Becoming (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
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"Becoming" is the season finale of the WB Television Network's second season of the drama television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, consisting of the twenty-first and twenty-second episodes. The two episodes were split into two broadcasts; "Part 1" first aired on May 12, 1998 and "Part 2" first aired on May 19, 1998. They were written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon.
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes|
|Episode nos.||Season 2|
Episodes 21 & 22
|Directed by||Joss Whedon|
|Written by||Joss Whedon|
|Featured music||"Full of Grace" by Sarah McLachlan|
|Original air date(s)|
The narrative features vampire slayer Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) working to prevent Angelus (David Boreanaz) and fellow vampires Drusilla (Juliet Landau) and Spike (James Marsters) from awakening the demon Acathla.
Production of "Becoming" was the first time that the show had been filmed outside the usual warehouses or other locations. A studio was used for the flashback scenes set in New York and Ireland. Actors Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz undertook training for their climactic sword fight.
Giles visits a museum to examine a big stone block that it has just acquired; he finds an opening in the rock.
Buffy and Willow find the floppy disk containing Ms. Calendar's reconstruction of the curse that gave Angelus his soul. They are eager to attempt it so they can get Angel back. Giles warns that it will be difficult. Xander prefers to see Angelus killed, rather than risk leaving him alive merely so that Buffy can have a chance to get her boyfriend back.
Drusilla kills the museum curator while Angelus and his minions steal the stone block, which contains the demon Acathla, who came to suck the world into Hell. A virtuous knight had stabbed him in the heart before he could draw a breath, but someone worthy can remove the sword to awaken Acathla. Angelus wants to use Acathla to destroy the world.
Kendra, the new Slayer, returns to Sunnydale bringing a sword blessed by the same knight who stopped Acathla.
Angelus kills a human and uses his blood in an attempt to awaken Acathla, which fails. He then lures Buffy to a battle so that his minions can kidnap Giles, whom he plans to torture for the information he needs. In the library, Willow is attempting the curse when vampires attack. Giles is taken while Xander is injured and Willow is knocked unconscious under a bookcase. Drusilla hypnotizes and kills Kendra. Buffy arrives too late, and a policeman finds her with Kendra's body.
- Galway, Ireland 1753: Liam, drunk as usual, is sired by Darla, becoming the sadistic vampire known as Angelus.
- London, 1860: Drusilla, a pious young woman who has unwanted visions, is psychologically tormented before being sired by Angelus.
- Romanian woods, 1898: In revenge for killing an unnamed Kalderash girl, Angelus is cursed with his human soul and becomes Angel.
- Manhattan, New York 1996: Angel, now a derelict, meets a benevolent demon named Whistler who invites him to become a hero.
- Los Angeles, 1996: As Buffy becomes the Slayer, Whistler points her out to Angel, who is inspired "to be somebody."
Angelus tortures Giles for information and entertainment. Buffy finds Whistler in Giles' apartment and they discuss Angel's reversion to Angelus. He reveals that Angel was destined to stop Acathla not awaken him.
Buffy is nearly arrested, but Spike attacks the policeman and offers a temporary alliance. He has no wish to see the world destroyed, and is jealous of Angelus' attentions to Drusilla; he will help Buffy stop Angelus if she allows him and Drusilla to leave town. Buffy and Spike go to her house to talk, but meet Joyce. Buffy is forced to tell her about her role as a vampire slayer. Joyce tells her daughter not to come back if she leaves the house. Buffy leaves anyway.
Xander sits by the comatose Willow and confesses his love for her. She wakes up, but the first person she asks for is Oz. Willow is determined to try the curse again. She sends Xander to tell Buffy her plans, hoping she can stall until the curse is complete.
Buffy goes to the library to retrieve Kendra's sword. She encounters Snyder, who gleefully announces that she is expelled. Spike returns to the mansion, concealing that he is well enough to walk. To keep Angelus from killing Giles, Spike suggests that Drusilla use hypnosis. She appears to Giles as Jenny, and he tells her that Angelus is the key. He must use his own blood, not someone else's, to awaken Acathla.
Buffy returns to Whistler, who tells her that if Angelus has awoken Acathla, only Angelus' blood can again defeat him, in the process sending both evil beings to hell. On her way to the mansion she meets Xander, who decides not to pass on Willow's message.
In the mansion, Buffy announces her arrival by decapitating a minion. Spike surprises Angelus from behind, knocking him unconscious and proceeding to beat him brutally. To his dismay, Drusilla sides with her sire, defending Angelus and attacking Spike. Xander frees the injured Giles and they escape as Spike and Buffy fight against Drusilla and the remaining minions. Angelus regains his senses and removes the sword from Acathla; he and Buffy swordfight. Spike knocks Drusilla unconscious and escapes with her in his car, leaving Sunnydale. Angelus overpowers Buffy and continues to torment her.
At the hospital, just as Willow appears close to fainting, she suddenly regains strength and begins incanting in Latin. She succeeds in restoring Angel's soul just as Buffy is about to kill Angelus. Buffy realizes that Angel is back and embraces him. She then sees that Acathla is awake as it opens its mouth and creates an expanding vortex. When Angel, oblivious to the vortex opening behind him, questions what happened and where he is, Buffy kisses him, professes her love and then drives her sword through him into the vortex. Angel is sucked into the closing hellish vortex and the world is saved. Distraught at losing her lover and knowing that she has been expelled from school, Buffy departs from Sunnydale on a bus whilst her friends regroup at school unsure if or when she will return.
- Spike's description of the end of the world as "goodbye Piccadilly, farewell Leicester bloody Square" refers to the song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" by Jack Judge and Harry Williams.
- Spike and Joyce meet for the second time. She asks him if they have met before, and he tells her, "You hit me with an axe one time; you know, 'Get the hell away from my daughter,'" referencing their interaction at Parent-Teacher Night in "School Hard".
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The score to "Becoming" won Christophe Beck a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series.