Michael takes Maria into the back room of the Crashdown because they need to talk. Maria asks, "Do we have a problem?" Michael says that the problem is his, and he begs Maria, "Be patient with me." She tells him, "Always," but he doesn't like her tone of voice. She asks what she can really do to help him out, and he's got an answer at the ready: "Tell your friend to leave. He shouldn't be here. It's not a good time." A fight ensues, Maria asking, "When is it a good time for me to take a small step back from this nonstop alien hootenanny?" I have absolutely no comment, about that line or about the 1890s-prospector nature of the word "hootenanny" within said line. Michael wigs that they're in trouble, "and you don't care because of that Billy guy!" Shelves shake and empty. Michael worries, "You're gonna leave me for him." Maria martyrs herself and says that she'll tell Hal to take off. Michael thanks her, and Maria puts her arms out and waits for the nails and the wood: "It's what I do. It's what I always do." And then, ringing phone, as Michael goes back into the dining room to find Max on his cell with Kyle. Max's father called for a tow truck. They found the Jeep. When I count to three, start caring.
Back at Maria's, Hal won't put down the damn guitar, and it makes him such a sensitive poet, doesn't it? She comes in and tells him he has to go, right now, and he asks, "Is this about Michael? Am I in the middle of something?" Maria assures Hal that it has nothing to do with him, and Hal retorts, "That's too bad." He admits that he missed his bus on purpose, having taken some old advice of "decide what you want in life and live it." Maria deems this advice "terrible," and Hal snips, "You gave it to me!" When she was thirteen. And he's used it as his driving ideology in life. I guess he didn't take Piece Of Advice #2 -- "I really like the Care Bears" -- to heart as well. Or else this would be a very different kind of episode. The "fun" kind, for example. Hal tells Maria he thinks that Michael is "stopping her from life." And from "this." And then he kisses her. And I'll bet she's missing that Michael "stopper" she's been taking for granted right about now.