Friday, November 25, 2011

This is all about me! Me, me, me!


It has been suggested that Cordelia is actually Buffy’s shadow self, and on some level, I definitely agree, but what I love so much about Cordelia is that she refuses to be confined to being just Buffy’s foil. Out of Mind, Out of Sight begins to demonstrate that Cordy ain’t just your goddamn mirror, bitch.

Yeah, Cordelia is shallow-ish. Yes, she does not suffer fools gladly, or at all. And yes, she can be cruel. But she’s also a vulnerable, occasionally lonely teenage girl. And yes, there, Buffy and Cordy share a common point.

There, but for the grace of being Chosen, goes Buffy, basically. And truth be told, it’s not a terrible fate. Cordelia has a confidence few teenagers have, period. And she knows how to use the tools she has to get ahead. She’s also brilliant, notwithstanding  her slightly privileged point of view on The Merchant of Venice.

She comes prepared to class, after all, and she has the guts to take an unpopular view without worrying about what other people think (something that has an awesome payout in S2).

At first glance, it looks as though we’re supposed to side with Marcie, but let’s face it: while this is a story about Marcie, she’s not the heroine.

How could she be, with that awful, pasty skin?

Seriously, though. Out of Mind puts us in the unique position of siding with what would normally be considered the antagonist of the piece. Which, if you’re as smart as Cordy is, is also what The Merchant of Venice does. After all, Cordy (and Antonio) are in the wrong, initially.

Marcie (and Shylock, to continue the parallel) falters in the way that (1) she’s fucking insane, and (2) the punishment is way more severe than the crime.

Point is, Buffy rightfully beats her down. And now we know Cordelia has a softer side that has nothing to do with Sears.

She’s not a villain. She’s (sort of) one of us.

And maybe this episode is not just about feeling so alone that you feel you’re invisible, but also about how people you think are evil bitch-monsters are actually just people, too. Rich, beautiful, popular people.

Of course.


Stray observations:

  • Can’t wait ‘til Cordy becomes a regular.
  • Buffy’s doubly an outsider in this episode: she’s excluded from Cordelia’s circle, and she’s left out of Xander and Willow’s inside jokes.
  • Angel’s back. He’s been MIA.
  • Notice how Giles trusts Angel based on little more than Buffy’s word.
  • The Codex plotline ties into the next episode, which begins the grand tradition of over-arching arcs. Actually, come to think of it, Angel (the episode) did, too…
  • Cordelia and Snyder are the first “outsiders” to notice that there is more to Buffy than meets the eye.
  • Assassin Marcie is never followed up. Damn.


  1. Great write-up! I didn't even think of the parallel between this episode and The Merchant of Venice before but it works so well.

    - Blinvy

  2. Thanks! And you'd be surprised how often the class lessons sync up with the problem of the week. Or maybe you wouldn't... this IS Buffy, after all. :-)