Home page All episodes sorted by rank All episodes sorted alphabetically All episodes sorted by writer All episodes sorted by director All episodes sorted by season Episodes with the most polarized opinions Episodes largely forgotten by fans Best and worst streaks of episodes An analysis of what makes episodes great Buffy writers sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy directors sorted by the quality of their episodes Seasons of Buffy sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy characters sorted by their possible contribution to episode quality Predicted episode quality based on writer, director, characters, and when aired Episodes that are much better or much worse than predicted Tastes in episodes Episodes ranked by taste Seasons ranked by taste Characters ranked by taste Writers ranked by taste Directors ranked by taste How the results on this site were obtained Ranking important contributors Reviews and Essays Frequently Asked Questions The links page Go to the sitemap


(a.k.a. Invisible Girl)

Teleplay by: Ashley Gable & Thomas A. Swyden
Story by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Reza Badiyi
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: David Boreanaz as Angel
Clea DuVall as Marcie Ross
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Co-Starring: Ryan Bittle as Mitch
Denise Dowse as Ms. Miller
John Knight as Bud #1
Mercedes McNab as Harmony
Mark Phelan as Agent Doyle
Skip Stellrecht as Agent Manetti
Julie Fulton as FBI Teacher

Plot Summary

A fellow student, who turned invisible because nobody noticed her, is now plotting revenge against Cordelia.

Plot Details

Cordelia's boyfriend (Mitch) was changing in a locker room when he heard some giggles. He was about to reach for a baseball bat, when it rose, seemingly on its own, and started to beat him. Meanwhile, Cordelia was actively campaigning for May Queen, but not desperately enough to want Buffy's vote. Xander and Willow made fun of Cordelia's desire for titles, until Buffy mentioned that she held a similar title at her old high school.

Buffy managed to stop the paramedics from wheeling Mitch out of the locker room long enough for him to describe the attack. Buffy wanted to investigate the scene, but Principal Snyder tried to stop her. Willow then started a conversation with Xander about Mitch suing the school, which distracted Snyder enough for Buffy to enter.

The only major clue that Buffy found was the word "LOOK" written on the locker doors in blood (or, probably, red paint). Buffy and Giles found this to be curious, because monsters usually do not send messages. Giles hypothesized a possessed bat, telekinesis, an invisible attacker, or a poltergeist. Willow jumped on the poltergeist theory and started to investigate dead or missing students. Buffy went to talk with Mitch's friends when Xander balked at talking with Cordelia.

Cordelia complained to Harmony that Mitch would no longer look good in their prom pictures. Buffy tried to talk with them, when Harmony fell down some stairs and may have broken her ankle. Buffy followed some giggling into a music room. She saw nobody but felt someone or something brush against her.

Giles now settled on an invisible girl as the culprit. They also concluded that the girl was targeting Cordelia. Buffy went to watch Cordelia try on her prom dress when a flute started playing.

Meanwhile, Giles heard a door squeak in the library. He saw no reflection in a glass window, so Angel must have been there. They discussed Giles's research on the Master and slayer lore. Giles had read everything he knew was in existence, but would like to be able to read lost volumes like the Pergamum Codex, which was misplaced in the 15th century. Angel offered to get it for him.

In a flashback, Cordelia and her friends discussed an alumni lecture in a bathroom. Marcie tried to join the conversation, but was excluded.

Back in the present day, Cordelia was awarded May Queen. Willow noticed a couple of men in black suits watching Cordelia. Willow suspected that Cordelia hired bodyguards.

On Willow's list of missing students, Buffy noticed one, Marcie, who played the flute. She decided that Marcie was her prime suspect. She noticed a footprint in the music room that suggested someone climbing into an attic. Buffy discovered living quarters, including a flute, sheet music, a teddy bear, and a yearbook. She opened the yearbook, confirmed that it was Marcie's and noticed that everyone who signed it said, "Have a nice summer." She took the yearbook with her.

Meanwhile, Miss Miller was waiting for Cordelia when Marcie came up behind her and tried to suffocate her with a plastic bag. When Cordelia arrived and pulled the bag off her head, they could see "LISTEN" being written on the chalkboard.

Buffy showed the yearbook to Willow, Giles, and Xander. Neither Xander nor Willow could remember having met Marcie even though they both signed the yearbook and had four classes with her. Apparently, she became invisible because nobody noticed her. A flashback to Miss Miller not calling on Marcie in class confirmed the hypothesis. The yearbook also confirmed that Cordelia was the target.

Cordelia entered the library looking for help. Willow suggested stopping the May Queen coronation, but Buffy suggested using Cordelia as bait. A shaky camera angle suggested that Marcie was watching the entire conversation.

When Cordelia and Buffy left, Giles, Willow, and Xander heard flute music and went to investigate. They followed the sound into the basement, where Marcie locker them in. Even worse, she left the gas on.

Buffy and Cordelia bonded over feelings of loneliness. While Cordelia was changing in the broom closet, Marcie pulled her into her lair. Buffy tried to rescue her but fell unconscious. They woke tied up to chairs with Cordelia's face numb. Marcie apparently wanted to disfigure Cordelia's face in order to teach people a lesson.

When Giles, Xander, and Willow were losing consciousness, Angel arrived and rescued them. He was bringing the Codex to Giles when he smelled gas. Angel then went in to shut off the gas.

Buffy managed to slip from her bonds. For a while, the fight was a little one sided when Buffy could not see Marcie. Then, Buffy remembered Giles's advice to listen to people. She heard Marcie approach and punched her into a curtain. With the curtain covering Marcie, Buffy was easily able to subdue her.

When Buffy finished the work, the two men in black suits entered and identified themselves as FBI agents. They took her away to "rehabilitate" her. Buffy figured out that this has happened before, although the agents claimed that they were not permitted to discuss such incidents.

The next day, Giles pointedly did not tell Buffy that Angel rescued them, claiming it was a janitor. Cordelia interrupted to sort of thank Buffy for saving her, until someone else spotted her talking to "losers." She claimed that she was being charitable and giving fashion advice. One cannot hope for too much personal growth in one day.

The two FBI agents escorted Marcie, or someone who looked like Marcie, or simply someone we cannot see into a classroom where she fit right in. Even though none of the seats looked occupied, she found a chair with no invisible person in it. They started their lesson. It was Chapter 11: Assassination and Infiltration Case Example 1: Radical cult leader as intended victim. The text was the lyrics to the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun." Marcie seemed to be quite pleased.

The Good

This is another episode that realized that the most important ingredient to the show is the characters. It takes a character that, up to this point, has been a one-dimensional, comic-relief character and gave her some depth. I suspect that, in the beginning of the first season, the writers were not sure if they wanted Cordelia around for a second season, so they did not spend too much time developing her. By this episode, I suspect that the writers decided to keep her and therefore needed to turn her into a full character that could work with the other characters.

The idea of an unpopular student becoming literally invisible is a good metaphor.

The Bad

Marcie did not have to be portrayed as being insane.

Overall Rank: 45

Action: 3

Marcie attacked Mitch, Harmony, and Miss Miller.

Buffy and Marcie had a fight near the end of the episode.

Comedy: 7

Any episode in which Cordelia plays this heavy a role is going to have more than its share of funny lines.

Nearly every scene in which Cordelia was being self-centered. Highlights include complaining about the girl she ran over, worrying about her prom photos, accepting her May Queen title, and begging for help in the library.

Drama: 6

Cordelia talked about how lonely she felt even when she was the center of attention, but that it was still better than being alone with nobody paying attention.

Marcie's unpopularity caused her to become invisible.

Romance: 1

Cordelia had a boyfriend, but she did not seem to view him as anything more than decoration or status

Character Development: 7

Cordelia—feels at least as disconnected from other people as the main characters do, despite her popularity. She is fully aware that people do not like her for who she is, but for the fact that she is considered to be popular. She feels lonely, but is not willing to give up her popularity. She does want to reach out to Buffy and her friends.

Importance: 4

The most important aspect of this episode is in establishing Cordelia's character. Angel did give Giles a copy of the Codex, which will be important in the next episode.

Most Valuable Player: Angel

Angel earned this week's MVP for rescuing Giles, Willow, and Xander and for shutting off the gas, perhaps preventing the entire school from blowing up.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

Xander figured out the cause of the invisibility, but Buffy identified Marcie Ross as the culprit and the connection between invisibility and unpopularity.

Goat of the Week: Giles

There is not a good candidate this week. Marcie may not have succeeded in disfiguring Cordelia, but she instead accomplished something much better. She is now training to become an elite agent with the FBI. Cordelia got into this mess by ignoring Marcie, but she was apparently no worse than anyone else, including Willow and Xander. Giles, Willow, and Xander all fell for Marcie's trap, even though the tape player did not look like it had good enough speakers to sound like live playing and even though they should have smelled the gas. Giles gets the award for leading Willow and Xander. He is the first two-time winner of this prize.


Why would the paramedics stop so that Buffy could talk with Mitch? I understand that he probably was not in critical condition, but their priority should have been taking him to the hospital, not in giving the victim the opportunity to provide a little exposition.

I get nitpicker of the week for this, but the teacher in this episode is called "Miss Miller," "Mrs. Miller," and "Ms. Miller." Did she get married and divorced (to a man with her maiden name) over the course of this episode?

Many wonder why we cannot see Marcie's clothes. My theory is that she is not wearing any. This would explain why we could see the curtain covering her. This also makes it unfortunate that we did not have a revisiblize scene.

Many wondered how Marcie could be certain that the chair she chose had no occupant. It is possible that invisible people can see each other. Another possibility is that seats are assigned, and she was assigned an unoccupied seat. There was a glass wall to the classroom, so the FBI agents could have pointed out her seat to her.

Tv.com's guide to this episode stated that Assassination and Infiltration are spying jobs. Therefore, she would work for the CIA, not the FBI. It is possible that the FBI rounded her up for the CIA, but, in pre-9/11 days, the FBI and CIA did almost no cooperation. It is a bit more likely that the CIA pretended to be the FBI in case Buffy or Cordelia were to talk about the incident.

However, the need to come up with these explanations depends on TV.com being correct. In this case, TV.com is very wrong. The FBI does engage in espionage. The main difference between the CIA and FBI is that the CIA deals with espionage abroad and the FBI deals with espionage within the borders of the United States (among many other things). The FBI often spies on organizations that they consider to be threats like peace groups, civil rights groups, and cults. The chapter that Marcie was reading dealt with a cult leader as the first example. There is no reason to think that they agents were not from the FBI.

Memorable Quotes

"How does what Shylock says here about being a Jew relate top our discussion about the anger of the outcast in society?" Miss Miller
"Well, how about 'Color me totally self-involved?'" Cordelia
"Care to elaborate?" Miss Miller
"Yeah, with Shylock, it's whine, whine, whine like the whole world is about him. He acts like it's justice, him getting a pound of Antonio's flesh. It's not justice; it's yicky." Cordelia
"But has Shylock suffered? What's his place in Venice society?" Miss Miller
"Well, everyone looked down on him." Willow
"That is such a Twinkie defense. Shylock should get over himself. People who think their problems are so huge craze me. Like this time I sort of ran over this girl on her bike. It was the most traumatizing event of my life, and she was trying to make it about her leg, like my pain meant nothing." Cordelia

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

"You should have seen him lying there, all black and blue. How's he gonna look in our prom pictures? How am I ever going to be able to show them to anyone?" Cordelia
"Well, they can do wonderful things with airbrushes these days." Harmony

"Don't sue." Principal Snyder

"How exactly do you propose to hunt someone you can't see? You may have to work on listening to people." Giles

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

"Thank you for making the right choice and for showing me how much you all love me. Being this popular is not just my right, but my responsibility, and I want you to know I take it very seriously." Cordelia

"I teeter at the precipice of the generation gap." Giles

"I think I speak for everyone here when I say, 'Huh?'" Buffy

"Buffy, I know we've had our differences, with you being so weird and all and hanging out with these total losers. Well, anyway, despite all of that, I know that you share this feeling that we have for each other, deep down." Cordelia
"Nausea?" Willow
"Somebody is after me. They just tried to kill Mrs. Miller, she was helping me with my homework, and Mitch and Harmony. This is all about me, me me me." Cordelia
"Wow, for once she's right." Xander

"You're always around when all this weird stuff is happening, and I know you'r very strong, and you've got all those weapons. I was kind of hoping you were in a gang." Cordelia

"I don't recall every seeing you here before." Giles
"Oh, no, I have a life." Cordelia

"If I'm not crowned tonight, then Marcie's won, and that would be bad. She's evil, OK? Way eviler than me." Cordelia

"It's awful to feel that lonely." Cordelia
"So you've read something about the feeling?" Buffy
"Hey, you think I'm never lonely because I'm so cute and popular? I can be completely surrounded by people and be completely alone. It's not like any of them really know me. I don't know if they like me half the time. People just want to be in the popular zone. Sometimes, when I talk, everyone's so busy agreeing with me they don't hear a word I say." Cordelia
"Well, if you feel so alone, then why do you work so hard at being popular?" Buffy
"Well, it beats being alone all by yourself." Cordelia

"I really felt sorry for you. You've suffered. There's one thing I really didn't factor into all this. You're a thundering loony." Buffy

"I guess I just want to say thank you. All of you." Cordelia
"That's funny, because she looks like Cordelia." Xander
"You really helped me out yesterday, and you didn't have to, so thank you." Cordelia

"Are you kidding? I was just being charitable, helping them with their fashion problems. You think I really felt like joining that social leper colony?" Cordelia

Characters in Peril

Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 2, 2012