Recap: Billy is getting himself all gussied up in his tuxedo and fancy French cuff links in order to escort Alison to the annual Advertising Association Ball. Alison, who's decked out in a glittery halter dress, tells Jake she's worried she'll feel as embarrassed at the ball as she was at her high school prom...and Jake chuckles and points out that taking Billy as her date isn't going to help alleviate that fear. Bwahaha! He then glances out the window, sees Jo return home, and tells Alison he ran into Jo's ex-husband in the courtyard at the end of the previous episode...and has been searching for the exact right moment to inform her 'bout that.
Jake heads up to Jo's apartment and tells her he has something important to tell her - but she does that weird, TV tropey thing where she ignores the urgent look on his face and obliviously natters about how she was rejected from six different photography jobs in one day. She suggests they unwind with a beer at Shooters, and drags him out of the apartment with her.
Jane is taking Rhonda's measurements for a custom sewn wedding gown...and Rhonda complains that she doesn't want the kind of traditional wedding Terrence is expecting, which will entail her wearing a train and a veil. Jane shrugs and urges her to go with whatever her rich fiancé wants, while Sydney sits on the couch and snarks about how every wedding gown trend Jane seems to favor is passé. Jane gets annoyed at her unhelpful remarks and suggests she go elsewhere to sit and do nothing...and once Sydney is out of hearing range, an exasperated Jane tells Rhonda that the pressure of providing her featherbrained sister with a life has been building to a near boiling point. Rhonda says that she and her brother got like that once...and now they only speak cordially at family events. Jane makes a face and says that while Sydney is a total pain in the ass, she doesn't want to completely cut her out of her life.
Over at Shooters, Jo continues to natter at Jake about the hardships associated with wanting to make a living as a photographer. Jake stares worriedly into space until he finally tells her to shut it so he can break the news that he ran into her ex-husband in the Melrose Place courtyard the other day. Jo stares back at him in horror, anxiously says, "I got to get outa here" and makes a beeline for the exit.
Alison and Billy are having fun on the dance floor, but then scurry away when a slow song starts playing. Danny Baker ambles over and goes, "Hey Eleanor!", says he got stood up, and asks Alison if she'd like to dance. Alison tells him what her first name is [not Eleanor], then accepts his invitation to dance...leaving behind an irked looking Billy, who just got stuck holding Danny's food plate.
Back at Melrose Place, Jo tells Jake she never actually filed for divorce...and figures her husband has been looking for her since the moment she fled their troubled marriage. She then makes it clear that this is her problem to solve, hustles Jake out of her apartment, and phones someone in New York to ask where her husband is staying during his guest appearance.
Alison tells Billy she's off to a post-ball party with Danny, then kisses his cheek, and thanks him for being such a great date.
Jo arrives at the Bel Age Hotel to finally face the music with her husband, Charles. She firmly declares that their marriage is over...and explains that her departure from New York was so abrupt 'cause his drinking and abusive behavior had become too scary to live with day in, day out. Charles assures her he's sworn off the booze...and says that shortly after she left him, he drank himself into oblivion, passed out in Central Park, and promptly checked himself into rehab. He says he's currently at the stage in his recovery where he's supposed to apologize to everyone he hurt while he drank/acted like an asshole, then asks her if she'd like to get together for lunch tomorrow.
Jane has a dream that she walks in on Sydney and Michael having sex (heh), then wakes up in horror. Sydney - who, for some reason, is lounging in Jane's bedroom - tells her she overslept, but that it's A-OK 'cause apparently Kay will also be arriving late to the office this morning.
Sydney suggests to Michael that they host Jane's surprise birthday party at Kay Beacon's design studio...and after some hemming and hawing, he's like, 'sure, why the hell not?' Sydney hugs him and calls him the best and is kissing his cheek when Jane enters the room. When she glares at Michael suspiciously, he "explains" that Sydney was just thanking him for making her breakfast.
Alison apologizes to Billy for ditching him at the ball, not least 'cause the after-party ended up being a stupid waste of time. Billy says he's peeved that she left the ball with another guy, particularly since he went to a lot of trouble to make himself look less disheveled than usual. He snarks about how bugged he is, despite being too much of a bonehead to fully grasp why he's having these feelings.
Jo tells Jake she met up with Charles last night, and that he finally acknowledged his drinking problem and has her convinced he's no longer using booze to mask his anger management issues. She admits she still "gives a damn" about him...and even though she now cares for him (Jake), she needs some me time to resolve her marriage/future divorce, hopefully before the end credits roll.
Rhonda is gabbling to Matt about her upcoming wedding, and how marrying a rich guy is going to completely change her life. Matt scrunches his face disapprovingly and asks her how committed she's going to continue to be to L.A.'s innercity communities, and she breezily assures him she'll jump right back into her volunteer work sometime after her extravagant honeymoon.
Over lunch, Jo tells Charles she's working as a photographer (despite her inability to actually get hired as a photographer), then chides him for snubbing her passion as a mere hobby. Charles admits that he underestimated her 'cause of how undeserving he always felt being with a woman as awesome as her...and Jo calls him out on that brazen bullcack, but then shakes it off by bragging about the fantastic California life she's now living. Charles tells her he's planning to fly back to New York on Sunday, but would like it if they could get together again so she can show him the sights.
Jane gets annoyed when Sydney follows her around the design studio, gabbling about how much she likes to be near all the action in case Kay suddenly wants her to fetch a donut or the day's paper. Jane rolls her eyes and tells her to get lost so she can focus on her work, and Sydney shoots her a pouty look before ambling away dejectedly.
Jake complains to Billy that he hasn't been able to get a hold of Jo all day...and worries that he might have lost "the one" before getting a chance to hit the sheets with her. As Billy's all, "Wha-a-a-a? You mean you haven't hit the sheets with Jo yet?", Jake peers through the window blinds and sees Jo and Charles standing in the courtyard, gushing about how much fun they had sightseeing before he leans in for a kiss.
Jane tells Michael she's asking Sydney to move out 'cause she can no longer stand the way her sister has latched onto every aspect of her life. Michael glances at the birthday cake he had to quickly hide in the laundry basket and urges Jane to go out drinking with Sydney one last time tonight and see if she feels the same way tomorrow morning [aka when he no longer has her surprise birthday party to worry about].
Alison is shocked at Jo for going sightseeing with Charles, and Jo says it reminded her of that brief moment in time when he didn't drink and get all creepily possessive. Jake drops by to remind Jo about Jane's surprise party - but Jo quickly replies that she won't be able to make it. Jake stares sadly into space before heading back to his apartment...and Jo admits to Alison that The Jake Issue has become awkward now that her formerly estranged husband is temporarily back in the picture.
Michael brings Jane's birthday cake over to Billy's/Alison's apartment and instructs them to bring it to the design studio before the party starts. Billy snippily tells Alison he'll bring the cake, and makes it clear he doesn't want to attend the party with her 'cause he plans to get lucky with another woman.
Jane and Sydney are playing pool at Shooters when they get into an argument about Sydney's irresponsible life choices that the rest of her family is always having to clean up after. Jane snaps, "This was a mistake!" then grabs her purse and storms out of the bar.
Meanwhile, the surprise party is in full swing at Kay Beacon's design studio when Sydney arrives and announces, "The birthday girl isn't coming!" without a shred of contriteness. When Michael's all, "Wha-a-a?", she explains that they got into a fight, then shrugs unconcernedly at a random partygoer and says, "Best laid plans." LOL. A vexed Michael says he'll go find Jane and forcibly bring her to the party - while, across the room, Alison tells Jake that giving Jo the time and space to figure out whassup with her husband is a good thing. Jake responds by mutely hopping onto his motorcycle and squealing off into the night.
Jo and Charles are hanging together in a fancy pub. He tells her they never used to talk this openly before, then asks her if she's hooked up with someone new. Jo says she's been spending some quasi romantic time with Melrose's resident hottie Jake, a "rough edges "kind of guy...and Charles stares bewilderedly into space as he pretends to not feel even a tiny bit jealous.
Everyone yells Surprise! when Jane arrives at the studio - and Michael sheepishly explains that the party isn't much of a surprise after he was forced to tell Jane about it so she'd agree to leave the apartment. After a few birthday hugs, Jane pulls Sydney aside and tells her she wants her out of the apartment by tomorrow night 'cause she's tired of all the petty drama...and Sydney pissily retorts, "You won't have to wait until tomorrow" before flouncing off.
Jo looms over Jake as he swims laps in the Melrose Place pool. He admits that he finds the situation vexing, and that he's afraid he'll lose the woman he may have fallen in love with before things got a chance to get really good. An exasperated Jo gives up on the conversation and heads toward the stairwell...and when Jake accuses her of running away from him every time things get intense, she snaps, "Go to hell!"
Alison shuts off the TV while Billy is watching so they can resolve their boring conflict. Billy admits that he was miffed when she took the chance to "close the deal" with Danny Baker after the ball, 'cause he's insulted that she's less attracted to him than she is to Danny Baker. Alison chuckles and asks what he'd do to close the deal, so he clowns around like a half-wit, picks her up, then carries her over to the couch before saying good night. Er, OK.
Later that night, Charles pounds on Jo's door while making incoherent drunken noises...and when Jo lets him in she's like, "Oh God, you've been drinking." He chastises her for messing around with Jake, then yells, "You slept with him, didn't you?!!" and gets all in her face. Jo races over to the phone to call for help - but he snatches the receiver out of her hand and snarls about how she owes him for the humiliation she caused him when she ran out on him. Jo tearfully pleads with him to get help - but Charles says he doesn't give a damn what she thinks of him. He glares at her in disgust, says she's not worth it, and calls her a nothing. As he staggers out the door, Jake appears at the bottom of the stairwell and asks Jo if she's OK...and she wails, "Just leave me alone!" and locks herself inside her apartment. Charles shakily descends the stairs, looms over Jake and snarks about his rough edges, then announces that he's off to call a cab before he falls over and passes out on the street.
The next morning, a sad looking Sydney hands Jane a farewell note and sheepishly says she doesn't want to depart with a lot of fanfare. She admits to wanting to ruin her surprise birthday party by picking a fight with her at Shooters 'cause it was a chance to hurt her - and Jane wryly says, "It worked." Sydney bellyaches about their parents' low expectations of her, and how much she always wished she could be like her perfect sister...blah blah...then announces she's heading back to their hometown to pursue life as a fashion designer (not in L.A.). Jane says she'd welcome the competition, hugs her goodbye, and the two share I love yous.
Rhonda asks Matt why he's acting all weird about her marrying a rich guy, so he tells her he's skeered about the possibility he won't be brave enough to find someone for himself...and is also worried he's going to lose her as a friend. Rhonda admits that she's a tad wary about turning her life upside down, but insists that they'll always be friends. Matt grins and asks her if she'd like to have her own best man for the wedding, and she gives him a look of happy puzzlement and is all, "Uh, sure..?"
Jo enters the Bel Age Hotel just as Charles is checking out. She tells him she's filing for divorce so she can get on with her life, and says he owes her this chance. He sneers at her in disgust, then hands her a wad of cash and says, "It's what I pay all my whores." Jo's like, "Kewl!", takes the cash, then hands it to the nearest bellhop and tells him that while her douchebag of a soon-to-be ex-husband is an excellent tipper, he's not much else. Hee!
Jo tells Jake that Charles is leaving town, hopefully never to be seen again on Melrose Place, and that she's filing for divorce. She says she appreciates all of the time and space he's given her this episode, but that it's going to take her considerable time to want to commit to someone new. Jake beams happily and says he's OK with that...and the two agree to go for a motorcycle ride up the coast later. He then gives her a big smooch and says, "Welcome home" ... and she smilingly heads upstairs to her apartment.
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