With so many flashbacks, the episode does feel a little bit choppy. But it’s pretty easy to ignore.

Favorite Moment: Xander finally gets to vent his feelings about Angel in full in the library when Buffy and Willow reveal they’ve found the curse to restore Angel’s soul. Xander says what must be on everyone’s mind – Angel is a killer, regardless of if he has his soul or not. Jenny and several other people are still dead at his hand and they can’t just sweep all of that under the rug and pretend nothing happened. The fight that takes place her involves everyone and really lets the feelings rip with Xander being particularly effective and even cruel with his words. It’s an uncomfortable and powerful scene to watch.

The Bottom Line: Completely a set-up episode, but one with real power and feeling.

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