Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Team Ben rallied in a major way when Felicity and Ben broke into the university pool for a late night swoon session. They unfortunately got caught, but WORTH IT. Especially because dealing with the consequences will just draw them closer together--and bring Dr. Toni Pavone into the mix!
But first, let's get weird with Episode 11 (and some alcohol, natch).
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.”
And now for something completely different!
2.11 "Help for the Lovelorn"
J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves take the show on a trip to the Twilight Zone with this stylish black and white exploration of Felicity's love triangle with Ben and Noel. Everyone is rocking a retro look (I especially love all of the winged eyeliner) which Meghan particularly nails as she opens her box. WHAT'S IN THE BOX?!
Over at a super spartan Dean & Deluca, Felicity gazes at Noel (sitting at a table) and then Ben (cleaning up) with so much angst that a customer approaches her about a place called The Clinic. She hands her a card and says, in a creepy hypnotic voice, "If you're romantically frustrated, lonely, dejected, you owe it to yourself to call." She refuses to give Felicity more details other than to say that The Clinic is the cure for the incurable romantic, and then we hear Sally (it's been a while, girl!) launch into her best Twilight Zone narrator impersonation, beginning dramatically with the phrase, "Witness Felicity Porter..."
Even the opening credits are different!
So Felicity goes to The Clinic, even though that already seems like a terrible idea, because she's sick of caring so very much and feeling torn between Noel and Ben. Things are strange from the get-go, and when the doctor finally arrives and tries to take her blood, Felicity refuses and gets the hell out of there. LIKE A NORMAL PERSON WOULD DO.
But The Clinic, giving off a distinctly Church of Scientology vibe, persists and sends her a glass heart box in the mail, then calls to schedule a follow-up visit. Felicity declines, but then, when she's studying in the library with Elena, a nervous guy in a hat appears and signals for her to approach him. She eventually finds him in the stacks, where he whispers urgently, "Don't let it happen to you," and "Stay away from snow." Um, cryptic much? If the guy is so worried, why can't he just spell it out?! Then he drops the bomb: Felicity is already undergoing The Clinic's procedure! Without knowing it!
Later that night, Felicity's tape recorder begins to call her name (I'll admit, that gave me the chills) and then it whispers, "Open 67." But when she checks the recorder, THERE'S NO TAPE INSIDE. Unsurprisingly, Meghan is nonplussed.
The next day, Julie tells Felicity that The Clinic called her and wants Felicity to come back. YIKES! Julie admits that she went there during the summer to get over Ben, and honestly, the procedure is the only reasonable explanation for how she bounced back from that break-up so quickly.
For some reason, Felicity gets a job cleaning a lab that has cadavars (go back to art class, lady!), and she notices that one of the body cabinets is tagged with a "67." That's when I would immediately flee and NEVER RETURN, but of course Felicity decides to OPEN THE CABINET and then the body SPEAKS TO HER and says, "You want to see what the clinic does to people? Unzip me!" Again, this would be a good time to make an exit but instead she LISTENS TO THE DEAD BODY and unzips the bag to discover that his heart is missing! Right on the nose, as it were.
After a misguided attempt at confronting the doctor and nurse at The Clinic, Felicity seeks comfort in Noel's arms. He agrees to accompany her to the police station to give a report, but then he starts asking nosy questions about the library guy and, gasp, Felicity spots a glass heart box on the table! And then she sees Noel shirtless, with a giant scar on his chest over where his heart should be!! He tries to convince her that the procedure is the right thing to do, but Felicity isn't having it. "I'll take all of love's pain if it means I might get to feel some of love's happiness!" she insists (drink!) to which Noel replies, "That is so old Felicity." I rarely use the word guffaw but that is definitely what I did in response.
As Noel is telling her to take a deep breath, Felicity realizes that she's not in his apartment--she's on the operating table, at the conclusion of the procedure! And for the first time, she catches the doctor's name: Malcolm Snow. (I see what you did there, Suzanne Collins.) It's too late for Felicity to stay away from him, because oh snap, her heart is already gone!
Then she wakes up in an empty, blank room with no ceiling. Noel appears (scarless), then Ben and Julie and Elena. They've all been trapped in this space for months, with no escape route in sight, but Felicity takes charge and decides they should try to climb out. Everyone exerts their inner cheerleader and stands feet on shoulders, and then Felicity makes it to the top, only to scream and fall over the wall. We then see Felicity as a doll that Meghan discovers and puts back... INSIDE HER BOX!
Sally closes out the episode in classic Twilight Zone fashion with a voiceover describing the box: "a strange gray area, where what you want, what you need and what you'll be are forever in question. Felicity Porter... in a place called college."
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Twilight Zone Felicity
Girl is gorgeous no matter the decade.
Twilight Zone Meghan
I never knew how much I needed a Bewitched reboot until now.
Twilight Zone Elena
Even in the prim and proper landscape of this episode, Elena's candor can't be contained.
Twilight Zone Ben
Bless his heart, Scott Speedman really struggles with the melodramatic dialogue and old-fashioned annunciation.
Twilight Zone Noel
TZ Noel is pretty much the same as Regular Noel, though he does have some killer lines once they get in the box, including, "I've gone to college for three years and have basically no friends?!" and, to Julie, "Thank god you don't have your guitar."
2.12 "The Slump"
Dr. Toni Pavone is in the building, y'all!!! I do miss Felicity's old advisor but if anyone can step into his shoes, it's chain-smoking, classical music-loving, straight-talking Dr. Pavone. In the aftermath of their pool break-in, Felicity and Ben are assigned to see her under the guise of Alcohol Abuse Counseling, which neither of them needs (IMO). But that's okay, because they both need Dr. Pavone--they just don't know it yet.
Felicity is telling herself that her parents' separation isn't affecting her, but after an insanely awkward A to the F dinner with her parents, in which her dad admits to her mom that he spilled the beans about the divorce and then they start fighting and then Felicity starts crying, she heads to to Dr. Pavone's office and OPENS THE FLOODGATES. She doesn't know who she is or what she's doing, and she hates her haircut (but honey, you're rocking it!), and she can't remember why she dropped pre-med. Toni just listens, without judgement, and gives Felicity the space to realize that she feels responsible for her parents' split, even though she shouldn't.
Later, Felicity finds Ben on the basketball court to remind him that if he doesn't see Dr. Pavone, he'll be expelled. He responds that he just wants to drop out and go to Prague and then this exchange happens and MAKES MY HEART BEAT WILDLY:
Gif via lightgamble.tumblr.com
I mean, I'm all for higher education but FELICITY, SERIOUSLY, DROP OUT WITH BEN. Then you wouldn't have to deal with your dad scolding you about the pool break-in (which happens) or telling you to hang out with your mom instead of going to the university dinner honoring your dad's work (also happens), and you wouldn't have to handle your mom who insists that, no, you don't need to worry about her and you should really go to the dinner for your dad. Yeah, this is way better than Prague.
But Felicity doesn't have to listen to me--she's got Dr. Professional Toni Mothercussing Pavone, who can't believe Felicity isn't mad as hell at her parents.
"Many people who are repressed and out of touch," she tells Felicity, "insist that they are just tense." PREACH. Toni points out that her parents keep Felicity in the middle, and that she has a right to be angry, until finally she admits that she's pissed, and it's awesome. Like, this feels therapeutic for all of us.
Felicity confronts her mom about what happened with her parents' relationship, and Barbara eventually admits that they got married because she was pregnant. Yikes! This sends Felicity straight back to Ben, who's still riding high on the Prague idea, to tell him that she's ready to drop out. Not gonna lie, if this show had taken that sudden left turn into Felicity and Ben's Backpacking Guide to Europe, 10/10 I would watch.
Back at Dr. Pavone's office, Felicity opens up about the time when she was ten and went to ballet camp and hated it. She came home a day early to find her mom sleeping in the guest room, so she lied and said that she loved camp just to get things back to normal--then she went to camp for the next four summers. "It's hard, isn't it?" asks Dr. Pavone. "Keeping the family happy." Felicity realizes that she came to NYC, not to follow Ben, but to escape her parents.
This time, however, she decides to deal with her parents head on and not follow Ben, who had a feeling that she wasn't going to drop out. But, he wonders, maybe they can reschedule their trip for this summer? I LIKE THIS PLAN.
Meanwhile, Noel discovers that it's tough to be a T.A. and a boyfriend at the same time, especially when your girlfriend writes, "Hi Noel!" in her blue book for a test that's supposed to be anonymous. He rants to Elena and her new sexy lab partner, Tracy, who coaches him on an amazing apology (though I still think Ruby is the one being immature). Noel repeats it verbatim, and Ruby forgives him, though she's a bit distracted because... her period is late. OH SNAP.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
I mean. Look at his face after Felicity relents and says that she should probably go with him to Prague. LOOK AT IT.
Also, Ben is good at basketball. (Of course he's good at basketball.)
Welcome to the squad, Donald Faison!
Finally, Elena meets someone whose hotness and smarts are worthy of her own. These are two lab partners who are about to do some heavy research into the field of CHEMISTRY.
And because this episode is an embarrassment of casting riches, we have Amy Aquino (who, btw, was in Working Girl, NBD) as Dr. Pavone:
So, question for y'all: when "Help for the Lovelorn" came out, it made quite a splash. But upon revisiting it, the episode feels like filler to me. Maybe it's because I just want to get on with the show, i.e. Ben's courtship of Felicity? How do y'all feel about it?
And what are your thoughts on Dr. Pavone? Is she a badass? Is she too cavalier? Would her smoking immediately cancel out the benefits of her therapy?
Tune in next week when Meredith recaps "Truth or Consequences" (ugh, Greg) and "True Colors."
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