A nontraditional 'Privileged'

Anne ArcherWill's dad declares his new magazine open for business on this week's episode of Privileged. Unfortunately, the magazine still doesn't have a name. And what was once a pretty simple concept of a magazine focusing on charity work has ballooned into something much more amorphous. Hmmm, does this remind us of anything?

Privileged did the whole "working title" thing long ago. A year ago, when the show was first ordered to pilot, it went by the same title of the book, How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls. That soon morphed into Surviving the Filthy Rich, before settling on its third and final title, Privileged. But that's ancient history. It's the other part of the comparison that's really unflattering. Like the magazine, Privileged once had a very simple premise, the relationship between Megan and twins Rose and Sage. But over time, that theme has become totally diluted, and now as we approach the end of the season, the show is completely unfocused and has at best a very tenuous connection to the original premise.

It's gotten to the point where you're almost willing to settle for a moral victory, as this episode once again ignores the premise of the show but at least this time around they openly acknowledge that they're ignoring it. Early on in the episode, Megan is happy to learn that the girls are preoccupied, because it gives them an excuse to not do any schoolwork and frees Megan to head to the magazine instead. I don't know whether to be encouraged by this or not. As has been the case for the entire second half of the season, the show is totally blowing off what it's supposed to be about, but at least here they admit it, as opposed to an episode like last week's in which Megan never once even interacts with Rose and Sage.

At this point we may be wondering if Megan is, in fact, the worst tutor ever. But it's probably not so much a reflection of her tutoring prowess as it is a reflection on how self-involved she is. Rose and Sage shouldn't take it personally. After all, Will spends the whole episode grousing about how Megan is so wrapped up in her own little world that she is incapable of understanding why he's upset with her. But it's something that's never mentioned here that's the worst indictment of Megan. Considering this episode picks up the same morning the last one ended, Lily is supposedly off trying to find their father and make sure he's all right. Megan is supposed to be really concerned about him, right? But this goes completely unmentioned in the episode. Megan is so self-involved regarding her magazine pitch that she has completely forgotten that she's supposed to be worried about her dad.

Let's backtrack a bit. It is indeed the same morning the last episode ended, and we find Rose exactly where we left her, waiting for Laurel on the couch. Rose is apprised that Laurel will be coming home later than expected, though, so Rose ends up finding Sage and explaining everything to her about how a woman named Elyse told her that Miles Franklin is the girls' grandfather. The girls then tell Megan, who does a terrible job feigning ignorance at the whole thing. It also turns out that Elyse had further news beyond simply the revelation of Miles as their grandfather. The reason she has come to break the news now is that Miles has recently been hospitalized after a major heart attack and has slipped into a coma.

When Laurel finally arrives, Megan is able to talk to her before the girls do, and from there Laurel heads off to meet with Elyse herself. Elyse announces that she's suing Laurel for emotional distress, on the grounds that Miles's heart attack was caused by the anguish of not being able to have a relationship with his granddaughters.

Laurel finally meets with the girls, who are upset, until Laurel explains Elyse's lawsuit, at which point Sage becomes more upset at the idea that Elyse will somehow steal the fortune that she was supposed to one day inherit. But it's Rose who takes everything the hardest, crying to Laurel about how Laurel had no right to keep the truth from everybody.

After a little while to cool down, Sage decides that she no longer really cares about this whole development. She reasons that she never knew this part of the family existed anyway, so even if Miles dies it's not like she's really missing out on anything. Moreover, Sage notes that she understands why Laurel would have wanted to keep this secret from them, because she was doing it to try to protect them. "Is it really worth telling people things that you know are just going to hurt them?" she asks.

At this point, of course, Sage is talking about her own secret, and Rose - who's become awfully perceptive all of a sudden - can tell that there's something else going on that Sage is keeping from her. But Sage isn't saying what it is. That causes the two girls to fight, as Rose is upset since she believes that Sage has never kept secrets from her in the past.

Rose wants to go see Miles, but Sage says she's not interested. Megan ends up volunteering to go along with Rose, but in the midst of this conversation, Megan lets slip a little bit too much information, and the suddenly perceptive Rose deduces that Megan actually knew about Miles all along. Rose storms off, feeling that everybody she knows has betrayed her.

Meanwhile, there's the magazine. Will's dad introduces everyone to the magazine's new editor David. A while later, Megan tracks down David to pitch her story ideas. Actually, that's idea, singular. But it doesn't matter, since David doesn't seem to really have any interest in Megan's ideas, no matter how many she has. He's really condescending to her, and in effect calls Megan lazy for pitching a story that's predicated on her connection to Laurel, through whom Megan would have gotten an interview with a senator.

Brian HallisayWill also wants to work for the magazine, in photography. Fortunately, the fact that his dad owns the magazine will help with that. But when Will learns that he's only getting the job by decree of his father, as opposed to being able to get the job on merit despite interviewing with David, Will is understandably unhappy. But it's really Megan who's paying the price here. It turns out the reason that David is being a jackass to her is because David is already annoyed at having to take on the owner's son, so he doesn't want to have his hands tied by also having to take on the owner's son's girlfriend. David was never going to give Megan a chance.

When Megan explains to Will that she won't be able to write for the magazine, Will offers to intercede and have his father lean on David and make it happen. Megan refuses, declaring that she doesn't want to get a job that way. That sets Will off, because that of course is exactly how he got his job, though Megan doesn't know that, because Megan thinks David gave him the job after their interview and Will isn't going to say otherwise. Will projects his anger out at Megan, chastising her for being so stubborn and making everything so difficult when there's an opportunity right in front of her. On the heels of their inevitable blowup about the night of Charlie's going-away party, it's the second big fight between Will and Megan in a short period of time. "It feels like we're fighting a lot lately," Will sighs as he walks off. Uh-huh.

Marco, meanwhile, is getting to work on Operation Get Keith Back. The least Megan could have done as a writer would have been to come up with a cool name for this stealth mission. Instead, Megan just serves as a buzzkill when she learns that Marco's whole plan revolves around showing up at Keith's door and bribing him with chocolate.

Undeterred, Marco heads to Keith's place, only to have a surprised Keith refuse to let him in. Marco asks if Keith has another guy in there. Not quite. A woman's voice emerges instead. Speechless, Marco does a one-eighty and walks off, shoving the chocolate in his own mouth as he backtracks.

Keith comes by the next day to explain. The woman was Jennifer, Keith's longtime friend. As he and Marco discussed many times, Keith wants to have a family. So, too, does the single Jennifer. So he and Jennifer decided to get drunk, have sex, and try to make a baby. "You have taken settling to a whole new level," Marco opines, which just pisses Keith off and sends him away.

Allan LouisMarco summons Jennifer to the estate for a sass-off. Marco has his own theory, that Jennifer doesn't want Keith's baby so much as she wants Keith, and always has. Marco believes that Jennifer has always wanted to convert Keith to the other team and is now making her move. But Marco says she'll fail, and he's not going to let her get away with it.

Marco eventually busts over to Keith's house once again. This time, he doesn't have chocolates. Instead, he has a ring - he drops to one knee and proposes marriage. Keith is stunned, but ultimately says yes. And I say ... congratulations? I guess? I mean, if this is what Marco wants, then good for him. Marco's a great guy and deserves whatever he wants. But are we sure that Keith is really a great guy, really somebody worthy of him? It's not like we have a huge sample size of Keith moments to recall, but my defining image of him is the guy who was really condescending and bossy in trying to get Marco to quit his current job. I'm not entirely comfortable that all of a sudden I should be incredibly happy for Marco and excited that he wants to spend the rest of his life with that guy.

Back to Rose, at the airport on her way to California. Sage stops her before Rose can go, and spills her big secret. The explanation for Sage believing that she was responsible for their parents' death is that on the fateful day, Sage had a big tantrum over the phone and forced her parents to miss their original flight, causing them to instead take the flight that ended up going down. Hmmm ... yeah, I get why Sage blames herself. It's obviously unfair to really lay the blame on her, but this is at least a little more legitimate than Serena van der Woodsen blaming herself for happening to be in the same room as a guy who OD'd on drugs.

Rose doesn't know what to say, so she just boards the plane on her own. Sage retreats home, where Laurel finds her and brings the news that Miles has passed away. Sage hugs Laurel and says she understands why Laurel wanted to protect them for so long, and they commiserate over having so much loss in their lives.

When Rose comes back home, she starts packing a suitcase, declaring that she's moving into her own room. Sage believes that Rose hates her now and will always hate her. But Rose insists that that's not the case, that she doesn't hate Sage, doesn't blame Sage, and simply feels sorry that Sage had to walk around with her secret for so long and not be able to talk about it.

But the fact that Sage kept that secret for so long, believing that she needed to protect Rose, finally got Rose to thinking. "It's just one of the hundreds of ways that you've been protecting me my whole life," she realizes. And it's not just Sage; Laurel and even Megan are always going out of their way to shield Rose from things too. "You think that I'm, like, so fragile that I can't handle that stuff," she observes. Rose needs to finally try to step out of Sage's shadow and take a little step of independence. Hence, moving into her own room. It's a small step of independence, more symbolic than anything. But it's a start.

So, what do we think? Not too long ago, it seemed like everybody supported Will and Megan together, but now every passing week brings more people jumping off that bandwagon. Is anybody else giving up on them this week? And are you on the Marco-Keith bandwagon, or do you also not quite trust Keith yet? As for Sage's secret, was it disappointing, or are you OK with it knowing that it probably could have been a lot more disappointing?

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