Episode 23: Love and Death 101


Okay, just what was the deal with the Wacky Cult plot a few weeks back? They're in it for a couple of episodes, and that's it?! No gunfights with the true believers? No lingerie-ripping fight to the death between Sydney and Nicki (serious actress Traci Lords)? I'm disappointed. If the whole thing was just a way of getting Jake and Jane closer, then I'm still confused, since that relationship was as short-lived as Dan Cortese's acting career ... oops, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Matt Slot goes to ... Jane, who must still be licking her wounds from her five-minute "war" with Syd, because she was completely AWOS: Absent Without Subplot! Not even a Josie Bissett deodorant commercial! And hey, they finally got new L.A. footage to use during the episode's credits.

Jake, Jo, Sydney, and Jesse:

Sam, an old lawyer friend of Jake's (and a butcher on the Brady Bunch), calls him at Shooter's and gives him some very bad news. Syd, seeing the subsequent look on Jake's face, asks what's wrong. Jake tells her to shut up. That night, Jake tells Jo that his mother died unexpectedly. (She had been a health risk for a while due to her alcoholism.) Because of the bad past history with his family, including his half-brother Jesse, he's not sure if he can go to the funeral alone. Jo immediately volunteers. As they make plans to leave the next day, Syd shows up. Jake apologizes for his behavior and tells her about his mother. Syd also volunteers to go. Jake says no, "I need you to watch the bar." Syd's response? "Oh, but Jo can go!" (Hey, Syd, Jo doesn't work at the bar! And may I add that Jo is looking mighty fine for someone who gave birth a couple of months ago and was shot in the back?)

When Jo and Jake get to his mother's town, they learn that Mom died of a "brain thing" shortly after arguing with Jesse, who is supposedly very upset. (I can imagine the autopsy: "Dr. Kildare, what are your findings?" "This woman died of a brain thing!") They visit Jesse (played by ex-MTVer and ex-Burger King shill Dan Cortese, now sporting a Judge Ito-inspired beard) at his garage. He and Jake immediately have words. Jesse says Jake is really the one who killed her because he went to L.A. when Mom needed help. (I think the Menendez Brothers had a similar conversation: "Who killed Mom?" "Well, you did!" "No, I shot Dad -- YOU must have killed Mom!")

At the funeral, Sam tells Jake that Jesse is still upset -- he won't come out of the trailer that's been home to him, Mom, and the pet fungus in the sink. Sam says much of Mom's estate needs to be settled, now. Jake goes to see him, and Jesse starts venting. He says that he had to deal with all of the problems with Mom, while Jake was living the cozy life. He adds that all he feels now is relief. When Jake looks repulsed, Jesse says, "You judge me, Jake? After all I did for you? Go to hell."

Back at the motel, Jake sits orangutan-like on the bed (Jo tosses him a banana and a beer), blows some steam about Jesse, and throws the beer can at the wall. Ten seconds later, he and Jo are doing the Wild Thing on the bed! (Must be some primate mating ritual.) The next day, Jo visits Jesse on her own. ("I just slept with Jake again, and I want to find out which side of the family he takes after..." No, no, no! Bad Ken!) She says that Jake loves him. He doesn't buy it. He says he practically raised Jake "as my own full brother" and took full blame for a little crime that the two committed as wild and crazy kids. He went to reform school, etc. How did Jake repay this? By splitting for L.A. at the first opportunity, leaving Jesse to deal with Mom alone.

Jo and Jake discuss the sex. They mutually agree that it means absolutely nothing emotionally, and Jo doesn't argue when Jake maintains his position that neither of them can handle a full-time commitment. (She does say, though, that the sex was great, and we fortunately saw no signs of anyone being spoonfed.) As they meet with Jesse and Sam to sign the papers, Jesse is still antagonistic. Jake says, "I love you -- I always will. I looked up to you," etc., etc. Rather conveniently, Jesse apologizes; so does Jake. Jesse says that maybe he'll call Jake some time.

Alison, Billy, Amanda, Michael, and Kimberly:

Alison returns to D&D, accepting many congratulations on her award from previously unseen and unmentioned co-workers. Billy (standing next to intern Brooke) says that the usually silent Board of Directors wants to see her. The head board member (or at least the one with dialogue) tells her they want her to be the new boss of D&D. She says she'd be happy to fill in until Amanda recovers... "No, we mean permanently." Alison Gapes, then accepts. When Amanda shows up and gets the good news from Alison, she...ahhh...doesn't take things well. She yells a few of the standard things at Alison: "backstabbing," "drunkard," "lousy actress"...

Michael talks to a lawyer (no, not Sam) about a $1 million lawsuit he filed about The Accident (the one where Kimberly was thought to be dead). He says the road condition was at fault and that his wife is a complete shut-in, afraid of everything. The lawyer doesn't give him much hope of victory in a trial, but suggests that a settlement might be worth $250 G's. Michael says "Hmmm, okay," but he needs the money by the end of the week.

He tells Kimberly there's an excellent chance that the two of them will be offered positions at the prestigious Mayo Clinic (they deal with high-cholesterol patients). But his workload is going to keep him busy for a bit, so he tells her that she has to go out there a couple of days ahead of him. Amanda returns to her apartment in a real "Calgon, take me away" mood. She calls Michael and tells him she needs to get out of the area for a few days. She's feeling very ill, and "if I see Alison strut her traitorous little butt across the courtyard, I'm going to kill one of us!" Michael says he's working on it.

That night, just as he finishes shoving Kimberly into a cab for the airport, Amanda shows up! Michael is doctor first, though: They sleep in separate rooms, and he tells her that he'll be starting her on a new treatment. Just then, an insurance guy arrives, telling Michael that the settlement is agreeable, BUT he needs to see Mrs. Mancini first. Michael says, "Uhhh, sure, let me see how she's feeling." (He's great!) He runs into the bedroom, covers up Amanda's hair with a towel, and says, "I don't have time to explain, but I'm doing this for both of us. Don't say a word." Michael introduces the guy to his "wife." Amanda, not feeling well, says, "Michael, what the hell is going on?" "Shhh, quiet, dear." The insurance guy, satisfied, leaves. Amanda says she doesn't want to know what that was all about: "You are a sleaze, which I kinda like. But I don't like being Victim Girl, so don't ask me to do that again."

They later return from chemotherapy, which is not fun. Michael tells her he loves her. Amanda replies, "Don't say you love me -- I mean it."

The work is piling up on Alison's desk. Billy brings her a mega-Day Planner. He asks if there's any way he can help, so she gives him a pile of stuff. As he leaves, she says, "Oh, you'll have to work late tonight to get that done." (Ha! That's what you get for being a brown nose!) Much later that night, Billy enters Alison's office with the completed work -- and she starts coming on to him! (Holy Disclosure, Batman!) She slinks over to him and gives him a big kiss. Billy smiles and says, "Gaaah, wat's DAT about?" She (ahem) thanks him for everything he's done for her over the past season, and she climbs on top of him on the desk. "On 'Manda's desk?!" "It's my desk now." "Hey, daaah, Alison, I'm sittin' on the staple remover!"

The next morning, Billy wants to talk about what happened. Alison says it was just sex -- no strings attached. Billy says, "Get ya'self another Boy Toy." Alison replies that if he can't keep a detached attitude, then she supposes she won't be inviting him to the business dinner that night, so he'll have to stay late again doing work. Billy pauses and says, "Do you know why you're stupid? [Is this a trick question, Billy?] Because you're pushing me away right when you need my help the most!" Wow, a honest-to-goodness intelligent statement from Billy! What's happening? Fire the writers!

Billy later visits Amanda at the beach house. She's calmer about the situation, and in the course of 24 hours, she has come to the amazing revelation that she let her work blind her to the important things in life. (Billy looks at her blankly.) She says, "Thanks for being human -- makes you kind of unusual." No comment.

At the hospital, Michael tells Matt (hi, Matt!) that he's totally in love with Amanda. Matt is stunned: "But you're married!" "Get off it, Matt, you hate Kimberly as much as I do!" Apparently, the insurance deal is his way of getting Kimberly out of his life for good. (Bye, Matt!) As Michael returns to the beach house that night, the director switches to a hand-held camera (always a bad sign). He finds Amanda on the kitchen floor, unconscious. (There's a bottle near her hand, so we're not sure if it's pill-related.) Just as Michael carries Amanda out the front door, Kimberly returns via the back! She's all happy -- until she goes into the bedroom! She finds Amanda's robe and Amanda's underwear. "These aren't mine!!" (What the heck was Amanda doing putting her undies in Kimberly's dresser, anyway? Live out of the suitcase, like everyone else!) Kimberly is pissed.

Next Week: Alison is bitchy to Jo at a photo shoot. Jo says, "You can never fill Amanda's shoes!" Amanda tells Brooke that she wants her to be Amanda's eyes and ears at D&D: "You mean you want me to be your spy?" "Yes -- or you're fired!" (But Amanda, you don't work there -- and she's an intern!) Michael tells Kimberly that he's dumping her. She crumples in tears. End credits: That damn Letters to Clio again!

--Ken Hart

Use the arrows or return to the Melrose Place Master Menu!