Recap: Tootie is aboard a Peekskill-bound train, nattering to the man who had the misfortune of sitting next to her that she's worried her friends will miss the train. The man's like, "That's too bad, I really don't give a shit" just as Blair and Jo rush aboard...and then Natalie a few seconds after that. The four hug hello and welcome each other to mark the premiere episode of the show's seventh (%#@*!!) season and gabble about what they did all summer. Jo says she spent the summer mentoring kids at a camp, which gets an eye roll and voice-overed grumbling from Blair about the do-gooder drivel she's always spewing...and then Blair says she shopped all summer, which gets an eye roll and voice-overed grumbling from Jo about the level of shallowness it would have to take for a person to do nothing but shop for two solid months. Natalie says she got a job earning $6.50 an hour and managed to save up a bundle for her trip to Europe...which, for some reason, irks Tootie, who tries to draw everyone's attention to her poof-tastic new '80s mulleted hairdo.
The Fact gals arrive at the Edna's Edibles set and are stunned to find it a charred mess. Mrs. Garrett enters the scene with an insurance agent in tow and explains that the kitchen mysteriously went up in flames yesterday while she was out running errands, and thankfully no one was hurt. She assures them that all of their ruined belongings are covered by insurance...and the insurance agent concurs, but only as long as everyone has a receipt for every single item that got lost or damaged. Um, OK. Interesting policy for an insurance company. As the gals rush upstairs to survey the damage to their communal bedroom, Mrs. Garrett stands in the middle of the burned wreckage and tears up as she moans, "My beautiful, beautiful shop."
The gals look over the extensive smoke and water damage to their belongings. Tootie refuses to let the fire dampen her spirits and brims with positivity when she declares that they'll simply start fresh this season. Andy Moffett drops by to comfort the gals with a group hug and help them make a list of everything that was ruined in the fire. Tootie insists that the bedroom is livable despite the soaking wet mattresses - but Blair's like, "Uh, no" and says she's off to live at the Hyatt until further notice, while Jo says she'll find someone to bunk with at the dorm. When Natalie reminds everyone that she's just about to leave for Europe, a panicked Tootie insists that, if they all put their heads together, they can figure out how the four of them can continue living under the same roof and under Mrs. Garrett's general supervision despite the fact that they're all fully grown women who might want to consider moving the fuck on with their lives. Blair points out that they've lived together for the last six seasons [and that there's a good chance the producers fished The Fact of Life lake dry by around the end of the fourth season] - but an appalled Tootie just gasps in horror at the prospect of ever living apart from her besties. Jo looks bemused by her reaction and says, "It's not like we planned on living together for the rest of our lives", and Tootie shoots her a say what? look and replies, "That's the first I've heard of it."
Mrs. Garrett ambles into the room and says she's not sure she even wants to get Edna's Edibles up and running again 'cause of how tired she got of constantly baking. She says she'd much rather use her insurance money to go back to school or travel the world, then feebly assures them that somehow everything will all be OK. Once she and Andy are out of earshot, Tootie tells the other gals she thinks Mrs. Garrett is lying for their sakes and that she actually wants to bring back Edna's Edibles - but Jo, Blair, and Natalie argue that Mrs. Garrett doesn't tend to lie about life decisions.
The next day, Tootie and Natalie return from a Manhattan shopping spree with bags of stuff - just as Mrs. Garrett hands everyone their checks from the insurance company. Natalie explains that she and Tootie went to the big city to find out what was "hot", then pulls out a hamburger lamp and an unsightly Diana Ross clothing hanger. As Jo, Blair, and Mrs. Garrett are all, "What the hell kind of useless shit is this?", Tootie and Natalie urge them to open their minds to starting a new business selling eclectic crap [in other words: a shitty dollar store]. Mrs. Garrett shrieks, "I don't want another business!", so Tootie explains that each cast member would get her own department: Blair would be in charge of fashion, Jo would be in charge of things like keychains featuring The Clapper technology, and Mrs. Garrett would operate a tiny cookie corner. Mrs. Garrett says she doesn't have the money to rebuild - but Tootie points out that they'll have enough cash if they pool their insurance checks together. Blair mulls that over for a few seconds and says she's definitely interested...and Mrs. Garrett stares contemplatively into space for a few seconds before saying they're going to have to find a contractor who can fix up the place and work cheap. She decrees that the new business will be an equal partnership among the five of them, then suddenly looks excited by the adventure that lies ahead. She chatters about being on the verge of a new era, which gets eye rolls and voice-overed grumblings from the Facts gals, who complain about how much the shrieky old woman tends to drone on and on.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!