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"Becoming, Part Two" is the season finale of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the thirty-fourth episode in the series. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it originally broadcast on May 19, 1998 on The WB.

Synopsis

PART 2 OF A HEART POUNDING SEASON FINALE — The suspense continues as hell prepares to swallow the world and Buffy is left alone to stop it. With Giles in the hands of the enemy and Angel primed for destruction, our slayer is forced into some treacherous alliances and faced with life-changing decisions.[1]

Summary

The two policemen grab Buffy as she pleads for them to let her check on friends. They accompany Buffy outside the library as Principal Snyder arrives with more cops. Buffy hopes that Snyder will tell the police that she was not involved in the attack, but he tells the officers that if there is trouble around, Buffy is behind it. She calls him a "stupid little troll." To escape being arrested for Kendra's murder, Buffy strikes the cop holding her and flees, becoming a fugitive from the law.

Disguised, Buffy finds Xander in the hospital and they enter a comatose Willow's room. Cordelia arrives, admitting that she had run away from the fighting to save herself. Buffy learns that Willow may wake up from her coma, but the longer she stays unconscious the less likely her recovery becomes. They all realize that Giles is missing.

Angelus wakes Giles, and announces his intention to torture him for information concerning the ritual to awaken Acathla, although hoping that Giles resists so Angel can torture him.

The police visit an incredulous Joyce, informing her that Buffy is a wanted fugitive for Kendra's murder. Joyce tries to protest, insisting that there is some mistake. She mentions that Buffy is supposed to be with her friend Willow, and the police tell her that Willow is one of the other victims. They also remind Joyce of Buffy's violent history, and ask Joyce to contact them if she hears from her daughter.

Buffy finds Whistler in Giles' apartment and they discuss Angel's reversion to Angelus. He tells her no one foresaw Buffy, that Angel was supposed to be stopping Acathla, not bringing him forth, but that was before Buffy erased his soul. He asks her what she intends to do about this, and tells her that in the end, she's all she's got. As she leaves, he tells her blessed sword is not enough, that she must know how to use it. As she walks down the street, a policeman recognizes her and tries to arrest her, but Spike shows up and knocks him out. After a exchanging punches, he strikes a deal with her: he will help stop Angelus if she allows him and Drusilla to leave town. Spike explains that while vampires may love to talk about destroying the world among themselves, he prefers the world as it is. Moreover, he cannot stand the way Drusilla acts around Angelus. While Buffy is unimpressed by his speech, he reminds her that they have her Watcher, Spike is all she has got, and that neither of them can fight both Angelus and Dru alone.

Buffy accepts the ceasefire and decides to talk with Spike inside her home, but she is intercepted in the driveway by her mother, who demands to know what is going on. Spike is surprised and amused to discover that Joyce has no idea that Buffy is the Slayer. When Joyce demands to know what is going on, Buffy tries to cover by saying that she and Spike were in a band together. However, the three are attacked by a vampire sent by Angelus to follow Spike, and Joyce watches in shock as Buffy slays the creature. After this display, Buffy is forced to explain her destiny as the Slayer to her mother, who has significant difficulty accepting the truth.

In the hospital, Xander tells a comatose Willow that he loves her. She wakes and asks for Oz, who appears in the room. She tells him that her head feels "big" and asks him if it is, in fact, big, and he responds, "No, it's head-sized."

Back at the Summers home, there is an awkward silence between Joyce and Spike. Joyce recognizes him from somewhere and asks him about it. Spike, cheerfully, says she hit him on the head with an axe once. Both are very happy when Buffy shows up, getting them out of their awkward silence. Buffy says she'll accept Spike's offer, although she is hesitant to let Dru walk because she killed Kendra. Spike expresses surprise and pride that Dru "bagged a Slayer", but then realizes that this is probably not the best thing to say in front of Buffy. He insists that Buffy will get no help from him if Dru is harmed, and she accepts these terms but she warns that Drusilla only walks if Giles survives. Spike leaves the house and in a dramatic argument, Joyce insists Buffy must tell her everything, and tries to prevent her from leaving. Buffy tells her mom that she wishes she could be a normal teenager, but that she has to go save the world, again. Joyce tells her daughter not to come back if she leaves the house. Buffy looks shaken, yet leaves without hesitation.

On her hospital bed, Willow, despite protest from Xander, decides to try the curse again. She sends Oz and Cordelia after her supplies, which had been left in the library after the attack. She sends Xander to tell Buffy her plans, hoping she can stall until the curse is complete.

Spike, back in his wheelchair, discovers a frustrated Angelus on the verge of killing Giles, who has withstood extensive torture without revealing his knowledge of the ritual. Spike, who must keep Giles alive so that Buffy will let Dru leave, uses reason to persuade Angelus not to kill Giles. Spike suggests another way of getting the information and asks Dru if she wants to play a game.

Buffy returns to the library to retrieve Kendra's sword, where she runs into Snyder, who expels her, even though he knows that she is not the murderer. She insists that the truth will be revealed, and he points out that the law enforcement authorities in Sunnydale are "deeply stupid". Then Buffy pulls Kendra's sword out of her bag and taunts him, saying "You never ever got a single date when you were in high school, did you?" After she leaves, Snyder calls the Mayor with "the good news" of her expulsion.

Drusilla uses her psychic powers to read Giles' mind and discover his weakness. She cajoles the information she wants by hypnotizing him so that she appears as Jenny in his eyes. He reveals that Angelus must use his own blood, not someone else's, to awaken Acathla. Angelus orders Giles killed, but Spike is able to put this off by claiming he could be lying. Angelus agrees, and compliments Spike on his seemingly clever thinking.  

Buffy, now wearing the crucifix Angel gave her when they first met, returns to Whistler to ask him about how to defeat Acathla, who tells her Angelus' blood will send both evil beings back to hell. Blood opens it, blood closes it. He says with great significance that the quicker she kills Angel, the easier it will be. She says it will be no problem — she has already lost everything. After she leaves, Whistler says she's got one more thing to lose. On her way to the mansion, Xander arrives with Willow's message, but decides to tell Buffy that Willow said to "kick his ass" instead of telling her that they are trying to restore Angel's soul. Buffy asks him to free Giles while she deals with Angelus. Chaos reigns inside the mansion as Spike leaves his wheelchair and attacks Angelus with a crowbar, and is subsequently attacked by Drusilla while Xander rescue Giles. 

During the fight, Angelus recovers before Buffy can defeat his vampire lackey and successfully removes the sword from Acathla. He and Buffy begin to duel, both going for the kill, with Angelus eventually gaining the upper hand. As Acathla starts to awaken, Spike knocks a dismayed Drusilla unconscious and is carrying her from the fray. On his way out, Spike sees Angelus approaching an unarmed Buffy with a sword and believes that Angelus is actually going to kill Buffy. He shrugs, unmoved, and leaves. Angelus notes that Buffy is all alone, with no weapons and no friends. He asks her what is left, and thrusts his sword at her head. Eyes closed, she stops the blade with her hands. She opens up her eyes, and says "me", echoing Whistler's assertion that in the end all she has left is herself. At the same time, a weak Willow is performing the restoration ritual and falls into a trance. Her friends watch in shock and surprise as she starts reciting perfect Romanian. 

Spike embraces Drusilla while he drives away in his car. Buffy fights ferociously, and quickly backs Angelus up against the statue just as Willow finally succeeds with the Ritual of Restoration; the Orb of Thesulah glows and vanishes. As Buffy is about to land the killing blow, suddenly Angel's soul is restored. He is confused and doesn't understand what is happening, not yet remembering his time as Angelus. His soul is seemingly "healed". However, the re-ensoulment has come too late; Acathla opens his mouth and the bright, shining vortex begins to expand outward. Angel hears something behind him, but Buffy reassures him that everything is fine. After a final kiss, Buffy tells Angel to close his eyes. When he complies, she violently stabs Angel through the chest into the vortex. A shocked Angel says "Buffy?" and extends his arm, but no help is coming. Buffy watches as Angel is sucked into Acathla's dimension and the vortex closes behind him, then begins to weep as she realizes everything she has lost.

Joyce finds a note on Buffy's bed, noticing that her clothes have been strewn everywhere and her closet emptied. The Scooby Gang gathers in front of the school, speculating on Buffy's whereabouts. Unbeknownst to them, Buffy is watching from a distance. Feeling that she has lost everything that ever mattered to her, she turns without hesitation and boards a bus. As the bus leaves, the camera focuses on a road sign which reads "Now leaving Sunnydale. Come back soon!"

Continuity

  • Xander's lie, telling Buffy that Willow said "Kick his ass" instead of that Willow was trying to re-curse Angel, remains unrevealed to Buffy and Willow throughout the remainder of the series, although it is briefly touched upon in "Selfless".
  • Willow's restoration of Angel's soul marks the beginning of her interest in witchcraft, something that will eventually turn her into a very powerful witch. As Giles predicted in "Becoming, Part One", performing such a ritual did affect her on a deep level.
  • Buffy is aware that Drusilla killed Kendra. However, she was not present when it happened and anyone who was present was unconscious. The only way she could have known is if Xander told her off screen.
  • In "Becoming, Part One", Darla told Angel to "Close your eyes" before siring him. In this episode, Buffy tells him the same thing before skewering him and sending him to hell.
  • Angel will not lose his soul again until the episode "Awakening" on Angel. However, this will be done on purpose in hopes of finding out information of The Beast. After his soul is stolen, Willow is summoned by Winifred Burkle in "Orpheus" as she is the only living person to restore Angel's soul. Despite some obstacles, Willow manages to free Angel's soul and curses him once more.
  • Buffy invites Spike into her home, despite knowing that he is a vampire and has proven to be a dangerous enemy. He routinely takes full advantage of this invitation, particularly during Season 5, until Willow and Tara perform the de-invitation spell in "Crush". Buffy never bothers to have them do so until that point.
  • Spike and Joyce meet for the second time in this episode. She asks him if they have met before, and he tells her "You hit me with an ax one time; you know, 'Get the hell away from my daughter'", referencing their interaction at Parent-Teacher Night in "School Hard." Spike and Joyce later develop somewhat of a friendship. He is upset by her death, saying he respected her.
  • In this episode, Spike plays a role in "saving the world", marking the first alliance between him and Buffy.
  • Joyce finds out that Buffy is the Slayer in this episode; as revealed in season six episode "Normal Again", this is the second time Buffy told her about her Slayer destiny. The first time was after she slayed her first vampire, seen in the flashback in "Becoming, Part One". Her parents didn't believe her, and, concerned, have her committed to a mental asylum for a few weeks. This time Joyce believes her, as she witnessed Buffy dusting a vampire.
  • Snyder takes advantage of the murder and assault accusation against Buffy to expel her. She will be reinstated following "Dead Man's Party" when Giles threatens Snyder. The school board also overrules him when the case is taken to court.
  • It is revealed that Snyder is acting in league with the Mayor of Sunnydale. The Mayor will be the Big Bad of season three.
  • As the episode ends, the gang is left to ponder the sequence of events that took place at the fight. Although they are fairly confident that Angel's soul was restored and the world has not ended, they know nothing else about the fight. Giles would ultimately force Buffy to describe these events in "Faith, Hope & Trick". 
  • When Angel regains his soul, he tells Buffy that he doesn't know what's going on or remember anything. In "Becoming, Part One", when Angelus became disoriented with his first ensoulment, the Kalderash elder tells him it would all come back to him soon. The same pattern will occur later when he loses and regains his soul in season four of Angel
  • This is Whistler's last appearance up until Riley: Commitment Through Distance, Virtue Through Sin

Appearances

Individuals

Organizations and titles

Species

Events

Locations

Weapons and objects

Rituals and spells

Death count

  • Two vampires, staked by Buffy.
  • Unnamed victim, killed by Angel.
  • One vampire, beheaded by Buffy.
  • Angel, sent to Acathla's dimension by Buffy.

Behind the scenes

Buffy 2.21 2

Buffy 2.21 2.22 - Becoming Promo (1998)

Production

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz practiced with sword fighting instructors and did some of the fighting themselves, but it's clear that the stunt doubles do most if not all of the wide shots.
  • The "Grr, Arr" monster says "Oh, I need a hug" instead, the first time a variation was used for Mutant Enemy Productions's slate.

Pop culture references

  • Spike's description of the end of the world as "goodbye Piccadilly, farewell Leicester bloody Square" is a quote from the song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" by Jack Judge and Harry Williams.

Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors

  • Spike is able to knock out Drusilla using a chokehold despite the fact that she neither breathes nor has any circulation. In "Conviction", the character Spanky is unable to do the same to Angel.
  • When Xander enters the mansion, he punches the vampire with his broken wrist.

Music

  • Sarah McLachlan — "Full of Grace" (Plays as Buffy leaves town in the bus)
  • Christophe Beck — "Waking Willow"
  • Christophe Beck — "Vision of Jenny"
  • Christophe Beck — "Close Your Eyes"

International titles

  • Armenian: "Վերափոխում (Մաս 2-րդ)" (Transformation (Part 2))
  • Czech: "Proměna (2. část)" (Transformation (2nd part))
  • Finnish: "Tulevaisuuden avaimet, osa kaksi" (Keys to the Future, Part Two)
  • French: "Acathla — Partie 2 (Acathla — Part 2)
  • German: "Spiel mit dem Feuer (Playing with Fire)
  • Hungarian: "Méltóvá válni, 2. rész" (Becoming Worthy, Part 2)
  • Italian: "L'Inizio della Storia (2ª parte)"  (The Beginning of the Story (2nd Part))
  • Japanese: "変貌 パート2" (Transformation Part 2)
  • Polish: "Tożsamość Buffy (2)" (Buffy Identity (2))
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Metamorfose — Segunda Parte" (Metamorphosis — Second Part)
  • Romanian: "Devenire (Part 2)" (Becoming (Part 2))
  • Russian: "Становление (Часть 2)" (Becoming (Part 2))
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Renacer (Parte 2)" (Reborn (Part 2))
  • Spanish (Spain): "La Transformación (II)" (The Transformation (II))

Adaptations

Other

  • When Buffy is standing in front of a locker talking to Xander in the beginning, a "SHEEP" sticker can be seen, explaining why "SHEEP" was written in Xander's room. It first appeared in the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and showed up again in "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Restless".
  • There was never a big question as to whether Angel would return since the announcement of the Angel series was made right after this episode aired.[citation needed]

Gallery

Promotional stills

Quotes

Buffy - "I lost a friend tonight, and I may lose more. The whole Earth may be sucked into hell and you want my help 'cause your girlfriend's a big hoe. Well, let me take this opportunity to not care."
Buffy - "Do you think I chose to be like this? Do you have any idea how lonely it is, how dangerous? I would love to be upstairs watching TV, or gossiping about boys or, God, even studying! But I have to save the world. Again."
Giles - "In order to be worthy... you must perform the ritual... in a tutu. Pillock!"
Angelus - "Alright, someone get the chainsaw!"
Giles - "It's a trick. They get inside my head, make me see things I want."
Xander - "Then why would they make you see me?"
Giles - "Oh, right. Let's go."
Angelus - "Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends... No hope. Take all that away and what's left?"
Buffy - "Me."

References

  1. "The Mortuary". Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original June 9, 2001.
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