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"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Go Fish (#2.20)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Go Fish (1998)

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28 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A below-average episode, hurt by its placement in the season

Author: katierose295 from United States
29 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be fair, ANY monster-of-the-week episode situated between "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "Becoming Part 1" would be frustrating. The Angelus and Buffy story arc, arguably BTVS's most important story ever, is coming to a head. Buffy has finally reconciled with the idea of killing Angelus, Spike is secretly free of the wheelchair, Jenny's disc is just waiting to be discovered ... And "Go Fish" ignores ALL of it. Watching on DVD, it is pretty easy to just skip this episode and immerse yourself in the artistry of the two part season finale. It's not that "Go Fish" is a horrible episode, it's just... Frustrating. It doesn't really contribute anything to the seasons's story arc or to the motivations of the characters. It's just a below-average monster of the week and its placement makes its defects all the more apparent.

The story centers on the Sunnydale High's swim team, who are suddenly on their way to the state championships. Yes... The team has been preforming incredibly well and everyone is thrilled that the school could soon be known for something other than its staggering mortality rate. Being Sunnydale, though, it's a sure bet that the team's winning record has a little bit of supernatural fixing. Soon the bodies of swimmers start popping up and it seems as if someone's murdering the team one boy at a time. Xander goes undercover on the swim team. Willow starts questioning suspects. (Specifically Jonathan. His criminal plans will improve dramatically later in the series, but for now they're just... icky.) Buffy follows the team members around, alternately beating them up, protecting them,and reading upside-down fashion magazines. Its not their most daring investigation, but it gets the job done. It turns out that the team is being transformed into fish monsters, thanks to their coach's secret Soviet steroid gas. The Scoobies have to stop him and save the swimmers,... making it a pretty typical day in Sunnydale.

"Go Fish" does have some good parts. It has a pretty heavy handed anti-drug message, which gets to be a bit much. But, Xander "subtling" questioning the swim team as to where they get their steroids is pretty funny. I do like the episode's subtext on the preferential treatment of student athletes in a school. Willow works so hard to take over Jenny's job and get good grades, but Snyder's only interested in winning the state championship. Cordy, meanwhile, is delighted to finally be dating a "winner," even if Xander is the same guy he's always been under the speedo. And I love Jonathan. He's the perpetual outsider, always trying to fit in and always being rejected even by the unpopular kids. Think of how different seasons six and seven would be if the Scoobies had taken him under their wings in this episode and given him a place to belong.

Team work is another theme of "Go Fish" and, indeed, a continuing theme of BTVS. Snyder and the swimming coach lecture everyone about the importance of teamwork. But it's the Scoobies who successfully work together. More and more, they are taking on individual responsibilities in their investigations. Buffy may be the Slayer, but she couldn't do it without the help of the Scoobies. Unfortunately, their teamwork is going to lead down a dark road in the season finale, where horrible timing, self-justified lies and tragic misunderstandings all contribute to the heartbreaking end of "Becoming Part Two."

"Go Fish" had some genuine faults, aside from it's placement in the season. I don't like the Soviet Union DNA experiment explanation for the swim team's transformation. It's kind of cheese-y. Also, I think that this may be the only time that we see a vampire tasting drugs in someone's system. Why is that never mentioned again? Is Angelus tasting the monster-y fish thing that's about to emerge or the steroids themselves? If vampire's can really taste drugs, then it's a shame Spike doesn't test Buffy like that when she thinks that she's in a mental institution in season six's "Normal Again." Or when Riley's all pumped full of super-pills in season four's "The 'I' In Team." Just a thought.

My favorite part of the episode: Gage turning to Buffy after he's attacked by Angelus, "Would you walk me home?"

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

This line said it all:

Author: alexfiles from Texas
31 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Dude, what is that foulness?" - Gage (Wentworth Miller).

That said, even bad Buffy is better than 99% of the rest of television. This is a fun, light episode that doesn't further the longer story arcs. Good viewing for BTVS or Wentworth Miller fans, but safe to ignore if you're following the Buffy-Angel arc, for example.

A possible flaw in the writing is how various moral themes are handled. While there are several valid messages made, there isn't a lot of follow-up, which kind of undermines the importance of the messages.

For example, we don't know what Willow would have done regarding the inappropriate grading request she gets from Principal Snyder. Though we can guess she would have done the right thing, would there have been consequences? Another problem: Buffy is sexually assaulted and defends herself, and encounters a "blame the victim" mentality which nobody attempts to correct. In fact, when she shares this with her friends she's treated dismissively. This is because they're dealing with a murder, but no one shows any sympathy or brings up the problem later; Giles is actually impatient.

This treatment makes these moments of outrage seem more like padding for a weak plot than actual points, trivializing the outrage behind them. I don't think entertainment must contain a moral, but do I think if issues like these are brought up so clearly in a show of BTVS' quality, they should be explored.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Buffy and the swimteam

Author: Joxerlives from United Kingdom
3 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Go Fish

The Good; Good analogy of the competitiveness 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!"

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 follow up story 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 familiar, 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

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The One With The Fish Monsters...

Author: Taylor Kingston from Australia
12 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I thought this episode was really weird when I first saw it, and then when I would re-watch the series, I always skipped it. Until the last time. I re-watched because I thought it deserved another chance. And it turned out that it was actually really good.

In this episode, the swim team at Sunnydale High are the targets of a monster that eats their insides and only leaves their skin. So of course, Buffy is on the case. She is shocked to find out that the members were taking steroids and because of this, they're turning into fish monsters, so they aren't actually dying. And when she discovers that coach doesn't care, she has a lot to say to him.

Fun Fact: Wentworth Miller's first screen credit.

Best part of the episode: Wentworth Miller.

Worst part of the episode: The coach, he's a real douche.

Overall, I give this episode an 8 out of 10, which in my ratings book is: Awesome.

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Don't take steroids, or you'll become a fish-man...

Author: nightwishouge
17 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Go Fish" is a pretty mediocre monster-of-the-week episode involving the members of the swim team being transformed into Gillmen via the use of steroids. Yeah, it's kinda weird.

One thing that is never explained is how exactly the coach thinks the swimmers will be of any use to him once they are no longer human. Sure, Gillmen are probably faster than their opponents in the water, but I'm almost certain there would be some objection to them competing.

While the reveal that the members of the swim team are actually becoming the monsters rather than being skinned alive by them was surprising, there's little else here that lives up to the unconventional and idiosyncratic nature of the show. The anti-drug message, already pretty heavy-handed, becomes positively after-school-special when Willow wonders aloud how winning could be so important to athletes that they would use harmful drugs to achieve victory. Golly gee, even for Willow that's pretty naive. I'm guessing Buffy's ponderously shallow lecture in response to this was the result of a network note: "Better make it clear that drugs are bad."

The best part of the episode is Cordelia tearfully pledging to care for a gillman she mistakenly believes to be Xander, promising to stay by his side in spite of his newfound ick factor and even give him bath toys to improve his quality of life. Given that she was willing to break up with him only four episodes back due to the social pressure of her clique ("Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"), this profession of her newfound devotion is surprising and quite touching. It shows that Cordelia really is committed to Xander in spite of the fun she pokes at him and the enmity she reserves for his friends and lifestyle. Makes it all the more heartbreaking the way their relationship ends next season.

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

If only they'd remembered to make Buffy the Slayer instead of a victim!

Author: khaosjr ( from South Pasadena, CA
25 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is one of the best--and, at the same time, one of the worst--in the entire series.

It's one of the best because of Buffy's wet-look scene near the end, complete with a narrowly-missed opportunity for Cordelia to have one of her own.

Yet it's also one of the worst because Buffy gets her tail saved TWICE, in the SAME EPISODE, from the SAME ENEMY. Instead of using her wits and resources and adrenaline to defeat the Gill Monsters, she's rescued by the Hand of God...or rather the hand of Coach Marin and, later, of Xander. Then she fails to save Marin from the GMs (what if it had been Xander?), who promptly escape into the ocean (which they could have done at any time in the episode). In other words, Buffy is turned into an even bigger wimp than Xander...which really should have been impossible, but here you go.

Otherwise, this is among Buffy's finest hours.

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1 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Hot guys episode!

Author: priscilla52782-29-74287
21 January 2012

I have always been a fan of Buffy. Growing up I recorded all the episodes. Looking back recently I came across this episode. To my surprise I recognize a lot of Hot actors who accomplished a lot today. First we got Wentworth miller who is now famous for prison break. And then there is Shane west who is now famous for the movie a walk to remember as well as the popular TV show Nikita. and lastly my favorite Jeremy Garrett who played as the boyfriend of Liza Wakefield in sweet valley high. This is has got to be my favorite episode just because of all the hot actors. I am so happy they got successful starting out with Buffy the vampire slayer.

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3 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

some thoughts on vampires, drugs and blood-sucking

Author: lumlan from Sweden
3 January 2008

//Also, I think that this may be the only time that we see a vampire tasting drugs in someone's system. Why is that never mentioned again? Is Angelus tasting the monster-y fish thing that's about to emerge or the steroids themselves? If vampire's can really taste drugs, then it's a shame Spike doesn't test Buffy like that when she thinks that she's in a mental institution in season six's "Normal Again." Or when Riley's all pumped full of super-pills in season four's "The 'I' In Team." Just a thought.//

Actually, in "School Hard" Spike bragged that he'd been at Woodstock and fed of a flower person, and then spent the next six hours watching his hand move. Hm. This doesn't tell us if he TASTED the drugs or if he merely got affected by them. Perhaps it wasn't the taste of drugs that made Angelus spit out the blood, because, you know, maybe these swimmer boys had changed so much from the "drugs" that they no longer had human blood. Human blood, fish blood, pig blood... big difference.

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