I can’t give you a giant Christmas tree. I can’t whip up either a rabbit cassoulet or a noodle casserole. I might be able to bedazzle some jeans, but I doubt you’d be very interested. Instead, all I can offer is my humble appreciation for the opportunity to talk Privileged with you. Now, let’s have some fun, OK?
We begin where the previous episode left off, with Megan having just absorbed the wham-bam double cliffhangers of learning that Rose is planning to cheat on a history test and that Will is about to head off to Brazil for a couple of months. In fact, we begin exactly where the last episode left off, with Megan outside of Rose and Sage’s classroom door. Megan knocks on the door, chats up the teacher, and comes up with a wonderfully deft excuse for why she needs to grab Rose’s purse and take it with her. Making up a quick lie is a talent, and Megan just pulled it off flawlessly. Would she have been able to do that at the beginning of the series, or are Rose and Sage actually rubbing off on her just as much as she’s trying to teach them?
Megan has thus defused Rose’s problem without allowing Rose to dig herself into a deeper and more dangerous hole, but the consequences of Rose’s actions will have to be tabled for a bit, because when Megan gets back to the estate, Will is still there waiting to talk to her. But Megan’s still preoccupied. When Megan tells Will what Rose did, Will actually thinks it’s pretty brilliant. After all, it took great foresight and planning – precisely the things that Will has totally failed to pay heed to here. Will finally gets to describe his new job to Megan. It’ll entail traveling with the Brazilian national soccer team for a few months, focusing on a teenage phenom. That’s actually a totally sweet gig.
But it’s a sweet gig that won’t ever happen. Will’s intended boss calls up soon after and pulls the job out from under Will, saying that the company’s initial choice to take the job has now decided to accept. Well, that storyline was a big tease. Bogus cliffhangers, people! We had these two big earth-shattering cliffhangers, and Megan defused the Rose situation in thirty seconds while the Will situation ends up completely scuttled.
Elsewhere, however, there is some follow-through with the other big development from the prior episode, with Laurel spontaneously heading off to Santa Barbara to reunite with long-lost lover Miles. And Miles … doesn’t recognize her at first when Laurel shows up on his doorstep. Yikes. Oh, well, it’s not like first impressions are a key driver of the cosmetics industry where Laurel has made her entire life. But after that initial misstep, Laurel and Miles get reacquainted very sweetly. Laurel first explains her appearance via a bogus cover story about needing the services of Miles’s old law firm, but quickly forgets about that and tells Miles the truth, that Laurel’s late daughter Carolyn was actually Miles’s daughter. Miles is a little bit stunned, but not at all upset, as he chooses instead to reminisce about the great times that he and Laurel had when they were younger. The two stay up all night talking, and it culminates with a late-night kiss.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and consider this Laurel plotline. Navigating the older-generation plotlines is always one of the hardest things to do for a show that focuses on younger people. Let’s just look elsewhere on the CW for examples. One Tree Hill was definitely a multi-generational show in its inception, but these days the parents on the show have largely been pushed out of the picture. Gossip Girl faces the ironic situation that the Lily-Rufus storylines are often the sweetest and most well-written parts of the show, and yet the hardcore fans of the series largely just don’t care. I guarantee that the commenters on Jordan’s GG post this week will largely ignore the Lily-Bart-Rufus story to talk about Blair and Chuck, despite the fact that the biggest developments of the week obviously occurred in the former triangle. So what about Privileged? Do the fans really care about Laurel? Or do the fans only care about Megan and Will and Charlie and Rose and Sage, which would be more like the way the bulk of the fanbase is for these other shows? Is it worth it to give meaningful storylines to "old folks," or will it just annoy a large fraction of the audience?
Back in the 561, Will and Megan hash out the meaning of Will’s sudden lack of a job. Megan notes that things happen for a reason, and tries to subtlely hint that they should talk about what this means for their future, but Will is completely oblivious. So Megan turns to Charlie for support. Charlie is now comfortably ensconced in the friend zone, it seems. But Charlie has issues of his own, panicking after realizing how in over his head he may have gotten with Mandy after asking her to move in. When Mandy voices a little inkling of uncertainty about the move, Charlie fails to jump all over it and swiftly assure her that he absolutely wants her to move in, and instead they get into a little argument.
Charlie tells Megan that Mandy is moving in. Wait, Charlie gets to tell Megan about his life, rather than it always being the other way around? Isn’t that against the rules? Megan proceeds to beat Charlie over the head with the knowledge that women need to talk about things like this, and Charlie needs to be accomodating and clearly assure Mandy that he is happy about their decision. Charlie, in turn, helps with Megan’s problems, thus restoring order to the universe. Charlie notes that Will just lost his job and is probably feeling pretty crappy right now, so Megan should comfort him rather than prod him about their relationship. Megan follows up by creating the "Wallow Hollow," a comfort zone replete with Japanese beer and Monty Python movies. It’s certainly an odd example of comfort food, but whatever floats your sushi boat.
But this makes things way too calm in the Megan-Will relationship. Time for another obstacle! Will casually notes that while he had just received the official job offer the previous day, he had actually known for about a week that he was likely to be picked to go to Brazil. And that’s a problem, because it’s only within the space of that week that Will kissed Megan and officially asked her out.
"So it was a bogus ask!" Rose immediately understands when Megan vents about it. Megan thinks that Will only asked her to be his girlfriend because he knew it wasn’t a real commitment at all, since he was going to be going away. When Megan confronts Will, Will defends himself, saying that the job and his desire to be with Megan are completely separate from one another. But Megan isn’t satisfied. She needs somebody who "gets it," who won’t be confused about why something like this is a big deal to her. Maybe this is just a sign that Will isn’t really right for her, she decides.
Meanwhile, Charlie, fresh off his talk with Megan, attempts to clear the air with Mandy, and it’s a spectacular failure, because Mandy’s way of thinking is completely different from Megan’s. Charlie compounds the problem by bringing Megan up. "I didn’t know that we had a problem until Megan told me we did," he explains. Oh, that’s not good. "Your only problem is that you seem to think that every girl in the world is like your best friend," Mandy responds. "But, no offense, your best friend is nuts." Hee! Mandy is so, so very awesome. But Charlie may end up realizing that too late, as Mandy announces that she has found another apartment for herself.
So Megan and Will are having trouble, and Charlie and Mandy are having trouble. Maybe they can learn from the older generation? Maybe not. Miles surprises Laurel by following her back to Palm Beach, but while Miles thinks he’s making a grand romantic gesture, Laurel sees it as an inconvenience. Laurel is busy with business all day, and can’t make any time for the man who just flew across the country to be with her. Miles is exiled to spend his time alone in a hotel room, and when Laurel finally shows up late at night, Miles is heartbroken and angry and he and Laurel get into a fight.
While all of these romantic entanglements are entangling, Rose must face the music for her cheating plot. Luckily she didn’t get caught at school, but Megan is going to exact punishment, via a severe grounding. "No phone, no internet, no pilates. Consider your status grounded to infinity," Megan declares. Wait, is that math? I haven’t seen Megan trying to teach math yet. Rose tries to be a good sport and demonstrate that she willingly accepts her punishment, only Megan isn’t buying the remorse act. "You’re trying to kiss my ass so I reduce your sentence," she observes. Hmmm. Megan’s a quick learner. I honestly don’t think she would have picked up on something like that at the beginning of the series, do you?
Instead of being annoyed at the person punishing her, Megan, Rose is directing her anger at Sage, because Sage kinda-sorta ratted her out about the cheating. Rose proceeds to give Sage the silent treatment, an action that even extends to ignoring Sage and instead hanging out with Sage’s loathed frenemy Jordana. Sage pouts that Rose needs to talk to her some day, because at the very least Rose may need her bone marrow one day. Hee!
With Rose not talking to her, and being in the weird position that she and Megan were on the same side temporarily, Sage needs somebody else to annoy. Into that void steps Charlie’s cousin Luis, a young aspiring chef who gets a job assisting Marco. Luis introduces himself to Sage, and Sage responds, well, Sage-ly. She proceeds to boss him around and call him names the whole episode. I’d note that you only really tease the ones you have a big crush on, but this is Sage, and she’s really just being herself. But she does indeed have a thing for Luis, batting her eyes at him up to the end of the episode. I must say that I love the fact that Sage remains Sage even when she’s smitten with a boy. Sage’s attitude has been criticized by some as one-dimensional, but I like the fact that she owns who she is. Admit it, you’d be disappointed if she melted into a big softie in the presence of somebody she liked, right?
Megan gets the girls’ grades in the mail. Rose’s grades are not great, but apparently 3 B’s, 2 C’s and an A-minus are good enough to represent a significant uptick over Rose’s previous efforts. (It’s notable that Megan and Laurel never talk about Rose’s grades in this episode, so whether Laurel is happy with those results is something for another time, and whether those grades are good enough to get Rose off of her pseudo-probation for being held back is also something I assume will be addressed next time around.) Megan agrees to lift Rose’s punishment, but tells Rose that she also needs to forgive her sister.
Megan also chats with Sage, showing her apparently quite good grades. But this conversation takes a suspicious turn at the end, as Sage makes a very out-of-the-blue proclamation that she holds secrets that she will never tell her sister. Neither Megan nor I have any clue what to say to that.
Back on the relationship end, Charlie tries to save his fledgling romance with Mandy before it can go astray, as he repeats his offer to move in with him and says he absolutely, totally, completely wants her to do so. Yes, they rushed into things, but it’s only because they really, really like each other, and they deserve to give this relationship a legitimate shot, he says. Mandy agrees, and it’s kissy-kissy time.
Laurel heads back to Miles’s hotel the next morning, and they both apologize for getting out of hand and fighting. Laurel says she’d like to make things with Miles work, but they’d need to do it around Laurel’s schedule. Miles, sadly, just can’t deal with that. Miles’s life is simple and quiet, and that’s what he’s looking for at this point in his life, something simple with a woman he knows will always be there for him. They just want different things. "We’ve never had very good timing, have we?" Laurel sighs, as they bid each other good-bye. So Miles is out of the picture for a while, though certainly not forever, as Laurel eventually is going to have to tell the girls everything.
When Will told Megan that his saying he wanted to be Megan’s boyfriend had nothing to do with the Brazil job, he wasn’t really telling the truth. It’s just that his version of why the two are related is very different from the way Megan sees it. It wasn’t because Will thought he could get away with a consequence-free commitment. It was because he feared that if he left for Brazil without telling Megan how he truly felt, he thought he might lose her. Makes perfect sense. But what’s funny here is that Will goes into elaborate detail in overanalyzing his own decision-making process – which is a very Megan-ish thing to do. And that may be the first time that Megan and Will have seemed like they really were compatible.
To seal the deal, Will’s apology includes bringing Megan a little taste of New York, and a big, big Christmas tree. Man, that is one huge tree. But Will neglects to also include a little twig of mistletoe. No matter. Megan gives him a big ol’ kiss anyway.
Department of Synergy
My predecessor Jordan noted at one point that the costume designer on this show either must be totally blind, or secretly hates the actresses. Well, now the costume designer speaks here on Zap2it about what inspires the look of Sage and Rose, so you can decide for yourself. Speaking of which …
This Week’s Guide to Fabulousness
Bedazzling clothes is much more fun to do than it is to wear. When Rose is trying to get back in Megan’s good graces, one of her attempts involves whipping out the bedazzler and going to town on a pair of Megan’s jeans. Megan observes that 16-year-olds can get away with bedazzled clothes and crystal headbands, but people in the next age bracket up cannot. And in fact, when Megan lets Rose off the hook, she does so with the caveat that Rose never bedazzle anything of hers ever again. But I’m sure Rose had fun doing it.
So, what do we think? Do we care about Laurel’s love life, or are the ordeals of the over-30 crowd bound to just bore viewers? Who’s really learning more – the girls from Megan, or Megan from the girls? Do you like the fact that a smitten Sage is really the same Sage, or would you like to see a different dimension for her? Will anybody step out and admit to owning bedazzled clothes? And what would you want to have in your own Wallow Hollow?