I actually like the original title of this ('Out of Mind, Out of Sight') better, but it does give a bit too much away, I guess. And I'm ticked that I wind up sympathizing with Cordelia, of all people!
It's time to elect the Spring Queen, and Cordelia is, naturally, the front runner, passing out chocolates and campaigning like mad. Buffy, in turn, is remembering her own glory days as Spring Queen at her old high school and feeling her outsider status more than usual. But she gets distracted when Cordelia's date for the Sping Dance, Mitch, gets attacked in the locker room by a bat, apaprently flying on it's own. Buffy investigates, and finds the word 'Look' written on the front of the lockers.
The initial guesses of the Slayerettes (poltergeists, demons) are quickly rules out when Cordelia's friend Harmony is attacked, and pushed down a stone staircase. Buffy hears a girl's laugh and follows the sound, feeling someone invisible brush against her. The crew concludes that someone is stalking Cordelia. While Buffy is guarding her, Angel pays Giles a visit in the library; Angel reveals that the Master is up to something, but he doesn't know what, and asks Giles what he knows. Giles needs more information, which Angel promises to supply in the form of the Pergamon (sp?) Codex, an ancient book of prophecy.
The next day, Buffy follows a footprint and finds the 'nest' of the invisible girl, including a yearbook. Later, an English teacher at the school is attacked, when she was waiting to help Cordelia with a paper, and the word 'Listen' writes itself on the blackboard. The Slayerettes have since discovered that the girl is Marcie Ross, whom none of them can remember although they had classes with her and signed her yearbook. They conclude that, since Marcie was effectively invisible to everyone around her, it became reality under the influence of the Hellmouth, and she is using her new state to wreak havoc on the people who did it to her, focusing on Cordelia. The Slayerettes agree to protect Cordelia, who has come to them for help, until the coronation; however, while she's changing into her dress, Marcia kidnaps her. Buffy is injured in the pursuit, and winds up being kidnapped along with her. And there's no help coming from the Slayerettes; Marcia lured them into the basement and turned on the gas from the furnace.
Marcia plans to cut Cordelia's face up -- she's gone over the edge. Buffy frees herself and manages to defeat Marcie; Men In Black show up to take the girl away. Meanwhile, Angel, bringing the Codex to Giles, smells the gas and rescues the Slayerettes -- all of whom lie about it to Buffy later, claiming a janitor saved them. Cordelia thanks them in private, but reverts to her old, obnoxious self when her friends reappear. Marcie herself winds up in a classroom that teaches espionage and assassination.
The Codex is setting up Prophecy Girl, as is Angel's belief that something big is in motion; it's in that book that Giles finds the prophecy that Buffy will die. Major plot point, thank you. And I have a feeling we're going to be seeing more of the Men In Black. Great.
The basic premise here continues the one in Nightmares -- that reality is based on perception, especially over the Hellmouth. Believe and it becomes real. Niiice.
Vampires don't need to breathe. Okay.
Cordelia as a likeable person. Jeez. Don't think I can handle this. But the conversation between her and Buffy makes it very clear -- they are both outsiders, both alone, although Cordelia chooses to be alone in a crowd, to hide her isolation. And Cordelia also wants to do well in classes, and has been perceptive enough to realize that Buffy is the person to go to for help. Not bad for a self-centered twerp.
Buffy spends the episode feeling very isolated; Willow and Xander aren't helping with their in-jokes, and wandering off together, leaving her alone. The contrast between what she was before becoming the Slayer and what she is now is... depressing.
Willow and Xander's friendship is dwelt on here to make the point of Buffy being alone, but I'm not objecting. They have been friends from childhood, and that gets forgotten periodically. And Xander has a parent! I'd been wondering if the boy was raised by wolves....
Giles and Angel get some of their best character development in their single scene together. Giles utterly refuses to turn his back on Angel at first and stutters constantly; Angel is very composed and quite respectful of Giles -- an entirely different personality than when he's with Buffy, or with Darla (although at one point he does his 'revert to 16' thing again). And they turn out to be such reluctant kindred spirits -- both book lovers, both dedicated to keeping Buffy alive, neither of them quite comfortable with the idea of a Watcher and a vampire being allies.
Principal Snyder continues to be amusing as hell; his reaction to Willow and Xander's 'Sue?' distraction is priceless, following his attempt to keep Buffy out of places where she really isn't supposed to be. He's going to be a lot of fun next season.
Cordelia in English class. Self-centered, yet making good points at the same time. Referring to Shylock using a 'Twinkie defense' is an all-time classic line.
Giles and Angel in the library. Beautiful by-play, all kinds of subtle attitude and physical communication -- I love how this show puts different combinations of characters together and they all work!
Cordelia racing into the library to ask the Slayerettes for help. She keeps insulting them more or less out of habit...
Cordelia and Buffy's 'heart-to-heart'. That's the most human Cordelia has ever been, and I like it, damn it.
Angel rescuing the Slayerettes. Yes, because Angel is once again a hero, but there's more of that subtle stuff going on. Angel carrying Willow out, and continuing to hold her up for the rest of the scene, like he's not quite sure what else to do with the girl, is very cute, and Willow trusts him enough stay where he puts her. Xander's first reaction is interesting, he just calmly asks Angel what happened -- the knee-jerk resentment takes a second to kick in. Then there's Angel's 'It's not like I need the oxygen' as he heads back in. Really cute interaction.
The rules of invisibility kept flickering in and out, since we could see all of the bat (not a part of Marcie's body) but not her clothes (also not a part of Marcie's body). Nitpicky, but true.
Did we really need Men In Black? Why not just bring on Mulder and Scully and be done with it? Of course, I'll be more annoyed if they turn out to be totally gratuitous and never show up again, but...
Why didn't the Slayerettes tell Buffy it was Angel who rescued them? I get the feeling a scene got left on the cutting room floor here, and I'm not happy about it. You'd think Willow, at least, would have spilled the truth.
Rating:41/2 stars out of 5. Some truly classic scenes, and the basic plot is very cool. But the ending was weak, and the emphasis on Buffy's isolation was a little heavy-handed.
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