Once and Again

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Niki: A | Grade It Now!
Reefer Madness

Cut to Eli and Rick pulling up in front of Karen's place. Eli moves to get out of the truck, but Rick tells him to wait there for a minute. As usual, Karen's been standing with her eyeball plastered to the peephole, and she bursts onto the porch as Rick walks up. From the truck, Eli can hear their raised voices and see a lot of arm-waving. Rick holds up his hand placatingly, and says he thinks it's the right thing. Karen shakes her head adamantly and spits, "No, this -- this comes from Lily!" Rick denies it. "Oh, come on!" she snarls. She says she's sorry if it puts him in the middle, but she's Eli's mother. "And I'm his father," Rick reminds her. Rick says they've always made their parenting decisions jointly, and they're going to now. She whines that now it seems to be a democracy, and she's outvoted. "Karen," Rick starts. Karen has a flash of Jessie as she stomps her foot, eyes flashing, and fumes, "Don't 'Karen' me!" Rick is temporarily stunned. "He is my son!" Karen cries, pointing to the truck. This snaps Rick to attention, and he shouts, "Our son! He is our son!" Karen actually shuts the hell up and cowers a little. Rick says if she wants to change the custody, she'll have to take him to court. She chokes out that it isn't about court, since Eli's eighteen. "But he is still my baby, and he's falling off a cliff, and there's going to be nobody there to catch him." Oh, get off the melodrama. Rick's offended that she thinks he won't be there. Eli climbs out of the truck. "He's going to be fine," Rick whispers as Eli approaches them. Karen doesn't look so sure. Eli apologizes and slips between them, muttering that he has to use the washroom. Karen stops him to tell him that the living arrangements will stay the same. Eli asks if he stays at "Lily's tonight, or here." Rick suggests that he stay with Karen, to keep her from going completely around the bend. "Sure. Come on, I'll take you to a movie," Eli says. So we know he'll be fine, because burned-out, delinquent drug addicts don't take their mothers to movies. He disappears into the house, and Karen watches him, finally smiling a little.

Cut to the kitchen at Manning Manor. Lily's back at the stove again in yet another tank top. Zoe and Grace amble in, Zoe still bitching about Jessie. Jessie comes through a different door, and Grace gives her a bright "hey." Zoe glares in Jessie's direction and says pointedly to Grace, "I think we should continue this discussion of living arrangements in this house." Rick enters and overhears her. He announces that it'll all be fine: Eli's going to move into the garage. Everybody thinks it's a good idea. Zoe thanks Lily, who modestly says that it was Rick's idea. Eli comes in clapping his hands to get them moving for school. Jessie asks if he knows he's moving into the garage. He does. In fact, it was his idea. Lily playfully glares at Rick, catching him in his lie. Eli sidles up behind her at the stove and whispers "thanks" in her ear. "Anytime," she answers. Then she stares off and smiles as everyone behind her zooms around doing that sped-up-film thing. It worked better on Gilligan's Island. Lily beams to herself over the fresh round of familial bliss. We'll just have to wait and see how long it lasts. In the meantime, I've got a hankering for a little Cypress Hill, circa Black Sunday.

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Once and Again




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