Giles and gang The Witch

Season 1, Episode 3

This episode marks Buffy's first full-fledged attempt to be a regular teenager -- she wants to try out for the cheerleading squad. Giles tells her that her extracurricular activities should remain within the slaying realm. But the 2 ideas mesh when strange things are afoot during tryouts -- Buffy's slayer sense kicks in, and the Slayerettes are born!

It's in this episode that Willow dubs herself and Xander the Slayerettes, basically signing on to assist Buffy in whatever comes their way. Also it's the first real time that Xander makes a play for Buffy, by giving her an i.d. bracelet. He also tries to ask her out but doesn't really get the chance.


Cheerleading tryouts are being held, and Buffy hopes to secure a place on the squad. Xander and Willow accompany her to the tryouts, and there they meet Amy Madison, an old friend of Willow's. Amy's also hoping to land a spot on the team -- she tells Buffy that she practices for hours everyday with her mom. A bit later we learn that her mom, Catherine, was a champion cheerleader. Also present at tryouts is Cordelia, in full bitca mode, a mode in which she stays for the rest of the episode. When tryouts begin, one of the girls, Amber, looks to be stiff competition. But then her hands catch on fire, and Buffy runs to get a blanket, knock her to the ground, and put the flames out.

Back in the library, Giles and the gang try to discover the cause of the flames; Giles mentions that it might be some form of spontaneous combustion. Later on, Buffy's at her house, watching her mom unpack some art crates. As they talk, it becomes clear that Joyce isn't too aware of what Buffy's been up to lately. She does think it's good that Buffy's thinking of returning to cheerleading, though. And we learn that Buffy was on the squad at her old school, before she started getting into trouble.

The next day during tryouts, Amy crashes into Cordelia and knocks her over. Afterwards, Cordelia meets Amy in the locker room and is bitca supreme; she lets Amy know that she doesn't want her to mess up her chances for getting on the squad. Next thing we know, there's a cauldron, a doll, and Cordelia is sacrificed -- the next day at school she's disoriented and very out of it. Because of this, she has an accident during driver's ed, gets out of the car, and is almost mowed down. Buffy knocks her to safety and we see that Cordy's eyes have gone silver, and she can't see. This leads Giles to believe that they're dealing with witchcraft, and they also deduce that Amy must be the person responsible.

They conduct a test to see if Amy is indeed the witch, and she is. Amy's aware of the gang's nosing into her business, though. We see her at home, telling her mom to do her homework for her, and then we see Amy go upstairs to cast a spell on Buffy.

The next day, Buffy's under a spell that will likely kill her; she and Giles go to Amy's house to talk to her mom, and there they discover that Amy is actually living in her mom's body -- her mother is the witch and switched bodies with Amy in an effort to recapture her glory days as head cheerleader. That afternoon there's a basketball game in the gym, and Xander and Willow are keeping an eye on cheerleader "Amy." Giles, Buffy and Amy (in the form of Amy's mom) are in the lab, where Giles prepares to reverse the spell that's on Buffy. He succeeds just in time, because Amy has come into the lab wielding a fireman's ax. At that moment, the body switch takes place, and Amy's mom looks like Amy's mom again. She berates Amy and promises to put Buffy in a dark place where her soul can't make trouble anymore. But as she does so, Buffy manages to kick down the overhead mirror, causing Catherine to be the object of her own spell. She vanishes, though the gang has no idea where she's gone.

What Got the Job Done:

1. Buffy kicks the lab's mirror down and Catherine ends up banishing herself to a dark place.

What We Learn in This Episode:

1. Xander likes to look at semi-nude engravings in the witchcraft books.
2. Xander sees Willow as a guy friend who knows about girl stuff.
3. Buffy's folks are divorced.
4. Willow can remove the eye of a newt. -- Could this be where her frog fear developed?
5. Buffy thinks of Xander as just one of the girls.
6. Buffy's mom sort of expects Buffy to get into trouble.
7. The school mascot is a razorback.
8. Giles hasn't cast a witchcraft spell before. -- So what gives in The Dark Age?
9. Xander: "I laugh in the face of danger, then I hide until it goes away."
10. Catherine Madison's soul was banished into the cheerleading trophy in the school trophy case.

Settings Seen:

1. Sunnydale High School
2. Buffy's house
3. Amy's house

Characters Seen:

1. Buffy
2. Joyce Summers
3. Willow
4. Xander
5. Giles
6. Cordelia
7. Amy Madison
8. Catherine Madison
9. Dr. Gregory
10. Amber
11. Random Cheerleader
12. Mr. Poole

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This page last updated on June 15, 1998

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