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WHAT'S MY LINE PT. 1 (ep 2.09)

(a.k.a. I'm Not Unique, Part 1)

Written by: Howard Gordon & Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Solomon
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Seth Green as Oz
James Marsters as Spike
Eric Saiet as Dalton
Kelly Connell as Mr. Pfister
Bianca Lawson as Kendra
Saverio Guerra as Willy
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Co-Starring: Michael Rothhaar as Stuntman
P.B. Hutton as Mrs. Kalish

Plot Summary

Buffy had to deal with a career fair, hired assassins, and someone who claimed to be a slayer.

Plot Details

The episode opened at Sunnydale High's career fair. Willow and Cordelia were more enthusiastic than Xander and Buffy were.

Meanwhile, Spike's minion, Dalton, was having a very difficult time translating the book that was stolen in "Lie to Me." Drusilla figured out that it was in code and found the location of a key with her tarot cards.

At night, Buffy was patrolling a graveyard and found Dalton chipping away in a mausoleum. She waited until he exited to confront him. Unfortunately, a large vampire came up behind her. While she was staking the large vampire, Dalton escaped.

Buffy returned to her room to find Angel clutching a stuffed pig (Mr. Gordo). Apparently, Angel wanted to regress into his cryptic guy routine. Something was wrong, but he did not know what. He changed the subject a couple of times until they talked about how she liked to ice skate when she was a little girl. He suggested going to a rink that would be closed the following night.

Cordelia was pleased to see that her aptitudes suggested motivational speaker or personal shopper. She was amused and Xander was a little disconcerted to find that he should be a prison guard. Buffy and Willow were also amused when he told them, until he said that Buffy was assigned to a law enforcement seminar. Willow was not assigned to any.

Buffy told Giles about the mausoleum theft the last night. He seemed to be quite concerned about what was stolen and was miffed that she did not find out.

Drusilla admired the cross that Dalton stole. Spike, however, was frustrated at the extent to which Buffy interrupts his plans. He decided to bring in the Order of Taraka to kill her once and for all, even though Dalton thought that the Order of Taraka would be overkill.

The next day, Willow was pulled aside by two men in suits. Apparently, she did not even need to take the test. Microsoft was tracking her for some time and was flying a recruiter down just to talk with her, and with Oz.

Meanwhile, Buffy was taking Giles to the mausoleum where Dalton stole the cross. Apparently, the person interred in the mausoleum (du Lac) wrote the book that was stolen from the library and is now in Spike's hands. They guessed that Dalton stole something to decode the book, which was written in Archaic Latin.

A bus pulled up to the station in Sunnydale. It was no ordinary bus. Instead, the stairs leading out could change color from white to rust brown at will. The music suggested that this might be ominous.

A stereotypical mild mannered man (Norman Pfister) walked up to a house next door to Buffy's and offered a free sample of cosmetics. Soon after he entered the house, we could hear screaming.

A cargo plane arrived in Sunnydale airport. One of the ground personnel checked on the cargo hold and received a swift kick to the face for his trouble. The kicker (Kendra) then sneaked off of the plane.

Based on a National Geographic magazine, Giles deduced that Dalton stole the du Lac Cross, which would translate his text. Du Lac hid the cross to keep it from falling in the wrong hands, such as Spike's. This meant a late night of research, which pleased Willow. Buffy, however, decided that ice skating was more important.

At the ice skating rink, Buffy was attacked by a guy who was on the magic bus. Angel pulled him off her and fought with the guy until Buffy slit the guy's throat with an ice skate. He staggered and collapsed on the ice without shedding one drop of blood. Angel recognized the ring that the guy was wearing as meaning that Buffy was in danger. She did not listen and instead started to kiss him without any concern about him being in vamp face. Meanwhile, Kendra watched the two of them.

Giles recognized the ring as being worn by members of the Order of Taraka. He agreed with Angel that Buffy should hide. Apparently, the Order of Taraka was made up of relentless assassins who care only about sowing discord and collecting bounty. He said this as we watch a column of grubs turn into Norman Pfister's arm as he watched Buffy's house. Even though she did not see that part, the rest was enough to get Buffy paranoid about everyone she saw. She even confronted Oz.

That night, she was about to go home when she decided to go to Angel's instead. He was not home because he was out trying to get information from Willy, a bartender. Willy was a little reluctant to provide information until Angel started to use violence. Before Angel managed to get much more information than that Spike was responsible, Kendra attacked him. They had a fight, which ended with Angel locked in a cage near a window with eastern exposure. Kendra then told him that she was going after Buffy next.

Giles was worried about his inability to reach Buffy. He asked Xander to have Cordelia drive him to Buffy's to check on her. He found a reference to a ritual to restore health to a weak vampire, like Drusilla.

The next morning, Xander and Cordelia broke into Buffy's home. While Xander was checking upstairs, Norman Pfister came to the door and tried to offer free samples to Cordelia. She was very interested and let him in.

While Angel was desperately trying to escape his cage, Kendra attacked Buffy in Angel's bed with a hatchet. They scuffled until each asked who the other is. Kendra eventually went first and declares herself to be "Kendra, the vampire slayer." To be continued...

The Good

The episode ends with some good cliffhangers. Angel is facing imminent sunlight, Cordelia and Xander are in a house with a bug guy, and Buffy may have just met another slayer.

The Bad

This episode is mostly the set-up. We have to wait for part 2 to see the payoff.

Overall Rank: 81

Action: 6

Buffy staked a vampire in a cemetery after a brief scuffle.

Buffy and Angel fought the guy from the bus with the magically changing steps. It ended when Buffy slashed the guy's throat with her skate.

While Angel was trying to intimidate Willy with a little violence, Kendra attacked him. The fight ended with Angel locked in a cage with a window to the east.

Comedy: 1

Other than a few good lines, there was little comedy in this episide.

Drama: 7

Buffy had to deal with the fact that she may have little choice in her future and with a serious threat to her life.

Romance: 2

There are a couple of Buffy / Angel romantic scenes.

Character Development: 6

Buffy feels constricted in her role as the slayer. It hurts to be reminded that she cannot choose her own future the way that her friends can. She also had to face what might be the most serious threat on her life since "Prophecy Girl."

Angel has apparently regressed to his cryptic guy routine.

Willow has frog fear.

Importance: 4

Most of the importance of this episode comes from setting up the next episode. However, Willow does meet Oz for the first time.

Most Valuable Player: Spike

Spike had one goal, to heal Drusilla. To do so, he needed to decode the book in order to get the ritual and he needed to distract Buffy so she does not interfere with her plans. As of the end of this episode, he succeeded on both counts.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Giles

This is a clear victory. Giles recognized the du Lac mausoleum, he connected du Lac with the stolen book, he recognized the ring of the Order of Taraka, and he discovered the ritual to heal a sick vampire.

Goat of the Week: Kendra

Being the first part of a two-part episode, there was mostly set-up and little resolution. However, if she is who she said she was, Kendra made a few errors. Admittedly, when she saw a vampire menacing a human, there was no reason for her to realize that the vampire had a soul and that the human was trying to protect other vampires. However, she failed to realize that Buffy was not a vampire and tried to slay her as well.

Random Commentary

The aptitude test that the characters took must be quite old. It has been a long time since tests included nongender neutral questions like wanting to help one's fellow "man."

For those who do not already know, Sunnydale is a fictional town. It is usually considered to be around where Santa Barbara is located. However, this episode refers to Route 17, which, in California, links Santa Cruz with San Jose. San Jose is very close to Sunnyvale, California. One of this episode's co-writers, Marti Noxon, graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz. This will not be the last Santa Cruz reference that she inserts in one of her episodes.

Xander may laugh, but corrections is a rapidly growing field in California. The law now states that anyone convicted of three felonies automatically gets life without parole. This will greatly increase the need for more prisons, which will increase the need for more prison guards. The prison guard lobby is one of the most powerful in California, so prison guards can look forward to a secure future. Of course, as I completed the final copy edit of this page, California voters weakened the three-strikes law.

I imagine that any Latin scholars who read this will be upset with me for saying this, but I find the phrase "Archaic Latin" to be redundant.


Some question why Buffy would be a Dorothy Hamill fan when Hamill won the gold medal four years before Buffy was born. It is true that Hamill had quit amateur competition before Buffy was born, but she continued to compete professionally and participate in ice shows for many years afterward. The picture of Buffy made her look about five years-old, so Dorothy Hamill would still have been active.

Why would Buffy and Angel want to go to the ice skating rink while it was closed? Were they too cheap to pay admission, or did they want privacy so they could be attacked without drawing undue attention?

Sunnydale is usually portrayed as being a small town. Why would Xander need Cordelia to drive him to Buffy's? Why could he not walk?

Cordelia is usually portrayed as being rich and snobbish. Why would she have the slightest interest in skin care products that are not from an exclusive brand and why would she be excited about them being free?

Many people wonder why Angel is unable to escape from a simple cage with only a padlock to hold him. If Kendra is telling the truth about being a slayer, then she would be stronger than Angel. In their fight, his rear end was probably well kicked. It was very unlikely that he was at full strength.

DVD Extras

What's My Line, Pt. 1 Script is of mild interest, but, like all scripts included as extras, is a pain to scroll through one page at a time. It would be easier if we could at least jump to a scene of interest.

What's My Line, Pt. 1 Commentary by Co-Writer Marti Noxon This is better than David Greenwalt's commentary for "Reptile Boy," but not as good as Joss Whedon's commentary for "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest." However, neither statement says very much. In general, the commentary was interesting. It mostly discussed her thought process in writing the episode rather than on the big picture, but there are some big-picture comments. It contained spoilers through the fifth season of Buffy and the second season of Angel. Insights include:

Memorable Dialogue

"'I aspire to help my fellow man.' Check, as long as he's not smell, dirty, or something gross." Cordelia
"Cordelia Chase, always ready to give a helping hand to the rich and the pretty." Xander
"Which, lucky me, excludes you, twice." Cordelia

"Just dropping by for some quality time with Mr. Gordo?" Buffy

"OK, a regular kid and her craddle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend." Buffy

"Oh my gosh, my Dorothy Hamill phase. My room in L.A. was pretty much a shrine: Dorothy dolls, Dorothy posters. I even got the Dorothy haircut, thereby securing a place for myself in the geek hall of fame." Buffy

"As in polyester, doughnuts, and brutality." Xander

"I've been indexing the Watcher Diaries covering the last couple of centuries. You'd be amazed at how numbingly pompous and long-winded some of these watchers were." Giles
"Color me stunned." Buffy

"Principal Snyder, great career fair, sir, really. In fact, I'm so inspired by your leadership, I'm thinking principal school. I wanna walk in your shoes. Not your actual shoes, of course, because you're a tiny person. Not tiny in the small sense, of course. OK, I'm done now." Xander

"It's worth nothing, Harris. Whatever comes out of your mouth is a meaningless waste of breath, an airborne toxic event." Principal Snyder
"Well, I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to be so honest with me, and I can only hope that one day I'm in the position to be that honest with you." Xander

"Giles, it's one thing to be a watcher and a librarian. They go together like chicken and another chicken or two chickens or something. You know what I'm saying. The point is, no one blinks an eye if you wanna spend all your days with books. What am I supposed to do, carve stakes for a nursery?" Buffy
"Point taken. I must admit I never really... Now there's a thought. Have you ever considered law enforcement?" Giles

"It's a reliquary, used to house items of religious significance, most commonly a finger or some other body part from a saint." Giles
"Note to self: religion freaky." Buffy

"Excomunicated and sent to Sunnydale, there's a guy big with the sinning." Buffy

"HoHos are a vital part of my cognitive process." Xander

"You know what the ring means?" Angel
"I just killed a Super Bowl champ." Buffy

"This ring is worn only by members of the Order of Taraka. It's a society of deadly assassins dating back to King Solomon." Giles
"And didn't they beat the Elks this year in the Sunnydale adult bowling league championships?" Xander
"Their credo is to sow discord and kill the unwary." Giles
"Bowling is a vicious game." Xander

"It's a statistical impossibility for a 16-year-old girl to unplug her phone." Xander

"You know, I'm a little rusty when it comes to killing humans. It could take a while." Angel

"Don't warn the tadpoles?" Giles
"I have frog fear." Willow

"You drag me out of bed for a ride? What am I, mass transportation." Cordelia
"That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker room talk." Xander

"Come on, Cordelia. You want to be a member of the Scooby Gang, you gotta be willing to be inconvenienced every now and then." Xander

"I am Kendra, the vampire slayer." Kendra

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

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 6, 2012