"The creature from the blue lagoon was Brooke Shields."
As fate would have it, I now have about two hours before work during which I am sat in a cafe with WiFi and nothing to do. This is my new designated Buffy review time, which means I may actually finish Season 2 by Christmas!
At the same time...I'm so tired, and why does Go Fish even exist?
The episode opens on the Scoobies at a beach party celebrating the swim team's victory, and you're like, who invited Xander and Willow to this? Buffy is, understandably, off on her own staring into the ocean and brooding when a hunky swimmer waxes poetic about the waves and struggling against the current and Buffy, haven't you learned to avoid guys like this?
Wentworth Miller shows up in a horrible turtleneck taking a stroll along the beach and shouting, "Yo DUDE, what's that SMELL!!!"
Turns out this was the smell.
Willow is still subbing for Jenny Calendar--aren't there any substitute teachers in Sunnydale who aren't gigantic preying mantises? Willow adapts to the role well, wandering around and complimenting everyone on their pie charts. I guess I don't understand computer science.
Everyone, that is, but Wentworth Miller (I think his character's name is Gauge? Cage???), who is failing the class and spends his time playing naked lady solitaire. Principal Snyder tells Willow in no uncertain terms that Wentworth will pass the class, which sends Willow into a righteous rage. You go, Willow! A glimmer of a real live personality!
Xander, too, is pissed that Buffy can't share in his moral outrage at swim team perks because she's busy "being one of them." Because that's not reductive. We cut to Buffy on her date with hunky swim boy, who turns out to be a big egotistical bore--and also an attacker! He locks Buffy in the car and tells her, "Look how you dress!" and she breaks his nose. This displeases Principal Snyder, who magically materializes in the middle of Buffy's date.
The Scoobies find out about the eviscerated corpse of one member of the swim team and do some investigating. Xander investigates his way into the school cafeteria, where broken nose boy has been eviscerated by this thing:
They deduce that Wentworth (whose actual character name is Gage Petronzi lol) is probably next on the list, so Buffy keeps on his trail. At school. At The Bronze. In a detective jacket. For some reason, Wentworth finds this creepy and storms out, where he runs into Angelus. Angelus offers to take Buffy off her pedestal because he once made the mistake of being in a relationship with her. Wentworth yells, "My condolences, dude!"
Angelus attacks him, yadda yadda, the important thing we learn is that there's something in Wentworth's blood that repulses Angel--could it be steroids?
The Scoobies get distracted by the new hot bod walking to the pool, which turns out to be XANDER, who joined the swim team to do some investigating from the inside. Ughhhhhhhhhh
My thoughts exactly.
I have almost completely lost interest here. Buffy witnesses the sea demon emerge from Wentworth--they're not dying, they're turning into monsters! Shane West explains that the swim coach pumps steroids into the steam room to make them better swimmers (like, duh!), and hey, giant ocean monsters are probably real good at swimming!
What poor Shane doesn't know is that they are evil magic drugs developed by evil Soviet scientists. Seriously.
Evil swim coach tosses the school nurse into the sewer to feed his swimmers. The school nurse was also featured on forgotten TGIF hit Teen Angel. Don't you wish you were watching Teen Angel right now?
Anyhow, the coach then pushes Buffy into the sewer and says, "They've already had their dinner, but boys have other needs." Ew. I see whoever wrote this episode graduated from the Joss Whedon School of Villains.
She escapes, swim coach gets eaten, Xander rids his body of Soviet drugs, and the episode ends on a shot of the fallen swim team free at last, at home in the ocean, swimming against the current.
LOL. This episode is horrible. It isn't even fit to lick Season 1's shoes. Not only does it totally interrupt the arc of the season right at the dramatic climax, but it's also just downright goofy and only occasionally in the funny sense. Not to mention the inherent grossness in Buffy's attempt to deal with macho misogynist teen boys. This is basically Reptile Boy with steroids rather than roofies. Let us not speak of this episode again.
Favorite moment: Cordelia sees a sea monster swimming in the pool and assumes it's Xander. Melancholy music plays as Cordelia mourns the loss of Xander and says, "I still care about you, no matter what you look like. And we can still date! I'll do anything you want to make your quality of life better, whether that means little bath toys, or..." It's very touching--Xander thinks so, too, when he shows up to tell Cordelia that isn't him.