25 years ago, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy Summers was winding down her worst year yet at Sunnydale High—but it was about to get way worse.
Her hot vampire boyfriend Angel (David Boreanaz) lost his soul and went evil because of a curse triggered by one true moment of happiness—and his moment came in the form of him sleeping with our beloved vampire slayer. Her birthday alone that year was a nightmare—she lost her virginity, got told by her newly evil boyfriend that the sex was bad, and then had to pick up a rocket launcher and save the world. Again.
Angel had teamed up with his former vamp partners Spike (James Marsters) and Drusilla (Juliet Landau) to wreak havoc on Sunnydale and the slayer herself. Angel had killed Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte), which shook the scoobies and left Buffy’s watcher Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) grieving and not on his A game for the rest of the season. It also gave Buffy the kick she needed to be ready to finally take out her evil ex.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 episode, “Becoming,” aired part 1 on May 12th, 1998, and part 2 on May 19th, 1998. The show rarely had any skips, and it always nailed a season finale—but this, this was a TV event. The entire season had built to this finale. We’d watched the scoobies go through it that season—fear, anger, grief, romance, and everything in between. This finale could stand on its own as a movie, but the character development throughout the season earned them the finale. This season, and every other season of Buffy, is an argument for why 22 episode television seasons are good.
The finale starts with Angel watching our slayer and plotting. He’s found Acathla and created a plot to destroy the world. But he wants to torture his ex some more before he does it. The other slayer, Kendra (Bianca Lawson), even comes to town to help. But our slayer fails, and her crew is completely taken out of the picture—Buffy is on her own, and honestly, that’s what sells this finale.
“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.”
When Willow (Alyson Hannigan) asks Buffy if she’s ready to fight Angel, she replies, “Yes, I’m ready. I’m also willing and able.” And she is—earlier in the season, she explicitly said she needed time, but she’s had time. She’s ready, and so is the audience–the only problem is that so is Angel.
Buffy Summers is a flawed hero in the best way—she messes up, fails, is emotional, is a good friend, cares too much, can be a loner, is very type A. But all of her ‘flawed hero’-ness is what makes her fail. Part 1 of the finale is all about her failing. It leads to her best friends being hospitalized, her watcher being kidnapped, and her fellow slayer being killed. We get maybe the most iconic shot of the series with her slow-motion running in her beautiful, flowy teal coat to save her friends—and it’s heartbreaking because we know she’s already failed. It feels more real knowing what she’s running towards. It’s not exactly empowering to watch your hero fail, but it’s relatable and only makes you root for her harder. We want to see her pick up the pieces so we can too.
There’s something to be said for watching your hero fail, but still try. And in part 2, she’s expelled from school and kicked out of her house by her mother after she comes out to her…as a vampire slayer. But Buffy never gives up. It’s uplifting to know that if Buffy Summers can make it through all this, then I can make it through whatever non-world-ending shit I have going on in my life.
During the final act of part 2, we see Angel about to stab Buffy with his sword, and he asks her, “What’s left?” as she catches his sword and says, “Me,” before hitting him in the face with his own sword. It’s something I revisit when I’m feeling depressed or isolated. It’s a scene that I channel in my day-to-day. Buffy has no backup, no safety net—she’s in this fight alone, but she’ll be damned if she isn’t going to win this fight.
When I was grieving over the loss of a very close friend, I’d often put that scene on to feel something. Sometimes it’d make me cry, sometimes it’d motivate me to get out of bed. It’s one of the most empowering pieces of media I’ve ever consumed. She’s got nothing left, but she sure as shit isn’t gonna go down without a fight. I think of her calm, “me” response often—it’s the kind of determination I can only hope to achieve.
Buffy season 5’s “The Body” is a masterclass on grief, but I’d say “Becoming” is a masterclass in what comes next. Life doesn’t stop because you’re grieving. Life doesn’t stop because you’ve been expelled from school the same day your friend dies, and your mom kicks you out. Angel’s evil plan doesn’t wait because Buffy has too much on her plate. In fact, Angel doesn’t even know the full extent to which our slayer is suffering—not that he’d care. She’s facing more than just the Big Bad’s world-ending scheme.
And that’s life. We have nightmare election cycles, pandemics, dipshit conservatives, homophobes, family issues, and friend issues— they don’t come one at a time. Sometimes if you’re lucky, they’ll come two at a time, but most of the time, these things all seem to happen at once.
And when they do, I remind myself that Buffy Summers still killed her newly ensouled vampire boyfriend to save the world, a world that had taken a big shit on her, a world that had taken so much—but she still saved the day. And while I may not have slayer strength, I try to channel her as much as I can to save myself.
We keep fighting because we have to, because, in the end, we still have ourselves to fight for—just like Buffy.
CREEPSHOW SEASON 4 is Coming—”The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Being Scared” Is Back! [TRAILER]
Friday the 13th this year marks the return of a classic horror spectacle—and not that guy in the hockey mask. We’re talking about Creepshow!
We’re getting a fourth season of the Shudder fan favorite Creepshow, produced by Brian Witten and Greg Nicotero, the horror makeup legend who became a household name for his work on From Dusk Til Dawn and The Walking Dead. The anthology series is back with a new array of 6 frightening short stories of supernatural delight, and with Creepshow, we’re sure to get monsters both mundane and mystical, bringing terror to the small screen.
Just as the franchise began with George A. Romero’s 1982 film, the Creepshow series retains that classic feeling of being under the covers with a flashlight and an old EC horror comic. The first three seasons gave us campy, gory fun, which the trailer proves is still plentiful in this run of episodes. And you can watch that trailer right here!
Get ready for wild werewolves, vicious vampires, and rare rotoscope nightmares. Also, Tom Atkins is there! Neat.
It debuts on Shudder, AMC+, and the AMC channel. All 6 episodes will be available to stream on AMC+ and Shudder, while it releases on a weekly basis for cable viewers (at 10:00pm, EST and 9:00pm CST). So, remember to mark your calendars for this premiere: Friday, October 13th.
See you on the other side of the release date, reader, and stay tuned for more news here on Horror Press!
Help Make the Paranormal Queer Again!
A team of queer filmmakers is exploring the weirdest corners of the paranormal—and they’ve launched a Kickstarter to make their shows a reality.
A Fresh New Take on the Paranormal
What comes to mind when you think of paranormal television? A group of dudes yelling at ghosts? Hackneyed narratives about banishing demons and sending spirits “to the light”? Most mainstream paranormal shows have gone stale, falling back on profitable formulas that the networks prefer, even if that means leaving the weirdest parts of the story on the cutting room floor.
Two new queer paranormal TV shows, New Blood and Inhuman Beings, want to change that. Renowned occult expert Michelle Belanger (Paranormal State, Portals to Hell, Conjuring Kesha, Monsterquest, and more) and paranormal podcaster Fen Alankus (Follow the Woo) have teamed up with a crew of film professionals and paranormal investigators to take an honest, fresh look at the strange and unusual.
Encounter a Secret Society of Vampires
The documentary series New Blood follows a film crew that sets out to learn about a secret society of Vampires. When paranormal podcaster and witch Fen Alankus meets two modern-day Vampires, she follows a string of bizarre coincidences all the way down the rabbit hole. With the help of spellwork, she pulls together an investigative film crew and digs into the world of modern vampirism. What began as a look at the true nature of Vampires becomes an intense initiatory experience for the cast and crew.
Explore Haunted Locations
The paranormal investigation series Inhuman Beings explores a new location with a reputation for high strangeness in each episode. But this is no ordinary ghost-hunting show: the team tries new methods and is open to anything, looking at cryptids, the fae, aliens, ghosts, and more. Season one includes experiments using dream sigils to communicate with entities, crossing a remote river to traverse land ruled by the fae, and investigating a strange castle with a mysterious past.
A Kickstarter Badge of Approval
Slated for a Fall/Winter 2023 release, the first seasons of both shows are underway, with more than 100 hours of footage shot so far. In celebration of Pride Month, they’ve launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for the rest of the filming, editing, marketing, and distribution. Less than a week into their campaign, Kickstarter hand-picked New Blood TV as a “Project We Love,” which is Kickstarter’s way of highlighting standout projects that go the extra mile regarding quality, creative vision, and boosting underrepresented voices.
Rewards for Kickstarter backers include magically imbued Ouija planchettes, Bigfoot and Pride Demon T-shirts, subtle-body portrait readings, bonus and behind-the-scenes content, executive producer credit, guest spots on their shows, and more.
Spread the word and help make the paranormal queer again!