"You've got all those weapons. I was kind of hoping you were in a gang."
Ms. Probably Doomed Teacher delivers a Probably Metaphoric Lecture about Shylock and the social outcast, which Cordelia doesn't appreciate. He's like, so selfish! Social outcasts don't care about her pain? This seems like an irrelevant introduction to the next scene, in which Cordelia's date for the May Queen dance, Mitch, gets beaten by a flying phantom baseball bat. Or is it irrelevant??
But don't mistake Mitch for dead! When the Scoobies arrive on the scene, Principal Snyder exhaustedly says, "There are no dead students here this week."
Giles thinks the phantom bat was wielded by an angry ghost, who Buffy hears laughing and feels pass through her. She's a girl, and she's not cold! She's not a ghost, she's an invisible student!
Buffy goes back to school after hours to investigate and poignantly watches Cordelia getting her May Queen dress fitted to the tune of a plaintive flute. You see, Buffy used to be May Queen at her old high school back before her sacred calling and yadda yadda wants to be a normal teenager yeah. But who is playing that flute? Flashbacks show us that Invisible Girl is played by Clea Duvall in a rare break from her typecasting as hardened lesbian/drug addict. Here she is just hardened flautist.
Buffy goes to discover the source of the music and discovers Clea's little love nest with her scratched-up yearbook. And yeesh--she brings it to the Scoobies in the library where they discover that everyone signed it, "Have a nice summer!"
Flashbacks reveal that Clea just wanted to be part of the crowd, but everyone ignored her. She wanted to answer questions in class, but the teacher didn't call on her. Let me be the first to say, :'( :'( :'(
Giles sez: Clea turned invisible because of quantum mechanics. She was perceived as invisible, and she became so! And that is quantum mechanics!
Her ultimate goal is to attack Cordelia, who she holds responsible for all of her first world problems. Cordelia senses that someone is after her and enlists the Scoobies to protect her, but she cannot be convinced to skip the May Queen dance. Cue Clea pulling her through the ceiling while she changes into her dress, Giles and co. being trapped in a basement chamber full of poisonous gas (which seems to happen a lot to this group), and Buffy and Cordelia tied-up in May Queen thrones while Clea mutilates the queen's face. "It's less fun if you're not awake!" she tells Cordelia. "We should start with your smile--I think it should be wider!" Yeah, it gets a little twisted. My mama still won't watch this episode.
Oh hi Angel! He rescues Giles, Willow and Xander as they pitifully try to escape the basement. Guy has an uncanny ability to sense of people in mortal danger. They escape just in time for Buffy's big showdown with Clea! They enter The Matrix so that Buffy can have a slo-mo moment, feeling the movements of the wind, closing her eyes, her sparkly scarf waving slowly...and then a bunch of guys with suits burst in and carry a cloaked Clea away!
They take her away to a farm where she can run free with all of the other puppies. But actually, it turns out the FBI take all invisible teens to a correctional facility where they learn how to be assassins. Okay, Joss Whedon. That is a really clever ending to the episode and a productive use of your creative energy.
Favorite moment: There's an inexplicable scene in the library with Giles and Giles alone. But he's not alone! He gazes at the bookcase glass, but does not realize Angel is right next to him! They exchange a smoldering glance, Giles starts to feel a bit funny, and after a long pause, he says, "A vampire casts no shadow!" Thanks for letting us know, Giles.