Well, it’s New Year’s Eve in the Chase house, and would you believe that our dear Angela is considering giving up being so lost in her own thoughts for the New Year? She decides not to do that, of course, and instead opts to stop doing Jordan’s homework for him. Patty decides not to be so suspicious and judgmental of Graham, who in turn resolves to finally tell his friend Hallie that he doesn’t want to open a restaurant with her. Oh, and to also stop having those long talks with her after class.
Rickie is staying with the Chases, and has been since Christmas, but once again he overhears them talking about his situation and panics a bit. It was kind of frustrating to see this happen a second time; it’s almost as if Rickie hadn’t learned anything in the previous episode. (Also, why aren’t Graham and Patty better at knowing when someone’s nearby that can hear them, anyway?) So Rickie’s back to not having anywhere to stay.
Enter Mr. Katimski, the English teacher who’s already taken an interest in “Enrique.” He sees Rickie receive the news that his aunt and uncle, who had recently kicked him out, apparently moved without telling him. Mr. Katimski, like the Chases, starts off by going the traditional route and alerting the authorities. In this case, “the authorities” means that weird guidance counselor. (Am I the only person whose high school guidance counselor wasn’t actually a counselor? My guidance counselor helped me figure out school-related things while the on-staff social worker helped me with my personal problems. No?) The guidance counselor says she’ll try to get Rickie into a cool, progressive group home. While he’s on the waiting list, he’ll have to stay in a homeless shelter.
Watching Patty try not to be judgmental and naggy with Graham was kind of hilarious. It’s surprising he didn’t find her overly serene, happy countenance creepy. I certainly did. But it turns out being for the best for Graham, because it becomes clear that he lets Patty’s strong opinions steer a lot of his decisions. Without her pressure, Graham (who looks great in a scarf, by the way) actually has to address the restaurant and the Hallie issue of his own volition.
Graham and Hallie chat in the parking lot after class, and Graham tells her firmly that he is not going to do the restaurant. What kind of dad would he be, after all, if he risked his family’s savings on a project with one of the worst success rates around? She pretends to be fine with it and asks Graham as a newly objective, outside observer to come check out the new restaurant space she found. It has a mermaid fountain!
Meanwhile, Angela, who’s in this episode for all of four minutes, decides that since she’s not going to do Jordan’s homework for him, he should sign up for a tutor. As luck would have it, Brian Krakow gets matched up with Jordan. Which is totally wacky because they’re such opposites! While Brian takes baby steps toward teaching Jordan to read, Jordan returns the favor by showing him how easy it is to talk to girls. This seems to balance the power between Jordan and Brian, and makes the previously reticent Jordan more open to the whole tutoring experience.
Rickie, on the other hand, hates the (admittedly creepy) shelter and decides to leave in the middle of the night. Once again this was kind of a frustrating and confusing turn of events. Perhaps Rickie’s just a bit more hopeful and empowered now, so a situation that actually seems better than the warehouse he’d stayed in for days on end just weeks before is suddenly unpalatable. Still, it’s really hard to understand why he chooses to go out in the rain alone in the middle of the night instead of sticking it out until the morning.
Graham and Hallie meet in the empty restaurant, which I totally didn’t love, and for some reason it keeps raining even though it’s January in Pittsburgh and should probably be snowing. Hallie looks a little disheveled and it turns out it’s because her fiancÃ© Brad left her. Graham clearly feels bad for her, but he also looks worried. Worried because now this pretty friend of his that he’d already been having boundary issues with is now single and seems intent on throwing all her energy into their now-joint project. That’s right, folks. Graham’s back in the restaurant game!
We conclude with a simple scene that non-sensationally confirms that Mr. Katimski is gay. After getting a call from Rickie, he chats with his partner about why he didn’t invite Rickie to stay with them: he’s worried that at best, people would talk, and at worst he could lose his job. But all that goes out the window when Rickie shows up having found Mr. K’s address (ah, the phone book, how we miss you) and sobs that he didn’t want to be alone anymore.