Joan of Arcadia
Secret Service

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
God Is My Co-Pilot

Just then Lily comes along to point out to Joan that her tape's coming off. I meant to bitch about that earlier when I was complaining about the paint job. Thanks, Lily. Joan: "Just so you know: I'm not like the other kids here. I got framed." Lily: "So…what, I'm supposed to feel sorry for you, 'cause you gotta do a little weekend painting? What are you missing out on? Skulking around a mall?" Joan: "A trip to Rhode Island with my boyfriend." And I'd like to torment him with my sexual unavailability. The UnNun couldn't care less, because she's wrapped up her in own issues: "Oh. Yeah, well, try missing out on most of your twenties 'cause you spent them worshipping an abstract ideal, only to find yourself at twenty-nine in your crappy basement -- sorry, garden -- apartment, watching nothing but reruns of T.J. Hooker with nothing but an ashtray for company. Then you can come talk to me about your wounded sense of justice." I think someone forgot to debrief Lily on her way out of Sisters of Our Lady of The Bitter Gall. Or maybe she was debriefed -- by Karen Armstrong. She asks Joan, "You don't smoke, do you? I won't tell your mom." Joan: "No." Lily takes off in search of someone with a cigarette she can bum but Joan chases after her, suggesting, "Maybe God gave us these stupid injustices so that we could rise above them." Lily: "You know what? Don't. Don't -- don't talk to me about God. I spent ten years in a convent -- and you…threw some eggs at a Hyundai." Joan: "Chevy. '92. I was framed." Lily: "Whatever. You want to know who God is? He's a control freak who demands perfection." Joan says she knows it's none of her business: "But you were helping my mom get confirmed and now it just seems like you hate God." Lily: "I don't hate him. I'm pissed at him." Joan wants to know why, but Lily says it's between her and God. She turns around and runs right into Abbatoir Girl, who's holding a cigarette right up to her. She takes it, and Abbatoir Girl lights it for her. Lily thanks her and leaves. Abbatoir Girl offers Joan one, which Joan refuses. Abbatoir Girl introduces herself: "I'm Bonnie." Which seems almost as unlikely a name for her as Maisy or Gladys. Joan says, "Joan." Bonnie: "I know." Then she just takes off. Joan looks around and sees Vagrant God watching her from the door, looking very sad and serious. He then notices that he's leaned against the wet paint where Joan was working earlier. Doesn't that seem like…just the sort of thing omniscience would come in handy for? ["And given that those aren't really God's clothes, what does he care if he leaned in paint? Yet another TV cliché in this episode delivered at the expense of sense." -- Sars, but Barney totally agrees]

Luke's working at the bookstore when some old professorial type starts giving him grief about the fact that the books are alphabetized. Alert the authorities! The old guy is a total HITG!, and yet neither of us can place him, and it's driving us so crazy we can hardly concentrate on the scene. I sort of freak when I finally realize it's Giles from Oz. Creepy. Except I find Austin Pendleton kind of charming, so it's hard to stay creeped out. It's the science section, and his beef is that it should be organized by topic, not author. Okay, I feel you there. He laments the lack of systems and categories. Luke mutters that he's just filling in for his sister. I actually got sort of excited early in this scene, thinking that this guy seemed very much like an avatar and that maybe we were finally going to see God talking to someone besides Joan. Wouldn't that be wild? Pendleton would have been an awesome avatar. Professor Giles follows Luke around, complaining that young people today don't care about much other than Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston breaking up. Luke: "They did?" Professor Giles nods sadly: "Yeah." Then he says, "You should not be allowed near books. You know nothing about science." Oh, please. Is some customer really going to come into the store and act like this? I'm not supposed to be offended by what a transparent setup this is? He starts to walk out, but Luke decides to stand up for himself: "Hey! Hey! You are patronizing the wrong geek, Grandpa. You want to talk quarks? Huh? Neutrinos? String theory? Bring it on, Pops." Whoa, whoa, boys. Take it outside. No intellectual fisticuffs in the store. Professor Giles smiles: "Then you should have the good sense to arrange these books properly by content. Content is what matters." He tosses a book on top of the shelf in front of Luke and leaves. Luke picks up the book, looks at the cover, and then flips it over. The back features a picture a much younger picture of the guy he was just talking to, looking very adorable in that 1960s scientist kind of way. What? Dude, check out Richard P. Feynman. If you don't see the hotness, check out your ophthalmologist. Feyn Man, indeed. Anyway. I think the book is called Positing the String Theory. Luke stands there looking puzzled, wondering if, when he gets to be a published author, he'll be haunting bookstores, visiting his books and trying to make sure they're properly shelved and featured. Not that book authors ever do stuff like that.

Joan's riding the bus home from community service, and calling Adam on her cell phone to leave him needy, clingy messages, when she sees him coming out of a record store and walking along the street. Uh-oh. She's all, WTF? She gets off the bus to run down the street after him. He's pretty surprised to see her, but manages to almost entirely suppress a look of guilt. Not quite, though. Joan wants to know why he's not in Rhode Island. He stammers that they had to reschedule the interview. Joan: "Well, why didn't you call? I left you, like, three messages." Um, maybe because you've turned into the kind of girlfriend who leaves him three messages when you know (or at least believe) he's out of town anyway? God. I feel suffocated and I'm not even dating the chick. I can't imagine how Adam feels. He doesn't really have a good explanation for his unthinkable behaviour and just stammers some more, saying he doesn't know. Joan asks if he's okay. He says he's fine. Joan: "Adam, what's going on?" He insists nothing's going on: "I'm -- I'm sorry I didn't call." Joan: "There wasn't a trip to Rhode Island, was there?" Adam: "Yes, there -- I just said they postponed it, okay?" Joan: "Then why didn't you call?" Adam: "You think I'm lying just 'cause I -- I didn't report to you?" Heh. "I wanted a night for myself, okay?" Joan looks hurt and disbelieving, and nods slightly: "Okay. Well…enjoy your night." She starts to walk away, while Adam tries to decide what, if anything, to say, and then she turns suddenly and comes back: "What if I'd said I'd spend the night with you? Would -- would you have called me back then? Is that how it works?" He takes a fairly patronizing tone: "I changed my plans. Okay? That's all it was. You're freaking out over nothing." Joan carps, "You know, if it's such a drag to call me, maybe you should lighten your load!" Maybe he should. She stalks off as he follows her, saying, "That's not what I meant. Look --" She just keeps walking. He doesn't.

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Joan of Arcadia




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