Episode 19: Boxing Sydney

A fairly mediocre episode yesterday, redeemed by the Amanda-Michael subplot. Thankfully, there were no meetings of D&D's Board of Directors. And away we go:

Matt, Kimberly, and The Gay Cop Who May Be a Psycho:

Matt confronts Kimberly at the hospital. Now that he's recovered from his injuries at hands of Kimberly's hired goons (hey, baseball players have to make a living somehow, right?), he's found that Kimberly tampered with the results of her psychological tests. (She crossed out the term "cracker-barrel" and replaced it with "caring.") Matt swears he'll get even. Kimberly replies, "Matt, you're pathetic." Matt says, "And your ... wig is crooked!" Zing! Gotcha! Matt later has lunch with the gay cop (John) who investigated his beating -- geez, subplot strikes without warning! Matt tells him all about Kimberly; John says he'll look for the guys who beat Matt up. He tries making small talk with Matt, who backs off, saying he's not looking for a relationship right now. John looks sad.

That night, John pulls over Kimberly as she's driving away from the hospital. He drags her to the ground, handcuffs her, and puts his gun to her face! (But that wig just won't come off!) He tells her to lay off Matt: "You had better clean up your act or I will make your life miserable!" He looks way over the edge here -- he reminded me of the killer in the first Dirty Harry movie. The next day, John finds Matt and tells him what he did. Matt is upset: "This is police harrassment." "I consider it a perk." Matt politely tells him to back off. At the hospital, Matt and Kimberly meet in the elevator. Matt, worried about retribution, pleads ignorance, but Kimberly offers a truce! Matt, stunned, says he'll "think about it."

Sydney and The Cult:

Sydney and Ricki (serious actress Traci Lords) head off on the official Cult Bus to Martin the Guru's "retreat," which looks like the set from M*A*S*H. One of Syd's first questions: "Where's the hot tub?" Ricki says it's all about getting in touch with nature, stripping away the pretensions of society. (Uh huh.) Martin tells the gathering a weird campfire tale about his childhood, which is obviously geared toward people like Sydney (Martin was betrayed by his family, a stranger helped him out, he married his sister's ex-husband, he worked as a stripper, etc.). Needless to say, Syd is touched.

Ricki tells her that Syd is handling "tea service" that night -- she has to stay up all night and make sure Martin has tea and anything else he needs. (Uh huh. Syd!! Wait up and smell the expresso!) WELL, sure enough, Syd enters Martin's trailer, tea tray in hand, to find Martin in bed with Ricki and another woman! Syd tries to be cool, but almost spills the tea when Ricki says, "I should have told you Martin is my husband!" D'OH! As it turns out, many of the women are "married" to Martin, and they all have tattooed "M's" behind their ear. (Hey, who needs a wedding ring, right?) Martin says, "I know this is new to you, Sydney," but she'll get used to it. They invite her to join in; Syd says, "Tea gives me a headache" and leaves. The next morning, Martin is lecturing the assembled about the need for money, telling them that their relatives prove their love by "reaching into their savings accounts. Begin writing." Syd is obviously disillusioned; she tells Ricki she wants to go back to L.A.

Later, Syd goes to Martin's trailer, where he's arguing with his stockbroker! Syd says she has to get back to the city to see her probation officer. (Jane briefly appeared to remind her of this at the beginning of the episode, narrowly avoiding The Matt Slot.) Martin tells Syd that the bus won't be leaving for a week. Syd says she'll walk to the highway and hitch a ride. As she is waiting by the roadside, a pickup pulls over, driven by Martin and Ricki. Two guys jump out, grab the struggling Syd, and pick her up in the pickup! They drive to some isolated location, and drop Sydney into a hole in the ground and shut the door! Holy Cool Hand Luke, Batman! Well, if Syd gets out of this, at least she and Jo will have something in common.

Amanda, Michael, and (yawn) Billy and Alison:

Amanda is in big-time denial over Michael's findings of Hodgkin's Disease. He tells her to get a second opinion if she doesn't trust him. Michael is obviously concerned, but unyielding. At Melrose Place, we have the winners of The Matt Slot: Jo and Jake! In a pointless scene, they discuss Baby Austin while Jo takes photos of Jake around his motorcycle for Austin's future photo album. ("Here, Austin, this is Jake, an indecisive drifter whom Mommy slept with a few times.") Jo wonders if she did the right thing; Jake reassures her. Amanda enters and starts slamming Jake for bringing his greasy motorcycle into the courtyard. Jake and Jo are taken aback. Amanda talks to 'Dr. Sanchez,' who confirms Michael's evaluation. The next day, Amanda is at work, doing her favorite thing: tearing Alison apart. Michael calls to say he's scheduled Amanda for an appointment at 1 p.m. Amanda, not wanting anyone to know (D&D would fall apart!!), walks out of her office. Billy tells her that he arranged a meeting with her and somebody at 2 o'clock. Amanda says, "I won't be back by then. And since when are you making appointments fo me?" Billy says, "Gaaah, what do I tell 'im?" "Tell him you're an idiot!" Amanda has an MRI exam after Michael picks up her and places her on the table when she tries to walk out.

Amanda returns to the office and tries to make amends with Billy. She offers to take him to dinner; she needs a friend. Over their menus, Amanda tells Billy about the cancer. Billy is stunned (which means his mouth hangs open just a little bit more). He doesn't know what to say (oh, if only that were true!). She asks him to stay silent about this. Billy says OK: "You can trust me, 'Manda, daaah." Michael shows Amanda the MRI results; it's not good news. She has multiple lymphomas, but he says they're all "highly treatable." Amanda is worried about chemotherapy and her hair falling out. (That would certainly blow the secret.) Michael has to answer an important page on his beeper. Amanda, frightened, wants his undivided attention, but he firmly tells her, "If you were lying on the operating table, you wouldn't want me to ignore you, would ya?"

At the office, Amanda slams Alison again. Alison rants to Billy about the "Saddam Hussein Style of Business Management." Billy says, "Saddam Hussein? What does this have to do with a basketball player?" and tells her to show a little compassion. Billy (Mr. "I Can Keep a Secret") tells Alison about Amanda's condition. Alison Gapes! Amanda visits the hospital and suggests a treatment protocol to Michael, who reminds her that he is the doctor. Kimberly pops up as Amanda leaves, and says, "What's she doing here?" "She's my patient." "What's wrong -- peroxide poisoning?" Double zing!

Michael goes to Amanda's office with a teddy bear. He says the cancer is not a death sentence, and he points out that he and she are a lot alike, and "sometimes you just have to look to others for comfort." He asks her to trust him; she says she's not very good at trusting people. "Well," he says, "think of this as a learning experience." Amanda relents, but says it's important that they keep the treatment schedule flexible so she continue to run things at D&D. Michael agrees, and leaves the teddy bear.

Next Week: A Valentine's Day episode! (Ugh.) Sex between Jake and Jane? Amanda seeking comfort from Michael?

--Ken Hart

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