"Go Fish"
Written by David Fury & Elin Hampton; directed by David Semel

A bunch of Sunnydale High students are at the beach, celebrating the swim team’s recent victory. Xander isn’t happy to be there, mostly because he’s jealous of the popularity of the guys on the team. Buffy is approached by a guy named Cameron, who waxes poetic about the ocean. He tells her that he wants to hang out with her and promises not to pressure her at all. Their conversation is interrupted when Jonathan, whose head is being dunked into a tub of water and ice by a swimmer named Dodd, yells for help. Buffy rescues him, mocking Dodd’s tattoo and pushing him away. Jonathan tells her that he could have handled things on his own. Dodd walks on the beach with a teammate named Gage (no, seriously, those are their names), who complains about a smell. He notices that Dodd has disappeared. We can hear screams and a tearing sound, and then see Dodd’s clothes and skin as a creature walks away.

The next day, Willow teaches a computer science class, complimenting the students on their pie charts. She reaches Gage, who’s playing solitaire instead of doing his assignment. Class ends and Snyder enters, congratulating Gage on the swim team’s victory. He asks Willow to continue teaching the class for the rest of the year and she accepts. She tells him about the problems she’s been having with Gage and the fact that he doesn’t do any of his work, but he’s more concerned with the fact that she’s ready to fail someone who is on the brink of helping lead the swim team to another victory. He implies that he wants her to change Gage’s grades. Later, Willow complains to Xander and Cordelia, the latter of whom doesn’t object to a winner being treated differently than other people. Xander laments that, if Buffy were there, she wouldn’t be upset, either, because she’s enjoying being one of the swim team’s rewards.

Speaking of Buffy, she’s in Cameron’s car, trying to stay awake while he talks about the ocean again. He suddenly asks if she’s wearing a bra, then locks the car doors when she tries to get out. He tries to put his arm around her, but his plans are foiled when she grabs it, then smashes his face into the steering wheel. Unfortunately for Buffy, Snyder has seen the whole thing. Cameron is treated in Nurse Greenleigh’s office while Buffy unsuccessfully tries to plead her case to Snyder. Cameron accuses Buffy of leading him on as the swim team coach, Marin, enters. Coach Marin mentions that something happened to Dodd, which peaks Buffy’s interest. He tells Cameron to go to the steam room and criticizes Buffy’s clothing. She heads to the library and complains that she’s been treated like the attacker when she’s really the victim, though Cameron was the one who was injured and she doesn’t have a scratch on her. Giles tells her and the other Scoobies that Dodd was found, having been eviscerated, and that they need to look for something that eats everything but skin.

Cameron hangs out in the steam room while something possibly lurks in the locker room. Later, he heads towards the cafeteria and runs into Xander, who mocks him for getting beaten up by Buffy. Cameron heads towards the cafeteria, smelling something strange. Still in the hallway, Xander hears him screaming and runs towards the cafeteria, arriving to see the place trashed and Cameron in the same state that Dodd wound up in. On his way out, he encounters a fish creature like the one on the beach the night before. Somehow, he gets away (though we don’t see how) and describes the fish creature to Cordelia, who attempts to sketch it. Giles shows Xander a picture in a book and tries to determine if it’s the creature Xander saw, but Xander admits that he didn’t get a great look at it. Cordelia gets him to confess that he ran when he saw it. Buffy and Willow discover that Cameron and Dodd were the top two swimmers on the team, and decide that, since Gage is the third, he’s the next person to be killed. Cordelia complains that, at this rate, the team will never make it to the state championships. The Scoobies wonder if someone is killing the swimmers for revenge and try to determine who (other than Xander) would hate them that much. Willow brings up Jonathan and Buffy suggests that she question him. Giles tells Buffy that she should quietly play bodyguard for Gage to make sure that he doesn’t wind up like his less fortunate teammates.

Willow interrogates Jonathan in her classroom and gets him to admit that he wanted revenge on the swim team. She accuses him of using dark magic to summon some sort of sea creature, but he says all he did was pee in the pool. Snyder and Coach Marin discuss the misfortune of the swim team, and Snyder encourages Marin to get past the tragedy and get on with winning. Coach Marin says that they need one more swimmer in order to have enough to compete, but he won’t have to swim, just wear a bathing suit. Xander overhears the conversation and gets an idea. That night, Buffy keeps an eye on Gage, who notices and gets fed up. She lies that she’s a “swim groupie,” then finally tells him that people are getting killed and he might be next. He doesn’t believe her, and leaves the Bronze complaining about her. Angelus appears and they bond over their frustration with Buffy. Angelus vamps out and tells Gage that he’s “recruiting.” Gage yells for help and Buffy rushes over to help him. Angelus lets go of Gage, spits out the blood he drank from him, and takes off. Buffy starts to leave as well, and Gage asks her to walk him home.

Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia hang out at the school pool while the swim team does laps. Gage pokes his head out of the water and waves at Buffy. Cordelia and Willow wonder why Angel spat out Gage’s blood the night before, and Buffy suggests that Gage may have been using steroids. Cordelia spots a swimmer leaving the locker room and is drawn to his physical attractiveness. She soon sees that it’s Xander, who rushes over to explain that he’s gone undercover (“not under much,” Buffy points out) and joined the swim team. Cordelia is excited to be dating a swimmer, and Willow just seems excited to see Xander in a Speedo. Buffy asks her what Jonathan said, and Willow tells her what he did just as Xander dives into the pool. After practice, the guys go to the steam room, where Xander complains of boredom. In the locker room, a sea creature lifts up a grate in the floor. Xander leaves the locker room and passes off Gage-sitting duties to Buffy. Gage smells something strange, and moments later, Buffy hears him screaming from the hallway. She runs in to see the sea creature in the room with him, then watches as Gage himself turns into a sea creature. She tries to fight off the two, getting bitten by one, and is helped out of the locker room by Coach Marin.

In the nurse’s office, Buffy tells Coach Marin that his swim team guys are turning into monsters, and he denies knowledge of how it might have happened. Later, Buffy, Willow, and Xander look at the swim team members’ medical files in Willow’s classroom, finding evidence that the ones who turned into fish creatures may have been using steroids. Buffy thinks that Nurse Greenleigh must have known, since she treated all of them. We receive a small lecture on steroids before Buffy sends Xander to find out how the swimmers might be taking steroids. Buffy and Giles head to the sewers, where they encounter a sea creature. Xander tries to get information about the steroids from his teammates, who tell him that they’re in the steam in the steam room. At the pool, Nurse Greenleigh tells Coach Marin that he has to stop exposing the swimmers to the steam, but he replies that he’s almost perfected it. As they head down to the equipment room, Nurse Greenleigh reminds him that he’s already lost three of his swimmers. “Lost? Why, they’re not lost,” he replies, shoving her into the sewer. He tells her that the fishies have to eat, then leaves as she gets pulled underwater.

In the library, Xander frets about his exposure to the steroid steam, and Cordelia worries about her reputation, should word get around that her boyfriend is a fish. Buffy suggests that they round up the rest of the swimmers to protect them, and Willow decides to go talk to Nurse Greenleigh about the steroids. Buffy winds up in the equipment room with Coach Marin, who tells her that she doesn’t have any proof that he’s done anything wrong. He tells her about Soviet swimmers being used in experiments with fish DNA, and she realizes that he perfected the experiments. Pointing a gun at Buffy, Coach Marin forces her into the sewer, where she sees Nurse Greenleigh’s body and is told that the fish creatures are probably going to want to get friendly with her.

Xander and Cordelia head for the pool, where he worries that his neck is “scaly.” He goes into the locker room, and just after he leaves, a fish creature jumps into the pool. Cordelia first thinks it’s Xander, then, when she sees that it’s a fish, thinks that it’s what Xander has turned into. She assures him that she’ll still date him, unless he wants to “see other fish,” and is surprised when Xander comes back out from the locker room. The fish tries to attack them and they run off. Giles locks the other swimmers in the book cage in the library, and Willow tells him that everyone is there except a guy named Sean. Xander and Cordelia arrive to let them know that Sean is now a fish. Buffy’s still in the sewer, trying to stay away from the fish creatures. Xander finds Coach Marin in the equipment room and asks where Buffy is. Buffy fights the fish creatures as Xander grabs Coach Marin’s gun, then knocks him out. He reaches down into the sewer to help Buffy out, and she jumps up to grab his hand as the fishies grab for her. Coach Marin hits Xander with a wrench, but Buffy gets the better of him, sending him almost falling into the sewer. She grabs onto him, but isn’t able to keep him from falling. In the sewer, he’s attacked by the fish creatures. The next day, the Scoobies discuss the plasma treatments that Xander and the swimmers are undergoing to ensure that they don’t turn into fish. Buffy says that she thinks the fish creatures will go home - to the ocean.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Don’t go in the water! Don’t gooooo!

GRADE: C Why? Just…why?

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Cordelia: “It’s about time our school excelled at something.”
Willow: “Hmm. You’re forgetting our high mortality rate.”
Xander: “We’re number one!”

Xander: “Just like that? He actually told you to alter his grade?”
Willow: “Exactly. Except for actually telling me to. But he made it perfectly clear of what he wasn’t telling me.”
Xander: “That is 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 Ds.”
Cordelia: “Xander, I know you take pride in being the voice of the common wuss, but the truth is, certain people are entitled to special privileges. They’re called winners. That’s the way the world works.”
Xander: “And what about that nutty ‘all men are created equal’ thing?”
Cordelia: “Propaganda spouted out by the ugly and less deserving.”
Xander: “I think that was Lincoln.”
Cordelia: “Disgusting mole and stupid hat.”
Willow: “Actually, it was Jefferson.”
Cordelia: “Kept slaves. Remember?”

Giles: “Nothing left but skin and cartilage.”
Xander: “In other words, this was no boating accident.”
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.”

“Any demons with high cholesterol?” (Giles gives her a look) “You’re gonna think about that later, Mister, and you’re gonna laugh.” - Buffy

Xander: “Well, it was dark! And the thing went through the window so quick, and I was a…little shocked when I saw it, and….”
Cordelia: “Go ahead. Say it. You ran like a woman.”
Xander: “Hey, if you saw this thing, you’d run like a woman, too.”

Xander: “What can I do?”
Cordelia: “Well, you could go out to the parking lot and practice running like a man.”

Xander: “Yeah. I figured I can keep an eye on Gage and the others when Buffy can’t.”
Willow: “When you’re nude? I-I meant to say ‘changing.’”

Giles: “They’re absorbing the steroid mixture through the steam.”
Xander: “Not ‘they.’ We. Me! We have to find an antidote, don’t you think? The clock is ticking, people!”
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.”

Cordelia: “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.”

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.”

Coach Marin: “Boy, when they were handin’ out school spirit, you didn’t even stand in line, did you?”
Buffy: “No. I was in the line for shred of sanity.”

“It’s me, Cordelia? I know you can’t answer me, but…this is all my fault. You joined the swim team to impress me. You were so courageous. And you looked really hot in those Speedos. And I want you to know that I still care about you, no matter what you look like. And…and we can still date. Or, or not. I mean…I understand if you wanna see other fish. I’ll do everything I can to make your quality of life better. Whether that means little bath toys or whatever.” - Cordelia to the fish creature she thinks is Xander

“He was in the pool, skinless-dipping.” - Cordelia, re: a fish creature

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