When last we were in Paradise... Talia arrived in town newly engaged to Rick, Michelle and Milly successfully got the performing arts center approved by the town council, and Boo gave a dynamite audition for Bells Are Ringing (but may have dangerously alienated Cozette). Sasha and Roman revealed their status as a couple to the world at large, and Fanny is nowhere to be found (rumor has it she fled the country).
When Sasha returns home from a grocery store run she finds the door to her apartment open. In need of instant friend support and advice, she calls Ginny then Boo - neither of whom answers their phone - before finally calling the police. Rather than to into the apartment to see if anyone is inside as she is told to do (and gotta tell ya', this makes me worry about those Paradise police. The first thing my local police advise is to get out of the house, not go in.) Anyway, rather than go in, Sasha waits for Roman to arrive. When he does, he faces down the unknown with Sasha’s Pretty Pony umbrella - but loses custody of the umbrella to a reportedly Paleolithic-sides spider in the bathroom. With the homestead secure, things are just heating up between Sasha and Roman when Boo and her parents arrive like the cavalry to take on the unknown (and take a sledge hammer to the spider).
Meanwhile, Michelle, Talia and Truly indulge in chocolate fondue and plane for Talia’s wedding and post vow bliss: honeymooning at the Madonna Inn! Being allowed to gain 3 pounds and keep a pack of Pekingese! Talia asks Truly to be her maid of honor, and true to Truly fashion, she will be making her own bridesmaid dress, with Michelle’s input.
Dance class is interrupted by Bash announcing the evac of those portions of town in danger from approaching mountain fires. The dancers rush off to gather their things, but many of them will be back; the dance studio is the East Side Evacuation Center. Bash advises Michelle that in Fanny's absence she must be the co-captain of the center- a job which comes with a cap that doesn't fit, a clipboard, and a walkie (but no pants suit).
Bash helps Michelle set up the space for the evacuees and check in those arriving. Mel is snapping pictures, but earns an #epicfail for not catching a shot of Frankie baring his chest to change into a VOLUNTEER t-shirt. Luckily, we get to witness the deliciousness along with Ginny.
With the fire cutting off access to the beach, Talia’s wedding location will need to be relocated. But even as Truly is mocking up her bridesmaid dress, Talia announces that Ricky-the-Groom can’t get past the checkpoint into Paradise, so the whole wedding will need to be delayed. Milly, in search of a place to set up her crepe station, overhears. Long about the same time, Michelle finds a condom under the lockers in the girls changing room, prompting her to go down to the dance floor where all the cots are set up and separate the girls from the boys.
After seeing some reports from the West Side Evacuation Center, Bash decides they’ve got to up the entertainment ante at the shelter. His initial solution: Jeff and Carl performing dueling Tommy Lee Jones impersonations, an exercise which devolves into a fight over Boo (blissfully ending the TLJ insanity).
Better entertainment is provided by the dance crew - clad in miners helmets and heavy boots - performing an old number from a strange Billy Elliot-related show the studio performed years prior. The very cool number must have put the west side shelter’s juggler to shame.
While all this is going on, Ricky is whisked past the checkpoint by helicopter (courtesy of a Good Samaritan) and the wedding is back on!
Milly is looking for a space for her massage so is forced to share space with Truly as Truly steams her bridesmaid dress. When Truly confronts Milly about sending her helicopter for Ricky, we get a sweet glimpse into Milly’s softer side as she speaks about how weddings are important and reminisces about meeting her adopted daughter for the first time.
Cozette catches Ginnie inhaling Frankie’s coat. Okay, inhaling the scent from his coat. Picky picky. She shares a story from her family safari, during which Cozette shot a baby antelope to put it out of its misery. Says it’s too sad to look at Ginnie mooning over Frankie. And suddenly we're all worried that Ginny with her wide-eyed fawning, can be equated with a baby antelope.
Just when it looks like everything is set for the wedding, Rick trips getting out of the helicopter (car?) and lands in hospital with a broken ankle. Michelle tells Talia the delay gives her time to think, to reconsider all she would be giving up. It's clear Michelle doesn’t want Talia to marry Rick, fearing she doesn’t really love him. Talia finally admits she’s pregnant.
Dez is following Mel around, giving her tips on photography and sharing stories of his family. It’s clear to everyone but Mel that Dez is sweet on her, but she resists him, no doubt still seeing him as Charlie's doofus friend.
At long last and despite all odds, Rick arrives (in a wheel chair), bearing a Pekingese for his bride. Michelle apologizes for the things she said, and Talia assures her she understands that Michelle spoke from worry, and tells her of course she’s still part of the wedding. Off they go onto the patio to get the wedding done, Truly carrying the Pekingese like a bouquet.
As Ginny confesses the jacket-sniiffing incident to her gal pals, Michelle drops the condom in front of the girls without saying a word. When none of them flinch, respond, or otherwise react, Michelle reclaims the condom and retreats. This starts an interesting conversation among the girls about the question of sex, a fabulous mini-scene that reveals some of the heart of the show. Boo tells the girls she’s on the pill, but she’s not having sex which, per the bunheads, is like having a superpower and not using it).
After the all-clear, with the evac center emptying, Frankie tells Ginny he'd be happy to give her drawing lessons. Seems Cozette told him Ginny was interested in learning, a sure sign that Cozette has somehow taken pity on the poor baby antelope that is Ginny. Drawing lessons are a much better solution than a bullet to the head, wouldn't you say?
Next week: does Michelle make use of the condom she found in the dressing room? Or is Godot simply passed out in her house? not that there’s anything simple about passing out in someone else’s house…
And now, without further ado, your primer on the pop culture references from last night’s episode:
• soup lines and ice wagons - vestiges of the years of the Great Depression
• the Madonna Inn - famed resort located in San Luis Obispo, California. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? http://www.madonnainn.com/index.php
• Altamont - reference to the disappointing Altamont Free Concert, a lackluster event that had hoped to be “Woodstock West” but is best remembered for the acts that didn’t perform and the pervasive violence.
• Louise Brooks - “American dancer and actress, noted for popularizing the bobbed haircut” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Brooks) Boo Tells Sasha, re Roman, "If you did I'd say yowza". I'm not sure why Sasha replies with "Thank you, Louise Brooks"
• Hope Springs - 2012 film starring Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, and Steve Carrell. Though nominated for Golden Globe for the role she portrayed, Meryl did not receive an Academy Award nom for this film.
• "wished into the cornfield" - reference from The Twilight Zone, a mythical place people with offending behavior are sent to (disappear to) from which they never return
• Ansel Adams - American known for his stunning landscape photography; Henri Cartier-Bresson - French master of photography, widely considered to be the father of photojournalism
And finally, Roman was wearing a Bauhaus shirt - squee!!!
See you next week for the season finale!
See you next week for the season finale!