Episode 22: The Circle of Strife


For the first time in over a year, we are Brooke-less! Better still, Syd goes back to what she does best: blackmail! Of special note to furniture salesmen: There are plenty of sex scenes in this episode, but not one of them takes place in a bed!

The Matt Slot goes to ... Jake, who makes a brief appearance as Jane's boy toy.

Amanda, Bobby, Peter, and Alycia:

The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns visits Alycia in her office, complaining that she hasn't been returning his phone calls. She casually mentions that she saw him flipping through her briefcase the other night, so she decided to do some research: She hands him The Bizarre Dossier! "Last year, you were charged with attempted murder." (Wow! The writers actually remembered this!) She knows he got off with a slap on the wrist, but there are also suspicions about his involvement in Jack Parezi's death, not to mention unresolved plotlines from his days on "General Hospital." "So," she asks angrily, "what's the deal with you and the Parezis?" Peter thinks quickly. "Well, Bobby is a Terminator from the year 2015, and I ... oh, you don't believe me? OK, try this: Poppa Parezi ruined my father's business. It left Dad penniless, and he committed suicide. Yeah, that's it!" She believes him!

He tells her he now wants revenge. When she comments that sleeping with Bobby's lawyer seems like part of this scheme, Peter smoothly says that he considered it, "until I fell in love with you. Besides, I originally thought Bobby's lawyer was F. Lee Bailey." Alycia, stunned, says she loves him too, and they start going at it on her desk! (Riotous!) Don't invite these two to your home -- they'll deface your coffee table!

Bobby invites Amanda to his office and asks her to be on the Board of Directors of the cable company. This way, they'll succeed (or fail) together. (I sense a scam in progress -- don't trust Bobby!) Amanda is flattered and begins looking over the papers while Bobby makes bad coffee. She searches for a calculator (oh yeah, like somebody in the telecommunications industry doesn't have a computer) and happens to find a folder on Shooter's, detailing Bobby's loan to Jake. (It's even got the Shooter's logo on it!) Amanda is puzzled.

Alycia tells Peter that she's begun Phase One. "Sounds very cool and spylike -- but what does it mean?" She says she got Bobby to sign several blank checks, which she then made out for rather hefty amounts to State Senator Wilcox, who's running for reelection. This will make it look like Bobby is "greasing the wheels." Peter knows why he is trying to ruin Bobby, but why is she doing this? Alycia says the cable contract states that if Bobby is found guilty of a breach, she has the option to buy the company. She tells Peter, "You must have loved your father very much." "My father? Oh, yeah -- yeah!" She kisses him, but The Bizarre One literally pays lip service as he stares into space.

Peter calls up Amanda and invites her and Bobby to a cocktail party; it's a fundraiser for Senator Wilcox, who oversees the cable contracts in the area. Peter suggests this would be a good person for Bobby to meet. "If that's not enough incentive, tell Bobby that magicians Siegfried & Roy will also be attending." Amanda says she probably has Alycia to thank for arranging this, then adds, "She must be quite a woman." "Yes, she is ... but she's not you, is she?" Amanda slowly hangs up, wondering "What the heck did that mean?"

At the cocktail party, Amanda asks Bobby about the loan to Jake. "Is this your way of getting a hold over my ex-boyfriend?" Bobby innocently says that he'll always help someone who's trying to go legit. (When was Jake not legit?) Peter arrives and introduces Bobby to the senator, who thanks Bobby for his support. As they shake hands, a photographer takes a few "incriminating" shots; Alycia will get the photos and negatives. (Melrosian time compression is at work again: Alycia gets the blank checks, and one day later they've already been sent to the senator's office and apparently cashed!) Peter and Alycia look on with sinister approval.

Jake, Jane, Jo, and Fashion Boy:

Fashion Boy visits Jane's "office" and offers her a deal. He knows they're both scheduled to be interviewed for a fashion TV program, "House of Guile." Since there's a big fashion exhibit the day afterward, he promises not to slam her on TV if she'll do likewise. Jane says, "I'll think about it."

Cut to Jake and Jane, rolling over each other on Jake's floor, doing The Nasty on her sketches and probably improving them. Jake composes himself as someone knocks on the door. It's Jo, who drops off photo proofs of Jane's new designs. (Jo felt bad about Richard's stunt last week, so she's doing a favor for Jane.) After a few surprisingly amicable lines of dialogue, Jo leaves -- accidentally taking Jane's sketchpad in the process!

She returns to Fashion Boy Designs, where a nasty FB complains that they need a better designer. (Jo leaves her things on his desk.) He's hired the lovely Stephanie, whom he orders to look through the designs on his desk. He and Jo leave his office, and Stephanie finds Jane's sketchpad! "Hmmm, biodegradable sarongs made from seaweed -- now that's more like it!"

Jane goes to Jake's pad, frantically searching for her sketchpad. "You don't understand, Jake! All my hideously tacky designs are in there!" Jake offers to help relieve her tension, so he carries her off. Normally, I'd say they're going to his bedroom, but the way things have gone lately, they're probably on his workbench!

Later, Jane and Jake watch Fashion Boy's interview on TV. He offers praise for Jane's work, but Jane is stunned to see her designs adorning the mannequins behind FB's gelled head! She charges into his building and confronts him and Jo. She's convinced that Jo gave her designs to Richard. FB, in turn, is mad when he finds out that Jo took photos of his competition! Jane knocks over a rack of clothes and grabs FB by the collar! (C'mon, Jane, kick his butt!) She vows vengeance, then storms out. FB and Jo snipe at each other afterward. Jo accuses him of stealing Jane's work; he tells her to play detective and prove it.

That night, N.Y.P.D. Jo catches up to Fashion Boy as he's leaving for the day. She found the sketches for the new fashions in the trash, and she asks him point blank, "Did you draw these?" FB looks them over briefly and says, "Yes, I did the banana-skin overcoat. They're mine." Jo suggests they forget today ever happened (easily done on Melrose Place) -- but she obviously still has doubts.

Matt and Alan:

As Matt is rushing through the hospital hallways, David invites him to join a few of the guys for some bowling. Matt says again that's he's already in a pretty good subplot, but David insists this is just a friendly get-together. Matt apologizes for jumping to conclusions, but says he's just too busy to go anyway. (Switch to decaf, Matt!)

Matt later shows up at the bowling alley. He tells David that Alan had a late rehearsal, so he hoped the invitation was still open. He and David exchange a friendly hug --just as Alan walks in! Alan does a 180-degree spin and leaves, unseen by Matt.

The next day, Matt asks Alan to be his date for the wedding. [See later.] Alan then wants to know what was up with David at the bowling alley. Matt says it was just an innocent hug; FOX won't let them do anything else. They then argue about everything that's been bothering them lately, including the pressures of their respective jobs and the lack of an Oscar nomination for Nicole Kidman. Matt says he can't talk about this anymore ("I loved 'To Die For'!") and walks out. [Continued in the Wedding.]

Billy, Alison, and Amanda:

The Spooky Brooke storyline takes an unexpected turn: no Brooke! Billy seems unusually confident and feisty; he's also not drooling as much. He tells Amanda he wants a second chance at the Madge & Mabel's Ice Cream account. He blames the first failure on Brooke ("Daah, she blew it!") and says things will be different since he's working with Alison. Amanda likes the change in attitude and agrees. He then springs the news on Alison, who's a bit annoyed that Billy didn't discuss this with her beforehand.

Madge and Mabel, the ice cream queens from Gehenna, arrive to hear Billy and Alison's presentation. (You can practically feel the room get colder when they sit down.) Alison does her best Pepperidge Farms impersonation, but the sisters hate it! They've used the same ideas a hundred times. Billy, who had been silent, leaps on this. Smirking once again, he agrees with them and says to the stunned sisters, "You are cantankerous as hell," and they should take advantage of this. They should remodel their campaign for the '90s, and he envisions them riding on a pair of Harley-Davidsons! They're surprised by Billy's boldness and lantern jaw; they agree to give it a shot. When they leave, Alison vents! Billy set her up! Smiling, he says it doesn't matter how they got the account; what matters is that the sisters did like it.

He goes to Alison's place that night. She's still mad about what he did. "Daaah, I went on gut instinct. I focused, like I'm focusin' now!" He climbs on top of Alison on the couch! She doesn't know how to react as he talks about how "dangerous" he now is and unbuttons her blouse. "Gaah, yer trembling -- and dere's not a damn thing you can do about it!" Billy and Alison have sex for the first time in a couple of years! [Continued in the Wedding.]

Michael, Kimberly, and Sydney:

At the offices of Burns-Mancini, Kimberly arrives to an unpleasant greeting from Syd. When Syd accuses her of stealing Michael, Kim calmly says, "Michael never saw you as anything but a diversion." Syd refuses to believes this, claiming that Kimberly poisoned Michael's mind, using the information Syd spilled during their sessions. "You told Michael about my secret lust for Ted Koppel, didn't you?" Kim walks into Michael's office and strongly suggests he fire Sydney. Michael protests: "She's a great receptionist, people love her..." Kim says, "Perhaps you need a visual aid." She locks the door and climbs onto his lap. As she pulls a feebly protesting Michael to the floor, he says, "That girl is SO fired...!"

At lunch, Michael stalks over to Syd's desk and complains about the Chinese food he told her to order. "There are green peas in my Lo Mein! You're fired!" Syd thinks he's joking at first, then says he can't fire her without Peter's consent. Nope -- either of them can fire anybody! Syd dumps the Lo Mein on Michael's head and walks off.

This next bit is great: Syd walks in during the middle of an operation at the hospital! Everyone is wearing surgical garb, so she asks, "Which one of you is The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns?" "Sydney! What are you doing here?" he growls. "Get out of my sterile field!" He quickly takes this outside the operating theater, and she tells him what Michael did. Peter replies, "If my partner fired you, I'm delighted!" "You can't mean that!" "Syd, you require too much care and feeding. Now get OUTTA here!"

Elsewhere in the hospital, Michael finds that Kim is in a bad mood: The divorce papers that he made out months ago just arrived! He says that's no big deal: "We just won't sign them!" And he rips them up. Kim says there's a lot more to it than that. "I want trust and a normal life." She worries about the "old Michael" coming back. Michael says, "He won't! We're both different people." She needs time to decide that this relationship is something that she really wants.

She meets him at the beachhouse later, and they talk about the old days: cheating, deception, bombing ... ahhh, amore! Michael says, "I want to dedicate my life to making you happy... Will you marry me?" He promises it'll be the "real thing" this time, with plenty of fanfare. Kim eventually says, "I'll marry you, Michael, all over again. God help us both."

Syd returns to the office -- with a process server! She tells Peter and Michael that she's suing both of them for sexual harrassment, because of all the groping and comments that she's had to endure! Go, Syd! When she leaves, Peter looks disgustingly at Michael: "Another fine mess, Mancini!" (Good move by Sydney: While she may not be able to prove her case, Michael's and Peter's respective pasts are certainly shady enough to ruin their business in any protracted suit.)

Kimberly visits Syd at home to convince her to drop the suit. She was the one who wanted Syd fired; Michael shouldn't be punished. Kim even goes on to ask Syd to be her Maid of Honor at the wedding! Syd, wearing a black dress with a huge flower on it that's straight from "Laugh-In," gives Kim an "A" for effort, then tells her to get lost.

The Wedding at the Beachhouse:

Michael and Peter (the best man!) are doing some last-minute primping as they discuss their response to Syd's suit. Michael suggests they give her 10 percent. Syd overhears this and says that 10 percent is fine -- as long as they also make her Office Manager with veto power over any decisions! She's even got the papers ready! Michael and Peter know when they're beaten, so they sign. Kim shows up, and Syd says she would love to be the Maid of Honor!

Alan arrives, and he and Matt apologize for arguing before. Alan says that producer Gloria called him in for a meeting; she said that he and Valerie are going to get married. "What, in the show?" says Matt casually. "No, in real life." Matt is stunned. Alan isn't happy either, but he says it's just a show for the public.

In the outdoor ceremony, Michael and Kimberly re-exchange their wedding vows, as Peter and Sydney exchange uneasy glances. The minister declares them husband and wife!

The reception continues inside the beachhouse. Alison chats with Matt and Alan, as Syd shares a joke with Jake. A slightly drunk Billy (indicated by Andrew Shue walking like John Wayne) escorts Alison to the center of the room and gets everybody's attention: "Daaah, I am announcin' to everyone that I am askin', ahh, Alison Parker ta move in with me!" Alison Gapes! Embarrassed, she says, "I'm not one of your clients!" Jake, Amanda, and others look uncomfortable. Billy says, "OK, how bout this: I wuv you. Will you move in with me?" Kimberly thankfully interrupts: It's bouquet time! She tosses it up -- and Billy grabs it and presents it to Alison with a big kiss!

Is Billy possessed by Brooke? If so, why is he making out with Alison? (Kinky!)

Next Week: Amanda goes to The Bizarre One for comfort! Alycia gets angry!

--Ken Hart

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