Recap: Natalie has just finished applying passionate plum polish to her fingernails, and Jo glares at her fingers disapprovingly and says, "That could get you into trouble"...and Natalie giggles and retorts, "If I'm lucky." Blair enters the cafeteria decked out in fashionable ski wear and asks Natalie why she's not coming along on the weekend ski trip, so Natalie reminds her that she's going home to visit her parents. Tootie arrives with the mail and announces to Natalie that she got a postcard from her parents, who are currently vacationing in Hawaii. Blair's all, "Wuh?" so Natalie confesses that she has a date tomorrow night with Chip Douglas, then stares dreamily into space. Blair concurs that Chip is cute, and Natalie gushes, "He's magnificent!" and says they're planning to have a candlelit dinner at her parents' apartment. Blair looks fake stern and tells her that what she's doing is fraudulent and deceptive, then grins and says, "All I can say is: good for you!" Natalie says her grandparents wanted her to spend the weekend with them, since her parents are away, but she fibbed and told them she had to stay at school and study. Jo glares disapprovingly again and admonishes her for lying to her grandparents, even though she's in no position to be judgey about her friends' romantic rendezvouses, considering that she almost eloped with her dorky teenage boyfriend, Eddie, last season.
Mrs. Garrett brings down Natalie's suitcase and remarks on how heavy it is. It pops open, and Mrs. Garrett notices that several of her cookbooks are inside. Natalie sheepishly asks if she can borrow them, then fibs and says that she's planning to cook for her parents. A few seconds later someone yells, "Yoo hoo!" off camera and Natalie looks dismayed and mutters, "I don't believe this." Her grandmother - who, incidentally, is Ukrainian and not Russian (despite the episode title) - suddenly breezes into the room, carrying a large tin of goodies. She pinches Natalie's cheek and says she decided to drop by unannounced to bring her some tasty treats while she "studies" at Eastland all weekend. Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face and is all, "Wha-a?" so Natalie tries to distract her from calling her out on her web of lies by introducing everyone to Grandma Mona. Mrs. Garrett asks Mona if she can get her anything, and Mona says she'd love some hot tea with lemon...and as Mrs. Garrett heads over to the kitchen, she asks Natalie to help her cut the lemon.
Natalie explains that she just wanted to have some alone time at her parents' apartment...but when Mrs. Garrett asks her why she needs her cookbooks, she caves and admits that she's having a boy over for dinner. Mrs. Garrett's all, "Wha-a?" (as though it's any of her business what Natalie does in her own home during a weekend away from campus) and asks if she and her boy toy are going to be alone - egads! - and Natalie says yes, but that it will be totally innocent. I can corroborate this, since Natalie doesn't even entertain the idea of losing her maidenhood until Season 9. Mrs. Garrett urges her to spend the weekend with her grandparents, but Natalie makes a blech face and jokes, "That'll be exciting. Be still my heart." Mrs. Garrett says that Mona seems like a lovely lady, but Natalie argues that there's too much of an age gap for them to have anything in common. Plus, she's put in a lot of time at her apartment over the years.
Mona asks Natalie if she can see her room and spend some quality time with her, and Mrs. Garrett excitedly chirps, "That's a great idea!" and invites her to stay for dinner. Mona says she can't, 'cause she and her husband have plans to play cards - how adorbs! - and Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face concernedly and says it's getting late...and that the roads get slippery at night, so she really should sleep over. The girls (save for Natalie) urge Mona to stay, and she quickly mulls it over and agrees. Mrs. Garrett offers her bedroom to Mona and Natalie and says she'll bunk with Tootie, Blair, and Jo. She then orders Natalie to call Chip and tell him that their weekend plans have changed, and Natalie shoots her a scowly stink-eye. Mona thanks Mrs. Garrett for her hospitality and says it's "a real favor" to give her and her little vnoochka an opportunity to be roommates for the night.
Natalie and Mona are getting ready for bed...and Natalie makes a point of snarkishly mentioning that she's writing a script for the phone call she has to make to Chip to let him know that their candlelit dinner plans are kaput. Mona doesn't get why she needs to put so much effort into one phone call, then asks if she has a container to put her things in. Natalie cheekily goes, "Your teeth?" and Mona shoots her a look of annoyance and says that her teeth are in good shape 'cause she's eaten healthy food all her life - not sugary crap like the chocolate bar Natalie is currently scarfing down. Ouch. Mrs. Garrett pops in to ask if everything's OK, and Mona says she prefers a bed that isn't so lumpy, so Mrs. Garrett and Natalie go off in search of a bed board. When they return, they find Mona laying on the ground and start freaking out...until they realize she's just doing her nightly leg lifts. LOL. As they help her to her feet, she tells Natalie that if she got more exercise, she wouldn't huff and puff so much. Ouch again. As the two get ready to climb into their beds, Mona gives Natalie a cheek pinch, and Natalie snaps, "Don't!" and says she hates being pinched. Mona's like, "Whatever" and shuts the lights off, and Natalie shrieks, "I'm not tired!" and says she still needs to finish her Dear Chip letter. Mona dismissively says to not worry about Chip 'cause there will always be another boy, but Natalie insists there can never another boy, then adds, "Thanks to you, there isn't even this one." Mona's all, "Wuh?" so Natalie explains that by showing up at Eastland unannounced, she ruined her weekend dinner plans with Chip. Mona scrunches her face in confusion and reminds her that she told her she had to stay at Eastland all weekend and study, then looks incredulous as she asks, "That was a lie?" Natalie blurts out, "I guess!" Mona chides her for doing something as unholy as lying to her grandmother, and Natalie rolls her eyes and accuses her of making such a big deal out of everything. Mona sullenly says she doesn't want to spend the night with someone who doesn't want her around, then sadly asks, "Do you hate me?" Natalie softens and says she doesn't hate her...but then Mona self-piteously mutters, "You just hate to be with me" and sadly shuffles out of the room.
Mona is in the kitchen, fixing herself a cup of hot water and looking around for a lemon when Mrs. Garrett comes downstairs. She asks Mona why Natalie isn't helping her, and she sadly replies, "I'm here, Natalie is upstairs. Maybe that is best." Mrs. Garrett is all, "Wuh? What happened?" so Mona replies, "Natalie isn't Natalie anymore. I think she's too old for me" and says that Natalie accused her of treating her like a baby and doesn't seem to want her around. She moans about how hard it is to be a grandmother, and Mrs. Garrett suggests that maybe all this bickering is simply a misunderstanding. Mona says she has a friend who thinks that kids today don't like spending time with old people and just want "an open purse, closed mouth". Mrs. Garrett refuses to believe that Natalie's like that - but then reminds her that when they were young, they probably hated old whiny people just as much as the kids today do. I think that's pretty much true of any generation.
Blair and Tootie come downstairs to collect food supplies for their ski trip. Mona looks at Blair - who, for some reason, is wearing a kerchief atop her head - and kind of gasps and says that she (Blair) looks just like she (Mona) did when she was a young girl. She shows her an old photo of herself she keeps in her locket, and Blair's like, "Hey - you really did look like me!" Mona laments how fast time flies...and that it seems incomprehensible that that photo was taken sixty years ago. Blair's like, "Sixty years ago?!" and suddenly gets bummed about quickly growing old.
Natalie's sitting in bed, still writing her Dear Chip letter. Good grief - just phone him up and tell him that something unforeseen came up this weekend and that you'll have dinner another night. Jo enters the room and asks where Mona is, and Natalie rails about how her grandmother is driving her crazy and trying to control her love life. Jo purses her lips disapprovingly (what is with her this episode?) and says she'd love to have a sweet grandma like Mona 'cause grandmas don't have angles and just love you unconditionally. Natalie stares contemplatively into space as she mulls that over.
Mona is telling Mrs. Garrett and the girls about the horrors she endured in her village during the war...just as Natalie enters the room and quietly eavesdrops. Mona says that one of the soldiers tried to rape her, and everyone gasps and is like, "OMG!" so she says she pushed the soldier away, then ran and hid in a cornfield...and luckily the soldier never found her. An ashen-faced Mrs. Garrett says, "You're lucky to be here" and Tootie soberly nods and says, "We're lucky we weren't there" ('cause, yeah, it's all about you). Blair hands Mona back her locket and solemnly thanks her for telling her she looks like her. Mona then notices Natalie standing in the room, then looks all hurt again, snubs her, and starts humming a song. Mrs. Garrett asks whassup with her humming, so Mona explains that it's a love song...then recites the lyrics to her. She gets emotional and says she had a boyfriend, her first love, when she was fifteen years old...and, sadly, he died in the war. She tells Natalie, "You see? I do understand about young love." Natalie tells her she's had an incredible life and asks her why she's never told her these stories. Mona says, "You don't tell such things to a child" so then Natalie points out that she's not a child anymore - she's fifteen years old...and Mona looks startled, makes the connection that Natalie is the same age she was when she hooked up with her first love, then concedes, by golly, her granddaughter is absolutely right.
Mona admits that she's been farsighted in her treatment of her. She promises to stop treating her like an infant, if she stops treating her like an antique. Natalie grins and says, "You're got yourself a deal!" and the two hug.
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