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What's My Line, Part One

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 2, Episode 9
Whats My Line Buffy Kendra
Air date November 17, 1997
Written by Howard Gordon
Marti Noxon
Directed by David Solomon
Episode Guide
previous
"The Dark Age"
next
"What's My Line, Part Two"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
David Boreanaz Angel
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Seth Green Oz
James Marsters Spike
Eric Saiet Dalton
Kelly Connell Norman Pfister
Bianca Lawson Kendra
Saverio Guerra Willy
Juliet Landau Drusilla
Armin Shimerman Principal Snyder
Co Starring
Michael Rothharr Suitman
P.B. Hutton Mrs. Kalish
Uncredited
Scott Duthie Vampire
Laura Silverman Vampire
Spice Williams Patrice

"What's My Line, Part One" is the ninth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the twenty-first episode altogether. It was written by Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon and Howard Gordon and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on November 17, 1997.

Spike brings in three professional bounty hunters to eliminate Buffy while she ponders on what her profession might be if her fate wasn't already sealed. Buffy meets another Slayer, Kendra Young, much to Buffy's dismay.

Synopsis

As career week arrives, Buffy feels isolated and apathetic because the students around her are exploring their choices for the future, while her fate as the Slayer is already set in stone. Even so, she must join Willow and Xander in filling out career questionnaires.

Spike works on a cure for Drusilla as she lays out Tarot cards. He becomes frustrated with Dru's childlike behavior and ruminates on Buffy's interference in his plans. He believes Drusilla's cure can be found in the book, stolen from Giles, that a blonde vampire delivered to him in "Lie to Me". Dalton, a vampire transcriber, is unable to read it. Drusilla informs Spike that the book is in code, and she knows the location of the key needed to decipher it.

Buffy witnesses Dalton stealing an object from a mausoleum, but he escapes when she is distracted by another vampire. She enters her bedroom through the window out of habit, despite the fact that her mother is out of town for a few days, and finds Angel waiting to warn her of grave danger, and she notes with irritation that he does this a lot. He discovers her childhood obsession with Dorothy Hamill (Dorothy dolls, posters, and haircut), and offers to take her ice skating the following day. At school the next morning, the test results are revealed. It recommends Xander become a prison guard, Buffy look into law enforcement or environmental design, and Willow's results aren't even posted. However, Willow is escorted into a secluded lounge area with fancy food and drink, to be recruited by a leading software company, along with Oz, the boy who has been watching her for weeks.

Buffy reports to Giles, and he is distressed and disappointed when she tells him about theft from the mausoleum.

Spike and Drusilla examine the key stolen by Dalton, a large gold cross. Spike decides to call in the Order of Taraka, an ancient guild of assassins that have existed since 970 BC, to rid himself of Buffy once and for all.

At the mausoleum, Giles realizes with concern that Josephus du Lac (a member of a religious sect that had been excommunicated by the Vatican) is buried there. He is the author of the book stolen from the library, and Giles believes the key was stolen from the tomb.

In the meantime, the assassins begin to arrive. A large, intimidating man exits a bus, and a door-to-door beauty salesman walks down the sidewalk past Buffy's house to her next-door neighbor's. He gains an invitation inside, the door closes, and the lady of the house screams. At the Sunnydale Airport, a young woman attacks an airplane worker in the cargo hold of a plane, escaping with little difficulty.

Giles tells Buffy, Xander, and Willow about the "du Lac Cross", which can be used as the key, and he enlists their help with further research. Buffy manages to keep her date with Angel at the Sunnydale Ice Palace. She is attacked while ice skating, and Angel arrives in time to help her fight off the assassin, whom she kills with the blade of her skate. Angel, recognizing the assassin's ring, asks Buffy if she knows what it means ("I just killed a Super Bowl Champ?"), and then warns her that she should leave Sunnydale and hide. Angel is wounded and doesn't want Buffy to have to touch his vampire face, but she removes her gloves to touch his face with her bare hands, assuring him that she hadn't even noticed, and kisses him. The female from the plane watches from the shadows.

The assassin next-door to Buffy's house feeds on the body of the woman he has killed by disintegrating into hundreds of writhing worms that can reshape themselves into limbs at will. Buffy is paranoid and jittery, suspicious of each person who passes by in the hallways at school. As Oz passes her, she panics and pins him against a locker. Oz declares her to be a "tense person". Buffy arrives at Angel's empty home and falls asleep in his bed. Angel goes to Willy's bar for information, and Willy finally confirms Angel's suspicions that Spike is behind the assassins, but before Angel can leave, he is attacked by the mysterious female. They fight, and she locks him in a metal cage in front of an eastern window, with only a few short hours until sunrise. Meanwhile, Buffy heads to Angel's place and lays down in his bed and falls asleep.

Giles awakens Willow, who had fallen asleep ("Don't warn the tadpoles!" she exclaims, subsequently explaining that she has "frog fears"). He reveals that the missing manuscript is a ritual to restore a weakened vampire back to health. Xander and Cordelia enter Buffy's house, and Xander searches for her while Cordelia waits downstairs. She hears a knock at the door and lets in the centipede assassin, again appearing as a make-up salesman promising free samples. In Angel's bedroom, Buffy awakes to find herself being attacked by the mysterious woman. They fight, and the woman tells Buffy that her name is Kendra, the Vampire Slayer leaving Buffy shocked and confused.

Continuity

  • This episode introduces the character of Kendra, the first vampire Slayer besides Buffy to be featured on the show.
  • The idea of Buffy's death in "Prophecy Girl" activating a new Slayer will remain important throughout the series, especially after the introduction of Faith.
  • Buffy faces two vampires. She "dusts" one before seeing the other run away. She says "One down, one... gone." The same situation plays out with two demons in "Earshot".
  • Darla asks Angel in the season one episode "Angel" if he believes Buffy would ever be able to kiss his "real face." She does so in this episode.
  • On the table in Angel's apartment there are two ashtrays, although he is never seen smoking.
  • The term "Scooby Gang" is used for the first time, when Xander tells Cordelia "You want to be a member of the Scooby Gang you gotta be willing to be inconvenienced every now and then."
  • The bespectacled vampire, Dalton, later appears in "Surprise" and is killed by the Judge.
  • It is revealed there are forty-three churches in Sunnydale.
  • Willow has frog fear, also known as ranidaphobia. It will used to her advantage in "Killed by Death".
  • Buffy's career day tests suggest she should become a police officer. In season 9, she will work for the San Francisco Police's Vampire Taskforce.
  • While the Order of Taraka are summoned to deal with Buffy and are a major opponent for this and the next episode, the contract is pulled in "Ted" after Spike's apparent death

Body Count

Behind the scenes

Production

  • The hold of the plane in which Kendra arrived in Sunnydale was turned upside down and used as a sewer tunnel in later episodes.[1]
  • The ice rink, called Iceland, is found at 8041 Jackson Street in Paramount, California. This is around 25 miles from where Buffy was filmed.
  • When Xander and Cordelia break into Buffy's house, the scenes were filmed on location in the actual house. By the time production had begun on "What's My Line, Part Two", they had moved to a replica sound stage. The only noticeable difference is the windows on either side of the front door. When Cordelia lets Norman Pfister into the house, you can see the windows are standard glass with curtains. However, in Part Two they are slim panes of non-see-through glass. 
  • This is the first episode written by Marti Noxon and the only by Howard Gordon.

Goofs, Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • After killing the would be assassin on the ice, Angel has his vampire face. The way he talks to Buffy makes it seem that he has no control over when his face will change back by saying she shouldn't have to touch him when he's vampirish. But in other episodes with him and other vampires we see that they can change to and from their vampire selves at will.
  • The first attacker of the Order of Taraka, drops 'dead' on the ice, but when Angel inspects the attacker's ring, you can clearly see him breathing.
  • When Angel is in Buffy's room, he walks by a mirror and we can see his reflection.

Broadcast

  • "What's My Line, Part One" pulled in 3.5 million households on its original airing.[2]

Pop Culture References

  • When Buffy talks about a "Dorothy Hamill phase," she means ice-skating since Hamill was an American ice-skater who won a gold medal in the 1976 Winter Olympics.
  • Buffy says to Giles "Have a cow, Giles." She is playing on The Simpsons phrase used by Bart Simpson, "don't have a cow" (which means "don't get worked up").
  • The title of the episode refers to an American game show, What's My Line?, which ran from 1950 to 1963.
  • After Dalton has a success, Spike says "By George, I think he's got it," paraphrasing a line from My Fair Lady.

Music

International Titles

  • Finnish: Vierailijat, osa 1 (Visitors, part 1)
  • Brazilian Portuguese: O Que é que eu Faço? - Primeira Parte (What should I do? - First Part)
  • German: Die Rivalin (The Rival)

Other

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar is a fan of ice skating in real life, and lists ice skating as one of her hobbies. Julie Benz who plays Darla was one of the top rated skaters in the US. Michelle Trachtenberg would later play the 'Ice Princess.[3]
  • Both parts of this episode are Angel-centric.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar does all of her own ice skating in this episode.
  • Buffy briefly wonders on the origin of the phrase "the whole nine yards". The true origin of which is unknown, though many linguists suggest it came from the American Military.

Quotes

Xander - "No, it's a statistical impossibility for a sixteen-year-old girl to unplug her phone."
Cordelia - (about her career) "Oh, here I am. 'Personal shopper or motivational speaker.' Neato!"
Xander - "Motivational speaker? On what, ten ways to be a more annoying you?"
Giles - "I've been, uh, indexing the Watcher diaries covering the last couple of centuries. You would be amazed at how numbingly pompous and long-winded some of these Watchers were."
Buffy - (sarcastically) "Color me stunned."
Buffy - "I wish we could be regular kids."
Angel - "Yeah. I'll never be a kid."
Buffy - "Okay then, a regular kid and her cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend."
Dalton - "I'm not sure. It could be "Deprimere ille bubula linter"."
Spike - ""Debase the beef... Canoe". Why does that strike me as not right?"
Buffy - "Do I like shrubs?"
Xander - "That's between you and your god."
Willow - "Goody! Research party."
Xander - "Will, you need a life in the worst way."
Cordelia - "'I aspire to help my fellow man.' Check. As long as he's not smelly, dirty, or something gross."
Xander - "Cordelia Chase, always ready to give a helping hand to the rich and the pretty."
Cordelia - "Which, lucky me, excludes you. Twice."
Xander - "Is murder always a crime?"
Xander - "If you wanna be a member of the Scooby Gang, you gotta be willing to be inconvenienced every now and then."
Kendra - "Who are you?"
Buffy - "Who am I? Your the one who attacked me, who the hell are you?"
Kendra - "I am Kendra, the Vampire Slayer."

References

  1. Golden, Christopher and Holder, Nancy. "The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)", page 95.
  2. Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season http://home.insightbb.com/~wahoskem/buffy2.html
  3. Episode Guide: What's My Line Part One http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/buffy/indetail/whatsmylineone/trivia.shtml

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