Episode 12: Quest for Mother


With regards to Donna Mills' appearance ... Holy Anticlimax, Batman! A big yawn to the discovery of Jane's mom. Quick, get Jane off the show before she takes Sydney down with her! And what's with Donna's billing as "Special Cameo Appearance"? Heather must have an exclusive deal on the "Special Guest Star" label. A less than stellar episode, overall.

The Matt Slot goes to ... Alison! It was almost a tie between her and Jake again, but at least he nearly got physical with Matt's boyfriend. (No, not that! Get your mind out of the gutter!)

Jane, Sydney, and Jane's Mom, Donna Mills:

Jane goes to a retirement home where she finds the man who directed her real mother Sherry in the classic film "Troubled Hearts" years back. ("Troubled Hearts"? Even the title is lame! When the movie memorabilia guy said last week that Sherry was in a couple of Roger Corman films, I was hoping for something along the lines of "Zontar, the Thing from Venus"!) Jane shows the man a picture of her mom. "Yeah, I know her -- Donna Mills! They repeated one of her movies on Lifetime last night." "You're obviously mistaken, sir. That is, of course, my mother -- Sherry Dusette. And why is an old guy like you watching the Lifetime channel anyway?" The director does recognize Sherry and he warms to the idea of Jane searching for her real mother. He agrees to make some calls to find out where she is.

Jane returns to Melrose Place that night, where Syd chews her out for leaving her to mind the store solo. (It was Sam's day off.) "Jane, the customers came in and wanted your polka-dot cellophane pantyhose, but I didn't know where you put it!" In classic Syd style, though, she tells Jane, "I gave myself a little raise..." Jane checks her answering machine: Donna Mills called! Sherry says she wants Jane to meet her at Marino's Restaurant tomorrow. (Whoa, a new restaurant!) The voice sounds hesitant, but Jane is happy.

Jane sits by herself at the restaurant, but there's no Sherry. Sydney, wearing dark glasses, walks in, much to Jane's displeasure. Syd says she came by for "sisterly support." Just as the self-pitying Jane of Arc again tells Syd that they're not really sisters, the maitre'd ... uh, the mait're d ... uh, the head waiter tells Jane that Sherry left a message for her: She got busy at a film shoot and couldn't make it to the restaurant, so she asks Jane to meet her at her home in Brentwood the next day. Jane is again happy!

The following afternoon, Jane makes her way to a gorgeous mini-mansion. The door opens and Jane says, "Why, you are Donna Mills!" "You must be mistaken, Jane. I am, of course, your mother -- Sherry Dusette." They shake hands and Jane is impressed by the glamour of the place: "I feel just like Fallon Carrington!" There are some awkward moments as they chit-chat over tea -- and it's about to get a lot more awkward! No sooner does Jane say, "I have so many questions for you ... what is Michelle Lee up to these days?" than Sherry bluntly tells her, "I have my own life and I don't want you to be part of it." Though said without malice, the words do pummel Jane, who is no longer happy! Sherry adds that she had given Jane up for "very complicated reasons. There was some trigonometry involved." She says, "Please, don't try to contact me again. Or at least do so through my agent." A shaken Jane quickly leaves: "Fine -- and I hate your tea!"

However, the next day, Jane is back at the house. She is determined to be Fallon Carrington! This time, though, a young unattractive guy answers the door. (This means it's his only appearance. Plain-looking people never reappear.) Jane is confused, then shocked when she finds out that Sherry is merely the secretary of the man who really owns the house! Sherry simply house-sits when the family is away. Jane gets her mom's real address off the guy. Geez, whatta gyp! They spend all this time setting up the Donna Mills appearance, and we end up with the old soap opera plot: She Is Really A Lowlife Who Is Afraid To Reveal Her True Self To Others.

Armed with the address, Jane goes to a run-of-the-mill apartment house. Hey, it can't be too bad -- no water stains or cockroaches! She knocks on one door, and Donna Mills is surprised to see Jane! D'OH! Jane pushes her way in. She recoils in horror at the sight of the reupholstered couch and the velvet Elvis. "Dear God, this is so ... suburban! AIEEEE! What next, Mother? Wood paneling?" A tearful Sherry tells her, "I didn't want you to see me like this. I'm really a lowlife who is afraid to reveal my true self to others." Jane touches her hand, and Sherry takes it. Jane says, "Is it OK?" "I don't know, I don't know ... the wood paneling is in the bedroom. I'm so sorry, Jane."

Craig, Billy, and Samantha:

After giving his father the brush-off (see later), a confident Craig chats with Billy at D&D. He again mentions his "girlfriend" Samantha and tells him about the loft that he's renting for her. "And, boy, talk about grateful! Get it? Huh? Huh? Wink wink nudge nudge!" Billy smirks.

Later, Billy visits Sam at the loft. "How did you find me?" she asks. "Well, daah, Craig wuz tellin' everybody in da office 'bout it and how grateful you were." Sam again resents Billy's implication. "Daah, I'm not implyin' nuthin'! Craig's the one doin' the talking." She asks him to leave, but she is disturbed by Billy's drool.

She goes to D&D and confronts Craig. She wants to know what he's been telling people about her. Craig just shrugs it off as "guy talk" and says he was simply fantasizing. "Fantasies, eh? Well, let me tell you something, Tattoo! You had better watch your mouth if you ever want to make them a reality." Billy, who somehow manages to blend in perfectly with the wall, overhears most of this conversation without being noticed. Of course, since this is the ONLY conversation going on at Los Angeles' sole advertising agency, it'd be hard not to hear it! Craig pleads his virtuousness: "Haven't I been the perfect gentleman so far?" The show's three worst actors -- together in the same scene! A clear violation of the Geneva Convention! My brain ... disintegrating ... losing ... consciousness... Andrew Shue again smirks for the camera. (Subtitle: Billy is happy to discover that Samantha is not Craig's sex toy. Perhaps he still has a chance to win her love with the aid of his huge pectoral muscles.)

The next day, Billy again visits Sam at the loft. (Oh, so Samantha is taking TWO days off from Jane's shop! Good-for-nothing slacker!) He's come to apologize for drooling on the hardwood floor. Sam says, "I have had it up to here with guys and their assumptions! That's it -- I'm turning lesbian! Set me up with Kimberly!" Billy compliments her on some sketches she made. "Daah, dat's nice." "Billy, you're looking at today's Garfield." "I knew that." When he points out a unfinished sketch of a man and his torso, Sam says the model never returned ... then she sheepishly asks Billy if he would help by modeling. Billy jumps right in! "Daah, ya want me to take my shirt off? OK, but I'm not takin' my pants off. I've had it up to here with women and their assumptions." Good Lord, witty repartee -- from Billy! "Hey, Sam, check out my pecs. Gaah!" Samantha is clearly stimulated!

Later, a flower-wielding Craig goes to the loft, and he wastes little time in trying to crawl all over Sam. She pushes him away and reminds him that there were supposed to be no conditions on her use of the loft. He ignores her and says, "It's a give and take situation." Guess who wants to do the taking! Not the soothing words Sam wanted to hear! She splits. Craig stays behind and raids the fridge.

Michael, Kimberly, and Megan:

Michael and Kimberly discuss the divorce terms with their respective lawyers. Kim says she doesn't want alimony, but (to make a good show of it) she wants her share of his assets. When Michael says he's near bankruptcy, Kimberly scoffs. "What do you mean, bankruptcy? You've got investments, a thriving medical practice, and you haven't been blackmailed once this season." He insists he's had a bad year! As they leave the building, Michael tells her, "I still love you, Kimberly. Let's try to work this out. Hey, that vein in your temple is really kicking into overdrive!" A brave Kim says she's tired of his philandering and, seeing Megan waiting in her car, adds, "Go on -- this is your life now." Megan and Michael exchange weak "I love you's" as they drive off.

Later, back at the beach house, Kim is on the phone with an insurance agent, trying unsuccessfully to get a new life insurance policy so she can leave everything to Michael. They then start discussing Accidental Death. "Hmmm, would death from high explosives count as an accident?" Michael drops by to get his things, but he surprises Kim by saying he'll be staying at Matt's place, not Megan's! (So Michael is going to stay at the home of the guy he'll probably scum out if he ever gets the Chief Surgeon job? He's awesome!) Kim tries to change his mind about this, saying "You'll blow it with Megan like you have with every other woman. Believe me, I know about things blowing up!" Michael, suspicious that Kim now wants him to move in with Megan, wonders if Kim is having an affair of her own and is trying to hide her own guilt! Ah ha!

After a brief encounter with The Bizarre One, Michael finally returns to Melrose Place. He enters Matt's pad -- and is surprised by Megan, who just stepped out of the Victoria's Secrets catalogue! She says she bumped into Matt at the hospital and she got the spare keys from him. (Poor Matt! Some of his best scenes are off camera! Does he even know who this strange woman is?) She tells Michael that it doesn't matter where they Do It, as long as they Do It. They Do It. Huzzah!

Kimberly, I hate to say it, but could you die already? You and Michael could have raised a kid in the amount of time since your terminal diagnosis!

Matt, Dan, Alison, and Jake:

At Shooter's (The Only Bar in Town), menial Matt tells new co-boss Alison that he wants to quit. He felt overworked before, and now Jake has increased his hours. He has no time for his hospital work, his relationship with Dan, or new episodes of "E.R." He's afraid that Jake will get mad and shove him off a construction site, so he asks Alison to intercede. As soon as Jake walks over, Matt moves away toward Dan, who's sitting at the bar. Alison tells Jake that Matt just quit. Jake gets mad! Alison tells him, "Oh, Jake, he's in love!" Jake replies, "Love has nothing to do with running a business! After all, love had nothing to do with me making you my partner in Shooter's. Hmmm, that doesn't sound right. I must be a hypocrite!"

At the bar, Matt tells Dan that he's letting Michael stay at his place for a while, which is fine with Dan, since he asks Matt to move in with him! Matt, who is a little uncomfortable with Dan's need for control, says, "I'm not ready to give up my rat trap, I mean, my apartment just yet." Before Dan can push the issue, Jake walks over and gives Matt a hard time about quitting on a moment's notice. "I swear, Matt, if we were near a construction site..." Dan then gets nasty! "Why should he give notice for a minimum-wage job?" Jake and Dan growl at each other for a few seconds, while Matt calls out, "Truce!" Dan throws his money on the bar and leaves with Matt.

Later, at the hospital, Dan interrupts Matt during his rounds and again asks him to move in. Matt is wary, but Dan makes his big pitch: "Nobody has ever made me feel the way you do. The house feels lonely when you're not around. When I look at you, you make me smile. When I read my dialogue, I want to laugh. I love you and I want you to be with me." Matt, terrified that Dan would go into his Whitney Houston impersonation, agrees.

Peter, Amanda, Cook Boy, Lip Lass, and more Sydney and Craig:

A lethargic but still well-dressed Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns reluctantly answers the phone. It's obviously bad news: Dr. Constriction just told him he wouldn't be the Chief Surgeon -- due obviously to his "freezing" in the operating room. (So the hospital calls Peter to say he didn't get the job, but they still haven't decided who WILL get it?) Amanda tries to give him some encouragement, but he snaps at her and says he's going golfing! On the way out, he sees Lip Lass, who tries to get super-friendly with him, but he says, "Right now, I'd like to be my own super-friend, if you don't mind. To the Hall of Justice!"

At Dumb & Dumber, Craig gets a surprise visit from his dad, Evil Ex-CEO Arthur Fields. Arthur is smugly confident that his lawsuit is rattling Craig, but Craig threatens to expose his "secret" unless the suit is dropped. Arthur, caught off guard, says, "That was our secret," and promises to take Craig down with him. Craig isn't worried: "I've been waiting for years to use this against you." "You wouldn't dare!" "Call my bluff." Wouldn't it be funny if they were talking about two different secrets?

Back at MP, Cook Boy and Lip Lass walk up the stairs to their apartment, and Taylor tells Kyle that she wants a couple of days off during the week. He protests, saying she's too good a hostess and the restaurant just got started, but she says, "I need the time to get my lips massaged." "Well, yeah, I guess that would take a couple of days." He now needs to hire a part-time hostess. All this is observed by Sydney through, of course, the venetian blinds. (Is Levolor a co-sponsor of this show?)

The Pool Boy who we spotted at the beginning of the episode has now disappeared. Beware!

The next morning, Amanda wakes Peter and asks where he was last night. He rolls over and tells her he won money playing golf and gin! He shows her checks totaling $1,500. (Yeah, if won $1,500 in one day, I'd probably take the checks to bed with me, too.) He proclaims, "My life is on track again!" Amanda thinks his priorities are a little Bizarre, but she agrees to his suggestion that they go out to dinner to celebrate. However, she's not too happy with his choice of restaurant: Kyle's -- where else?

Sneaky Sydney goes to the restaurant and offers her services to Kyle as the new part-time hostess! Cook Boy is understandably unsure considering their recent past, but Syd tells him not to worry: "You don't need the complications, and I don't want my heart broken." Yeah, yeah, right, Syd.

That night, during dinner at Kyle's, Amanda tries to steer Peter on a positive career path. "You have options -- how about a sitcom?" "A sitcom? On the Fox network? You must be insane!" He's thinking of becoming a golf pro! Lip Lass walks by to check on things, but Amanda tells her to get lost. When Kyle wanders over, he and Peter briefly talk golf, then Peter gets a call on his beeper. When he uses the payphone in the back of the restaurant (doesn't Amanda have a cellular?), he is ambushed by Taylor -- she beeped him, and she loved it! She says, "Don't you know what tomorrow is?" "Uh, the office Christmas party?" "Wrong! It's the anniversary of my sister's death." Peter says he wants to forget that, but she tells him of her annual ritual. "Flossing?" "No, I visit a church and light a candle for Beth." She wants him to join her this year. After a moment's hesitation, he agrees.

In the morning, Amanda goes to the tennis courts to see Arthur Fields, who is locked in combat with his mechanical arch-nemesis, the Borg-A-Tron. She's heard that he dropped the lawsuit and wants to know why. (She already knows that Craig has some dirt on him, but she tries not to let on.) Arthur dismisses it, saying that Craig is obviously more capable than he gave him credit for. Amanda is now on her own! She says, "So what am I supposed to do now?" "That's your problem." "No," she says ominously, "that's your problem."

Kyle pays a not-too-surprising visit to Peter at the golf course. After they assure each other that they're still buddies, Kyle talks his way into a game with The Bizarre One, although of course "I haven't played in a long time." They agree to play for a friendly amount of money. Hmmm, what's that odor? Smells like ... ambush!

Before you know it, the guys wrap up their game, and a scowling Peter now owes a smiling Kyle $1,500! Ouch! Kyle says, "You shouldn't have gone double or nothing on those last three holes. Heh heh heh!" Let's do quick math here: $1,500 ... double or nothing ... three holes ... that means at one point Peter owed Kyle $187.50! Huh?

That night, Taylor and a weary Peter light candles at a church. She says, "I often think about the past, years ago when I was in love with Bo on NBC." She admits that she faked the entry in Beth's journal saying she committed suicide! Peter is shocked! "What is this, blackmail?!" "No! I just wanted to be with you and Beth! I didn't want to lose you." She sure seems on the verge of losing something! Peter is still upset: "Why tell me now? Stop trying to bring me into the past! Oh, the melodrama!" "Please, just be there for me, Peter -- tonight of all nights!" Wow, she makes Brooke seem well-adjusted! She grabs him for a hug. A thoroughly confused Peter goes home.

In the morning, Taylor gives Kyle grief about hiring Sydney as their part-time hostess. He counters, "If you want to hang out with El Bizarro over there, I can have my own friends." When he tells her about his golfing conquest and the $1,500, she says, "He can't afford that! You've got to give it back." He hesitates, and she tells him, "Sydney can work at the restaurant if you give the money back." Grrrr! Kyle then meets a rent-hungry Amanda in the courtyard, and he hands her Peter's check, telling her she can rip it up. Amanda, who didn't know about this, is pissed! When a golf-bag-toting Peter descends the stairs seconds later, she confronts him. "Whaddaya gonna do?" he says. "Throw me out?" Instead, she throws his clubs in the pool! Let's see the Pool Boy scoop those up! She walks off as Peter tries to save his new livelihood. At that point, Michael returns to Melrose Place, looks at the chaos, and says, "Well, I see things haven't changed much around here." Great!

Next Week: Kimberly tells Megan that she's going to kill herself. "Light a candle for me!" Peter interrupts Amanda's dinner with Craig. Amanda says, "It's over, Peter! Over!"

--Ken Hart

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