November 8, 2014
Party of Five 5.18, Driven to Extremes: Changes of Mind
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.