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

Synopsis

LOVE AT STAKE — In part one of a two-part episode, Buffy and Angel finally go out on their first date; Angel sets out to hunt down his rival, Spike, however, unbeknownst to Angel, Spike and his new recruits are determined to capture him in hopes of helping the frail Drusilla; and Buffy encounters her new ally, Kendra.[1]

Summary

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 that was recently stolen from Giles. 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 ice skating, and offers to take her to do so in 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.

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, 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." 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. 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, with Buffy assuming that the woman is the next member of the Order of Taraka, until the woman asks who Buffy is. Confused, Buffy returns the question and is shocked when the woman introduces herself as Kendra, the Vampire Slayer.

Continuity

  • This episode introduces the character of Kendra, the first vampire Slayer besides Buffy to be featured on the show. In "What's My Line? Part Two", it'll be revealed that she was activated during Buffy's brief death in "Prophecy Girl".
  • 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 asked Angel in episode "Angel" if he believed Buffy would ever be able to kiss his "real face," and she does so in this episode.
  • On the table in Angel's apartment there are two ashtrays; he'll only be seem smoking in episodes "Innocence" and "Redefinition".
  • Willow and Oz finally meet, having almost done so in episodes "Inca Mummy Girl" and "Halloween".
  • The title Scooby Gang is used for the first time, given by Xander to his group of friends in their fight against the forces of darkness, to be used since then multiple times.
  • Willy's Place is seen for the first time. The bar also appears in many other episodes including "Amends", "The Zeppo", "Goodbye Iowa", and "Family".
  • 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. She eventually becomes a supernatural crime consultant for San Francisco Police Department (Love Dares You, Part One), mentions this test when she accepts a peacekeeper position in the Safe Zone (Desperate Times), and graduates from police academy in Finale.
  • 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.

Appearances

Individuals

Organizations and titles

Species

Locations

Weapons and objects

Death count

  • A vampire, staked by Buffy Summers.
  • Mrs. Kalish, killed by Norman Pfister.
  • Octarus, killed by Buffy by slitting his throat with an ice skate blade.

Behind the scenes

"What's My Line? Part One" promo

"What's My Line? Part One" promo

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.[2]
  • 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.

Broadcast

  • "What's My Line? Part One" pulled in 3.5 million households on its original airing.[3]

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

  • Armenian: "Ինչպիսին է իմ ճանապարհը (Մաս 1-ին)" (What Is My Way (Part 1))
  • Czech: "Čím budu? (1. část)" (What Will I Be? (1st Part))
  • Finnish: "Vierailijat, osa 1" (Visitors, Part 1)
  • French: "Kendra, partie 1" (Kendra, Part 1)
  • German: "Die Rivalin" (The Rival)
  • Hungarian: "Mit hoz a jövő? 1. rész" (What Will the Future Bring? Part 1)
  • Italian: "L'Unione Fa la Forza (1ª Parte)" (Unity Makes the Strength (1st Part))
  • Japanese: "バフィーの運命 パート1" (Buffy's Destiny Part 1)
  • Polish: "Pogromczyni część 1" (Slayer Part 1)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Que Eu Faço? 1.ª Parte" (What Should I Do? 1st Part)
  • Romanian: "Care mi-e replica (Part 1)" (Which Is My Reply (Part 1))
  • Russian: "Каков мой путь (Часть 1)" (What Is My Path (Part 1))
  • Spanish (Latin America): "¿Cual Es Mi Vocación?" (Parte 1) (What Is My Vocation? (Part 1))
  • Spanish (Spain): "¿Qué Es lo Mio?" (I) (What's Mine? (I))

Adaptations

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.[4]
  • 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.
  • Buffy is recommended to consider a career in law enforcement at the career's fair. Of the Buffy main cast, four will go on to play FBI agents: David Boreanaz in Bones, Eliza Dushku in Banshee, Nicolas Brendon in Criminal Minds, and Emma Caulfield in Supergirl. Marc Blucas will play a Secret Service agent in The President's Daughter, Alyson Hannigan a rookie cop in That '70s Show, and Tom Lenk an incompetent detective in Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. Ironically, Sarah Michelle Gellar is one of the few Buffy alumni never to have portrayed a law officer.

Gallery

Promotional stills

Quotes

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 - "Do I like shrubs?"
Xander - "That's between you and your god."
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. "The Mortuary". Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original June 9, 2001.
  2. Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, The Watcher's Guide, Volume One. Pocket Books, October 1998.
  3. Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season
  4. "Episode Guide - What's My Line Part One". BBC. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
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