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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Becoming, Part One
May 12, 1998
5V21

 
Credits

Writer:
Joss Whedon


Director:
Joss Whedon


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Seth Green as Oz
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
Julie Benz as Darla
Bianca Lawson as Kendra
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Cast:
Max Perlich as Whistler
Jack McGee as Doug Perren
Richard Riehle as L.A. Watcher
Shannon Welles as Gypsy woman
Zitto Kazann as Gypsy man
Ginger Williams as Girl
Nina Gervitz as Teacher

 
Synopsis

Angelus has found a demon called Acathla, who can suck the entire world into hell. We are treated to flashbacks of Angelus being sired by Darla, Angelus siring Drusilla, the curse being carried out by the gypsies, and Angel being inspired to help Buffy by Whistler, a good demon. Buffy finds the disk of Jenny's with the spell to restore Angelus' soul. Kendra returns to Sunnydale, because of a dark power that's rising; she comes bearing a sword from the knight who first defeated Acathla. Angelus tries to awaken Acathla, but he cannot, so Drusilla sends her gang to kidnap Giles to find out the way to do so. Angelus distracts Buffy, so Kendra is left alone to try and defend the gang from Dru; Dru kills Kendra. Willow is knocked into a coma, and Xander has his arm broken. Buffy returns to find Kendra's body. The police arrive, find Buffy standing over her, and arrest her. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

Acathla is yet another Bram Stoker-esque demon conjured up by the mind of Joss, bearing a startling similarity in a number of ways to the story of the Judge in "Surprise."

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Body Count

Two Anonymous Vampires
Staked by Buffy in a graveyard.
Doug Perren
Drained by Drusilla in the museum.
Anonymous Man
Drained by Angelus in the museum.
Anonymous Vampire
Allowed herself to combust in the sunlight of a SHS classroom.
Anonymous Vampire
Staked by Kendra in the SHS library.
Kendra
Had her throat slit by Drusilla's fingernail in the SHS library.
Total: Seven (plus three in flashbacks, including human Angel)
Compiled by Eric B.

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Dialogue to Die For

Cordelia: "How about because you're a tiny, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?"

The entire argument scene in the library was wonderful, especially the climax...
Buffy: "What happened to Angel wasn't his fault."
Xander: "Yeah, but what happened to Ms. Calendar is. You can paint this any way you want, but the way I see it is that you wanna forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back."

Buffy: "Yeah, Xander was pretty much being a... Willow! Where did you learn that word? My god, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"

Spike's assessment of Acathla's tomb: "It's a big rock. Can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big."

Whistler: "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."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Mr. Pointy?!

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References

    Al Franken
  • "Shouldn't you be out destroying the world right now, pulling the sword out of Al Franken or whatever his name is?"  Al Franken is a comedy writer and actor with a political bent, who is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and the NBC sitcom Lateline, and his book Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • This might be nit-picking, but in "Angel," it appeared to be established that the restoration of Angel's soul took place sixty years ago, or sometime in the 1920's. However, in this episode it's revealed to have taken place in 1898.

  • Speaking of Angel and numbers: Twice so far this season, ("Some Assembly Required" and "Reptile Boy"), Angel has stated that he's 241, which would have him born in 1756 (or 1755, if he hadn't had a birthday yet in 1997). And in "Halloween" Willow states that Angel was eighteen in 1775 (he would actually be either 19 or 20 in 1775). But this episode says that he was made into a vampire in 1753, and is clearly seen to be a young man in that year, even though by previous reckonings he wouldn't have been born yet. Later, in "The Prom," Willow says Angel is 243, and in "Earshot," Angel states that he is 243, all adding up to prove that the date in this episode is the wrong one.

  • The scene of Buffy listening to her parents argue in Los Angeles in 1996 conflicts with the timeline presented in "Nightmares," aired in May 1997, in which Buffy says that her parents divorce was "finalized last year, but they were separated for a while before that."

  • Also, Angel seeing Buffy from afar in 1996 does not jibe with his attitude the first time he met her in "Welcome to the Hellmouth." In that episode, he says, "I thought you'd be taller," which implies he'd never seen her before then. However, later in season three, during "Helpless," the writers stick with the 1996 sighting when Angel describes to Buffy the flashback that we saw.
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Notes

  • When this episode was repeated on September 15, 1998, it was presented with an altered first scene. There are several subtle differences, but the most noticeable is that Max Perlich provides the voice-over for that scene, rather than David Boreanaz as it was the first time the episode aired.

  • 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.

  • Buffy dated a boy named Tyler during her freshman year of high school in Los Angeles.
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Comments

Brian:
Those of you who've been waiting since "Innocence" and "Passion" for the other shoe to drop... well, welcome to Imelda Marcos' closet! Joss has been lining 'em up all season, and now he's finally begun to knock 'em down, pulling the trigger on everyone and everything. Everything was played out perfectly... Xander's contrary attitude towards Angel triggering that wonderful argument in the library, the rediscovery of Ms. Calendar's soul-restoration disk, and the ending, where Buffy worked out her personal agenda while everyone she cares about was brutally attacked back in the library. The flashback sequences regarding Angel's personal history were a lot of fun, and I particularly enjoyed seeing Darla and Kendra again. The tragic coda to Kendra's storyline was a lovely twist, indicating yet again just how good Joss Whedon is at tightening those emotional dramatic screws until I'm left twitching and drooling and desperate for more. Alas, seven of what I'm sure will be the longest days of my life stand between me and the release I so desperately crave after the unbearably heightened tension of this superb hour of drama. (10/10)
Will:
OK... where to start? This was possibly the most entertaining hour of television I have ever watched. I found myself sitting there experiencing sensory overload. Too much information, but I loved every single moment of it. Joss reached deep into his bag of tricks and slayed me (cool pun... huh). He dipped into just about every running plot and laid it all on us at once. Lets see... the curse to restore Angelís soul, Kendra showed up, Oz and Willow, Buffy still wavering about Angel, and Spike seemingly plotting to himself about how to deal with Angel and Drusilla. As I said before... way too much information. This episode sucked me in and drained the life out of me. Kendra dying, Willow being crushed by the bookcase, Xanderís arm being broken and Giles being kidnapped were almost too much for me to take. The manner in which Joss chose to present this episode was fantastic. I like how he did it with the flashbacks to Angelís past and having him narrate it as well. It seems to me that Angel will in some way be the center of next weeks episode. I must say that Cordyís little comment about a bug the size of an emu in one of Principal Snyderís orifices nearly sent me to tears of laughter. I told Brian that I think that I might need to go back and change my ratings on every previous episode because this one deserves a 54. I must say that I am a bit nervous about next week's episode because I seemed to have used up all of the emotion that I have this week. Please note that even though I am giving this offering a perfect score I do believe that it deserves much more. Bravo Joss!!!!! (10/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
May 12, 1998 3.8 84 of 101
September 15, 1998 2.6 93 of 122 (tie)
December 29, 1998 2.9 93 of 125 (tie)

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