Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Becoming, Part One

“My friends, we’re about to make history…end.”

Oooh, I so want to watch part two now. This was a whole episode of set-up, yes, but that means it could afford to be slow, ruminative and full of fan-pleasing flashbacky goodness. Also, it’s just so damn clever.

We begin with Angel narrating, in a deliberate parallel with Passion. From the start, he assumes control of the narrative with an omnipotence that echoes that of the writer, who this time is none other than Joss Whedon himself. The difference is, of course, that Angel does the closing narration too, reflecting the fact that he’s in total; control of events. There’s a nice little reunion with Kendra (I’d forgotten she reappears), and Mr Pointy, but it isn’t long until she’s shockingly killed, Giles is taken, and the whole world is poised to be thrust into the torments of, literally, Hell. Er, as soon as someone can be found who’s worthy to pull the sword from a petrified demon. And that ain’t Angel. Perhaps he isn’t quite in total control.

I think this is our first of many flashbacks to Galway in 1753, and David Boreanaz’s, er, interesting sustained attempt at an Irish accent. I’m sure they all talk like that in Galway. We get to see Darla again, of course, something which you really need a second marathon viewing to notice: first time round, I just wasn’t keeping track of who she was in the early seasons of Buffy, so rarely did she appear. But it’s interesting to see Angel being, er, “sired”, if the word is appropriate for girl-on-boy action.

We also get a flashback of Drusilla, in a convent in 1860, being mocked by Angel (it seems she had visions even when alive), a rather functional flashback to the “Rumanian” gypsy curse, and a more recent flashback to New York in 1996, where an apparently homeless Angel is accosted by the mysterious Whistler, who may well be the first “good” demon we’ve seen. Also, I love his Bugs Bunny accent. Please tell me they really do talk like that in New York.

Better still, we get to see, in Los Angeles, what is essentially a summed-up recon of the events of the movie, but with Sarah Michelle Gellar as a very Cordelia-esque, top of the social hierarchy, confident Buffy and some bloke with a moustache instead of Donald Sutherland. We also get to see Buffy’s parents, pre-divorce, arguing over her behaviour, a nice touch.

Oooh, and they find Jenny’s disk with the spell for re-souling Angel and, in spite of some dissent from Xander which causes a bit of a kerfuffle, they’re pretty much good to go. Giles even has an Orb of Thesulah conveniently handy. Willow has been looking up lots of magic type stuff, and she volunteers to do the spell. Giles warns her that “It may open up a door you may not be able to close” but it’s not as though she’ll ever become power-mad and addicted with magic, right?

Still, all this is set-up. The pieces are in place. And that’s quite a cliffhanger, smashing to bits the assumed convention that the police conveniently refrain from turning up when things could get awkward…

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