Mr Chase går på fisketur:
32. Go Fish
You just know that Joss is going to set you up with something grand and terrible in the season finale when he lets an episode like this slip by right before the great upheaval. This is a light hearted "Buffy" take on The Creature from the Black Lagoon with the Sunnydale High swim team metamorphosing into fish-like thingies. I for one found it quite entertaining in all its silliness. And the take on the Xander/Cordelia relationship also helped.
Otherwise it was a little preachy. The anti-steroid as well as the anti-sexist messages was a bit too obvious. The viewers aren't stupid. You don't have to hit us over the head with it. And if I'm going to hear the word "team player" or "school spirit" one more time I'm snapping! Really, I mean it! Okay, I've always had a thing against jocks getting their slacks cut, ever since the crucifixions, but principal Snyder and the swim coach ranting about it was too blatant. We get the message! Yadah, yadah, yadah...
Still, what makes it enjoyable nonetheless is its high saturation rate of one-liners and witty exchanges. Like this one:
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 D's."
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?"
And not to forget this one:
Willow: "So, we're looking for a beastie."
Giles: "That, uh, eats humans whole... except for the skin."
Buffy: "This doesn't make any sense."
Xander: "Yeah. The skin's the best part."
Buffy: "Any demons with high cholesterol?"
It is good to see our characters not brooding about impending doom or the loss of loved ones for once. But you just *know* that there is something nasty lurking just around the corner. In fact, we hear that Angelus is recruiting. Recruiting for what exactly? Anyhow, he didn't like the fishboy's blood.
Willow the Inquisitor was fun ("I'll crack him like an egg"; "The trick is not to leave any marks"). She sure has a mean streak in her. Keep it up, Will!
For relationshippers this episode is a small gem for those of us cheering for the improbable but nevertheless so very right pair of Xander and Cordelia. They have passed the hormonal phase by now but continue to make cute snipes at each other. But the antagonism is gone and by looks and body language you can tell that they do it just to tease each other.
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. And thank you *so* much for your support!"
The look on Cordy's face when she saw the Xand-man in his Speedo's was priceless. As was the other girls', by the way. It said "salty (or rather chlorine) goodness". Hm, liked what you saw, Cor?
Cordelia (dreamingly): "I'm dating a swimmer from the Sunnydale swim team!"
Buffy: "You can die happy."
Cordelia's carefully maintained mask actually slips when she sees a fishboy in the pool and thinks it is Xander.
Cordelia: "It's me, Cordelia? I know you can't answer me, but... God, this is all my fault. You joined the swim team to impress me. You were so courageous. And you looked really hot in those Speedo's. 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."
That is just so sweet of her and I believe that she really meant it too. I sure hope Xander heard at least some parts of it as he came back from behind. She sure lets us, and hopefully Xander, know that she cares a whole lot more that she normally shows. This is the real Cordy and don't we love her for it!
Some nitpicks. We now get to learn that Sunnydale has a beach. For a small town it sure is quite big. Plus an airport, a harbour, at least one university college and 43 churches -- how small can it be? And where is it located?
And Willow teaching computer class, giving grades? Come on, I'm fairly sure that is a big no-no to let a high school kid do that even if recruiting substitute teachers (or any teachers for that matter) is a bit hard at Sunnydale High, as this little exchange in the beginning between Cordelia and Willow illustrates:
Cordelia: "It's about time our school excelled at something."
Willow: "Hmm. You're forgetting our high mortality rate."
More amusing lines includes these ones from Buffy:
Buffy: "And raise the possibility that someone brought forth this sea monster from whence it came to exact that revenge. 'From whence it came'? I'm spending *way* too much time around you."
Buffy: "I think we'd better find the rest of the swim team and lock them up before they get in touch with their inner halibut."
Buffy (after being thrown in the "fish tank" by the coach): "Great. This is just what my reputation needs -- that I did it with the entire swim team."
Rupert Giles: "I'll be back in the Middle Ages."
Miss Calendar: "Did you ever leave?"