Drinks Taken: 18
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Felicity plagiarized an essay and Ben embarked on a brief coma but none of that matters because now we’re (cue the Huey Lewis) back! in! time!
But before all that, let’s drink to Felicity graduating and figuring out what she wants to do with her life.
The Felicity 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.”
Onto the eps!
4.17 “The Graduate”
Okay, so as we all learned at the ATX Television Festival 20-year Felicity reunion, “The Graduate” was meant to be the series finale for Felicity, before the network went back to creators JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves and asked for five more episodes because the show that replaced it tanked. So the writers had to do some creative wrangling, and that’s how we ended up with the totally insane plot that’s looming (and that, I have to be honest, I am NOT hating. It’s such goofy fun!). All of that said, “The Graduate” would have been a truly lovely way to end the show. AND it’s the first and only episode directed by Scott Foley, who did a terrific job! Let’s get to it.
So, yes, Felicity’s graduating. Her professor failed her on the plagiarized essay but she still passed the class, so she gets a diploma. She and Ben are lying in bed, being as cute and swoony as we’ve literally ever seen them be, and then suddenly, you guys, Ben PROPOSES. Felicity wigs for a minute and they kiss a lot and then she says… Yes!
(Listen, I know it’s exciting, but try not to hold your breath on this one.) Felicity tells her parents, who are extremely displeased in various ways (her mom is trying to be supportive but is obviously crushed, and her dad is super rude about it), and then she tells Noel, who honestly couldn’t be more wonderful and gives one of the all-time great Noel Crane speeches. But then Lauren’s baby is born – a little boy named Andrew, after Ben’s dad – and Ben meets the baby and suddenly realizes he can’t be 3000 miles from his son, and he asks Felicity to move to Arizona with him after all. Meanwhile, Felicity’s dad’s words are rolling around in her head: “Isn’t four years of following Ben Covington around enough?” She tells Ben she thinks it’s his turn to follow her, but he thinks this whole baby thing trumps Felicity’s needs, and really, they’re both kind of right.
But also she just doesn’t WANT to move to Arizona, which is fair, so after a super beautiful graduation montage (we only get to see Felicity cross the stage, although we do see Ben, Elena, Javier and Noel in the crowd), she and Ben break up – sweetly, lovingly, with hope for a one-day in the future. Oh AND she and her dad have the best talk they’ve ever had, and he admits he’s been too over-protective and that it’s time for her to find her own way, and it’s great.
But it turns out Felicity’s own way isn’t in NYC, either – she’s decided to go back to Palo Alto, so we see far-too-brief goodbyes with Sean, Meghan, Elena and Javier, and then an extended one with Noel, where he takes her to the airport and she asks him if he ever wonders what would have happened if they’d ended up together, and he wryly answers, “Never.” They promise to keep in touch, and then we flash-forward (like, a normal flash-forward, not time travel) six months, where Felicity is… studying pre-med in Palo Alto! She realized that’s where she was meant to be all along, and her dad is obviously THRILLED. And then Ben shows up! He’s convinced Lauren to move back to Palo Alto (remember, that’s where she met his dad, so she’s from there, too), and he’s going to go to med school there with Felicity, and they’ll be together! Because, he says, “You were right. It was my turn.” It’s a beautiful ending, a perfect mirror, with Ben following Felicity to Palo Alto four and a half years after she followed him from Palo Alto.
Oh one more thing! Sean and Noel are laid off after they lose the CGG account, and Sean’s ready to throw in the towel and go work for Meghan’s dad, but Noel won’t hear of it. He’s rented them office space and now they’re officially Blumberg, Crane & Associates, and six months later, Felicity tells us the business is doing great, and that Meghan’s working toward being a psychologist! She doesn’t mention Elena, sigh, and we’ll get to that in the next episode.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
And Every Thinking Person Watching This Episode Cries Out “YES!”
The Truest Thing Anyone Said This Week
This one really was a legendary Noel Crane pep talk.
And speaking of those crazy people, this scene is an excellent reminder of their reaction to Felicity’s high school graduation in the pilot.
Second Best Callback
Before Felicity heads to the airport, she signs the inside of her closet “Felicity Porter ’02” like she did when she moved out of her first dorm the end of her freshman year.
Okay, in almost every way, “The Graduate” would have been a perfect series finale – EXCEPT for the enormous deficit of screentime when it comes to Meghan, Javier and especially Elena. Elena barely gets even ONE LINE. Meghan and Javier each get maybe two – all the screentime instead goes to the love triangle. I would have been furious if this show had ended without giving Elena Tyler her due.
4.18 “Time Will Tell”
So we’re starting this episode recap with another disclaimer, because man, stuff’s getting wiggy in here. There are some spoilers for episodes to come in this paragraph and the below video, but I just want to clear the air before we get into all of this because it’s so confusing, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip ahead to the paragraph below the video NOW. Soooo moments into episode 4.18, we find out that Elena died in a car crash at Columbia. WHAT! I mean, seriously, what the hell. But then time travel hijinks ensue and we immediately get to see Year 2000 Elena, but then when the timeline gets restored, Elena’s alive again and no one understands why. So I found this video of Abrams and Reeves talking about it, and I found it very useful and informative, and it includes some crucial scenes that apparently never aired. Let’s sort all of that out before we dive in to the rest of “Time Will Tell”:
All righty! “Time Will Tell” opens with the classic Felicity silhouette: Felicity with her old curly hair, leaning against the bed in her old room (?), talking on the tape recorder to Sally. And she’s like, “You will NOT BELIEVE what I have to tell you” and though that could be pretty typical early-Felicity overstatement (like “omg, you won’t BELIEVE how embarrassed I was when I walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to my shoe”), here she’s right – what she has to tell Sally is literally unbelievable.
She then tells Sally that Elena died in a car crash at Columbia, which, again, WHAT THE HELL, MAN, and then she talks about how her subsequent grief made her kind of hard to live with, so suddenly she walks in on Ben making out with their new study buddy Claire, and it turns out they’ve been hooking up for a month. I repeat: WHAT THE HELL, MAN. Let’s skip over the part where all of this is a total betrayal of the Wise and Loving Ben Covington this character has grown into over the past couple of years, not to mention that beautiful closure in the last episode, because again, none of this is going to matter soon. Felicity’s heartbroken and furious, and then she travels back to NYC for Noel’s wedding to Zoe (!), and she confides in Meghan, who’s perfectly outraged on her behalf. Felicity starts feeling all sorts of regret about choosing Ben over Noel, because Noel’s so great and charming and Ben broke her heart, and then she and Meghan get drunk on rehearsal dinner champagne and she admits that she wishes she could go back in time to the night she and Noel had sex on the roof and do everything differently: end it with Ben, and choose Noel instead. Meghan’s like, “I’m a witch, remember?” and she decides to try a time travel spell, and long story short: it works. You guys, this is SO NUTS, I kinda love it.
So Felicity wakes up back at the beginning of her senior year, on the roof with Noel. Everything in this alternate timeline has a slightly sepia tinge to it, as if that makes it less confusing. Felicity has her curls back, and she’s wearing the dress she wore in that episode, and she and Noel definitely just had sex. Of course, it takes Felicity a couple hours to accept that she’s traveled back in time, during which she baffles the heck out of everyone with weird questions and some really great Keri Russell comic timing. Oh yeah, and Elena’s back! It’s two nights before her wedding with Tracy, and it’s so good to see her!
So after a while, Felicity accepts what happened, and decides she’s going to fulfill her wish: she dumps Ben super abruptly, and just as abruptly she tells Noel she wants to be with him. All of these decisions have ripple effects, of course, because we’ve all seen time travel movies, and the consequences are pretty immediate and dire: Elena and Tracy’s wedding is called off earlier, which means Sean and Meghan don’t get married in their place, and Ben’s too depressed to study for his O-Chem exam so he gives up on being a doctor, and also Noel is no longer sure he wants to be with Felicity because she’s acting so weird and urgent about this whole thing instead of letting it happen organically.
Felicity starts to feel a lot of regret about her decisions, and she even visits Dr. Pavone (yay!) to confide in her about breaking Ben’s heart, but Pavone isn’t as much help as usual because she doesn’t know the whole time-travel story. So finally Felicity goes to Meghan and asks her to send her back, and after a lot of healthy skepticism on Year 2000 Meghan’s part, she decides to give it a shot – but it turns out the spell book she used in 2002 to send Felicity back in time hasn’t been written yet. (Spell books that actually work are still being written in the third millennium?)
So everything seems to be a total disaster, and Felicity’s falling into despair – until Noel comes and finds her, and tells her he’s sorry he backed away from her, he was just scared. He DOES want to give them a shot, and Felicity looks so happy, and the episode ends with their kiss. Wow! This is all bananas.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
When Year 2002 Meghan is working on the spell, she mutters to herself, “Where’d I put the oil of clove?” and I love that all of her spells require clove and also that she always either misplaces or forgets it.
I could watch an entire episode of just champagne-drunk Felicity and Meghan dishing on the couch.
That’s it for this week! QUESTIONS, and these are big ones: 1) how does everyone feel about this time travel madness? For It, Against It, Totally Weirded Out But Somewhat Charmed By It? (I’m Option C.) 2) Would you have loved “The Graduate” as a series finale for Felicity? 3) Okay, I guess I didn’t realize we’d reached 2002 until Felicity wrote the year on her closet wall, but don’t you think it’s kind of surprising that Felicity totally ignored 9/11? I mean, they all lived in Manhattan. Sure, it would have been difficult to work into the narrative in a thoughtful way, but I’m still surprised they just breezed over it back then.
Meet Sarah here next Wednesday morning for our penultimate Felicity Rewatch Project, with “The Power of the Ex” and “Spin the Bottle”!