3. Becoming Part 1 (Season 2, Episode 21) — Words by Brianna Reeves
Season’s 2’s penultimate episode, Becoming Part 1, was written and directed by series creator, Joss Whedon. In it, more of Angel’s backstory is revealed. How he was turned, his connection to Druscilla, the Gypsies’ curse and his initial interest in Buffy all receive exploration. These flashbacks effortlessly follow along with the theme of the episode, becoming — Becoming who you’re destined to be, whether good or evil, moral or unjust, right or wrong.
What distinguishes this episode from the rest, and essentially why it’s made the top ten along with its follow-up, is because it explores Buffy’s nuances as a hero. At times, she’s flawed and, depending on perspective, to a grave fault. Such a notion is exemplified in the discovery of Ms. Calendar’s research concerning how to restore Angel’s soul.
Xander questions her motives in wanting to save him, especially since it’s made evident that Ms. Calendar was killed by Angelus because of her findings. What kind of hero does it make the titular character when she fails to avenge the death of one friend to save her lover who’s responsible, knowing he’ll walk away unscathed? This isn’t the last time Buffy’s methods and morals are put under a microscope. However, it’s certainly one of the most memorable.