Taylor informs Julie that Veronica's spending Christmas in Cabo, and lies that she wasn't invited along because her mom knows she hates Mexican food. Julie is saddened by Taylor's non-relationship with her mother, and even Kaitlin processes that Taylor's life kind of sucks sometimes. Taylor says it's no problem, since she's going to be with Ryan. Julie wonders about this, since she wasn't invited, and Taylor says she's going to wrap that up in just a moment. Kaitlin, with another patented "you're so gay" look, invites her to come with them to Riverside, offering up the possibility of watching Aunt Cindy doing Whip-Its under the mistletoe. I love Kaitlin for this reason: that is legitimately fun to her. She's not just being sarcastic: she's also a deeply and hilariously troubled girl. Julie sighs in the background about Aunt Cindy, but Taylor's all smiles and takes off. Julie gives Kaitlin a look, and her daughter makes a "yikes" face, because: yikes. And you know what? Taylor and Marissa are so dissimilar that I just realized why Julie is keeping her in the house at all. It never occurred to me that she's filling a lot more holes in people's lives than just Ryan's. I always love the little scenes between Kaitlin and Taylor, but I never thought about how much having Taylor in the house suits Julie and Kaitlin just fine. That's really sad, and really sweet. And like I said, I loved Marissa Cooper, but I'd throw her over for Taylor Effin' Townsend so fast it would make your head spin. And I wouldn't need a coma or a mysterious letter to do so.
Ryan's staring at the unopened Marissa letter when Taylor appears, wishing him a Feliz Navidad. He gets standoffish due to the letter, and tells her he's got work to do. He climbs the ladder and Taylor puts on her resolved face. The terrifying one. "You know, I ran into Kirsten in the kitchen, and she was talking to a guy with a huge ham. Are you guys having dinner? Or something?" Ryan's noncommittal, and Taylor's scary resolved face gets even more steely. She rounds about on the ladder, talking about how Ryan's muscles are all very developed, "except for the ones in his mouth." She saves him the trouble of inviting her to dinner by inviting herself. He starts down a painful road about whatever's going on with them, it's only been a few weeks... and she puts together the whole thing about how Chrismukkah dinner means she's his girlfriend. "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but... yeah," he says, clearly uncomfortable between the rock of Taylor Townsend's towering will and the hard place of his dead girlfriend whose name he still hasn't said out loud. She shakes her brain loose and gets super intense: "Why would that hurt my feelings?" She climbs the ladder and bitches about how she got him a lovely Foreman Grill and in return he is giving her only "a hot steaming pile of rejection" -- a pile to which, she hastens to add, she is more than accustomed. She tries to force him to take the present, and they scuffle, and she starts falling backwards on the ladder, and pulls him down with her.