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Old November 13 2011, 01:48 AM   #76
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

2.21 Becoming I

Like Passion, this episode begins and ends with a voiceover, this time by Whistler – all about the big moments that change your life and that come whether you want them or not.

Most of the episode is focused on Angel, as we see his life through a series of flashbacks (I think this is the first episode of the verse with flashbacks), which also reveal how Dru and Buffy ‘became’ what they are.

Flashbacks:
  • Galway, Ireland, 1753: Angel becoming a vampire. The one thing that doesn’t work in this flashback is DB’s awful “Irish” accent. But it’s great to have Darla back – and here in her full glory, as a n 18th century femme fatale; the Catholic schoolgirl outfit and bad haircut from season 1 really wasn’t doing her any favors. Our first glimpse of human Angel (at this point his name, Liam, still wasn’t revealed) shows that he wasn’t a brooding, cultured guy, but a cocky, reckless womanizing drunkard wasting his hours away at a tavern. He also makes an unfavorable reference to his father (telling his even drunker buddy they could steal some of his father’s silver, because ‘the pig’ eats with his hands anyway). We’ll learn the full story about Angel’s relationship with his father and about his vamping in AtS season 1 The Prodigal, but here we already learn a few things: that his family is well off but not that cultured, that he really dislikes his father, that he despises “an honest day’s work” and that he’s eager to get away from his town and see the world. He was ripe for the picking for Darla, to offer him to take him away and show him the world, with its exciting and frightening things, which she does after he’s followed her into the alley, drawn by her beauty and elegance. I think this is also the first time we see the full process of siring: Darla tells him “Close your eyes” before she vamps out and kills him by biting his neck, while he isn’t aware what is going on. Then she scratches her chest pulls his head on her chest so he would drink from her, and the image is both erotic and reminiscent of a child sucking on his mother’s breast, which is fittings since Darla is both Angel’s lover and his “mother”.
  • London, England, 1860: Drusilla about to become insane and a vampire. This is out first look at the innocent, deeply religious girl that Dru (or whatever her human name was) was as a human. In Dear Boy we’ll learn that Angel and Darla had noticed her and picked her up while her family was walking in the street, which would mean that Angel had killed the priest with the intention of messing with Dru’s mind, rather that he just happened to be there by accident when Dru came for confession. Dru speaks with her cockney-ish accent, which means that, unlike Spike’s, it was authentic. Her family was a rather religious and superstitious one, and she always had her gift of premonition, which bothered her because her mother thought that she was “cursed”. It is darkly ironic to see Dru call Angel “Father” thinking that he’s the priest, and Angel feeding Dru’s fears and that she’s a “devil child” and should just give in and be evil and that God’s “plan” for her is to be evil. Quite telling are his words that God will smite her down because he’s cruel “like that” (Angel’s reactions to his own Catholic upbringing) and and even more telling his words that “we all want to, at first (to be good), but the world doesn’t work that way”. Classic Angel fatalism.
  • Romanian woods, 1898: Angel becoming a souled vampire – as an elderly Gypsy woman is putting a curse on him for the revenge of their ‘princess’ (we see her dead body, and she looks a bit like Dru). Angel either knew what was going on, or the process was already underway and he was feeling it, as we see him running in fear towards the Gypsy camp to try to stop it. Finally we get to see the process of ensoulment: excruciating pain, glowing eyes and a temporary memory loss, setting up what happens at the crucial moment in Becoming II. The Kalderash elder (later seen in Darla flashbacks) isn’t surprised by Angel not knowing where he is and what is going on, and tells him it’s just temporary and that it will all soon start coming back to him, and that he’ll be tormented by memories of all the people he killed and all the terrible things he did. It seems that he already is starting to remember, as he starts crying out in despair. (Now, I’d say the Gypsies took a risk there – there are quite a few humans who have no conscience despite having a soul...)
  • Manhattan, New York, USA, 1996: Angel prompted by Whistler to “become a person, someone to be counted on”. Another surprise, as we see that, before meeting Buffy, Angel was a useless bum living on the streets and ‘eating’ rats. (Though AtS will later show that he wasn’t always that, he wasn’t homeless for all 100 years and he did do some good occasionally.) Enter Whistler, the first representative of a ‘higher power’ we’ve met in the verse, telling Angel that he can “go two ways”: by this, he doesn’t mean “good or evil” but “even more useless than you are now – or you can become a person”, which for Whistler means someone who matters. To this end, he shows him Buffy:
  • Los Angeles, USA, 1996: Buffy becoming a Slayer. The first time I watched the episode, this was the biggest shock of all flashbacks: even though I knew all the time that pre-Slayer Buffy used to be a shallow valley girl like Cordy or Harmony, it was a still a shock to actually see the Hemery High Buffy, gossiping with her airheaded friends, before her first Watcher, Merrick, approached her to tell her she was a Slayer (followed by Buffy’s “Huh?”). It’s interesting that her being called wasn’t portrayed in the same way as this event was portrayed in Chosen or in season 8 The Chain, where the girl felt it instantaneously.These flashbacks were taken directly from Whedon’s original script for the movie, and pretty much the same scenes can be found in The Origin, except that in this case we see that Angel was secretly watching her. (One thing that doesn’t quite fit is that here it seems that Buffy’s main love interest at the time was someone called Tyler, while in The Origin and the movie she had a boyfriend called Jeffrey, though The Origin kept the line about Tyler but made it seem like he was just some ex she wasn’t going to give a chance.) Buffy is sucking on a lollypop in that first scene, which makes her look all the more Lolitesque (that would be Kubrick’s Lolita, rather than Nabokov’s Lolita, who was a pre-pubescent 12-year old) and adds a creepy vibe to Angel’s instant infatuation with her. It’s only when we see Buffy’s other side – as she first fights with vampires in the graveyard, and then comes home and silently cries in front of the mirror while her parents are fighting in the other room – that she starts to look like the girl we know. It’s not hard to see why Angel fell in love with her: he had nothing and no one, and then Whistler told him that this girl was his purpose in life; she kinda looked like Darla, and the moment he saw her in tears in her room, he probably saw in her a kindred spirit, tortured and ‘different’ like he was. And Whistler sure pushed all Angel’s buttons when he told him that the Slayer will have a hard time and needs his help (“she is just a kid” – weren’t they all?), because Angel loves to save damsels.
These flashbacks are juxtaposed with present day scenes of the same people: flashback #1 followed by evil soulless vampire Angel stalking Buffy in the graveyard, flashback 2 followed by soulless vampire Dru, evil and happy to be evil. All those moments were either forced or initiated by someone else, with the people in question having little choice in the matter. Darla made Angel a vampire while he didn’t even know what was happening to him; Angel drove Dru insane and made her a vampire; the Gypsies forced a soul on Angel; Whistler and the Powers that Be chose Angel (although he did have choice to follow or not); Buffy was chosen, like every other Slayer. Angel did choose to “become someone”, though it was a choice to follow the destiny that someone else had chosen for him – which is the beginning of the history of Angel following the directives from the PTB or struggling with manipulation by higher powers. In the present, evil Angel also wants to “become someone” , to be important, only in this case, he wants to become more demonic and to suck the world into hell. “Watch me as I ascend; as I become”. “Everything that I am, everything that I have done, has lead me here” he says as he’s trying - unsuccessfully - to pull the sword out of Acathla and send the world to hell. It seems that this is what has been driving Angel his entire life: trying to be important and make a difference, whether for good or for evil, depending on whether he is souled or soulless, good or evil at the moment. In The Prodigal, we’ll see where this urge comes from, and that he was happy to tell his father that he had finally “made something of myself” when he became an evil vampire.

There is a cute scene in the cafeteria early in the episode, which shows Xander/Cordy and Willow/Oz at their happiest, and all five of the teenage Scoobies getting along better than ever, and mocking Snyder when he comes to be his annoying self and harass them for acting ‘inappropriately’ with their ‘public displays of affection’. But other than that, this is one of the show’s darkest episodes.

Buffy finally accidentally finds Jenny’s disc with the instructions how to perform the curse and restore Angel’s soul, which leads to a big Scooby argument in the library, when Xander argues that he doesn’t care about Angel’s soul, Angel should simply die for what he’s done. It’s not the last heated argument of that kind that Xander and Buffy will have (Revelations in season 3).There are no clear good and bad guys there: Xander ‘s stance is understandable, and he probably speaks for many fans who felt the same about Angel after the horrible things he did in season 2. But Xander is prone to black and white thinking and is ignoring the soul-no soul issue (as Buffy says, it is more complicated than that) and he’s also as biased as Buffy here, since he always hated Angel. He is very harsh (“You want to forget all about Ms Calendar’s murder so you could have your boyfriend back”) and comes off as insensitive, not just to Buffy but also when he brings up Jenny’s murder in front of Giles, who is trying to maintain perspective as well as honor Jenny’s wish to restore Angel’s soul (and who gets rightfully angry when Xander mocks him for his attempts at impartiality). It’s interesting compare thids scene to Selfless in season 7, when Xander will be on the other side of the debate. Buffy in Becoming makes the point to Xander that Angel didn’t choose what happened to him (which is true both fof Angel becoming a vampire and for losing his soul in season 2), and that in Selfless she makes the same argument about Spike, contrasting it with Anya who did choose to become a vengeance demon, twice.

But while Xander’s argument that Angel is still responsible for his actions and unforgivable does have merit (as does Buffy’s argument), one thing that doesn’t make sense to me in this scene is that everyone is forgetting to point out the pragmatic value of restoring Angel’s soul. There’s no guarantee that Buffy can beat him, so how would it not be a good thing to restore his soul if it stops him from killing people and trying to end the world?

Buffy does make that point later on, calling Willow their last hope if she doesn’t manage to stop Angel from ending the world, and she and Xander make up as he wishes her luck. But she decides it while looking at the Claddagh ring in her room, which suggests she did make this decision mostly because she wants the old Angel back. Willow decides to do the spell, which is the beginning of her magic practice.

Kendra (less ridiculously dressed this time, but still with too much makeup for someone who supposedly isn’t into socializing and ‘girly’ stuff) comes back to help stop the apocalypse; her friendly goodbye with Buffy (giving her her stake for good luck) in hindsight seems like setting up her death.

Oh hi, vampire minions! Where have you been so long? Funny how they were conveniently absent in all those scenes with Angel, Spike and Dru in the previous episodes. I was already wondering if those three have any minions left. This time we see them bringing Angel a human to sacrifice to Acathla, we see a few of them fighting in the library later, and an anonymous female vampire (dubbed “immolationogram” by Buffy) comes to the school in broad daylight, covered by a veil, just to deliver a message to Buffy that she must meet Angel at the graveyard that evening or more people will die (which is really a set-up to draw Buffy away from the library) – and lets herself burn in front of the whole class! Too bad we never got to actually dwell on the characters of those minor vamps. Not all vampires are very concerned about self-preservation, apparently – this one was ready to sacrifice herself for the common evil!

Mythology: Several huge things are introduced in this episode:an ancient artefact, which turns out to be the demon Acathla (who is pretty much Judge 2.0, except that he never gets to talk or do anything) who would suck the world into hell the moment he awakens, and another prophecy that needs to be interpreted, about the ways to awaken him. The first mention of other dimensions, and of a hell dimension (though at this point we didn’t know that there are many of them). Another big weapon – this time a sword that Kendra brings with her and that Buffy will use to fight Angel in part 2.

Whistler, the first non-evil demon we meet, and the first representative of the Powers that Be – though he doesn’t mention them at this point. I’m saying “not-evil”, because there was never really any evidence of Whistler being good; he says he’s not a bad guy and that he isn’t dedicated to destruction of all life, but he never claims to be on the side of good. He makes it clear in parts 1 and 2 that his task is to restore balance between good and evil. So, when evil is stronger, as in Becoming, he helps the good; but when the good gets too strong… he helps evil? This is good to keep in mind when trying to understand his appearances in BtVS comics. He’s certainly meant to be mysterious: “Nobody understands me – that’s my curse”.

Recurring characters introduced: The Kalderash Elder qualifies as such, since he’s going to be in AtS season 2 in a flashback as well. So does Whistler, due to his appearance in season 8 and Angel & Faith.

Character death: Kendra, killed by Dru in a very memorable scene that manages to make it feel really sad, even though the character has been in just 3 episodes.

Best scene: The final scenes are really memorable and well-done, as Buffy falls for the same trap she fell for in When She Was Bad (which Angel mocks her for: “And you fall for it every single time”), going to fight Angel in the graveyard (while Willow is trying to perform the curse in the library), when the real goal was to draw her out so Dru and the minions would kidnap Giles, their source of info about awakening Acathla. Willow gets badly injured and knocked unconscious by a shelf that falls on her, Giles does his best to fight until he’s knocked unconscious (again!), Xander fights really well for a non-superpowered human, until he gets injured; he shows concern for Cordelia, telling her to leave, and she is scared and runs away; Kendra is, of course, the only fighter who really has a chance. The fight scene is pretty good, but the really memorable moments are the entrance of Dru – while Buffy is desperately running back to the library to help her friends - and the way she hypnotizes Kendra and renders her helpless, before slashing her neck with her long fingernails. This is the first time we learn that Dru has the power of hypnotism (similar to Lothos in the movie/The Origin) and the first time we see just how scary she can be.

But the most effective moment is the very ending, with the slow-motion of Buffy running into the library too late and finding Kendra’s dead body. With her slaying partner dead, Willow with a life-threatening injury, and Giles kidnapped, things look incredibly bleak for Buffy, and then on top of it the police arrive and are about to arrest her for murder. Over this, Whistler’s voice over sets up Becoming part 2, which is all about how Buffy deals with this desperate situation:

“Bottom line is, even if you see them 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. You'll see what I mean.”

Best lines: As a Whedon-penned episode, this one has lots of great dialogue. In addition to Whistler’s voice over quoted above, there are a bunch of funny lines:

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

Dru: I met an old man. I didn’t like him. He got stuck in my teeth.

Spike has several great moments as he’s making fun of Angel and his big apocalyptic gestures. His reaction to Acathla is classic: “It’s a big rock. I can’t wait tell my friends. They don’t have a rock this big.” (Much funnier with James Marsters’ deadpan delivery.) Another classic is his taunting “Someone wasn’t wooor-thy” when Angel doesn’t manage to pull the sword from the Acathla, which a “worthy” person is supposed to do, according to the prophecy.

Angel/Angelus: The Gypsies plan would make no sense if (they at least don’t believe that) souled and soulless Angel aren’t the same person. They cursed the killer of their favorite daughter to suffer remembering his crimes. Why would they curse some poor guy to suffer for another one’s crimes, if “Angelus” (though nobody is calling him that in this episode, either) is the one responsible but isn’t even suffering?

Xander also believes that Angel is the same person either way, and Buffy, Willow and Giles must believe that, too, or else they would have countered his argument with “But Angel isn’t responsible since this evil guy is someone else!”

Inconsistencies: Angel’s year of birth and vamping is different from what we learned in Halloween. Willow said that Giles’ Watcher books said that Angel was 18 in 1775, which would make his human birth date 1757.

The immolationogram vampire burns immediately in indirect sunlight. Later on we see Spike able to withstand a few seconds of direct sunlight, and neither he nor Angel, Dru or Darla have that much of a problem with indirect sunlight. So either the vampires of name have Plot Armor, or maybe older vampires have a higher resilience to the sun.

Nicknames: Kendra calls her stake “Mr. Pointy”. Also interesting to mention is that Angel sarcastically calls Buffy "lover" and (to himself, when she's not listening) "my love".

Buffy-speak: Buffy: “I was making with the funny”.

Pop culture references: Buffy calls Acathla “Al Franken”.

Foreshadowing: Mostly for part 2: apart from Whisler’s ending speech, Snyder threatens to expel Buffy if he just finds a reason.

Rating: 5 – not just a great setup for part 2, but a brilliant episode in its own right.
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my Buffy/Angel rewatch

Last edited by DevilEyes; November 13 2011 at 02:01 AM.
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Old November 16 2011, 10:44 PM   #77
Seven of Five
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

I agree with your asssertion that Go Fish is a pretty decent episode, but its placement in the season was not well thought through. The Angelus arc in season two was pretty dark throughout, so I can't blame the producers for thinking we should stop for a pause before Becoming, as it was pretty relentless. I just wish they'd done something else really.

I don't know how much I agree with your thoughts on the attempted rape of Buffy. It's not something I gave much thought to when I first saw it, but you're right - the episode makes light of it. It is, in essence, a light episode though, so does that excuse it? I really don't know. Xander with speedos on certainly helps somewhat. Call me shallow.

What I do know, though, is that I was more bothered in season six when Spike attempted to rape Buffy. Yeah sure, he felt terrible, went off and got a soul after it all, but there seemed to be a total lack of followup to it in regards to the Buffy/Spike relationship. I suppose Seeing Red was a far more serious episode, during one of the most serious seasons of all. And season seven isn't reknowned for a depth of good writing. Buffy shouldn't have been so quick to defend Spike all the time though.

But anyway, mostly I posted that because I thought I'd already posted a response a week ago, and then saw that I didn't when I saw the Becoming update!

Becoming is excellent. And yes, Becoming Part One is excellent in its own right too. I remember watching it years ago, which is the only time I saw part one before having to wait a week for part two. The assault on the Scoobies in the library is heartbeaking; Kendra's death gets to me way more than it should for a small character! But the Buffy universe just isn't a safe place to live. The police shout of "FREEZE!" at the end was the perfect cliffhanger.

I really thought Xander was a jerk in this episode back when, even though he was totally right in his feelings. After everything that Angelus has done to them, Xander was right to be skeptical. But at the time, I couldn't help but wish for my dream ending of the scoobies giving Angel his soul back and Buffy getting back with him. Absolute trash! I mean that's how it eventually wound up, but how we got there was far more interesting than my crappy 15/16 year old wishes!

The episode is brilliant setup for the next part, which is just as emotionally involving. Can't wait for your next review!
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Old November 17 2011, 12:45 AM   #78
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
2.21 Becoming I

Like Passion, this episode begins and ends with a voiceover, this time by Whistler – all about the big moments that change your life and that come whether you want them or not.

Most of the episode is focused on Angel, as we see his life through a series of flashbacks (I think this is the first episode of the verse with flashbacks), which also reveal how Dru and Buffy ‘became’ what they are.

Flashbacks:
  • Galway, Ireland, 1753: Angel becoming a vampire. The one thing that doesn’t work in this flashback is DB’s awful “Irish” accent. But it’s great to have Darla back – and here in her full glory, as a n 18th century femme fatale; the Catholic schoolgirl outfit and bad haircut from season 1 really wasn’t doing her any favors. Our first glimpse of human Angel (at this point his name, Liam, still wasn’t revealed) shows that he wasn’t a brooding, cultured guy, but a cocky, reckless womanizing drunkard wasting his hours away at a tavern. He also makes an unfavorable reference to his father (telling his even drunker buddy they could steal some of his father’s silver, because ‘the pig’ eats with his hands anyway). We’ll learn the full story about Angel’s relationship with his father and about his vamping in AtS season 1 The Prodigal, but here we already learn a few things: that his family is well off but not that cultured, that he really dislikes his father, that he despises “an honest day’s work” and that he’s eager to get away from his town and see the world. He was ripe for the picking for Darla, to offer him to take him away and show him the world, with its exciting and frightening things, which she does after he’s followed her into the alley, drawn by her beauty and elegance. I think this is also the first time we see the full process of siring: Darla tells him “Close your eyes” before she vamps out and kills him by biting his neck, while he isn’t aware what is going on. Then she scratches her chest pulls his head on her chest so he would drink from her, and the image is both erotic and reminiscent of a child sucking on his mother’s breast, which is fittings since Darla is both Angel’s lover and his “mother”.
  • London, England, 1860: Drusilla about to become insane and a vampire. This is out first look at the innocent, deeply religious girl that Dru (or whatever her human name was) was as a human. In Dear Boy we’ll learn that Angel and Darla had noticed her and picked her up while her family was walking in the street, which would mean that Angel had killed the priest with the intention of messing with Dru’s mind, rather that he just happened to be there by accident when Dru came for confession. Dru speaks with her cockney-ish accent, which means that, unlike Spike’s, it was authentic. Her family was a rather religious and superstitious one, and she always had her gift of premonition, which bothered her because her mother thought that she was “cursed”. It is darkly ironic to see Dru call Angel “Father” thinking that he’s the priest, and Angel feeding Dru’s fears and that she’s a “devil child” and should just give in and be evil and that God’s “plan” for her is to be evil. Quite telling are his words that God will smite her down because he’s cruel “like that” (Angel’s reactions to his own Catholic upbringing) and and even more telling his words that “we all want to, at first (to be good), but the world doesn’t work that way”. Classic Angel fatalism.
  • Romanian woods, 1898: Angel becoming a souled vampire – as an elderly Gypsy woman is putting a curse on him for the revenge of their ‘princess’ (we see her dead body, and she looks a bit like Dru). Angel either knew what was going on, or the process was already underway and he was feeling it, as we see him running in fear towards the Gypsy camp to try to stop it. Finally we get to see the process of ensoulment: excruciating pain, glowing eyes and a temporary memory loss, setting up what happens at the crucial moment in Becoming II. The Kalderash elder (later seen in Darla flashbacks) isn’t surprised by Angel not knowing where he is and what is going on, and tells him it’s just temporary and that it will all soon start coming back to him, and that he’ll be tormented by memories of all the people he killed and all the terrible things he did. It seems that he already is starting to remember, as he starts crying out in despair. (Now, I’d say the Gypsies took a risk there – there are quite a few humans who have no conscience despite having a soul...)
  • Manhattan, New York, USA, 1996: Angel prompted by Whistler to “become a person, someone to be counted on”. Another surprise, as we see that, before meeting Buffy, Angel was a useless bum living on the streets and ‘eating’ rats. (Though AtS will later show that he wasn’t always that, he wasn’t homeless for all 100 years and he did do some good occasionally.) Enter Whistler, the first representative of a ‘higher power’ we’ve met in the verse, telling Angel that he can “go two ways”: by this, he doesn’t mean “good or evil” but “even more useless than you are now – or you can become a person”, which for Whistler means someone who matters. To this end, he shows him Buffy:
These flashbacks are juxtaposed with present day scenes of the same people: flashback #1 followed by evil soulless vampire Angel stalking Buffy in the graveyard, flashback 2 followed by soulless vampire Dru, evil and happy to be evil. All those moments were either forced or initiated by someone else, with the people in question having little choice in the matter. Darla made Angel a vampire while he didn’t even know what was happening to him; Angel drove Dru insane and made her a vampire; the Gypsies forced a soul on Angel; Whistler and the Powers that Be chose Angel (although he did have choice to follow or not); Buffy was chosen, like every other Slayer. Angel did choose to “become someone”, though it was a choice to follow the destiny that someone else had chosen for him – which is the beginning of the history of Angel following the directives from the PTB or struggling with manipulation by higher powers. In the present, evil Angel also wants to “become someone” , to be important, only in this case, he wants to become more demonic and to suck the world into hell. “Watch me as I ascend; as I become”. “Everything that I am, everything that I have done, has lead me here” he says as he’s trying - unsuccessfully - to pull the sword out of Acathla and send the world to hell. It seems that this is what has been driving Angel his entire life: trying to be important and make a difference, whether for good or for evil, depending on whether he is souled or soulless, good or evil at the moment. In The Prodigal, we’ll see where this urge comes from, and that he was happy to tell his father that he had finally “made something of myself” when he became an evil vampire.

There is a cute scene in the cafeteria early in the episode, which shows Xander/Cordy and Willow/Oz at their happiest, and all five of the teenage Scoobies getting along better than ever, and mocking Snyder when he comes to be his annoying self and harass them for acting ‘inappropriately’ with their ‘public displays of affection’. But other than that, this is one of the show’s darkest episodes.

Buffy finally accidentally finds Jenny’s disc with the instructions how to perform the curse and restore Angel’s soul, which leads to a big Scooby argument in the library, when Xander argues that he doesn’t care about Angel’s soul, Angel should simply die for what he’s done. It’s not the last heated argument of that kind that Xander and Buffy will have (Revelations in season 3).There are no clear good and bad guys there: Xander ‘s stance is understandable, and he probably speaks for many fans who felt the same about Angel after the horrible things he did in season 2. But Xander is prone to black and white thinking and is ignoring the soul-no soul issue (as Buffy says, it is more complicated than that) and he’s also as biased as Buffy here, since he always hated Angel. He is very harsh (“You want to forget all about Ms Calendar’s murder so you could have your boyfriend back”) and comes off as insensitive, not just to Buffy but also when he brings up Jenny’s murder in front of Giles, who is trying to maintain perspective as well as honor Jenny’s wish to restore Angel’s soul (and who gets rightfully angry when Xander mocks him for his attempts at impartiality). It’s interesting compare thids scene to Selfless in season 7, when Xander will be on the other side of the debate. Buffy in Becoming makes the point to Xander that Angel didn’t choose what happened to him (which is true both fof Angel becoming a vampire and for losing his soul in season 2), and that in Selfless she makes the same argument about Spike, contrasting it with Anya who did choose to become a vengeance demon, twice.

But while Xander’s argument that Angel is still responsible for his actions and unforgivable does have merit (as does Buffy’s argument), one thing that doesn’t make sense to me in this scene is that everyone is forgetting to point out the pragmatic value of restoring Angel’s soul. There’s no guarantee that Buffy can beat him, so how would it not be a good thing to restore his soul if it stops him from killing people and trying to end the world?

Buffy does make that point later on, calling Willow their last hope if she doesn’t manage to stop Angel from ending the world, and she and Xander make up as he wishes her luck. But she decides it while looking at the Claddagh ring in her room, which suggests she did make this decision mostly because she wants the old Angel back. Willow decides to do the spell, which is the beginning of her magic practice.

Kendra (less ridiculously dressed this time, but still with too much makeup for someone who supposedly isn’t into socializing and ‘girly’ stuff) comes back to help stop the apocalypse; her friendly goodbye with Buffy (giving her her stake for good luck) in hindsight seems like setting up her death.

Oh hi, vampire minions! Where have you been so long? Funny how they were conveniently absent in all those scenes with Angel, Spike and Dru in the previous episodes. I was already wondering if those three have any minions left. This time we see them bringing Angel a human to sacrifice to Acathla, we see a few of them fighting in the library later, and an anonymous female vampire (dubbed “immolationogram” by Buffy) comes to the school in broad daylight, covered by a veil, just to deliver a message to Buffy that she must meet Angel at the graveyard that evening or more people will die (which is really a set-up to draw Buffy away from the library) – and lets herself burn in front of the whole class! Too bad we never got to actually dwell on the characters of those minor vamps. Not all vampires are very concerned about self-preservation, apparently – this one was ready to sacrifice herself for the common evil!

Mythology: Several huge things are introduced in this episode:an ancient artefact, which turns out to be the demon Acathla (who is pretty much Judge 2.0, except that he never gets to talk or do anything) who would suck the world into hell the moment he awakens, and another prophecy that needs to be interpreted, about the ways to awaken him. The first mention of other dimensions, and of a hell dimension (though at this point we didn’t know that there are many of them). Another big weapon – this time a sword that Kendra brings with her and that Buffy will use to fight Angel in part 2.

Whistler, the first non-evil demon we meet, and the first representative of the Powers that Be – though he doesn’t mention them at this point. I’m saying “not-evil”, because there was never really any evidence of Whistler being good; he says he’s not a bad guy and that he isn’t dedicated to destruction of all life, but he never claims to be on the side of good. He makes it clear in parts 1 and 2 that his task is to restore balance between good and evil. So, when evil is stronger, as in Becoming, he helps the good; but when the good gets too strong… he helps evil? This is good to keep in mind when trying to understand his appearances in BtVS comics. He’s certainly meant to be mysterious: “Nobody understands me – that’s my curse”.

Recurring characters introduced: The Kalderash Elder qualifies as such, since he’s going to be in AtS season 2 in a flashback as well. So does Whistler, due to his appearance in season 8 and Angel & Faith.

Character death: Kendra, killed by Dru in a very memorable scene that manages to make it feel really sad, even though the character has been in just 3 episodes.

Best scene: The final scenes are really memorable and well-done, as Buffy falls for the same trap she fell for in When She Was Bad (which Angel mocks her for: “And you fall for it every single time”), going to fight Angel in the graveyard (while Willow is trying to perform the curse in the library), when the real goal was to draw her out so Dru and the minions would kidnap Giles, their source of info about awakening Acathla. Willow gets badly injured and knocked unconscious by a shelf that falls on her, Giles does his best to fight until he’s knocked unconscious (again!), Xander fights really well for a non-superpowered human, until he gets injured; he shows concern for Cordelia, telling her to leave, and she is scared and runs away; Kendra is, of course, the only fighter who really has a chance. The fight scene is pretty good, but the really memorable moments are the entrance of Dru – while Buffy is desperately running back to the library to help her friends - and the way she hypnotizes Kendra and renders her helpless, before slashing her neck with her long fingernails. This is the first time we learn that Dru has the power of hypnotism (similar to Lothos in the movie/The Origin) and the first time we see just how scary she can be.

But the most effective moment is the very ending, with the slow-motion of Buffy running into the library too late and finding Kendra’s dead body. With her slaying partner dead, Willow with a life-threatening injury, and Giles kidnapped, things look incredibly bleak for Buffy, and then on top of it the police arrive and are about to arrest her for murder. Over this, Whistler’s voice over sets up Becoming part 2, which is all about how Buffy deals with this desperate situation:

“Bottom line is, even if you see them 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. You'll see what I mean.”

Best lines: As a Whedon-penned episode, this one has lots of great dialogue. In addition to Whistler’s voice over quoted above, there are a bunch of funny lines:

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

Dru: I met an old man. I didn’t like him. He got stuck in my teeth.

Spike has several great moments as he’s making fun of Angel and his big apocalyptic gestures. His reaction to Acathla is classic: “It’s a big rock. I can’t wait tell my friends. They don’t have a rock this big.” (Much funnier with James Marsters’ deadpan delivery.) Another classic is his taunting “Someone wasn’t wooor-thy” when Angel doesn’t manage to pull the sword from the Acathla, which a “worthy” person is supposed to do, according to the prophecy.

Angel/Angelus: The Gypsies plan would make no sense if (they at least don’t believe that) souled and soulless Angel aren’t the same person. They cursed the killer of their favorite daughter to suffer remembering his crimes. Why would they curse some poor guy to suffer for another one’s crimes, if “Angelus” (though nobody is calling him that in this episode, either) is the one responsible but isn’t even suffering?

Xander also believes that Angel is the same person either way, and Buffy, Willow and Giles must believe that, too, or else they would have countered his argument with “But Angel isn’t responsible since this evil guy is someone else!”

Inconsistencies: Angel’s year of birth and vamping is different from what we learned in Halloween. Willow said that Giles’ Watcher books said that Angel was 18 in 1775, which would make his human birth date 1757.

The immolationogram vampire burns immediately in indirect sunlight. Later on we see Spike able to withstand a few seconds of direct sunlight, and neither he nor Angel, Dru or Darla have that much of a problem with indirect sunlight. So either the vampires of name have Plot Armor, or maybe older vampires have a higher resilience to the sun.

Nicknames: Kendra calls her stake “Mr. Pointy”. Also interesting to mention is that Angel sarcastically calls Buffy "lover" and (to himself, when she's not listening) "my love".

Buffy-speak: Buffy: “I was making with the funny”.

Pop culture references: Buffy calls Acathla “Al Franken”.

Foreshadowing: Mostly for part 2: apart from Whisler’s ending speech, Snyder threatens to expel Buffy if he just finds a reason.

Rating: 5 – not just a great setup for part 2, but a brilliant episode in its own right.
Good review, here's mine;
http://www.revolutionsf.com/bb/viewt...r=asc&start=45

David's accent is one of the worst things about the show frankly but apart from that the flashbacks are terrific. I also sometimes wonder about the vamp minions, the amount of loyalty to their sire does seem to vary as we'll see with Mr Trick in season 3.

First appearance of Mr Pointy!
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Old November 17 2011, 01:50 AM   #79
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven of Five wrote: View Post
I agree with your asssertion that Go Fish is a pretty decent episode, but its placement in the season was not well thought through. The Angelus arc in season two was pretty dark throughout, so I can't blame the producers for thinking we should stop for a pause before Becoming, as it was pretty relentless. I just wish they'd done something else really.

I don't know how much I agree with your thoughts on the attempted rape of Buffy. It's not something I gave much thought to when I first saw it, but you're right - the episode makes light of it. It is, in essence, a light episode though, so does that excuse it? I really don't know. Xander with speedos on certainly helps somewhat. Call me shallow.

What I do know, though, is that I was more bothered in season six when Spike attempted to rape Buffy. Yeah sure, he felt terrible, went off and got a soul after it all, but there seemed to be a total lack of followup to it in regards to the Buffy/Spike relationship. I suppose Seeing Red was a far more serious episode, during one of the most serious seasons of all. And season seven isn't reknowned for a depth of good writing. Buffy shouldn't have been so quick to defend Spike all the time though.
I don't agree that there wasn't a follow-up in regards to Buffy/Spike. It's what Beneath You is all about, they talk about it in Never Leave Me and Buffy even alludes to it briefly in Touched. I think the follow-up was done just right, one of the few times I can say that was the case. They just, thankfully, didn't beat us over the head with it in every episode in a "Lifetime special!" kind of way. (Interesting to note, some people think it wasn't enough, while there are others who think that the show made it look like Spike was the only one to blame for the way their relationship was in season 6 and complain that Buffy was let off easily and that there was no follow-up to her beating him up in Dead Things. Though that last bit is the only thing I agree with, they screwed up with the way they followed it in Older and Far Away.)

Spike deciding to get his soul back ("to be the kind of man who would never...") was a huge deal for Buffy, and frankly, if the show had made her act like the AR was unforgivable despite it, I would have found it an incredibly jarring double standard, considering that Angel was completely forgiven in season 3 for everything he did in season 2, including the murder of Jenny and a bunch of other people, just because he had his soul forced on him again. In addition, season 7 didn't spend more than a couple of episodes on the issue of Willow's guilt for having murdered two people, tried to kill her friends and to destroy the world. Then there's Andrew, who was forgiven for murdering his best friend only because he finally managed to admit his guilt.

The fandom seems to treat the AR in Seeing Red as if it happened in real life, while almost everything else is treated much more lightly, like something from the fictional land. I think this is probably because it was much closer to life than, say, Willow violating Tara's mind to keep her in a relationship with her, since we don't have magic in real life, and because, unlike so many other disturbing moment on the show, which either had a Gothic feel to it, or were treated in a light comedic way, that scene in Seeing Red was filmed very realistically. In real life, I agree that it would be disturbing to have someone forgive their rapist, but it's a whole different thing in the context of Buffyverse, where soul/no soul is such a huge issue, where redemption is one of the big themes, and where almost every character has at some point been guilty of murder/attempted murder, manslaughter, rape/attempted rape, mind rape, or starting an apocalypse, and most of the time they either got away with it or were forgiven rather quickly.

Anyway, I love the way Buffy/Spike was developed in season 7. It's one of the best things about the season. Sadly a bunch of other things weren't that good... like the whole arc of the First and what the hell its plan was, what the hell it wanted to do with Spike, etc. Which was so disappointing, in the first few episodes I was really pumped up and expected the First to be one of the best villains ever. Its concept was really interesting and scary. The season started really promising and was shaping up to be great, and then it gets into a slump in the middle - from Bring on the Night, when Buffy starts giving a lot of boring speeches - and never quite recovers. And most of the episodes, despite having some great scenes or occasional great dialogue, were either flawed or just missing *something*. Except CWDP, which is one of my all-time favorites.

But we'll get to talk more about that when we get to seasons 6 and 7 (though at the speed I've been writing these reviews, that might not happen before 2013 ).

saturn5 wrote: View Post
This is interesting:
The 'Do you know what time it is?' line is very clever, the same words as Joyce says in the movie but with a completely different meaning.
Can you remind me how it was used in the movie? I've seen it a long time ago and I don't remember much.
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Old November 17 2011, 11:40 AM   #80
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
But we'll get to talk more about that when we get to seasons 6 and 7 (though at the speed I've been writing these reviews, that might not happen before 2013 ).
Well I'll still be reading! I love your reviews. I've seen Buffy a zillion times but it's very nice reading something as in depth as this as it makes it all seem fresh again.

And season seven did start off well, I agree. There were enough decent ideas around, but a lot of bad execution. But yeah, that's the future.
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Old November 17 2011, 01:52 PM   #81
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
Seven of Five wrote: View Post
I agree with your asssertion that Go Fish is a pretty decent episode, but its placement in the season was not well thought through. The Angelus arc in season two was pretty dark throughout, so I can't blame the producers for thinking we should stop for a pause before Becoming, as it was pretty relentless. I just wish they'd done something else really.

I don't know how much I agree with your thoughts on the attempted rape of Buffy. It's not something I gave much thought to when I first saw it, but you're right - the episode makes light of it. It is, in essence, a light episode though, so does that excuse it? I really don't know. Xander with speedos on certainly helps somewhat. Call me shallow.

What I do know, though, is that I was more bothered in season six when Spike attempted to rape Buffy. Yeah sure, he felt terrible, went off and got a soul after it all, but there seemed to be a total lack of followup to it in regards to the Buffy/Spike relationship. I suppose Seeing Red was a far more serious episode, during one of the most serious seasons of all. And season seven isn't reknowned for a depth of good writing. Buffy shouldn't have been so quick to defend Spike all the time though.
I don't agree that there wasn't a follow-up in regards to Buffy/Spike. It's what Beneath You is all about, they talk about it in Never Leave Me and Buffy even alludes to it briefly in Touched. I think the follow-up was done just right, one of the few times I can say that was the case. They just, thankfully, didn't beat us over the head with it in every episode in a "Lifetime special!" kind of way. (Interesting to note, some people think it wasn't enough, while there are others who think that the show made it look like Spike was the only one to blame for the way their relationship was in season 6 and complain that Buffy was let off easily and that there was no follow-up to her beating him up in Dead Things. Though that last bit is the only thing I agree with, they screwed up with the way they followed it in Older and Far Away.)

Spike deciding to get his soul back ("to be the kind of man who would never...") was a huge deal for Buffy, and frankly, if the show had made her act like the AR was unforgivable despite it, I would have found it an incredibly jarring double standard, considering that Angel was completely forgiven in season 3 for everything he did in season 2, including the murder of Jenny and a bunch of other people, just because he had his soul forced on him again. In addition, season 7 didn't spend more than a couple of episodes on the issue of Willow's guilt for having murdered two people, tried to kill her friends and to destroy the world. Then there's Andrew, who was forgiven for murdering his best friend only because he finally managed to admit his guilt.

The fandom seems to treat the AR in Seeing Red as if it happened in real life, while almost everything else is treated much more lightly, like something from the fictional land. I think this is probably because it was much closer to life than, say, Willow violating Tara's mind to keep her in a relationship with her, since we don't have magic in real life, and because, unlike so many other disturbing moment on the show, which either had a Gothic feel to it, or were treated in a light comedic way, that scene in Seeing Red was filmed very realistically. In real life, I agree that it would be disturbing to have someone forgive their rapist, but it's a whole different thing in the context of Buffyverse, where soul/no soul is such a huge issue, where redemption is one of the big themes, and where almost every character has at some point been guilty of murder/attempted murder, manslaughter, rape/attempted rape, mind rape, or starting an apocalypse, and most of the time they either got away with it or were forgiven rather quickly.

Anyway, I love the way Buffy/Spike was developed in season 7. It's one of the best things about the season. Sadly a bunch of other things weren't that good... like the whole arc of the First and what the hell its plan was, what the hell it wanted to do with Spike, etc. Which was so disappointing, in the first few episodes I was really pumped up and expected the First to be one of the best villains ever. Its concept was really interesting and scary. The season started really promising and was shaping up to be great, and then it gets into a slump in the middle - from Bring on the Night, when Buffy starts giving a lot of boring speeches - and never quite recovers. And most of the episodes, despite having some great scenes or occasional great dialogue, were either flawed or just missing *something*. Except CWDP, which is one of my all-time favorites.

But we'll get to talk more about that when we get to seasons 6 and 7 (though at the speed I've been writing these reviews, that might not happen before 2013 ).

saturn5 wrote: View Post
This is interesting:
The 'Do you know what time it is?' line is very clever, the same words as Joyce says in the movie but with a completely different meaning.
Can you remind me how it was used in the movie? I've seen it a long time ago and I don't remember much.
In the Buffy movie Joyce is played by porn-star Candy Clark and when Buffy comes home late from Slaying she asks her 'What time is it?' not because she's concerned but because her own watch has stopped.
I don't think they 'gloss over' the rape at all, it's the trigger for Spike getting his soul back he feels so guilty. There is no equivalent between Buffy wailing on Spike in the previous episode, they hit each other all the time. There is a great essasy waiting to be written 'Rape in the Buffyverse', by my reckoning she's been raped/sexually assaulted 7 times, by Xander in The Pack, the Master in Prophecy Girl, Larry in Halloween, Cal in his car and the swimteam in Go Fish, Spike in Seeing Red and the Shadowmen's demon in Get it Done. Given Joss' supposed feminist characteristics he puts his heroines through an awful lot. Not to mention Cordy who never meets a demon she doesn't get knocked up by. But the Spike/Buffy scene has the greatest impact because it's REAL, you could actually imagine this happening between boyfriend and girlfriend.
That said, 2 of the rapes in the Buffyverse are actually carried out by women, Willow on Tara and Faith-as-Buffy on Riley.
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Old November 17 2011, 08:08 PM   #82
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
There is no equivalent between Buffy wailing on Spike in the previous episode, they hit each other all the time.
It's not the same as the two of them punching each other like they do in Smashed and plenty of other times. In Dead Things Spike decides not to defend himself and tells her to "put it all on me" and Buffy pounds on him savagely until his face looks like a hamburger. (Apparently, in the first shoot they made his face look even worse, but Joss said it was too much and they changed it.) It's pretty disturbing and, unlike their regular fistfights, it looks like a domestic violence situation, which is why a lot of fans I know never quite got over it. Although I don't agree with people who equate it to a real life domestic violence situation, since Spike starts it by throwing her into the alley, to stop her from giving herself up to the police, and after she first punches him he goes into vampface and goads her into it, thinking that she needs to unload her self-hatred on him rather than herself. Spike is in the one in control of what is happening in their relationship throughout Dead Things, even in that scene. I should also say that I sympathize with Buffy a lot there, she was in a very bad emotional place and at the breaking point, she was really projecting her own self-hatred (when she's screaming "You're dead inside, you can't feel anything real" it's obvious it's not him she's addressing; it's similar to Faith beating up Buffy-in-Faith's body in Who Are You and screaming "You're nothing! Disgusting! Murderer!", really aimed at herself), and the shock on her face when she sees his human face (as it goes out of vampface). Fans who hate Buffy say that she never felt guilty, but it's enough to see the look of horror on her face as she sees his human face and realizes what she's done. (Not to mention that in CWDP she blames herself for "behaving like a monster".)

The only problem I have is that in the next episode, we don't see them talking about it (except for one angry remark by Spike, "What are you going to do, beat me up again?") and they are on good terms and joking and flirting in Older and Far Away, and Buffy even tells Tara that she's thinking of "coming out" to her friends. And we're left to imagine how they went from the really bad place they were in DT to that. Even Marti Noxon admitted that they screwed up there by making Buffy and Spike so OK with each other right after DT.


There is a great essasy waiting to be written 'Rape in the Buffyverse', by my reckoning she's been raped/sexually assaulted 7 times, by Xander in The Pack, the Master in Prophecy Girl, Larry in Halloween, Cal in his car and the swimteam in Go Fish, Spike in Seeing Red and the Shadowmen's demon in Get it Done.
And season 8 has some very murky consent issues.

I don't think that Master killing her can be called a sexual assault. Vampire biting is often portrayed as sexual, and vampire attack as a metaphor for rape, but not always. It certainly wasn't a literal sexual assault like the others you mention. And it wasn't exactly portrayed as sexual with the Master, as it was with Spike/Willow in The Initiative.

If we were to include the Master, then we should also include Spike biting her in Out of My Mind and Dracula putting a thrall on her and biting her.

Given Joss' supposed feminist characteristics he puts his heroines through an awful lot.
Oh hell yes. The more he loves a character, the more he's likely to torture them. Probably because it leads to them showing their mettle by fighting back and overcoming the situation.

But the Spike/Buffy scene has the greatest impact because it's REAL, you could actually imagine this happening between boyfriend and girlfriend.
That said, 2 of the rapes in the Buffyverse are actually carried out by women, Willow on Tara and Faith-as-Buffy on Riley.
Yes, good point. But that's the thing, people don't react to them as strongly even if they realize it's rape (and many don't even see them as rape) because the situations are so far removed from reality. There are no spells and body-switching in real life.

Oh and just one thing... could you not quote entire posts? It just makes the thread harder to read.
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Old November 17 2011, 08:21 PM   #83
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Just rewatch the scene where the Master paws and bites Buffy, it's more her reaction than anything else, she's like a pornstar faking it (as indeed she is in Get It Done).

As I recall Spike doesn't actually get to bite Buffy in Out of My Mind? As for Dracula it was at least semi-consensual, the point being that this is a matter of seduction, whether we think they just had the biting or actually had sex? (what I always wonder is what happened between Dracula and Joyce?)

As for Joss, I remember watching the scene in Alien; Ressurection where Ripley get's carried away but the drone...

I think one of the reasons why sci-fi, historic and supernatural erotica is so popular is because it isn't real in the actual world of today and never can be so we can enjoy the fantasy guilt free,
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Old November 18 2011, 03:44 PM   #84
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
Just rewatch the scene where the Master paws and bites Buffy, it's more her reaction than anything else, she's like a pornstar faking it (as indeed she is in Get It Done).
No, she doesn't. It you mean that she sounds orgasmic in either of these scenes... well, no. But in Get It Done it does look like she's getting sexually assaulted. In Prophecy Girl (and yes, I rewatched it just now) she looks terrified and has a tear in her eye while the Master is talking ("If you didn't come, I couldn't go") and then when he bites her, she has an expression of pain for less than a second as this is how long it lasts before she loses consciousness.

Those must be some really disturbing porn flicks if this is how their stars are acting before and during sex...

If you want to see a person actually showing signs of sexual pleasure while being bitten, see the William/Drusilla flashback in Fool For Love.

As I recall Spike doesn't actually get to bite Buffy in Out of My Mind?
He pins her to the ground and gets his teeth on her neck, but doesn't get to draw blood before his chip works.

As for Dracula it was at least semi-consensual, the point being that this is a matter of seduction, whether we think they just had the biting or actually had sex?
But when "seduction" includes literal hypnotism, is that actually "consensual"? We've seen Drusilla hypnotize Kendra and then kill her because Kendra was so out of it she had no idea what was going on, let alone defend herself. And I believe few people would argue that Kendra consented to being killed.

They definitely didn't have sex, though. I never thought they did, because there's no way that Buffy wouldn't have felt terribly guilty both for cheating on Riley and for sleeping with an evil vampire (if she thought she consented to it) or that she wouldn't have been upset if she had been raped, and that the show would just gloss over it. (Of course you also get a confirmation in Entropy when she says she only slept with four guys.)

(what I always wonder is what happened between Dracula and Joyce?)
Maybe she served him hot chocolate.

When the show doesn't tell you in any way that a character had sex, especially dubious consent sex, it's always a given that they didn't. Sure, nobody can prove that Joyce wasn't having one-night stands all the time, or that Buffy or Willow or Xander didn't sleep with a bunch of people off-screen (and then lied about it or kept silent about it), but it stands to reason that the show would have let us know somehow, rather than leave us thinking that Buffy, Willow and Xander slept with just 4, 3 and 2 people, respectively, and that Joyce's only love/sex life since moving to Sunnydale was Ted, Band Candy sex with Giles, and the guy she started dating shortly before her death, which was made a big deal of exactly because Joyce so rarely dated.
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Old November 23 2011, 07:09 PM   #85
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

I know Buffy says that she's only had 4 lovers but you know what those Summer's girls are like at denial
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Old November 24 2011, 04:57 AM   #86
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
I know Buffy says that she's only had 4 lovers but you know what those Summer's girls are like at denial
Buffy has never been in denial about having sex with someone she did have sex with, or about something that had happened to her. She might avoid dealing with her feelings, but she's not delusional about the things that she actually did or that actually happened to her.

And if the story was that she had sex with Dracula, we would know. I don't believe that there are things that happen off-screen that the writers are keeping from us so that they would reveal it in season 15. Not to mention that this certainly didn't happen in season 8 when the character of Dracula was brought back, and the relationship that was focused on was Dracula/Xander, with no romantic or erotic vibes between him and Buffy.
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Old November 24 2011, 09:47 AM   #87
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
saturn5 wrote: View Post
I know Buffy says that she's only had 4 lovers but you know what those Summer's girls are like at denial
Buffy has never been in denial about having sex with someone she did have sex with, or about something that had happened to her. She might avoid dealing with her feelings, but she's not delusional about the things that she actually did or that actually happened to her.

And if the story was that she had sex with Dracula, we would know. I don't believe that there are things that happen off-screen that the writers are keeping from us so that they would reveal it in season 15. Not to mention that this certainly didn't happen in season 8 when the character of Dracula was brought back, and the relationship that was focused on was Dracula/Xander, with no romantic or erotic vibes between him and Buffy.
Well the scoobs do like to keep their secrets but we'll talk more about it when we get to season 5
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Old December 15 2011, 07:27 AM   #88
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

God, it's been a long time, with that pesky real life getting into the way! The good news is that starting with Tuesday, I'll have a lot more time. Maybe I'll get to post a few episodes per week, rather than the other way round!

This review is another long one that has to be broken in two parts.

2.22 Becoming II

When I was about to watch this episode, I wondered if I can still be affected by it, since I’ve seen it several times. Of course, this is one of the most important and iconic episodes of the show, but can it still move me when I almost know it by heart? And…it didn’t exactly make me cry this time, but it’s still an awesome episode you could watch over and over,.

As a season finale, it’s one of the best. It perfectly resolves so many storylines from season 2: Buffy’ s strained relationship with her mother, Snyder’s attempts to find a reason to expel Buffy, Willow’s relationships with Xander and Oz, the Spike/Dru/Angel triangle, the B/A romance and the “Angel loses his soul” story; and in the best tradition of bittersweet Whedon finales, it manages to have Buffy defeat the Big Bad and stop an apocalypse, but leaves her emotionally devastated.

Throughout the episode, things just keep going wrong for Buffy, with just an occasional break. First cops want to arrest her for Kendra’s murder and she has to run away, then she finds out that Willow is in hospital with a serious head injury, and that Giles is kidnapped; Snyder uses the opportunity to expel her from school, and later her mother tells her not to come back home, all while she has an apocalypse to stop. If episodes like Prophecy Girl and School Hard were about Buffy surviving because of her connections to family and friends, this one is about coming to the point when you only have yourself to rely on. As foreshadowed by Whistler’s voiceover in part 1, this is where she finds out who she is. And that’s someone who never gives up and keeps fighting, even in the most desperate situation:

Whistler: In the end, you’re all you’ve got.

Buffy: I have nothing left to lose.
Whisler: Wrong, kid. You’ve got one more thing.

Angel(us): No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what is left?
Buffy (stopping his sword with her bare hand): Me.

To make things all the harder for her, she’s put in the position where she has to kill the man she loves to save the world (well, sort of, since Angel gets sucked into hell, but doesn’t actually die). But the emotional cost is too high, and the season 2 finale ends in both triumph and despair, as Buffy runs away from her life, trying to become someone else.

For an episode with so much pain and drama, it also has an amazing amount of humor, sometimes even at the same time. There are two scenes (Buffy and Spike coming up with the lie that they’re in a band, and Joyce and Spike trying to make small talk) that I would rank among the funniest in the show. There’s self-mocking humor even in show’s ending credits this time, as the Mutant Enemy monster doesn’t growl “URGH-ARGH” but whines “Ooh I need a hug!”

I won’t even try to choose the best scene, since there are way too many great ones. I’ll just list all the great scenes and major moments chronologically.

As Buffy visits her friends in the hospital where Willow is still lying unconscious, we see just how serious the situation is, when Xander isn’t able to laugh and joke with Buffy. Cordelia, who has a very small role in the episode, feels bad about running away from the library – the first sign that she wants to be strong and heroic like the rest of the Scoobies, but Buffy reassures her that running away was the best thing she could have done. Those two have come a long way in their relationship.

Xander/Willow/Oz: The first of two big somewhat ambiguous Xander moments in the episode: Xander pours his heart out to the unconscious Willow, telling her how much she means to him, that she is his best friend, and finally “Willow, I love you” only for her to finally wake up and still half-conscious, call out for Oz.

Did Xander mean it 100% as a friend, or with a romantic overtone? The scene certainly plays with the latter, or else the significance of this scene in the Xander/Willow/Oz storyline wouldn’t work. But on the other hand, for Xander to suddenly realize he’s in love with Willow would have been a big revelation that would have probably surprised even him, and it seem to be the case – and he doesn’t seem at all crushed with Willow and Oz’s sweet reunion. My guess is that Xander himself isn’t quite sure – he’s reacting to almost losing Willow and perhaps realizing just how strong his feelings for her are, and he’s confused teenage boy who can’t quite sort out his feelings for 3 important girls in his life. He probably started seeing Willow in romantic light only when she found a boyfriend, and he a) came to see her a sexual being, and 2) was jealous because he wasn’t the main man in her life anymore (as Buffy pointed out back in I, Robot, You Jane). I think the entire Xander/Willow early seasons relationship is largely about childhood friends growing up and not being sure if a girl and a boy can be friends or if they are supposed to be more than that because they’re a girl and a boy. I don’t see Xander’s feelings here as classic romantic jealousy, more like realizing that someone else is now the main object of Willow’s affection.

I always thought this was a perfect resolution to the Xander/Willow/Oz storyline, showing that Willow was really over Xander and in love with someone else – who was really in love with her and was a much better romantic match for her – with the irony that hearing Xander say “I love you” which once would have been all she wanted, now wouldn’t have meant much to her. (Or would have been the perfect resolution – if only the unnecessary Xander/Willow fling in season 3 hadn’t happened, which I’m really not a fan of.)

Snyder expels Buffy: a pay-off to yet another season-long tension – Snyder finally gets to do what he wanted to do for such a long time and promised a few times already. Afterwards whe calls the Mayor to tell him the good news, but while this confirms that he’s been working at Mayor’s orders, he also really hates Buffy and makes it clear he’s enjoying the opportinity (and even givea an ironic speech about the moments you want to savor and relieve,which is oddly similar toWhistler’s “big moments” speech). But it comes at the time when Buffy doesn’t care as much as she normally would have, since she’s got an apocalypse to stop – the good news it that for once she can openly treat him with the contempt he deserves, after more than a year of torment she had to endure. “You never got a single date in high school, did you?” is a good retort but doesn’t upset Snyder the way it would a normal human being, but an even better retort is Buffy simply pulling out her sword that she’ll use to stop Acathla, walking away from the clerly scared Snyder. Another memorable line is Snyder’s Lampshade Hanging comment “In case you haven’t noticed, the police in Sunnydale are deeply stupid.”

Spike and Buffy. And finally we see what Spike’s plan is, which cements the Spike/Angel switch – first the good guy went bad and Buffy’s sweetheart became the Big Bad, and now the former Big Bad goes… a little less bad, and becomes Buffy’s unexpected ally. Unlike part 1, part 2 is about people making choices, and whule Angel is the poster boy for destiny, Spike is one for free will – that’s one of the things that are consistent with his character despite all the changes. He’s the one who does the unexpected, breaks rules, a wild card or “loose canon”. Of course, Spike is still nowhere near being “good” at this point, just the lesser evil at the moment, and his motives for offering an alliance against Angel are dubious and mostly selfish, but it’s still an unexpected lucky break for Buffy, who needs all the help she can get. He is pragmatic and irreverent and more grounded, and he does like the world as he explains in his unforgettable speech, and would rather not have it sucked into hell, but getting Drusilla all to himself is still his main motivation, as we see later when he walks away at the crucial moment of the fight, as soon as he got Dru to himself. (He won’t keep the other promise, either – never to come back to Sunnydale.)

The Spike/Buffy scenes are so enjoyable and the chemistry between them is amazing, whether they’re arguing and negotiating and punching each other, or when they’re fighting together for the first time against Angel’s henchman and immediately working perfectly in synch (something that we’ll see so many times in later seasons, it’s one thing that always works well for them) or when they’re lying to her mom about being in a band – they seem oddly familiar, like people who’ve gone to school together or something, rather than Slayer and a vampire whose conversations before this were always happening while they fought each other. (I remember I used to think when I first watched season 2 how odd it is that I thought Buffy had more chemisty with the guy who was trying to kill her than with her boyfriend – even though I never expected anything to come out of it, and didn’t even entertain an idea at the time.) I love their matter-of-fact, snarky interactions (so much different from the sugarcoated romanticism they showed with their respective lovers, Angel and Dru) and this one is great. When Spike tells her that he wants an alliance to get Dru back, he gets a bit carried away talking about his problems, like he’s using the chance that there’s someone finally there to listen to him talk about his relationship problems – since he can’t make himself try to talk these things through with Dru herself. I love how Buffy points out, not mincing words, how pathetic he is for caring more about jealousy over his fickle girlfriend, than the fate of the world. It recalls Xander’s accusation from part 1, that Buffy wants to forget about Jenny’s murder so she could have her boyfriend back. There are definitely parallels between Buffy and Spike in season 2, in the big fight in this episode they both end up fighting against people they’re in love with; and the contrast, as Buffy puts the fate of the world above wanting her lover back, and Spike doesn’t.

I always think back to these scenes as one of the obvious proofs that the idea that Buffy really thought of soulless Spike as a “thing” is utter BS. Even when he was the enemy, she treated him as this annoying guy she knows, not some anonymous vampire “thing” – all their interactions were very personal. You wouldn’t criticize the character flaws of a “thing”. It’s funny that she snarkily asks him if he forgot that he’s a vampire, but she’s kinda doing that when she calls him pathetic for being selfish and unconcerned about the fate of the world – as if one could expect better from a soulless vampire? She also tells him “I hate you”, which is only the second time she’s said that to a vampire (the first one was Angel in Angel, when Buffy believed he had attacked her mom and made a point that she kills vampires but never hated one before him). The Scoobies always treated the vampires they actually knew as individuals, as people, even if they people they disliked or hated (we’ll see a lot of that with Harmony as well).

It’s also funny and feels a bit foreshadowy when Spike says he just needs to kill the cop, and then checks himself after Buffy’s disapproving cough and he remembers she wouldn’t be pleased if he did that. Or when he later can’t help himself feeling proud that Dru killed a Slayer, but then, faced with Buffy’s glare, quickly adds “Though not from your perspective, I suppose”. So many memorable lines from the B/S scenes – another one is Buffy’s “We’re mortal enemies, we don’t get time-outs”. Don’t say that twice…

The pretending-to-be-in-a-band scene is just hilarious, as is the Joyce/Spike ‘small talk’. Love the reference to School Hard. “You hit me once with an axe, ‘Get the hell away from my daughter’” (a lot of it is in JM’s deadpan delivery). These two will have an interesting relationship. Continuity detail: Spike gets his first invitation to the Summers house, which he’ll use in season 3.

That leads to a very serious scene between Buffy and Joyce after Buffy ‘comes out’. Fitting term, since the metaphor of a teenager coming out to their parents couldn’t be more obvious in this scene: Joyce asking Buffy if she could try not being gay, err a Slayer; “This is all because you didn’t have a strong father figure”; Buffy sayingshe didn’t chose to be this way, and telling her mother that she should have figured it out ages ago, but she just didn’t want to know. Joyce was never portrayed as a perfect mother, just someone who tried hard but was flawed as a parent – and while learning her daughter was a Slayer must have been a big shock, she really comes off as an awful parent in this episode, refusing to accept that her daughter isn’t a ‘normal’ girl and throwing Buffy out of the house.

Meanwhile, Giles gets a great badass moment when, while he’s being tortured, tells Angel that he’s going to tell him how to awaken Acathla: “To be worthy, you have to perform the ritual…in a tutu. Pillock!” It’s fun to see Angel really pissed off, but poor Giles barely escaped losing limbs, when Spike had a better idea to use Drusilla’s skills (Spike’s real motive is to save Giles’s life because he has to fulfill his end of the bargain with Buffy). The inversion of the Spike/Angel roles this seasons gets summed up when Angel remarks on Spike surprisingly becoming level-headed, and Spike’s retort that it was right around the time when Angel became pig-headed. Funny that Angel felt happy for having Spike “watch his back, like old times” – it’s a bit late to be all chummy with Spike, buddy, did you really think he’d be eager to help you after the way you’ve treated him?

Dru doesn’t just have the skill of hypnotism, but also of reading people’s minds, apparently – at least to the extent of knowing what’s on their minds. When she appears to Giles as Jenny to manipulate him into revealing the info about Acathla, it becomes one of the most heartbreaking scenes of a season that’s full of them. It does make a lot of difference when a character who died stayed dead: we get those epic, heartbreaking death scenes in Becoming II, The Gift and Chosen, but they don’t feel as tragic anymore when you know that the character will come back. But when poor Giles is happy to see ‘Jenny’ again, telling her he though he lost her, and when he is seeing who he thinks is Jenny, telling him that they will be together at last, get to have and feel everything they never got to feel (it seems that they never even had sex?), it remains every bit as tragic – even more tragic, knowing that Giles will never find love again.

At the same time, Willow is trying to curse Angel with soul again, despite having just come out of a coma. This is the first time that magic plays a big role for Willow, and a sign of how determined and dedicated she can be. Even though I can’t see any difference between her “resolve face” and her regular face. It seems that, when the spell was starting to work, she became temporarily possessed by the Gypsy woman’s spirit.

Xander’s lie: one of big controversies of the season, maybe even the show. From what I’ve heard, debates about his motives went on that summer until Joss decided to put things straight and explain that it wasn’t out of jealousy/hate for Angel, but for tactical reasons. But his main reason was clearly because he thought Buffy might stall and not fight her best if she thought Angel might get his soul back, I’m sure that the fact that he didn’t care for the guy and wasn’t eager to get him back played its role.

It’s maybe more interesting to think, how did the lie affect the course of events? I’m not sure it made much difference to the fight itself, since the harshest part of it happened after Angel(us) pulled the sword out from Acathla, starting the process of awakening him (and boy, does Acathla need a long time to wake or what), at which point there was no coming back for Angel, soul or no soul. Maybe Buffy would have been less surprised by Angel getting his soul back. But in the end, I think the biggest difference it made might have been for Buffy’s decision to leave Sunnydale. Thinking that Willow, who’s always been the most supportive one of her relationship with Angel, thought that it wasn’t worth trying and just sent her a message to “Kick his ass”, probably contributed to Buffy’s feeling that none of her friends would understand how hard it was for her to kill Angel.
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Old December 15 2011, 07:29 AM   #89
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

(continued)

The fight: oh, now it’s clear why the special weapon in the finale had to be a sword: cool sword fight between Buffy and Angel!

Spike gets some overdue satisfaction in hitting Angel over the head with… whatever that object was, but he seems interested in giving him some pain, but not killing him (which makes sense given their complicated sibling-like relationships). Dru’s anger at Spike for betraying them is one of the rare moments when we see her really angry – she is obviously really invested in the whole apocalypse thing. It’s a bit funny to see Spike apologizing to Dru during the fight for having to hurt her. Incidentally, the line: “I don’t wanna hurt you baby… (after she attacks him) Doesn’t mean I won’t” were recycled in season 6 when Buffy told the same to Dark Willow (minus the “baby” part, obviously). Always the tender boyfriend to his princess, not blaming his princess openly for cheating - and not treating her as an adult responsible for her own actions, or worrying about what she wants. Instead, his solution is to get rid of his rival, grab his darling and drag her into his cave… err, car.

The climax of the fight is the iconic moment when Buffy, apparently in a hopeless situation (deprived of her weapon, with nobody to help as her ally just walked out, with the villain about to kill her), stops Angel’s sword with her hand and replies that she’s still got herself, and proceeds to kick his ass. He was already on his knees in front of Acathla and she was about to send him to hell to save the world, but Joss had to have Buffy beat him first, and then have Willow resoul him at that moment, so Buffy would have the maximum amount of heartbreak for having to send him to hell. And now is the time to say something about…
Angel/Angelus: I guess that the moment when Angel doesn’t remember what happened for the last few months is what some fans are basing the two entities theory on, and probably what the writers of AtS season 4 used to write Angel/Angelus dychotomy as something akin to a multiple personality disorder. But part 1 set it up by having the Gypsy Elder explain that Angel doesn’t remember (which the Gypsy wasn’t surprised by) but that he soon will. And in season 3, Angel does remember everything, just like he remembers everything he did before the Gypsies cursed him. In the Doylist interpretation, the not-remembering was simply a device to have a situation where Angel would have his soul back and Buffy would have to kill him (and feel even more guilty because he had no idea what was going on). If Angel had immediately remembered everything, the scene couldn’t have played that way – he’d have stabbed himself or agreed that she do it.

So right after getting him back, Buffy sends Angel to hell, after stealing a few more moments to hug and kiss him for the (as she believes) last time. She tells him “I love you” (in my count of Buffy’s ILYs: this is the 3rd time she told Angel ILY, and the 3rd time she’s told anyone ILY romantically; the first time was in Lie to Me when he asked her to tell him, the second when he dumped her in Innocence.)She tells him “Close your eyes” (echoing Darla, who said the same words before she killed Liam and made him a vampire) and kisses him for the last time, before stabbing him and letting him get sucked into hell.

Does this iconic scene feel as tragic as it would’ve if Becoming II was the end of the series? Well, no – it can’t, when you know that Angel comes back in season 3. (And while Angel being in a hell dimension for 100 years must have been awful, we never really saw the psychological consequences, the way we did see them with Connor.) But it still affects me, watching Buffy’s heartbreak (SMG’s acting is amazing), and knowing that this is the moment that shapes so much of her personality in the future. She won’t be emotionally the same – not because Angel was her “one true love” as some would like to think, but because it was a formative trauma of her life, and she learned the hardest possible way how dangerous it is to give your heart, especially when one has the responsibility of the Slayer. She becomes more emotionally closed down and far less willing to “risk the pain”.

The closing scene has the first (but not the last!) perfect use of a Sarah McLachlan song for a BtVS season finale, this time it’s a sad, desperate “Full of Grace”, capturing Buffy’s feelings as she leaves her mom a note and decides to leave everyone and walk away from her old life, feeling unable to go on being who she is. She’s watching her mom and her friends from afar but can’t go and talk to anyone – and the lyrics seem to explain why better than anything. Not only does she feel that they wouldn’t understand what she’s been through, but, in her emotional state, she wouldn’t be able to be their friend and daughter (and from what we’ve seen in When She Was Bad and later in season 6, a depressed, PTSD Buffy really isn’t good for anyone around her).

I never thought I could feel so low
Oh darkness, I feel like letting go

If all of the strength and all of the courage
Come and lift me from this place,
I know I could love you much better than this

It’s better this way.



Best lines (so many to choose from!):

Spike: We like to talk big. Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square.

Buffy: The whole Earth may be sucked into hell, and you want my help 'cause your girlfriend's a big ho? Well, let me take this opportunity to not care!

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.

Angel: Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends...No hope. Take all that away... and what's left?
Buffy: Me.

One I love to quote (especially to comment on Buffyverse mythology): Oz saying „this all is making the kind of sense that’s not“.

Also worth a mention: Buffy telling Whistler “I'm gonna pull out your ribcage and wear it as a hat” – now that’s how you make a threat!

Mythology:
This is the first but certainly not the last time that the other dimensions, and the idea of blood of specific people used for opening and closing portals to other dimensions., is a big plot point. When I watched the show the first time, I thought that the hell that Acathla was going to suck the world in was the Hell – that there’s just one as in Christianity – which made Angel being sent to hell seem much graver and less reversible. I think we all, just like Buffy, thought of it as “killing” Angel, but technically, he didn’t die in Becoming II, even though it seemed like the character was being “killed off”. But now we know that there are lots of hell dimensions, and that people can come back from them. This particular hell seemed to be one that evil demons enjoy (or else I suppose he and Dru wouldn’t have been so eager to end up there, and Spike would’ve been more concerned about ending up in there) but that’s presumably awful for humans or good souled vampires (based on how feral and tortured Angel seemed when he came back in season 3). Too bad we never found out more about what it was like in there.

Buffy meets Whistler in this episode, twice, and he doesn’t really offer much help beyond some vague advice. He tells her that nobody saw it coming that she and Angel would fall in love (really?! A teenage girl meets a handsome, mysterious older guy; a guy who’s spent 100 years alone with no purpose in life, is told that he can be important by protecting a beautiful innocent girl that kinda looks like his long-time ex-girlfriend? The possibility never even occurred to them?). Why did Whistler want to bring Angel and Buffy together? Apparently he thought Angel would help Buffy stop the Acathla. Due to Whistler’s role in seasons 8 and 9, there’s been some speculation if he had other reasons, but I’m not sure I like such huge retcons a la Jasmine. And I like the idea that messengers of higher powers can do things based on misinterpreted prophecies.and really screw up.

Inconsistencies: Spike makes Drusilla lose consciousness – by choking her?! The best fanwank I’ve heard is that Dru probably forgot that she doesn’t have to breathe.

Spike badass-o-meter: After a long period of doing nothing but making snarky remarks from a wheelchair,Spike is back to being a major player. He gets major points for being his own man and doing the unexpected, not caring for vampire rules (again) and having the audacity to suggest an alliance to a Slayer and a mortal enemy he tried to kill several times. In the only season that he spent mostly as a villain, Spike’s most important action was being the good guys’ ally. He’s also shown to be smart, resourceful, On the other hand, one might ask how much courage it takes to only take on Angel when he’s got the Slayer as an ally and when he can attack him from the back (kind of like one could ask how much courage it takes for Angel to only pick on Spike when he’s in a wheelchair).. but Spike is a pragmatist, and as Garak would say when asked if he’d shoot a man in the back: “well it’s the safest way, isn’t it?”

Buffy bad liar: “I’m in a band…with Spike here!” – “She plays triangle…” - “Drums.”

Nicknames: or rather sarcastic terms of endearment. Spike addresses Buffy with “Hello, cutie”. Buffy taunts Angel(us) with a snarky “Hello, lover”, the way he taunted her in the previous episode.

Pop culture references: Spike’s "Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square" is apparently a quote from a British World War I marching song called „It's a Long Way to Tipperary“,which I’d have no idea about if it weren’t for BuffyGuide.com.

Foreshadowing: Unintentional – when Spike says “I want to save the world”, who’d think that he’ll really do it one day.

Fully intentional: as Buffy is leaving town, we see the sign “You’re leaving Sunnydale – Come back soon” or in other words, come back for season 3, viewers, because Buffy won't stay away from Sunnydale for good.

Rating: 5
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Old December 15 2011, 12:26 PM   #90
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Let me ask a question, Spuffer or Bangeler? (Fuffer myself)

One thing you didn't comment on, Dru's attraction to Giles? 'Daddys home' as Barney would say. Also the Buffy/Joyce scene is heartrending and great, Buffy's mum finally gets over her denial and knows the truth, no wonder the writers kept giving Kristine more and more to do. Plus the Slayer/gay subtext. More and more proof of Spike's humanity if it were needed.

Becoming pt2

The Good;
All of it, every scene between Spike and Buffy, Giles and Angelus and Spike and Joyce. Great scenes with all the Scoobies and the ending just too heartwrenching for words, especially with Sarah MacClachlan's beautiful music, all classic.

The Bad;
Are you kidding? It's all too wonderful!

Best line;
Joyce; "Have you tried NOT being a Slayer?"

Character death; Angel or so we think?
Shot;
Tied up; Giles and tortured
Knocked out; Dru which is rather strange, Spike seems able to knock her out with a chokehold despite the fact that she doesn't breathe and has no circulation.
Women good/men bad;

Questions and observations;
Joyce thinks Buffy is the Slayer because she didn't have a strong male role-model. Of course she'll later find out that Buffy is the Slayer because she did, she had Giles. The first (and only unless you can correct me) appearance of Willow's 'resolve face'. Xander's remarks at her bedside set the basis for their relationship in season 3. Willow successfully casts her first spell. Why is Buffy still wanted when Xander and Cordy can back up her story? Spike's reluctance to end the world seems odd considering he was happy to do it earlier
A couple of points that escaped me about Becoming pt2, firstly Dru seems to be deeply enamoured of Giles but then she always did have a thing for 'daddy'. Secondly as Jenny Dru says to Giles that they'll get to do all the things they never had a chance to implying that Giles and Jenny never did have sex

10/10 and I need a hug
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