H2O: Just Add Water 1×09: Dangerous Waters

Rikki doesn’t get many episodes mostly to herself in the first season. It’s felt like most episodes prior were about Emma or Cleo.

I’d expect nothing more than for the first Rikki-centric episode to be full of her hot-headedness and loads of risk…which is exactly what this episode is. 💁‍♀️

You can watch H2O for free on YouTube. I also embed the full-length episodes on each episode’s recap before the spoiler alert.

SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT! This is a recap of H2O, episode 9 of season one, “Dangerous Waters”. The show is no longer active; proceed at your own discretion.


In her room, Cleo mourns the death of her old fish, Pluto. Emma consoles her. Rikki doesn’t understand how Pluto could be a “good fish”, because Pluto was just a fish.

Emma sits next to Cleo on the bed to console her, while Rikki sits on the bean bag

Emma scolds Rikki for her insensitivity. Cleo puts a lot of time into her fish and really loves them. Rikki points out the short memory span of fish. Emma challenges her to name the fish’s name, and Rikki can’t.

Cleo returns from the bathroom after crying; Rikki leaves.

On the dock in Cleo’s backyard, she asks Emma if they should wait for Rikki. Emma recommends they go ahead and start the funeral. Cleo’s holding a colorful striped box containing Pluto.

Cleo holds Pluto out over the water; Emma stands next to her

Cleo thanks Pluto for being a great companion and confidant, then drops him into the ocean. She’s surprised that he floats.

Rikki interrupts their moment of silence for Pluto with a goldfish for Cleo. Cleo thanks Rikki for the fish and walks away, without taking the goldfish. Emma explains that Cleo collects saltwater fish, not freshwater fish.

Other people’s feelings

In her room, Cleo talks to her clownfish in their tank about missing Pluto. Rikki apologizes after she’s invited in. Cleo understands, as she knows Rikki’s not good with the empathy thing.

Cleo’s not complaining, though; she thinks she worries too much about other people’s feelings sometimes. She knows Rikki means well and confirms it with her fish.

Rikki says something sarcastic, and Cleo points out her behavior.

Rare specimen

Rikki swims to where multiple schools of fish are swimming about a reef.

Rikki, in her mermaid form in the ocean, smiles at the fish and holds a netted bag

She walks along the docks near boats with the fish in a plastic bag and water. A man whistles at her about the fish and introduces himself as Barry Rawlins. He claims to work at the Marine Park and breed rare fish like the one she has.

He asks if she’ll turn it over to the park, but he declines; he says he would have paid a good price for it.

At Cleo’s, Rikki’s fish is swimming in Cleo’s tank. Cleo thinks he’s cool and describes him as “quieter than Pluto”. 

Cleo sitting in a red bean bag, Lewis and Emma sitting on the bed, and Rikki sitting in the deck chair backwards, all of them looking at the fish tank

Lewis points out how rare a specimen the fish is. Cleo says you can only get these fish from licensed breeders. 👀

Rikki shares that she was able to afford him with the new job she got.

As a mermaid, Rikki fishes for more fish to sell to Barry. She brings him a cooler of rare fish. He picks one up that looks like Dori. He flirts with her and asks where she got it; he just wants to know it’s not from an endangered habitat.

Rikki holds a bag of rare fish and takes money Barry hands her

He says the Marine Park is serious about their breeding program and has a healthy budget for it. He’d be interested in more. He offers to help her obtain the fish if she needs it, to avoid getting hurt. She declines.

Like the look

At Emma’s, Rikki shows off her new outfit. She invites Emma and Cleo to engage in some “retail research”, and so cue the shopping montage until they collapse on some benches.

Emma and Cleo lean on Rikki, while they all sit on a bench with their shopping bags

At the JuiceNet Cafe, Rikki talks about their next shopping trip. Cleo needs a rest first. Rikki offers to treat them to drinks.

Cleo admires Wilfred’s fish. Rikki recognizes them as fish she caught and sold herself.

Rikki and Cleo look at Wilfred's fish

Wilfred bought them from a guy selling them down at the marina, paying half the price breeders charge.

Cleo calls her job; there’s no Barry Rawlins at the Marine Park. The girls are distraught. ‘Twas a casual arrangement, so there’s no way to contact him. Emma reconsiders wearing the clothes, but Rikki says she bought them clothes with good money — the clothes aren’t stolen.

Sort this out

Emma, Rikki, Cleo and Lewis chat in Cleo's kitchen near the bar/counter area

At Cleo’s, Lewis goes through every B. Rawlins in the phonebook. The only Barry is an old man. Emma chides Rikki for her choices.

In Cleo’s room, Emma taunts and shames Rikki for unknowingly selling wild fish to a random guy at the pier — something that’s illegal. Rikki reminds Emma and Cleo that they were happy enough to let Rikki spend so much on them.

Rikki didn’t think anything was sus about the guy she was selling fish to. Emma shames her further, to which Rikki responds that not everyone has her “vast underworld experience”.

As Rikki is leaving, Emma apologizes. To Rikki, this isn’t about the money, but about how he took advantage of her naivete. She leaves to do something about “Barry” and his fish smuggling business herself, since going to the police requires a lot of evidence that they don’t have.

Emma and Cleo decide to call the police anyway. Lewis stops them, explaining that the police will ask how Rikki came by the wild fish she sold them without revealing her secret.

They briefly reconsider, thinking about how rash Rikki is sometimes.

Boring business details

Rikki finds Barry at his boat, where she confronts him about selling the fish to pet shops. He says she’s made more than flipping burgers.

He calls her sweetheart and saying he’s not raising her cut. She doesn’t care about the money and isn’t his sweetheart; in fact, Rikki wants absolutely nothing more to do with him.

Emma and Cleo and running towards the marina and stay back to watch from afar. Cleo insists they go after her, but Emma insists they wait and trust Rikki to do the right thing — contact the police.

Barry leaves on the boat. Rikki follows him as a mermaid, in the water. Emma and Cleo also follow via the water.

Cleo and Emma, as mermaids, underwater. Emma points and Cleo nods

Rikki sneaks open the door to the area she saw “Barry” go into. A man walks up behind her.

Rikki’s sat down in a chair and interrogated. “Barry” has invested way too much money into his fish smuggling biz to let a “dopey kid” like her ruin it. She jokes about having told Greenpeace.

Emma and Cleo arrive at the dock near where Rikki’s held hostage.

“Barry” wants to know where Rikki found the fish. She warns him not to call her “sweetheart” again. She spots a water dispenser and smirks. She causes it to boil and bubble, and asks about accident insurance.

“Terrible if one of you were to get, I don’t know, scalded.” ~Rikki

The water continues bubbling; the ceiling pipes squeak. She warns of an accident waiting to happen. Rikki causes the water dispenser to explode and the pipes to burst. One guy is scalded by the water.

Emma and Cleo run towards the building Rikki’s in. They witness the dude who got scalded run out screaming. Emma phones Lewis.

A guy apprehends Rikki as she’s leaving the building. Cleo uses her power to force water up to his knees, and Emma freezes it. The man falls over.

Barry’s girlfriend rushes to leave and cautiously walks by Rikki; she freaks out when Rikki squeaks, “Boo!”

Cleo uses her hydrokinesis to power the hose. The girlfriend trips and falls against some empty barrels on a tarp. Emma notices Rikki has disappeared.

Barry is undocking his boat as Rikki walks up. He tells her to stay away as he backs up until he falls in the water. Rikki uses her power to boil the water around him.

Rikki and Emma stand on each side of Rikki, who has her right hand in a tight fist stretched out and away from her body

Cleo and Emma talk her down, convincing her to stop. Anything more Rikki does to Barry will be because she wants to hurt him, and that’s not who she is.

Police sirens sound off in the background; the girls leave.

Hot Stuff

Back at Cleo’s, they talk about the incident. Lewis called the police, because he knew the contents of the warehouse would be more than enough proof.

Emma doesn’t want to make a habit of events like this.

Cleo notes how peaceful fish are, even though people think they’re not intelligent. She’s decided to name her new fish after Rikki — “Hot Stuff”.

My thoughts

Once again, an older person being inappropriate with a minor. 🥴 I have no idea why plots like these were so popular way back when.

Emma chiding Rikki for making a mistake irked me, but let’s dive deeper: This entire episode, with Emma’s behavior, made the differences in perceived life experience between she and Rikki stand out so much.

If I recall correctly, we don’t see her home or family until the second season. 👀 Until then. 🧜‍♀️

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