* Becoming 1 is really not a good episode. The flashbacks to Darla turning Angel and Angel tormenting Drusilla are good, but other than that, no.
* Speaking of the flashbacks: I should expect it by now but it still kind of stuns me just how creepy flashback!Angel is in his stalking of Buffy. It particularly bothers me because although we had a trio of episodes this season that seemed very aware of the creepiness of Buffy/Angel (Innocence, Passion, I Only Have Eyes For You), the Becoming two-parter does not seem aware. Not so much. When Angel gets his soul back at the end, he doesn't remember what he's done, and appears to be an instant return to Buffy's dream lover. It seems like the writers were so eager to play up the angst of Buffy having to kill souled Angel that the creepy aspects of their relationship were put aside in favor of romanticizing it.
* Remember the part where Buffy was wanted by the police for Kendra's murder? Remember how she then assaulted an officer to get away? And remember how Spike knocked out another officer who was pointing a gun at Buffy, and therefore saw her right before losing consciousness but likely not Spike? Remember how that was addressed when Buffy returned in S3?
Yeah, not so much.
* When Xander hugs Buffy in the hospital so the police don't see her face, Buffy cracks, "That was about equal parts protecting me and copping a feel, right?" It's in keeping for their dynamic - echoes of BB&B when Buffy thanks Xander for not taking advantage of her while she was under the spell, and Xander responds with an icky joke that it was "touch and go there" for a minute.
But this time, Xander doesn't make a joke. Instead he just looks sad and worried - because Willow is in a coma.
And now I'm trying to remember: Is this a turning point for Xander? It's certainly not the end of questionable jokes from him. In the Freshman, he jokes that he sometimes likes to ask himself in the dark, "What is Buffy wearing?" In I Was Made to Love You, he claims that every guy dreams about having a "beautiful girl" who has "no other thought but to please you". But does he dial it down after season 2? I know it does, eventually, but I can't remember when that starts happening.
* I'm sure I've commented on this before, but I love love that Whistler tells Buffy, "In the end, you're always by yourself. You're all you've got. That's the point." And very next scene, Spike says to Buffy: "I'm all you've got." (Echoed seasons later in Beneath You: "What you need is help. Fortunately, you've got me.")
Those two quotes really make me wonder what the plans were for Spike at this point in the show.
Also, Buffy and Spike interact in a way that is oddly comfortable with each other. Hmmm.
* Something else that jumped out at me was Spike justifying himself in regards to Kendra's death. "I lost a friend tonight!" Buffy shouts. Spike retorts, "I wasn't in on that raiding party." As if Spike's lack of physical presence in that exact raid means anything.
You could see this as a good thing: Spike's quickness to justify himself implies a hint of a conscience, a desire to see himself as the good guy, not typical for a vampire. But you can look at this self-justification as a bad thing - and it's not unique to soulless Spike. In fact, you can draw a pretty straight line from "I wasn't in on that raiding party" to "I don't give a piss about your mum. She was a slayer. I was a vampire. That's the way the game is played."
* All in all, I've found Becoming 2 much better on rewatch than I did on first viewing. On first viewing, I knew (correctly) that most of the badness in Buffy's life would quickly be undone the next season. By the end the third episode of season 3, the problems of Angel's death, Buffy kicked out of her home, Buffy wanted by the police, and Buffy kicked out of school have all been undone or forgotten.
But while Becoming 2 left me rather cold on first watch, on rewatch I always find it heartbreaking - and Cordelia's observation at the end that Buffy has to come back soon because they still have school made me tear up this time. It's in the title, I think: Becoming. The problems and tragedies piled on Buffy will quickly be reversed, but Buffy herself won't be who she was. The warm, open girl from the early seasons is becoming later seasons Buffy, the young woman who has been forced to become so hard she fears she has lost her ability to love. I wish Angel had stayed dead longer, but even with a quick return, the act of sending him to hell changed Buffy forever. The other characters are changing, too - Xander and Willow both heading in the directions of who they will become by the show's end, Spike making his first choice to help the good guys, Angel regaining his soul. Becoming 1 shows the characters becoming who they are now by way of flashbacks. Becoming 2 shows the characters becoming who they will be, in the seasons yet to be.