Recap: Natalie enters a diner somewhere in rural Pennsylvania carrying her damaged bicycle. She heads straight over to the pay phone and leaves a message for Mrs. Garrett and the rest of the Facts gals telling them she's on Day 9 of her "journey to nowhere" and is planning on catching the next Peekskill-bound bus. She then seats herself at the counter, orders a cup of coffee, and writes in her journal that she's in a diner in the middle of nowhere and hopes to come across some interesting characters who'll inspire her to write the next great American novel. Natalie tells the tired looking waitress that this dump must be a fascinating place to work, and the waitress refrains from contorting her face into a seriously? expression and says the only fascinating tidbit she can think of is when a storm knocked out the power lines last year. Natalie perks up and excitedly asks her if the power failure resulted in mass panic and a 'man against man' type situation - but the waitress just shrugs and deadpans, "The meat went bad." A dismayed Natalie mutters that she hopes there's a better story than that she can write, then learns from the waitress that the next Peekskill-bound bus doesn't leave for four hours. She turns her attention back to her journal, but is momentarily distracted by a rude trucker who bitches at the waitress about her shitty coffee. When the waitress reacts by politely offering to get him another cup, Natalie chuckles about how differently Jo would have handled that situation, were she the waitress.
And now it's time for whatever hallucinogens the writers were into the week they phoned in the ensuing horrendousness..
Jo emerges from the kitchen to portray a far sassier version of the real waitress, who Natalie dubs Joanne. Natalie asks her if she has ambitions beyond waitressing...and when Joanne/Jo says she aspires to be a beautician, Natalie excitedly remarks that all she needs now is a plot, drama, and suspense.
Blair sweeps into the diner decked out in a black dress and red feather hat, furtively glancing about as though she's searching for something. Natalie tries to flesh out Mystery Woman by wondering aloud:
When Natalie tells Joanne/Jo there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of traffic in the vicinity, Joanne/Jo says "Not since they closed the airstrip" - just as they hear a small-engine plane land. A few seconds later, Tootie wanders into the diner wearing flying goggles and a brown leather jacket, snarling, "That's the last time I buy spark plugs on the black market." Har har. Natalie dubs her Trudy Hathaway and describes her as an adventurer extraordinaire and free spirit living on the edge.
Natalie sits in the booth across from Trudy/Tootie and says she can't help but notice how muddy her boots are, so Trudy/Tootie explains that it's Amazon River mud from delivering medical supplies to the Pygmies. Joanne/Jo informs her that Pygmies are in Africa, and Trudy/Tootie shrugs and says she was misinformed, then spins a wild tale of how she encountered a crocodile while boating down a river...but it quickly disappeared as Natalie struggles to come up with a more exciting plot line, which ends up being that one of the plane's engines caught fire, causing Trudy/Tootie to nearly crash. Trudy/Tootie says she was held up - not at gunpoint - but at the Holiday Inn for 48 hours. Natalie stares glumly into space and complains that nothing in this [fuckwittedly appalling] episode is remotely plausible, and that she wouldn't be surprised if Charo burst through the door in a skimpy getup. Cue Charo in a skimpy getup, who urges the other diners to dance behind her in a conga line - until Natalie orders her to dance herself out of the scene so she can get back to her train wreck of a story.
Natalie picks up a gun she finds on the floor and shows it to everyone in the diner. As Mystery Woman/Blair immediately denies it's hers, Natalie says she can only assume that one of them brought the gun with the intention of using it. Mystery Woman/Blair says that a murder in a remote diner would be ridiculous, Trudy/Tootie points out that the gun doesn't even have bullets in it, and Joanne/Jo offers to put it in the lost and found. Natalie concludes that someone must have removed the bullets, then remarks, "This could be interesting" [even though: not]. The Facts gals get bored of her wretched storytelling ability and demand to be transferred to someone else's imagination - but Natalie urges them to be patient while she works through this bout of writer's block.
As Natalie writes her nonsense in earnest, Mystery Woman/Blair says she's bored and wants to leave, Trudy/Tootie wants to fly somewhere more interesting, and Joanne/Jo wants to close up the diner - but Natalie tells them they all have to stay put 'cause the bridge just got washed out. George Clooney makes his grand entrance and informs the gals that the Peekskill-bound bus will be delayed until the bridge can be repaired, then orders a cup of coffee. Mystery Woman/Blair offers to write Trudy/Tootie a check if she'll fly her out of this shithole...and when Natalie announces [she's somehow aware] that the check is no good, Trudy/Tootie says she's so desperate to flee this episode she's willing to do a stranger the favor, free of charge. Natalie thinks quick and decides that visibility is down to zero...and when Trudy/Tootie opens the diner door, she's stunned by the blinding fog that has suddenly descended. Mystery Woman/Blair paces nervously as a letter pops in from the mail slot, which Joanne/Jo notices is addressed to her. She grabs it from Mystery Woman/Blair and quickly learns that she just inherited $1 million from the estate of Reginald Hunter, despite not knowing anyone by that name. George Clooney describes the poor-waitress-turned-millionaire transformation as "a classic Cinderella story" as Joanne/Jo racks her brain to think of who Reginald Hunter might be, then recalls that she recently served pie and coffee to a man who introduced himself as Reggie and complained about his materialistic daughter. Mystery Woman/Blair announces that she really wants to leave right now, then accidentally drops her wallet...and when Trudy/Tootie picks it up and looks at the driver's license, she blurts out, "You're Blane Hunter!", aka Reginald's spoiled daughter. Blane/Blair admits she is...and when Joanne/Jo accuses her of coming to the diner to steal her fortune, Blane/Blair's like, "Well duh."
George Clooney emerges from the kitchen dressed as a busboy, and Natalie nonsensically explains that he moonlights whenever he's not driving a bus [due to sudden bridge washouts, I'll assume]. Joanne/Jo snarls at Blane/Blair for not having the guts to shoot her...and when Trudy/Tootie points out that the gun isn't actually loaded, an exasperated Blane/Blair turns to Natalie and moans, "Could you help me out?" When Natalie responds by derisively referring to her as "a nasty villain", Blane/Blair admits that, yep, she had every intention of destroying her father's will before Joanne/Jo could get her hands on it. Trudy/Tootie, meanwhile, turns the gun on Joanne/Jo and Blane/Blair and identifies herself as "third in line" to inherit Reginald's estate, then explains that she once saved his life by giving him mouth-to-mouth rescusitation after nearly poisoning him with a crop duster. Blane/Blair suggests they kill Joanne/Jo and split the fortune two ways - just as Joanne/Jo flashes a police badge while the real waitress, Mrs. Garrett, emerges from the kitchen. [I'm genuinely surprised that Andy wasn't also superfluously squeezed into this episode wearing Austrian lederhosen and claiming to be the eighth Von Trapp kid.]
Joanne/Jo explains that she was retained by the Hunter estate to protect the real waitress, aka beneficiary - but then turns the gun on Mrs. Garrett while grumbling about what a shit salary cops make. Natalie grabs the multimillion dollar check and points out that Reginald forgot to sign it, and Mrs. Garrett refrains from pointing out that that's not how wills work, and rips it up as she breezily says, "It's only money." The Fact gals argue about the stupid ending to this story as if it's even worth the effort to bother...and Natalie mulls over that constructive criticism before hastily rewriting the ending: George Clooney sweeps into the diner wearing a white Navy uniform and gives Natalie a Hollywood smooch.
Natalie packs up her journal and exclaims to the tired looking waitress, "You've got one happening place here!", and leaves for the bus station while the befuddled waitress stares confusedly after her.
Get a day job, Natalie.
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