Episode 2: Where the Hookers Grow

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Have we all recovered from the last episode's epidemic of amnesia? Frankly, I couldn't believe that Megan wanted Michael back after all his insults. Of course, in an episode where we learn that Matt was the "father confessor" to everyone in the complex (even Kyle?!), nothing is too strange!

The Memorial Matt Slot goes to ... Peter, who was laid up in bed after being shot by Quick-Draw Woodward. You know, I've never been shot (knock on Formica), but it's refreshing to know that gunshot victims recover after a good night's sleep.

Kyle, Amanda, Peter, Ryan, and Lexi:

The police and the paramedics (who might as well open a station at Melrose Place) quickly escort The Bleeding and Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns out of Amanda's apartment and into an ambulance. A frantic Amanda, who hasn't even noticed Kyle's brother Ryan yet, moans, "Oh no...what have I done?" Kyle says, "It'll be OK, Amanda..." "I'm not talking about Peter, foolish slave! I'll never get those blood stains out of the carpet!" She wants to hop into the ambulance, but the detectives say, "Uh no, we have to ask you some questions first. For instance, as a former policewoman on T.J. Hooker, did you remember to yell 'Freeze!' to Dr. Burns before you blew him away?"

Amanda politely agrees to go with the detectives. Ryan, mystified by his first exposure to Melrose Place, asks his big brother, "Is it too late to get a role on L.A. Doctors?" "Forget it. That show won't last through the November sweeps." They both wonder what Peter was doing there in the first place. Kyle walks back to the bedroom and finds Matt's Amazingly Thin But Still All-Inclusive Journal on the floor, next to where Peter was shot.

At the hospital, Peter's prone form is wheeled into the E.R. and Michael takes charge of the scene. (Doesn't this hospital have any other doctors?) He asks an assistant for Peter's status. "Uh, gunshot wound, ruptured an artery, he's lost a lot of blood. It looks like the bullet first struck his head, but was fortunately deflected downward by the thickness of his gel." Michael says, "Wow, it's a good thing he let his hair grow out again last year, or he'd be a dead man!" During the commotion, Peter's psychiatrist, Dr. Puddles, somehow parts the crowd and gets close to Peter, who briefly regains consciousness. The Bizarre One, fearing he's near death, confesses that he arranged Amanda's "kidnapping"! Only Dr. Puddles heard this, and he doesn't tell Michael.

Peter wakes up the next day and sees Amanda standing vigil next to his hospital bed. She immediately apologizes, and Peter says, "You did this?" Amanda asks why he was in her apartment. The Bizarre One doesn't let a little blood loss affect his quick thinking! He immediately tells her a bogus story: He came to her apartment to apologize for his recent behavior, he saw that the door was open, he heard a noise, and he feared the kidnappers had returned. Not only does Amanda buy this load of bull, she buys the shovel he threw it on, too!

As Amanda leaves the room, she sees Kyle and Ryan, who is finally introduced. She tells Kyle that Peter will recover, but she wants to stay at the hospital for a while. Kyle is unhappy (Rob Estes always does that look where he stares two inches above Amanda's head if Kyle's pissed off at her), but he consents.

Over at his Upstairs office later that day, Kyle shows Ryan the accounting books. (How primitive -- even Jake used a computer!) Ryan is something of a financial wiz, and he agrees to offer some advice. He's just getting over a bad business partnership in Boston, and he's thinking of relocating to L.A. Kyle says, "Hey, my old apartment is available, and a bunch of people got canned. There's room!" As Ryan mulls this over, Kyle checks his answering machine. There's a message from Amanda: "It's 5 o'clock, but I'll be staying at the hospital for a while longer. Peter is still under observation. Can you believe that? It's been nearly 24 hours since I shot him, and he still needs a doctor's care! What is modern medicine coming to? Anyhow, I'll see you tonight. Smoochies." Ryan looks at Kyle's pained expression and says, "You don't much like this Burns guy, do you?" "No. No, I don't."

Later, Lexi enters the hospital with a bouquet of flowers and an ever-stronger Southern accent. Upon seeing Amanda in the hallway, she makes cracks about "Ma Woodward." Amanda, proving that she's spending this hour in The Twilight Zone, says, "It's clear you love Peter. Why don't you just admit it to yourself?" Lexi dismisses her and heads toward Peter's room, where -- as usual -- two characters are engaged in a secret conversation, yet they forget to shut the door! Peter says to his psychiatrist, "If Amanda ever finds out what I confessed to you..." Dr. Puddles assures Peter that mum's the word: "No one will hear a word of it from me, no matter how much I'm seduced by a gorgeous redhead." Lexi overhears this, then she makes a big show of entering. Peter introduces her to Dr. Puddles, who leaves. Lexi taunts Peter about his near-death experience, but he's not amused. Lexi keeps the flowers and casts her scheming gaze toward Dr. Puddles...

Still later at the hospital, Ryan double-checks with Amanda that it's OK for him to take Kyle's old apartment. Amanda's pleased that Ryan is staying in town with his brother, but she's less pleased when Ryan starts asking questions about The Bizarre One. He mentions Kyle's discomfort and he asks, "Is it wise to have your ex-husband living so close?" Amanda puts him down with a warning: "If you cause problems between me and my husband-slave, you'll regret it! Bark and show your acceptance!"

Lexi, meanwhile, saunters over to Dr. Puddles' office and starts flashing some serious thigh. Cooing in full "Savannah" mode, she pleads for the shrink's support. "Whay did Petah dump me? What does Amanda have that ah don't have?" The flustered Puddles suggests an appointment to discuss this, but she says they can't meet at the hospital or Peter will see her. She suggests dinner at a fancy restaurant! Puddles agrees and thinks to himself, "I am such a fleshy stud!"

At home, Amanda and Kyle bicker over her concern for Peter. When Amanda foolishly blabs that Ryan butted in at the hospital, Kyle stares two inches above her head. Amanda, realizing she should have shut up, retreats to the shower. Kyle immediately goes over to Ryan's new apartment, which naturally is furnished! Kyle demands to know why Ryan griped to Amanda. "I care about you, big brother," says Ryan. Kyle doesn't buy it and says there must be more to it. Ryan then dredges up massive masculine insecurities! "You always have to bring up that Marine stuff. You and Dad were war heroes, but I'm the pansy who went to college!" Wow, "pansy"! I love the way this show is pushing the envelope! Ryan is tired of the fighting, and he says he'll get out of here in the morning. Kyle mutters, "Good," but he's clearly sad as he leaves Ryan's apartment, as Amanda watches from her window.

The next day, Ryan sees Amanda in the courtyard, and he hands over the improved Upstairs financial books with his recommendations for the coming months. "Wow," says an impressed Amanda. "You were able to do this in less than a day? You're smart! You must be one of those pansies who went to college!" She apologizes for dragging his name into this, but Ryan says she was right -- it's none of his business. She asks him to reconsider leaving, saying that Kyle needs to have family around him.

Kyle comes home sometime later to find Amanda and Ryan happily chatting over a bottle of wine. Amazingly, Kyle does not jump to the wrong conclusion and punch out his brother! Instead, Amanda tells Kyle that Ryan has accepted a job at -- where else? -- her advertising agency. I'm sure he'll be vice president in no time! Ryan and Kyle make up, and Amanda declares that they're "one big happy family." Ha!

Lexi and Dr. Puddles finish their enjoyable dinner at the restaurant. Lexi continues to butter him up: "How'd you get to be so smart? Ah bet you went to college!" She astutely guesses that he's divorced, and she invites him to come up to her place for a nightcap; she even kisses him on the cheek for good measure. Shockingly, Puddles refuses! He feels he's already crossed the doctor-patient boundary and recommends a female psychiatrist for Lexi to talk to. Moral fiber on Melrose Place?! You can tell he's not a regular cast member! Puddles walks away, leaving Lexi to consider Plan B.

The next day at the hospital, Kyle arrives to take Peter home -- at the bequest of the Mistress, naturally! Kyle tells Peter he doesn't accept The Bizarre One's noble excuse, and he mentions that he saw the journal near where Peter fell. Kyle strings together a few facts and knows something is up, but Peter is noncommittal: "I don't have an answer for that." As they step into the hallway, they see Lexi. Peter says, "What are you doing here?" Lexi smiles, insults Peter, then mocks Kyle for doing Amanda's chores. "Damn it, Lexi, she's the co-executive producer now. What am I supposed to do? Say no?" Lexi sings a little ditty about "thumbs up, thumbs down" and practically skips down the hall. Peter says to Kyle, "Before you ask, I can't answer that, either."

Lexi walks into Dr. Puddles' office and breathes, "I'm a wicked, wicked woman." "Uh, what have you done, Lexi?" "It's what I'm about to do." She starts undressing and maneuvers the stunned shrink onto his couch for some real therapy! Lexi makes her move, saying, "Ah need to be free of Peter...he told me, he confessed to me..." "Really?" Within seconds, Lexi cons Puddles into spilling the beans about Amanda's kidnapping! As soon as she knows, she gets up, leaving a lusty Puddles quivering behind her in confusion.

At Melrose Place, Kyle drops off Peter with a warning that he'll figure it all out. "I may not have gone to college, but I know other people who have!" Peter enters his apartment and quickly checks his suitcase full of the "ransom" money. Suddenly, the phone rings. Peter answers it, but there's no voice, just breathing. We see that it's Lexi sitting in a bubble bath! Peter starts to get panicky. "Who is this? I can hear your bubbles popping!" He hangs up. Lexi says to herself, "I'll let you sweat, Peter. Sweat -- then bleed! At least I've got you, Mr. Ducky -- now make Lexi happy!"

Michael, Megan, Jane, and Mrs. Partridge:

Jane approaches Michael at the hospital to talk about "this Alex Bastard stuff," but Michael is still hurt by Jane's decade-old infidelity. The poor guy! Jane should have videotaped his "Addicted to Love" dance and played it for the staff. Michael says he can't talk now, anyway; he's going out of town to help a "friend." Jane, quickly realizing that Michael has no friends, says, "Who?" "Oh, mmm, Megan." He explains that he's worried that Megan's suicidal, so he's going to track her down to the "trailer park" where he's sure she grew up.

Cut to the "trailer park," which is actually a huge ranch! Megan gets out of a cab and walks toward the house, where a Michael Gross lookalike sits in a wheelchair. It's Megan's Family Ties! The guy, her father, is unresponsive, however, and a voice behind Megan says that he suffered a stroke a few years back. Megan spins -- it's Mom, a.k.a. Shirley Jones, a.k.a. Mrs. Partridge!

Megan and Mom walk around the ranch and get caught up, and Mom matter-of-factly says that she knows Megan was a prostitute! She had hired a private eye to track Megan after she ran away from home. Megan thinks, "Was he about 5'10, with a tattoo of a skull on his left...oh, never mind." Mom says that this news is what caused Dad to have his stroke! Gee, guilt much? Megan's eyes grow wide with horror, but Shirley says, "You mustn't blame yourself." Too late!

The next day, Michael turns up at the gate to the ranch, obviously perplexed. He asks Shirley, "I'm looking for a trailer park..." Megan rides by on horseback, looking happy and non-suicidal. "Michael! What are you doing here?" She awkwardly introduces Michael as her ex-husband. Mom stiffly replies, "Very nice to meet you, Dr. Mancini."

Jane and Amanda have dinner that night at Kyle's Restaurant. (At some point, Amanda took a break from her Bizarre vigil at the hospital.) Jane complains about the Michael situation. Amanda tells Jane that she's not insane for wanting Michael back: "Crazy, yes, but not insane." Amanda is still interested in landing the Alex Bastard account, and she wants Jane to use her past, ahem, connection to get him to sign with AWA. When Jane demurs, Amanda says, "I'll give you 25% of the gross if you gets that Bastard!" Well, then, goodbye, morals!

Michael and Shirley go for a nighttime stroll. Michael admits that his dishonesty is what split up him and Megan. Shirley really wants Megan to stay here, but she says, "It's not hard to see why Megan was attracted to you." Michael puffs up: "Oh, you mean because I'm handsome and charismatic?" "No. You're from the other side of the tracks -- that's always been her type." "Oh yeah? Well, I was hangin' out with Danny Bonaduce at the strip club last week, and he doesn't have good things to say about you, either!"

Jane goes to the House of Bastard in the morning. He's busily arranging some photo shoot or something for his company (ah, who cares? It's another lame male guest star), and he's shocked to see her. Jane says she represents Amanda Woodward Advertising, but Alex says he's already got people for ad stuff: "You're wasting your time." Jane leaves, but Bastard runs after her and apologizes. "When I saw you, it damn near took my breath away." Regarding their one night together, he adds, "We never should have crossed that line..." Hmmm, do I believe him? NO! Still, he says he's not interesting in advertising, and he gives Jane a potent kiss on the cheek. Jane seems moved!

Back at the ranch, the family doctor finishes examining Michael Gross, uh, Megan's dad. Before the doc can go, Michael corners him and asks if the stroke really happened when the father learned about Megan's past. The surprised doctor says, "Is that what they told you?" He won't get involved further, and Michael casts a suspicious eye toward Shirley.

Later, Megan practices the piano while Shirley stands next to her with a tambourine. "...I did not shout when you walked into the room...I think I love you!" "That's great, Megan. Now let's try 'Come On Get Happy.'" Michael interrupts with serious news. He just returned from looking at Dad's medical records and learned that the stroke resulted from an aneurysm, not from a sudden shock, and he accuses Shirley of lying to keep Megan here by guilt. Shirley says, "You rude, insolent man!" "Hell, you can't even yell at me without being polite about it. If you want to call me a bastard, just say so!"

Megan tells him to be quiet and she asks Mom if it's the truth. Shirley fesses up! She says she forced Megan to move out years ago. "You couldn't be what I wanted you to be. After Susan, Danny, and David grew up and moved away, there was no one to carry on the Partridge tradition. You were my only hope." Michael chimes in, "What about the little kid with the really dark skin? I never believed he was a Partridge!" Shirley simply wanted a second chance with Megan. She goes for the Emmy, crying in Megan's arms.

Well, even though Mom is a broken, pathetic woman, Megan decides to leave with Michael anyway! They pack up in the morning, and Megan says goodbye to her parents. Dad manages to pat her hand, and she says, "I'm gonna make you proud of me, just wait and see. I'll get a role on a good show, just like Courtney did on Ally McBeal."

Back at AWA, Jane relates her failure to Amanda, who poo-poohs it and points toward the conference room, where Alex awaits. When Jane enters, the Bastard apologizes again (geez, run for office, would ya?) and says he'll listen to Jane's idea -- BUT without Amanda and over at his place. Jane hesitates for a half-second, then agrees. Alex leaves, and Amanda enters, wishing Jane good luck at his place. Jane wonders, "How did you know...?" Amanda admits she's had an open intercom installed in the conference room!

That night, Michael calls Jane on his car phone, while a resigned Megan sits in the passenger seat. Jane chats with him on her cellular phone, and Michael says he's been a jerk and that he loves her. Jane accepts his apology and looks forward to seeing him. As she hangs up, though, we see she's at the House of Bastard. Alex looks at her optimistically and says, "To second chances, and how we rarely get the chance."

Next Week: Amanda hugs Peter! Michael punches the Bastard! Ryan is drawn to Megan! Lexi strips for no apparent reason! And Dr. Puddles hasn't gotten off that couch yet!

--Ken Hart

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