February 8, 2014
Party of Five 4.5, Fight or Flight: Birds of a Feather
Summary: It’s the day after the museum gala, and Julia doesn’t want to go to work and face Daniel. Griffin tries to cheer her up with a new dress (which he paid for with what money?). Julia reluctantly wears it, even though it shows a bit of skin. Sarah’s having car trouble, and when Bailey tries to help her, she yells at him for not knowing what he’s doing. Annie drives by and offers to give Bailey a ride. Sorry, Sarah, you’ll have to fend for yourself. Conveniently, Annie needs a favor: extra time to pay her rent this month.
Owen and Nina go to a fish place with Charlie so he can get fish for the restaurant. Owen has clearly hit it off with Nina. They find a bird stuck in a net, and Nina helps it. Bailey loans Annie some supplies so she can paint her apartment, and while he’s visiting, he chats with her daughter, Natalie. He talks about something he learned in school about how people in villages help each other. Annie catches on that he wants to give her money to help her pay her rent. She refuses to accept it, but Bailey insists.
Charlie and Nina go to her wildlife refuge, where she tells him that they’ve gotten a huge grant for research in China. She’ll have to go over there for a few weeks. It turns out the money Bailey loaned Annie isn’t his – it’s his and Sarah’s. She was going to use the money to fix her car. She demands that Bailey go get the money back; when he says no, she starts to go herself. Bailey tells her that there are a bunch of tenants who need repairs, so they’ll just use Griffin’s plan from last week to do the work and make the money the landlord would have paid an outsider.
Charlie takes the bird Nina found home with him, which is weird. He won’t let her or Owen name it in case things don’t work out. Really, though, he’s worried that Nina’s trip to China will mean the end of their relationship. Julia wears her new dress to work but covers it up with a sweater. Daniel tells her that she’s being let go for performance issues. Of course, Julia isn’t an idiot, and she knows it’s because she rejected him. She threatens to spread the news, so Daniel’s forced to keep her around, but instead of letting her actually work, he sends her on personal errands.
Claudia finds a feather in Thurber’s mouth, so I guess that bird’s not sticking around. Charlie tries to explain the bird’s supposed death to Owen, but it’s a thinly veiled lecture on how relationships don’t always work out. He wraps it up by saying that he’s always right. Not in this instance, though – the bird’s still alive. Julia attempts to be professional at work, but Daniel’s a cranky little boy. Since most of the employees have left, he tells her to leave, too; he can’t trust her not to take advantage while they’re alone.
Nina visits Charlie at the restaurant, and he finally tells her that he’s upset that she’s leaving the country. But it turns out the grant didn’t come through, so she’s staying. Charlie can’t help being happy over her professional failure. Nina admits that she’s not that sad about it. He berates himself for always expecting something bad to happen. Then part of the ceiling falls down. Julia comes home from work shaken but doesn’t tell Griffin what she’s upset about.
Bailey and Annie return to the apartment building together after an AA meeting, and it looks like there’s some attraction there. Sarah welcomes Bailey home with the news that Annie hasn’t paid her rent in three months – she owes the landlord $2,000. She probably used the same sob story on Bailey as she did on the landlord. Sarah chastises him for thinking he knows Annie because they’re in AA together.
Griffin has a sleepless night worrying about Julia, who still won’t tell him what’s wrong at work. He encourages her to quit if things are so bad. She just tells him not to worry about her, which almost always means, “You should be worrying about me.” Bailey confronts Annie about her rent situation, but she says it’s not his business. He corrects her, since he gave her a big chunk of money. Annie explains that her divorce left her pretty poor, but she’s working on getting to a good place financially.
The restaurant has big roof problems, and Charlie will have to close it for a couple weeks while it’s being fixed. It’ll also cost $4,000. At their apartment, Sarah shows Bailey the eviction notice they’ve been asked to give to Annie. Bailey begs her to stall by pretending that they didn’t get the notice. They just need to give Annie some time to come up with the money. Sarah doesn’t want to risk her job and their home for someone else. She admits that she doesn’t like Annie, and she doesn’t like the time Bailey’s been spending with her.
Claudia and Nina play hide and seek with Owen at the restaurant while the workers fix the roof. Basically, we’re just supposed to see how awesome Nina is and how much she and the kids like each other. Charlie’s upset that she’s distracting the workers from their job. He’s tired of her turning bad things into good things all the time. Sarah goes to Annie’s apartment to deliver the eviction notice, but only Natalie’s awake. She’s pretty cute, so now Sarah feels bad.
Griffin goes to the museum to ask Daniel why Julia’s been so upset at work. Daniel just says that Griffin should tell his wife to wear his wedding ring and stop giving the wrong signals. Griffin attacks him. Julia breaks up the fight and takes the blame. Griffin accuses her of leading Daniel on and then getting mad when he rejected her. She tells him that he came on to her. Griffin doesn’t get why she would defend him then. Julia admits that she was just eager to get the job, so she let Daniel think what he wanted to think.
Annie tells Bailey that she’s being evicted, but he has a solution: The landlord violated the lease by not fixing her wiring and plumbing. She needs to write a letter to the rent control board and tell them everything the landlord has done wrong. It’ll delay the eviction process long enough to allow her to get the money she owes.
Julia apologizes to Daniel for Griffin’s behavior, and he tells her that they need to work on their self-control. She points out that he’s responsible, too. She flirted to get the job, but he gave her the job because he wanted to flirt. Now she’s quitting. Daniel tells her to stop being dramatic and return to being a regular docent. She wasn’t qualified to work for him anyway. After all, she only has a high school diploma. (Because being his assistant would normally require a working knowledge of quantum physics and calculus?)
Annie thanks Sarah for her and Bailey’s advice about writing to the rent control board, not realizing that it was just Bailey’s advice. Sarah’s not thrilled that she gets to stay. Annie thinks the two of them are dating. Charlie goes to the wildlife refuge to talk to Nina, but they end up fighting over how she’s always optimistic and he’s always pessimistic. He challenges her to find a silver lining in his roof problem. She points out that they could have taken a vacation while it was being fixed. Charlie clearly hadn’t thought of that.
Sarah tells Bailey that she knows what he did for Annie. Then she asks straight out if he’s in love with her. If he’s not, why would he do so many nice things for her? Bailey assures her that they’re just friends. (You know, for now.) Julia goes to Griffin’s garage to try to patch things up, and he asks if she’s unhappy with their marriage. She tells him that she likes her job, but she feels so young compared to everyone else. She’s learning a lot about adulthood that she didn’t know before.
Bailey helps Annie paint her apartment, which I’m surprised she’s allowed to do when she was days away from having to move out. Now that Annie knows Bailey’s single, and Sarah’s put the idea in his head that he might be in love with her, they can act on their barely measurable sexual tension and make out. Julia greets a tour group at the museum and is surprised to see that Griffin’s there. She introduces herself as Julia Holbrook. Nina and Owen release the bird she found, which I guess is a metaphor for something, but I don’t know or care what.
Thoughts: Sarah wears a flannel shirt while listening to Sheryl Crow, so she is Queen of the ’90s.
I knew the building Bailey and Sarah live in seemed shady. Seriously, they hired an 18-year-old student to be in charge of stuff like collecting rent checks and making repairs. The landlord’s probably pocketing all that rent money.
Hold up. “I flirted to get what I wanted, but you’re the jerk for returning the flirting.” You’re both jerks! Also, that was flirting?
I didn’t realize Sarah was so against helping people. She’s all, “A poor, single, alcoholic mother is about to be evicted? Why should I care?” The quality of mercy is not Sarah.