Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Sarah introduced us to the charming, maddening, perhaps criminally insane Todd Mulcahy, and way more importantly, to Simon Rex as Eli. Let's get to know Mr. Rex a little better, shall we?
Cheers to Felicity finally getting some action:
The Felicity Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
Felicity is endearingly earnest.
Ben smiles sheepishly.
Noel is adorkable.
Elena is a better friend than anyone deserves.
Meghan is mean and it's awesome.
Javier butchers a word or figure of speech.
Richard freaks out (in a good or bad way).
Drink twice every time:
Felicity stresses you out.
Felicity says, "Dear Sally."
Sean invents something.
Javier refers to Ben as “Benjamin.”
Onto the eps!
1.15 "Love and Marriage"
This Rewatch has had a perplexing effect on me. For the first dozen episodes, for the first time ever, I have been Team Noel. (Sarah maintains it's because of Scandal, and she's probably not wrong. Have you guys SEEN Jake Ballard in his dress blues and his tight tees? Because damn.) But these two episodes do more to course-correct my team affiliation than was actually, strictly necessary. In fact, I think it's fair to say that Felicity over-corrects here, because all of a sudden I haaaaaate Noel.
So Noel's brother Ryan is coming to town, and Noel is psyched. He clearly idolizes his big bro, and Ryan's visit is good timing (at first), because Noel's also been accepted into some big graphic design gallery, and he can't wait to show off. Noel thinks the point of Ryan's visit is to share the news that he's getting engaged to his long-time girlfriend Amy, but it's kind of the opposite: Ryan's here to tell Noel that he's gay, that he and Amy broke up well over a year ago, and that he's in a committed relationship with a man named Alex. Now, I understand that's a big shock, but Noel honestly could not handle this news worse. He's hateful and unsupportive and furious. He feels betrayed that his brother kept such major news from him, and I get that, but I think there's also just some straight-up homophobia in his reaction, because he keeps being like "But you're such a stud!" and "maybe you and Amy will work things out." It's gross, frankly.
Compare, if you will, Noel's garbage response to Felicity's reaction when Javier asks her to marry him (RECORD SCRATCH), because otherwise he'll be deported and he and his partner Samuel will be separated forever. Felicity is who she is: impetuous and wonderful and buttinski-ish in the best way possible, deciding with very little forethought that she will marry Javier, because she always believed she'd get married for love, and this way she's getting married for Javier and Samuel's love! (I cried at that line.) Oh man, I like her so much. Also this scenario leads to several great Javier moments, including when he meets Meghan and calls Felicity his fiancée:
And this A+ perfect Pretty Woman moment when he presents Felicity with her ring:
So naturally this whole green card thing is a little more complicated than Felicity at first anticipated, and she starts to get pretty nervous when she hears that it can take up to several years, and when she meets the immigration attorney who is PROFOUNDLY UNCONVINCED that Javier and Felicity are in love. Still, she sticks to her commitment, because that's who she is, until Samuel decides he doesn't want Javier marrying anyone but him. So Samuel convinces his boss to let him transfer to Spain, so they can leave together, because he is, in Javier's lovely words, "a dreamboat." The Dean & Deluca crew throw Javier and Samuel a going-away party, and Ian Gomez, who plays Javier to perfection, really doesn't return until (spoiler!) the S2 premiere. It's a real dark period in Felicity history, tbh.
Naturally, Noel is extraordinarily unsupportive of this entire endeavor, and while it shouldn't be too surprising that he doesn't want his girlfriend to marry another man, it's also not a great look when coupled with the way he's treating the news that his brother is gay. And when he meets Alex, Ryan's fiance, Noel behaves like a complete nightmare, actually shouting at Alex at one point in the evening and then storming off. Ryan also takes off, heartbroken, and that leaves Felicity and Alex to sit alone, and brings us to one of the all-time best Felicity Porter line deliveries:
But ultimately, it's Javier who brings Noel around to what an asshat he's been. Javier stops by the dorm with an enormous gift basket full of muffins to thank Felicity for being such a kind-hearted, supportive, romantic soul. As he's going on and on about what a good person Felicity is, a person who believes in love and not judgment, Noel starts to look chagrined. And then when Javier also thanks Noel for being supportive, Noel admits that he hasn't been, and Javier cracks me up with yet another excellent line:
Noel makes up with his brother and admits he's been a jerk, but THE DAMAGE IS DONE, CRANE. The Team Noel part of my heart is dead. Aaaaand it's about to get deader.
But first! Ben is starting to feel like everyone but him has a talent - Noel's graphic design, Julie's music, Sean's "dumb ideas," Felicity's super-brain - so he decides to go out for the swim team. He's really antsy about it after the track team tryouts, and he's being kind of snippy to Julie over it. As he's practicing, he meets Lynn (eh) and Nicole (ugh), a too-cool-for-school swim couple that are both delivering a really weird energy, if we're being honest. Lynn has a lot of bravado and Ben's determined to get on the swim team and shut him up, but they also might be sort of friends? It's VERY hard to tell. Lynn also introduces Ben and the rest of our pals to their new hangout: Epstein Bar, which as far as I can tell is named after human herpesvirus 4, also known as the virus that causes mono. Foreshadowing! Also what a super gross name for a place that serves food! Anyway, Ben gets on the swim team, and he's so happy, and Julie's really cute and supportive.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Lynn is played by Aughts everyman Dash Mihok. Nicole is played by Some Girl. (Sorry, I hate Nicole. I'm sure the actress who plays her, Amy Hathaway, is very nice.) Also I think that's Ben's butt in the screengrab. sorrynotsorry.
After Felicity tells Javier she doesn't think they convinced the immigration attorney because Javier doesn't exactly scream "heterosexual," he feigns surprise, then assures her:
Felicity's itching to tell Noel about Javier when he keeps going on and on about Ryan's visit, and I feel like I could end up using this gif twice a day, every day, for the rest of my life.
Just 100% not Team Noel. Never again Team Noel.
1.16 "The Fugue"
Felicity's in the middle of a meeting with her new Dean & Deluca boss (her name's Abby, and she sucks) when who should walk in but Hannah! (Hannah? Her name is HANNAH?) Turns out she's been living in New York since right after Thanksgiving, and she pretends to just stumble into D&D looking for a phone, when clearly she's here to manipulate her way back into Noel's life. (I don't trust Hannah as far as I can throw her.)
Neither does Felicity, but she does her best to play the role of the secure girlfriend, and soon she, Hannah, Noel, Julie and Ben are all hanging out at Epstein Bar, acting like old friends. Except Julie's feeling excluded by Ben's new swim team gang (more on that later), and Hannah is making some SERIOUS eyes at Noel, who doesn't seen to mind, really. Felicity's anxious but still trying to be the Cool Girl - meanwhile, Noel walks Hannah out to her cab, and she kisses him before riding away. To his credit, he tells Felicity immediately, but then also admits to feeling confused about how he feels. He goes to Hannah's apartment under the guise of breaking it off, but in typical guy fashion, allows himself to be invited inside. Hannah makes a bid for his affections, and it's clearly working, because the next time Felicity walks into Noel's room, he's listening to a tape of Hannah's music and looking at old pictures of the two of them. Ughhhhhh.
Keri Russell is so heartbreaking in these scenes - so earnest and hurt and eager for things to go back to the way they were, and Noel just craps all over her feelings again and again, snapping that of course he still loves Hannah, he can't just turn off that switch, and it's total B.S. because he very quickly turned off that switch several months ago when it was convenient for his libido. Now that he's horny and still hasn't had sex with Felicity, and the woman he used to have sex with is back, it's no longer convenient for him to turn off the switch. Ugh ugh ugh.
Felicity is good about mostly standing up for herself, but she also keeps trying to downplay this fiasco, until she comes back to the dorm to find NOEL AND HANNAH THERE, at her home, about to leave together. She takes Noel aside and tells him how completely uncool this is, and he essentially tells her that he doesn't care how she feels - he's going with Hannah. He needs to figure out where he stands, and when Felicity makes it clear that by leaving, he'll be breaking up with her, he leaves anyway. Felicity's standing there, crying, and Noel just walks away with Hannah. EAT SHIT, NOEL. This makes me so angry!!!!
Meanwhile, Eli - remember Eli? Hot, sensitive Eli? - has popped back up, showing definite interest in Felicity (to Elena's immense amusement). After Noel leaves with Hannah, Eli stops by Felicity's room and invites her to look at some drawings he's done in the art studio, and she defiantly agrees. Turns out, the drawings are of her, because Eli RULES and is the first man on this show to truly appreciate how insanely, impossibly beautiful Felicity is. They have a great conversation about art and life and whatever, and then he asks if he can draw her there, in the flesh. She nervously agrees, and their tension is ratcheted up to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND as he stares at her soulfully and she blushes and fidgets, feeling seen for the first time in a long time. After it's clear that this drawing session is about to go the way of Titanic (you know, "draw me like one of your French girls"), Felicity excuses herself for a moment and tries to call Noel. He doesn't answer, still out with Hannah, and Felicity makes up her mind. She goes back into that studio and has sex with Eli, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you guys, IT IS HOT. EXTREMELY HOT. PROBLEMATICALLY HOT. (Also he's tender and solicitous and completely mindful of the various nuances that come with consent, which makes the whole thing a whole lot hotter.)
Meanwhile, and with these scenes interspersed, Noel's over at Hannah's having a waaaaaay less sexy sex scene. She plays her classical music or whatever and he seems overcome or whatever, and it's important for us to note that he completely initiates physical contact while Hannah's just minding her own business, playing the piano. They come SO close to having sex, on top of each other with hardly any clothes on, so let's not give Noel too much credit when he finally, at the last possible moment, says he can't do this. Oh, wow, good for you, Noel. You remembered you have a girlfriend literally one second before your penis entered another woman's vagina. You're a real hero. Of course, as he's telling Hannah he can't have sex with her, Felicity's having sex with Eli, and we go into the credits.
But before that! Ben's getting closer to Lynn and the other swim team guys, and Julie's feeling left out. Neither Ben nor Lynn encourage Julie to enter Epstein Bar's open mic night, which hurts her feelings, but then she sings a beautiful song and Lynn tunes her guitar and it feels like they might all be okay friends after this. It's not much of a plot compared to all this compelling sex drama, but it sure is a pretty song.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Julie's so cute when Felicity's feeling jealous and judgmental about Hannah, and tells her, "You're just acting like a girlfriend." Felicity, clueless, replies, "Is that what this is?" Also, minutes after she's dumped, sweet Felicity is still supportive enough to show up to Julie's open mic night.
By the by, he is clearly in love with Julie. It's not really worth getting into just yet, but it will definitely become A Thing shortly.
Y2K Nostalgia Moment
This whole deal, during Epstein Bar's open mic night.
Right ON, Felicity
She kills me when she tells Noel she's glad she hasn't had sex with him yet. "Thank god I never did sleep with you, and give that much of myself to someone who’s so uncertain about me."
Well, obviously Team Noel has been burned to the ground this week, but also Ben's so wonderful and kind when Felicity admits she's afraid that Noel's going to leave her for Hannah.
Julie's Pretty Song
I like it!
That's it for this week! I'd love to hear from Team Noel members in the comments. Can you understand his reaction to his brother's news? Can you relate to his response when Hannah comes back to town? I promise I'm only here to listen, not judge!
And meet Sarah back here next Wednesday morning, as she tackles "Assassins" and "Happy Birthday"!
Shameless Self-Promotion: Check out our Felicity-inspired merch in the FYA Store!