Go Fish (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Xander is surprised by the first gill monster.
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||David Semel|
|Written by||David Fury
|Original air date||May 5, 1998|
"Go Fish" is episode 20 of season two of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The Sunnydale High Swim Team is celebrating their latest victory with a bonfire party at the beach. Buffy sits on a rock watching the ocean, alone and apart from the other partygoers. Cameron, a member of the swim team, approaches Buffy and seems interested in her romantically, but their exchange is interrupted when Buffy breaks up two other swim team members, Dodd and Gage, as they are bullying Jonathan. The two bullies go down to the water's edge while Jonathan storms off, humiliated at being rescued by a girl.
The next day, Principal Snyder informs Willow that there have been difficulties in finding a computer science teacher to replace the murdered Ms. Calendar and that she will need to continue filling in as a substitute teacher. This pleases Willow, but Snyder also informs her that she must give Gage (Wentworth Miller), who is slacking off in her class, special treatment because he is a member of the swim team.
Meanwhile, Buffy comes to school with Cameron; he makes sexual advances that are unwelcome and Buffy put him off by slamming his head (nose-first) against the steering wheel. Snyder happens to be in the vicinity and witnesses the event, but he accepts Cameron's version of events and worries only about Cameron's ability to compete after the minor injury to his nose, as does Coach Marin, who is in charge of the swim team, and tells Cameron to hit the steam room and Buffy to dress "more appropriately."
Later, Rupert Giles informs Buffy that Dodd's remains were found on the beach; the Scooby Gang is in research mode trying to determine what killed him. Xander goes out for a drink and bumps into Cameron, who had still been on school grounds in the steam room; Cameron snaps at him and calls Xander a loser. Xander then takes the opportunity to ridicule Cameron for striking out with Buffy. Cameron rubs his elite status due to his swim team membership in Xander's face and goes to the cafeteria for a snack. A moment later, Xander hears him scream and goes to investigate, finding a ransacked cafeteria, Cameron's skin and a humanoid sea creature.
In the library, Cordelia tries to sketch the creature that Xander saw before running away. Buffy and Willow return, having been informed that Cameron and Dodd were the two best swimmers on the boys' team; after them was Gage. Having little else to go on, Buffy shadows Gage as the potential next target while Willow interrogates Jonathan. While Willow gleans nothing from her interrogation of Jonathan, Gage grows suspicious of Buffy when she follows him around. At the Bronze that night, Gage confronts Buffy about her shadowing him; she tells him, after trying to cover and failing, that he may be in danger. He does not believe her and leaves, only to encounter Angelus in the parking lot. Buffy fights Angelus off, noting as she does that Angelus was spitting out Gage's blood rather than drinking it.
The following day, Buffy, Willow and Cordelia sit in on swim practice, speculating on the meaning of Angelus' behavior. The girls speculate a type of drug within Gage's blood, somehow acting as a repellent to vampires but also as an attractant to the creatures they are finding. Gage waves to Buffy, feeling friendlier to her for having saved his life, and the girls discover that Xander has joined the swim team in an effort to get information from places the girls wouldn't have access to.
Buffy waits for Gage to exit the boys' locker room later and hears him cry out in pain; she charges in only to find Gage transforming into one of the creatures and others in the locker room with him. Buffy is wounded while fighting them off. Then Coach Marin enters and the gill monsters flee (although Marin is alone and unarmed). While Buffy is being treated for a bite from one of the monsters in Nurse Greenleigh's office, Marin is told that members of his team aren't being killed by the creatures, but are transforming into them. Buffy and Giles go hunting for the creatures in the sewers, but fail to find any. Meanwhile, Xander again hits the sauna and tries to find out what his team members are taking and how to get it. He finds out that what the boys are assuming are steroids is being pumped in with the sauna steam and that Xander is inhaling it as they speak.
It is revealed that Nurse Greenleigh is a co-conspirator with Coach Marin; they have been conducting experiments on the swim team with fish DNA that were originally made in Soviet Union in order to get a winning team. Nurse Greenleigh tries to put an end to the situation, but Coach Marin forces her into an open grate that drops into the sewers. The creatures that used to be the swim team members attack and kill her.
While Xander and Cordelia try to round up the rest of the swim team, Xander frets obsessively that his three exposures to the steam are already having an effect on him. He ducks into the locker room, and a creature emerges which Cordelia believes to be Xander. Xander himself emerges only a moment before the creature attacks Cordelia from the pool; they deduce that it was Shawn, the only swim team member they had yet to find. Giles locks the others into the cage in the library while Xander decides to go after Buffy, who hasn't returned yet from her part in the investigation.
Meanwhile, Buffy has confronted Coach Marin about the transformations. He, in turn, forces her at gunpoint down the same sewer access grate that he'd forced Nurse Greenleigh through. Buffy discovers Nurse Greenleigh's body and is surrounded by several creatures; she is fighting them off when Xander finds them. Xander knocks out Coach Marin – who is twice his size – long enough to pull Buffy out. Coach Marin revives and attacks them; he knocks Xander's head in with a large wrench, but misses Buffy and trips through the sewer grate. The creatures attack and kill him.
The next day, it is revealed that Xander and the other swim team members are undergoing plasmaphoresis to counteract the effects of the experimental drugs in the steam. The last scene of the episode shows the creatures have found their way out of the sewer and disappeared into the open ocean.
Marti Noxon has said in several interviews that this episode was written to show how athletes who use steroids ruin their bodies.
- When discussing human remains found on the beach, Xander states that "this was no boating accident," a key line from the popular movie Jaws. He will quote another line from Jaws in "Graduation Day".
- When Buffy saves a student from being hazed in ice water, the bully, secretly a monster, has a "Fighting Hellfish" tattoo, a reference to Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" which aired two years prior. Buffy mocks the tattoo.
- When Cordelia refers to the monsters as being like "the creature from the blue lagoon", Xander corrects this to "black lagoon" and says: "The creature from the blue lagoon was Brooke Shields." This is a reference to the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon. The monsters in this episode are an obvious homage to the 1954 Universal horror film, Creature from the Black Lagoon.
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