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.
November 4, 2014
Summary: The twins are super-excited for a field trip to an amusement park called the Enchanted Forest. Elizabeth wants to make sure Jessica remembers that she promised to sit with her on the bus ride, so Elizabeth doesn’t have to sit with Caroline. This is a Very Big Deal for Elizabeth. But Jess forgets and grabs a seat with Lila. All of Elizabeth’s other friends have already paired off, and she’s stuck listening to Caroline gossip for the whole trip. Elizabeth decides she’ll never forgive Jessica.
Once the kids get to the Enchanted Forest, it doesn’t matter, since everyone’s so excited to be there. Elizabeth hangs out with Amy and Julie in Fairy Tale Land, and though Jessica’s supposed to go around with Lila, she gets ditched for a guy. Now Elizabeth is the popular one and Jess is the one without a friend. They end up on the same ride, a boat at King Abelard’s Castle, and Elizabeth feels bad that her twin has no one to sit with. The girls get spooked on the ride, which is full of things jumping out at them, and one point, Elizabeth and Amy accidentally knock heads. Amy’s okay, and Elizabeth thinks she’s fine.
But then things get really weird. Elizabeth goes looking for Jessica, who seems to have disappeared. Even though it would be perfectly reasonable for Liz not to be able to find one person in an entire huge amusement park, she thinks this means something’s wrong. She starts to think Jessica never got off the boat after the ride, which means she’s still in the castle. When she goes back to the ride, it’s closed and the boats are gone.
Elizabeth finds a door to the castle and lets herself in. She comes across a girl named Princess Charity who tells her that King Nestor has staged a coup and locked her family in cages. At first Elizabeth thinks the girl is part of the ride, but things start to seem more and more real. Elizabeth and Charity hide from Prince Kendrick, Nestor’s son, who’s supposed to marry Charity when she’s older. Liz decides to help Charity rescue her family from their cages by creating a distraction.
Charity starts freaking out, and Elizabeth tries to calm her down by taking her picture. (I don’t know.) Since this is supposed to be the Middle Ages, I guess, Charity has no idea what a camera is, or why there’s a bright flash. So there’s Elizabeth’s distraction. The plan is successful and Charity’s family is freed, but they mention that someone who looks just like Liz was also captured. Elizabeth realizes that Nestor has Jessica and is taking her to the other side of the forest.
The fastest way across the forest is down the river, and there happens to be a boy willing to take Elizabeth on his raft. His name? Tom Sawyer. We know Liz likes guys named Tom. Tom thinks she’s even prettier than Becky Thatcher, and is happy to help her find her sister. Once they’re on the other side of the forest, they follow footprints into a cave, but they’re trapped by a cave-in. A mouse helps free them before they can drown in the water filling the cave. Unfortunately, they’re separated, and Tom has to go back the way they came while Elizabeth continues into the cave.
When she emerges, she sees Jessica up in the sky, being taken up a path of moonbeams. I mean, sure, right? Elizabeth feels hopeless, but the mouse, Allegra, tells her to try walking on the moonbeams herself. Talking mice, Tom Sawyer, walking on moonbeams – Elizabeth doesn’t seem to find any of this strange. She finally tracks Jessica to what’s basically the first scene of Les Mis, with a bunch of slaves being forced to break up rocks. The balls and chains on their legs are magical and can’t be broken. They’re overseen by the Queen of Drudgery, who quickly makes Elizabeth one of her slaves.
So who will save our heroines and the other innocent people of the trippiest fairy tale ever? The world’s weirdest deus ex machina: Johnny Buck. He swoops in with his flying limo and sings away the spell keeping everyone enslaved. But before the twins can escape, the Queen of Drudgery grabs Jessica and takes off with her on a flying boulder. (What a weird concept.) Johnny and Elizabeth follow in the flying limo and are about to help Jessica jump to them when a witch flies over on a broomstick and grabs her. So Jessica is kidnapped from her kidnapper. She’s having the worst day ever, huh?
Elizabeth falls out of the limo and into the Enchanted Sea, where she meets a sea serpent named Sidney. (Oh, and Allegra is still with her, having hitched a ride in Liz’s pocket.) Sidney and Liz play checkers, and he tells her that Jessica’s latest kidnapper is Grisolda, who rules Sorrowland, formerly known as Fairy Tale Land. He gives Elizabeth directions, and she gets a lift from a turtle (shades of Finding Nemo).
Sorrowland is aptly named, and full of fairytale characters after the magic has worn off. For example, Rapunzel is bald, Peter Pan is an adult (and an accountant), and Thumbelina is a giant. Elizabeth and Allegra find a house and meet Hansel and Gretel, who were turned into furniture. Hey, it’s better than being eaten, right? Hansel and Gretel tell them how to get to Grisolda’s house, which happens to be made of gingerbread.
Elizabeth finds Jessica in Grisolda’s oven, where Grisolda planned to cook her before she realized it was broken. She ordered pizza instead. But she’s mean, so she wouldn’t let Jessica have any. (I wish the whole book had been this light and playful.) As they’re about to leave, Jess takes a bite of a gingerbread wall, which summons Grisolda. She decides that since the twins love being together so much, she’ll let them be together forever. She performs a spell that welds their hands and legs together. This kind of backfires, though, since the twins are just happy to be reunited. Grisolda starts working on plan B for torturing everyone in Sorrowland.
Grisolda’s cat spots Allegra, who runs up Jessica’s leg, making her laugh. Elizabeth gets the giggles from her, and the laughter makes Grisolda angry. The twins realize that laughter is the witch’s weakness, so they tickle each other and yuk it up until Grisolda shatters. Sorrowland reverts to Fairy Tale Land, and everyone is happy. The townspeople even send Jessica and Elizabeth home on a magic boat.
The boat takes the girls through some rough water and into a dark tunnel. When they emerge and Elizabeth opens her eyes, she’s surprised to find Jessica leaning over her, crying. She’s back at King Abelard’s Castle, having been knocked out when she and Amy bumped heads. Everything that happened was a dream. (Dang, that was a long dream for what was supposedly just a few minutes of unconsciousness.)
Elizabeth is totally fine, despite blacking out, and she and Jessica decide to spend the day together. Everything is completely normal and realistic, until the end of the day, when a costumed (supposedly) mouse says, “‘Bye, Elizabeth.” Liz thinks she imagined it, but Amy also hears. She’s not sure why a character talked when they’re not supposed to, and how she knew Elizabeth’s name. Liz decides to keep the explanation to herself. Then that night, Elizabeth loses consciousness and has to be taken to the emergency room with a brain bleed. Okay, not really, but she should probably see a doctor.
Thoughts: This was one of my favorites when I was younger. Now I just see it as one long drug trip.
Remember how important it was who you sat next to on the bus in middle school? And yet I’d rather deal with adult problems than ever go back to junior high.
It’s referring to a donkey, but this book uses the word “ass.” Scandalous!
Sidney the sea serpent: “I’m almost a confirmed vegetarian. I only eat meat on Saturdays.” To me, this is the most Alice in Wonderland-like part of the book.
November 2, 2014
Summary: It’s a rocking night at the After Dark, and everyone’s happy except Valerie – she’s not getting a big enough cut of the profits. Noah reminds her that she only asked for 10 percent. Emma drops by to give Brandon her latest column, telling Kelly that there’s been a development with her “friend.” She slept with the guy who’s in a relationship, and the guy immediately regretted it. Emma recognizes Kelly’s watch as the one she gave Brandon.
In the bathroom, David watches Noah buy condoms. Noah tries to make peace with him once again, but David isn’t about to become friends with the guy who’s dating his ex. He and Valerie watch Noah and Donna leave together, and pretend it doesn’t bother them that their exes are about to get it on. At the Peach Pit the next day, Carly’s having a rough morning and asks Steve to take Zach to school. Her house is being earthquake-retrofitted, which means it’s noisy. Donna offers to let her and Zach stay with her.
Kelly’s still working with Dr. Monahan, and he’s still a jerk. He taunts that he’s more important to the clinic than she is, considering that he’s a doctor, so she needs to keep her mouth shut. Kelly shoots back that he should watch himself around female co-workers. Dr. Monahan tries to guilt her into backing down, telling her that if he’s fired, a less-competent doctor will take his place and patients will suffer. Basically, if Kelly complains about his harassment again, someone will die. Okay, Doc.
Noah and Donna take Noah’s car to the carwash, not realizing it’s the one where David works. He slams Donna for being so willing to sleep with Noah after making David wait for seven years. Donna points out that he’s moved on pretty quickly with Val. David admits that they’re just faking their relationship.
Brandon and Steve interview Janet Sosna for Terri’s production-manager job at the Beverly Beat (Terri eloped). They’re very impressed and immediately hire her. Emma shows up to yell at Brandon for giving Kelly the watch she gave him. He tells her he’s not leaving Kelly, so Emma should consider quitting. Kelly then shows complaining about Monahan, and Emma tells her that any boss who makes sexual advances, either wanted or not, is a jerk. She should stand her ground and not quit her job, just like Emma won’t be.
Noah tries to make things romantic with Donna, who isn’t ready for that. She admits that she’s only had sex with David, and she waited until she felt they were really committed. That didn’t work out, so now she’s hesitant. Noah thinks she’s still trying to get over David. Over at the Walshes’, David and Valerie are also discussing Donna and Noah’s sex life, and how David isn’t interested in anything with Val. He decides he’s done taking Valerie’s charity and will find someplace else to live.
The next day, Brandon and Steve rescue David from the carwash by offering him a music column at the Beverly Beat. After a little hesitation, David accepts. Kelly goes to the clinic but learns that she’s been replaced – supposedly, she resigned. Kelly announces that she’s going to file a formal complaint against Monahan. He protests that he made the clinic great, so the foundation will back him up. Then he fires her.
Duke the bookie shows up at the Peach Pit and notices that the After Dark is putting on a sports night. Nat warns him to stay away from Valerie. While Donna helps Carly pack some of her things, she asks for some sex advice – namely, when to know the time is right to sleep together. Carly tells her that if she’s not sure about commitment or a relationship, Donna’s not ready. She doesn’t need to rush sex to find out if Noah’s the right one for her.
Thanks to an advance from Brandon and Steve, David has enough money to find his own place to live. Valerie thinks he’s making changes because of Donna, but David admits that it’s because of Val. He doesn’t want them to revisit their history. Valerie’s proud of him for getting through all the bad things that have happened to him recently. Then they kiss, so I guess David isn’t that scared of revisiting their history.
Emma encourages Kelly to sue Monahan, then talks more about Kelly’s new watch. When Brandon gets home and Kelly leaves the kitchen to greet him, Emma cooks up a delicacy, boiled watch. She promises to replace it if Brandon tells her where he got it. He claims he doesn’t remember the name of the store. Carly thanks Donna for letting her and Zach stay with her, but Donna’s equally appreciative, since Carly gave her such great advice.
Poor, clueless Kelly reads over Emma’s next column, which mentions that Emma’s “friend” gave her guy a present that he passed on to his girlfriend. Kelly thinks the foundation will take Monahan’s side if the future of the clinic is at stake. Emma warns that nice guys are hard to take down – they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. She encourages Kelly to let other people find out how Monahan talks to her. When Kelly’s out of the room, Emma comments to Brandon that she keeps attracting creeps. Brandon kicks her out of the house.
David and Valerie manage to pull themselves away from her bed long enough to visit sports night at the After Dark. Noah’s mad that Val isn’t pulling her weight at the club. Valerie spots Duke taking bets and shuts him down, having been warned by Nat that he’s not the kind of guy she wants to deal with. He promises her a cut if she lets him stick around. She negotiates a better deal and accepts.
Donna feels better because David and Valerie aren’t sleeping together, and tells David that she and Noah haven’t done anything yet. David confesses that he and Val are no longer just friends. Donna makes a beeline for Noah and asks him to take her home. But Noah’s smart enough to know that Donna only wants to take him to bed because David’s already in Valerie’s bed.
Steve falls asleep while babysitting Zach, so Zach entertains himself by coloring in a sketch Donna was going to show at a job interview. Emma calls Brandon to bug him about their non-relationship, and how he’s still with Kelly. She’s finally decided to quit working at the Beverly Beat. Brandon doesn’t realize that she’s recorded their conversation on her answering machine, and now has a tape of him saying that they slept together.
Apparently Steve found out that Zach colored in Donna’s sketches, but didn’t say anything to Donna before she left for her interview. I don’t understand how this all worked. Anyway, Donna goes to her interview and has to explain why there are colorful splotches all over her designs. Fortunately, the interviewer thinks they’re brilliant and gives her a six-month contract. She decides to call the line Child’s Play. (No word if Zach will get a cut.)
Kelly goes to the clinic to pack her things, turning on Monahan’s intercom when she goes to say goodbye. Brandon and foundation employee Audrey are in the building to hear Monahan tell Kelly to be more appreciative when male co-workers give her compliments. She’s beautiful and has a great body, so she should use what she has. Kelly notes that she has a college degree and experience in her field. Monahan says that she wasn’t able to handle him, which was her main priority.
Kelly continues that she backed down from filing a complaint because she knew she’d need a recommendation for a future job. Monahan closes his office door and offers a more thorough review. She tells him she was discussing her career and that he’s making her uncomfortable. As Monahan grabs her and tries to make out with her, Brandon storms in, followed by Audrey. Monahan is immediately fired, and Kelly already has a doctor lined up to take his place – Dr. Martin.
Duke delivers Valerie’s cut from the previous night, asking her to work with him again. Men would be more likely to place bets with a woman, and she’d make double what she made last night. Valerie’s in. As promised, Emma leaves the Beverly Beat, commenting that Monahan hung himself on the rope Kelly gave him. When Brandon leaves, he finds Emma’s tape on his car. Noah takes Donna to a celebratory dinner at the Bel Age Hotel, complete with a serenade by Brian McKnight. They declare their love for each other and make use of a room upstairs.
Thoughts: I’ve seen a handful of later episodes, and I’ll say now that I love Janet. Also, if you haven’t seen Lindsay Price’s episode of How I Met Your Mother, “Spoiler Alert,” you must.
Calm down, Noah. You had sex, like, three weeks ago. You’re not going to die if Donna makes you wait a little longer.
David, it’s none of Donna’s business who you are or aren’t sleeping with. You don’t have to tell her anything.
’90s music alert: Brian McKnight sings “Anytime,” which isn’t exactly romantic. (“Do I ever cross your mind anytime? I miss you….”) But it’s still a nice thought, Noah.
November 1, 2014
Summary: Claudia’s reading to Owen in her old tent, which Bailey objects to; he should be working on his dyslexia by doing the reading himself. Charlie’s willing to let Bailey take Owen after school to help him with his homework, but Bailey says that’s not the best time for him to work. The brothers start fighting, disagreeing about whether Owen should be retested, and a program Bailey thinks Owen should be part of. He says again that he thinks Owen should be living with him. Charlie refuses to ever let that happen. Owen hears the whole fight.
Julia and Ned are at their new apartment, since she’s not really allowed to be anywhere else. Claudia has left multiple messages on the answering machine, desperate to talk to her sister about what’s going on with their brothers. Ned hangs up on her, telling Julia to call her family if she really wants to be involved with their problems. Claudia tells Charlie about how distant Julia’s been, and how she wouldn’t answer even when Owen called. Charlie tells her to leave Julia out of it, and let Owen talk to him if he’s upset.
Just then, Julia arrives and promises that everything’s fine. She offers to help out with the kids for the day and stay for dinner. Bailey tells Sarah he’s set up a meeting with a social worker so he can argue that Owen would be better off with them. Sarah has plans with her mother, who’s getting remarried and has just cut non-immediate family from the wedding. On her way to meet her, Sarah stops by the Salingers’ with drums for Owen; Bailey thinks they’ll help him with phonics. (South Park covered that.) Charlie questions whether she’s really willing to commit to help raising Owen.
Julia goes to the restaurant to talk things over with Bailey; she’s on Team Charlie, since he has experience raising kids. Bailey doesn’t care what she thinks – she’s not actually involved. He thinks she just came to town because it was “convenient.” When she moved home last year, when Charlie was sick, Julia felt stuck. Now she’s home to give her vote, but Bailey doesn’t think she deserves one.
Sarah’s nervous about her mother marrying into another family full of people Sarah doesn’t know (her stepfather-to-be has three children). Mrs. Reeves likes the idea of giving Sarah siblings for the first time. She’ll have family if anything happens to her parents. Julia tries to talk to Charlie about Owen; now she’s edging toward Team Bailey, knowing how difficult it was for Charlie to take care of everyone last year. Charlie thinks she’s encouraging him to quit after running the family for five years. “Quitting’s sort of your MO, not mine,” he snaps.
Julia goes back to school and tells Ned all about her mess of a family. He gives her a picture of the two of them, calling it a big step in their relationship. Claudia calls again, and when Julia doesn’t answer, she tells Charlie she’s going to cut school and go to Stanford. Unfortunately, a social worker is at the house for a surprise visit. He reveals to Charlie that Bailey visited to express concerns over Owen’s living situation.
Claudia does, indeed, cut school to track down Julia at Stanford. Maggie’s there to hear Claudia’s list of concerns: Julia’s distanced herself and become quiet. Julia insists that she just wants to avoid home because no one cares about her opinion. Sarah’s future stepsister, Sally, is working on a family tree and asks Sarah to help fill in her mother’s side. Sally is excited to be getting a new family, but Sarah’s still hesitant.
Charlie confronts Bailey for calling a social worker, who could take Owen away from both of them. Bailey promises that he just wanted to ask some questions; he didn’t make any accusations. Charlie says that if anything happens to tear the family apart, he’ll blame Bailey. While visiting Julia to borrow some notes, Maggie brings up what Claudia said about Julia’s recent behavior. She knows it all stems from Julia’s relationship with Ned. Julia plays dumb, then asks Maggie to stay out of her business.
Maggie then goes to the Salingers’ house and tells Charlie and Claudia that she thinks Julia’s in major trouble. She tells them about her own relationship with Ned, and how it mostly seemed fine but was actually abusive. He convinced Maggie that he loved her better than anyone else could. Then one day they had a huge fight and he threw her into a TV – and that wasn’t even the worst thing he did to her. Charlie remembers an injury Griffin mentioned and that Julia downplayed, and Maggie says she had the same experiences.
After Maggie leaves, Charlie calls Bailey over to fill him in. They realize that Griffin was right about Ned the whole time. The brothers decide to go confront Ned, so at least they finally agree on something. Charlie then changes his mind, thinking they should just pull Julia out, since getting into a confrontation with Ned could be dangerous. Bailey accuses him of denying what’s happening so he doesn’t have to admit that they didn’t catch on to their sister’s abusive relationship.
With the guys off on their mission, Sarah’s left to pick up Owen. She winds up taking him to dinner with her mother and stepfamily. Mrs. Reeves thinks this is a bad idea, since they’re all supposed to discuss the wedding, but the stepfamily is very welcoming. Mrs. Reeves complains that the Salingers always call on Sarah to fix their messes. She should be focusing on her family, not someone else’s family.
Charlie and Bailey burst into Julia and Ned’s apartment and order their sister to pack up and come with them. Bailey pulls Ned out of the shower and starts to get violent, but Charlie restrains him and orders Ned to stay in the bathroom. Charlie and Bailey again tell Julia to come with them, but she refuses to let them have a vote in her life when she’s not allowed to have a vote in theirs. Julia insists that Ned’s getting help, and they’re going to make things work: “I’m not quitting on him. Charlie tells Julia that if Ned really loved her, as she says he does, he wouldn’t hit her. Julia sobs, saying that Ned does love her. She kicks her brothers out.
Mrs. Reeves is still upset that Sarah hasn’t spent more time with her soon-to-be-family, but Sarah thinks the choices she’s making are fine. Mrs. Reeves chose Sarah when she adopted her, and Sarah’s choosing the family she wants. Mrs. Reeves realizes that she can’t expect her daughter to respect her choices if Mrs. Reeves doesn’t respect Sarah’s. She tells Sarah to invite Bailey to the wedding.
On their way home, Charlie laments the fact that their father isn’t there to fix things. Bailey thinks Julia’s staying with Ned to prove Charlie wrong; after all, he called her a quitter. He was also super-critical of her and Griffin last year, even though they were working so hard to help out. Bailey taunts that Charlie then turned around and got a stripper pregnant. Charlie pulls the car over to lecture Bailey that their parents wouldn’t approve of any of their choices. He just wants Julia to live up to her potential.
Back at the house, Charlie and Bailey have to tell Claudia and Sarah that Julia admitted there’s a problem but wants to stay with Ned. Now they have to let her figure things out herself. Bailey compares it to his alcoholism – he knew he had a problem but took a long time to realize how bad it was. The family intervened, but he had to hit rock bottom before he got help. Claudia notes that in this instance, rock bottom will probably mean Julia gets hurt.
Owen wakes up from a nightmare and goes straight to Bailey. He asks to sleep over at Bailey’s, where no bad guys can hurt him. After all, Bailey promised he could stay there. Charlie’s mad again, though Bailey insists he only promised to try to let Owen stay with him. Sarah tries to help out, and Charlie tells her to stay out of it. Shut up, Charlie. She calls Charlie on trying to exclude her from the family when she’s just as involved as anyone else.
Outside the house, Sarah laments to Bailey that her mother expects her to already love her new stepfather and his family. She loves the Salingers, and Bailey promises that she’s one of them. Owen asks Claudia if their brothers are mad at him, since he always hears them yelling his name. She assures him that they love him so much, they both want him to live with them. Meanwhile, Charlie puts Diana to bed, probably happy that one person in the family isn’t mad at him.
At Stanford, Julia approaches Maggie and asks how many times Ned hit her. Maggie doesn’t have a number, just saying, “Too many.” She blamed herself until she found out that Ned was also hurting Julia, which made it his fault. When Ned joins them, Julia pretends they were just talking about notes. Then she leaves her friend and goes off with her boyfriend.
Thoughts: Hey, it’s jerky Charlie! Welcome back! Now go away again.
To be fair to him, though, the rest of the family can’t judge his parenting skills based on what happened last year. He had cancer. How was he supposed to take care of everyone else when he couldn’t take care of himself?
Someone owes Griffin an apology. Actually, a lot of people owe him an apology.
Ned and Julia’s apartment has super-high ceilings. So they either live in a cheap apartment with really nice ceilings, or they live in a really nice apartment that they can somehow afford. I don’t know which is less likely.
October 28, 2014
SVU #26, The Trial of Jessica Wakefield: “The Grand Jury Hearing of Jessica Wakefield” Doesn’t Have the Same Ring to It
Summary: Jessica has been arrested, and things aren’t looking good. Because of the amount of cocaine she was found with, the police – including Nick – think she’s a drug dealer. Meanwhile, a suspicious Jordan delivers Celine what she thinks is her money, but what’s actually Lila’s hat. Jordan realizes what was really going on, and Celine warns him not to tell the police, since he’d be arrested, too. The guys she got the drugs from give her five days to get them their money.
Ned and Alice are out of the country, which leaves Steven as the default “grown-up” in the family. He’s barely in the book, though, and does nothing useful, like hire her a lawyer. Jessica struggles in jail, as you can imagine, and I would laugh at her but I know that if it were me, I’d cry the whole time. I actually feel sorry for Jess. Anyway, She tries to convince Nick that she didn’t do anything wrong and didn’t even know drugs would be involved. She just wanted to find out what he was keeping from her. The problem is that no one saw Jordan at the exchange, so it looks like Jessica was just hanging around with a bunch of coke.
Jessica and her public defender end up in front of a judge who’s determined to rid the world of drug crimes. He schedules a grand jury hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence against Jessica to send her to trial. (This is how the book can get away with the legal proceedings moving so quickly. Otherwise, Jessica would be in jail for months.) No one can afford Jessica’s bail, so she goes back to lockup.
Nick has started to doubt that Jessica’s a drug dealer, and decides that he can’t testify against her. He’s suspended from his job, which just gives him more time to investigate the case on his own. This involves some deducing and other detective stuff that’s not really interesting to read about. Elizabeth is actually the better detective, as she gets Jessica to remember that Jordan was wearing an engineering sweatshirt, which could help them narrow down who he is.
Speaking of Jordan, his guilty conscience makes him call the drug hotline, where Alex happens to take his call. He confesses that his girlfriend got him mixed up in a drug deal, but he got a hatbox instead of money, and now mobsters might be after him. (Ahh, college was crazy for all of us, wasn’t it?) He tells her he’s going to hide out in his hometown.
There’s a Theta gathering, and Celine stupidly wears the hat Jordan gave her. Lila recognizes it and says that Jessica was supposed to pick it up for her. Alex figures out that Celine and Jordan were involved in Jessica’s “drug deal,” and she and Noah head off to try to find Nick. They first encounter Elizabeth, who tells them about Jordan’s engineering shirt. Alex finds Nick at the Theta house, looking for evidence that could clear Jessica, and tells him about the shirt and the call from Jordan.
Celine is next to sneak into the Theta house, looking for things she can steal for money. She comes across Lila’s bank card, which Lila lost a while ago and Isabella returned (but didn’t give back to her in person – good job, Isabella). Celine uses the card to pay off her debts and go on a shopping spree. Then she goes to withdraw money and gets busted by Lila’s own father, causing her to flee (still wearing that stupid hat).
Meanwhile, Nick does some more detectiving, which mainly involves driving all over California to find Jordan. He eventually does, and convinces Jordan to come to Jessica’s hearing. He arrives just in time to get everything sorted out and reveal that Celine was behind the deal. The judge is all, “Sorry, Ms. Wakefield. Your boyfriend is a good cop, though.” Jess is off the hook and back with Nick. Celine and Jordan are allowed to make deals in exchange for ratting out the actual drug dealers, so once again, Celine gets away with a crime. Sigh. At least Lila gets her hat.
The only substantial B-plot: Elizabeth and Tom are through, as he believes his father’s side of the story that he never hit on Elizabeth. Tom is a jerk through the whole book, which is really all you need to know. Liz tries to take her mind off of him and Jessica’s trial by going to a party. She accidentally gets drunk on spiked punch, and a guy who’s been bugging her comes close to raping her. Todd swoops in to save the day. The next morning, Elizabeth wakes up in Todd’s bed and freaks out, thinking they slept together. They didn’t, so Liz is still a lily-white virgin, but now her interest in Todd has been rekindled. So sorry, spending-the-semester-abroad Gin-Yung.
Thoughts: Yeah, like Jessica was really going to go to prison for a drug crime. I mean…middle-class white girl. Come on.
Celine buys turquoise velvet couches. Ick.
Danny declines an invitation to a Rams game so he can go to Jessica’s trial, and Tom thinks, “I finally get a chance to see the Rams play and something Wakefield related ruins it.” So now I definitely hate Tom.
Celine calls fake jewelry “paste.” I learned that term from an SVT book. The circle is complete!
Nick goes to the engineering department and gets hassled by a bunch of nerds. “‘I say he needs a reboot,’ the wiry guy cackled. Nick tensed. A reboot? That sounded threatening. He jumped back from the group and then swung around to face them. No one was going to give him a boot.” Nick, sweetie, you’re embarrassing yourself.