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TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Power of the Ex” & “Spin the Bottle”

4 Jun

Felicity, Episodes 4.19 & 4.20
“The Power of the Ex” & “Spin the Bottle”
Original Air Dates: May 8 & May 15, 2002

Felicity 4.19 Dear SallyEmma: Felicity is still in the land of time travel over both of these episodes and this arc is amazing. It is ridiculous of course, but I am loving how they are playing with the ‘what ifs’ and going back to the season 1 well of stories. Instead of revisiting this season’s rather heavy storylines with Ben’s dad and Lauren they are instead bringing back some exes including Hannah! Yes I full on yelped when Jennifer Garner showed up and while it is a little cheesy I really loved the nods to her current Sydney Bristow physique when Meghan was suggesting Felicity should kick her ass. And really her arms look incredible.

I ended up rewatching the season 1 episode “The Fugue” (cue Manic Pixie Dream Boy) because it felt like there were so many direct callbacks, which it turns out there are. This includes Noel starting to hook up with Hannah and then realizing halfway through that it is a bad idea, helping Hannah out with a  piano related issue (the first time was her fugue and now it is her website) and the piece of music plays throughout. What this does is highlight just how quick Noel and Felicity have happened this time around and it is something Noel also mentions as being an issue. He also likes to use the word ‘confused’ rather a lot. In fact this is the word these characters all resort to when they are experiencing relationship drama.

Instead of the MPDB, Felicity ends up smooching Ben again and I’m really enjoying seeing him in full on arrogant mode because it is so much better than drunk and emotional as he probably would be if this was a real thing that is happening (and it might be a real thing that is happening, who knows at this point?). Instead he is playful and pretty sure of himself even when Felicity pulls away mentioning how she came back for Noel.

What was also interesting in this chem lab scene is that Felicity is wearing the same turtleneck sweater she wore earlier this season when Ben made his grand running to the airport gesture. And throughout this episode Felicity is wearing clothes she has worn earlier this year (which makes sense) including her paisley shirt and the black and white long sleeve polo. This latter outfit was worn when Ben thought Noel was trying to get back with Felicity and Noel called them both out for being big dumb dumbs. I did wonder if the costuming choices were a way to point to other significant moments but it doesn’t continue into the next episode so maybe not.

Felicity 4.19 Felicity and BenAs I mentioned last time we were discussing Felicity time traveling is that it gives Keri Russell the opportunity to be funny and she is nailing it. From getting flustered with Ben to trying to insist to Noel how fine she is and how right they are for each other. Everyone else is also doing a great job of acting like they are living this for the first time and once again because of Jennifer Garner I find it hard to hate Hannah even though she is kind of the worst.

Are you glad to spend more time in the past with faces we haven’t seen for an age?

felicity 4.20 Felicity and BenJulie: Ben Covington in these two episodes is exactly the right level of douchebag. I love sassy, confident Ben. And I especially love him with frazzled Felicity. I’ve always complained about these two not having fun together. But now, in these time travel episodes, they’ve actually got a nice Tracy/Hepburn vibe going and it makes her interactions with him much more interesting than whatever sad sack stuff is going on with Noel.

Theory: Felicity’s relationships with boys become extremely tedious and boring as soon as she starts dating them.

Though I guess that’s true for a lot of TV relationships.

It was funny seeing J-Gar in these episodes, especially after we’ve been talking about her all week, regarding her possible marital issues with Ben Affleck. And when you think about it, she was married to Scott Foley at this point, but she had also already been working on Alias for a year. Were things already happening between her and Michael Vartan? I wonder. She definitely comes off as the victim in whatever’s happening in her marriage right now, but she for sure had her own issues before Batfleck.

Her arms do look great though.

But Hannah is the worst. Or is Felicity the worst? She’s trying so hard to make this work with Noel, and, maybe it’s real or maybe it’s a dream, but it seems like whatever universe or part of her psyche they’re in is working to show Felicity how much she and Noel really shouldn’t be together. Yet Felicity persists. And I wonder if her blocking Noel and Hannah getting back together was kind of awful. What if the two of them are meant to be together? They do have this history and a mutual respect for what the other does. I’m just wondering. What if this is Hannah’s way of undoing her own mistakes, just as this flashback is Felicity’s way of undoing hers?

You’re the queen of remembering outfits. So much of that went right over my head.

Felicity 4.19 HannahEmma: The Ben/Felicity back and forth reminds me of the end of season one when their flirting hit crazy new heights and you are so right about it highlighting how much more fun it is when she is in the before part of the relationship. What I find interesting is that everyone is acting in heightened ways so Ben’s cocksure attitude is one extreme of his personality and it becomes even more like this as Felicity is trying to push him away. And yet she can’t help kissing him and I can’t blame her because the stuff with Noel has already hit moody relationship territory.

It’s funny how Hannah has not even been mentioned since the last time we saw her back in season one and yet it makes so much sense seeing Noel with her. I don’t know if it’s because of their actual relationship in real life or because it is Jennifer Garner but these two actually make a whole lot more sense to me than Felicity and Noel. And the fact they are repeating actions that have already happened also means something. Yes Noel rejects Hannah in favor of Felicity both times, but I think his initial confusion has a lot to do with his coupling with Felicity just not being quite right. It is all very Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Felicity 4.19 Noel and HannahAnd I would love it if Hannah is also trying to make up for a past mistake too even if she goes about it in an awful and sneaky way. The tension between Felicity and Hannah is fun from the awkward hug goodbye to the very thinly veiled attempt to tell her to back off with a piano lesson. They also have pretty good chemistry and now I want to see Jennifer Garner guest starring on The Americans (it would never happen as it would be far too distracting and stunt casting is not their thing, but it would be so much fun to see her in spy mode again).

How do you feel about Noel telling Felicity that she has to wait just like he waited? On one hand I can see that’s a valid point from his perspective, but also dude you’ve done this to her before with Hannah and also it isn’t a point scoring contest. Yes they have only been together a week and yes Felicity has been acting kinda weird – another Keri Russell excellent reaction is her super high pitched “What do you mean?” when Noel points this out – but still this is kinda cold from Noel.

Felicity 4.19 ElenaFor some reason Trevor isn’t in Ben’s O-Chem class this time around and he doesn’t end up with Elena helping him out when he bottoms out. Instead he ends up reluctantly going to Felicity for help as she is of course acing the class and I of course love how they use chemistry as a metaphor for what is going on here with opposites attracting and the like. It is VERY on the nose but I am all in.

Javier and Elena are off on a story island of their own and it is fine, but I would much prefer both of them were incorporated in what Felicity is doing rather than being off to the side as the comic relief.

Another name gets mentioned from the past in the first episode with Sean ringing Julie out of the blue. I was wondering if we were going to get to see her and this is immediately answered with a resounding yes in the second of the these episodes. Julie is still playing her guitar and wearing awful pink tops and no one mentions why she left in the first place. Sean thinks this is his chance to tell Julie how he really feels about her and this is really shitty for a number of reasons 1) he has already done this and 2) what about Meghan? Yes their relationship is pretty awful but it is also a very bad move to call up a crush from the past and invite her to stay?

Have you missed Julie, Julie?

Felicity 4.20 Sean and Julie Julie: I’m guessing that Felicity took Trevor’s spot in o-chem, which is just more Butterfly Effect stuff. He doesn’t get into the class, he doesn’t become Ben’s lab partner, he never meets Elena. Felicity’s ruining everyone’s love lives!

Also, Elena-related, back when Ben and Felicity were on their break and he was working with Trevor, at least she had something to do. She was the tutor and she had cute chemistry with Trevor. Now she’s stuck teaching Javier about acting? What? Tangi Miller, whom did you piss off?

Noel bringing up the fact that he’s been waiting a long time for Felicity tells me that he’s not ready to forgive Felicity for making him wait. There’s still this bitterness and resentment underneath that are going to be very hard to get rid of. Though, it’s not like he put his life on hold waiting for her. He had other (serious) girlfriends. Maybe he should just stop being petty and be with the girl he likes.

Which, to be fair, he does end up doing, and, in traditional Felicity fashion, the two of them wind up moving WAY TOO FAST when they agree to move in together. Felicity is always in such a hurry to grow up. Why not just let Noel get his own place, and you keep your place, and you can spend a lot of time in his apartment but still keep your independence?

I’m trying to figure out a way to segue to Julie, but there is no good segue. She’s back. Ugh. And she’s basically awful. She’s leading Sean on (which she’d probably maintain wasn’t intentional, but come on; he’s liked her forever). Then she takes the tickets he bought for the two of them and asks Ben (her “best friend’s” very recent ex-boyfried) to the concert. She sucks. Her music sucks. Her clothes suck.

Apparently I have very strong feelings.

How did you feel about the return of Julie?

Felicity 4.20 FelicityEmma: The moving in thing is so ridiculous especially when coming off the back of the whole Hannah drama. For Felicity I guess it is in part down to not knowing how long she has in this version of the timeline and also because this is what she does. At least when she moved in with Ben for that hot minute they had least been together for a while. I also love that when he brings it up Noel has no idea what he is talking about as it was off when he was being Leon and totally out of the loop. Nice continuity, show. This was one of the many dickish moments from Ben, but really entirely justifiable on this occasion. When Ben mentions how Felicity worried he would cheat on her I possibly yelled at the screen “but you did cheat on her” because I love to participate in conversations like this it would seem.

Ah Julie, yep still the worst (the above photo is a good representation). I think she could have handled the Sean stuff better and while she doesn’t owe him anything romantically of course, she didn’t have to take up his offer to stay over. Instead she could have just met up with him for a drink or something. But nope Julie is pretty oblivious whether she intends to be or not and the same goes for Felicity. Yes technically Julie and Ben dated first, but that also came about after she knew Felicity had feelings for him and yes she knows how long Felicity and Ben dated AND that they just broke up. Really not cool, Julie.

felicity 4.20 Felicity and JulieThe double date is of course a terrible idea for all involved as it is clear there is still a whole lot of feelings/tension between Ben and Felicity – remember when Julie also had the hots for Noel? – and I’m fine with Ben teasing both Noel and Felicity to be honest. His arrogance in this situation is attractive in all the ways it shouldn’t be and Noel’s closing speech to Felicity after he has seen her reaction to Julie and Ben kissing sums up why they are not right for each other. Not because of what Noel describes as how he’s never going to inhabit her in the same way Ben does (also ew, this is not a great way to describe this) but because Noel can’t get over her history with Ben. Am I being too harsh on Noel?

Meghan snarks a whole bunch at everyone which is more than fair especially when Sean is involved and I was really happy when she told him she didn’t want him anymore as you don’t ring up a former crush, get rejected and then expect things to be the same. Meghan instigates the spin the bottle game (which once again gives Keri Russell the chance to deliver all the amazing reactions) and I think she is just so over the relationship shit from this group. I also love how she alluded to Felicity’s ‘return trip’ as no one else is privy to Felicity’s time travel conundrum.

Felicity 4.20 spin the bottle part one Felicity 4.20 spin the bottle part two Felicity 4.20 spin the bottle part threeSo we have two episodes left (*sob*) and I’m wondering how they are going to wrap this all up and while I thought I knew who Felicity ended up with, now I’m not so sure. SO MUCH TENSION.

Felicity 4.20 BenJulie: Oh, my God, Julie and Noel. That happened for a second, and not much more than that. I think the show has forgotten about it because, while it still remembers Leon (kind of?), it makes no mention of Julie and Noel’s almost romance.

I don’t think you’re being too harsh on Noel, though I do get why this is tough on him. While Hannah will always be the one that got away for Noel, at least she’s not around. Ben is constantly there. Noel lives with him right now. He’s part of their group of friends. Also, he’s seen first hand how at times Ben has not treated Felicity all that well. He’s helped her through their rough patches. It has to suck knowing that you’ll always be second best to this guy who has often been kind of a dick (Ben’s favorite word). If Felicity and Noel are really committed to making this work, they need to cut Ben out. I definitely don’t think Felicity’s there yet, though.

The spin the bottle thing was so awkward and hard to watch. Like a lot of the characters on this show apparently, I, too, played this game for the first time in college with, like, all my friends. On several occasions. Shit got weird. I can only imagine how weird it would be to play this game in a room full of exes and current couples. At least Meghan managed to stir things up, making both Noel and Sean face some facts.

And I did love that she didn’t take Sean back. He needs to sit in the corner for a while and think about what he’s done.

I’m excited to get to these final two episodes. This is such a fun way to wrap up a series. It’s like the reverse of Parks & Rec. Instead of showing us the future, it shows us a new version of the past.

Felicity 4.19 MeghanEmma: Spin the bottle is one of those games that seems like such silly when you’re drunk at college and those guys were far too sober and in a room of far too many relationship dramas to be even contemplating such a game. It’s really Ben’s fault for sitting there absent-mindedly spinning a beer bottle when Meghan came in.

If one of the things this time travel achieves is to split Meghan and Sean up then I am fine with that because they really do make a terrible couple who aside from a few moments of happiness and support have spent their time miserable together. This do over could be the best thing that happened to Meghan and she was the one who did the spell in the first place so that’s fair. However I’m guessing Felicity is going to find her way back, I’m just not sure how.

And I love that this is a reverse Parks & Rec situation and it is such a fun way to wrap up the show. I’ve become rather attached to these characters and I’m sad it is all going to be over soon, even if I’m really looking forward to seeing how they end it all.

Felicity 4.20 NoelJulie 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.

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2 Responses to “TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Power of the Ex” & “Spin the Bottle””

  1. Lisa Alaniz July 11, 2017 at 4:30 am #

    Felicity way too nice both ben and Noel ok pick other women. Instead of Felicity and Ben cheated Felicity took him back right away was not mean or pushed him away like Ben did to her or break up i think she should have she is way too nice gets walked all over by Ben and Noel she should dated other people neither Noel or Ben deserve. Felicity Ben actsike a saint when Felicity cheated what about when he dumped her and picked Avery over Felicity after he claimed loved her dated her long time and fed Felicity the this time he changed bullshit line he always uses Felicity stuck by him waited it out she should have dumped Ben plus he was not there for her Felicity had every right to make a mistake after she stuck by him he left town to be with another woman accepted gifts from her kssing her spending all his time with that tramp Avery yet been throws in her face treats Felicity like crap for cheating one time after everything Ben put Felicity through i call Bullshit Felicity needs to grow some balls not let guys walk all over her treat her like crap especially Ben.

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  1. Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set | TV Ate My Wardrobe - August 5, 2015

    […] and Sliding Doors is the inspiration for this alt-reality setting. If you read our Felicity discussion posts you will know I love a ‘road not traveled’ exploration. Although interestingly enough I […]

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