Grace and Joan are walking through the halls together. Grace says she's made a decision: "Since my father has enough on his mind with the synagogue being a pile of rubble and all, I can't afford to flunk physics. So for the first time in the history of final exams, I am going to study." She holds her fist in the air to affirm this. No response from Joan. Grace: "Hey…Coma Girl. Impromptu study group at lunch…you in?" Joan agrees indifferently, but her attention is grabbed by the sight and sound of her mother down the hall, laughing as she chats with Ryan. Distracted, she tells Grace she'll catch up with her. Grace: "Sure, why not…" She may be used to Joan's weirdness, but that doesn't mean she doesn't still find it suspicious.
Joan wanders toward them, just as Ryan touches Helen on the upper arm in a rather chummy way. Joan learns that Ryan just got elected to the school board. Helen says she's showing him what he got himself into. Joan: "You're on the school board." Ryan, ever the smug bastard: "Just trying to help out." The bell rings and Helen has to go. Ryan touches her on the arm again and says, "I think I've learned enough for one day. Thank you, Helen." I guess he's thoroughly charmed her. She leaves, and Joan remarks, "Well, you're just everywhere." Ryan: "I do what I can." He walks down the hall and Joan follows him, saying, "It's a brilliant idea: hiding in plain sight." He says he's not hiding. Joan: "I'm onto you." Ryan: "Beyond what we've discussed?" Joan: "Beyond that. Like vandalism. And arson." Ryan: "You don't know how lonely I've been all these years, Joan." I think she might have some idea. "And frustrated, knowing there had to be someone out there with a similar experience, wondering who it was, and if we'd meet, and when we did, if that person would be a worthy opponent." He stops. "I have to admit, I never pictured a sixteen-year-old girl." Joan: "Seventeen. With a working knowledge of physics." Uh, not if you're going with the blather you got from Luke, who should totally know better. "And a real bug up my ass about anyone who wants to hurt my friends." Ryan: "The point is, I'm impressed. And I'm excited. I think this is going to be a fair fight, don't you?" Joan's obviously scared but holds her ground: "I have a slight advantage. I have God on my side." Ryan: "Mmm. So far I have the cops, the newspaper, and the school board. He didn't stop any of that from happening. I think…this is going to be the challenge of a lifetime." Joan just stands there as he walks off. I think she'd be an even more worthy opponent in something other than a chartreuse cardie with little butterfly appliqués on it, but I suppose everyone doesn't have to dress like Trinity in The Matrix. I just think it couldn't hurt. (I'm kidding. Please don't turn this show into a comic book.)