#1.6 Drawing the Line, pt. 1

"Who are you to draw a line?" -Felicity

Aired November 10, 1998

In a nutshell: Noel feels compelled to draw an invisible line after hearing Felicity talk about Ben all the time--until Felicity decides to draw a line of her own. Elena thinks she may have to drop out of school if her scholarship doesn't come through, but Blair asks Felicity to look up her records so they can find a way for her to stay (academic records, other peoples' application essays... what next?) Julie and Zack's relationship takes a turn for the worst when he forces her to have sex.

People who thought this up: J.J. Abrams (the writer), Ellen Pressman (the director)

Supporting cast: Devon Gummersall (Zack), Greg Grunberg (Sean), Shan Omar Huey (Blair), Ian Gomez (Javier), Marissa Ribisi (Astrid), Evan Jones, Jade Herrera, Amanda Foreman (Meghan), Taraji P. Huson (R.A. 2), Cory C. Hardrict (R.A. 4), China Jesuista Shavers (R.A. 5), Ross Strauss (Sleeping Big Guy).

Tunes: Ben Webster (title unavailable--At the Renaissance), Beck ("Tropicalia"--Mutations), The Getaway People ("She Gave Me Love"--The Getaway People)


Long summary

At an R.A. meeting, Noel tells his fellow R.A.'s about "this guy on his floor" who has a problem with this girl--she's always coming to him with problems involving another guy. One of them suggests he's got the nice guy friend thing going on. Another tells him that this guy needs to draw the line (forget the new fire code, which they're supposed to be discussing).

Meanwhile, Felicity thinks she's becoming a buttinsky, which is an actual word in the dictionary [ed. note: not in my dictionary!] But she's got other problems too, namely Ben, who's still pissed about the essay incident.

Elena is on hold for a financial aid officer when Blair stops by with a copy of Mr. Webster (maybe he should get a Webster's dictionary for Felicity). But Elena likes guys with more hair, which he can do. So she renews her phone conversation.

In the cafeteria, Zack stops by and tells Felicity, Julie and Elena about a talent agent who will be visiting his film class. Elena thinks he shouldn't get his hopes up, but he's thinking about Julie, and her music (while Elena's wondering if they're screwing). Not that it's any of her business, but they're not. And neither are Felicity and Ben--whom she spots across the room. He's still not talking to her. At least not kindly.

So any advice from Noel would be helpful--even if it's just "go away" or "stop talking about Ben." He tries to draw the line but ends up giving her this advice instead: make up an excuse to go see him, so they can patch things up. She hugs her good friend, who's clearly tortured by the situation.

Meanwhile, Meghan's busy torturing Felicity with her box--namely, of opening at it, touching it, or shaking it. Felicity suggests that she ask the box, but reverse psychology isn't going to work.

As if buttinsky wasn't enough for one episode, Astrid "the alphabet is sexy" announces that the singular tense of graffiti is "graffito"--which she urges her fellow R.A.'s to use in a sentence (it throws people off). They discuss troubling advisees when Noel mentions that guy again. Drawing the line hasn't been easy, but then again, no one said it would be.

At Ben's, Felicity searches for her imaginary notebook until she realizes that he's not just mad; he's indifferent. She even tries to prove how much she's grown up in the past week--which must feel good--but Sean's too busy trying to show her his own notebook, which no one's interested in. Down, but not out, Felicity leaves.

Like most people without lives, Noel admits that his web page exists to fill free time and justify owning a computer. But Felicity's not thinking about cyberspace. She brings up what happened at Ben's, until Noel decides that he's not going to be her girlfriend (was he ever?). And he doesn't want to be the guy that always has to hear about the other guy, though talking about Ben's clothes, um, might be okay. Felicity has heard enough, though. She leaves to avoid crossing any further lines.

She turns to Julie just as she is headed for Zack's, where a whole situation is clearly brewing. Felicity is happy and embarrassingly jealous of her closest friend.

As the CSFWS pointed out, the look on Blair's face during this scene makes you think he's never seen anyone apply for financial aid in his life. It's kind of funny, though Elena doesn't seem to think so as she stares at the pink slip she's been handed. At Elena's, Felicity meets up with stunned boy, who informs her that the love of his life keeps shutting him down. Felicity tells him she's got the same problem with Ben-o-rama. They do some chatting when they realize that not only could both be models, but Felicity's high level connections to the admissions office might help Blair get over his fear of financial aid. "Will you do it?" he asks.

Scarier yet is finding Meghan perched on Felicity's bed at some ungodly hour of the night, accusing her of opening and/or shaking her beloved box. Meghan thinks she's been toying with its contents (naked pictures? drugs?), and Felicity's got the curiosity to prove it. But remember, curiosity killed the cat. Meghan announces she's buying a fingerprint kit.

Wide awake, Felicity barges into Noel's room. Who is he to draw a line, anyways? Okay, so she can't force him to talk about Ben, who, as he points out, she follows around like a lovesick schoolgirl. But at least she doesn't pretend like things are fine when she really has all these feelings. Even though she does--for Ben. And hey, he's still with Hanna.

In other developments, Sean's latest invention is a little too much like darts--only without the darts. Though Ben considers Felicity trouble, Blair thinks she has a good heart--especially since she's doing him a favor. He likes her, just like Mikey. But he could definitely do without the darts.

As if drawing lines weren't enough, advisees are running sex lines out of their rooms, and urinating in sinks. Noel insists that his guy is thinking of redrawing the line, since the first one clearly didn't work.

Elsewhere, Julie offers Zack a sample of her music, which he plans to use for his homemade flick. Only he's thinking of fugues--you know, the kind that Felicity and Noel were thinking about in Episode 15. When his hand inadvertantly slips under her shirt while they're kissing, Julie's thinking that this duet's happening a little too fast. He stops and apologizes.

Felicity shows Blair Elena's files, which he conveniently uses to convince her to stay. Seems that he's found a scholarship that's perfect for her--so perfect, in fact, that she's getting a little suspicious of the source.

Meanwhile, Felicity's thinking that the line is a symptom of some fundamental discord, while Elena's thinking that Felicity should fundamentally butt out of her financial problems. Okay, so she didn't just look in the ghetto file, but she did stick her nose in where it didn't belong. To make matters worse, Noel's got a new line--the current off limit topic being Ben and sex (but Ben's clothes, that's still okay).

In their final meeting, Noel tells the R.A.s that the guy redrew the line, but that it backfired. "Just quit playing games and be honest with her," Astrid tells him. After all, being a good friend is really all that he can be. And they definitely knew it was him.

At Julie's door, Zack and Julie (and a bottle of beer) make their way into Julie's room.

Noel convinces Elena to accept the scholarship by giving her a speech--and by pointing out that everyone needs a little help along the way, including this preppy Irish Catholic kid with clothes and a web page (just take the damn scholarship, is what he really means to say). Which is enough to convince Elena to pull that little piece of paper out of the trash.

She finally thanks Felicity for what she did, explaining that the scholarship is not only non-reimbursable, but potentially beneficial to another minority medical student. Hey--even Ben thinks it's cool, which he proves by finally uttering more than three syllables to Felicity (at once).

What's not cool is that Julie's been raped, which Felicity discovers when she visits the next morning. Not only is Julie acting strange, but her bedspread's been stuffed into her trash, and she's obsessing over sweaters (usually Felicity's area of expertise). Turns out that Zack was pretty aggressive, even after Julie said no... [ed. note: a pretty serious issue, so call 911 if this scenario sounds familiar to you in any way].

(to be continued)

1999 jenoy@pacbell.net Please do not reproduce without permission.