Season 5, Episode 25: Otherwise Engaged


The credits: heather mccomb, jennifer aspen, chad todhunter, jacob smith as owen, and michael goorjian as justin, edited by stephen potter, production designer bill eigenbrodt, director of photography joe pennella, co-producer valerie joseph, producer daniel attias, supervising producer paul marks, co-executive producer tammy ader, co-executive producer p.k. simonds, executive producer ken topolsky, executive producer john romano, written by p.k. simonds & mark richard, directed by daniel attias

Co-starring Branden Williams as Stu, Tanya Linette Smith as Joy, Tara L. Buck as Ricki.

Transcribed by Rachel

Claudia comes home, it's late. Sarah ins in the kitchen studying for an exam. Bailey comes in looking for Claudia. She points out that it's 11 p.m., she's right on time. Sarah picks her things up to go somewhere else. Bay tells her to stay, but she leaves anyway. He points out that Claudia has been coming home on time, but she also leaves for school every morning at 8 a.m. He feels like he has to make an appointment if he wants to see her. She doesn't feel like seeing him. He looks at her hair and her clothes with such disapproval and she doesn't need that. He said one or two things . . . . She says it isn't that, it's the way he looks at her, the way he acts about the people she hangs out with. He says that he's worried about her. She points out that he was never a kid because if he had been he would remember that saying you're worried about someone really means you don't trust them. She doesn't want to hear that. She leaves.

Bailey goes up to the bedroom to find Sarah studying. He doesn't know what to say to Claudia anymore. Sarah wonders what he wants her to do, does he think that she has all the answers? No, but they usually talk things through. She would like to help, but she has an exam that she has to study for. Her scholarship depends on it. Why doesn't he just think about it? He has, and he's at the end of his rope. She asks him again nicely. She just needs one night. It needs to be his problem and not hers. She gets up with her books and leaves.

Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Charlie comes in to find Kirsten working on a job application. It's a little after 1 a.m. He thought she didn't want the job as a research assistant at State. She thinks maybe she's been too picky. She should have something in case things change or whatever. Charlie asks her what she things is going to happen. She says that it makes not sense, but when she sees him with Daphne and the baby and she wonders what claim she has on any of it. He tries to stop her, but she was there when he went to LA to get her back and she wonders about those feelings, where they've gone. He says that there isn't anything that would make him give her (Kirsten) up. She tells him not to make promises he can't keep. Time can change anything. Who knows that better than them?

Sarah comes down with her books to find Julia down there studying. The people in her dorm who took their finals early are outside her window mud-sliding, the library's packed and the cafeteria's too loud and she needs to learn all of biochemistry in two days. Sarah waxes nostalgic about studying in the library. Bailey's last two managers quit so she's been trying to get her reading done while Owen lands F-16s on the coffee table. Julia had made a solemn vow that she was going to be a student this year, but she's blown the entire year. Sarah asks if she knows that you can spend the Millennium scholarship money to study abroad. Julia spent so much time worrying about relationships that now she's going to blow the whole thing. If Sarah can get the grades and win this thing she's going to take a summer in Turkish traffic school. That's why this scholarship means so much to Julia. Not so much about the money, but just so she can feel like she made something out of this year. Sarah stops and looks at Julia. They realize they are both competing for the same scholarship. Well, at least there are five of them, so they can both win.

Cody's apartment
Claudia and Cody are walking up to his apartment. They can hear lots of voices coming from inside. Claudia thinks it sounds like a party. She thought it was just supposed to be a couple of friends. Cody says that's tomorrow night. There are just a few of them over to watch Stu's skateboard video, but if Claudia doesn't want to go in, he's fine with that. She does. She would like to get to know his friends better. Whenever she starts talking to them they yawn and walk away. They walk in the apartment to find a ton of people listening to music and watching the skateboarding video. Claudia tries to make conversation with one of Cody's friends, Ricki, but the girl just yawns and walks away.

Julia comes back to the dorm and finds Justin. She can't believe he's there, but she has no time to see him. He's moved by her affection, the kind of thing you save for a sibling or a dog. He doesn't understand, she's in like the deepest excrement right now. He does understand, Maggie told him about her trouble and he's here now so she can relax. He took biochemistry and just took his final. She can't believe it, he could save her GPA and help her get that scholarship. But she can't. He asks why. It isn't like he's going to write her term paper for her. She has to go in there knowing the stuff and it doesn't matter how she learned it. It's against the honor code and she can't explain it, but it's something she has to do on her own. She leaves and Justin and Maggie look at each other trying to figure it all out.

Charlie comes in to meet Bailey. He's sorry he's late, but Bay says it's okay. He totally lost track of time. They sit down and Charlie asks what's up. Bay asks him if he knows how wiggy Sarah has been lately. The main reason is that she's not sure what her role is and he's been trying to figure out the same thing. He's been running around putting out all these fire. What is he getting out of all that? Is he getting ahead? Charlie says that Bay has lost him. That's just it. Bay doesn't get the "why" of all of it. He and Sarah are just getting through stuff, but they could be making a life together. He can't finish and pulls out a velvet ring box. Charlie starts to laugh. Bay wants to know why. This isn't funny, he needs somebody to talk him out of it. Charlie says that he probably does, but it isn't going to be him and he pulls out a matching ring box. They both laugh.

Justin comes to find Julia studying her biochemistry. She asks if they can get together in 24 hours after she has blown her exam. He hands her a study guide. She should use it to learn all the stuff she needs to know and none of the fillers she's getting all hopped up trying to learn. She told him she can't do that. He says that Maggie told him about the whole vow of solitude and he thinks that's a great idea, but why doesn't she stop before she becomes a nun. She comments that she has zero fear of them getting back together. Neither does he--he was just offering her his notes. Zero chance? She responds by saying that being on her own isn't just a relationship thing. She has to learn to depend on herself for lots of things. If she has to run for help to a Yale University book stud, what has she proved? Justin agrees and gets up and leaves.

Bailey is on the phone. He asks if Sarah can take care of it, he needs to do homework with Owen. She can't. She's too nervous. It's her last exam and her scholarship depends on her grade. She needs him to check her score, she'll do Owen's homework. He sends Owen into the other room. He makes sure that she doesn't have any plans for the evening. She can't believe she's putting herself thought all of this. Why would they even consider someone like her for the scholarship, someone who doesn't even know what she wants with her life. Bay hangs up the phone. How did she do? He asks what she needed, a 93? She nods. He shakes his head. He's sorry. Sarah is upset. Bay tells her to forget it, put it out of her head. She really wanted it. He's going to take her out and they are going to have an incredibly romantic evening. She isn't sure she wants to. He is sorry she didn't get the award, but the way he sees it, they know nothing. He would pick her over anyone, anyone in the whole world. She wonders how she got so lucky to find someone like him, how did she ever deserve anyone like him?

Cody's apartment
Ricki picks up one of the bottles at the party. She wonders who put water in there. Claudia did. It makes the ice melt a little and the beer stays colder. Well, it also makes the labels come off and Raff wants his stout. Claudia looks at the bottles and pulls one out. It's stout. How can she tell? It's darker because they make it from roasted malt. How does she know that? Her family owns a bar. Ricki asks for the best beer to carb load. Claudia recommends a pale ale and pulls one out of the water. Ricki asks if she wants one. Claudia says she doesn't drink. Ricki says whatever, but Claudia decides to have one anyway.

Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Kirsten comes home to find Charlie lighting candles for a romantic dinner. She points out a toy shaped like a castle and asks what it is. Daphne brought it over that afternoon. Charlie pointed out that Diana wouldn't be able to use it for a year. He asks how the interview went. She doesn't know. She points out the candles and asks what they are for. Was it in case she didn't get the job, to cheer her up. Or whatever, he responds. She got it. He thinks that's great and hugs her. She doesn't seem very happy about it. She thinks it's better than being rejected. He thinks if she's still on the fence about it he might have something that will help her decide. She doesn't pick up on that, saying that she should have just called them and told them no. If she didn't want the job when she applied for it, she doesn't want it now. Why would she say yes to something that isn't quite right. She doesn't want some consolation prize. Charlie asks what she means by that. It's doing something just to make her feel better. She's too old to fix her life with band-aids. She needs to do what makes sense. See what happens. He was saying something, what did he want to tell her? Nothing, they should sit down before the soup is cold.

Cody's apartment
Claudia and Ricki have been drinking all night long. Cody is not terribly pleased with the drunken Claudia. He asks her how many beers she's had. She tells him she wants a kiss. He pulls away, she's grossing him out. Claudia is hurt.

Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Charlie is on the couch watching the Simpson's. He tells Kirsten to come over and watch what Homer is doing. She doesn't want to be a neat freak, but could he hang up his coat sometimes? He tells her he'll do it later. She should come sit with him and relax. She picks up the coat and the ring box falls out. She looks at it while he runs over. It's nothing. He tells her not to open it up, but she does. She shocked. He takes it from her. She wonders if he's proposing to her. He was, but then she said all that stuff. So he changed his mind? No, he doesn't know. He wants her to come sit down so he can say all of it. She knows how he feels, how he's felt for so many years now and they decided that they weren't going to take it slow. She wants to know why he's asking. Because he loves her. Why now? They both know what's going on, that things are hard now that Daphne's back. He says that isn't the reason. Really, he would be asking anyway? Of course not, this is about making her feel better. He feels sorry for her. Does he know how that makes her feel? It makes her feel...well, it sure doesn't make her feel any better. She gets up and walks away.

Fishing docks
Sarah and Bailey are walking alongside the boats on the dock. She wants to know what's going on. He was making googly eyes at her all through their expensive dinner and now he's got her down at the fishing docks. He stops her. They need to be right there, at that spot, right next to the bait shop. The bait shop? She wonders if that's why it smells so bad. He asks if she knows what happened there, on that very spot, 32 years before. His mom and dad had a huge enormous fight. They had been dating since their freshman year of high school and his dad started dating another girl. His mom chased him down and they had a huge fight. Sarah remembers that was when he asked her to marry him. They used to tell them that story and his dad said that you need a crisis to show you what you have. Sarah wonders if they are having a crisis. Bay says no, but lately their lives have been really hectic. He realizes that sometimes it seems like her stuff versus his stuff so why not make it all their stuff. She wonder what he's asking. He kneels down and says that they were younger than they are, barely 20 years old. His dad always said that asking his mom to marry him was the best thing he ever did. Can they make a life as amazing as his parents did? Let him make her as happy as they were. He pulls out the ring. He's asking her. Will she? Will she marry him. She doesn't know what to say? Say yes. She doesn't think. How could she not? Yes. She's saying yes. He gets up and kisses her and they hug, both crying.

Wilson Junior High School
Bailey comes to find Charlie at school. After admonishing Bay for coming in the middle of a class and not wearing protective eye gear he steps over to the side to talk to Bay. Bailey wants to know what Kirsten said. Was she totally blown away? Have they picked a date yet? It had better not be September 11. Charlie is pleased for Bailey. Bay wants to have an engagement party that weekend. Charlie agrees, but it won't be for him. Bailey is disappointed for Charlie and wants to know what happened.

Cody comes to find Claudia lying on the swing not feeling very well. He just came to apologize. She asks why. He didn't force the beer down her throat. He didn't make her sing act 2 of Evita. He should have known better than to put the two of them together. His friends, they're cool, but they aren't Claudia. She asks what he means. They're wild, into being different. And she's none of that? He's not telling her to be, he's telling her who he wants. He liked that she was a little straight, that she didn't mess with her looks or get all wasted. He liked that she was cool just being herself. He misses that person. He liked her. A lot.

Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Kirsten is dressed up to go out. She thanks Daphne for switching her night, their regular sitter couldn't make it. Daphne says she'll get the King Arthur's court thing out of the way the next time she bums her friend's truck. Kirsten says that it's okay. Daphne tells her to quit pretending. She doesn't have to act like the whole thing is easy. Kirsten says she isn't. Daphne is trying really hard, but the whole thing is so weird. First Charlie comes down to LA and begs her to come back and she couldn't because she doesn't trust the people who love her not to leave. And so she thinks that she'll work on it and she goes to see her mom in Texas and then she comes to San Francisco. Now all of those people are gone. Kirsten tells her that it doesn't mean that she can't trust anyone. Daphne knows that. She knows that because of Charlie and Kirsten. No matter where Kirsten went, he never left her and he never will. That's probably why all the stuff with Diana gets to her. The only thing she has now that she can trust like that is the baby.

Living room
Sarah comes home to find Julia lying on the couch. She asks why Julia isn't at school. She thought she had an exam. Julia just finished it. She tells Sarah good luck on the scholarship. She knows how she did on her final and the field just narrowed by one. Everyone knows you need a 3.6 GPA to qualify. Sarah can't believe she already knows her grade. She doesn't, she just has that feeling after you take a test. Here's to her new-found independence. She tanked her shot at the scholarship, Phi Beta Kappa, the Dean's List and she did it all on her own. Sarah's sorry it didn't work out, but isn't that what happens when you go to school and try new things. Some things work out and others don't. If you knew all the answers already, what would be the point? Julia looks over and notices Sarah's ring. Sarah can't believe Bailey didn't tell her. Julia is surprised, but pleased. They'll be sisters! They hug.

Charlie and Kirsten are at a fancy dinner. The violins come over and Charlie reminds them that he said no serenade. They wander off. He apologizes, the honeymoon package wasn't refundable. She says that she doesn't mind. He says that he's sorry he picked that moment to propose, that it seemed like he was only proposing to cheer her up. She tries to break in. He asked her because Daphne was back, but people do things for funny reasons all the time. She tries to break in again. They could have waited, but does that mean they should? He continues but the serenade comes over again. He tells them to get lost again, this time more rudely. He admits that he asked so that she would know that he loves her. She tries to say something. How does that make getting married a bad idea? She says yes. Why he chose that moment doesn't really mean anything. Didn't he hear her? She is saying yes. She'll marry him. She knows what his feelings are. Sometimes she forgets, but she's always known, so next year, tomorrow, she'll marry him whenever he wants. The serenade returns as they kiss and cry.

Sarah and Bailey's bedroom
Bailey is lying on the bed listening to tapes of wedding bands. Sarah comes in. He asks where she's been. Nowhere, just out driving. He comments about all the bands playing Love Shack as she sits down on the chair. The next tape plays a slower song and Bailey takes her in his arms to dance. Sarah starts to cry. Bailey asks what's the matter. How did this happen? How did she wake up with this life and this diamond ring on her finger? Bailey turns the music off. He asks what's wrong. She knows how it all started, it started with him and it was great, but then things started to happen. He took on Owen, the restaurant, they moved home, Claud and that was all fine, but she didn't ask for any of it. He's what she asked for. Him and school and it seems like there's less and less room for what she asked for. Bailey says they can work on that. They'll move things around. Things like Owen? He needs what he needs? And her college things doesn't seem to matter much. They don't know and it'll be even worse when they're married. Bay asks her to give him some credit. He cares about what's important to her. He's going to find a way to make it all work. She doesn't want it to work. She loves him so much, but she's 19 and in college and for her that means trying stuff out and making mistakes. Mistakes where she can take an incomplete, not mistakes where other people's lives are riding on what she chooses. She can't be engaged to him. She's sorry. She pulls the ring off and gives it back to him.

Charlie and Kirsten come in with boxes of food and beverage. She comments that there is still time to cancel, they can make the calls. Charlie says that he offered, but Bailey wants to go ahead. He won't take no for an answer. Kirsten asks what time it is, shouldn't Daphne be there with the baby? Charlie makes suer that she told her the house, not the apartment. She did, she wrote it all down on a piece of paper. Bailey comes in. Do they need more soda? He could run down to the restaurant. Charlie says they're set. He wants to talk to Bailey, they haven't had any time to talk about Sarah yet. Bay brushes him off. He needs to get more candles, all of theirs are down to their wicks. He leaves.

Sarah comes out where Bailey is setting the table up. She wants to talk about it, but he wants to get set up for Charlie's party. She wonders is he'll be like this all night, avoiding her. She broke off their engagement. How is he supposed to feel about that? She points out that they weren't engaged three days before. She loves him. That's the same. He wants her to think about what she did, what no means. It means she has doubts about him. She says that it means she has doubts about herself. He says that it's the same thing. She doesn't want to be married to him. She can't help but think that somewhere out there there is something better than him. She never thought that, but if there is something else, then she's never found it. She's been looking all her life and the best thing she's found is him.

Living room
The house is filled with guests. Claudia and Cody arrive. She's dressed more age-appropriate. Bailey comes over and tells her that she looks great. She tells him not to say that. It's just like telling her what he doesn't like. It's just him trying to make her into someone that she isn't. He's sorry. No, she is. That isn't what she wanted to say. She heard about Sarah and she knows he's feeling bad. She got something for him. It's her pager number for his Rolodex. She knows that how ever many times she tells him to stop that he'll still worry. It's exactly what he needs. He pulls out another piece of paper and asks what it is. It's the bill for the pager. She got him a really good deal.

Kirsten is talking to a couple of the guests when Daphne finally shows up with the baby. She's really sorry. She lost the piece of paper and couldn't remember if Kirsten said 6 or 7 p.m. Kirsten points out that it's 8 p.m. Daphne is sorry. She forgot her watch as well. Kirsten takes the baby. Daphne tells her congratulations and says goodbye to the baby. Kirsten give the baby to one of her friends and goes after Daphne.

What's wrong with her? She lost the time? Forgot her watch? What's going on? They were going to be straight with one another? Daphne says that it all happened so fast, Charlie and Kirsten getting together, circling the wagons. They're a family now. Where does that leave Daphne? She's some kind of fifth wheel who just happens to have her name on Diana's birth certificate. Kirsten tries to say something, but Daphne continues. She wants to be in Diana's life. But not just because it's good for her. Kirsten asks her to stay. There's plenty of food and people that Daphne knows and likes. Daphne says she doesn't have to do that, but Kirsten isn't pretending. She wants Daphne to stay.

Julia comes to find Justin. Maggie called her with the news--she won the scholarship. They sent a telegram to her dorm. Justin thought her grades sucked. She doesn't know. Maybe they loved her essay. He points out that she said her essay sucked. She thought it did. Maybe they made a mistake. She doesn't think they made a mistake, she did. Nothing she ever does is good enough for her. Maybe that's why all of this happened. What? This relationship habit. The way she keeps needing people. Maybe that's what it is. She needs someone around to say "It's okay." That's what her mom and dad always did. Justin tells her she is okay. She knows that, doesn't she? She says she is, but he asks to make sure. What about the next time? She'll remember.

Bailey's bedroom
Bay is sitting up on his bed when Charlie comes to find him. He wants to know what Bay is doing, people are asking for him. Bailey was looking at the room. It used to be Charlie's. It probably still should be. All he can think is he did everything wrong. Charlie says that they've been over it. Bailey doesn't know how to do any of it, because no matter what he thinks is right or whatever he tries it just makes things worse for everybody. Charlie isn't sure if the timing is right, but he needs a favor. It's a lot of work, sweating a lot of details, but he wants Bailey to be his best man. Bay tells him not to do it. They'll be at each other's throats. Charlie doesn't think so. He wants the wedding to be totally perfect and he knows that Bay will make sure that it is. He wants to know that someone who cares way too much made suer that there isn't one single doily out of place. They both laugh as Julia calls from downstairs. They're taking pictures, so they need to come down.

Front entry
Julia comes back in looking for her camera. Griffin comes in with a gift. She's surprised to see him. She didn't know he was going to be there. He isn't. He was just dropping off his gift. She wants him to come in. They're going to take some pictures. He doesn't think that's a good idea. A year from now they'll have the picture hanging on the wall and she'll have to keep explaining who the Hell's Angel is. She laughs and tells him to at least come for the food. He points out that her coat is over there. She tells him that he's a lifesaver as she turns around to see that he's gone.

Kirsten calls Charlie over for a picture. They're never all together like this. Bailey looks for Sarah. Julia gives the camera to Justin. He takes one shot as they all smile. Bay calls Sarah over again, but Justin thinks he's out of film. He has one more. Sarah is coming into the photo as Justin takes the last shot. Bailey's arms are outstretched to her, but her face is obscured.


May is often a bittersweet time in the television world. As the season winds down we can be subjected to grandstanding and cliff hangers all in the name of ratings, shares and advertising revenue. Since its first season Party of Five has endeavored to wrap things up and send us on our way into the summer feeling that things are going to be okay at the Salinger place while we're all gone. My sense is this began in the early years because they weren't all that sure they were going to show up on Fox's fall schedule. Now that their fate is more secure the practice has continued and I think it's a good one.

Someone commented a few weeks ago that I do a good job of keeping spoiler info out of these reviews. I appreciated that because it's been very hard to not look at Sarah's story line without it being colored by the news of the Jennifer Love Hewitt/Party of Five spin-off planned for the fall. Now that the fall schedule is out and "Time of Your Life" is slated for Mondays, it's fair to say we've seen the last of Sarah in Bailey's life for a while. I'm sure it was challenging to start to pull these two apart not knowing if that pilot would be picked up, but I feel the show did a very good job. I can't imagine what it would be like to be 19 and have all those responsibilities. I can understand why she had been feeling reluctant and finally was unable to go forward with the engagement. I think it would be very difficult to enter into a relationship like that when you are struggling with who you are. Sarah's indecision and pain are very real and well-crafted.

It was a night of people trying to figure out who they are. While Bailey was trying to get a handle on his life we see Claudia trying to figure out who she is. I have to admit that Cody is growing on me. Get him a haircut and get that eyeliner toned down (I mean, if it's natural, use some powder for heaven's sake) and we're in business. I'm not entirely sure where the difficulty in her relationship with Bailey is coming from, but I just continue to be amazed with how Claudia has grown up and changed right in front of our eyes.

Julia was also able to redeem herself with me. She doesn't quite have it all figured out, but she's getting there. It's too bad that it's taken her at least five ruined relationships and a divorce to figure out what she might have accomplished with some therapy after her parents' death, but I think maybe, finally, she's gotten a clue about what she needs in her life. She needs to figure out what Julia Salinger needs and then move on to a relationship with someone else. I don't think it's necessary to be validated as a human being to be in a relationship with someone else. I think you can be alone and be completely healthy. What isn't healthy is this bouncing from failed relationship to failed relationship.

What I didn't get in her story tonight was the reason she couldn't accept help from Justin. The honor code prevents her from having a tutor? It's not like it's a standard test they all take. That was a little bit convoluted. I did however, like the conversation with Sarah about the scholarship. I would have preferred that after all their work neither one had gotten it, but that wouldn't make for very good story, now would it?

I had to save Charlie and Kirsten for last. Thank you. I really have nothing else to say except, let it go forward this time. They can be married and not be the parents and have the angst in this story be how they work with Daphne and raise Diana all together. It wasn't the right time before for Charlie and Kirsten to be married when he called off their wedding in season 2. I do agree with Daphne--they have always been together. He has always loved her, from the beginning, no matter what came between them. Again, thank you!

Parting shots: Figure out how to use Owen. There's five in this party, don't forget it. Thanks for bringing back people from the past: Justin, Griffin (figure out how to use him too!), Daphne. By the way, who the heck were all those people at that party and was Dudley in Hawaii?

A fine wrap-up to a good season. Personally I can't wait for season six to start next fall.

Copyright ©1999 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.

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