Becoming I

Perri's Review | Chris's Review | Celli's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Oh God. Angel's past, Buffy's past, and a present no one really wants to deal with. God help us all when Joss writes and directs -- and one whole week to find out what happens! Joss is evil incarnate!

Galway, 1753:
Two young men are thrown out of a pub. The one who manages to stay on his feet is drawn off to the side by the presence of a beautiful noblewoman. He goes over to her and she turns -- to show Darla's face. A flirtation turns into an attack, and Angel is brought across.

Angelus is stalking Buffy, who is on the hunt. She takes down three, and retrieves Xander from where he's sprawled behind a tombstone. Giles is called in to the Sunnydale Museum to offer information on an artifact dug up nerby. The block of stone is covered with ancient writing -- and Giles discovers that it has a door. The next day, in the cafeteria, Xander is reenacting Buffy's fight as Cordy, Oz and Willow (sitting on Oz's lap) look on. The discussion degenerates into horseplay until Snyder breaks it up, and Buffy bemoans upcoming finals.

London, 1860:
A young girl goes to confessions as Angelus finishes killing the priest. She confesses that she has had visions of people dying, and that they have come true, and that she believes herself cursed. Angelus, pretending to be the priest, tells her she is a creature of evil and she should give in. The girl who will be Drusilla protests that she wants only to be good and pure.

Angelus, prompted by a Drusilla vision (and a story in the newspaper), discovers the existance of the artifact and recognizes it. Later that day, Wilow and Buffy study in the computer lab, but when Buffy drops her pencil, she makes an unexpected discovery -- the computer disk dropped when Jenny Calendar was killed. The girls look at the disk and discover the ritual Jenny managed to save.

Romanian Woods, 1898:
Angelus races through the woods as a ritual is performed over the body of a dead girl by a Gypsy caravan. The Orb of Thessalonia disappears and Angel's eyes glow -- then he blinks, not remembering anything. A Rom man approaches Angel, telling him he will remember the face of everyone he killed and they will haunt him. The memories return and Angel collapses in agony.

The Slayerettes investigate Jenny's ritual, and conclude that it should be possible to curse Angel again. Willow believes she can cast the spell, as she's been studying, but Xander argues vehemently against doing it. He thinks Angelus should simply be killed, in retribution for Jenny's death. A major fight is narrowly averted, and Buffy retreats, confused and afraid.

At the museum, the curator is killed when Angelus and company invade and steal the stone -- which contains the body of a demon, turned into stone by a blessed sword. If the sword is pulled out and the demon is freed, he will "suck the Earth into Hell" -- which Angelus thinks is just a groovy idea.

At the same time, Buffy is on the phone with Willow, discussing the situation and Xander's reaction, when she finds Angel's claddagh ring. On patrol, she is still preoccupied when something jumps out of the bushes -- and she is suddenly face to face with Kendra. The other Slayer's Watcher sent her to stop another Dark Power from rising. They return to the library, where Giles tells them about the demon -- that he will take one breath, and suck all of Earth onto the demonic plane. They determine they must stop Angelus -- Buffy asks Willow to try the curse, while she fights Angel, as a back-up plan. Kendra gives Buffy a sword her Watcher gave her, blessed by the same knight that fought the demon. Giles produces an Orb Of Thessala -- he's been using it as a paperweight.

Manhattan, 1996:
A homeless Angel wanders the streets, starving and alone, until a man approaches him and begins harrassing him -- a man who knows he's a vampire, and about his soul. The 'man' is actually a self-proclaimed "good" demon called The Whistler, who challenges Angel to either become totally useless, or to do something with his eternal life.

Los Angeles, 1996:
Outside of a California high school, Angel watches as a pretty blonde Cordelia wanna-be named Buffy Summers is approached by a Watcher, and told she must fight the vampires. He watches as she does precisely that in the cemetary that night. And he watches as she arrives home and stares into the mirror while her parents fight behind her and reality crashes in. In love at first fight, Angel returns to The Whistler and asks the demon to teach him whatever he needs to know to help the Slayer, to become someone.

The vampires try to free the demon after killing a boy in sacrifice. But when Angelus tries to pull out the sword, it resists, and throws him across the room, to his annoyance and Spike's amusement. They determine that they have to find someone "worthy" and Angelus has a candidate in mind.

As Buffy and Xander take a final exam, a vampire stumbles into the room. As she casts off her coverings and steps into the sun, she delivers a message from Angelus -- to meet him in the graveyard that night or more would die. Buffy goes, to distract Angelus while Willow casts the curse. Kendra loans her her lucky stake (Mr. Pointy), and Buffy heads out to face her nightmare -- who is waiting happily. They fight, but Buffy is still waiting for the curse to kick in-- --Which it's not going to, because vampires have attacked the library and its residents, even as Willow tries to cast the spell. Kendra, Xander and Giles try to fight them off, but Willow is caught under a falling bookcase, Xander's arm is broken, and Giles is knocked out. Cordelia escapes, leaving Kendra to face four vampires alone.

Angelus taunts Buffy, and she realizes the meeting was only a distraction; leaving Angelus, she races back towards the library. Too late -- as the vampires surround Kendra, Drusilla enters. Slayer and Psycho face off, until Drusilla gets the upper hand. She hypnotizes Kendra then, while the Slayer is spellbound, slashes her throat with her fingernails. Kendra crumples, and the vampires take Giles with them as they leave. Buffy arrives too late, finding only Kendra's body. As she kneels over the fallen Slayer, a gun is pointed at her and a voice tells her to "Freeze!"....

Angel was brought across in Galway in 1753 (not even; see Questions and Comments). His soul was restored in Romania in 1898. He apparently spent the next ninety-odd years wandering more or less aimlessly, until he was found, homeless and pathetic, in New York in 1996 by a demon called The Whistler. The Whistler, a good demon, took Angel to Los Angeles and showed him Buffy. Angel seems to have fallen in love more or less at first sight, and asked The Whistler to teach him what he needed to know to help the Slayer.

Drusilla was brought across in London around 1860, and was having visions before that.

Willow has been studying magic, to the extent that she feels more or less comfortable casting a major curse.

Oz and Willow are so very cute! She's sitting on his lap playing handsie in public, which is way more comfortable than I expected to see them. But I'm not objecting. And they also seem very comfortable around Xander and Cordy, who are being very couplish by ticklefighting in public. Lots less tension there.

On the other hand, Buffy and Xander have problems, and everyone else is getting pulled in. As usual, Xander is very intent on keeping things simple -- Angel has become a bad guy, Angel has to die before he can hurt anyone else; and his old rivalry with Angel is coming out at the worst possible time, along the lines of, "I was right all along". Whereas Buffy still has Angel and Angelus seperated in her mind, and wants Angel back. Willow is lined up with Buffy, to no one's surprise, and Cordy is on Xander's side -- also not really surprising, since she's had much more experience with Angelus at this point. And Giles seems to be caught in the middle -- torm between wanting revenge for Jenny, and wanting Buffy's happiness, not to mention his own friendship with Angel. Going to be interesting to see how this hashes out.

It was really great to actually see Angel again, even if none of it was present day. We got to see some of his background -- judging from clothes, companion and comportment, he was upper class, possibly nobility (which I hadn't figured) -- and how he was brought across. He never did have a choice in the matter, he certainly didn't know what he was getting into -- which makes his guilt levels all the worse, since he truly wasn't responsible for anything the demon did. He did, however, consciously choose to put himself in danger by helping the Slayer, which should put major brownie points on his Universal Scorecard. It also makes the crypt confrontation with Buffy way back in the pilot more understandable -- no, he didn't remember what is was to have a friend, because Whistler was probably the first person he'd interacted with in decades; and yes, he was afraid of the Master, since he hadn't been exactly hanging with vamps lately, either. He'd completely lost any sense of his own abilities, his own beliefs, his own strengths, so, yeah, he was afraid. But he still came through. I think I miss Angel more now than I ever have.

Poor Kendra -- she so deserved better than to be brought back as the Plot Device of the Week, to die just to make Dru look really bad. Her only purpose was cannon (or canon) fodder -- the sword could have been obtained lots of other ways that didn't involve sacrificing her. And her utter lack of a life makes it even worse. She named her stake like a kid would name a blanky, for god's sake; she was starting to learn how to be a person instead of just The Slayer, and now she's never going to be able to use that. Bringing her back to kill her just sucks. End rant.

The universe has been playing ping-pong with Buffy's heart ever since 'Surprise'; it's latest trick is giving her hope when she'd finally given up on ever getting Angel back, and was ready to take Angelus down. She was accustomed to it, ready for it -- now, all of a sudden, she has to choose between justice for Jenny and her boyfriend's life. Not easy, not fun, and Xander is so not helping. And, on top of that, she now gets to carry around the guilt for Kendra and Willow, and her Watcher is MIA. This is going to be one seriously screwed-up Slayer if some resolution doesn't happen next week.

Speaking of whom, I have never wanted to flatten Xander as badly as I did in the library. It's one thing to hate Angelus, since he's done what is unforgivable in Xander's eyes -- he's hurt Buffy and Willow and Giles. But he's getting out of control with it. The hell of it is, he's at least as right as Buffy is -- Angelus hsould die. Unfortunately, he's steadfastedly blocking out that killing Angelus means killing Angel, too, because he doesn't want to deal with it. He just wants it over before anyone else gets hurt. The reason he should be smacked is not what he said, but how he said it -- he managed to inflict at least as much hurt as one of Angelus's little notes or taunts ever did, on both Buffy and Giles. Maybe his hanging out with Cordy the Tactless isn't such a good idea, after all.

And Giles is firmly trapped in the middle between wanting what's best for Buffy -- which is probably not killing her boyfriend -- and wanting justice for Jenny. Concern for the living is winning, which is not unexpected for Giles, but it's not a happy situation for him, either. And going for Xander like her did -- wow. So much for anything even vaguely resembling a teacher/student relationship; they definitely see each other as equals now.

Willow has the advantage of being able to be on Buffy and Angel's side emotionally as well as logically; she doesn't have the accumulated months of rivalry and resentment that Xander does to plow through. It's much simpler for her -- she wants her friend Angel back, she wants Buffy happy, so she'll try to cast the curse. But the other SunS are right -- she's sliding deeper and deeper into magic and being fairly reckless about it; that's going to come bite her on the butt eventually. But, the three times she has cast spells, it's been fairly serious circumstances -- locking Angelus out of their houses, exorcising a murdering ghost, and now restoring Angel's soul. So hopefully she's learned when Amy didn't about Using and Abusing Magic. Hopefully.

Drusilla wigs me to no end and the hypnosis this is a new addition to the vamp powers in this universe. Poor kid never had a chance though -- between Angelus and her mother and her visions, life sucked before it ever became unlife.

Best Moments:
Xander and Buffy in the graveyard -- he's so cutely determined to help, even when it lands him unconscious behind a tombstone.

The Slayerettes in the cafeteria. Oz and Willow are adorable (amazing amounts of PDA from terminally shy Willow there), Cordy and Xander are too cute for words, and Buffy has reached the point where she can laugh at them.

The confessional flashback. Juliet does an awesome job, and the whole thing is just creepy.

Angel 'waking up' after the curse. His face was just heartwrenching!

The confrontation in the library. Xander and Giles nearly coming to blows, Xander yelling at Buffy, Cordy backing Xander up -- serious tension. This fight is scarier than anything Angelus has done, with the exception of killing Jenny. Bet the bastard would have enjoyed watching.

Buffy on the phone with Willow. I want to know what she called Xander! 'Cause odds are good it's one of the same phrases I used.

Buffy finding Angel's claddagh ring. Just when we were ready to forget why we love Angel, she finds the ring and we get to remember with her. < sigh >

Any and every scene with Whistler. Outstanding actor, wonderful character.

Buffy in the graveyard flashback. Her eyes go all wide and shocked and suddenly it's anime Buffy!

Buffy's bedroom flashback. You can see her life falling apart around her.

Angel and Whistler in the sewer. Angel is so cute and earnest when he decides to help; but just when it's getting a little too Star Wars ("I want to learn the ways of the Force..."), the line about "But I don't want to dress like you" pops in. LOL! Beautiful work from David, in all the flashbacks.

"Someone wasn't wor-thy..." Oh, I pray Spike survives the season -- if they kill him, I'm going to be pissed! And sad....

Mr. Pointy. Poor Kendra....

Xander trying to take on all of the vampires, while yelling for Cordy to get clear. < sigh > What can I say, heroism is a turn-on.

Buffy finding Kendra's body. A really great image, following the voiceover that was quite good -- a vast improvement over Angelus's from 'Passion', at any rate. I did keep having Early Edition flashes, though.

Questions and Comments:
Okay, time for everyone to take a remedial math course. For Angel to be 241 in 1997 (which we've gotten from two different sources, including Angel himself) he had to have been born in 1756 -- three years after a flashback in which he is in his late teens/early twenties (which age is consistent with what Willow said in Halloween). Even if, for some weird reason, he's counting the years of his life from when he was brought across, the dating of that flashback is still off by three years. Sloppy work from either Joss, the editor, or the subtitle crew.

Other than that, nice work on the flashbacks -- fun costuming, genuinely creepy stuff from Angelus and Dru, and the outstanding backstory on Angel!

Dianne's right, these vampires have vacuums for fangs -- the whole big sucking thing takes about three seconds. One hopes Angel can slow down under, ah, other circumstances. Or have I already used that joke?

And this is all we get of Oz? One lousy scene?

So, how did the demon statue get to Sunnydale?

Black arts? Bite me. Magic does not automatically qualify as a black art -- although messing with people's souls would tend to take it out of the white areas. Still, I sincerely doubt Willow -- or Jenny, for that matter -- would be studying anything that could remotely qualify as black -- she knows the difference between good and evil when she sees it.

Okay, season finale, we must trash the library! Anyone else sensing the trend?< g >

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. If Kendra's death proves to have an actual point, I may revise this upwards, but it's too annoying at the moment, especially added to the major date screwup. Still, the flashbacks were cool and I spent a lot of time screaming, so I'm not going to complain too much.

Chris's Review

Whew. Y'know, Joss has done enough two-part episodes by now that I don't expect much out of the beginning of these eps. Usually they're a little heavy on the set-up and plot and "suspense 'til next time", and while good, they're not as good as the concluding part. This time, though, I don't see *how* Part 2 could be better than Part 1; so much got packed into one hour, so many good flashbacks, character bits, plot possibilities, and emotion, that the best this Tuesday's episode could hope to do is equal it.

The Demon-Coming-To-Destroy-The-World plot device is standard by now, but twining its way through that is the final fate of Angel/Angelus, and what a great way they chose to remind us of that, using the flashbacks! The arc of Angel's development is so clearly shown, and so _well_ contrasted with his current reversion back to evil, that it really reminded everyone *why* we cared about this guy at the beginning of this season, and why Xander's Ultimate Kill-Him-Now solution would be such a waste.

Plus, the flashbacks themselves were so well done! Julie Benz *is* pretty. Wow. Who'd have guessed the Catholic schoolgirl outfit was _so_ completely hiding how lovely she can look? I didn't like Darla any better in 1753 than I did in 1997, but at least she was costumed in a way that worked with her natural prettiness. And Angel was such a jerk---but still, an innocent, clueless jerk, who didn't deserve what happened to him. He never had a chance.

The Drusilla scene was just too sad; like someone on the list said, she never, ever had a chance, she was doomed from the get-go, with her mom being so damnably unsupportive as to call her demonspawn. I kept saying "bastard, bastard, bastard" as Angelus started messing with her head... (But please tell me I'm not the only ex-Forever Knight fan who thought of Schanke & Nick in the confessional during this scene. ) I'd bet Angelus ended up lacking shelter for some reason, and ducked into the church to get out of the sunlight; given a choice between holy ground & crosses, and the sun, he'd make the obvious choice.

Loved the gypsy curse flashback, both for the sense of overwhelming doom, and the way it caught up with Angelus. Nope, the Rom weren't cursing him for just and fair reasons. They were doing it for vengeance! And boy did they get it. I felt terrible for Angel. Ow ow ow ow ow. And I'm not even a Drooler, I just think DB did a marvelous job with that scene, and that the way the curse worked was horrible. Sheesh. Do we *want* to recurse him? Would that be kind or fair? I'm serious here, folks....

REALLY loved the Buffy 1996 flashbacks. All that hair! And the day-glo wardrobe! And the big eyes after she killed that vamp! It's anime' Buffy! What really worked about this scene with Buffy, though, was that you could see both the working brain she now uses much more often, and the occasional teen-age ditziness that comes out purely on its own. She might not have been the Slayer yet, but she was still more than just a Cordette; she had the leadership potential as well as the fashion sense.

Merrick (if that was him), her first Watcher, was something of a disappointment; nowhere near the presence or sense of power I'd expected. But it's cool to know that everything happened just like it did in the movie... And poor Buffy; you're a Slayer and your parents are on the verge of divorce and you're totally alone. How much more horrible can any 15-year-old's life get?

Angel gets the Lifetime Achievement Award for Brooding Skills, especially if he _did_ spend 80 years honing them! (I felt so bad for him.. that is no way for any vamp to live, no, no). That he managed to get it together enough to go to Sunnydale and help shows he _does_ deserve to be a person. I don't know if he fell in love with Buffy while spying on her in L.A., but he definitely felt a responsibility toward her, even that early, and wanted to protect her. I keep wanting to re-watch "Welcome to the Hellmouth" in light of what we now know; Joss is a genius for winding the story back to what we *thought* we knew and messing with that, too! Buffy & Angel's first meeting takes on a whole different slant now....

The Whistler is Joss, he couldn't hold out any longer, he had to play in his own universe, so he sent the Whistler in to be him. :>> (I'm kidding. Mostly.) But he's a *cool* demon, and we've had enough really _bad_ demons and evil powers over the last 34 eps; isn't it time we got a cool one? If the demonic plane really *is* just a separate reality, and not the literal Hell of any human religion, it makes sense that a few of those guys might not be into death and destruction. I am hoping we get more backstory and that he shows up in Sunnydale in the next ep, though.

Okay, end happy burbling about flashbacks, which are, I think, what made this ep work so much better than the last two starts to the two-parters. Onto the 1998 plot the Slayerettes are facing:

Willow continues to rock on all levels, yay. ;>> Nice timing on the finding of the disk, though; I thought they'd leave it 'til later, and they didn't, and it was *cool* the way they found it and then found the incantation. It's also cool to see someone of her smarts starting to find an avocation for teaching, one of the most underrated fields there is. The new interest in the magical arts scares me with its potential use in future storylines, though; there's no way Joss would state that there's risks to her from doing this, and then just let it lie.... I'm *really* looking forward to seeing that she's okay in Tuesday's installment, too.

Xander had the thankless task of Voice of Reason, Devil's Advocate, & Pain in the Ass this time through... I told Perri and Dee the first time we watched it that it's because he likes his solutions simple, like his math. All the ramifications of who's hurting who and what would be fairer and who should really get the blame just makes his head hurt, like Trig. Just make it stop, make it be over, that's all he cares about right now: no one *else* getting hurt. His fighting skills are getting more impressive too; he kept fighting even after that _painful_ smashing of his arm. Xander is someone who could be a real threat if he ever completely gets his act together.

I do wonder what happened to Cordy at the end there... I really hope she's okay. No question about her level of involvement in all of this now; she's not just a "convenient extra person to do the ceremony". She was actively participating in the "how do we cope with Angel" discussion, because she really cares about how all of this turns out. And she still delivers the best putdowns in the High School ("How about because you're a short, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu?" -- on Principal Snyder).

Giles didn't have a lot to do, but what he did was interesting; how long has he had that Orb of Thesulah, hmmm? And why, given that they thought the ritual was lost? I'm not going to speculate too much, but I'd bet it could help someone summon ghosts as well as souls.... Nice to see him being appreciated in his field, although the short end to his help at the museum was too bad. I am *really* hoping he comes out of the next episode in one piece, but given who has him... well.... < sniff! >

Sorry, quite sorry, that Kendra bit it. I liked her, as well as pitied her. And she did have a purpose in this ep besides dying; she had to die at Dru's hands, so we'd hate her a bit more. I don't think it worked quite well enough---Dru's so very far beyond gone that I keep giving her unconscious slack for her actions. Now, if she *had* done the eyes thing, that would have done it. *ick* Anyway. Hope that the Kendra fic picks up because of this; hope that Sam Zabuto shows up peeved because his Slayer bought it on Giles's turf (although it's *so* not Giles's fault...); hope that another Slayer is Chosen somewhere in the world, and we get to meet her. Kendra deserved more of a life, and more of a death, than she's getting, and I'm hoping that at least we hear about it in the next episode.

Principal Snyder is going to use Kendra's death as an excuse to flunk Buffy or kick her out, if he can. I've just realized how we *can* get a fourth season, without the nagging who's-going-to-college-where questions: they can all get held back a year for various reasons, and repeat their junior year. Which would suck, but I wouldn't put it past Joss. At this point I'm hoping Snyder buys it. I'll probably change my mind next week, or tomorrow, I do that a lot, but right now I'm hoping he dies. He may know what Buffy is, based on his attitude, and be trying to work _against_ her---or he may not, and may just be the biggest blind jerk on the planet, given that he knows as much as he does about the Hellmouth and the vampires. He's a great character, but he's almost run through my store of patience for him!

Love Spike. I hope he either tries to kill Angelus, accidentally saves Buffy, or becomes human. I'd love to see more of James Marstairs next season, he's way too much fun. ~"Some-one's not worth-y.."~ < heee! >

I believe the sword in the gargoyle is gonna be Giles's problem next week, given the lovely foreshadowing of him messing with the sword Kendra brought. I could be wrong here, but that whole "worthy to remove the sword" thing just screams "Watcher/Giles/British Good Guy" to me. And it's not like he's going to volunteer, y'know. I would bet that the pull-ee has to do it under their own power---and he won't want to. So yes, Angelus will get what jollies he can out of the situation. Which is going to make me... most unhappy, next Tuesday.

I am not going to speculate about the promo, because there's too much to wonder about, and I don't even know where to start. I would *like* to see a Spike flashback, I would *love* for Joyce to finally find out what her daughter's been up to, and I am praying that Angelus becomes Angel again. But with this show, you can never count on anything, since it usually comes out cooler than you could have dreamed.... I'm really gonna be bummed when summer reruns start.

5 stars out of 5. With the extra star held in reserve for next week's ep.

Celli's Review



"I think MB is just a leeeetle too anxious for 8 o'clock. This is her latest quote... "Now there's a cosmic irony - passing the time trying to make time go faster."" -- Beth

"...and Sandy was saying that, Joss being Joss, he's probably going to let Angelus remain Angelus through the summer. We agreed that this would not be good. < --winner, "duh" award, May 1998." -- Betsy

"Can we call in Jossed to work? 'Hello Rick, I can't work today, my TV show messed with my mind.'" -- Lizbet

"*Interesting* that Angel followed Buffy from LA. Joss is clearly setting us up here, trying to give us *some* reason to still remember why we're rooting for him to get his soul back...frankly, without that stuff after tonight's ep even I might have gone completely over to the "whack the bastard" side. But seeing him make the conscious decision that he wants to help Buffy, that he wants to fight on the "good side of the Force" reminded me who *Angel* is. (It also settled once and for all that ongoing debate about pre-curse-removal Angel's agenda...)" -- Gina

"Gah. OK, that's not very insightful. Let's try again." -- Lizbet

"I'm just *so* not going to get into Whistler except for wondering why Joss bothered with an actor and didn't just play the part himself... I'm done now." -- Lizbet

"Kendra... requiem pacis. Does this mean that there is now another new Slayer out there, or was Kendra "activated" only because for a few moments there was *no* Slayer at all in the world? Poor girl never had any kind of life... she named her *stake*, for heaven's sake! She was just in the episode *way* too briefly... or did they need her to be a dead body so Buffy could be arrested? They couldn't kill anyone else, could they?"
"Nah, they needed Kendra as CPD to introduce Mr. Pointy." -- Lizbet and Betsy

"I really liked the flashback to 1996 (my Joss Buffy was Cordelia--with a destiny) *except* that I was sorely disappointed in the guy who was, I guess, supposed to be Merrick... or the TV version of. Buffy came to Sunnydale very skilled, very knowledgeable... and very hurt and very avoiding slayerhood. I know his appearance was brief, but I expected her previous watcher to be more charismatic, at least. " -- Mary Beth

"David once again amazed me... playing several variations of the same character: The original Angel... sort of a cocky, brash but really rather innocent guy; pre-souled Angelus tormenting Dru... a little less hell-bent on destruction and really just rather sadistic; a brand-spanking new-souled Angel.... confusion, then heart-wrenching pain; 90 years with a soul (I'm going with he sort of degenerated into that state over time) Angel.... defeated, desperate, listless, lifeless; then the transformation from that Angel to *our* Angel... oh there was a moment there when I *saw* him and I actually gasped; and of course Angelus... the jerk. He's just plain nuts. Want *Angel* Back.... NOW!!!!! (No stomp, no pout, just NOW)" -- Mary Beth

"I have to say, if I hear Angelus call Buffy "lover" *one* more time, I'm gonna get Mr. Pointy and stake him myself! Nuke him 'til he glows and then stake him in the dark! < ggrrrrrrr! > He _really_ hates her; obviously, because Angel loves her, and Angelus just *won't* accept that. Nastybadmean!" -- Maureen

"Okay, show of hands: how many people were screaming with laughter and having massive FK flashbacks during the whole rat scene? Thought so. < snerk! > Where's Screed when ya needs 'im?" --Maureen

"But what the f*ck is up with Dru?!? Okay, psycho psychic vamp, I'm down with that, but what's with the mesmerism thing? And how come it worked on a *Slayer*? Yes, demon-powered whatever-it-is, she could probably enthrall any normal human, but one assumes a Slayer has a pretty powerful supernatural force also. Ohhh, just had a thought! (Get *out* of there! < g >) What if Spike's and Angelus's attraction to Dru isn't entirely voluntary? You _know_ our girl Dru would have no compunctions about using her "powers" in whatever way would do her the most good." -- Maureen

"*Way* pathetic Angel in NYC. And *way* impressed with David this week. Wonder if he ever thought he was going to get to explore so much when they gave him this role? It's just immensely cool (and yes, I'm way jealous < g >). Diving after that rat, and the *utter* despair and frustration he radiated after missing it...just wanted to take him home, clean him up, and wrap him in a blanket in front of a roaring fire. (And the rest is at *least* PG-13, but we won't go there.)" -- Valerie

"I think my favorite were the bits with Kendra, especially the "Mr. Pointy" exchange. (I do *not* want to know how old she was when she named that stake. Everything about Kendra's life just makes me sad.) ~meep~ Sudden visions of Buffy belatedly "giving" her a stuffed animal to be buried with her. *snif* I can't quite decide if I think Kendra's death is too much of a CPD, but the fact that I'm on the fence generally leads me to decide that it's *not* (if just barely). They *were* surprised, outnumbered and overpowered; and for all her talk about "killing many vampires", I just don't think she had sufficient experience with the sheer *numbers* in Sunnydale." -- Valerie

"And the confessional scene....way too light and airy...and roomy for that matter. Those things are small, and so dark you can barely see your own hand--let alone someone else's hand. I'm bothered too that Angelus could make it inside the church with all the crosses, in a sanctified confessional, and he didn't even flinch!!!! What's up with that!?!!! Is Joss changing the universe rules on us?" -- Leslie

"Although I'm _still_ getting hung up on how fast they drain people (Darla taking Angel, Angel taking random-sacrificial-victim-who-looks-a-lot-like-Xander-at-first-glance-and-don't-think-we-didn't-notice-that-Joss-you-sneaky-bastard-:-p)-- How much blood is there in your average human? < shakes head > These guys definitely have the major Hoover suckage thing going there!" -- Dianne

"And someone *please* tell me the shot of Xander throwing that right cross is a recycled Part 1 shot! Otherwise, owowowowowowowowowowowOWWWWWW!!!" -- Valerie

"That was, of course, after I stopped gigglingly referring to the thwarted Angel-who-could-not-pull-the-sword-from-the-stone as "Sir Kay.""
"Okay, Gina, we're Trilling again. My comment was "Awwww, looks like he's not rightwise born King of all Hellmouth." " -- Gina and Valerie

"Yup, knew the sword in the gargoyle was gonna be Giles's problem the second he picked up Kendrahhh's, giving us some lovely foreshadowing. It's so King Arthur, and he's the only one around with the accent, so he's the one tapped to do it." -- Chris

"Xander is broken, Willow go spuh, Giles is bopped and kidnapped *again*, and Kendra is no more, *snif*." --Val

"The Angel I like is the person he was late first and early second season--the person he *chose* to become (and was still in the process of defining, actually) after becoming a vampire, having his soul restored, hitting rock bottom, and having Whistler and Buffy shock him into caring. Everything we saw in this ep makes me respect him *more* for reaching the point he had by "Surprise". I think I just realized I liked him as a work-in-progress who *knew* that was exactly what he was and never gave up, in spite of several obvious bouts of *really* wanting to. "
"yeah, who he is by early second-season *is* pretty damned impressive when looked at as "a year or so ago he was living in a sewer, cut off from the world, still brooding for all he's worth." Much more so than the way it had been in the back of my mind: where he was "brooding" _a la_ Nick Knight (i.e. in the world, with friends and family, just depressed about it) for the last 100 years or so. To have essentially gone from "a guy-like 20-something rich boy" to "evil demon creature" (~100+ years) to "barely human can-you-even-call-this-'living'? brooding" (~90 years) to "Cool Angel We Knew" (~18 *months*) is pretty astounding. When it came right down to it and he finally pulled it all together-- he came out pretty damned good! :)" -- Valerie and Dianne

"They answered a few important questions. Did Angel know what he was getting into? what did he look like in tight pants and flowy shirts and other historical wear? Things like that..." -- Mary Beth

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