Joan of Arcadia
The Fire And The Wood

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The Smallest Catalyst

Suddenly a bright blue ball comes at Joan from outside the playground, and she's coordinated enough to catch it. Me? It would have hit me in the face. She starts crying harder. Behind her, a geeky-looking little girl wearing some kind of goggle-eyed headband asks why she's crying. Joan says, without turning around, that she had a fight with her brother. The little girl, who's wearing a striped sweater over a plaid jumper ["bad combo, but the sweater itself I covet" -- Sars], asks, "Because he doesn't try hard enough?" Joan blinks back some tears and says, "You heard that, yeah?" Little Girl: "I hear everything, Joan." Professor Frink: "With antennae like that, I should think so." Now Joan turns and gazes at the serious face of the little girl. She pleads, "Let Kevin walk...please. I'll just ask for this one favour and then I'll never ask for one again. It's so easy for you! All you have to do is snap your fingers or blink your eyes..." She sobs. My heart breaks. "Just let Kevin stand up and walk." I'm all snurfly. Little Girl God says people ask her to do little things and big things billions of times a day. Joan shrugs, "What do you expect? You're God!" Little Girl God explains, "I put a lot of thought into the universe. I came up with the rules. It sets a bad example if I break them. Not to mention, it shows favouritism. Why should one person get a miracle, and not everybody else?" Well, why can't everyone have them? Is there a limited supply? Are they a Blue Light Special? Are there no rain checks, even? Little Girl God continues, "Can you imagine the confusion?" Frankly, I can't imagine that it'd be any worse than the current state of affairs. She concludes, "It's better when we all abide by the rules." She'd make a good TWoP moderator. Joan asks sadly, "No miracles?" LGG: "Miracles happen within the rules. That's why I came to you." Joan: "To...to perform miracles." Little Girl God says she's an instrument of God, "bound by the limit of time and space. Perfect." She lets that sink into Joan and then asks if she can have her ball back. Joan tosses it over the fence to her. Little Girl God asks with a goofy smile, "You'd like to give me a slap, wouldn't you?" Joan admits it: "Yeah...but you're so cute." Little Girl God says, "By the way, as an instrument of me, have some pride. Do better. Do your best." She walks off. Joan calls out, "Now I'd like to slap you!" Little Girl God just waves dismissively without looking back.

Joan, Adam, and Grace are at Joan's kitchen table, working on their test. There's a pile of twigs, one of which is commanding Adam's attention. Grace is lighting matches. Joan asks what to do first. Grace: "Ask your brother for the answer." Joan blows out the match, saying, "To be humble, you have to be proud." Adam: "Wait, aren't those opposites?" Luke comes downstairs, and Grace stage-whispers, "Ask him. Ask him, ask him!" Joan refuses and asks if there's a chemical formula for twigs. Luke shakes his head to himself as he gets something out of the fridge. Adam: "Cellulose is C6-H12-O6." Joan makes no effort to conceal her astonishment. Adam explains, "Uh, I have an eidetic memory." Joan: "What's that?" Luke: "Photographic." Grace looks at Adam: "He can barely remember his name." Adam says that he knows a lot of stuff, but he just can't put it together. Joan asks for the chemical equation for fire. Grace: "Wood doesn't actually burn." Joan says that's insane as she blows out another match Grace has lit. Grace continues, "What burns is the gas released when the wood gets hot. Therefore the reaction would have to be gasification through oxidation reduction, then combustion." She's got Luke's attention away from his chocolate milk now: "It is so hot that you know that." Hee. Grace just glares. Adam asks Grace, "Dude, are you smart?" Grace: "Just because I rebuke the whole 'formal schooling equals knowledge' crap doesn't mean I'm stupid." In the background, Luke is struggling openly to try to get the lid off a jar of cookies. Joan asks, "So what about gas?" She looks at Adam, who says, "Chah, like I know." Grace: "And Rain Man's back to underpants." I love this show, in case it isn't already obvious. Adam says, "Listen, you tell me the formula and I'll tell you the substance, or..." Luke is still getting a hernia trying to open the cookie jar, and his grunting attracts Grace's attention. She snaps her fingers and gestures to Luke. He looks sheepish, but brings her the jar. Adam says if they tell him the substance, he can tell them the formula. Joan says to work it backwards. As Grace opens the cookie jar for Luke, Joan looks at her brother like he's a reject. Grace says, "Charcoal plus the mystery gas equals wood plus oxygen and heat." Adam: "C50-H10-O plus10CH20. That's formaldehyde...equals oxidized and reduced C6-H12-O6." Grace commands Joan to start scribbling. Joan asks what that means. Luke nods to himself. Grace grabs her bag and leaves, saying it means they're done. Joan asks Luke if they got it right. He replies, "It's like watching three monkeys build a particle accelerator using tinfoil and a BB gun."

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Joan of Arcadia

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