Well, here’s a surprise: Buffy wants to go back to her roots and lead some cheers and is all set for tryouts, however Giles in no way approves of this turn of events. Cheerleading and slaying just don’t mix. Buffy disagrees.
As is to be expected when you live in a Hellmouth, Cheerleading tryouts don’t go quite as planned and the hopefuls look on in horror as the world’s (well possibly just California’s) greatest cheerleader, Amber’s, hands spontaneously combust. Luckily, Buffy is there to put her out before she is totally combusted.
Despite this tragedy, new cheerleaders are still needed and soon the list of lucky cheerers is posted. Cordelia, of course has made the team, while Buffy gets first alternate and her new cheerleading friend Amy (who’s Mom was the greatest cheerleader ever before Amber) is third. Amy isn’t best pleased.
When Cordelia goes blind during her Driver’s Ed lesson and is, therefore, off the team it doesn’t take the scoobies long to figure out that someone is taking out cheerleaders in order to get on the team. It could be that that someone is a witch, and it could be that that witch is Amy. To put their theory to the test, the devise a witch test and plan to use it on Amy in science lab. Amy, however, is on to them and spots Buffy not so stealthily stealing some of her hair for the potion, while also taking out yet another cheerleader. The potion they have cooked up, works and proves Amy to be the witch they are looking for and Buffy finds herself moved up the list on the team, and next on Amy’s hit list.
Buffy wakes up the next morning in a better mood than usual, singing and dancing in the kitchen before heading off for her first day on the cheerleading team. Her moment of cheerleading glory does not last long as she becomes a little over enthusiastic and hurls the senior cheerleader across the room during practice, swiftly finding herself off the team. As the day goes on it starts to become clear that Amy has cast a serious spell on Buffy, one that makes her appear drunk and will kill her if they don’t act fast.
Buffy and Giles head to Amy’s house to try and find her spellbook and reverse the spells, which seems like a good plan as they only other way to save Buffy is to cut off the witch’s head. Meanwhile, Xander and Willow are tasked with keeping an eye on Amy.
At Amy’s house, a nervous sounding Catherine Madison, lets them in and it soon becomes apparent that Catherine isn’t Catherine at all, but in fact Amy in her mother’s body. Catherine is the real witch and has body switched with her daughter in order to relive her cheerleading dream. Giles quickly finds the things they need for a reversal spell he, Buffy and Catherine/Amy head back to the science lab to make a start on the reversal spell. Meanwhile, the real Mrs Madison (in the body of Amy) has made the cheerleading team and there’s a game in progress.
Back at the science lab, time is running out for Buffy, and Giles hastily starts the spell which starts to take effect just as the cheerleaders are forming a human pyramid with Amy/Catherine at the peak. Losing her balance, she falls, taking the squad with her. Realising what is happening she makes for the science lab and, finding the door locked, smashes her way in with a handily placed nearby fire axe. The spell is completed just as Amy’s mother is about to finish Buffy off with the axe.
Finding herself back in her own body and Buffy up and walking again, Mrs Madison, is not happy and, after throwing Buffy across the room, she fires a spell at her. Grabbing a mirror from the wall, Buffy shields herself and the spell bounces right back at the witch, who disappears.
The next day all is seemingly back to normal once more, and Buffy and Amy chat in the school hall, admiring Catherine’s cheerleading trophy in the school trophy cabinet. Mrs Madison herself has not been seen for some time, but as they walk away, the trophy’s eyes move back and forth, mummy dearest is trapped in her trophy.
- This is the first time we see someone’s eyes turn black when strong magic is being used.
- This is the first appearance of Elisabeth Anne Allen as Amy who plays a recurring and pivotal role throughout the series.
- This episode sees the first of many times that Giles will be knocked out
- This is the first appearance of Giles’ beloved Citroen.
- When Buffy wakes up, she is wearing a T-shirt with a black cat on it, a symbol synonymous with witchcraft
- The term “slayerettes” is first used in this episode
- Xander: I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away.
- Xander: For I am Xander, Kind of cretins. May all lesser cretins bow before me.
- Giles: Why should someone want to harm Cordelia?
Willow: Maybe because they met her? Did I say that?
- Giles: See, that’s the thrill of living on a Hellmouth! There’s a veritable cornucopia of, of fiends and devils and , and ghouls to engage….. Well pardon me for find the glass half-full.
- Xander: We’re right behind you, only further back.
- Giles translates “the darkness breathes” in Latin as “tenebrae respiritis”. That means “you, the darkness, are breathing.” The correct translations is “tenebrae respirant.”
- When Cordelia gets out of the Driver’s Ed car she shuts the door. In the next scene, the door is open.
- When Buffy, Willow and Xander are in the lab making the withc revealing potion, Willow fills the test tube to the top, when Buffy takes the tube it is barely a quarter full.
- When Amy arrives home after school she slams her gate shut, in the next shot you can see the gate open behind Amy.
- When Xander and Willow are talking in the hall about his invisibility, the pen Willow is playing with changes position back and forth between front and reverse shots.
- When Cordelia is driving, a crew member can be seen in the back of the car.
- When Catherine and Amy become switched back to their own bodies, Catherine takes the axe that Amy is holding by using her powers, the wire used to pull the axe towards her can be seen.
- Twilight Zone – 2 Unlimited (When Amber tries out for cheerleading and during the basketball game.
- Macho Man – Village People (Buffy sings this in the kitchen when under Amy’s spell
- Count the Time – Humbucker
Characters and Story © Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy & 20th Century Fox