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Out of Mind, Out of Sight

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 1, Episode 11
Season 1 ep 11
Air date May 19, 1997 (USA)
Written by Joss Whedon (story)
Ashley Gable
Thomas A. Swyden (teleplay)
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Episode Guide
"Prophecy Girl"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
David Boreanaz Angel
Clea DuVall Marcie
Armin Shimerman Principal Snyder
Co Starring
Ryan Bittle Mitch
Denise Dowse Ms. Miller
John Knight Bud #1
Mercedes McNab Harmony
Mark Phelan Agent Doyle
Skip Stellrecht Agent Manetti
Julie Fulton FBI Teacher

"Out of Mind, Out of Sight" is the eleventh episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is the eleventh episode overall. It was directed by Reza Badiyi and written by Joss Whedon, Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden. The episode was originally broadcasted on May 19, 1997.

Buffy must protect the thorn in her side, Cordelia, when she becomes the target of an invisible former student who wants revenge for the way she was treated in the past.


Cordelia is talking excitedly with Harmony and her friends about the spring and the May Queen competition when Buffy bumps into them, spilling various slayer paraphernalia. Buffy makes up an excuse about borrowing it from Giles for a history project.

In English class, Cordelia comments that in The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is self-involved and whiny. She likens it to a bicycle rider she ran over; the girl whined about her pain and ignored Cordelia's traumatic experience. The teacher seems agreeable to the viewpoint. After class, Cordelia arranges to talk with the teacher the next day to talk about her paper.

In the boys' locker room Mitch Fargo, Cordelia's boyfriend, is attacked by a floating baseball bat. Cordelia is outside campaigning for May Queen. As Xander and Willow mock Cordelia, referring to a past Buffy did not share, she feels left out and explains that she was the May Queen at her old school. The conversation ends when they hear that Mitch was found beaten. Principal Snyder arrives confirming Mitch was not dead. Before Mitch is taken to the hospital, he tells them what had happened. Principal Snyder stops Buffy entering the crime scene but Willow and Xander distract him, allowing Buffy to slip into the boys' locker room to find the word "LOOK" spray-painted on the lockers.

At the library, the Scoobies are stumped. They suspect a ghost. Meanwhile, Harmony asks Cordelia about Mitch's condition; Cordelia explains that he is alright but looking too bruised for the prom pictures. In a flashback, we see Cordelia and Harmony talking about Mitch's recent break-up with Wendy, and whether Cordelia would like to be his girlfriend. In the present, Harmony is pushed down the stairs and injures her ankle by the invisible force as Buffy approaches. Buffy follows an invisible source of laughter resulting in it bumping into Buffy before escaping.

Xander suggests a cloak of invisibility worn by the Greek gods. Buffy dismisses that theory because of the pettiness of the crimes. As the Scoobies disperse, Buffy follows the sound of a flute. In the library, Giles is surprised by Angel, who offers to get a book of prophecies, the Pergamum Codex. Another flashback sequence sees Cordelia and Harmony discussing a lecture and ignoring Marcie. In the present, Cordelia wins the May Queen award. Looking over Willow's list of missing kids, Buffy suspects Marcie when she sees she played the flute. Tracking Marcie, Buffy finds her hideout just as Marcie finds Mrs. Miller, Cordelia's literature teacher. She chokes her with a plastic bag. Cordelia, arriving a short while afterward, saves Mrs. Miller. An invisible hand writes "LISTEN" on the blackboard.


Cordelia and Buffy under attack by Marcie.

As Willow looks over Marcie's yearbook, she sees it is full of the generic "Have a nice summer!" greeting, something you write down in the yearbook of someone you don't know, showing nobody knew Marcie. (Xander explains that "Have a nice summer!" is "the kiss of death".) She is horrified to find her own greeting to Marcie, "Have a great summer!". Giles realizes that Marcie became invisible not because of magic but science; she became invisible because people treated her like she didn't exist. In a flashback sequence, we see Marcie being looked over by her teacher in favor of those around her even when she had her hand up. She puts it down in defeat and starts becoming invisible. As the Scoobies realize that Marcie really is after Cordelia, the latter walks into the library asking Buffy for protection. They decide to use Cordelia as bait and to have Buffy bodyguarding her. As Cordelia is getting dressed, she confides in Buffy that she is lonely too, but being popular "beats being lonely by yourself". 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 surprises Buffy, kicking her and knocking her out.

Buffy wakes up, finding herself tied to a chair near Cordelia, similarly indisposed. They see the word "LEARN" on a curtain, and Marcie explains that Cordelia is the lesson, or will be when she makes a mockery of Cordelia's face by surgery. Buffy kicks the instrument tray at Marcie and frees herself from the ropes. Angel rescues the Scoobies and shuts off the gas. Buffy concentrates, listening to Marcie, knocks her into a curtain before knocking her out. Two FBI agents, Doyle and Manetti, arrive to haul Marcie away. Cordelia comes by the day after the coronation to thank them for helping her, much to their surprise. However, her reaction when Mitch arrives shows she is not ready to renounce her popularity. Meanwhile, Marcie is taken to a school full of invisible students by the FBI. She sits down in class and opens her textbook. The title reads "Assassination and Infiltration" (as an apparent in-joke from the production team, the text on the page contains the lyrics to the Beatles' "White Album" song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", to which the now-homicidal Marcie chuckles and says, "Cool").


  • Cordelia begins to have a rapport with Buffy and the Scoobies beyond simply ridiculing them. Additionally, she admits to Buffy privately that she feels lonely, despite being so popular. This foreshadows her eventual disconnection from the Sunnydale High popular clique and her change in life direction to help the helpless.
  • Cordelia again is used as a bait in "Anne "when the Scoobies try to chase vampires on their own after Buffy had run off.
Cordelia: (to Mitch) Hey, did I ever tell you about the time that Buffy attacked me? At the Bronze? I do not  know why this school admits mentals like her.
She is referring to the first episode "Welcome To The Hellmouth" when Buffy Summers is looking for Willow Rosenberg and Thomas.
  • The United States government is aware of the supernatural, a fact that becomes more apparent later with the Initiative.
  • Giles and Angel meet for the first time.
  • Angel gives Giles the Pergamum Codex, which allows him to accurately predict Buffy's death.[1]
  • Marcie's condition will be briefly referenced later when Buffy assures her friends that her invisibility is not a result of the same condition.[2]
  • Cordelia makes reference to the "Twinkie Defense". Ben's hospital superior will reference it as well in season 5 while firing him.
  • Harmony is named for the first time in this episode.
  • Every Scooby is knocked out in this episode, with the notable exception of Giles, whose propensity for being knocked out would later become a running gag in the series. Buffy and Cordelia are also tied up for the first time.
  • When Willow speculates that there might be a witch, she remarks "Cause we can fight a witch," referencing the episode "Witch."
  • Marcie writes LISTEN on the wall; in the Angel episode Heartthrob, Fred writes LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN on a wall, both women experiencing mental breakdowns.
  • Cordelia jokes about Buffy being popular in an alternate universe; Cordelia herself would be part of two alternate universes - first in "The Wish" and then in "Birthday".



Organizations and Titles



Behind the Scenes


  • 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 and also matches a similar scene in the movie Back to the Future.
  • Underneath the manual headline of "Assassination and Infiltration" are the lyrics to the Beatles song " Happiness Is a Warm Gun", but with a few small changes; any repetition in the lyrics is removed, the line "happiness is a warm gun" is changed to "joy is a hot revolver", and the last line of text that is visible is not part of the song. What it says is "because joy is a hot revolver, and he is afraid of the monkeys who are in"
  • This episode was also known as "Invisible Girl" in some areas.
  • All the flashback scenes in this episode are in sepia tone. This is the only time in the Buffyverse where this effect is used.


  • "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" pulled in an audience of 2.4 million households.[4]

Pop Culture References

  • 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.
  • Cordelia says, "My eyes are hazel, Helen Keller", referencing the deafblind American author and political activist.


  • Sharon Bezaly & Terence Charlston - "Sonata in E-Flat Major for Flute and Harpsichord, BWV 1031: II. Siciliano" - Bach(Instrumental flute played several times by Marcie.)
  • Walter Murphy - original score

International Titles

  • French: Portée disparue (Missing)
  • Portuguese: Fora da Mente, Fora de Visão (Out of Mind, Out of Sight)
  • Finnish: Näkymätön uhka (The invisible threat)
  • German: Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)


  • This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Cordelia DVD.
  • This is the last episode of the first season to feature the opening prologue.
  • Willow is seen wearing a Scooby-Doo shirt. Sarah Michelle Gellar will later star in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies.
  • Guest-star Clea DuVall says of being on this episode, "It was pretty early in my career. I’m almost positive we shot it before it had aired. Or maybe I just didn’t know they were doing that show, and when my agent told me I had an audition for it, I was like, “They’re making a TV show of Buffy The Vampire Slayer? That’s insane.” Then I went on to also become obsessed with the show, because it’s so good. But I was pretty new, and I was really young. I think I was maybe 18 or 19 when we shot it. I was nervous and very shy, but really related to that character so much because I am a shy person. I am an introvert. I was so taken with the sensitivity and the emotion in that role. When I first heard the idea they were making a show about Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I thought it was insane and then read that script and was impressed, and it’s something I’m happy I was a part of."[5]


Xander - "Oh, hey, do you wanna come to our place tonight for dinner? Mom's making her famous phone call to the Chinese place."
Willow - "Xander, do you guys even have a stove?"
Willow - (about Marcie, while looking over her yearbook) "Oh, my God. 'Have a nice summer'. 'Have a nice summer'. This girl had no friends at all."
Giles - "Uh, once again I teeter at the precipice of the generation gap."
Buffy - "'Have a nice summer' is what you write when you have nothing to say."
Xander - "It's the kiss of death."
Cordelia - "This is all about me! Me, me, me!"
Xander - "Wow, for once she's right!"
Giles - "You know, I don't recall ever seeing you here before."
Cordelia - "Oh no, I have a life."
Cordelia - "I can be surrounded by people and be completely alone. It's not like any of them really know me. I don't even know if they like me half the time. People just want to be in a popular zone. Sometimes when I talk, everyone's so busy agreeing with me, they don't hear a word I say."
Buffy - "Well, if you feel so alone, then why do you work so hard at being popular?"
Cordelia - "Well, it beats being alone all by yourself."
Buffy - (to Marcie) "Y'know, I really felt sorry for you. You've suffered. But there's one thing I really didn't factor into all this. You're a thundering loony!"


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