Once and Again
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Reefer Madness

Cut to Karen's place. She comes into the house, trailed by Jessie, who's begging to live at Karen's place full-time. Karen advises her just to be patient, but Jessie doesn't understand what the problem is. "You're lonely anyway," she says. Karen hugs Jessie and reminds her that she and Rick have a legal agreement, "and short of an emergency, [she] just can't change that." Guitar music wafts from the basement, and she looks up like a hound that's caught the scent of its prey. The ass-pole suits up for a confrontation.

Karen stops halfway down the basement steps and says, "Eli, I thought we had an agreement." She's got an odd definition of "agreement." Eli thinks so, too. "No music until you have a job," Karen says yet again. She should get herself a parrot and save the wear on her vocal chords. Eli says he has a job. She asks, "What do you mean? You found a job?" Eli grits his teeth and forces himself to look at her before answering, "No. I already have a job. I told you." The ass-pole cannot believe this insubordination. "Eli, we talked about this," Karen grates. Again, she has an unusual concept of "talking." Eli thinks so, too. He says he has his own opinion about the situation. She flies down the rest of the stairs, demanding, "Can you even possibly understand that the decisions you make now will have an effect on your future?" Yeah, he gets it. We get it. Everybody gets it! He points out that when Rick was twenty, he joined the Merchant Marines. "For a month! And he hated it," Karen cries. "Yes, but that was his decision," Eli says. He adds that Lily left school to hitchhike around Europe. Karen takes a deep breath and patronizingly says that Lily was "very nice to help [him] get this job, but she had no idea" what Karen and Rick had talked about. "Well, she knows now," Eli says defiantly, and adds, "And she thinks I'm right." Karen is rendered speechless. She just stands there and blinks a lot. Eli adds a parting shot, "I'll try not to succumb to the evil influences of the world of music," before slipping out the basement door. Karen's still standing there, agape. The ass-pole wants to know what the hell just happened. Karen sets her jaw, turns abruptly, and races up the stairs.

Cut to Karen and Jessie pulling into Lily's driveway. Karen asks Jessie to send Rick out. "Hey, what's up?" Rick says affably as he comes down the walk. Karen pops out of the van and slams the door, demanding, "Did you know he took the job?" Huh, wha--? "Well, he did," she fumes, "because Lily told him to." She says Lily's name like it's a bad word. Rick insists, "That's ridiculous." Inside the house, Lily creeps up to the window by the front door. She can hear Karen's raised voice bitch-bitch-bitching. Outside, Rick says he can't believe that Lily would do that without talking to him first. Karen says it's "obviously an uncomfortable situation," but she thinks that Eli should stay with her "full-time." Rick is stunned. "He needs supervision, Rick," Karen says. Rick is justifiably offended. Karen storms, "This isn't about what you resent; this is about --" She's interrupted by the slamming of the front door. She and Rick turn to find Lily marching down the walk. "Hey Karen. How ya doing?" Lily says forcefully, arms swinging. Oooh, catfight! Karen forces a smile and says she's fine. An uncomfortable silence descends. Karen actually looks to Rick for once, waiting for him to put Lily in her place. He suddenly finds his shoes fascinating. Lily says, "Okay. Well, just wanted to say hello." She turns to head back inside. Karen calls out after her and asks, "Did you tell Eli...er...advise Eli to take the job at the recording studio?" Lily stands firm and says she didn't. Karen says Eli seems to think that she did. Lily says with a steely smile, "I told him that eventually he'll have to make his own decisions." Karen says he interpreted that as permission to take the job. "Oh," Lily says with an unconcerned shrug. Karen points out that she and Rick already decided that Eli shouldn't take the job, so she's "confused" as to why Lily would say that. Lily doesn't see why her advice was so wrong. Karen says that Eli's just trying to avoid facing his responsibilities, and Lily counters that he's also got a really strong passion for something. Rick, apparently, has no opinion. We can't see him, but I bet he's standing there making his damn guppy face. Karen politely not-in-so-many-words tells Lily to butt out. Lily is taken aback by this, and says bluntly, "You want me to keep my mouth shut?" like she can't quite believe it. I have to wonder how Lily would react if the roles were reversed, and it were Karen advising Grace to disobey her. Or better yet, Tiffany. I don't think she'd be so cool about it, anyway. Oh, here's Rick. And he is looking from one woman to the other with his guppy face. Way to go, tiger! Karen says, "Well, when you put it that way, for the moment -- yes!" "Then consider it shut!" Lily grits, and storms away. Karen spins on her heel and slams into the van. Rick just stands there, continuing to look befuddled and wondering whatever happened to that backbone he was starting to sprout last season.

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Once and Again

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