Sunday, January 15, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Out of Mind, Out of Sight - S01E11 Review


The next to last episode is a Cordelia episode. She does grow a little bit in this episode, but for the most part it paints her as unsympathetic, as she mercilessly teases Buffy in the hallway, with her stupid boyfriend Mitch latching onto her. Later, in the locker room, Mitch is beat to a pulp by a CGI baseball bat. This scene is copied almost shot-for-shot a few years later in a Season 1 episode of Smallville. Meanwhile, Buffy is not feeling like she doesn't fit in at all. The show conveys this very well with Xander and Willow having a bunch of inside jokes that Buffy isn't in on; the little fake smile she gives while they go on with their jokes is so great. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a master at subtle little things like that.

Buffy searches the scene of the crime and finds a message from the assailant that simply says "Look", and deduces that it's not a demon of any kind. They think it might be a ghost of a former student. Sounds like a Goosebumps episode.

Giles: I've never actually heard of anyone being attacked by a lone baseball bat before.
Xander: Maybe it's a vampire bat.

Elsewhere, Cordelia is being super vapid and her friend Harmony gets pushed down the stairs. Buffy hears the girl laugh and follows her, bumping into her, but finding nothing else. Outside of the school, some creepy MiB guys are watching. For aliens, I presume. Xander's actually carrying his skateboard in this scene! He does not ride it though...never again.

Buffy decides to skulk around at school that night while Cordy is getting fitted for the "May Queen" ceremony when she hears ominous flute playing coming from somewhere in the school. Angel, who we haven't seen in like four episodes, shows up at the library and meets Giles for the first time. Angel and Giles have by far one of the most interesting relationships on the show (as you'll see in Season 2) but sadly it isn't explored as deeply as some of the other relationships. It also results in one of my favorite Giles quotes.

"A vampire in love with a's rather poetic, in a maudlin sort of way."

Buffy figures out the invisible girl, Marcy Ross used to be in band, and finds her secret hideout in the attic of the school. Marcy's up there and breathing quite heavily for someone trying to hide, but Buffy doesn't seem to notice her. This had to be the cheapest episode ever, they just had to buy lots of string. Well after Cordy finds the English teacher with a bag on her head, Marcy gives the second clue: "Listen".

The gang deduces that Marcy became invisible because nobody noticed her, which is a pretty neat concept. Giles has a little spiel about how the Hellmouth can literally change physics, making the world appear how everyone perceives it. This could have opened up some cool follow-up stories, but outside of a couple references, pretty much everything in this episode is forgotten as far as the show's mythos goes. It's sad how some episodes can introduce something really cool and then just kind of get lost in the cracks.

There's a flashback to Marcy in class looking at her hand as it's fading away. Fun fact: this was actually creator Joss Whedon's first image for the entire show, based off a sketch of himself he drew when he was a teenager. It's a cool, memorable image. Cordy comes to basically beg for help, and it's here where the gang finally decide to let her in on what's going on, just before they decide to use her as bait. Buffy and Cordy have an actual heart to heart about loneliness and...what is Buffy wearing? That barely even qualifies as a shirt.

Xander, Giles, and Willow hear the flute sounds and follow it to the basement, where they find it's just a tape of a flute playing, as Marcy locks them inside and turns on the gas. Then Cordy gets pulled up through the ceiling while Buffy waits outside. Invisible chick is fast! Marcy knocks Buffy out with a needle and takes Buffy and Cordy to the Bronze for a game, leaving her last clue: "Learn". Marcy plans on cutting up Cordy's face into a twisted mess that nobody will be able to forget. This is actually one of the times that the low budget works in the show's favor. The picture in my head of Cordy's permanent smiley face is way scarier than anything they could have put on screen.

As Xander, Willow, and Giles start dying, Angel shows up conveniently and saves them all. Buffy breaks free at the Bronze and fights Marcy while Cordelia annoyingly whines throughout the whole thing. Buffy finally figures out that she has to listen very carefully, and pretty much beats her down, just before the shady FBI guys come in and take Marcy away. During the wrap-up (in which Xander's shirt has "Peep Show" written on it) Cordy takes a big step in becoming one of the group. Meanwhile, Marcy is taken to a facility full of other invisible people learning about political assassinations. Like Teacher's Pet, this is another weird ending that's never followed up on again. It's also interesting to note the page the book stops on just before going to credits; the lyrics are 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun' by the Beatles. I...don't get it.

Overall, this is a pretty decent episode once it gets going. It's a bit slow to start, but it actually does develop Cordelia a bit, who up to this point has been pretty annoying. It's got a lot of cool ideas, although it doesn't follow up on them.


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