Luke and Joan are walking through the hall at school, beneath a banner proclaiming the school's upcoming semi-formal: "The Crystal Ball." Luke is rambling on about his science fair project, saying at first he was planning to make a gamma ray microscope to "actually prove" Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Luke adds, "Oh, God, which would almost be worth it just to see the look on Friedman's face -- except a gamma ray microscope would cost, like, $8 million." But otherwise, you know, he could totally do it. Joan's busy trying to toss some kind of tiny snack in the air and catch it in her mouth. As Luke says he began thinking more conceptually, Joan asks him to wake her up when he gets to the point. Luke says, "Right. So I asked Grace to do this thing with me, and at the time she said yes, sort of, but..." Joan: "Wait, Grace Polk said yes, to you?" Luke: "It was somewhat contingent but essentially...yeah." Joan gloats and says, "Aw, she's so gonna get it!" Luke's problem is that he's not sure if Grace remembers him asking, so he's wondering: "Do I have to do the full re-approach..." Joan: "What is she gonna wear? Because they don't make gowns out of fatigues." Well, maybe not in Grace's price range. I've seen some designer stuff like that, but I imagine she can't afford Vivienne Westwood or Jean Paul Gaultier or whichever designer coughed that up. Luke doesn't know what Joan's talking about. Joan thinks he asked Grace to the semi-formal dance; Luke says he asked her to be his science fair partner. Joan remarks, "Wow, science really is like sex to you, isn't it?" She walks away. Luke grapples for a response: "Well, that's...I don't know how to respond to that!"
He catches up to her again, and she advises him, "Put on some stupid clothes and go grope each other in the gym. It's much more direct than building some gammy telescope or whatever." Luke: "Gamma ray microscope, and this isn't about groping. Why? Are you groping...uh, going?" Joan disses these affairs as lame, adding, "Plus, I don't have anybody to go with." Luke surmises, "You and Adam Rove are still on the outs." The last-naming is bugging me. What other Adam would they be talking about? Joan says she can't remember if they were ever on the "ins." At that moment two guys lunge in front of them; one's slamming the other very forcefully into a bank of lockers. The guy being attacked is Adam, and a fairly hulking guy punches him in the face and then in the stomach. No! Don't do that to my Adam! (Jettisoning the last remaining pretenses of any kind of journalistic objectivity here.) The big hulk yells, "You want to get in my way? Is that what you want?" Joan breaks it up and tells the guy to stop hitting Adam. He snarls in her face, "You think I won't hit you, too?" The big hulk, by the way, is played by Frederick Koehler, formerly Chip of Kate and Allie and Andrew Schillinger of Oz. He's, like, twenty-eight, so he's really pushing it to be playing a teenager, almost as much as Gabrielle Carteris was. Still, he manages, between his youthfully moony face and his perpetually injured expression, to successfully portray a seriously screwed-up teenager. He does remind me powerfully of those guys in high school who were always older and more physically mature than most of the rest, through a combination of genetics and having failed a grade or two. You'd be in ninth grade (which is where high school begins in Ontario) and there'd be these tiny boys fresh out of grade school who were thirteen and looked about eleven, alongside these huge manly guys who were fifteen and looked nineteen or older. It was weird, yo. For us, and for them too, I'm sure. So actually, the casting's not as bad as it might seem on paper.
Anyway. Naturally, Price's Misbehaviour Radar goes off and he's right there, commanding them to "Break it up! Right now!" Seems like Joan already handled that, but whatever makes you feel big, buddy. Adam is doubled over, coughing from the gut punch. Price tells all three of them to get in his office right now. Joan's got her hands on Adam's back, asking if he's okay. As he stands up, he jerks away from her and coughs a bit more. He follows Price. Joan is bewildered, and breathing heavily.