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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
What's My Line, Part 1
November 17, 1997
5V09

 
Credits

Writers:
Howard Gordon
Marti Noxon


Director:
David Solomon


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Seth Green as Oz
Bianca Lawson as Kendra
James Marsters as Spike
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Cast:
Eric Saiet as Dalton
Kelly Connell as Worm-man
Saverio Guerra as Willy
Michael Rothhaar as Suitman
P.B. Hutton as Mrs. Kalish

 
Synopsis

The pointless hell of Career Week looms over the Scooby Gang, and Buffy is reminded once more that her career is likely to be unpaid, antisocial, and short. Angel suggests the two of them go ice skating to cheer Buffy up. Well, she'd skate, he'd brood. Spike and Dru are planning something big, but they need to keep Buffy occupied, so they send for the Order of Taraka, deadly semi-human assassins. Oz and Willow meet, over canapés. The first assassin attacks Buffy and Angel at the ice rink, but is stopped by a Buffpowered ice-skate to the jugular. The second is a man made of bugs, who is let into Buffy's house by Cordy, while she and Xander look for Buffy. Angel tries to beat information on the Tarkans from Willy the Snitch, but Kendra appears and locks Angel in a cage, with the sun rising fast. She then attacks Buffy, and the episode ends with her telling Buffy "Me name is Kendra: The Vampire Slayer." — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

It's getting harder and harder to write these Monstervision segments, for as the writers build up their own Stoker- and Lovecraft-inspired mythos, they're having to rely less and less on monsters-of-the-week, and more on their own self-contained backstory, especially in these continuity-heavy episodes. In this one we get the fictional Order of Taraka, a society of assassins dating back to the time of King Solomon, a Biblical leader who ruled Israel from 970 BC to 931 BC.

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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy: "Do I like shrubs?"
Xander: "That's between you and your god."

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."

Buffy: "Well, there you go! I don't have to be the Slayer. I could be dead."
Giles: "That wasn't terribly funny. You'll notice I don't laugh."
Buffy: "Wouldn't be much of a change. Either way I'm bored, constricted, I never get to shop, and... my hair and fingernails still continue to grow. So, really, when you think about it, what's the diff?"

Dalton: "Yes, but... The Order of Taraka. I mean, isn't that overkill?"
Spike: "No, I think it's just enough kill."

Oz's first word to Willow: "Canapé?"

Giles: "You're behaving remarkably immaturely."
Buffy: "You know why? I am immature. I'm a teen. I have yet to mature."

Cordelia: "I can't even believe you. You dragged me out of bed for a ride? What am I, mass transportation?"
Xander: "That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker room talk. I wouldn't pay it any mind."
Cordelia: "Oh, great, so now I'm your taxi and your punching bag."
Xander: "I like to think of you more as my witless foil, but have it your way."

More quotes from this episode...

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References

  • "Well, then you know it's a whole week of What's My Line, only... I don't get to play."  What's My Line was a hugely popular Sunday night game show that ran on CBS from 1950 to 1967. Hosted by John Charles Daly, it was one of the earliest successes for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, the duo who have since brought us such enduring game shows as The Price is Right and Family Feud. In What's My Line, contestants were given clues and had to try to guess the unusual occupation of the mystery guest, or to guess a product associated with them.

    Dorothy Hamill

  • American figure skater Dorothy Hamill entranced the world when she won a gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. She became an instant star, and her "wedge" hairstyle was adopted by young women everywhere. (See Goofs & Gaffes)

  • "He's on this Tony Robbins hyper-efficiency kick."  Tony Robbins (or Anthony Robbins, as he likes to be called now) is perhaps the most famous motivational speaker in America. His company sells a wide range of tapes, videos and other products that claim to teach customers to unleash the potential within themselves.

  • "What does that mean anyway? 'Whole nine yards'?"  Many theories have been put forth to answer Buffy's question, but no one seems to know the real and true answer, if there is one. The two explanations we've heard more than any others:
    • Nine yards is the length of a belt of bullets for an old-fashioned machine gun, and so soldiers would be ordered to "give 'em the whole nine yards."
    • Nine yards is the length of fabric used to make a burial shroud.

    Scooy Gang

  • Xander refers to Buffy and her friends as "the Scooby Gang," a reference to Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Hanna Barbera's mystery cartoon that originally aired from 1969-1972, and which has resurfaced in various incarnations ever since (the most recent being the 1998 video Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island). Hey, did any of you know that Shaggy's real name was Norville Rogers?
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Buffy was born in 1981, after the Dorothy Hamill craze had died down. By the time the picture Angel looked at was taken, it would have been the mid-to-late eighties. If Buffy had a room full of Dorothy Hamill memorabilia and the Dorothy Hamill haircut at that late date, then she really would have a place in the geek hall of fame.
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Notes

  • Buffy has a stuffed pig named Mr. Gordo, and went through a phase when she was younger during which she idolized ice skater Dorothy Hamill.

  • That the head recruiter's plane was delayed at Seattle/Tacoma Airport implies that "the world's leading software concern" for which Willow and Oz are being recruited is in fact Microsoft Corporation, which is based near Seattle.

  • The book that was stolen by the blonde vampire in "Lie To Me" is one of the main elements of this episode.

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar enjoys figure skating as a hobby in real life (we think she skated competitively at one point in her life, but we haven't been able to find any information on that), a skill which was put to good use here.

  • Sunnydale has at least one bar which is aware of and caters to the town's vampire population. Willy the bartender also seems to be aware of the connection between Angel and Buffy.

  • Willow has frog fear. Also known as ranidaphobia.

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Comments

Brian:
She's beautiful, athletic, talented... and she can ice-skate! Who knew? A thoroughly enjoyable episode — it had so many things going for it I don't know where to begin. The storyline about Buffy's lost future, and the ice-skating as an attempt to (however briefly) recapture the simplicity of her youth, was simply heartbreaking — one of the most emotionally honest stories this series has told so far. Spike and Drusilla were excellent as always. I love those two and think that they are an excellent foil for our intrepid good guys. But beyond the countless fine story points, there were two things I was mightily impressed with. First was the lovely pacing. Recent episodes have felt a bit breathless, and it was wonderful to see things slowed down, giving us the viewers a chance to wallow in the world of Buffy for a bit, as opposed to being whisked off to the next plot development just as we were getting into something. And that pacing allowed for the second thing that impressed me, which was the expansion of the show's world — we had location shooting (as Giles and Buffy approach and later leave the mausoleum), planes, a creepy bar that caters to the vampire community, and students thinking about careers. They gave the world of Buffy some new facets, and slowed things down enough for us to enjoy them, and that all adds up to a most enjoyable episode. Two things I didn't like: 1) Enough with the Chinese Oz Torture! Use him or lose him, but stop teasing us with these drips and drabs, these one-minute scenes; and 2) I can envision Kendra's unidentifiable accent getting on my nerves in less than an hour. Outside of those two points, however, it was yet another winner for the forces of Buffy. (9/10)
Will:
Two slayers? Well, at least the writers did take the time to offer some some follow-up to the death of Buffy at the end of last season. I found this episode to be entertaining, but I was not at all on the edge of my seat. I feel that this offering serves to set up next week's episode (which should be incredible, judging from the coming attractions). I found this episode to be a bit bland and rather boring until the last 15 minutes. I must confess that I was privy to the knowledge that there was going to be another Slayer introduced, and I was confused as to why they didn't put that in last week's teaser. Question answered: they wanted to set up the viewers thinking she is a bounty hunter. I rather enjoyed that but of confusion. The two things that I most enjoyed about this episode were the relationship that has developed between Giles and Buffy. There is sarcasm and wit, but they seem to mesh so well that it seems completely natural. Wow, truth in television... what a concept. The second thing was the idea that Cordelia may die (not likely) at the hands of a maggot-infested bounty hunter. Don't get me wrong, Charisma Carpenter is a very good actress, but I loathe the character she plays. Just thinking about her covered in maggots (or any type of icky insect, arachnid, or bug, for that matter) puts a smile on my face. One negative was the Oz and Willow thing. I wish that they would just have them get together. It feels like a total tease and I would love to see dear Willow in love with a human (other than Xander) for even one episode. Unfortunately, I can't give this offering very high marks because I found it to be rather unsatisfying to my Buffy appetite. The episode was honest and intelligent, but the build-up was too long. (6/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
November 17, 1997 3.5 99 of 112 (tie)
March 24, 1998 2.9 96 of 114 (tie)
August 10, 1998 2.1 102 of 114 (tie)

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