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Tag Archives: Time Travel

TV Rewind: Felicity, “Felicity Interrupted” & “Back to the Future”

18 Jun

Felicity, Episodes 4.21 & 4.22
“Felicity Interrupted” & “Back to the Future”
Original Air Date: May 22, 2002

Felicity 4.22 FelicityJulie: Having watched the Felicity finale (again), I feel like I can say with much certainty that clip show finales stink. I am not a fan. I think back in the day when DVDs and then streaming weren’t available, when your only hope of seeing old episodes was if the show made it into syndication, clip shows were great. I remember actually liking them quite a bit in my younger days. But now, it’s just lazy. And to pull out the clip show trope in a series finale? A slap in the face to everyone who has stuck by your show for its entire run.

Maybe if the clips had come during the penultimate episode I wouldn’t have been so upset, but I don’t know. It’s all very cheap to me.

I guess at least we did have that second-to-last hour with all new stuff, and it was somewhat compelling. Felicity, having confessed that she’s from the future, gets committed by Noel and Ben who are (rightly) concerned about the state of her mental health. I love that they used Ben’s dad’s illness as the way to convince Ben that Felicity is for real. I was wondering if that HUGE plot line would make an appearance, and it did, in a really clever way.

The other plot line from the past that comes into play here is the fire in the building that for some reason housed both the career counselors and the art department. This time, Felicity isn’t trapped inside the art studio, but Noel is still there working in his office. He ends up dying, which is grim, and not the intended result of Felicity’s time travel. This spurs her to get back to the future, and she (with the help of Meghan) finds Dr. Korsakov, whom Felicity helps realize that his time travel spells do work.

I’m assuming that this is one of those time travel-y situations where Felicity came from the future to help him realize that he needed to publish his book, that it worked. It reminds me of the time travel stuff in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (right?) where Harry thinks he sees his dad conjuring a patronus, but really it’s himself doing it in the future or whatever. Anyway. This time travel talk is confusing.

Let’s talk about this: How the heck is Elena now alive in the future at Noel’s wedding and also how is she with Tracy?

And how nice was it that the show ended with a Sarah McLachlin song?

Felicity 4.22 groupEmma: What the clip show?! Honestly I was so mad as soon as I realized what they were going for as this is not the kind of thing you use for the finale and in a way it would have been so much better if they had flipped the episodes because “Felicity Interrupted” was really great making this finale choice even more disappointing. I’d never considered that a clip show acts as a way for an audience to see best of moments before we had instant access to everything, but yeah don’t go all in on this for your finale. I’m trying to think when shows did away with this format. Part of it was to do with the amount of episodes they had to produce, right? As it gave the writers a chance to catch up/have a break. I feel like I have read that somewhere. But it did feel very dialled in and just a meh way to go out after the amount of fun from the 4 previous time travel episodes.

So I did a little research in that I watched this clip and it reveals just why they did this time travel arc. Long story short they were repeatedly told they would have 17 episodes for the final season which is why episode 17 feels like the series finale with Felicity graduating and then ending with Ben coming to her. Then they got a surprise 5 episode order so they pretty much went fuck it and went with the path untravelled with Felicity choosing Noel instead. So pretty much what we figured. They wanted her to end up with Ben but at the same time they needed a reason to explore the other version so time travel! This brings me back to my original issue with the whole thing because while I LOVE the whole time travel arc I still hate the catalyst because I still don’t think Ben would do that. Or if he did cheat he wouldn’t do it in the way it occurred and it just makes her final decision at the end to just forgive him seem a little hollow and a disservice to both Felicity and Ben. The Team Noel fans must have been fuming.

And yes the Elena thing because if Elena is alive then surely the whole reason Ben cheats disappears as well. Speaking of which YouTube also gives an explanation as to how she is alive and it will also make you mad about how much time they wasted on SCENES WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN and cut out an actual important plot point. Elena is alive because Felicity made her promise to go to Duke instead of Columbia and I’m shaking my head so hard that they cut this out and instead showed us a history of Felicity and her friends. We know all of this stuff so why get rid of something that might confuse/piss people off?! I figured something like this had probably happened but this was a case of show not make us guess what the fuck happened. I watched this episode a week ago and I’m still mad it would seem (the photo below is an accurate representation of my reaction).

Felicity 4.21 FelicityIt was nice seeing all these moments again, but not at the expense of a good finale. Instead it just comes across as super sentimental and empty all at once. I was going to rematch the pilot but it turns out I don’t need to do that.

I have more to say about the finale, but first I want to discuss the penultimate episode and in my internet hunt for a song that was used (this site has all the Felicity tracks – I love how early 00s it looks) I just noticed that they aired both these last two episodes back to back which would have maybe cushioned my clip show rage if I had been watching it live when it first aired. And you’re so spot on about how great a final track that is for this show.

The way they blend in the actual past with Felicity’s current predicament is great and it makes sense that out of the two Ben would be the one who ends up believing her. It also led to one final Ben and Noel team up and while these have been far and few between it still made me so happy to see them working together in this way. From the research on the computer – got to love internet diagnosis practices – to when they show up at Felicity’s with their broadest/fakest smiles. For all their animosity while these two will never be besties they do work well together even if Ben goes and ruins it by believing Felicity. A call from Lauren sparks this as Felicity has both mentioned her and his father’s illness; I really love the scene where Ben wakes Noel up to tell him he believes Felicity because Scott Foley does sleepy dopiness so well. And because I want them to snuggle. I did think it was interesting at no point did Felicity tell Ben about sleeping with Lauren or the son he now has. What did you make of this?

Did you enjoy the Ben/Noel team-up as much as I did? Also did you get Alias vibes when Ben broke Felicity out of the psychiatric hospital? Because I definitely did, from the way it was shot to the general look of it. I think you can tell the two shows shared offices.Felicity 4.21 Felicity, Ben and NoelJulie: Wow. Good on you with the research. That’s all very interesting. It makes sense that episode seventeen was meant to be the finale. The stuff afterwards really does feel tacked on (even if it was, for the most part, very cool). Like you, I do wish they had shown the Elena scene because COME ON she’s alive in the final scene (with Tracy, no less) and they give no explanation for it. I guess we can also assume that before she tries to return to the future she tells Ben not to sleep with Lauren and tells Meghan and Sean to get back together?

I also loved the team-up of Ben and Noel. They do make a good, if odd, pair. Maybe now that everything has been figured out, that Ben and Felicity are now good (and, yeah, presumably he doesn’t cheat on her now that Elena’s alive?) and Noel is married, maybe now they can be friends?

Felicity 4.21 Felicity and the boys

Speaking of the Ben cheating thing, nothing’s really solved here, is it? I mean, he knows she was mad at him for cheating on her, but I feel like they could still run into the same issue again if Felicity finds herself sad or stressed about something again. She’s the one who learned the lessons here, not Ben. I also wonder about his reaction to her telling him about Lauren and the baby. Was any part of him like, wistful that if he doesn’t hook up with Lauren, his baby won’t be born? That’s a pretty big butterfly effect, and would’ve been a much more interesting thing to see, writers, instead of clips from freshman year.

Actually, yeah, that would’ve been great. They should’ve showed us what happened between the time where she decides to go back to the future and before the actually does. What does she tell people? What advice does she give? Does she set herself or her friends up with some good stock tips? Wasted opportunity.

What would you have told Felicity’s friends if you had been her?

Felicity 4.21 Ben and NoelEmma: This is the ultimate problem with time travel stories as we’re now left with all the ‘but if this happened then that wouldn’t have and then we wouldn’t be here in the first place.’ Or the time travel paradox in its more concise form. They do the whole it was just a dream thing because Felicity had a crazy fever and it looks like this is the case, except Elena is alive. And Ben utters the same declaration which is all full of flowery and meaningful words that won’t mean anything if he does it again. And I love that all it takes is for Ben to promise he won’t cheat for Felicity to be all okay with the whole getting back together thing. I mean I guess he did break her out of an asylum and believe her when no one else would, that’s got to earn some points.

I got a whole lot of Eternal Sunshine feelings from Felicity and Ben’s bedtime chat as they talk about whether she will remember any of this and that she will find a way to remember. I maybe whispered ‘Meet me in Montauk‘ at the screen. Because whatever Felicity does the end result is the same; Ben is who she ends up with.

The one clip that made the most sense to remind us of is the one where Ben refers to the movie canister as a time machine, but they could have done away with all the other ones. This one reinforces not only Ben and Felicity as a couple but is also a fortuitous piece of writing from season two that nicely links into this ‘oh shit we have five extra episodes so let’s do time travel’ thing they’ve got going on.

Also scoring on the ‘huh this ties in nicely’ is Zoe in the psychiatric hospital as they have already laid the groundwork for this and it not only gives Felicity hope that she isn’t going through some kind of psychosis but it also links back to the present day with Noel’s wedding. Felicity also tells Zoe about Noel and now I want to see the wedding toast to see if anyone mentions how Noel first met Zoe. Maybe this is why everyone is laughing so heartily during the final montage.

Felicity 4.22 fake laughingThe lack of Lauren/baby mention feels very Friday Night Lights season 2 in that if they don’t acknowledge it this means it didn’t happen. Other advice I think Felicity needs to give people before coming back includes telling Julie to not be such a terrible friend and to quit it with the awful pink tops already. I also want her to tell Meghan not to get back with Sean because I just can’t with their bickering – her project presentation did make me laugh a lot mostly because of all the facial expressions.

Felicity 4.21 Meghan presentationSpeaking of facial expressions this was another great Keri Russell showcase including all of her exasperated looks at the Ben/Noel brain trust. They are right to be concerned but could they get her committed like this? I know I’m questioning the validity of this whole thing in a time travel plot but it does seem far too easy in how she ends up in hospital. I guess she complies to it all and it isn’t entirely against her will. As soon as Ben asked to see her it was clear that she would end up with him because the trust level despite the whole cheating thing is much higher. Plus as Noel pointed out there is a connection between Ben and Felicity that runs far deeper than any of her other relationships.

I have been firmly on Team Ben for since season 2 (I’m such a team switcher) and I know you have been less sold on Mr Covington at times so do you think Felicity ended up with the right person? And would you feel differently if it had ended at episode 17? Also in the name of fairness here are Buzzfeed lists selling the merits of both Ben and Noel.

felicity 4.21 BenJulie: I feel like, in general, there wasn’t a lot of thought put into research for these episodes. They seemed to have winged it with the time travel conceit and with the logistics of getting someone committed. I mean, would they really go from girl on the street not hurting anyone to padded cell in, like, a minute? That seems quick. Also, it’s a little scary if someone can diagnose you from WebMD and then get you locked up in a psych ward like it’s nothing. But it works for the narrative, I guess, so whatever.

That kind of sums up all my feelings about this finale: Whatever.

I’ve been a bit wishy-washy about my team allegiances. I know I’ve been a Noel apologist, which angered some people I don’t know why. I do love Noel. He, specifically, first season Noel, is exactly my jam. He’s dorky, smart, and sweet. Ben is a little too aloof in the early goings, and, while he ends up being a decent guy, I still think he has growing up to do. As does Felicity. So, as far as who I think she should’ve ended up with, the answer is: Herself. She should’ve pulled a Kelly Taylor. She should’ve chosen “me.” It’s what she did basically back in the faux finale, and I like how that ended. She chose herself and then Ben came to her, which is right. I really could’ve done without the back-tracking, honestly. They could’ve ended it right there, with everyone still alive and in love and happy, and it would’ve been fine.

Though we would’ve missed out on all the good frantic Keri Russell acting. She (and Speedman) were great in these final episodes.

Now that the show is done, what were some of your favorite moments from the four seasons?

Felicity 4.21 hugEmma: Once again Scott Speedman shows off his exceptional hug skills and these last five episodes really did showcase the best of the chemistry between Speedman and Keri Russell.

Season 1 Noel is also my jam which is why I was Team Noel in the early days and then things shifted for me maybe because Ben did sort of change, but yeah the dude does still have a lot to do in terms of growing up. He definitely needs to quit the hero act – I love that Meghan mentioned this quality when Julie looked all sad about Ben going after Felicity rather than sticking with her. It was bitchy but delicious. The graduation episode really was the perfect ending and I wonder if Scott Foley got to direct as a sort of second place prize for not getting the girl. But I did really enjoy the time travel episodes for the most part so I don’t mind the WB fucking them around too much.

Okay favorite moments time!

One relationship I really enjoyed seeing develop and grow is between Meghan and Felicity which went from pure animosity to full on BFFs. Those final moments in the last episode as they nuzzle into each other is just as important as any of the many Felicity/Ben hugs which I’ve mooned over. Lady friendships on teen shows are often contentious for obvious reasons like dudes but they started out disliking each other for the simple fact that they were so different to each other and they had been thrust into each other’s world through a simple room assignment. As you know I also really dig that they are besties in real life too. I would also like to see Amanda Foreman in more stuff please.

Felicity 4.22 Meghan and FelicityThe sexual health stuff was generally a high point and Felicity’s contraceptive pill campaign is just as significant now as it was then. This was also the episode where Ben and Noel got drunk, played video games and hit each other so it was general all around good stuff (except for Felicity kissing that Greg dude, he sucked). The same goes for how they Julie rape storyline was handled, also still depressingly relevant even if certain actors involved with said storyline disagree. There were maybe a few too many pregnancy scares and actual pregnancies for my liking and it is a convenient way of adding extra drama.

I also appreciate that Felicity was far from perfect and that she fucked up on multiple occasions whether it was getting blackout drunk and not knowing if she had slept with that frat bro or the time she lost her virginity to the MPDG, she made mistakes and had regrets but they were still hers to have. She isn’t just this sweater wearing A grade perfect student. The time she copied that dissertation was not good storytelling. That was one fuck up too far in that there were no real consequences.

Holiday themed episodes were also pretty great from the first season Halloween where Felicity threw up in Noel’s lap to the first Thanksgiving where she frantically smooched Noel in the bathroom. It’s not holiday themed but the mid-term episode in season 1 which introduced us to Noel’s beets reaction is also a high point.

The randomness of the Twilight Zone inspired episode and attention to detail of the homage makes that one really special. Considering it was one of the only things I knew about the show before I came in it could have been a huge let down but instead it was what I hoped it would be and more.

I have more to add including costume favorites but I will pass it over to you before I write an entire essay entitled “What I Love about Felicity.

Felicity 4.21 Meghan and ElenaJulie: One thing that kept me from watching Felicity when it originally aired (aside from the fact that I was in college myself at the time), was that I assumed Felicity was going to be this perfect, no mistakes, cool girl. I was very wrong. She is not that. She’s awkward and confused and she sometimes makes horrible decisions (including sartorial ones). She’s very earnest and socially conscious, which could’ve gotten old, but the people around her bring her back down to Earth. I love how real and flawed she is, and the writers kept her that way for the duration of the show.

My top favorite moment is the Thanksgiving kiss with Noel during freshman year. For me, that is one of the top five kisses of all time on television. It’s just so…college. It happens in a women’s bathroom, for goodness’s sake. (This show could’ve used more bathroom drama, all told.)

Other things I loved were Ben getting in touch with his feelings on the basketball court, Dr. Pavone, the pre-rape Pink Guy, the MPDG (Even if he was a MPDG. Felicity deserves to have hot sex with hot people.)

I didn’t love almost every storyline involving Julie, what happened with Elena at the end, Javier jumping from being their cool uncle to being their classmate, Meghan and Sean’s breakups, whatever happened with Richard by the end of the run.

This show did have a tough time with character consistency, and the writers never really knew what to do with Felicity, career-wise. They never knew what to do with anyone, career-wise, unless that career was something straightforward like “doctor.” Actually “doctor” was the only career they ever really had a grasp on. What was Megan’s major? Psych? Education? I don’t even know. What about Richard or Javier? For a show about college, they never really explored the whole point of going to college — to learn and prep for a career.

Okay, now I want to hear about your costume highlights and lowlights.

felicity 4.22 photo of NoelEmma: That kiss is spectacular and the level of bathroom shenanigans particularly in the later seasons is depressingly low. All I can really remember is those random girls who moved in and Felicity’s bedroom/en suite sharing debacle. That is not the kind of bathroom action I want from my teen shows. Meghan and Felicity did manage to sneak some good stuff in when they were at the loft on the odd occasion I guess.

Another great kiss moment is Felicity and Ben’s first smooch as it is so playful and flirty. It’s not quite the heights of the Noel kiss but still really good nonetheless.

Yeah character consistency is definitely an issue the show had and while I don’t mind them not necessarily knowing what they want to be/do after college – and I think they nailed the anxiety this causes – it is a shame doctor is the one that sticks for three of these characters. I also would have liked more Felicity and her lady friends time as I don’t think they were terrible at this, but Elena and Meghan definitely got sidelined in favor of whatever boy drama was going on. Basically I wanted more girls’ nights out.

This nicely leads me to costume highlights as one of the worst outfits is also one of my favorites and I’m sure you know which one I’m going to say – yep the double red denim. The dream! Speaking of red and the super sexy dress she wore at the start of season 2 is a killer as is the really cute spaghetti straps super 90s dress at the start of season 1 which she pairs with some Cons and a cardigan. Felicity reminds me how much I still like 90s fashion and how bad the early 00s were for clothes. And she was generally good when it came to party attire that didn’t involve double denim as this sparkly top from the shooting episode (I still can’t believe that is a thing that happened) is very cool. Her sweater collection is like no other with more turtlenecks and chunky knits than any other characters. She even had a summer t-neck collection for when she needed to hide her Noel induced hickey.

What stands out to you clothes wise?

And we can’t talk about the legacy of Felicity without talking about the big hair chopping moment. This was one of the only things I knew about the show going into it and how it supposedly impacted the ratings. In terms of haircuts I think she looks cute with it short but she definitely experienced the awkward growing out stage. I did also enjoy the big wink reference to this haircut in the finale and it is funny how big the reaction was to it. But she was the girl with all the hair so I can understand why this was a BIG DEAL.

Felicity 4.22 Felicity timetravelJulie: Double red denim IS the dream. I’m considering wearing it to all my fancy weddings this year.

I’m bad at remembering specific outfits (I think you mentioned most of my favorites), but I really do love the nostalgia feelings that come with all these clothes. I was in college at the same time that Felicity aired and I definitely had a lot of sweaters in the late ’90s and sparkly tops in the early ’00s. Everything Noel wears feels like it could’ve been lifted from the closet of every guy I knew at the time. The only thing missing, boy-fashion-wise, was some dude with a giant, curly mop on his head. Ben and Noel’s hair situation was always quite attractive, unlike a lot of the guys I knew back in the day.

One of the only good things about the flashbacks in the finale was that it took us on the Felicity hair journey again. I still don’t get all the pearl clutching about the short ‘do. She looked so cute. The growing out phase, however, especially toward the end of season two and the beginning of three, was the real tragedy.

Maybe Felicity should’ve turned back time all the way to the beginning of the second season. Maybe all of her problems would’ve been solved if she had just not gotten that haircut.

Felicity 4.22 weddingEmma: I did wonder if it would have been better if she went right back to the end of season 1 when the first Ben vs. Noel choice was presented. It would save a lot of heartache although she ultimately would end up with Ben (or so the show would like us to believe and I agree with this).

This show made me super nostalgic too and I do wish I had watched it when it was on. I hate the phrase ‘role model’ in this context but I do think Felicity is a pretty great character for all the reasons we have written about. Keri Russell’s performance has been excellent throughout and I barely got any character whiplash when alternating between this and The Americans, which speaks to how she plays these characters. Speaking of which it is funny that she has gone from much talked about haircut to a show where the hair or rather the wigs are a big topic of conversation.

After watching and discussing this show with you for two years now I am feeling rather emotional that we are all done and there is no more. It has been very fun and now we’ve been through TV high school twice we’re now graduating from TV college too.

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.

 

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TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Graduate” & “Time Will Tell”

14 May

Felicity, Episodes 4.17 & 4.18
“The Graduate” & “Time Will Tell”
Original Air Dates: Apr. 24 & May 1, 2002

Felicity 4.17 graduationEmma: The big mystery from these two episodes is not how Meghan can send Felicity back in time, but how she managed to get away with copy that dissertation and a one sentence ‘oh yeah that was fine and now we are graduating’ explainer. Some time has passed since the last episode as Ben is out of hospital and yep they are all graduating. A LOT happens over the course of both and while I have an itch to jump ahead to time travel there is also a lot to unpack in “The Graduate.”

We open with Noel and Felicity in a cab with Noel asking us if Felicity is okay, it isn’t blatantly blatantly obvious but it is using JJ’s favorite Alias in media res narrative device as I suspected and as we discover later in the episode this is just after Felicity and Ben have decided to part ways. Felicity tells Noel she is okay and there’s also a voiceover talking about how ‘this isn’t how it was suppose to end’ and the latter, it turns out, is part of a tape letter to Ben. The triangle even though it has leaned heavily one way for an age now is coming back into focus.

The scene cuts to Ben and Felicity in bed talking about graduation, how she managed to get a pass for that art class (not the essay of course, still huh) and that the safety net which has kept them together will be gone. Ben ends up proposing in a semi spontaneous way (he mentions how he’s been thinking about it since the hospital) and this very much feels like a way to reassure Felicity rather than something they should actually be doing. She doesn’t say yes straight away and for once she is thinking rationally about Ben but when Ben gets a call about Lauren going into labor, Felicity changes her unsure answer into a yes. Oh, Felicity.

Ben goes from super into this idea to being a little distant when he returns from the birth of Andrew (his dads name – I feel like this was not something I knew). This is classic Ben as he wants to please/save everyone. The Arizona debate returns and he somewhat assumes that Felicity will just come with him now that he put a ring on it. I mean he didn’t even do that part yet.

To make things even more stressful for Felicity her parents are being their usual overbearing selves but for once her dad makes a good point that she is always following Ben. Things get even more fraught when Richard (of course it is Richard) spills the details to Papa Porter that Ben is not only a baby daddy but that he is moving to Arizona and Felicity is going with him.

In this episode there is so much going on that it is hard to keep up with all the huge decisions/breakups that take place but one thing becomes very clear and that is without the safety net and with Ben’s new family responsibilities it means things are over for Ben and Felicity (well sort of). It is sad and they share one last night together, which felt like one of the most realistic things this show has done in a while.

What did you make of everything happening all at once and how graduation is suddenly thrust upon us?

Felicity 4.17 Ben and FelicityJulie: Yes, this show has completely lost base with reality. For me, watching these two episodes was basically just two hours of, “Huh?”

One of the more unrealistic things that happens in “The Graduate” is Felicity managing to pass that art history class without any sort of repercussions beyond failing the paper. However, I suppose it’s a blessing that this storyline is disposed of so quickly. Because I COULD NOT with it.

The quick proposal, while misguided, did feel pretty real to me. It’s so college — things are ending, you’re just jumping into adulthood, getting married seems like the next step, the right step. Ben and Felicity want to hold onto each other and their relationship and their NOW, though this seems like the (wrong) way to do it, especially considering all the reasons this is an awful idea (she has a job in New York, he has to move to Arizona to be with his kid, etc.)

This episode (and the next) confirmed for me why I think Ben is not great, Bob, for Felicity right now. And Mr. Porter does sum it up: She’s been following Ben for four years. I love that she actually does throw that knowledge at Ben. He needed to hear it, because of how true it is. I think he very much expected Felicity to accept his proposal and follow him to Arizona, because that’s what she does. I don’t think it was intentionally malicious on Ben’s part, but I also think it proves how little thought he gives to what Felicity herself actually wants.

Other things about “The Graduate,” before we get into the more WTF time travel episode, 1) Elena was basically nowhere. There was a scene where she and Javier say goodbye to Felicity, but I don’t think they’re ever in the same frame together, and I wonder if she was acting with a Keri Russell stand-in. I’m trying to make this into a whole Kalinda/Alicia thing. (And then considering what they do to her character in the next episodes…somebody on the Felicity writing staff hates Elena.) 2) The med school reset. We just spent two whole years with Felicity proclaiming art as her life and now, all of a sudden, she’s back on medicine. And Ben has followed her to Palo Alto for school, so I guess he’s finally the one following her, but at the same time it feels like him horning in on her life. Go be with your baby, Ben.

Anything to add on “The Graduate?”

Felicity 4.17 ElenaEmma: I mentioned this on Twitter particularly in the relation to the second episode but these episodes feel very OC season 4 – the writers are having fun because they know that it’s pretty much dunzo. I’m enjoying the pure what the fuck aspect while also raising my eye own at the same time (I’m not actual raising my eyebrow because I’m not so great at that).

One thing I did feel about the graduation was how much it tapped into the finality of it all and even though you’re going to stay in touch with some people, this is it for the no responsibility part of your life. It also made me a little teary because that’s how I get about these things and I still panic about all the things I haven’t done since college or what I should have done at college to improve my position now. Basically I had a lot of fun and could have done a bit more prep work for career. And unlike Ben I didn’t just decide to be a doctor in my third year.

The scene that got me the most teary was not between Ben and Felicity, instead it was between Meghan and Felicity and this is the one that felt the most real to me. But urgh with the lack of Elena, this along with The Good Wife debacle is the greatest mystery of our time. And then the thing that Broad City mentioned happens (more on that later).

This episode could easily be a series finale as everything is tied up so neatly in the final Dear Ben montage. This comes after what turns out to be an IMPORTANT conversation between Noel and Felicity at the airport and we join them in the cab scene that starts the episode. At the airport (is he in the departure lounge? It looks like 9/11 definitely didn’t happen in this universe) she asks him if he ever thinks about the two them ending up together and he clearly lies that he never has. Even without the confirmation in the following episode it is a certainty that Noel only thinks about them as a couple (even if he is good at pretending otherwise).

It’s all lovely and then some super twee version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” kicks in and I couldn’t stop laughing. We then cut to 6 months later and the montage of what everyone is up to followed by Ben making his grand declaration and joining Felicity in Palo Alto and yes it really is his turn. I am still very much Team Ben at this point and even though he makes the biggest fucking mistake in “Time will Tell” I still can’t help but want him and Felicity to end up together (I have thoughts on this storyline, many thoughts).

What they seem to be doing is manoeuvring characters and their motivations so that we can have one final love triangle situation. Do you agree that there are some shenanigans that go down that are rather contrived just so we can end up with one last Team Ben vs Team Noel hurrah?

Julie: The airport thing is ridiculous. What plane ticket did Noel buy in order to get past security? This show was filmed in 2002, immediately after 9/11. But, as you also suspect, I’m beginning to think 9/11 didn’t happen in Felicity World. Also, time travel is possible. Also no one has killed Richard yet.

I’m going to jump into “Time Will Tell” here because it’s hard not to. I’d LOVE to know what was going on in the writers’ heads when they came up with this concept. I’m guessing that it’s A) a who-the-fuck-cares OC move because the show is ending and B) a way to undo a lot of the negative character stuff they created during this season. I think they realized they had made MISTAKES and had done several of their characters a disservice and this is their way of taking a mulligan. Or maybe it’s a way to prove to the Team Noel people that Team Noel was always a bad idea, so shut up, whiners.

So, yeah. There is time travel. Felicity is in Palo Alto with Ben. Six months (or more, maybe a year?) have passed since graduation. Elena is DEAD. I repeat: Elena is DEAD. She got hit by a car outside of med school. (I see, time travel story-wise why they did that. It’s a way to prove to Felicity that she has really traveled through time. That said, what a shitty ending for Elena’s character.) Also, Noel is getting married and Ben is cheating on Felicity. She catches him kissing a study buddy in the med school library. What the actual fuck, Ben? I actively hate him for this. I have forgiven a lot, Ben-wise, but this is an out-and-out dick move. And Felicity blames herself, because of course she does. She says she’s been hard to live with because her BEST COLLEGE FRIEND JUST DIED. Ugh. Ben. So much anger right now. Talk to your girlfriend, Ben. Don’t just start kissing the first skank who seems like she’s more fun to be around.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…Felicity breaks up with him and heads to New York solo for Noel’s wedding. He’s marrying Zoe, which, gross. Noel flirts with Felicity, she flirts with Noel. She starts to wonder if the two of them should’ve dated back when they hooked up the first time. And this is the writers’ way of exploring the thing that they didn’t do back in the beginning of the season. Meghan sends Felicity back in time and gives her a chance to try Noel on for size.

I’ve said many words. What is your reaction to this beginning of this episode?

Felicity 4.17 FelicityEmma: One quick thing to mention about “The Graduate” as it was directed by Scott Foley and I always like it when shows let their stars have a go at directing. For some reason he was very into shooting through half open doors. Which I’m sure is his slightly labored way of graduation being like opening a door or something like that.

From what I can tell this is six months after the six months and everything is terrible for Felicity – Elena is dead (what?) and Ben is a dirty cheater, plus Noel is getting married to Zoe. First up Elena got shafted so badly this season, but luckily for us it’s not all over for Tangi Miller as she’s still alive in the past. Now this is what prompted Felicity to pull away and I just don’t believe what happens next, even the time travel is more believable. Ben cheats on Felicity and while I guess this isn’t outside the realms of possibilities the very public smooch is ridiculous. Your reaction/feelings toward Ben is more than understandable, I’m just in denial and hope there’s some way out of this dumb as fuck move. Also the conversation where she finds out it has been going on for a month is such a gut punch for her.

What this does give us is a heartbroken Felicity crying on the phone to Meghan in double denim – not of the red variety – and Meghan getting to be the best get a grip friend Felicity needs right now. First she makes sure no one else knows about the breakup as Felicity insists she doesn’t want to overshadow the big day – why Noel? – and then she sets to some revenge spells. The first one is trip spell (and works) and Meghan’s mystical track record goes back to season 1 when she put the group photo back together wrong.

After Ben shows up and makes things awkward (of course he does) Felicity gets drunk with Meghan revealing how she thinks she made a mistake with who she chose after the big roof night and she would do everything differently. As I mentioned earlier there is stuff I would probably do differently during college but sadly I don’t have a friend with mystical powers. I love how Meghan comes across as a really confident and yet terrible witch; somehow she sends her drunk/heartbroken friend back through time so she can do just that.

This is where things really get fun and this is a storyline I’ve been waiting for since we started season 1; it’s even more ridiculous than I expected and I’m so glad it’s for more than one episode. First there is the slightly orangy hue to denote that we are in time travel land and then there is the whole Felicity is aware and everyone else thinks she’s insane. This gives Keri Russell a chance to flex her comedy chops as last time was so tortured whereas this time Felicity gives no fucks and it’s the best.

Even though she’s set on Noel this time and she is so mad at Ben she has a couple of moments where she feels pangs towards her now ex. This makes sense and it also pits Noel versus Ben in a way we have not seen before. It’s like the playing field has only been leveled for Felicity and everyone else is spinning around her orbit. Some things stay the same as Tracy and Elena still break up but this time it’s before they make it to the venue meaning Sean and Meghan probably won’t get married either. Ben gets wasted after he has failed his first test so it looks like his medical career might not progress all that far. Also Ben does not have his super hot short hair like he had at the start of the year, this makes me sad.

What did you make of this sort of more assertive Felicity and the whole time travel plot?

Felicity 4.18 Meghan and FelicityJulie: I think my biggest beef with the Ben cheating thing is that it’s just so blatantly cruel. They have been through so much, they’ve overcome so much, and this seems completely mean. It’s one thing to kiss someone while drunk in a drunk bar. It’s another thing COMPLETELY to make out with your study buddy in the middle of the afternoon in the library. For a month. That’s premeditated dickery, and that’s a deal breaker, ladies (I’ve been watching a lot of 30 Rock.)

Though, maybe it’s totally realistic, which, fine, (guys are dicks even when they promise not to be dicks), but I hold Ben Covington and his feelings for Felicity to a higher standard, especially if this is who she’s going to choose over Noel or herself.

Good call on Ben’s long hair! Felicity’s hair is back to being curlier again, but Scott Speedman wouldn’t get a haircut?

After all my ranting up there about Ben, you’d probably think I’m squarely on Team Noel here, but no. I think what this episode did highlight is that maybe Felicity and Noel are better as just friends. I don’t think she’s hot for Noel, nor he for her. I think she likes the idea of being with Noel, but I don’t see them working long-term.

That said, I don’t think she and Ben work long-term either. He’s the hot guy she’ll always remember fondly, but he’s not so great for her, life-wise.

I’m interested in the Butterfly Effect of this time travel. Tracy and Elena don’t end up married (and Donald Faison doesn’t even have to show up for a cameo). Meghan and Sean probably don’t end up married either. I wonder if Lauren will end up pregnant or if Noel will end up seeing a shrink. Or if Elena ends up dying. Or if Felicity will decide not to wear two denim pieces together.

Which do-overs do you hope to see?

Felicity 4.18 Felicity and MeghanEmma: The cruelty and their long history is why I don’t buy the cheating happening in this manner and for all the mistakes both of them have made in the past this feels completely out of character. And of course I really hate Claire because it is a huge dick move as a friend of Felicity’s to pull this level of shit.

One reason I guess they didn’t cut Ben’s hair is when they get back to the present it might be harder to explain his sudden buzz cut.

I agree with you about Felicity and Noel and if there is anything this show has taught us over the last few seasons is how good they are as friends. I did enjoy seeing her all super into them being in a relationship together whereas he was obviously freaking out over Ben finding out and Felicity being so open about everything. This is very out of character for Felicity but as she is the one reliving this time over again she knows how it will play out. The hickey came into play but this time she gave no shits about covering it up with an endless stream of turtlenecks and it was refreshing to not go through the same tortured feelings (even if they are the more realistic).

Felicity’s decision making process falls into two camps – impulsive and labored – so we are getting a whole lot of the Felicity who came to New York for a boy. This decision is still romance based and we never did get to see a great deal of single Felicity which is a shame. I guess they figure in this genre of TV it works better if there is a love interest at all times but I think plenty of us also enjoy the “I choose me”  option.

In this time of crisis Felicity turns to several other people for support; Meghan as the one who cast the spell and who has no idea what Felicity is going on about while scoffing at the very idea she would marry Sean, Dr Pavone who tells Felicity that she needs to forget about doing the right thing and asks her what she wants and then Sally via tape. The latter makes the most sense to me as Sally is who Felicity could spill her inner most thoughts to and as we near the end of the show I am glad this device makes a reappearance. I was never that fond of the responses (sorry Janeane Garofalo, I still heart you) but I liked how it avoided the standard inner thoughts voiceover.

One thing I wondered is if Ben’s dad is going to die in this new timeline? That’s one major rupture if it happens. And it would be nice if none of the Lauren stuff happens. What I am interested in is how they are going to proceed with this whole thing and if everything ends up being worse in this version what does that mean for Felicity? I don’t want her romantic decisions to be the burden of not just her life but everyone else’s. It is fun that we get to see both versions of who she chose and in a way I wish they had gone back even further to when she chose Ben over Noel at the end of season 1, but the logistics of doing that coupled with how much distance there is from any of those stories might not have made much sense.

I’m pretty sure Felicity would wear double denim in any universe, this is sadly a mistake she is doomed to repeat.

Is Felicity stuck here or is she going to end up waking up hungover on the day of Noel’s wedding?

Felicity 4.18 double denim Julie: If ever there was a girl who needed to step back and “choose me” for a minute, it’s Felicity. The best thing that could come from this time travel thing would be for her to realize at the end of it, after first choosing Ben and then Noel, that who she really needs to choose for a while is Felicity. This is a girl who has, in the blink of an eye, gone from one guy to the next and from one college major to the next. She was staying in New York one minute, going to Arizona the next, and Palo Alto a few seconds later. What does Felicity really want? Now’s the time to figure it out.

I guess Felicity “has” to be aware that she’s time traveled, but I would’ve liked to have seen everything in the Noel Storyline play out without her knowing what will happen, if that makes sense. There’s too much “Future Felicity” meddling here. She’s too aware of the whole situation. I, like you, wonder if Ben’s dad will end up dead in this timeline. Maybe Choosing Noel is the darkest timeline. It makes me want them to do a Community-style thing where they choose every possible choice — from choosing herself to choosing that cute art guy she blew off.

I’m thinking this is all a dream and she wakes up hungover in the apartment, very Dorothy Gale, with a new outlook on life. What do you think?

Felicity 4.18 rooftopEmma: If there was to be a fifth season it should definitely be a Wild kind of situation where she takes a big long hike to get away from the dudes in her life. Even when she moves coasts things still catch up with her so maybe the wilderness is the next step. One reason why I really love this character is because she has made mistakes and messed up on more than one occasion but you’re right when you mention her motivations and what drives her sometimes gets muddled.

Okay now I definitely want an every timeline kind of situation. I do think that we might end up in the darkest timeline and I’m guessing Elena is still going to die regardless (sob). I love the road not traveled trope or the It’s a Wonderful Life playbook if you will. It’s fun and gives us a look at how things could have been. The only thing better is the whole body swap thing (and I wish they had done this with Ben and Noel at some point).

I have a feeling she will also wake up with a raging hangover and a big case of WTF, but I can’t wait to see how it pans out and how it impacts the end of the series.

Another thing that pleased me greatly was seeing Meghan in her old attire. So much leopard print bedding! Oh and Felicity’s ruffled shirt from her graduation gave me so many early 00s bad fashion flashbacks. The start of this decade really is the worst for clothes. It was also a big reminder of how close Felicity graduated to when I did (I was two years later) which is perhaps another reason why it felt so real. College really was forever ago now.

Do you have anything else to add?

Felicity 4.17 bad shirtJulie: I don’t remember a lot about my first S4 Felicity viewing (I spent most of this season POSITIVE that Meghan was going to get pregnant. I guess there’s still time), but I have a vague memory of what actually happens at the end and I think you’re right about it not ending well for Elena. Which makes sense, considering how they’ve treated her so far this season.

And now you have me longing for a S5 where they go full Family Matters and do crazy things like body swapping and robots and all kinds of nonsense. Let’s kickstart it!

I shudder to think about early aughts’ fashion making a comeback, though you know it will. That’s how this works. Even ’70s hair came back. Kind of. I’m not sure Pete Campbell’s combover will ever be in style. But, you never know.

Emma: I am so happy the ’70s have come back, I will not say the same for the aughts. It’s funny how nostalgic I am for the ’90s, but everything from my early 20s conjures up less fond fashion memories.

I would definitely contribute/co-found that kickstarter.

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.

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