Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Becoming (1)

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Becoming (1)
Becoming (1)
Season 2, Episode 21
Airdate May 12, 1998
Production Number 5V21
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon
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Becoming (2)
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Two

Becoming (1) is the twenty-first episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the thirty-third episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), David Boreanaz (Angel)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Special Guest: Max Perlich (Whistler)

Guest Starring: Seth Green (Oz), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Julie Benz (Darla), Bianca Lawson (Kendra), Jack McGee (Doug Perren), Richard Riehle (Merrick), James Marsters (Spike), Juliet Landau (Drusilla)

and Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder)

Co-Starring: Shannon Welles (Gypsy Woman), Zitto Kazann (Gypsy Man), Ginger Williams (Girl), Nina Gervitz (Teacher)

Uncredited: Dean Butler (Hank Summers) (voice only), Sophia Crawford (Vampire)


Plot Overview

Buffy has resolved to finally fight Angel just as he plans to awaken the demon Acathla and suck the world into Hell. However, her decision is clouded by the discovery of Jenny's spell that could restore Angel's soul.


Monster of the Week

Although the big bads of the season are the primary focus, they spend their time attempting to awaken a demon uncovered by the Sunnydale Museum, Acathla. Acathla was a demon who rose from the depths in order to suck the world into hell. He was stopped by a virtuous knight, who stabbed him in the heart before he could draw a single breath. Only someone worthy can remove the sword and awaken Acathla, but that person is not Angelus, who fails to retrieve the sword.

In order to revive the demon, Drusilla kidnaps Giles for reasons that are not explained.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1–2 Vampires Buffy Staked Cemetery
3 Doug Perren Drusilla Bitten Museum
4 Sacrifice Angelus Bitten Headquarters
5 Vampire Buffy (1996) Staked Cemetery
6 Vampire Herself Immolated Classroom
7 Vampire Kenda Staked Library
8 Kendra Drusilla Throat Cut Library


Arc Advancement



  • Angel: Much of Angel's backstory is retold through flashbacks in this episode. Beginning with the night Darla sired him, several known details of his life are shown including his first meeting with Drusilla and being cursed by the gypsies. His more recent history, as a vagrant feeding on rats in New York City and his eventual redemption watching Buffy grow as the Slayer, is also shown.
  • Drusilla: Drusilla appears in one of Angel's backstory flashbacks before she was turned into a vampire and before she was driven insane. During her confession to Angel, she admits to having visions of the future and was, by all regards, a very pious woman in a religious convent.
  • Kendra: Kendra returns after getting a grave warning from her Watcher, stating that a great evil is about to rise in Sunnydale. When vampires ambush the library, she is hypnotized and killed by Drusilla.
  • Whistler: Whistler is introduced as the man/demon who helped Angel find his way as a hero, rather than a tortured soul living on the streets. He introduced himself as a demon who rejects evil and suggests that Angel can make the same choice for himself.
  • Willow: After finding Jenny Calendar's missing disk with the restoration ritual on it, Willow admits to Giles that she's been studying magic for quite some time and believes she'll be able to pull off the ritual. This is the moment which starts her down the path of learning to be a witch.
  • Xander: During the library siege, Xander's arm is broken by one of the vampires.


  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Movie: Several scenes from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, which is generally regarded as only partially canon, were reshot with Sarah Michelle Gellar playing Buffy and Richard Riehle as her original Watcher, Merrick. Specifically, the scenes are of Merrick alerting her to her destiny and of Buffy clumsily staking her first vampire.
  • 2x17 - Passion: Jenny Calendar attempted to restore Angel's soul to his body by using her peoples' restoration curse but was murdered before she could tell anyone about the spell or perform the ritual. The disk that she backed up her data on was discovered by Buffy after it was lost. A second reference to the episode comes when Giles mentions that he's been using an Orb of Thesulah as a paperweight.


The Show

  • Edited: When this episode originally aired, the opening narration was given by Angel. However, this was changed in subsequent broadcasts and on DVD to Whistler giving the narration.

Behind the Scenes

  • On The Lot: This is the first episode in which the crew was able to shoot scenes on an actual studio lot. The sets for Ireland and the New York streets were built on the lot and dressed to be as accurate as possible.
  • A line cut from the episode was revealed in the Watcher's Guide; Whistler tells Angel, "There are three kinds of people that no one understands: geniuses, madmen and guys that mumble."
  • International: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been dubbed into many different languages and the title translated for each different international version. Some international translations of this episode's title are:
    • French: "Acathla - 1ère partie" ("Acathla - Part 1")
    • Italian: "L'inizio della storia - I parte" ("The Beginning of the Story - Part 1")
    • German: "Wendepunkte" ("Watersheds")
    • Japanese: "受難" (変貌 パート1" ("Henbō Pāto 1" - "Transfiguration, Part 1")

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Drusilla: That's what's been whispering to me. Shh.
Angelus: Oh, yeah. Don't worry, though. Soon it'll stop. Soon it'll scream.
  • Angelus: Acathla the demon came forth to swallow the world. He was killed by a virtious knight who pierced the demon's heart before he could draw a breath to preform the act. Acathla turned to stone, as demons sometimes do, and was buried where neither man nor demon would want to look. Unless, of course, they're putting up low-rent housing.
  • Angelus: My friends, we're about to make history... end.