Episode 3: Blind Ambition


What goes on at this place? The writers seems to be afraid to give Matt a subplot that lasts more than three episodes! Oh well -- Doug Savant got a chance to emote big-time, and Amanda gave a great, brain-warping speech.

Lots of construction workers were parading around the MP courtyard, carrying lots of drywall, paint cans, and the mirrored ceiling for Jane's apartment. And what's with the Bryan Adams music during the episode credits?

The Matt Slot goes to ... nobody! But I'm sure Matt will be restaking his claim to the title next week. Syd has come close, though, since she's been riding on other people's plot coattails since the season began.

Let's get it out of the way -- Matt:

Matt follows Paul into the hospital bathroom and says they need to talk. He tells him that he got a letter from Paul's wife that was mailed the day she died. (Ah, the old "I've got incriminating evidence against you" ploy.) The letter didn't get to him until now because of the explosion that affected everyone's plot but his. (They found the dead mailman under the rubble with the letter in his hand.) Matt says that in the "letter," Paul's wife warns him of Paul's plan against both of them. However, Matt says he hasn't told anyone about the letter. Paul (who is being very cool) asks why. Matt says, "I love you -- I never stopped loving you." Paul says, "You're pathetic" -- he doesn't go for the bait. When Matt says he can prove that Paul is the killer, Paul says, "I'm not the killer -- you are" and leaves. Matt pulls out a microcassette recorder. (Umm, sorry, Matt -- the plan was a bust. No more "Hardy Boys Mysteries" for you, young man!)

Matt plays the tape for Alycia, his lawyer, who quickly destroys it, saying (correctly) that it's more damning to Matt than Paul. She tells him to stop these tactics, but Matt is convinced that he can get Paul to confess. He gets more and more worked up (Go for the Emmy, Doug! You don't have a chance, but go for it anyway!) He yells that he'll keep after Paul, and "No self-promoting, overpriced attorney is going to tell me otherwise!" She ruins Matt's dramatic moment by saying that she'll ask the public defender to get someone else to help Matt; she can't defend someone who is overacting so poorly.

Back at MP, Jo advises Matt to make amends with Alycia and to stop taking acting lessons from William Shatner. At this point, Amanda walks in and tells Matt his apartment will be ready in two weeks. Now, get a load of this speech from the Twilight Zone: "Oh, by the way, Matt -- I heard about your troubles and I'm really sorry. I know some people around here may not feel too comfortable with your presence, but you have my full support. The way I see it, even if you did kill that woman, it was an act of passion. It's not as though you're a serial killer! Well, have a nice day -- bye!" Jo and Matt stand in stunned silence for several seconds!

At that moment, Paul calls: He wants to see Matt later today -- oh, and bring "the letter." Hey, maybe the plan did work! That night, as Jo returns from shopping with Jake, she finds a note from Matt: "Gone to meet Paul -- subplot quickly rushing to conclusion -- don't tell police." Jo immediately calls his lawyer.

Matt arrives at Paul's house and they engage in small talk. (Matt is still trying the "I love you -- please confess" tactic.) Paul pulls out a gun and demands The Letter. Matt, now nervous (THIS wasn't in the plan), admits there is no letter. Paul rips open Matt's shirt (Hey, now!) and sees the recorder taped inside. Paul chortles, "What is this -- Amateur Hour?" Panicked, Matt says, "Would You Believe that outside at the very moment is a finely honed team of police sharpshooters ready to pick you off any moment?" "I find that very hard to believe." "How about a very angry group of Girl Scouts?"

Paul mutters into the recorder, "I murdered my wife -- is that what you wanted me to say, Matt? Well, it's too bad no one will ever hear it!" He goes to smash the recorder. Matt knocks him down! Matt grabs the recorder -- Paul grabs the gun! Ooops! At this point, a finely honed team of police sharpshooters busts through the front door, guns ready. Paul tries to bluff his way through, but Matt says, "He killed his wife! I have his confession on this tape! And he created the Calvin Klein kiddie porn ads!" Paul spins to fire on the police, but they open fire first and blow him away. Matt quickly explains the subplot to the officer with the speaking part (the rest are extras, so we don't care about them) as Alycia rushes in. The officer says to Paul, "You've been seriously injured." (Duh! Really? Are you sure? What gave it away -- the five bullet holes?) "Is what this man says true?" After some tense seconds, Paul confesses that he killed his wife and framed Matt. He dies; Matt is teary-eyed with relief.

Oh no, this means Matt will be without another subplot for months! In a way, I'm relieved it didn't go any further. "Melrose Place" historically does a really bad job of handling legal issues (like Jo's custody battle last season), so Paul had to confess and die.

The next morning, the hospital staff throws a party for Matt, complete with a huge "Welcome Back, Matt!" banner. (That was fast!) Matt's all happy -- until the chief of staff, Dr. Hobbes, comes in. He's clearly uncomfortable around Matt. He tells him that although Matt has been cleared, he violated staff policy by getting involved with Paul and, in doing so, damaged the hospital's reputation. (What reputation? After forged baby documents and Burns' attempt to kill Amanda, I doubt it has any reputation left to damage!) He fires Matt.

Jane, Richard, Jake, and Jo:

The designing duo are in bed after several passionate hours of checkers. Richard still feels a little guilty about being with Jane, but he says he doesn't know how he could have survived recent events without her. (Well, if you hadn't been with Jane, then Mackenzie wouldn't have been caught in the explosion and killed ... oh, I'm sorry, Richard! Am I making you feel ... guilty?) He slyly tosses a hint about marriage toward Jane, who promptly knocks it aside. She says they shouldn't be thinking that way right now; there's plenty of time for romance.

Jo visits Jake, who has a huge hangover. He apologizes for his behavior and thanks her for being there. They trade mutual "I care about you's" and kiss, but Jo breaks it off and says maybe they should just try being friends. Jake shrugs: "OK, friends it is." (Yeah, right -- this'll last!)

At Mackenzie Hart, Jane hires Jo to be the design firm's new staff photographer. (Hmmm, what happened to the old one?) Jo is very thankful, but wonders how Jane can just hire people on her own. Jane tells her that Mackenzie is dead, but they're keeping it hush-hush. (Wait a second! How in the world does Jo not know that Mackenzie is dead? The woman was in the same explosion as everybody else, but nobody from Melrose is supposed to have wondered, "Gee, what ever happened to that guest star in the season finale? Why, she didn't DIE, did she?") Jo wonders if this is legal. Jane says, "Leave the ethics to me." She deflects further questions by inviting Jo and "a date" (Jake, of course) to a celebration dinner with her and Richard.

At the dinner (at the fanciest McDonald's in town), Richard engages in polite banter, but things soon get a little uncomfortable. He quizzes Jo on her qualifications ("Well, I came from New York, carry a lot of emotional baggage, gave birth to a baby whose father I killed, and recently had an affair with a loser from MTV."). Then he mentions that Jane fired their really good photog in order to hire Jo! Jo and Jake are surprised by the sudden chill in the air as Jane and Richard snipe. Afterwards, Jo tears into Jake for not defending her against Richard's insinuations. "Friends support friends, Jake..." blah blah blah. They argue a bit. Jake says he's been having a rough time lately. "I kill my brother, then I'm leaving the show, then I decide to do another season, then Sydney quits Shooters -- she was doin' the books." (He entrusted the financial records to Sydney?) Jo and Jake then decide they've been fooling each other, then decide to get serious, then decide to kiss. I've decided these two confuse me.

Much later that night, Jane and Richard hash it out in his office. He tells her that he's going to cancel the Spring Line fashion show. Jane reacts strongly, saying they'll lose tons of money. He says Jane's aggressive behavior is causing bad ripples among the staff. ("You have all the good dialogue -- they're left with nothing!") Jane responds that she wants only the best for the company. Why? "Because I care about you -- and I want to show you how much." And she strips and embraces him! Richard gives in, mumbling "I cannot say no to you." (I'd like to insult Richard for lacking a spinal cord, but considering that Jane spent the past two years being a pushover for every man she met, I guess it's time the roles were reversed.)

The next day, Jake gets a visitor. It's a very attractive blonde! "Hi, I'm Shelly Hansen, your sister-in-law! Jess' wife! Is he here?" D'OH! "Jess is ... um ... la de da dah ... wellll .... nice weather we're having, eh? ... he died." She is obviously quite shocked by this news!

Billy, Alison, Amanda, and Brooke:

Billy is over at Jane & Alison's place having coffee. Alison is no longer wearing the Ray Charles Ray Bans, and she tells Billy that she's memorized the location of everything she needs to make the coffee. ("Unknown to Alison Parker, we've switched her Folger's Crystals with chilled monkey brains...") "But, daaah, Alison, looks like ya still need help wit yer buttons!" Oh dear, Alison has misbuttoned her blouse. Billy will fix it! He hopes she'll be attending the big company party later on. Brooke walks in at this point. (Well, why is the door to the apartment wide open to begin with?) She sarcastically comments, "So, what's next? Sponge baths?"

Later, back at Jane & Alison's (What? No work at D&D today?), the Brookster pops up and tells Alison they need to talk. She warns Alison to buzz off -- Billy will be HER date to the party. She smiles evilly and knocks over pots, pans, and Tupperware from the counter! Booo!

At the party, Billy and Brooke show up. Billy immediately sees Alison sitting alone and rushes over to her. He's surprised she didn't call for a lift. Amanda then compliments Alison on what a great job she did organizing the party. (OK, the space-time continuum is routinely ruptured on this show, but really now! Alison is back on the job for a couple of days and was able to organize a company-wide party while blind? Gee, it usually takes people months to pull off one of these things!)

Billy takes Alison on the dance floor ("All right, Billy, but only if you promise not to drool on my shoulder"). She tells him how she is "seeing" things in her life so differently now... then her sight comes back! Somehow, she is able to restrain the joy and she says nothing (!), though she does see Brooke staring maliciously at them.

The next day, Alison relates the story to Jane. She says she didn't want to draw attention to herself. (Hah? You got your sight back -- I think the partygoers would have understood!) Jane encourages her to fake it (!) and continue to play on Billy's sympathies. Alison says she can't do that; she'll tell Billy the truth that night.

In Amanda's office, Brooke reveals that she is not too happy with her lackey role. Amanda tries to give her some "attitude-adjustment" pointers. (BUT she carelessly points out the "Off Limits" file drawer in her office. I have one -- don't you?) She says Brooke must make the most she can out of any situation. Brooke does That Annoying Look and says she agrees.

That night, Alison walks across the courtyard to Billy's. On the way, though, she hears him talking to Amanda about recent events -- namely, the Brooke/Alison situation. "Daah, 'Manda, don't know what I'm gonna do 'bout Brooke... I do know that I'm not gonna abandon Alison -- not while she's blind anyway." Alison retreats to her place.

The next day, Brooke sneaks into Amanda's office and opens the "Off Limits" file drawer! She pulls out a manila envelope containing a Florida driver's license with Amanda's face (apparently from Heather Locklear's Dynasty days) and the name "Amanda Parezi." Alison opens the door and sees what Brooke is doing. As Brooke looks up, Alison assumes the Blind Stare and asks "Is anybody in here?" She backs out, and Brooke mutters, "Blind bitch." Boo again!

Peter, Kimberly, Sydney, and Michael:

The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns visits the Psychotic Dr. Kimberly Shaw. He tells her, "It's true you have some ... problems," but he says she must be much wackier if they're going to successfully pull off an insanity defense. She must hear voices, speak in tongues, watch The Richard Bey Show, etc. Kim then tells him about the "Killer Bob" ripoff and how he controlled her. Peter dismisses it, but she warns he could come back.

Sydney is answering the phones at the doctors' new offices. "Mancini-Burns ... please hold." Peter turns up and says, "It's Burns-Mancini, Sydney." She berates him for not being around and for leaving Michael with all the patients. And she further confronts him with the knowledge that he's been using company funds to pay for the independent psychoanalyst who's evaluating Kim for the insanity hearing. Does Michael know this, she wonders? Peter tells her to keep her "big, overpaid trap shut" and leaves. Syd stares at him, the phone rings, and she answers, "Mancini-Burns."

Back at the hospital, Kim is doing the quiet psycho routine for the analyst Peter hired. Peter shakes his head sadly, "See, she's schizophrenic." The analyst takes Peter aside and tells him she doesn't buy it. "About the only thing I'd attribute to this patient is bad acting." (Hell, you've just condemned half the cast!) Burns gets huffy, but she doesn't yield: "You'll get my bill in the mail."

At the hearing, Michael and Syd turn up, much to Peter's displeasure. While he's talking to them, "Killer Bob" appears in Kimberly's reflection again: "I am never leaving you!" As the judge says the stalking charges were dropped because Kim agreed to make restitution, Michael jumps up: "Excuse me, your honor, this woman is not insane!" Peter tries to stop him, but Syd adds her voice to the chorus. Killer Bob tells Kim: "Kill your betrayers -- do it!" She then leaps toward them, shrieking "I have to kill him!" The guards drag her off. As Michael and Syd exchange smug comments about their apparent victory, Peter equally smugly says, "On the contrary, you've all but ensured that the judge will find Kimberly insane. Thank you -- I couldn't have done it without you."

That night, he goes to visit Kim in the psychiatric ward of the prison. He wants to compliment her on her performance -- little realizing that it wasn't an act! As soon as he turns up, Kim tries to attack him. He and the guard retreat and close the door, leaving Kim to pound pathetically on the plexiglass window. Peter is stunned by the truth.

Next Week: Brooke tries to blackmail Amanda! Amanda looks nasty: "I'm back, Alison -- with a vengeance!" Amanda tries to strangle Brooke! Just do it!

--Ken Hart

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