Out of Mind, Out of Sight

Out of Mind, Out of Sight
"Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy 1x11.jpg
Buffy listens intently for Marcie's movements
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Teleplay by Ashley Gable
Thomas A. Swyden
Story by Joss Whedon
Production code 4V11
Original air date May 19, 1997
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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"Prophecy Girl"
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Out of Mind, Out of Sight", also known as "Invisible Girl",[1] is the 11th episode of season one of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In the episode, an invisible force is attacking people around school and Cordelia may be in danger; Buffy and Cordelia grow a little closer.


Plot synopsis

Cordelia is talking excitedly with Harmony and her friends about 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 cyclist she ran over; the girl whined about her pain and ignored Cordelia's traumatic experience. The teacher was 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, Cordelia's boyfriend, is attacked by a baseball bat. Cordelia is outside campaigning for May Queen, while Xander and Willow mock Cordelia, referring to a past Buffy did not share. Buffy feels left out and explains that she was the May Queen at her old school. The conversation ends when they hear that Mitch was beaten and taken to the hospital. Buffy slips into the boys' locker room while Willow and Xander distract Snyder to find the word "LOOK" spray-painted on the lockers.

In the school cafeteria, the Scoobies are stumped. They suspect a ghost. Meanwhile, Harmony asks Cordelia about Mitch's condition; Cordelia explains that he is all right, but looking too bruised for the prom pictures. In a flashback, Cordelia and Harmony talk 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 by the invisible force and injures her ankle, as Buffy approaches. Principal Snyder arrives, and Buffy's friends must distract him from Buffy, who runs off to follow an invisible source of laughter. The invisible thing bumps into Buffy before escaping. This is not a ghost. Xander suggests a cloak of invisibility worn by the Greek gods. Buffy dismisses the 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 another girl, Marcie Ross. 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. While Buffy is looking at Marcie's yearbook, an invisible Marcie is behind Buffy with a knife. Buffy leaves the hideout, unaware. Marcie then finds Mrs. Miller, Cordelia's literature teacher, and chokes her with a plastic bag. Cordelia, arriving a short while afterwards, saves Mrs. Miller. An invisible hand writes "LISTEN" on the blackboard.

As Willow looks over Marcie's yearbook, she sees it is full of the generic "Have a nice summer!", showing nobody actually knew Marcie (according to Xander, Have a nice summer is "the kiss of death"). She is horrified to find her own greeting to Marcie: "Have a great summer!"

In a flashback, Marcie is sitting in her literature class as she attempts to answer a question posed by the teacher and is looked over in favour of her classmates, even though she had her hand up. Her hand then starts to fade away. Giles realizes that Marcie did not willingly become invisible, but was made invisible due to people never noticing her existence. He states that, according to physics, reality can be shaped and altered due to society's perception: as Marcie was perceived as invisible, she literally became invisible. As the Scoobies think back to Harmony and Mitch, and flick through Marcie's yearbook, they find Cordelia's picture, horribly defaced. They realize that Marcie is after Cordelia, whom she resented for constantly being the centre of attention; suddenly the latter walks into the library asking Buffy for protection. They explain to Cordelia who is following her and decide to use her as bait and to have Buffy bodyguard her.

As Cordelia is getting dressed, she confides in Buffy that she is lonely too, but being popular "beats being lonely by yourself." Using recorded flute music, 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, injecting her with a sedative and knocking her out.

Buffy and Cordelia wake up, tied to chairs. Cordelia says that her face is numb. They see the word "LEARN" on a curtain, and Marcie explains that Cordelia is the lesson, or will be after Marcie surgically disfigures her. 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 arrive to haul Marcie away.

Cordelia comes by the day after the coronation to thank the Scoobies for helping her, much to their surprise, though her reaction when Mitch arrives shows she is not ready to renounce her popularity. Meanwhile, Marcie is taken by the FBI to a school of invisible students. She sits down in class and opens her textbook: Assassination and Infiltration. Marcie chuckles: "Cool."


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.[1]

Cultural 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.
  • "Crush, kill, destroy": This is the famous phrase of IDAK Alpha 12 in the 1960s science fiction TV series Lost in Space.
  • In the initial classroom scene, Cordelia references the infamous Twinkie defense, used in the trial of Dan White for the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk.
  • The body copy of the book Marcie opens at the end of the episode is the lyrics to Happiness is a Warm Gun.


"Out of Mind, Out of Sight" pulled in an audience of 2.3 million households. When the episode aired in repeats in October 1998, it actually scored a higher 3.1 million household rating.[2]


  • Marcie's condition will be briefly referenced in the Season Six episode "Gone" where Buffy assures her friends that her invisibility is not a result of the same condition.
  • Marcie's condition is again seen in the Season Seven episode "Storyteller" when Buffy witnesses a girl slowly disappearing.
  • It transpires that Marcie was turned invisible due to people never noticing her, however it is not clear why she remains invisible after Buffy and the Scooby Gang acknowledge and interact with her, rather than becoming visible.

Arc significance

  • This episode marks the first time Giles and Angel meet.[1]
  • In this episode, Angel retrieves the Pergamum Codex for Giles, which will have a major impact on Buffy in the final episode of the season, "Prophecy Girl".[1]
  • This is the first episode Cordelia works with Buffy and her friends as an ally.
  • This is the first episode in which the United States government is shown to be aware of supernatural and paranormal activities; it also shows that they are willing to utilize or exploit the paranormal in ways that the slayer would not. This would become the dominant theme in the fourth season, with the introduction of the Initiative.


External links

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