Wow, this episode was the anti-"Titanic": It was the longest two hours I can remember! Sheesh! I'm amazed I'm saying this, but I long for the days of Billy and Alison: At least there was some stability back then. Now we're stuck with interchangeable characters. And when you make Jamie Luner boring … well, that gets me mad! (I really would like to like this show again, but this season is wearing me out.)
The Matt Slot goes to … Lip Lass, believe it or not! Taylor did little more than sneer during the rehearsal dinner and insult Amanda's dress.
Michael says he's having a tough time making a new business for himself. Peter suggests, "I'm sure you could have a thriving practice in black market babies." Wow, continuity dating back to the pre-explosion Kimberly era! I'm impressed! Peter agrees to give Michael more shifts at the hospital just to get him out of sight. Michael finally leaves, but not before another attempt to charm Megan, who is moving into his vacated office.
He ends up working in the E.R., trying unsuccessfully to seduce Nurse Hathaway. "C'mon, honey, what's that Clooney guy have that I don't?" "Uh, a movie career?" "Try again, sister! Did you see Batman & Robin? Did you see The Peacemaker?" He patches a rather thuggy-looking guy, who says a man like Michael would be a big help in his neighborhood, the Seventh Level of Hell. He'd get a lot of patients who would pay cash! Dollar signs appear in Michael's eyes, which is always a bad sign.
The next night, the Mancini clan prepare dinner at the beach house as they wait for Jennifer's imaginary fiancee "Craig" (Billy again) to show up. Michael tells Mama that he has the $500 he owes her, but would she accept an alternative? "Like what, a new Rhoda and Mary TV show?" "Get real, Ma! Invest in the Mancini Medical Center!" Mama is highly skeptical, but agrees to listen briefly. Michael's sales pitch is saved by the timely arrival of "Craig," who vouches for Michael's financial instincts. "Daah, yeah, yer money is safe with him. He's got da strongest smelling instincts of anybody I've evah met. Phew!" Jennifer takes her bro aside and lectures him on trying to scam their mother. Michael replies, "You wanna talk about scam? Let's talk about 'Craig' here!" Ding! Point for Michael!
In typical Melrosian fashion, Michael has already secured a place for his clinic in Hell Town. He shows it off to Mama and Jennifer. "Sure, once I take down the barbed wire and spackel over the bazooka holes, the place'll be great. I can do something for humanity." Jennifer says, "Michael, what have you been smoking?" The thuggy guy, Spider, reappears and tells Michael they should visibly shake hands in public to show the neighborhood folks that Michael has the Demonic Seal of Approval.
Back at Wilshire Memorial, Michael tries to recruit nurses to join his new venture, but no luck. They say, "The way this show is going, we'll hold out and see if we can bolt to E.R. Oooo, that George Clooney…" "All right, knock it off!" The long-standing desk nurse tells him that she's interested, but Michael pays her little mind -- until she says she could invest $10,000 into the business! She adds she's always been impressed by his skills as an "operator," even if he is utter scum.
Later, Michael sneaks into the Chief of Staff office (Peter foolishly did not change the locks!) and signs a ton of requisition forms for new equipment, faking Peter's signature! He then tells Desk Nurse Badger to process these forms quickly to replace the equipment that Peter is "donating" to "charity," i.e., Michael's new center. This is the cool Michael we haven't seen much of lately!
Further compressing time, the Mancini Medical Center is open for business a couple of days later. (Amazing, ain't it?) However, Michael and Nurse Badger have no patients! "Where are the sick and the dying when you need them?" Spider returns to tell him that he'll regularly make a small contribution to the center if Michael agrees to see his "more legally challenged friends." Michael, apparently not getting what is obvious to all us home viewers, agrees. (He's talking about criminals, you doofus!) Mama and Jennifer show up to check out Opening Day, accompanied by Megan, to Michael's delight. Mama has apparently convinced several more Mancini relatives to chip in with moolah, yet she sees none of the money in the equipment he's using! (Uh, maybe it's because that, in the real world, he wouldn't have had time to order it and have it delivered?) She's worried that he's living off his family's money! "No, no!" he answers, shocked at the very thought! "Well, you'd better not be wasting it. We could put the cash to better use, like blowing it on slot machines in Atlantic City."
The following evening, Spider brings an obvious gunshot victim into the center: "Ow! I've been shot!" Michael wants to summon the paramedics and police (as required by law), but Spider pulls a gun on him and tells him to fix his buddy! Michael treats the guy, but he tells Spider, "That's it! No more deals!" An angry Spider says Michael will appreciate just how good a "friend" he can be.
Later that night, Megan drives to Hell Town to talk to Michael. [Like everyone else in this show, she's romantically conflicted. See later.] They agree to get something to eat, but a couple of knife-wielding goons pop up and threaten them. Conveniently on cue, Spider drives up and "chases" the would-be muggers away. Michael sees the truth behind the B.S. and he won't be intimidated. Come on, writers, let Michael get away with a scam just once this season, for Old Times' Sake?
Sam eventually returns to Amanda Woodward Advertising, where she and Billy kiss and mutually apologize. (Ah, so that's why Sam kissed Jeff! It's a learned Pavlovian response!) Billy comes up with the completely bogus line that he was simply upset about Craig's death (!) and wanted to talk to her about it. (Sure, Billy, it's all her fault, right? Hey, wait a minute -- it is her fault this time!) Billy's brief good mood vanishes when he sees that Jeff has trashed all of his ideas for the account and only wants to keep Sam's!
Amanda unconvincingly uses a crutch to get to her office, while Billy and Samantha continue to snipe about the Baylor thing. "Stop bickering, slaves! While I'm still limping for another week, I'm instituting a new disciplinary policy: caning! You two will be on the receiving end if you don't stop fighting." Billy and Sam: "Yes, Mistress 'Manda." "Good. Billy, wax my crutch. Samantha, since you saved my life and I've crushed all my other female friends, I want you to be maid of honor at my wedding." "Doy, Amanda, I'm honored!" "Excellent. How do you look in a leather bustier?"
Later, Billy and Sam sit in Kyle's Restaurant, amiably trying to compromise on how to proceed with the Jeff Baylor proposal. Jennifer pleads with Billy to pose as Craig again for the dinner at the beach house [see earlier]. "Daah, uh uh. No way!" Sam, who presumably was filled in on the previous events, comically tells Billy to do it. He's unsure, but Jen gets on her knees and begs! "Puh-leeeeze!" "Well, gaah, OK. But I'm only doin' this because ya said please and ya look really hot in yer low-cut dress on yer knees like that. This is da last time!"
While "Craig" is entertained by the Mancini clan, Sam works late at the office: "Okay, 4 Down: Winged animal that goes 'Quack.' Albatross! Oh, doy, that's too many letters." She is interrupted by the surprise appearance of Jeff. (Ah ha! Another building with no security guards!) She hasn't been returning his phone calls, and Jeff -- sensing that Sam is very uncomfortable -- suggests that it might be best if she dealt with his manager instead of him. They share one of those Long Looks before he leaves.
The next evening, Billy returns home to see a slinky Sam preparing a candlelight dinner of hamburger. "Wow, Sam, ya look great! And ya even used my Mayor McCheese tablecloth!" She tells him that Amanda loved the revised ideas and they should get back to being moronic and smoochy. Mama Mia Mancini and Jennifer enter the courtyard and see the couple kissing in the window! Mama pushes the door open (what is this, Seinfeld?) and punches "Craig" in the stomach! Jennifer hastily explains the truth to her mother. She fears the worst, but Mama says, "You did all this to spare me the pain of knowing you lost your true love? You're such a good daughter!" Ha ha, great. Can we lose Valerie Harper now that that's over?
In the morning, Sam goes upstairs to chat with Jennifer over coffee. Apparently, Amanda called last night and wants Sam to go with her on a photo shoot for the Baylor thing. (Jeff insisted.) This put the kibosh on the planned romantic evening with Billy. Samantha confesses, "Doy! I'm confused! Even more so than usual!" She says, "I love Billy, but I get all squirmy inside when I think of Jeff. Gosh!" At this point, Jennifer gives Bad Advice #1: "Jump into it and do some harmless flirting!"
At the photo shoot, Amanda is very pleased with the way things are going. However, she has to leave, so she tells Sam to make sure Jeff is "satisfied." Holy Mayflower Madam, Batman! When it's wrapped up, Sam tries to beat a quick getaway, but the oh-so-stimulated Jeff manages to talk her into hanging out with him. "Come on, an hour at most! That's more time then I'll need." "Doy, what?" "Uh, we'll have some wine while we feed." "Oh, okay."
They eat at a local pizzeria in Jeff's neighborhood. Townspeople walk up to schmooze with him: "Jeff, thanks for helping out with the orphanage." "Hey, no problem." "Jeff, thanks for paying for my aunt's hip-replacement surgery." "My pleasure, Bobby." "Jeff, thanks for hitting five home runs in that game the other night." "Geez, Phil, don't overdo it! You'll mess up my ime-tay with the abe-bay." Turning back to Sam, he says, "I've never been out with a married woman before … well, not counting Mom, that is." He says he can't stop thinking about Sam. "I see us on a tropical island, naked, panting…" She admits she'd had similar thoughts, "although I see us in a diner, slurping on a chocolate egg cream and reading Tiger Beat." Jeff says he accepts that nothing will come of his fantasy.
A couple of days later, after the unusual "wedding" [see later], Jennifer and Sam do laundry in the Kimberly Shaw Memorial Basement and Explosives Room. Sam says things are still rocky with her and Billy: "We haven't made love in weeks." This officially falls under the label of More Information Than I Need To Know. Jennifer then gives Bad Advice #2: "I take advantage of opportunities when I see them," but perhaps Sam is better off in her "boring" and "safe" marriage to Billy. (Sam, are you going to listen to this trollop? Two seconds after Kyle dumped her, she was sitting in Craig's lap, and now that Craig's hair gel has shuffled off this mortal coil, she wants to shake tonsils with Billy!)
Sure enough, a sulking Billy sits in Upstairs that night. He's alone once more, as Sam is working late again. He tells waitress Jennifer that he's suspicious of what's going on with Baylor. Jen says, "You can trust Samantha. Give her some space. But if you ever need a friend or … someone to talk to, I'll be there. Nudge nudge." "Daah, okay, ah'm a good talker! If ya know of anyone I can have sex with, let me know!"
(Time Out: Now I'm truly baffled! Originally, Taylor had no idea who Christine was until Amanda mentioned Kyle's dreams. She didn't know the facts until she saw the photo in Kyle's locker and talked to Nick out in the phony-looking Dallas. When she got back to L.A., she told Kyle that not only did she know about Christine, but she even had a letter from her to him that he had never read, but which Lippie apparently had kept all this time. With me so far? Now, not only does Christine say that she did indeed send such a letter, which is weird enough, but she even knows that Taylor has it! What in the name of H.R. Pufnstuf is going on?)
Over at the slightly more sane Bizarre Pad, Peter and Lexi are surprised by the late-night visit of Daddy Sterling. While Lexi goes off to get the legal documents he's looking for, Peter tries again to be nice, but Sterling won't tolerate it. After a couple of undeserved slams, Peter finally says, "Look, old man. It's time to back off." "Trying to scare me off, eh? Well, I don't care how many times you've been arrested for murder." "You're forgetting my crimes of fraud, extortion, and … uh, I mean, Oh yeah? I can dig, too!" "Bah, you disgust me. Coop didn't have to act macho. He was a manly man!" Sterling leaves in a huff. Lexi returns and is displeased at Peter for chasing Daddy away. Peter says Sterling has it in for him, but Lexi cuts him no slack. "You fix it, sugah!"
The next day at the office, Peter asks Coop for anti-Dad advice, but Coop says that at the meeting of the new company, Sterling told him and Lexi that Peter was the abusive one in the argument last night. Peter says, "Did you know he thinks you're a manly man?" "Saayyyy! That's sweet of him. Anyhow, unless you get some proof, it's his word against yours. Is that a big enough plot thread for you?"
Back in New Mexico, Christine shows up at the hotel room where Amanda and Kyle are staying. Amanda answers and introduces herself as Kyle's fiancee. Christine seems OK with that and is sorry that Amanda's in an awkward situation. She regrets what she said to Kyle and would like a better sense of closure to the whole thing. Amanda agrees to arrange a meeting. (You ninny! Don't do it! At least have them meet in a convent!)
Thanks to Amanda's uncharacteristic act of self-sacrifice, Kyle and Christine meet at a local diner. She says, "I've had more operations on my face than Michael Jackson. Once I knew I'd be on Melrose Place, I even told my plastic surgeon to give me a Kimberly-like scar above my right ear." "Ewww!" Kyle gives her the Cliff Notes version of his life. It seems Christine also knew of Kyle's wish to own a jazz club. Kyle gets verklempt as they talk about the old days and her difficult recovery. Talk amongst ya'selves…discuss…
He returns to the hotel that night and tells Amanda, "I'm glad you made me do this. Now I have to figure out how to overlay Christine's new face on my war dreams…" Amanda is excited about the upcoming wedding, but Kyle is already in a Gulf War fugue state. "Snap out of it, slave! I'm talking about my future happiness. Attend me!" Typically, Kyle avoids discussion and leaps right into sex with Amanda!
When they return to Los Angeles, Taylor immediately asks Amanda what happened, hoping that Kyle got all melancholy over his "true love." Amanda says, "I am so not threatened by Christine that I invited her to the wedding. In fact, I am so, SO not threatened that I've ordered Kyle to wear nothing but a G-string and a top hat." Lippie is shocked, but when Amanda adds that Christine turned the invitation down, she says, "Ah, you knew she would turn it down! But this way, you look like a saint to Kyle!" Hey, Taylor may be right for once.
At a downtown hotel, Peter switches on a microcassette recorder and knocks on Daddy Sterling's door. Sterling is immediately nasty, but Peter says, "I have decided that I love the luscious Lexi and I'm not going to leave her." Sterling angrily, "I'll get the FBI and the IRS after you! I'll get pictures of you with a White House intern!" As he gets extremely red-faced, he yells, "I'll squash you like a - Hurrrkkk! Acckkk! Thpththpth!" Daddy spins and drops to the floor! A shocked Peter calls 911 and thinks, "My biorhythms must be at an all-time low."
Lexi arrives at the hospital a short time later, where Coop and Peter tell her that Daddy has croaked from a heart attack! "Wahh! My daddy is dead! Ah loved him sooooooooo much!" As the guys try to console her, a nurse hands Peter's jacket (with the recorder) to Megan for safekeeping.
The following morning, Peter sits with a still-stunned Lexi on the patio. She has a ton of arrangements to make, and she must go back to Cleveland for the funeral. Peter offers to go, but she says that Coop has already volunteered! She asks Peter for the truth about what happened in the hotel room. Peter gives a somewhat altered version! "We had resolved our differences. I even planned to take him golfing. I think he died happy." "But Peter, what about that horrible grimace on his face?" "Uh, muscle contraction."
At the office, Megan is transcribing Coop's records from (of course) a microcassette player, while leaving Peter's jacket draped across the desk. (Whatsamatta, lady? Ya never heard of a coat hanger?) Coop tells her about his trip to Cleveland with Lexi. She's not happy. She accidentally knocks the cassette out of Peter's jacket (oopsies!) and plays it for a few seconds. As soon as she hears part of the argument, she keeps the tape herself and puts a different tape in Peter's pocket. The Bizarre One then appears. He sees his jacket and, when assured by Megan that she didn't play anything, returns to his office and destroys the tape that he thinks is his. (Yo, Peter, why didn't you destroy the tape as soon as you called 911?)
That night, guess who turns up at Upstairs? Christine! Apparently, she's changed her mind and tells Kyle that she has come to the wedding to lend her support. (Does anyone else smell "scam"?) Lippie introduces herself and Christine says, "Ah, the jealous wife from Boston!" Amanda puts on a happy face, but it's obvious that she's not thrilled by Christine's presence. Lippie tells the band to play "You Take My Breath Away," and Christine pleads for Amanda's permission to dance with Kyle to their favorite song. He's unsure, but Amanda says, "By all means." You ninny! If something pisses you off, say so! Amanda should team up with Spider and fix Christine with cement garters. (By the way, how does Taylor know what the couple's favorite song was? Something's fishy!)
The next day, Kyle tells Amanda that Christine is making dinner at his place, and he'd feel much more comfortable if Amanda were there. Amanda, however, has to go to the photo shoot first [see earlier]. She's a bit annoyed that Christine is staying at Kyle's place temporarily. Kyle correctly asks, "Why did you invite her in the first place?" Amanda won't admit that she's bothered by Christine's presence. You EEE-diot!
On the spot of land that doubles as Cleveland, a weepy Lexi thanks Coop for being there and helping out. He suggests a bite to eat. They end up at an old watering hole of theirs from their married days, and he finally apologizes for the affair he had with Kimberly. "Granted, Kimberly was never conscious long enough to know how I truly felt, but…" For her part, Lexi hopes that Coop can fill her father's role as her best friend. He'd be glad to. (I'll bet!) However, Coop wonders what exactly happened to her father. "Was Peter arguing with him? Did he challenge him to a game of Quake?" "No, Peter wouldn't lie to me about something like this, would he?" "Of course not. Peter's a paragon of virtue. Ahem! Hack!"
Megan and Jennifer chat over the bar at Upstairs. Megan describes one of those "hypothetical" situations that fool no one. She says, "There's a character in a movie who knows a terrible secret." "You mean like, whatever happened to Lou Diamond Phillips?" "Worse. It could destroy a man's life. Do I … uh, I mean, does the character tell the man's girlfriend the truth? Even if she herself doesn't know the whole story?" Jennifer then dispenses Bad Advice #3: "I think you should tell the truth and avoid getting an ulcer." Could someone take Jennifer outside and give her a spanking, please?
Christine prepares a candlelight dinner for Kyle and wears a fetching little black dress. (Apparently, she had enough money to buy new clothes and the dinner ornamentation, but she didn't have enough to stay in a motel for a couple of nights. Hello, Kyle? Wakey, wakey!) She gets very nostalgic and a little mushy. Kyle reminds her that the past is, well, past and suggests they sit by the Pool. Christine meets him down there a few minutes later, wearing a skimpy bikini! Wow, those plastic surgeons worked wonders! They can give her a perfectly smooth body, but they can't fix a little bit of scarring above her ear. Kyle says, "You're still beautiful. You'll find someone eventually." To his credit, Kyle does not appear to be aroused by her skinny charms. Amanda returns from the Baylor photo shoot and is obviously annoyed by the sight of the bikini-clad Christine in Kyle's personal space. Kyle abandons Christine to be with Amanda. The Pool laps hungrily at Christine's ankles. "Feed me!"
Peter goes to the office and is quickly pulled aside by Megan, who tells him that she has the tape. She says, "You should let Lexi hear it and decide for herself." Peter thinks this is a Bad Move. He also doesn't think Megan sees the big picture. "If Lexi leaves me, she'll probably go back to Coop, which will leave you without some hot, if unsmiling, love!" Megan, undeterred, says she wants to do what's right. Peter yells at her -- just as Lexi and Coop return from Cleveland. They didn't hear what the argument was about, but they know something's up.
That night, Kyle's Restaurant hosts a big rehearsal dinner for the wedding (people need to practice how to eat?). Lip Lass is being anything but the congenial host, though, and she spends most of her time taunting Christine. Coop whispers to Lexi, "So what do think is going on? Megan wouldn't tell me a thing." "Ah don't know, but if it involves my father, I'll find out." Peter casually wanders over to Megan, but she still won't turn over the tape. She says Lexi should find out the truth about her father from him, but she's not sure how much longer she can stay quiet. (Ken's Counter-Advice to Megan: "Keep yer mouth shut!")
After more poking by Lippie, Christine stands up to make a toast to the bride and groom to be. "Well, Kyle and I did love each other very deeply until I got blown up and he went out to have a life while I spent months recuperating from horrible injuries. But now, as a friend, I am so happy for him … Waaaaaahh!!" It's an extremely uncomfortable scene all around, and Christine tearfully runs from the restaurant. A satisfied Taylor displays her huge lips in their vastly disturbing splendor. Oh, just die already!
In the morning, Christine apologizes to Amanda for making a scene. Amanda stays tight-lipped but polite in accepted the apology, but Christine just won't shut up! She even says, "I accept your marriage." Amanda restrains herself, "Oh. That's good. Gee. Thanks."
At the Burns-Cooper-[Space for Rent] office, Lexi directly asks Megan what's going on. When Megan hesitates, Lexi says, "Megan, you've always been honest, or at least what passes for honest on this show. Please tell me." Megan sighs and plays the tape! Peter arrives a minute later and, shocked, tries to stop the tape, but too late! Lexi snarls, "I can't stand the sight of you!" Megan says, "I warned you, Peter." Like he's to blame? Who was harmed by Peter's little white lie? Nobody! I think it's time for Peter to accidentally remove Megan's spleen!
It's the wedding night! Amanda gets dressed with Sam's help. She's ditching the white lace concept in favor of a more traditional, Linda Gray look. Taylor shows up, taunts them about the fact that Kyle isn't here yet, and says, "Oh, by the way, your dress is hideous." A serious insult! Back at MP, Kyle summons Christine, but she's not in the apartment. All he finds is a note saying, "Kyle, I cannot find happiness. Woe is me. My life is forfeit, and I have no reason to take another breath. Time for me to catch my train." Thinking fast, Kyle realizes that she's planning to kill herself! He quickly calls Amanda, tells her what's going on, and asks her to stall the wedding guests. "But what about the ice sculpture of Aaron Spelling?" "Let the damn thing melt! I have to try to stop Christine first!"
Somehow, Kyle quickly finds the exact stretch of roadway where Christine's car sits on the railroad tracks. And of course, there's a train coming! Mr. Magoo must be in charge, because it's barely slowing down. Kyle pulls Christine out of the car just before the train crashes through the obvious blue screen! She sobs, "Oh, Kyle, I love you. Waaaaah!"
Things are not too pleasant the morning after. Kyle apologizes to Amanda, who tells him how humiliating it was to "postpone" the wedding. "Mr. Spelling was very upset. There goes my raise, you bastard!" Apparently, once Christine leaves the hospital, she'll return to Kyle's pad. He wants to reschedule the wedding as soon as possible, but Amanda says they can't get married until Christine is totally out of their lives.
Megan calls Coop at his place and asks if he'd like to get together later. "Nah," he says, "Lexi's still a wreck. I need to be here in case she goes unconscious." Oh no! "Maybe later," he offers. Peter then shows up and asks about Lexi's whereabouts. "She bunked here last night," Coop says. The Bizarre One is displeased! Coop adds that nothing went on. "She just needed a sympathetic ear to nibble on." Peter approaches her and says he loves her, but Lexi can't forgive him. "Ah loved my daddy so much." Yeah, whatever. "If you just trusted me and how I felt about you, then you would have known I would never have left you, at least not for another season!" She bluntly tells him to go.
As Christine recuperates in the hospital, a mysterious figure walks in: It's Nick, the Human Spittoon! He blocks the door and climbs into the bed with the happy Christine! As he rubs his stubbly chin against her neck, she purrs, "Oh God, Nick! I've missed this! And I've even gotten my booster shots!" What the hey is going on? Is this some elaborate plot by Nick, Lippie, and Christine to ruin Kyle's romance with Amanda?
Next Week: It's "Everybody's a Tramp" week! Fidelity goes out the window with everyone!