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.
Recap: The Facts gals are trying to get Tootie interested in buying Natalie on Slave Day - but she refuses to do it and wryly says, "Slavery isn't one of my favorite things." Natalie begs her to buy her 'cause she's afraid that someone who doesn't like her is going to do it just so they can boss her around...and Jo gets in on that action and reminds Tootie that it's for a good cause. Apparently, whatever proceeds are earned (how they're earned, the writers don't specify) from this Eastland tradition - that should probably be phased out asap or, at the very least, renamed - are put towards buying Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids. Tootie mulls that over and agrees to purchase Natalie when she goes up for sale on the auction block.
Mrs. Garrett rushes into the girls' room to make an exciting announcement: on Sunday night, her old cooking teacher from Paris is coming to Eastland for dinner! She reminisces about the time Chef Antoine told her she has the makings of a gourmet chef - but then Blair reminds her that he also admonished her for being being an incompetent cook who would never amount to anything. Mrs. Garrett chews on that painful memory for a few seconds and wonders aloud if Chef Antoine is coming all this way just to see her make a fool of herself [seems like a lot of trouble to go through for such a small payoff, but OK], then shuffles out of the room, contemplatively muttering to herself about what in blazes she's going to serve to the crusty bastard.
Blair waxes poetic about the light of the moon and then opens the window...and Jo promptly shuts it and snarks that her bed is right beside the window and she has no desire to catch a cold. Blair dismisses that silly notion and suggests they swap beds 'cause she's desperately craving "the moon's caress" [almost as much as she's craving Jo's caress], and after hemming and hawing for a few seconds, Jo agrees. Blair gives her a thank you hug, opens the window, then tucks herself into Jo's bed. Tootie shuts off the lights...and a few seconds after everyone has said their goodnights, Natalie screeches and says that something furry just crawled across her leg, then skittered across the floor. The gals tell her she probably just imagined it...but when she insists it really happened, Tootie says, "It's probably just a squirrel." Everyone seems A-OK with a possible squirrel roaming around their room while they sleep - except for Natalie, who's all, "Ack!" and scrambles up to the safety of Tootie's top bunk. After the lights go out again, Blair starts giggling with girlish pleasure 'cause she assumes that Jo is tickling her feet...but before anyone can unpack the non-hetero undercurrents of that remark, she lets out a loud shriek when she realizes that the tickling is the squirrel.
The next morning, Blair tells Mrs. Garrett she'd be happy to attend her dinner party on Sunday night, and promises to charm Chef Antoine with her fluency in the French language. Jo shoots Blair her usual beady-eyed glare and asks whassup with her being so invigorated this morning, so Blair dreamily says it's 'cause she slept near the fresh air, then adds, "Tonight will be another beautiful night" - but Jo growls, "Forget it!" and refuses to swap beds with her a second night in a row. Tootie and Natalie enter the cafeteria, and we see that Natalie is carrying a stack of Tootie's books. She offers to perform other menial tasks, but Tootie declines 'cause she can't bring herself to order her best friend around. For now, anyway. Jo urges her to get into the whole Slave Day thing more, so Tootie concedes and asks Natalie if she'd mind organizing her dresser drawers...and Natalie woots with delight.
Mrs. Garrett is setting the table, decorating it with little French flags. Jo shows everyone her makeshift squirrel trap and explains that she's going to use cheese to lure the creature in, and then squish it to death. Tootie gasps in horror, while Mrs. Garrett makes a blech face and tells her to get that nasty trap away from her pristine table setting. Natalie, meanwhile, complains that her Slavemaster Tootie, who has gotten increasingly demanding, has ordered her to darn her socks...then says she's now soured on the idea of Slave Day 'cause she was really only looking for an occasional command and an amusing set of chores to keep her busy. Mrs. Garrett snaps at her to shut it - just as Chef Antoine and an entourage of three very glum looking old people arrive at Eastland. Mrs. Garrett rushes over to him, deeply curtsies as if he's a king, then shakes his hand and formally welcomes him to Eastland. She says she wasn't expecting him so early, or for him to bring three extra people...and speaking of the three extra people, he introduces the Glums: his wife Marie, his brother Louie, and his sour-faced mère. Mrs. Garrett proudly tells him she's been working hard on dinner and prepared the bouillabaisse just the way he likes it - but he tells her he's not interested 'cause he's heading into Manhattan so he can sample one of the city's fine restaurants. Mrs. Garrett stares at him incredulously and screeches, "You're not staying for dinner?!" and he says no, but that his stern-faced entourage is looking forward to dining with her. LOL. It's really odd that he wouldn't at least want to take his wife to dinner, but I'll assume it's par for the course for his rude pomposity. Mrs. Garrett poutishly tells him she planned an elaborate French feast after he declared at the beginning of the episode that he was dropping in on her for dinner, but he's just like, "Whatever" and says he's counting on her to feed and entertain his family members in his absence...then beats a hasty retreat. Mrs. Garrett rails to the Facts gals about the nerve of the impertinent chef, but they shush her and remind her that she has three dinner guests to entertain. Mrs. Garrett turns around and politely asks the Glums if they'd like something to drink, and they all say yes ... but Jo figures out pretty quick that yes is the only English word they know. Mrs. Garrett says she's sooooo relieved that Blair will be on hand during dinner to translate. Cue Blair, who shuffles into the room in her bathrobe, sneezing and wheezing 'cause she caught a cold from sleeping beside an open window. Mrs. Garrett stares mournfully into space and shrieks, "I'm dead!"
Mrs. Garrett tells Tootie she's determined not to fail at this dinner, and Tootie applauds her misguided need to please Chef Antoine and offers to pitch in by taking the Glums into town so they can do some sightseeing and buy souvenirs. The two then bring trays of tea and cookies into the cafeteria and serve it to the Glums, who look bored as Natalie loudly describes to them the various clothing combinations she likes to wear. LOL. Mrs. Garrett asks them if they'd like to kill some time by going into town to sightsee, and Mama Antoine perks up and says she'd love to go to Disneyland. Mrs. Garrett's like, "Great! Tootie will take you to downtown Peekskill. Off you go!" - LOL - and Tootie summons Slave Natalie to join them so she can trail behind her and carry the Glums' packages.
After the sightseeing trip, a disgruntled Natalie drops off the packages in the bedroom, where Blair is still recuperating from her cold. Natalie complains about all the slaving she's had to do under Tootie's regime, then accuses her of being in love with power and promptly quits Slave Day. Tootie reminds her about all the underprivileged children who won't have any Christmas presents under the tree this year, and a sheepish Natalie agrees to complete her servitude. After she exits the room, Tootie spots the squirrel atop a pile of clothes...then is all, "Ack!" when she hears Jo coming. She gathers up the squirrel in the sweater and shoves it in one of the Glums' souvenir boxes just as Jo bursts in, demanding to know if anyone's seen the renegade squirrel. A few seconds later, Mrs. Garrett shrieks at them to help her with dinner...and Tootie is forced to leave the trapped squirrel behind.
Dinner is so awkward that Mrs. Garrett begs the Facts gals to liven things up by talking about whatever they've been into lately. Jo tells everyone she's had to rethink her squirrel trap design...and when the Glums look confused because they don't understand fucking English, Jo thinks it's helpful to loudly blurt out, "Le trap!" Tootie complains about Jo's cruel intentions to kill the poor squirrel, and then a sneezing Blair comes downstairs for a glass of milk. Mrs. Garrett introduces her to the Glums, and she promptly sneezes on one of them...and Mrs. Garrett apologizes for the grossness of being sneezed on, explains that Blair hasn't been feeling well, then shoots her the stink-eye and snarks, "Go get your milk!" She suddenly remembers the sightseeing trip the Glums took with Tootie earlier and says she'd love to kill some time by looking over the souvenirs they bought, then orders Jo to bring all the packages downstairs. While that's happening, Chef Antoine returns to the school, miffed because his train broke down en route to Manhattan. Mrs. Garrett squeals, "You must be famished!" then gleefully informs him that there's no food left. Haha! When Jo brings down the boxes of souvenirs, everyone starts opening them. Tootie grabs the one she shoved the poor squirrel into, but Mama Antoine grabs it from her and opens it. The meek little squirrel peeks its little head out, then leaps out of the box to make a run for it. As it races across the floor, everyone descends into contrived chaos while some people try to capture it, and others climb atop tables and chairs to avoid all contact with the rodent.
After the Glums have departed, Mrs. Garrett looks morose and exhausted. Natalie says the evening wasn't that bad, but Tootie argues that it was pretty bad and chides Jo for trying to murder the cute squirrel. She apologizes to Mrs. Garrett for the horrible way everything turned out, but Mrs. Garrett just shrugs and says it's OK, then wonders aloud what Chef Antoine and his family must think of America. She says they may never want to visit again...then smiles at the delicious thought and giggles about the spectacle of the squirrel leaping out of the box and everyone freaking out. The gals join in with her chortling and they all end this thoroughly pointless, nonsensical episode on a positive note.
Recap: Jo proudly shows off the piece of pottery she just finished laboring over "with the Good Lord's help" and says she'd like to give it to her mom...and a few seconds later, Tootie gets too near to the thing and clumsily drops it onto the floor, where it shatters into pieces. Jo does her best to refrain from freaking out, while Tootie asks her if she's not going to yell or stomp on her face...and then Natalie interjects and says to Jo, "About this nun business.." and tells her that her decision to follow in the footsteps of Blair's step-sister [aka her friend of three days] and become a nun seems to have come from out of the blue, not to mention it being completely out of character for her. Jo's like, "Not really" and says she used to go to church all the time when she was a kid. A few seconds later, Jo's boyfriend Jason wanders into the cafeteria to report to Jo that he didn't actually have mumps - as was reported in the previous episode - but rather, swollen glands. He apologizes for ruining their college weekend together and hopes she's not mad at him for surprising her by showing up at Eastland without warning. Natalie wryly jokes, "Jo can definitely top that surprise!" - but Jason just ignores that quip and invites Jo out for pizza, then suggests they take his motorbike so she can cling to him real tight from behind. Jo prudishly replies, "No can do" and says she can't do things like that anymore 'cause - surprise! - she's decided, pretty much overnight, to become a nun. Jason stares at her in bewilderment, sheepishly asks, "Was it something I said?" then decides it's probably best for him to head back to his Yale dorm room and never be heard from again. Natalie asks Jo how she'll cope with never being able to date boys (or dig beneath the undercurrents of her non-hetero attraction to Blair), and Jo says she spoke to the nuns at the retreat about the issue of romance, and they assured her that they have special courses on how to suppress carnal desire. Tootie asks her if she really truly absolutely doesn't ever want to have children, and Jo smiles serenely and says, "You will all be my children." Natalie says that no way is she going to be able to pull off being a nun, given her crusty disposition and the volatile temperament that's been on display in pretty much every episode since her dramatic Season 2 arrival.
Blair enters the cafeteria just as Meg and Mrs. Garrett return from tying up some loose ends for Meg in downtown Peekskill. Turns out she donated her car to the convent so the sisters could raffle it off during one of their fundraisers. Jo happily tells Meg that she's decided she too wants to become a nun, and Meg makes an oh dear face and says she should probably spend a few minutes of her time trying to talk her out of that life choice. Jo gabbles on and on about how the retreat was such a revelation and that it's changed her life, but Meg's like, "Whoa, dude" and tells her that devoting one's life to the church shouldn't be a snap decision. Blair snarkishly accuses Meg of being the convent recruiter and ruining hers and Jo's life, but Meg denies trying to recruit anyone and says she simply wants more out of life than charge accounts and country clubs. Blair rails about how she hasn't been home to see her parents in over a year, so Meg explains that last time she was home they locked her in her bedroom so she couldn't return to the convent. Holy fucking crap! Blair doesn't seem at all horrified by the thought of an adult being held captive by her own parents and snarks that she's been brainwashed...and Jo comes to Meg's defence and snappishly tells Blair that there's nothing wrong with a person devoting their life to God. Blair rails about how tired she is of hearing about God, then gets all in Jo's face and yells, "Prove he exists!" Jo gets all in her face and yells at her to shut up...and then Blair screeches, "If there is a God, give me a sign! Show me!" and Jo responds by punching her in the face. Which I can only assume will put to rest the ridiculous notion that Jo could ever be considered suitable nun material.
Mrs. Garrett gets an ice pack for Blair's jaw while Tootie gigglingly recounts the brazen way Jo just popped her one. Mrs. Garrett sternly says it was an inexcusable act of violence and snaps at Tootie to stop fucking laughing about it. Blair says she's worried about getting a bruise on her face, then grumbles about the way Meg has been influencing her lesbian crush. Mrs. Garrett tells her she seems disproportionately angry about Meg joining a convent and asks her why she's been reacting like such a crazy person...so Blair says she's tired of all the "God talk" that's been thrown around during this implausible two-parter, claims he only exists for the gullible, then dramatically declares, "God is dead!" When Mrs. Garrett is all, "Wha-a?!", Blair explains that God disappointed her the day her parents' divorce became final. Mrs. Garrett's all, "Ahhhh...I finally understand" and coos about how much the divorce devastated her...then points out that the experience has given her the empathy to be the go-to person for other Eastland girls who have family problems they need to talk through. Blair says that's not enough of a reason to suffer heartbreak, and Mrs. Garrett tells her it's also not enough of a reason to take her anger out on Meg. Blair wails, "What kind of liiiiife can she have??" and Mrs. Garrett sternly says, "Her life" and tells Blair that if the situation were reversed, she wouldn't take kindly to people telling her what to do. Blair stares contemplatively into space as she chews on that nugget.
Jo tells Tootie, Natalie, and Meg that she's pretty sure God will forgive her for clocking Blair...and Natalie retorts, "Blair won't" and reminds her that the writers are still forcing the four of them to be roommates in that awful attic room above the cafeteria. Jo says she needs to get some air to mull over punch-gate and leaves the room just as Blair comes back downstairs. She acknowledges to Meg how judgemental she's been about her decision to become a nun, but then in the next breath tells her she took it upon herself to phone her (Meg's) parents to report that she's currently at Eastland...and so they'll probably be arriving any minute now. Meg just shrugs unconcernedly and says she's A-OK talking to the dickwads 'cause she's been praying to God to give her the strength to deal with the cunty way in which they've been reacting to her desire to join the convent. Blair bewilderedly says that she doesn't believe that praying serves any purpose, so Meg explains, "You hope for what you want, you pray to God to do what's best" ... and at this point Blair decides to throw in the towel on her faux outrage and says she's tired of constantly being angry with her. Meg agrees that the relentless sniping has been exhausting - just as Jo enters the room. She stares solemnly at Blair and says, "I hit you", but that she talked it over with God and the two of them decided that since he gave her fists, it was his will that she slug her in the face. Bwahahaha! A horrified Meg cries, "Wha-at?!" and admonishes Jo for using God to justify her shitty behavior. She then explains to Jo that her calling to the church was "more of a hunch than a lightning bolt", and that she's planning to seriously question her decision over the next several years 'cause, yep, she does still have doubts about it from time to time. She tells Jo it's not necessary (or even advisable) to join a convent to prove her love for God, and points out that a person can have a regular type life and still be deeply religious. Blair perks up at that and asks her, by that logic, why she can't just be a teacher who's deeply religious? ... but Meg says that being a nun is the only thing that brings sense and meaning to her life. Blair says she'll try her best to understand that, then concedes that she really just wants her to be happy.
Blair invites Meg to stay for dinner, and after Meg ambles off to wash up, Blair is left alone with her attacker. Jo apologizes for striking her, and Blair assures her she's fine but not a masochist...so getting a fist in the face was most definitely not a turn-on, despite how secretly attracted she is to her street-smart swagger. Jo promises to never hit her again, then says it's going to be tough when Meg leaves 'cause she's afraid of losing all the fuzzy feelings for the church she developed so suddenly over the past two episodes. Blair solemnly replies, "They won't" ... and that is where this pointless, two-part episode abruptly ends.
Recap: Jo is gussied up in a skirt and sweater for her first college weekend, which Mrs. Garrett and the rest of the Facts gals seem overly excited about. When Blair applauds Jo for not dressing herself in her usual grubby wear, Jo gets irked and threatens to go upstairs and change - but Blair forbids her to be seen on the Yale campus looking like her usual sloppy tomboy self. Mrs. Garrett gushes about what a milestone this weekend is in her life, but Jo downplays it and says she's really just visiting her friend Jason for the weekend. Mrs. Garrett's like, "Uh, about you spending the weekend with a boy.." and says they should probably have a discussion about "certain pressures" she may face, and Blair blurts out, "Give in to them!" - bwahaha! - then explains that she was referring to societal pressures so she could blend in well with the uppity Yale students. Tootie asks Mrs. Garrett if she was referring to sex, and a red-faced Mrs. Garrett mutters something unintelligible and scurries out of the room. Jo remarks to the Facts gals how super awesome her life has been lately, and Natalie cautions her to keep it to herself 'cause she could jinx things if the fates hear her expressing her happiness out loud.
A young blonde woman enters the cafeteria - hey, it's Eve Plumb! - and Blair greets her warmly and introduces her to the Facts gals as her sister Meg. When the gals point out that she doesn't have a sister, Blair explains that her mother was briefly married to Meg's father. The step-sisters spend a few gushy minutes getting caught up...and when Blair offers to whip up a snack, everyone heads over to the kitchen.
Meg says she's been really busy lately, then presents Blair with her belated birthday present: her bank book and the keys to her car. Weird. She reminds Blair how she always used to bounce from one thing to another and could never focus on any one thing, then says she's finally found something that feels right to her - but that it requires lots of training and a willingness to relinquish all of her worldly belongings. Blair chuckles and says, "It sounds like you've joined a convent!" and Meg solemnly replies, "I have." As Blair stares back at her in complete incredulity, Tootie remarks on how romantic it is to become a nun (?) while Natalie presses Meg for more details. Blair asks Meg how her fiancé (Paul) feels about this decision, and she wryly says he's now her ex-fiancé and that he refuses to talk to her. Blair tells her she's out of her mind, and that this decision must be killing her parents...and Meg concurs that, yep, her parents have had numerous freakouts, and have gone so far as to accuse her of being a liar and a lesbian. Yeesh, they sound like mean-spirited dickwads. She sadly tells Blair she thought she'd be way more hip about her life decision, but Blair's like, "Mmm...not" and calls her life decision stupid and selfish. When Meg argues that she feels a strong calling to devote her life to the church, Blair snarks that she's throwing her life away, then runs upstairs to throw herself face-down on her bed and weep bitter tears at her step-sister's insanity.
Tootie and Natalie tell Meg that Blair is too distraught to come back downstairs, and Meg says she'd better head out to her weekend nun retreat...but that she's planning to return on Sunday night, by which time Blair will have had time to digest the news and hopefully be more open-minded. Before she gets a chance to leave, Mrs. Garrett and Jo return unexpectedly 'cause apparently the car broke down on the way to the train station. Natalie informs them that Meg just announced her plans to become a nun, and Mrs. Garrett calls that career choice "off the beaten path", but that if it makes her happy then who gives a shit. Jo gets all reverential and says that a nun is the best thing a person could ever be, and explains that she attended a Catholic school in the Bronx and admired and respected all of her nun teachers. Meg lights up at that and says that since her retreat venue is located near New Haven, she could drop her off at Yale, then pick her up again on Sunday evening. Jo eagerly accepts the offer.
When Sunday evening arrives, Blair is upstairs reading when Mrs. Garrett drops by her room for a schoolgirl-housemother heart-to-heart. Blair grumbles again about how Meg is ruining her life, then wonders if perhaps an evening at the local country club and/or a satisfying doink with a good looking high society man could get her head on straight. Mrs. Garrett urges her to try to see things from Meg's point of view and says she's merely making a life choice for herself. Blair argues that Meg is running away from living a normal life and is pretty sure she can reason her out of wanting to become a nun - but Mrs. Garrett points out that a calling like this comes from a deep well of faith and that it's unlikely Meg can be reasoned out of her decision. Tootie suddenly bursts into the room to announce that Jo has just returned from her college weekend and is ready to divulge all the juicy details...along with an unexpected announcement of her own.
Natalie begs Jo to regale them with stories of her Yale visit, so Jo tells them that Jason unexpectedly came down with the mumps and had to spend the weekend in the infirmary...so she decided why not spend the weekend at Meg's nun retreat? She gushes about how terrific it was, and that she really enjoyed slowing down and taking quiet walks in the woods. She then adds that something has been bugging her lately - especially as she's been waxing on and on about how super awesome her life has been going - and this weekend she finally realized what she had been neglecting: God. She chides herself for failing to thank God for her good fortune and says, "It's about time I did." Blair looks alarmed and asks her what in blazes she means by that, so Jo declares that she wants to be just like Meg...and by just like Meg, she means become a nun. 'Cause, yeah, that's not completely out of character and near impossible to envision. Blair stares at her in horror while Tootie widens her eyes and is all, "Wha-a-a-a?"
And that's where the shocking Part 1 cliffhanger leaves us.
Recap: Tootie and Natalie are awaiting the arrival of Tootie's brother, Marshall. Tootie gabbles on and on about how super awesome he is and says she's proudly wearing the purple sweater he once gave her as a present. She gushes about how honored she is that he's taking time out of his ski weekend to spend time with her, then decides she also needs to put on the hat and scarf he gave her and rushes upstairs to fetch the items. All of this obnoxious wanking over Saint Marshall can only mean that he has a serious malfunction that Tootie will have no choice but to come to grips with.
Jo and Mrs. Garrett enter the room, excited about the Chinese cabbage Jo planted, watered, and dug up from the solar greenhouse. Jo is fascinated by the idea of planting a seed and watching something grow out of it, but Blair just rolls her eyes and pokes fun at her enthusiasm. Natalie, who's been stationed near the window, screeches, "Marshall's here!" and Tootie races past her wearing a turquoise hat and scarf. When Marshall enters the room, Tootie, the gals, and Mrs. Garrett gush over him like he's a returning war hero, going so far as to refer to him as "Marshall the Magnificent". When his roommate Paul enters the room, Blair perks up, then bats her eyes and flirtily says, "Why, helloooo" and introduces herself...and the two look instantly smitten with each other. When Tootie invites Marshall to stay for dinner, he tells her that he and Paul have plans...and by plans, he means they've invited a few friends to stop by the motel he and Paul are staying at to sit around and drink themselves silly. He invites Tootie to the drunkfest, and she lights up and squeals, "Yippee!" and happily remarks on how it's the first time he's ever shown the slightest interest in having her attend one of his parties. He grins and says, "Why not? You're all grown up now" and invites the other Facts gals to tag along as well.
Motel party time! Blair and Paul chat about their rich families, and Blair is impressed to learn that Paul's dad owns a cable company, which Paul hopes to run one day. Natalie, meanwhile, is chatting it up with a journalism major named George, who pompously tells her she's going to have to be willing to stretch her mind if she even hopes to one day study journalism. When the gals hear the sound of Jo's motorbike in the parking lot, Marshall suggests they play "kamikaze quiz", then explains that it's a drinking game for when an unsuspecting new person enters the room: every time the person asks a question, everyone chugs from their beer (or soda, in the case of the underage gals)...and any time the person asks why? everyone has to chug their entire can. Sounds like a laugh a minute. Sure enough, when Jo enters the room and asks what kind of pizza they ordered, everyone chuckles and takes a drink (without actually answering). Her questions/their drinking goes on for several tedious minutes until Tootie finally explains to a bewildered Jo what in blazes is going on.
Hours later, Marshall, Paul, and George are visibily inebriated, and the Facts gals (minus Jo, who was smart enough to high-tail it out of there on her motorbike) continue to hang around, and they now look bored. Marshall says there's another [drinking] party he wants to go to and offers to drag Tootie and her friends along, but she tells him she promised Mrs. Garrett they'd be home at 10pm. Marshall's like, "Aw come on!" but then offers to give them a lift home, which prompts Blair and Natalie to exchange worried glances. Blair urges Marshall to hand over the keys and jokes that she's always wanted to know what it was like to cruise around in a station wagon - but he snappishly retorts that he's taken psychology courses in college and knows she's only saying that 'cause she thinks he's "a little too bombed to drive" ... and Natalie rolls her eyes and is all, "Well d'yuh." Marshall denies being, in any way, drunk and assures the girls that he's responsible enough to know how much alcohol he can handle. Tootie enables this madness and chirps, "Of course you are" then chides Natalie for embarrassing her brother in front of his passed out friends. She asks Marshall to go start the car and says that she and her friends will be right out...and he's like, "Okay dokay", chugs the rest of his beer, and stumbles out to the parking lot - LOL - and the spectacle of his brazen drunkenness still doesn't appear to ring any alarm bells for Tootie. A distressed Blair moans about how much she regrets not leaving with Jo when she had the chance, and Tootie asks why Jo was in such a hurry to leave. Natalie snaps, "'Cause she's smart!" and Tootie nonsensically retorts that Jo just doesn't know how to have a good time...as if sitting around a motel room and watching her stupid brother and his dickwad friends guzzle beer all evening could be anyone's idea of fun.
When Marshall impatiently honks his horn from the parking lot, Natalie suggests to Blair that they walk back to Eastland...and Tootie accuses her of ruining her visit with Marshall, then whines, "You're supposed to be my friends!" Natalie points out how unfair of her it is to expect them to get into a car with a visibly drunk driver - but Tootie insists that he knows when he's had too much to drive. As Marshall continues to honk the horn (and the other motel guests refrain from yelling at him to stop fucking doing that or they'll shove that horn up his ass), Tootie asks her friends if they're coming, and Blair and Natalie throw all caution and good sense to the wind and agree to let Tootie's drunkard brother ferry them home.
Jo's on the phone with George, who informs her that Marshall left the motel with the Facts gals more than an hour ago. When Mrs. Garrett enters the room and asks whassup, Jo keeps mum about her concerns and tells her that the rest of the gang should be home any minute.
A few minutes later, Blair, Natalie, and Tootie enter the cafeteria looking traumatized. Tootie tells Mrs. Garrett that Marshall had car trouble so they ended up walking home...and a suspicious Jo sends Mrs. Garrett off to the kitchen to make some hot chocolate so she can find out what really happened. She asks them if they got into an accident - and Tootie starts to say no, but Jo doesn't buy it and snarks at her to 'fess up. Blair interjects to blab about how Marshall ran a red light and hit a tree...and Natalie trembles piteously and asks no one in particular why her legs won't stop shaking.
Marshall enters the cafeteria with a bloodied bandage on his forehead. He reports that he finally got the fender pried away from the tires, then scrunches his face confusedly and says he can't figure how it happened. Tootie breezily says it was just an accident and not his fault...but Natalie finally shuts down the idiot enabler and wails, "It was no accident, it was five beers!" Jo snarls at Tootie that things could have turned out far worse, and Tootie sullenly tells her it's over now. Blair warily asks, "Is it?" and points out that Marshall is about to drive himself to party #2. Marshall says he has no plans to continue boozing, and that he's just going to drive himself very slowly back to the motel...while still under the influence, no doubt, since no way have all those beers worked themselves out of his system yet. When Mrs. Garrett emerges from the kitchen with a tray of hot chocolates, she notices Marshall's bandaged forehead and shoots him a suspicious stink-eye...and he sheepishly bids Tootie goodnight and slinks out before he's forced to come under her scrutiny.
Once everyone has cleared the room, Mrs. Garrett asks Tootie what really happened, then says it's pretty obvious that Marshall just had a drinking/driving related accident. Tootie admits that her brother did have a few beers, but continues to remain in denial that he was actually drunk. Mrs. Garrett refuses to buy that load of bullcack 'cause she has an ex-husband who was often "not drunk" after spending the evening drinking endless amounts of beer and then acting like an assclown. She sternly tells Tootie that her douchewad of a brother had no right to take chances with their lives or the lives of the other drivers on the road...and when Tootie still refuses to face reality, Mrs. Garrett points out that since the car her boozing brother has been driving belongs to Mama and Papa Ramsey, they deserve to know the truth about the "accident". Tootie looks alarmed and says if they find out, they'll probably take it away, which would leave Marshall wheel-less for his spring break vacay. Egads! Mrs. Garrett wryly says it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to not have that guy on the road during spring break, then points out that that by alerting her parents about Marshall's nonchalant attitude about getting behind the wheel after a night of beer guzzling, she could be saving his life. Tootie stares contemplatively into space as she chews on that morsel of wisdom.
Tootie drops by the motel to give Marshall the what-for for driving while drunk. She tells him she's going to tell their parents what happened during this episode, and he's all, "Wha-a? Are you kidding?" and says that their dad will totally freak. Tootie argues that he'll be tough but fair and now thinks it's wrong to not tell him. Marshall mumbles, "It's not that simple" then hangs his head in shame and confesses that a few months ago he was charged with a DUI and really doesn't want a lecture from his father about it...even though clearly the message that he shouldn't drive after he's been drinking hasn't penetrated its way through his thick skull. Paul breezes into the motel room with a six-pack of beer, and Tootie's all, "Wha-a?" and correctly guesses that he and Marshall actually did attend party #2 last night and got themselves drunk all over again. When Marshall weakly insists that beer doesn't make him drunk, Tootie shrieks, "You could have killed us!" and accuses him of acting like a macho jerk who drunkenly lost control of the vehicle. Marshall sheepishly assures her he wouldn't do anything to hurt her, then asks her what she wants him to do. She orders him to call their parents and confess his crimes...and that if he refuses to do it she will, 'cause she doesn't want the burden of being the only one in their family who's worrying about his drinking/driving problem.
Marshall pissily refuses to call his parents, then grabs his bags and heads for the door. A defiant Tootie picks up the phone and makes a collect call to her father...and Marshall puts his bags down, turns around to shoot her a somber look, then decides, "Yep. I'd better face the music about my drinking and driving before the end credits start rolling." He walks over to Tootie, takes the phone from her, and the two hug as he prepares to open up a UGE can of whoop-ass to his father.
Recap: Natalie urges Geri to hightail it over to the party supplies store to buy decorations for Blair's surprise birthday party, but Geri's like, "Meh" and tells her there's no point 'cause Blair hates celebrating her birthday. [Is it a normal thing for a grown ass woman to hang out at a private girl's school all the damn time - even if her cousin is one of the students there?] Mrs. Garrett agrees and says that Blair has always been sensitive about getting older, but is sure she'll enjoy the cake and balloons. A few seconds later, Blair staggers into the room, sighs heavily, and mutters, "Another year, another wrinkle." She says that time has never been kind to Warner women, and that many have metamorphosed from being stunningly gorgeous to merely attractive. Egads!
Jo and her English teacher, Gail Gallagher, enter the room, excitedly gabbling about the book sale they just went to, along with all the fascinating literature they were able to pick up at a discount. Gail tells Jo she needs to read The Grapes of Wrath, like yesterday, and then goes on and on about its awesomeness. Natalie says she's weirded out by the overly chummy relationship Jo and Gail have forged...and Blair snootily explains that the two share a common bond, which Jo and Gail readily admit is their shared experience of growing up in poverty. After Gail and Mrs. Garrett scamper off to the kitchen to get some coffee, Jo says she idolizes Gail so much that she now wants to become a teacher and attend the very same college Gail attended (located only sixty miles from Peekskill). Blair advises her to do it fast 'cause Gail is leaving Eastland soon, and Jo scrunches her face in confusion and is all, "Wha-a-a-a?" so Blair explains that she overheard Mr. Parker blabbing about it in the hall. Way to be discreet about your faculty, dickwad. When Gail emerges from the kitchen, Blair asks her if the rumors of her impending departure are true...and a sheepish looking Gail admits that, yep, she'll be leaving Eastland at the end of next week. Jo's all, "You're leaving?! WTF?" and Gail meekly says that she, uh, never got around to telling her. Natalie gives off a celebratory woot and applauds Gail for having the courage to make such an impulsive life decision.
During English class, Gail is discussing Brave New World while Jo slouches in her chair with her arms folded and makes bitchy remarks about people who pretend to be your friend, but then abandon you. Subtle, Jo. When the bell rings, Gail asks Jo to stay behind for a few minutes and apologizes for keeping her in the dark about her plans to leave, and acknowledges that she has every right to be angry. Jo pretends to not give a rat's ass about her leaving and snarls that she must not like it very much at Eastland. Gail says on the contrary she does like it here, but that sometimes shit happens. Jo's like, "Sure it does, but friends talk about it" and Gail cryptically tells her that some things are hard to talk about with a friend. Jo whines about what a big jerk she made her look like to the other Facts gals when it was obvious that she knew nothing of her plans to leave (this matters, why?), then storms out of the classroom.
A group of Eastland girl extras who hardly ever get airtime are bustling around the festively decorated cafeteria as they wait for Blair, the birthday girl, to arrive. After a few seconds, Natalie shouts, "They're coming!" and shuts off the lights. When Blair and Geri enter the darkened cafeteria, Geri turns the lights on, and everyone yells surprise! Mrs. Garrett rushes over to give Blair a happy birthday cheek kiss...and when Blair just stares sullenly into space, Natalie orders her to cheer up 'cause a lot of people went through a lot of trouble to decorate the cafeteria for her party. Blair cries, "I can't help it!" and Geri tells her to shut it and just enjoy the damn balloons and cake. Blair perks up at the mention of cake - but when one of the girls asks her how old she is, she scrunches her face miserably and starts fake crying...even though she's a twenty year old actress who's not doing too bad of a job passing herself off as a schoolgirl.
Mrs. Garrett tells Jo that Gail won't be able to make the party, and Jo snarkishly pretends she couldn't care less. Mrs. Garrett tells her she's being prickly and unfair, but Jo just snarls about how duped she now feels whenever she recalls how Gail used to talk about being around for the entire school year. She assumes that Gail got a job at another school for a lot more money and bitterly mutters, "Home is where the dollars are." Mrs. Garrett shakes her head and says, "You're soooo wrong" and violates whatever privacy Gail would reasonably expect to be afforded in the workplace and tells Jo that Gail is leaving 'cause she's sick. Jo's all, "Wha-a-a-a?" just as Natalie brings out the cake and the partygoers sing Happy Birthday to Blair. As everyone cheers merrily in the background, Mrs. Garrett tells Jo that Gail has a terminal illness (malaria? heart disease? leprosy? cancer? ...she doesn't specify), and Jo stares sadly into space as her brain processes the devastating news.
The Facts gals (minus Jo) are playing cards in their dorm room, remarking on how mystified they are by Jo's moodiness and elusiveness lately. I'll take this to mean that Mrs. Garrett didn't blab to them about Gail dying. Mrs. Garrett enters their room and tells the girls she has an important message for Jo...and a few seconds later, Jo breezes in and says she spent the day volunteering in the biology lab. Mrs. Garrett passes along a message from Gail: an invitation to attend a Beethoven concert with her tonight. Jo mumbles something incoherent, then rushes back out to start setting up the cafeteria tables for dinner.
Jo returns home at 3:00am and is ambling around the cafeteria when Tootie storms in and demands (!) to know where she's been. Jo tells her she went to the movies and then drove around for awhile, and Tootie gives her shit for breaking curfew as if she's in any kind of authoritative position to be giving shit to another student...and Jo snarls at her to lay off. A grim faced Mrs. Garrett enters the room and asks Tootie to skedaddle so that she can speak privately to Jo, but Tootie refuses 'cause she's making it her bidness to find out what is blazes has been going on with Jo this episode. Mrs. Garrett admonishes Jo for not calling Gail back about the Beethoven concert, and that the poor woman waited for her at the theatre for over an hour. Tootie tells Jo she gets how upsetting Gail leaving is for her, but points out that they can still keep in touch by writing letters. Jo snaps back that Gail isn't leaving Eastland for a different job - she's checking herself into a hospital and is never checking back out. Tootie scrunches her face in confusion, then (as she finally gets a clue) sad disbelief. As Jo tears up, Mrs. Garrett soothingly tells her how difficult it is to lose someone you care about, but that it's important to face up to it...and, if possible, avoid treating the sick person like a bag of shit before they exit your life altogether. Jo rails about the unfairness of Gail working so hard to escape the shithole neighborhood she grew up in - only to get struck down by a deadly disease a few years later. She miserably asks what the point of it all is if she soon dies from whatever disease is ravaging her at the age of twenty-six, and Mrs. Garrett solemnly retorts, "You are" ... along with every girl who's ever benefited from being in her English class. Jo wails, "She should have more time!" then bursts into tears and collapses against Mrs. Garrett in a hug.
Gail is enjoying one last cup of coffee with Mrs. Garrett and says she's pretty much all packed up and ready to go gentle into that good night. Jo enters the room and gives Gail a sheepish hello and apologizes for being such a hostile turd lately, and Gail graciously forgives her rudeness and tells her she's going to miss her. When Jo tells her she's learned so much in her English class, Gail thanks her for her kind words, then earnestly assures her she's going to be OK (afterlife-wise, I guess). Natalie and Blair suddenly bound into the room to ask Gail to sign their yearbooks, then give her an official Eastland send-off with loud party blowers and confetti.
The next day, a crisp looking teacher named Miss Barnett takes over the English class and says she's totes down with following the rest of Gail's lesson plan. She tells the class they'll be embarking on a study of The Grapes of Wrath...and at the mention of Gail's favorite novel, Jo puts her sad face on and stares wistfully into space.
Thanks for that thoroughly depressing half hour of glumness, writers.
Recap: Mrs. Garrett tells the girls she just had her yearly physical, and that she's in good health except for her chronically high blood pressure. In other words, she's a ticking time-bomb. She says that clogged arteries run in her family, but that hopefully she'll be OK as long as she takes her medication and avoids an excessive amount of aggravation. Speaking of aggravation, she grumbles about how stupid Mr. Parker always makes her plan his wife's birthday party around this time of year, and that he always asks her at the last minute [and for some reason she doesn't have the spine to just tell him to plan the dumb thing himself]. Blair asks her if it's really part of her job description to plan birthday parties for the idiot headmaster's wife, and she snarks, "Since when does that matter?" then huffily retreats upstairs. Tootie remarks to the girls that Mr. Parker has no right to impose on their beloved Mrs. Garrett in such a dickish manner, and Natalie concurs and says she's concerned about her blood pressure problems 'cause often there are no symptoms for this silent killer. She suggests they all do their part to make Mrs. Garrett's life as stress-free as possible, and the other three gals solemnly bob their heads in agreement.
Mrs. Garrett is in her room, going through her monthly bills when the gals bring her a snack, flowers, and a Hawaii poster. Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face in confusion and goes, "What gives?" so they tell her it's their best attempt to keep her happy and relaxed so she doesn't suddenly keel over from a stroke or heart attack. Mrs. Garrett says she has no time for relaxation 'cause she's too busy trying to sort out her monthly bills. A few seconds later, she starts screeching incoherently, then explains that she just came across a notice from the bank telling her she's delinquent on her car payment. And instead of making a mental note to get to the bank at her earliest convenience and sort out the matter like a reasonable adult might, she gets herself worked up so she's at high panic level and shrieks, "What am I going to doooooooo?!" Blair gives her a hard face smack (sorry, that was me projecting) and offers to take care of the bank problem for her, and Mrs. Garrett agrees 'cause it'll free her up to concentrate on how best to tell pushy Mr. Parker to go pee up a rope if he asks her for the umpteenth time to plan his wife's birthday party. Jo urges her to go for a walk, smell the roses, and think happy thoughts...and she gently chides them for spouting bumper sticker slogans.
Mr. Parker enters the kitchen and asks Tootie and Natalie if they've seen Mrs. Garrett - and Natalie says she has, then comes right out and asks him if he's planning to dump the planning of his wife's birthday party on her again. He's like, "Uh, yeah. How'd you know?" so Natalie cheekily asks him if he never feels left out from all the party planning, as if he had no part of it (hee!)...and he says no and explains that he's such a self-serving dickwad that he always takes full credit for it. Natalie sits him down and tells him he should probably be doing his own party planning, and Tootie concurs and points out that it would probably mean more to his wife if he (and not a hapless Eastland employee) was the one behind the planning. Mr. Parker mulls that over, decides that - yep - he should probably plan his own wife's birthday party, and rethink the need for this woman to have an elaborate birthday party thrown for her every year.
With that mission accomplished, Natalie and Tootie scamper off, and Mrs. Garrett enters the room and says a tentative hello to Mr. Parker. He says, "It's that time of year again", but quickly adds that he's going to take care all the party planning for his wife's birthday, then ambles off to figure out where in blazes the nearest party supply store is located. A put out looking Mrs. Garrett is all, "Wha-a?" ...and when Jo enters the room a few seconds later, she complains about how Mr. Parker dropped her "like a hot potato", declares that she's going to get to the bottom of it, then stomps off. It remains unclear why she didn't just breathe a sigh of relief about no longer being on the hook for Mrs. Parker's party planning and then go about the rest of her day. Blair enters the cafeteria looking shell-shocked...and when Jo asks her whassup, she tells her that she drove Mrs. Garrett's car to the bank to get the monthly payment problem sorted out...but when she came back out of the bank, the car was gone! Jo's like, "Ack!" and the two wring their hands about what this kind of stress will do to Mrs. Garrett's already high blood pressure.
Blair sheepishly admits that she may have left the car keys dangling in the car door before going into the bank, but adds that she immediately called the police to report the vehicle stolen. Mrs. Garrett breezes into the room and asks Blair how things went at the bank, and she fibs and exclaims, "Terrific!" Mrs. Garrett looks relieved and asks Blair to leave the car keys in her room 'cause she has to go into town later to bring her electric typewriter to the repair shop. Jo looks alarmed and offers to fix the typewriter, and Mrs. Garrett beams and gushes about how helpful they are. After she exits the room, Jo sheepishly tells Blair she knows nothing about fixing typewriters, and Blair says she just hopes the police find the stolen car asap. Tootie and Natalie enter the room and proudly inform Jo and Blair that they were the ones behind guilting Mr. Parker into planning his wife's birthday party this year, and Jo tells them that Mrs. Garrett is annoyed by getting shut out of the party planning and is determined to spend however much time and energy it's going to take to get to the bottom of it.
Mrs. Garrett asks Jo if she's seen Blair and/or her car keys, and Jo tells her the first lie that pops into her head, which is that - surprise! - Blair suddenly decided that her car needed a paint job. Mrs. Garrett mulls over that implausible explanation and says she hopes Blair told the painters that blue is her favorite color. A few seconds later, she runs into Blair in the cafeteria, and Blair decides to come clean and 'fesses up about her car getting stolen. Mrs. Garrett nods and pretends to play along with the non-existent surprise...and when Blair tells her that the car got stolen after she went inside the bank, she breezily tells her there are more important things in life - like one's health, for example - and scampers off shriek-singing.
Mrs. Garrett is setting up the cafeteria tables for dinner when a police officer enters and asks her if she knows who reported a stolen car. Mrs. Garrett goes, "Not me" ... but when the cop describes the make and model of the car, she assumes it had been stolen from the paint shop. The cop looks confused and tells her it was stolen downtown, in front of the bank, and that the theft was reported by a Miss Blair Warner. Mrs. Garrett mumbles that she didn't believe Blair's theft tale, then asks the cop if the car is still the same ghastly shade of yellow. He's like, "Uh, yeah..?" and tells her that the thief ripped off her car radio.
Mrs. Garrett asks Blair why she didn't tell her the truth about her car, and Blair points out that she did...er, eventually. Mrs. Garrett starts shrieking about how the cops found her car - minus the radio - and that she expects honesty and maturity from her girls. An alarmed Tootie reminds her about her high blood pressure and urges her to chillax, and Mrs. Garrett stops her shrieking, looks sheepish, and goes, "Oooh.." and says she's sorry she ever burdened them with her health problems. Natalie and Tootie 'fess up about telling Mr. Parker to back off with his incessant requests to plan his stupid wife's birthday party, and Mrs. Garrett says she worried he had cut her off 'cause she'd done something wrong. She then says that stress can't be completely eliminated from her life, but that she'll have to find a healthier way to cope...which hopefully will longer include shrieking uncontrollably every fucking time a problem arises. The girls concur, and then Jo proudly tells her she fixed her typewriter...but as soon as she plugs it in, all the lights go out. And they all stand mutely in the darkness until someone finally prompts the confused studio audience to applaud so that the end credits can begin rolling.
Recap: The Facts gals are bustling around the cafeteria set, working on a Save the Seals campaign for Blair's latest squeeze, a manipulative douchebag named Chad. He arrives at Eastland a few seconds later, gives Blair a smooch that drives the studio audience to excitedly ooooh and ahhh as if they've never seen a fake French kiss before, and thanks the gals for all their help with his Save the Seals paraphernalia. The girls joke that Blair didn't give them much of a choice 'cause she foisted the work upon them, and Blair smilingly credits Chad's philanthropic sensibilities for helping her find her social conscience, and now realizes that rich people don't have to sit idle their entire lives. She gabbles about how Chad's family is deep into politics - and Mrs. Garrett gets a case of momentary turrets when she reminds everyone that Chad's cousin ran for governor, and that his campaign was going smoothly until he was caught with...then abruptly stops talking. I'm guessing it was something along the lines of he was found boning a cheap floozy in a seedy motel. She then makes a dramatic oops face, which…smooth, Edna. Chad looks irked at being publicly reminded of his boorish cousin, quietly recombobulates his brain for a few seconds, and admits that, yep, the tawdry scandal did make it to the front page of the New York Times. Blair tries to squelch the awkwardness by pronouncing that politics is definitely in Chad's future, as is evidenced by him being on the student council at Vassar College. Chad condescendingly calls her adorable for shifting the attention away from his family's scandal, then schmaltzily tells her she looks lovely. As she beams at the compliment, he studies her choice of clothing and asks her if the yellow blouse she's wearing wasn't available in blue...and she looks crestfallen for a few seconds, but then agrees that yellow is definitely not her colour. As Mrs. Garrett grimaces with distaste at the shitty turn the conversation has just taken, Chad remarks on how the putrid yellowness of her blouse "stands out like a wort" 'cause everything else is so perfect. Blair somehow feels buoyed enough by the backhandedness of that compliment to tell Chad about the Save the Streams fundraiser she's planning to attend at the Peekskill Country Club next week and invites him to escort her. He tells her he can't possibly commit to anything that far in advance and gives her a maybe, and Blair profusely thanks him for not giving her an outright no. Chad thanks the girls again for helping out with the Save the Seals rally and exits the cafeteria...and once he's out of earshot, the girls and Mrs. Garrett admonish Blair for acting like such a pathetic doormat and being so ridiculously grateful about the maybe. Blair explains that she was afraid to even ask him to attend the fundraiser and considers herself damn lucky he didn't just blurt out fuck no. The gals are all, "Wha-a-a-at the hell has happened to you?" and Blair stares dreamily into space and replies, "Dunno. Maybe I'm in love for the first time." Mmm...doubtful.
Tootie and Natalie are playing chess while Blair anxiously paces the room. Jo snarls that surely she has something better to do than wait around for Chad to call, but Blair just stares back at her blankly and goes, "Like what?" Oh boy. The girls point out that all she ever does these days is fixate on her fucktard of a boyfriend...and when Blair gets all defensive and says he's very important to her, Natalie barks, "He's your whole life!" The pay phone in the lounge rings, so Blair sprints across the room to answer it...and a dismayed Tootie shakes her head and says that Blair hasn't seemed like herself at all this episode. Natalie concurs and says she's gone so far as to throw away all of her yellow clothes, and is even refusing to eat bananas. Jo grumbles that this madness can't possibly last much longer - just as Blair excitedly runs back into the room to announce that Chad has changed his maybe about the Save the Streams fundraiser to a solid yes! Squeal!!! She says she can finally breathe again, which prompts a lot of concerned, judgey looks in her direction.
Blair is wearing a pretty blue party dress and sitting in a catatonic state in the cafeteria as she waits for Chad to pick her up. He arrives a few seconds later decked out in a fancy three-piece suit and gives Blair another exaggeratedly fake French kiss. He compliments her blonde locks...but once again pulls a compliment reversal by asking her if she's ever considered cutting off all her hair. As Blair stares at him in bewilderment, he smarmily says he's sure that her lovely face could pull off a super short pixie 'do...then shrugs and adds, "If I'm wrong, it'll grow back." That it will, Chad. That it will. Now go home and buzz off your lustrous '80s hair and decide how much you like it when a snide recapper fucks with your head by making unsolicited suggestions about how you need to dramatically change your look.
Mrs. Garrett, Tootie, Jo, and Natalie are hanging in the lounge, working on a puzzle when a shell-shocked Blair returns home early from the Save the Streams fundraiser. She tells them that upon arriving at the country club, she introduced Chad to her snooty rich friends…and not long after that, he started chatting it up with another girl and left the club with her. Like, left the club with her (!), which meant that poor Blair had to take a cab home. Mrs. Garrett angrily calls that "just plain rude" and reminds Blair that there are way better fish in the sea than this manipulative fuckbag - but Blair's all, "Nooooo! I only want Chad!" and insists that what happened tonight doesn't matter as long as he calls her tomorrow...which is a pretty dicked-up pronouncement to make, even for an infatuated schoolgirl. As Mrs. Garrett and the gals stare at her in horrified bewilderment, Blair moans, "I'll just die if he doesn't call meeeeee!"
A day or so later - when Chad still hasn't called - Blair tells the gals that there must be a good explanation for his rude behaviour, other than he's a self-absorbed dickwad who's clearly not that into her. Mrs. Garrett steps forward and sheepishly confesses that Chad actually did call, then passes along the message he left: this weekend he and a group of friends are going skiing in Vermont, and if Blair wants to tag along she should call him before 7:00am. Jo barks, "Don't do it!" and Natalie reminds Blair that Chad's only going to dis her again. Blair's like, "But I loooooove him!" and Mrs. Garrett somehow refrains from giving her a smack to knock some sense back into her and says that their dating situation does not look like love. She adds that she always seems so nervous in Chad's presence, like she’s constantly walking on eggshells. Tootie concurs and implores Blair to blow off the ski trip in the same rude manner he blew her off at the Save the Streams fundraiser, and Blair pretends to concur and says she'll go call Chad right now and decline his invitation. Jo asks her why the hell she'd want to give the manipulative douchebag the courtesy of a phone call, and Natalie agrees and bellows, "Cold turkey!" Blair scrunches her face in misery and says she'll never make it to 7:00am without breaking down and calling him, so Mrs. Garrett urges her to take it one hour at a time until after the fucktard has departed for Vermont. The gals rally around Blair and promise to do everything they can to keep her mind off of being a pathetic doormat.
Blair is giving Jo a makeover to help keep her mind off of Chad - but Jo doesn't look like she's enjoying having makeup caked all over her face. When Tootie jokingly suggests that Blair give Jo a haircut (‘cause, yep, that tired old ponytail 'do is getting tedious to look at), everyone goes silent at the memory of when Chad had so dickishly urged Blair to experiment with a shorter 'do.
Blair heads downstairs to the lounge, picks up the phone and stares at it, then thinks better of it and hangs it up again. She wanders over to the kitchen just as Jo appears, wrapped in a bright green blanket. Blair grabs a plate of roast beef leftovers from the fridge and heads back to the lounge...and Jo trails closely behind 'cause clearly she doesn't trust her to not call Chad. Blair pretends she hadn't even considered making such a call, and rolls her eyes and says, "You are soooo suspicious."
Blair natters at Jo about how she thinks about Chad all the time: when she's styling her hair, doing her homework, and taking out the trash - especially then, apparently. Heh...and Jo reads my mind and snidely mutters, "That figures." Blair says she's been rethinking every conversation she's ever had with Chad, then wails, "I didn't know there was so much wrong with me before Chad!" and Jo snorts derisively and snarks, "Maybe there wasn't before Chad."
Hours later, Blair is cuddled under the blanket with Jo, continuing to natter about how she still gets butterflies whenever she thinks about Chad, and that he's different from every other flunky she's dated. Jo points out that Chad is the only boyfriend she's had who didn't completely gush over her perfection, and that maybe his constant, not-so-subtle disapproval of her is what drives her to want to prove herself to him. Blair mulls over that plausible theory, scrunches her face in sudden irritation, and decides it's not Chad's place to tell her she's not perfect. Jo quips, "That's right. It's my place!" and the two laugh and cuddle in each other's arms under the bright green blanket.
Blair wakes up, excitedly checks her watch, and squeals happily when she sees that it’s 7:22am. She pokes Jo awake and exclaims, “Wake up! We can go to sleep now!" - bwahahaha! - and tells her they can finally celebrate the fact that Chad is probably long gone. As they're dancing around, happily hugging, the phone suddenly rings...and after glaring at it for a few seconds, Jo’s happy mood disintegrates as she answers it, and sure enough it's Chad. He informs Jo that he and his friends got a late start this morning and that Blair can still come skiing if she still wants. Blair looks intrigued by the last minute offer and tells Jo she really really wants to go. Jo scrunches her face disappointedly as she mutely hands the phone over...and Blair gives it a hard stare, holds it up to her ear for a few seconds, but then decides that Chad is a cold-hearted assbag who doesn't deserve a minute more of her time. And that she liked cuddling under the bright green blanket with Jo a whole lot more than she expected to...mmm hmm. She hangs up the phone…and as she's doing that, she looks over at Jo, who's smiling at her approvingly.