Joan of Arcadia
Spring Cleaning

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Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Joan's at the cash register, closing up the bookstore when someone comes in. She announces, "Turn around, we're closed…" Then she sees it's GodFella, so she adds, "For everyone but God." He assures her it won't take long. He's looking for a poem by T.S. Eliot: "It starts, 'April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Mem --' Ooh! Here it is." He basically finds it in the first place he looks. A question: Would God really require the actual book? I mean, it seems like if anyone could memorize poetry… He brings it over to her, saying, "'The Waste Land.'" Joan thinks that's perfect for her: "It's like my life." GodFella tells her, "It's all about spring cleaning. Dragging things out into the light. How hard it is to look at our own dirt. How comfortable is it to be in denial. The idea about April being the cruelest month? Cruel in its beauty. Cruel in its insistence upon resurrection." Joan says she's not even annoyed with him: "I'm glad I helped Tuchman. I can even admit that you were right. How's that for progress?" He says it's good, but she's not finished. Joan: "I know. I know. I am never finished. I get that you're not ever going away." He's talking about the cleaning: "There's still a big stain on your carpet." Joan instantly gets defensive about the state of her bedroom, and how you could eat off her floor or perform surgery on it. Frink: "Why does she need to be so literal all the time? That banter is so tiresome." GodFella tells her, "It's not in your room, Joan?" Joan: "Then where is it?" He smiles: "You know." Joan: "Yes, I do know. I just like the sound of my own confusion." GodFella: "You know where it is. It still feels unclean. It's like, uh…spiritual spinach in your teeth. Clean it up, Joan. You'll feel better." Don't you hate it when you've got spiritual spinach in your teeth and your deity doesn't tell you? He takes the Eliot and walks out. Joan traces her finger over the cash register and rubs the dust off her fingers thoughtfully. Man. I think she gets to be mad for more than, like, a week.

Adam's in his shed, welding. Joan comes in as he stops and turns his back. He hears the door close and turns, surprised to see her. She's carrying the file box of stuff he gave back to her. Noting the welding, she manages a small but sincere smile as she says, "That's what you were doing the first time I came here. Remember that? How much it freaked you out?" Something about Chris Marquette's face -- I think it's a combination of the lighting and his acting -- seems so Season One, that mixture of innocence and puzzlement and hurt that prevailed. He answers in a low, slightly rough voice, "You made me nervous." Joan: "Really." Adam: "'Cause I liked you so much. I didn't think you'd ever like me, so…" Joan says matter-of-factly, "Well, you were wrong." Adam: "Yeah." She clears her throat, and then puts the box of stuff down. She says she wants all the things he made for her: "Maybe I've earned them." Adam looks slightly confused by this and turns to get the box, when she adds, "You know, I thought I was, uh, cleaning you out of my life…so I could move on. But the real mess wasn't the stuff. It was being mad at you and letting it get so big that I couldn't appreciate what we had. I don't want to lose that, you know?" Adam nods: "Me neither." He gets her box of stuff and brings it to her. They stand there, floundering in pain, anger, longing and sorrow, as Joan thanks him and says, "Good night, then." She heads for the door and Adam hurries to open it for her. They stand there with the box between them, fighting the impulse, the reflex, to kiss, and suffering that horrendous feeling when you know you'll never kiss that person again. Even if it turns out not to be true, ultimately -- it feels all too true in that moment, and it feels like hell. There's not much Adam can say other than, "Good night," so he does, and Joan walks out slowly. He closes the door gently behind her, and she stands outside the door with a tear running from her eye, letting the pain sink down to a deeper level. Through the window, we see Adam return to his welding, retreating behind the mask.

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Joan of Arcadia

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