Recap: Jo is hanging in a diner with a group of fellow Langley students, along with their photography teacher: a cheese-tastic dork named Sam Hall. Eventually, the students disperse - except for Jo - who finds herself alone with Sam as he natters about photography being an awesomely artistic experience. The camera fades out as the two lose track of time chatting...and two hours later, when the check comes, Sam gets out his wallet and offers to pay for their lunch. Jo argues that he shouldn't be paying for their non-date lunch, and Sam's like, "Of course this wasn't a date. I don't date my students" ... but as the two mull over the definition of a date, neither can deny that what they've doing in this diner for the last three hours seems pretty darn near close to being a date.
Natalie tells Mrs. Garrett, Tootie, and Blair that something has been up with Jo lately, namely that she's been on the phone every night while barricading herself inside the closet. Blair says there's a rumor going around campus that Jo is dating her photography teacher, and Mrs. Garrett lightly shrieks, "Wha-a-a-a-a?!" and asks if the college doesn't have rules against that sort of thing (uh, right?). Blair just shrugs and says he's not a full on professor, but rather a thirtysomething TA - just as a radiant looking Jo bursts into the store and says she's soooooo jazzed to learn that a museum Sam recently gushed to her about is located just down the street from Edna's Edibles. Mrs. Garrett gently asks if she and/or the other Facts gals should be concernedly interjecting themselves into her love life, but Jo assures her that there's nothing going on that the writers won't tidily resolve by the time the end credits roll. A few seconds later, Sam enters the store, gets introduced to everyone by Jo, and lays it on thick about the awesome aroma of Mrs. Garrett's freshly baked croissants. He then tells Jo he's going to suggest they do something tomorrow she's never done - go horseback riding - and Jo says she's game and is already sure she's going to looooove the new experience.
The next day, Jo and Sam are taking a break from horseback riding in the woods, and Jo thanks him for getting her to experience something she never would have done otherwise. She leaps into his arms to give him an awkwardly over-enthusiastic thank you hug...and Sam gets momentarily discombobulated by being leaped upon and suggests they spend a few minutes walking their horses along the trail.
At dinner that evening, Jo tells Mrs. Garrett and the gals that Sam invited her to keep him company while he goes into nature to get close-up shots of insects for his Master's thesis. She asks Mrs. Garrett if she wouldn't mind packing a large lunch for them...and the Facts gals giggle and tease her about how much it sounds like a romantic picnic.
After staring at a cluster of insects through a camera lens, Sam agrees to take a break to enjoy all the food that Jo brought along for them. She tells him that spending time with him over the last few days has been very special, and Sam shoots her an intense stare before solemnly agreeing. He then tells her to stand in front of a tree 'cause he wants to take her photograph, then ogles her longingly before leaning in for a smooch.
Blair braces herself for a mini-confrontation, then enters the Edna's Edibles living room where Jo and Sam are hanging out. She tells them that while they make a lovely couple, there's been a great deal of tittering on campus about the inappropriateness of their relationship, and accusations that Jo's been getting better grades in Sam's photography class than she'd otherwise be getting. Jo gets enraged and insists she's earned whatever grades she's gotten, then rails to Sam about how much she hates the idea of people talking about them. She says he's the best thing that's ever happened to her and doesn't want their icky-to-watch courtship to end, and Sam's like, "Me neither!" and gives her a smooch.
Natalie tells Tootie, Blair, and Mrs. Garrett it's been six days since Jo went out with Sam, and that she can only assume the two have broken up. Mrs. Garrett says she thinks it's for the best 'cause of the age difference between the two...and adds that she thinks Jo unwittingly got in over her head. Cue Jo, who breezes into the room, contentedly whistling as she bustles around the store. Mrs. Garrett asks her how she's doing now that she and Sam are broken up...and Jo gives her a funny look and says she didn't break up with Sam, then explains that he hasn't been around lately 'cause he's enjoying some one-on-one time with his seven year old son, Robbie, who's visiting from Chicago. When everyone's all, "Wha-a-a-a-a?? He has a son?!", Jo says that when Sam's wife died, his parenting skills went so defunct he had to send Robbie to live with his parents in Chicago.
Sam enters the store and hugs Jo hello, and the two gush about how much they've missed each other. He tells Jo he had a long talk with Robbie, and the two decided that Robbie would live with him in Peekskill from now on...and that he wants the two of them to meet. Jo looks uneasy and says she's not so good with kids - but Sam urges her to take a chance and assures her that Robbie is going to love her. When Jo reluctantly agrees, Sam's all, "Hurray!" and the two exchange I love yous before indulging in another PG smooch.
After photography class, Jo nervously awaits Robbie's arrival and practices various greetings (hi, hey, hello). When a tiny, bowl shaped hairdo-ed boy ambles into the room, Sam introduces him to Jo, then is suddenly called away to take a long distance call. After an awkward pause, Jo asks Robbie how he likes his new school, and he tells her he hates it 'cause the other kids have been making fun of him for dribbling a basketball like a girl. Jo borrows his ball to demonstrate the art of the dribble and how to spin it atop her finger, and Robbie's all, "Wowee!" and says he's open to whatever skills she can pass along to him.
Mrs. Garrett has declared it Dutch Day at Edna's Edibles, which means that she and the Facts gals are donning traditional Dutch caps and wooden clogs while serving Dutch pastries to their customers. Robbie is hanging out at the shop with Jo, busily painting a windmill...and when Sam arrives to take him and Jo to lunch, Tootie asks them to pose together so she can take a photograph of the three.
Tootie sadly tells Natalie that when she took the photo just now, it occurred to her that Jo, Sam, and Robbie look like a family. She glumly predicts that Jo will probably get married and move out of the Edna's Edibles building, meaning she's going to disrupt the show's winning formula of the four of them living under Mrs. Garrett's roof well into adulthood.
Jo is hanging out at Sam's place, playing with Robbie and his action figures. Sam announces that it's time for bed, and in his irksome laying-it-on-thick-about-being-an-indulgent-dad fashion gives Robbie a piggyback ride to his bedroom. Once that's done, he joins Jo on the couch and suggests they go to the movies one night this week...and when the two start smooching, Robbie suddenly appears behind the couch, looks unfazed at the sight of them kissing, and impishly says he needs a glass of water. While Sam pours a glass, Robbie reminds him that this Thursday is parent-teacher night at his school, and that he'd really really like it if Jo tagged along. When Jo points out that she's not, uh, his parent, Robbie shrugs unconcernedly while Sam says he rather likes the idea of her stepping into the vacant mom role...and Jo mulls that over and decides 'sure, what could possibly go wrong with setting this precedent?'
Several nights later, Jo and Blair are waiting around for Sam to pick up Robbie so they can head over to the college and attend a Gloria Steinem lecture. When the phone rings, it's Sam calling to let Jo know that he's stuck in a faculty meeting that's running a lot later than he expected. Blair rolls her eyes in frustration and asks Jo if Sam couldn't get someone else to babysit his brat, and Jo irritably says that Robbie's her responsibility and urges her to go on to the lecture without her. After Blair leaves, Robbie enters the room carrying his Simon game and asks Jo to play it with him.
Jo arrives at Edna's Edibles and explains that she's late for her shift 'cause she had to take Robbie shopping, then to the hairdresser's. Blair says it's not healthy to be doing this kind of stuff for a kid who's not even her stepson, then rails about how the little jerk is starting to take over her life. Jo insists that she loooooves all the time she spends with Robbie, and Blair says she's well aware of how much it likely means to Robbie. She reminds Jo that, when she was the child of divorced parents, she had lots of experience spending time with her mother's various boyfriends...and when a nice one came along, she started to depend on him and hoped to hell he'd stick around for awhile. Jo insists that that won't happen with her and Robbie, and Blair warns her to be very sure 'bout that, 'cause of how easy it is to break a kid's heart.
The Facts gals are about to head out to a comedy show (where the performer slices up a watermelon and throws it at the audience - what?) when Sam suddenly bursts in, orders an emergency box of chocolate chip cookies, and tells Jo that Robbie's having an impromptu party with a bunch of his little friends and for some reason expects her to be in attendance. Jo's like, "Uhh, I have plans tonight", and Sam is all, "Wha-a-a-a? Plans?" and scrunches his face in disappointment - even as he half-heartedly urges her to go out and have fun with her friends. As he dejectedly shuffles out of the store, Jo stares after him with a troubled expression on her face.
Jo leaves the comedy show early and returns home to have a heart-to-heart with Mrs. Garrett. She moans about being unable to have a good time having watermelon thrown at her 'cause she felt guilty about missing Robbie's party, and also worried about letting Sam down. That said, she complains about how Sam always seems to count on her whenever it comes to Robbie, and credits Mrs. Garrett for her uncharacteristic lack of expressed judgeyness about her jumping head-first into a relationship with a much older man who happens to be a single parent. Mrs. Garrett suggests that perhaps Sam wants something out of this relationship that she doesn't (e.g. co-parenting Robbie) and that he's probably thinking about making their hookup permanent.
After photography class, Jo tells Sam they need to talk. Translation: I don't want to be tied down to a thirtysomething dork and constantly get roped into being some spawn's stepmother when I'm only nineteen years old. Sam apologizes for assuming she was free last night and says he's just going to blurt out where he stands in their relationship: ready for marriage! Jo's all, "Ack!!!" and says she's not remotely ready to consider marrying him, despite her love for him. Sam reciprocates her I love you, but agrees to call it a day with their May-December hookup...and Jo gives him a grateful goodbye hug.
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