Richard, Sean, and Javier looking surprised at something they see on a laptop screen

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Title: Felicity S3.E04 “Greeks and Geeks” + S3.E05 “Surprise”
Released: 2000
Series:  Felicity

Drinks Taken: 21

Follow the whole rewatch here!

In Meredith’s recap last week, we bid farewell to Julie (who left on a weird note) and almost-but-not-quite said good-bye to Natalie, who still loves Noel/Leon but wants to respect his desire to separate. We also had a heavy experience dealing with the arrival and then disappearance of Ben’s alcoholic dad. Mr. Ritter is now in the hospital recovering from alcohol poisoning, and thank god that drama is ov–PSYCHE! We have now entered a very soapy period of Felicity, and while I won’t pretend that it’s great, at least we’ll always have Richard.

So yeah, let’s drink to our student body co-president! 

Felicity, Julie, and Elena taking cautious sips of neon cocktails at a dance club

The Felicity Season Three Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:
You cringe during the “New Version of You” credit sequence.
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.”

Let the drama commence!

Javier, standing in a room with other people, holding up his right hand as he becomes a U.S. citzen

3.4 “Greeks and Geeks”

Felicity and Elena are still reeling from Julie’s departure–so much so that they can’t even focus on schoolwork (which, in Elena’s case, tells you how much she cared for Julie, which is to say A LOT). When Julie’s mom calls and clearly has no idea what’s going on, Felicity and Elena agree to lie to her, but after Felicity finds a bag of something that looks like meth (?!) in Julie and Molly’s closet, and Molly swears it isn’t hers, Felicity freaks out and calls Mrs. Emrick to tell her the truth. The latter is upset and takes it out on poor Felicity, who feels like she wasn’t a good enough friend to Julie, and therefore it’s her fault that she left. Even though Ben is super duper sweet and supportive, Felicity still feels like shizz, so Meghan and Molly decide to distract her by taking her out… to a frat party. What could go wrong? Because nothing bad happens when Jell-O shots are involved. Felicity and Meghan take on a game of strip ping-pong, but when Meghan has to leave for her new gig (more on that later), a blitzed Felicity ends up partnered with a guy named Randy. And THEN she ends up waking up in his bed. Fuuuuh. 

Felicity, looking like fresh hell, makes it back to the apartment, where Julie calls and confirms that she’s okay. So at least we’ve got that! It’s genuinely touching to see how relieved Elena and Felicity look, but seriously, Julie, you couldn’t have called your own mom?! We also learn that the drugs don’t belong to Julie, so it’s unclear if they’re from an old tenant or ?! So many questions.

Meanwhile, Noel is up for a campus job in tech support, which means he has to impress a Major Computer Nerd and pass a series of PC challenges. The fact that this guy is obsessed with Star Wars and thinks of PCs as females because, “they’re not easy to get to know,” seems way too relevant to our current times. For practice, Tracy wipes his old laptop so Noel can try to fix it, but RUH-OH, Elena’s Poli Sci paper was on that computer! They call Major Computer Nerd to come to the rescue, but after a long night, he’s forced to admit defeat and gets ready to reformat the hard drive. But wait! Noel has an idea! And that idea works! So not only does Elena get her paper back (which is a relief for all of humanity because that girl was ready to burn the planet down), but Noel also gets the gig with tech support–and he no longer has to pretend to like the Vulcan hand signal.  

Speaking of new jobs, Meghan is a phone sex operator! And her “work” voice is disturbingly perfect. Sean is upset by this, because it feels like she’s cheating on him, and he wants her to quit. Well, if she needs a replacement, Javier is a shoo-in, as illustrated by his high pitched “lady” voice (though he immediately recognizes the caller as his old roomie, Francis, so maybe he’s *too* good of a fit). 

But the best storyline of the episode, by far, is Javier’s mission to pass his citizenship test. He’s super stressed and asks Ben to help him study (dude, do you know nothing of Elena and her M&M method?!), only to find out that Ben doesn’t vote. Javier starts to PREACH about how Ben is spoiled and takes his privilege for granted. The democratic system exists, he says, “because of people like me, people who care, people who want to be part of the process,” and as Javier shares his desire to be part of the greatest family in the world–the American family–I wanted to cry, both because of the beauty of that sentiment and the ugly reality of the world we live in. Thankfully, Javier’s words move Ben to vote, and Javier passes his test and gets sworn in as a citizen! IT’S ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! And I’m so happy for him but also I still want to cry because Trump. 

How many times do I have to take a drink?

8

Team Ben

Sure, we all wanted to strangle Ben when he claimed that voting didn’t matter, but then he listened to Javier! And he decided to participate in the democratic process! Plus, he offers Felicity such a strong shoulder to cry on, and before all of the shizz hits the fan, they have some adorably cute moments together. Too bad the writers decided to RUIN IT.

Sean’s Ben Impression

Sean, scratching the back of his head and looking kinda clueless

Javier: The Immigrant Political Activist the World Needs Right Now

Can we get Ian Gomez to start a web series where Javier provides comfort and inspiration to all of us? This storyline was written 18 years ago yet it’s more salient than ever, and while that’s depressing, I’m choosing to see it as a commendation for the show because self care.

Meghan vs. Leon

Meghan, grabbing Noel/Leon by the color and getting right into his face
Meghan: Tell me where you partied. Noel/Leon: You can’t handle where I partied!

I would Kickstart the cuss out of a short that chronicles the night in 2000 when Leon and Meghan run into each other in New York’s Hottest Club.

Tracy + Noel = Bromance?

As much as I love Elena and Tracy together, we really don’t get enough scenes with Tracy and someone who’s *not* Elena. That’s a shame, because as these far-too-fleeting moments between Noel and Tracy illustrate, he’s got great chemistry with the rest of the cast. It’s particularly fun to see his nerdy side, which is still far, far cooler than Noel’s nerdy side, a.k.a. Noel.

Cameo

Matt Doherty, a white guy with glasses and curly hair, sitting at a desk with computer and Star Wars stuff

Matt Doherty, whom you may know from The Mighty Ducks and So I Married an Axe Murderer (Heed!), is way too good at playing the aggravatingly smug Computer Guy. You can tell that this character was destined to hate The Last Jedi.

Richard, looking peevishly down at the balloon animal he's trying to make, while Molly grins at the camera

3.5 “Surprise”

It’s still the day after the frat house party, and poor, hungover Felicity is being mega responsible and going to the clinic to get the morning after pill (with a nice nod to Season 2) and get tested. She’s all clear, but her conscience is not. And the next day is her 20th birthday, womp womp! Ben wakes her up with a smokin’ hot kiss–like, I thought about asking Meredith to make a gif of it but then wondered if it would be NSFW because DAMN. Her guilt is palpable, so she does what any smart girl would do: she heads to Dr. Pavone’s office. Because Dr. Pavone is still around, apparently! Even though she was packing up her office at the end of Season 2? But I’m not gonna question this too much because Felicity needs your wisdom, Pavone! (And also, I’m relieved to see you’ve quit smoking.) Felicity confesses that she blacked out with Randy, and Pavone urges her to keep it to herself unless she finds out that sex actually occurred. According to the good doctor, Felicity only wants to tell Ben to make herself feel better. So Felicity just keeps calling the frat house to try to talk to Randy (and gets zero response), then eventually she runs into him at Epstein Bar–while on a date with Ben, GAH–and he plays it cool, but Felicity still doesn’t get to the bottom of what happened. Girl, this is 2000. People still talked in person back then! Why don’t you just walk over to the frat house and take care of this shizz?!

Then it gets worse: Noel, while on a tech support call, sees a spam email with a photo of topless, ping-pong-playing Felicity with Randy, and it is AWFUL and I want to throw up. He immediately tells Felicity about it, because he’s an awesome friend, but he insists that she can’t tell Ben yet, because he’s also trying to be an awesome friend to Ben, who has planned a surprise party for her that night, complete with ribs from Ramblin’ Dan’s BBQ in Laredo, TX.

Over at the loft, everyone is giddy with excitement, wearing balloon hats and getting everything set up, though there’s a snag when the ribs turn out to be a rib cookbook.

Javier, holding a small cardboard box and looking concerned while Ben signs for it

Javier saves the day by whipping up pasta (he also brought tiramisu, because we all knew Ben would burn that birthday cake), and then Felicity arrives and yay! We get another heartwarming snapshot of the whole gang at the loft, until a snapshot of a different sort–the picture of Felicity playing strip ping-pong with Randy–shows up on Richard’s email and everyone, including Ben, sees it. I HATE THIS SO MUCH. Felicity struggles to tell Ben what happened, but he’s Angry with a Capital A and busts into the frat house to find Randy. He’s not there, but his frat bros tell Ben that Felicity slept with Randy, and seriously, this is the worst. Later, Noel finds Ben at Epstein and tries to talk with him. “Regardless of whether we like to admit it or not, you and I have actually become friends,” he says, and the silver lining of Leon is on full display: confidence! Noel reminds Ben that they’ve all done dumb shit when they’re drunk, and more importantly, he says, “If you push her away because of this, you’re gonna regret it later.”

Instead of listening to this WISE WISDOM, Ben confronts Felicity and tells her that she slept with Randy, and it’s intensely upsetting and my stomach hates me now. Felicity, stricken, makes her way to the frat house (took you long enough!) and asks Randy for the truth. He admits that they didn’t have sex–she got sick and just passed out in his bed, and he wanted to impress his friends so he let them believe that he hooked up with her. Okay, I try to avoid using too much profanity in these recaps but seriously, fuck you, Randy. I don’t care that you didn’t send the photo–you’re just as culpable as your asshole, sexist pig brothers.

Javier tries to get Felicity and Ben to talk, but the latter is still burning with anger and leaves. Later, Felicity opens the birthday present he gave her–a shiny new set of paints–and now my heart has joined forces with my stomach and gone on strike because I CANNOT WITH THIS.

In addition to the soapy shizz, there’s some real drama with Sean, who has begun to feel a dull ache in one of his testicles.

He asks Ben to check it (“feel my nut,”) which does not seem like something a normal person would do. Ben agrees with me, and later Sean goes to the doctor, who wants to commence with some tests. Sean freaks and leaves, then refuses to deal with it, which also means no sex with Meghan. Because she’s awesome, Meghan confronts Sean about it instead of tip-toeing around him, and finally he spills the beans. She accompanies him to the test, where the doctor finds a mass and recommends a procedure, and while that’s scary news for Sean, I can’t help but LOVE how sweet and solid Meghan is by his side.

In other news, Richard meets Molly (“You’re the Redcoat that drove Julie away!”) and quickly bonds with her over Free Pizza Fridays (she, like the rest of us, recognizes the genius of that idea) and Doctor Who. Molly seems interested in corrupting the “Puritan” nature of Richard, but he nervously rebuffs her advances, claiming that he can’t be involved in a sex scandal. Normally I would chalk this up to just Richard being Richard, but when Noel gets hit on by a male client (who recognizes him as Leon!), he spies a framed photo of the client with Richard and begins to wonder if Richard might be gay. At least he’s learned a little something from his brother and doesn’t immediately freak out!

How many times do I have to take a drink?

13

Richard’s Dance Moves

Richard, busting a Running Man type dance, as Sean films him

This guy is a welcome ray of goofiness amidst the DRAMZ.

Dr. Pavone’s Best Advice

“Honesty is not the most important thing in a relationship,” she tells Felicity. “The most important thing is to be kind.”

Regardless of whether or not you believe this to be true, I think we can all agree that Dr. Pavone is a sight for sore eyes.

Cameo

Jim Jansen, a friendly looking older white man wearing a doctor's white coat

I did a double take when Sean’s doctor walked on screen because OMG, it’s Reverend Archie Skinner from Stars Hollow! (Real name: Jim Jansen.)


Oof. That was rough, y’all.

How do you feel about the tonal shift of the show? The writers have expertly handled challenging topics in the past–are they continuing to do so?

And on a lighter note, Meghan is totally the MVP of the series now, right?

Tune in later this week when Meredith recaps “One Ball, Two Strikes” and “Kissing Mr. Covington.” In the meantime, God Bless Javier’s America.

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Sarah splits her time between Dallas and Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.