beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
season two > becoming 1
This, of course, is part one of the season finale. I like part two much better, so of course I was going to get stuck with part one. Not that SP made me or anything, but I knew it was coming so I just sort of sucked it up and accepted my fate. Much like Buffy does every other episode.
The thing about these episodes, which aren't horrible storywise, is that we're subjected to flashbacks of Angel. Right. So you can see why this is hell for me. The hair, the accent, the hair. It's all bad. Not Amends bad, but close. But this is me, sucking it up. Because I'm thinking of you. Also, work is slow and I'm bored.
Angel takes us, via voice over, to Ireland in the Lord's year of blah blah blah. I'm not going to bother with the date, ME never actually pays attention to it anyway. Suffice it to say, it was awhile ago. Men had long hair and ponytails without the added incentive of being slapped with the desirable label "buttrocker", the streets were cobbled, people rode horses instead of harleys and whores were whores. That's all you need to know. Someone in a voiceover (well, Whistler, but we don't know that yet) lets us know that things in your life change you-sometimes big things, sometimes little things. Like stumbling drunk into an alley, running into Darla and sucking her blood, thereby becoming (get it? Get it?) an evil demon. A step up from drunken lout, yes? I'm sure the barmaids certainly think so.
We cut from this scene of tame eroticism (oh tame eroticism, how we miss you) to present day, accentless Angel watching Buffy fight in a graveyard. I enjoy this scene because it involves not much more than an angry Buffy fighting Angel's lackeys, Xander being a doof and Angel not talking until the very end. And then, we're only subjected to one sentence! He agrees with Buffy that everything will be over and done with soon. She was referring to finals, he was referring to the end of the world and/or her death, but still. Pretty much the same thing. I can't believe these two kids couldn't work it out.
Someone found a rock. A really big rock. A really big carved rock. Giles is called to the museum because he has a rep. He's a guy that knows. Things. I don't know, I didn't write this episode. He's a librarian, he's British, he must be an expert on such things. Giles quickly ascertains that it's old, it opens and by golly, it's old. He requests that nobody open it until he translates the glyphs. Living on a hellmouth has made him a wee cautious. Ripper would be so ashamed.
After a short interlude of Fish Stick Theater and random flirtage amongst our hormone laden high schoolers, with Buffy still being the glaringly obvious outsider, we are taken kicking and screaming to London. Sort of sane Drusilla whines to Angel, who is pretending to be a priest on the other side of the confessional having just eaten the priest cuz he's bad, oh yeah, he's really bad, you know it, that she's evil. Her mum says so. She sees things. She's an affront to the lord and other assorted blathering. Angel gleefully tells her she's the spawn of Satan, he gives her 10 our fathers and an act of contrition, and not being catholic I'm sort of curious what an act of contrition could be, but we're back in 1998 with present Angel and Crazy Dru. The moon whispers insane things to Dru, Spike's still in a wheelchair but he's a big fat faker and Angel declares, after reading the morning paper's item on the obelisk, that soon the moon will scream. [and how angel knew, just from an account in the paper that the museum had a big rock, that said big rock could end the world, I have no idea. -ST]
And then, we're studying. Willow and Buffy prep Buffy for finals. Or try. Buff's not much for the chemistry, and I can't say that I blame her. If I wasn't allowed to mix stuff together and burn holes in the counter, I was always pretty bored too. Willow tries to pep talk her into oblivion and Buffy plays with her pencil. Because we need it to fall so Buffy can find Ms. Calendar's soul restoration disk under the desk. We need it. So, thankfully, she does so. And thankfully, it works. And dutifully translates. Question: they've never really translated spells before, they've just recited them. Why, now, does it matter? I thought the magic was lost lost, like lost to Ms. Calendar's people long ago lost, not just that the spell was written in ancient Rumanian? Just, you know, tuck that thought away for a rainy day.
And faster than you can say bada bing, bada boom, we're in Rumania. Supposedly 38 years after the introduction of Drusilla, but like I said before, we're not paying attention to these things. It will only cause you pain later. Not like the pain of having your soul restored, which is currently happening to Angelus, but similar. Also, don't try to contemplate why Angelus is such a bad ass on this show, when he's a pansy in the flashbacks on his own show. Try and focus on the wigs. And the accent. They're there for a reason. To distract you into thinking this all makes sense.
Buffy shows the curse to the Gang, and they, surprisingly, react less than peppily. Buffy, thankfully, learned that little lesson about forgiveness from I Only Have Eyes For You, so she's all with the pep. Morose pep, but this is Buffy we're talking about. Xander thinks people are crazy for even considering it and I silently cheer. Giles grudgingly points out that curing Angel was Jenny's last wish, but that was sort of a popularity move on her part, not an altruistic thing. If she had been serious about it, she would've have told them and been protected, not hidden it so she could present it to them in a staged flurry of hurrahs and "we love you"s. But I could just be sort of misguided here. Maybe she wasn't saying anything because she really didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. The cynic in me? Is keeping its mouth shut.
Continuing this argument, Xander bitterly reminds everyone that Jenny's dead. Giles gets pissy. Buffy gets pissy. Willow acts shocked at Xander telling the truth. And Cordy stands by her man's side. It's a fun day in the Buffyverse. Yes indeed.
We're yanked out of all this angst and taken to the museum, where the curator meets his grisly doom at the hand of Drusilla and her fiends. Quelle shock! Quelle horror! Also Angel is there. Because he doesn't want to miss out on the fun and because, unlike Spike, he knows his history and this obelisk is a bad ass named Acathala who wants to swallow the world. And because his time of leather pants is quickly coming to an end, you can't blame the guy for trying to get in as much screen time in them as he can.
Buffy, leather pantsless and don't think she's not upset about that, patrols very slowly in a park. Kendra, poor doomed Kendra, jumps out of a bush, just for fun, carrying a rather large bag that houses a sword that can slay the Acathala obelisk thingy. Because her watcher from the land of make believe-I mean the 10th city on the east side of the 3rd island out from Jamaica, has sensed something evil a comin'.
Giles, working himself into prissy Brit mode, knows his history too. And he's not amused. Basically it'll be all about torment and demonhood running amok and unhappiness if Acathala is allowed to open up his big mouth and suck like the Hoover he is. Buffy asks Willow to try the curse again, just in case because she's totally prepared to kill Angel IF SHE HAS TO, and everyone goes into save the world mode. Kendra shows off her sword, Giles is a giddy teenager around it, Willow prepares to cast her first spell and effectively sentence her character to hell, and the Orb of Thesselah leaves its exalted position as Giles' paperweight for the much less sought after position of Keeper of Angel's Soul.
Meanwhile, back at the mansion of evil, which Buffy has never found for some reason, Angel's getting his ritual on. Everything that Angel's done, everything that he is, has brought him there. Yep. I'd go on, but the ritual is cut short by a flashback to New York in 1996 (Ack! A year! A year!) of Angel living in sewers and sucking on rats and I suppose, now, we're supposed to know this is because that even though he was healing in the '50s, the non-love of his neighbors in the hotel led him to be disillusioned and live in gutters. Before, can you believe it, I actually thought this whole disheveled thing was a continuation of the guilt he feels over everything he'd ever done. How stupid of me. So young so naïve so trusting. [or maybe it was the disillusionment of the glitter of vegas, after hanging with the rat pack.]
His hunt for dinner is interrupted by the wit of Whistler. They should've kept Whistler around, I'm rather fond of that actor. He schools Angel on butcher's blood, hot dogs and how poignant it is for a vampire to have a soul. The last bit featured a bit of sarcasm, I do believe. I was hoping that sarcasm would carry over into telling Angel he could go either way, but alas, it was not to be. He's a demon not dedicated to destroying life, yet a demon who doesn't complete his homework or he'd know that Angel hadn't been alone for 90 years, seeing as he was living in the Hyperion in the '50s and had time to run with the Rat Pack and really you'd think that's something a good-and-evil balancing demon would know, and sends Angel across the country in his stupid old car with the stupid blacked out windows, and how did that idiot not get pulled over, to LA to stalk Buffy. Because TPTB seem to think that Buffy needs an undead guy to watch her back and perform various other "tasks".
TPTB are pretty damn stupid. Have we ever seen them do one intelligent thing? Besides kicking Cordelia out of wherever she was?
Angel watches Buffy called from behind his painted windows, he watches her reenact the graveyard scene from the movie, he watches her being sad through her bedroom window and he falls in love. Right there. Because he's a big, tortured soul sap. Angel decides he wants to help, cuz hey, that slayer's pretty hot, and he's off to get lessons in how to be a good tortured guy from Whistler.
Present day Angel's ritual, by the way, doesn't work. He got it wrong. The next logical step would be, of course, to kidnap the librarian, because he knows about these things. This requires distracting Buffy, so Angel sends her an immolation-a-gram asking her to please meet him that night and she, of course, immediately falls for it. I suppose the beginning of the school year was a few months ago, I can see how she completely forgot about the Annointed One's fake out. No no, wait, I can't. She does leave Kendra with her buds, so I guess I shouldn't be too mad at her. I suppose I should be more upset at the director and the stunt coordinator for having Kendra fight like a ninny and die so easily. But my misplaced anger is getting ahead of the story here.
Buffy fights Angel. Willow tries to do the spell surrounded by the Scoobs. Kendra guards the front door. So the vampires come through the stacks. It's good to know someone on this show learns a lesson, even if it is the bad guys. Cordy escapes, Willow lands under a bookcase, Xander gets knocked out and gets a broken arm-no, wait, that's the fight from When She Was Bad. Well, part of it, anyways. Dear lord, I'm mixing my fights up. Who knew this could happen? Long story short, Willow ends up in the hospital. Xander is somewhere, possibly unconscious. Giles gets dragged out and Kendra gets killed by Drusilla's fingernails in the lamest fight sequence ever. It's seriously lame. If you're going to burden her with that accent, at least allow her to die with dignity.
Angel, perfectly hitting his cue, laughs at Buffy and tells her it's not about her. Buffy runs back to the library in slow motion. Whistler blathers on about how your life changes, even if you don't ask it to as Buffy kneels down next to dead!Kendra. A police officer aims a gun at her. Now the police show up? And who, exactly, called them? But that doesn't matter. What does matter is that the big moments are going to come. You can't stop it. That's right. It's time for you to find out who you are. And remember, Whistler believes in you.
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