Episode 22: And The Winner Is...


Last week, I said that the episode might have been a turning point for Michael's character. I was right -- but not the way I thought! He's scummier than ever! What a weasel -- he's great.

Let me get the awarding of the Matt Slot out of the way: It goes to Jo! She shows up at D&D, where Alison "Blabbermouth" Parker tells her about Amanda's condition ("But you can't tell anyone!"). Jo says that's terrible. Bye, Jo!

Jane, Sydney, and Jake:

Jake tells Syd that he and Jane are dating. Syd says, "Well, no duh." Syd then proceeds to tell Jake what a shallow person Jane is; she's "all flash, no substance." Jake doesn't want to hear it. Jane & Jake return from some dinner date (Jake in a tux -- the horror!). They kiss, while Sydney watches them from her window. Syd later confronts Jane, who tells Syd to get over it: "You were together for how long? Ten minutes?" "It doesn't matter how long -- I love Jake. In fact, Jake is the love of my life!" (Uh, Syd, I think you're getting a bit carried away here ... uh, Syd?) Jane tells her to go ahead and live in her one-sided fantasy world. Syd declares War! The next night, as Jane and Jake start making out in her pad, the phone rings -- it's Syd. She says her car broke down outside some redneck bar called Palomino's. Jake immediately says he'll go get her. Jane objects, but Jake says the bar is pretty skanky. He leaves.

Sure enough, it's all a ploy by our Sydney, who gets a few drinks from the flannel-shirted locals. (Syd, does the word "consequences" have ANY meaning for you?) The bar begins its "Black Bra Contest" where the women in attendance get up on stage and expose their lingerie. (Yes, folks, it's Fox TV at its finest! For lingerie viewing, only Silk Stalkings can top Melrose Place!) The rednecks grab the protesting Syd and put her on stage just as the valiant Jake arrives. He grabs her and takes her outside. One of the good ol' boys follows them out and says "that tramp" owes him something for the drinks he bought her. Jake objects to the name-calling, gets punched, then punches out the guy in return. The Bomber-Jacket Knight then rides off on his motorcycle, with the approving Syd on the back seat.

The next morning, Jane visits Jake. She's not happy about the evening's events. She says she wants to work things out with her sister, and since Jake "obviously has unresolved feelings" toward Syd, maybe she and Jake shouldn't be dating. Jake protests, saying she's making too big a deal over this. Jane replies, "If there's even a sliver of truth to what I'm saying, I'm not prepared to get involved with you, Jake." Jake doesn't like the fact that she's handing him an ultimatum, and says so. They part on chilly terms. In the evening, Syd knocks out Jake's door -- she's got a bag of groceries, including a couple of steaks (one for his black eye), and she invites herself to dinner! Jake politely shows her the door. Syd sees Jane in the courtyard, and becomes very nasty and snide, lying that she and Jake are going to have a cozy dinner tonight. Jane says she doesn't care, since she and Jake are no longer an item -- but it had nothing to do with Syd, of course. Syd says yeah, right, and adds that she doesn't know what Jake could have ever seen in Jane, since she has no sex appeal. (The ultimate insult on Melrose Place!)

Jake, when you left Melrose Place a few months back, you should have kept going, buddy! You don't deserve the torture of several gorgeous women fighting over your body every week.

Michael, Amanda, Kimberly, Alison, and Billy:

Michael returns to the hospital. Kimberly is P.O.'d that he didn't call to let her know he was back from New York. and accuses him of sleeping with Amanda. Michael is Shocked! Shocked! It's unprofessional and unethical. Kimmie replies, "Unethical happens to be your middle name!" (Michael Unethical Mancini?! Hmmh, well, M.U.M.'s the word.) She'll take his word that nothing funny went on, but she swears that if he's lying, there'll be "serious hell" to pay. Michael yawns. She then calls Amanda and tells her to stay away from her husband: "I suggest you dial 1-800-GET-YOUR-OWN-MAN!" (Doesn't Larry "Bud" Melman do commercials for them?) Michael and an unnamed M.D. (presumably Amanda's oncologist) tell Amanda to cut down on her workload. She says she can't; there's a big awards dinner for advertising agencies, and she is determined to win. Michael convinces her to go with him to a Santa Barbara resort for a couple of days of R&R; he promises she'll be back for the awards. He then goes to Kimberly -- you gotta love this guy -- and tells her that he's going to do some moonlighting at a Santa Barbara hospital so that he can make extra $ to take Kimberly to Maui! She's delighted! All sins are forgiven. He says, "C'mon and hug me -- I know you want to."

Amanda returns to D&D. Alison tells her that the cruise-line account was saved. (Gee, we missed Alison and Billy's brilliant work -- it happened between episodes.) Amanda replies that she didn't know it needed to be saved, and she slams Alison for her sloppy work during her absence. Billy comes to Alison's defense. Amanda orders Alison to deliver by hand Amanda's nomination for the awards, and also to let slip that Amanda is very ill; Amanda will take approval any way she can get it. (Is she related to Kathie Lee Gifford?) Alison drives to Long Beach, where she meets new recurring character Brooke Armstrong, who takes Amanda's nomination form, but who also convinces Alison to submit a nomination for herself for her excellent Glorious Gowns campaign. Why, Brooke will even waive the requirement that the president of the firm has to sign the nomination! Alison hesitates, but agrees.

OK, who among you couldn't write the ending of the episode at this point?

Brooke says she wants to get into advertising, and Alison agrees to meet her for lunch. Amanda later meets with Billy and Alison; she tells them she is taking more time off, and she is forced to rely on the Thickie Twins to keep things running. Alison says, "We'll do our absolute best." Amanda: "I'm counting on it -- that's what worries me." That night, Billy and Alison are working at home over Chinese takeout. They feed each other some food (the most frightening scene since Susan spoonfed Billy) and start making out! (It's assumed they go all the way.) In Santa Barbara, Amanda asks Michael what he told Kimberly about this trip. He says the relationship has been on the wane for a while now, and that Kimberly -- get this! -- has "backed off emotionally." Hahahahahaha! He says he needs an equal in a marriage.

Billy and Alison chat at the office. Alison wonders if what happened last night was due to the familiarity of the setting, rather than any feeling between them. Billy kisses her, and says, "Psychoanalyze dat one! Gaaah!" She has her lunch with Brooke, who relates her own story of being crushed by an older female exec: "Is it just me, or have you found that women don't help each other in this business?" (Foreshadowing Alert! Foreshadowing Alert!) Alison sympathizes, and says she can get Brooke an internship at D&D.

At the hospital, Matt and Kimberly engage in witty repartee. When she mentions how her wonderful husband is moonlighting in Santa Barbara to make extra money for their trip, Matt says, "Well, don't flip your wig, but that program was disbanded, oh, about a year ago." Matt walks away with a smirk, while Kimmie seethes. During Jo's brief visit to D&D (see the Matt Slot above), Alison gets a call from Amanda's oncologist's office -- but it's really Kim doing a British accent! When she asks about Amanda's whereabouts, Alison tells her that she's staying at a resort in Santa Barbara! D'OH! Michael and Amanda are sharing a cozy moment in the jacuzzi; Amanda admits she's surprised by how comfortable she feels around him. He says that's because they're a lot alike -- they normally look out for Number 1, but now he wants to be there for her. They kiss -- and Kimberly shows up, threatening to toss a lamp in the pool! Michael panics, saying the classic "It's not what you think!" Amanda is angered by his cowardice and walks out. Kimberly smashes the lamp on the floor, laughing at Michael's reaction. He still insists there's an explanation. (He just can't think of one at the moment!) Kim leaves. Amanda is disgusted by Michael's constant lying.

When he returns to the beachhouse, Kimberly is curled up on the bed, looking shattered. He tries explaining things to her. He says Amanda became fixated on him and that he didn't want to leave her devastated at a crucial moment in her recovery!!! But he's going to put an end to it -- he'll tell Amanda that she has to put aside her fantasies. Kimberly tearfully says she knows all of his faults, but she loves him anyway. "Please don't leave me...!" He says he won't.

Amanda accuses Alison of telling Kimberly about Santa Barbara, and Alison realizes she's been tricked. (Not hard to do.) Michael calls Amanda and apologizes for his behavior. He wants to be her escort to the dinner, and he's sending a limo. Here's the best: He says he's breaking up with Kimberly and that he's going to move out! When he gets off the phone, Kim wants to know where he's going in the tuxedo. He says, well, he promised Amanda he'd escort her to this cockamamie dinner, but that's it. "Hey, remember what I said, babe? I'm with you." When Kimmie asks is this definitely the last time he'll babysit Amanda, he says yes. (What a liar!)

Chuck Woolery hosts the awards dinner! (Wink Martindale was apparently unavailable.) Michael gives Amanda a good-luck kiss before a dumbstruck Billy and Alison. The nominees are announced, including Amanda -- then Alison! Amanda is stunned by this apparent treachery; Alison Gapes! The winner is ... Alison! (Like I said, couldn't you write this episode yourself?) As she rises to accept, Brooke comes over and sits next to Billy. She says she knew Alison would win; she leans into Billy, who gives her this look of "Daah, who the heck 'r you?" Amanda is crushed; she flees into the lobby with Michael. "Does everything in my life have to be taken from me?!?" Michael says no. He professes his intense love for her and says she won't lose him.

Next Week: No coming attractions. Daaaah, mebbe it's a repeat!

--Ken Hart

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