Season 4, Episode 4: Zap

Charlie and Nina

Claudia and Reed

Transcribed by Sandy

The episode opens in a large grocery store where Charlie and Owen are shopping and Owen has lost Charlie, but found his way to another shopper, Nina. He throws his arms around her leg and calls out to Charlie: "I found her, Charlie. I found her!" Noticing her cart is full of nothing but chicken livers, Charlie asks her why she needs so many, commenting that she must really be into them. She says they're for her birds at the nature preserve in Marin. She's in charge of raptors there, and she tells Owen she has a California golden eagle, and an owl named Zap, because he flew into a power line. This is good enough for Owen, who's looking up at her raptly. "Marry her, Charlie," says Owen, when Charlie picks him up.

Griffin is at Bailey and Sarah's new apartment, rewiring a secondhand lamp for Sarah. As Bai and Sarah discuss the requests for repairs from tenants, Griffin wonders why they don't take care of some of the plumbing and electrical problems themselves, rather than calling out to a repair person for each complaint.

"Because we're incompetent?" suggests Sarah. Griffin points out that the landlord won't mind paying them if he was going to pay a tradesperson anyway, especially if Bailey charges him less for doing the work. All they'd need is a do-it-yourself book. Bailey and Sarah think this is a great idea.

When Julia walks into Daniel Musser's office and tells him she knows he needs help with the Biennale exhibit that's coming to the museum, he's charmed and curious. Julia tells him that she saw the Biennale over the past summer in Venice, and she would make an excellent docent. Julia mentions that she visited the Louvre in Paris and they discuss one of the pieces at the Louvre, Winged Victory; the discussion becomes a low-key flirtation.

Charlie and Owen go to the raptors section of the nature preserve, with Charlie promising Owen a new toy if he agrees to say "I wanna see the owls" to Nina. Owen eventually complies, but he gives the game away by immediately asking "Now can I have my firetruck?" Nina catches this and grins. "You love owls," says Charlie promptingly, trying to recover the fumble.

Claudia is on the football field in possum mode for cheerleading practice, while the football team is also practicing there. She flirts with Reed, who calls her Salinger. Claud savours that Reed's actually talking to her until the vice-captain of the cheerleading squad comes over to tell her she's off the squad for lack of verve. "Verve?" asks Claudia in surprise. "I can do verve." She then puts her possum-head back on and does cartwheels across the field.

Bailey is in Apartment 14, under the sink with a how-to manual on plumbing. Annie, the tenant of Apartment 14, is unimpressed with Bailey's hands-on initiative, since her daughter needs dinner and Bailey has been struggling with the sink for over an hour, having accomplished no more than turning off the water before he began. Bailey calls her "ma'am" and tells her that he won't get done any faster with her yelling at him.

Charlie, Owen and Nina are picnicking at the nature preserve. Charlie is picking at his egg salad sandwich, and though Nina tells him it's the most popular selection in the vending machine, Charlie says he's more interested in talking. He tells her about himself, saying that his situation tends to scare people off. Nina says that what scares her are these guys who can't commit to anything. She's looking for a guy with a lease, she tells him. Charlie goes one better: "I have a mortgage," he says.

Sarah is cooking dinner for Bailey, herself, Griffin and Julia. Bai samples and says, almost incredulously, "That's ... not bad!". Sarah tells him that things are going so well that, between their apartment, their classes and their job on the side, they are likely to look back on this "season of self-reliance" as one of the best times in their lives. Bailey likes the sound of that, but just when he's congratulating himself on having his life in such good order, Annie from Apartment 14 pounds on the door and shows him what looks like a snarl of black electrical tape. "Tape?!" she says in disbelief. "You put tape on my pipes?" Annie is distinctly unimpressed with Bai's repair skills. "I've got half an inch of water under my kitchen sink," she tells him angrily.

At the museum, Daniel calls Julia into his office to encourage her to put in her application for the docent's job for the Biennale. Julia sees Daniel struggling to prepare for the Founders' Gala and the Biennale and offers to help with his spreadsheets. She says she'll "call some people" and tell them she's working late. He offers to order in Chinese food but she says she'll take care of it so that he can keep working.

In the bathroom of the Salinger house Claud is taking a pill (maybe all that verve gave her a headache?) Charlie hurries to the toilet, feeling nauseous. He looks awful; he tells Claudia he ate some bad egg salad.

Julia is telling Griffin about typing in names of people from all over the world, saying that if she hadn't gone right in to his office and introduced herself -- Griffin breaks in to her account, saying, "You wouldn't have missed dinner?" He says he misses her; he fears he almost has to make an appointment to see his wife. He notices that she's not wearing her wedding ring. She says she's worried about losing it, since it's a bit too big for her finger. After Griffin leaves the room, Julia takes the ring off again.

Later that morning, Bai goes to Annie's apartment to tell her that a real plumber is on his way to fix her sink. They then argue about whose responsibility it is to wait for the plumber to arrive. Annie leaves to take her daughter to school. At school that day, Claudia watches the football team during an intra-squad scrimmage, and we hear the "Blue Danube Waltz" playing (presumably in her head) as she admires Reed and the others dance -- er, run in slow motion, that is, around the field. Too late someone warns Claud to get out of the way, and the possum is nearly transformed into roadkill as the defense tramples Claudia in the rush after the ball. Reed leans over the horizontal Claudia and takes off her possum-head, prompting Claudia to think she must be dreaming, rather than dead. Reed carries Claudia to the school nurse's office.

At the museum Julia brings Daniel a package from the mail room, that he explains contains a set of slides for an art education project. Julia comments that she thought it might have been something for the Founders' Gala; Daniel then invites her to the event.

Later, Griffin takes Julia lunch in the park near the museum and they try to make plans to be together. Griffin has a lead on tickets to the Foo Fighters concert, but Julia says she has to go the Founders' Gala for work. She tells him to go to the concert without her, since he would be bored at the Gala, and he doesn't have a tie to wear anyway. She promises they'll do something fun on the weekend.

Charlie and Nina have dinner that evening and discover that they have something in common: Nina's parents are also deceased. Charlie is dismayed until Nina tells him that they were killed in a freak accident in Nepal -- they were struck by lightning on a mountaintop. Despite Charlie's horrified expression she begins to giggle, and Charlie can't help but join her, until he begins to feel ill again. He begs off the rest of their date.

Griffin is at Bailey and Sarah's apartment for their first dinner party. Julia is late and Griffin is apologetic, but he alsoo expresses pride in Julia for working so hard -- then he's self-conscious about sounding "just like an old married guy." Bai and Sarah grin, happy for him. Bai is tired of waiting for Julia to come for dinner and finally there is a knock on the door. When it turns out to be Annie complaining that the plumber put his snake-thing in a crummy outlet and blew a fuse, Bailey sends her away, telling her he's eating dinner. Bai slams the door and turns to the others: "Let's eat."

Later Bai and Sarah declare "war on Apartment 14".

Claudia is on the field talking with Reed. This time Claud is hearing the "Flower Duet" from _Lakme_ in her head. Just as the singing reaches its climax, Reed tells Claudia he's in love with her, and --

Charlie wakes her up, in her bed at home, asking where the Pepto is. Charlie is feeling worse than ever. He gets Claudia to open a window, saying, "I need some air."

At his AA meeting Bailey sees Annie from Apartment 14. He talks to her after the meeting and discovers that she too is trying to turn her life around. Bailey finds that Annie understands, as no one else seems to, that recovery requires a certain kind of selfishness, that being the best person he knows how to be drives him as hard as the compulsion to drink did. No one else gets that, they agree.

While Claud is watching _Sense and Sensibility_ on t.v., Charlie prepares for another date with Nina, but by the time she arrives, he feels sick again. He again begs off their date, saying "I'm sorry" three times in the process. "I blew it," he tells himself. "You blew it," Claudia agrees. Meanwhile, Daniel tells Julia she got the job for the Biennale. She throws her arms around him and thanks him, overjoyed. Daniel kisses her. When she pulls away and tells him she's married, he says she doesn't act married.

Returning from his meeting, Bailey decides to call off the the war on Apartment 14. He tells Sarah they should give Annie a break, saying she just "misdirected her anger." Sarah looks at him in disbelief, asking, "Did you talk to her? When did you talk to her?" but Bailey does't reply.

When Griffin and Julia are in bed that night, Julia wakes him up and convinces him to go to the Founders' Gala at the museum with her, despite her earlier encouragement to go to the concert. He agrees, but thinks she's nuts.

The next time Claudia is on the field, Reed complains that the coach has the team doing windsprints. He says she must be sore from getting trampled the day before. "Sore I'm sure," says Claudia instantly. Reed tries to talk her out of possum duty, since the they're playing Madison in a few weeks and their armadillo mascot is a bruiser, and Claudia might get hurt, and he doesn't want to be distracted from his game by worrying about Claudia.

At home later that day, Charlie is waiting to hear from the lab, after going to the doctor to find out why he's been feeling so sick. Charlie is surprised to learn that his results are negative, and he's perfectly healthy. Claudia and Charlie compare symptoms, and Claudia realizes she's been feeling just the same way -- about Reed. "You're not sick, Charlie," she tells him, covering her mouth in surprise. "You're *lovesick*."

Sarah comes in to the apartment and suggests to Bailey that they rake the leaves on the roof to comply with the Fire Marshall's orders. They could take a radio, and have some fun while they're at it. He asks her to take care of it, because he's going to replace some linoleum in Apartment 14. Sarah tells Bailey that she guesses that his change in attitude about Annie must mean he saw her at an AA meeting, but she doesn't think Annie's being a recovering alcoholic entitles her to be a bitch. She tells him she doesn't understand why Bai is willing to cut Annie so much slack. (Sarah's mother calls again. We hear her through the machine. Sarah has been ignoring her calls all week.) Bailey won't discuss Annie or his changed attitude. "I don't get it, Bailey," she tells him. "No," replies Bailey. "I guess you don't." Bailey leaves Sarah alone in the apartment and Sarah's mother says that if she wants it that way, then she's on her own and hangs up.

At the Founders' Gala Daniel tries to talk to Julia, saying that she should have told him she is married, but she says it's not the time, and, when Griffin returns with beverages, introduces her husband to her boss. Daniel barely says hello to Griffin before he moves quickly away.

Charlie surprises Nina by going to see her again at the nature preserve. He apologizes for backing out on her so much, and brings her a container of chicken livers wrapped in a ribbon. He tells her he really was sick, but he would like to see her again. Nina asks if whatever made him dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous around her could be contagious. A slow smile spreads across his face. "I hope so," he says.

Fade to credits

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