Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 20

Go Fish

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 05, 1998 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
673 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


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, which results in Xander revealing a side of himself rarely seen.

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  • Go Fish

    This is an extremely fun episode! The main plot is intentionally hokey and really pretty dumb, but all the people involved play it out for maximum laughs and for the most part, it works. With all the heavy themes and emotions running wild over the last group of episodes, it's actually quite refreshing to have one excessively inconsequential 'fun' episode before the heartbreakers, "Becoming Pt. 1" (2x21) and "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22), roll in. In only that goal, this episode fantastically succeeds, mostly due to its timely humor.

    I don't have a lot to say about this aside from a few observations. First up is that Willow should have been replaced as teacher of the Computer Science class by now. It's not that I don't like seeing Willow teaching but rather that it's completely unrealistic. Second of all, I find Cordelia's comment, that winners get special treatment because that's just the way the world works, very intriguing. From my own experiences, this comment seems to be far to commonly true. It's also important to realize that the definition of who is a 'winner' changes during different stages of your life. In high school a 'winner' may be a jock, while in your 30's whoever has the most money is generally considered the 'winner,' regardless of physical appearance.

    I really enjoyed seeing Buffy beat the shit out of the guy who was trying to take sexual advantage of her in his car. Xander's comment to the jocks later, "I love it when you guys mess with her," is also highly entertaining. It's funny to note that when Buffy doesn't want to turn guys on the guys seem to want to jump on top of her, yet when she wants to be sexually attractive she has trouble. When Buffy goes stalker girl on Gage, the swim team guy, so she can protect him, he seems completely turned off by her. She amusingly admits her sex appeal is on the fritz. This problem possibly stems from the fact that she really is very sexually insecure with herself. Her experience with Angel certainly didn't help at all.

    This episode bashes all those dumb teachers in high school who think "school spirit" is a matter of life and death, and I adore it for that. When I was in high school I always had teachers telling me I needed more "school spirit" and that I had to attend school assemblies. Thank you Scoobies for helping to show the world how amazingly dumb "school spirit" is. "School spirit" can burn in that pile of books over there titled 'useless.'

    So there's the gratifying "school spirit" and jock bashing, but the ending ocean scene leaves me feeling odd. I don't know what to make out of that. Anyway, the biggest draw of this episode is the ridiculously funny dialog. The characters have fun with the corny plot and everyone has a good time of it. This isn't blow-you-away material, but it's definitely a lot of fun if you're in the non-serious mood.moreless
  • Something fishy going on

    Go Fish

    The Good;

    Good analogy of the competiveness of sports, the dangers of cheating and sports stars being feted and misbehaving as a result (does a week go by without that happening?). Very nice transformation scenes and a great mislead. Some great humour surrounding Xander and his relationship with Cordy, Snyder and of course the Angel subplot isn't forgotten (Why Miss Summers, you're beautiful). Love her Diana Prince moment and her stalking Gage. Plus Jonathon!

    The Bad;

    Terrible monster outfits! Also isn't it a bit much to let the swimteam just go at the end? They've already killed 2 humans in addition to gangraping Buffy, what if they decide to start attacking yachts full of tasty bimbos etc?

    Best line;

    Xander; I'm undercover

    Buffy (leering); Not under much!

    Wheldon cliches;

    Character death; the coach and the school nurse at the 5th and 6th members of the SDH faculty to die in 2 years

    Women good/men bad; Buffy gets sexually assaulted twice, making it the 4th and 5th time for her (if we don't count the Master mauling her) Cam deservedly getting his nose broken in reply to his forcing himself upon her and Buffy's already doubtful reputation ("I heard someone say she was fast") taking a further blow by 'doing it' with the entire swimteam. Nice role reversal though in the girls ogling Xander rather than the other way around for once.

    Kinky dinky;

    Xander in his speedos often considered as his sexiest moment in the series. Although a sizeable minority think his sexiest moment when he was hyena possessed in The Pack which says a great many things about Buffyfans?

    Subtext; Xander seem nervous at the thought of being in the steam room with a bunch of near naked guys. By contrast the girls all seem to be very taken by the sight of him in his speedos, even Willow which seems to once again suggest she's bi rather than gay

    What the fanficcers thought; Buffy 'doing it' with the entire Mutant Swimteam an alarmingly popular pairing. In the end she kills them all with a swordfish's nose and escapes with Willow and Xander's help. If you like the idea of Buffy or any of the Buffy girls 'doing it' with demons just type 'Monsters and Angels/GOT' into your search engine

    Questions and observations;

    I always thought the guy from Prison Break looked familar, rewatching this I now know why (although he doesn't have the tats yet). It's a shame he gets transformed, I love the little hints of a relationship developing between him and Buffy, especially a terrified Gage asking Buffy to walk him home after she saves him from Angelus (talk about gender roles reversal, the strapping athlete asking the petite blonde to protect him). Cam reminds me of Buffy's old boyfriend from LA and the type of guys she used to go out with. Now of course she rapidly get's bored of him as he's nothing compared to Angel and the steroids have made him a jerk. Presumably either the coach added magic to the steroid mix or he's another recipient of the Hellmouth Genius effect.

    7/10 I think, a pretty slight tale but funny nonetheless

  • Go Fish

    Go Fish was a good episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it had a Disturbing Behavior feel to it at some points. Willow continues to teach Ms. Calendar's class, as Principal Snyder continues to monitor her, and make special arrangements for swim team members. In this episode we also see a completely new side of Zander as he goes under cover on the swim team to find out whats going on. The girls of the Scooby Gang are surprised to see him on the team sporting a speedo. The swim team coach is the main culprit in this episode and played his part well. This was an entertaining episode to watch.moreless
  • Standard freak of the week episode. Swim team turns into fish monsters, people die, nobody cares.

    Jesus, this was a terrible episode that belongs in the dregs of season 1. I'm not a Buffy hater, but this episode was just laughable. While there were some funny bits and I did enjoy Zander and Cordie dialogue, it hardly makes up for this train wreck of a plot.

    How in the world does a gym coach know enough about chemistry to perfect (well not really perfect) gene manipulation? Once again it annoys me how little anyone seems to care that several students are now trapped in fish form. Granted they were jerks and had some serious hard-ons for the ocean, but doesn't anyone care about their families? On top of that, we have two dead teachers. No big deal, I'm sure the school can get a student like Willow to sub for the whole year! No school would let a student teach a class and actually grade her fellow peers. I know its a TV show, but come on.

    Nice Pie charts Everyone :)moreless
  • Overall a good episode of Buffy when compared to some of the worst, but when compared to some of the best, it's not brilliant.

    Season 2 &3 are my favourite seasons of Buffy and even though this is not my favourite episode, it is still pretty good. In this episode members of the school swimming team being skinned by an unknown demon. After more investigating, it is discovered that the team are being skinned in order of their positions on the swimming team. When the Scooby Gang investigate, they discover this & Buffy follows the swimmer whom they believe to be the next victim. Angel attacks him at one point and he doesn't seem to like the swimmers blood. After more investigating it is discovered that the team are not in fact being skinned but are in fact turning into demons themselves. The Scooby Gang discover that the swimming coach has being putting steroids into the air in the steam room, which has been causing the team to transform into demons. In the end, in true Buffy fashion, Buffy saves the day and the coach is no more.

    The best part of this episode is when Willow is interrogating Jonathan and when we see Xander in his Speedos. Overall a good episode of Buffy when compared to some of the worst, but when compared to some of the best, it's not brilliant.moreless
Shane West

Shane West


Guest Star

Jake Patellis

Jake Patellis

Dodd McAlvy

Guest Star

Charles Cyphers

Charles Cyphers

Coach Marin

Guest Star

Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman

Principal Snyder

Recurring Role

Danny Strong

Danny Strong


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Goof: Sewers and storm drains normally have access that is restricted to personnel of the appropriate county or municipal government. Access would not be from inside a school building, nor would the access be a simple wire mesh grate that anyone could easily remove.

    • Goof: Even though Gage gets bitten by Angelus, you see no bite marks on his neck the next day.

    • Nitpick: It is not clear how the gill-monsters themselves get in and out of that enclosure in the sewers, where Coach Marin ultimately traps Buffy. They are not as strong as the Slayer, and even she could not jump high enough to reach that hole in the ceiling.

    • Goof: The second time Xander is in the steam room you can see a guy sitting right beside him when the camera is facing him. But when the camera goes into wide shots, the guy is sitting pretty much directly in the corner. That's too far away from what the first view shows us.

    • Nitpick: There appear to be fewer boys locked in the library cage than were shown in the steam room with Xander.

    • Goof: When Buffy is talking in the library after she almost breaks Cameron's nose, her arms go from by her sides, to on her hips in different shots (from behind her and facing her).

    • Goof: When Xander, Willow and Cordelia are talking in the hallway and Cordelia says something like "Jefferson kept slaves, remember", it doesn't look like she is saying "remember". It looks like it was poorly dubbed in after filming.

    • Goof: When Buffy is spying on Gage in the school, the magazine she is looking at is upside down and changes to a different magazine twice. While you can forgive the magazine being upside down, since she's spying on Gage and probably not reading it, the changing magazine is another matter entirely.

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Cordelia: God, this is so sad. We're never gonna win the state championship. I think I've lost all will to cheerlead.
      Xander: Raise your hand if you feel her pain.

    • Xander: All I'm saying is, it's a stupid idea to have a victory party at the beach. It's officially nippy. So say my nips.

    • Gage: This "being my shadow" act. It's getting old. What do you want from me?
      Buffy: Well... um... it's a little embarassing you see. I'm a swim groupie.
      Gage: Uh-huh.
      Buffy: Oh yeah! You know, there's just something about the smell of chlorine on a guy, oh baby!

    • Cameron: (After running into Xander) Hey! Watch it!
      Xander: Oh, forgive me, Your Swimteamliness!

    • Xander: You know what really grates my cheese?

    • Cameron: Relax. I'm not gonna hurt you.
      Buffy: Oh, it's not me I'm worried about.

    • Xander: Turning into a creepy-crawly wasn't on my top ten list of things to do before I turned twenty.

    • Cordelia: (Talking to a fish guy, thinking he's Xander) We can still date. Or not... I mean, I understand if you want to see other fish. I'll do everything I can to make your quality of life better, whether that means little bath toys or whatever.

    • Coach Marin: You got some imagination, Missy.
      Buffy: Oh, well, right now I'm imagining you in jail. You're wearing a big orange suit, and, oh look, the guards are beating you up.

    • Xander: 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.

    • Cordelia: I'm dating a swimmer from the Sunnydale swim team.
      Buffy: You can die happy.

    • Xander: I'm undercover!
      Buffy: You're not under much.

    • Buffy: And raises the possibility that someone brought forth the sea monster from whence it came to exact that revenge. From whence it came...? (gives Giles a look) I'm spending way too much time around you.

    • Xander: What about that nutty "all men are created equal" thing?
      Cordelia: Propaganda spouted out by the ugly and less deserving.

    • Cordelia: It's about time our school excelled at something.
      Willow: Mmm, you're forgetting our high mortality rate.
      Xander: We're number one!

    • Coach Marin: Boy, when they were handing out school spirit, you didn't even stand in line, did you?
      Buffy: No. I was in the line for "shred of sanity". (Coach Marin points a gun at her) Which you obviously skipped.

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

    • Buffy: I wouldn't break out the tartar sauce just yet. I mean it's not like you were exposed more than once. (Xander looks at her.) Twice?
      Xander: Three times a fish guy.

    • Buffy: Any demons with high cholesterol?
      (Giles gives Buffy a look)
      Buffy: (looks back) You're going to think about that later, mister, and you're going to laugh.

    • Xander: I figured I can keep an eye on Gage and the others when Buffy can't.
      Willow: When you're nude? (Buffy nudges her) I-I meant to say changing.

    • Xander: That's wrong. A big fat spanking wrong. It's a slap in the face to every one of us who studied hard and worked long hours to earn our D's.

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

    • Buffy: So I'm treated like the baddie, just because he has a sprained wrist and a bloody nose... and I don't have a scratch on me... which, granted, hurts my case a little, on the surface...

    • 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.

  • NOTES (5)

  • ALLUSIONS (13)

    • At the end of the episode, the three gillmen swim out to the ocean is the same way how it ended in The Creature Walks Among Us where the gillman arrives at the beach and heads to the ocean to live there.

    • Coach: After the fall of the Soviet Union, documents came into light detailing experiments with fish DNA on their Olympic swimmers.

      This may be a reference to the 1976 East German Olympic women's swim team. The swim team took 11 of the 13 golds and the entire East German team doubled the number of metals from the previous Olympics. When the swim team was accused of steroid use because of their big muscles and deep voices, an official famously responded; "They came to swim, not to sing." After the fall of the Iron Curtain it was revealed that they had been given steroids from the time they were pre-teens and told they were vitamins.

    • Buffy: I mean it's not like you were exposed more than once. (Xander looks at her) Twice? Xander: Three times a fish guy.
      A reference to the famous chorus of "Three Times a Lady" by The Commodores.

    • Xander: Breakfast of state champions.
      "Breakfast of Champions" is the motto of Wheaties cereal.

    • Angelus: Why, Miss Summers! You're beautiful.
      This is a cliche uttered by fictional bosses when their secretaries take off their glasses and let their hair down. Buffy has just removed the stick holding her bun together to stake Angelus with.

    • Xander: And what about that nutty, "all men are created equal" thing?
      This is probably the most famous line from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    • Buffy: Nice tat. What--did they run out of Tweety Bird?
      Tweety Bird is a cute little, seemingly helpless canary who always manages to outsmart his nemesis, Sylvester the cat in the classic "Sylvester and Tweety" cartoons.

    • Title: Go Fish
      This refers to a children's card game called "Fish", in which one player asks the other if they have particular cards; if not, the other player tells the first to "go fish", i.e., to seek out that card.

    • Xander: Black lagoon. The creature from the blue lagoon was Brooke Shields.
      The Creature From the Black Lagoon is a classic horror movie from 1954 which featured a fish-man very much like the ones in this episode. Blue Lagoon, by contrast, was a 1980 film starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins.

    • Xander: In other words, this was no boating accident.
      A line from the 1975 movie Jaws. The town sheriff tries to convince the mayor that a mangled body was caused by a shark attack and not a boating accident.

    • Buffy: So Cameron Walker, you just won the state semi-finals. What are you going to do next?
      A play on the Disney commercial. The announcer asks the winner of a sporting event what he's going to do next and the reply is "I'm going to Disney World!"

    • Xander: Last month he's the freak with the Jicama breath who waxes his back.
      Jicama is a Central American vegetable that is also known as a Mexican potato.

    • Xander: The Yankees. Abbott and Costello. The "A". Now Those were teams.
      Xander enumerates a list of teams. The New York Yankees baseball team, the comedy acting team of Abbott and Costello and TV's The A-Team.