Recap: Blair, Tootie, and Geri (fuuuuuck) are huddled around a tiny portable TV, engrossed in a soap opera. Blair explains that she recently had the flu and spent the week watching soaps, and is now hopelessly addicted. Mrs. Garrett bustles into the cafeteria holding two fabric samples and asks them which pattern she should choose for her curtains, but the girls are too engrossed in the soap to even acknowledge her presence.
Natalie and Jo burst into the cafeteria, and Jo is admonishing Natalie for yelling in the library despite the fact that there's nothing she can do about the situation. Mrs. Garrett asks whassup, so Natalie tells her that she was looking for the newest issue of MS Magazine, only to be told by the librarian that the subscription has been abruptly cancelled because certain parts of the magazine are now deemed offensive. What's more, a handful of classics (including Catch 22 and Slaughterhouse 5) have been removed from the library to undergo "re-evaluation". Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face concernedly and says she doesn't like the sound of that, and Geri solemnly says it sounds like - egads! - book banning. Mrs. Garrett says she never thought such a wretched thing could happen at Eastland, and Tootie breezily waves a hand in the air and says, "It's probably being done for a good reason." Blair concurs and reminds everyone that Eastland has very high standards, and points out that any student is free to go into town and buy any book they want. Natalie wails, "This is America!", invokes the First Amendment, and says that books are ideas...and ideas have the right to circulate on a faux girls' school campus. Geri says she's totally against censorship and announces that she'd be willing to sign a petition, even though she's in no way connected to Eastland and her opinion would have zero weight. Mrs. Garrett says she strongly feels the need to speak out about this abomination, and is marching straight to the library to further investigate the situation. She asks Natalie what she's going to do about it as editor of the school paper, then screechily proposes, "Make a lot of noise!!"
Mr. Parker (the headmaster) tells Mrs. Garrett she's overreacting, and that censoring literature is no cause for alarm. Mrs. Garrett screechily argues that people with no training are overriding the librarian's book buying decisions, and are ordering her to remove four great classics from the library. She wails, "Something alarming is happening here!" so Mr. Parker tries to divert the conversation to her strudel recipe. When Mrs. Garrett unhappily glares at him, he tells her that the school board has unilaterally decided to re-evaluate certain books. Mrs. Garrett says she's confused about how books that have been in the library for years could suddenly be considered offensive, so Mr. Parker explains that a group of angry parents have accused him of corrupting their children and are threatening to pull their kids out of Eastland...so he tucked his weeny balls between his legs and instantly caved. Mrs. Garrett accuses him of selling out and assures him that the school would not shut down over this, but Mr. Parker condescendingly tells her she just has to blindly trust that what he's doing is best for the school. Mrs. Garrett points out that one small group of parents throwing a tantrum shouldn't dictate policy, and reminds him that it's their job to prepare these girls for real life. An irked Mr. Parker barks back that determining school policy is up to the headmaster, not the dietician (!)...then orders her to be more cooperative and not aggravate an already tense situation. Mrs. Garrett stubbornly retorts that she refuses to keep silent about something she thinks is wrong.
Natalie reads aloud the anti-book banning article she just published in the school paper, then looks to Mrs. Garrett for an approving nod...but Mrs. Garrett just mutters, "Yeah, yeah. Sounds great." Natalie asks for a bit more enthusiasm please, so Mrs. Garrett adds that she's very impressed with her activism. Natalie says in the next issue she's planning to print excerpts of the banned books, and Mrs. Garrett makes a face and tells her that sometimes it's best to crack under pressure and step away from a controversy. So much for keeping silent about something she thinks is wrong. A somber looking Jo enters the cafeteria and informs Natalie that she's no longer editor of the school paper. Apparently, the faculty adviser didn't have the stones to tell Natalie herself and ordered Jo to do it. Jo tells her that her editorial "made things too hot" for everyone...and by everyone, she means weaselly, ball tucking Mr. Parker. Mrs. Garrett sheepishly tells Natalie she's sorry for encouraging her to revolt against book banning, and a bewildered Natalie asks, "Can they do that?!" Jo's like, "Well, d'yuh" and adds that since she's just a kid, the board can easily shut her up. Mrs. Garrett bitterly says that when you're an adult they ask you to "cooperate"...and she says this while vacantly staring into space.
As Natalie mopes around the cafeteria and watches soaps on the tiny portable TV, Blair tries to rile her up by telling her she should be furious about losing her editor job. She asks her if she's planning on doing anything about it, but Natalie just despondently says she's just going to stand on the sidelines and mellow out. Jo enters the room and announces that Buffy Kline has just been appointed the paper's new editor, and Natalie derisively snorts, "Buffy the boring?!" and calls her a few other names before she abruptly stops and chirps, "Good choice!" Jo says it's obvious they picked Buffy because she's known to be totally non-controversial, and Natalie pretends to be OK with it and says from now on she'd like to be known as Natalie "No Comment" Green. Jo urges her to fight her termination, but Natalie glumly says, "It happened. You can't beat the system" and says she has no desire to start a fight she can't win. Mrs. Garrett says she's angry at herself for encouraging Natalie to "make a lot of noise", and sheepishly admits that when push came to shove, she didn't have Natalie's back. She announces that she's jumping back into the fight and attending next week's board meeting. Tootie looks alarmed and warns her that she could be fired for speaking out, and Mrs. Garrett nods as she stares solemnly into space as if she suddenly realized: shit just got real.
Before the board meeting gets underway, some of the parents discuss with the headmaster how worried they are about the irreversible damage that vile books like Catch 22 can do to their daughters, and snootily insist that they want "improper values" kept out of the classroom. Mrs. Garrett listens with her teeth clenched together, then greets an unhappy looking parent (Betty Shuster) who says she has a few choice words to say to the board about their outrageous plan to ban books. She says she was furious when she got the newsletter, and Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face in confusion and goes, "Wuh? Newsletter..?" so Betty hands her the newsletter she recently received in the mail. A few seconds later, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie arrive...and Mrs. Garrett smiles at them knowingly and says she knows they had something to do with the anti-book banning newsletter. Natalie admits writing it, and Tootie (who's suddenly on board with the anti-book banning movement) sanctimoniously declares that every parent needed to know what was going on at Eastland. Blair arrives and says that her mom is on her way, and that currently her limo is en route to the Bronx to pick up Jo's mom. Interesting...I wonder when those two became friends.
Mr. Parker pulls Mrs. Garrett aside and tells her he's overwhelmed by the turnout, and that he's meeting many parents for the first time. He then hangs his head shamefully and tells her that a lot of the parents are angry at him for allowing the louder, more uppity parents to dictate to him which books should be banned from the school library. He apologizes to Mrs. Garrett for being such a spineless douchenozzle, and she half-heartedly says, "Yeah...well, you were just doing what you thought was best." She assures him that he's still a good headmaster (though not really), but he says he's deeply ashamed for allowing himself to be forced into this confrontation (as well he should). Someone enters the lobby and announces that the meeting is about to start, and Mr. Parker ushers Mrs. Garrett toward the meeting room and says, "This could be a loooong night."