I love this episode in much the same way I love most of season one episodes (except the finale, which I love with absolutely no irony but we’ll get to that later). It’s a fairly silly concept that just gets played so silly and fantastic that it turns awesome. So awesome. I love Clea Duvall in general and I think she’s extremely well cast and Marcy. And of course Joelle is right. This is one of the first episodes that really focuses a lot on Cordy and we get to see a side to her we haven’t seen yet. Joss likes to do that to us.
First we have Buffy being clumsy (which is something I always enjoy a little bit) and tripping and knocking everything out of her bag. Unfortunately in this case, everything happens to be 10 or so medieval weapons. Fortunately Cordelia could care less and just wonders why she’s in her way, more or less. Harmony points out that she’s always hanging out with the creepy librarian in the creepy library. Wouldn’t people wonder about how much Giles hangs out with them? Anyway, I do wonder if part of the reason people spend so little time in the library (other than the comic gold it occasionally affords) is because there’s sort of an underlying sense of Hellmouth energy? I mean, it is RIGHT THERE, as we’ll find out soon enough. I imagine it can’t be super comfortable. I realize I am probably putting way too much thought into this but I DO NOT CARE.
Now as absurd and shallow in many ways as Cordelia’s arguments in class are, they are at least interesting. I mean, we don’t get to see a lot of interesting discussion from it but I think it could have come. Also, as Joelle says, it’s sort-of great to see her going in, caring about her grades, working on her schoolwork. She’s shallow and ridiculous but she’s a lot more than that and I love her for it.
As Mitch is hanging out in the locker room (which, even though it’s fairly dark, we can clearly see that LIGHTS ARE ON so it’s a step up from sometimes), joking about hoping to bed Cordelia. This brings up something of a question I have about Cordelia. Is she a virgin? In first season Angel, where she gets knocked up with creepy demon babies, my impression was always that it was her first time. Xander lost his to Faith, so we know it wasn’t with Cordy. It doesn’t really matter; I’m just curious. So Mitch gets the shit beat out of him with a baseball bat, which is kind of amusing to me. She really could have just killed him but apparently she’s not quite to homicidal yet.
Meanwhile Buffy is sad about the life she left behind her. The life where she was popular and liked and had normal teenage girl problems and got to be as shallow as Cordelia if she wanted. The life where she felt like she had friends. Xander and Willow of course choose this inopportune moment to laugh hysterically over an old Cordelia story. Honestly, I really don’t understand why they didn’t just tell her the story. I mean, it sounds like it would be funny. Doesn’t really sound like a “had to be there” kind of situation. She probably still would have felt sad but it would have made more sense to me. Also, Willow is holding a squeezit in this scene. Awwwww.
As Snyder angrily says that under no circumstances are there any dead students here – this week, Buffy & Co are there to investigate. While it’s kind-of charming that he makes a cursory effort to stop her from doing things like TRAMPLING ALL OVER THE CRIME SCENE (because you absolutely know that the police are paying no attention, as usual), I still think it’s pretty funny that A) the paramedics stop the stretcher to let him talk to this totally random student and B) that Mitch has any interest in talking to her. I imagine this will just be a question we’ll be asking over and over again but seriously. WHY? Buffy comes up with the really awesome excuse that Mitch needs his comb. Let’s really consider that. For like even a quarter of a second. His comb? Not his jacket, his wallet, his notebook or any one of dozens and dozens of things that would have sounded more convincing than a comb? Don’t get me wrong; he definitely looks like a guy who uses his comb quite regularly. But still.
Also, on a side police rant, what would the police do in this situation? I mean, they’re obviously not off looking for a rogue bat. Presumably they would assume someone attacked him. Perhaps they think the head injury caused him to think it was a possessed bat. If that was the case however, I would assume that A) They wouldn’t just let him out in a day or two and B) They would still be looking for an attacker. I know I am trying to apply logic where there is none to be found but dammit, I just have to ask these questions.
Giles comes to eat with the students. Is that weird? Like is it typical for teachers to hang out eating with high school students? I mean, it seems a little bizarre to me but honestly, what would I know? Anyway, no one takes any notice of it and Xander throws out a delightful vampire bat pun, which no one even acknowledges and Buffy tells Willow to compile a “list of recently dead or missing kids”, which shouldn’t take any time at all, right? Minor project.
After a flashback where we see, to no one’s surprise, that Cordelia and Harmony were wretched to our invisible girl and shortly after, Harmony is pushed down the stairs in fairly hilarious fashion. Also, let us make no mistake, in a way that she could not possibly have hurt her ankle. Although she might possibly have broken her neck. Buffy notices that someone is tittering at the fall, just as someone was in the locker room so she goes to investigate. Truthfully I laugh when Harmony falls too but whatever, I guess Clea Duvall’s little crazy laugh is recognizable. Limited luck, as all that happens is that she bumps into her.
Because she bumps into her, they come to the conclusion that it must be someone who can turn invisible at well. Xander says that sometimes gods could do that and then Buffy says that this girl seems kind of petty for a god, proving that she has never studied Greek or Roman mythology at all since, as far as I can tell, gods are basically the most petty beings imaginable. Also, let’s just point out that Xander is holding a skateboard again in this scene. Buffy will head off to stalk/protect Cordelia. Incidentally, Cordelia is not having her little handmaidens MAKE her dress. She specifically says earlier in the episode that she is picking up her dress today, that “off the rack gives her hives.” For some reason they’re just trying it on in the school or whatever. I admit that’s a bit weird but it’s a lot less weird than the girls making her dress, Cinderella style. 😛 I do actually think the dress is really, really beautiful, which has to be one of the only times I really think that about anyone’s clothes in this season. In fact, while we’re on the subject, could we mention just how much leather (or pleather?) Buffy is wearing as she wanders around the school? It’s pretty baffling.
Meanwhile, Angel sneaks up on Giles in the library. I can think of no good reason for him to sneak up on him except that he’s mocking him. Because seriously. All he had to do was say hello. There was no reason to stand creepily close to him and wait for him to not see him in the mirror. He hangs out, little gossip about his love life. Giles, for being Buffy’s definite father figure, is not evencloseto disturbed enough by the fact that 200 year old Angel is in love with his 16 year old Slayer. In fact, he apparently thinks it’s poetic. Then Giles bemoans the books he doesn’t have and Angel says that the Kodex was merely misplaced and he can get it. WHERE WAS IT MISPLACED, ANGEL? WHY CAN YOU CONVENIENTLY GET IT? I would have liked to have seen him with the shit beat out of him or something rather than just apparently having stopped by Prophecy R Us and grabbed it off the back shelf. It’s lazy writing, Joss. Lazy writing.
Another flashback of Marcy trying to join in with the popular group, for no understandable reason. Are there really people who do this? Like really, anyone? Is there someone who would be ballsy enough to pretend someone wasn’t there and then steal the joke that was just made? And are there people who would then laugh? I mean… I assume not but there are questions I had to ask. That said, I thought the banter she was having with her friends was actually pretty realistic and funny in like a real person sort of way? The that’s a mountain, that’s a mountain too, it all sounds like something me and my friends would have gone into in high school. I enjoy it.
Cordelia begins making her impossible to believe acceptance speech that I really wanted to see more of. Buffy wears her bug eyed sunglasses again. Willow and Xander bring her the list of dead or missing kids for the last 6 months. A SUSPICIOUSLY SMALL LIST, I MIGHT ADD. Since she goes right down to Marcy, who was a whole 6 months ago. She makes something of an intuitive leap to that it must be Marcy cause it was in the band room that she saw her, whatever. She climbs up into her little ceiling nest, which does look cozy, although probably pretty dangerous. She is so engrossed in the yearbook that all her Slayer instincts go out the window. Which is bizarre because she KNOWS she’s invisible. I would think she would be being extra careful. Also, as far as yearbooks go, my parents had yearbooks from all 4 years of high school? Totally unrelated sidenote: the reason I know that my parents have all of their yearbooks is because I went through a phase in early high school where I was really fascinated particularly by all the signatures in my mothers. My father’s were far less interesting because his had no signatures. He said that if he had to pay for the book, he certainly wasn’t going to let people write all over it. So…. that’s my dad.
It is at this point that Marcy moves towards actually homicidal, instead of her charming brutal beating antics from before. She comes in to the classroom and apparently places a plastic bag over the teacher’s head. The teacher is really, really obviously shoving the bag into her mouth and it cracks me up every time. Fortunately Cordelia arrives just in time to save her from herself.
Around this time, Cordelia understands that, for once, everything really is about her. She comes to beg the Scoobies for help. They reluctantly agree. So Buffy takes off on Cordy duty, leading to the remarkably touching discussion with Cordelia about feeling completely alone. She’s coming around, she’s getting there. It’s just going to take a while. Marcy carries out her kidnapping plan which, to be honest, I feel like is not that well thought out. How would she know Buffy would bring her there? Was she listening in while they were planning? And as Joelle mentioned, how in the world did she pull her up through the ceiling? Oh well. She ties them up in chairs and puts up her painted curtain. Lovely art project, Marcy. SO MUCH GLITTER. Apparently she has numbed out Cordelia’s face, which is particularly curious to me because she’s still talking fine and I feel like it would make you talk strangely.
So whatever. Fortunately she’s so busy giving her little speech about how horrible everyone’s been to her and how she’s going to wreak her vengeance that she doesn’t even notice Buffy grabbing a knife off the table Marcy left basically RIGHT NEXT TO HER. Out she goes. There’s kicking and laughing and knocking her over and so on. When she finally manages to capture her, mysterious men in black coats come in to take her away. Which leads to my biggest question in this episode. What in the world would Buffy have done if they didn’t come? I didn’t even get into her nearly murdering the Scoobies. Obviously she couldn’t be allowed to roam free. But Buffy also couldn’t have slayed her; she wasn’t a monster, after all. Their existence seems like an incredibly convenient plot point because honestly there is simply nothing else that could be done with her.
Last but not least, in Marcy’s new super person class, how did she know where to sit?