Previously on Party of Five: Julia told Bailey that his alcoholism was not their parents' fault. It was about the alcohol. Period. Bailey decided that meant he was okay to drive, and spun out his jeep (again), and ended up hitting a light pole.
The show starts immediately post-accident. Bailey is sitting there staring straight ahead, hands gripping the wheel. We hear a spooky echo-y voice-over of Bailey saying to Julia, "We had these parents...these parents...these parents" while we see footage of the accident again. There is a flash of bright light. Are the paparazzi there taking pictures? Suddenly, instead of an accident, there is a near miss. Neither car involved is Bailey's car. One of the cars contains a couple, who are talking about how they almost just got in an accident. If it weren't for the closed captioning telling me the couple was "Nick and Diana", I never would have figured out that this was supposed to be Bailey envisioning what would have happened if his parents didn't die. Well, that and all the previews that talked about how this episode is an alternate reality. Nick and Diana discuss if they should go home as the other car takes off. They decide that they rarely get a night out, and "Charlie's already there with Owen and Claud", so they should continue their evening out.
Suddenly, we cut to Bailey and Will in a car. Bailey has blond hair, so we know it's alternate reality Bailey. Will looks the same, except he's wearing a hat. They apparently just missed getting in an accident as well. That seems to be going around. Will and Bailey ascertain that they are both okay, and then Will punches Bailey saying, "You moron! You ran a red light!" Bailey gets out of the car, arguing that the light was yellow. Will says he's going to go see how the other car is. Bailey stops him, saying that the other car is fine and that if Will goes over there, and the people in the other car smell beer on his breath, they'll call the cops. Bailey will lose his license and his mom and dad will kill him. Another hint that it's alternate reality -- Bailey has a mom and dad. As if the hair wasn't a big enough clue. Before Will makes up his mind, the other car pulls away. Bailey chuckles and kind of hugs Will and says, "Let's get out of here." The driver of the other car leans out the window and yells back at them, "Everybody wants to be closer to free."
Julia is talking to Joe at the restaurant. She's worried about the amount of people coming to her parents' surprise 31st anniversary party. Joe reassures her that everything will be fine. Alternate reality Julia has much better hair than regular Julia does. It's long and she's wearing it in a braid. Maybe it's not as trendy, but she also doesn't look like Carol Brady. Jan maybe, but not Carol. There's a commotion (the captioning literally said "commotion") as Charlie and Bailey walk in. Bailey explains they couldn't find place cards and wonders where they were supposed to get them. Julia says they could've gone to the store she put on their list. The boys look at each other and say, "The list!" From this we can deduce that alternate reality Charlie and Bailey are irresponsible and alternate reality Julia is a bit of a nag. Joe says he hasn't seen Charlie in a while as Charlie sits on the back of the booth. So, now we know that alternate reality Charlie doesn't frequent the restaurant, and was raised in a barn. Also, he wears a black leather coat. Julia wonders why they are even meeting since they will blow off their tasks and she will end up doing everything herself at the last minute. She suggests that the boys just go home and let her handle it. I told you she was a nag. Bailey gets a beer for himself and one for Charlie. Charlie is down with Julia doing everything, but Bailey and Joe protest. Charlie says he doesn't feel like getting "yelled at for forty-five minutes". I want to warn you that I might have a little residual bitterness here, because I planned a surprise twenty-fifth anniversary party for my parents and my brother did not help much, so I know where Julia's coming from. Granted, that was eight years ago, but I'm still kind of bitter. Anyway, Charlie wonders why they are even doing this since it's their 31st anniversary, and Julia reminds him of "last year's debacle". Charlie says the party was fine, and Julia says it was "beer and pizza on paper plates". Class-ay! Bailey says it "was kinda lame, man" and Charlie points out that Bailey helped him plan it. This causes Bailey to change his tune and say that it was great since there was "plenty of beer". Hey, do you think alternate reality Bailey likes to drink beer? Because I didn't get that from the fact that he was drinking and driving in the first scene, and drinking and planning in this one. I hope they give us some more clues before the episode is over. Julia yells at her brothers for their lack of gratitude for all their parents have done for them.