August 12, 2013
Party of Five 3.1, Summer Fun, Summer Not: Adventure Time!
Summary: Bailey and Will are planning a road trip to Mexico, which Sarah doesn’t get the point of. The guys tell her and Julia that it’s a bonding experience. While the other three continue discussing the trip, Julia spots Griffin. He’s done with school and has become a Merchant Marine; he’s in San Francisco on his way elsewhere. Julia sent him letters, but he either didn’t get them or didn’t read them. Griffin’s surprised to learn that she and Justin have broken up.
Kirsten has apparently moved back into the Salingers’ house, and is ignoring mail from her mother. Claudia returns from summer camp and announces that she met a boy and is in love. Sarah questions Julia about the status of things with Griffin, but there’s not much to say. Charlie and Kirsten are suspicious of Claudia’s claims about her new boyfriend, Byron: She never mentioned him in letters home, she has a picture of only him (she’s not in it), and Bailey, who picked her up from camp, didn’t meet him.
Gina isn’t happy that Will’s spending his last few days before starting school with Bailey instead of her. Will blurts out that she can come along. Of course, then Sarah has to be invited along, too. The girls are much more excited about crashing the trip than the guys are. Ellie unexpectedly shows up at the Salingers’ house, and Kirsten makes a preemptive strike, telling her not to bother criticizing because she’s not leaving Charlie. But Ellie isn’t there to criticize: She’s there because her marriage is over.
The next day, Kirsten tells Claudia that Ellie won’t tell her what happened and won’t let her call Gene. Claudia’s all, “I know everything about how scummy men are because of my new boyfriend.” Kirsten’s all, “Yes, your ‘boyfriend.’ I have heard of him.” She tells Claudia that when she was her age, she made up a fake boyfriend so her own camp bunkmates wouldn’t think she was a loser. Claudia doesn’t make the connection.
The road trippers head off, and now the girls aren’t so excited. The guys object to the girls’ use of a guidebook to find a place to stay; they’d planned to sleep on the beach. Bailey talks about taking risks and being able to handle whatever life throws at him. Sarah notes that his check-engine light just came on. Back in San Francisco, Julia totally-on-accident runs into Griffin. Just as it looks like he’s completely clueless and/or avoiding her, he asks if she wants to “get together.”
Charlie tells Kirsten to get Ellie out of the house; he doesn’t plan to give her a place to stay when she’s been very clear that she hates him. Kirsten points out that she can’t exactly kick out a woman whose life is a mess. Ellie finally tells her what happened with her and Gene: She had an affair with one of Gene’s friends, and though it was years ago, he recently found out. The affair only lasted five weeks, but it took down a 29-year marriage. Kirsten is unsympathetic toward her mother.
Julia, Charlie, and Kirsten are shocked when Claudia’s very-much-real boyfriend shows up at the house. It’s only then that Claudia realizes that everyone thought she was lying. Bailey and Will bicker over whose fault their problems are, and how the car breaking down shouldn’t disrupt their plans to have a good time. Yes, even though they won’t be able to get the car fixed until the next day.
Julia and Griffin go out, and one of Griffin’s comments makes Julia realize that he did read her letters. That means he knew she and Justin broke up in the spring and didn’t do anything. She thinks that means he doesn’t want to be with her. Julia makes mad face. Griffin makes emo face. Kirsten and Charlie have now switched positions on whether Ellie can stay – Kirsten wants her out, but Charlie thinks they should work things out. The road trippers have to stay in a horrible hotel, which the girls complain about. They secretly plan to make an escape in the morning.
Claudia’s upset with her family for thinking she was lying about Byron. She gets a little overdramatic about how she has feelings for boys, whether the others think she does or not. In Mexico, the girls have taken off, and the guys are making plans to go to a cockfight. Well, Bailey’s making plans – Will is making a list of things he needs to pack for college. Back home, Charlie tries to sympathize with Ellie over having made mistakes and trying to make up with people they love. Ellie refuses to see any similarities between them.
Griffin tracks Julia down and tells her he read all of her letters multiple times; he kept waiting for her to write that she missed him or loved him. He was disappointed that she wrote to him like a friend, and he didn’t know what she was thinking about him. Julia tells him it’s okay if he wants to put a picture of her by his bed. Bailey and Will try to find the cockfight, but they no longer have the address.
Ellie makes plans to go back to Chicago and stay with Kirsten’s sister, who she guesses will also be mad about the affair. She tells Kirsten that she doesn’t understand how Kirsten could forgive Charlie after all the things he’s done that have hurt her. Kirsten says it’s because she loves him, so Ellie asks why her love for her own mother can’t lead to forgiveness, too. Kirsten replies that Ellie hasn’t forgiven Charlie, which is apparently the same as her not being able to forgive Ellie. I don’t know.
Bailey and Will manage to find the cockfight, but afterward, they discover that Bailey’s Jeep is missing. Will blames Bailey, since he took them on a stupid adventure. Bailey yells at him for not wanting to be adventurous. Of course, this is all masking his real anger over Will being able to go away to college while Bailey has to stay in San Francisco. Julia and Griffin go parking, and there’s kissing, but Griffin is tentative, which ticks Julia off. He admits that he’s scared because there’s nothing keeping them apart anymore, and if things don’t work out, Griffin won’t have anything.
The road trip is cut short, and Bailey returns to San Francisco in time for some end-of-summer bonfire on the beach. Julia doesn’t care that the Jeep was stolen because she’s too busy thinking about Griffin. She’s trying to be optimistic about moving on. Ellie goes by the restaurant on her way to the airport so she can tell Charlie she hopes he and Kirsten stay happy. She promises to stop being nasty about their relationship. Charlie doesn’t think that’s enough: He wants her to give him credit for trying to make things work. “I hope that my husband loves me as much as my daughter loves you,” Ellie says.
Bailey meets up with Sarah and laments that his “last hurrah” with Will went so badly. She suggests that the two of them have their own road trip in a few weeks. She’d like to be Bailey’s best friend since he’s hers. Claudia and Byron hang out at the bonfire, and she appreciates having a boyfriend who loans her his jacket when it gets cold.
Will arrives to make up with Bailey, saying he admires that Bailey has already grown up, while Will’s trying to catch up. (Well, Will, if you’d like, we can kill your parents and see how that works out for you.) Blah blah, they’re still friends. Griffin finds Julia at the bonfire and tries to be casual, but she’s mad at him for always coming back into her life and then leaving again. He promises that this time, he’s sticking around.
Thoughts: Byron is played by Rider Strong, so nice work, Claudia.
Aw, who would cheat on Nicholas Pryor?
Ellie, if you hate Charlie so much, go find a hotel. Also, shut up.
Bailey drinks beer twice in this episode. And so it begins….