Once and Again
Ozymandias 2.0

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In a Whole Lot of Shhh

Miles is in the Soliloquy Room, but he doesn't deign to speak or even sit. He stands and eyes us deliberately, pulls a hard candy out of his pocket, and slowly unwraps it. He represses a smirk. Seriously, no one does smug better than this actor.

"It wasn't something I thought you needed to know about. I would have told you if you'd asked," Miles tells Rick, who's standing in his office. Rick's fury is boiling just under the surface. "You didn't have the money for your building, Miles," he fumes, his voice deceptively soft. Miles takes the philosophical route, wondering what "have" means "these days...What does money mean, for that matter?" Rick points out that he lied. "What is truth?" Miles muses, pointing out that Rick "sculpted the air the other night...That was a kind of lie. Only now, you'll get to build it." Miles wants to know what's "worrying the edges of Rick's conscience. Is it the Atlantor people? Does it offend you that they're hacks? It offends me. But the great temples have always been lifted to honor the mediocre." Except when they're lifted to honor Miles, of course. Rick's not letting him off the hook so easily. He starts with the finger pointing, jabbing away as he says that Miles manipulated him -- he made Rick perform for those people, and Rick hated that. Miles disagrees: "There was reluctance and fear, but not hate. And once the fear fell away, it was like nothing you've ever felt before." Rick seems to have lost control of his face, he's so angry. His mouth swims around, contorting as he tries to get the words out. "No! You used me to get the money!" he shouts. "Because I knew you could," Miles says hypnotically. I think he puts Rick in a trance. Rick stands there panting, looking at Miles while Miles issues a vaguely veiled threat. If Rick is so offended by Miles's actions, and his trust in Miles is so corroded, then Miles will graciously release Rick from the contract and find another architect. Whoa, there! Nobody's gotta go doing anything crazy. Rick ponders the loss for a moment as Miles's phone rings. Miles goes to answer it, leaving Rick looking around helplessly, trying to figure out what to do.

After commercials, we join Lily and Judy in Lily's kitchen where they're having coffee. Judy's blathering about someone who reads the residue of latte foam. Lily could not care less. She just stirs the sugar in her coffee and stares absently. Judy leans in and asks Lily to give her a clue because she's "running low on banter." Well, it's a relief to know the foam stuff's not her best material. Judy asks if the dinner was that bad -- whether Lily threw up on somebody, or somebody threw up on her. Close, but it was more like a case of verbal diarrhea. Lily gets up from the table, grumbling cryptically that it was "very interesting." She puts the milk away, saying, "Rick impressed the hell out of them, and that was the whole point." She goes on, describing his performance and concluding that he was "all business." Judy points out that Lily's always picked men with "a gift for striving." Lily's "been down that road before, thank you very much, and [she] really doesn't want to go down it again." Judy says that there are worse things to be attracted to than ambition. And then a vortex mysteriously opens and sucks Lily out of the kitchen. She ends up in her familiar haunt, the center of the universe. You know, the place where she's most comfortable. Lily suggests that maybe she's not attracted to ambitious men. Maybe they're normal, well-adjusted people until they meet her. And then they become competitive and driven to succeed. "What if it's me?" she demands. Judy doesn't seem to notice that Lily's idea is entirely preposterous and incredibly self-absorbed. She makes the mistake of encouraging Lily, which astounds me, because after thirty-odd years of being hijacked on Lily's little Me Trips, you'd think Judy would recognize the warning signs. She asks if maybe Lily produces a pheromone of some kind. Lily suggests that maybe she's got some kind of Midas touch curse. My heart bleeds for her. Judy tells her it's a "certifiably [SAY IT, JUDY! SAY IT!] creepy idea." Damn. That's not what I thought she was going to say. Lily says it's also "borderline paranoid." Sure, if paranoid borders on egocentric and self-inflated. Lily keeps whining on about it, failing to notice that none of us care. While she talks, she grabs a bread bag, holds it up, and swats it repeatedly in an attempt to twist and seal it. She handles it like she's wearing oven mitts. I don't think Sela touches Wonder Bread too often. Judy figures out that Lily's musings reflect something more serious, and asks if the dinner was a "speed bump" or something "more serious." Lily's not sure.

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Once and Again

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