Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 9

What's My Line? (1)

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 17, 1997 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
707 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


It's "Career Week" at Sunnydale High, and Buffy is faced with the reality that she has no future apart from her destiny as the Slayer. Meanwhile, in order to stop Buffy from interfering in his plans, Spike sends four deadly assassins to ensure the Slayer has no future. Also, a mysterious girl is following Buffy and Angel around, and Xander and Cordelia are trapped in Buffy's house after being attacked by one of the assassins.


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  • What's My Line? (1)

    This is part one of a respectable two-parter that should have been much better. This is the big Spike 'event' we've been waiting for since he was introduced back in "School Hard" (2x03). This should have been explosive and intriguing, but instead we get a slow paced and exposition heavy letdown. These episodes aren't bad, in fact they are even decent, but they should have been fantastic. No matter, there is still a lot of good beginning with part one.

    This episode begins with Xander, probably reflecting Whedon's own views, hating taking any kind of dumb standardized exam. This "career day" exam is used as a launching point for discussion about a possible future beyond slaying for Buffy. Also interesting is the pondering of what she could have been had she not been chosen. Buffy is still expressing to everyone that she just wants to be a normal girl. I really like the consistency in not only Buffy's character, but all the characters (main and otherwise) on this show.

    Spike and Drusilla are finally launching their scheme to restore Drusilla to full health. I adore the scene where Spike is impatient with Dru and it hurts her feelings. To make her feel better Spike picks her up and dances around the room with her in his arms. It's so rare to actually like the villains on a show. These two get a surprsingly little amount of screen time for an episode who's plot is supposed to be about them. I think the biggest problem with this is that Spike and Dru have no contact with the Scooby Gang and instead send the boring Order of Taraka assassins after Buffy instead. The writers should have learned by now, more Spike is better!

    I have to confess that I really loved all the Angel and Buffy romance material in this episode. All of it hit the right chords from their conversation in her bedroom (with Angel holding onto Mr. Gordo), to Buffy beautifully ice skating and then kissing Angel even with his vampire face exposed (they had better avoid french kissing). I like that Angel recommended going skating with Buffy, that was a smart idea. Buffy needs a breather from her Slayer duties every now and then besides going to The Bronze. I also like the Kendra fake-out during this scene. We're made to believe that Kendra is the third assassin when she's in fact, not. I also want to mention when Buffy is scared her first instinct tells her to go to Angel's place. This is a beautiful setup for the big "Surprise" (2x13) and "Innocence" (2x14) two-parter coming up.

    In this part, the Order of Taraka comes off as pretty pathetic. The 'brute' guy wasn't scary at all and I don't feel that he should have just been able to choke Buffy to death had Angel not been there. The worm guy is a bit of a different story though. I actually find this guy interesting because he doesn't look like an assassin at all. He looks like the average working man. Is there a metaphor here about people not always showing you their true face? This topic comes up again in "Consequences" (3x15) when Faith says, "When are you gonna learn, B? It doesn't matter what kind of vibe you get off a person. 'Cause nine times out of ten, the face they're showing you is not the real one." I have to wonder if that is actually true, do most people really hide their true identity to others and possibly even themselves?

    Unfortunately there are a whole slew of problems with this episode as well. The biggest being the horribly slow pace, the corny synthesized music, and the overload of exposition. This episode just meanders along forever while, every now and then, hitting a nice character scene. The music is reminiscent to S1's corny music, which is not a good thing. Also, there is so much exposition in here that it's hard not to fall asleep (especially if you're watching this at night). Like I mentioned before, there needed to be some involvement between Spike and the Scoobies to take this up a notch.

    The problems here extend to the fight scenes as well. The directing during Kendra's fight with Angel really felt off. Most of my criticism is meant for the director, David Solomon, who just can't seem to keep everything smooth. Overall, though, there is a lot of good stuff in here and a solid setup for part two. The ending surprise that Kendra is another Slayer really does make you sit up and go "woah, now I'm all of the sudden really interested in seeing part two!"moreless
  • There can be only one?

    What's my line? pt1

    The Good;

    Love Buffy's miniskirt and booties, very hot. The neighbours scream blending into the plane's engine noise. Will and Oz, awwww! Buffy ice-skating, you wonder who's better now, SMG or Michelle 'Ice Princess' Tractenberg? Or maybe Julie Benz who is also apparently was once rated 12th best in the US. Buffy's gesture with the torch when Giles suggests she consider law enforcement as a career. Death by iceskate! Buffy's paranoia as she walks through careers day. The Xander/Snyder faceoff. Cordy's little expression at the thought of free cosmetics. Buffy's look of shock at the final line.

    The Bad;

    Kendra's accent for one although if she was taken from her parents as a child and raised in the UK you'd expect it to be a mishmash.

    Best line;

    Cordy; What am I, mass transportation?

    Xander; That's what guys say but it's just locker room talk

    Questions and observations;

    A small town like Sunnydale must have a pretty huge airport to handle a 747? Why has no one tried to hire the Order of Taraka before now? Willy the Snitch for the first time. Angel tortures him, of course. Xander refers to the Scooby gang for the first time. First sign of Will's frog fear. Is this the first appearance of Mr Gordo? Also Dalton who will reappear as Spike's lackey in future eps. Xander breaks into Buffy's house very easily,for such a dangerous town everyone seems very slack. What happened to the Slayer rule about not killing humans, Kendra tries to kill Buff with the axe.

    10/10 great stuff

  • What's My Line? (1)

    What's My Line? (1) was the first episode of Buffy's second season's mid-season and it was another Classic Buffy Episode with the usual suspects conjuring dark plans, and an unknown character is revealed to be.... Kendra the Vampire Slayer. This is a great story line and I think it will be an important one. I really enjoy these episodes because they have a great fictional history that almost feels real, and the characters are charismatic and play their parts well. I also really enjoy the cinematography, as it gives the series such a unique and classic feel, making homage to its origins. I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds in the next episode, I'm on the edge of my seat!!!!moreless
  • Great 2 part episode

    This one was pretty good. It had action, killers after buffy, steamy love scenes and Spike and Drusilla plans dashed again.

    The evil vampire hire hit men to kill Buffy. and Buffy and her gang are having to decide what they are going to do after they finish high school. I think they should be concentrating on living first and then get careers. Buffy also goes ice skating. Lucky for her she has sharp skates to cut the throat of a big hairy biker type killer. We also have Spike and Drusilla capture Angel and perform a spell to give Drusilla her strength back and suck the life out of Angel. Luck for him Buffy, Willow Zander and the crew show up and kill everyone and save him. But didn't quite finish the job. Buffy should of learned by now that you can't crush vampires you need to cut their heads off or stap them through the heart.

    And Angel gets his reward for helping Buffy all this time and it takes alot to win over a Slayer.moreless
  • Season 2, Episode 9.

    It's Career Week at Sunnydale High School. In the meantime, Spike tries to get a cure to restore Drusilla's health, and a girl is following Buffy and imprisons Angel.

    This is one of the most important episodes in Buffy history. I liked the ending. There's another vampire slayer! Thanks to Buffy's temporary death at the hands of The Master. I strongly dislike Kendra's accent. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, a very good episode. I liked that Buffy could be a law enforcer. It's very similar to a Slayer. I found that those dudes taking Willow into a different class or something was weird. Good episode, nonetheless.moreless
Michael Rothhaar

Michael Rothhaar


Guest Star

P.B. Hutton

P.B. Hutton

Mrs. Kalish

Guest Star

Eric Saiet

Eric Saiet


Guest Star

Seth Green (I)

Seth Green (I)


Recurring Role

James Marsters

James Marsters


Recurring Role

Saverio Guerra

Saverio Guerra


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Goof: When Angel is inspecting the "deceased" assassin's ring on the ice, you can still see him breathing quite rapidly.

    • Willow's frog fear is a condition known as Ranidaphobia.

    • Goof: One of the assassins gets off a bus, in the long shots the steps are one color with a sign reading "Watch your step" at 21:23, but in the close shot the steps are a different color and the sign is gone at 21:26.

    • Goof: When Angel is in Buffy's room, he walks in front of her mirror, which is mostly covered with pictures. Through the spaces between the pictures, you can see his reflection.

    • Nitpick: At the end of this episode, Kendra pushes Angel in a cage and locks it with a simple bicycle padlock. Angel can't break out of the cage, even though breaking that lock should be simple with his supernatural strength.

    • Nitpick: Buffy slashes the assassin's throat with her skate, but there is no blood on the skate blade in subsequent shots.

    • Goof: When Buffy is talking to Angel in her room, she is sitting on the bed, but at a pause in her speech she is shown standing up and leaning on the door frame of her room. At the next cut, she is suddenly sitting on the bed again. The cuts happen far too quickly for the movements to be natural.

    • Goof: After Buffy and Kendra fight and break the table, the remains vanish from the floor.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Spike: (about Buffy) She's the gnat in my ear. The gristle in my teeth. She's the bloody thorn in my bloody side!

    • Xander: Y'know, with that kind of attitude, you could have had a bright future as an employee of the DMV.

    • 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.

    • Giles: Well, maybe Buffy unplugged the phone.
      Xander: No, it's a statistical impossibility for a sixteen-year-old girl to unplug her phone.

    • Giles: Buffy. Thank you. 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: Color me stunned.
      Giles: So, uh, I trust last night's patrol was fruitful?
      Buffy: Semi. Mm, I caught one out of two vamps after they stole something from this jumbo mausoleum.
      Giles: They were stealing?
      Buffy: Yeah! They had tools, flashlights, whole nine yards. What does that mean anyway? 'Whole nine yards'? Nine yards of what? Now it's gonna bug me all day.

    • Xander: When you look at me, do you think 'prison guard'?
      Buffy: Um, crossing guard, maybe, but prison guard?
      Xander: They just put up the assignments for the career fair, and according to my test results I can look forward to being gainfully employed in the growing field of corrections.
      Buffy: Well, at least you'll be on the right side of the bars.

    • Xander: Ha, ha, ha, ha! Laugh now, missy, they assigned you to the
      booth for law enforcement professionals.
      Buffy: As in police?
      Xander: As in polyester, donuts, and brutality.

    • Buffy: Uh, we're having this thing at school.
      Angel: Career week?
      Buffy: How did you know?
      Angel: I lurk.
      Buffy: Right. Well, then you know it's a whole week of "What's My Line?", only... I don't get to play. Sometimes I just want...
      Angel: You want what? It's okay.
      Buffy: The Cliff Notes version? I want a normal life. Like I had before.
      Angel: Before me.
      Buffy: No, Angel, it's not you. You're the one freaky thing in my freaky world that still makes sense to me. I just get messed sometimes. 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: Do I like shrubs?
      Xander: That's between you and your god.
      Buffy: What'd you put?
      Willow: I came down on the side of shrubs.
      Buffy: Go with shrubs! Okay! Uhhh! I shouldn't even be bothering with this. It's all mootville for me. No matter what my aptitude test says, we already know my deal.
      Xander: Yup, high risk, sub-minimum wage...
      Buffy: Pointy wooden things...

    • Buffy: Angel was power-freaked by that ring.
      Giles: I'm afraid he was not overreacting. This ring is worn only by members of the Order of Taraka. It's a society of deadly assassins dating back to King Solomon.
      Xander: And didn't they beat the Elks this year in the Sunnydale adult bowling league championships?
      Giles: Their credo is to sow discord and kill the unwary.
      Xander: Bowling is a vicious game.
      Giles: That's enough, Xander!

    • Buffy: Thanks for the wake-up, but I'll stick with my clock-radio.

    • Willy: I'm staying away from that whole scene. I'm living right, Angel.
      Angel: Sure you are, Willy. And I'm taking up sunbathing.

    • Buffy: Giles, it's one thing to be a Watcher and a librarian. They go together, like a chicken and... another chicken... or two chickens or something.

    • Buffy: Well, there you go. I don't have to be the Slayer. I could be dead .
      Giles: That wasn't terribly funny. You notice I didn't laugh .
      Buffy: That 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.

    • Snyder: It's worth nothing, Harris. Whatever comes out of your mouth is a meaningless waste of breath. An airborne toxic event.
      Xander: Well, I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to be so honest with me. And I can only hope that one day I'm in the position to be that honest with you.

    • Drusilla: I was dreaming.
      Spike: Of what, pet?
      Drusilla: We were in Paris. You had a branding iron. And there were worms in my baguette.

    • 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: (to Willow and Buffy) Is murder always a crime?

    • Kendra: Who are you?
      Buffy: Who am I? You attacked me, who the hell are you?
      Kendra: I am Kendra, the Vampire Slayer.

    • Buffy: Well, I'll just jump off that bridge when I come to it.

    • Giles: It's a reliquary. Used to house items of religious significance. Most commonly a finger or some other body part from a saint.
      Buffy: Note to self: Religion: Freaky.

    • Xander: What, and suck all the spontaneity out of being young and stupid? I'd rather live in the dark.
      Willow: You're not gonna be young forever.
      Xander: Yes, but I'll always be stupid.

  • NOTES (6)

  • ALLUSIONS (15)

    • Buffy: ...my hair and fingernails still continue to grow.

      This is a reference to the fact that, after death, hair and fingernails appear to grow just a little bit longer. This was often considered evidence for vampires back in the day. However, the appearance is actually due to the contraction of the surrounding skin rather than extension of the dead cells.

    • The character "Dalton" may be a nod to the chemistry scientist John Dalton (1766-1844), who introduced the hypothesis of "atomism." While the vampire Dalton wears a beard, unlike the human scientist, their glasses, hair, and clothing are virtually identical.

    • Spike: By George, I think he's got it!
      This is a paraphrase of what Professor Higgins says to Eliza in the 1964 movie My Fair Lady when he is trying to get her to speak proper English.

    • Xander: Come on Cordelia, you want to be a member of the Scooby Gang, you gotta be willing to be inconvenienced every now and then.
      In the Scooby Doo cartoons, the gang of teenagers would solve mysteries involving someone faking some sort of supernatural occurrence.

    • Angel: You're in danger. You know what the ring means?
      Buffy: I just killed a Super Bowl champ?
      The Super Bowl is the American professional football championship game. As in many pro sports, the participants are given a commemorative ring.

    • Buffy: Hellmouth presents Dead Guys on Ice.

      A play on the various ice skating shows, Cinderella on Ice, etc.

    • Buffy: So you're saying these vampires went to all this hassle for your basic decoder ring?
      Secret decoder rings were a frequent tool of radio and television heroes in the 50s. The faithful fans could get the rings which would provide the key to a simple code. The code would allow the fans to read otherwise unintelligible messages. The name most associated with secret decoder rings is Captain Midnight - a children's radio and later television hero. Interestingly enough, while many people claim to have heard of Captain Midnight secret decoder rings, it has not been proven that such an item has ever existed.

    • Recruiter: The jet was delayed by fog at Sea-Tac, but he should be here any minute.
      Sea-Tac is the common shortened name of the Seattle Tacoma Airport. The Seattle area reference, along with the "world's largest software" company line point directly to a not-so-subtle Microsoft reference.

    • Buffy: Have a cow, Giles.
      This is a play on the saying "Don't have a cow". Made popular by the infamous character Bart from The Simpsons television show, it simply means don't get all excited.

    • Buffy: He's on the Tony Robbins hyper-efficiency kick.
      Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker famous for the book Unleash The Power Within.

    • Buffy: But I'm in full see no evil mode.

      A reference to the saying "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." Normally portrayed as chimpanzees covering the appropriate sense with their hands.

    • Buffy: Oh my gosh. My Dorothy Hamill phase.
      Dorothy Hamill was the 1976 Olympic gold medalist in figure skating. Her "wedge" hairbecame very popular for a brief time.

    • Buffy: Cliff Notes version?

      The savior of many a student, Cliffs Notes are a series of study guides to various literary works. Supposedly intended as a supplement to the reading, many students attempt to get by reading just the much briefer Cliffs Notes version.

    • Xander: You know, with that kind of attitude you could have had a bright future as an employee of the DMV.

      Employees at the Department of Motor Vehicles are often the brunt of jokes. They are thought to be inefficient and gruff.

    • Title: "What's my line?"
      From the TV game show What's My Line. A contestant with an unusual occupation would face a panel of celebrities. The celebrities would ask questions in an attempt to determine the contestant's line of work.