Will and Helen are loading their bags into the car while the kids stand at the curb. Mom tells them to do their homework and get to school, adding, "And I think this goes without saying -- no parties." Kevin assures her, "I've already covered this -- they are very unpopular." Helen: "Oh, good. Uh, really?" Will urges her to get going so they can avoid traffic. She tells them Kevin's in charge. The kids wave, and Luke tells them to enjoy their body treatments as Helen gets in the car. Will closes her door and walks around to his side, saying, "No one's getting wrapped." Helen opens her door and says, "I might." They drive off as Kevin says, "They'll never make it the whole weekend." Luke and Joan exchange glances as Joan says, "Sure they will."
At work, Kevin's in the break room having some tea when Rebecca comes skulking up with an idea: "We take the research piece that you did, and turn it into an essay." I don't think a lot of newspapers really publish "essays" as much as they do "columns" and "pieces" and "articles." I see that word used for magazines much more than for newspapers. Whatever. Kevin wants to know why they would do that. Rebecca explains it's so she can lead with it in the Arts and Entertainment section next Sunday: "I want you to lead with the idea that a teenage boy's sneakers are equivalent to his first car." Kevin: "Whoa...you're talking about me writing a piece, with a byline and everything?" She nods enthusiastically. Kevin protests that he's not a writer. She insists he is. Kevin: "But essay writing? That's, like, the best job. You have staffers elbowing for that." He says he's a fact checker. She says she's offering him an opportunity, and advises him to take it: "I'll handle the infighting." Which should be even more fun once word of their "sexual tension" makes the rounds, if it hasn't already. Good luck with that. She offers to help him with it, and suggests Saturday night. He says it's basketball night. She looks annoyed. Kevin, catching on: "I could...cancel basketball?" Rebecca: "Thank you. We'll start around six when the day shift clocks out."
At school, Joan suggests to Luke that they should pass out fliers. Luke says, "Right, and then Price finds out and shuts us down." Joan doesn't think they can rely on word of mouth: "In case you haven't noticed, we're not cool." Man, your parents are out of town. That's all anybody is going to care about. Luke: "I thought you were cool." Joan says she's not. Luke: "Oh, we're in big trouble then." They're at her locker now, and Grace is at hers, asking, "Are you guys having a party?" They both turn and ask in unison, "What?" Grace says it's all over school: "Big party at the Girardis' house tomorrow night." I like the strip of poster in her locker that says, "Does this look infected to you?" Heh. Joan turns to Luke, who says, "I told Friedman and nobody listens to him." Grace, who's taken off her leather jacket and is wearing a cuter-than-usual shirt with black sleeves and a white torso with red graphics all over it, asks, "So am I invited or what?" Luke: "Of course!" Grace: "I hate parties." Luke says it's a different kind of party. Friedman breezes up and announces, "Latest head count's seventy-five." Joan's horrified: "Seventy-five people?" Friedman: "Were you expecting zoo animals?" Well, in your case...explain the difference. Glynis comes up and exults, "Twenty seniors are confirmed!" Joan's freaking a little and wondering what they're going to serve. Friedman says he heard there was going to be a keg. Glynis: "Possibly...two?" Joan looks at Luke, who says, "Every party needs a keg." The bells rings, and everyone disperses except for Joan and Grace, who's been standing there chomping licorice and listening to this. She asks, "Girardi, you do know what you're getting into?" Joan claims she does. Grace closes her locker and takes off. Joan goes the other way and runs into Adam: "Yo, Jane...you're having a party?" She laughs that hollow little laugh she has, and says, "Yeah, I guess I am." Adam wonders if he's invited. Joan: "Sure. I want you to come." Adam: "Am I coming as a guy who...knows the girl who's throwing the party...or...?" Joan says maybe they should talk about this later. Price comes wandering up and sticks his face into their space, asking, "Talk about what?" Adam: "Uh, chemistry, yo." He takes off without looking at Joan. Joan leaves, too. Heh -- "chemistry." Nice answer.
Aerial shot of what looks like an old mill building on a river; then a shot of a little card on a table declaring, "QUIET PLACE / TALK QUIETLY." Will and Helen arrive; Helen has the same look on her face as I do whenever I go into a beautiful building -- somewhere between pleased and enchanted. There's another sign declaring that "THIS IS A QUIET PLACE." We get it. Shut up already, signs. Will says, "I wonder if the sound of ringing up our credit card will be too much for them." Snerk. Helen hushes him. Suddenly, a beardless Miles Drentell (David Clennon) comes out wearing a pink shirt that reminds me of my husband's kurta pyjama outfits. He greets them in the well-modulated tones of that distinctive voice. I can't help but think it's too bad he wasn't in last week's episode, which Timothy Busfield directed. They could have had a little reunion. He asks if they have luggage; Will says they have some bags in the car. Miles says, "No need to shout, sir." Of course, Will was speaking at a normal volume. Helen whispers their reservation information. Miles asks to make an imprint of their credit card, but when Will reaches for his wallet, Miles catches a glimpse of his gun in its holster. He asks if Will is carrying a firearm. Will explains he's a cop. Miles: "This is a peaceful atmosphere. We don't allow guns." Will: "It's an aspect of my profession." Miles: "Be that as it may, we don't allow weapons." Will reiterates his occupation. Miles: "Be that as it may, sir..." Will asks Helen, "Why does he keep saying that?" She whispers that he can keep the gun in the car. He whispers, "No, I can't." Miles: "This is a spaaaah, sir." Will ignores him, whispering to Helen, "The last time I surrendered my weapon, I nearly died." Uh, I agree that this guy's annoying, but I don't think he's planning to abduct you or anything. And I'm pretty sure that, despite your macho fears about the seaweed and Dead Sea goop, they won't kill you. Helen whispers, "Be that as it may..." Will tries again with Miles: "I'm a police officer, for God's sake!" Miles says they have to ask him to lock it in the safe: "And even in doing that, we will be violating certain agreements." Will tells Helen he's not giving up his gun again. She's looking increasingly pained by the whole confrontation. Miles: "Violence offends us, sir." Will: "It offends me, too, which is why I won't give up my weapon. Take us or leave us." Miles holds his ground, silently and with the smile of a maitre d' who's definitely planning to seat you next to the kitchen. Will glances at Helen's unhappy face a couple of times and gives up his piece. Miles holds it with two fingers like it's a poopy diaper and walks off. There's some cheeseball quasi-Eastern music as Helen whispers, "I hear they have really good food here." Will just nods slightly. Miles is sort of the spa version of Vice-Principal Price.
After the commercial, they're in robes, reading on chaise longues by a big pool/hot tub. I can't quite see what they're reading, but it looks like Will's reading something by Dominick Dunne. Oh, Helen's reading the menu of services. Some loudmouth jackhole, played by expert loudmouth jackhole Jay Thomas, is in the pool, bloviating to his wife/girlfriend/mistress on deck about how his sinuses are as open as a church on Christmas. Didn't Jay Thomas used to be pretty skinny? Wasn't he on some tiresome show with Susan Dey? Will gripes to Helen that he thought this was supposed to be a quiet place. Jackhole takes a big sniff and asks his W/G/M: "You hear how the air moves in and out?" Will grouses, "I'd like to move his air in and out." Helen says she think she'll sign them up for the Native American Treatment. Normally I'd be overwhelmed by the number of comments I'd feel compelled to make here, but Barbara Hall, bless her soul, has taken care of it for me. Will replies, "What's that? They gently drag us through the sand by our hair until our skin is flayed? And then later, we're gently reassigned to gambling casinos in Arizona?" Frink and I just roared at this. Helen whispers, "Will!" He replies, "Helen, I don't spa well. This, you know." He tosses his book aside. It might go better if you stop thinking of it as something you do and start thinking of it as someplace relaxing to be. Helen says she'll sign him up for a basic aromatherapy massage. Will: "Aromatherapy?" The jackhole breaks in again: "And you know all that red meat you were feeding me? That's what causes my colon crisis. I'm lucky I'm not dead because of the red meat." Oy. Will: "Colon crisis?" I'm with you. I'm not sure that a weekend at a spa, much as I love the idea, could induce me to listen to Jay Thomas talk about his colon crisis. Helen tells him to keep it together, and hands him some "chai tea." Little gripe: "Chai" means tea in at least two different languages. Can we stop soon with the Department of Redundancy Department? Will complains, "He's talking about his ass in public -- and you're my wife!" Jackhole's cell phone rings. I can't believe those pocket-sized packages of evil aren't confiscated at the door. I went to a spiritual retreat a few years ago (by which I mean, an actual non-denominational self-directed religious retreat -- it's not a euphemism for a spa weekend) where we were not allowed to speak to anyone except during meals, and we sure as heck weren't allowed to use cell phones. (I confess to having one with me anyway, but it wasn't on, and I took a long walk far away from the retreat centre to call Frink on it once or twice.)
Jackhole answers the phone, telling "Roscoe" to "