Season 6, Episode 5: Shortest Distance
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- Rating: 5.0
- Additional Cast
Andrew Levitas......Cameron Welcott
Lauren Ambrose......Myra Wringler
Kyle Secor......Evan Stilman
- Featured Music
Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf (Will needs to pee)
All My Love by Big Blue Hearts (ending song)
Crush by Dave Matthews Band
Hold On by Holly Cole
Men with Guns by Robin and Linda Williams
Somewhere Along the Way by Linda McRae.
Written by: Tom Garrigus and Ian Biederman
Directed by: Eric Jewett
Co-starring: Janis Chow as Didi, Hugh Holub as Karl, Brian Tahash as mechanic, and Melissa Lewis as nurse.
Transcribed by Rachel
Griffin comes into the kitchen where Claudia and Julia are discussing Sarah telling Bailey over the phone that she's staying in New York. He asks if he can have a muffin; everything in his refrigerator tastes like beer. Julia doesn't know if they should judge her. Griffin wonders who they are judging. Julia fills him in. Sarah is staying away indefinitely. Will comes in, excited to see the blueberry muffins. His parents are charging him for breakfast now. He overhears and wonders who's gone. Julia tells him. Will is shocked. He wonders if Bailey is freaking. Claudia says it's hard to tell. He's been up in his room since she called...packing her things. He wonders if they should go up there, but Julia doesn't know what they would say. Bailey appears with a box of Sarah's things. He comes in the kitchen and everyone is silent. He knows what they are thinking, but it isn't like they broke up. Sarah is just hanging out in New York right now. She'll be back. In the meantime they'll do the long distance thing, he can go to New York and hang out with her there. It won't be that bad. They all agree with him, but don't sound terribly convincing.
Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Kirsten wakes Charlie up with a strip of meat in her hand. He asks if it's bacon. She tells him it's part of his new regimen to get his sperm motility up there. He's already working on that. He's given up beer, he's wearing baggier pants. She thinks it's great, but he could do more. She hands him a pair of stiff boxers...they've been in the freezer. Charlie wants to know if Dr. Vasquez recommended all of these things. He didn't. Kirsten couldn't sleep, so she was checking out the internet. These are all suggestions from web sites she found. If their insurance paid for in vitro and he didn't have to take a second job to pay for it, let alone her take hormone shots she wouldn't care what he did. He could guzzle beers in tights for all she cared, but they have to make every chance count, every try they take. Charlie agrees and says he'll eat his bacon. She admits that it isn't bacon-it's snake penis. The Chinese use it for virility. They have a billion people in China.... Charlie wants to know where she found the web site. She tells him that it also recommended sex twice a day to keep the pipes clear. Charlie thinks that's a great idea and asks if they can mark one off right now. Kirsten agrees...after he gives her a shot. And he takes a cold shower and finishes his penis.
Grant High School
Claudia and Cameron are making out in the biology storeroom. Claudia thinks the whole thing is creepy. Cameron thinks she's talking about the frogs, but she doesn't like them hiding and sneaking around. Cameron broke up with Alexa. He isn't going behind her back. No, Claudia points out, she is. Cameron tells her she has three choices. She can stop seeing him. She asks what choice number two is. He could tell her. Claudia refuses to do that. That brings them to option three, what they are doing right now. They just need to wait until she starts to date someone else. The bell rings and Cameron makes his way back out into the hallway.
Evan's publicist is covering his schedule for a bookseller's conference in Napa he's going to attend. He has shaven his beard off and looks much younger than before. Julia shows up and Evan asks what she's doing there. She brought him chapter seven of her book. He tells her that she could have faxed it or brought it to the conference. She comments on his clean shaven appearance. He did it for the panel. He introduces her to Didi Chen, his publicist. He asks how her hand is. She hems and haws, says it's fine, but she needs to talk to him about something else. Didi excuses herself and they go into Evan's office. She wanted to talk to him about what happened at the hospital. She wants to make sure they are okay. Evan hasn't given it a second thought. He asks about how the chapter went. She can't believe he didn't even give it a second thought. She thinks it happened because there's something between them. They have spent millions of hours together and shared all kinds of stuff. That has to mean something. He did kiss her back. If she's wrong.... He stops her. He's her editor. He has all the power in this situation. It's totally inappropriate for them to be involved. It's against all the rules. He asks if she understands. She does, but he still didn't answer her question.
Grant High School
Myra shows Charlie her biology final. She passed because of him. He's pleased. She wonders if he can help her with geometry. Her final is on Friday. He would like to, but he can't since he took his second job. He works every night that week. Myra understands, he's the papa bird shoving her out of the nest. He tells her that she'll do fine. She knows, but she knows that half of them break their necks. She's seen their carcasses on the ground. Charlie sees Claudia and has an idea. Myra calls her Banana Girl...as in Republic. All of her friends are cool. Charlie says that Claud doesn't care about that stuff. Charlie goes over and asks Claudia if she'll help. Claudia refers to Myra as the angriest student in the high school. She thought that he cared about her, that he loved her. Charlie pulls Myra over and introduces them. They both look a little horrified.
Charlie's new boss, Gus, comes in. He loved Charlie's scrollwork on the Queen Anne knock-offs. He shouldn't be modest, they're tricky. Charlie says that he doesn't want to be ungrateful but.... Gus stops him. He's already paying him $20 an hour, and that's the most he ever pays part-time. Charlie understands, but he wonders if he could get 30 hours. Gus isn't sure, he's got other guys with more seniority. Charlie is sorry, but he has to have the hours, so if he can't get them here, he'll have to go elsewhere. Gus agrees begrudgingly. Whatever he's saving for, he hopes he gets it. Charlie does too.
Will is on the phone trying to make a correction on one of the posters. He hangs up very frustrated. He doesn't get paid enough to put up with this. Bailey agrees. Will should protest, not come in for like a week. Will is totally ready to do that. Bailey tells him they should leave. He's got the truck with all of Sarah's stuff loaded and ready to go. He and Griffin are driving it across country. Joe's back in town and watching the restaurant and Victor is taking care of Owen. Griffin found some Harley in Brooklyn, so they're going to pick it up. Will wonders why he doesn't just ship her stuff. Bay points out that it would cost a fortune and he was planning on going to see her anyway. This will save him money on airfare. Will's an unpaid intern...they owe him some time off. Will thinks the whole thing is a little insane. Bay agrees that it is, but isn't that what Will was telling him he should be doing. Sarah has moved across the country, he's in pain. Is that any less important to Will than who gets top billing for the wrestling match? Will call shot gun.
Evan is on the phone when Julia comes to his room. He hangs up and asks what he can do for her. She came to talk to him about his notes on chapter seven. He thought there was some great stuff in there. She can't believe that. He took out almost everything in the chapter, including how she made up with Ned. He thought it was a little simplistic. Because she used sex? Sometimes that's what it was. Evan believes that, but it sends out a strange message. Julia points out that she's not sending out a message, she's writing about what happened. But, they can't ignore how it affects readers. Julia wonders how it will affect them. Evan thinks it might disconnect them. Julia wonders if it will confuse them or Evan. She wonders if it bothers him, the idea of her and sex. He hopes that she isn't still stuck on what happened the other day. No, she isn't, but she can't figure him out. He might be the only editor on the planet right now that is actually asking their writer to take out sex in what they are writing. But, if that's what he wants, he's the boss. She turns and leaves.
On the road
Bailey, Will and Griffin are in the truck headed for New York. Will needs to go to the bathroom. Bailey reminds him that they just stopped in Reno three hours earlier. Yeah, and Will nearly had to chew Bay's arm off on the Donner Pass to get him to a drive thru. Griffin wants to know why they couldn't gamble in Reno. Bay thinks Reno is such a cliché. Yeah, a cliché with practically naked cocktail waitresses! Bailey points out that they are making incredible time. Eight hours and 17 minutes and they're already halfway through Nevada. Only because they've been in the truck since 5 am, Will adds. Even convicts aren't made to travel like they are. Griffin comments that they should be careful about pushing the truck too hard. They have a pretty good-sized load in the back. Will reminds them that his bladder is about to explode all over Sarah's summer wardrobe. Griffin wants to know what happened to seeing the sights. Bailey points out the window. They're seeing things. Will and Griffin look at him like he's crazy. Bay admits that Thursday is his third anniversary and he really wants to spend it with Sarah. Thursday is two days from now and neither Griffin nor Will thinks there is any chance of them getting there by then. Bay has it all worked out. They only need to drive 17 hours a day at sixty miles an hour. Will offers Griffin 20 bucks to say he has to pee. Griffin takes the twenty and announces his need to urinate. Bailey hands them a big cup.
Grant High School
Claudia and Myra are studying during lunch. Myra asks Claudia a question, but she's too busy watching Alexa to answer. Myra hopes Claudia doesn't feel bad for her. Claudia points out that Alexa is her friend. Myra thinks that she'll find someone new soon. Alexa comes over and sits with them. She just wants to cry, but she can't let Cameron see her that way. Claudia tells her to forget about him. Alexa is trying, but she can't. Claudia tells her that the next one will be better for her. Alexa doesn't know if that's true. Cam has so many secrets, it took like a year for him to let her in. Who else will she ever have that with? She starts to cry and hugs Claudia.
Evan goes to the workout room at the hotel and gets on the treadmill. He is quickly distracted by Julia in the next room doing Tai Chi. He keeps watching her until finally he falls off the treadmill.
Claudia goes over to Cameron's house. He wishes that she had called first. She would have, but she really had to talk to him in person. A man calls from the house telling Cameron that dinner is ready. Claudia starts to break up with him when the man comes outside. Cameron's mom calls "Karl" back into the house. Claudia says that his dad seems nice. He is, but he isn't here. Cameron tells her that Karl isn't his dad. His dad works late and Karl comes over and hangs out with his mother. He doesn't say anything so they can think that he doesn't know. He has to go eat. He asks what Claudia was telling him. She says that it can wait.
Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Kirsten leads Charlie into their bedroom. She has music on and candles burning. He apologizes for being late and heads to the bathroom to wash up. He tells her that he got the extra hours. As he washes the turpentine off his hands Kirsten has a hot flash. When Charlie gets into their room the music is off and she's reading. He snuggles up to her. He's been dreaming about it all day. She tells him that she's reading. He doesn't understand, a minute ago she was all come hither. He blinked, she had a hot flash, end of story. It's just a mood swing, the shots can do that. It doesn't mean that she's depressed. Her doctors are monitoring her very closely, she's just irritable, so he shouldn't give her any grief. He understands, but what about the twice a day part? He took his pills, wore his frosty boxers. She hands him a bottle of hand lotion and tells him to handle it himself, she's going to sleep.
On the road
Griffin is working on the truck. He can't tell for sure, but he thinks the cylinder head is cracked. Bay points out that Griffin is a mechanic, can't he fix it? Griffin can get them to the next town, but they're going to need parts. Will comes back. He's a new man, they can hit the road. Griffin tells them the only place they're going is a hotel. Bay is okay with that as long as they are on the road by 8 a.m. Griffin thinks that's a little optimistic. Bay doesn't care if they have to replace the whole engine, they have to keep on schedule. Will tells him to face facts. They aren't going to be able to make New York by Thursday. They have to. Griffin doesn't think Sarah would care if he was there on the exact day. Friday or Saturday should be just as good. He tells Bailey to give her a call. He can't do that. She doesn't know that he's coming. Will doesn't understand. They're driving 3,000 miles and Sarah doesn't know they're coming? What if she isn't there when they arrive? Bay tells them that it isn't about her stuff. Why would he drive 3,000 miles to just bring her things to her. Will wants to know why he's doing it. He's going to try and get her to come home with him. He's making a statement, proving a point.
Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Daphne and Charlie are with the baby. She came over because she was out of diapers...and money. Charlie sends her to the bathroom to find Diana's book. Daphne is talking about telling her landlord to relax about her rent money when she discovers the needles and other fertility medications in the bathroom. She keeps talking while she checks out the snake penis. She comes out and asks if he's trying to make a baby with Kirsten. Charlie asks why she would think that. Well, maybe his cobra penis and well...she pulls out the hypodermic. They were keeping it a secret. He explains about the in vitro, but Daphne knows. Her friend Angie did it that way. Well, they're trying to keep it a secret because it's still a long shot, stressful and expensive. Daphne thinks it's awesome. She hugs him. She has good news too, she got a job. Charlie is pleased for her. Pretty soon she will be completely off his list of worries.
On the road
The mechanic says it will take two days to get the part from his distributor. Bailey hopes this isn't a scam to jack up the price on them. Will pulls Bay away before he totally pisses off the mechanic. They are in the middle of nowhere Wyoming and if he doesn't relax it's going to be a lot longer than two days. Bailey continues to rant until Will tells him to take a breath. The whole trip is a long shot, he knows that, but he doesn't know any other way. Sarah has to see him and maybe she'll see hear what he has to say and still decide to stay, but he has to try.
Evan introduces Julia's book to the sellers at the conference. As he starts to explain about her book, how it looks at how her social and familial environment led her to stay in an abusive relationship. As he says that she will try to offer some answers, she interrupts him. She doesn't have any answers. Evan continues, but Julia interrupts again. She isn't saying that she has any answers, she's just trying to tell her story and that will help people. Evan reminds them that there is a sample chapter and hopefully that will speak to the topic they are addressing. Julia pulls the microphone over again. This is the first time people have looked at the book, so she would be interested in what people thought of it. A number of people in the audience raise their hands.
Grant High School
Claudia tries to decide where to sit down to eat lunch. Cameron is sitting with his friends and Alexa is alone looking upset. Claudia goes over and sits down across from Myra who is marking up the table with the sharp end of her protractor. Claudia asks how the studying is going. Myra asks if she's asking as a friend. Cause, if she is, Myra isn't so sure. Claudia wonders what she's talking about. Myra pulls out Claudia's geometry book. The next time she lends something out, she should make sure she's taken all the notes out. Myra knows that Cameron is in Claudia's class. She could figure out who "C" was that wants to meet her so that they don't let "A" know. Myra wonders if Claudia is proud of her...she figured it out.
Evan pulls Julia aside. The next time she hijacks a panel like that she should give him some warning. She apologizes. He didn't spend all that time writing a marketing plan so that he could hear himself talk. She knows. He goes on. The sellers need to leave with a clear idea of what the book is about so they can sell it. Julia knows that he's right, but one person heard what she was saying. He wonders who. She did. She knows that he has added a ton, but this book has to sound like her. She has let him tell her how to write the book. She's blaming herself. Sitting on the stage a light went off in her head. She's been waiting to find out what the book should sound like and now she knows. It should sound like her. So, she thanks him about telling her that he has all the power. He's been trying to get her to take control and now she is. This book is finally hers again and that feels great. She thanks him and kisses him on the cheek.
Charlie and Kirsten's apartment
Charlie comes in late. It's midnight and he was supposed to be home at nine. Kirsten is ready to sleep with him, but he's ready to just take a shower and hit the sack. He's too out of it to do anything else. She tells him that they have to do it. He doesn't want to. He just wants to take a shower and go to bed. She asks if he's going to take a hot shower. He tells her to not do that right now. When he got off work he got in the truck and sat there thinking that he had to go home and have sex with his wife. For a split second he had the urge to go back in and keep working. He actually thought it would be better to go and make an end table than make love to his wife. They're making a baby...it's supposed to be fun and it feels bad to be working this hard and catching himself wondering why.
On the road
Bailey got another shop to messenger the parts, so they should be on the road by noon. Griffin tells him that he and Will are going to catch a bus back home. Bay can't believe that they are bagging on him. Will points out that the trip isn't what it was supposed to be. What, because they aren't stopping to see the world's largest thermometer? Will admits that's part of it. Bailey tells him that they can do it on the way back. Will was the one that told him to take some chances. Now he's taking a chance and Will is bailing on him. Will says that it might look like him taking some risks, but the truth is that this is Bailey chasing after Sarah. He's afraid to let anything change. Bay thinks the joke is him taking relationship advice from the two of them. What did Griffin do when Julia went to Stanford? He just let her go, gave her a divorce. And Will? He can't keep a relationship going longer than a month. He just gets them pregnant and dumps them on somebody else. He doesn't quit on his girlfriend, he doesn't quit on his friends. He's going to make sure that Sarah knows that he loves her, make sure that she doesn't walk away. Will tells him to look around...she already has.
Julia answers her door to admit Evan. He's been walking around the hotel for three hours trying to figure out what is going on. He's worked with hundreds of authors and none of them.... There are rules; things that you do and things that you don't. How is he supposed to...it's not.... He apologizes and then starts to kiss her. They stop for a moment, then she removes his glasses and they begin to kiss more fervently.
On the road
Bailey is looking at the map in a small diner late at night. Griffin and Will come in. They have decided to go with him. They'll go the distance. Bailey asks if they know how far they still have to go. They've just been through three states and they still have eight more to go. They've already broken down and started fighting and there are still eight to go. He can't believe how far away Sarah is.
Victor comes home to find Daphne waiting on the steps for him. She could use a little favor from him. She was hoping he could watch her for a little while so Daphne could go find a job. Victor would love to help, but Bailey has him there 24/7, cooking, cleaning, shopping. Bay needs to learn that he's a caregiver, not a housekeeper. Daphne picks up on that. Can she stay at his place for a little while? She could sublet her place and save some money. Victor thought that Charlie was helping out. Daphne told him that she was fine. He has his own family now, she needs to learn not to lean on people. Victor shoots her a look. Okay, as soon as she leans on him for a little while. Victor agrees, but she has to keep it clean.
Grant High School
Cameron is stunned to find Claudia breaking up with him. She really likes him, but she sees Alexa. So, basically she's picking her over him? Claudia disagrees. If anything, she's picking herself over both of them. When she first saw how upset Alexa was, she felt bad for her and when she was at Cameron's house she felt bad for him. She was never this kind of person before, never the person who said "all's fair in love and war." She might end up old and alone, but she can't do something that makes her feel this bad about herself. She just can't.
Charlie shows up very nervous for his appointment to leave sperm sample. The nurse directs him to a cubicle. He inquires after reading material, but she tells him that everything he needs is in the room. He walks in and starts to undress when there is a knock at the door. A hand reaches in and turns off the light. Kirsten walks in dressed in a rain coat. She sets down a boom box and lights a candle. She drops her coat and he begins to kiss her. If he was wondering why, this is why.
Evan is looking out the window while Julia is still in bed. She asks if he's okay. He says that he is, but she notes that he has the look that he gets when he doesn't like something she's written and he's afraid to tell her. He doesn't know. He can't help thinking that there were so many reasons, good reasons and he just...this is a mistake. Julia doesn't know either, but she feels good. Doesn't he? Yeah, of course, but.... She asks how he feels. He feels good. He sits down on the bed next to her and kisses her again.
On the road
Bailey signs the UPS slip as a truck takes Sarah's things to New York. He gets back in the truck and says they should go home.
In the past week I've taken a little flack for being too positive about a show that a number of people don't think is up to par any longer. I'm not ready to condemn the show all together, but I do agree that I could be a little more circumspect. The thing is, I like Party of Five. Week in and week out it is better than 95% of the television I routinely watch. After six years I have become so comfortable with these characters that sometimes I expect the impossible and other times I forgive them for their weaknesses. I guess in many ways I treat them like family cause that's how I've come to think of them. It might seem cheesy, but this show has been a lot of things to me. When it started it was the show that my little brother and I watched together. It was the show I could discuss with my middle school students when they wanted to talk about Melrose Place. In graduate school I made friends with other fans and when I moved thousands of miles from my family and had more than one bout of homesickness, it was a bright spot in sometimes gray days. I spend a lot of time each week thinking about this program and sometimes it's really fun and other times it feels more like a chore.
So, what was this rant about? Well, I guess the bottom line is, this is my review, so you can agree or disagree, but this is what I think!
Now, having gone on at some length, I will admit that this was not my favorite episode. It wasn't horrible, but there were a few moments with which I was less than impressed. I love having Kyle Secor on the show. I wish he would become a regular. I wish he was doing anything but this ridiculous story line with Julia. The whole thing is so preposterous. We've had no build-up that convinces me that this is a love that cannot be denied despite the total impropriety of it. Romeo and Juliet they ain't! Evan's mooning over Julia at the conference was embarrassing. I also wasn't convinced that in the face of her immature behavior at the panel that he would run right to Julia's room and jump into bed with her immediately. Please...do something with the story line and soon!
There was confirmation of a continuity gaff that I have been suspecting for some time. Last fall, when Charlie took his job as a shop teacher it was at Woodrow Wilson Junior High. Now, inexplicably, he seems to be the shop teacher at Grant High School where Claudia goes. It's convenient for the merging of his story with Myra and Claudia's love triangle with Alexa and Cameron, but it is a big mistake.
Speaking of Claudia, I had a flash of Justin and Julia in the darkroom when Claudia was making out with Cameron in the biology storeroom. This isn't a terrible faux pas, because there are a few things you can count on with young love and broken hearts are one of them. It just seems like there are so many things going on here. Clearly Cameron has family troubles. Is this another Griffin, PK, Sarah, "escape from the troubled family situation" plot again?
Another nit pick...if I had made it into the cool club, I sure as heck wouldn't go have lunch with Myra. I'm sorry, but once you make it out of your social caste you never want to go back. That's one of those horrible facts of high school life that we are all still trying to forget.
Bailey's wild adventure didn't bother me as much. I thought it was interesting that Mr. Control was willing to turn over the restaurant and take off for a week, but clearly he had his own agenda going on. The trip also provided some good scenes for Griffin and Will. I love how Will can call Bailey on his behavior quirks! This was an interesting group and I wouldn't mind seeing them interact together again. Wow, there might be something for Griffin to do after all!
So, what did I like? I like the infertility story. It's a fact of life for way too many people and I think we are seeing a pretty real version of it. It's expensive, it's regimented and it pretty much drives any of the fun out of having a baby. I'm not at all surprised that Charlie is already rethinking his decision to go ahead with the attempt. I was glad they followed up on Kirsten's mood swings and her depression and I thought the scene with Charlie and Daphne was particularly touching. Her support was great.
Finally, I like Victor. I thought his scene with Daphne was great. I hope that non-Salingers like Griffin, Daphne, Will and Victor can continue to be viable additions to the family. They add some nice variety to the usual Salinger angst.
So, not the best, not the worst. Hey, did anyone see Cold Feet last week? I rest my case.
Copyright ©1999 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.
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