When I first watched the show, "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" wouldn't play, although the rest of the disc worked fine. I came back to it later in the series, or possibly after I had finished, and was rather pleasantly surprised - for S1, it's fairly sophisticated. Angel returns, Cordy turns into a real person, and ohhhhh, the loneliness.
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!).
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.)
The friend who I watched the series with had seen both shows before, and had made a comment about how different Cordelia becomes. During "Prophecy Girl" I asked if this was her turning point, and he said, "Not really." But for me it was noticeable, because I hadn't seen this one, and this is her turning point. My friend was surely thinking about Higher Being Cordy, who had no clear path that brought her there, but this is where the real Cordy started. She's ruthless, she's self-absorbed, and she's lonely in her crowd, but she knows it and chooses it. That's what really divides us: not whether we're lonely, but how we deal with it.
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 the other day was 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.
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?
Even with both series and a few years in fandom under my belt, it's still hard for my 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".
So. Marcie's alone. Cordy's alone. Buffy and Willow are alone. Who else have we got?
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!
You know who else was introduced in this episode? The Codex. The Pergamum Codex - it has a full name! I'm convinced that this book is a character in its own right; I've forgotten every post-"Prophecy Girl" reference to it but I will be looking for them from now on. I even took a screencap, because I found the book surprisingly small. I think I described it incorrectly in a fanfic once.
Yeah, I like the Codex more than most people, what of it?
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 finally! I made this wallpaper. I'm not sure why, except that I kind of wanted to see it, and I felt I should learn how to use layer masks anyway. Maybe it will make you sad!