The Dish: There's something fishy going on with the school swim team.
Oh, athletic achievements. Winning the big game/meet is really as close as one can come to being a god. There should be a national holiday. Well, the Sunnydale High swim team will settle for a party on the beach. Yes, much to Cordelia's sheer admiration and Xander's sarcastic dismay, it looks like the swim team is headed for glory.
While they bicker, Buffy sits alone moping (AGAIN). She's approached by swim jock Cameron and we finally get to see old, flirty Buffy come back. Their sweet moment is short-lived by someone's screams. They run over to investigate to find the rest of the swim-team assholes bullying poor, swim-team reject Jonathan. Buffy stops them and Jonathan stalks off in embarrassment.
Two of the ringleaders, Douchey Dee and Douchey Dumb, aka Dodd and Gage -- were their parents HIGH when they named them? -- walk down the beach licking their wounds. Gage smells something particularly foul -- like douche, perhaps? He looks around and finds Dodd nowhere in sight. Gage goes off looking for him and walks right by Dodd's clothing...and his eviscerated skin.
Back at school, Willow is having the time of her life teaching computer class. Except that Gage refuses to do any work. Principal Snyder stops by and totally doesn't tell Willow to cut Gage the Swim Champ some slack so he can maintain his GPA and stay on the team.
Meanwhile Buffy is happy to be distracted from her Angel woes by riding to school with Cameron, who actually appears to be a nice jock -- I didn't know America made such an animal. Turns out they don't, as America's Next Top Rapist tries to lock Buffy in his car so he can grope her. Bad idea. She stops him by snapping his wrist and slamming his face into the steering wheel, breaking his nose.
This doesn't sit well with Snyder, who is a witness to the event. While Cameron gets patched up by Nurse Greenleigh who 'always takes care of her boys', and I vomit at that sentiment, Buffy gets chewed out by Snyder and Coach Marin for not only not being a 'team player' but for leading Cameron on with her provocative outfit.
Buffy is enraged and vents to the Scoobies at the library but they have bigger fish to fry...teehee. Giles informs them about Dodd's eviscerated remains, stating that Snyder wants to keep it quiet from the students. All signs point to demon, which means Research Party. I'll bring the cocaine!
The Scoobies aren't the only ones staying after hours at the school. Xander bumps into Cameron and his big, ugly, bruised nose. They had just taken a soak in the steam room and are on the way to the cafeteria. As Xander contemplates soda options, he hears Cameron's blood-curdling scream. He runs into the caf to find that Cameron too has been eviscerated and in his place stands a demon that looks like a human/fish hybrid. Xander runs out of the caf in horror.
Back at the library, Xander relays his trauma and after some unnecessary teasing from Cordelia for his less-than-manly reaction, the Scoobies put their Sherlock hats on. They conclude that someone is obviously targeting the swim team as Dodd and Cameron were the best and second best members. That means if there's a hit list on the team, Gage is next as he's number three.
A private investigator Buffy ain't, as she does a horrible job at tailing Gage to keep him safe. Willow, on the other hand, is an interrogatress extraordinaire. The Scoobies suspect someone might be trying to enact revenge on the swim team...someone like the bullied Jonathan. Willow corners him and Jonathan actually pleads guilty to the accusation. Unfortunately he did not enact said revenge by turning to the black arts, but by peeing in the pool.
Meanwhile, Xander overhears Coach Marin confiding in Snyder that he's worried about the championship, with two of his best players missing. Snyder assures the coach that they'll find a new member somewhere, and this gives Xander an idea.
Buffy continues her pathetic stalking attempts at the Bronze until Gage gets so fed up, he confronts Buffy and tells her to leave him alone. He leaves the Bronze in anger and is immediately attacked by Angel. Buffy runs out to save Gage, but apparently didn't need to. Gage's blood tastes funky and Angel tosses the jock aside, spits out the blood and runs off.
So what's with the blood? Buffy suspects steroids, and Willow and Cordelia back up her theory while watching the swim team practice. It would totally explain their behavioural changes and their recent winning streak. The conversation is cut short when Xander shows up...as the latest member of the swim team, showing off his own member in a Speedo. Cordelia's eyes turn into little hearts at her man's new jock status (and his rocking bod). Xander tells the girls that he joined the team to go undercover and keep an eye on Gage when Buffy can't.
Like in the steam room. After the soak, Xander leaves Gage to contemplate the challenge of tying his shoelaces. Xander gives the A-Okay to Buffy who waits for Gage outside the locker room. She hears him scream and runs in to witness Gage's skin tear apart and fall off his body. Gage turns into the same fish demon as Dodd and Cameron and attacks Buffy. Coach Marin shows up and saves her, as 'Gage' slips into the drain.
Nurse Greenleigh patches Buffy up while Coach Marin plays dumb about the steroids. Yeah, right. Willow does someone online digging and finds out that all the swim team members turned fishies were treated for various steroid-related symptoms by Nurse Greenleigh. Xander agrees to do some detective work and finds out where the members are getting the roids/how they're taking it. He asks the boys at the next steam room session and a member named Sean informs him they're taking them right now. Yep, the roids are in the steam.
Did anyone really believe that Coach Marin and Nurse Greenleigh were innocent? Because they are fifty shades of not. The good nurse implores the coach to stop his dastardly plan before more boys turn into monsters. Coach Logic accuses her of not being a team player and throws her down a sewer grate -- which is conveniently in his office -- sacrificing her to the demons as dinner.
Moments later, Buffy arrives to interrogate the coach. This time however, Coach Marin takes the opportunity for one of the those scenes where the bad guy sits the hero down and, over a nice pot of English breakfast tea, lays out his entire scheme. Apparently back in the day, the Soviet Union treated their Olympic swimmers to experiments with fish DNA in order to create the perfect team. No scientist could ever duplicate it, but this ordinary swim coach somehow figured it out...and hence why, one by one, the boys are turning into demons. Of course, Buffy now knows too much so Coach Marin pulls a gun on her, forcing her into the sewer so she can be a sex slave for the demons. Yes, you are reading this correctly.
Meanwhile, Giles locks up all the other players in the library kink cage, to keep them safe. Tickets to that, please. All the players except Sean, who Xander and Cordelia discover fishified in the pool. Xander grows worried when Buffy hasn't returned from her visit to the coach.
So Xander goes to investigate and walks in on Coach Marin with his gun in his hand. Thank god I mean his literal gun. Xander wrestles it out of the coach's hands and pulls Buffy out of the sewer. Coach Marin recovers and attacks them. The teens dodge the coach who falls headlong into the sewer and is immediately attacked by his former team members.
All is well once again. Xander and the rest of the team are being treated for their steroids exposure, Buffy was saved from becoming a fishy sex toy, and the fish-demons can find peace in the ocean. Say hi to Nemo for me.
* In many ways, this episode was a lot of fun. It harkens back to Season One, where the characters would experience a high school issue, like the need for a team to win, but with a Hellmouth twist. Angel even reprised his role as the hot vamp who lurks in the shadows and does little more than provide some key bit of information. The whole detective work aspect of the episode was a ball, especially Willow with her glee at interrogating Jonathan. However, these contained episodes really depend on the creature-of-the-week to make them great and this one kind of drops the ball. I just don't buy Coach Marin as a mastermind. Do you seriously expect me to believe that nobody at ALL could figure out these Soviet documents except a fat swim coach? Let's bend reality for a minute and believe that this is plausible. Okay, so doesn't setting his players up to win the championship seem a little small time? I could understand if it was one of the team members because winning the championship could lead to scholarships and a swimming career. But what does Coach Marin have to gain other than a pat on the back? Also, at the end Buffy mentions that the demons are now free to go 'home', meaning the ocean. What was forcing them to stay once they were fishified? Did they want company? Lots of plotholes with this story. I would love it if anyone with an explanation could leave me a comment.
* I was so proud of our Slayer this episode. As much as I loved last week's, I did not want another mopey Buffy but she really came out of her shell and made an effort with Cameron before he showed his true colours. I was tickled pink when she broke his schnoz.
* However I was quite disappointed in the Scoobies for their small reaction to Cameron's behaviour. Even if one of my friends was the Slayer I would still be livid that this predator would try anything like that. Demon on your hands or not, this is serious. Bad form, guys, bad form.
* Angel's reaction to the steroids-contaminated blood raises some thought-provoking questions. Can vampires taste all blood contaminants/diseases? Would they be able to taste AIDs in someone's blood and would its taste be affected? Do vampires have blood preference type, as in 'oh I ate a delicious diner waitress the other night...O positive, yum'? Again, anyone with insight please leave me a comment.
* A word to all sports coaches, like the deceased Coach Marin: There is no such thing as giving 110%. That is both mathematically and physically impossible. Believing otherwise makes you an idiot.
* Speaking of Coach Marin...Okay, so he gives Buffy to the fish-demons to satisfy their sexual needs. However, Buffy gets saved and Coach Marin is the one to get trapped with the demons. It has been established that they are full from feeding off the nurse, so when they attack Coach Marin are they doing it for...sexual purposes?
* If so, the demons and I have opposite tastes in men. I much prefer jock-hating nerds in Speedos. That's right, the nearly naked Xander takes the crown from long-time champion Buffy and becomes this weeks Fashion Slayer. If only he didn't dive into a pool laced with Jonathan-pee.
That will be all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Confused about the demons? Proud of Buffy? Really, really like the idea of free speech but think '110%' should still be banned? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.