Helen and Joan arrive in the basement of St. Agnes. Helen, of course, is still wearing the coat. If you haven't been able to figure out this entire plot from the minute Joan and Judith hatched their little plan, I can't help you. Lily notices the big bag of clothes Joan's brought in and comments that she's amazing: "How are you at changing water into wine?" Joan scratches her belly -- and her shirt's riding up, so you can see the bandage -- and Lily asks, "Somebody get pierced?" Joan hushes her and looks around to see if her mother heard -- but Helen's busy with stuff. Joan asks Lily how she knew. Uh, the bandage over your navel? Lily says she can't get through a metal detector without a SWAT team surrounding her. Given that she has next to no visible piercings, she must have a fair number of not-so-visible ones. "You been using alcohol?" Joan says she has, but it won't heal: "It's oozing and gooey." Lily, brusquely: "Yeah, been there. It's the price of freakdom." It might also be the price of an $18 navel piercing. I don't know what the going prices are in the US, but I think around these parts, you can expect to pay $25 CAD for the piercing and at least $25 CAD for the jewellery at a reputable place. ["My nose ring was $50 USD for the pierce and $25 for the steel ring." -- Sars] Please, don't go to bargain basement body artists, people -- even if you're not paying for your piercing with ill-gotten booty, and have no reason to fear your piercing will become infected as punishment for your moral turpitude.
Behind them, an older man -- who strikes me as a H!ITG!, but I can't actually place him -- compliments Helen on her coat: "It's very unusual." Helen smiles. He continues, "I bought one just like that for my wife on a trip to Milan. She passed away last month." Helen says she's sorry. Old Plot Device: "Our daughter donated it at school. It's for the homeless. You can't cherry-pick donations." Joan notices what's going on and starts to freak. Helen asks, "Are you accusing me of stealing?" He doesn't say anything. Joan says, "Mom? We should probably go. I have to study…" Old Plot Device isn't giving up: "Her name's Ellen Sanders. Her initials are written on the label." Lily comes over to lend support: "She bought it at a vintage store." Helen removes the coat and says, "It's okay, Lily." To the man: "I didn't take your coat." She looks at the label, and sees a monogrammed "ES" sewn there. Everyone in the room is listening and staring now. Joan doesn't know what to do. 'Fessing up and saving her mother's reputation doesn't appear to be on the list of options that she's considering. Helen: "I am so sorry. I don't know how this happened." Old Plot Device: "Yeah." He walks off. Other parishioners look at her -- dismayed, shaken. Helen's humiliated and baffled. Joan still doesn't say anything. Frankly, as bad an idea as the whole scheme was, I can understand it and maybe even forgive it -- but this? Letting someone you love take the fall for you, being there to witness her stewing in the juices of confusion and humiliation and still not sacking up? That's appalling. Joan, your mother is twisting in the breeze, there. If she were a terrible sack of shit, I suppose I could see your not caring. This, I just do not get.