January 4, 2020

My So-Called Life 19, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: Unconscious Wishes

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Brian Krakow, forever alone

Summary: Angela wakes up from a dream she tells us she keeps having about Jordan. She’s trying to catch up with him in the hallway at school, but her shoes get stuck to the floor and he walks away before she can reach him. Sometimes Graham is there, mirroring Jordan’s movements. Sometimes it’s mixed in with her great-aunt’s funeral. Patty and Graham try to wave her over to the ceremony, but she leaves them. At the end of the dream, Angela finally catches up to Jordan and yells at him for hurting her. He just takes it, like he doesn’t care what happens to him.

Angela voices over that “hatred can become like food.” It gives you energy you can live off of. She goes downstairs, where Graham tells Patty that the restaurant investors are getting cold feet. Angela wants to share her dream, but no one wants to hear it. Patty says she dreamed about Tony Poole.

At school, Delia tells Sharon that she had a dream about Rickie. They were dancing in a vegetable garden. She asks how much Sharon knows about Rickie. She figures Sharon would know him because they’re both friends with Rayanne. Sharon denies that she and Rayanne are friends.

Graham and Hallie are fighting at the restaurant space; the investors’ drawback about putting up the money turns out to be because of him. Patty brings them some food, but Graham’s too upset to eat, so he goes for a walk. Hallie thinks Graham is right to be angry since she didn’t tell him as soon as she knew that the investors were nervous about him. On the other hand, the investors are right to be nervous because they’d be backing a chef who’s never cooked professionally before. Hallie thinks he’ll win them over if he cooks for them.

Patty tells Hallie that one of her ex-boyfriends wound up in the restaurant business, so she can contact him if Hallie wants advice. Graham returns and says what Hallie said after he left, about how he can win over the investors by cooking for them. Hallie and Patty pretend that he’s the only one who came up with that idea.

After an English class, Jordan and Sharon both approach Angela. She voices over that it’s weird to run into someone you’ve just had a dream about. It makes you worry that you’ll give something away about the dream. Sharon goes to talk to Mr. K, and Jordan tries to make small talk with Angela before revealing that Brian figured out the name for his reading difficulties.

Brian asks Sharon about Delia, but Sharon says she’s interested in Rickie now, since Brian didn’t treat her right. Jordan tells Angela that the Frozen Embryos have renamed themselves Residue. Angela asks why he’s telling her all this. He walks off, and Sharon comes back over, saying she can’t believe his nerve in trying to talk to Angela after what he did. She tells Sharon that she had her dream about him again. As Sharon is about to reveal what she dreamed, Mr. K interrupts and asks Angela to help sell tickets for Our Town. Sharon says she dreamed that she and Rayanne appeared in a charity water ballet together.

Jordan goes to a tutoring session with Brian but can’t focus – he’s upset about his failure to have a conversation with Angela. He’s pretty sure she hates him, and he deserves it. He tried to apologize to her, but he couldn’t figure out what to say. Brian thinks he just needs to say he’s sorry. He can’t believe that Jordan, who has the guts to approach any girl and get her phone number, is scared to talk to Angela.

Jordan asks Brian to help him figure out how to apologize. Brian says he did something unforgivable and created his own prison. There’s no way to help him with that; he’ll have to find his way out himself. Jordan thinks this kind of language would be perfect, so he asks for more. Brian refuses to get involved in whatever Jordan says or doesn’t say to Angela. They agree to work separately for the rest of the tutoring session, but Brian can’t help asking what Jordan has decided on so far.

Rayanne and Rickie are having a conversation in a school hallway about whether or not she’s a happy person. (She says yes, he says no.) Brian approaches, and after Rayanne leaves, Rickie says he’s signed Brian up to sell tickets to the play. Brian says he has no free time. Delia joins them and asks Rickie, who’s stage-managing the play, how she can get involved. He tells her she can help sell tickets. Brian brightly volunteers his help as well. Once Delia’s gone, Brian tells Rickie that, according to Sharon, Delia “has it” for Rickie. Rickie’s proud to be the object of someone’s affection.

Patty has gotten Tony Poole’s number from Camille and places a flirty phone call making arrangements to get together so she can ask his advice. Angela and Danielle eavesdrop, then reveal themselves and dig for information. Patty shows them an old picture in an album, trying to keep them from focusing on a picture of her hitchhiking.

She tells them she hasn’t seen Tony since high school, but she dreamed about him last night. She was taking out the garbage, and Princess Diana was there. (Apparently she shows up in Patty’s dreams a lot.) In the dream, Patty has longer hair and is wearing a white nightgown. Tony arrives on a motorcycle and they make out. Patty claims she doesn’t remember anything after that.

Danielle asks if Patty loves Tony more than Graham. Angela’s defensive about the question, but Danielle says she gets nervous that Patty and Graham might get divorced. Angela thinks there’s nothing to worry about – Patty and Tony are just going to talk for a little while. Someone can dream about a person she used to have feelings for but doesn’t anymore. It doesn’t mean anything.

Patty says she loved Tony a long time ago, but she chose Graham to spend her life with. However, she and Tony did have a lot of wild times together, and “it’s always tempted to lose yourself in someone who’s maybe lost themselves.” Eventually, though, you’ll want to leave your dream and go back to reality.

Later that night, Patty casually tells Graham that she called Tony and invited him over on Friday to talk about his experiences in the restaurant business. (He owns a Jeep dealership now. Also, he’s married.) Graham says he’s cooking for the investors that night. He doesn’t seem worried about Patty spending time with her ex alone, though.

At school, Sharon has told Angela that Delia has a crush on Rickie and wonders if he’s interested in girls. Angela’s surprised, since she thought Delia liked Brian. She spots Rayanne and the two ignore each other. Jordan’s trying to finalize his speech to Angela, with help from Brian. He wants to include something Brian has gotten from his parents about an unconscious wish. Maybe he had an unconscious wish to hurt Angela.

Jordan steels himself and approaches Angela, telling her everything he and Brian put together. To an eavesdropping Brian’s despair, she’s really impressed with Jordan’s words. She’s ready to have a serious talk with her ex. Jordan thinks they just did, but Angela says his little speech can’t be the end of the discussion. He runs off before they can get any further.

At a tutoring session the next day, Jordan tells Brian that he was close, but he needs to say more to Angela. She seems “starved.” He wants to write everything down so he doesn’t screw up. Brian again refuses to help. Angela tells Rickie that Jordan’s speech was “like a dream.” Just as she realized that they could actually communicate, he ran off. Rayanne interrupts to ask for one of the posters they’re hanging up for the play. Her mother’s really excited that Rayanne’s in the show.

Angela leaves before the conversation can go deeper than surface-level, and Rayanne follows suit. She bumps into Brian, snapping at him, and he asks Rickie why she hates him so much. They start talking about Angela and Jordan, and Brian admits that he gave Jordan all the words to say to her. Rickie accuses Brian of using Jordan to express his feelings to Angela. Brian hadn’t thought of that before. Delia comes by and reminds Rickie that she’ll be selling tickets for the show. Brian says that she really likes Rickie. Rickie wishes he liked her back; it would make his life a lot easier. It could be his chance to be straight.

Graham and Hallie work on their menu for the investors’ meal. He mentions that Patty’s meeting with Tony and promises that he’s not worried about it, even if there will be flirting. Hallie and Graham agree that people can flirt without it meaning anything. Hallie notes that Graham can still act jealous – it would be “considerate.” Uh, to whom?

Brian hangs out late at school, writing down some thoughts on the back of an Our Town poster. He gives the notes to Jordan – they’re a letter to give to Angela. Jordan rewrites it in his own handwriting as Brian reads it in voiceover. It’s about how he wants to be holding Angela, and how he can’t tell her the whole truth. She can burn the letter if she wants, or tell Jordan to go to Hell, and it wouldn’t matter. He’d just send her a letter from Hell.

Angela rereads the letter on the bus to school the next day, then tells Brian that it showed her another side of Jordan. She thinks it’s incredible and shows how much work he and Brian have done together in their tutoring sessions. Brian asks what her favorite part was, but Angela says it’s too personal to talk about. As soon as she sees Jordan, she ditches Brian.

Angela tries to tell Jordan how much the letter meant to her, but he’s uneasy now about passing off Brian’s words as his own. He tells her that in his dreams, he always knows what to say, and Angela always forgives him. The real Angela must, too, because she kisses him. Brian sees, realizing that his hard work has paid off, but for someone else.

Rickie comes over to tell him to pick up his tickets at Mr. K’s that night. He notices the kissing, and Brian says it doesn’t matter. They’ll all be dead someday. He confesses to Rickie that he wrote a letter for Jordan. Rickie urges him to tell Angela the truth, but Brian doesn’t think it would be right. Jordan asked for help, and Brian can’t go back on that now.

Sharon runs into Rayanne in the bathroom, where Rayanne is crying over the fact that she doesn’t have any friends. Angela ditched her, Rickie isn’t fully there for there, and Tino’s not dependable. Rayanne thinks Sharon believes she doesn’t deserve friends. Sharon chastises her for being “non-shockable.” Rayanne thinks it’s refreshing, and Sharon admits that it is. She adds that she’s Rayanne’s friend, even if she’s not someone Rayanne would choose for friendship. Rayanne says she screwed up. “Duh squared,” Sharon replies.

It’s Friday, and all the Chases are going in separate directions for the evening – Graham to the investors’ dinner, Patty to dinner with Tony, Angela to Mr. K’s, and Danielle…eh, who cares? At Mr. K’s, Rickie tells Angela he knows about the letter, then reveals that Brian wrote it. Angela pretends she’d already figured that out.

Mr. K invites the students who’ve come to get their tickets out for pizza, but Angela just wants to go home. Rickie stays back for a minute to talk to Delia alone. He asks her to a movie, saying he thinks they would be good together. Delia says okay, though she knows about Rickie’s sexuality. He tries to hedge, about to say he doesn’t like to label it, but then confirms that he’s gay. This is the first time he’s said it out loud. Delia says she feels a little honored.

She confesses that she has a huge crush on him because he’s such an awesome person and a great dancer. Plus, Brian hurt her, and she wanted to have a crush on someone who wouldn’t hurt her. Rickie tells her that if he liked girls, he would be attracted to her. But really, who wouldn’t? Delia’s adorable.

Patty waits nervously for Tony at the house, but Jordan shows up instead. As Graham and Hallie serve the investors, Patty gets a call from Tony canceling their plans. She tells Jordan, after hearing his whole story, that he obviously never meant to hurt Angela. He says he felt safe because he could walk away at any time. He didn’t feel like he needed Angela, or anyone. Of course, he was wrong.

Jordan asks Patty if she always wears this much makeup. She explains that she was supposed to meet up with an old friend. He called to cancel because he’s sick and took too much medicine, then got scared to drive. Never mind that, when they were teenagers, he took all sorts of risks.

Graham and Hallie second-guesses their menu as the investors finish the meal. They’re very impressed with Graham’s work. Mr. K drops Angela off at home, where she sees Jordan’s car outside. Graham calls to tell Patty that the investors have signed on to the restaurant. He asks whether Tony’s still there and what it was like seeing him again. Looking at Jordan, Patty says it was like old times. Graham says he’s a little jealous, and Patty says she’s glad. Hallie and Graham congratulate themselves with a hug that’s juuuuuust about to turn into more when he says he needs to get home.

Angela’s still outside her house when Brian rides by on his bike. She asks him whether he wrote Jordan’s letter, and he corrects Rickie’s claim, saying that he just proofread it. Angela can’t believe she fell for what was obviously a bunch of lies. Brian says he meant every word. Well, the person who wrote it did. Probably.

Brian asks her to just forget the whole conversation. But he’s glad that the letter made her happy. Maybe that’s all that matters. To the writer of the letter, at least. Jordan comes outside and takes Angela away for a ride, assuring her that Patty said it was okay. She goes off with him, not completely happy about it, and leaves Brian behind, also not completely happy. So basically no one’s happy at the end of the series, except maybe Rickie and Delia. Yay?

Thoughts: The big question: If the show had come back for a second season, would Graham have cheated on Patty with Hallie? I say yes.

Imagine if this had been Dawson’s Creek. Mr. K’s class would be reading Cyrano de Bergerac to underline Brian and Jordan’s scheme.

Those 19 episodes flew by, and we’ve come to the end of the series. I…don’t necessarily feel more fulfilled having seen it. I’m sure it felt more unique when it first aired, and I might have found it more relatable when I was younger, but now…it was fine. Just fine.

Up next: more school.


  1. Nick Rivers said,

    That look between Angela and Krakow at the very end was so filled with tension, I swear to god they would have kissed if Jordan hadn’t shown up. The way she’s looking at Krakow as they drive away really spells it out that she sees him completely differently now, not as the annoying kid she grew up with anymore, but as the real him. Everything between them has changed. I took it as a terrific way to end the series though of course I would have loved a few more episodes to play that out properly. This was the first time I ever started reading fanfic for a show; there was some fic I found that gave great closure to the series but for some reason the fic writer gave Krakow cancer which lent this whole other aspect to it all. Spoiler alert — he survives it and gets the girl. I should look that up again.

    • Jenn said,

      I absolutely thought they were going to kiss.

  2. Nick Rivers said,

    I’m back here a year and a half later and yeah, it’s all about that almost-kiss between Angela and Brian. She was pulled away very reluctantly and her mind stayed with Brian. The new question I have now is whether or not Jordan knew how close they were to kissing, or if he has any idea how much Brian’s in love with Angela. He’s not the most astute though he does have his moments. Gummersall and Danes did an incredible job with that little moment.

    I am not so convinced anymore that Graham would have cheated with Hallie. They both know there’s sexual tension there, but he pulled away before it went anywhere. I have a feeling he stayed true to Patty after all. Wishful thinking maybe?

    I felt awful for Rayanne in this one and had forgotten how completely isolated she became. Sharon helped, in her own little way. And I forgot that it was Sharon who came up with the ‘Chaseface’ moniker as that’s something I have often called my other MSCL-loving friend.

    Delia was adorable with Rickie and Rickie was such a good friend to pretty much everybody in this episode, but maybe most especially Brian. He knows exactly how Brian feels about Angela but has never spilled the beans on that, but knew just what to say to Angela about the letter so it didn’t seem like he was confiding a secret in her about it all. He just let her come to her own conclusion on it and not feel more stupid about it than she might already feel. Anyway, I loved his scenes with Brian so much in this episode and I loved how he’s become a close friend to Brian so quickly too. I know that all bugs Rayanne because she’s losing her bestie to other people but Rickie’s gotta be shared around, that big heart is just too precious not to dole around.

    Katimsky’s happy gleeful little giggle when Angela agrees to sell the tickets was everything!

    See you again in another couple years, ha ha.

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