Follow the whole rewatch here!
So last week, Meredith guided us through Sean's docuventary, in which people were like, "Felicity and Noel should get back together!" and blah blah blah. True story, Sean and I have wildly different takes on what constitutes a happy ending: his involves asking Felicity and Noel to kiss (which they didn't) while my version is these last two episodes of Season One, which are SUBLIME.
I love the way this season wraps up like WHOA (as you can see by the length of this post) so get ready for a heavy dose of gifs and Ben Covington razzle dazzle!
Also, plan on putting this drinking game to good use:
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.”
Now, let's over-analyze the last two episodes of Season One!
1.21 "The Force"
This episode is segmented by various tarot cards with associated themes (see them all here) which make it clear that this ain't your average installment of the show. And that's because Meghan is making
mischief magic! First, she casts a spell to make Felicity clumsy, which seems dumb except for the fact that Felicity immediately trips. And then she breaks a mug at D&D. And then she falls off of Noel's bed (I tried to get a gif of that but it's too fast). Suffice it to say, Keri Russell has some serious physical comedy skills.
Felicity then makes the mistake of telling Meghan that the spell worked, so the latter casts another one for forgetfulness, which also totally works. Sounds like there's a Hogwarts letter in Meghan's future (which she would totally throw in the trash, obvs).
Ben, whose beautiful face has healed thank god, gets his tuition debt covered by his mom, but he's using the cash she sent him for a plane ticket to pay back that bookie twerp. In order to return to Palo Alto, he lands a sweet deal to drive a guy's car to CA for him, which results in immediate plans for a ROAD TRIP!! He invites Julie, who invites Felicity, who invites Noel, and seriously, this car is starting to get REAL crowded. Oh, I should mention that Felicity and Noel are still friends--kissing friends.
Meanwhile, Lynn's girlfriend Nicole informs Ben that she has feelings for him and then kisses him, and it's super terrible and gross and IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE. Ben clearly isn't interested, but he does a terrible job of firmly telling Nicole to back off, so she basically starts to stalk him, and it's insanely creepy. I'm not blaming Ben for her behavior by any means, but the power dynamics make it clear that he could tell her to CEASE AND DESIST and she would. It gets so out of hand that Nicole shows up at the loft and takes her clothes off, but Ben is saved by Sean walking through the door. (I do wonder what would've happen if Sean hadn't appeared, though I stand by my theory that Ben isn't attracted to her--he just avoids conflict at all costs.)
Ben doesn't tell anyone (including Lynn and Julie) about what happened, but for some reason, he admits to Felicity that Nicole has been sending signals that she likes him:
Gif via northbndtrain.tumblr.com
Felicity immediately senses trouble brewing for him and Julie:
Gif via northbndtrain.tumblr.com
Ben confesses that things are a little too serious with Julie, and Felicity tells him she will kill him if he breaks up with her because Nicole "did a striptease." It's such a great reversal from the beginning of the season, though things are about to reverse all the way back around to form a complete circle... (not sure if my analogy/geometry is right but y'all know what I'm getting at). Eventually, Ben does tell Nicole that if she doesn't quit with the stalker act, he's going to tell Lynn, and that does the trick. Dude, that should've been your first move!
Switching to the other creepy storyline in this episode, McGrath starts treating Elena like crap in class because he's overcompensating for the fact that they're going to have dinner. Elena at least confronts him about it, but then he reveals that he's had one other relationship with a student, WARNING SIGN ALERT ALERT ABORT ABORT.
Over at NoelCrane.com, Noel discovers that his Berlin internship starts two weeks earlier than he thought, which directly conflicts with the road trip. He's torn between shoring up his relationship with Felicity and advancing his career, because he's a
dummy college sophomore, but fortunately he has Guy and Obi-Wan in his corner. That's right, Guy is camping in line for opening night of The Phantom Menace, and his cosplayer pal offers these words of wisdom to Noel:
Guy tells Noel that it's a no brainer, he has to take the internship, and I'm relieved when Noel finally agrees. (And not just because I'm Team Ben, but also because I'm Team Ben.) He shares the news with Felicity, who assures him, "You're not going to lose me, you know that." Ummm yeah.
In spite of what Ben told Felicity, Julie is clearly getting on his nerves, so much so that in the middle of a study session at the library, he blurts out, "Do you ever think we're too serious?" Julie is taken aback but handles it pretty well IMO, yet Ben keeps pushing. "We're like 18 years old, and sometimes it feels like we're older." (Fun fact: Scott Speedman was 23 at the time he said that line.) Ben clearly wants them to take a break but won't own up to it--Julie nails it when she says: "You're doing the guy thing. You act all confused but you really know exactly what you're thinking." They kinda sorta totally break up, leading to Julie sobbing on Felicity's shoulder and whispering, "It's pretty ironic, isn't it? Now he's broken both of our hearts." Girl, you don't even know HOW ironic.
So now the road trip is down to just Ben and Felicity, who vows not to go. But oh snap, Meghan is cooking up more magic! She tears up a photo of Felicity, Ben, Noel, Elena and Julie to do a love spell, but later informs Felicity that it didn't work because she forgot the clove. They share this weirdly sweet moment where they both fantasize about living in a world where spells actually worked, then Meghan wraps it up perfectly by saying, "Get off my bed."
Now it's Friday night, and Ben and Felicity are stuck doing inventory because Danny has a talent show at the orphanage (he's not in the show, he's an usher). Felicity tells Ben that she's not going on the trip with him, and he's in the middle of trying to change her mind when she accidentally drops a dusty old box from the top shelf. It hits the ground in an explosion of--you guessed it--clove. They both start to clean it up when suddenly, the air is crackling with chemistry and OMG THEY ALMOST KISS.
Gif via northbndtrain.tumblr.com
Turns out, when Meghan gave Felicity her photograph back, she taped it together in the wrong order and put Felicity next to Ben instead of her original position in the picture next to Noel. The episode ends with Felicity asking Sally, "You don't believe in magic, do you?"
Um, yeah girl, I do believe in magic. BEN COVINGTON MAGIC.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
This is the hottest Ben has been all season (until the next episode, obvs). Like, it's enough to outweigh his reluctance to deal with Nicole AND his inability to handle a serious relationship with Julie. We're talking BOATLOADS OF CHARM, y'all. The writers also do a great job of warming us up for that final almost-kiss with some dynamite banter between Ben and Felicity.
Meghan Is Such a Slytherin
For the first time, Felicity is wearing something that is a) mildly revealing b) hip even by today's standards.
Y2K Nostalgia Moment
Knowing how bad the film is, it is HILARIOUS (and sad) to behold Guy's excitement for Episode I, especially because I too was stoked about the movie, though I only waited in line a few hours as opposed to a few days. It's doubly funny when you think about the fact that J.J. Abrams went on to direct a Star Wars movie (with our ole pal Sean making a cameo appearance).
p.s. I would kill for a deleted scene of Guy and his pal Obi-Wan walking out of that theater.
p.p.s. "The Force" is a terrific throughline gag in this episode. Well played, writers.
1.22 "Felicity Was Here"
BEN GOT A HAIRCUT! I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this is a major development because SMOKIN'.
His new 'do doesn't help Felicity, who can't stop thinking about their almost-kiss. (She's taken to wearing the necklace he gave her again.) That moment is clearly on Ben's mind as well, and they both realize that shizz is about to get complicated. Psyche, it's already complicated! Julie, convinced that Ben likes someone else, begs Felicity to go on the road trip so she can figure out who the "other girl" might be, and Felicity AGREES because even after a full year in college she makes TERRIBLE CHOICES and stresses all of us the eff out and yep, it's time for a drink.
Ben and Julie are still broken up, and while I feel like we're never quite impacted by the loss of that relationship (because #TeamBen #ShittyJulie), they do share a poignant moment when Julie comes back the loft to get the last of her stuff. Ben says he'll call her over the summer, and Julie tells him not to: "I don't really feel like looking forward to a phone call as awkward as this."
Speaking of (making me feel) awkward, Elena and McGrath sleep together! GAHHH NOOOO. The next morning, Elena wakes up before he does and finds herself looking through his graded final papers. McGrath gave her a B-, but later, when he hands out the papers to the class, she gets an A. I'd make an extra credit joke here but I'm too grossed out.
In a fit of love/spontaneity, Noel buys Felicity a plane ticket and invites her to join him in Berlin. She doesn't say yes right away, but she does march over to Ben's loft and declare that she can't go on the road trip. This is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series, with Maurice Ravel's Boléro playfully weaving through the romantic tension that builds the more Felicity tries to nerdily explain it away. She points to three major factors that influence her decision to skip the trip: 1. Julie 2. Noel 3. The Moment. It's clearly the third thing that's really on both of their minds--"It's like this big unanswered question."
So Ben decides to answer that question! For nine whole seconds!!!! (I timed it.)
Felicity responds as you would expect:
Gifs via lightgamble.tumblr.com
In an act of complete denial, Felicity tells Noel that she wants to go to Berlin, but it's clear that she's lying to him (and herself).
Meanwhile, everyone is packing up and preparing for their summer plans. Meghan is heading to Wicca Camp, natch, but before she goes, she hands Felicity an envelope and tells her that it contains a note she wrote during the second week of school. Felicity opens it and reads the contents: "There's no chance in hell Felicity's going to make it through the whole year." Meghan was planning to give it to Felicity as an "I told you so," whenever she left--but Felicity impressed her by sticking it out. This is pretty much as tender as Meghan gets, because Meghan is the greatest. Even better? Meghan applied to be an R.A. next year, just like Felicity!
Ben comes to Felicity's room to try to convince her to join him on the road trip, because he has a feeling she wants to go with him, but she can't overcome the notion if she goes, that would make her the devil.
Gif via lightgamble.tumblr.com
I mean, yeah, it would make her the devil but DO YOU SEE THE WAY BEN LOOKS WHEN HE ANSWERS, "So?" Then he makes the hard sell by telling her to sit on the bed with him and pretend that they're driving so he can show her that it's no big deal, when in actuality he's showing her exactly why it WOULD be a big deal because NO ONE CAN RESIST THAT CHARM. Felicity dares to ask what would happen if they had to share a bed, so they both lie down next to each other and even though nothing happens, the word "platonic" ceases to be a part of the human language when it comes to these two.
As if Felicity didn't feel guilty enough, Julie finds out from Lynn that Nicole was making moves on Ben (Lynn and Nicole broke up), and Felicity admits that she knew about it after Julie asks. The latter is upset, understandably, but Felicity can't bring herself to tell the whole truth, so she just says, "I don't think he likes Nicole." GAHHHHHH. DRINK DRINK DRINK.
Felicity, unable to ignore her revived feelings for Ben, waits for him outside of the loft and, when he finally comes home, tells him she's seriously considering the road trip. He's leaving that night, and while Felicity still thinks she's the devil, she admits that she really wants to go with him, and then they're about to kiss when JULIE COMES DOWNSTAIRS. She had been upstairs looking for a disk when Felicity and Ben walked in, and she heard everything and GAH JUST HAND ME THE BOTTLE.
To her credit, Felicity has the guts to go see Julie and apologize, but Julie ain't havin' it. Girl is ANGRY, which she has every right to be, and she calls Felicity a "lying bitch." It's like a slap in the face to Felicity, whose expression is so wounded--you can tell she's never had a falling out with a friend before. Even worse, Julie told Noel what happened! This scene is so intense and painful and I'm so relieved when it's over, except for the fact that Felicity immediately tries to talk to Noel, who wants his plane ticket back.
Thankfully, my soul is soothed when Felicity goes to see her advisor from the first few episodes. She tells him, "There were people here that I'd never met, who just became so important to me," and tearfully shares her fear that she ruined everything. He just listens, with no judgement in his warm, gentle gaze, because he is an angel in disguise. Finally, he asks her if she's still going to be an R.A. Felicity doesn't think so--"Who am I," she asks, "to be giving anyone advice?" He answers, "You're someone who's been through it."
Man, this show slays me.
Felicity heads back to her room to finish packing and Ben shows up!!! He actually left the night before but turned back around, just for her. SA-WOON. He admits that he's not good at making big speeches full of meaning (that's her department), so he just cuts to the chase: "All I have is that I like you... and that I got as far as Harrisburg then I turned around and came back so maybe there's some meaning in that." He feels bad about Julie, but he can't help how he feels, and I DON'T WANT YOU TO HELP IT, BEN. He tells her he'll wait for her at the loft until 10am, and no hard feelings if she doesn't show (speak for yourself, Ben--I will be PISSED). Felicity slowly smiles and says, "I can't believe you came back," to which Ben responds:
THE WAY HE SMILES AND THEN LOOKS AT HER WITH SERIOUS LONGING AND I CAN'T EVEN.
And then, after Ben leaves, Felicity finds a letter from Noel! I will grudgingly admit that it's pretty great. He writes about how important she is to him and includes the plane ticket, hoping she'll use it to meet him in Berlin.
As the episode draws to a close, we see that Felicity has added her name to the signatures in her closet; it's a list of people who have lived in her room since 1968, and if you don't get misty eyed during this part, you must've really hated college. (I'm not ashamed to admit that I totally started doing that after I watched this episode and have left my name written inside of a closet in every single place I've lived since.) Before the camera pans to the wall of signatures, we see Felicity get in a cab as her voiceover says, "I didn't have to make a decision between Ben and Noel, but I did." Then she turns to the cab driver and tells him where to go, but we're watching from outside of the window and so we can't hear her words and WHAT DID SHE SAY?!!
I mean, I know the answer at this point, but y'all, I'd be lying if I told you that back in 1999, my roommates and I practically got a PhD in Lip Reading trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL FELICITY SAID.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
I mean, even Danny was moved to compliment it.
College Nostalgia Moment
As classrooms empty and students prepare to leave, Felicity observes, "It actually seems like time is speeding up." This episode deftly captures the monumental yet fleeting experience of college--one year feels like a lifetime but passes in the blink of an eye.
Iconic Felicity Silhouette
If only you could get that on a t-shirt...
Y2K Nostalgia Moment
- Noel creates a slide show to sell Felicity on Berlin. Adorkable, drink!
- Noel gives Felicity a paper ticket for the flight. And not like, a print-out of an email.
Real Talk with Elena
We are so on the same page:
Elena follows that up with: "And if Julie was sitting right here, I'd say the same thing." I BELIEVE HER.
Love Triangle in Full Effect
Felicity's face when Noel and Ben get on the elevator together:
And Ben's response/face when Noel tells him that he and Felicity are going to Berlin:
Y'all, this is one hell of an ending for season one! Do you think the writers made Julie and Ben's break-up believable? And did anyone actually feel chemistry between them in the first place?
Did it seem realistic for Felicity to bounce back to Ben? Or do you just blame it on Meghan's spells (and your own thoughts and prayers)?
Instead of waiting an ENTIRE LONGASS SUMMER for the premiere of Season Two, you can tune in next week when Meredith recaps "Sophomoric" and "The List" (a.k.a. the episode that spawned a thousand terrible hair jokes).
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