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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Go Fish

Buffy: "I think we'd better find the rest of the swim team and lock them up before they get in touch with their inner halibut."

This is a completely silly and ridiculous episode jammed sideways into a season of spectacular Angel heaviness, but I liked it anyway.

What did I like about it, other than the transparent, over-the-top condemnation of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs and sliding through school without having to study? Well, the gross-out jokes just had me in stitches in spite of myself. Loved Xander going undercover, or uncovered, in Speedos. And Buffy being Gage's bodyguard, and him asking her to walk him home.

I particularly liked Buffy breaking Cam's nose when he tried to corner her in his car. That's a scene that stayed with me for a long time; I guess I can relate, like so many other women can. Go, Buffy. You're my hero.

Bits and pieces:

— Gage leaving a bad taste in Angel's mouth was a hoot. Guess Angel doesn't like seafood.

— Danny Strong was back, and finally got a name: "Johnny."

— Coach Marin? As in "marine"?

— Note from much later: young Wentworth Miller (Prison Break). Yum. So to speak.

Quotes (which were the best part of this one):

Cordelia: "Well, all I know is, my cheerleading squad wasted a lot of pep on losers. It's about time our school excelled at something."
Willow: "You're forgetting our high mortality rate."

Buffy: "So something ripped him open and ate out his insides?"
Willow: "Like an Oreo cookie. Well, except for, you know, without the chocolatey cookie goodness."

Giles: "That, uh, eats humans whole... except for the skin."
Buffy: "This doesn't make any sense."
Xander: "Yeah. The skin's the best part."
Buffy: "Any demons with high cholesterol?"

Cordelia: "God, this is so sad. We're never going to win the state championship. I think I've lost all will to cheerlead."

Buffy: "They needed to win. And winning equals trophies, which equals prestige for the school. You see how they're treated. It's been like that forever."
Xander: "Sure. The discus throwers got the best seats at all the crucifixions."
Buffy: "Meanwhile, I'm breaking my nails every day battling the forces of evil, and my French teacher can't even remember my name."

Buffy: "I wouldn't break out the tartar sauce just yet. I mean, it's not like you were exposed more than once. Twice?"
Xander: "Three times a fish guy. What am I gonna do?"
Cordelia: "You, you, you. What about me? It's one thing to be dating the lame unpopular guy, but it's another to be dating the creature from the Blue Lagoon."
Xander: "Black Lagoon. The creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields."

Buffy: "Great. This is just what my reputation needs: that I did it with the entire swim team."

Two out of four stakes. Certainly not a great episode, but I got a kick out of it,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. Hi Billie, I think you skipped a line in one of the quotes:

    Buffy: "So something ripped him open and ate out his insides?"
    Willow: "Like an Oreo cookie. Well, except for, you know, without the chocolatey cookie goodness."

    I don't think I enjoyed this one as much as you did, but there certainly were funny scenes. (Besides the moments you mentioned, I also liked Cordelia coming to terms with the idea of dating a sea monster)

    Hoping the season finale gets back to the level of previous episodes

    Great reviews, as always! (I've been following your reviews for years - Lost season one to be exact - and only now I'm watching Buffy... shame on me)

    By the way, I'm sorry to bother you, but what are your suggestions for dealing with Angel? (the series, not the vampire) As far as I know, there are some crossovers between the two series. How "crossed" are they? Which would be the best order to watch? (entire Angel after Buffy S07, alternate seasons, alternate episodes?)


  2. Hey, Cesar: Thanks for the quote correction.

    About the Buffy/Angel crossovers -- actually, there are quite a few, mostly in the first season of Angel. My absolute favorite episode of Buffy ("Fool for Love") is the first of a two-parter than concludes on Angel ("Darla"). There's a wiki page for the crossovers, although it contains spoilers. (http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Buffy_The_Vampire_Slayer_and_Angel_crossover_episodes)

    The best recommendation I can give you is to watch them together, since they aired together, Buffy first and then Angel. Buffy season four/Angel season one, Buffy five/Angel two. Buffy moved to another network in season six, so there wasn't as much crossing over then, although there was definitely some at the end of Buffy season seven/Angel season four.

    And one could argue that the entire fifth season of Angel is one big crossover. :)

    I've been asked this question before. I really ought to put together my own crossover page, huh?

    Hope this helps.

  3. Thanks, Billie! It helps a lot!

    Sorry about the late reply, but I wanted to see some of the episodes this way so I could give my opinion. (currently in eps 15 of B4/A1)

    I usually avoid wikis on series I'm not caught up yet, so I just took a quick glance at that link (I learned my lesson the hard way accidentally finding out the Final Four identities while at the end of BSG Season 1), but I took your advice and I'm watching them together.

    Watching them together really seems to be the best way, with characters crossing between them every few episodes and all, but I'm not quite happy about it... I like both shows (although I'm not quite sold on Angel yet, it seems to be improving), but they have different tones and alternating breaks some of the mood... (I agree with your recommendation that this is the best way to watch it, my complaint is just to the writers for making this the best way...)

    Now I'm really curious about your comment regarding Angel S05 being a crossover (Buffy had ended by then). Guess I'll have to keep watching :-)

    Btw, I also found this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_and_Angel_episodes Although there are also spoilers there, it's easier to see which episodes are 'crossed' without learning much about the plot.

  4. BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Post them here.

    BTW, I did finally create my own crossover guide, and it's here: http://www.douxreviews.com/2011/09/buffyangel-crossover-guide.html

  5. This episode was ok, I guess. I laughed a bit - especially at scary, bad-ass Angel spitting and choking over the taste of Gage.

  6. Wentworth Miller!

    This episode is out of place, in terms of the series arc. But just look at how much better it is (judging by standalone standards) than the standalones in Season One, or even "Killed by Death." That impresses me so much: that Buffy does great one-offs and great arc.

  7. I always laugh at the scene where Xander rather clumsily jump into the swimming pool, only for Willow to reveal to the gang that Jonathan peed in the pool. Also funny : Cordelia mistook a fish monster for Xander, promising to still date him, and would understand if he wanted to see other fish.

    The fish monster reminds me of "Shadow of Innsmouth," a story that scared me silly as a teen. This episode is straight up funny though.

  8. This may be filler but its fun, I absolutely agree with Josie on the marked improvement on the standalones quality from series one.

    My favourite bit is when Xander comes up to Cordy who is talking to the swimming monster she believes to be Xander, telling her 'that's not me' the way the line is delivered always gives me a laugh.

  9. What everyone else said. Not Emmy-worthy, but pretty darn fun.

    Wentworth Miller's cadence is so British. "Something else?"

  10. Sunbunny, I noticed that, too!

    And then I noticed it happening all the time on the show. Willow does it. Joyce does it in "Band Candy" (not that I'm sneaking ahead on the re-watch. Oh, no.) Buffy does it once or twice.

    I blame ASH.

  11. Newbie report:

    Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way first. Xander. Speedo. Yum! Xander saves Buffy, double yum! The only improvement would have been for Xander to save Buffy while wearing a Speedo. I guess it was not to be.

    This one confused me a lot. Swimming is a coed sport, so I kept wondering where the girls were. Sunnyvale has no chance at State championship if they forfeit all the girls' events. I'm assuming the girls were off-screen training the whole hour. Cough. That's it. Off-screen.

    Then there is the coach's logic. He is dosing his team. They swim faster but turn into fish. How is that going to get him to the state championship? I made the leap that they are only fish when there isn't a swim meet. They turn back into people in time for their race. But then the closing moments of the fish-boys swimming out into the ocean foiled that leap. Now it's back to making no sense again.

    I was also going along with the Creature from the Black Lagoon homage thing. But the Creature was a sympathetic thing. He was minding his own business in his habitat until humans found him and made his life miserable. I was waiting for that point to be made here, but again, they didn't go that way.

    And then there was rape. Again. First, Buffy fended off an attempted rape by the athlete. She broke his nose - yay! Then the coach drops Buffy into the tank with the fishboys. "They've already eaten. Boys have other needs." Yuck. At least Xander was there to save Buffy, so there's that.

    And a cameo from Angel just to remind us that Buffy used to kill vampires. Also, presumably since David B. has a minimum number of episodes in his contract, he has to make an appearance. You know, he should get his own show. Has anyone ever thought of that?

    Coach died a lot like Principal Flutie - eaten by students.

  12. I thought it was interesting that although Xander slagged the athletes he was more than willing to become one. He should just embrace his own geeky self - Courtney has if her speech by the pool meant anything. He did look good in a speedo though :). I'm looking forward to the finale as well. Not sure I'll be able to wait for the second part though. I've been cheating just a bit.

  13. Pucklady, the swimmers turned into fish accidentally. The coach was just trying to make them better (human) swimmers, but the fishy steroids he used had bad side-effects.

    1. But even after he knew what would happen, he kept doing it. One student became a fish and he didn't stop the sauna dosing of the rest of the team. It only makes sense if he thought his fish boys could still race.

  14. At some point, he says he's still playing around with the formula. Would it have been logical to stop after the first swimmer turned into a monster? Yes. But dosing your swimmers with magical fish DNA isn't exactly a sane person's move in the first place. :)

  15. Cordelia being pissed because she unintentionally thought her own boyfriend was hot is one of my absolute favorite moments of the entire series.

  16. Not much to add here, I think.

    I thought it was an enjoyable episode, only kind of misplaced (This is actually something that I feel happens with Buffy, occasionally... thinking of "Earshot" or "Superstar" for example). I think it would have been better somewhere mid-season, and that the finale should have been prefaced with something more Angel-heavy (maybe the last episode even).

  17. I had exactly the same reaction as Josie. This is not one of my favorite episodes, so I tend to skip it when I am watching the show. I had completely forgotten that Wentworth Miller had a spot on this show.

    I do like the scene where Buffy breaks Cam's nose. I had forgotten all the stuff around Buffy's clothes, however. I'm with pucklady -- yuck.

  18. I'm a fairly skilled mental gymnast when it comes to patching plot holes, (I didn't spend ten years on Harry Potter forums for nothing!) and I think I figured out all the scenes that must have gotten cut that explained everything.

    Let's see. Coach wants glory. Wants a State Championship. Juices the steam. (Also juices the girls' steamroom in offscreenland.) Team starts to win. Yay! First boy gets gills. Boo. Well, there's still glory in qualifying for the state championship. Hopefully the team won’t turn sushi until after the qualification meet, so let's keep dosing. Still winning! Yay! Oops. There goes the relay team. Darn. Throw Buffy to the rape-tank. No problem. She's a side-kicking slayer ninja, she can take care of herself. But, suddenly she's a helpless girl? Yes, that makes sense, because see, one unadvertised side-effect of fish juice is that it triggers Halloween flashbacks. So here comes rescue-soldier Xander! Yay! No Speedo. Boo.

    Then the fish-boys swim away to freedom. Cut from the final print we see cute fish-girls swimming after: Hey, boys, wanna spawn?

    Which brings us to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. See, he was actually the lonely love-child of juiced Johnny Weismuller and juiced Esther Williams. And now he is lonely no more - he has a community!

    Happy ending.

    (And she sticks the landing.)

  19. pucklady, we simply have to come up with some sort of trophy for you. The Golden Buffy, perhaps. I particularly liked the Esther Williams/Johnny Weismuller part. :)

  20. Billie, I agree that pucklady deserves an award, though based on her comments she might prefer the Golden Xander :)

    The only thing I could add to what others have said is that I really loved Willow as the interrogator! She was so funny talking with Johnny and when she got excited to interview the nurse.

    Oh and Shane West was also in this episode. Both he and Wentworth looked so young!

  21. Wentworth Miller made appearances in several shows I used to watch and didn't know until I've re-watched (or watched for the first time on Netflix). Love him! I really wish they could have changed the fishboys back to regular boys so he could have been in more episodes.

    I still love Cordy and Xander's relationship. They just make sense, somehow. The same with Willow and Oz. But poor Buffy, will she ever find a man?

  22. The big issue I had with this episode was the number of times that female students were at risk for sexual or physical assault by the swim team members and yet no one went to the principal or school board to complain. I am watching Buffy for the first time on Netflix (I don't remember why I didn't watch when I was in college) and I yelled at the TV when Cam (I guess it was) came on to Buffy and after she broke his nose, she was so nonchalant about the incident. Bad message for women, Joss Whedon!

  23. Billie's claim that Jonathan's name is said for the first name is not true, as Cordelia said it in Reptile Boy.

  24. Berta from Two and a Half Men played the Nurse in this episode as well!


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