July 21, 2013

Party of Five 2.18, Before and After: The A Word

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 3:32 pm by Jenn

This episode is sad, so here's Godzilla eating potato skins

This episode is sad, so here’s Godzilla eating potato skins

Summary: Bailey and Sarah are hanging out when he decides to bring up the subject of sex. (He’s in favor of it, in case you were wondering, and sooner rather than later.) She’s also in favor of it and says she was just waiting for him to say something. She’d like it to be special, though, so they won’t be doing it right now. Speaking of sex, Julia is now experiencing the consequences of having it with Justin: She’s pregnant and has just made an appointment to have an abortion. She doesn’t want to talk to Justin about it.

At school, Justin presses Julia to talk about her pregnancy, but she notes that that won’t change anything. He tells her he loves her and that he doesn’t think the pregnancy was either of their faults. Something probably happened with the condom, which was an accident. Justin also wants to go with Julia when she has the abortion. She tells him Charlie’s going to take her, and she’ll call when it’s over. Then she just goes back to her homework.

There’s a burst pipe in the Salingers’ basement, which leads Charlie to complain to Jake about how the house is falling apart. Jake offers to help out with paying for repairs. Charlie finds Julia’s pregnancy test in her trash can and gets distracted. So I guess she didn’t talk to him about taking her for the abortion after all. Sarah tells Bailey that her parents are going out of town for the night, which leaves them an empty house to fool around in. “We can spend the night together,” they say multiple times.

Charlie confronts Julia about the pregnancy test, and she tells him she’s having an abortion and Justin will go with her. Meanwhile, Sarah and Bailey get ready to have sex in her very fancy apartment. Suddenly he thinks she’s made the situation into too big of a deal. She talks about how she’s about to share a moment with him that she’ll never have with anyone else, and after tonight, she’ll really be a woman. He tells her he’s feeling too much pressure, so they should wait.

Julia’s called back to see a doctor, but the next thing we see is her running out of the clinic. Justin’s waiting for her outside and is surprised to see that she came by herself. She tells him that she couldn’t go through with it – and actually, she’s not sure she wants to anymore: “What if this is something that I want?” She thinks Justin’s upset with her for changing her mind. (For the record, I don’t think he is. He’s just confused.)

At school, Sarah assures Bailey that she’s fine with them not having sex the night before. Now he wants to try again, just without all the decorations and pressure. They’ll hang out at his house and see how things go. Sarah reminds him that he wanted to have sex quickly. Now, though, Bailey wants it to be spontaneous.

Julia runs into Sarah at her doctor’s office, then goes home with some information on pregnancy. Bailey checks on his sister, having heard from Sarah that she looked upset. He thinks Justin’s pressuring Julia to have sex. She must have gone to the doctor to get birth control. Julia tells him that the birth-control ship has sailed, and he’s too late with the advice. (Which is ironic, since she’s also late.)

Justin comes over to tell Julia that he’s on board if she wants to have the baby. He might be able to graduate early and get a job at the station where he’s been interning. Even if they have to sacrifice, they’ll get something in return. They love each other and can provide for a baby, so why not? Later, Julia shares the idea with Charlie, saying that she can’t do that to Justin. She’s considering adoption instead. She runs through multiple options, and Charlie’s supportive of whatever she decides, as long as she’s ready to be a mother. Julia thinks this is similar to Charlie parenting Owen. Charlie disagrees, telling her she’d be throwing away a lot of potential.

Julia calls Justin back over, and he ends up crying alone in the backyard while Claudia complains that no one wants to talk to her. Claudia goes to question Julia and finds her info from the doctor’s office. She asks if Julia’s going to have the baby, getting upset when Julia hesitates. At school, Bailey tries to get Sarah to come over to the house, but to talk to Julia, not to have sex. Bailey wants Sarah’s input on Julia’s pregnancy, but Sarah won’t discuss it.

Speaking of not wanting to discuss it, Claudia doesn’t want to talk to Julia about possibly not keeping the baby. She notes that their parents kept Owen even though he wasn’t planned. She’s worried about how to react if people say Julia committed murder by having an abortion. Julia says she wouldn’t go through with it if she believed it was murder. Bailey and Sarah try to…um, be spontaneous in his car, because I’m sure that’s what she had in mind when she said she wanted her first time to be special. She puts a stop to it.

Charlie asks to go with Julia when she has the abortion the next afternoon. He confides that he once went with a girlfriend to have an abortion. He’s sure Julia won’t spend forever thinking about this, since Charlie hasn’t thought about it in years. She asks about the girlfriend, but Charlie hasn’t kept in touch with her, so he wouldn’t know if she still thinks about it.

Justin comes over again and Julia tells him that they’re both responsible for the pregnancy. She doesn’t want him touching her, so he thinks she’s mad at him. She says that they created the baby together, but it’s inside her, so he has no idea how she feels. Even though he really wants to empathize, Julia tells him to go home and stop worrying about her. He’ll get over it soon, and no one will ever look at him and remember what he did. Julia will never be able to get rid of what she’s about to do.

In the morning, Sarah comes by and Julia laments that the two of them aren’t as close as they were before Sarah and Bailey started dating. Julia doesn’t have any other women to talk to (Kirsten’s away), so she tries to confide in Sarah about how scared she is. Sarah stops her, saying she’s not the person to talk to about abortion. If her birth mother had had one, Sarah wouldn’t be here. So because she’s adopted, apparently she’s not allowed to give her opinion.

Justin comes over yet again, but Bailey won’t let him in the house, telling him Charlie’s going to take Julia to her appointment. He tells Justin to give her time. Justin complains that everyone’s treating him like he’s irrelevant. He knows Julia’s sad, but so is he, since he’s losing something, too. He wishes someone would ask him how he feels about the situation. A few hours before the appointment, Julia starts feeling strange and tells Charlie they need to leave now.

Claudia looks through the basement at some damaged things, avoiding telling Jake why everyone’s been so secretive lately. She tells him that Charlie’s taking care of things. She also doesn’t want to tell him what’s going on because she doesn’t want him to look at Julia differently. Charlie and Julia return home and she reveals to Bailey that she didn’t have the abortion – she miscarried. She asks him to call Justin and tell him to come over. Claudia tells Julia she’s not mad anymore, and not just because she didn’t have an abortion.

Julia tells Justin about the experience, and he says he knows she wouldn’t have called him even if she’d had the time. She regrets the way she’s treated him since she found out she was pregnant. He thinks things would have been easier to handle if they’d shared it, so now he’d like Julia to share it with him. Justin admits that he feels a little bit of relief, but she doesn’t feel the same way. She would have gone through with the abortion if she’d still had the choice.

Bailey and Sarah deal with leaks in the attic, turning his old football helmet into a bucket. He finds the sound of the rain romantic and invites her to sleep over (and he means literally sleep). Charlie checks on Julia, expressing his disappointment in not being more helpful. She promises that he did everything right; she was the one who made the mistake of having sex. He tells her he can put this behind her now. Since neither of them is tired, they decide to stay up late and talk.

Thoughts: The word “abortion” is not said at all in this episode. Nowadays that doesn’t usually happen; no more coming up with euphemisms like “handle it” and “take care of it.”

I’m usually pretty neutral on Neve Campbell and Michael Goorjian, but they were very good in this episode.

Similarly, Bailey and Justin usually bug me, but I thought they were both very mature here.

I see Charlie still doesn’t have any idea who’s sleeping in his house at any given time. So he’s learned nothing. Wonderful.


  1. Amy said,

    I was listening and thinking it was weird they never said abortion…when they finally said it! At like 35 minutes, when she was telling Bailey about the miscarriage.

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    I remember seeing this episode during its original run; it was kind of controversial but it was very well-handled. I didn’t realize they didn’t say the word ‘abortion’ for most of the episode, though. Lame. I kind of think Julia having a miscarriage was a bit of a cop-out, though I understand if she’d had the abortion it would have shifted her storyline quite a bit from then on out. I remember being irritated with Sarah too; I can understand it if she had religious objections, but what would she do if she were in the same situation with Bailey? Can she honestly say she’d go through with the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption?

    The Real World Season 2 (Los Angeles) aired a couple years or so before this episode and it was my first introduction to what it was really like for a woman to have an abortion. I think they handled it perfectly. I mean, Fast Times At Ridgemont High had a storyline about abortion as well, but you didn’t see Stacy laid up in bed for several days with severe cramping, so that was a little unrealistic.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: