Episode 16: Bye Bye Baby

Wow, there were more crosses (and double-crosses) in this episode than in a tour of the Vatican! Melrose Place has started off 1995 on a high note of betrayal.

Jo and the Baby:

The episode begins with Jo telling Jake that she's had absolutely no luck getting a nanny for her recently regained and unnamed baby. Jake, because he's such an earnest goob, volunteers for the job, but Jo says no thanks. Then, as if on cue, up pops a British woman named Emily Baldwin who has come in response to Jo's ad. Jo even whispers to Jake, "Oh my God, it's Mary Poppins!"

Emily is great with the baby, she agrees to be discreet, and she makes breakfast! So Jo of course hires ....uh, wait a second here, let me re-read what I wrote: hmmm hmmm hmmm ... WHAT?! Jo took out an ad for a nanny for her child?!? And it listed her name and address?! Are the writers totally insane? Okay, the court decision a few weeks back that awarded custody of the child to Mr. and Mrs. Deep Throat was one of the most ludricrous things I've seen on television since ... well, since Kathy Ireland played a cold-blooded killer, but it's still in effect. Geez, why didn't Jo just put up a neon sign saying, "Here's my baby! Take him away!" I wonder what Jo's ad actually said:

Position available: Nanny, for newborn child. Must have good references and warm personality. Any accent (except Australian) preferred. Must be ready to disavow all knowledge of baby's existence on a moment's notice. Secrecy is essential! Contact Jo Reynolds, Melrose Place, 555-DUMB.

Anyhow, it's obvious right off the bat that Emily is indeed too good to be true. At the first opportunity, she steps into the next room (a whopping 10 feet away from Jo) and makes a phone call with "Mission: Impossible"-style dialogue: "It's me. I'm in." Click.

A couple of days later, Jo tells Jake that she's going to move to New York, since it'll be easier for her and the baby (now named Austin -- don't ask) to be anonymous. She takes pictures of Jake with the baby (awww), but when she tries to photograph Emily, Emily nearly panics! Instead, Emily offers to take a picture of Jo, Jake, and Austin. ("Steve Austin...a man barely alive... 'Gentlemen, we have the technology...'" Sorry, I got carried away.)

When Jo tells Emily that's she's leaving, Emily is extremely worried (but not for the reasons Jo thinks). Emily politely tries to get Jo to say where she's going, but Jo doesn't bite. Emily insists on driving Jo and Austin to the airport when the time comes. Jo agrees. Emily then goes to the baby and whispers, "Don't worry, little Austin. Your new mommy will give you a real name!" Sure enough, as soon as Jo straps Austin to the child seat in the back seat of the car, Emily burns rubber, leaving Jo on the street, once again screaming for her stolen child. D'OH!

Amanda, Peter, Alison, Billy, Terry, Michael, Kimberly, and Caitlin (yeah, I know it's a long list, but this was a tough episode to subdivide):

Amanda arrives at D&D to find a very attractive woman sitting at her desk using her computer. The woman (new guest star Jasmine Guy) introduces herself as Caitlin Mills, the new efficiency expert hired by The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns (that would look so cool on his office door!).

Amanda goes to Peter at the hospital; she's extremely angry that Peter would hire an efficiency expert to analyze D&D without asking for her approval. He says he felt it was necessary, so Amanda's opinion wouldn't have really mattered (he says this more politely than I just did), but he assures her they'll get along. He tells Amanda to wear a sexy outfit for dinner tonight; he has to meet some influential people and "I want to show you off." At this point, Michael storms in, furious that Burns has been pulling Micheal off surgery duty, making Michael look bad. Burns says that's tough, pal. When Michael leaves, Peter asks Amanda, "How did I ever let you talk me into rehiring him?" Amanda says, "Back then, you 'couldn't say no' to me." Peter politely smiles and says, "I can now." Zing!

At the Twin Peaks ... I mean, Twin Oaks rehab center, Alison is packing her things. Terry comes to say goodbye, they thank each other, and have a quick romantic clinch. (Everybody sing: "I see that bad moon rising ... I see trouble 'round the bend ...") Had the writers mentioned before that Terry was a big-name quarterback? I don't recall. Anyhow, after Terry and Billy officially meet when Billy comes to give Alison a lift home, Billy says, "Gaah, isn't that the quarterback?"

There's a "Welcome Back" party for Alison in the Melrose courtyard. (Party?!? A tablecloth, a tape deck, and some fizzy drinks -- you call that a party?) The Matt Slot this week belongs to Matt, who says to Alison, "Hey, my subplot is over and I doubt I'll get another one this year, so if I can do anything for you, let me know." Sydney is a close second for the Matt Slot; she gripes about not being invited to the "party," makes a couple of unintentionally (I think) offensive alcoholic references, and leaves for work. Alison says she's tired and retires to her pad, then she opens the blinds and sees everyone break out the beers! When the alcoholic's in bed, it's Miller Time!

Peter and Amanda meet the VIPs he mentioned, who look at Amanda as though she's a piece of very attractive fluff: "And what do you do?" Amanda flashes a tight Barbie-like smile and says, "I'm one of the biggest advertising executives in the country, but you can just think of me as Peter's girlfriend." One of the men gives Peter a mysterious envelope.

Later, Peter and Amanda have great sex (we don't see it -- that's what they humbly tell us). They talk about Caitlin. Amanda says Caitlin's job reduces her own authority at D&D. Peter disagrees, claiming he just wanted to make things easier for Amanda. When he's out of the room, she sneaks a peek at the contents of the envelope. It's a fairly huge check from a company. She innocently asks him to tell her about his "project" that the men referred to last night. He says he's working on a new heart drug, and he's getting contributions from these men to fund his efforts. Still later, Amanda sneaks up on Michael, and asks him to check out any records the hospital has on this project. Michael, salivating at the thought that Burns may be involved in something shady, agrees.

Amanda is becoming increasingly agitated over Caitlin's presence. It seems Caitlin is forcing the D&D employees with no dialogue to work extra hard, doing push-ups and sweeping Andrew Shue's trailer. Alison returns to work, and Amanda is nasty, saying she'll get no preferential treatment. Alison says she wasn't expecting any, and promises Amanda that she'll work every night to get things done, including the stack of files that Amanda gives her for tonight. (Keep track of this -- Alison makes more promises in this story than Moses made to the Israelites.)

Billy asks Alison if she wants to have dinner tonight (Susan? Susan who?) or just hang out, watch a video, and eat Chinese take-out. Alison says she has All This Work to do for Amanda, but gosh, one look at Billy's ferret-on-steroids face is enough to convince her. She goes to her AA meeting first, where she sees Terry, who asks her if she wants to have dinner tonight or just hang out, watch a video, and eat Chinese take-out. (Sense a pattern here?) She agrees! She calls up Billy, makes some lame excuse (not mentioning Terry), and apologizes for bailing out. Billy looks depressed (actually, he looked the same, but I'm sure the script called for him to look depressed). Terry and Alison do the Wild Thang. (Hey, Alison, what about All That Work you had to do?)

The next morning, Amanda chats with Billy about Caitlin. It seems that Caitlin has criticisms of every D&D person except Billy. (Oh, puh-leeze, stop this! Every week, it seems the recently hired Billy is one step away from Executive VP status. He's a copywriter, for pity's sake! In advertising, copywriters are treated like dirt by the execs!) Anyhow, Amanda tells Billy to take Caitlin to dinner and get some information about her. (Geez, between Michael and Billy, Amanda seems to be developing her own little Secret Defenders network of industrial spies!) At the office, Billy gives Alison the Third Degree about her whereabouts. Somehow, Alison managed to do All That Work.

Michael finds out that Peter's project was stopped way back in May 1993, yet Burns is still getting contributions! He waltzes into Burns' office and gloats; Peter doesn't seem too concerned -- annoyed, yes, but not concerned. Michael tells Kimberly (another close candidate for the Matt Slot, but she's not in the opening credits, so that counts against her) that things are going to get much better; Kimberly is still P.O.'d about losing Jo's baby.

At dinner, Caitlin bluntly tells Billy she knows what he's up to. ("I'm one of the most intelligent people you'll ever meet." "Daaaah, dat's OK -- I'm one of the least intelligent people you'll ever meet.") She wants Billy to prepare performance evaluations of everyone on his staff (he has a staff?) and says "Yes, this is a loyalty test." When Billy hesitates, Caitlin tells him he can save one person from the upcoming employee massacre.

Billy prepares the evaluations, but he brings them by Amanda first. Amanda looks at some of the comments that people have made about her ("I'm mean? Vindictive?") and puts a few pages throught the shredder!

That night, we see Burns relaxing quite comfortably -- at Caitlin's place! They're in a nice, little silk-pajamaed clinch. It turns out that they were quite the hot item back in Minnesota (do they know the Walshes?) and that Caitlin has been eager to reignite their relationship. Burns says, "You can be the one to tell Amanda that she's fired." At this point, Billy drives up to drop off the evaluation forms. When no one answers his quiet knocking (no doorbell?), he wanders around to the side of the house where he sees Burns and Caitlin going at it on the couch! Billy stands there and smiles his little lopsided grin.

A good, trashy episode -- I liked it!

--Ken Hart

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