November 28, 2014
Summary: Post-elevator hookup, Griffin has gone to Julia’s dorm room for more hooking up. She wants him to skip work for even more of the same, but he can’t. He also can’t hang out with her that night because he has plans with some co-workers. Julia’s like, “This reunion with a person I had a bad relationship with isn’t going as perfectly as I expected it to.” Griffin doesn’t seem to think this is a good idea.
At the restaurant, Lauren would like to address the sexual tension she felt between her and Bailey. She thinks he’s been avoiding her since the blackout. He denies that he is, and that there’s any reason to avoid her in the first place. Charlie needs a sitter so he can go on a date with his vice principal, a concept that Claudia finds ridiculous – he can’t date his boss. Also, he should be dating Kirsten anyway. Charlie notes that Claudia’s not the only person to tell him that. He tells her what Paul said, and Claudia backs him up. They need to express their feelings for each other.
Bailey meets with Owen’s teacher, who’s concerned that a drawing he made of his family seems sad. She thinks it’s because of the change in his living arrangements. “He needs to know who his family is,” she says. Julia meets Claudia at her school, and Claudia can tell from Julia’s good mood that she’s met someone. Julia admits that she and Griffin are back together. Claudia doesn’t think that they necessarily make sense now just because they did in the past. (Wait, they did?) Claudia’s going to pretend to be supportive, though.
Charlie finds an excuse to visit Kirsten so he can gauge her feelings for him. She admits that she might not stay in San Francisco, since nothing’s tying her down, and this is a good time for her to travel. Charlie indicates that he thinks she should stay put, but tells her to do what she wants. The Salinger brothers play together at the house, and we get to see Thurber for the first time in years. This is all in case we didn’t get that this is the best place for Owen.
Claudia goes to see Ross in a concert, and afterward she can’t stop herself from telling him about her life. Charlie tells Julia that things are complicated with Kirsten right now, and he’s not sure why he would want to give things another shot if they’re not going to work out. Julia notes that it’s been two years, and they might be ready for something different. Charlie thinks that since Kirsten has been avoiding him for weeks, she doesn’t want to start things up again.
Sarah notices that Owen’s super-happy after having spent the afternoon at the house. She tells Bailey that he misses Claudia and spends an hour on the phone with her every night. She tries to assure Bailey that Owen’s happy with them, but Bailey can’t shake what his teacher said about the move shaking things up for him. Sarah suggests that the three of them move into the house. Bailey objects, wanting to hold on to the independent life he worked so hard for. He wants to give the arrangement more time to work out.
Claudia tells Ross that she doesn’t feel like Julia appreciates how much Griffin does for her. She’s sympathetic toward Griffin for the things he had to go through when he and Julia were married. Ross realizes that Claudia’s in love with Griffin. He can empathize, having loved someone who would never love him back, and he encourages her to put her emotional pain into her music.
Charlie gives Kirsten information on teaching in Tonga for a few months. It’ll combine two things she wanted to do – traveling and teaching. She’s surprised that, after he noted that she hadn’t been around, he’s encouraging her to be around even less. Kirsten wonders what he wants. Charlie says he’s just trying to be a friend, and is surprised that she’s not more excited about this opportunity.
At the restaurant, Julia notices that Bailey’s a little flustered (it’s totally because of Lauren). Bailey’s surprised that his sister is there to have dinner with Griffin. Griffin actually has no plans to be there, and ignores the message Julia leaves him. Charlie goes by the loft, and Owen asks both of his brothers to read him a bedtime story. After he falls asleep, Charlie and Bailey mention how happy he is when they’re all together. Charlie’s on board with Sarah’s idea about them moving back in.
Julia goes to Griffin’s garage to confront him for missing their date. He doesn’t make any excuses, telling her that he thinks they made a mistake. He doesn’t need more than the week they’ve been back together to realize that it’s not going to work. Bailey spent the night thinking about the Salingers’ living arrangements, and he tells Sarah that after he’s done so much for Owen, he can’t avoid doing something else that would be good for him. They’ll move back into the house.
Kirsten applies for the teaching job in Tonga, and Charlie is asked to give a reference. He learns that the job isn’t just for a few months – it’s closer to two years. He knows that Kirsten wants to finish her graduate degree. He reveals that she hasn’t finished her thesis, and her divorce isn’t final. These might be two strikes against Kirsten getting the job.
Bailey confides in Lauren that he’s sick of people telling him what he should do. He doesn’t feel like he can complain, because he has everything he wants, but he’d like some time to himself. Lauren’s the only one who makes it easier. She’s like, “Yeah, there’s totally something between us, but we’re not going to talk about it.”
Kirsten goes to the house to yell at Charlie for hurting her chances to get the job after he encouraged her to take it in the first place. Charlie admits that he was being selfish and tells her that he wants her to stay. Once the truth is out, Charlie wants to backtrack, afraid that if they get any closer, he’ll lose a really good friend. Kirsten tries to change his mind by kissing him.
Bailey goes to an AA meeting and talks about how much he wants to give up control, but how afraid he is that it’ll lead him to drink again. He thought that after enough time sober, the urge to lose control would go away, but it hasn’t. Julia laments to Claudia that everyone was right, and she and Griffin were never going to work out. Claudia thinks it’s better that they’re ending things early. Julia’s upset that the person who was there for her even after they broke up is really gone now.
Charlie and Kirsten end up in his bed together, stunned that they ignored their feelings for each other for so long. He wants to take things slowly, like, I think the ship has already sailed on “slowly,” Chuck. Claudia goes to Griffin’s garage to blast him for breaking Julia’s heart. He knows that they love each other, but that doesn’t meant they should be together. He was always afraid of screwing things up, and didn’t realize that it could screw him up. He wants to live his life without worrying about holding up someone else’s.
Bailey, Sarah, and Owen quickly start moving into the house, where Kirsten pretends she spent the night (on the couch, then in Diana’s room) because she lost her keys. Only Owen buys that. Sarah’s clearly unhappy with the new living arrangements, despite them being her idea, and Bailey’s like, “Could you please not act like your favorite pet just died?”
Claudia plays her violin while Julia looks at her divorce papers, accepting that she and Griffin are really done. Charlie goes to see Kirsten, and they’re possibly the only happy people left on the show. Bailey and Lauren are at the restaurant late, and he finally gives in to his urge to lose control. She says he shouldn’t have kissed her, but she doesn’t resist when he goes back for more.
Thoughts: ’90s music alert: “Run” by Collective Soul. Remember Collective Soul, guys?
Hey, it’s Ross! Why wasn’t he at Claudia’s birthday party?
I was starting to think that Claudia should have trapped Charlie and Kirsten in an elevator together to make them talk things out. Thank God that’s over.
Hey, Sarah? I know it sucks, but you were willing to do it, so get on the train or get off the tracks.
Imagine Owen’s family drawings now: “This is my brother and his girlfriend. This is my other brother and his girlfriend. This is my sister. This is my niece. And my other sister and her husband used to live in our shed.”
November 26, 2014
SVU #27, Elizabeth and Todd Forever: Everyone Knows You’re Going to Wind Up Together, So Just Do It Already
Summary: At the end of The Trial of Jessica Wakefield, Todd and Elizabeth kissed, but they haven’t talked about it. They run into each other at some hipster grocery store that I’m sure college students can totally afford, and they chat a little, but Elizabeth doesn’t want to discuss Tom or the fact that they’re pretty much over. They wind up dancing in the parking lot, which is supposed to be romantic but sounds pretty dumb. Todd clearly wants Elizabeth back, and since he and Gin-Yung agreed to see other people while she’s in London for the semester, he doesn’t feel weird about pursuing his ex.
Pretty much the whole book is Todd and Elizabeth hanging out, Todd trying to figure out where they stand, and Elizabeth moping because she and Tom are through. Todd is amazingly patient while Elizabeth cycles between “Todd and I are totally meant for each other” and “maybe I should give Tom another chance.” I don’t think I would have been able to put up with it. Ultimately, she decides to get back together with Todd.
Throughout the book, we check in on Gin-Yung, who’s not having much fun in London. She misses home, she thinks Todd has lost interest in her, and she’s tired all the time. At the end of the book, Gin-Yung comes home early, having received some sort of bad news, and blacks out at the airport.
Jessica is still with Nick, who is hesitant to take her home to meet his parents. She’s furious, thinking that he doesn’t think she’s good enough for his family, but it’s really because his mother is insane. Okay, maybe not insane. Difficult. Annoying. An uber-WASP. Like, imagine Lucille Bluth cranked up to 15. That’s Rhoda Fox. Lila thinks Jessica should be grateful since she once dated a guy whose mother liked her so much that she wanted Lila to marry her son when they’d only been on a few dates. But Jessica can’t stand the idea of someone not loving her.
On her way to meet the Foxes, Jessica gets in a fender-bender with a Lexus. The Lexus driver, also an uber-WASP, is stopped at the end of an off-ramp, which is so stupid I don’t even know where to begin. She screams at Jessica for hitting her, when clearly she’s an idiot for stopping her car there. After a few pages of yelling, the two drivers exchange insurance information. When Jessica gets to the Foxes’ house, she recognizes his mother’s car – she’s the crazy woman from the fender-bender.
Jessica decides there’s no way she can have a civil dinner with that lunatic, so she pretends to be sick and cancels over the phone. Mrs. Fox thinks Jessica’s a ditz for skipping dinner. Jess tries to smooth things over by sending a gift that even a nine-year-old would find saccharine. Lila gives her a horrible idea: Call Mrs. Fox to talk about the accident, use a fake name, win her over, and already have Mrs. Fox on her side when it’s time to meet. This doesn’t work because there is no winning over Mrs. Fox.
Jess cancels the rescheduled dinner, making Mrs. Fox hate her even more. She thinks Nick should date the girl from the fender-bender, because I guess she wants her son to be with a woman who has a temper. I don’t know. Eventually, Jessica has to meet Mrs. Fox face to face, but Jessica’s “spunk” makes Mrs. Fox give her a thumbs up. I really, really don’t get this. Why was this a plot?
Tom spends the book partying and pretending he’s better off without Elizabeth. He spends a lot of time with his father and his younger brother and sister. He’s also a huge jerk to Liz, which makes me so mad that she considers getting back together with him. Really the only important part of his plotline is that he falls for Dana, his sister’s cello teacher, so it looks like he and Elizabeth are really done. Good – he’s a jerk. Good luck, Dana.
Thoughts: “Maybe I should have gone after him…maybe I should have punched him.” That’s our Todd!
Elizabeth has a lingerie drawer? What’s in it, longjohns and flannel nightgowns?
There’s a guy at SVU named Dack. Dack? What kind of name is that?
For once in her life, Jessica doesn’t opt for a twin switch when it might actually work. She could have made Mrs. Fox believe that Elizabeth was the one who hit her car.
Jessica almost jumps out of a car going 60 miles an hour. She’s beyond drama queenery now.
November 23, 2014
Summary: It’s Lame Slow Jam Night at the After Dark – oh, wait, that’s Jasper’s Law performing. David insists that they’re awesome and Noah should let them play there more. He and Valerie agree that giving them a showcase will get them another record deal, since they were dropped from their label. The band wants to play David’s song, but David doesn’t think it’ll impress Noah. Val wonders who inspired the song (we know it was Donna).
Brandon drinks at the bar, still mopey over being dumped by Kelly. Noah tells him to move on already. David finds Mark smoking pot outside and warns him not to screw up his big audition. Mark ignores him, then leaves off to court a DUI. Intern Jeff brings Kelly flowers, which means he’s at the beach apartment when Brandon leaves a message for Kelly. Brandon, take the hint already.
The next day, David’s feeling less confident about Jasper’s Law getting a showcase at the After Dark. Brandon bugs Valerie about doing a restaurant review for the Beverly Beat, which she hasn’t had time to write since she’s so busy doing her community service. She adds that there haven’t been any developments with Kelly and Jeff. David learns that Mark was in a car accident, and now the band’s future is uncertain.
On the set of a photo shoot for her line, Child’s Play, Donna’s tasked with wrangling a temperamental child model. The girl, Sasha, agrees to cooperate if she can have Donna’s bracelets. Donna refuses to hand them over, telling Sasha’s stage mother that they shouldn’t give in to all of her demands. Somehow, the mother refrains from telling Donna to mind her own business and not tell her how to parent.
Janet tells Brandon that Steve isn’t acting like himself – he hasn’t been leering at women since Carly left. Brandon suggests that Steve talk to an old KEG buddy whose fiancée has connections with the Dodgers and might be able to get him an interview with Mike Piazza. Kelly and Jeff give tough love to a patient with Chlamydia. She’s hesitant to tell her boyfriend since she contracted the STD by cheating on him. Valerie overhears Jeff asking Kelly to dinner, and she quickly calls Brandon to invite him to dinner at the same restaurant.
Steve gets his favor from his friend’s fiancée, Christy, then confides that he just broke up with a girlfriend. He’s trying to remind himself that there are lots of other women out there, and they might not have stayed together anyway. Christy takes this as personal advice and decides to ditch her fiancé. Noah won’t give Jasper’s Law a showcase since Mark hurt his arm and can’t play his keyboard. Jasper himself suggests that David fill in for him. Mark reports that he’s suing Noah for letting him be overserved.
Kelly spots Brandon at the restaurant and expresses doubt that they wound up there coincidentally. Sasha’s mother asks Donna to keep her distance since her attitude has negatively affected Sasha. Donna complains to someone on the set that Sasha’s mother isn’t doing a very good job of raising her. Brandon and Valerie run into Christy in their kitchen and think she spent the night with Steve. Brandon and Steve urge her to call him and tell him the wedding’s off. Christy flips out over how perfect everything was, and how it scared her.
David tries to write a song about Valerie but isn’t very inspired. Mark joins him at the Peach Pit and asks David not to tell anyone that he smoked pot before his accident. If he keeps his mouth shut, he has a chance with the band. Kelly and Jeff counsel Chlamydia girl’s boyfriend, who’s understandably mad that she cheated on him. There’s some stuff about breaking trust and winning it back, because everything has to relate back to Kelly.
Donna complains more about Sasha, but it still doesn’t get her anywhere – Sasha’s already been signed as the face of Child’s Play, there’s a lot of money going into everything, and she can’t be replaced. Donna, however, can, because the moneymakers can’t risk her screwing things up. Harry shows up at the Walshes’ looking for Christy, having learned about her freak-out from the maid of honor. Christy begs Brandon to help her escape without Harry seeing her.
David asks Noah some questions about how much the bar serves, and they wonder what they’re supposed to do about customers who might have been overserved. They don’t know whether Mark was drinking before he came to the club. Also, he was the one who chose to drive drunk. David happily says that he hopes Noah gets in a lot of trouble. You stay classy, David.
Harry yells at Steve for accidentally talking Christy out of getting married. Oh, the wedding’s tomorrow, by the way. Harry can’t accept that Christy might be having second thoughts because he can’t imagine not being with her. He would keep loving her even if she moved to another state and they never saw each other again. Steve realizes that he doesn’t love Carly as much as Harry loves Christy.
Donna and David mope together at the Peach Pit, and she complains that she didn’t do anything wrong. All she did was tell a parent how to parent! She warns David to think twice the next time he wants to do the right thing. David gets that, since he’s in the position of doing the right thing or getting to play with Jasper’s Law. Donna thinks that if you do something wrong to get what you want, it’s probably not worth it.
Christy continues flipping out about her relationship and not being sure she’s ready for the commitment of marriage. Brandon tells her about his own relationship and how he screwed it up. Yet somehow, Christy still has sympathy for him. Chlamydia girl returns to the clinic, telling Kelly that her boyfriend’s still mad but wants to give her a second chance. Does everyone get the parallel here? Can we move on? Good.
Donna returns to the photo shoot, now willing to spoil Sasha so she’ll do her job. This involves dressing up like a clown. Have some dignity, Donna. After learning that Christy’s still hanging out at the Walshes’, Valerie fakes car problems and gets Kelly to drive her home. Noah admits to David that the After Dark may have overserved Mark, so he’s going to settle the lawsuit. He knows how damaging a DUI can be, and he hates that he put someone else in that position.
Brandon and Steve fix Christy and Harry’s relationship (of course), and just as Christy’s giving Brandon a thank-you hug, Valerie and Kelly arrive. Brandon quickly assures Kelly that nothing’s going on with him and Christy. Kelly says that she can’t trust him and will always think the worst. Donna gets her job back, because of course she does, and Sasha’s mother thanks her for being so awesome, because of course she is. Donna asks for the ability to set children’s work hours.
Valerie wraps up her community service, which means she’ll have to find a new place to mess with Kelly. She tries to make Kelly think that Brandon still can’t be trusted. Kelly tells Jeff that the guy they saw at the restaurant was her ex, and he cheated on her. Jeff is completely willing to take things slowly. Kelly kisses him, convinced that she can trust him. Val leaves, happy to have accomplished her goals.
Christy and Harry get married, and Steve tells Brandon that he knew Harry wouldn’t have let her go. He’s realized that since he didn’t follow Carly to Montana, it must not have been true love. And now he’s over his mopey period and can start leering at girls again. At the beach apartment, Donna hears a message Brandon left for Kelly about going to the wedding. She and Kelly talk about how they think Val was trying to screw things up more. Kelly doesn’t want to hear Brandon’s message.
David calls Jasper and Mark over to the Walshes’ to tell Jasper that Mark was smoking pot right before the accident. Mark still blames the accident on being overserved. Jasper would rather have David in the band, though, so either way, Mark’s out. Later, David reports the news to Noah and Donna, telling them he thinks the lawsuit will go away. He appreciates Donna’s advice about doing the right thing. Then Noah and David call a truce, so everyone’s happy.
Brandon goes to the beach apartment and announces to Kelly that he screwed up their relationship because things were too perfect. He was afraid of settling down and panicked. Brandon asks for another chance, saying again that Kelly owes him one. He tells Kelly he’ll do whatever she wants. “I want you to leave me alone,” she replies, closing the door in his face.
Thoughts: ’90s music alert: “I Want You Back” by ‘N Sync.
So Valerie’s meddling just to be a jerk? There’s not actually something in it for her? I’m not surprised or anything; I just want it clear.
Donna, sweetie? When you’re fired, you don’t get to go back to your job. That’s not how the world works. Also, I know Sasha’s a brat, and I know her mom sucks at being a mom, but unless there’s abuse or neglect involved, it’s none of your business.
I was going to go on this whole rant about Brandon and how he doesn’t deserve anything from Kelly and how his excuses are awfully convenient, but I really don’t want to devote any more energy to him. So I’ll just tell him to shut up.
November 22, 2014
Summary: Julia helps Bailey continue moving Owen’s things out of the Salingers’ house a few weeks after he received custody. Bailey and Charlie are still on shaky terms, but Charlie’s trying to act like everything’s okay. Bailey invites him to visit Owen at his place any time he wants. Claudia joins her siblings, obviously looking for some acknowledgment, but no one catches her hints. Then she opens the fridge and finds a sign wishing her a happy 16th birthday. She’s excited that her friends and family will be getting together that night at Bailey and Sarah’s to celebrate.
Apparently parenting only one child hasn’t made things all that much easier for Charlie, as he accidentally leaves Diana’s diaper bag in his vice principal’s car. Claudia asks Griffin to come to her birthday party, but he resists since he’s still trying to separate himself from them. She offers to bring him a piece of cake instead. A waitress at the restaurant complains to Bailey about some new rules at work, which have been implemented by a manager named Lauren. She makes Bailey hang around to go over more issues.
Sarah gets things ready for Claudia’s party, which is going to get crashed by the high school’s ice hockey team. Sarah thinks that’s awesome since Claudia could use some time with boys. Lauren bugs Bailey some more about work stuff, like running tabs for longtime customers and never asking them to pay. He tells her she can implement new policies, but she needs to be a little nicer. Griffin decides to go to Claudia’s party after all, and he and Julia take an elevator up to the loft together.
Bailey’s about to leave the restaurant when the power goes out. Over at his apartment building, the power outage traps Julia and Griffin in the elevator. Elsewhere in the city, Charlie and Diana get stuck in a traffic jam. The hockey team manages to make it to the party, though. Owen notices that the power’s out all over the city. The mayor quickly declares a state of emergency and a 9:00 curfew. Charlie ditches his car in an alley while Bailey and Lauren bicker over whether they should still give their customers their bills.
Julia decides to take advantage of the situation to get Griffin to talk things out. She admits that she’s upset with him for the way he treated her when she was with Ned. She was in a bad situation, but Griffin didn’t let her handle it on her own. However, she’s grateful because he ultimately helped her. On a hunt for diapers and formula, Charlie encounters a police officer, who suggests that he stop by a hospital. The hockey team hangs out with Owen while Claudia awkwardly avoids them. Sarah tries to get her to loosen up – it shouldn’t matter if she’s a virgin and the guys aren’t.
Charlie gets what he needs at the hospital, where he also runs into Paul. He asks Charlie to donate blood since there’s a shortage. Griffin asks Julia why she didn’t call him after everything with Ned. She says she was embarrassed that he saw her in such a bad place. Griffin’s surprised that she cared about what he thought – she rarely cared about his opinion before. “I’m just a nuisance to you,” he says. Julia’s surprised that he did so much for her after claiming not to love her. She has more than just basic respect for him now.
Claudia’s still jumpy, so Sarah tells her to stop acting like the guys are enemies. They’re just paying attention to her and being nice. Claudia denies that she’s afraid, then says that she has every right to be, since she’s never had sex and so many bad things can result. Sarah’s like, “Been there, and it’s so much more awesome than you think.” She decides it’s time to give Claudia a version of the talk (and I don’t buy that Julia never did, but whatever). Bailey and Lauren fight some more – each is mad that the other is so controlling. She quits, leaving him alone to close up.
Sarah tells Claudia that she waited a long time to have sex, which for some people is part of being safe. Claudia clearly isn’t at the right place yet, but when she is, she won’t be scared anymore. Until then, she shouldn’t be nervous around the hockey players. Bailey’s hesitant to leave the restaurant until the power comes back on, since the alarm won’t work, but Sarah convinces him to stay. Lauren returns, admitting that she has trouble forming positive relationships with people, and often drives people away. They accept that they’re both control freaks and decide to have dinner together.
Charlie and Paul note how weird it is to be back in the hospital where Charlie’s life changed so much. He appreciates that Paul has always been so kind to him. Paul finds it strange that Charlie would worry about how he’s handling the split with Kirsten. Julia and Griffin consider an escape through the elevator shaft, but it’s not feasible. Instead, they’ll just bring in some sexual tension and make out a little.
Claudia tries to help a hockey player decide what to give his girlfriend for her upcoming birthday. She advises him to give her something that means a lot to him but that he never wanted to give away. (She totally means virginity, you guys.) Bailey and Lauren discuss their control issues, and Bailey wonders if that’s what was in play during the custody battle. Was he really looking out for Owen, or did he just think he was the only one who could do things right? Lauren tries to hide her disappointment when Bailey confirms that he has a girlfriend.
Griffin tries to stop things before he and Julia can go too far, but she wants him to stop worrying about making a mistake. Somehow, all the way in another part of town, Bailey and Lauren catch Griffin and Julia’s sexual tension and look like they might kiss. Just then, the power comes back on, which they should totally take as a sign. He agrees to forget about her quitting her job. Griffin and Julia finally make it out of the elevator, but he decides not to stay for the party. Julia gets him to change his mind.
Paul catches Charlie on his way out of the hospital so he can announce that Charlie and Kirsten belong together. Charlie laughs, but Paul thinks it was obvious the entire time he was with Kirsten. She told him that she hated letting Charlie go, but was able to move on because of Paul. He told himself that he was helping her move on, but she was always on a path back to Charlie. Paul wants him to realize that he’s protesting too much.
Bailey makes it to the party, which has turned out to be a big success. Claudia’s happy that Griffin showed up after all. Charlie and Diana arrive last, and since Kirsten’s there, Charlie has some thinking to do. So does Julia, who kind of wishes she were 16 again, and Griffin, who is much more practical. She asks him to pretend that things are carefree again, just for the night. Charlie tells Bailey that he can see how happy Owen is with him.
Sarah asks Claudia if she feels any older. Claudia does, since a boy asked her to “park” with him, but she asked to postpone the date for a couple years. Her birthday ends on a good note, with everyone singing “Happy Birthday.” She makes a wish as she blows out her candles, not worried that it won’t come true.
Thoughts: Lauren is played by Julie Warner (Doc Hollywood, Tommy Boy).
Charlie, don’t put a baby in the front seat! Come on!
Ahh, elevators, The go-to contrivance to trap characters together. What would TV shows do without them?
Sarah: “Offer them some nachos.” Claudia: “What if they ask me a follow-up question?” Hee.
’90s music alert: Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy.”
November 18, 2014
Summary: The twins are at the mall when Jessica gets the best news of her life (or at least her life this week): Kent Kellerman, star of her favorite soap, is coming to town. In fact, his show will be taping some scenes at the Sweet Valley Mall. I guess a lot of people watch this soap, because a ton of girls in the mall are freaking out about the news. I don’t think 16-year-old soap actors were all that big in the ’80s – weren’t people mostly into Luke and Laura, Frisco and Felicia, and whatever craziness was going on over on Days of Our Lives? Anyway, this is a Big Deal. And I will say that if Jonathan Jackson were coming to my town when I was a preteen, I would have been just as excited.
The bad news is that the scenes will be taped while the girls are supposed to be in school. The good news is that Brooke has an in: Her father, a Hollywood screenwriter, is working on the soap (which: no) and may be able to get Jessica and Lila access to the taping. Brooke is upset that her father is spending so much more time with Kent, his new project, than with her, but we’re not supposed to care about that. We’re supposed to care about the fact that Jessica has a potential new minion to do her bidding.
First Jessica and Lila offer Brooke the chance to try out for the Boosters. (How convenient that there’s suddenly an open spot because someone moved away!) Elizabeth had already asked Brooke to hang out with the staff of the Sixers to see if she wants to join them, so Jess and Lila keep her from that meeting. When they start talking about Kent, Brooke mentions that her father might be able to get them passes to the set. What a great idea, Brooke! That thought had never even occurred to Jessica and Lila!
Brooke is able to get the passes, but there’s something about the filming location changing, and the girls not being able to get there. It’s not really clear. But Caroline Pearce reports that the gym teacher has been called for jury duty all week, which means they’ll have a sub. Jess and Lila realize that they just need to get a couple girls to say “here” during roll call, and no one will know they’re not in class. They can leave school during lunch, catch a few minutes of the taping, and get back to school without anyone noticing they were gone.
Unfortunately, Caroline has produced faulty information. The gym teacher was dismissed from jury duty, so there won’t be a substitute. Elizabeth decides that she needs to go get Jessica and Lila and drag them back to school before class starts. This means Elizabeth, the perfect, golden child, also cuts class. EMTs, please stand by while the readers all have heart attacks. Liz rushes to the set and gets Jess and Lila (who were there for all of a few minutes), but on their way out, the principal’s secretary spots her.
Back at school, the principal summons Jessica and Lila. His secretary only saw two girls on the set, and mistook Elizabeth for Jessica, which makes sense, because Jess is definitely the twin more likely to skip school. Jess and Lila are sentenced to wash blackboards after school, and must sit out their extracurriculars for two weeks. This is a huge blow to Jessica, who has recently become a star basketball player, leading the middle school girls’ team to the championships. Her teammates are ticked, and Jessica is afraid of losing her star status to newcomer Billie Layton.
But the mistake that got Jessica into this mess will surely get her out of it. She just needs to switch places with Elizabeth. Liz is willing to agree, since she wants the team to win just as much as Jessica does. However, she also has to wash blackboards so Jessica can pretend to be Liz and go to practice all week. This means she has to miss a Sixers interview with a famous ballerina. Jessica’s supposed to sub for her but doesn’t want to leave practice, so she sends Brooke in her place. However, she screws up the location and Brooke misses the interview.
So now Mr. Bowman is mad at Elizabeth, and everyone else is mad at Jessica. Plus, Liz and Brooke have to find someone else to interview for the paper. Brooke thinks she can interview someone coming to a dinner party her father’s throwing that weekend. Elizabeth is invited to dinner, but she’s so tired from doing Jessica’s punishment that she almost cancels. She changes her mind when Brooke tells her who will be at dinner, and who she can interview for the paper: Kent Kellerman.
Jessica misses out on meeting her favorite actor, but she does get to play in the championship game. However, Billie gets to start, and Jessica, posing as Elizabeth, isn’t able to shine until the end. Of course, she wins the game for her team, and manages to snag the MVP trophy, though it has Elizabeth’s name on it. Heh. Then Elizabeth decides to confess to the principal that she also skipped class, so she’s given the blackboard-washing punishment she already completed. She passes it along to Jessica, which is only fair. So for once, Jessica has to suffer the consequences of her actions.
Thoughts: Maybe it’s because of Kent Brockman from The Simpsons, but the name Kent Kellerman makes me think news anchor, not soap star.
If Brooke’s father is a “famous Hollywood screenwriter,” why is he working on a soap? Is this like when James Franco was on General Hospital?
I assume that the twin switch at the basketball championship game is only successful because Ned and Alice aren’t there to bust it. That means they missed their daughters’ championship game. OF COURSE THEY DID.
Speaking of Ned and Alice… “Jessica has to learn to be responsible for herself.” HA HA HA HA HA HA! Ned, you’re hilarious.
November 16, 2014
Summary: Brandon and Steve are discussing the events of “Illegal Tender” and how much of an idiot Brandon is. Valerie comes home from her arrest, complaining that the betting she was allowing at the club is no different from gambling. She learns about Brandon and Kelly’s breakup, and Brandon snaps at her not to gloat, even though she was actually trying to be supportive for once. Kelly goes to the beach apartment and tells Donna and Carly everything that happened. She makes it clear that she and Brandon are over.
The next day, Brandon calls looking for Kelly, but Donna tells him to leave her alone. Brandon claims that he has a right to talk to Kelly, like, she had a right not to be cheated on, jerk. Valerie and Noah go to court and receive different punishments: He gets his liquor license suspended and she has to do community service. Noah adds to Valerie’s consequences by telling her she’s fired. At the clinic, Kelly meets a new intern, Jeff, and the two of them tend to a woman with a bloody lip. She claims that she was in a car accident, then amends that to say she hit a parked car.
David wants to write a piece for the Beverly Beat on a local band called Jasper’s Law. Brandon’s in a bad mood and announces to David and Janet that he slept with Emma and was dumped by Kelly. He starts yelling at David for pretty much no reason. Noah tells Donna what happened in court, assuring her that Valerie’s out of the picture at the After Dark. Then they stop talking about Brandon and Kelly, taking opposite sides. Noah thinks Kelly should move past the affair because it’s over and Brandon apologized. Donna thinks Brandon’s a jerk and shouldn’t be forgiven so easily.
At the Peach Pit, Carly tells Steve that her father had a heart attack and has to have bypass surgery. At the clinic, Jeff tells Kelly that he thinks the “accident” patient was beaten. He can call the police, but they won’t be able to do anything as long as the patient denies it. Valerie shows up, having been assigned to do her community service at the clinic. She and Kelly are equally unhappy about this arrangement, though Kelly changes her mind when she realizes she can boss Val around.
Carly’s father makes it through surgery but is facing a long recovery. She hasn’t been able to find a nurse who can take care of him once he’s out of the hospital. Steve suggests that they move him to L.A., but Carly thinks it’s better if she goes to be with him. Kelly gives Valerie housekeeping and filing duties, which look good on her. The “accident” patient, Leah, is still at the clinic, and tells Kelly she just wanted a place to rest for a while. Kelly tells her she doesn’t deserve to be treated badly, but Leah denies being abused.
Carly tells Zach that they need to go to Montana to help her father. Neither wants to leave California, but Zach’s still young enough to throw a tantrum about it. Carly tells Steve that she doesn’t want to make Zach keep moving around, so once they go to Montana, they’ll be staying there. That night, Steve, Brandon, and Noah hang out together to drink and complain about their relationship issues. Brandon thinks that humans aren’t made to be monogamous. They should be more like male elephants, who live alone.
Leah hangs around the clinic until it closes, telling Kelly she’s waiting for her husband, Lenny. Kelly makes sure Leah knows that she can come back or call if she needs help. Lenny comes across as a nice guy, but blasts Leah for coming to the clinic when they’re leaving. Jeff tells Kelly that, unfortunately, they can’t operate outside the system. He invites her out for a drink, but Kelly declines, possibly not realizing that he was looking for a date. After they leave, Val looks through all the messages Brandon left for Kelly, then tears them up.
David hangs out with Jasper’s Law; the guys in the band are nice except for Mark, who drinks in the studio and offers Brandon drugs. Speaking of drinking, Brandon’s done a lot of that, and goes to the beach apartment drunk, refusing to leave until Kelly talks to him. She threatens to call the police if he doesn’t leave. The next morning, Brandon complains to Valerie, mentioning that he left Kelly a bunch of messages at the clinic. Val says that she put them all on Kelly’s desk, but Kelly was busy spending time with Jeff all day. Oh, and he asked her out.
Mark offers Brandon more drugs to keep him awake so he can write his article. David impresses the rest of the band members by playing one of his typical David songs. He explains that he wrote it for Donna a couple years ago. Steve tries to talk Carly into staying in town, but she’s already made her decision. Kelly finds Leah at her job to check up on her, telling her about how Donna was also in an abusive relationship. Leah says that she’s been with Lenny since high school; he’s her family. She says that he’s just having a tough time at work. Kelly gives her information on how to get help or leave.
At the clinic, Valerie talks up Kelly to Jeff, assuring him that she’s single. She lies that Kelly told her that she thinks Jeff is cute. Brandon sends Kelly flowers, and Valerie replaces the card so Kelly will think they’re from a secret admirer. When he doesn’t hear from Kelly, Brandon heads to the clinic, dragging Noah along for a road-rage-filled ride. When he gets cut off, he stops and yells at the driver, a mom with kids in her minivan. Noah has to pull him away and make him calm down.
Kelly gets her flowers, and Valerie tells her the “secret admirer” is Jeff. Leanne returns, having been hit again. Jeff and Kelly tend to her, urging her to move out. She begs them not to call the police, scared of what Lenny will do if she leaves. Kelly’s more worried about what he’ll do if she stays. The gang has a goodbye party for Carly and Zach at the Peach Pit, and the guys try to cheer Zach up about living in rodeo country.
Jeff gets Leah into a safe place to live, and Kelly admits that she knows what it’s like to be in a bad living situation. Jeff asks her out for a drink again, and this time she accepts. As they leave, Kelly gleefully gives Valerie more orders. Moments later, Brandon calls and Valerie tells him that Kelly and Jeff are going to dinner together. Noah tells Donna that he feels bad for Brandon because his mistake is costing him so much. He promises that he’ll never hurt Donna the way Brandon hurt Kelly.
Steve takes Carly and Zach to the airport so they can keep dragging out this goodbye. Zach gives Steve a picture he drew of the two of them. Off go the Reynoldses, to be never seen and barely mentioned again. At the house, Valerie apologizes to David for not telling him about the gambling at the After Dark. He doesn’t seem to care, partly because he’s so happy about selling his song to Jasper’s Law. Brandon’s waiting for Kelly when she gets home so he can continue asking for another chance. Kelly turns him down, and he asks if her decision has anything to do with Jeff. She refuses to talk to him, saying that she might never be ready to give him another chance.
Thoughts: I was curious as to why Hilary Swank left the show, so I looked it up. They signed her for two seasons, but halfway through her first, they decided things weren’t working and fired her. Joke’s on them, though: A few months later, she was cast in Boys Don’t Cry, which led to her first Oscar.
Jasper’s Law is a stupid name for a band. I bet Mark picked it.
Suggestion: Send Brandon after Lenny. Lenny gets punished, and Brandon takes out his anger on someone who actually deserves it.
November 15, 2014
Summary: Things are chaotic at the Salinger house, because Charlie is the only adult and we’re all supposed to think Owen would be better living with Bailey. Kirsten announces that she’s found a place to live. Griffin’s also planning to find a place, though now Charlie’s okay with him staying, since he’s been trying to help Julia. Just as everything calms down, Charlie receives a subpoena: Bailey’s suing for custody of Owen.
Julia’s been hanging out at the house a lot, and when she realizes just how many times she’s had dinner there recently, she decides that she should stop avoiding school so much. Sarah complains to Bailey that his lawyer interrogated her at his office, even though she’s on his side. Bailey worries that she’s not on his side anymore. She admits that she doesn’t think suing Charlie is the best option. Her parents’ divorce was barely contentious but still went horribly. Sarah warns that Charlie might never forgive Bailey for his actions. Bailey’s more concerned with what Owen needs.
Griffin tours an apartment, not knowing that Kirsten’s always interested in it. The landlords are a married couple, and each offer the place to Griffin and Kirsten. Julia runs into Ned, who sends her on a guilt trip by telling her that Richie asked about her. She tells him to stop acting like things are normal. They’re over, and she won’t give in to his attempts to manipulate her. Ned seems to think that Julia will change her mind about him in time.
Charlie goes to the restaurant to confront Bailey for suing him. He can’t afford a lawyer to counter the suit, but he thinks Bailey would lose in court anyway. Bailey suggests that they hire a judge to mediate, which means neither of them would need a lawyer. Charlie doesn’t have much of a choice, since there’s a subpoena. He wonders when Bailey decided that beating him was more important than anything else.
All of the Salingers except Owen attend the mediation, where Owen’s teacher testifies about the help he needs to deal with his dyslexia. Charlie says that he didn’t follow the teacher’s suggestions because he wanted a second opinion. Bailey accuses him of trying to hide from the truth. Claudia speaks about Charlie’s schedule and how much she helps around the house. Julia’s upset that Bailey put something in the court records about Charlie’s cancer and follow-up treatments.
The judge asks if Charlie has the time to help Owen with his learning disability. Claudia admits that he doesn’t, and she wouldn’t be able to help enough to give him the time he needs. Kirsten and Griffin both arrive at the courthouse to testify and decide not to insert themselves in the drama. They mention that they’ve both found a great place to live, and that they’d like to move on from their current lives.
Kirsten objects to testifying against Charlie, blasting Bailey for making her come. The judge asks if Charlie ever discussed a plan for how he would raise Claudia, Owen, and Diana on his own if Daphne ever left. Griffin admits that Charlie has more on his plate than he can handle. Someone from Social Services testifies that things at the house are chaotic. He’s also surprised to hear that Owen broke his arm; they’re supposed to be notified of serious injuries.
During a break, Julia complains to Claudia about how the whole session is people attacking Charlie. Claudia thought she knew that was how things would go. Ned shows up (and how did he know Julia was there?) to announce that he’s seeing the counselor he and Julia saw together, and is willing to take full responsibility for everything bad if it means he gets her back. Julia continues to refuse, telling Ned to leave.
Bailey points out that Charlie’s been complaining about having to take care of the family from the minute he moved back home after their parents’ death. Julia notes that that was a long time ago. Charlie thinks he’s what’s best for Owen – he’s the only father Owen has had for the past five years. Bailey points out that Owen wants him, not Charlie. Julia tells Bailey to stop. Charlie admits that he hated giving up his own life, but he did give it up. Now he has a life of his own – Diana – and Bailey’s punishing him for it. By turning on him, everyone’s taking away his new life.
Back in court the next day, Claudia and Julia tell Bailey that Charlie hasn’t talked to either of them since they left the day before. Sarah testifies that Bailey has a lot of time to spend with Owen, Bailey’s been working hard with him, and they have room for Owen in their apartment. The judge focuses on the fact that Sarah’s a 19-year-old college student with no childcare experience beyond babysitting. Bailey thinks Charlie spoke to the judge about this on his own.
Kirsten starts moving into her new apartment, which is also apparently Griffin’s new apartment. Someone testifies about the safety of the neighborhood where Bailey lives, which is reasonable, because of all that stuff with Albert. Julia testifies about Bailey dropping out of college. Then Bailey’s alcoholism comes up, as well as how Sarah was injured when Bailey got his DUI. The social worker returns to state that they don’t like to remove kids from their homes unless things are horrible, since changing a residence can be traumatic.
Griffin wants Kirsten to take the apartment, which was a little too expensive for him anyway. She agrees to let him stay until he finds another place to live. They agree not to talk about the Salingers since they’re trying so hard to move on. At Stanford, Julia spots Ned talking to another girl and pretends she’s fine with it. Bailey thinks he’s going to lose the case, so he wants to make Owen testify that he wants to be with Bailey. Claudia and Sarah chastise him for dragging a five-year-old into their family’s mess.
Julia goes back to counseling, admitting that she feels tempted to go back to Ned. She asks if he’s making progress, and the counselor asks how he would know. He says he can’t comment on another patient’s treatment, even if say if he’s in treatment. Julia realizes that Ned lied about going back to counseling.
Owen goes in to meet with the judge, begging Bailey to stop the process. Bailey assures him that everything’s okay and no one’s fighting. He realizes how bad things are, sending Owen home with Sarah. Charlie mocks that Bailey’s just putting on a performance as a caring father because he knows he can’t win. Bailey yells that it took a subpoena to make Charlie realize that Owen needed more attention. “I’m not the one who lost his kid in the mall! I’m not the one who knocked up some stripper!” he says.
The judge announces that she’s already made a decision. If she could, she’d give Owen a break from both brothers, but instead she’s going to send him to live with Bailey. Of course, Charlie handles this badly. Bailey tells him that he only did this to get Charlie to realize that he can’t give Owen what he needs. At Stanford, Julia runs into Ned again, and he tells her he’s not going to press her to get back together, but he’d like to be friends. She agrees to hang out that night.
At the house, Charlie hears Owen on the phone with Bailey, telling him how well he did on a school assignment. He pretends he wasn’t talking to Bailey, but Charlie assures him it’s okay. Griffin helps Kirsten move into her apartment while they talk about how much the Salingers try to take care of each other. They kick themselves for talking about the Salingers while trying to move on. Griffin things they need to avoid each other to really move on. At home, Charlie urges Owen to tell him whatever he needs, even if it’s something that might make him mad.
Ned goes to Julia’s dorm room, where the counselor is waiting for him. Julia reveals that she called the school and the police to report Ned’s abuse. If he comes near her again, he’ll be charged with assault. She also called his family so they can make sure he gets help. After Julia saw Ned with the other girl, she wanted to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Ned wants to say something, but she tells him that no one’s listening.
Charlie and Bailey meet to hand off Owen, but Charlie doesn’t want to have a conversation with his brother yet. At school, Julia starts to eat by herself in the cafeteria, then asks to sit with a group of people. Charlie takes care of Diana while Bailey takes care of Owen, having finally gotten what he’s been fighting for.
Thoughts: The judge is played by Roxanne Hart, who’s been in a ton of stuff, and whose name makes me think of Roxie Hart. Hence the picture for this recap.
Kirsten’s apartment is way too nice for a place Griffin could afford. It’s also probably big enough for two people. It’s like an entire floor of a house.
Can’t Owen just hang out with Bailey more while still living with Charlie? This whole thing is so dumb. The judge’s decision makes no sense to me.
Aww, Griffin and Kirsten are sweet as friends. They do need to leave the Salingers behind, though.
Good for Julia. Unlike some people on this show, she makes good decisions.
November 11, 2014
Summary: Winston and Denise have been having some unplanned time apart, since she’s been housesitting for her aunt. Winston’s lonely, despite having a bunch of friends and all those female dormmates who used to dote on him. He’s also just started working for Dean Franklin, snagging what’s apparently an in-demand job, though I can’t imagine it involves much more than phone duty and scheduling. Also, I’m sure the upperclassmen were pleased that a freshman got the job. Anyway, this only matters because Dean Franklin is married to the much-younger, smoking-hot Amanda Franklin, who quickly develops a thing for our dear Winnie.
Winston spots Denise talking to Bruce and gets jealous. In most books, their conversation would be completely harmless and platonic, but there is something going on. Denise has asked Bruce to help her out with something, and she’s adamant that Winston not find out about it. Winston’s worried that his relationship with Denise is about to go south. Dean Franklin invites Winston to a trustee party at his house, and Winston asks Denise to go with him. She has a test to study for, so she declines, which leads to a fight. Now Winston’s even more worried about their relationship.
On the party, Winston and Elizabeth spot Denise and Bruce together, even though Denise said she’d be studying. This puts Winston in an even worse mood for a party where he’s supposed to make the dean look good. He ends up spending a lot of time talking to Amanda. Elizabeth, who’s covering the party for WSVU, can’t help but think there’s something fishy there. (Probably because Winston isn’t the kind of guy hot women usually flirt with.)
Winston and Amanda drink champagne together, but when she tries to seduce him, he’s sober enough to realize that hooking up with her would be a very bad idea. Amanda’s determined to change his mind in the near future. Amanda tracks Winston down at his dorm later that night, and this time Winston is barely able to fend her off. (By the way, if their genders were reversed, the ghostwriter would paint male as a sexual predator, but since she’s a woman, she’s just a failed seductress.)
Elsewhere on campus, a guy named Jackson Lowe stops for the night (no, I don’t know why he wants to spend the night on a college campus) and spots Elizabeth hanging out with Tom. Elizabeth reminds him of his former girlfriend, Gina, who was a slut because she slept with another guy. When Jackson found out, he trashed her for not being pure, then slit her throat. Now, when he sees girls who are whores like Gina, he can’t control his urge to kill them.
Sidebar: There is a disgusting amount of slut-shaming in this book. I think we’re supposed to dismiss it because Jackson is completely crazy, but I need to mention it. His whole image as a villain is centered on punishing women who have sex. (Ironic that he targets Elizabeth, the last virgin in Sweet Valley.) I don’t understand why the ghostwriter thought this was necessary. Crazy is crazy; it doesn’t need this kind of motive. We don’t need more male characters who go after women for their sexual habits. Okay, end sidebar.
Elizabeth and Tom split up, and as she’s walking to her dorm alone, Jackson attacks her. From up in Winston’s room, Amanda sees the attack and alerts Winston. Jackson sees Amanda watching him and runs off before he can do any physical harm to Elizabeth. Winston wants to call the police, but Amanda says they can’t – word will get out that she was in Winston’s room. They decide to keep the incident quiet. Fortunately for them, because they’re huge jerks who don’t seem to care that a woman was almost raped and murdered, Elizabeth makes it home in one piece, and Jessica calls the police. Liz doesn’t think there were any witnesses, because wouldn’t someone who saw a horrible crime call for help?
Winston spends the next day nervous about the dean finding out that Winston almost slept with his wife. The dean has no idea, and is actually a very nice guy who just happens to be married to a horrible woman. Winston tries to avoid Denise, who doesn’t get why her boyfriend is acting weird.
Amanda goes to Winston’s dorm again, and he shows her a newspaper article about a waitress being murdered near a bar. He thinks the person who attacked Elizabeth is the killer. Even though he’s right, this is a leap the size of the Grand Canyon, and I doubt a normal person would make it. Anyway, Winston says again that he wants to call the police, but again, Amanda says no. Finally he overrules her, with some negotiation: She’ll tell him everything she saw during Elizabeth’s attack, and Winston will pretend he’s the eyewitness.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth gives her statement to the police, but she never saw her attacker, so they don’t have much to go on. All she knows is that he has a southern accent. As soon as Winston reveals himself as a witness, the police pay him a visit. He gives them the information Amanda fed him, then goes to see a line-up. Amanda didn’t give him much to go on – the guy’s general height, weight, and hair color – and there’s only one detail that could separate the guilty from the innocent: a possible tattoo on his arm. Winston IDs the person he thinks is the attacker, but he turns out to be an undercover officer posing as a decoy.
Elizabeth learns that Winston is the eyewitness and thanks him for trying to help her find her attacker. He feels guilty that he’s covering up so much and can’t really help. Elizabeth notices that something’s off with him and takes it upon herself to find out what he’s hiding. Just before he leaves the police station, Winston runs into Jackson and realizes that he’s the attacker. He follows Jackson to a bar, but is so awkward about everything that he gets kicked out. As he goes, he calls Amanda to get her to come to the bar and ID Jackson. She’s unsure, and is more interested in Winston anyway. Meanwhile, Jackson follows and kills a woman he was talking to in the bar.
Winston hears of the murder the next day, recognizes the victim, and realizes that Jackson killed her. He tells the police, who aren’t sure of Winston’s theory but agree to get a search warrant for Jackson’s car. They assure Winston that he won’t have to testify. Cut to later, when the police tell Elizabeth that the warrant didn’t turn anything up. Oh, and now Winston will have to testify because he’s the only one who can link Jackson to Elizabeth’s attack.
Winston goes running to Amanda, who’s mad that she’s been dragged into all this. This is when we find out that Amanda first met Dean Franklin when she was his student at another college, and he cheated on his wife with her. She doesn’t feel like his equal, because of their age difference, and doesn’t feel appreciated, blah blah, all the clichés you hear when a woman cheats. Now she wants to make her marriage work. No one cares, Amanda.
Bruce asks Winston to meet him, and the truth about his and Denise’s secret comes out: She asked him to let Winston take his Porsche for a ride. This is kind of a lame gift, but whatever. Now Winston feels really bad for almost cheating. But that’s the least of his problems, because it’s time for Jackson to go to court. Winston testifies, using the information Amanda gave him, but gets busted for claiming he saw at a far distance without his contacts in, which would be impossible. Jackson is let go, but not before he realizes that Amanda is the real eyewitness.
At the same time, Elizabeth realizes that something happened between Winston and Amanda. She confronts him and he tells her everything. She’s understandably mad that her attacker got off because Winston didn’t suck it up and turn on Amanda. Winston still feels horrible…and then horrible some more when the police decide that he may be the real killer. After all, he was at the bar near where the second woman was killed, and was around Elizabeth the night she was attacked. Winston continues to not tell the police what happened with Amanda, even though he could end up going to prison. WINSTON, YOU MORON.
Denise goes looking for Elizabeth, who spills that Winston cheated on her with Amanda. Elizabeth, stay out of it! Denise dumps Winston, even though he swears that there was no sex and that he’s not interested in Amanda. Winston heads to the Franklins’ house, desperate to get Amanda to clear him as a suspect, but she acts like he’s a crazy stalker and threatens to tell the dean that he’s obsessed with her.
Then there’s something weird, with basically a missing scene where Winston convinces Amanda to tell the dean everything that happened. But they’re on their way to the theater, so Winston rushes to get there so he can tell the dean before Amanda can. This is only in the book so Winston can be goofy at the theater, saying “Macbeth” a bunch of times in an effort to get the show delayed so he can talk to the dean. Anyway, Amanda talks to her husband first, and Winston ends up looking like an idiot.
Jackson is also at the theater, stalking Amanda, and he manages to get her alone. As Winston’s leaving, he sees Jackson’s truck in the parking lot and puts it together that Jackson’s there to kill Amanda. But by the time he gets back to the theater, he’s too late, and Jackson has claimed another victim. Of course, Winston is a suspect in Amanda’s murder, since he was just seen being weird around her and the police already think he’s the killer. Winston runs to Denise, who agrees to hide him and work out a plan with Elizabeth.
The (stupid, dangerous) plan is this: They’ll follow Jackson to a bar, Denise will flirt with him, Jackson will think she’s a whore, and when he tries to kill her, Winston and Elizabeth will call the police. There’s no way this could possibly go wrong! Except that there are many ways this could go wrong, and it does go wrong. Denise has to drink shots to keep up the charade, and she can’t shake a guy named Squid who keeps hitting on her. Every guy in the bar is a sexist jerk who thinks Denise is only as valuable as her body. Jackson actually saves Denise from getting groped too much by Squid.
Denise takes too long inside, worrying Winston and Elizabeth, who decide to call the police ahead of schedule. Except no one bothered to make sure the pay phone outside the bar was actually working, which it’s not. Elizabeth goes inside to use the phone, but again, women are just objects in this bar, and she can’t get something for nothing. She decides to drive to the police station while Winston attempts to fight the bikers in the bar but gets knocked out instead. I mean, of course.
Denise, who has no idea that she now has no back-up, heads to the parking lot to be with Jackson. Winston comes to, smashes a biker in the face with a beer mug, takes his keys, and “borrows” his motorcycle. As he takes off, Jackson kidnaps Denise. Winston returns and fighting ensues while Elizabeth shows up with the police. Jackson and Winston face off, and Denise decides to do what I call steering into the crazy: She tells Jackson that she knows she’s a slut and won’t be one anymore. This manages to get him to let Winston go, just as the police arrive and arrest Jackson.
A few weeks later, Jackson is sentenced to life in prison. What kind of universe is this where trials happen so quickly? Maybe he took a plea agreement? He probably figured that prison is a small price to pay for ridding the world of a few sluts.
Thoughts: The book title makes no sense. The whole point is that Winston didn’t see anything!
Jessica (who’s barely in this book) gives a great description of Bruce: “a victim of a tragic love affair with himself.”
Jackson calls his car Baby. YOU ARE NOT DEAN WINCHESTER, JACKSON.
The cops are mad that Winston didn’t tell them he wears contacts, like, shouldn’t they have asked him? Isn’t that their job?
“Denise couldn’t help noticing that she was the only woman in the entire place, except for a wrinkled old lady who was sitting in the corner, drinking straight from a bottle of tequila.” Someday, I hope to be that woman.
November 9, 2014
Summary: David’s thrilled to see his first music review published in the Beverly Beat. Not so thrilled is Jamie, the singer whose performance he reviewed, who comes to the Beverly Beat‘s offices to trash David for not knowing anything about music. She reveals that the owner of the club where she was performing fired her after the bad review. Brandon takes Emma’s tape back to her, eager to find out if there are any other copies that might find their way to Kelly. Emma won’t answer him.
Back at the Beverly Beat, Brandon tells Steve that Emma’s out as a writer, which doesn’t make Steve happy. He asks for a reason, and Brandon confesses that he cheated on Kelly with Emma. He’s trying to write a confessional letter, but Steve has a different idea: Make Kelly the new advice columnist, write an anonymous letter about an affair, and see how she responds. For some reason, Brandon doesn’t think taking Steve’s lead is a bad idea.
David asks Valerie to let Jamie perform at the After Dark. The performance he reviewed wasn’t good, but her CD is. Valerie is hesitant to do David any favors, but she agrees to give Jamie a chance. The club has a “ringside” night that evening, where people can watch a boxing match. Duke pops in, to Noah’s dismay. Next door at the Peach Pit, Donna invites Carly and Zach on a shopping trip. Steve’s currently out spending time with Zach, because he’s kind of awesome now.
Noah catches Valerie and Duke settling up and orders them to stop acting like the After Dark is a casino. Duke’s annoyed to learn that Noah didn’t know about their deal, though Valerie told him management was all on board. Noah makes Duke take all the money, then orders Val to give back everything she’s made from her customers’ gambling. As soon as Noah leaves, Valerie tells a customer that she’s still accepting bets.
Steve returns Zach to his mother, warning him not to tell Carly about all the junk food they ate. Carly’s upset that Steve didn’t walk Zach through the parking lot. Steve thinks she’s overreacting, since a six-year-old is mature enough to know not to walk in front of a car. Kelly likes her new role as advice columnist, reading Brandon a letter from “Torn in Two,” the fake girlfriend of the fake adulterer. Brandon thinks Torn in Two should forgive her boyfriend since he’s remorseful and came clean. Kelly won’t tell Brandon her first impression of the situation.
The next morning, Steve pushes Kelly to get her column in early. Kelly reports that she’s going to write about infidelity, and promises to be objective. Jamie’s appreciative of the chance to perform at the After Dark, and thanks David with a kiss on the cheek. A jealous Valerie intimidates her by warning her not to screw anything up. Noah asks Valerie about Duke’s money, which she swears she’s working on giving back. She complains that Donna turned him into someone who’s no fun.
Donna, Carly, and Zach go to the mall, which is also sort of an amusement park. Donna gushes about how great Noah is, and how confident she feels in their relationship. David tells Valerie to back off of Jamie, admitting that she makes him want to get back into music. But he doesn’t want to make another investment in something that won’t work out – like his relationship with Val, if she doesn’t cut out the jealousy.
At the Walshes’, Brandon’s about to tell Kelly he cheated when Emma calls. Kelly picks up the phone just as Steve does, and hears Steve tell Emma that it’s over. Kelly realizes that the letter from Torn in Two is about Emma…but she thinks the one who cheated with her is Steve, not Brandon. Valerie meets with Duke to assure him that their deal is still on. He tells her he’ll be sending an associate to collect his take from now on.
At the mall, Zach spots a balloon escaping from a clown’s handful and chases after it. Carly and Donna quickly panic and start looking around for him. Once Zach has the balloon, he can’t find his mom. At the Beverly Beat, Brandon warns Steve about the misunderstanding just before Kelly arrives to bash Steve for cheating on Carly. Brandon plays along, because he’s a jerk. Kelly agrees not to tell Carly.
Carly beats herself up for losing her son just a day after she got mad at Steve for not holding Zach’s hand. Poor Zach sits by himself, crying, until a guy who’s either a friendly businessman or a child molester offers to help him find Carly. Kelly goes to Emma’s place and greets her with a slap. Emma’s happy to clear up her misconceptions and informs her that she slept with Brandon, not Steve. She plays Kelly the tape to prove it.
Valerie apologizes to David for getting jealous, then gives him a really nice keyboard. At the mall, Carly and Donna learn that Zach was seen with a man and think he was kidnapped. Brandon assures Steve that they’re now even for everything Steve has ever done. Kelly sends in her response to Torn in Two, which advises the writer to dump her cheating boyfriend because she can never trust him again.
Carly and Donna go to mall security, where Zach is waiting for them. So it looks like the guy who found him was just a nice guy who was dumb enough to offer candy to a kid. Jamie hears David playing the keyboard at the After Dark and realizes that he’s a musician after all. He realizes that she gave a poor performance the other night because of stage fright. He advises Jamie to focus on one person in the audience. She asks if she can focus on him.
Carly thanks Donna for helping her stay calm when Zach was missing. Steve apologizes for not being more careful with Zach earlier, but Carly now understands that you can’t always be a perfect parent. Jamie’s performance at the After Dark goes well, and Valerie isn’t even jealous that Jamie’s focusing on David. Jamie gets David to play keyboard on a song. Duke’s guy arrives to get his money, and while Valerie’s away with him, David focuses on Donna in the crowd.
Valerie hands over Duke’s money, but quickly learns that the person who came to get it isn’t Duke’s guy – he’s an undercover cop. Val and Noah are both arrested for illegal gambling. David promises Donna that he didn’t know anything about Valerie’s crimes. As soon as Brandon gets home, Kelly plays him Emma’s tape. He assures her that Emma meant nothing and he only loves Kelly. Kelly doesn’t care. She’s moving back to the beach apartment, and she wants nothing more to do with Brandon.
Thoughts: Jamie is played by actual singer Jamie Blake, who was apparently sort of famous in the ’90s, though I’ve never heard of her. I thought she looked familiar, but then I realized that she just looks like everyone did in the ’90s.
David, you can’t be a critic. You need tougher skin. (Well, so does Jamie.)
It’s bad that I can’t tell the difference between David and Valerie when they’re dating and when they’re not dating.
Donna, just say no to velvet belly shirts.
November 8, 2014
Summary: Claudia visits Griffin at work to let him know that he was right about Ned abusing Julia. She fills him in on the events of “Fam-i-ly,” adding that Julia’s not talking to anyone in the family. Claudia wants Griffin to do something, but he knows that’s a dead end. She yells at him for letting Julia stay where she is and get hurt. Griffin replies that Julia has to make her own decisions now, even if it means she continues to be abused.
Bailey meets with a lawyer to discuss becoming Owen’s guardian. The lawyer points out that Bailey’s live will be examined to determine whether he’s a fit guardian. Bailey’s like, “Nothing bad will come up!… Oh, wait. DUI. Forgot about that.” The lawyer doesn’t think he’ll be able to get custody. He encourages Bailey to talk to Charlie and change his mind without taking the situation to court.
Ned’s annoyed to hear that Julia has plans to spend some time with Maggie. She promises that she’s not going to leave him like Maggie did. She understands his problems and knows he’s working on them. Ned has to be reassured that no one’s going to change Julia’s mind about being with him. Bailey asks Claudia to pick a side between him and Charlie – or, more accurately, he asks her to side with him. Of course, Claudia doesn’t want to give a vote.
Charlie walks in and challenges Bailey to call him a bad parent to his face. He agrees that Owen has problems, but blames Bailey. Claudia says that Owen didn’t start acting out until Diana came along. Not that that means it’s Charlie’s fault, of course. Charlie says that if Bailey wants to know who Owen’s guardian is, he can talk to a lawyer. Bailey says he did. Charlie’s angry that Bailey’s seemingly taking steps to break up the family.
Maggie and Julia head to a museum, stopping at a gas station on the way. When Maggie leaves to go inside, Griffin jumps in the car and drives off with Julia. He tells her he’s just taking her somewhere to talk, and Maggie and Claudia helped him arrange things. Griffin basically says he didn’t want to get involved, but he couldn’t ignore Claudia and Maggie’s pleas. Then he brings up Jill, who also never wanted help, until she was so far into using drugs that she was beyond help.
Bailey turns to Kirsten as a potential ally, but Kirsten, like Claudia, doesn’t want to choose sides. She’s determined to figure out her own life apart from the Salingers. Bailey asks her to look at Owen’s tests as a child-development specialist, but she knows he’s trying to start a custody battle with Charlie. She warns that that would do more damage to Owen than he’s facing from a learning disability.
Ned surprises Maggie in her dorm room, and she tells him Julia’s still at the museum. “You know Julia – she doesn’t know when to quit,” she says. Ned spotted Maggie alone at the cafeteria and wants to know where his girlfriend is and who she’s with. Maggie sticks to the museum story. Ned insists that everything’s fine with his relationship, and he’s totally not worried about where Julia is, or whether she’s with someone who might talk her into leaving him.
Griffin and Julia’s car (well, Maggie’s car) breaks down in what appears to be San Francisco’s only desert. She tells Griffin to go walk for help while she waits in the car. She replies that he can’t tell her what to do anymore. Griffin protests that he was ever able to tell her what to do – Julia always did whatever she wanted. Maybe she was “looking for someone to beat the selfishness right out of [her].”
Charlie’s called to Owen’s school after Owen gets in a fight, and undergoes scrutiny from Owen’s teacher about whether he’s doing his recommended three hours of reading a night. Charlie hasn’t been, since he thinks Owen feels stupid for having to take so long to do something his friends do so easily. He thinks they’re labeling Owen. The teacher says Owen’s friends are the ones labeling him. Owen confirms this to Charlie, adding that fighting must be an appropriate way to deal with things since Charlie and Bailey fight all the time.
Julia flags down a passing car while Griffin’s off getting help, but the guy isn’t interested in helping her once she makes him think Griffin’s still around. Owen gets frustrated while doing homework, and Charlie finally sees the extent of his reading problems. Julia catches up to Griffin and complains that everyone sees Ned as a monster. Griffin challenges his love for someone he hits. He adds that even if Julia thinks Ned has changed, he’ll go back to his abuse. He thinks Julia stays with him because he takes care of her, so she doesn’t have to take care of herself.
Julia turns the conversation back to Griffin, wondering why he hangs around, getting involved in the Salingers’ problems, a year after they broke up. Griffin says he gave up their life together so she could have what she wants. Now he feels horrible because she chose Ned over him. They finally make it to a phone, and Griffin taunts that Julia probably wants to call Ned before they call to get a ride. Julia says that Griffin doesn’t know her and never did, “you don’t know me” being the go-to line for an unwinnable argument.
Kirsten goes to the Salingers’ pretending she wants to ask Charlie how Owen’s doing. She admits that Bailey gave her Owen’s tests, and she thinks he has a serious problem. She’s staying out of the brothers’ battle but does want to help Owen. Charlie has talked to some sort of expert and has bought Owen a bike to help him with hand/eye coordination and confidence. Kirsten’s like, “Yeah, that’ll help him with his reading. Good job.” Charlie thinks giving Owen more attention will fix everything.
Ned goes to get Julia, yelling at Griffin to stay away from his girlfriend. Poor Griffin has to keep waiting for a ride because Ned’s a jerk. Claudia goes to the restaurant to tell Bailey how screwed up everything is now with the family. Bailey tells her he’s only fighting Charlie because he truly believes he knows what’s best for Owen. Claudia’s more concerned with Julia’s situation, and how her brothers are too distracted to do anything for her.
Julia tells Ned that nothing happened with Griffin; he just wanted to talk. Ned thinks they should call the police for kidnapping her. Julia insists that they just went for a drive, and refuses to let Ned do anything. Bailey tells Sarah that he’s worried that Kirsten’s right about how his fighting with Charlie is going to affect Owen. He wanted to help his brother, but now he doesn’t feel comfortable going to the house. Bailey wants to find a better way to do things.
Charlie takes Owen to the park to ride his new bike, but he’s distracted by Diana and isn’t watching when Owen tries to ride on his own. Owen heads toward the parking lot and falls, hurting his arm. Ned tries to get Julia to skip a study group to spend time with him. Julia objects, so Ned passive-aggressively, then straight-out aggressively, tells her to call her classmate to say she’ll be there. Then he whines that Julia’s mad at him and complains that she made him drive out to get her the previous night. Julia gives in.
Bailey, Sarah, and Claudia meet Charlie at the hospital, where Owen’s treated for a broken arm. Bailey thinks Owen’s injury is proof that Charlie can’t parent two kids at once. He says that everyone else can see that Owen needs more than Charlie can give him. Ned arranges a romantic night for him and Julia, but it’s ruined when Maggie shows up. Julia called her to take her away from Ned. Ned’s angry, of course, but can’t do anything without proving everyone right about him.
At the house, Charlie asks Claudia if she’s on Bailey’s side. Claudia says that she, Bailey, and Julia had three people raising them – their parents and Charlie. Then the three older Salingers took care of Claudia and Owen. Now Owen just has Charlie, and his focus is split because of Diana. Single parents everywhere yell at their TVs.
Maggie takes Julia to their former shared room, wishing she’d been brave enough to warn Julia about Ned. She’s happy Griffin got through to her, but Julia says he didn’t. She thought she would be safe from bad things if she chose a life with Ned. Instead, she lost herself. The next day, Bailey goes back to his lawyer with x-rays, arguing that Owen’s not safe with Charlie. He wants to move forward with a custody case.
Thoughts: Griffin mentions the Salingers’ cabin in Tahoe. They still have that? Shouldn’t they have sold it to pay bills or tuition or something?
Owen’s school nickname is Slowen. Kids are awful.
Has Owen’s school never heard of resource classes? I think that’s what they’re called. All through my school years, there was a resource room where kids who needed extra help with certain subjects could get one-on-one attention and extra time. That’s exactly what Owen needs.
Hey, Kirsten, you don’t live at the Salingers’ anymore. Try knocking instead of letting yourself in. P.S. Your hair finally looks nice.
I have to say, I appreciate that a show featuring college students shows them actually doing schoolwork.
So after all the fights with and warnings from her family and Griffin, Julia just randomly sees the light? That’s anticlimactic.