March 26, 2022

Buffy 2.20, Go Fish: Water the Scoobies Going to Do About the Monster of the Week?

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

Sadly, there were no good shots of Xander in his red Speedo

Summary: There’s a party on a beach in Sunnydale, though Xander argues that it’s too cold to be there. Cordelia reminds him that the swim team chose the location to celebrate their victory. He complains about that, too, since he’s not impressed by them, but Cordelia thinks he’s just jealous. Xander says it’s too easy for losers to suddenly become cool when they join the team. Cordelia, however, appreciates that the school has a team who can win. They’re finally good at something. Willow points out that they also have a high mortality rate. “We’re number one!” Xander cheers.

Buffy’s sitting alone, looking out at the water. A guy named Cameron joins her and waxes poetic about the ocean. He and some other swimmers train there once a week, swimming against the current. Now he wants to celebrate winning the state semifinals by hanging out with Buffy. But Buffy gets distracted when she spots another swimmer, Dodd, dunking Jonathan’s head in a bucket of ice. She pulls Dodd off, commenting on his shark tattoo. Cameron smirks because Dodd had it coming to him.

A teammate named Gage takes Dodd away to get dried off. Buffy checks on Jonathan, who doesn’t appreciate having to be rescued again. He says he can take care of himself. As Gage and Dodd are walking by the water, Dodd suddenly freezes and just stares out at the waves. Gage doesn’t notice and keeps walking. A minute later, he smells something gross. It’s probably Dodd’s body, which is now dismembered and recognizable only because of his tattoo. Something that looks like a monster heads off into a sewer pipe.

At school the next day, Jenny’s class, now taught by Willow, continues to go well. She busts Gage for playing Solitaire (with nude women on the cards) instead of working on pie charts like the rest of the class. Snyder comes in as the class ends and asks Willow to continue teaching through the end of the year. She’d be happy to. He praises her for being a team player, which means she wants everyone on the team to succeed. Even problematic team members like Gage, who doesn’t do any work. She needs to show school spirit by passing him so he can stay on the swim team.

Willow tells Xander and Cordelia about this after class, and while Xander sides with Willow that this is unfair, Cordelia thinks winners like Gage deserve special privileges. Xander reminds her that all people are supposed to be created equal. “Propaganda spouted out by the ugly and less deserving,” Cordelia replies. He points out that Abraham Lincoln came up with the idea. “Disgusting mole and stupid hat,” she says. Willow corrects that it was Thomas Jefferson. Cordelia just notes that he had slaves. Okay, that’s a fair point.

Xander complains that Buffy isn’t there to be as outraged as he is because she’s off with Cameron. But she’s realizing that they’re not a good fit because all he talks about is swimming and the ocean and sea life. She does appreciate having a conversation with a guy that doesn’t involve romantic pressure, though. However, she backs off of that appreciation when Cameron asks if she’s wearing a bra.

He locks his car doors so she can’t leave, then says he’s not going to hurt her. “Oh, it’s not me I’m worried about,” she says. When he says she must like it rough, she grabs him by the back of his head and slams his face into his steering wheel. Snyder sees, and he wants to have a word with Buffy.

They take Cameron to the school nurse, Greenleigh, and he tries to argue that Buffy led him on. After all, look how she dresses. Before Buffy can hit him again, the swim coach, Marin, comes in to check on his star swimmer. At least Cameron’s his star now that something’s happened to Dodd. Marin tells Cameron to go to the steam room so his sinuses will stay open. Then he tells Buffy to dress more appropriately because this isn’t a club.

Buffy goes to the library and complains to the Scoobies about how Cameron gets away with everything because the swim team (all of whom have become jerks recently) is so revered. The Scoobies are barely listening, since they’re trying to work. Dodd’s remains were found on the beach, having been ripped open and cleaned out inside. “Like an Oreo cookie,” Willow says helpfully. The students aren’t supposed to know, most likely so the other swimmers don’t find out and get distracted from their big meet on Friday.

Something’s lurking around the steam room. After Cameron’s done in there, he runs into Xander and treats him like every stereotypical jock treats anyone he sees as beneath him. Xander mocks him for getting beaten up by Buffy; he loves when guys mess with her and get what they deserve. Cameron is on his way to the cafeteria, which is supposed to be closed, but will still serve someone as wonderful and special as he is. He smells something gross, and a few moments later, Xander hears him yell. He finds signs of a struggle, Cameron’s skin, and the monster from the beach.

Xander tries to describe the monster to Cordelia so she can draw it. That goes about as well as you’d expect. She gets him to admit that he didn’t get a good look at it because he was too busy running away. Buffy and Willow get confirmation that Dodd and Cameron were the two best swimmers on the team, which means Gage, the third best, will probably be the next target. Cordelia laments that they’ll never win the state championship now. “I think I’ve lost all will to cheerlead,” she says.

The Scoobies guess that someone wants revenge on the swim team and somehow brought forth a sea monster to act on his behalf. Willow suggests Jonathan, so Buffy sends her to question him. Giles tells Buffy to keep an eye on Gage. Cordelia advises Xander to practice running like a man. Well, that’s reductive.

As Buffy unsubtly watches Gage in a student lounge, Willow interrogates Jonathan. She knows he tried out for the swim team but didn’t make it. He seems okay with that, since he has asthma and just couldn’t keep up. He admits to being upset that the swimmers bullied him, but when Willow suggests that he used dark magic to conjure up a sea monster, he’s confused. He just peed in the pool.

Snyder and Marin discuss the swimmers’ deaths, and how they need to keep quiet so the other swimmers won’t be too upset to compete. Really, this is Snyder’s insistence; Marin is more concerned with finding a replacement for Cameron and Dodd so they can even be eligible to compete. They’re having tryouts that afternoon. Snyder notes that they don’t need someone to actually swim, just to wear a bathing suit. Xander overhears and gets an idea.

That night, Buffy continues watching Gage at the Bronze, and he continues being completely aware that she’s watching him. He finally confronts her, and she says she’s a swim-team groupie. He doesn’t buy it, so she tells him the truth: Something’s killing people and he might be next. Gage has heard from Cameron that Buffy likes to play games with guys, and he doesn’t want her anywhere near him. Okay, then you get to be fish food next.

As Gage is leaving, Angelus overhears him complaining about Buffy. He feeds Gage’s annoyance, agreeing when Gage says Buffy acts like she’s so special: “Who is she, the Chosen One?” Angelus says she needs to be knocked down from her high horse. Then he vamps out and says he’s looking for recruits. Buffy hears Gage yelling for help and rushes to his rescue, but he doesn’t need it – Angelus is spitting out his blood. Buffy pulls out a hair accessory to use as a stake (nice), but Angelus just throws Gage at her and runs off. Gage is like, “Now I have to deal with a vampire AND whatever’s killing swimmers?” He asks Buffy to walk him home.

The next day, Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia attend swim practice. Gage is suddenly very into Buffy. The girls discuss Angelus’ behavior, wondering if he spit out Gage’s blood because there was something in it he didn’t like. Maybe Gage is using steroids. If the whole team is using, that would explain their recent jerkiness and their winning streak. It could also be attracting the fish monster to them.

A new swimmer enters, and Cordelia checks him out from the feet up before realizing he’s Xander. He tells the girls he’s undercover. “Not under much,” Buffy quips, since he’s wearing a Speedo. Xander reveals that he tried out and made the team. Now he can keep an eye on Gage when Buffy can’t. “When you’re nude? I meant to say changing,” Willow says. Cordelia’s proud to be dating someone on the swim team. She’s not so proud when Xander jumps in the water just as Willow reveals that Jonathan peed in the pool.

After practice, the guys hang out in the steam room. The fish monster is on its way. Xander passes off Gage-sitting duty to Buffy, which is a mistake because now no one’s in the locker room with Gage. When the fish monster arrives and Gage yells, Buffy runs in to save him. But it turns out there’s not much she can do because Gage is turning into a fish monster himself. That explains why the swimmers’ skin is the only thing left of them – they shed it when they become monsters.

Buffy fights both fish monsters until Marin comes to her aid. The monsters slip away through a grate in the floor. Marin takes Buffy to Nurse Greenleigh so she can fix up a bite from one of the monsters. Giles is like, “The good news is that no one’s dead!” Of course, the bad news is that they’re monsters. Marin’s disappointed that they weren’t improving because of his coaching. He admits that he never asked if the guys were taking anything to enhance their performance.

Willow gets access to the school’s medical records and sees that the guys who’ve turned into monsters were treated for symptoms that indicate steroid abuse. Buffy thinks Nurse Greenleigh knew, since she treated all of them. Willow doesn’t get why athletes would take something that could harm them. Buffy notes that they were benefiting and being praised. Of course they would keep taking the risk.

The two of them and Xander decide to hold off on confronting Nurse Greenleigh until the next day. Buffy sends Xander to find out what the guys have been using. She herself is off to go fishing with Giles and a tranquilizer gun. This requires a field trip into the sewer. Well, they can’t all be trips to the zoo. Wait, the last trip to the zoo went horribly. Maybe the Scoobies should stop going on field trips.

Xander goes back to the steam room, trying to get his teammates to open up about steroids. A guy named Sean says they’re in the steam. At the pool, Nurse Greenleigh urges Marin to stop what he’s been doing. He thinks they just need to adjust the mix of drugs they’ve been using. He wants the best. Nurse Greenleigh warns that he’ll just get more monsters. Marin responds by throwing her into the sewer so his three fish monsters can eat her for dinner.

The Scoobies reconvene in the library, where Xander panics about the steroids he unknowingly absorbed. Buffy doesn’t think he should be too worried, since he was only exposed once. Or was it twice? “Three times a fish guy,” Xander admits. Cordelia says he should stop worrying about himself – she’s the one who could be dating the Creature from the Blue Lagoon. Xander corrects that she means Black Lagoon – “the Creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields.”

Buffy suggests that they round up and lock up the rest of the swimmers. Willow offers to interrogate Nurse Greenleigh in hopes of getting an antidote, and Buffy heads off to talk to Marin. He tells her about experiments the Soviets did on their swimmers using fish DNA. He tried to perfect the experiment so he could improve his team. He seems to think they can still win the state championships. Buffy’s like, “You’re insane and your fish swimmers aren’t going to the finals.” He pulls out a gun and forces her to jump into the sewer. He wants her to fulfill his boys’ needs – and he doesn’t mean the need to feed.

Xander and Cordelia go to the pool, looking for swimmers, but no one’s there. Xander’s freaking out about possibly growing scales and runs to the bathroom to look in a mirror. A few moments later, a fish monster jumps in the pool. Cordelia thinks it’s Xander. She blames herself for his transformation, thinking he joined the team to impress her. She promises that she still cares about him and wants to stay with him, unless he wants to date other fish. She’ll do whatever she can to give him a good life, including providing bath toys. She’s shocked when Xander, still human, rejoins her.

Giles locks the simmers in a book cage, having found all but one, Sean. Xander and Cordelia arrive and she says they found Sean “in the pool, skinless-dipping.” Heh. The only person who’s unaccounted for is Buffy. She’s looking for a way out of the sewer, hoping she doesn’t get a reputation for hooking up with the whole swim team.

Xander finds Marin and asks where Buffy is. Marin just glances down at the gun by his hand. Buffy fights off the fish monsters as Xander knocks out Marin. They’re right over the entrance to the sewer, and Buffy’s able to grab Xander’s hand and get pulled up before the fish monsters can have their way with her. Marin tries to attack, but Buffy knocks him over and he starts to fall into the sewer. Buffy is unable to hold onto his leg, and though she tries to pull him out after he falls through, the fish monsters make him their dessert.

The next day, Xander tells the Scoobies he’s meeting the other swimmers that afternoon for the plasma treatments that are supposed to un-fish their DNA. Cordelia says he’s proven himself to her, and he doesn’t have to stay on the swim team. She’d be just as happy if he played football. Giles tells them the fish monsters have taken off, and Buffy says they probably won’t come back. She guesses correctly that they’re in their new home, the ocean.

Thoughts: Gage is played by Wentworth Miller in his very first onscreen role. Nurse Greenleigh is played by the late Conchata Ferrell. Sean is played by Shane West, who’s soon to feature in my ER recaps.

Someone should start a class called Self-Defense the Buffy Summers Way.

Xander in a red Speedo just isn’t the same as Mulder in a red Speedo.

1 Comment »

  1. Myriam said,

    The scene where Buffy quickly pulls out an hair accessory to use as a stake is one of my fav ones of the whole series!

    It’s so funny that Shane West is in this ep. I was obsessed with A Walk To Remember when it came out, but I never recognized him. I only realized he is in his ep last year.

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