Maria "Chalk, Bored" DeLuca hates wardrobe, her life, and us. But mostly she hates us. When we join her in this week's tired classroom opener, her outfit is yet another take on the wraparound skirt. As opposed to last week, though, this time the fabric straps are mercifully tied around her waist, at least removing the immediate danger that she's going to start walking around this empty classroom she now calls home and start collecting pledge donations for "Jump Rope for Heart." She erases the word "prom" from the board, and deadpans her first line directly into the camera because she is Malcolm and this, clearly, is the middle: "I told you. Prom sucks." Oh, so it was you who told us that, then? She recaps that episode practically in real time, cutting deeply into the promised "Alex Killing Hour" we knew was to reward us. Spoiler? I think not. What with the dozens of promos intoning, all sinister, "Alex Whitman has died," and the threat of imminent cancellation, and the public huff recently made by actors on this show loudly trumpeting to the press and other public forums that they, in fact, hate it more than I could ever have possibly mustered the energy to. Maria recounts that Sexy Prom didn't quite work out as planned for Max and Liz or Kyle and Tess, but that "there is a silver lining in this gray cloud of prom disaster." Shot of Alex. "The death of a close friend." Anyway, that's not what she says. Maria and Promo Pete are apparently unfamiliar with each other's work, because everyone in WB Land knows he's dead but her. "He came back from Sweden a new man and Isabel finally noticed. And I think with a little help from Liz and myself, those two crazy kids might actually find true love." Oh, perfect. Miss Lonelyhearts and the Lizbot are matchmaking again. He'll become the perfect composite of all they hold dear in men. What with Alex sporting a haircut befitting a seventies forward on a Canadian hockey team by week's end and composing love sonnets to his beau of the "It is you I do love datink/I hope we never stop lovink" variety, he's sure to find himself under-the-bound in no time. Oh, and Alex? Rhyming "ink" with "ink"? Genius. Just genius.
Alex "Cast Away…And Don't Come Back" Whitman holds his bass in one hand, miraculously not mindlessly fingering the chords to "Killing Me Softly," and his phone in the other. He's telling Isabel "Knock Knock Knockin' On" Evans "Door" that last night was "a great night for [him], too." Isabel wants to know what he's doing tonight. "Dying bloodily." We pan over to Liz "11100100100111011001" Parker and Maria sitting on Alex's desk, shaking their heads and keeping Alex stronk in telling Isabel he's unavailable tonight. Isabel wants to know what's keeping him so busy, and Liz stage-whispers for my continued recapping ease, "Studyink! Studyink!" Try and tell me she's not, y'all. You'll be "Wronk! Wronk!" The routine may be old, but it doesn't make it any less valid. Isabel flirts, "An 'A' is the best you can get," and I tack on a screamed and intended-to-frighten-the-children "IN HELL," as I do after many such deserving pearls of dialogue in this mortality-obsessed episode, much the way people who see clear to leave their houses every so often tack on an "in bed" to the end of their fortune cookies. I don't do that. I think dead teenagers are funnier than sex. Apparently. Alex vamps that he has "a monstrous final in…" In hell? See? How that works? Right. Scrambling, Maria grabs a book of The Transparently Foreshadowed Death Poems Of Robert Frost from Alex's desk and shows and tells it to Alex, who vamps that his final is in "Robert Frost…uh, English." Hee ha blech. From the darkest sadness comes comedy. Which is why this scene is neither funny nor sad. Isabel glances around her room impatiently, thankful that four more TV minutes of pretending to be all gaga about L'il Hanks even though she's three inches taller than him and looks old enough to be his very-much-older older sister are nearly at an end. She flirts sympathetically-for-the-barely-pre-dead, "Well, if you'd rather stay in studying and not go out to play with me." Alex turns away all dramatically and bites his knuckle, which is totally shorthand for encroaching sexual desire, provided you've been born and raised on that far-off land Planet Dirty Dancing Choreography with the dramatic hand motions and what have you. Liz now stage-screams, "Stay stronk!" and makes muscle poses like she and Maria are there to pump [clap] him up. Which, frankly, he could use. IN HELL!!! Ahem. Sorry. 'Cause that one, like, didn't even make sense. Isabel lets Alex know that she's going to retire to the Crashdown and await official news of his impending death. Or perhaps she says some such other thing.