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Recap / The Magic School Bus S 3 E 8 Goes Upstream

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The Magic School Bus Goes Upstream

Original airdate: November 2nd, 1996
Subject: Salmon Migration
Focus Student(s): Ralphie

Ralphie's put in charge of getting salmon for a fish fry. The class only ends up catching Ms. Frizzle, however, who then turns the bus into a salmon to show the class how these fish migrate. Ralphie's worried when the bus refuses to stop, and tries, with Wanda and Carlos's help, to halt it in its path.



  • And Then What?: Wanda asks Ralphie this after they get the bus in salmon form hooked on a fisherman's line. He admits that he doesn't know, and he can't think.
  • Babies Ever After: Why the salmon migrate: they hatch their eggs in tiny streams, so that the species can live on. The episode notably does not mention that salmon die after the journey and baby making.
  • Call-Back:
    • The bus once again nearly gets eaten several times over.
    • Ralphie learns that nature is full of surprises again, and that salmon don't conform to his judgment.
  • The Cameo: Janet appears at the end to snark about Ralphie offering potato fishes instead of actual salmon.
  • Determinator: Salmon as a species in migrating to the rivers above and eventually laying their eggs to hatch and carry on.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Most of Ralphie's plans to stop the bus. They include attempting You Shall Not Pass!, getting it hooked on a fisherman's line, and building a dam too high for it to jump across.
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  • Fishing for Sole: Played With. The class doesn't catch a boot, per se, while fishing, but they do catch Ms. Frizzle. Ralphie even remarks on it.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: How the episode starts. The class is trying to fish for salmon, unsuccessfully.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Salmon noticeably eat other, smaller fish. The class reacts with a collective, "eeeww".
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Ralphie finally gives up trying to stop the bus after it manages to swim upstream with other salmon, and he only wants to go home at that point.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The class get several:
    • When a shark tries to eat the bus.
    • A seal later follows suit.
    • Also when the bus gets caught on the fishing lure and is thrashing around to escape.
    • When the bus lays them as eggs, and then buries them alive after a male salmon fertilizes them.
  • Never Say "Die": The episode notably leaves out the fact that salmon immediately die after fertilizing their eggs.
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  • Oh, Crap!: Ralphie when he realizes that the salmon-bus doesn't listen to the steering wheel or the gas pedal.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Since it would take too long for the class to grow from salmon hatchlings to juveniles, the bus assists in letting them grow over a matter of seconds rather than weeks.
  • Threatening Shark: One tries to eat the bus, though fortunately it's faster than the larger fish.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: When the bus sees the fishing lure, DA says, "This bus is smart. Maybe it won't take the bait." Guess what happens a few minutes later?
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Ralphie after failing to stop the bus has agreed to give in and simply go home. Ms. Frizzle then adds another CD to the bus's programming, which causes the entire class to be hatched by eggs.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Ralphie, Wanda and Carlos attempt to join hands and form a floating barricade against the salmon-bus. They get scattered because the bus refuses to stop.


Example of: