I've never ever said "go figure" in my entire life.

Once & Again – Mediation
After Lily and Rick break up, they are both distracted and depressed. Lily and Jake go to a mediator to help them divorce amicably, but they just end up fighting the whole time. Jake is still having money troubles and thinks they should sell the house, but Lily refuses. Obviously I understand Lily’s reticence to uproot her kids and all that, but considering that Jake is barely scraping by I think she’s being kind of horrible.

This ep introduces a new minor character named Miles Drentell, a business tycoon for whom Rick begins designing a building. He is haughty and a perfectionist, and Rick and his partner have trouble living up to the man’s demands. Grace begins tutoring Eli in English, and she tells him about the breakup (which he didn’t realize had happened). I’m FINALLY starting to warm up to this show, largely due to a nice little scene in which Eli calls Grace for help on a paper, and both parents are asked to hang up once the kids get on the upstairs extension. So there they are, both on the phone, each able to hear the other breathing and wanting to speak, but just … not being able to. Later, they have a terribly awkward moment at the high school when they both arrive to pick up their kids and Eli & Grace force them to interact in the hopes that they will make up.

Unable to handle the depression anymore, Rick calls Lily and the two meet up. She thinks he wants to get back together, but instead he tells her that he’s no longer bitter toward her, that their timing was just wrong, and that it’s clear the relationship will not work. However, by the end of the scene – which is honestly one of the most unembellished and frankly sad breakups I’ve seen – Lily and Rick realize they can’t bear to be apart.

A quick aside: the B&W interviews are beginning to confuse me. They have always focused on one character at a time, so I thought they were supposed to represent each person’s innermost thoughts. In the Thanksgiving ep, though, Lily’s parents had one together – which I thought was a neat idea, like they’ve been together so long that their thoughts are one. But in this ep, Grace and Zoe share one. Huh?

Once & Again – Sneaky Feelings
What is going on? The last ep was decent, and this one I actually liked – for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that stupid Lily does not make an appearance.

Now I admit, “Sneaky Feelings” started off on a bad note because it is Jessie-centric and the last Jessified episode almost made me quit the show for good. But almost instantly, we are greeted with a shining beacon of hope – the introduction of Mark Feuerstein (The West Wing, Good Morning Miami) as Leo Fisher, a new client/love interest for Karen. Leo is a young, idealistic, socially awkward doctor who is frustrated by the roadblocks he comes up against while trying to get outpatient housing built for AIDS patients. [Side note: Feuerstein himself is a passionate activist for AIDS charities]. He and Karen begin arguing immediately, and there is so much sexual tension between them you could cut it with a knife. Finally, they come to the shaky realization that they are very much alike. He kisses her, she responds, and they share a passionate, shove-the-other-person-up-against-the-wall kind of kiss.

AND, holy crap, a very young Jason Dohring (Moonlight, Veronica Mars) plays one of Eli’s basketball teammates. AND, Alexandra Holden (Friday Night Lights, Six Feet Under) plays Cassidy, a cute volleyball player to whom Eli is instantly attracted.

Anyway, the Sammler family is in an uproar. Eli has been feeling stifled by Jennifer, who is admittedly clingy. Karen is dating Lloyd, who she never really liked very much. Jessie, who loves Jennifer because she is like an older sister, is pissed at Eli for being interested in someone new. Jessie also likes Lloyd, who is really sweet to her, and she is pissed because her mother is clearly not interested in him. And I think I hear the Get-Up Kids in the background.

In the increasingly complex Eli-Jennifer storyline, Rick tells Eli that he is too young to be spending all of his time focusing on one person, and he shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to break up. Karen tells Eli that’s crap, that breakups are terrible no matter what, and that he needs to be more sensitive to Jennifer’s feelings. Both parents are right, which is what makes this interesting.

Karen comes home one night to find Cassidy at the house, and tells Eli he needs to do something before someone gets hurt. Alas, as Eli and Cassidy leave the house, Jennifer comes bounding up the front walkway. Caught! Meanwhile, Leo pursues Karen and so she breaks up with Lloyd, who is is devastated.

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