Creepy stalker Adorable male ingenue Trent Maddock returns for a one episode blackmail plot love story this week. He forces Rebecca to blackmail Paula into helping her escape him reinvigorates Rebecca and Paula’s friendship. Josh’s one night stand with his karaoke machine back before the time jump has inspired him to turn it into a long term relationship. He wants to turn that into a business foursome with Beth and Valencia, but Valencia is going through the townie inferiority complex that she would have gone through when she was ten years younger if she was a real, live person. Nathaniel finally makes some decisions about his love life. Heather is still pregnant. WhiJo still has a dog and scraggly facial hair, causing me to fear for his overall health.
Rebecca meets with the girls at the Sugar Shack, where she crochets an afghan and decides to get a “buttload” of cats, now that she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Because in Rebecca’s world, if you go more than 3 days without thinking someone is the love of your life, then you must not be capable of loving another human being and are doomed to be alone forever.
The only solution is to collect creatures who’ll understand her now-stunted affections, cats. She sings yet another insulting song, this time hitting cats, women, cat lovers, single people, introverts, asexuals, lesbians, and probably more. It’s really pretty impressive for a poorly written and choreographed 2 minute song.
The cat lovers aren’t interested in giving a cat to someone with Rebecca’s attitude, because most shelters are actually a bit picky about animal adoptions these days, and the big pet stores all have shelter cats. She’s left to go home and shop black market cats online, or Craigs List.
But Trent has something else in mind. He’s been cyberstalking her for months, since recovering from breaking all of his bones in a hit and run bus accident right after Rebecca’s failed wedding. He knows about the hit she briefly took out on Nathaniel’s girlfriend Mona, and isn’t afraid to use it as leverage. She has to fall in love with him and be his girlfriend again, or he’ll get her sent to jail and disbarred.
He’s just a boy in love. He can’t be held responsible for his actions. This is just like the times that Bex hired the party bus or copied Valencia’s outfit, right? Or moved up her wedding to Josh because she felt guilty about kissing Nathaniel? That’s the equivalent to straight up malicious criminal blackmail, right? Especially when perpetrated by a man who’s 6 foot tall or so on a woman who’s about a foot shorter? I know, it’s the same as when Bex hung the Teddy Bear by the karate belt in the closet and Josh got scared. That’s totally the same as getting disbarred and going to prison.
At least we didn’t have to hear the season 3 theme this week. I’ve grown to loathe that thing.
Anyway, Trent uses sleep deprivation torture on Bex and takes away her phone while holding her hostage, but it’s totally hilarious because they play board games and he doesn’t rape her. It totally doesn’t count if you don’t get raped, apparently. I’ve been held hostage in my own home, and let me tell you, it’s still a crime and it’s still scary, even without the threat of sexual assault. This episode is bullsh*t. As a matter of fact, the men who held me hostage went to prison for years.
Trent also makes this big case where he lists the times that she was “nice” to him as if she led him on, or deserved to be stalked, or they were exactly the same because they both fell for the love kernels. Except she and Josh Chan were actually friends, then did actually date, and Josh did actually lead her on then literally leave her standing at the altar. Trent was never anything but Rebecca’s stalker and a coincidental name she pulled off a Facebook profile. It’s not the same. It doesn’t give him the right to use her as he sees fit.
The Trent episodes of this show are so f*cking misogynist and disturbing.
Rebecca eventually convinces Trent to take her to the office so that she can show him off. He has a special dress for her to wear so that she can’t forget who owns her. He keeps his hands on her as much as possible in the office, but she and Paula manage to get away to the ladies room for a few minutes after a nightmare inducing reprise of Period Sex from Trent. Nobody needs to think about that.
Rebecca tries to convince Paula to help her, but Paula wants Rebecca to go to the police. Bex won’t tell Paula the truth about why she won’t go to the police. I assume because she doesn’t want Paula to judge her for falling off the behavioral wagon. So Bex lies and tells Paula that Trent is threatening to take Paula’s illegal actions to the police, too, meaning that Rebecca effectively blackmails Paula into helping her get rid of Trent. Lovely.
Paula is trying very hard to be a responsible, law-abiding adult these days, plus she’s in the middle of her law school finals and swamped with studying. She really isn’t into this caper, and doesn’t have time for it. Rebecca tries to get her excited anyway.
They put a tracker on Trent and discover that he has a self-storage unit in a shady part of town. After he leaves it for the day, they break in. I’m sure we’re all shocked that they discovered a room full of stalking materials collected since he first saw Rebecca, including one out of each pair of socks she owns. There’s trunk that looks like it could hold drugs or weapons, so Bex opens it. It was booby-trapped to spray green paint at anyone who opened it without authorization.
When Rebecca gets home, still stained by the paint and carrying the pile of her missing socks, Trent realizes what she’s done. He doesn’t feel guilty for stalking her or having a room-sized shrine at all. He’s upset that she failed his love test, proving that she doesn’t really love him at all. He blames her for leading him on with her love kernels. When she says she’ll never love him, he tells her she’s mean and harsh.
Funny how when guys say that, it’s honest, but when women say it, it’s harsh.
Trent gives Rebecca back the blackmail evidence in a symbolic gesture and leaves with a broken heart. Rebecca calls Paula to tell her it’s all over. Paula says she’s so relieved, because that was really scary. Then she hangs up so that she can get back to studying. Rebecca is cut off midsentence. She apologizes to Paula again the next day, but Paula blames Trent. Rebecca knows that now there’s a lie between them, and feels guilty.
Nathaniel has moved out of Rebecca’s office and in with Daryl. He saw Rebecca with her new boyfriend, and that was the push he needed to take his relationship with Mona more seriously. She’d known about Rebecca for months. Mona was still interested in Nathan, but she didn’t want to have the kind of marriage their parents all had, that was like a business arrangement. She wants a real marriage with honesty and communication. Nathaniel wants that, too, but he didn’t realize that he could have it with Mona. He’s going to keep some distance from Rebecca so that he can make his relationship with Mona work. Go Nathaniel!!
Meanwhile, Valencia, Beth and Josh are all working out of Home Base. Josh is starting a DJ business. Beth and Valencia are still struggling, and argue over whether to pursue LA parties or be happy in West Covina. Beth says that she doesn’t have the LA contacts to get them the kinds of star parties that Valencia wants. But they do have lots of contacts in West Covina, so they should stay in town, take the gigs they’re offered, and work those.
Valencia wants to move up in the world to the kind of sophisticated, grown up parties that she thinks Hollywood stars have. They get a job for a teenage girl’s party and Valencia forces a roaring twenties theme on the girl, even though the birthday girl wanted something like Riverdale. Josh will be the DJ, but she won’t let him introduce his and her signature high school dance, the Royal, to the crowd.
When the party comes around, the teenagers are quickly bored with the 20s theme and music. Beth convinces Valencia into being okay with being a townie, even embracing it for their business. But they need to save the party, fast. Valencia tells Josh that they will do the Royal after all. It’s a fun, intricate dance that gets the crowd up and moving. Soon the party is a success.
Josh and Valencia talk after the party. They still have some kind of friendly feelings for each other, and she admits that he’s a great DJ. He tells her that he has a poster on his wall from Space Karate 2 that says, “You can’t run away from your past because it’s your future.” He says it’s like them.
That could be some ominous foreshadowing, but not for Valencia and Josh.
The episode ends with Rebecca sitting alone in the middle of her office, looking sad. Nathaniel and Paula are working together happily out on the main floor.
Trent’s bus accident is a cover story for a failed suicide attempt for sure. He jumped off a highway overpass or a building when she didn’t run to him after the broken engagement.
West Covina is inexplicably obsessed with bacon-wrapped dates this week.
Everyone is moving forward with their lives, acting like grown ups, getting along. Except Rebecca. Once she was past the suicide crisis, all that her months and months of therapy have done is left her alone, with no boyfriend, no close friends that she relates to any more, and no hobbies or interests. She has advanced a little at work, in a manipulative, underhanded way, by using someone else’s money to buy controlling interest in the firm out from under both Darryl and Nathaniel. But being the boss is probably isolating her even more.
She’s not actually much, if any, better, mental health-wise. She still lies and schemes in every single episode. She’s still self-absorbed to the point of being willing to endanger others if it gets her what she wants. She’s still impulsive, and trying on new personas regularly. She’s depressed, anxious, empty, and in constant turmoil about her relationships. But she’s not having any fun any more. Where she used to at least have highs and lows, now it appears to be all lows.
Maybe Dr Akopian would argue that she’s more stable and even, but where are her close friends? Where is her emotional support system? She’s rapidly driven away everyone who stood by her through all of the craziness of the first 2½ seasons. Dr Shin failed to help her develop new coping methods and interests. He just took away the old obsessions. Now she’s drowning, with no place to put those feelings.