Out of Mind, Out of Sight (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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"Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy 1x11.jpg
Buffy listens intently for Marcie's movements
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Teleplay by Ashley Gable
Thomas A. Swyden
Story by Joss Whedon
Production code 4V11
Original air date May 19, 1997
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Prophecy Girl"
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Out of Mind, Out of Sight", also known as "Invisible Girl",[1] is the 11th episode of Season One of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the episode, an invisible force is attacking people at the local school and Cordelia may be in danger. The relationship between Buffy and Cordelia grows closer.


Cordelia is talking excitedly with Harmony when Buffy bumps into them, spilling her Slayer paraphernalia. Buffy makes up an excuse about borrowing it from Giles for a history project. After her English 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 with a baseball bat and taken to hospital. Buffy enters the boys' locker room while Willow and Xander distract Snyder about suing the school and find the word "LOOK" spray-painted on the lockers.

In the school cafeteria, the Scooby Gang suspect a ghost is responsible. As Buffy approaches her, Harmony is pushed down the stairs by an invisible force and injures her ankle. Snyder is worried that Harmony might sue him. Buffy runs off to follow an invisible source of laughter. The invisible thing bumps into Buffy before escaping.

As the Scooby Gang disperse, Buffy follows the sound of a flute. In the library, Giles is surprised by Angel, who offers to get a book of prophecies. In a flashback sequence, Cordelia and Harmony discuss a lecture and ignore another girl, Marcie Ross. Cordelia wins the May Queen award. Looking over Willow's list of missing children, Buffy suspects Marcie when she sees she played the flute. Buffy finds Marcie's hideout. While Buffy is looking at Marcie's yearbook, Marcie—who is invisible—is standing 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 arrives a short while afterwards and 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 realize 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 favor 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. Regardless of Buffy's assumptions of the Hellmouth, Giles states that, according to quantum physics, reality can be shaped and altered due to society's perception: as Marcie was perceived as invisible, she literally became invisible, thus is not a mystical cause. Willow and Xander are in guilt for Marcie's plight after discovering their inadvertent roles. 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 center 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 tells Buffy that despite her popularity, she feels she does not have a single real friend and feels lonely. 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 injects Buffy with a sedative and renders her unconscious

Buffy and Cordelia wake up; they are tied to some chairs. They see the word "LEARN" written on a curtain, and Marcie says 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. In the boiler room, Angel rescues the Scooby Gang and closes the gas valve. Buffy realizes that she must use her other senses to fight an invisible enemy; she concentrates, listening to Marcie, and knocks her into a curtain before knocking her out. After Buffy frees Cordelia, two mysterious FBI agents arrive from nowhere to haul Marcie away.

The day after the May Queen coronation, Cordelia thanks the Scoobies for helping her. Marcie is taken by the FBI to a school of invisible students. She sits down in class and opens her textbook, called Assassination and Infiltration, of which she approves.


The scene in which Marcie watches her hand fade away was inspired by a vivid dream that show creator Joss Whedon had as a child.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

  • 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 the Beatles' song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun."

Broadcast and reception[edit]

"Out of Mind, Out of Sight" was first broadcast on The WB. It received a Nielsen rating of 2.3 on its initial airing.[2] Noel Murray of The A.V. Club rated the episode 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". He praised the more subtle scenes but said that it was "a little too blunt about its metaphor".[3] DVD Talk's Phillip Duncan called "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" "[a]n ingenious combination of monster and social commentary [that] make this another standout episode".[4] A review from the BBC was also positive, describing it as a "clever script" with "a carefully polished plot".[5]


  • 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 becoming 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.

Arc significance[edit]

  • This episode marks the first meeting of Giles and Angel.[1]
  • In this episode, Angel retrieves the Pergamum Codex for Giles, which has a major impact on Buffy in the final episode of the season, "Prophecy Girl".[1]
  • This is the first episode in which Xander, Willow, and Giles lie to Buffy. Here they omit Angel's involvement in their escape in order to protect her, an act that will be repeated often regarding Angel, and later, Spike.
  • Angel saves the scoobies for the first time.
  • This is the first episode in which Cordelia works with Buffy and her friends.
  • 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 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.
  • This is the first episode of the series and its spin-off Angel in which the protagonists encounter a paranormal phenomenon that is not connected to any supernatural event, but rather a scientific one. [6]


  1. ^ a b c d BBC episode guide
  2. ^ "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Murray, Noel (26 June 2008). ""Nightmares", etc.". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Duncan, Phillip (21 January 2002). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Review". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Golden, Christopher & Holder, Nancy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer : The Watcher Guide Volume 1. New York: Pocket Books, 1998. Print.

External links[edit]