Becoming II

Perri's Review | Christina's Review | Dianne on Joyce | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

And we thought Prophecy Girl was bad. If Joss keeps this trend up, I'm not sure any of us will survive the third season finale. I'm not sure any of the characters will survive. Ave Joss.... Excuse me while I attempt to be coherent.

The cops arrive in the library to find Kendra dead and Xander unconcious. They drag Buffy into hall to arrest her, and Snyders shows up to gloat; Buffy responds by decking the cop holding her and escaping into the night as the cop puts out an APB. Later, Buffy, dressed in something vaguely resembling a disguise, haunts the halls of the hospital until Xander, sporting a cast, finds her. He helps her hide from the police, then takes her to Willow -- who is lying in a coma. Cordelia arrives safely, but with the news that no one knows where Giles is.

Where Giles is, is waking up staring into Angelus's face. The vamp currently known as the rat bastard announces he wants to torture Giles, but he'll settle for the information on the ritual to wake up the demon. Of course, both would be even better. Meanwhile, the cops are torturing a clueless (as usual) Joyce to find out where Buffy is, and Buffy heads for Giles's house, where she meets Whistler.

Whistler tells her it wasn't supposed to happen like this; Buffy gets tired of him being cryptic and pushes her way out as he tells her that the sword isn't enough. As she leaves, a cop shows up and tries to arrest her. He's knocked out of contention by... Spike, who attacks from the shadows. Buffy responds by attacking him. He doesn't fight back -- he's come to offer his help taking down Angel, and to tell her that Angelus has Giles. Suspicious, she finally believes him, not after his riff about not wanting to destroy the world, but when he admits he's in it to get Dru back. They form an exceptionally uneasy alliance, and head for Buffy's place to talk.

Xander and Cordelia stand vigil at Willow's side. Xander tries to talk Willow awake, admitting that he loves her, and it works; Willow wakes up... and asks for Oz. Across town, Giles is still refusing to tell Angel anything he wants to know, despite what seems to be some inspired torture. Spike and Buffy head for her place -- and her mom drives up. Buffy is forced to introduce her mother to Spike, but the awkward social situation is interrupted by a vampire attack. Spike and Buffy slay in front of her mother, and the cat is jet-propelled out of the bag. Buffy begins the explanations with, "Mom, I'm a vampire slayer."

More explanations as Buffy calls Willow to fill her in, while Spike and Joyce eye each other uncomfortably. Giles is being held in a deserted mansion, and Buffy plans to invade at daybreak. Joyce realizes where she's met Spike, but Buffy invades before things can get any more banal, and she and Spike discuss terms. Spike will helps take out Angel, if he and Dru can leave free and clear. Buffy's mother listens in utter confusion as Buffy reluctantly agrees to Spike's terms -- with the caveat that if Giles dies, so does Drusilla. Joyce wants to call the police, and Buffy points out the facts of life. Joyce finally reacts, demanding answers, but not willing to believe the ones she gets, and finally demands that Buffy not go out to fight. When Buffy heads for the door, she lays down an ultimatum -- if Buffy leaves, she can't come back. Buffy leaves.

In Willow's hospital room, Willow tells the others she wants to try the curse again. The others try to talk her out of it, but she is determined. Cordy and Oz head out to get the gear, while Xander goes to tell Buffy they're going to try the curse again. Giles continues to hold up under the torture, telling Angel to go to hell, and Spike keeps Angel from killing him off-hand, bringing in their secret weapon -- Dru.

Buffy returns to the library for the sword, and has a close encounter with Prinicpal Snyder, who takes great pleasure in informing her that she's expelled. She effectively tells him to go to hell -- something of a theme tonight -- and walks out, as Snyder tells the mayor he has good news. Giles has nothing but bad news -- Dru hypnotizes him as she did Kendra, and suddenly he can only see Jenny. Thinking he's talking to his love, he tells her that Angel's blood is the key. In triumph, Angel heads out to do the ritual, only Spike's intervention keeping Giles alive.

Buffy returns to Giles's to confront Whistler. He tells her what Giles just revealed, that Angel's blood will open the vortex, and only Angel's blood can close it -- and that closing it will send both the demon and Angel to hell.

As the sun rises, Xander surprises Buffy outside the mansion; she lets him come on the condition that he only gets Giles out. Xander starts to tell her about Willow's plans -- then doesn't, just telling her kick Angel's ass. Rituals begin in the mansion and the hospital. Angelus's is interrupted by Buffy's attack -- as Angelus faces her, Spike goes for him from behind, slamming him to the floor. As Buffy fights, Spike keeps hitting, until Dru tackles him. They square off as Xander frees Giles and escapes. Buffy kills the last vampire, but she's too late -- Angelus has already pulled the sword. And Willow is weakening.

Buffy and Angelus face off with swords as Willow begins to fade. But as she is about to faint, she suddenly gasps -- and resumes the ritual full-strength. Spike takes Dru down, knocking her out, and the pair escape as Angelus stands over a fallen Slayer. He gloats too long; Buffy renews her attack in full Slayer form. As they battle, Willow chants -- and the Orb disappears. On his knees, Angelus's eyes glow; he gasps and nearly collapses -- then Angel looks up at Buffy, confused and afraid, and still very much in love. She whispers his name and they embrace--

--as the vortex opens behind them. Knowing what she must do, Buffy kisses Angel, tells him she loves him and tells him to close his eyes. Then she stabs him with the sword, forcing him back into the vortex. With Angel's blood, it closes, taking Angel with it.

The sun is up, and Joyce finds her daughter's room empty, clothes gone, and only a good-bye note. At school, the Slayerettes huddle alone, with no idea what has happened. Buffy watches them go inside, then wanders off to the bus that takes her out of town.

Angel's soul has been returned, courtesy of Willow and an unknown visitor, but Buffy sacrificed him to hell to save the world.

Joyce knows about vampires and that Buffy is the Slayer. She is so not happy about it.

Spike and Dru have left Sunnydale. Unfortunately, so has the Slayer. This. Is Bad.

Willow is definitively and finally over Xander -- waking to hear him saying he loved her, she instinctively asked for Oz. A wrench for Xander, finally facing his feelings, but nothing he doesn't deserve.

Besides, Xander has Cordelia, who is in love with him even if she's not going to admit it. The pair of them are strangely cute the entire episode -- Xander absently calls Cordy 'honey' several times, and she goes right into his arms when she arrives at the hospital, and is always right next to him afterwards. Hopefully Xander isn't going to throw her away in a hopeless yearning after Willow now, but he's just idiot enough to do precisely that.

Buffy and Angel are going to have some major 'is-sues' to work out when (yes, when, dammit!) Angel returns. "Hi, honey, I know you got your soul back after you lost it because we slept together, but I kind of had to stab you and send you to Hell to save the world and oh, by the way, do you remember torturing my Watcher and killing his girlfriend while your soul was on vacation?" < wince > Not going there. So not going there.

Okay. Rough episode on absolutely all parties concerned. And none too damn easy on the audience either.

Guess we should have been a bit more specific when we demanded Angel back, huh? Angelus is gone; or at least, he's timesharing the body again. Problem is, the body is not in a happy place. Angelus certainly deserves his time in Hell (most of us have been wishing him there since, oh, the first ten minutes of 'Innocence'), but now Angel is with him, and This Is Bad. Angel with probably recover his memories of Angelus fairly quickly, judging by the first time he was cursed, and those memories, side to side with Buffy shoving a sword through him, are going to torture him much worse than anything Hell can throw his way.

Buffy, meanwhile, gets to live out her torture on Earth. Her mother threw her out (yes, we know Joyce regretted those words approximately 3.2 seconds after she uttered them, but Buffy is seventeen and in no position to be objective); she's been expelled from her second school; she blames herself for Giles being hurt several times over; she blames herself for Willow being hospitalized; she's wanted in connection with a murder by the police; she has the lovely memory of getting Angel back, seeing the love in his eyes -- and sticking a sword through him and consigning him to Hell. Whistler was right when he said she had one thing left to lose -- she still had herself. That grip on her own heart and soul was what saved her against Angelus -- and it's what she lost, completely and totally, when she sacrificed Angel. She's going to either deal with it (alone, since she's chosen to remove herself from everyone else she thinks she can hurt), or become the most suicidal person on the face of the planet.

Spike continues to delight and amaze me. I expected him to come in on Buffy's side as far as taking out Angelus was concerned, but he a) saved her from the cop b) helped her lie to her mother c) helped her take out the vamp d) sat in her living room and did not do anything to her mom but be reasonably deadpan. And, for just a second there, I almost thought he was going to try to rescue her from Angelus. The great thing, of course, is that he didn't. < g > That's our Spike! Seriously, he did a lot of things in this ep he didn't strictly need to do to get his way, to get Drusilla back, which, as usual, makes his motives more than a bit murky. The odd thing is, I think he more or less meant everything he told Buffy about not wanting the world to end, it just wasn't his prmary motive. He's still one of the best, more multi-dimensional characters this show has produced, and I want him back!!!!!

As for Drusilla -- who knew she'd take Angelus's side against Spike? Kind of makes you wonder why Spike wants her back. And the hypno-thing she used against Kendra turns out to have major repercussions -- she's psi on a fairly high level, which is not a good thing. Do other vamps have these kind of abilities, or is Dru one of a kind? I hope the latter, thank you.

Giles keeps turning out to be amazingly stronger than anyone expects. Not only did he not turn a hair at the ritual to restore Angel's soul (well, until Xander started being a bastard about it), but he holds up under Angelus's torture with style and determination. Only when they hit him with his greatest weakness -- Jenny -- does he give in, and even then, it's an incidental slip. The question is what he's going to now, with his Slayer headed for the hills. Stay in Sunnydale and try to watch things there, helping the Slayerettes hold it together -- they've won a place in his life and responsibilities almost as strong as Buffy's, after all. Or will he go looking for Buffy and try to bring her back to Sunnydale? Or find her and simply stay with her wherever?

Xander.... Yep, I'm still furious at Xander, and completely unable to be objective. Yes, he did come through getting in the fight to save Giles. And all right, maybe it was better not to tell Buffy what Willow was trying, to keep her from letting down her guard while fighting Angelus, I'm on board with that. And if I was sure that was his sole and only motive for lying to Buffy, I'd forgive him. But I can't shake the belief that he lied his ass off to make sure Angelus died -- he wanted his definition of justice, he wanted safety for the girls, he wanted Angelus/Angel out of their lives forever, regardless of the consequences to Buffy, or Angel, or anyone else. Convince me he had some real actual concern in there and we'll talk, but for right now, I'm having a real hard time forgiving him for that, and I don't think Buffy is going to be real pleased with him, either.

Joyce has finally had reality shoved in her face, and her nose rubbed in it. She dealt... poorly. After the last few years, she really ought to have been better prepared for this, but she's been willfully blind for so long that, of course, she was completely unprepared. And she reacted like any parent would to a normal situation where her daughter is doing something that will endanger her life -- she forbids it to happen (whether or not she can actually stop it has nothing to do with it). And, when her authority is challenged, and physically ignored, she pops off with the last resort of parents of teenagers everywhere -- "If you leave, don't come back." Was she wrong? Hell, yes. Was she unreasonable? Well... define reason (hint: my definition of reason generally doesn't involve vampires and Slayers). Desperate to protect her daughter from a threat she didn't really understand, Joyce went all out, and you can't really blame her. The hell of it is, for anything else, her handling of the situation probably wouldn't have backfired quite so spectacularly. If it were as simple as ordering a normal daughter to not date a creepy guy, for example, Buffy wouldn't have resorted to violence to get out of the house, and she would have come slinking back eventually. But Buffy isn't normal, and normal means of dealing weren't going to work, which Joyce couldn't deal with. She's going to have to learn -- and I think Giles is going to have to do some pretty unpleasant explanations as soon as Joyce recovers enough to finish putting the pieces together.

Willow really needs to learn the concept of limits. Casting a high-level spell from a hospital bed lands way up there on the Stupidity Scale of Life. And when she realize she restored Angel's soul just in time for it to be sent to Hell -- well, it's going to be a hell of an object lesson (no pun intended) for playing games with the Universe. Assuming, of course, she ever does find out.

Jenny finally has her revenge -- and don't even try to tell me it wasn't her spirit possessing Willow to finish the curse (althought I have a sneaky fondness for the theory that it was Angel's soul). Maybe now she can rest in peace.

As if Cordelia didn't already know how hard life as a Slayerette is, she really runs into it this time. She actually feels ashamed for running, even though she had no choice, and she stands vigil with Xander waiting for Willow to wake up. Cordy doesn't take helplessness well, not when she's just started to learn that there are things she can actually do.

Oz os so sweet. He's totally gentle with Willow and so in love. < sigh > I wish he'd gotten more to do this episode; can't wait to have him as a regular next year. But he really needs to start putting his foot down and keeping Willow's better instincts under control.

Best Moments:
Buffy calling Snyder a troll. Thank you!

Xander protecting Buffy from the cops. It was a perfect move, and the exchange right after it, when Xander has to tell her about Willow, was just wrenching.

Willow waking up and asking for Oz. Just so very sweet, at the same time that it hits Xander like a punch to the gut.

And, of course, Oz taking care of Willow. WAFFS all over the place.

Spike saving Buffy from the cop. Caught me totally by surprise, and the ensuing "Talk, talk, punch, punch" routine was hilarious, as was Spike's riff on why he doesn't want the world to end.

Spike and Buffy lying to Joyce. Spike was so cute and silly, trying to keep up with Buffy's lie when he had no idea what was going on.

Buffy breaking the news to Joyce. Right before she comes out with the "Mom, i'm a vampire slayer", she and Spike have this lovely exchange of looks! ROTFL!

Spike and Joyce in the living room. Destined to be the most truly classic scene in Buffy history. No dialogue, just two people trying desperately to pretend the other doesn't exist, because they have no idea how to deal with that other person! ROFLTMAO! Kristine and James were having way too much fun.

Second Spike and Joyce scene. As Joyce decides small talk is the way to go and Spike deadpans the 'get the hell away from my daughter'. And he doesn't hold a grudge over the whole thing! Almost as funny as the first scene.

Dru becoming Jenny. Robia delivered an outstandingly creepy, gut-wrenching, terrifying performance -- followed immediately by the hilarity of Dru enjoying kissing Giles just a bit too much. Emotional Whiplash R Us.

Willow's 'determined face'.

Joyce and Buffy's confrontation. All emotional issues and fantastic acting aside, I'm amused and impressed at the amazing imitation Joyce was doing of a parent just told her daughter was gay. The parallel was perfect, subtle and mindblowingly well-done, from denial, to lack of strong father figure, to "can't you try not being..?" Absolutely oustanding! And very welcome after the heavy-handed anti-steroids messages in 'Go Fish'.

Spike clocking Angelus from behind. We waited half a season for it, and it felt good!

Buffy catching the sword. Another one of those moments that would have been a walking cliche if it hadn't been so perfect.

Willow being possessed. Alyson did a very nice job of changing personalities mid-stream, there.

Angel coming back. when he opened his eyes and looked up at Buffy, scared and confused, and his face lit up when he realized who she was... God. I started crying here and didn't really stop until about an hour after the end credits.

Buffy and Angel's last kiss. < sob > I knew what she was going to do about five seconds before she did it, and it didn't help.

The entire end sequence. Just when you think you can't possibly be more devastated, Sarah McLachlan starts singing with fiendishly, heartbreakingly appropriate lyrics. Owowowowowowowow.....

Questions and Comments:
The biggie, of course, is whether Buffy's actions were necessary. Did she have to force Angel into the vortex to close it, or would just his blood have worked. Whistler's comments would seem to suggest the first, but he's a demon, ambiguity is his stock in trade. Bummer either way, but worse if Buffy overreacted.

Oh my, Spike's going to have an unhappy car companion when Drusilla wakes up. They had so better come back! Spike, at least.

So, Buffy's out of Sunnydale. So what the hell are the Slayerettes going to do against the vampires? Of course, by now, without any Masters or rat bastards wandering around, the Slayerettes can probably handle the everyday vampire crap, but the Hellmouth is going to attract a major baddie eventually, for a power trip if nothing else. Is it going to be one of those destined things where Buffy will wind up where all of the bad things are? Or is she going to be forced back whether she likes it or not?

Spike has now been invited into Buffy's house. You'd think she'd have learned... Hope this one doesn't come back to bite her in the butt.

Okay, what is up with Snyder? Either he's a demon/bad guy, which would explain why he was so happy to get rid of Buffy, or he's a 'good' guy who simply has no clue. We had better get some damn answers next season!

The music has always been outstanding in 'Buffy', but using Sarah McL was a master stroke. Major kudos to whoever pulled off that bit of negotiation.

Fairly nice editing on the final fight sequence, but yes, we could tell where it was Sarah and David, and when it was Sophia and (Xander look-alike) counterpart. Nice fight sequence, though, I'm not complaining. Methinks someone's been watching too much 'Highlander', though.

Rating: I'm tempted to tank this one with one star for sheer emotional brutality, but it does deserve better. On the other hand, there was a bit too much blatent emotional manipulation happening for a five-star rating. Call it 4 3/4 stars out of 5, with an extra stake for Joss's heart, if, in fact, he has one. Which is seriously in doubt at the moment. < sniff > I need a hug, indeed.

Now that I've recovered a bit, and I've read a lot of fun fic, lots of happy-ending fic, no angsty stuff, not really; and only had a bizarre dream about searching for Buffy through San Francisco Opera House... I can comment on this.

Lots of surprises for me, although I would have liked to go into it *completely* unspoiled ---totally impossible in this fandom, though. And I'm _glad_ I knew they were going to be torturing Giles from the TV Guide blurb before we got into this. Otherwise, I would have been in much, much worse shape.

Okay, we're getting off that subject for a bit, we're going somewhere easier....

This ep opened up vistas of speculation previously unthought-of; it took every "standard" Buffy moment and turned it on its head (and considering that Buffy usually turns normal TV cliches on their heads, this is getting pretty twisty). Uneven pacing, and a couple of "but what if...?" moments (especially with Buffy and Angelus; did she actually *have* to send him to hell? and if she didn't, how mad is he going to be about it?) but otherwise outstanding, and fully living up to the first half of "Becoming".

To begin with the million questions opened up by this ep: Snyder's expelled Buffy; who do you think finds out first, Giles or her mom? Do you think Buffy's gone to her dad's, or just taken off for parts unknown? And if that's the case, is she just going to be homeless for the summer, or what? How are they going to get Angel back? Feed the Hellmouth some pepper, wait for it to sneeze? Was that Jenny possessing Willow? Is Willow now vulnerable to Dark Forces? Is Xander in love with Willow now, or did he mean that declaration as just a friend? And if he is in love with her, what's he going to do about the situation? If Jenny's still paying attention to stuff on this plane, is there any hope for her and Giles? (Hey, if Buffy can date a vampire and Willow can date a werewolf...) How mad *is* Dru going to be when she wakes up 100 miles from Sunnydale? If Joyce puts two and two together and gets four, will she immediately go to the library to read Giles a riot act? And if so, will she call Hank and ask him to help her lynch Giles? Will Giles go looking for Buffy this summer? Or will she just show up back here when things get hot again? And how *is* she ever going to get a G.E.D. at this rate?

< breathe >

You see the problem. We have to wait three months to get clue *one* about most of this stuff.

To go on to what we have a clue about: Buffy's just sent the love of her life to hell---she thinks forever; she hasn't told anyone about that *or* that she let Spike & Drusilla get away (not that she had a choice in stopping them, she was pretty darn busy); never mentioned the Whistler to anyone at all, if I remember right; didn't bother telling anyone that she was expelled _and_ kicked out of the house _and_ told her mom the truth... Do we see major ramifications here? Can we say "loose ends"? Buffy leaving made perfect emotional sense, and was the worst _possible_ thing she could have done. The fallout from this could power the entire next season, if they want it to. If it weren't summer in Sunnydale, the Boring Time When The Dead Nap, all of this would be soooooo bad.

Never mind getting those pesky murder charges dropped. *This* is why I wonder if she _did_ go to her dad's; I mean, given the situation, he'd bring her right back to deal with the police if she showed up in L.A. Last I heard, she was still the prime suspect. Or have Xander and Willow and Giles and Cordelia managed to clear her by now? And if they have, who do the police think did it? And when she comes back, what will the Mayor do? And what is his *deal*, anyway???

< breathe > Ahem.

What else... I really do hope it was Jenny possessing Willow, because that would be a kind of justice, and because we might possibly see Robia again sometime, if Jenny's still paying attention to stuff on this plane, and because, finally, it would be a lot safer than Willow being possessed by anyone else. I *really* want to see what they do with Willow's magic potential next year, but the idea of Ethan coming back and trying to take advantage of her gives me the willies. Alyson Hannigan was outstanding in that scene; I think Dianne said "it's easier to play a possessed person when there's a real possession taking place... even though there's a risk you'll forget the lines..."

I can't make up my mind about Xander. I loved the scene with Willow in the hospital bed, and maybe it *was* just the love of a friend he was referring to. He certainly doesn't seem to be any less fond or involved with Cordy. Maybe it was just supposed to show that Xander's grown up and Willow's over him. But this is Joss, I can't trust that any little line of dialogue is harmless in *any* context...

Spike was hysterical, and I completely believed him when he said he liked the world as it is; right now he's one of the scarier beings on the planet, do you think he wants the competition that Hell On Earth would bring? The lines about "Happy Meals on legs" just killed me, and the scenes with him and Buffy, and him and Joyce, were *way* too cool. Why would he and Dru come back? I mean, maybe they will next season, maybe they won't, I haven't heard anything definite---but they could, they're both whole and healthy now, and this is NOT a good thing. Revenge? Use of the Hellmouth? Dru gets one of her bright & scary ideas? Angel? Yeeee.

Angel... ahhh, damn. I *did* start crying when the vortex opened and he didn't notice, but he was crying about seeing Buffy anyway, and she knew what she was going to have to do.... Bites bites bites. < sigh > I'll have to rewatch when I can bear it, and see what Whistler's line was about closing the portal---I can't remember how he phrased it. However it was phrased, it was clear that Buffy thought this was the only way to make it work.... I really, really hope that being a vampire and part demon keeps the worst of Hell from happening to him for the next four months. He'll be back, you know it and I know it, but in what kind of shape?

Joyce... oh, man. Part of me wanted to slap her, when she started telling Buffy she couldn't go; wasn't she listening? Didn't she see what was happening? But another part of me knows that she was just not keeping up with what was going on, that no parent could adjust fast enough to accept what Buffy was trying to tell her, and that months of frustration with Buffy's secrets and lies all came out in that one "if you leave, don't come back" pronouncement. That was pure bluff; to her, Buffy is still her little girl who can't be out on her own. She never dreamed Buffy would take that seriously, that was obvious from the look on her face when she saw the note. I think she just wanted Buffy to tell her *how* she knew she was the Slayer, hoped to find some expert aside from her daughter to explain why this was happening; but her timing sucked, and Buffy was too upset, and had to leave *right then*.... I hope this gets ironed out---but gee, are they candidates for family therapy next season!

Giles... okay, I can do this....

No, I can't. Drusilla must die. I know that half the reason I'm saying that is because she hurt Giles, and Giles is my fave and he was being really cool while they tortured him and he's had a really, really bad year and didn't deserve this and...

< breathe >

I know that on the Scale of Pain, he's #3, since "Going to Hell" and "Sending Your Boyfriend to Hell, Getting Expelled, and Getting Kicked Out of the House" outrank mere physical torture, but... that scene with Dru pretending to be Jenny made my flesh crawl. Seriously. It's *SO* not fair that I can't even go there. How much longer is it going to take him to deal with Jenny's death, with that to cope with now? Torture is not fun, it's bad, I'm sure he's going to have nightmares about it, but the Jenny bit was way over the top. Uncalled for. I think I would have hated Drusilla more after this scene, no matter whose mind she'd messed with---but that it was Giles, and Jenny... well... Hate her lots. Want her dead.

Really looking forward to next season for the supporting characters too; they have so much to work with. Oz and Cordy still have lots of potential (Cordy wasn't real proud of running; maybe she'll want to change that), Oz never got to follow up on the confrontation from Phases... The Mayor's still plotting, Snyder's still alive, Dru & Spike could return, Ethan's still out there somewhere....

And the Whistler might have one more dragon to pull out of his hat.

I have to agree with Perri, and give this a 4.75 out of 5; more for the one or two things that weren't definite at *all* and the uneven pacing at the beginning than the blatant emotional manipulation (which, well, worked). But a ten out of ten on the Meter O'Pain.

See you all in September. School is now officially out!

Dianne on Joyce

From her POV: She's dealing with a problem child she loves, but who keeps getting into trouble and regularly (because of that) obviously needs more discipline/structure/boundaries in her life. Now she's just seen something in the dark that looked an awful lot like someone disappearing into dust-- which is impossible, of course, but that's sure what it looked like. And Buffy is hanging with this weird, older, punk/goth-ish "band member" (yeah, right!) that Joyce vaguely remembers as having seen before and knowing is dangerous-- and they both act like this is perfectly normal.

Then your daughter explains things by telling you she's a "vampire slayer." (Kneejerk: a) they don't exist, b) a *what*?, c) would it be better if this means she's actually _delusional_ or if it means she's trying to [lamely] cover up drugs/gangs/some parent-of-a-teen's worst nightmare???, d) ohshitohshitohshit...)

So you don't wig or have a fit over the company your troubled teen is keeping or her bizarre assertion, you bring them both inside. Then, after sitting with him for a while _living_ the term 'surreal' and establishing that the last time you saw him you had to hit him with an axe to keep him from killing your daughter, you watch them talk about things you really can't follow, but that involves a lot of words like "die" "killing" "fighting" and "_vampires_" (?!?).

That's it. You may have fallen down as a parent in the past-- _obviously_ you missed something major, because your kid's sounding like she's gotten into major gang-like violent activities... and isn't making much sense ("vampires"? Is she delusional? God, is she doing _drugs_ or something?!?), but now you *know* something very not-right is happening with your kid and it would be downright criminally negligent to let her just wander off to "fight" and "kill" and "slay vampires"-- let alone the ultimate failing as a parent. (My God, what might happen to her, all mixzed up with... whatever kind of people she's mixed up with here!)

So, fine. You step in. The one thing that *is* clear in this bizarre mess is that you _can't_ let her leave. She obviously is very worked up about this, so you're even willing to let her try to explain what on earth she thinks is going on here-- to try to talk you into it. But there's no way you're just letting her pull the whole teen thing, blow you off, and run off like this. This is major, we need to talk *now*!

But she won't stop and you panic because you suddenly realize that, short of _tackling_ her, you *can't* stop her, even though God knows what could happen to her if you let her go! So you have to say something that will get through to her, that will make her realize that this is *serious*, you are *serious* and she can't just blow this off, so you tell her she *can't* leave, because then she won't be able to come back. Yeah, it's an empty threat, but you're desperate and she's walking and you _have_ to stop her....

But then she's gone. She's gone anyway.

And then you realize what you _said_ to her.

But dammit, you had to stop her. You were angry, she'll know that, right? I mean she'd never think you would _actually_ kick her out, right? Right. But she's seriously _in_ for it once she gets home. Things *cannot* go on like this!

Oh God, I hope she's o.k. and gets back soon.


And then you find the note she snuck in and left, and your world pretty much falls apart.

< Dianne blushes big time and scurries off the soapbox and off the stage >

< Dianne comes back, winces, and bows >

And that concludes tonight's live Chaos Story: Joyce doing Becoming 2...


"I'm just... sore. I got hit by a Joss last night and I think the bruises are just beginning to get tender." -- Mary Beth

"Okay, I can murder someone and make it really artistic, that doesn't mean I have to." -- Celli on Joss

"We're in Summer Rerun Hell, he's just in Summer Hell!" -- Lizbet on Anger

"Been there, done that, got the soul, lost it, went to hell."
"Having terrible time, wish you were here." -- Dianne and Lizbet

"I thought Giles reaction to "seeing" Jenny to be so sweet. I sniffed. But when he kissed Dru... well, a roomful of people all "Ughed" at the same time. Pure stereo-surround-sound of fan horror." -- Anya

"Love the irony how in WSWB It started with, essentially, the relationship between Xander and Willow and Becoming ended the circle. I'm glad Willow has found Oz because Xander won't be ready for her for another twenty or so years... (not at the rate he's maturing anyway) " -- Sasha

"Dru: Spike is too good for her. I really wish someone would kill her so he could meet a nice lady vampire and settle down." -- Sasha

"I can't blame Xander for not telling Buffy what Willow was up to. One more thing to worry her, one more thing to make her fight less hard; and that fight was so close... I don't think he withheld that information for any reason other than to help. I'm not sure it was the right thing to do, but I don't think I would have liked to make that choice either." -- Chris

"I think my biggest problem with this episode was the uneven writing. The first Whistler scene was a waste, the fight scenes were too long (filling in for lack of material, I guess), and everything was predictable. Joss didn't surprise me, although I could feel his hand trying to pull my emotional chains. It just didn't work this time." -- Leslie

"Yes, there were brilliant poignant funny moments. Exciting, well-done... blah blah blah. But I'm having serious "My heart's been ripped out of my body, shredded into hundreds of pieces, which were then put in a food processor and pureed and then poured in to a container, which was placed in a freezer until they formed a large chunk that was removed from the freezer and promptly smashed in to hundreds of pieces (Lather, Rinse, Repeat)" issues this morning and I don't know when/if I'll be able to discuss this. There aren't enough words.... there just aren't." -- Mary Beth

"But as miserable and unhappy as I am about it, I *have* to admit that Joss is brilliant. He found a way to:
1. Restore Angel's soul
2. Come up with some serious punishment/suffering/ atonement for the misdeeds of Angelus (yes, *I* know Angel's not responsible and *you* know Angel's not responsible, but it had gotten so evil that enough fans didn't *care*--so he was going to *have* to do something pretty nasty to him).
3. *Not* kill him. (Did *you* see any vampire ashes anywhere around? I didn't!)
And 4--Live up to the promise that most season finales always make and always break: "This is the one that changes everything." -- Gina

"The one comment I will make is that the scene where Angel comes back (I *knew* he would! I *knew* we were NOT going into rerun hell with Angelus romping around!) struck me as being a paralell of the scene in Innocence when Angelus rips into Buffy in his apartment. The look on his face, utter shock at being viciously betrayed by the one person he loves most in the world... hmmm, maybe Angel is just SO not going to be happy to see Buffy when he gets out of Hell (does he have a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card?) I mean, he doesn't know *why* he got thrown into Hell, he can guess that Buffy did it for a good reason, but STILL! Bites to get thrown into Hell! Presumably he will have the joy-and-wonder of recalling everything he did while un-cursed (de-cursed?) but even then, he knew that Buffy knew the soul was back *before* she shiskabobed him, so..." -- Lizbet

"I know now why Joss didn't play Whistler. He's going to play the Devil in the opening episode next season." -- Lizbet

"Except that thinking that you accidentally killed (for example) someone is going to perminently scar them; I would think that Angel *would* at least want to let her know that he wasn't burning with Bill Gates in hell... " -- Lizbet

"I liked this one. I'm going to get really annoyed by Whistler soon, though, considering what a total and utter Deus ex Machina he is (um, Joss, Mary Sue is *not* our *did* know that, I hope). I guess I'm a believer in well-done research. I mean, he could be interesting, but I'm hoping he was just around for the Acathla thing and is going to go far, far away from now on." -- Tina

"The tutu was *funny*, though, because now all I have is this image of Angel in a frilly pink tutu and toe shoes twirling up to the demon. *snerk*" -- Tina

"wow, was Robia impressive being Dru being Jenny. And she got paid to kiss Tony." -- Tina

"Question: while he's in hell, what's Angel (the soul part of Angel, not the demon) being tortured with? Which is worse: visions of the horror of what he really *did*, or the torture of Buffy's betrayal with no understanding of *why* she did what *she* did?" -- Gina

"One last note: (which damn well better *not* make the quotelist with my name attached) Joss's parents had a sleazy cheap drunken one-night stand in Vegas with no names mentioned, although I understand there may have been some question of money changing hands and a few blue-book laws being broken. Just had to share my opinion of the man. Ave. :>" -- anonymous [Ed. or she'll kill me]

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