Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 12: Spoiler Forum

2.21 Becoming, Part 1
2.22 Becoming, Part 2


As always, welcome to the spoiler board this week, where you can speak freely about this week's "Becoming" episodes without fear of spoiling anyone. Please check out the post above this one for Steve Halfyard's musical analysis on the "Becoming" episodes, as well as my own point form notes.

This week I'm posting my take on the episode here simply because it looks forward as much as it looks back, and I thought this might be the better home for it. So here we go.


“It’s What You Do Afterwards That Counts”:
“Becoming, Parts 1 & 2”

“There's moments in your life that make you, that set the course of who you're gonna be. Sometimes they're little, subtle moments. Sometimes... they're not.”


I will never forget the first time I saw the “Becoming” two-parter that ended season 2 of Buffy — unlike "Surprise" and "Innocence," we had to wait a whole week between episodes. And don't get me started on that incredibly long summer that followed.

For two seasons we’ve watched these vampires mention snippets about their backstories (or, more commonly, Giles reading their backstory details out of dusty, old books) and heard about how they became who they were. “Becoming” finally goes back in time and shows us what really happened.

Now, of course, the flashback device seems pretty standard. We’ve seen how Damon and Stephan became vampires in The Vampire Diaries. We know absolutely everything about every character on Lost by going back and seeing where it all began. We spent more time in flashbacks on Flashforward than we did in the present. Fringe often goes back in time to show a young Olivia or a younger-looking Walter as they were several years ago so we can find details in the re-enactments that might not have made it to the retellings through the characters.

But Joss was a pioneer of the flashback, and he did it beautifully. (And without those Wayne’s World wavy lines.) We see the happy-go-lucky leprechaun, Liam (oh, how I hate Angel’s accent in this episode... see above for more complaining) as a drunken lech, something we didn’t know about Angel before now. We see Darla turn him in an alleyway (and rather than the Catholic schoolgirl outfit, she was going for more of a courtesan look back then). We see Drusilla as the poor, desperate, good girl, who didn’t mock churches, but worshiped in them. As she steps into the confessional, we see the beginning of what would become horrible torture for her at the hands of Angelus. We see Angelus get re-ensouled, and the unwashed creature lurking in alleyways he became after.

And, we see the first time Angel looks at Buffy. In the moment where she’s first approached and told she’s the Chosen One, Angel is right there. He watches her dust her first vampire, and he follows her back home (Angel has a thing for lurking in the bushes, and the Summers have a thing for leaving their curtains wide open) and sees this little girl torn between a future she doesn’t want, and a present that’s pulling her apart as her parents fight in the background.

But the big moments aren't all in the past; this episode is filled with new ones: Kendra dies (meaning a new Slayer will be called), Buffy’s mom finally finds out what her daughter does, Willow tries the Dark Arts for the first time, and Buffy sends Angel to Hell. And then... she leaves.

We’ve watched these characters building up to these moments from the beginning – Buffy tried to run from her duties in the very beginning, when a naive Giles plunked the Vampyr book onto the library counter and Buffy ran away. Buffy has gone from being a reluctant Slayer to one who accepts her job, albeit begrudgingly, to one who despite being annoyed at her Chosen One status doesn’t want to share that status with the Aladdin-panted Kendra, to one who realizes at the end of “Becoming” that it doesn’t matter if you save the world alone, or surrounded by friends, or at the side of another Slayer... this slaying gig SUCKS.

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments [...] No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.”


What may not be clear to fans watching the show – and definitely not to anyone watching the series for the first time – is that “Becoming” is actually filled with many of those initial moments that won’t come to fruition until much later in the series. Just as Angel stumbled out of a bar into the streets and was bitten by Darla, in this episode Spike joins forces with Buffy for his own selfish reasons, completely unaware of what is going to happen as a result – he’ll find a connection with the Scoobies, he’ll work against Angel, he’ll incur Drusilla’s wrath for doing so and will be left behind, and after a brief canoodle with a certain unicorn-lovin’ vamp, he’ll find his way back to the Scoobies, and to Buffy. And there he’ll fall in love, ask for his soul back, and prove to be a hero. In “Becoming, Part 2,” Buffy asks him why he wants to help her. Spike chuckles and says, “I want to save the world,” with a snide grin. In five more seasons, he’ll do exactly that.

And then there’s our Willow. She insists on doing the spell that will re-ensoul Angel. Giles warns her that if she channels these dark magicks, she may open a door that she won’t be able to close... but at the same time, he supports her decision to do so. Buffy also encourages her. Both of them have selfish reasons for wanting her to do it: Giles believes it’s Jenny’s last wish, and Buffy, as Xander puts it, wants her boyfriend back. But fastforward to season 6, where Willow’s use of magic will spiral out of control, and it’ll be both Giles and Buffy who must stop Willow... because they’re the one who started it. Both of them will admonish her and act like it wasn’t their fault, and truly, it wasn’t. But they were definitely partly responsible for what she became, and it starts here.

Xander argues with the lot of them, something that begins to show his separation from the team, a separation that will continue to grow until he accepts that he’ll be a part of the group, but never a heroic, demon-slaying part (think of his speech in "Potential" when he tells Dawn how important it is to be a background player). When he says to Buffy that Willow told her to kick Angel’s ass, we can’t help but be momentarily angry with him – if he’d told the truth, Buffy might have held him off longer, kept him away from the sword, and Buffy wouldn’t have left town. But Xander has always been the guy who speaks what’s in his heart. He hates Angel because of what he did to Buffy, to Willow, and mostly to Giles and Jenny. One can forgive him for not wanting to hug the guy who hurt the people Xander loves the most.

Giles is one of those people, and he becomes a liability when Angel realizes he’s knowledge guy and can help them out with how to get the sword from Acathla. Throughout the (surprisingly non-bloody) torture scene, Giles holds his own, but Drusilla goes right to his heart and by making him see the woman he cares about once again, he spills everything. Buffy has to rush in and save him, and she puts her plan together without needing his help. If he hadn’t mentioned the blood thing, Acathla wouldn’t have opened early and perhaps everything would have worked out. I’ve often wondered if this moment was where Giles began wondering if he was simply “standing in [Buffy’s] way” and that maybe she can handle this on her own. Just a few episodes earlier, in “Passion,” she told him how much she needed him and that she can’t lose him, but the daughter begins to come out from the father’s shadow in this episode, and proves she can begin to handle things on her own.

And then there’s Buffy. Her mother now knows the truth, her fellow Slayer is dead, and she’s just thrust a sword into Angel to send him to Hell. And worse, moments before she did so, she saw the soul of the man she loved come back, which made destroying him so much worse. She’s broken by the end of this episode, and no matter how strong she appears, she can’t face anyone after what’s happened to her. She walks away from Giles, her friends, and her mother. When she returns in season 3, it will be to a sea of hostility, of people who see her as the friend who turned her back on them, and that will harden Buffy further. Killing Angel provides the seeds to what Buffy does at the end of season 5 – if she can thrust a sword through Angel’s heart (and consequently, through her own) in order to save the world, then she can sacrifice herself to save the world and her little sister Dawn. If she can come crawling up out of the dark depression and Hell she’s endured over the summer after killing Angel and face the people around her in season 3 – the people partly responsible for the pain she feels – then she can climb her way out of the dirt in the ground and face the people who are wholly responsible for bringing her back. The strength she gains from this moment, unbeknownst to her, will be crucial to her survival in later seasons.

Interestingly, when Joyce first finds out what Buffy does, her first instinct is to act like Buffy just came out of the closet. Her second is to talk to Buffy like she might be mentally ill. It evokes the brilliant season 6 episode, “Normal Again,” where we find Buffy in a mental hospital, living in the fantasy world of her mind where she’s a Slayer and saving the world, and her parents are sitting by her wondering when she’ll come back to them. The seeds of that moment are planted here for the audience, so we can store this comment from Joyce to recall later in that episode.

“So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are. You’ll see what I mean.”


As Whistler says in his voiceover in this episode, these moments happen whether you want them to or not. There isn’t just one moment, but many, and they shape who we are and the people around us. It’s not how you deal with the moment itself that’s important, but how you handle it. We’ve seen how Angel and Drusilla have handled their “becoming.” Now it’s time to sit back and watch how Buffy and her friends handle theirs.

22 comments:

Lisa(until further notice) said...

The Spike and Buffy chemistry is apparent from the very beginning. So many fights to come. So many of them ending in a "shag."

There's also the moment when Xander tells Willow that he loves her...and then she asks for Oz. I never really thought he meant he "loved" her, but later on, they think they do again, and break two people's hearts.

Cordy is so sweet during this whole episode. I love her when she says to Willow after Xander says: "You don't look ok, does she?" "You should listen to him...the hair, it's so flat and...the lips."

Adore these two episodes. Watched each of them twice this week.

Tat said...

Spike and Joyce were always so awesome together! I especially love how in later seasons she treats him like a one of the gang, giving him advice, watching TV with him. You know, acting like your friend's mom, and yet he's got over half a century on her!

I always wished there was a scene where they reminisced about the 70's together.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Darla has no accent - we'll later learn she is American (though Virginians at the time would probably sound British anyway.)

We're half-way through the first episode until the narrator is revealed. Whistler is a demonic guide - a pre-cursor to Doyle.

Angel is a mess, though on Angel we'll find out he worked on a sub in WWII and went to Elvis' wedding between being cursed and eating rats. Is his current state the result of eating the guy in the restaurant on Angel?

Buffy's a shoplifter. Like sister, like sister. But then again, Dawn is made from her.

We see vampires indoors in the daytime elsewhere in the series. What causes the girl in the classroom to go all kaboom?

I agree with Lisa about the chemistry. Buffy tells Spike she hates him, but then they chat naturally.

Angel slashes Buffy's sleeve and draws blood the way Spike will in season 7 when he's controlled by The First.

This episode establishes the precedent - every time Sarah McLachlan sings a vampire gets his soul.

SenexMacDonald said...

Before I start, let me state for the record that these episodes are some of the best in the series.

There is nothing better than watching Angel reappear ensouled - his confusion that matches Buffy's, as she first believes that Angelus is pulling another fast one and she is NOT going to fall for that one again.

Her fight with Joyce that leaves both of them bruised, broken, and alone. Wanting to reach out and not knowing how to do that as the words that were spoken hang between them. How sad and yet something that many of us go through with someone we love.

Spike stopping for that brief moment, knowing that Angelus is going to kill Buffy - does he want to stop him? Did their brief truce show him a different side of a Slayer? A shrug and it is gone - for today but not forever. Just wait Blondie Bear until Dru dumps you and you drag yourself back to good old Sunnydale and Buffy!

Willow trying to help Buffy regain Angel before it is too late. She believes the Dark Arts are "fun, educational fun!" but little does she know. This moment marks her walk down that dark path - to a time when she has NO control anymore and an addiction to something that will almost succeed in changing the sweet Willow we know into someone as powerful and dangerous as any villian that Buffy will face over the series. Unfortunately, we never really got to see this side of Willow in all its glorious evil - except for Warren's 'death' as revenge on him killing Tara. "Bored now!" It would have been terrifyingly wonderful - if it had happened - and taken the whole series in a completely different direction... oh, well, it could have been great.

Manhattan - seeing Angel looking so down on his luck and all I could think of was Barry Manilow. "Mandy, you came and you gave without taking but I sent you away! Oh, Mandy!" This was before Whistler showed him Buffy but Angel's love of the song (and its' lyrics) always make me feel like he was searching for Buffy or someone like her and the song personified that search. Thank you, Joss, for taking a favourite song of mine and having it fit into your world and mine. :)

And finally, this past weekend, there was a Wizard World convention here in Toronto featuring Julie Benz (Darla), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), Mercedes McNab (Harmony), Mark Metcalf (the Master) and Clare Kramer (Glory). It was a very cool weekend as I have not seen some of these actors in a while (two of whom were at my old convention here in Toronto called Sunnydale Central a while back) and I finally got to meet Mark Metcalfe. All in all a great way to end season 2!

Next week - bring on the Mayor!!! I love Harry... and his wife, Dawn.

Page48 said...

Whistler explains to Buffy that Alfalfa spins out a vortex and the only thing that can close it is Angel's blood. This instantly reminds me of Dawnie in "The Gift", saying to Buffy (about Glory's portal) "until the blood stops flowing, it'll never stop". As Spike observes, it's always about the blood.

Buffy and Cordy were both insufferable young schoolgirls before they got involved in the vampire and demon business. Both matured nicely. Demons are a girl's best friend?

Buffy and Joyce should have had the "I am Slayer, hear me roar" talk long ago, preferably with Giles along to mediate. There was never any chance that this would remain a secret and, IMO, they should have at least tried to control how the truth came out.

I like the fact that Buffy walked away after her spat with Joyce, but left the door open behind her as if to indicate that she wasn't accepting the finality of Joyce's ultimatum.

Is it just me or did Kendra bring her "B" game to town?

I loved any number of things in these episodes:

-Spike and Buffy punching the crap out of each other, knowing that they're not accomplishing anything but doing it anyway.

-Spike stealing the unconscious cop's cigarettes.

-Spike expecting Buffy to let him kill the cop before they talk

-Spike and Joyce's awkward silence followed by "Have we met?"

-yet another trashing of the library

-Buffy hearing her parents fighting about her

-Buffy, as if she's not carrying enough crap around with her, has to make the decision to ice Angel in order to save the world (Joyce, baby, if you just had some idea of how awesome this daughter you just threw out of your house really is)

Why would Buffy invite Spike into her house and leave him alone with Joyce, just minutes after he was ready to kill a cop?

I'm someone who never even notices the music in a TV show, so these weekly recaps allow me to go back and actually listen as well as watch what's going on. It's pretty cool, really.

OT: when will I learn to copy my comment to the clipboard before trying to post it, so that when Blogger gets cranky, I don't have to start over from scratch?

Page48 said...

@Colleen/redeem1147

Sarah McLachlan is no stranger to singing for the greats, whether it's Buffy or Sydney.

Witness Aria said...

Great write-up, Nikki. I loved your comments on Buffy's development and how much this event shaped her future self. She's the one I identify most with throughout the series, and I always enjoy thoughtful commentary on her character.

David Plunk said...

Spike and Joyce inhabiting the same space is always gold. They should have done more with those two together. Perhaps a weekly "Passions" discussion.

Something that doesn't get discussed about Buffy is how gorgeous Sarah Michelle Gellar is. When she is telling her mom how she wants a normal life she mentions she would rather be gossiping about boys instead of being the slayer. She would no doubt have plenty of boys to gossip about.

As the flashback points out, she was the Cordi of her former high school. While I'm sure that has its drawbacks, being a beautiful and popular girl in high school has a lot of benefits.

We see the sacrifices she makes as the slayer when it comes to boys like Owen in the first season, the guy in the third season whose name I forget, and Riley. She shuts out the normal guys (which Riley was initially and is willing to be at the end of their relationship) and thus is only available to the guys she encounters in her line of work. And those guys tend to cause her a lot of pain.

I doubt Joss chose SMG without taking into account her physical attractiveness. If Buffy were an average looking girl or a social outcast like Willow there would be fewer things she had to sacrifice in order to perform her duties as a slayer.

Though on the other hand, she might not have attracted Angel in the first place. And that might have saved her a lot of emotional turmoil.

redeem147 said...

the guy in the third season whose name I forget

Scott Hope. Buffy's Canadian boyfriend. Well, Fab is, anyway.

Tom D. said...

Nice observations, Nikki. It was interesting to think of Whistler's voiceover about the moments in your life, etc, as foreshadowing all the stuff that's going to happen in Buffy's life.

Regarding the whole "Acathla will suck the world into hell" plan -- the wonderful "Angel: After the Fall" comics by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch present a vision of what it might actually be like if the world got sucked into hell. I wonder if that plot idea grew out of these episodes. Also, if Spike knew how much fun there was to be had in a world sucked into hell, he would have helped Angelus make it happen instead of thwarting it! Spike in "After the Fall" had a mansion and a harem.

The scene where younger Buffy is listening to her parents fight is very sad. But perhaps it's worth noting that her parents clearly had been fighting a lot before she even started slaying vampires. (We hear them fighting on the first evening Buffy comes home late after slayage, and it's clearly not their first fight.) She had this loneliness going on even before she got hit with the curse of being the chosen one.

This time around, I kind of liked the scene where Liam gets sired by Darla. (Not his accent, of course, but...) What I noticed this time is that at first he's walking up to her in a confidently flirtatious way, starting to put the moves on her ... but then once she turns and starts talking to him, he realizes she's unlike anyone he's ever met. He loses his swagger, starts to seem more like a little boy, gets a reverential tone in his voice. Darla's an extraordinary vampire -- much more so now than when we saw her in season 1.

Efthymia said...

-"Channeling such potent magics through yourself, it could open a door you may not be able to close"; how right you were, my dear Giles...
I can understand Willow's interest in (almost fascination with) magic: she is a girl of great intellect and is extremely advanced educationally already; she has mastered the "new thing" of the time (computers and the internet), she can perform pretty much any scientific experiment, she has read numerous books, so I guess what is too difficult and advnced for other people her age is probably kind of boring for her. Magic is something new and interesting, another thing to learn, and so completely unexplored and intricate that can keep her interested for a long time.

-Xander can be really mean sometimes. Although I am 100% with him for not telling Buffy that Willow was going to retry ensouling Angel (he doesn't know if it's going to work and he doesn't want Buffy to hold back, thus endangering herself), his original reaction to the suggestion to get Angel his soul back (the first time) is kind of mean-spirited and unforgiving, and this type of behaviour will pop up again in future seasons. I love Xander and I think he is a very sweet person in general, and perhaps this is why these moments stand out so much to me.

-Ah, Spike, Spike, Spike... I love him, I so do. This is one different vampire, that's for sure. I love the scene with Joyce, the awkwardness and the small talk (and his very honest answer to her "Have we met?"), and I love it even more now that I know the type of relationship they're going to develop as seasons go by.

-"You're all you've got": I couldn't disagree more. Often in BtVS they seem to make a point of how alone Buffy is because of her responsibility, but Buffy is special because she has her friends and because others are willing to share that responsibility with her. Very few episodes ago (in "Killed By Death") we see her being saved by her friends when she would have died for sure due to her weakened by her illness state. She has something to fight for, which gives her strength and determination where others might have given up. And I believe that people who CHOOSE to put themselves in danger in order to help their friends are more admirable than the ones who are chosen, so Buffy's persistant complaining throughout the seasons of how alone she is (and the writers' insinuations that this is true) really annoys me. One more similarity to Harry Potter for me.

Teebore said...

Great write-up, Nikki. I've honestly never thought of this episode in terms of it showing Buffy "becoming" the character she will be in future seasons. Very interesting. Hopefully we'll get to see some more longer pieces like this from you in the course of the series?

@redeem147: Is his current state the result of eating the guy in the restaurant on Angel?

That's always been my take on it. Intentional or not, that diner scene offered up an explanation for the apparent discrepancy between the Hobo Angel we see here and the more melancholy and brooding but still reasonably put together Angel we see and hear about in the years between getting ensouled and showing up on Buffy.

Blam said...


@Efthymia: Nice commentary on Willow's attraction to magic!

Suzanne said...

@Page48, yes great minds think alike since J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon both seemed to like to use Sarah McLachlan songs to touch their viewer's hearts; Felicity is another Abrams show that used the music, and it might have been the first of these three to do so since I think Felicity aired a year before Buffy. More than one of her songs were used, but "I will Remember You" is probably considered the anthem of the show.

Suzanne said...

Nikki,

As others have mentioned, your essay was wonderful. I hope to hear more in-depth analysis from you in later weeks. I also enjoyed the music analysis this week as always!

Even though there is so much to love in the episode, my mind always comes back to Spike, somehow. Of course, the Angel and Buffy tragedy is beautiful and so well written and acted. It also makes me really look forward to Season 3 to see Angel coming back and revisiting the rehabilitation of their relationship.

However, I was excited beyond my own expectation to see the first scene with Spike and Buffy sparring and then teaming up together again. It is such an exciting reminder of what is to come in their relationship, and I so look forward to seeing more of them together. It is amazing how much I can love both of the relationship stories (Angel and Buffy and Spike and Buffy) in one episode! How does Joss do it?

@Efthymia, I posted a comment that was similar on the other forum about how I wish that Buffy would rely on her close relationships with her friends more when she is hurting. I especially wish she would go to Willow for a shoulder to lean on or cry on if the need be. Willow is such a caring individual and a dream friend for a teenaged girl like Buffy. The ending of Becoming really brought tears to my eyes, but not so much because of Buffy being alone but because I was heartbroken for Willow when she looked around for Buffy and showed concern wondering why Buffy never showed up. I couldn't help but flash-forward to the season opener of three that we will be watching and remember how hurt and lost Willow feels without Buffy all summer and at the beginning of the school year. Willow is the kind of friend who deserved to be included in Buffy's pain in my opinion. I have often wondered if Willow would have become dark Willow, if Buffy hadn't pushed her aside as often and easily as she did throughout the series.

As for Xander, the first time I watched Becoming, Xander's comment to Buffy literally "slayed" me when he said something like "all you care about is having your boyfriend back." I thought it was very harsh and not at all deserved for Buffy. Then in a much later season (possibly seven) when Anya starts to create havoc and Buffy feels she must hunt her down, Xander hypocritically turns the tables on Buffy and tells her that she doesn't understand how he feels about having someone he loves be killed even if she might deserve it. Again, I couldn't believe Xander's hypocrisy and Buffy even calls him on it in that episode since it is so unbelievable given what she had to do with Angel. As for his decision not to tell Buffy what Willow was planning, the first time around, this really bothered me, but now, I have to say, I really understand his decision. As for his hypocritical behavior, I chalk it up to realistic character portrayal since he is a young, immature teenaged boy, who, unlike Willow, is not gifted with a special sense of empathy for others (the kind of empathy that Oz notices in Willow giving me reason to adore Oz and be very glad Willow woke up and said "Oz" instead of "Xander.")

Tom D. said...

I have often wondered if Willow would have become dark Willow, if Buffy hadn't pushed her aside as often and easily as she did throughout the series.

Wow, that's a really interesting point. I'm going to have to start keeping an eye out for that aspect of the Buffy/Willow relationship.

Paul said...

You also wrote in your Book 'Bite Me' about how Spike subdues Drusilla. I think that this may be possible. It may be true that they cannot be suffocated but they can be knocked out. We have seen this many times. With Vampires it is all about the blood. If you stop the blood flow to the brain via holding their necks, it would knock them out just as it does us mortals. This is a sleeper hold like used in wrestling or full contact fighting.

Nikki Stafford said...

Witness Aria: Thank you!

And thanks, Teebore. I could post the contributors for each episode, but surprisingly, despite me blabbing way too much each week, I'm actually written into certain weeks as an actual, valid commentator, and this was the first week since the very first week. ;) I don't think I'm on again until season 5 or something. But maybe if there's a week with only one other commentator I'll come up with something. :) thank you!

redeem: I, too, have always believed the events of the restaurant scene on Angel are what led him to the lowly state he's in when Whistler finds him.

Nikki Stafford said...

Suzanne: Nice comments about Buffy being alone vs. with others. What they keep trying to highlight is this idea that a Slayer works alone, and she goes against that tradition by being surrounded by others. However, when it comes down to it, like in both season finales so far, she finds herself alone against the enemy. But as you say, she's not REALLY alone. They're waiting for her, loving her, helping her, and maybe all she has left is her, but it's a self that wouldn't be the same without all that support around her.

JavaChick said...

But Xander has always been the guy who speaks what’s in his heart. He hates Angel because of what he did to Buffy, to Willow, and mostly to Giles and Jenny. One can forgive him for not wanting to hug the guy who hurt the people Xander loves the most.

I never really saw this as Xander's reasoning. After the rewatch I still don't feel that is it. Or at least not all of it. To me, it comes across as Xander's continued dislike for Angel. He never really gets over that.

Blam said...


I'm glad to finally get a full-on writeup from Herself — all due respect to the litany of scholars she's put together. And sorry again for the belated comments...

@Suzanne: However, I was excited beyond my own expectation to see the first scene with Spike and Buffy sparring and then teaming up together again.

Me too. They really had some chemistry, and it's all the more thrilling knowing that this is just a hint of what's to come.

@Suzanne: Willow is the kind of friend who deserved to be included in Buffy's pain

I agree that it's frustrating, even if from a storytelling perspective having Buffy shut her out was a valid choice, and your insight into what the distance means for Willow's later struggles is apt.

ChristinaB said...

I'm reading this very late, I know.

You see, I'm also reading it for the first time because I've started the rewatch very late.

I had my own FIRST watch of Buffy that ended very recently.

With the series finale being so very fresh in my mind and after just rewatching Becoming 1 and 2 tonight, Nikki's post really hit home.

I cried more tonight while watching it the second time than I did the first time. I knew what was coming and it HURT!

And, Nikki, what you wrote about Spike...again, that has me in tears. I'm so, so glad I wasn't spoiled for the finale and I'm so glad I'm catching up fast with your rewatch!

I'll be right along with you soon!