Once and Again

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Reefer Madness

We return from commercials to find Eli in the attic, angrily stuffing a duffel bag with clothes. Jessie's slumped in a chair, complaining that he "can't leave [her there] alone." Eli's a little short on sympathy at the moment. She suggests that he take the money from his new job and get his own apartment. "Okay, fine," he says. "But I don't have the money yet. Besides how would that help you?" "Oh, yeah," Jessie says glumly. He ruffles her hair.

Cut to Rick in the hallway. Lily approaches, and he pleads, "Lil, can we just talk about this for a minute?" She stops and angrily says, "A minute? Is that how long you think this will take?" She glares and says she promised Jessie and Zoe they'd deal with their problems. "How about I join an ashram, and Jessie stays here with you?" Rick asks. Oh, shut up.

Cut to Lily, Rick, Jessie, and Zoe in the girls' room. Jessie says she doesn't think there's a solution. Zoe asks whether Eli is still moving back to Karen's. "I don't know. We're still thinking about it," Lily says. Which appears to be news to Rick. He shoots her a sidelong glance and says, "For a little while, he's moving, yes." Lily's head snaps around so she can glare at him. He almost forces himself to meet her eyes. Zoe says that Jessie should move up to the attic while Eli's gone. They all consider it for a moment, until Lily says, "Fine," and walks out.

Cut to Lily and Rick in the bathroom. "Go ahead," he says, preparing himself for the barrage. She says she can't. Then she spits, "It's wrong, and you know it's wrong." Rick says he doesn't know much of anything right now. "You don't know your son?" Lily demands. Rick says he doesn't know if it's an "emergency" in Eli's life. Maybe they have to treat it like it is. "Do you think it's a good or bad idea for Eli to move to his mother's right now?" Lily asks. Rick evades. Lily repeats the question more forcefully. Rick says she's being ridiculous. Lily says that Karen wants to treat Eli "like he's five." Rick counters, "He's acting like he's five." Lily tries to make him see that Eli's "acting like a scared eighteen-year-old who needs some help and guidance. Who should follow his passion! He doesn't need a jailer!" Rick argues that Eli almost went to jail. Lily tries to get Rick to see it from Eli's point of view, and imagine what it would be like to live under the ass-pole's regime. "I didn't get busted for dope," Rick cops out. "No, you just drank yourself silly," Lily retorts. Go Lily! Rick asks what she's saying. She says he knows what she's saying, but he doesn't want to admit it "because then [he'd] have to stand up to [Karen]." Lily says she knows she's "just" Eli's stepmother, and she doesn't know what that relationship is supposed to be, or whether she's messing it up, "but [she] won't keep [her] mouth shut just to spare Rick and Karen a little discomfort because there is too much at stake for that boy!" Rick stares at her with love in his eyes and fear in his belly. He takes her in his arms and says, "I despise you." No he doesn't.

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Once and Again




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