1.11: Lolcat Edition
It's a good theme, and one thing I really like is the care taken to show how each one of the main characters can feel invisible in his or her own way, and how it's believable for each one and threads right into where their characters are at this point in the show. It starts right in the teaser. Buffy's caught with medieval weapons spilling out of her bag and highlighting how different she is from her classmates - and then it turns out no one cares. Academic discussions are usually the one place where Willow can really shine, but Cordelia is upstaging her just by talking a lot (catch Willow rolling her eyes in the background!).
Cordelia and Boyfriends: This is an important episode for Cordy, but the first thing I noticed was how weak her taunts are sometimes. "Behold the weirdness" - uh, okay. Could that be intentional? Could it signify how inwardly insecure Cordy is about her own rudeness? Probably not! I mean sometimes bad writing is just bad writing so let's move on to her love life. This is another thing I should have been keeping track of: how many guys does she date before Xander (that we see)? How many of them meet with awful fates? I think she actually has worse luck than Xander does, and I'm not sure what to make of it. Is this a humor thing? Is it a more subtle way of showing how alone she is, outside of the context of this episode? Are the men being punished since after all most of them are jerks anyway? (Mitch is introduced in the shooting script as "hunk-du-jour", and his worthlessness is much in evidence.)
Marcie's the example of loneliness in the main focus (how ironic), and you know what's weird? I kind of love her. It's disappointing that she had to go crazy and start killing people so she could be a sympathetic villain instead of a victim, but I guess we gotta get our conflict from somewhere, right? My drabble about her, posted in the links as usual, is titled with a joke about Season 8 - apparently the editor kept getting letters asking if Marcie would come back, and he wondered whence came this secret cult of Marcie Ross. I thought it was pretty odd and funny myself, but now I think I'm part of the cult. She's so sad. Buffy asks Cordelia why she doesn't just change her ways if she isn't happy, and maybe some watchers wonder why Marcie doesn't change her appearance or attitude or habits to attract more attention. But that's no kind of question at all. She can't change. She already knows what happens when she tries to be part of a conversation; she's not going to deliberately bring that pain onto herself.
Even with both series and a few years in fandom under my belt, it's still hard for me to like Cordelia sometimes. I've definitely never seen her as a character I can relate to. Sure, I'd rather be lonely all by myself, but this isn't just a matter of preference. Cordy and the other popular girls are destroying lives by ignoring or belittling the ones outside of their social circle. I don't mean to overstate the drama, but the way your peers treat you as a teenager will be with you until you die. There's as much of Columbine in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" as there is in "Earshot".
The Buffy and Angel Show: Since I watched this one as a retrospect, it was interesting to see how Angel was used - the next time we see an episode wherein he appears but Buffy doesn't see him, it's "Pangs", and both times he states that he's avoiding her precisely because of her importance to him. Any relationship he has with another character, any act of his own, are always secondary. He exists because of Buffy, in both his own reality and on the meta level.
That's part of what made his further development so interesting, but also what makes him so interesting right now. When he talks to Giles, it's about Buffy, for Buffy, and through Buffy (as they only know about each other from what she's said to each of them). He barely even exists as his own entity, an impression reinforced by his lack of reflection and accepted by Angel's regret over it. Yet, he's right up Giles' alley, an intelligent person well-versed in the paranormal, and you can see the way they click in this scene (just like they do in "Pangs", in fact). There's a very brief acknowledgment of Angel's love for Buffy and the way he's chosen to deal with it, and then they get right to business. Even through my slashproof goggles, that scene looks like the librarian developing a crush on the vampire.
But Giles is afraid of him. Check out the stage directions for when he first sees who's in there with him: He looks about him -- in case he has to make a run or a fight for it. This doesn't stop here. Every character but Buffy and Xander (a case I'll revisit, I'm sure) is a little bit nervous around Angel, even before he loses his soul, and it's always just subtle enough to show us that they're not being bigoted. A vampire in the room is a legitimately frightening thing no matter how long it's been since he ate someone. Giles never forgets this, and I don't think he lets his guard down even in this initial encounter.
So what's the government up to with this training of invisible assassins, anyway? Eh. Training invisible assassins. If the plot had ever required one in a future episode, it would have been nice to "see" Marcie again, but the S1 scrap heap doesn't give much back. At least we can imagine that she was around later, informing on someone for the government (or for W&H) and being very quiet. MARCIE IS IN EVERY EPISODE, GUYS!
Giles and Objects:
Xander and Bus Stations: I haven't said anything about Xander in this episode, and I can't really think of anything there is to say. If there was an example of him being ignored, I missed it, though that isn't to say he doesn't get as lonely as the others. There could be some insight hiding in his reactions to Cordelia, but I think for the most part, this just isn't Xander's moment.
And now it's time for the clipping of quotes from the shooting script which you may have come to expect from me. The good news is that from now on I'm going to make a conscious effort to not point out the spelling errors.
Ew, libraries. All those books.
What's up with that?
With a few chuckles, the crowd disperses.
(to Mitch as they leave)
Did I ever tell you about when
Buffy attacked me? With a spear
when I came out of the ladies' at
the Bronze. I still re-live the
trauma every time I see a pencil.
I can only use felt-tip now...
Just a bit of extra jerkishness that was left out, but I found it odd that Cordy thinks of a stake as both a spear and a pencil, and doesn't see any discrepancy there.
Giles, have you ever touched a
No I haven't. I've seen one, in
Dartmoor. A murdered countess,
very beautiful. She used to float
along the foothills, moaning the
most piteous -- I've gone away
again, haven't I?
It's funny when he does that.
Giles history! Oh, I'd love to hear about him and his lovely ghost.
It's music. A flute. Ghostly. Playing somewhere in the bowels of the school. Buffy just listens, affected by it. It's about the saddest, loneliest song she's ever heard.
This and a few other lines from the shooting script made me feel like Marcie's plight wasn't fully emphasized in the episode as it aired. I think there was a wrong turn somewhere in the way Marcie went mad - there weren't any real signs of her descent, it was just lonely, lonely, homicidal.
...But the most
important books of Slayer prophecy
have been lost. The Tiberius
Manifesto, the Pergamum Codex.
It was reputed to contain the most
complete prophecies about the
Slayer's role in the End Times.
But the book was lost in the 15th
Not lost. Misplaced. I can get
Okay, I'm quoting this partially to hang onto the precious little info we get about Slayer prophecies and the Codex (Angel can just "get it"? What's the story there?), but because there's about a half second of character development in there that I really loved. When Angel finds that he can get something Giles needs, he gives us this little-boy smile, too quickly to screencap - after everything he's been through, it excites him just to be useful.
But people perceived the whole
Marcie package as invisible,
clothes and all, not just, you
(what's bothering him)
So you're saying she's not naked.
Yeah, that's always on my mind with invisible characters, too. Invisible Woman (of the Fantastic Four) can make things invisible by touching them; isn't that the most sensible solution?
Well, just because the story's
about him doesn't mean he's
necessarily the hero, right?
Thanks, Cordy! That can be applied to at least half of everything written by Joss.
I mean apparently gift as a
researcher is limited to
supernatural rather than quantum
phenomena. All these state
Mathematics was never my strength.
Is Giles telling the truth here? It seems to contradict what we've seen already in "The Puppet Show", but on the other hand, we never see him doing much math. That's Willow's thing. On the other other hand, it seems odd for Giles to have any intellectual weakness.
Strange Men in Black (AGENTS DOYLE and MANETTI and two others) arrive on opposite sides of the stage.
WAIT WAIT AGENT WHO???
- Yeah, I like the Codex more than most people, what of it?
- This is what the stage directions tell us for her first actual physical appearance: A GIRL (MARCIE) -- so mousy she’s the human equivalent of wallpaper, but actually the actress is adorable and I like her voice. Anyone seen her in anything else?
- The lolcat jokes work better for some invisible scenes than others. Just try to picture the captions on your screen while you watch the episode.