October 27, 2015
SVU Thriller, Deadly Terror: The Return of William White, Part II: The Phantom of the Library
Summary: William is back and better than ever! I mean worse, worse than ever. He tells Elizabeth that he wants to make up for all the horrible things he did (you know, like murder), and would especially like to earn her forgiveness. Half of his face is heavily scarred, so just pretend he’s the Phantom of the Opera. And things turned out great for him! Elizabeth is understandably skeptical, and just trying to wrap her mind around the fact that a guy she thought was dead is still alive.
William goes to a much-needed therapy session, where his psychiatrist, Dr. Denby, tries to remind him that he put Elizabeth through a lot, so expecting her to forgive him immediately is pretty unrealistic. William thinks she hates him because he’s ugly now. He has some plan in mind but won’t tell Dr. Denby what it is.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth calls the police, who admit that they never told her William was alive because she was already traumatized. But he’s supposedly drugged up and under lock and key with Dr. Denby. If Elizabeth thinks she saw him, she’s just a nutty girl. Jessica thinks Elizabeth should give William a second chance, arguing that the cops would get involved if he were really a threat. Yes, those reliable Sweet Valley police officers. They’re almost as helpful as Jessica.
Tom notices that Elizabeth is acting strangely, but she doesn’t tell him about William. Besides, she has something much more important to worry about – she’s helping out with some archiving project in the library basement. There’s a lot of stuff in the book about this project, but none of it is important. It’s just a reason for Elizabeth to hang out in dark passageways, and for Tom to get mad that they’re not spending enough time together. (Tom spends the whole book upset with Elizabeth for not being like his Cyber Dream version of her. He’s unbearable.)
William tracks down Elizabeth again and gives her a white rose. The next day, Tom sends her flowers, having been advised by someone at the TV station that they might make Elizabeth calm down. Elizabeth prefers the wildflowers William sends, along with a note asking her to meet him in the library basement. Elizabeth goes back and forth on whether or not she should meet him, but ultimately doesn’t, thanks to a Jessica-related emergency (see below).
Tom sees William’s flowers and thinks Elizabeth’s cheating on him. He follows her and Jessica to the mall, where Liz catches him lurking and yells at him. Having been stood up, William goes back to Dr. Denby, who tells him to find a way to run into Elizabeth. William does, also running into Jessica for the first time (so at least now no one can say that Elizabeth has just imagined seeing William). Jess is all, “He was nice to me! You should go out with him!”
William throws pebbles at Elizabeth’s window that night and gets an invitation to her room. He tries to kiss her, but Elizabeth realizes how ridiculous this whole thing is and puts on the brakes. Tom is still being a creepy stalker and watches them through the window, sure that his suspicions are correct about Elizabeth being a cheating cheater. The two of them fight, and I really wish this were the end of their relationship for good.
Elizabeth finds a secret room behind a bookcase in the library basement (of course, right?) William tells Dr. Denby that he did something bad, but Dr. Denby thinks he can play dirty when he prize is his true love. I think Dr. Denby’s qualifications should be reviewed by the AMA. Elizabeth finally agrees to go on a date with William, who takes her to the library basement for a picnic. He’s been living down there and knows all the secret passageways because his grandfather designed the building, and he’s been hanging out there since he was a kid.
Elizabeth quickly notes that something smells gross, but she tries to ignore it so she can focus on getting back together with the guy who tried to kill her and her friends, I guess. But what William wasn’t counting on was Elizabeth’s inability to engage in any kind of intimacy beyond kissing. Elizabeth asks to move more slowly, and William has a tantrum, saying that Dr. Denby told him Elizabeth owes him, since everything bad that’s happened to him was her fault.
Elizabeth tries to go along with the crazy, saying that she’d like to meet Dr. Denby. William’s happy to oblige – in fact, she can meet him right now! He’s there in the basement! He’s the rotting corpse in the closet! Elizabeth decides to take a rain check on that meeting, but William won’t let her leave. And since it’s dark and Elizabeth isn’t familiar with the passageways, she can’t really get away from him. William chases her around, yelling that he’s going to scar her face, too, kill her, and then kill himself so they can be together forever. Fun times.
Elizabeth manages to find the bookcase that will get her out of the passageway and back to the basement, but as she’s running off, she trips over a gas pipe. Now she has to deal with a psychotic killer AND natural gas. William decides to use his lighter to try to find Elizabeth. Bad idea! As Tom arrives to talk to Elizabeth, the basement goes up. Elizabeth manages to get out without any injuries, and she and Tom are so happy to see each other that their fight is immediately over. William is considered dead in the explosion. No one bothers to follow up. Good police work, SVPD!
Jessica’s plot stems from a book I didn’t read, Jessica’s Secret Diary, Volume III. Long story short: Over the course of SVH books 83 through 94, Jessica met a young producer/director named Charles Sampson who wanted her to star in his movie, Checkered Houses. She helped Charles get the movie off the ground but didn’t act in it because Sam didn’t want her to. Also, Charles was totally in love with Jessica, despite the fact that he was in his 20s and she was 16, because there was no shortage of that in the SVH books.
So now Charles wants to take Jessica to the Independent Movie Awards, since his usual date can’t make it. Jess would never pass up this kind of opportunity, so she gets to work finding a spectacular dress (even though she doesn’t have much money). She goes shopping with Lila, who’s really annoying in this book, though she’s fed up with Jess, so I guess I can relate. Jessica wants a really expensive necklace to go with her dress, so Lila suggests that she convince the owner of the jewelry store to loan it to her and get free publicity in exchange.
Jessica doesn’t think she can make the deal on her own, so she asks Elizabeth to come with her. Somehow they talk the owner into letting an 18-year-old college student borrow a stunningly pricey necklace. Unsurprisingly, the necklace promptly disappears from the twins’ dorm room. Jess blames the fault clasp on the necklace’s box and enlists Elizabeth to help her search the quad for it. When that proves fruitless, Elizabeth decides to ask Tom to make a be-on-the-lookout announcement on WSVU. Tom has no intention of helping her with anything, which, fair enough. I mean, he’s a jerk, but you don’t break up with a guy and ask him for a favor the next day.
So the twins ask William for help, and he’s more than happy to look for the necklace. If he can’t find it, he’ll even loan them money to pay for it. Elizabeth’s like, “Well, he’s the only one of my friends who’s offered a loan.” Yeah, because all of your friends are college students and don’t have that kind of money. Also, why would they loan you money to replace something your sister was dumb enough to lose? Whatever, because William “finds” the necklace, saving the day. It’s never confirmed, but I’m 99.999% sure he stole the necklace in the first place. Anyway, Jessica goes to the awards, Checkered Houses wins best picture, and all is well.
Thoughts: Lila’s very anti-purple for someone who was once in a club devoted to that color.
Oh, so William’s crazy? What a twist! Were we actually supposed to think he was reformed?
“There’s no way anyone down in those tunnels could have survived that blast.” Then I guess you shouldn’t waste time making sure!