Episode 29: Framing of the Shrews


Only a few days until the pulse-pounding and perhaps not-as-explosive season finale. Thank God! Now they have a couple of months to set things right or screw them up beyond repair!

The Matt Slot? Geez, I might as well rename it The Jane Slot! She is again AWOS (Absent Without Subplot). Yo, Janey, whatzamatta? Ya can't even show up when Jake's in critical condition?! Speaking of which...

Jake, Jess, Jo, and Sydney:

Matt briefs the assembled cast members in the hospital waiting room (minus Jane, Michael, Kimberly, and Hong Kong Alison) that Jake isn't doing great. The bullet did a decent amount of damage, and the doctors are preparing to operate. Matt does pass on a request: Jake wants to see one person. Jo (accompanied by the oh-so-caring Jess) steps forward, but she isn't the one Jake wants to see -- it's Amanda! She holds Jake's hand as he's being wheeled into the operating room; he tells her that Jess did this to him and wants her to promise that if he dies, she'll prove that Jess is responsible. Amanda, confused, doesn't say yes, but reassures him that everything will be fine. (Uh, hey, Amanda -- don't go making wild promises. You've got your own subplot to worry about!)

The operation goes quite well, and soon Amanda visits a groggy Jake -- she used her influence to get him a private room. (Since when do workers in overcrowded hospitals give a damn about what an advertising executive wants?) Sydney drops by, all full of cheer and motorcycle magazines. After a couple of minutes, though, Amanda and Jake politely yet firmly inform her that her continued presence is not required.

Returning to Shooter's, Syd gets incensed when she sees Jess working behind the bar. She says Jake doesn't want him there; the Bearded Martyr says he's doing this for Jake -- Shoooter's would go down the financial tubes otherwise. When Jess implies that he is closer to Jake than Sydney is, she replies sarcastically, "That's why Jake let me in the recovery room and told Security to throw your worthless ass out."

Jess visits Jake later on. (Hey, let the guy gets some rest!) He's deeply shocked--shocked!--when Jake accuses him of masterminding the attack. He says he was with Jo at the time. Jake thinks it's very cute that Jess would use his ex-girlfriend as an alibi. He doesn't believe any of Jess' claims of innocence or acting ability, and orders him to "Stay outta my bar." Jess nobly says that he's the one keeping the bar alive right now, and without Shooter's, where would all the boring people in town go?

Jake's would-be assassin, the gamma-irradiated version of Aerosmith's Steve Tyler, returns to Shooters's and quietly confronts Jess. (Bad Writing Alert: Gee, that's smart -- return to the scene of the crime in front of dozens of people who saw you shoot somebody the other day!) Jess takes Tyler and some stooge with no dialogue into his office (the alleyway) and tells Tyler that he's not getting the rest of the money: The deal was to kill Jake, and Tyler screwed up: "Jon Bon Jovi would've done the job right -- and for half the money!" Tyler doesn't like this, and promises he'll collect from Jess -- one way or another.

Jess visits Jo's apartment and they try to pick a wall that they haven't had sex on yet. (There's still no spark here; Jane Seymour shows more passion in a casual glance than these two do with their thump-and-grunt routine.) Jess gives her a small box and asks her to open it. What is this, "Hellraiser"? Is he proposing? Nope. It's a brooch. Jess says, "It was my mother's." (Of course.) Jo is so happy that they actually decide to have sex horizontally.

Jo shows up at the hospital with flowers for Jake. His immediate reaction: "Did Jess send you?" Ooooo, nasty. Jo tells him that he's all wrong about Jess. Jake doesn't go for it, saying that she's been completely taken in by Jess' lies.

Matt and the Confusing Doctor:

OK, just what the heck is going on with this subplot? Can't Matt (or any of the MP characters, for that matter) have a relationship with someone who isn't dying of a disease, psychotic, or just plain smeggin' weird?

Matt, sporting his new haircut, confronts Paul at the gym and tells him about his wife's visit. Paul says that he had to tell her about Matt. Matt is angry over the whole thing, and tells Paul to leave him out it until Paul gets things resolved with his wife. Sure enough, Paul comes to Matt's office later on and tells him that he and his wife are getting separated, and he's moving out of the house. He says he still wants to have a relationship with Matt, and asks him to meet him outside the house that night. Matt is very pleased by all this, and gladly agrees. (Matt, you nimrod!) Later, Matt is leaning against his parked car outside the house, staring at the front door. Paul and his wife look back at him from a safe distance, and we learn from their conversation that Paul has no intentions of leaving his wife! She worries that Matt might do the dangerous "jilted lover" routine, but Paul assures her that Matt is harmless. (He's playing some odd game on both his wife and Matt, but Matt in particular is being set up for something.) Matt, tired of waiting, realizes that he's missing a new episode of "Friends" and drives off. The next morning, he angrily demands to know what happened last night. Paul lies, saying that his wife was so upset that he just couldn't leave her as she was.

Billy, Alison, and Brooke:

Back in D&D, Brooke takes the opportunity to read Alison's crumpled farewell note to Billy. (Alison professes her love and says she'd come back if Billy said he loved her, too.) She then puts it through the shredder (!) and starts typing her own version of the letter! Billy, also sporting a new haircut, comes in a little while later. Brooke hands him "Alison's" note. It's just a few typed lines in which "Alison" says that it's time for both of them to put the past behind them and get on with their separate lives. Billy, stooge that he is, doesn't doubt that the note is from Alison.

In Hong Kong, Alison is being shown her new office (very big and intimidating). As soon as she sits down, she tries calling Billy. He's about to leave the office with Brooke when the call comes in; the receptionist says it's from Alison. Brooke encourages Billy not to take it, saying that they have a brain scan to go to. Billy tells the receptionist to inform Alison he's left for the day. The next day, Brooke takes the opportunity to call Alison herself. Alison asks, "How's Billy?" Brooke says Billy read the note, but adds sadly that he just wants to start his life over without Alison.

Later that evening, Brooke and Billy are relaxing in his bed. Billy is thinking about having a family in the future. What?!? Billy and Brooke might ... spawn?? Nooooooo! Alison picks this moment to call. Billy takes it. Alison says she was hoping to hear from him after he read her note. He says, "Daaah, well, in yer note, ya gave me the option of continuin' things." Alison, stunned by this apparent negative reaction to her love letter, says numbly, "Yes .. I did." They say goodbye.

Billy and Brooke play air hockey at the arcade. Brooke says that if she wins the next game, they have to get married. Well, she wins -- gulp! She acts like she won't really hold Billy to the bet, but she knows her morons: Billy says, "For the first time in my life, nothing is wrong. Gaaahh!!" He proposes! She says yes.

Michael, Kimberly, and Amanda:

Kimberly opens up her locker at the hospital and recoils in horror at what's inside: the collected beauty tips of Roseanne Barr! No, not really -- it's a styrofoam bust with a wig on it! Other doctors come over to see, and she tearfully says that Michael did it. On cue, Michael enters and wonders what all the commotion is about. He looks in Kim's locker and laughs. A "distraught" Kimberly accuses him in front of the others. Michael looks around and says, "What, you think I did this?" Kimberly pleads with him to leave her alone. His great comeback? "Kimberly, everyone here knows I've been trying to leave you alone for months!" (He won that round.) Kimberly obviously planted the wig herself. She calls Amanda and tells her how scared she is of Michael now. She suggests getting together to join forces. Leaving D&D's offices, Amanda enters the parking garage and hears footsteps following her. She angrily calls out "Michael?" but gets no response. She hurries to her car, where she finds the words "Die Bitch" painted on the side. She drives off, and we see that her stalker was, of course, Kimberly. (The director shot this scene as though it was a mystery, but we knew all along it was Kimberly, so what was the point?)

Kimberly somehow manages to get back to her motel room just in time to get the phone call from Amanda and to sound appropriately concerned. They meet for drinks. Kimberly says that, contrary to popular belief, she dumped Michael, not the other way around. She claims that Michael can't bear to lose to two strong women like herself and Amanda, so he's striking out. Further, she says he's a terrible surgeon and that he's eventually going to get someone killed on the operating table. Amanda, conveniently forgetting that Michael saved her aerobicized butt a few months ago from The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns, believes everything Kim says.

Amanda confronts Michael at the beachhouse with a bill for the repairs to her car. Michael says he was in surgery at the time Amanda claims he was stalking her. (Hey, that's a good idea, Amanda -- why didn't you check the hospital records? If you can get Jake a room by himself, you can certainly check to see if Michael is telling the truth!) When Amanda pushes the point, Michael says, "Ya know what, Bright Eyes? You think I'm your only enemy? Try counting your friends! What -- done already?"

That night, Kim waits for Michael to go jogging, then enters the beachhouse and trashes the place, scratches her face, and makes a panicked, screaming phone call to 911! As Michael returns and sees Kimberly on the couch, he goes over to her and she starts wrestling with him! (Look out for that Half Nelson!) The police burst in, quickly appraise the situation, and haul Michael away. He yells, "She set me up!" then threatens Kim in front of the cops, which was not a smart move.

Wearing orange prisoner garments, Michael is brought into court for his bail hearing. He sees Amanda and asks her to tell the court what kind of a psycho Kimberly is. Amanda replies, "What was it you said to me, Michael -- try counting your friends? What, done already?" Kimberly is in court, wearing bandages and a sling. The judge sets bail at a whopping $200,000! Michael is NOT happy! Kimberly returns victorious to her motel room, but -- in a thoroughly shameless ripoff of "Twin Peaks" -- she sees an evil man staring back at her from the mirror! He says that he's part of her. She crumples to the floor, muttering, "I'm not a crazy person...no...no...no..." (Boy, the writers are really desperate, aren't they?)

Next Week: The two-hour season finale! Alison interrupts Billy and Brooke's wedding. Jess and Jake duke it out to the death! Kimberly gets hot -- with Dr. Burns?! And the explosive finish!

--Ken Hart

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