scared Buffy

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Title: Buffy S2.E19 “I Only Have Eyes For You” + S2.E20 “Go Fish”
Released: 1998

Drinks Taken: 22
Vamps Dusted: 0

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, Angelus quit being all talk and took down poor Ms. Calendar for trying to restore his soul (and just to be a dick, truthfully), and Buffy defeated a truly murderous case of the flu. This week, Hellmouth High experiences some ghostly shenanigans and Xander takes up a new sport.

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Two Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Cordelia says something cutting but true
Buffy and Angel share a romantic moment
Principal Snyder hates on students
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Drusilla says something nutty
Spike has mad swagger

Drink twice every time:

We see the entrance to Sunnydale High
We see a scene from the credits
Giles cleans his glasses
Jonathan appears in a scene
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house

Hope you’re ready to get your spooky Halloween on a couple of weeks late!

Buffy walking down the hall, with Angelus stalking behind her

2.19 “I Only Have Eyes For You”

We open to a sad emo ballad playing at the Bronze, while Buffy watches the swaying couples dance from upstairs. A nice guy named Ben comes up and reminds her that they had math together last year and wonders if she’d maybe like to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. She tries to let him down nicely, due to the fact that she’s not seeing anyone – ever again. Can’t really blame her on that one. Buffy tells Willow she’s going to stop by the library to see if Giles wants her to patrol, then head home. Willow observes Buffy has been doing a lot of that lately and that maybe it’s time for her to do something impulsive. But Buffy worries the last time she did that, her boyfriend became a demon, so…

We cut to two teens having a break-up fight in the school hallway. There’s lots of angsty yelling and crying. The guy demands that she admit she doesn’t love him anymore, and when she does, he pulls a gun on her. Buffy interrupts before he can pull the trigger. After she attacks him, he seems to be confused about what even happened. The girlfriend confirms that they hadn’t even been fighting a few minutes before and they don’t know how it escalated. When Buffy wants to know why he had a gun then, the janitor points out that he doesn’t see a gun. It has disappeared! The next morning, Principal Snyder calls Buffy in to lecture her for inciting mayhem, chaos, and disorder yet again, and he vows to figure out how the incident was all her fault. (P.S. Dibs on the Mayhem, Chaos, and Disorder band name.) While Buffy is waiting for Snyder to come back from disciplining the vegan student who’s chained himself to the snack machine again (keep hope alive, Billy!), a Sunnydale High yearbook from 1955 falls off the shelf in his office.

Willow is still teaching Ms. Calendar’s computer class because I guess they can’t even get substitutes on the Hellmouth. Giles stops by to see if she needs any help, but after seeing her wrap-up class, admits that she seems to have things under control. Willow tells him that Ms. Calendar left good lesson plans on her computer, and Willow also found all sorts of cool sites on paganism and magic. She sweetly passes on a rose quartz that she found in the drawer, thinking that Jenny would want Giles to have it. He’s obviously still pretty emotional.

Buffy is nodding off in history class when she wakes up in the same classroom where it’s suddenly the 50’s. The class clears out, and there’s just a student in a letterman jacket who stops to talk to his pretty teacher, about a book she lent him, but there’s obviously something going on between the two of them. Buffy wakes up in the present, where the teacher has unwittingly written “DON’T WALK AWAY FROM ME, BITCH” on the chalkboard, the same thing the boy said to his girlfriend in the hallway the night before. Buffy tells Xander later there’s something weird going on, which he thinks just sounds like their school motto. As he claims to not be trying to downplay her wiggins, a monster arm reaches out of his locker and tries to pull him in. Totally normal Hellmouth haps. Giles diagnoses the paranormal phenomenon as a poltergeist and the only way to get rid of it is to help it work out its unresolved issues.

That night Ms. Frank, another teacher, converses with George, the janitor, on her way out, when they both get possessed and start acting out the same angsty break-up scene, and we see the gun appear in his hand. In his office, Giles overhears the end of the argument. Thinking the ghostly visitations must be Jenny, he comes out just in time to see the janitor shoot Ms. Frank, who falls over the balcony to her death. George doesn’t seem to know what happened.

Oh hey, Angelus is still here! He takes Drusilla and Spike on a tour of the new abandoned mansion he’s picked out for them, complete with a courtyard garden. Spike points out it’ll be lovely when they want the sun to kill them. Angelus makes a bunch of inappropriate wheelchair jokes, while also being inappropriately up in Dru’s personal space. Spike seems to mind, she does not.

Angelus rubs a flower across Drusilla's face

Ick, you two.

Giles tells the gang what happened the night before, and that the gun again disappeared. Giles is convinced this is all Jenny because she died there, under traumatic circumstances, and can’t rest. Willow reasonably wants to know how the gun factors in, but Giles dismisses it as insignificant. They try to convince him that the scene appears to be a specific pattern, but he just can’t see reason on this one. Away from Giles, Willow does some internet sleuthing and discovers a senior killed his teacher on the night of the Sadie Hawkins dance in 1955. They were having an affair and when she broke it off, he shot her, and then went into the music room and shot himself. From the newspaper photos, we see it’s the couple from Buffy’s daydream, James and Grace Newman. Buffy is pretty unsympathetic about the tragic couple, and especially about the unfinished business of ghostly James.

In the cafeteria, as Cordelia is railing about the insanity of the Sadie Hawkins tradition requiring the girls to ask the boys, everyone’s lunch turns into slithering angry snakes. Okay, that might actually be worse than spaghetti surprise. In the chaotic aftermath outside, Snyder discusses with a city official which excuse they’re going to use this time. They decide on backed up sewer line before Snyder warns him that he’ll do what he can, but the Hellmouth situation is getting out of control. The official tells Snyder if he can’t handle the job, he can take it up with the mayor. Based on Snyder’s reaction, that is something he will definitely try to avoid.

The Scooby Gang regroups in Buffy’s room and Willow announces there’s only one solution to the problem. Xander guess that she means nuking the school, which he’s fine with. Interesting idea, Xander. Keep that one on the backburner! Willow’s plan is actually exorcism. “Are you crazy? I saw that movie, even the priest died!” I mean, Cordelia isn’t wrong. They make a plan, based on Willow’s ritual, to be at different locations in the school at midnight. Buffy opts for the hot spot where all the action has happened. As soon as they enter the school, all the doors slam shut.

At their new mansion, Drusilla is making plans to bury herself in the garden to sleep, when she has one of her wacky visions. She tells Angel that it’s time, a gate has opened to darkness, and it wants the slayer. She says the slayer is waiting for him, and dancing with death. Spike taunts Angel that he’s all talk about killing the slayer. And Angelus taunts Spike with really gross insinuations about Dru.

Willow encounters Giles in the library. He’s trying to contact Jenny’s spirit and advises her to run along. She humors him, and goes about her ritual. The gang all start to experience creepy phenomena in their designated locations. Cordelia’s stationed in the bathroom and gets distracted by the snakebite on her cheek, courtesy of lunch from Hell. As she goes to fix her makeup, the mirror shows half of her face now covered in burn scars. Buffy moves into position in the hallway, which has been transported into a 1950’s school dance. She looks through a classroom window and sees James and Ms. Newman dancing. When the couple turns, she sees that James now looks like a gross rotted corpse. Xander goes to the cafeteria, which is still covered in snakes, and we really don’t give him enough credit. Because no way in hell would I take that spot. Willow is on the stairwell when it starts sucking her into a bad cgi pit. She screams for Giles, who comes to pull her out just in time. Willow tells Giles that Jenny could never be this mean, and he finally has to admit that it’s not her.

On the balcony, Buffy has a vision of the night James shot Grace, and then the corpse James screams at her to “get out!” At midnight, the gang lights candles at their locations and begins reciting the evil banishing ritual. All the candles go out and a swarm of wasps chases them out of the school and surrounds the entrance. Regrouping at Buffy’s house once again, Giles says that based on the parallels, it seems that James’ spirit is responsible for all of this. And it’s common for spirits to recreate a tragedy, in an attempt to resolve something. Buffy is sure that he wants forgiveness. Giles thinks she may be right, and that reliving this moment over and over again, is a form of purgatory for James instead. Buffy thinks this is well and good because James doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Cordelia has rightly figured out that Buffy might be over-identifying a bit here. (Drink!) In the kitchen, Buffy finds a flyer for the 1955 Sadie Hawkins dance, and a ghostly voice whispers “I need you” and she heads out the door like a dummy. While Giles determines they need to figure out how and if this thing can be defeated, Buffy walks towards the school, with the wasps conveniently parting to allow her access.

Once the gang figures out where Buffy has gone, they gather outside the wasp zone. Giles thinks Buffy is under the spirits thrall. Willow is worried that if Buffy went in there to reenact James and Grace’s last moments again, she’s going to get shot. But Giles says if the school is deserted and there’s no man inside for James to possess, then Buffy should be safe. Buffy walks down the hallway in a trance, when a snarky Angelus appears with a fun fact about wasps not being interested in stinging dead people. She begins enacting James and Grace’s last moments. Angelus is responding to her in his usual asshole way until he gets closer to her when he gets pulled into the spirit’s argument. He says that he just wants her to have a normal life, but she doesn’t give a damn about a normal life, which is when we realize that Buffy is the one possessed by James, and Angelus is Grace. The scene is juxtaposed with the other actors, and this break-up is made more tragic by the fact that we never got to see Buffy and Angel have one. We now see that Grace tried to defuse the situation, and he shot her while gesturing with the gun, not intentionally. Buffy shoots Angel and heads to the music room to finish the reenactment. But this time, the person who was shot and fell off a balcony was a vampire who can shake it off, and Grace, acting through Angel can offer love and forgiveness, and stop James from killing himself this time. When he does, they kiss, and the ghosts ascend. When they come to, a freaked Angelus runs away. In the aftermath, Giles checks on Buffy, who’s brooding in his office. She said James picked her because he was so sad and she must have been the one he could relate to. Buffy still doesn’t quite understand why Grace would forgive James. They decide it doesn’t really matter.

Angelus is in a snit over being “violated by love” and insists that he needs a really vile kill before sunup to cleanse the palate. Dru promises him a toddler and they head out, but having to travel light, ditch the wheelchair-bound Spike at the mansion. After they leave, we see Spike stand up and kick the chair away, obviously not still as injured as he’s been leading them to believe.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

14

Vamps Dusted

0

Giles For Life

“Yes, well, I, uh, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. I, in fact I… well, I encourage you to, to always, uh, challenge me, uh, when you feel it’s appropriate. You should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, when I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong.”

Damn, Giles coming in with the hard lessons this week.

Cameos

actress Meredith Salenger as Grace Newman

Meredith Salenger as Grace Newman. Also known as Natty Gann, or Mrs. Patton Oswalt, she does some heavy lifting here for just a guest star of the week role. Her scenes, juxtaposed with David Boreanaz’s, definitely don’t do him any favors. Per Wikipedia, this was the episode that convinced Joss Whedon that Boreanaz could carry his own series. Oookay.

No Alt Text Provided
GIF via scoobygangs

Angel (as Grace Newman’s ghost): It doesn’t matter what I feel.
actor John Hawkes as the janitor

And we have John Hawkes as George the janitor. Again, some excellent and intense scene work in the break-up reenactment. Given how good he is here, it should come as no surprise that he went on to become a legit character actor in award-winning movies, as well as the beloved Sol Star on Deadwood.

Shirtless Xander with goggles around his neck

2.20 “Go Fish”

Xander, Cordelia, and Willow are standing around a bonfire at a beach party, celebrating the Sunnydale swim team’s victory. One can only assume the Bronze must have burned down. Xander is whining about the cold and complaining about the swim team not deserving to be popular just for winning at something. Buffy is sitting alone by the water, being her current mopey loner self. One of the swim team guys, Cameron Walker, comes over to hit on Buffy, spouting some of the most ridiculous wannabe literary wank crap about the vastness of the ocean. Then he tells Buffy that he wants to hang out with her, but no pressure, he just enjoys being around her. Except, of course, we’ve never seen this dude hang around Buffy ever. They hear someone screaming for help, and Buffy goes to rescue Jonathan (drink!) from being dunked in the beer trough. He’s less than grateful for the assist. Dodd, the swim team member who’d been dunking Jonathan, walks off to the beach, complaining about how Buffy gives him the creeps when he sees something in the ocean that transfixes him. He walks towards it and shortly thereafter, we hear a ripping sound, and see a pile of steaming Dodd flesh on the beach, and a merman-looking monster walking off towards the sewer. And this is why I stay away from team sports.

Willow is still teaching the computer class and admonishes Gage (a hot swim team member) for playing solitaire instead of working on his pie chart. But she has no authority here, which is why students shouldn’t teach classes. Snyder comes by as class is ending and congratulates Gage on the swim team win. Gage scoffs. He seems fun. Snyder tells Willow they’re having trouble finding a competent teacher this late in the term and asks if she can continue “subbing”. She’s delighted because she likes teaching. The school should be delighted, too, considering how much money they’re saving by not having to pay a real teacher. Then Snyder bullies Willow into helping Gage pass the class, despite the fact that he doesn’t turn in homework or show up for tests, since the swim team is on the brink of winning a state championship. Xander is appalled when Willow tells them. But to Cordy this sounds like the normal workings of the world. Xander wishes Buffy were there to share his moral outrage about the swim team getting special perks, but he observes she’s too busy being one of them. Gross, Xander. Get over it already.

Cameron drives Buffy to school, still rhapsodizing about having conversations with the ocean. UGH. He is not hot enough to put up with this, Buff. Immediately after telling Buffy again that he’s not putting on any pressure, he asks if she’s wearing a bra. When she decides that’s her cue to get the hell out of his car, he locks the doors. When he reaches for her, Buffy slams his head into the wheel, managing to honk his horn and break his nose at the same time. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, Snyder just happens to be walking by at the same time. In the office, Buffy lets him know she wasn’t the attacker, she was the attacked. But Cameron claims she led him on. “Just look at the way she dresses.” I wish Buffy could slam his face into a wheel again. Coach Marin comes in and assures a worried Snyder that Cameron’s nose isn’t broken. Cool x-ray vision, Coach. The Coach instructs nurse “Ruthie” to take care of his boys, which she always does, and tells Buffy to dress more appropriately because this isn’t a dance club. BURN IT ALL DOWN.  She goes to the library to tell the gang about the injustice of it all, but they’re too buried in research, now that Dodd’s eviscerated remains have been found on the beach.

Cameron has a steam and a shower, then runs into Xander on the way to the cafeteria. They have an ugly exchange, with Xander observing that Buffy must not be on his list of privileges after all. Way to talk about your friend like she’s an object, dude. Cam smells something bad in the cafeteria, which is the same thing that happened on the beach before Dodd went squish. Xander hears the screaming in the hallway and goes to investigate. Not sure I would have bothered, knowing it was Cam. But all he finds is another steaming pile of skinsuit and a merman monster. We don’t see how Xander manages to escape, because the next thing we see is him dictating features to Cordelia who’s apparently their new criminal sketch artist? The monster supposedly went out the window, and Willow and Buffy confirmed that the swim team is now down their two best swimmers, and Gage is number three. They decide that Willow should question Jonathan, who might have the motive to hurt the team, and that Buffy will be on Gage guard duty.

Willow questions Jonathan like a hard-boiled detective. He admits that he tried out for the swim team but didn’t make it because he’s asthmatic and that he was out for revenge. Willow accuses him of then conjuring a hell beast from the ocean’s depths, but no, he just snuck in and peed in the pool. Xander overhears Snyder and the Coach talking about the swim team being short some members and that they’ll be having tryouts so that they can remain eligible for the meet. This gives Xander a terrible idea.

Buffy is the least stealthy secret bodyguard ever and really just comes off like she’s obsessed with Gage. After she stalks him all day, he confronts her at the Bronze and she confesses to being a swim groupie. He doesn’t buy that, and he also doesn’t buy that something is lurking in the darkness killing people off and that he’ll be next. He tells her that Cam told him about her games. Can we kill Cam again? As Gage heads outside complaining about psycho bitches, he’s overheard by Angelus, who just can’t resist stirring the pot. Angelus decides that someone who dislikes Buffy would make an excellent recruit. Buffy hears a scream as she’s exiting the Bronze and whatever Angelus tasted in Gage’s blood is enough to make him spit it out. Buffy whips the stick out of her hair to use it as a stake, but Angelus gets away again. Now that Gage knows there are more monsters in town than that, he asks Buffy to walk him home.

The girls share the Angelus gossip at the swim practice, where Gage can barely do his laps without checking to make sure Buffy is still there.

Willow eats popcorn next to a bemused Buffy who waves
GIF via buffygif

They decide that maybe the swim team is using steroids and that’s what the fish monsters are attracted to. As Cordelia is casting aspersions on Xander’s manhood she becomes distracted by the newest member of the speedo club who turns out to be none other than Xander. He tried out for the swim team and is undercover to watch the swim team when Buffy can’t. With the team in the steam room, Xander ponders what is even the point of sitting around and perspiring without being able to read. This is the most I’ve ever related to Xander. We see creepy merman hands reach up to lift up a floor grate in the locker room. Xander heads home and leaves Gage in the locker room alone, where he smells that terrible stench again. Buffy comes running when she hears Gage’s screams. She thinks it’s because of the monster that’s now there, but it turns out it’s because a monster is about to RIP OUT OF HIS SKIN. Boo! You are way less hot now, Gage. The Coach comes in and hustles Buffy out while the monsters dive back into the floor grate. Buffy’s arm scratch gets patched up by the school nurse and she informs the Coach that his players are now monsters. He admits he had been afraid to ask the players if they were on anything, because he didn’t want to know the answer.

Willow hacks into school medical records and finds Gage and Dodd had conditions and injuries that are symptomatic of steroid abuse. Without much evidence, they leap to the conclusion that the boys could have been drugged by the school nurse. In the meantime, Buffy and Giles head to the sewers with the tranquilizer gun. Considering they find nothing, was this really worth ruining Giles suit and shoes?

Back in the steam room, Xander tries to make annoying conversation and inquires where he can get the steroids. One of the guys informs him he’s already soaking in it via some steam aromatherapy. We were right! Steam rooms suck. Meanwhile, Nurse Greenleigh is telling the Coach that after what’s happened, he has to stop exposing the boys to the drugs. But he’s too intent on having a winning team and doesn’t consider the three boys lost just because they’re monsters. But they are still hungry, so he feeds them the nurse.

Xander is freaking out in the library about being exposed to the steam room three times and potentially becoming a fish guy. Cordelia points out how selfish he’s being because dating the Creature From The Blue Lagoon is even worse for her reputation than dating Xander. Buffy confronts the Coach, demanding to know what’s in the steam. He tells her that after the fall of the Soviet Union, documents came to light about the government’s experiments with fish DNA on their Olympic swimmers, but they couldn’t crack it. But apparently, this swim coach figured the science out, just to have a state championship team. He pulls a gun on her and tells her to get in the sewer monster hole. She sees the nurse’s body float by and asks if he’s gonna feed her to them, too. He says the boys have already had their dinner, but they have “other needs.” This episode is the grossest.

Xander and Cordelia are in the swim gym when he can’t stand wondering if his neck is turning scaly and heads to the locker room mirror. Then out of the locker room comes another monster that dives into the pool. Cordelia assumes it’s Xander, and that it’s all her fault that he joined the swim team to impress her. She promises she still cares about him and that they can even still date. Luckily, it’s not Xander.

Giles puts the remaining swim team members in the library cage so they can keep an eye on them, and Willow tells him that Buffy hasn’t come back yet. We see that she’s still stuck in the sewer hole, with swim team monsters circling. Xander comes in and fights off the Coach long enough so that he can reach down to pull Buffy up. As soon as they’re up, Coach knocks Xander down, but Buffy kicks Coach’s legs out from under him and he falls into the sewer hole, despite her trying to grab for him. She tries to reach down to pull him back up, but the monsters get him first. I love when things work out.

The rest of the swim team gets plasma transfusions together, which Giles is confident will mitigate the monster effects. But animal control was unsuccessful in rounding up the monsters since they’re now headed for the ocean. Hopefully, they get eaten by a nice whale.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

8

Vamps Dusted

0. Whatever happened to vampire-slaying?

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

It’s a team effort.

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?”

Cameos

This is a jam-packed episode.

Actor Wentworth Miller leans against a door frame while talking to Buffy

Hellooo, smokin’ hot Wentworth Miller as Gage. Sorry you had to be in this lame episode. Oh, and sorry about the whole gross monster thing.

actress Conchata Ferrell as Nurse Greenleigh

Hellooo, smokin’ hot Wentworth Miller as Gage. Sorry you had to be in this lame episode. Oh, and sorry about the whole gross monster thing. Conchata Ferrell has appeared in EVERYTHING. You may recognize her from Erin BrokovichTwo and a Half Men (though I’d be judging you for that), Edward Scissorhands, or Mystic Pizza.

Shane West in the steam room scene

Oh hey, Shane West! You’re here, too. Still riding the high of that time you got to be in a movie with Mandy Moore? As you should.

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Honestly, this is probably the best Xander has ever been dressed.


Between rapey innuendo Angelus, and rapey swim team members, and patriarchal sexism, you kinda have to wonder: was the problem 1998, or was the problem Joss? “I Only Have Eyes For You” is widely considered to be a top Buffy episode, which is interesting, considering nothing especially big happens plot-wise. But is “Go Fish” unfairly maligned? Or should we discount both episodes just for their lack of Oz content? Please join us in the comments where I am dying to hear your thoughts and your fave Buffy guest stars!

And you do not want to forget to join us next week, when Meredith will be covering the epic two-part season finale “Becoming, Part 1” and “Becoming, Part 2”.

Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.