Recap: Beverly Ann is working on the latest instalment of the PTA newsletter with her friend and fellow PTA member, Christopher Morgan. Jo and Blair return home from the movies with Andy, who dreamily shares that he has no idea what the movie was about 'cause he spent the entire evening ogling his crush, Patty Maxwell, who was sitting a few rows down.
Beverly Ann introduces Christopher to the Facts gals, and Natalie excitedly bleats that she knows exactly who he is: the editor of The Peekskill Register. Tootie interjects herself to point out that Natalie is a fantastic writer...and when Natalie weakly tut tuts her pushiness, Christopher says that sometime's a writer's gotta stick her neck out. Natalie accepts his challenge as she brazenly asks, "Can I have a job?", and he's like, "Er, no", but is willing to offer her a freelance assignment: an in-depth article about how women fare in Langley College's ROTC program. He explains that he needs a first hand account of what the female cadets endure during the boot camp phase...and when an alarmed Natalie says that that's a pretty huge commitment for the sake of one story, he assures her that trainees are permitted to drop out of ROTC anytime within the first year. Natalie mulls that over and gives him an ultimatum: she'll go undercover at something she's likely to have zero skill at if he gives her a full time job afterwards, and Christopher decides that that's an offer he can't refuse.
Natalie is at her first day of ROTC training, decked out in fatigues as she introduces herself to a fellow cadet named Jody Fletcher. Sergeant Evans enters the room (channelling his inner Emil "Officer and a Gentleman" Foley as he barks at them to line up). He warns about all the pain and sacrifice it's going to take for each of them to make it through the program, and that they should consider this college gymnasium to be a military base. He then begins roll call, and Natalie commits the grave and avoidable error when she yells back "Here!" instead of "Here, Sergeant!" as she was just instructed. Sergeant Evans later catches her taking notes...and instead of regarding that as any kind of red flag, he growlingly vows to make her life miserable.
Natalie has changed into sweats and is swinging on a rope while grumbling to Jody about how much she haaaates ROTC training...while Jody, who comes from a family with a strong tradition of military service, says she looooves it. She asks Natalie why she joined the ROTC if she dislikes the training so much, and Natalie jokes about how it's a great place to meet guys - just as Sergeant Evans appears and snarls at the women to talk less and move their butts more.
Back at the residence, Andy reports that he saw Patty Maxwell earlier...but despite psyching himself up to talk to her, he became too overwhelmed by her beauty to actually say anything to her. Blair clucks sympathetically and says she understands only too well how intimidated men can be by the beauty of women such as herself, then suggests he eliminate the stress of an in-person interaction by telephoning Patty.
Christopher drops by to deliver the newly printed PTA newsletters to Beverly Ann, and Natalie takes the opportunity to cheerily inform him that she finished her article on the ROTC and hands him a copy. Christopher reads it in eager fascination...but when he gets to the part where Sergeant Evans is about to be replaced by a female instructor, he tells Natalie that her assignment isn't over on account of he's deeply intrigued to learn how ROTC life changes when a woman takes the reins. Natalie looks less than thrilled at having her assignment extended and grimaces at the prospect of having to continue with boot camp.
Sergeant McNamara, the new tough-as-nails ROTC instructor, who behaves a lot meaner than her predecessor, bellows, "I am more man than any woman you're ever going to meet!" LOL. She orders Natalie to straighten her shoulders, then asks the class if they know why they're here. Natalie jokes to Jody, "Just our luck" ... and the sergeant overhears her and says that the consequence of Natalie's big mouth is the entire class having to run for five miles in full gear. As everyone groans, she refers to herself as "a jump master" and says she also plans to train everyone on how to successfully parachute out of a plane...and Natalie's all, "Wuh?" and looks alarmed by the direction in which this boot camp is headed.
Andy asks Jo for some feedback as he makes a rehearsal phone call to Patty - but he can only bring himself to do the part where he asks her mom or dad if he can speak to her. Natalie, meanwhile, calls Christopher to complain about how the new ROTC instructor is expecting her to parachute out of plane, adding that she'd rather not risk life and limb for the sake of a local newspaper article. Christopher insists that he needs her to do it and tells her to think of hurtling through the air as an experience she can look back upon with fondness. Assuming she survives, of course. Tootie and Beverly Ann express concern that the parachute jump might end up with her splatting to her death, while Blair suggests she ask someone else about the experience and then use that person's account to write her article. An appalled Tootie insists that Natalie would never stoop so low 'cause she's too ethical, and Natalie half-heartedly agrees as Jo makes a whistling sound of Natalie's impending crash to the earth.
Back at ROTC training, the class is practicing for the parachute jump by leaping off a platform and rolling over. Natalie peppers Jody with questions about her ROTC experience thus far, then stupidly confides that she's not actually planning to complete the parachuting exercise 'cause she's secretly writing a story on the ROTC for The Peekskill Register. Jody screeches, "You're a spy!", then angrily calls her out on using her to get quotes for her story. Natalie tries to explain that she's a budding writer who's merely trying to get her foot in the door - but an enraged Jody says that not only is she sorry she trusted her, but is sorry she even met her. Ouch.
Natalie returns home and commiserates to Beverly Ann and the Facts gals about how she blew it with her only ROTC friend. Andy, meanwhile, tells everyone that he's too skeered to telephone Patty Maxwell...prompting Beverly Ann to share that she used to be afraid of everything, hates the idea of him feeling like that, and points out that usually when one faces one's fears, the fears are so much worse than anything that actually happens. Andy mulls that over for a few seconds before picking up the phone, dialling Patty, and suggesting they study together for their algebra test...and is thrilled and relieved when she says yes. Natalie then says she's soooo inspired by the imp's display of courage that she's decided to parachute out of a plane after all.
The next day, the ROTC cadets are in the plane, ready to leap. Jody tells Natalie she's too terrified of parachuting to be mad at her anymore, then says she doesn't think she can do it. She adds that it's frowned upon in her family to ever admit any kind of weakness, so Natalie reminds her that she's fully trained and qualified to make the jump, and urges her to just do it for herself. After the rest of the cadets take the plunge, one by one, Jody stares fearfully out the door and at the ground below...but when Sergeant McNamara encourages her to go for it with Natalie's assurance that's going to be just fine, she bravely hurls herself out of the plane.
Natalie, who's the final cadet to jump, natters to Sergeant McNamara about how she's having second thoughts...and McNamara's like, "Oh yeah?" and promptly shoves her out the door. LOL. As the camera pans to footage of cadets in mid-jump, we hear Natalie narrate, "I did it! I did it!" before adding, "And this is without a doubt the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life." LOL.
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