Season 1, Episode 13
Remember us – if at all – not as lost, violent souls, but only as the Hollow Men – TS Eliot
Despite the fact that Jake finally lip-raped Courtney and developed a temporary set of balls in the wake of that disastrous mouth ambush, the penultimate episode of Season 1 failed to deliver the punch we’ve come to expect from the students of Hillside. However, making the next to last installment a slow-burner is a common practice in the realm of soaps, as it retrospectively increases the potential excitement of the season’s coda. Let’s see how well this manufactured anticipation worked in the case of Fifteen’s inaugural season, shall we?
We open at the Morgan Mansion where Brooke is looking over what she believes is a geography project completed by Kelly’s sister, clearly impressed at the level of work that went into it and deeming it well worth the $20 price tag. Dutch Boy appears at her door wearing the original classic ootfit that inspired me to come up with her paint can-inspired nickname a dozen long episodes ago:
Theresa stands there staring at Brooke for a ridiculously long time until Brooke finally tells her to stop spying on her and say something, leading to a puzzling semantic argument aboot the subtle differences between spying and lurking. Finally, Dutch Boy makes a snide remark aboot the paper in Brooke’s hands having been written by Kelly’s sister, something I assume she already knows is untrue because I can’t imagine who else Kelly would have been talking to in the last couple of one-sided phone conversations she conducted at The Avalon. Brooke gets up from her bed and strolls around the room reminding Theresa that today is the day she’ll be officially announcing her candidacy for Student Council President. They trade a few more pointed barbs before Dutch Boy huffs from the room.
Cindy and Olaf enter The Avalon and approach Jake at the counter. Attila The Hippie takes a seat next to Jake, remarking that he “doesn’t look so hot” and asking him what’s wrong. For some fucking incomprehensible reason, Jake answers, “Oh, lots of things. The ozone layer is breaking down, the rainforests are disappearing…” and for once, Cindy seems momentarily disinterested in environmental issues and presses him for what’s really on his mind, to which he answers, “Ashley”. They discuss the fact that Pink Denim hasn’t been at school since she was caught cheating on her math test. Olaf walks back from the cash register and offers his friends some Mentos or Rolos or perhaps some obscure Canadian snack that comes in a tubular package. Jake asks him if he ever found his geography notes and Olaf responds in the negative, adding a few light-hearted quips to prove yet again that he is the only one among these terminal drama queens capable of meeting minor problems with something other than prolonged despair and self-pity.
With Kelly at her side, Brooke appears to be making the grand “official” announcement of her candidacy to a table in the lounge occupied by Mullet Dave (wearing a pink shirt over a powder blue turtleneck) and two unknown girls. It’s established that as of now, she’s running unopposed. One of the girls asks her whether she’ll push for more school dances if she’s elected as Dylan appears from behind. Kelly spots him leaning on the banister and walks over to him. They briefly mock Brooke’s presidential aspirations before Kelly discloses that she was sorry his concert got canceled because she was really looking forward to hearing him play. Kelly might be flirting here, but it’s difficult to say for sure since we’ve never really seen her flirt before. She is wearing a shirt with the logo of some clothing brand, the design of which appears to contain several dismembered floating penises in each of the corners, but I might be reading too much symbolism into her attire. What the fuck do I think I’m reviewing here, Twin Peaks? A moment later, her flirtation becomes apparent as she tries to obtain an invite to take in a private concert at Dylan’s garage, but her efforts are dismissed with a chuckle before he turns and walks away. What the hell is wrong with you, Leather Boy? You’re willing to get involved with an ugly parasite and a scheming inveigler, but you reject the coolest and arguably hottest girl at Hillside High even though she’s virtually throwing herself at your feet? I guess there’s no accounting for taste.
Matt and Jake’s locker room. Drinky Crow is menacingly interrogating Jake aboot whether he’d like to take back anything he said during his temporary testosteronal tirade at The Avalon yesterday. Jake sticks to his guns, then asks Matt if he’s had a chance to talk to Ashley. Matt tells him that he tried calling her last night, but she didn’t want to talk. Jake responds that he’s not surprised considering how torn up Ashley is, then asks Matt again if he even cares. Matt reluctantly concedes that he does, but he’s at a loss as to what do aboot it, at which point Jake stands up and faces him in yet another surprising display of machismo, shouting, “You’re an intelligent guy. Figure it oot!”
Brooke and Kelly stroll into the student lounge discussing Ashley’s prolonged absence from school. Kelly asks Brooke if she’s turned in her geography paper yet and Brooke confirms that she has before changing the subject to the campaign posters Kelly is carrying. Kelly grabs one from the pile and displays it to Brooke upside down so that it reads “⊥NƎᗡISƎᴚԀ ᴚOℲ ƎʞOOᴚq”, which is far more interesting than the pathetically pedestrian slogan it displays when she realizes her mistake and flips it over. Brooke sighs that it will have to do for now, then orders her frenemy to start putting them up around the school.
Jake and Olaf are eating their bag lunches together in the lounge, while Kelly is attempting to hang a campaign sign on the soda machine in the background. Olaf explains to Jake that he’s going to have a talk with his geography teacher and ask for an “expansion” to turn in his project. When Jake optimistically opines that the notes might still turn up, Kelly abandons her task at hand to plant the seed of an idea in their heads that perhaps the notes weren’t lost, but stolen. When Jake and Olaf question in unison who would do such a thing, Kelly responds that it would most likely be someone in Olaf’s class. Jake doesn’t buy this explanation, noting that if someone wrote a paper based on Olaf’s notes, “they’d get caught for sure”. Kelly concedes that Jake has a point, but reiterates that the whole situation seems “awfully fishy” before walking away.
Courtney approaches Jake who is sitting on a bench studying. They discuss Ashley for a few moments before Courtney tells him that she’s in a good mood because her drama teacher wants her to write a play for the “drama festival”, which serves as a subtle portentous trigger warning for those sensitive souls who’d be well-advised to tread lightly as they wade into the murky waters of Season 2. Jake asks her what it’s going to be aboot and Courtney responds, “Maybe it’ll be aboot some stupid girl who acted like a complete jerk to a really good friend for no reason at all,” which is 29 superfluous syllables longer than the simple yet effective phrase, “Sorry, Jake”. Regardless, they establish that they’re still friends. Jake asks if she’d like to go with him to Shakespeare in the Park this weekend and Courtney accepts his pleasingly platonic invitation.
The next scene opens on Deadpool studying at The Avalon while Dutch Boy, who is pretending to read at a nearby table, keeps stealing discrete glances at him over the rim of her book. A funky little synthesized ditty by maestro Matt Ender plays over this strangely random display of pre-adolescent puppy love before the weird interlude finally comes to an end when Dylan walks through the door and chuckles at the amusing little spectacle. He takes a seat at Billy’s table and teases him aboot Theresa’s awkward flirtation for a few seconds before changing the subject and informing Deadpool that he’s thinking of forming a band and hopes his little friend will agree to be the drummer, an offer that Billy wholeheartedly accepts.
Olaf enters the school and meets Cindy by the stairwell. In response to her inquiry aboot how his talk went with the geography teacher, Olaf gushes that “Mr. Henshaw is a wonderful man” for granting him a two week expansion extension to turn in his project. They discuss some other shit that I happen to know has no relevance to any future plotlines (especially considering that we’ll never see these two again once this episode is done) and then they move on to discussing the intimate details of Jake’s sexual frustration. If Hippie & The Finn had even an ounce of self-awareness between them, they’d realize how laughable is their concern for Jake since they’re both in the exact same boat. When’s the last time you got any action, Cindy? Hmm?
Kelly is in the girls’ locker room when Brooke breezes in holding a note from the principal (handed to her by Miss Leddingham) saying that he wants to see her in his office, proving that “Old Zimmerman” and Coach Williams share the unorthodox method of communicating with their students by passing notes. Incidentally, I just mentioned all four adults that have been referenced by name in this show in the course of two paragraphs, a season-ending special treat for those who are still scratching their heads at the perplexing absence of Hillside’s version of Mr. Belding. Kelly asks Brooke if she’s in some sort of trouble and Brooke cheerily replies that the principal probably just wants to congratulate her for her student council bid. As she exits the locker room, Kelly tells Brooke to “say hi to Mr. Zimmerman for me!”
Jake comes down the stairs as Matt hoarsely calls oot to him from the bench by the soda machine. He tells Jake that he went over to Ashley’s place and though she really didn’t feel like talking to him, he could tell that she’s not doing very well at all. As he continues to morosely fill Jake in on the details of their abbreviated chat, he reveals that Ashley’s parents are considering pulling her from Hillside and sending her to a private school. This whole time, I’ve been finding it hard to believe that Matt’s really on the verge of tears aboot the possible school transfer of someone he so recently claimed to despise, and the next thing he says to Jake confirms my suspicions:
“Turns oot you and Ashley weren’t the only ones who knew I was doing a little drinking. My parents found a bottle in my closet…and they’re freaking oot. It all blew up last night. They actually think I should spend some time in one of those centers – the ones for teenagers with substance abuse problems.” Don’t sweat it, Matt. You’ve got another whole season and a half of drinking before it actually comes to that, so party on!
Matt gets up and runs oot of the school with Jake trailing close behind, as Kelly enters from the same door. She tries to catch Jake’s attention, but he’s too distracted to listen, so she walks towards the table where Olaf is sitting. She blurts oot, “It’s incredible!” before informing Olaf that they found his geography notes. He’s puzzled by this assertion, so Kelly sits down to explain: “Well, someone phoned the principal – no one knows who, exactly – but whoever it was told him where the notes were hidden, so he went to look and there they were – in Brooke’s locker! And wait, it gets even better, ‘cause it turns oot Brooke’s geography paper was based on those notes.” Though we weren’t afforded a glance of Courtney eavesdropping somewhere in the vicinity, her sudden appearance at the table accompanied by the exclamation, “I can’t believe it!” makes it clear that she was engaged in some hardcore lurking. Kelly continues her tale: “Brooke got hauled down to the principal’s office and now she’s in major trouble. They’re threatening to suspend her from school. At the very least, she’s gonna be on academic probation for the rest of the year and that means no extracurricular activities, especially ones like running for Student Council President!” Brooke, of course, has been slowly making her way down the stairs ever since Courtney insinuated herself into the conversation and has therefore been listening to Kelly’s gleeful account. She takes slow, deliberate steps towards the table until she’s facing Kelly and hisses, “You did this to me,” but Kelly dismisses her accusation oot of hand. Next it’s Courtney’s turn to rub salt in the wound by chastising herself aloud for having ever looked up to Brooke, and somehow this expression of disappointment from Shit Drapes is too much for her to bear. With tears welling up in her eyes, Brooke turns and flees from the table of cruelly judgmental peers.
Cut to Jake at a booth in The Avalon drawing a somewhat competent but pathetically unimaginative mountain landscape in his sketch pad. As Jake conjures a happy little tree in the lower right-hand corner of the drawing, Cindy walks up from behind and tells him that it looks good. She sits down uninvited and tells Jake that he looks like he’s had a pretty lousy day, then attempts to remedy that situation by telling him that he’s “a pretty talented artist…and a pretty good friend, too…and for what it’s worth, I think you’re kinda cute.” If the writers were planning to spin this unsolicited pep talk into a romance between Jake and Cindy, then I might have excused its otherwise unnecessary inclusion in the final episode of the season. But in just four minutes’ time, we’ll have seen our last of Jake for an entire season and our last of Cindy forever, so I really don’t understand the fucking point of this.
Now we cut to Brooke in her bedroom delivering a tearful monologue to Theresa, the upshot of which can be summed up by the simple Latin phrase, “Et tu, Kelly?” She desperately implores her little sister to advise her what to do, but Dutch Boy just turns and exits the room.
Somehow, a full band consisting of Dylan, Deadpool, Cindy on keyboards, and an unknown bass player are jamming oot in the garage. Long after the final notes of their song fade oot, Billy continues hammering away on the drums before Cindy turns and glares at him until he finally takes the hint. Billy thinks they sound great but Cindy begs to differ. This is stupid. Dylan will indeed form a band next season, but Cindy and the unknown bassist won’t be a part of it so I’m not sure why Ian Weir is making us suffer through this cacophonous jam session.
Kelly is sitting at a booth in The Avalon when Theresa enters and sits down across from her. Dutch Boy is having regrets aboot her part in Brooke’s demise, making me wonder exactly what her part was. As far as I could tell, the execution of the plot was something Kelly accomplished single-handedly. Anyway, Kelly of course informs Theresa that she has no regrets. As Dutch Boy continues to berate herself for her involvement in the nefarious scheme, Brooke approaches the booth from the pinball room and fixes her little sister’s gaze: “So that’s what happened, is it? You helped her plan the whole thing.” Theresa denies having any part in it, but admits to being in the know and neglecting to inform her sister of what was aboot to happen to her. Brooke continues: “You betrayed me. My little sister…and my best friend. Well…so now I know where things stand.” Theresa starts to defend herself but Brooke cuts her off: “Save your breath, Theresa!! I don’t discuss things with traitors. But don’t you worry aboot me. This won’t keep me down for long and let me tell you something else – I’ll pay you back. Whatever it takes, I’ll pay both of you back!”
And there we have it! The first season of the most incredible show ever televised is now complete. Will Brooke somehow get her revenge even though Kelly and Theresa will never be seen again? Does the fact that we never see them again tell us something aboot how far Brooke was willing to go in the pursuit of retribution? Will Jake ever know the touch of a woman (or a man)? Will Courtney ever learn how to dress herself? Will Ashley return to Hillside? Will Dylan manage to see his rock star dreams come to fruition? Will Matt succumb to the pressure of 12 step recovery or will he stick to his guns and eventually graduate to shooting dope?
There’s only one place to find the answers to these questions and more, my faithful readers, and that’s right here at Notes From The Avalon, so stay tuned! Anything else would be a downright tragic decision.