Recap: Natalie and Mr. Parker arrive at Edna's Edibles...and Natalie is bursting with excitement as she urges Mr. Parker to reveal the happy news. Mr. Parker tells Mrs. Garrett and the rest of the Facts gals that he set up a liaison with Langley College to proceed with an advanced placement program - and when Natalie can no longer restrain herself from interjecting, she blurts out, "I get to take a course at Langley!" She proudly adds that she was chosen 'cause of her exceptional academic record...and everyone gushes over the accomplishment. After that, Mr. Parker asks Mrs. Garrett to cater his wife's birthday party [why in blazes does this grown woman need a catered party every damn year??], and she offers to give him a tour of her new digs.
Natalie and the other Facts gals pore over Langley's course catalogue...and when Natalie asks for advice on what she should wear while on campus, Jo rolls her eyes and barks, "Clothes."
While hanging in the Langley student lounge, a vapid looking guy asks Natalie how she did on her Chekhov paper, and she proudly tells him she got an A. Boots St. Clair saunters into the lounge and taunts Blair for not living in a sorority house, then remarks on Natalie's double life as an Eastland student and pseudo college freshman. She says her story would make a great article for the college's newspaper, and a beaming Natalie says she likes the sound of that and offers to write the article. She mentions that she also has to write up the senior spoofs for the Eastland newspaper, then dishes to everyone all the embarrassing stuff she's written about Blair and Jo...like the time Blair got sprayed by a skunk (that must have happened off camera) and Jo thinking she was nun material, before she blew it by punching Blair in the face. LOL. Everyone in the student lounge starts laughing hysterically...except Jo and Blair, who are shooting Natalie extra squinty stink-eyes.
Natalie is too distracted to be of much help to anyone at Edna's Edibles...and after rudely ignoring several customers, she explains that she's too busy working on an assignment for Boots to function as a store employee. Tootie bitches at her for not completing the senior spoofs yet, and Natalie rolls her eyes and condescendingly calls it fluff. When Mrs. Garrett comes over to ask whassup with all the sniping, Tootie tattles on Natalie for not doing her fair share of the work. Blair and Jo arrive at that moment and complain about all the gossiping Natalie has been doing while holding court in the Langley student lounge...and a few minutes later, Boots makes an appearance, greets Natalie with phony air kisses, and announces to everyone that she's enlisted Natalie to help her move into a more spacious room in the sorority house. When Natalie rushes out of the room and reemerges with Boot's dry cleaning, Blair teases her for being Boot's lapdog...and Natalie snaps back that she's just jealous. Mrs. Garrett barks at her to drop the arrogant 'tude she developed just 'cause she was allowed to take one college course, and Natalie smugly retorts, "For now" and reminds everyone that she was specifically chosen for the advanced placement program because of her exceptional academic record and all-around awesomeness. She then reveals that she dropped in on the Langley admissions office and was told that if she takes a bunch of summer courses at Eastland and keeps her grades up, she can skip her senior year altogether and enter Langley in the fall.
A frustrated Tootie has taken it upon herself to attempt a rewrite of Natalie's sub par senior spoofs, then complains to Mrs. Garrett, Blair, and Jo that she hasn't seen much of her supposed best friend these days. Jo and Blair wryly tell her it's prolly 'cause she's always hanging out on the Langley campus, gossiping about embarrassing stuff they've said and done in previous episodes. Mrs. Garrett shakes her head in dismay, then thanks them for covering Natalie's shifts at the store and hands out their pay checks. A few seconds later, Natalie arrives, decked out in her new Langley sweatshirt, and breezily apologizes for being late on account of she was having coffee with her new college pals. Tootie tells her they need to discuss the senior spoofs and how hard the spoof committee thought they sucked. Natalie snootily says they're clearly not sophisticated enough to get the jokes, then haughtily adds that she no longer has time for "kids' stuff". Boots drops by to show Natalie her article in the college paper, and Natalie is miffed when she realizes that the editor opted to not publish most of what she wrote about herself. She whines to Boots about the injustice of being inadequately lionized in The Daily Langlian - but Boots just shrugs disinterestedly, then bids everyone adieu in her usual over-the-top fashion.
Natalie is taken aback when she sees that her pay check is only $18, and a judgey looking Mrs. Garrett points out that she barely worked a shift during this pay period. Natalie says she's been busy, then asks for an advance on her salary 'cause she overspent at the Langley book store.
Mr. Parker drops by to inform Mrs. Garrett that Natalie has been cutting class...and that her grades at Eastland have gotten so shitty that Langley has rescinded its offer of early admission. Seems fickle and premature, but OK. He lectures a sheepish looking Natalie on how she needs to pay more attention on her Eastland classwork, then forbids her to ditch anymore classes. He begs Mrs. Garrett to pleeeeeeease consider returning to Eastland, but she declines and says she much prefers the Edna's Edibles set to the Eastland cafeteria.
Natalie tells Mrs. Garrett she has an idea of how she might weasel her way out of her academic dilemma...her idea being that Mrs. Garrett should write to Langley College and tell them how hard she's been working at the store amid various personal problems. Mrs. Garrett refuses to lie for her and lays down a little tough love when she tells her she's going to have to earn her spot at Langley through her own hard work. She also points out what an insufferable jerkwad she's been to the other Facts gals all episode...and Natalie glumly concurs and promises to apologize. She runs into Tootie a few seconds later and tells her she now realizes how important her friends are, then confesses that she just got booted out of the advanced placement program. Tootie laughs at the self-inflicted misfortune, then runs over to the store to gleefully blab about it to Jo and Blair...and Mrs. Garrett sits on the couch and chuckles at Natalie's comeuppance.
It is unfathomable that this show continued on for four more seasons.
Recap: Natalie is working on a school project that entails filming a frazzled looking Mrs. Garrett as she shriekily flaps around Edna's Edibles, preparing multiple sausage orders...and in the midst of her flapping, she wails about how the local butchers have gone on strike in the middle of bratwurst season! Badoom bah. Roy drops by to deliver an order of buns, then flirts with Jo, who brusquely tells him to take a hike. Oops...I guess his budding romance with Alexandra (the Italian princess) in the Season 4 finale didn't pan out. A wrinkly old man named Mr. Bigley, wearing a plaid yellow jacket, enters the store, then glances around and remarks on how much the building has changed. He gets a faux faraway look on his face and says it used to be solely a residence...as well as the site of the Halloween Massacre of 1905. As the gals stare at him in horrified fascination, he tells a ghoulish story about a triple homicide that occurred when four spinster sisters got into a fierce argument and one of them - "Grisly Gertie" - became so consumed with rage that she went completely off the bend and murdered her siblings with a big butcher knife. Tootie is so wigged out by the story that she drops candy all over the floor...and after she's had a few seconds to recombobulate, Mr. Bigley continues on with his bone-chilling (not really) storytelling. Following the murders, all kinds of unexplained things started happening: certain areas of the house, such as the room Mrs. Garrett sleeps in, would get very cold. He chillingly adds that a number of women who resided in the house post-massacre turned squirrelly before slowly losing their minds. Cue the frazzled Mrs. Garrett, who bursts into the room carrying a large batch of bratwursts. The Facts gals quickly fill her in on the Halloween Massacre of 1905 - but it doesn't seem to get much of a reaction out of her...and Mr. Bigley looks intrigued by the volume of bratwursts she's holding and places an order. He then makes it a point to mention to the Facts cast that he's staying at the motel down the street.
So noted, Mr. Bigley.
At dawn the next morning, a spacey looking Mrs. Garrett stumbles into the Facts gals' bedroom clutching a large butcher knife. When Tootie sees her, she shrieks and wakes everyone up...and when the lights come on, Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face confusedly and says she has no idea why she's standing in the middle of their bedroom with a large butcher knife. She shakes her head as if to brush off the disturbing occurrence and says that since the local butchers are on strike, she's going to have to desperately scrounge around for sausage meat. After she stumbles out of the room, Natalie scrunches her face into a troubled expression and tells the Facts gals that she had been startled awake the other night by Mrs. Garrett, who was looming over her with a knife. Jo, Tootie, and Blair stare at each other worriedly...and when Tootie suddenly spots a slipper that belongs to Mrs. Garrett, she decides it's irrefutable proof that Natalie didn't dream the frightening incident.
Later that day, Tootie, Jo, and Blair are busily working in the store while Mrs. Garrett sharpens her knives with a cartoonishly demonic expression on her face...then rushes back to the kitchen. A frightened Tootie tells Jo and Blair that Mrs. Garrett appears to be possessed - and a few seconds later, Natalie enters the room carrying a garbage bag. She pulls out Mr. Bigley's plaid yellow jacket and solemnly says she just found the bag in the trash can, along with one of Mrs. Garrett's large butcher knives. Blair scrunches her face concernedly and points out that Mr. Bigley never did return to the store to pick up his bratwurst order...and Natalie nods gravely and says she called the motel down the street and learned that his luggage is still there and he never checked out. A freaked out Tootie rushes off and returns with candles to exorcise the evil spirits currently inhabiting Mrs. Garrett...and then Mrs. Garrett bursts into the room shrieking, "I got the meat!!" and shows the gals the big batch of linked sausages she just prepared. The only explanation she can offer is that when she opened the ice box earlier she found a large pile of sausages. The gals (except for Jo) gasp in horror and leap to the assumption that the meat in the sausages could only have come from Mr. Bigley's flesh. Jo takes a bite of one of the cooked sausages and tells Mrs. Garrett it's very tasty.
As Jo continues to chow down on the sausage, an icked out Tootie asks her how she can bear to eat poor, ground up Mr. Bigley. When Roy drops by the store for no particular reason, Blair informs him that Mr. Bigley has gone missing. He furrows his brows concernedly and says he remembers seeing the old man at Edna's Edibles shortly before lunch...and that he was bickering with Mrs. Garrett before the two ambled off to the kitchen. Jo suddenly looks ill, grimaces at the sausage she's eating, and decides that - yep - it's entirely within the realm of possibility that Mrs. Garrett killed Mr. Bigley, then pulverized his body into ground meat and made it into linked sausages.
Mrs. Garrett re-enters the store and shriekily announces that she just got an order from the supermarket for more bratwursts - which means she's going to need additional pounds of fresh meat. Cue two cute children dressed up as Hansel and Gretel, who drop by the store to trick-or-treat...and Mrs. Garrett acts all weird as she coos that they look good enough to eat, and that she'd like to fatten them up before shoving them into her oven. Er...OK. When the kids refrain from fleeing the house in horror and instead remark on how whatever she has baking in her oven smells delish, Jo intervenes and yells at the kids to make a run for it. After the studio audience's obligatory laughter dies down, Mrs. Garrett closes up the store for the night and tells the Facts gals it's time for them to help her make bratwursts, then rushes off to sharpen her knives again. Tootie wails that Mrs. Garrett is definitely possessed by a demonic spirit, and Blair concurs and worriedly whimpers. Jo reminds them that there are four of them and only one possessed old woman - and that they'll be OK if they stick together. Or flee the store and call 911 if they truly are worried about their housemother's mental state. Mrs. Garrett re-enters the room to summon Tootie and Natalie to the kitchen...and when they nervously stammer that they're too busy with homework, she shrieks, "Get in the damn kitchen and get this over with!" The four gals suddenly leap into action, each grabbing the nearest broomstick - in Tootie's case, a giant bread stick - and corner Mrs. Garrett while glaring at her menacingly. Jo barks at her to hand over the knife, which she does before confusedly asking whassup with their sudden aggression.
Blair demands to know what she did with Mr. Bigley and says that Natalie found his jacket in the trash. She adds that it can't have been purely coincidental when she (Mrs. Garrett) was suddenly able to make a plentiful batch of bratwursts. Mrs. Garrett admonishes them for implying that she slaughtered Mr. Bigley for the purpose of filling her bratwurst orders...and a few seconds later, Mr. Bigley (!) enters the store and nonchalantly tells Natalie he'd like his plaid yellow jacket back please. When everyone's all, "Wha-a-a-a??!", a quasi-sheepish looking Natalie explains that she was trying to be creative with her filming assignment and admits to making up the story about the Halloween Massacre of 1905. She then reveals that Mr. Bigley's real name is Lesseroni, and that he's the caretaker of the town's cemetery, as well as an active member of the local community theater. Womp womp!
Natalie further explains that she wanted to orchestrate a live horror movie and film events as they unfolded...so she cast Mrs. Garrett as a knife-wielding murderess who had become possessed. (And obsessed with filling bratwurst orders during a butchers' strike.) She credits Roy for being the undercover camera man, and he dramatically pops out from his hiding spot in a nearby barrel clutching a video camera. Tootie, Jo, and Blair admonish her for playing tricks on them - and Natalie defends her actions by chirping, "This is the stuff memories are made of!" Mrs. Garrett sternly argues that it was selfish and manipulative - then contorts her face into a faux maniacal expression and says, "The legend is true" and threatens Natalie with strangulation.
Of course, none of this explains why Mrs. Garrett was acting so weird and demonic while waving around a butcher knife throughout much of the episode.
Recap: Blair breezes into Edna's Edibles, impressed with herself for her resourcefulness in booking the opening act for Freshman Night...and by booking the opening act, she means she hired Geri (fuuuuuuuuuck) to perform her wretched comedy schtick for a group of hapless first-year college students. When she adds that she plans to inform Geri about the gig when she stops by later, Mrs. Garrett tut tuts her for not checking with Geri before committing her to the gig, then scrunches her face disapprovingly.
A tall black teenager catches Tootie's eye when he struts into the store and orders a sandwich. He flirtily introduces himself to her as Jeff Williams and says he's a senior at Bates Academy and a member of the school's football team. Tootie flashes him a grin and gushes, "I heard you are the football team!" and offers to make him a free gourmet sandwich. While she's doing that, Jeff schmaltzily tells Mrs. Garrett that her store is a quality establishment...then brazenly ogles Tootie, who blushes and giggles in response. He invites her to his upcoming football game and asks her if she'd like to be his date for the (presumed) victory party afterwards, and Tootie happily accepts his invitation.
In the next scene, Tootie is gushing to Natalie about how super awesome her budding romance with Jeff is going, and that she especially loves the vapid way he silently gazes at her. Blair and Geri burst into the room...and Geri is chiding Blair for leaping to the assumption that she'd want to open for a rock band on Freshman Night. Blair's all, "But you have toooooo!" and somehow refrains from pointing out to Geri that she should be grateful to anyone who's willing to pay actual money for an onslaught of condescending cerebral palsy jokes that feel overplayed really quickly. She tells Geri she has a meeting with the Entertainment Committee and would rather not admit that she screwed the pooch on booking the entertainment...and when she worries aloud that it might ruin her reputation, Geri quips, "Then let me do it!", and the two scurry off-camera together.
Jo snappishly orders Tootie to finish doing an inventory of the store, which she's been promising to do for the last three days.
Tootie gets out her clipboard and begins work on the store's inventory...and while she's doing that, Jeff is bugging her to hurry up and finish 'cause they have plans to go see Jaws and Jaws 2. Tootie tells him the sooner she's done with the inventory, the sooner they can head out to the movies, then suggests he help her speed things along by reading off the labels of whatever's on the shelf so she can cross-check them against the list on her clipboard. Jeff twitches nervously and says he couldn't possibly concentrate on food 'cause his head is filled with football plays - but Tootie gets all pushy and thrusts a jar in his direction and orders him to read the label. When he just stares at it cluelessly, she gets exasperated and snaps, "What's the matter with you? Can't you read?!" and Jeff stares back at her with a stricken expression on his face, then turns around and walks away. He mumbles, "Reading isn't my thing" and says his coach told him he shouldn't distract himself by pursuing the ability to read 'cause of all the college football scouts who've been showing an interest in him. Assuming that's true, he's definitely one dicked up coach. A bewildered Tootie asks him how in blazes he's been able to get this far at Bates Academy, so he explains that he's surrounded by a small army of yes people who are more than willing to help him cheat his way through school. Tootie stares at him sadly and asks him if he doesn't want to learn how to read, and he replies, "I'll get around to it one day" but says he's currently too busy trying to be the country's best quarterback. He then refers to Tootie as his girl - and Tootie perks up and goes, "Wuh? Really?" - LOL - and he nods and gushes about how much he cares about her. He then takes off the chunky necklace he's wearing, declares that he wants her to officially be his girl, and puts the necklace around her neck.
Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals toast the end of the inventory process...and while that's happening, Geri (fuuuuuuuuuck) drops by to tell Blair she's decided to perform on Freshman Night after all 'cause she's running short of cash on account of it's really hard for comedians who limit their routines to joke-making about cerebral palsy to find work. A few seconds later, Jeff arrives to announce that he passed his latest biology test [by shamelessly cheating]...and that if he also passes his upcoming English test, he'll be eligible for recruitment by colleges [who clearly have scarily low academic standards for athletes]. Natalie toasts his faux accomplishment and touts him as "not just another dumb jock" ... and Tootie puts her sad face on and wanders over to the store. Mrs. Garrett and Natalie follow her and ask whassup with her glumness...and Natalie assumes that Tootie is worried that Jeff will head off to college and forget all about her. She assures her that Jeff will write, and Tootie snaps, "No he won't!", and Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face concernedly and asks her if Jeff has a problem with reading. Tootie says yep, her boyfriend has the reading ability of a small child, and Natalie's all, "Wha-a-a?" and asks how he's been able to make it through nearly four years of high school. Tootie explains that his friends "help" him by giving him the answers to tests, which he then memorizes. Mrs. Garrett shakes her head all judgey-like and says that these people aren't his friends 'cause they're cheating him out of acquiring a basic life skill. Tootie argues that the people who are helping him care, then wails, "They care a lot!" ... and confesses to helping Jeff cheat on the biology test he just passed. It remains unclear precisely how she was able to do that, considering they don't even attend the same school, much less are in the same biology class. Mrs. Garrett and Natalie look appalled at her complicity in Jeff's illiteracy, then implore her to be the kind of friend who will forcibly help Jeff get himself on the right track of learning his ABCs. As Tootie mulls that over, Jeff breezes into the store and is all, "Whaddup?" and Mrs. Garrett and Natalie avoid making eye contact with him as they quickly scuttle out of the room.
Jeff yammers about how relieved he is to have passed his biology test, but Tootie says it's nothing to celebrate and that she's ashamed of herself for helping him cheat. She chides him for being obsessed with football and says he's destined to be "an illiterate jock", to which Jeff shoots her the stink-eye and snaps, "You're getting out of line!" Tootie reminds him that previous generations of their people were forced to work in the fields and had to learn how to read in secret, and Jeff retorts that football is going to give him everything he wants. Tootie points out that he can play football and learn how to read - but he sheepishly reminds her he's almost eighteen years old and doesn't want to go back to a fourth grade class and make a fool of himself. Tootie fails to explain that no one would actually expect him to enroll himself in a classroom with fourth graders 'cause he could simply hire a private tutor, then screeches, "Who cares?!" Jeff says he's afraid that people will laugh at him and that he'll lose everything, and Tootie coos, "I know" and assures him he hasn't lost her...and I'm not sure if this means this isn't the last we'll ever see of illiterate Jeff Williams.
Recap: Jo is escorted home from a movie date by her latest squeeze, a tall drink of water named Bill. After a PG smooch, Jo tells him he'd better go - and Bill looks bummed and points out that he hasn't met any of her roommates even though they've been dating for three whole weeks. He asks her if she's embarrassed by him, and she assures him she's not...and that he's soooo much more awesome than the snooty rich Langley preptards she can't stand the sight of. She adds that her roommates are a bunch of nosy busybodies who have nothing better to do than get all in her bidness...and that she just wants to be left alone to explore a budding romance with a guy she really really likes, and gives him another smooch. Bill looks satisfied enough with that, reminds her about their dinner date tomorrow night, and heads out.
The next morning, Blair begs Jo to attend the upcoming pep rally with her - but Jo says she's all "pepped out" and is too busy with her studies. Blair grumbles that she studies so much that she's missing the college experience, then assumes that she's shutting herself away from the world 'cause she's afraid of being rejected by guys. Jo's like, "Yeah, whatever" and tunes her out as she stares over at a young girl - future show regular Pamela Segall - who's openly shoplifting. Jo storms over to her, pulls a bunch of food items out of her coat and pockets, then barks, "Beat it!" An impressed Blair remarks on how much more civilized she's become since her first appearance in Season 2...then complains about having to go to the pep rally alone, and grumbles to Natalie and Tootie about the excessive amount of time Jo is spending at the library.
Natalie tells Jo that she doesn't buy her I spend all my time in the library bullcack, and says she knows full well she didn't get home until midnight - long after the library has closed. She then produces irrefutable evidence - a baggy containing movie popcorn kernels - and says she found it when she was rifling through her pockets. Jo admonishes her for having nothing better to do than rifle through her pockets, and Natalie tells her she was compelled to figure out what she was up to on account of the writers failing to give her and/or Tootie anything more interesting to do in this episode.
As Natalie and Tootie implore Jo to spill the beans about where she really was last night, Bill enters the store...and he plays along with Jo and pretends to not know her. Mrs. Garrett, meanwhile, returns to the store after a morning aerobics class, notices Bill standing at the counter, and blabs to Natalie and Tootie about how she saw Jo and this handsome blonde at the movies together last night. She tries to walk it back when Jo shoots her the stink-eye...but then Jo throws in the towel on keeping her romance a secret from the Facts gals and introduces Bill as her new fella. After the obligatory gushing and grilling about Bill's intentions toward their friend, Bill pulls Jo aside and tells her that his parents are coming to town tonight and warns her that it might be a boring evening for her - but when Jo says she's up for it, they arrange to meet at the restaurant later this evening. Bill exits the store just as Blair reappears and excitedly asks, "Was that Bill Smith?!" then dishes the deets: his full name is William Ogden Smith IV, he comes from a super wealthy family, and his father is an ambassador and his mother a judge. Jo looks troubled and is all, "Wha-a-a-a?!" and wonders aloud why in blazes he didn't tell her about his privileged background. Blair just shrugs, then promises to give her a complete makeover and a plethora of tips on how to converse with rich people during dinner.
After much styling and primping, Blair urges Jo to reveal her fashionable new self to the rest of the Facts gals and live studio audience...and a few seconds later, an uncomfortable looking Jo lumbers out of the bedroom wearing what looks like a navy blue prom dress, and has a thick layer of makeup on her scowling face, along with a fluffy mullet shaped 'do. Natalie is so impressed with the metamorphosis that she coos, "Ooooh, Jo!" while Tootie fawningly says she looks like a princess. Blair smugly pronounces, "You look positively Park Avenue!" then advises Jo to avoid talking about her impoverished Bronx upbringing at dinner, and to tone down the obnoxious chip she insists on carrying around atop her shoulder. Jo wails, "But that's who I ammmmm!" - but Blair points out that Bill's parents don't have to know that. She then flounces off to the pep rally and chirps, "Good luck!" while Jo stares moodily into space.
Jo arrives at the restaurant, and - ack! - we see that she has peeled off the blue prom dress in favor of ratty jeans, a crumpled t-shirt, and a camouflage army jacket. Bill spots her and makes a beeline over, gives her sloppy outfit a grim once-over, and mutters, "Interesting clothing choice." Jo snarls at him for not telling her how rich his family is, nonsensically accuses him of being ashamed of her, then snaps, "I'm just going to be myself!" Yeesh...that can't be good. She heads over to where the Smiths are sitting and blurts out, "So, I hear you folks have more money than God!" and the Smiths chuckle graciously and do their best to come up with a witty retort while Bill looks mortified (as well he should) and changes the subject to their drink order. Jo glares at him and defiantly declares in an exaggerated New Yawk accent that she's from da Bronx, then shoots the Smiths the stink-eye as if they're personally responsible for the disparity of wealth between their families and bitchily explains, "It's the slum that rich folks drive through on their way to the airport."
The next day, Jo snappishly tells Tootie and Natalie she doesn't want to talk about how disastrously her dinner with Bill and his parents went...or about how the disaster was entirely of her own making. A few seconds later, Bill enters the store decked out in formal wear and talks with a British accent while acting all faux haughty-like. When Jo's all, "Wha-a-at's going on?!", Bill explains that he went through the contrived trouble to dress this way to illustrate what a fool she made of him in front of his parents - to say nothing of the gigantic horse's ass she made of herself. Jo snappishly retorts, "Why don't you stick to your debutantes!" and storms out of the store...and Mrs. Garrett follows her to deliver a much-needed lecture on her irrational behavior. She points out to Jo that every time she gets insecure about her impoverished Bronx upbringing she acts like a boorish fucktard, then says the immature routine is getting old fast.
Jo sheepishly says she's pretty sure that Bill is ashamed of her - as well he should be after the idiocy she demonstrated the night before - but Mrs. Garrett argues that that's not prolly true, and that Bill deserves the benefit of the doubt. Jo nonsensically says that where she comes from, giving someone the benefit of the doubt lands them in the East River, and Mrs. Garrett tut tuts her for acting like "a Bronx barbarian" and suggests she just come right out and ask Bill if he's ashamed to be dating her. Jo mulls that over, then rushes back into the store to run that question past Bill. He tells Jo he's so used to people only liking him for his wealth, then accuses her of always acting cunty towards people who didn't happen to grow up as poor or disadvantaged as she did. He reminds her how long and hard she harped on her hatred of the snooty rich preptards at Langley...and when Jo sheepishly admits that she has a general policy of being prejudiced against privileged people, Bill suggests they go somewhere private to talk all this out off-camera. The two head out and wave goodbye to Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals, along with the small group of customers who apparently had nothing better to do that morning than to cluster together in order to eavesdrop on their private conversation. Weird.
Recap: The Facts gals (minus Blair) are slogging away in Edna's Edibles, their new home-workplace. Jo grumpishly tells Mrs. Garrett that the store is still in the red, then suggests various ways in which they could cut corners and save cash. Blair and her newest college friend Boots St. Clair, the snooty president of Langley's Gamma Gamma sorority who calls Blair Warnsey, breeze into the store. Blair introduces her to Mrs. Garrett and calls her a caterer extraordinaire...and when Boots says that the caterer that they hired for tomorrow night's rush party just went out of business, Mrs. Garrett visibly perks up. Jo accepts the gig on behalf of Edna's Edibles and negotiates a fee of $300, which Boots happily accepts. After Blair gushes about what an amazing feast Mrs. Garrett is sure to prepare, Boots announces that the election of new sorority members will take place immediately after everyone's chowed down on Mrs. Garrett's food. She tells Blair she's sure to be a shoo-in - but then pauses for a few seconds and reminds her that it only takes one vote to keep her from being elected into the sorority. Egads! After Boots flounces out of the store, Mrs. Garrett shriekily thanks Blair for recommending her for the catering job and says she hopes it will lead to more business from sororities and fraternities. Blair remarks that her mother and grandmother were members of Gamma Gamma and that she can't wait to move into the sorority house. Apparently, the dorm is no longer livable 'cause one of the girls on her floor is constantly playing the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian...which seems like a very strange music choice, but OK.
Later, Mrs. Garrett and her Facts gal helpers are busily making giant plates of Mexican food for the rush party. Blair drops by to see whassup and is aghast that Mrs. Garrett made the executive decision to go with Mexican food, and informs her that the Gamma Gammas want Chinese food for the party. Mrs. Garrett snarkishly says she's been at food-making a long time - but Blair bitchily points out that she's been a dietitian for a long time, not a caterer. True enough, but it remains unclear why neither of them thought to discuss the menu, given the tight timeline of this party. Blair wails, "How could you do this to meeeee?!" ... and after she and Mrs. Garrett bicker back and forth for several tedious minutes, she snaps, "You're fired!" and Mrs. Garrett storms out of the room. Tootie, Natalie, and Jo glare daggers at Blair, who explains that sometimes you have to "get tough with labor". Tootie snarks that if she doesn't find a way to make up with Mrs. Garrett, there will never be peace among the four of them. Blair's all, "Ack!" and says she'd be willing to apologize if Mrs. Garrett agrees to hop to it and whip up a big batch of Chinese food, like asap. Tootie offers to mediate the situation and scampers out of the room to talk to Mrs. Garrett.
Tootie implores Mrs. Garrett to talk to Blair and see things from her perspective - but Mrs. Garrett just barks, "I have feelings too!" and stomps upstairs. Tootie returns to the store...and when the Facts gals stare at her expectantly, she fibs and tells them that their talk went A-OK, and right now Mrs. Garrett is looking over recipes for Chinese food. Blair says she should probably go thank her - but Tootie blocks her and cagily says she'll pass along her thank you. Blair senses nothing amiss with that and flounces out of the store...and once she's out of earshot, Tootie admits to Natalie and Jo that she totally screwed the pooch at mediating the situation. Shocker. This means that the three of them will have to cater the rush party themselves...and Jo's all, "Wha-a-a?" and says she highly doubts they can successfully pull this off.
Over at the Gamma Gamma sorority house, the Facts gals are putting out the Chinese food they prepared, then recount for the audience all the weird ingredients they had to substitute for the stuff that wasn't readily available in the Edna's Edibles kitchen. Boots arrives with the sorority gals and credits Blair for providing them with a caterer at the last minute, then says she's looking forward to chowing down on the tasty looking feast. As everyone mills around the food table, Mrs. Garrett bursts in and shrieks at Jo, Natalie, and Tootie for catering this event while using her name and reputation. She wails that she's here to protect her business and informs Blair she had nothing to do with catering this party - just as Boots makes an eww face and tells Blair that the food is shitty with a capital S. Mrs. Garrett aborts her original purpose in bursting in on the party and haughtily retorts that this menu went over pretty well at the last Calvin Klein party she catered, and Boots easily buys her fib and looks impressed. The other sorority sisters also look impressed and decide that the food probably isn't so bad after all.
Back at the residence part of the Edna's Edibles building, the Facts gals are patting themselves on the back for pulling off a successful (though not really) faux Chinese feast. Blair thanks Mrs. Garrett for pretending to be a successful caterer to a world famous designer and says if she makes it into Gamma Gamma, she'll owe her one. Mrs. Garrett says she didn't like lying to Boots, but admits to Blair that she probably should have consulted with her about the menu before randomly deciding to make Mexican food, which...well, d'yuh. Blair concedes that she behaved like a spoiled child when she fired her, and the two hug it out. A few seconds later, Boots breezes in and gives Blair the good news: she's been elected to join Gamma Gamma. Hurray! Blair asks her if it was 'cause of the excellent catering that she was able to arrange at the last minute - but Boots says she was voted in in spite of the shittastic feast - but then reveals that there was never any way he wouldn't have been voted into the sorority 'cause she's a legacy. Blair's all, "Wuh?" and says she's deeply annoyed that she was led to believe it wasn't a sure thing - but Boots just cackles and struts out.
Blair grumbles about the Gamma Gamma girls tricking her into worrying about whether or not she was going to get into the sorority, but Mrs. Garrett just shrugs and says it's all part of the Greek life tradition. Blair says she now thinks the Gamma Gammas are shallow twats, and that she's starting to call into question if she really wants to live with a pack of airheads...which puts her in a contrived bind now that her dorm room situation has become an intolerable homage to Conan the Barbarian music. Mrs. Garrett says she could always help restore the show's winning formula and move into Edna's Edibles so that she can go back to living under the same roof with her and the other three Facts gals. She then gets all fake solemn and says that before that can happen they'll have to conduct an election...and Natalie, Tootie and a "reluctant" Jo all give her a happy thumbs up.
Yippee! The gang's together again.
'80s social issues: prepare to be tackled in twenty-two minute increments.
Recap: The new season begins at Langley College, where Blair is playing cards with a gaggle of new friends...and flirting with a hunky blonde guy named Barry. A glum looking Jo lumbers in and snaps, "We have to talk" ... and the two head over to Blair's dorm room so that Jo can bellyache about the writers' latest contrivance: the part-time job the college promised her fell through...and without any income, she can't afford to get through the semester. (It remains unclear why she doesn't consider looking for a part-time job elsewhere.) Blair rolls her eyes and complains about how tedious it is to always have to hear about her chronic money problems. She urges Jo to apply for student aid - but Jo nonsensically retorts that she doesn't want to beg anyone for money, even though her dismal financial situation is exactly why student aid was invented. Blair suggests she find a cheaper place to live, then tells her to stop whining about her problems 'cause these are supposed to be her carefree years. Jo snaps, "Well excuse me. Don't let my anguish interfere with your collegial experience" ... and Blair sighs, tells her to lighten up, and reminds her that Mrs. Garrett, Natalie, and Tootie are coming by for a visit, and she'd rather they didn't know that anything is amiss in her world.
Over at Eastland, Mrs. Garrett is shrieking into a tape recorder, bitching about how Mr. Parker is making her plan a brunch for the alumni president. Natalie and Tootie enter the kitchen to remind her that they're leaving for Langley soon, then ask whassup with all the shrieking into a tape recorder. Mrs. Garrett explains that it's an audio letter for her son, then says she'd like to mail her tape/letter to Raymond on their way to the college. Mr. Parker chooses that moment to drop by and throw a wrench in her plans by announcing that the alumni president's brunch is being changed from 11:00am to 8:00pm...which effectively means it's now a dinner. He orders her to cook Moroccan food 'cause the alumni president recently gabbled about how sumptuous and exotic it is - and Mrs. Garrett looks alarmed and shrieks, "It's in two days!" Mr. Parker shrugs, assures her she'll do fine, then leaves her to her meltdown. Mrs. Garrett shriekily tells Tootie and Natalie they'll have to go to Langley without her, then does her best to not have a stress-induced stroke.
Natalie and Tootie arrive at the Langley students' lounge and do their best to nonchalantly blend in with the college crowd...until Tootie starts giddily snapping photographs of everything. One of the college girls snootily snarks, "Can we help you kids?" just as a hunky guy wearing just a towel cinched around his waist saunters in and says he's looking for his Basic Anatomy. After the obligatory cackling from the studio audience, he tells no one in particular that if they find the book, please bring it to his dorm room. Natalie perks up at what could be her first sexy opportunity and starts frantically searching the lounge for the text book, but has no luck locating it. A few seconds later, Jo and Blair enter the lounge...and they all hug each other hello, then head outside for a stroll around campus.
Mrs. Garrett once again is ranting into her tape recorder about Mr. Parker when he drops by the kitchen a second time to inform her that the alumni president no longer wants Moroccan food at his dinner, but rather authentic Chinese food. Mrs. Garrett starts wailing about how he runs Eastland by mood and whim, but he just shrugs and tells her she'd better start chopping vegetables for the Kung Pao. Once he's out of earshot, Mrs. Garrett moans into the tape recorder about how she's sooooooo tired of being at the mercy of her douchetard boss and wishes more than anything that she could be in charge of her own destiny. Hang in there, Edna.
That night, Jo sneaks into Blair's dorm room 'cause she had to move out of her room due to her contrived no cash situation...and says she plans to crash here until a solution to her money problems magically presents itself before the end of this two-part episode. Blair looks dismayed by the thought of living with Jo in her teeny tiny space and warns her that they could both be expelled for breaking Langley's strict on-campus housing rules. Jo just shrugs, since it's pretty clear she doesn't give even the tiniest of rat's asses about dragging Blair into her never ending poverty problems.
Tootie is showing Mrs. Garrett all the photos she snapped while visiting Langley when Raymond quietly sneaks into the kitchen, puts his hands over Mrs. Garrett's eyes and does the annoying guess who? thing. She lets out a happy screech when she sees it's her son, who explains that he's in Peekskill on business and has something special he'd like to announce in dramatic fashion.
In the next scene, Raymond takes his mom to a dilapidated store, then spreads his arms and squeals, "All this is yours!" She glances around at the dusty room filled with broken furniture and goes, "All what?" so he tells her that the dump was an Armenian deli until it went belly-up...and that he bought the building so she could quit the shitty job she keeps complaining to him about in audio letters and open her own gourmet food shop and/or catering business. When she just stares dully into space, he reminds her it's been a dream of hers for years, and that he has every confidence she'll make a success of it. Mrs. Garrett glances around, weighs the pros and cons of quitting a job that offers financial security as well as summers off, and promises to think about it. When the Facts gals arrive, Raymond blurts out that his mom is quitting Eastland to open her own gourmet food shop, and Tootie and Natalie are all, "Wha-a-a?!" then ask her if it's really wise to start a business venture at her advanced age. Mrs. Garrett wanders around the room, absorbing the fact that since this show is going to limp along for another five seasons, the writers had little choice but to cobble together a scenario that would explain why in blazes she and the Facts gals would still be living under the same roof together. She officially announces that, yep, she's leaving Eastland to go into business for herself.
Blair is up early, styling her hair in her dorm room when Jo sneaks in after using the bathroom. As they continually bump into each other in case viewers haven't yet fully grasped that the dorm room is way too small to house two people, Blair tells her she hates this arrangement and asks her when she's moving out. Jo vaguely says she needs to find a job first, then announces that she'll be back at 11pm. She's about to climb out the window when suddenly Ms. Aames, the hall patrol Nazi, raps on Blair's door. After Jo dives into the closet, Blair opens the door and gets snarked at by Ms. Aames for hanging her delicates in the communal bathroom. Blair promises to take them down asap and hustles her out of the room - just as Jo spills out of the closet and loudly complains about all the chiffon she has on her hangers. What a rude ingrate.
Mrs. Garrett is in her room at Eastland, drafting her resignation letter, when Tootie drops by for no particular reason. Mrs. Garrett tells her she's having difficulty coming up with the right words for her letter, so Tootie suggests kiss off 'cause of how shittily Mr. Parker has treated her over the years. Mrs. Garrett looks faux appalled and says that being a rude and inconsiderate douchenozzle is just Mr. Parker's way. A few seconds later, Mr. Parker drops by to chide Mrs. Garrett for the shitty Chinese feast she prepared for the alumni president, and how much better a light brunch would have been. Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face angrily and blurts out, "You can just...kiss off!!" and the studio audience roars its approval.
Blair is studying with hunky Barry in her dorm room when Jo climbs in through the window, tells the two it's 11pm, and rudely barks at Barry to leave. When Blair bitches at her about the inconvenience of the two of sharing such a small space, Ms. Aames bursts in, is all, "A-ha!", and says it's against the rules for two gals to shack up in a dorm room together...regardless of how subtle their non-hetero attraction is for each other. She ominously says that the last time this sort of thing happened, both girls were expelled. Oh no!
Natalie and Tootie drop by the newly named Edna's Edibles to help Mrs. Garrett clean up. They glumly tell her that instead of hiring a new dietitian, Mr. Parker has cheaped out and contracted a caterer to truck in the food every day. The two then complain that because Mrs. Garrett is no longer employed as the school's dietician/house-mother, they've been assigned to different dorm rooms in separate buildings. Egads! A few seconds later, Mr. Parker drops by to beg Mrs. Garrett to return to Eastland 'cause apparently the catering company idea isn't working out as well as he hoped. Mrs. Garrett tells him it's nice to know he finally appreciates all the hard work she did during her years at Eastland, but firmly says no 'cause her mind is made up. She says she'll continue to cater his wife's parties, along with the school dinners, then sternly informs him that from now on he's going to have to pay her exorbitant catering fee. Mr. Parker's all, "Wuh? Pay?" then finally dials back his dickishness and acknowledges that, yep, she'll make a darn fine caterer. Let's hope this marks the last time we ever have to see this presumptuous assbag.
Jo and Blair arrive at Edna's Edibles, and Jo announces that she's going back to the Bronx to continue her family's cycle of poverty now that she has no part-time job to pay for her rent...and apparently no amount of resourcefulness to pound the pavement. She adds that she got in trouble with the dean of students for illegally squatting in Blair's dorm room and is now on probation. Mrs. Garrett looks as if she suddenly got a fantastic idea and tells her that, as luck would have it, the Edna's Edibles building has an extra apartment upstairs...because, yes, of course it does. I'll bet it's big enough for four! Jo half-heartedly tells her she couldn't possibly sponge off of her, and Mrs. Garrett's like, "Well d'yuh" and says she plans to put her to work in her new store, since there's no way she can do everything herself. Jo mulls that over for a few seconds, accepts her offer, and the two share a happy hug.
Natalie and Tootie are all, "What about us?!" 'cause they too need a reason to regularly hang out at Edna's Edibles as they periodically tackle the social problems of the '80s. Jo points out that there's plenty of work to go around, and Mrs. Garrett nods thoughtfully and says she'll talk to Mr. Parker and the gals' parents about granting permission for them to live in the apartment above Edna's Edibles...'cause, yeah, I'm sure it'll make total sense to Natalie's and Tootie's parents for their underage children to live with a shrieky woman in an off-campus apartment above her food shop.
Mrs. Garrett notices Blair standing off to the side, so she tantalizingly tells her that the spare apartment is big enough for four - heh - but Blair unexpectedly throws a wrench in the show's formula by saying she has zero desire to live over a kitchen again. She says she'd really like to move into a sorority house that has a lot of space...and Mrs. Garrett just kind of shrugs and says she should do what she wants. For now, anyway. As she and the other three Facts gals get busy sweeping and mopping, Jo tosses Blair a broom and snaps, "You can still help us clean up", and that's where this two-part season premiere abruptly ends. Weird.
Recap: Natalie and Tootie are busy doing the support work for tomorrow's graduation ceremony - yippee! it's the graduation episode! - while Blair gives hair, makeup, and fashion tips to random Eastland extras sporting frizzy '80s mullet perms. Jo is practicing her valedictory speech on Mrs. Garrett, who's shrieking about how frazzled she is that she's solely responsible for the graduation ceremony, reception, and all the food. That's dicked up - why wasn't anyone from the faculty roped into helping her out? Or is this Mr. Parker's not-so-subtle way of driving Mrs. Garrett so nuts that she'll quit in protest in the Season 5 premiere (spoiler)? Alexandra (the Italian princess) is attempting to pitch in, but judging by the annoyed look on Mrs. Garrett's face, it doesn't look like whatever she's doing is very helpful...so Mrs. Garrett asks her to stand outside and wait for the bread delivery guy. A few seconds later, the bread delivery guy - in the form of dorky Roy - arrives and somehow Alexandra seems intrigued by his doltish charm. Roy tells Jo he has a graduation present for her...and by graduation present he means a forcible lip smooch while bending her over backwards - which, by today's #metoo sensibilities, would probably be considered an assault.
Tootie is twirling around in Blair's red graduation gown while Blair continues to give fashion advice to her hapless schoolmates. Jo gruffly forbids anyone from ever bringing up Roy's blechy kiss, and the gals just giggle at the revolting spectacle. Mama Polniaczek arrives at the school and gushes about how proud of her daughter she is...and when Jo tells her she's almost done packing up all of her stuff, Tootie puts her sad face on and laments to Natalie that Jo and Blair are about to leave Eastland forever. Natalie's like, "Well d'yuh, it's the Season 4 finale. They can't attend high school forever...however much the producers might want us all to" as Tootie wrings her hands and grapples with all the changes Season 5 is going to bring to the show. When Tootie tells Blair that everything's about to change after she and Jo move out, Blair breezily remarks that she needs to send out change-of-address cards asap...and Tootie gets annoyed at her for not being sad enough about their impending separation. Jo reminds her that Langley is close enough for the four of them to still hang out once in awhile - but Tootie refuses to be comforted and wails about how "the four musketeers" won't be rooming together or slinging hash in the kitchen anymore. She cries, "We're not going to be friends anymore!" and actually starts sobbing - OMFG - and Natalie puts forth her best half-hearted effort to comfort her by patting her on one shoulder and staring morosely into space.
After the commercial break, Natalie makes Tootie an ice cream sundae and coos that everything's going to be A-OK. A few seconds later, Geri - fuuuuuuuuuuuck - arrives and gives the cafeteria a nostalgic once-over and says she's really going to miss dropping in on this place uninvited, prompting Tootie to wail about how nothing is ever going to be the same again. Blair's mom arrives and tells Blair she ran into her shitbag of an ex-husband in the hotel lobby, then bitchily adds how surprised she is that he even bothered to put in an appearance. Jo bustles into the room and says she needs to use the typewriter to type up her valedictory speech - but Blair insists that she suddenly needs the typewriter for no particular reason...and the two bicker in a really contrived sounding way 'bout that for awhile. Tootie scrunches her face disapprovingly and says they should be spending every moment they have left reminiscing about Eastland and their friendships...and Natalie joins Tootie in lamenting all the changes that will soon be coming their way.
Alexandra tells Mrs. Garrett that she and Roy bought ten boxes of pineapples...and when Mrs. Garrett's all, "Why in blazes would you do that?" Alexandra says she thought she heard her say, "I need a hundred pineapples." Mrs. Garrett screeches, "I said I need a hundred pie apples!" and orders the dimwit to return the unwanted fruit. I think maybe Eastland should budget for a caterer to feed its graduating class instead of relying solely on such a volatile, shrieky in-house dietician.
Mrs. Garrett is going through the details of the ceremony with the seniors when Mama Polniazcek storms in to bitch about how her ex-husband hasn't arrived at the school yet. Jo pulls her aside and tells her to shut it 'cause she's kinda busy at the moment - just as Blair receives a flower delivery from her father, who has been called away to London on business. When Mama Warner gets wind of that she starts railing about what an absentee douchefuck of a father he is. While that's happening, Papa Polniaczek makes a grand entrance decked out in a flashy new suit and announces that he booked a couple of rooms at the swanky Peekskill Inn. Mama Polniaczek snarks back that she already booked their rooms at the cheapest, grimiest Motel 8 she could find...and Papa Polniaczek's like, "Whatever" and announces that he's treating everyone to dinner! As he and his ex-wife argue back and forth, Mama Warner starts complaining to no one in particular about her ex - until Blair and Jo shriek at their parents to shut the fuck up, then storm out of the room and into the kitchen. Jo rails that she's definitely not going to her dad's stupid dinner, and Blair ups the ante by declaring, "I'm fasting!" Tootie and Natalie perk up at that and suggest that this new development means they can spend their last night at Eastland together talking about old times, but Jo snarks that there's nothing about Eastland she wants to remember and that she can't wait to see this dump of a school in her rear view mirror. Blair concurs, gets all in Natalie's face, and snarks, "I don't want to hear your sap!" and storms up the stairs after Jo...and Tootie and Natalie stare perturbedly into space.
The next day, Blair and Jo apologize to Natalie and Tootie for their bitchy outburst and explain that the stress of graduation has been making them act more squirrelly than usual. Tootie grabs her camera and snaps pics of them while singing Memories...and a few seconds later, Mrs. Garrett enters the kitchen to shriekily remind Jo and Blair to start getting ready for the ceremony. Mama Warner arrives with Geri - fuuuuuuuuuuuck - and once again rails to Blair about what a shit her ex-husband is...blah blah...and that she never should have married the deadbeat. Blair tells her to calm down and says she's accepted that her dad loves her despite his negligent parenting style 'cause she doesn't want to go through life all bitter and hate-filled...and her mom finally gets a self-reflective clue and stares sheepishly into space.
Jo is in her graduation gown, about to head over to the auditorium, when her mom storms in to snark about how late her ex is probably going to be. &*^%$!! Jo irritably tells her to zip it with the overplayed complaining just as Roy enters the cafeteria wearing a pink satin jacket and clutching a single rose. He explains that he has "an appointment" with Alexandra and hopes that Jo can somehow bring herself to get over him. Papa Polniaczek arrives and presents Jo with a jewelry box that has an expensive diamond pendant inside. Jo declines and tells him he can't afford it, and adds that it's far too fancy for her tomboyish taste...so he explains that the gift is actually for her mom. When Mama Polniaczek snarks that she doesn't need it, he says he's doing his best to say thank you for all the hash slinging she's had to do in order to pay for Jo's Eastland tuition. He says he wanted this weekend to be special for the both of them and tells his ex, "It's sorta like your graduation too." Mama Polniaczek looks touched, accepts the pendant, and admits she's very impressed. As the two grin stupidly at each other, Jo says they need to hightail it to the auditorium before the ceremony starts.
Over in the auditorium, the seniors are decked out in their caps and gowns, pacing nervously. Jo panics and wails that she can't remember her valedictorian speech on account of her eyes and brain not working together...and Blair tells her to chill the fuck out and concentrate on the key lines of her speech. Jo suddenly remembers her speech, then gets misty-eyed as she recites it while having black and white flashbacks of herself interacting with the other three Facts gals over the years - and it seems like a disproportionate number of the flashbacks include snuggling under a blanket with Blair...mmm hmm. As the graduation music begins, everyone gets emotional as they line up and file inside the auditorium. Blair and Jo cackle, "No more high school!" then suddenly stare at each other solemnly as it fully dawns on them that everything in their lives is about to change...though not really, since the only big change in Season 5 is that the show will be filmed on the Edna Edibles set instead of the Eastland set.
As Jo and Blair finish packing up their stuff in the communal bedroom, Natalie and Tootie are giddy with the excitement that they no longer have to sleep in bunks 'cause they plan to take over Blair's and Jo's beds. Not sure why they'd assume they'd still be rooming above the cafeteria now that the debt they owed for all the damage they caused is paid in full. I'm assuming, anyway. Mrs. Garrett enters the room bearing gifts: Jo gets a decorative rock 'cause it has crystals, minerals, and therefore - like Jo - has a lot more to it than meets the eye. To Blair she gifts a pretty sweater she knitted, then wanks her about how much she's grown and matured over the years and feels lucky to count her as a friend. Blair tears up and hugs Mrs. Garrett, who then heads back down to the kitchen to clean up after the reception. After she leaves, a teary Jo says she doesn't know how to say goodbye to their beloved house-mother...and Natalie's like, "Don't" 'cause apparently they made a nonsensical pact to not say goodbye.
Jo says that someone is going to have to say it, and Blair concurs and says their days of following contrived dorm rules are over...um, until the Season 5 premiere. Jo admits that it's going to be hard to cut the cord with them, but Natalie suddenly cheers up and says that Langley isn't far away, and that surely the four of them can get together regularly without these four walls forcing them to stay in such close proximity. Blair says they have to commit to staying friends, and Jo agrees and says the best way to do it is to just do it...I guess in lieu of focusing on her new college life and investing time and energy in a fresh circle of friends. Mrs. Garrett pokes her head in the room and sheepishly says that the clean-up people have bailed on her 'cause they got the dates confused...and could Tootie and Natalie please report downstairs for kitchen duty? Jo and Blair are like, "Wuh? What about us?" and Mrs. Garrett says she didn't think they'd want to clean up after their own graduation ceremony, but they're like, "Of course we do!" and eagerly put on their aprons so they too can pitch in. Mrs. Garrett beams at them and says, "It's good to have the team together again!" and smiles wistfully into space as the mandatory applause sign flashes at the studio audience.
Recap: It's exam time at Eastland, and the Facts gals enter their bedroom loaded down with snacks for an all night study-fest. Jo snipes at Blair for losing her book about World War II, then wails, "I have a history exam tomorrow!" ... and a frazzled Blair tells her to lay off the sniping 'cause she too has been busy and is tense about her exams. As Natalie unpacks the bagfuls of food and milk, Mrs. Garrett drops by to frown disapprovingly at their plans to stay up all night cramming [while over-snacking on junk food] - but Jo insists that cramming [and over-snacking] is a necessity on Exam Eve...and is something the writers have chosen to structure the entire episode around. Mrs. Garrett urges them to just get a good night's sleep, then lets out an exaggerated yawn to try to get them yawning. Blair chuckles and says, "Nice try, Mrs. Garrett", and Mrs. Garrett shrugs and heads off to bed. For a little while, anyway.
Natalie tries to get the girls pumped up for their all-nighter while Blair admonishes herself for always waiting until the last minute to start studying. And speaking of procrastinating, she asks the girls if they'd like to warm up by playing a game of cards, and they snark at her to shut it...but then agree to delay their studying until after they're done chowing down on banana bread.
At 10pm, Tootie has her headphones on and is singing along with the music. Natalie, who's wearing a funny looking blue baseball cap with yellow energy bolts on either side, glares in Tootie's direction ,then grabs her pencil and breaks it in two. Tootie glares back at her and snarks about how much she hates her energy bolt hat, and Natalie snaps back that it's her exam hat, and "explains" that the yellow bolts function like brain wave conductors. She then moans about her chemistry exam and how hard it is to remember the symbols for each element. Tootie grumbles about how all this studying is a waste of time, then questions the importance it's going to have in their lives - so Jo points out that the purpose of homework and studying is to force them to use their brains. She then marvels about how she once thought she'd like to be a race car driver, but is now thinking about becoming a teacher...'cause what the hell's the point of going to a fancy fictional college if you're just going to race cars?? Natalie goes to get herself another snack and gasps when she realizes that all the food has been eaten...and just as they all start panicking about their no food situation, Jo suggests they order in a pizza, 'cause I guess the cookies, Ho Hos, and banana bread hasn't been enough to sustain them.
At around midnight, Natalie stands by the window and anxiously awaits the delivery of their pizza while Blair reads aloud from a romance novel...then sighs and says it reminds her of the non-hetero feelings she's harbored for Jo since Season 2 - I mean her boyfriend Chad, who's apparently an expert kisser. Mrs. Garrett drops by to see how the four of them are holding up...and when they do their best to suppress yawns, she suggests they turn the lights off and rest for a few minutes. Tootie agrees that a short nap might do them some good...and they all retire to their beds while Jo sets the alarm on a clock that isn't plugged in.
Jo wakes up at 2am, is all, "Ooooh noooo!", and wakes everyone up. As Natalie blames Tootie for unplugging the clock when she made hot chocolate earlier, Tootie giggles at one of her energy bolts, which is limply hanging off the side of her hat. Mrs. Garrett drops by to deliver the pizza they ordered hours earlier and bewilderedly asks what happened to their many bagfuls of food...and they all just shriek, "Pizza!" and stampede toward the desk and ravage the pie as if they haven't eaten in months. Mrs. Garrett tells them that when she was in boarding school, she and her roommates used to blow off steam by having pillow fights...and once that seed has been firmly planted, she heads back to her room. Tootie mulls over the idea of a pillow fight, decides she likes the sound of it, and smacks Jo with her pillow...and before long, all four gals are pelting each other with their pillows.
At 5am, Blair and Jo are studying side by side at the desk...and Blair looks over at Jo and solemnly confesses how apprehensive she is about the writers taking Facts beyond the Eastland years and filming on an entirely new set next season. Jo says it's normal to be scared about taking the next step in life, and assures her she's going to loooove the show's transition to the college years while the writers figure out a way to explain why in blazes the four of them would still be living together - under the same roof as Mrs. Garrett. Jo confesses what's been wigging her out lately: her parents and all their Bronx friends/neighbors are counting on her to not screw up 'cause no one in their gritty orbit has ever attended college. Tootie, meanwhile, helps Natalie as she tries to memorize the element chart for chemistry. When she gets the symbol for gold (AU) wrong, Tootie suggests the word association technique: a mugger steals her gold watch, and she responds by yelling, "Aye! You! (AU!) Gimme me back my watch!" Bwahahaha!! That's actually not a bad way to remember that particular symbol.
By 8am, the girls are dressed in their uniforms and ready to take on their exams. They agree to meet back at the cafeteria for lunch just as Mrs. Garrett drops by with some orange juice. After they quickly down the juice and rush off, a wistful looking Mrs. Garrett picks up Natalie's bolt hat and chuckles at its goofiness.
Recap: The cafeteria is filled with a gaggle of Eastland extras who are wooting/crying over their acceptance/rejection letters from the various colleges they applied to. Mrs. Garrett is comforting a particularly distraught looking girl when Natalie marches over with a microphone and tape recorder and cheekily asks the girl how it feels to be rejected from the college of her choice...and the girl shrieks in mortification and flees the room. Tootie and Alexandra (of The Royal Pain episode) make an entrance, and Tootie explains to the Italian princess that college hopefuls get either a thin or fat envelop from the colleges they applied to, and that a fat envelop is good 'cause it generally means it's an acceptance. Blair enters the room with a faux glum look on her face...and when Mrs. Garrett asks her if she got a fat envelop in the mail, she says no, then beams from ear to ear and announces, "I got three fat envelopes!" and happily says she got into every college she applied to: Wellesley, Smith, and the fictional Langley (her top choice, conveniently located in Peekskill so that her post-secondary school decision won't disrupt the show's winning formula of four aging teenagers living under the same roof as their housemother). When Jo enters the room, Blair also gives her the good news...and Jo congratulates her and shiftily says she hasn't heard anything from any colleges yet. After everyone clears out of the cafeteria, Mrs. Garrett asks Jo whassup with the large yellow envelop sticking out of her back pocket, and Jo admits that's it's her acceptance letter from Langley. Mrs. Garrett lets out a joyful screech and gives her a congratulatory hug - but Jo just shrugs and says it's no big deal. Mrs. Garrett argues that it is a big deal, especially since she was awarded a partial scholarship. She scrunches her face in puzzlement and asks Jo why she didn't tell the Facts gals about her acceptance letter, so Jo says she's not planning to attend Langley...'cause even with a partial scholarship, her mother could never afford to pay the hefty tuition costs. Mrs. Garrett urges her to discuss it with her mother, but Jo refuses and says she's had a hard enough life already, slaving away at two minimum wage jobs just so she could attend Eastland. When Mrs. Garrett refrains from pointing out that Mama Polniaczek likely sent her to a fancy boarding school so she could get into a fancy college and one day earn a lot of dough, Jo dramatically rips up her acceptance letter and announces that she's off to the Bronx for the weekend. Mrs. Garrett stares after her concernedly and is all, "Wha-a-a-a-a?"
Mama Polniaczek greets Jo in the hallway of her building when she arrives and gives her a hello hug. When they enter the apartment, a group of Bronx extras yell, "Surprise!" and we see that the little apartment is decorated with balloons, streamers, and a Congratulations for getting into Langley! poster. Jo immediately gets irked and asks her mom if Mrs. Garrett blabbed to her about Langley, but her mom says she found out about her acceptance when she received a bunch of financial aid forms in the mail from Langley and put two and two together. She gushes about how proud she is...as does Aunt Evelyn, who gushingly calls her a genius. Jo pulls her mom aside so she can quietly point out that in order to qualify for an acceptance to Langley, they're going to have to fork over $6,000 which neither of them has. Mama Polniaczek insists she has the funds to cover it, then tells her about the hot stock tip she got from a customer at one of the restaurants she works at...and how she subsequently turned over her life savings of $900 to her ex-husband to invest for her. Since then, the stock has gone through the roof, and her investment is now worth $5,000. Assuming this happened in the somewhat recent past, that sounds like a completely implausible ROI, but then I'm a recapper not a stock market analyst. A few seconds later, Papa Polniaczek arrives at the party...and when he gets a moment alone with Jo, he confesses that he didn't actually invest his ex's $900 in what he assumed was "a long shot stock" - and instead put it in a low earning money market account, where it's currently worth about $1,000...which, incidentally, sounds like a far more realistic return on her money. Jo's all, "Wha-a-a?" and tells him he's going to have to confess to Mama Polniaczek that he totally screwed the pooch on her investment plans.
After Papa Polniaczek has dropped the bomb about the money and quickly fled, his ex-wife is sitting on the couch, staring despondently into space. She insists that there has to be a way to send Jo to Langley - there is: apply for a student loan - but Jo says she'll get herself a minimum wage job and move back in so the two of them can be roommates. Mama Polniaczek wails that she doesn't need a roommate, but rather a daughter with a future...and Jo yells, "I'm not going to college, and that's that!" and storms out of the room, leaving her mother staring worriedly after her.
The next morning, Papa Polniaczek drops by the apartment looking sheepish. He tells Jo it would be a crazy decision to not go to college, then promises to somehow come up with her tuition money. His ex-wife bitchily reminds him he's a deadbeat ex-convict with zero financial resources, and the two start bickering until Jo screams at them to shut up, then storms out of the apartment.
Jo cuts her Bronx weekend short and returns to Eastland. Natalie gushes at her about how awesome Langley is and explains that she found her ripped up acceptance letter. She then sticks her microphone in Jo's face and asks her why in blazes she'd turn down a partial scholarship, and Jo shoots her the stink-eye and shoves her away.
Mama and Papa Polniaczek arrive at Eastland to wrap up the 'we're going to put our heads together and find a way to send Jo to college' story arc. Papa Polniaczek insists that Jo get herself educated - and Mama Polniaczek concurs 'cause she'll be damned if she doesn't recoup at least some of the money she's worked her ass off slinging hash in two restaurants to keep up with Jo's pricey Eastland tuition payments. When Jo points out that they're going to need $2,000 for a college deposit in the very near future, Papa Polniaczek says it suddenly dawned on him during the ride over that he could sell his '66 Mustang. When Jo half-heartedly says she can't let him sell his beloved car, he tells her he always knew he was saving it for something important and that he'd be honored to invest in her future. Jo looks touched and hugs him just as Mrs. Garrett and Blair return from spending the afternoon at Langley. Blair shows off all the shirts and banners she bought...and when Jo grabs one of the Langley shirts and puts it on, Blair says it'd prolly make more sense for her to buy one from her own school. Jo proudly says, "Langley is my school. See you around campus!" and Blair scrunches her face and is all, "Wha-a-a?" - but then beams at the thought of carrying on with her unrequited, non-hetero crush on Jo well into the Facts college years and chirps, "Great!" just as the episode comes to a weirdly abrupt end.
Recap: Blair is in the process of filling out her college applications...and when Mrs. Garrett reads over the essay portion of one of them, she's dismayed to learn that Blair considers Calvin Klein the person who's had the biggest influence on her life. She says it may not be what the admissions people are looking for, but Blair cockily says that since her last name is Warner, every college will be tripping over itself to accept her application (and her rich family's money) no matter how shallow she comes across in her essay. Jo enters the room and announces that she's entering the stock market 'cause she's been learning all about it in her economics class. She says she's managed to save up $30 to begin an investment portfolio, and Mrs. Garrett puts her solemn face on and urges her to be careful now that she's taken up gambling...and she says this as if investing in the stock market should be equated with playing craps in a Vegas casino. Jo ignores that dumb remark and says she could use some help choosing which stocks to buy...but when Blair offers to make a few suggestions, she snarkishly declines her expertise.
Natalie, her new fella Gil, and Tootie (who's been third-wheeling it with them all day) enter the cafeteria and gabble about how much fun they all had at the Bates game. Gil gets introduced to everyone, politely tells Mrs. Garrett he's heard good things about her cooking, then heads home. Once he's out of hearing range, Tootie and Natalie gush about how super awesome he is - but then Natalie scrunches her face concernedly and says he seems to go through a lot of girlfriends and worries that he's going to dump her like yesterday's news. She then shakes that off and excitedly tells Tootie that she and Gil have a date on Sunday...and that he called her ravishing when he asked her out. Squeal! She asks Tootie if it's OK that she cancels their Sunday plans so she can go out with Gil, and Tootie breezily says she's totes fine with that. For the moment, anyway.
Tootie shows Mrs. Garrett and Blair the giant bowl of popcorn she made for herself and Natalie to munch on while they get caught up on their busy lives. Mrs. Garrett remarks on how much Natalie and Gil have been seeing of each other lately - just as Jo bursts into the room to announce that she's taken the Wall Street plunge and invested her $30 in a compact limo company. She's currently the happy owner of one share. Apparently, Blair recommended it as a sure winner...though it's really too bad she didn't know to recommend Apple stock back in the '80s. Natalie breezes in and tells Tootie she can only stay a few seconds 'cause she has to return Gil's shirt, then help him write his essay. Tootie poutishly shows her the giant bowl of popcorn she made for the two of them to eat while they hang out...so Natalie grabs a handful of popcorn, scarfs it down, and hightails it out of there. Tootie angrily dumps the popcorn in the trash can and starts railing to Mrs. Garrett about how this is now the fourth time Natalie has cancelled their plans to be with Gil. When it's clear how minuscule a shit Mrs. Garrett gives about any of this, Blair explains, "She's a woman in love. No one else exists" ... but then Jo chimes in and agrees that it's a lousy way to treat a friend.
Natalie is gushing to Blair about Gil's awesomeness when Tootie bursts in and tells Natalie she loooooves the new Lionel Ritchie song - LOL - and Natalie's like, "That's nice", then turns her attention back to Blair and waxes on about how hard Gil makes her laugh. When Tootie tries to join the conversation, Natalie condescendingly tells her she can't possibly relate to all this love talk 'cause she's never been in love herself. Tootie asks her to describe what it's like, and Natalie dreamily says that Gil thinks about her all the time...then turns to Blair again and adds that he even dreams about her. As the two giggle, Jo enters the room and happily announces that her stock just went up by a quarter point, and thanks Blair for recommending it and calls her a genius. Natalie says that she and Gil are going out to eat and then do some studying...and after she heads upstairs to change, the pay phone rings. Tootie answers it, and it's Gil who asks her to please tell Natalie to meet him at the bookstore at 6:30pm. When Natalie comes back downstairs a few seconds later, Tootie fibs and tells her that Gil just called to cancel their dinner/study plans. Natalie's like, "What? Oh nooo!!" and says she should probably call him to see whassup - but Tootie advises against that and says she got the feeling he was with a girl when he called 'cause she could hear high-pitched giggling in the background. Natalie stares despondently into space as Tootie perks up and points out that since she's suddenly free for the evening, they can go to a movie and have some BFF-only fun! Natalie nods and sadly says, "Yeah, OK" and solemnly tells her she's a real friend...and Tootie stares sheepishly into the distance for a few seconds, but then perks right up again and chirps, "You can always count on me!" For shame, Tootie! For shame.
As Natalie sits in the cafeteria, continuing to stare despondently into space, Gil bursts in and demands to know why she just stood him up. She's all, "Wuh?" and tells him she's been here the whole time, moping, and he's like, "Wuh?" and says he's been waiting for her at the bookstore, where he told Tootie to tell her to meet him. Tootie enters the room at that moment, is all, "Ack!" when she sees Gil and Natalie talking and tries to sneakily tiptoe past them, but Natalie quickly puts two and two together and screeches, "Toooootie!" and chases after her.
Tootie flees to Mrs. Garrett's room and is helping her fold sheets when Natalie storms in. She tattles to Mrs. Garrett about Tootie lying to her about Gil's phone message and snaps, "There's a liar living under this roof!" When Tootie haughtily tells her she got what she deserved, Natalie tells her she needs to get out and mingle with other girls, since it's obvious she's way too dependent on her. She then tries to get Mrs. Garrett interested in chastising Tootie further, but Mrs. Garrett refuses to take sides and admonishes them both: Tootie for lying 'cause lying a terrible thing, and Natalie for shoving Tootie aside so she can hang out with Gil. Natalie doesn't take kindly to the criticism and tells her to mind her own bidness.
Blair is reading the business section of the newspaper when she notices that the compact limo company she recommended Jo invest in has gone down in value. She thinks back to the face punching she got in the Best Sister episode, then goes, "Ack! I can't let Jo see this!" - and naturally Jo enters the room at that exact moment and demands to see the paper. She checks out the stock market page and wails, "I'm ruined!", then advances on Blair and chases her out of the room. Natalie, meanwhile, enters the cafeteria and is so overcome with emotion she's unable to spit out what's bothering her. She says she needs to talk it out with Tootie, but Mrs. Garrett tells her she's out mingling with other girls to expand her BFF horizons. Natalie rails about how she's never here when she needs her, and Mrs. Garrett sternly reminds her that she was the one who told Tootie to make other friends, on account of how needy and clingy she was getting. Natalie scrunches her face confusedly and goes, "I did? What a creep.." Blair races back into the room with Jo in close pursuit...but Jo suddenly backs off and tells her she's decided to refrain from punching her in the face again, then announces that she's pulling her money out of the stock market - all $30 of it. After a day and a half, she's decided she's too nerve-wracked by stocks raising and falling in value and can't take the pressure, so she's going into real estate...and by going into real estate she means she's going to purchase a parking spot for her motorbike. Sounds like someone didn't learn a helluva lot in her economics class about the stock market.
Tootie bursts into the cafeteria with two girls, giggling about all the madcap fun they're having. Natalie sighs loudly while looking as depressed as possible, and Tootie looks over at her sympathetically and tells her friends she's going to stay in and study...and then she and Natalie head over to the lounge for a private one-on-one. Natalie moans about how her world is coming to an end 'cause she just saw Gil talking to another girl - and Tootie's like, "That's it?!" and asks if she asked him about him about it, and Natalie says she didn't want to pry. Tootie says it probably doesn't mean anything, then throws her a bone by telling her it's obvious that Gil is crazy about her. She then apologizes for lying to her earlier and says she feels awful about it, and Natalie admits that she hasn't been making time for her lately while at the same time expecting her to be available when it's convenient for her. Tootie concurs, but then digresses so the two of them can agree that friendships take time and effort. She urges Natalie to call Gil and get everything sorted out, and Natalie likes the sound of that and heads over to the pay phone and dials his number.
And this is where the episode abruptly ends, so we never actually find out for sure if he's stepping out on her or not.