It's Ella's birthday! How do you want to celebrate? I know! Let's get her implicated in Sydney's murder case! Glad we could agree on that. I was just going to get her a gift card. It seems Jane's anonymous tip to Detective Rodriguez last episode was taken seriously and Ella is greeted at WPK by the authorities who want to take her in for questioning. During interrogation, Rodriguez pulls out a photograph which places Ella outside of Coal at 1 AM with a private investigator named Dante Zaretti. It's in direct contradiction to her alibi, which placed her at home with David at Midnight. Ella asks for a release or to be charged. They let her go even though in the real world when you get caught in a lie to the police, they charge you for it. Once out of the interrogation, Ella tries to get in contact with Zaretti to get their stories straight and adjusts her alibi with David. Flashbacks reveal things got really ugly between Ella and Sydney toward the end, with Ella dumping Sydney as a client and Sydney maxing out Ella's credit card. Ella had hired Zaretti to break into Sydney's apartment the night of her death to get any evidence he could so Ella could take it to police and get Sydney arrested for harassment. At her birthday party, Ella is confronted by Zaretti. They threaten each other because they both look equally guilty in this, but Zaretti gets to police first and tells a half-truth that places Ella at Sydney's before he showed up to break in. Detective Rodriguez is just waiting for Ella to slip up. This is why I hate birthdays.
Lauren gets her first assignment working as a professional hooker for Wendi Madison's prostitution ring. Things go well (there's a very sexy dance involved), but her appointment runs long causing her to miss a date with Riley to go wedding dress shopping. Riley throws a hissy fit when she catches Lauren in a lie about being at the hospital when she was really whoring. There's an apology and a promise to put friendship ahead of work that Lauren has to know deep down inside she can't keep, which Riley buys, of course. Lauren's doubts are validated at the same time they're getting back to being buddy-buddy when Wendi calls and lets Lauren know that she's going to be working a lot for her. Even though Riley makes Lauren her maid-of-honor, I don't foresee smooth sailing for this friendship in the near future. That is unless they just ignore this storyline like they have until now.
Jonah and David are suddenly basketball buddies, which gives David a chance to peek at some footage Jonah has been filming of a mansion and its prized possessions for a client. Big surprise when a $65,000 pendant turns up missing at the house, but an actual big surprise when Jonah's client accuses him of being the thief. Jonah overhears Ella talking about a necklace she stumbled upon while snooping in David's apartment looking for her birthday gift and confronts David about it, but he denies it. The next day, the pendant is miraculously found safe and sound back at the mansion. David wins the Jerk-of-the-Episode Award for letting Jonah apologize to him and making him feel bad for the out-of-line accusation which really wasn't out-of-line at all.
Naturally, Coal is the site of Ella's birthday party. I mean, we've got to find storylines for this hub of activity and find a way to include Auggie, don't we? Violet takes some advice from Ella about moving up in the world, which Ella actually learned from Sydney. After getting the opportunity to back-up the regular bartender, Violet frames her for stealing $700 out of the bar register so she'll get fired and Violet can take over. I'm already tired of this "quiet, innocent girl is really evil" thing she's got going. Anyone else? At least Auggie seems to finally be acknowledging her so we don't have to put up with her embarrassingly throwing herself at him. That's my job. I mean...
Ella brings everyone together in the end to toast her friends as they all give each other dirty looks for being deceitful. It's actually pretty awesome. I always dream my friends are more interesting and evil than they are, but alas, they just aren't off whoring and stealing and framing. Some people have all the luck. We'll see how much luck it takes for Ella to escape Detective Rodriguez's awkward, undaunting clutches.
Last time on Melrose Place, Ella was implicated in Sydney's murder through an anonymous tip to the police by Jane. We open on Ell tearing through her closet looking for clothes in her undies to Kesha's (I'm not going to put a $ in her name again) "Boots and Boys." Then she starts looking through what -- to a guy like me -- seems like thousands of shoes. Finally she settles on a little, red dress and some pink heels. Lauren klutzes into the room holding a cupcake with a candle in it in both hands. It's Ell's birthday! No wishing for Ella, though. If she wants it, she goes out and gets it, she says. She's having a party tomorrow night. Can I come, too?
Out in the courtyard, Jonah and David are coming back from playing basketball. Actually, they just played "HORSE." Ella comes out and catches them to ask about their RSVP for her birthday party. David wants to RSVP in person upstairs, if you know what he means. No shortage of innuendo with this guy. Jonah says Riley was supposed to RSVP for them both. No surprise to Ella that Riley didn't. She gets the feeling Riley doesn't like her, she jokes. Auggie walks up with his surfboard. Why don't we just have the party right here? We've got everything we need. David decides not to stick around and absorb the awkwardness of standing in the same place as Auggie since they're probably not on speaking terms after their fight, though. Oh well. Party's still on! Ella asks if they will be having the party at Coal as planned. Indeed they will. Wee! Violet walks up and talks about wanting to move up professionally at Coal to Ella. Ella turns her back to Violet dramatically and gives her a little advice Sydney gave her back in the day: there's always room to move up. FLASHBACK. A young, naive Ella is having her car immobilized by some young guy who is putting a boot on her tire. She puts on the waterworks and convinces him to let her slide. Just as she's finishing up her made-up story about a sick sister, Sydney comes out and witnesses the show. There's a slight bit of recognition between them because Sydney was a client at WPK. Ella's a bit humble (wow) about her status in life and at WPK, but Syd says she sees talent in her. Then she launches into a wave of criticism about Ella's appearance. I mean, she's wearing hoop earrings with her name in them. Yikes. Why would Sydney want to help her out? Is she some sort of good samaritan? Sydney laughs at the idea then offers Ella the opportunity to be her publicist for her art gallery. END FLASHBACK. Ella turns back to Violet to tell her it's easy. Just set your mind on what you want and go get it. That's called stealing, I believe.
Ella enters WPK with her usual air of self-importance when she starts to notice people are looking at her strangely. Detectives Rodriguez and Other Guy are waiting for her. Ella asks if they're her stripper cops. I'm not sure if she's making light of the situation or really expecting stripper cops, but in any case, Rodriguez tells her they have a tip contradicting her alibi. This always happens on birthdays.
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Jonah's filming David who's recording a video message for Ella's birthday. Like all good birthday messages, it quickly devolves into an innuendo-laden cacophony of implied sexual favors. Riley walks in and playfully cuts David off before leaving him and Jonah to talk. All of this is for Jonah's gift to Ella, which is a documentary. Cheap ass. Jonah starts asking what David plans on giving Ella as his gift. He's certain David has scored some "serious bling" for her. David, however, says Ella has yet to earn "diamond status." His loss. *Pats ring box in pocket* As they talk, David notices on Jonah's workstation some footage of a nice mansion on the screen. You can see drool forming in David's mouth. At least I can. I have a sixth sense when it comes to drool. Jonah has been working with a real estate agent, filming virtual tours of swanky properties for possible buyers. David's so mesmerized looking at the footage that he lazily advises Jonah to sell some big movies and he'll be able to get Riley a place like that. Jonah wisecracks that he'll get right on that. He has me in stitches. From banging my head on my desk.
Auggie walks up to a hot blonde at Coal who looks stressed. She's Coal's bartender and her name is Kyra. He asks what's wrong and she lists off a number of concerns that don't concern us. She turns around dramatically to tell Auggie that she bought a bottle of wine last night. Oh. This is an alcoholics anonymous thing. Auggie tells Kyra it's OK if she needs time off, but she declines, saying work is the only thing keeping her sober right now. She's in charge of the alcohol there, not the other way around. Clever. They share a tender AA moment as Kyra grabs Auggie's hand before walking away. Violet walks up and sees, appearing to get a little jealous. She tells Auggie she saw Kyra last night doing some amazing bar tricks and Auggie gives her a vague synopsis of Kyra's troubles. Violet pays Auggie some veiled compliments about his compassion, which he just chalks up to paying it forward. He Auggies away with dramatic effect.
Inept interrogation time! Down at the station, Ella sits at a table while Detective Rodriguez tries to grill her. Ella's obviously frustrated. Interesting camera shot under the table here of Ella nervously moving her fingers. First good bit of camerawork characterization thus far in MP, and good contrast to what's going on above the table with Ella's demeanor. She's been through this before and gives her standard alibi, but Rodriguez actually has something on her. Wait, what? Detective Rodriguez actually did some detective work? There's a photo from a surveillance camera in a back alley at Coal placing her with a known private investigator named Dante Zaretti at 1 a.m. Her alibi was that she was with David at Midnight. Discrepancy! Ella insists she didn't kill Sydney and demands to be released or to have a charge brought against her, which they won't do because they have nothing on her. Um... that photograph contradicting your statement to police is something, Ell. I still love you, though.
Out at a sunny outdoor restaurant, Lauren meets up with Wendi for lunch. Wendi's surprised Lauren crawled back to her for work and reveals she's done some research on her by saying she knows Lauren wants to be a doctor, or at least is telling people that. Lauren explains to Wendi what happened with the guy who hurt her that night when she met Wendi. She wants someone keeping her safe. Wendi understands, but sets down some ground rules if they're to do business together. Wendi chooses the client, time and location. Pay is $1500 an hour at 50% commission. She misses an appointment and Lauren's done. Why does renting out your hole gotta be so complicated? Stop treating it like a time share.
WPK. Ella is sneaking a call to Zaretti, but she gets his voicemail. She leaves him a message about them needing to get together to get their stories straight as she sees Caleb bearing down on her and hangs up. She tries to walk out of WPK, but he accosts her and tells her to clean up whatever mess she's in. He doesn't want her to embarrass the firm. FLASHBACK. Syd's telling Ella she's embarrassed her. Nobody showed up to her art gallery. Ella takes notice that this confrontation is in front of everyone in the WPK lobby and is drawing attention. Syd's being unreasonable in Ella's opinion because she got her write-ups in several major publications and brought her more potential buyers than anyone else in the firm. When Syd won't listen, Ella gives her a metaphorical slap in the face by telling her to tell her artists to paint better pictures. Sydney gets close to Ella and whispers to her a reminder of all the things she's done for the ingrate. She gave Ella style, an apartment and spent birthdays with her when her own mother wouldn't call her. The guilt trip doesn't faze Ella. She turns to walk up the stairs to her office when Syd calls after her, accusing her of sleeping her way up