Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Go Fish   Rewatch 
April 29, 2015 8:32 PM - Season 2, Episode 20 - Subscribe

When several members of the Sunnydale High swim team are mysteriously skinned alive, Buffy and the gang take it upon themselves to protect the remaining members.
posted by yellowbinder (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I have not seen this episode in a long time but my recollection of it is something close to "worst episode ever." I can't remember if there any redeeming moments in it. There is so much stupid. And nobody wants to see a Xander-centered episode when there is so much ANGST built up about Buffy and Angel. How dare they?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought Cordelia's little speech to Xander when she thought he had turned into a fish was kind of sweet. Other than that, I'm coming up empty as far as redeeming features. Like I said last week, after Passion, every episode that wasn't about the Angelus arc seemed like a weird distraction and a momentum-killer.

Also, the way they shoe-horned Angelus in the story (for no apparent reason) just seemed like the writers throwing up their hands and saying, "Well, we're paying David Boreanaz to be in this episode, so he has to do something."
posted by creepygirl at 9:30 PM on April 29, 2015


Yep, this episode is not so good, although miles better than Killed by Death (but I kind of think I robot you Jane is better than that episode, so you can see how high my regard is for it). I actually think this episode would be fine earlier placed, but at this point it feels too inconsequential given the series arc. Season 2 has actually been especially good about continuity of it's main plot, but this really feels like an exception. As creepygirl says, Angel is just sort of there to determine that their blood tastes dodgy (leading to a classic bit of Buffy logic, where they assume that the swim team are taking steroids which make them attractive to never before witnessed fish monsters!)

There's some interesting moments in this episode, in particular there's some pretty explicitly horrid body horror here, but the plot is super hokey (this coach has worked out steroids the USSR couldn't, because apparently he's a chemistry genius?). There's some fun here and there, but ultimately this isn't much of an episode.

-Sunnydale now has a beach. Again, look out for the lack of sea at the conclusion to Season 7 (I think in the comics they return there and confirm that yup, nowhere near the ocean you guys), although this beach will reappear in Season 5.
-Jonathan get's a name! And a few lines, as he gets interrogated by Willow
-I like how bored Buffy is by ocean talk from the sleazy sports guy (sleazy men being creepsters at Buffy is a bit of a recurring theme on the show)
-Cordelia's fish picture is pretty good. Maybe she should have focused on her artistic career.
-Apparently the hospital can create an antidote to steroids that turn people into fish. Huh. I guess it's as simple as replacing their blood?
-"This is just what my reputation needs, that I did it with the entire swim team".
-Is the implication at the end that the swim team rape the coach??
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:09 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is one of the first season-est episodes in season 2.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:42 AM on April 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cordelia is definitely one of the main highlights of this episode, with her drawing and cute speech of loyalty to fishman-who-isn't-Xander. But I also love Willow and her unexpected penchant for interrogation. I like that the show can still pull those things off innocently because Willow still is innocent.

Things that bugged me apart from, well, everything else: Cordy teasing Xander for running like a woman (?!?!) and yeah, I think Buffy's comment makes it clear that the fishguys are indeed gang-raping the coach. Which is just unnecessary. Oh, and that their origin story involved a totally implausible Russian plot when it could have been some secret elixir handed down to the coach by his grandmother, who was from the town of Innsmouth...
posted by Athanassiel at 5:17 AM on April 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is almost worth it for the callback in Doppelgangland, where Principal Snyder says the basketball team really needs a winning year, "especially after last year's debacle with the swim team." He uses the same intimidation tactics with Willow both times, basically, in terms of failing athletes. Overall, yes, it pretty much migrated in from season one, and dramaturgically makes no sense at all. Also, hi, Wentworth Miller!

The interrogation scene is pretty good; they basically do that on a larger scale with Earshot, which is fun. It's pretty clear early on how much Willow likes power when she can get it, especially after being bullied by Snyder.

I do kind of like the scene when the girls discover Xander is on the swim team. I don't know whether to scoff about Xander's "clearly" unpopular nerd body, or to potentially appreciate that lack of cool doesn't have to look stereotypical...(at least they acknowledge that he looks nice).
posted by ilana at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2015


I do kind of like the scene when the girls discover Xander is on the swim team. I don't know whether to scoff about Xander's "clearly" unpopular nerd body, or to potentially appreciate that lack of cool doesn't have to look stereotypical...(at least they acknowledge that he looks nice).

Yeah the show really does struggle with the fact that Xander is played by an attractive and fit adult rather than the dorky and gangly teenager he's meant to be, and this episode seems to be giving up on that (he will also pretty much cold clock out a vampire in Becoming part 2!). They make much more of an effort to make Willow seem unattractive with her amazing jumpers, and Alyson Hannigan with her thin build and sense of vulnerability is able to sell it quite well.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:26 AM on May 1, 2015


Is the implication at the end that the swim team rape the coach??

I think Buffy's comment makes it clear that the fishguys are indeed gang-raping the coach.

I actually had to go back and rewatch this scene just to see if I'd missed this particular implication. I'd always just assumed that Buffy's line ("They sure do love their coach") was a comment on the fishboys mauling/devouring the coach offscreen (just like with the lunchlady earlier) and I honestly think it was just a clumsy juxtaposition by the writers. To be sure, rape was more than implied when Buffy got thrown into the tank. But if they'd only cut the coach's line about how "my boys have needs" and Buffy's about "doing it with the whole swim team", the concept could have been avoided altogether.

TBH, I think the episode made a pretty good point about rape culture (and high school jock privilege) in the earlier scene where Buffy gets yelled at for "dressing inappropriately" and "leading him on", and if they'd kept it in that vein it would've been more successful as an allegory. But the fact that they felt compelled to double down on it in the climax was just a bit much.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


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