Season 5, Episode 21: Get Back

The credits: julie warner, melissa chan, jacob smith as owen, and mitchell anderson as ross, edited by dana devorzon, production designer bill eigenbrodt, director of photography steven h. smith, co-producer valerie joseph, producer daniel attias, producer paul marks, supervising producer steven robman, consulting producer p.k. simonds, co-executive producer tammy ader, executive producer ken topolsky, executive producer john romano, written by tammy ader, directed by steven robman

Co-Starring Wendell W. Wright as Jerry, Lynn A. Henderson as Kyle's Mom
Transcribed by Rachel

Julia and Griffin are in her bed in her dorm room at Stanford. They discuss how strange it is for them to be there. Julia thinks it's a good kind of strange. She's missed his breathing next to her when he's just lying there. He says it means he's hungry. She says it's a sign that he's happy. He looks at the clock. He has to go to work. She tries to get him to skip, stay with her for the day, but he says he has to go. She says she'll call him that night. They can go see Casablanca. He can't , he has plans with the guys from the shop. She's disappointed, but he asks if they can to it tomorrow night. That works for her. He kisses her. She asks if it were a dumb idea if they would know it. He doesn't give her an answer. She understands...he's late for work. He leaves.

Bailey comes into the restaurant. He's surprised to see Lauren there so early. He has to go inventory the wine cellar. She stops him. She hoped she was imagining that he has been avoiding her all week long. He denies it. She's very happy in her job so she has to bring it up. He asks why she would think he was avoiding her. She brings up the other night. He doesn't know what night she's talking about. She goes into more detail...the black-out, he was wiping a spill on her collar. He stops her. He doesn't know what she's talking about. She says that's very good because if nothing happened, but she could have sworn they were thisclose. He says he's not avoiding her. She thinks that's good, so he can help her with the flowers. He'd like to, but he does have to go do the inventory. She points out that he already inventoried the wine yesterday, twice.

Charlie asks Claudia if she can sit for Diana tomorrow night. She can't, she has Ross' concert. Charlie can't cancel again . . . she'll kill him. Claudia asks who's going to kill him. Valerie (the principal at Charlie's school), she's asked been asking him out. Claudia says he can't date Ms. Walsh. Charlie asks why. She points out that Valerie is Charlie's boss and if he's going to date anyone, he should date Kirsten. Charlie asks why everybody is on his case about Kirsten. Claudia asks who. Charlie says to forget it, but she pushes him further. He tells her about Paul talking to him the night of the blackout. Claudia looks touched. Charlie can't believe that she thinks he should believe any of it. She says he shouldn't, not from the way he's acting and how he didn't pick up on any of her signals. What signs? Like moving back in with him after her divorce. She needed a place to stay. And moving right back out when he was bringing Daphne home. She was going to visit her parents and besides, she got her own apartment, Charlie adds. Claudia tells him that Kirsten likes him but she doesn't think that Charlie likes her back. Who's gonna stick around for that? Charlie can't believe that she would keep it a secret if she felt that way. Claudia asks why he would keep it a secret if he felt the same. Charlie ponders that.

Bailey is at parent-teacher conferences. He praises Owen's drawing and asks Miss Lo her opinion. She thinks his processing skills have really improved, but the picture is supposed to be of his family (the picture has two people on opposite sides of the house). Miss Lo points out that in the other kids' pictures the family members are at least close to each other or touching. A woman comes up and interrupts them. Bailey asks if he should be worried about it. Miss Lo asks the other parent to please wait as she pulls Bailey aside. She doesn't know if he should worry. Owen seems a little sad. It's not uncommon with children of divorce. Bailey questions that description. She points out that one minute Charlie was his parent and now Bailey is. He lives in a strange place without his brother and sister. He needs to know who his family is.

Grant High School
Julia comes to pick Claudia up. Claudia wants to know what she's doing there. Julia says she just wanted to do something nice, but it quickly dawns on Claud. She can't believe Julia already found someone new, it's too soon. Julia says he isn't new, exactly. Claudia wonders if she has to guess who it is. Julia tells her it's Griffin. They make sense together even after all they've been through. Claudia isn't sure if this is a good idea. Julia can't believe that she doesn't support them. Claudia is always behind her, she's the one person Claudia can always count on. Besides, she loves Griffin. Claudia looks funny, but then she tells Julia how happy she is for her.

Kirsten's apartment
Charlie comes over with a plant as a house-warming gift, although he points out the house is already looking pretty warm. She must have been pretty busy fixing the place up, he hasn't seen her very much lately. He's glad she's starting over, but he misses her. She misses him too, but it's a lot of work--figuring out what car to get in, what job to take, what city to live in. Charlie's surprised to hear she's thinking about a new city. She thinks this is a good time to try some new things out, things that she's always wanted to do like traveling and teaching. She just rented her place. Kirsten says she can sublet. He looks funny. She asks if he thinks she's running away from her problems. He doesn't think so. She wonders if he thinks he should stay. He thinks that she should do what she wants to do, it's her life.

Living Room
Bailey and Owen are over at the house. Owen asks when Claudia's getting home from school. Bay doesn't know, but he wants Owen to come over and sit down on the couch and look at some pictures with him. There are pictures of his first birthday party with their mom lighting the candles, their dad holding him and the other kids all there. Owen wants to go play, but Bay says to wait a minute. Owen asks again to play football. He never gets to throw stuff at Bailey's house. Bay reminds him that it's Owen's house too. Owen runs out with Bailey's keys. Bay tackles him in the backyard. Bailey is about to throw to Owen when Charlie comes in. Bay tells him to go deep and Owen to play defense. Owen tackles first Charlie and then Bailey. They all fall in a pile and Thurber jumps on top of them.

Ross' Concert
Claudia greets Ross after his concert. They are both glad to see each other. Ross has been on the road for 8 months. Ross asks Claudia what's the matter. All of the Russian music was making her feel a little melancholic. He asks again, but she says nothing is wrong. He can't believe she wasn't in the mood for Tchaikovsky. He wants to introduce her to the rest of the ensemble. He told them all about his favorite student. She interrupts him, she would like to talk about it.

Charlie tells Julia she's living in a dream world. You don't just get second chances. She asks if he faults her for being an optimist. Charlie says it used to be easier for him. Yesterday, Kirsten was just his friend, but now every time he hears her name or thinks about her there's this twinge. It's like breaking up with her all over again. Julia encourages him to give it another try. It's two year later and a lot of things have changed between them. Maybe they're ready for stuff they weren't ready for the first time. Charlie points out that they have all that history between them. She points out that they're friends now, they're past all of that. Charlie agrees, but Kirsten hasn't been around for weeks. She's thinking about leaving the country, she doesn't want it so he isn't going to push it.

Sarah and Bailey's apartment
Owen is telling Sarah about the football game in very animated detail. She's sorry she missed it. Owen asks for more ice cream, but Bay tells him it's time to go to bed. He heads off to brush his teeth. After Owen leaves Sarah comments that she can't remember when she's seen him so excited. Bay says he didn't want to leave. Sarah said she heard. Bay can't believe he told her. She says that he told Claudia during phone time. Bailey asks what phone time is. It's the hour every day when Owen talks to Claudia on the phone. He tells her everything. Sarah thinks he really misses her, it's hard for him not to see her all the time. Bay sits down at the table. Sarah tells him that it's not Bailey, Owen isn't unhappy because of him. He knows that. Maybe his teacher is right, Owen basically has been through a divorce. Sarah says there is a solution. It's kind of nuts and no one would like it, but ... Bailey can't believe she's even thinking of it. Sarah wouldn't like it either, but moving back in with Charlie would let Bailey raise Owen in the home that he knows. Bailey can't believe all of them would live there together. They've worked very hard to make a life for themselves there. Owen has only lived there for a month, they need to give it more time. Sarah tells him to forget she said anything.

Ross and Claudia are sitting at a sidewalk cafe talking. She is telling him about how much Griffin does for Julia. Claudia doesn't think she really appreciates it. She knows how hard it was for him the first time they were together. Ross notes that she's looking at it from Griffin's perspective. He asks if she's in love with Griffin. Claudia admits that he cares for her. He traveled across the country to get her and he let her join his band. Ross tries to reason with her. She knows it's impossible. Ross says he knows about loving someone who can't love you back the same way. Claudia says she's tried, but it hurts. She asks him what to do. He says they are lucky because they have their music. They can play away the hurt. She considers it.

Kirsten's apartment
Charlie has brought over an application to teach for the summer in Tonga. The guidance counselor at his school runs a foreign study program. Kirsten is a little overwhelmed. She asks how far away it is. Charlie points out that it's traveling and teaching. It's three months in an amazing place, paid, with kids. She's surprised that he would come up with this after what he said about her not being around. He thought this is what she wanted. She asks what he wants. He's surprised. This is for her, not him. He was just trying to be a friend. He asks if she doesn't want this. No, it's the perfect job for her. Charlie thinks it's great, she can put him as a reference. She tells him he's a wonderful friend.

Lauren is working with some customers. She's dressed in a very slinky dress and when Bailey sees her, he tries to leave and runs into a waiter with a tray full of silverware. He's picking it back up when Julia shows up. She asks if he's okay. He's surprised to see her. Lauren comes over to get a check for a table early, they're trying to catch a movie. Julia is too, maybe it's the same one. Lauren says that she looks familiar. Bay introduces them. Lauren has seen her picture in Bay's office. Lauren excuses herself. Bay asks what Julia is doing there. She's meeting Griffin. He hasn't seen him. She's surprised since she's late. Bailey asks why she's meeting him. She tells him that she doesn't want to hear anything other than how great it is for them to be back together. He thinks it's great. The movie starts in 15 minutes, she'd better go call him. Bailey turns back to watch Lauren.

Julia goes over to the phone and calls Griffin. We next see him standing in his apartment listening to her on the answering machine. She's wondering where he is. He doesn't pick up, instead lying down on his bed and turning the music up.

Sarah and Bailey's apartment
Charlie has brought over some of Owen's things that Bailey wanted. He asks if Sarah's studying. She's at the library, Owen's been sleeping kind of lightly. Charlie apologizes for coming so late. Owen pokes his head out. Charlie tries to put him back to bed. He needs a story, just a page or two. Bailey says he'll do it. Owen wants Charlie to read too. Charlie doesn't know how that will work. Owen tells them to both squish in. The two grown men crawl into the youth bed with Owen and take turns reading from the book for fairy tales.

After they get him back to sleep they go back out into the living room to talk. Charlie apologizes for waking him. Bay said if it wasn't him, it would have been the sirens. Charlie comments that Owen liked having them together. Bailey agrees, he liked the playing football as well. Charlie points out that he wants them together. He isn't saying that's what they should do, but it would be best. Bailey asks where they're going with it. Charlie says if they want to move back in, there's room. It isn't anybody's first choice, but they shouldn't rule it out because of him.

Motorcycle shop
Julia comes to find Griffin. She asks what happened the night before. Did he forget their date? No, he didn't. She needs to know why. She wants him to make up a lie or something. She doesn't want to hear that he just couldn't deal. He can't. He was home when she called, he didn't pick up. She wants to know why. What could he say? Everywhere he looks he see that they made a mistake. She wants to know how he can tell that after only a week. A week or a year, it will still be a mistake. She tries to reason with him, but he says he's deciding for him. It's over, he can't be with her anymore. He doesn't want to, that's all there is. He's sorry.

Sarah and Bailey's apartment
Sarah greets Bailey the next morning with a cup of decaf. He didn't get much sleep, he was up pacing. He was thinking about what they talked about and it all comes down to one thing. He's put so much on the line for Owen, so why would he draw the line here? Sarah doesn't think that would make any sense. They'll move home. Bailey says they'll refinish the attic or the shed, whatever they have to do to have a life.

Junior High
The guidance counselor comes into the shop to find Charlie. He thinks Kirsten is perfect, on paper. Charlie says he'll like her even better in person. He sees that Charlie is a reference, so he wants to check a couple of things. She has a BA in child psychology, single, no kids. He thinks she's perfect, won't get homesick. Charlie says she's really ready for a summer away. The counselor corrects him, if they do okay during the summer, they stay for 20 more months. Charlie is stunned to hear she would be gone for two years. He asks if that would be a problem. Charlie says she wanted to finish school. But she had finished her degree. Charlie points out that's her undergrad, but she is finishing her thesis for her graduate degree. The counselor makes a note. He's surprised she hasn't finished the thesis in two years. Charlie thinks she will, when she works out the details of her divorce. The counselor also notes that.

Lauren comes to find Bailey in the storeroom. She got the quarterly income tax reports done, but she needs his signature before she can messenger them. He tells her to come in, he's just having a really hard day. He asks if she ever feels like she can't ever get a grip on things. She has. He feels like every sentence he hears begins with "you should" or "you better" or "you have to" and it doesn't make any sense for him to complain about it because everything he has he's asked for. He would just like to find 5 seconds where nobody needed anything from him. She tells him she'll come back later. He stops her. He says that she's the only one who makes it easier for him. She's not buying it. He apologizes and moves away. So, this was another nothing, like the other night. She needs to get back. He should sign the papers and get them to her when he's done.

Living Room
Kirsten comes in looking for Charlie and she's mad! She wants him to explain why he told her about the job and then ruined her chance of getting it. He's sorry. She wants to know why he offered to be her reference if he was just going to say that she didn't have her degree yet and she was some kind of flaky divorcee. He admits it was unfair and totally wrong. She asks what's going on with him, what he's thinking. He heard about the program and how long she would be gone. But he was the one who said that it would be good for her! He said it to make her happy. Oh, so 3 months would make her happy, but 20 wouldn't? He admits again that he's selfish. She wants to know what that means, that he's selfish. Does he want her to stay? Yes. Than why doesn't he say it. He wants her to stay! He walks away. He wants to just forget about it. She asks why. Because it's getting too weird. She's his friend, his very good friend and he doesn't want to lose that. She asks how he would lose that. If he starts looking for stuff that isn't there. Like what? He doesn't know, stuff, between them, stuff they moved on from. He asks her to change the subject. She moves in very close and asks if he means stuff like this and then kisses him. They kiss more deeply. Is that what he meant? He agrees. They kiss again.

AA Meeting
Bailey is talking in a group of people. He wants to lose control, give in to the craving. He knows it's bad for him, but he'll feel good for a while, he'll be free once, for a while. The scary thing is that he used to think that as soon as he had enough chips he would get past that, but he never will. Even if it isn't drinking, there will always be something to crave.

Julia and Claudia are on the swing. Julia says that it wasn't a surprise, everyone had warned her. Even Griffin. She wouldn't listen. Claudia asks if it's better this way, better than finding out months later. Julia isn't sure. Even when she was alone or with someone else, he was always there. Always there like the air or something and now that he's moved on, it's actually harder to breathe. Claudia takes her hand.

Charlie's Room
The next morning Charlie and Kirsten are in his bed. She wonders how they missed this. How did they go so long without knowing. He doesn't know. They were just living their lives and there was this whole new future for them. Charlie stops her. When she talks like that, it scares him. She knows, they don't know what . . . no , it's not that. He doesn't want anything to go wrong. For him, can they not say anything and take it slow. They kiss and snuggle.

Motorcycle shop
Claudia comes to find Griffin. She asks why if he loves Julia and she loves him, what's wrong with that. He asks what she's doing there. Julia is really wrecked. He says so what. It doesn't mean that they belong together. She doesn't get him. Ever since he first met Julia, he hoped he wouldn't mess things up. But he never thought about it messing him up. The past couple months he's been starting to feel pretty good, he hasn't been worrying about whose life he's holding up or wrecking. He's rather just live his life and be ok.

Owen is eating breakfast and Sarah and Bailey are unpacking their things when Charlei comes in. He's amazed that they aren't wasting any time. Bay says they are just preliminary things. The movers come tomorrow. Sarah asks where they should store their stuff. Charlie suggests the shed since they are going to stay in the attic. Kirsten comes in, surprised to see everybody there. Bay wonders what brought her there so early. She crashed on the couch. Owen didn't see her there. She covers by saying that she moved up to the bed in Diana's room. She lost her keys and she couldn't get into her house. She needs to get to the locksmith. Charlie walks her to her car. Owen wants to know how she's going to start her car without her keys.

In the shed Sarah is not happy with Bailey. He says he'll get the rest of the stuff and then they can go up on the attic, scope it out, unpack a little, try on each other's clothes. They can figure out where to put the couch and the dining room table. He tries to get a smile. The last part was a joke...cause they don't have room for the dining room table. She gets it. He knows that this is a bummer, but they had good reasons and she was the one who helped him see that. She points out that she told him this wasn't something she wanted to do. This is his life now, he has Owen now and that means making some sacrifices. Does she have to be so tragic about it? She says she doesn't, but she doesn't have to be a cheerleader either.

Claudia's room
Claudia gets out her violin and begins to play.

Stanford (music continues)
Julia comes to her room to find an envelope shoved under her door. She opens it up to find the signed divorce decree.

Kirsten's apartment
Charlie comes over with a pizza and she invites him in.

Lauren comes in and asks him why he's there. He's finishing up some paperwork. She's surprised to see him there so late, she wouldn't be there if she hadn't misplaced her wallet. He hands it to her. She thanks him. They look intently at each other. She asks if he's okay and he pulls her into a major liplocking kiss. They pull apart, look at each other. She thinks they shouldn't have done it. He knows and then he kisses her again.


I try to write this review right after I watch the show each week. I'm not sure I should do that this week. The final moments of a tortured hour have upset me so that I shrieked... loud. I shrieked so loudly that my nonPo5-watching roommate peered out from her study where she was working to make sure I wasn't being attacked. Okay, that was a slight exaggeration, but I was unhappy... I'm still unhappy. I've been looking forward to this episode all week long; the advertising had me totally hooked. Every time Charlie and Kirsten kissed, with the music in the background, I was counting the minutes until the show would be on. My heart fell as the credits rolled. My least favorite writer of all time... my mom told me if you can't say something nice, well, you know the rest.

I digress--there were some really wonderful moments this evening in between the rest of the unfortunate occurrences. I thought Neve was better tonight than I had seen her in a long time. Her story with Griffin, while poignant, was really on the mark. I'm not sure they should be together, or at least they shouldn't be right now. Before you start complaining, I like Griffin. I want him on the show very much, but I think Julia could use a little time by herself to heal from their marriage and from her relationship with Ned. She said something about the time she was alone. Could someone please tell me when that was? Julia has barely ever been alone. Her modus operandi has always been to start the next relationship before the first one was over. I'm not at all convinced of her ability to be a strong individual woman because I've never seen her try to do it.

It was also good to see a few familiar faces. I've missed Ross and Thurber. They are important parts of the canvas and each of them played a key role in this episode. At least we know that Ross hasn't been lost at sea. He's been touring. Nice explanation. Now, as for Thurber, I think he probably was in fact lost at sea and has only recently made it back to the back yard. Which leads into my next point--

This episode featured very nice family interaction. The sisters were bonding, the brothers were bonding. Julia and Charlie had a very nice moment together. With Jacob Smith now in the role of Owen it's amazing how much the three brothers look alike. I'm intrigued with the possibilities in this story about them living in the house together. In the right hands, it could make for some good old-fashioned Salinger drama. Besides, Bay wanted to raise Owen for Owen's benefit, so moving home makes perfect sense.

I also liked seeing Bailey back at AA as well as the scene in the supply room with Lauren. I'm sure I won't like it when I have to watch it again to do the summary, but on the first viewing I thought Bay's speech about wanting all the responsibility he has, but it being a bit much at times was really good, a great insight into the psyche of Bailey Salinger. Too bad about...

And, I think that's it for the nice things I can say. I'm sure there were more, but they have been shoved aside by things like... the Salinger parents being at Owen's first birthday. Now, I know it's confusing because they have been dug up and moved to a cemetery in the Washington, DC area (for non-X-File viewers, the Salinger headstone was featured in the 4/18/99 episode) and that could account for the fact that they... okay, there is nothing to account for the fact that they were at Owen's first birthday because they had been dead for almost a year. That's unforgivable.

And then there was the whole thing with Claudia loving Griffin. Poorly handled. Not an impossible thing that she would mistake his brotherly concern for love, she was fifteen going on sixteen, but what a stupid resolution. Have her act her age, or don't.

Next I would like to highlight the chameleon behavior of Sarah Reeves Merrin. I wouldn't be terribly excited about moving in with my boyfriend's family either, but I didn't get the feeling that she was quite so horrified as she later acted in the shed. It was just so sudden, like we missed something.

And then there was Charlie and Kirsten. For me, this IS the love story. Charlie has always been my favorite Salinger and he has always loved Kirsten in a way that he didn't love anyone else, so their reunion should have been a dream come true... well, it was and it wasn't. I thought the whole way it was portrayed was a little silly. What was even worse was that "we kissed, we made love, we hid it from everybody else with a stupid story." Whatever!

And finally, that thing with Lauren. I may be in the minority, but I like Lauren. She is an interesting character and she adds some tension to the overall plot. I even thought her role at the restaurant was portrayed in a more reasonable fashion this week, but that horrible kiss thing at the end was not only out of character for the rest of the episode, but was an insult to the audience. I had hoped for better. (Okay, if you didn't follow this ranting style... I really hated Bailey kissing Lauren.)

Copyright ©1999 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.

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