Felicity, Episodes 2.22 & 2.23
“Final Answer” & “The Biggest Deal There Is”
Original Air Dates: May 17 & 24, 2000
Emma: Continuing the fun from our last discussion the penultimate episode deals with finals and the many couples who are distracted by elements of their love life from awkward flirtations, lustful beginnings and unsuccessfully avoiding hurt feelings. As with the season 1 midterms episode “Finally,” where Felicity and Noel were in the early heavy make out stage of their relationship, “Final Answer” had a farcical element that played on both the anxiety of exams and the variety of entanglements that are occurring. Plus Noel wigged out because of beets and it was just as hilarious as it was the first time. More comedy for Scott Foley please, Scandal.
There are lots of couples to address but it makes sense to start with Felicity and Ben. The cold open was bizarre and kinda cute/expectedly creepy from Richard and Sean as they’re trying to peek into Ben’s room. Apparently there is some mooning/flashing and while we see no evidence of this at this point Felicity and Ben haven’t slept together, but that doesn’t mean nudity is out of the question. Meghan’s “that’s my girl” response to this made my heart swell and I’m so happy she’s now very much part of this group.
Felicity and Ben can’t keep their hands off each other which would be fine but they have to study. There’s also the matter of a summer internship that will keep Felicity in New York, whereas Ben is going home to a construction job that will pay for his tuition next year – in contrivance points Ben’s mom can’t afford his tuition so he has to do this job, though because his dad really is awful, this plot doesn’t feel like a reach. This becomes the sticking point/obstacle that takes up a lot of the Ben/Felicity conversations for the last two episodes when they’re not sucking face. I never expected it to be easy between these two but it would have been good to have one episode to enjoy it before the drama, maybe I’m asking too much.
So even though they agree to wait until after their finals before they can hang out again, Ben gets a hotel room – there is a theme of this on this show and like when Noel got a room for shenanigans things go awry – for after Felicity’s art history test and she’s all “fuck it” let’s get some smooching, over the clothes action in beforehand. Ben has been given a watch by Javier as a gift for being an usher at his wedding and this starts my favorite running gag of the episode demonstrating that the watch runs on kinetic energy. Of course the watch stops mid make out and Felicity misses the exam. I am a fan of the title cards informing us how long it is until the exam and when it is way over.
Missing the exam doesn’t mean failing the class, it just means she won’t get the internship and so she initially blames Ben for intentionally sabotaging her with his body. He rightly points out that the hotel room was meant for after her exam, not before and it was her idea to go there first. Big gesture time and Ben’s pleas to the professor (plus using his campus security connection) is adorable and honest getting Felicity a second chance. Essentially he helps her get the intern gig and it’s super cute that they refer to her essay as “our paper.” It’s just a shame that they spend the last episode in this push/pull between her taking the internship or going home. She really is the most flaky at times.
There’s a lot more Felicity and Ben stuff to deal with in the finale, before I get to that I want to see what you thought of them in this first episode we watched this week and how it compared to the other couples dramaz in this episode.
Julie: These final four episodes were so great. They weren’t bottle episodes, by any means, but they sort of had that feel of this group of people being kind of stuck together because of circumstances (the flood in the dorm and Tracy painting Elena’s apartment). Obviously the writers (or writer, J.J. Abrams) had a fantastic time navigating the relationships and trying out new pairings, because these episodes are full of new duos. Again, we’ll get to all that later. Because Felicity and Ben.
At this point, I’m all, “How was I ever on Team Noel?” Ben is super cute, super supportive, and super trying-so-hard. The two of them seem so happy together, and I love how dead on the writers were in dealing with the overwhelming need to smooch when you start dating someone new in college.
Felicity, you’re right, needs to stop being so wishy-washy. And she needs to get some self-control. She tends to completely lose herself when she’s with a guy (or at least when she’s with Ben or Noel; she never really put herself on hold for David or Greg). She was too hot for Noel during finals freshman year and she’s the same way with Ben now.
Regarding the internship, it was realistic, but also disappointing how it was always Felicity who was going to have to give up what she wanted in order for her and Ben to be together during the summer. I get that Ben had a good job lined up and that he needed to make money for school, but he could’ve offered to have taken out loans and/or accept a lower paying job and work more during the school year. The guy never once offered to put his life on hold for the girl.
But then, yay, Felicity does (after much, much, much hemming and hawing; how did her professor not tell her to shove it after all that) take the internship. She, as Dr. Pavone says, chooses herself over the guy, and it’s great. She and Ben appear ready to stick it out for the summer, and Felicity will never hold it against Ben that she denied herself a great opportunity because of him.
All is well, right? Everything’s perfect? Show over?
Emma: Dr. Pavone giving her best advice in the bathroom was of course a high point and I’m so glad Felicity chose herself over the boy. And she still gets the boy so win/win, but as you mention it is disappointing that the onus is entirely on her. Also can’t they visit at weekends? I know it’s not the closest of journeys, they can still make do. Alas no Skype back then.
One concern I had with Ben and Felicity is how they were going to approach the sex stuff, they skirted the issue first time even though they shared a bed. Not that sharing a bed means they should sleep together, but the attraction is strong. This might have been to do with the sex block after that art dude, but as she’s been in two other relationships since, that reason was no longer on the table. I just didn’t want it to be this whole big thing and have Ben be all Noel like and glad they didn’t sleep together or some such philosophical nonsense.
They didn’t get to use the hotel room for a magical night as they had the paper to write and the finale opens with Felicity telling Sally that sex is a big deal and while I’m glad they acknowledge this sentiment, I was also very happy they didn’t drag it out and it happened in a moment of spontaneity. Even if it happened at a point where they were both being horribly self absorbed, they still managed to make it funny/hot/sweet. Even if Felicity was wearing yet another matching disaster. It also occurred to me that Keri Russell is lucky enough to go sans bra making the whole undressing thing a lot less fumbly. The weird thing is that both Ben and Felicity’s exes are in the next room and can totally hear everything. And all their friends. Awkward.
Speaking of exes these two episode really do highlight the incestuous nature of this group and I did indeed draw a diagram to show the various entanglements. It felt necessary. Also in the key that says “dating/ex” despite my terrible handwriting.
The Julie/Noel storyline was not dropped, nope instead Julie used it as a deflection and a way to sabotage the thing with Sean. Julie felt bad and didn’t want to let Sean down, however when you live with the dude it’s probably best to be upfront and not show it with sofa smooches with your friend’s ex. Not that Felicity is remotely surprised or bothered by Julie’s crush as witnessed in the sharing session between the ladies on the campus steps. To me it feels like there is deleted scene that covered this as I’m sure Julie would talk to Felicity first as a result of their rift at the start of the season.
The big development here is that Meghan is into Sean; and even though he was completely bummed out by Julie’s Noel kissing, he gets over it pretty fast thanks to expensive mini bar candy and a hook up with Meghan. What do you think of this latest coupling?
Julie: Well, I love Meghan and Sean. I couldn’t remember if they hooked up during sophomore or junior year, but I’ve been waiting for this moment. I love how she’s all, “Sean’s cute,” and you can see the wheels turning. I think they’re kind of great together. She’s experienced and self-confident and you feel okay with her “settling down” because she’s already done it all. She knows what she wants, and what she wants is Sean. And Meghan is great for Sean, because I think she’s fiercely loyal, but she’ll also call you on your bullshit. Sean needs to be called on his bullshit.
And, while she gave up teaching at Wicca camp for the summer to go to Tuscany with Sean, who can blame her? This act feels less like choosing the boy over herself and more like, “I’m young and I want to have a fun time in Europe instead of spending my summer dealing with bratty kids.” Again, anyone would’ve made that decision.
I just feel awkward for Julie anytime Felicity and Ben are getting smoochy in close proximity. Julie and Ben had a pretty intense relationship. It wasn’t just a fling. He got her through some very tough times. I have a hard time believing that she’s 100% fine with everything, but it’s TV, so she kind of has to be.
And Noel? He’s in his own world right now. I don’t even think Felicity’s on his radar. It’s all Ruby and Julie and beets and now Natalie. Noel has gone rogue. He went to Europe last summer and had a pretty tame time (and he spent all year pining away for/assisting a pregnant woman), but now he’s run off with Javier’s cousin and he’s finally going to be the irresponsible Noel he needs to be. Good for him.
I love your diagram. I think Richard now needs to squeeze himself in here somewhere. Maybe he and Julie should hook up. I could actually see that. They’d be aesthetically cute together, and she needs someone less moody, and someone to drag her out of this birth parents mess. What did you think about the return of Carol?
Emma: I like that there’s nothing labored about Meghan and Sean as neither of them have been pining over the other for a substantial period of time and as you mention it’s a simple case of Meghan mentioning out loud that she thinks Sean is cute. There’s an ease to their hook up and even though Meghan is all whatever to Sean at first, there’s nothing about it that comes across as forced. Even when Sean does the jewelry gesture it could be a “too soon” moment but I love that it turns into a gag about what kinds of items Meghan has received in the past. Ditto her revelation to Felicity that sleeping with Sean is the first time she has done it on her back. Felicity’s reaction is hilarious, though I was also distracted by Felicity’s teeny tiny top knot or whatever the hell hairstyle you would call that. It was bad and you can tell they really regret this hair choice, thought they shouldn’t.
I also agree that the Megan/Sean summer plans thing is a very different situation and hell yeah to a fabulous vacation over Wicca camp. Maybe they will run into Noel and Natalie while on their travels.
Noel hasn’t had the best year when it comes to relationships, though I think it is best for everyone that Ruby is going back to her parents (I’m including us in this too). She can still go to college with a kid, but it sounds like a good plan to get settled with the baby first and rushing into marriage is no way to go. Noel can’t offer the same security and I genuinely believe that he wants to do the best for Ruby and the best is letting her go and sending the odd care package. So long Ruby, you annoyed me a lot less by the end but I certainly won’t miss you either.
I wasn’t too keen on Noel’s sick of being the nice guy speech as it verges on expecting everything to come his way just because he’s the nice guy, but I am all for him having a silly adventure rather than baby daddy drama.
The backdrop of the season finale is the Javier/Samuel wedding and I’m wondering just how rare gay marriage (or rather a civil union at this time) was on TV at this point. I feel like SATC had covered gay weddings by this point and Friends definitely had. The thing these all have in common is the New York location.
Ah yes the return of Julie’s birth mother Carol who only comes back on the scene as a result of her husband/Julie’s dad’s ill health. Julie has a right to be angry and feel used, but as Ben points out – and I love that Ben is the one who has this conversation with her considering how involved he was in this part of her life – her dad isn’t to blame for her mom keeping her a secret. It’s pretty shitty for Julie at the moment and she’s the only one not paired off at the wedding, I’m hoping for a lot more for Julie next season. Maybe Richard is an answer.
Elena and Tracy seem pretty solid and considering what Elena wore to the wedding – when she was looking at it on the mannequin I maybe yelled “why?” at the screen – I’m impressed they are still together. All jokes aside, I do find the Elena/Tracy union to be a rather lovely thing. What did you make of their almost sleeping together moment. Are they in it for the long haul?
Julie: How cute was Ben about “ushering” at Javier and Samuel’s wedding? He’s really winning me over, that boy.
This had to have been a pretty early gay wedding. We had definitely seen Susan and Carol’s wedding by this point, but TV was still skirting around the issue, I believe. And I’m pretty sure gay marriage wasn’t even legal at this point. I’m assuming everyone was getting a “civil union.”
Ugh, I completely feel for Julie in this. Yes, Ben is right that it’s not her dad’s fault (and, yes, I loved that they gave the two of them this moment), but giving a kidney is a pretty ding, dang big deal, and Carol totally sucks right now. She has put Julie in the awful position of either endangering her own health to save someone who doesn’t even know she exists or letting her biological father and the father of a couple more kids die. I do think the best thing for her is if she forces Carol to introduce the two of them. That way she can make an informed decision and she might feel less used. Plus, Bradley Whitford!
Elena and Tracy are wonderful together (and what was her outfit?). I hope they can work it out. Maybe Tracy can be an “everything but” boy. That’s not so bad, right, Elena? He’s worth it.
Speaking of fashion: Felicity’s morning hair topknot is awful and she should check that at the door before Ben sees her and dumps her for it. The short hair isn’t inherently bad. In fact, there have been times where it was downright cute. But this growing out phase is not good. It gets worse during junior year, just look at the boxed set.
I did love Felicity’s red dress for the wedding, though. Classic ’90s, gorgeous color.
Emma: Ben really is the cutest. That super dorky/adorable smile is ridiculous.
Yeah I Wikipedia’d and same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in New York until 2011 so it must have been a civil union. Glad to see Felicity celebrating Javier and Samuel without making it a huge deal that they’re getting married; it’s pretty much like every other wedding on TV. Well except for Javier’s announcement that’s he’s going to NYU next year mid speech, but that’s just Javier. An interesting move for sure, but one they laid the groundwork for when he mentioned in a previous episode that he was applying.
Yeah I want more Bradley Whitford.
Tracy and Elena are really great together and I can see them being an “everything but” couple. Maybe they will sleep together eventually, but at the moment it’s probably for the best that they don’t. Meghan’s hilarious tale of getting between a guy and his religion is hilarious and it stopped Elena from doing something Tracy might have regretted. Basically I dig them and I want to see a lot more of Tracy next season. Please stay, Donald Faison.
The red dress reminded me of what she wore at the start of the season, it’s a really great color on her (though she should never wear the red jeans/jean jacket combo ever again).
Now let’s talk season 3! What do you want to see?
A brief moment of happiness for Ben and Felicity is top of my list and I hope the summer apart isn’t going to derail things quickly. Drama I get, but it took so long to get them where they are now that I will be disappointed if they break up in the first 6 episodes.
Fun Noel! He’s a had a shitty year as he mentioned so I hope his summer of frolics hasn’t left him broken. Also if they’re going to do the love triangle again I still want some Ben/Noel friend time, even if that’s highly unlikely.
Something good for Julie and a story that doesn’t link back to her rape or adoption.
More Elena and Tracy.
Girls’ night out – that episode was really fun and having the four ladies as friends is way better than disputes and bitching.
Meghan. Just more of her.
A less flaky Felicity – just make a decision and stick with it this time.
Less parent drama – Felicity mentions that her parents might get back together and if this means no more dad in NY then let it happen.
One thing I continue to be impressed with is how this show deals with sexual health stories, more of this please.
Julie: I second everything you’ve mentioned. I think you’ve hit on everything. I definitely want more Meghan and more girlfriends’ time.
Most of all, I just want the group together, having fun. College is fun, Felicity!
Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.