Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 2, Episode 21

Becoming: Part 1 (12 May 1998)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
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Angel plots to revive an ancient demon bent of sweeping everything on earth into hell itself.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Doug Perren


Angelus reminisces how Angel was turned into a vampire by Darla in 1753, drove Drusilla mad in London in 1860 and was cursed as gypsies' revenge in a Rumanian forest in 1898 to suffer ever since being burdened with a soul and guilty conscience, and witnessed Buffy being shown her destiny in Manhattan in 1996. In 1997 only tutor Willow enjoys preparing for final exams, Buffy is eager to slay Angelus and be done with Angel. Giles is called to the museum after the digging up at a social housing project of an inscribed obelisk which he realizes is a container; Angelus and Drusilla steal it and explain to Spike it's the tomb of the demon Acathla, who was killed by a righteous knight's sword before the demon's breath could swallow the earth; his awakening will open a gateway to a demonic dimension which can then spill into earth. Discovering Jenny's black magic research and intent to return Angel's soul is opposed by Xander, who wants his 'rival for Buffy' dead anyhow, and by Kendra, who ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Fantasy


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 May 1998 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The stuntwoman who was set on fire for the vampiric 'immolation-o-gram' is named Cindy Folkerson. She has been set on fire more times than any other stuntwoman in Hollywood. See more »


The flashback to Angel's introduction to Darla in Galway, Ireland occurs in 1753. But canon has already established that Angel is 241 years old in 1997. Either he hadn't been born or, even if vampires count their age from the year they're "made", the numbers simply don't add up. See more »


Spike: Nice walk, pet?
Drusilla: I met an old man. I didn't like him. He got stuck in my teeth.
See more »


References Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Passion (1998) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A near perfect episode
29 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Oh, where do I even begin? This episode is so beautiful and compelling and flat-out brilliant that it just about melts the TV. It's the first half of the two part season finale. If you're watching BTVS on DVD, you flat out CANNOT skip "Becoming" parts one or two. I don't care if your house is on fire, you need to sit there and see these episodes. (Well, unless it's a really big fire, in which case, evacuate, but take the DVDs with you.) They're that good.

"Becoming Part One" is all about Angel. Through a series of flashbacks we see his life (and un-life) unfold. How he became a vampire back in 18th Century Ireland. Playing mind games with a human Drusilla. Regaining his soul in Romania. Living in New York alleyways. The first time he saw Buffy. (I have a real soft spot for vampire flashback episodes. "Fool for Love" in season five of BTVS and "Darla" & "Orpheus" in seasons two and four of "Angel" add a lot to "Becoming Part One's" back story.) Watching the flashbacks, we're reminded of the sweet, caring guy that Angel really is under Angelus' evil smirk. Is it any wonder that Buffy's been so reluctant to kill him? Time is running out, though. Angelus and Buffy are heading for a final showdown. The Acathla demon has been unearthed in Sunndydale. Basically, it's a big rock monster that can swallow the world into hell if someone triggers it. And Angelus and Dru are eager to wake it up. They just have to figure out how it works.

Meanwhile, Willow and Buffy have discovered Jenny's spell to re-curse Angel, which immediately starts an argument in the Scoobie ranks. Xander and Cordy think that Angel is gone for good. Even if his soul could be restored, they don't believe that Angel can ever be forgiven or trusted. Giles' is feeling equally as conflicted. Jenny's last wish was to re-curse Angel, but he's also the one who killed her. On the other hand, Buffy wants Angel back and Willow knows that she can work the spell. Objectivly, you can see everybody's point of view, (Even if a big part of me wants Xander to just shut-up.) Honestly, what it comes down to is Buffy and Willow are the strongest. Willow's just coming into her powers, but Xander has already been following her lead for years. Buffy's the Slayer and Giles loves her, so he usually tries to give her what she wants. Neither one of them can hold the hard line for long. They agree to proceed with the plan to re-ensoul Angel.

Things go terribly wrong, though. While Buffy meets with Angelus, Dru attacks the Scoobies. She and her henchmen kill Kendra and knock out Willow and Xander. Angelus and Dru believe that Giles can awaken the Acathla demon, so Drusilla kidnaps him right out of the librarian. Buffy comes rushing back to find the carnage and that's when the police arrive. The slow-mo scene of Buffy running and Whistler's voice over is just a perfect way to end the episode.

There are so many great parts to this episode. Like I said, the flashbacks are wonderful. Angel's face when he first sees Buffy just breaks your heart. He's enthralled with her right from the start, he only wanted to help her. Now Angelus has completely taken his place and is out to destroy the world. Speaking of plots to destroy the world, Spike is less than thrilled with this new Acathla plan. (His "I can't wait to tell my friends" speech is hilarious.) He and Angelus/Angel have an interesting love/hate relationship. Angelus absently whacks Spike on the back of his head as he walks by and torments Spike by coming on to Dru, but he doesn't try to really hurt Spike. Even though Spike is (or was) injured and weak. Spike snickers when Angelus fails to awaken the demon and is plotting to bring Angelus down, but he not willing to just stake Angelus when his back is turned. Even though, he could easily catch Angelus off guard and dust him. They're so complicated and I love watching them together.

The name of the episode, "Becoming," is also interesting. In the flashbacks, Whistler, Angel's guide, tells him that he has to "become" someone. Stand up and make himself count. Angelus, meanwhile, says he'll "become" by awakening Acathla. He wants to be the one to "make history... End." Metaphorically, forgetting everything that's happened to him as Angel and, as an added bonus, destroying all the humans on the planet once and for all. They both want to become something more: Angel a better "person" and Angelus a "purer" demon. It's very cool.

The only downside I can think of in this episode is Kendra. I still don't like her accent and I'm not real sorry to see her go.

My favorite part of the episode: Buffy considering the consequences of being sucked into hell. "At least I won't have to take that chemistry final... Or maybe I'll be taking it forever..."

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