Season 2, Episode 19: Altered States

Transcribed by Sandy Waddell

In the opening scene, Bailey and Sarah are in his room; Bailey is practising his basketball shot and Sarah is behind a pile of boxes out of sight. Clothes begin to fly about behind the screen of boxes. Bai is obsessing about Leap Year; February 29, he says, is a day that doesn't really exist. Sarah tells him that's the perfect reason to have a party. Though he's not paying full attention, Bailey agrees. Sarah emerges from behind the boxes and cries, Ta-Da! She wasn't rearranging Bailey's clothes but changing into her "new look" for her next appearance with the band: a clinging dress with a low neckline, a high hem, and two very small shoulder straps. This transformation intrigues Bailey, who kisses her ardently.

Julia is in her bedroom where Justin in dropping off notes and other stuff from school that Julia missed this week. She is not particularly interested, and he can't convince her to come back to school. He thinks that getting back into her routine would help her feel like her old self, would let them go back to being their old selves. Julia rolls over in her bed, away from where he is sitting. "Yeah," she says, "maybe."

Charlie and Kathleen are dressing at her apartment. Kathleen suggests that she ditch her network affiliates meeting and go away for the week to Hawaii with Charlie, who says he can't because he has responsibilities to the kids. Kathleen counters that they old enough to look after themselves but Charlie insists that they need him, and he is responsible for them [Editor's note: Oh. My. God!].

Julia has been up since four in the morning, Claudia reports. Charlie doesn't want to be a "hard-ass" but insists she go back to class since staying at home isn't helping her. Julia goes, but thinks that everyone is staring at her. Before the last period of the day she tells Justin that she has to leave early since her family is going to Lake Tahoe for the weekend. She can't call him from there because there won't be a phone.

At the band's next appearance, Sarah does a version of "Fever" sultry enough to make the microphone sweat, and Bailey, watching her, seems to have trouble keeping his mouth closed. At one point, one of Sarah's straps slides off her shoulder and Bailey signals to her, twitching a fold of his jacket at his shoulder. Sarah smiles and keeps singing.

Julia tells Charlie she wants to spend the weekend in Lake Tahoe with Justin's family; it was good for her to get out, she says, and this will be even better. Charlie agrees, if she thinks she's okay. Charlie is later surprised by Kathleen who drops over unannounced. Charlie is less than ecstatic and Kathleen wonders why it is so hard for him to let her be a part of his life, which is what she really wants. The next morning Bailey is trying to convince Charlie that the Leap Year party will not involve "drunk teenagers puking in our bathtub"; Kathleen, coming downstairs in Charlie's robe, asks what's for breakfast. Claudia and Bai stare, wide-eyed and blinking, at Kathleen. Claudia babbles something about "Eggs, orange -- who are you?" Kathleen introduces herself and suggests having party in the garden. She takes Bai outside to explain her idea. Claudia plunks down Charlie's plate of breakfast on the counter in front of him.

Julia books a flight to New Orleans, and from her motel rooms leaves a message at the school for Griffin. He later turns up, shocked but glad to see her. She doesn't want to tell him about what brought her to see him, but he manages to piece it together by and by. She wonders if he is sorry she came to him. He says no; he loves her, so if he can help... They spend the evening walking together. She asks how he deals with the mistakes he has made and can't take back. He tells her that sometimes he wakes up and wonders whose life he got by mistake; but this military school uniform he now wears, strange as it seems, is his, and he deals with his life by getting up in the morning and putting on those clothes, even when they seem like someone else's. When he tries to distract her by taking her on a carriage ride and doing other things to amuse her, she begs off; "fun" seems irrelevant to her. He takes her instead to the school chapel. He says he hated going to church as a kid but lately he feels like it's the only place where all his mistakes don't change what he's worth as a person. They sit for a while, side by side in the empty chapel and Julia rests her head on his shoulder. When they go back to her motel room, he tells her he's not going to leave -- but he doesn't mean it the way she thinks. Although he's already missed his curfew, he tells her that it's his call, and he wants to see her get some sleep. He tugs off her shoes and covers her tenderly with a blanket. Her eyes are already closed when he strokes her cheek with a finger. He sits by her bed and turns out the light.

Charlie is looking for his leather jacket, and Kathleen is folding his laundry. Claudia can't believe she is doing this but Kathleen says love makes you do ridiculous things. Claudia is surprised to learn that Kathleen is in love with Charlie but tells her that she has a love of her own: Enrico, for whom she is learning Spanish. Kathleen is impressed and teases her gently about her "Latin lover"; Claudia is pleased, not having thought of it in quite this way before. Charlie is horrified when Kathleen suggests taking the kids with them to Hawaii. Charlie tells Claudia to go look for his jacket ("Si, senor!", snorts Claudia, rolling her eyes and rolling off the bed). Charlie tells Kathleen she has no business inviting Claudia on family trips to Hawaii, and no business folding his socks!

Bailey is jealous of the attention Sarah is getting from her bandmates at the party and when Charlie can't find his leather jacket, Bailey tells Sarah that he thinks one of them must have taken it. Sarah is angry; angrier still when Claudia tells them the jacket has been found. Sarah leaves the party. The next morning Bailey comes to her apartment and brings a paper (she has hers delivered) and bagels (she ate already). She ask him angrily what he is doing. "I'm apologizing," he says, "with props." As a peace offering he tells her is sorry and Charlie has agreed to pay the band to perform that night. When the band comes to Salingers, however, Bailey tries to convince Sarah to wear something more conservative; say, a turtleneck. He has already told the band not to play their more provocative numbers. Sarah accuses him of trying to force her to act as he wants, and storms out again.

Charlie meets Kathleen outside her apartment building and tells her he is not ready to be more than casually involved with her. "I like casual," he says, "casual works for me." He says that you are either in love with someone or not. Kathleen guesses he is in category B. He felt he had to be honest with her; she thanks him, with heavy irony, for his honesty, and leaves. Charlie later gets a phone call from Kathleen, who has taken too many sleeping pills. Charlie goes over to her apartment and helps her to the bathroom to empty her stomach. She hadn't meant to take so many, she explains later; she only took two to help her sleep and then forgot whether she had taken any. But she is clearly hurt; she tells him that what he does is cruel: he lets people care about him and then when it's his turn to care for someone else he pulls away. All Charlie can say is that he's sorry.

Bailey and Sarah meet at school on Monday and he accuses her of being cold to him, and of becoming someone he doesn't recognize. She says that at sixteen she hardly knows herself yet. He says that the person she is becoming is not the person he fell in love with; she counters that change is good for her and if he can't handle it, that means there's something wrong with him, not with change itself.

Griffin sees Julia off at the bus station. He reminds her that she has to take each day as it comes; each day got through is one she doesn't have to live over again. Sometimes life stinks, he admits. He kisses her. But sometimes, he says, with the ghost of a smile, life is great. Julia gets in the airport shuttle van; as the door closes we see Julia through the window, and Griffin's pain-filled face is reflected in the glass as he lifts a hand to wave goodbye.

That evening we see Charlie parking his truck. He gets out, a bouquet of flowers in his hands. He walks into Kathleen's building.

When Julia is home again, she gives Justin one of those paperweights with a tiny snowstorm inside. He figures out, though, that she wasn't in Tahoe. She offers to tell him where she really was but he says as long as she back and she okay he doesn't need to know. He helps her unpack her suitcase.

Fade to credits.


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