Out of Mind, Out of Sight
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|"Out of Mind, Out of Sight"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Buffy listens intently for Marcie's movements
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Reza Badiyi|
|Teleplay by||Ashley Gable
Thomas A. Swyden
|Story by||Joss Whedon|
|Original air date||May 19, 1997|
|List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes|
In the episode, an invisible force is attacking people around school and Cordelia may be in danger; Buffy and Cordelia grow a little closer.
Cordelia is talking excitedly with Harmony and her friends about the May Queen competition when Buffy bumps into them, spilling various Slayer paraphernalia. Buffy makes up an excuse about borrowing it from Giles for a history project.
In English class, Cordelia comments that in The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is self-involved and whiny. She likens it to a cyclist she ran over; the girl whined about her pain and ignored Cordelia's traumatic experience. The teacher is agreeable to the viewpoint. After class, Cordelia arranges to meet with the teacher the next day to talk about her paper.
In the boys' locker room, Mitch, Cordelia's boyfriend, is attacked by a baseball bat. Cordelia is outside campaigning for May Queen, while Xander and Willow mock Cordelia, referring to a past Buffy did not share. Buffy feels left out and explains that she was the May Queen at her old school. The conversation ends when they hear that Mitch was beaten and taken to the hospital. Buffy slips into the boys' locker room while Willow and Xander distract Snyder to find the word "LOOK" spray-painted on the lockers.
In the school cafeteria, the Scoobies are stumped. They suspect a ghost. Meanwhile, Harmony asks Cordelia about Mitch's condition; Cordelia explains that he is all right, but all she cares about is how his bruises will ruin the prom pictures. In a flashback, Cordelia and Harmony talk about Mitch's recent break-up with Wendy, and whether Cordelia would like to be his girlfriend. In the present, Harmony is pushed down the stairs by the invisible force and injures her ankle, as Buffy approaches. Buffy runs off to follow an invisible source of laughter. The invisible thing bumps into Buffy before escaping. This is not a ghost. Xander suggests a cloak of invisibility worn by the Greek gods. Buffy dismisses the theory because of the pettiness of the crimes. As the Scoobies disperse, Buffy follows the sound of a flute. In the library, Giles is surprised by Angel, who offers to get a book of prophecies, the Pergamum Codex. Another flashback sequence sees Cordelia and Harmony discussing a lecture and ignoring another girl, Marcie Ross. In the present, Cordelia wins the May Queen award. Looking over Willow's list of missing kids, Buffy suspects Marcie when she sees she played the flute. Tracking Marcie, Buffy finds her hideout. While Buffy is looking at Marcie's yearbook, an invisible Marcie is behind Buffy with a knife. Buffy leaves the hideout, unaware. Marcie then finds Mrs. Miller, Cordelia's literature teacher, and chokes her with a plastic bag. Cordelia, arriving a short while afterwards, saves Mrs. Miller. An invisible hand writes "LISTEN" on the blackboard.
As Willow looks over Marcie's yearbook, she sees it is full of the generic "Have a nice summer!", showing Marcie had no friends at all (according to Xander, Have a nice summer is "the kiss of death"). She is horrified to find her own greeting to Marcie: "Have a great summer!" Both Xander and Willow are appalled to realise that, although they had never heard of Marcie, they each had four classes with her the previous year.
In a flashback, Marcie is sitting in her literature class as she attempts to answer a question posed by the teacher and is looked over in favour of her classmates, even though she had her hand up. Her hand then starts to fade away. Giles realizes that Marcie did not willingly become invisible, but was made invisible due to people never noticing her existence. He states that, according to quantum physics, reality can be shaped and altered due to society's perception: as Marcie was perceived as invisible, due to the mystic interference of the Hellmouth, she literally became invisible. As the Scoobies think back to Harmony and Mitch, and flick through Marcie's yearbook, they find Cordelia's picture, horribly defaced. They realize that Marcie is after Cordelia, whom she resented for constantly being the centre of attention; suddenly the latter walks into the library asking Buffy for protection. They explain to Cordelia who is following her and decide to use her as bait and to have Buffy bodyguard her.
As Cordelia is getting dressed, she confides in Buffy that despite her popularity, she feels she doesn't have a single real friend and feels lonely as well, but being popular "beats being lonely by yourself." Using recorded flute music, Marcie lures Willow, Xander and Giles into the boiler room where she closes the door and opens the gas, then grabs Cordelia as she is changing. Buffy follows Cordelia and finds her unconscious. Marcie surprises Buffy, injecting her with a sedative and knocking her out.
Buffy and Cordelia wake up, tied to chairs. Cordelia says that her face is numb. They see the word "LEARN" on a curtain, and Marcie explains that Cordelia is the lesson, or will be after Marcie surgically disfigures her face. Buffy kicks the instrument tray at Marcie and frees herself from the ropes, while down the boiler room Angel rescues the Scoobies and shuts off the gas. Buffy realizes that to fight an invisible enemy she must use her other senses and then concentrates, listening to Marcie, and knocks her into a curtain before knocking her out. After Buffy frees Cordelia suddenly two mysterious FBI agents arrive from nowhere to haul Marcie away.
The day after the coronation, Cordelia comes by to thank the Scoobies for helping her, much to their surprise, though her nastiness to them when Mitch arrives shows she is not ready to renounce her popularity. Meanwhile, Marcie is taken by the FBI to a school of invisible students. She sits down in class and opens her textbook: Assassination and Infiltration. The now psychotic Marcie chuckles: "Cool."
- This episode is a twist on the phrase "Out of Sight, Out of Mind", which usually presents itself as someone leaving and being forgotten about. In this episode, the fact that Marcie is ignored while she is there causes her to turn invisible.
- "Crush, kill, destroy": This is the famous phrase of IDAK Alpha 12 in the 1960s science fiction TV series Lost in Space.
- In the initial classroom scene, Cordelia references the infamous Twinkie defense, used in the trial of Dan White for the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk.
- The body copy of the book Marcie opens at the end of the episode is the lyrics to Happiness Is a Warm Gun.
Broadcast and reception
Noel Murray of The A.V. Club gave the episode a grade of B, writing that it "comes awfully close to being a classic, but can't quite overcome ... some erratic performances and a plot that's more busy than necessary". While he praised the more subtle scenes, he felt that it was "a little too blunt about its metaphor". DVD Talk's Phillip Duncan wrote of "Out of Mind, Out of Sight", "An ingenious combination of monster and social commentary make this another standout episode." A review from the BBC was also positive, describing it as a "clever script" with "a carefully polished plot".
- In Season Four's episode "Fear, Itself," Xander, who occasionally expresses his feeling of being inferior among his peers, reveals that his greatest fear is being ignored and become invisible like Marcie.
- Marcie's condition was briefly referenced in the Season Six episode "Gone" where Buffy assures her friends that her invisibility is not a result of the same condition.
- Marcie's condition is again seen in the Season Seven episode "Storyteller" when Buffy witnesses a girl slowly disappearing.
- This episode marks the first time Giles and Angel meet.
- In this episode, Angel retrieves the Pergamum Codex for Giles, which will have a major impact on Buffy in the final episode of the season, "Prophecy Girl".
- This is the first episode Cordelia works with Buffy and her friends as an ally.
- This is the first episode in which the United States government is shown to be aware of supernatural and paranormal activities; it also shows that they are willing to utilize or exploit the paranormal in ways that the slayer would not. This would become the dominant theme in the fourth season, with the introduction of the Initiative.
- BBC episode guide
- "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Murray, Noel (26 June 2008). ""Nightmares", etc.". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Duncan, Phillip (21 January 2002). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Review". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2013.