|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 1, Episode 3|
|Air date|| March 17, 1997 (USA) |
January 17, 1998 (UK)
|Written by||Dana Reston|
|Directed by||Stephen Cragg|
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Elizabeth Anne Allen||Amy|
|Robin Riker|| Catherine |
|Jim Doughan||Mr. Pole|
|Amanda Wilmshurst||Senior Cheerleader|
|William Monaghan||Dr. Gregory|
Despite Giles' misgivings, Buffy decides to try out for the Sunnydale High Cheerleading Team. During trials, the hands of a girl named Amber spontaneously combust, but she is saved by Buffy. Amy seems to be under strong pressure from her winning mother Catherine, a star cheerleader in her day, and is crushed when she only makes the substitute list after Cordelia and Buffy. We see a brief glimpse of somebody bewitching Barbie dolls over a kettle. Next thing, Cordelia cannot see, which she proves the hard way during driving instruction, and is just saved in the nick of time by Buffy.After these events, Giles come to the conclusion that a witch is to blame. The gang starts to realize that Amy may very well be causing all the damage, but have no way of doing so without arousing suspicion. Giles then points out that there is a certain spell that could identify a witch *which is the first spell the gang has ever done*. To prove that Amy is a witch, Buffy, Xander and Willow collect eye of newt, quicksilver (mercury), aqua fortis (nitric acid) and some of Amy's hair during science class, and prove that she has cast a spell. Amy comes home and tells her mother to get with her homework — while she goes upstairs with Buffy's bracelet (which she stole while Buffy was collecting her hair).
The next morning, a slightly manic Buffy blows her chance at the cheerleading squad when she tosses another girl through the room, ceding her slot to none other than Amy. Buffy turns out to have something more than just a mood disorder: a Bloodstone Vengeance Spell has destroyed her immune system, giving her only about three hours to live. The only way to cure her and break the other spells is to get the witch's spell book. The ailing Buffy and Giles go confront Catherine, only to realize that the real Amy is stuck in her mother's middle-aged body, while her mother is reliving her glory days. Giles finds the witch's book and takes Amy and Buffy back to school to break the spells. Buffy is fading fast.
Amy's mother is cheering Sunnydale's school basketball team, when she starts getting flashes of what Giles is trying to do. Xander and Willow are unable to stop her from storming into the science lab with an axe, but buy enough time for Giles to break the spells. Amy and her mother switch bodies again, and Buffy feels good enough to fight. However, Catherine's power is too great, and it is only by kicking down a steel vent cowling and reflecting her last spell that Buffy wins the day. Catherine then vanishes.
When Amy and Buffy talk in the school hall the next day, they pass by the school's trophy collection where the statue to "Catherine the Great" stands. While both girls wonder where Amy's mother ended up, the camera pulls close to the statue's face, revealing Catherine's eyes and a muffled voice pleading for help.
- This marks the first use of witchcraft in the Buffyverse along with powers such as pyrokinesis and telekinesis. Additionally, body switching makes its first appearance and will appear again in future episodes ("Who Are You" and "Carpe Noctem").
- This episode marks the first appearance of Amy Madison. Amy will go on to make at least one appearance in every other season except Season Five, appearing most prominently in Season Six.
- Amy's mother being trapped or transformed as a trophy would be later referenced by Oz in "Phases".
- Xander's attraction to Buffy is made clear in this episode when he gives her a bracelet. However, it is also implied that Buffy doesn't share the same feelings for him as in this episode she claims that Xander isn't like other boys, but rather like one of the girls which is how much she's comfortable with him.
- Also seen for the first time is Giles's Citroën, wrecked by Spike in "A New Man".
- Giles is briefly knocked out, for the first of many times to come.
- Xander makes a brief reference to being so embarrassed that he wishes someone would drive a railroad spike through his head, an unintentional reference to the favoured murder method of future enemy- and even later ally- Spike.
- Willow casts her first spell to identify the witch. She will not cast her second until the end of season 2, eventually culminating into Willow delving into magic and becoming a witch.
- Buffy's try-out uniform is seen again in "Him", when Dawn tries out for the cheerleading squad.
- This is the first instance that we get to see the 'black eyes' when strong magic is being used.
- When Buffy asks her mother if she'd like to be sixteen again, Joyce says it's a "frightful notion". She'll get the chance anyways in the Season 3 episode "Band Candy".
- Cordelia Chase
- Corseth (Only mentioned)
- Lishanne Davis
- Gilail (Only mentioned)
- Rupert Giles
- Dr. Stephen Gregory (1st Appearance)
- Amber Grove
- Xander Harris
- Joy (1st Appearance)
- Amy Madison (1st Appearance)
- Catherine Madison
- Amy's father (First mentioned)
- Mr. Pole
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Joyce Summers
Organizations and Titles
Weapons and Objects
- Fire axe
Behind the Scenes
- This episode was originally titled "The Witch", but it was changed because more than one witch is featured in the episode.
- "Witch" reached a Nielsen rating of 3.2 on its original airing.
- The German language version of the episode was censored to remove the Nazi references in an exchange between Buffy and Willow. The original English exchange (DVD edition):
- Willow: Her mom's kinda ...
- Buffy: Nazi-like?
- Willow: Heil.
- is translated as:
- Willow: Ihre Mom ist eine echte ...
- Buffy: Superfrau?
- Willow: So in der Art.
- which translated back to English would roughly be:
- Willow: Her mom is a real ...
- Buffy: Superwoman?
- Willow: Something like that.
- References to Hitler, Nazis, and the Holocaust in U.S. films and TV series are routinely cut out by German translators. Another example of this is "Phases".
- Xander's take
- Xander: "Hey, we've fought vampires. Anything else'll be a walk in the park."
- Insight from Giles
- Giles: "If I had the power of the black mass, I'd set my sights a little higher than making the pep squad."
- An exchange between Xander and Willow
- Xander: "Wow, you've got a killer streak I've never seen before. Hope I never cross you."
- Willow: "I do, too. Then I'd have to carve you up into little pieces."
- An oldie but a goodie from Giles
- Giles: "Yes, the ducking stool! We throw her in the pond. If she floats, she's a witch; if she drowns, she's innocent...[then off their looks]...some of my texts are a bit outdated."
Pop Culture References
- When Buffy discovers that Amy (actually Catherine) is a witch she says "she's our Sabrina", referring to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Coincidentally, the actress who plays Catherine Madison played another witch in the first season of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Additionally, Sarah Michelle Gellar was friends with Melissa Joan Hart, who portrayed Sabrina in the series.
- Xander references the Human Torch when speculating on Amber's combustion.
- When Buffy wakes up in bed, she is wearing a t-shirt with a black cat on the front, an animal synonymous with witchcraft.
- Buffy and Joyce reference the actress Farrah Fawcett and Sally Field's "Gidget" character, who were known in the 60's and 70's, when discussing hairstyles.
- While talking about Amy's mother, Buffy says "so Mommie Dearest is really Mommie Dearest", a reference to the book and later movie Mommie Dearest by Joan Crawford's daughter Christina, which claimed Crawford was an abusive mother.
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- Giles says that the reversal spell was his "first casting"; this is revealed to be false in "The Dark Age" (Although, given how Giles's past experience with magic turned out, he may have simply been lying to try and distance himself from that past, never believing that anything from that time of his life would return to haunt him).
- The sign for the cheerleading tryouts says 1996, but the episode was supposed to take place in 1997.
- The pen Willow is holding and talking to Xander about changes position between shots.
- When Cordelia is blinded you can see the white contact lenses which Charisma Carpenter is wearing.
- The levels of liquid in the test tube changes.
- 2 Unlimited - "Twilight Zone" (Plays when Amber tries out for cheerleading; Plays again later during the basketball game.)
- Village People - "Macho Man" (Buffy sings this song in the kitchen after falling prey under the spell.)
- Humbucker - "Count the Time" (uncredited)
- Walter Murphy - original score
- French: Sortilèges (Spells)
- Portuguese: A Bruxa
- Finnish: Noitatemppuja (witch Tricks)
- German: Verhext (Bewitched)
- There are no vampires in this episode.
- This is the first episode with no deaths.
- Of the first five episodes of the series, this is the only one not to feature Angel.