January 21, 2017
Summary: Scully gives us a voiceover about “[feeling] time like a heartbeat” and sharing a burden through words. She wants the person reading her words to know that she feels comfort because she’s receiving understanding. She’s standing in a hospital gown, looking at a scan of her head, which shows a mass right between her eyes. Scully finishes her voiceover by asking forgiveness for not finishing the journey with her audience.
Mulder joins Scully at Holy Cross Memorial Hospital in D.C., where Scully has just received her medical news. She tells him she feels fine, despite the tumor in her brain. He’s the only person she’s called. The tumor is inoperable, and its size and placement make it hard to treat. Mulder refuses to believe that. Scully’s amused that, for once, she believes something he doesn’t – she’s certain that the cancer isn’t going anywhere and will most likely kill her. Mulder still won’t accept this, saying that there have to be people out there who’ve received treatment.
Scully gives the news to Skinner, asking him to keep it quiet. She plans to delay treatment until she and Mulder meet with the MUFON women in Pennsylvania, as Betsy was being treated for the same type of cancer. Scully wants to pursue this as a case rather than a personal matter. But when the agents arrive at Betsy’s house, they learn that she died a few weeks earlier. They’re just in time to see files from Betsy’s computer being downloaded by someone.
The agents trace the hack to a man named Kurt Crawford and go to his apartment. Mulder heads to the back of the building just as someone tries to sneak out. The agents capture Kurt, but the exertion of the chase gives Scully a nosebleed. She tells Mulder again that she’s fine. Kurt tells the agents he was in Betsy’s MUFON group and downloaded her files at her request. He ran because he believes his life is in danger.
Scully wants to question the other MUFON members, but Mulder says they can’t. Kurt confirms that all of the other members have died of brain cancer except one, Penny Northern. Kurt believes the women’s stories about being abducted and developing tumors as a result. Mulder thinks Scully’s in denial about her illness coming from the same circumstances. Scully notes that Penny’s still alive, so there’s nothing definitive about the situation.
Mulder suggests that Scully talk to Penny, but Scully doesn’t see the point. What would they talk about, knowing what it’s like to be dying of cancer? Mulder puts it in FBI terms, pointing out that she’s a witness they need to talk to. So Scully visits Penny in the hospital, surprised that Penny seemed to expect her. Her doctor, Scanlon, thinks he’s found the cause of the cancer, though it’s probably too late to do anything. Scully seems to grasp that it might not be too late for her.
Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”), who’s at Betsy’s with Kurt, looking through her files. Penny and Betsy were both treated for infertility at the same clinic. Scully asks him to come to the hospital with her overnight bag and call her mother. Whatever Mulder found isn’t important right now. “The truth is in me,” she says, and she needs to suspend the investigation and look into what’s happening to her. Mulder immediately heads off, leaving Kurt in Betsy’s apartment. Seconds later, a man enters the apartment with an icepick, and someone ends up as green acid.
Scully spends the night at the hospital, waking to meet Dr. Scanlon, who she first sees as an alien-like being. She’s bracing herself for chemo and radiation, which Scanlon says will make her “feel like dying.” Maggie arrives, and Scully repeats her new mantra, that she’s fine. Maggie’s upset that Scully didn’t tell her about her diagnosis right away. Scully says that she wanted all the answers first, and though she hasn’t found any yet, she has some clarity, as well as a possible way to fight back.
Maggie makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be left out of whatever happens. She cries as she says that Scully was always the strong one. Having lost Melissa, Maggie only has one daughter left. Scully remains stoic as her mother breaks down. She undergoes some scans, voicing over about how cancer “starts as an invader, but soon becomes one with the invaded,” turning a person’s body against itself. You can destroy it, but you risk destroying yourself in the process.
The voiceover is a letter written to Mulder in case Scully doesn’t survive. She wants him to know that he should never feel like there was something more he could have done. Though they’ve been working together, “this last distance must necessarily be traveled alone.”
Mulder, having not read the letter yet, is still determined to do something. He goes to the clinic where Betsy and Penny were treated and tries to access some files, but has to hide when he hears someone approaching. It’s Kurt, who survived the icepick assassin after all. Kurt and Mulder are looking for the same thing, so Kurt gets to work hacking the computer with the files they need. Mulder notices a snowglobe of a place called Vegreville, which turns out to be the password.
Back at the hospital, Scully has a nightmare about her head being drilled while she was abducted. Penny comforts her when she wakes up, feeling sick for the first time. Scully remembers hearing Penny’s voice in her dream. Penny says “they” let her sit with Scully during the procedures, though she’s not sure why. Scully doesn’t want to hear about this right now, but Penny thinks it’s important for her to understand what’s happening to her.
Mulder returns to D.C. and asks Skinner to get him a meeting. He has a disk containing a file from the clinic; it has Scully’s name, even though he’s pretty sure Scully’s never undergone treatment for infertility. Since the file is a directory for a mainframe at the Lombard Research Facility, Mulder doesn’t know what it’s about. That’s why he wants to meet with CSM. Skinner warns that if Mulder offers up anything, CSM will “own” him. But Mulder thinks CSM knows what happened to Scully and may know how to save her. “You can’t ask the truth of a man who trades in lies,” Skinner says, refusing the request.
Fortunately, Mulder has the Lone Gunmen to turn to. They decrypt the file, which contains a gene code from her blood post-abduction. The branching in the code can lead to mutation. The Gunmen think someone was doing research to find the cause of the mutation, though Mulder notes that someone could instead be looking for a cure. He invites the Gunmen to come to Lombard with him: “Pick out something black and sexy, and prepare to do some funky poaching.”
Skinner goes to Mulder’s office and finds CSM, who’s surprised that Mulder’s been relegated to the basement. Skinner spits that at least Mulder doesn’t have to “take an elevator up to get to work,” which I think is his way of saying that CSM is from Hell, but…try harder, Skinner. Despite Mulder and Skinner’s agreement to keep Scully’s illness confidential, CSM knows she’s sick. He notes that modern medicine can lead to miracles. Skinner would like for one, so he asks what he needs to do to save Scully. CSM will get back to him. “Which way is the elevator?” he asks pointedly as he leaves.
Mulder and Byers stake out Lombard while Frohike and Langly sneak inside and patch into the facility’s security cameras. Mulder and Byers head in next but immediately hit a roadblock with a security code. While Langly figures it out, Mulder looks at a directory of doctors and sees that Scanlon is on staff there. Langly gets the code, but Mulder sends Byers off on another mission, telling him to contact Scully and get her to stop treatment.
Scully writes to Mulder again, now feeling the effects of her treatment. Penny’s condition has worsened, and Scully dreads going down the same road. She can feel Mulder close, even though he’s not with her. She’s grateful for his work and needs to know he’s out there if she has any hopes of beating the cancer.
The security feed and comms get fuzzy, and Langly and Byers lose contact with Mulder just as Byers sees security guards arriving at the facility. Mulder makes it to a lab, where he’s greeted by a bunch of clones of Kurt. The lab is full of tanks containing more clones. Mulder thinks Kurt was using him, but the clones really want him to help them end the project that created them. Mulder recognizes a clone in a tank as the boy from the farm. Kurt confirms that the adult clones are the end result of the experiment.
Mulder thinks the clones want the developing clones to be destroyed. They say they actually want what Mulder wants. One shows him a storeroom full of ova harvested from abducted women, including Scully. The ova are then used to create clones. Unfortunately, the procedure leaves them barren and gives them cancer. The Kurt clones want to save them, since they’re technically the clones’ mothers.
When Mulder’s comms return, Langly warns that there’s a security breach. In another part of the building, Byers hides from guards. Langly gives Mulder directions to get out of the building, but the Gunmen can’t get the doors open fast enough for him to leave. A guard finds Mulder and fires at him, trying to break through bulletproof glass. The Gunmen manage to get Mulder out just as the shooter breaches the glass.
Mulder goes straight to Scully’s room, which is empty except for her journal. Byers meets up with him and assures him that he reached Scully. She’s sitting with Penny, who’s barely holding on. Scully confirms that Scanlon probably isn’t coming back. Penny tells her to keep looking for answers, and Scully promises not to give up hope. Her stoicism is beginning to falter.
Penny dies, and Scully can no longer keep her emotions hidden. Mulder tells her he read a little of what she wrote to him, but Scully now wants to throw it away. She’s decided not to let the cancer beat her. She’s going to work as long as she can. Mulder is determined to find Scanlon and figure out exactly what happened to Scully and the other women. He knows that Scully will find a way to save herself.
Scully notes that many people live with cancer, and she will, too. She has things to prove to herself and her family, and things to finish. Mulder hugs her, happy to be able to keep working with her. “The truth will save you, Scully,” he tells her. “I think it’ll save both of us.” He kisses her forehead, but only her forehead, because they cut the version where they kiss on the lips. As she goes back to her room, Mulder hides a vial of ova in his pocket.
Mulder calls Skinner to let him know that Scully’s going to keep working. He thanks Skinner for talking him out of meeting with CSM; he’ll just find another way to get the truth. “There’s always another way,” Skinner says. “Yes, I believe there is,” CSM agrees from the other side of Skinner’s desk. “If you’re willing to pay the price.”
Thoughts: Gillian Anderson won an Emmy for this episode.
Way to protect your witness who thinks his life is in danger, guys.
And way to keep your shady doctor’s identity secret, Lombard. Also, did Scully do ANY research before she started treatment with Scanlon?
I finally feel like Skinner is really part of this show. He was pretty ineffectual in the past, but in this episode, we see that he knows exactly what’s going on and is willing to go to great (possibly dangerous) lengths for his agents.
February 23, 2016
Summary: Mandy Miller was briefly introduced in the previous book as a Unicorn hanger-on who desperately wants to be liked. The Unicorns take advantage of her kindness and eagerness by letting her run errands for them. This just makes her think they’ll eventually invite her to join the Unicorns. Little does she know that that’s the last thing Queen Janet Howell would consider. She dresses funny (girl likes the thrift stores) and she’s too goofy for the elite princesses of the club.
The Unicorns are appalled when Mandy wears an all-purple outfit to school one day, complete with purple sneakers. Dude, where can I get a pair of those? Since Jessica’s the one Mandy seems to like the most, Janet orders her to tell Mandy that she will never, ever, ever be a Unicorn. Like, ever. Unlike Lila or Ellen, who would be thrilled to have the chance to shut down a lesser girl, Jessica doesn’t relish the task. She relishes it even less when she learns that Mandy agreed to be her partner for a class project, since no one else wanted to work with Jess, what with her reputation for not taking the class seriously.
The class is studying the 1920s, and Mandy suggests that she and Jess do a project about Vaudeville. Mandy’s grandparents were both performers and left the family a bunch of old costumes. The girls decide to put on their own Vaudeville act, which will be submitted to some state-wide contest run by a museum in Hollywood. (This is supposed to be some super-important project, but the history teacher, Mrs. Arnette, has only heard about it recently, and the students don’t have much time to do their projects. This contest doesn’t sound very fair to Sweet Valley.)
Spending time with Mandy helps Jessica understand her better. For instance, she wears clothes from thrift stores because…well, she’s kind of poor. But she doesn’t want to try to look like the Unicorns anyway; she’d rather keep her own style, even if it means she looks a little weird. Jessica reluctantly tells Mandy that the Unicorns don’t want her, which makes Mandy realize that they were just using her to do stuff for them. But she still seems to want to be friends with Jess.
The girls perfect their Vaudeville act and pick out costumes. As they’re playing tug-of-war over a feather boa, Mandy falls and gets a little banged up. She notices that she has a lump under her arm but doesn’t think it’s anything serious. However, she soon develops what she thinks is the flu and has to miss some school (though she and Jessica are able to perform their act in class). Jessica’s worried and even skips hanging out with the Unicorns to check on her new friend. Though Mandy downplays the seriousness of her illness, she’s not well enough to make a video submission of the Vaudeville act, so Elizabeth fills in.
Mrs. Miller calls Jessica a few days later and asks her to come to the house as soon as she can. Jessica’s supposed to have dinner at Lila’s, but she can tell that something serious is going on. Alice and Elizabeth go with her to the Millers’ house, where Mandy informs Jessica that she has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lump is a cancerous lymph node and will have to be surgically removed. The good news is that there’s a chance that the cancer hasn’t spread and Mandy will make a full recovery.
Jessica is deeply affected by the news, which is pretty amazing for a girl who often doesn’t care about anyone outside her immediate family (if that). Even though people keep assuring her that Mandy’s illness has been caught early and that her chances are good, Jess is terrified that Mandy will die. And even if she doesn’t, she could have to go through chemo and radiation, and there’s a chance she’ll lose her beloved long hair.
As soon as the Unicorns hear about Mandy’s cancer, they send her flowers. Jessica’s surprised at this move, partly because they don’t like Mandy, and partly because they don’t ask Jessica to chip in or sign the card. After Mandy has surgery and learns that the cancer hasn’t spread (but she’ll need radiation and chemo anyway), Jessica gives her the good news that their project won first place in the competition. (Amy and Elizabeth won second place. No one cares.) Part of their prize is getting to perform the act at the Hollywood museum. Mandy can’t do it, so Elizabeth will fill in again.
The Unicorns start visiting Mandy, which bugs Jessica when she comes over. They’ve made no secret of their disinterest in Mandy, but now all of a sudden they want to hang out with her? Jess questions their motives, and they admit that they didn’t invite her to go in on the flowers because they thought things were chilly between Jess and Mandy. After all, Jess was the one who told Mandy she couldn’t be a Unicorn. They didn’t realize that the girls have become friends through their project.
Mandy is a good little trooper, handling chemo like a champ. She actually thanks Jessica for fighting over the boa with her; if she hadn’t fallen, she wouldn’t have noticed the lump under her arm and gotten it checked out. When Mandy’s hair starts falling out, she tries on some hats. It’s helpful that she has a quirky style already because none of them is really fashionable. Mandy’s mom buys her a wig, but since the family doesn’t have much money, it’s not a very good one. Jess is horrified that Mandy will have to look like Little Orphan Annie for months while her hair grows back.
Never fear, the Unicorns are here! Janet calls a meeting to announce that she thinks Mandy is Unicorn material after all. (Ellen is appalled. Shut up, Ellen.) The girls vote and agree to extend her membership. Jessica tells them that Mandy could really use a wig, and she thinks they should postpone their upcoming party and use the money to get a wig. The other girls agree. (Well, Ellen’s still being stubborn, but everyone just ignores her.)
The Unicorns pick out a nice wig and present it to Mandy along with the invitation to join the club. Mandy loves the wig but isn’t sure about joining. The girls explain that they didn’t think she was Unicorn material, but now that they’ve gotten to know her better, they’ve come to really like her. Plus, Janet wants to make the club more diverse, and what better place to start than a quirky girl who wears a wig? I mean, you’re not going to find much more diversity than that in Sweet Valley. Mandy accepts the invitation, and the Unicorns have their newest member (who, frankly, is too good for them).
Thoughts: Jessica always says the Unicorns are awesome, but she doesn’t get why Mandy wants to join. Shouldn’t she think that every girl in school wants to be in the coolest club around?
You can tell this book is old because Jessica and Mandy’s prize includes a computer for the school. Just one. For all those students.
Amy and Elizabeth win a dictionary. Wow, a whole dictionary?? Amazing!
January 12, 2016
Summary: In case you’ve forgotten that Elizabeth likes horses, this book serves as your reminder. Elizabeth’s hanging out at Carson Stables again, where Ted is struggling to keep up with payments for Thunder, the horse he bought from Lila. He manages to get an extension until after an upcoming championship competition, where he hopes to win the thousand-dollar prize. Ellen is also entering the competition.
Elizabeth and Ted meet Lucy Benson, a seventh-grader new to Sweet Valley. She loves horses, too, and has been hanging around the stables. She used to have her own horse and participated in competitions. But when Ted offers to let her ride his horse, she makes up an excuse. Later, Ellen challenges Lucy’s supposed riding expertise, but Lucy still won’t get on a horse, even after she tells Elizabeth she wants to.
Eventually, Lucy decides she’s had enough of Ellen’s taunting that she’s not actually good at riding. She takes Thunder for a spin, but when she’s done, she’s shaking. When Elizabeth calls Lucy at home, Mr. Benson thinks Liz is a friend from glee club. Sounds like he has no idea where his daughter has been spending her afternoons.
While practicing for the competition, Ted falls off of Thunder and breaks his leg. There goes his chance to win the $1,000 he needs to keep his horse. Elizabeth and Lucy go to the hospital with him, and a nurse chats with Lucy, making her uneasy. Elizabeth wonders why Lucy’s so uncomfortable with someone being friendly to her.
But there’s no time for that – Ted needs money! Elizabeth thinks Lucy’s good enough to take his place in the competition. Lucy disagrees, and Ellen taunts that she can’t handle the pressure. So Lucy decides she won’t back down after all. Ellen talks to Jessica about Lucy, so when Lucy comes over for dinner, Jess tries to dig up dirt on her. All Jessica learns is that Lucy carries something with her that she claims is aspirin.
In the nurse’s office sometime later, Jessica hears Lucy talking about forgetting her medication. She mentions having had an accident, and her parents subsequently forbidding her from riding her horse. Elizabeth then comes across a story about Lucy falling during a competition. When she asks Lucy about it, Lucy comes clean: She has epilepsy. Her parents panicked over her having a seizure while riding and decided it would be safer for her to quit. Lucy, however, wants to prove that she can still ride (and also that she can beat some girl named Alison, but that’s a much smaller motive).
Ellen wants Lucy out of the way so she can win the competition, so she tries to call the Bensons to tell them how Lucy has been riding again without their permission. They don’t get her call until the competition has already started, so Lucy is able to enter. Her parents arrive while she’s competing and are understandably furious with her. Lucy tells them that she needed to prove that she could do the things she wants despite her epilepsy. After all, her doctor said she could keep riding as long as she takes her medication.
The Bensons calm down, and Lucy’s able to finish the competition. Of course, she wins, and she gives Ted the prize money. Her parents are even willing to consider buying her old horse back. So they all live happily ever after, except Ellen, who falls off her horse when the Boosters arrive to cheer for her during the competition. And I assume Ted never has money problems again.
In the B-plot, Jessica has some close encounters with animals. First, while she’s on a picnic with her family, a skunk gets into the cooler and eats the piece of chocolate cake Jessica wanted. Then, while she’s at the beach with Lila, she finds a baby seal covered in oil from a nearby oil spill. Jessica saves him, sacrificing her outfit, and is rewarded with the attention of a cute guy named Adam.
Jessica starts hanging out with Adam and the environmentalist group he’s part of. Unfortunately, this book does not lead to Jessica joining Greenpeace or leading protests about pollution. She just helps clean up the oil spill and worries a lot about the seal, Whiskers. She does bug her family a little about being a little more ecological, but they don’t really listen. Also, Steven knows her sudden interest in saving the planet mostly stems from a new crush. Anyway, Whiskers winds up okay, and Jessica helps release him back into the wild.
Thoughts: I guess the moral of this book is that it’s okay to disobey your parents if you have a really good reason.
The image of a skunk eating cake has always stuck with me. It sounds adorable.
After Jessica hears Lucy talking to the nurse, she’s all, “I’m a detective.” I love that Jessica considers eavesdropping “detective work.”
Apparently you can enter a riding competition without your parents’ permission. Keep that in mind, kids!
May 3, 2015
Summary: Steve and David are in Samantha’s dressing room, having watched a dress rehearsal for her new sitcom. David asks her to do an interview on his radio show. She hesitates to become a spokesperson for “the gay lifestyle,” which is news to David, since he didn’t know she was gay. Steve tells his mother that David just likes her. He hasn’t told anyone about her sexuality, partly to protect her privacy and partly because it makes him uncomfortable.
Matt smokes and creepily hangs out outside the boutique, then pretends he was working. He invites Kelly to drive around and look at Christmas lights with him, but she suddenly gets a call from Jackie telling her that her grandfather’s having trouble breathing. The doctors want to put him on a ventilator. Kelly reminds Jackie that his living will says he doesn’t want his life prolonged. However, when the doctor comes on the line, Kelly authorizes the ventilator.
Dylan goes to a storage facility to fix up and retrieve his car, which he hasn’t seen since the night Toni was killed. Kelly calls Donna from the hospital to report that her grandfather has stabilized since being put on the ventilator. The doctor warns that he could be on it indefinitely, but at least it means he’s still alive. Kelly isn’t sure she made the right decision, since this is how he’ll have to spend the little time he has left.
A teenage girl comes into the boutique, followed by some gangbanger friends. Donna’s fine with them being there, but Gina wants to chase them off. David tells Steve that Samantha’s going to come on his show after all. He thinks Steve should calm down about her sexuality. Steve thinks it’s a phase. David thinks he should be excited about the idea of two women being together. And that’s enough advocacy from David. Steve gets a call from a tabloid asking what it was like growing up with a lesbian mom.
Matt visits Kelly at the hospital, sporting reindeer antlers he won when he beat a kid in pediatrics at tic tac toe. (Adorable.) He runs into a lawyer friend who invites him to join him on a lawsuit. Unfortunately, he’d be defending a tobacco company, and Kelly strongly objects. Dylan takes his car to the After Dark, where Gina’s trying to get Noah to agree to see a movie with her. Dylan tells her to accept her rejection already. The two guys bicker about a belligerent customer. The customer then gets inappropriate with Gina, and Dylan and Noah team up to chase him off.
David makes Dylan walk away, but that only means he’s outside when the customer and his friends start wrecking Dylan’s car. “Only one of us is afraid to die here,” Dylan tells the guy. When Gina arrives and sees the car, Dylan tells her to “get away from her.” He works on the car again at David’s, refusing help from David and Noah. Noah notices a hole in the upholstery, causing Dylan to have a flashback to the night of the shooting. Noah thinks he should stop being a jerk.
A tabloid has published an article about Samantha’s sexuality, and now the co-star playing her husband has dropped a kiss they were supposed to have. However, she’s more upset about the fact that Steve denied to the tabloid that she’s not his mother. He defends the tabloid’s right to pry into her life; after all, she chose to be a celebrity. Samantha points out that she didn’t choose to be gay. She admits that she always had feelings for women but never acted on them. Steve wants her to keep quiet.
Matt joins the tobacco case, which upsets Kelly; she wishes he were just at the hospital to support her. He points out that her grandfather should have known the risks before he started smoking. Kelly notes that Matt recently started smoking again, so he’s defending his own habit. Matt downplays it as just something to do with your hands. Kelly asks if he would help if a client came to him and said he was thinking of killing someone.
One of the gang girls comes back to the boutique, telling Donna she wants a dress for her 15th birthday party. Donna’s nice to her, but Gina’s still suspicious. The dress is too expensive for the girl, who offers to pay for it with the money she’s going to earn from a new after-school job. Donna agrees to let her have the dress if she leaves the name of her employer. Gina warns that Donna will never see the money.
Kelly’s grandfather pulls out his ventilator but is now breathing okay on his own. He’s doing better, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to be okay. Kelly objects to the restraints the doctors have put on him to keep him in bed. He begs Kelly to stop authorizing treatments – he wants to die. Kelly admits to Jackie that she authorized the ventilator because she wanted to keep him around. Jackie assures her that she’s not being selfish. Kelly wants to figure out how to let go.
Dylan shows up for a visit, but Kelly asks him to take her to a park. They talk in vague terms about the possibility of giving her grandfather morphine and ending his life. Dylan knows there are some things that can’t be controlled, but this can. Later, Gina visits Dylan at David’s to thank him for saving her from the customer. He has her pegged as trying to steal Noah from her cousin, which he doesn’t get because…you know, it’s Noah. Even if she gets him, he’s not right for her.
Kelly tries to guilt Matt about smoking, noting that her grandfather could still have a number of years left if he’d never started smoking. The doctor wants to put in a feeding tube, since he’s not eating. Jackie objects, and Matt says it’s his choice. Kelly thinks it’s time to stop pursuing aggressive treatment. Jackie agrees and asks if they can take her father home so he doesn’t have to spend his last days in the hospital.
Gina interrupts Donna and Noah’s dinner at the boutique to ask about Dylan. Donna tells her and Noah about Toni and the mob hit. Noah feels like an idiot for pointing out bullet holes in the upholstery. Samantha accuses Steve of being embarrassed by the stories circulating about her sexuality. She reveals that she was fired from her show: “Who wants a homosexual in their living room? Not you.” Steve asks why she got married and adopted a kid when she knew she was gay. Samantha says that being his mother was the best job she ever had, and the only decision she was ever 100% sure of.
Gina moves on to asking Donna about Dylan and Kelly’s past relationship. Donna basically tells her to back off. The gang girl, Sonia, comes back with her friends to return the dress, which she’s cut so she doesn’t have to pay for it. Gina shows Donna her “I told you so” face. Kelly tells Dylan that her grandfather’s going home the next day to die. She told herself she only wanted to see Dylan because they’re old friends, but it’s more like he’s become an addiction. They kiss.
The next morning, Noah arrives as Dylan’s waking up from a nightmare about Toni’s death. Noah can sympathize about Dylan’s nightmares because he had some after his girlfriend died, and then again after his father died. Dylan doesn’t want to be his new BFF. He decides to sell the car. Kelly and Jackie go see Grandpa, who’s chatting with Matt. He says he’s quit smoking again, this time for good. He wants to celebrate Kelly’s grandfather’s release from the hospital with her, but Kelly’s now doubting their connection. He knows it’s because of Dylan, and hopes she changes her mind.
Sonia promises to pay Donna back for the dress, promising that her friends made her ruin the dress. Sonia admits that she skipped her own party because her friends would have kicked her out of the gang. They want her to do a drug run; if she doesn’t and she gets kicked out of the gang, she’ll become a target. She talks about how horrible her neighborhood is and how joining the gang wasn’t something she could control. A girl got in trouble because of her, so now she owns them.
Grandpa’s supposed to go to hospice, but instead, Jackie and Kelly take him to Jackie and Mel’s. The family wants him to get the most out of his last days. They start opening Christmas presents, so…sorry, Mel and Erin. Steve asks Samantha to the After Dark, encouraging her to do the interview with David. He wants her to be proud of who she is, because he’s proud of her. David’s thrilled to do the interview, introducing Samantha as “the mom you wish you had.”
Dylan’s upset after selling the car, and Gina asks if he’s ready to let go of something that meant so much to him. Guys, I don’t think she’s talking about the car. She tries to invite him to hang out, but he wants to be alone while he burns Toni’s mob money and buys heroin. Oh, Dylan. If Kelly didn’t like Matt smoking cigarettes, she’s definitely not going to like this.
Thoughts: “Get your facts straight – I’m adopted.” That doesn’t mean Samantha didn’t raise you. Shut up, Steve.
Samantha wonders if she should have been the kind of mother who volunteered with a Girl Scout troop. Steve: “They wouldn’t want you.” Bite me, Steve. Where’s Janet to yell at him?
Yes, Donna’s exactly the sort of person who would be able to help someone get out of a gang. Come on, show. This is dumb.
Steve: “That’s my mom. She’s gay.” Noah: “Cool.” Matt: “Cool mom.” Awesome.
April 26, 2015
Summary: David broadcasts from the After Dark, reporting that Dylan’s back. Apparently he hasn’t explained why he came back, but some fun rumors are swirling, like the one that Dylan’s smuggling diamonds. He and Kelly are at the club, and she asks what’s going on with him, but Dylan enjoys being mysterious. Gina urges Donna to keep her distance from Noah until she’s gotten past everything that’s happened with them. Then she tells Noah to keep up his romantic gestures.
Outside the club, Matt confides in Steve that he doesn’t want to go in because Kelly’s there with Dylan. He asks for details on their past, and Steve admits that they always thought they were soulmates, even after she got together with Brandon. Denise’s parents follow through on their threats and have David arrested for statutory rape in front of all of his friends.
Dylan bails David out of jail, then goes to West Beverly to talk to Denise. Mrs. Teasley stops him but allows Dylan to act as a go-between, since David isn’t allowed to talk to Denise. She tells him there’s nothing she can do. Dylan advises David to lawyer up. Janet meets Samantha, who has been busy since we last saw her – she has a new sitcom and is apparently dating her co-star. She’s unhappy with Steve’s new tabloid format, which makes him dig into celebrities’ privacy.
Gina goes with Noah to buy Donna some jewelry, reminding him that Donna’s spoiled and always gets what she wants. Kelly and Matt go to a hospital with Jackie to see Kelly’s grandfather, who doesn’t want treatment for his emphysema. Steve and Janet discuss Samantha, who has never been lucky in love; Janet hopes her new relationship, however unconventional, will be the one that lasts. Steve meets Barry, the co-star, who’s not much older than Steve himself.
Jackie chats with Matt, who’s a little antsy about not having a lot of clients right now. Kelly and Jackie discuss Jackie’s father; Jackie wants him to have surgery to prolong his life, but Kelly supports his decision to stop fighting. Jackie currently has her father’s power of attorney, and is supposed to pull the plug when the time comes, but she won’t do it.
Dylan arrives, wanting to take Kelly off for a drive, but she tells him he can’t just reappear in his life and act like things are the way they always were. She also has a family crisis to deal with. Matt scoffs at Dylan for seemingly not caring about the crisis. Dylan notes that Kelly has a lot of support for her problems – he came by to help her forget them. The next day, Matt deposes Denise, but she storms out. David begs her to just tell the truth.
Gina eavesdrops while Donna and Noah have a nowhere discussion about their relationship. Noah feels like he’s on probation, and would prefer to date someone who isn’t so spoiled. Donna objects to that word. Gina’s all, “I can’t believe he called you that!” Dylan tries to buck up David, who’s worried about how the whole case is affecting Denise. Dylan has no sympathy for her. David asks Dylan what he’s been up to the past three years, wondering if he still thinks about Toni. What a dumb question.
Steve complains to Janet that Samantha’s selfish – she’s dating Barry without worrying about how it will look to other people. Samantha points out that older men date younger women all the time, “but when an older woman is paired with a younger man, all hell breaks loose!” If she’s happy, Steve shouldn’t care who she’s with. He wonders what would happen if he disapproved of what makes Samantha happy. Samantha spits that no one has the right to judge her.
Kelly laments to Donna that her mother is trying to keep her from telling her grandfather that she won’t fulfill his wishes. Donna changes the subject to ask if Kelly would rather be with Matt or Dylan (who happens to be at the boutique). Kelly insists that there’s nothing going on with her and Dylan. Dylan asks Kelly what happened with Brandon; she makes it sound like they never got past being best friends. Dylan thinks she missed what they used to have. Kelly admits to being shaken by his return: “I hadn’t planned on it.”
Noah has plans with Donna, but Gina thinks he should move on to someone whose standards aren’t so impossible. Matt gets evicted from his apartment for not paying rent for six weeks. Kelly visits her grandfather, who wants her opinion on his decision not to have surgery. She tells him he needs to decide what’s best for himself. Then she tells him what Jackie said about not fulfilling his wishes. Dylan wonders if Matt is the right lawyer for David, who wants Dylan to admit that Kelly’s the reason he came back.
Matt asks Steve to put him on retainer in case the Beat needs legal representation, but Steve turns him down. Mrs. Teasley shows up to see what kind of person David is. She tells Dylan that Denise’s parents are pretty neglectful. Steve complains to David about Samantha dating someone so young, just before Barry himself shows up with a woman who’s definitely not Samantha. Steve may not like the guy, but he’s not going to stand by while he cheats on Samantha. A punch is thrown.
Gina thinks Donna’s letting Noah off too easy, especially after she’s been turning down all of his peace offerings. Donna thinks he’s proven that he’s the man she needs. Noah leaves a message that he’ll have to miss his date with Donna since he’s stuck at the club, dealing with the aftermath of Steve and Barry’s fight. Gina deletes it before Donna can hear it, then leaves.
Desperate for work, Matt turns himself into an ambulance-chaser. Kelly comes by to talk about her grandfather; she feels like she betrayed Jackie, but Matt reminds her that a living will is a legal document, and Jackie was going to violate it. He turns the conversation to Dylan, promising that he’s not going to get in the middle if Kelly needs to work through things with him. He’s not stepping aside, though – he’s willing to wait.
Noah arrives late for his date with Donna, confused as to why she’s upset, since he thinks she got his message. Dylan goes to see Denise’s parents, warning that kids whose parents ignore them tend to act out. After all, he knows from experience. He blames Denise’s parents for the whole mess and asks them to back off for Denise and David’s sakes. The Beat is being sued for libel, so now Steve is willing to hire Matt. He’ll also let Matt move into the Walshes’ house.
Samantha comes by to blast Steve for his fight with Barry. She reveals that they’re not dating, though she is seeing someone – someone named Linda. For the first time in his life, Steve is speechless. Donna deletes all of Noah’s messages begging to talk to her, still thinking he didn’t leave the original message about missing the date. Then she takes a message from Gina’s agent, learning that the spokesperson job Gina says she was offered isn’t real. Gina’s all, “Everyone around me has everything! I have nothing! Feel bad for me! But don’t pity me!”
Kelly’s grandfather understands why Jackie was going to defy his wishes, but he wants someone else to have his power of attorney – Kelly. Makes sense. Denise tells David that she won’t testify, and the DA agreed to drop the charges against him. Also, her parents are going to be more involved in her life, like, she’s already 17. It’s a little late now. David’s so grateful to Dylan that he invites him to move in.
Kelly calls Dylan to take him up on his offer to help her forget her problems. Gina eavesdrops on Noah and Donna again as he tells Donna he wants to earn back her trust. She agrees to give him another chance. Kelly asks Dylan again why he came back, but instead he tells her that he left Brenda two years ago. He traveled for a while, trying to forget his life, and decided to come back to Beverly Hills because it’s his home and he missed his friends, especially Kelly.
Thoughts: Oh, Dylan, I love you, but don’t tell Denise it’s her fault if David goes to jail. Yeah, she lied, but David was the one who slept with a minor, and her parents were the ones who pressed charges. Don’t make her feel bad for her parents being the way they are.
Gina, why do you have a sweater tied around your neck while you’re wearing a dress? Are you trying to start a trend?
I can’t think of anything else to say because I’m mesmerized by Vanessa Marcil’s pretty, pretty hair.
December 9, 2014
Summary: Elizabeth and Todd are back together, yay! Liz + Todd 4-EVA!!!!!1!1 (Ugh, I feel dirty.) They’re super-happy and stuff. Little do they know that Gin-Yung has returned from London and wants to see Todd. However, she doesn’t call him or go see him. Elizabeth thinks she sees Gin-Yung on campus, but since she’s supposed to still be in London, Elizabeth just tells herself it’s someone else. Gin-Yung spends most of the book getting bugged by her sister Kim to tell Todd what’s really going on. The ghostwriter really piles on the “what’s wrong with Gin-Yung?” mystery for the reader.
Todd, Elizabeth, Tom, and Tom’s new girlfriend Dana all end up at a recital together. They make civil, mature conversation and agree to have coffee together sometime. Ha ha, not on your life. Tom throws his new relationship in Elizabeth’s face, and she ends up in tears. She decides to focus on Todd and forget about both Tom and Gin-Yung. That’s not so easy, though, as Gin-Yung soon visits Todd and tells him she’s done with London. Now Todd has to decide if he wants to stick it out with Gin-Yung or ditch her for Elizabeth.
Todd tells Liz that Gin-Yung is back and he’s not sure who he wants to be with. Clearly he loves Liz more, but he feels bad about dumping Gin-Yung. Later, Jessica runs into Gin-Yung and tells her that Todd and Elizabeth were doing great, but Todd might leave his one true love for a girl he feels he’s obligated to stay with. Gin-Yung decides to let Todd off the hook so he can be happy. She tells him she fell in love with a guy she met in England, so Todd is free to see anyone he wants. Todd’s like, “Well, that was easy and in no way suspicious!”
But Todd and Elizabeth’s happiness is short-lived. Todd goes to Gin-Yung’s place to return some of her things, and he can immediately see that something’s wrong. She’s sick, and while he’s there she passes out and starts convulsing. He rushes her to the hospital, where Gin-Yung’s family reveals to him and Elizabeth that Gin-Yung has an inoperable brain tumor. She came back from London to say goodbye to her family before she dies.
Over in Theta world, Alison informs the sisters that a singer named Bobby Hornet (if that’s not his real name, it’s a horrible stage name) is putting together a charity swimsuit calendar. Nothing says “let’s raise money for the homeless” like a thong bikini. Bobby’s coming to town and wants a Theta in the calendar. Alison, of course, volunteers as tribute, then learns that a bunch of other girls would love the opportunity, including Jessica, also of course. The girls are told that they can go to a music store the next day to meet Bobby, and he can choose who should be in the calendar.
Jessica’s only hesitation about being in the calendar is that Nick might not like it. Jessica, hon? He doesn’t have to like it. You do you. Anyway, he thinks it’s an awesome idea, because he’s more interested in seeing his girlfriend in a bikini than he is in worrying that other men will see his girlfriend in a bikini.
Jessica goes to the music store in a trench coat, goes up a flight of stairs, drops the coat, and makes a grand entrance in just a red string bikini. Suddenly Bobby’s all, “Alison who?” Someone puts on the “Hallelujah Chorus.” That’s so dumb. Anyway, Bobby tells Jessica the calendar shoot is hers, then asks her to dinner to solidify the agreement. Jessica worries a tiny bit about going out with a guy who’s not Nick, but there’s no way she’s going to jeopardize her spot in the calendar.
On their date, the couple is followed by paparazzi, and Jessica freaks out about being seen with a guy who’s not her boyfriend. Amazingly enough, Nick drives by the restaurant and sees Jessica just as she’s trying to leave Bobby, who’s kind of creepy. Jessica goes to the police station to apologize to Nick, telling him that she thought she had to go out with Bobby to get in the calendar, but if Nick wants, she’ll drop the whole thing. He forgives her, because Jessica is just that charming.
Jessica gets the spot in the calendar despite her disastrous date with Bobby. He tells her that his brother is one of Nick’s co-workers, and that Nick came to visit him. We don’t find out what Nick said, but I’m guessing it was along the lines of, “After this photo shoot, don’t come within 100 feet of my girlfriend ever again.” And then Alison winds up getting a date with Bobby, so I guess she’s okay with not being in the calendar.
Tom has been dating Dana but keeps thinking about Elizabeth. Basically, he slowly becomes obsessed with Dana, first as a distraction from Elizabeth, then because he actually likes her. His father, George, wonders what happened to Elizabeth, but Tom wants to banish all mentions of her and tells George to stop asking about her. Tom spends the whole book trying not to think about Elizabeth, but at the end, he finds a bunch of pictures that George has had taken of Elizabeth. Finally, Tom gets that Elizabeth’s accusations about George might not have been lies after all. Ruh-roh for George….
Thoughts: “And would [Nick] even allow her to pose with sexy Bobby Hornet in the first place?” Excuse me? “Allow”? Not to mention that Jessica has never asked permission to do anything in her life.
In the last book we had a Dash; in this one we have a Dub. People in Sweet Valley have weird names.
Winston to Todd: “You’re depressed because you have two girls in love with you?” Also, his wallet’s too small for his 50s and his diamond shoes are too tight.
Gin-Yung wears a “one-piece pantsuit.” What would that even look like?
October 7, 2014
Summary: Alice has been sick for a few days, and though she keeps insisting it’s not that serious, the twins are worried. Jessica tries to put it out of her mind so she can focus on auditions for the middle school’s production of Carnival. She’s desperate to play the lead, Lily, and needs to work on her singing so she can beat Dana Larson for the part. Kerry Glenn briefly makes Jessica panic by telling her that when her mother got sick with the same symptoms Alice has, she turned out to be pregnant. I’m surprised Jess doesn’t want a little brother or sister to boss around and dress up like a doll. But anyway, Alice isn’t pregnant, just sick.
In fact, Alice is so sick that she stays home instead of accompanying Ned on a business trip. She even has blood tests done. When she gets a call from her doctor, Jessica listens in and hears that there’s something abnormal in the results. Jessica quickly tells Elizabeth and Steven, and they all ask their mother what’s going on. Alice admits that she needs to have a lump on her neck biopsied – it might just be a swollen lymph node, but it could be something else.
Jessica takes charge of the family, assigning chores to her brother and sister, and appointing herself Alice’s caregiver. I’m not surprised that Elizabeth just goes along to avoid an argument, but I am surprised that Steven doesn’t protest. Jessica gets all the credit for being such a big help. But it might not matter anyway: Alice’s test results are inconclusive, and she could have anything from a virus to the dreaded C word.
Of course, Jessica immediately jumps to the worst-case scenario and starts panicking that her mother’s going to die of cancer. She can’t focus on anything else, even her potential starring role in Carnival. This means that when Caroline Pearce calls to talk to Elizabeth, Jessica makes the rookie mistake of mentioning that Alice is desperately sick. To no one’s surprise, the news spreads around school, and suddenly everyone is feeling sorry for the Wakefield twins, with their possibly dying mother.
Elizabeth isn’t happy about this turn of events, but Jessica loves that everyone’s so interested in her. Yes, it only took a potentially fatal illness for Jess to gain the popularity she so desperately craves. What does that tell you about our resident evil twin? Jessica considers giving up being in Carnival, in case it takes her away from the last precious moments her mother has on Earth, but Alice loves the musical and encourages Jessica to try out. Jess figures that playing the lead could give her mother her last earthly happiness. Then she steals money from the family’s emergency stash so she can order a pizza.
Jessica “bravely” forges ahead with her audition plans, telling the Unicorns that she will proudly martyr herself to star in a musical. The words “my mother’s dying wish is to see me on stage” are implied. After a day of crying and worrying about Alice’s test results, the twins get the news that she just has a virus. Too bad – dying would have been the most interesting thing Alice could do in this series.
Jess heads to the auditions, where Dana tells her that she’s going to drop out so Jessica can be the star. I guess Dana was a shoo-in and no one else was going to audition for the lead. The role is automatically Jessica’s, and she decides not to say anything about Alice’s health, so people will continue to give her things she hasn’t earned. Jessica would rather star in a musical than celebrate her mother’s good health with her friends. I don’t think that’s news.
Ned comes home from his trip, and the family spends the weekend together, swimming in their pool. Dana, Brooke, and the barely mentioned Sandra Ferris drop by the house to spend time with Jessica, who tries to shoo them away so they don’t find out that Alice is not only dying but is actually goofing off with the rest of the family. Just as Jessica’s conscience is about to get the better of her, Elizabeth shows up and pretty much blows her story. Jess pretends she was just about to give her friends the good news that Alice will be okay. She also decides to give up the role of Lily to Dana.
Elizabeth and Steven punish Jessica for her behavior by making her do their chores. Jessica also gets in trouble for stealing money to buy pizza (though she tells Ned she was going to buy Alice flowers – yes, she covers for a lie with another lie). Dana gets the role of Lily, but Jessica gets another role in the musical, plus the sweater she’s been wanting the whole book. Consequences for bad actions? Jessica doesn’t know what you mean by that.
Thoughts: Yeah, you probably shouldn’t tell people (especially kids) you might have cancer when you don’t know for sure. Nothing good can come of that.
“Winston was a tall, quiet boy.” I believe that’s the first and last time Winston’s ever been described as quiet.
So there’s no possibility that someone other than Jessica or Dana could get the lead? Like, say, an eighth-grader? Does Dana still have to audition? If I were one of the other girls who wanted to be in the show, I’d be ticked.
June 22, 2014
Summary: Donna’s just finished her final project for her hated fashion class, and David wants to take her to a club to celebrate. The club just happens to be in New Orleans. Donna has to be back the next day to present her project, and David promises that she will be. He’s going to New Orleans to chat with singer Monica’s people before she comes to perform at the After Dark, and he wants to share the trip with Donna. After she says yes, David packs some condoms.
Kelly’s in Brandon’s bed, but there’s nothing sexy going on over there – she’s sick. Brandon thinks she has the Hawaiian flu. She wants to go home, but he wants her to stay so he can tend to her. Steve reminds Brandon that his mom is coming to town for some TV institute’s tribute to her former sitcom. He considers staying at the KEG house so he doesn’t catch what Kelly has. Valerie happens to have the same illness, and she blames Kelly for giving it to her.
Donna’s hated professor isn’t happy with the quality of projects her students have presented so far, and she warns Donna not to slack. This makes Donna worry that she hasn’t put in enough work, since Professor Langley is especially tough on her. David’s like, “Yeah, yeah, that’s rough – let’s get on the plane already.” Steve and Clare prepare to spend time with their parents again; Clare says her father’s very excited to see Samantha. Steve realizes that Samantha hasn’t talked about Chancellor Arnold in a while.
Brandon tends to his patients, who aren’t very sympathetic. The girls are all, “I hope you don’t die. No, seriously.” Steve and Clare find themselves alone at the beach apartment, since one roommate is in New Orleans and the other is at the Walshes’. Clare thinks David and Donna’s trip is romantic and asks Steve why they never do anything like that. He replies that they don’t need to since they have sex.
Chancellor Arnold arrives and reports that Samantha left for the tribute before he could pick her up. He admits to Clare that he read about a hot new star in a soap opera magazine and thinks Samantha might be interested in him. Clare’s more curious about his sudden interest in soap opera magazines. Chancellor Arnold continues that Samantha always seems distance when they talk on the phone. Clare tells Steve that she doesn’t like how his mom is treating her father.
In New Orleans, David reveals that he and Donna will be sharing a bed. She’s totally fine with it. Kelly and Valerie fight as Brandon leaves for the tribute. While Donna and David do typical New Orleans stuff, Samantha speaks at the tribute. Steve tells Brandon that Clare’s giving him a hard time about Samantha’s treatment of Chancellor Arnold, which Brandon points out isn’t Steve’s problem. Steve notes that it could be the chancellor’s fault.
Samantha ditches Chancellor Arnold in favor of networking, and when Clare complains, Steve tells her to grow up. After all, it’s an industry function. Clare can’t believe that he of all people is telling her to grow up. Valerie picks a fight with Kelly, saying she hates her because Kelly kept her from hooking up with Brandon. Flashback! According to Val, Kelly came over to get back together with Brandon, who told her that he was in love with Valerie. Brandon only stopped things with Valerie because Kelly threatened to hurt herself.
Kelly tells Valerie what really happened: She told Brandon she loved him, but that she was willing to let him go so he could be happy, even if it was with Valerie. Val doesn’t believe this version of events, so Kelly tells her to ask Brandon. Chancellor Arnold mopes alone at the tribute while Samantha hangs out with other industry people. Brandon wants to stay there since it keeps him from having to play referee for Kelly and Valerie. But when Clare and Steve start bickering, Brandon changes his mind.
Samantha wants to go to another party, but Chancellor Arnold has finally realized that she doesn’t want to hang out with him, so he tells her to go without him. They bicker about how they live in different worlds and Samantha is kind of horrible and Chancellor Arnold is supposedly embarrassing her. Clare tells Steve to do something, like, shut up already, Clare.
Kelly asks Valerie what happened between her and Brandon after she left the house on the night they were talking about. He said he would call Kelly, but he never did. She imagines that Valerie convinced Brandon that Kelly was going to see Dylan, and he said he was fine with it, since it left him free to hook up with Val. Valerie confirms that Kelly’s imagination is spot-on. Kelly notes that Val said Kelly ruined her big chance with Brandon, so her story can’t be accurate.
Valerie admits that nothing happened, but she’s mad that Kelly keeps rubbing it in. After Kelly left, Val tried desperately to get Brandon into bed, but he resisted. She knows it’s because he sees her as a sister, and because he still loved Kelly. She insists that Brandon’s the love of her life. Kelly points out that she’s said that about a bunch of guys. Valerie accuses Kelly of trying to take away the only family she has left. Kelly thinks it’s weird that Valerie thinks of Brandon as family but also wants to sleep with him – “those two things don’t go together.” This strikes a nerve with Valerie.
In New Orleans, Donna babbles something about the homeowners keeping the outside of their houses looking plain while making everything inside beautiful. Whatever, she’s drunk. In Beverly Hills, Kelly’s either feeling better or just wants to have sex with Brandon because she can. Steve tries to make up with Clare, who’s still mad. He points out that he didn’t do anything. That doesn’t help. How many more episodes until Clare gets out of my life forever?
David starts things up with Donna in their hotel room, but they get no farther than usual. Donna still doesn’t think she’s ready for sex yet. She admits that she’s scared. David is as understanding as usual, though he feels like he needs to prove something to Donna to convince her to go through with it.
The next morning, the two accidentally oversleep, which means Donna might miss her class presentation. Steve tries again to make up with Clare, who still NEEDS TO SHUT UP SO BADLY I CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE. He finally sort of gets her to realize that as much as she feels defensive of her father, he also feels defensive of his mother. Clare whines about not having any other family, which makes Steve wonder who he is to her.
Valerie assures Brandon that she told Kelly that the two of them never hooked up. Then she announces that Kelly applied to grad school at Columbia, so she’ll be going to New York next year. This is news to Brandon. Donna makes it to class, but she’s too late to present. Her professor has no compassion.
At the After Dark, Valerie meets Derrick Driscoll, who wants to follow up on her interest in Kelly’s father’s company. He suggests that she invest in some foreign business ventures that totally don’t sound shady at all. Brandon confronts Kelly about not mentioning Columbia, but she isn’t planning on actually going. She guesses that Valerie read about this in her journal. She can’t live under the same roof as Val, and she wants Brandon to kick her out.
Thoughts: Apparently this was originally going to be the episode where Donna and David had sex, but Aaron Spelling vetoed it on the last rewrite.
People talking about Hurricanes (the drink) in New York makes me feel itchy.
David, sweetie, it’s not about you. Donna’s celibate for Donna, not because you’re inadequate.
Valerie, you’re about to graduate from college and you’re still acting like a 12-year-old. Work on that.
Nothing against Corin Nemec (Derrick), but they probably should have cast someone who doesn’t look like a 15-year-old dressing up in his father’s suit.
May 4, 2014
Summary: It’s been a few days since Joey hung out with Kelly, and she’s still worried about him. Clare complains about Steve, like, you’re the one who keeps going out with him, so deal with it. Apparently he recently demanded sex. Clare’s considering coming up with a way to “sink to his level.” As she leaves for school, Joey pops up and begs Kelly not to send him back to the shelter he ran away from.
At the Walshes’, Brandon tells Valerie that he’s been emailing Jim and Cindy (those Walshes, so modern!), who want him to visit them in Hong Kong over spring break. Val wants to go, too (they’re sending two tickets), but when Brandon teases her about leaving Rob behind, she changes her mind and tells him to take Tracy instead.
At the beach apartment, Kelly finally gets Joey to tell her some truths: He’s from New Mexico and ran away because he and his stepfather don’t get along. His mom’s pregnant and Joey thinks she doesn’t need him now that she’s going to have a new family. Kelly’s able to relate to having a new stepfather and watching her mom form a new life. Joey thinks his family’s glad he left, which is why no one’s looked for him.
David’s been thinking a lot about the stories Mrs. Martin told him and Donna, and he’s been inspired to try again to connect with Felice. Donna tells him he doesn’t have to, since she wants to be with him no matter how her parents feel about him. She thinks he should just let things be. Steve tells Brandon that Rush is worried about an upcoming storm and wants Steve to look after a house he just bought in Malibu. He wants the rest of the gang to come along and help with sandbags.
With the boringness out of the way, Brandon tells Steve about his invitation to Hong Kong. Steve begs to tag along so he can get away from Clare. (Seriously, do these two even like each other anymore?) The guys complain about how women only want to talk about feelings. Tracy shows up and invites Brandon to come home with her over the break. He tells her he’s going to Hong Kong but doesn’t offer her the second ticket.
Valerie goes by Rob’s house, where he’s doing some woodworking, because he is a Normal Guy and has a Normal Hobby. Val thinks he’s nuts for not enjoying his fame. He asks her to read a script he received and tell him whether he should do the movie. At the Peach Pit, Nat asks Steve if Clare’s okay, since she’s eating stuff she doesn’t usually eat. She’s also wearing grubby clothes and reading the sports section. She tells Steve she’s taking part in a science experiment and receiving testosterone.
David goes by Dr. Martin’s office to ask for advice (seeing a cardiologist about “matters of the heart” – get it?). He’s worried that Felice is trying to end his relationship with Donna. Dr. Martin, who doesn’t seem to be feeling well, tells David to just be himself and wait Felice out, because things will get better. While David’s thanking him, Dr. Martin collapses. Soon, Donna gets a phone call telling her that her father’s at the hospital in critical condition.
Donna rushes to the hospital and learns that her father had a stroke. His doctor thinks that because he received treatment quickly, his chances are better than they could be. David tells Donna he was with Dr. Martin when he collapsed. At the beach apartment, Kelly tries to get in touch with Joey’s mother. Valerie asks Tracy about the Hong Kong trip; this is the first time Tracy hears that there are two tickets. She confronts Brandon, accusing him of not telling his parents they’re dating.
Kelly tells Joey a little about her family, and they talk about missing their fathers. She invites him to Malibu with the rest of the gang. At the Peach Pit, Valerie meets Rob’s manager, Alan, who doesn’t like that Rob’s asking her opinion about potential projects. Rob himself liked the script, but Val doesn’t. She and Alan squabble and she storms out. Alan calls her high-maintenance and asks if he needs to manage Rob’s love life as well.
At the hospital, Donna asks David why he went to her father’s office after she asked him to leave things along. She blames him for stressing Dr. Martin out and causing the stroke. She gets to see her father, who’s not in good shape (also his eyes are open and it’s kind of freaky). Everyone else heads to Malibu, where Kelly acts maternal toward Joey, who objects. She tells him she knows he’s independent but she wants to look out for him anyway.
Steve isn’t happy with Clare’s sudden behavioral changes, since she’s more like a guy now. Brandon says something about men bringing about the Four Horsemen and the destruction of the world, or something. I don’t know. Tracy complains some more about Brandon not telling Jim and Cindy about her. He gives in and offers her the second ticket, like, yay, a pity invite! You should be so grateful, Tracy! Hmm, I wonder why she isn’t?
Rob calls Valerie to tell her he’s not doing the movie. David stays with Donna at the hospital even though she’s being a jerk to him. He tells her that he just wanted to talk to Dr. Martin about his feelings for Donna; his work stress isn’t David’s fault. Donna realizes she was an idiot and apologizes. David tries to comfort her, but she’s having a hard time being positive about her father’s condition.
In Malibu, Tracy sees Brandon talking to Kelly, which is AGAINST THE RULES, WHY DOESN’T HE KNOW THAT? He thinks Tracy’s overreacting, but Kelly basically tells him he’s dumb about women. Thanks to road closures, the gang is stuck at the house for the night. Kelly finally hears from Joey’s mother, who has clearly been very worried about him. They make arrangements to get everything sorted out. Valerie goes to Rob’s house, where he gives her a mirror he made her. She invites herself to spend the night.
In the morning, Donna tells her still-unconscious father that it’s time to wake up. The storm passes by Malibu, so things are calm at the house, except in Steve’s room, where Clare demands sex to let him know how annoying it is. He tells her he’d like some romance. She’s all, “THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS, MORON.” Tracy has left Malibu early, making Brandon admit that Kelly was right about him not knowing a ton about women. He thinks they should remove all the sandbags now that they’re not needed, but Steve wants to leave them to show Rush how much work they did.
Kelly tells Joey that when Jackie married Mel, she was cold toward him, but David convinced her to give him a second chance. Joey needs to give his stepfather a chance, too. He was brave enough to run away – is he brave enough to go back? His mother and stepfather arrive, very happy to see him. Joey worries that they’re mad, but they’re just glad he’s okay.
Alan visits Valerie at the After Dark and asks her to change Rob’s mind about the movie since the script is going to be rewritten. In exchange, she gets $20,000. Alan thinks that together, the two of them can help Rob become great. The rest of the gang returns to Beverly Hills, and Kelly tells Nat that Joey’s back with his family and things seem to be better. He tells her she can babysit Frankie the next time she gets maternal urges.
Tracy tracks Brandon down and they apologize to each other. She thinks they should keep their plan of taking separate spring breaks. However, he wants to prove his love for her by taking her to Hong Kong to meet his parents. Kelly isn’t happy to watch them kiss. At the hospital, Dr. Martin regains consciousness, and now Donna’s optimistic about his recovery.
Thoughts: Alan is played by soap actor Rick Hearst (Alan-Michael on Guiding Light, Whip on The Bold and the Beautiful, Ric on General Hospital). Those familiar with Ric: Alan is pretty much the same guy.
’90s music alert: Republica’s “Ready to Go,” which I think is still used in commercials now, almost 20 years later.
Donna should be glad David was with Dr. Martin. The doctor said he has a better chance at recovery because he received treatment early. If David hadn’t been with him, it could have taken a while for someone to find him and call an ambulance.
At this point, Valerie’s basically on her own show. She barely interacts with any of the other main characters.
I would like to know why Rob has a mattress in his living room.
May 3, 2014
Party of Five 4.17, Of Sound Mind and Body: What Do You Mean, You Don’t Want to Raise Your Wife’s Ex-Fiancé’s Siblings?
Summary: Charlie’s still in the hospital, and Kirsten’s still visiting him. He tells her he still plans to write out a will, and asks her to take in Claudia and Owen if he dies. He thinks Bailey and Julia would be too young to raise them. Plus, Kirsten wants kids, so she would get to be a parent. She agrees to talk to Paul about it. Meanwhile, an empty Salinger house gets a phone call from Claudia’s school about how she’s been skipping classes.
Claudia hears the answering machine message later and rushes to delete it before Julia can hear it, but she’s too late. Bailey and Julia confront Claudia for her truancy. They’re especially mad because they’ve been working so hard to keep things together while Charlie’s in the hospital. They’ll be meeting with her and guidance counselor that afternoon. After Claudia leaves the room, Julia and Bailey agree not to tell Charlie what’s going on with her. Griffin works at his old bike shop, totally flirting with Rosalie.
Bailey visits Charlie, telling him he thinks making out a will is morbid. When Julia arrives, Bailey jokingly calls dibs on Owen, telling Julia she can have Claudia if Charlie dies. This is all Charlie needs to bring up that exact topic, and how he wants Kirsten and Paul to take the kids. Bailey’s offended that Charlie thinks he was mature enough to head up the family but that Bailey and Julia aren’t. Charlie says that recent events have shown how stressful the responsibility is; it’s too much for Julia and Bailey.
Rosalie tells Griffin that she accepted an expired coupon from a customer, and the difference in the price will have to come out of her pocket. Griffin offers to complete the work under the table and keep quiet about it. Sarah, in her only appearance of the episode, goes to the restaurant to demand that Bailey fix a flooding issue at the apartment building. Bailey will have to skip the meeting at Claudia’s school to do so. But Julia might have to miss the meeting, too, since Owen’s babysitter has locked herself out of her car and can’t get to the house. Claudia actually shows up for the meeting, but she’s there alone.
Later, back at the house, Bailey and Julia learn that neither made the meeting. Julia notes the irony of insisting to Charlie that they’re responsible when they both proved exactly the opposite. Griffin gets home from work late, letting Julia believe he made overtime for his extra hours. When Claudia arrives, she blasts Julia for missing the meeting; she thinks they haven’t made her a priority. Kirsten makes dinner for Paul, who spent the day working on a child who was injured while not wearing a bike helmet. So this is the perfect time to bring up raising someone else’s kids!
Bailey and Julia meet with Claudia’s guidance counselor, who’s very concerned that they haven’t responded to her phone calls or letters. They cover for her truancy again, but prove that they’re not on the same page about her whereabouts. Bailey insists that Charlie will get everything under control when he’s out of the hospital. The guidance counselor wasn’t aware that he was hospitalized – or that he has cancer. Julia and Bailey promise to fix things.
Griffin and Rosalie have lunch together at work, and she talks about how sexy she thinks motorcycles are. She asks Griffin for a ride sometime. At the hospital, Kirsten tells Charlie that she had a dream about being on a boat with him. He went underwater and she saved him from drowning. From there, she reveals that Paul doesn’t want to be responsible for Claudia and Owen. In fact, he doesn’t want kids at all.
Claudia and Owen are the only people home that night when the Salingers get a visit from Child Protective Services. Julia’s temping, and Claudia doesn’t know where, which means she wouldn’t be able to reach her in an emergency. Claudia knows where Bailey is (the restaurant), but the CPS guy, Jimmy, doesn’t care since he doesn’t live there. He immediately takes Claudia and Owen to his office.
As soon as Bailey and Julia hear what happened, they rush to CPS. Kirsten also arrives, having gotten a call from Jimmy. Bailey tries to take Claudia and Owen, but Jimmy won’t let them go. Claudia’s school called to report her truancy and lack of supervision. He’s also concerned that Claudia seems to be the only one looking after Owen. Until CPS can work things out, the kids will be staying with Kirsten and Paul.
The next morning, Griffin offers to skip work and spend time with Charlie while Julia and Bailey deal with CPS. Julia declines, because how can she complain about Griffin’s lack of concern for her family if she doesn’t? Bailey and Julia give Charlie the news about CPS, trying to downplay the situation. Charlie decides to leave the hospital and go to CPS himself to sort everything out. His doctor refuses to let him go.
Claudia allegedly gets ready for school while Kirsten hangs out with Owen. Kirsten tries to get Claudia to open up, asking her where she goes when she skips. Claudia says she sometimes pretends she’s a tourist on a family vacation. She’s worried that her older siblings hate her. Kirsten assures her that they don’t.
Bailey and Julia meet with Jimmy, asking for a little slack considering their current circumstances. Jimmy’s like, “You have two children you’re neglecting. You don’t get slack.” He asks for their plan in case Charlie dies, but they don’t have one. He knows they’re in over their heads. Claudia’s been left in charge of Owen, but she can barely take care of herself. Jimmy wonders if anyone actually spends time with Owen other than driving him to and from daycare. He thinks the family is verging on “complete disaster,” and he wants to help prevent it.
Griffin and Rosalie flirt some more, so I’m sure Julia’s glad she told Griffin to go to work. Rosalie kisses him, not caring that he’s married: “I’m not perfect either.” Claudia goes to see Charlie for the first time since his hospitalization and apologizes for screwing up so much. Because Charlie’s a jerk now, he just yells at her for failing to stay under CPS’s radar. She tells him she skipped class because she couldn’t stand to pretend things were normal.
Julia and Bailey arrive to report that their meeting with Jimmy didn’t go well, and that they’re not sure what’s going to happen. It’s possible that Claudia and Owen will be removed from the house permanently. Later, as Julia takes Claudia back to Kirsten and Paul’s, Claudia says that she doesn’t have anyone. Julia has Griffin and Bailey has Annie, but Claudia’s alone. The next day, Julia visits Griffin at work, giving Rosalie her first glimpse of her crush’s wife.
Julia takes Griffin to CPS with her as she tells Jimmy that Claudia and Owen shouldn’t be punished for the adults’ mistakes. Jimmy points out that they’re not being punished; CPS wants to figure out what’s best for them. Julia says that they were thrown into a parenting position, but now that they know what to do and what not to do, she and Griffin should be allowed to take the kids if Charlie dies. She knows how to parent – she had a great mother.
Jimmy asks Julia if she’s thinking about college, since she’s 18. He notes that she and Griffin are also still living with the Salingers. Griffin promises that they’re not going anywhere – by which he means he isn’t. Julia returns to the hospital just as Charlie’s finally being released and gives her brothers the good news that CPS is backing off. Meanwhile, Griffin goes back to work and makes awkward conversation with Rosalie.
Julia asks Charlie to put her and Griffin in the will as Claudia and Owen’s guardians. Charlie wants her to understand how big a sacrifice they’d be making, but Julia doesn’t see it that way. She likes the rewards that come with taking care of someone. Charlie agrees, probably praying that he never dies, or that Paul changes his mind. The older Salingers pick up the younger ones and go home together, leaving Kirsten behind.
Thoughts: This is the first episode where I’ve noticed Neve Campbell’s Canadian accent. It comes out on “sorry” and “tomorrow.”
What’s that, Bailey and Julia? You want to raise Claudia and Owen? ON WHAT MONEY?
“What’s wrong with you – they cancel your soap?” DON’T EVER JOKE ABOUT THAT, GRIFFIN.
I like Jimmy. CPS workers are often portrayed as villians, but he really wants to help.