Wow, a packed episode. My wrist seized up because of the furious note-taking! For once, it seemed that nearly every plotline got a decent chunk of the episode, as opposed to one plot hogging most of the hour. Lots of sappy Christmas imagery, so brace yourselves. All this, and Chad Lowe, too!
The Matt Slot goes to ... Kimberly once more, who wins a special "Wuthering Heights" citation for again posing dramatically near the waves!
Inside Jane's place, Sherry picks up a photo of Jane and her folks, dragging Sydney to the mental institution. When she asks about them, Jane says, "I just want to hear about you, Mom." The "M" word takes Sherry by surprise a bit, but she's OK with it. Jane asks about her real father and what happened. Sherry says, "Your father was a stuntman. We hadn't been seeing each other long before I got pregnant. We were going to get married, but he died in an accident on the set. He was filming an episode of 'Ironside' when Raymond Burr's wheelchair went out of control. Burr went flying right into your father ... oh, God, it was horrible! We didn't have the Jaws of Life back then."
Sherry then said that she didn't want to give Jane up, but she had her career to think about, and "Dad's" family in Chicago wasn't willing to help. So she left her with the nuns. However, Sherry even carries around a picture of her and Baby Jane. Awwww! Jane pleads with her to stay with her, just for the holidays. "All right," says Sherry, "just until Fox's Christmas Week is over."
Back at Sherry's dingy pad, Jane is helping her pack for her stay. Jane is in full holiday swing, but Sherry is a bit distant. A middle-aged man walks in, carrying flowers. Surprised to see Jane, the guy asks Sherry if she's still free for dinner. "Oh, Ed, I'm sorry. I forgot," and she introduces Jane as her ... niece! D'OH! She tells him she'll be away for a few days and he amiably leaves. She tells Jane that Ed's a neighbor, but Jane wants to know what the hell the "niece" bit was about! Sherry hems and haws, but admits it was probably vanity: "I don't feel like I'm old enough to have had you. Shouldn't you be 4 years old or something?" She insists she's not ashamed of Jane: "I'm not very good at dealing with the past."
Jane and Sherry decorate the tree at Jane's place. "Jane, why are the tree limbs so ... bright?" "I designed this tree, Mom. It's a Mancini original! Now help me with the Kate Moss ornamental angels." Jane asks about her real dad's family, but Sherry can hide the truth no longer! "It's a lie, Jane. Raymond Burr had nothing to do with your father's death. The truth is, your father was a B-movie producer I slept with to get a part in 'Werewolves on Wheels.'" Jane takes this news stoically, yet "Silent Night" starts playing on the soundtrack! I warned you! Sherry says she originally came to Hollywood as an 18-year-old beauty contest winner, but things went badly, and she sent lies about her success to her family in Chicago. After she got pregnant, she returned home to raise Jane, but everyone was so disappointed to find out the truth. She decided to give Jane to the sisters, which explains her fondness for black clothes. Sherry returned to Hollywood, but ended up a secretary, which she says she enjoys. (Yeah, right. If she really enjoyed it, she'd be an "executive assistant" by now!) As "Silent Night" enters the home stretch, Jane says she's not bothered by this. "You're my mother. I still love you, no matter what. And could someone turn off that damn music!"
She angrily walks out and Billy intercepts her. "Daaah, what's goin' on?" She tells him what happened and that Craig is keeping her painting "like some sort of trophy. It's a mess -- one big mess." Billy stares as she leaves. (Subtitle: Billy wants a Snickers bar.)
Later, Craig gives Billy orders to get all the D&D staffers on the new E-mail system. Gee, it's about time! "Daah, even da non-speaking people?" "Yes, damn it, everyone!" Billy asks Craig to surrender Sam's painting -- he even offers to buy it -- but Craig won't budge. "She wouldn't put out for a loft, she won't do it for a painting." Billy says, "You're such a pig, but I guess you knew that. Can I call you 'Babe'? Gaah!" Craig looks like he's ThisClose to firing Billy, but shrugs it off.
At Kyle's that afternoon, Lip Lass and her new hairdo see Sydney looking over some food catalog. "What are you doing here?" Syd happily volunteers that she's helping with the catering plans for the charity auction. "Cook Boy!" bellows Taylor. Kyle explains that Sydney had this great idea for publicity, and "You haven't been around here much lately (dig, dig), so..." Taylor thinks it's a waste of their money and says "I'll have nothing to do with it. Besides, I'm too busy being evil." When Kyle returns to the kitchen, Taylor asks Syd, "These paintings that you had my husband buy ... which one is your favorite?" Syd quickly points out the one of Marilyn Monroe's house with the dog in front. "Fine," says Taylor, grabbing the painting. "It's a charity auction, so here's my donation. Get this piece of crap out of here."
That night, an angry Samantha pounds on Sydney's door. She said she was in Kyle's and noticed that her Marilyn painting is gone. Syd sits back in front of her "Dukes of Hazzard" repeats and tells her that Kyle is donating it to the auction. "What? Kyle cannot just donate my painting!" "He can if he owns it." "You sold it to him?!" Sam, stunned, says she thought it was just a consignment. If it was sold, then where's the money? Ah! Syd says she put Kyle on a payment plan -- which doesn't start until next year! Oh, Sam is NOT having a good day! Samantha twitches her nose and turns Sydney into a newt -- oh, sorry, wrong Samantha. She stares at Syd: "You're evil!" Sydney is shocked! Sam vows to buy the painting at the auction, but Syd tells her it's $500 just to get in. Sam says again, "Evil!" and leaves. Syd chomps on a carrot stick and watches TV! I love this woman!
The next day, Billy sees a distraught Sam in the courtyard. Now one of her shirts is missing from the Mystery Laundry Room! "Daah, yeah, it smells nice ... uh, I mean, that's a shame!" She spills the latest problem to him, saying she just wants to be sure her work finds a good home. Billy says he can help her out. In fact, Craig will pay their way! "By usin' the new sophisticated E-mail system which nobody including me can possibly unnerstand, I can sneak in a memo in Craig's name an' get us tickets!" "Wow, Billy. I had no idea you could do that without possessing some basic knowledge of computing." "Neither did I! Gaah!"
Well, before you can say "Lotus Notes," Billy has successfully gotten tickets to the auction! As usual, other cast members wander around the social event, but they must wait their turn. As the auction gets underway, Sam's painting is of course one of the first events to go. Sydney, surprised to see Billy and Sam here, tells them she'll help out by driving up the price. (Uh oh.) Sure enough, the bidding jumps up between Syd and a man across the aisle. Sam looks nervous. Billy smirks. Just as Syd is about to let the guy win with a bid of $6,000, she sees Kyle and Taylor making up in the corner of the room (see later) and raises her hand. Oh no! The painting has been sold for $7,000 -- to Sydney! Sam gives her the Look of Death!
The next day, Syd tracks down the guy who bid $6,000, and she's carrying the painting with her. It's a mansion and the guy is apparently working for Carter Galivan, played by Chad Lowe. Syd meets him on the roof, where Carter is shooting pucks into a hockey net. Syd fortunately gives us some plot exposition, telling us that Carter is a VR whiz and is touted as "the next Bill Gates." (Thank you, Syd.) Carter says he really wanted that painting because "I'm a major Marilyn Monroe freak, as opposed to Rob Lowe, who's got this weird Snow White thing going on." When Syd offers to sell it for $6G's, he offers $7G's. When she pauses in surprise, he offers $7.5G's! Finally, he tells Syd he'll give her $8,000 -- if she can shoot a puck past him. Syd lines up. She shoots! She scores! Carter is surprised, but happy. He says, "I love this painting." Syd gets that scheming look in her eyes!
Sam goes to Billy's apartment at his invitation, where he's pouring a couple of glasses of champagne. "What are we celebrating?" she asks. Billy points out her courtyard painting, laying on his couch! Billy, who overnight has become the Second Coming of Tron, hacked his way into the E-mail of Craig's "Design Committee" and convinced them that they wouldn't like her painting in Craig's office. "Daah, you have interesting problems!" They sit down and get flirty. Billy says, "We're a good fit." They kiss, then Billy gets cute and moves his head, nearly striking her unconscious with his jaw. "See, a good fit like this. Gaaah!"
Later, they get to their ski cabin, but Alison is still cranky. All of their luggage ended up in Tuscon! Alison the Grinch says, "Everybody's so cheery. It all seems so forced. Help me destroy Whoville, Jake!" Jake points out his own diseased family history, which even Alison can't top! Jake says that's all in the past, though, and "we need to start making our own traditions." He suggests they come here, lose their luggage, and review their tortured lives every Christmas! What a guy! "I love you, Jake!"
Anyhow, Matt grabs some clothes from his closet, and Michael notes how Matt has been upgrading his wardrobe. Matt sheepishly says, "They're gifts, actually -- from Dan. All except for the feather boa -- that's from Dennis Rodman." "Hmmm, well, I don't know how it is with your kind, but if I buy expensive clothes for the person I'm with, it's because I want to see her naked." Matt protests, but Michael says, "Hey, Matt, if you wanna be somebody's sex slave, that's your business." Matt ponders this.
Megan meets the dramatically posing Kimberly near the beach. Kim says, "Because of this throbbing thing in my head, I can't get regular life insurance. However, I did get Accidental Death Insurance for People Near Non-Accidental Death." When Megan doesn't catch on, Kim says, "I'm going to kill myself" and make it look like an accident. Megan is shocked: "I can't sit back and let you do this. It's blood money. It's all red and icky." Kim reminds her that she already has just everything of Kim's, so she might as well take the money, too. "Why tell me?" asks Megan. "Because someday you may decide to tell Michael, and I want him to know how much I loved him." Oh, yeah -- that'll certainly help Megan's future with Michael! Megan doesn't want to hear anymore. "Just keep me out of this."
At the charity auction (see, I told you there were other cast members walking around), a tuxedoed Matt and Dan are looking around, when Matt spies the original Maltese Falcon from the classic film. Seeing how Matt's eyes light up, Dan says, "We'll get it. It's yours." For Matt, this is the turning point! He says no, but Dan pushes the issue. Matt pushes back! He says, "I have my own opinions! My own dialogue! I'm tired of the Matt Slot! You hear me? Tired!" An increasingly angry Dan tries to talk Matt down, but Matt says, "This conversation is over!" Dan grabs Matt! Matt stares at Dan! The guests eat shrimp!
That night, Peter is telling Amanda how the session went. "I was resistant at first, but we started talking, then Dr. Mubatu shoved this needle into a doll and I felt much better. Anyhow, I think you should come to the next session. Tomorrow night?" So far, Peter has been oblivious to the fact that Amanda is packing! She tells him she's going to Santa Barbara to meet a new client. At that moment, "Babe" Craig shows up to pick up Amanda. The Bizarre One is not pleased! When Craig waves the "I'm the boss" line to get Amanda to leave now, Peter says, "I am talking to my wife!" "Well, your wife has a job -- unlike you, I hear." Oooooo! Amanda asks Craig to wait outside, then Peter says, "You're sending me to a shrink while you're telling our most intimate secrets to that little weasel!" Amanda says, "He's not a weasel -- he's a pig! Billy said so! Besides, you can't be jealous," and she assures him that nothing is going on. But Peter says, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" "Weenie." "I am NOT a weenie!"
The next night, Peter is actually in the office, calling up overloaded doctors and encouraging them to refer patients to him and Michael. He hears a noise, and sees Taylor walk in. (Doesn't any place in L.A. have security?) She's miffed: "I told you that big plot detail last week and you haven't spoken to me since!" We see that Peter has caught on. He's still incensed over her activities, past and present. She exclaims, "We're family!" "No, we're not! I was married to your sister! The only reason we're having this conversation is because of a schoolgirl crush you had on me!" Now it all starts to hit the fan! "Crush?" she says. "I love you -- I have from the moment I first saw you." Peter expected this and says, "Because of you, my wife doesn't trust me and I suck at golf. Taylor, I don't want you as a friend, I don't want you as a neighbor, I don't want you as a co-star! I just want you to leave me alone!" She protests, "I put my marriage on the line for you!" "I didn't ask you to! You've got a husband. Now go home to him -- at least he wants you." Oh, my! Big points to The Bizarre One for putting the zing on Lip Lass. She pouts (knocking small planets out of orbit in the process) and leaves.
At the charity auction, things are not going well for Kyle. The waiters are out of control, and Sydney doesn't know what to do. Taylor shows up, tells the waiters to stop smoking joints in the corner and says, "You two, go over and polish the tortellini! You two, open up some Ernest and Julio Gallo -- only the best for our guests! And you, get me more lip liner!" Kyle comes over and thanks her. She says, "I forgot that this is where I belong. Get my whip."
Meanwhile, in Santa Barbara, Craig and Amanda are having a cozy dinner in the hotel restaurant, discussing the new client, a jeweler. Amanda is playing the poor fool like a violin, hoping to find out his father's dark secret before crushing them both! When she pulls out a necklace from their client, she seductively asks Craig to put in around her neck. She thinks, "Soon, slave, soon..." He needs no encouragement! Unfortunately, this is the exact moment that Peter shows up looking for her! Apparently planning to tell her everything about Lip Lass, he instead sees Amanda purring as Craig puts the necklace on. He angrily walks over and starts yelling in the crowded room: "You sent me to a shrink, and you're here playing footsie with this little twit! Can't you ever have an affair with a GOOD actor?!" Amanda tries to calm him down: "We'll deal with this at home. You're making a scene." "This isn't a scene yet" -- he knocks over some poor slob's tray and throws money at him -- "now it's a scene!" He leaves.
The next night, a slightly drunk Peter returns home -- but Amanda has changed the locks! He pounds on the door, and a distraught but angry Amanda tells him, "It's over, Peter. Over!!" SLAM! He staggers outside Melrose Place just as Lip Lass appears. He yells at her, "She kicked me out! For good this time! This is all your fault!" He shoves her up against the wall! "Digging up my past, my feelings ... why? WHY?" He's practically sobbing, then he kisses her! He breaks off, shocked, but she stands there, passionately licking her chops! He drives off as Amanda quietly cries.
In Three Weeks (yes, three weeks): Donna Mills is a drunken floozie in a pool hall! Jake and Alison -- married? Billy and Samantha mix paints!