originally aired May 4, 1999

Cordelia Synopsis

Buffy, Willow, and Xander are at school discussing their possible futures: Willow has been accepted to Oxford, Harvard, MIT, Yale, and just about every other prestigious university possible while Xander states that he will be following the Jack Kerouac lifestyle (Xander: "Everything in life is foreign territory").  Perfect timing: Cordelia walks by right as Xander is talking and a Xander/Cordelia insult-fest insues:

Xander:'ll help me find myself.
Cordelia: And help us lose you.  Everyone's a winner!

And so on.  Willow gets dragged into the whole thing and Buffy tries to intervene:

Buffy: Oh you guys don't forget to breathe between insults.
Cordelia: I'm sorry Buffy, this conversation is reserved for those of us who actually have a future.
Later, as Xander is going to get ingredients for a spell, he walks past a dress store where he sees Cordelia trying on dresses.  He stops, thinks for a moment, and then walks in:
 Xander: I have a theory: those snide remarks earlier - I'm guessing the grape's a little bit on the sour side.  Didn't get into any schools, didya?   The grades were there but, ooh, if it weren't for that pesky interview!  Ten minutes with the admissions department and they decided that they had already reached their mean-spirited, superficial princess quotas.
Cordelia: Once again, the gold medal in the being wrong event goes to Xander "I'm as stupid as I look" Harris.  Read 'em and weep, creep: (hands Xander envelopes) USC, Colorado State, Duke, and Columbia.
Xander: Wow...these are, uh...great colleges!  I'm guessing they must've seen a different side of your father's money.
Cordelia: (snatches envelopes) Go away.
The last Cordelia scene of the episode shows Cordelia standing in front of a mirror at the dress store holding a dress up to herself.  Then, a woman comes in and says:
"Chase, what are you doing?  Your break's been over for ten minutes!  I still need you to restock the shelves nd sweep out the storage room.  Let's go!"
The woman goes away, Cordelia looks back at the mirror one last time, and puts the dress back on its hanger.  Then she picks up some cleaning supplies and walks away.

Most memorable line

Unusually cruel (even for Cordelia) but semi-truthful comment:

"I'm sorry Buffy, this conversation is reserved for those of us who actually have a future."
Most memorable scene

Final scene where it is revealed that Cordelia has been keeping a secret: she's somehow lost her money and is therefore forced to work, something she once thought she'd never have to do.

What we learn

Story arcs Comments

Mesuvius: Maybe it's just the joy to see a new Buffy episode after countless reruns talking, but this episode was a pleasure to watch.  Cordelia's character development was very welcome.  Some say that this is karma, but I think Cordelia has already had a tough time.  She gave up everything for Xander: her friends, her popularity, and bitca attitude that had protected her so well, and got burned big time.  This year has been a hard year for Cordelia and it looks like she'll be forced to change.  The exchange between Xander and Cordelia was also very well done - they don't know how much they're hurting each other.  One of the strengths of Buffy is its characters and I can't wait to see where Joss & co. are going with Cordelia.  I have a feeling this episode is the start of something big for her.

Elora: I enjoyed watching 'Choices' for several reasons, not the least of which was its "charismatic" nature.  You see, I felt like Cordelia was becoming a little too stagnant for my liking.  Sure, we've had the surprise of watching her hit on Wesley, but that's about it.  This episode gives her character development more attention, and that's a good thing.  Some additional benefits came in the form of Willow's sense of empowerment when she came face to face with Faith; Giles' keen and cool ability to continue to be the calm in the middle of continued chaos; Oz's non-speaking but crucial decision-making role (just destroy the thing - that'll decide it for us!) and another Principal Snyder sighting (sure, I like the Mayor, but I'll miss Snyder if he leaves next season).  But to get back to Cordelia, at the beginning of this episode, it seemed like everything was the same for Cordelia as it has been since she broke up with Xander.  She's no longer really part of the gang - she only shows up to criticize each one of them and to provoke Xander as much as possible.  Although often cruel in her comments, Xander proves to be just as callous in this episode, if not more so.  For, just when we are about to say, 'fine, Cordelia, despite the fact that you've been treated badly, you really are digging your own grave here', we see that things are not what we thought they were for her.  It would seem that she has lost not only her popularity and prestige, but also her money as well.  With no safeguards to hold onto, and no real friends to find comfort in, Cordelia seems to be more isolated than ever.  And her one attempt to find a new relationship (with Wesley!) seems to be doomed from the start.

TyMcNeal:  Not a great episode. The whole idea that Buffy would care so much about what Cordelia says that she would suddenly want to take on the Mayor was too much of a stretch. From a Cordelia standpoint, just more of the same, with Xander becoming even more obnoxious than Cordelia. It'll be good to have Charisma Carpenter getting some well deserved screen time on "Angel." Even with that, a really nice job by Charisma at the end in the dress shop. You really get the sense that Cordelia is up against the wall.  Nice setup for the much rumored Xander-Cordy reconciliation in "The Prom."

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