Episode 7: Let the Games Begin


Fun episode! Michael and Sydney's scheme to drive Kimberly nuts (okay, more nuts) is the best thing so far this season. Again, most of the characters are acting very differently than last season: For instance, Jo (last season's firebrand) is acting like last year's Alison -- she's passive, complaining, and gets her nose chopped off when she sticks it into other people's affairs. (Remember what happened when Alison blabbed to Jake about Amanda and, ugh, Chaz?) Amanda has inherited Jo's bad karma from last year, and Jane has assumed the Witch Throne that Amanda occupied for the past couple of seasons. Wild!

The Matt Slot belonged to ... Matt, who got to eat dinner and watch his father die!

Matt (Champion of the Solo Subplots):

For Matt, it's been a busy week. He was cleared of murder charges on Tuesday and successfully challenged anti-gay prejudice on Friday. What now? Disney World? Between subplots, Matt has dinner with Mom and Dad. (Matt, you're blowing off Amanda's party?! Boo!) He says he has to decide between taking his old job back or accepting $50,000 as a settlement. His parents encourage him to look at other fields of employment. Mom says, "Honey, why don't you go to one of those 'nice' dramas, like 'E.R.' or 'Picket Fences'?" Dad urges him to go to medical school and become a doctor. Matt wisely points out that he's seen a lot of doctors, and he doesn't want to be like them! He likes helping people, so he does social work. Dad says, "Well, then, help people by being a doctor!" Voices are raised, channels are clicked. Matt's annoyed that he and his parents always end up arguing.

Later, he and Dad have a Kodak Moment. They calmly chat, but Dad doesn't look well. He says he regrets the missed opportunities in life, especially regarding Matt. He adds that he'll be happy as long as Matt is happy and -- urrk!! heart attack!! Matt calls 911 and gets put on hold by William Shatner. At The Only Hospital in Los Angeles, the attending doctor tells Matt and Mom that Dad's heart muscle has deteriorated. It turns out that Dad has had heart disease for two years, but he didn't want Matt to know. Matt is upset that he's never been there for Dad; Mom says there's still time.

They visit Dad in his hospital bed. (Beep Beep) Matt tells Dad that he's gotten impatient with himself -- he hasn't done the things he feels he was "supposed" to have done by now: win an Emmy, get a spinoff series.... Dad says (Beep Beep) "You're better than anything I could have hoped for. (BeepBeepBeep) Take -- care -- of -- your mother." (BeepBeepBeepBeep) "I love you, Dad!!" "Sorry, Matt -- but -- you still -- can't have -- my -- Bud Liiiittte..." (Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep)

Jane, Richard, Jo, and Jake:

Jane fumes at Jo: Richard has called off the wedding. And it's HER fault! Jo defends herself, saying that it was the right thing to do for everybody. Jane goes into denial, claiming that she never said she didn't love Richard and that Jo twisted her words. Jo says she was just trying to be Jane's friend. "From now on," Jane says, "just consider yourself hired help." Does that mean Jo gets a raise?

Jo commiserates with Jake at Shooter's (The Only Bar in Town). Jo says she wants to spend more time with him. Jake says, "How about the party?" [I'll get to the party later.] Jo is not thrilled: "Jane will be there, and she won't have a date, because of me. Great." Well, Jake says, when things quiet down, he and Jo can sneak away and play Battleship. Jo is turned on: "Sink my battleship, Jake."

Jane sees Richard at the office later. She tries explaining what she really meant the other night. (Uh huh.) He won't accept her excuses -- he knows she doesn't truly love him. (You know, I never thought I'd say this, but Patrick Muldoon is actually a worse actor than Shue! David Brinkley shows more emotion than this guy!) He rejects Jane's offer to come with her to the party. Jane puts on the brave face. She says she'll continue wearing his engagement ring as a sign of her love. He says he doesn't care. (Sap!)

That night, at The "We Survived The Blast of '95" Party, Jake asks Jane if she's seen Jo. (If Jane ever dates a Jerry or Jeff, I'll scream.) He thought Jo was at some photo shoot. Jane says she doesn't know where Jake's "big-mouth girlfriend" has gone. (Oooh! The venom level is high tonight!) Shelly pops up at that moment; she says she just came by to pick up the last of her things from Jake's place. (Oh, THAT old excuse!) Jake lets her stay for the party. They do some close dancing at poolside. Jo is nowhere to be seen. After the surprise visit from Kimberly [Be patient!], things start winding down. Shelly says she's a little too drunk to drive home, so Sir Jake valiantly offers to give her a lift. Once they get to her place, she removes her blouse to display the latest Fredricks of Hollywood fashions. "Let me show you my appreciation." She snuggles up to Jake and kisses him. He says they've been down this road before -- he's with Jo. "But Jo's not here..." Jake summons every bit of willpower he has and says "Good night." He leaves, and Shelly looks bummed. (Failure!) Jake with willpower?! What IS going on?

Jo shows up at Jake's the next morning in a foul mood: "Where were you? We had a date!" Jake says he waited for her, but she stood him up, so he took Shelly home. Jo's annoyed. Jake says the real problem is that Jo doesn't have time in her life for him anymore. Stunned, Jo utters a phrase that will live in infamy: "I don't want to compete with a blonde." So they kiss. Hah? What? Hello, Reality? Your signal's fading fast...

Jane comes into the office to see Jo and Richard huddled over some designs. (Hmmm, Richard seems to be getting a little too enamored of Jo.) Jane and Jo glare at each other; Jo leaves. Jane sees what Richard's been working on: a new line of clothes for men! He designed it himself. Jane says, "I'm so glad your're branching out!" but she immediately starts making changes: "If I add fuschia pumps here..." He stops her: "Not this time." He's started his own company -- Richard Hart Designs -- and Jane has no say in it. ZING! Jane Gapes!

The party makes this next section difficult to split up, so...

Peter, Kimberly, Michael, Sydney, Billy, Allison, Brooke, and Amanda:

At a special D&D meeting, Amanda tells the only apparent staffers -- Billy, Alison, and Brooke -- that she's throwing a "We Survived The Blast of '95" Party at MP. (Nothing like wasting company time, is there? But considering that your major employees are your neighbors, why not?) Brooke gets the business day rolling by introducing her new client: Jack Parezi! He says he's investing in a "new cable system." (This is dumb. Amanda, will you please fire Brooke? She no longer has any hold over you, so just fire her pampered butt!) Amanda asks everyone to leave while she talks to Jack. Billy offers to stick around...in case. Jack puts his hand on Billy's shoulder and strongly suggests Billy leave. Billy tells Amanda, "Dah, I'll be right outside the door -- I can't find my way back to my desk without help." Amanda tells Jack to get out of her life. He says she's being paranoid; he's got a fiancee. "Rita's a real woman." (What, as opposed to the inflatable ones you normally hang out with?) Amanda rejects him as a client. He says, "I don't think you want to fight me on this." "To the bitter end." He says that Brooke has already cleared him with D&D's unseen, unheard Board of Directors. (So? What do THEY know? They let Jasmine Guy run the show! Just fire Brooke!)

Shortly thereafter, we learn that Amanda has yielded. Billy tells her she should stand tough; maybe he will talk to Jack. Amanda gets scared. She tells Billy that, years ago, when she tried running away from Jack, he held a gun to her father's head and threatened to kill him if she tried it again. "Do you know what it meant when Jack put his hand on your shoulder?" "Umm, daah, dat he liked me?" "No, you idiot! It's a warning. Don't get involved."

Sydney opens the door to her apartment -- and sees a weird man dressed in black, who says in a sinister voice: "I've been watching you, smelling your perfume..." She screams! Michael turns up, laughing. The guy is Mark, an actor he hired to be the stand-in for Henry. Mark pulls off his fake beard and introduces himself. He says he used to do margarine commercials. Michael says, "A little less margarine -- more Freddy Krueger." Michael and Syd rub their hands in glee, and Mark gets into character. [This is great! I don't even need to add puns with these two at work!]

Peter and Kimberly discuss her progress. He's taking her to the Blast Party! He wants her to see the people she injured and to go into the laundry room -- it's all part of the healing process. (Next season, The Bizarre One will reveal that he's a veterinarian in addition to his surgeon and psychoanalyst skills.) Sydney overhears this, and schemes with Michael. (Gee, didn't Peter keep Syd around so that she could spy on Michael? Fire that ex-madam! Fire everybody! Fire! Fire! Heh heh!)

Alison and Big Daddy finish a "business dinner" on his yacht. Alison looks out onto the bay and says, "Nothing bad can happen to you on the water." (Hmmm, maybe you should talk to Jo, or Jake, or...) She wants to know what's going on here. She reiterates that she won't help him break up Brooke and Billy. He says he's agreed to stay out of it. But "I wonder...what it would be like... [oh, just finish the sentence!]...to kiss you." He and Alison liplock.

At the big Blast Party, Amanda is welcoming people to the festivities (geez, the Amish have louder parties than this) when Jack turns up. Brooke told him about the party! "Ah...I may have let something slip..." Billy acts tough and tells Jack he's not wanted here: Jack's taller and is a significantly better actor. Jack raises his testosterone to a dangerous level. Amanda, worried about Billy's safety, relents and says Jack can stay. Brooke sees Alison: "Where's Daddy?" "If you're so interested, phone home." ZING! At this moment, Peter appears -- with Kimberly. Amanda has a great line: "Have all the demons in Hell come to torment me?" Kimberly, looking very cute in black, has "something to say": "I'm sorry...deeply sorry." She can't change the past (Sure you can! You have real hair now!), but "I'll live with the guilt and shame forever." She begs for forgiveness. Michael and Sydney jeer from the bleachers. Kimberly offers a special apology to Amanda for all the evil, rotten, nasty things she did. Amanda, to her credit, accepts. (She's actually a nice person this year!)

As the night progresses, Peter introduces himself to Jack. "Hi, I'm the Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns." He then wanders over to Billy, who hasn't budged from the munchie table. Peter observes that Jack hasn't left Amanda's side all night -- he obviously has no intentions of staying out of her life. Billy agrees that Jack is bad news: "Daah, he used to beat her." (Billy! That was a secret, you moron!)

As the party winds down, Kimberly (with an encouraging nod from Peter) descends into the dark inner recesses of Melrose Place -- that Land of Terror known as...The Laundry Room! As she gets to the bottom, "Henry" appears from under the stairs. "Welcome back, Kimberly, I've been waiting for you." Kimberly tries to rationalize him away: "You have no meaning -- you're a plot device on a TV show -- you mean nothing!" She runs out, as he says, "Run, Kimberly, but I'll find you. We were meant to be one." She rushes into Peter's arms in the courtyard and he escorts her away. Michael and Sydney clink beer bottles in victory!

The next morning, Peter tries giving Kimberly a pep talk. He opens the blinds to let the sun in, telling Kim what a great job she did. He reassures her that Henry isn't real. With his back to the window, he asks her to tell him what she sees outside. As she looks over Peter's shoulder, there's "Henry" on the patio! (Did this guy camp out overnight or what?) Without giving away her fear, she asks Peter, "If I were to tell you that I saw Henry, you'd have to report it, right?" "Yes, I would." "Well, no, I don't see Henry. Nope, no Henry. Never saw Henry. Nope. Not there, smiling at me on the patio. Nope, nope, nope."

That night, Brooke and Amanda briefly chat in the courtyard. Surprisingly, Amanda doesn't seem angry at the Brookster. She says that Jack would have just found some other way of getting to her. But Brooke shouldn't play right into Jack's hands. As Brooke walks away, she sees Big Daddy at Alison's door! Eavesdropping, she hears him say, "I couldn't sleep -- I was thinking about you." Alison lets him in. Apparently, she's been avoiding him ever since The Kiss. (It was only two days ago! ) Alison says she doesn't want to rush into anything; she needs to think about it. "Thinking's overrated," he says. (Alison ponders, "Hmmm, Billy always said that, too.") "I feel for you." Thank you, Mr. Chaka Khan! Chaka Khan! They start making out, while Brooke peers horrified through the venetian blinds!

The next morning, Daddy says "You're better than anything I could have hoped for." Oops, sorry -- I got this mixed up with my notes for Matt's Dad! Sorry! Alison and Big Daddy pose cutely in the doorway, as a spandexed Brooke watches from above. As soon as he leaves, Brooke pounds on Alison's door. She says, "So! You're sleeping with my father now! How would you say he compares to Billy?" (Why, Brooke, don't YOU know the answer to that? Oh, I'm bad! Bad Ken!) Alison retorts, "If you're so interested in other people's sex lives, there's a 976 number you can call!" Yes! Brooke, ever sly, asks her what line Big Daddy used to get inside the apartment: "I couldn't sleep -- I was thinking about you"? Alison, unaware that Brooke was listening last night, is a little shaken.

Peter visits Amanda and warns her about men like Jack. (He seems to be totally honest, too -- another reformed character!) Amanda isn't moved by Peter's concern, and says that Jack is introducing her to his fiancee tonight.

Alison goes to Big Daddy's yacht and confronts him with Brooke's accusation. He says he doesn't know what Brooke's talking about. They agree not to let Brooke ruin this for them. Alison is still wary about getting deeply involved, saying she keeps meeting Mr. Wrong. He says, "Well, then, maybe I'm Mr. Right and you've just been waiting for me all this time." Ewww! The stink of this dialogue! Call the EPA! Get Al Gore on the phone!

Michael and Syd are hanging out at the office. She asks him why he listens to this radio call-in psychiatry show. "Listenin' to people with problems makes me feel better." Kimberly calls in! Before their amazed ears, Kim tells the host about all the doubts she had throughout her life. Then things went really bad when he got involved with a egotistical doctor who tried to kill her. ("Hey!" protests Michael. "What about all the times she tried to kill ME?!") Things got worse, Kim continues, when he teamed up with a "redheaded, ex-hooker pipsqueak." Syd objects strenously! She says to Michael that they have to get her. "I know, my little pipsqueak."

Amanda visits Jack's fancy new digs. She carries a bottle of wine for "Rita" as Jack quietly locks the door behind her. He escorts her in to meet his fiancee. In the living room, though, hangs that same, huge bad portrait of Amanda that he had back in Miami. Amanda is stunned: "Doesn't your fiancee have anything to say about this?" As Jack looks at her, she realizes the truth: There is no fiancee! "You're the only person I'll ever be married to." She tries to run, but he grabs her. "You're mine! Tonight and for the rest of your life -- you're mine!"

Next Week: Alison and Big Daddy meet with Billy and Brooke. Alison says she's moving in with him! Jack orders Amanda: "Make love to me like you did on our wedding night!" Amanda pushes! He shoves! She falls near his set of golf clubs! The horror!

Predictions? Jack gets his head caved in with a 9-iron. I also think the "Henry" actor is not long for this world -- Kimberly will probably kill him!

--Ken Hart

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