But, before I get to the poll, I know I failed in my three Buffy reviews in three days plan. Was this a surprise? However, on the good, I'm three quarters of the way through 'Prophecy Girl', so I came close ... like with horseshoes and hand grenades, I choose to view as a good.
But onto the Becoming poll:
This seems an appropriate episode to ask this. Angel and Angelus: How distinct are they? Let's scale this. 1 = They're absolutely the same person. 10 = Completely separate people.
Hmmm... very interesting question. And kind of complicated. Angel and Angelus are sort of like two sides of the same coin ... Angel is Liam with the vampire nature driving him, but choosing to fight that nature (and mope a lot). Angelus is a vampire that is informed by everything that Liam was.
So, where does one leave off and the other begins. I don't think even Angel can really answer that question, as he is constantly referring to deeds Angelus performed as his own and Angelus speaks of Liam's family as his. Not to mention the fact, we've seen Angel take actions that were very Angelus like - feeding W & H lawyers to Darla and Dru, and trying to smother Wesley for instance.
But is Angel ever capable of the depth of sadism and perversion that Angelus is capable of? I would have argued no, until 'After the Fall', but one of the visions of Angel's future seems to indicate otherwise. So, in the end, I'd have to say they are not as distinct as we would rather believe... assuming you don't hate Angel, which I don't: I'll say 4 - they're closer to the same than two distinct individuals.
Angel's Irish accent?
I laugh. I choose 'Do Not Want'.
Whistler. Deus ex machina, Joss insert, or a worthwhile character? Select all that apply.
I like Whistler and believe he's a worthwhile character. I don't think he can be called a 'Deus-dude' because he doesn't actually swoop in to resolve anything. He gives Buffy some needed information, but he doesn't give her the answer to her dilemma, nor does he take any action to 'save' her or remove the problem she is facing from her. It is still all up to her. Joss Insert? I would hope if Joss was going to insert himself, he'd make it somebody cooler - like S8 Xander or S5 Spike.
Pre-series Angel watches young!Buffy from a darkened car in this episode. He apparently fell in love with her at this moment. Creepy or romantic?
I know what they were going for, but we don't live in a world where stalkers are a rare event, so I have to side with more creepy than romantic. But since I do get what the romantic intent of the scene was supposed to be, I'll go with 'little bit of both' ... although, I have always found the "Love at First Sight" notion ridiculous, although I'm proof it can happen fast. Within a week of talking to Tom on the phone everyday after meeting him, I knew he'd be the love of my life despite my natural reticence to get wrapped up that seriously with anyone... *sigh* Let's move on.
Some people have theorized that Willow didn't bring back Angel's original soul, but gave him a different one. What say you?
I'd really have to read through their arguments, because I don't see anything that would indicate that Willow just plucked some other soul out of the ether to plop in Angel's body... I guess I have to understand what is meant by original ...
Right now, it just sounds like an empty bit of fan-wankery for little purpose, so I must answer "No, I don't think so" without more information about what is meant exactly.
Xander tells an unconscious Willow that he loves her. Friendship love or romantic love?
From Xander's perspective, I'm not sure he's clear on this point. From outside, I'd say that this is a declaration of feeling that goes beyond friendship and encompasses the feelings of family and perhaps even the idea of a romantic future, but not romantic love.
Willow is insistent on trying the ensouling spell again, even though she's not in the best of health. Is she doing so for Buffy or to prove that she can?
I'm gonna go with both on this. I think Willow thinks that she wants to do it for Buffy, though. I think below that is a need to prove herself valuable to Buffy, and thereby prove herself valuable to herself. Working this major spell and saving Angel for Buffy will do this, but I don't think she's conscious of the more selfish reason lurking below her altruism for her friend.
I'm pretty sure that Willow believes this is all about helping Buffy for Buffy's sake and I may have believed that, too, at the time. But, Willow's development throughout the years can be seen as an extension of this first huge spell and that development puts a different spin on what exactly is happening here with her psychology.
During the ensouling spell, Willow goes a little weird and starts speaking Rumanian. Some have speculated that she became possessed. What do you think happened?
I have always taken this to be Willow's channeling of the gypsy witch. I think that this is indicated because just before Willow suddenly gets forceful, it looks likes she's on the verge of passing out. I think she would have failed in the casting had it not been for intervention, and I think that intervention took the form of the Gypsy Witch. I think it is unfortunate that this has always been left hanging open... I kinda really want to know what exactly this scene meant.
Let's pretend that Xander hadn't lied to Buffy, and Buffy knew going in that Willow was going to try the ensouling spell again. Would things have played out any differently?
I have to go with Unsure, because while I believe that Buffy would have spent more time trying to stall, I don't know if it would have made a lot of difference in the end. I think the argument that Buffy would have done something different to keep Angelus from Acathla is silly... It didn't look to me like she wasn't trying her best, but there were other things going on that were out of her immediate control. This wouldn't have changed - except maybe for the worse.
I'm pretty sure Buffy wouldn't have allowed Angelus to kill her, but she might have come really close to losing to some no name vampire while obsessing on stalling Angelus, or he may have really hurt her. In the end, I think things would have played out pretty much as they did, with Buffy being unable to keep Angelus from Acathla and her having no choice but to send Angel to Hell in order to close the portal.
Speaking of that lie, what motivation do you think was behind it?
I think this was a bit of both in regards to Xander making a strategic decision and his being petty and carrying over emotions from their previous argument over saving Angel in the first place. I do believe that Xan didn't tell Buffy Willow's message because it couldn't do anything except make her not fight as hard and that would put her and the rest of the world at risk. But, I am also fully on board with the notion that he took a certain... satisfaction... in the fact that Buffy had finally reached the point where she was willing to kill Angel and stop him from hurting anyone else. I'm pretty sure it was irrelevant to Xander whether it was Angelus or Angel or some combination of them inside Angel's skull. He'd always been waiting for the betrayal he was sure would come from the vampire and voila, here it was.
Unlike many though, I don't think this was motivated by jealousy or his desire for Buffy himself. If Angelus hadn't murdered Jenny, I don't think Xander would have been so convinced in the rightness of killing Angel. I think it was this act and the impact on Giles that really pushed him into believing that Buffy had and was putting them all at risk out of a misguided sense that Angel wasn't a monster at the end of the day... an opinion of Angel that he had to of questioned in the middle of the night since his confrontation with the vampire in his apartment in Prophecy Girl. Angel had done too much for them since then for Xan to not at least wonder if maybe he wasn't wrong... but "Angel's" murder of Jenny acted to confirm that he'd been right all along.
In S5's Fool For Love, we learn that Spike started his Buffy-love/obsession around this time, possibly as a result of the alliance with her. Does this retcon make sense to you in the context of this episode?
I think this might be the wrong question or way of looking at it, so I'll choose, "No, not really". I feel like Spike became obsessed with Buffy well before this because of all of the times that she beat him. Unlike the Chinese Slayer or Nikki Wood, Buffy hadn't died despite his efforts. This may be where Drusilla thinks his obsession began, because she was so sickly for most of Spike's growing obsession time, but it actually started much earlier... maybe even all the way back in School Hard, when he got a taste of how and why she defeated The Master.
As to the "love" part - that won't start until well into S5 when he has accepted his 'infirmity' and seen what she's dealt with up close and personal. He comes to admire her as a person first during that season, which becomes more important to him than the fact she is a Slayer. I put love in quotes because Spike's vampire nature makes his perceptions over what constitutes 'love' so skewed that it is difficult to know how much of that emotion he's actually capable of as opposed to confusing a desire to own/control with love.
In fact, thinking about it now, I wonder if he and Drusilla fell apart in large part because she was no longer easy to control, having been restored to her vitality. It may be that while he enjoys strong women, he also can't "love" what he can't control... and this would seem to dovetail nicely in what we see of his behavior in S6 where he is constantly pushing and/or manipulating Buffy into continuing a sexual relationship that she is clearly unhappy over.
Should Spike have talked to Drusilla about his concerns instead of going behind her back to partner up with Buffy?
Absolutely not. That would have been tantamount to suicide. Angelus has a special hold over Drusilla by the act of siring her and her Stockholm Syndrome like reactions because of Angelus' extended mental and emotional torture of her. Spike surely recognizes that emotionally, Drusilla is crippled and desperate for Angelus' affection and approval.
Add to that Dru's own predilection for world destroyage (The Judge) and it is clear he couldn't confide his doubts about Angel's plans or his concerns that she was putting Angelus over him... she was and probably always would if push came to shove.
Pretend you're a movie reviewer and give Part One a star rating.
I would say 3 stars for Part I, except for that exciting conclusion... all of the Scooby Gang down, Kendra lying dead, Giles in Drusilla's hands... and that slow motion run toward the library under Whistler's voice over about big moments... that was perfection to end a the first half of a two-parter. I'm going to choose 4 stars (my review of this episode may be more like 3.75, but I might give it 4 - so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt now).
Pretend you're a movie reviewer and give Part Two a star rating.
I love this episode and I will probably give this one around 4.5 during my review, barring noting anything that I'm not remembering that will put a sour note on my enjoyment of it. For the poll, I'm gonna go all in with a 5-star for scenes like:
"You want my help because your girlfriend's a big ho! Well, let me take this opportunity to not care."
"You hit me with an axe that one time."
"Resolve face. You know what it means."
"God, mom, wake up! What do you think has been happening the last two years.... No! It doesn't stop... it never stops!"
And of course, that shocking turn of events in the mansion that I did not see coming at all.