Ellie and Sean are snuggled asleep in an oversized chair, when Ellie is woken by the television. She grabs for a clock and freaks out at the time. Gradually coming to, Sean mutters, “Wow.” Yeah, wow. How can you sleep like that all night and not wake up with a crick in your neck? Must be nice to be young. Ellie scrambles to put on her boots.
Apparently, staying over until 11 does not mean 11AM. She accuses him of turning the ringer off on the phone, and then mutters that she needs a cab and 10 bucks to pay for it. Sean gropes for the phone and discovers that the ringer is on and no one has called. By “no one” he means Ellie’s drunken excuse for a mother. Ellie makes the excuse that her mother must have lost Sean’s number, but we all know what’s going on.
She starts to run out the door while Sean makes Drunk!Mom comments under his breath. She doesn’t want to talk about it. He says that she’s welcome to stay at his place, and as she starts to close the front door behind her he says that she can stay permanently. As in, move in. Shack up. Live in sin. She arches an eyebrow as the Degrassi theme song assaults my senses.
The bell rings on Ashley and Ellie, talking at Ash’s locker. At least one friendship on this show still makes sense to me. (Emma and Manny and Toby and JT, I’m looking at you.) The girls are discussing men’s deodorant. Ash forgot hers at home, and didn’t want to use her dad’s sport scent. Men’s deodorant gives Ellie a rash. I can only assume she’s borrowed Sean’s a time or two. What’s giving Ashley a rash is that her dad is bringing his life partner to Degrassi’s open house. For christ’s sake, Ash. Your dad came out two seasons ago! Let go of it already.
Ellie drops the bomb that Sean wants her to move in. She adds “cohabitate” to my running list of what to call it. She says that her mom isn’t doing so well lately. Is it bad enough to risk giving her mom a heart attack? Ellie nods. Ash wants to know how Sean is – she actually asks, “How’s Sean?” which doesn’t make that much sense. Ellie just looks serious.
Extras roam the halls while Spinner sits practicing the drums and listening to headphones. Manny walks by carrying a bucket full of sponges and wearing an outfit that manages to cover both her breasts and her stomach. You go, girl. She says hello and then carries on a one-sided conversation when Spin ignores her. She’s about to walk away when a light bulb goes off over her head.
She asks Spinner if he wants to earn major points by helping out with Paige’s spirit squad car wash. In a nice moment of continuity, Spinner reminds her that Paige sort of owes him points, since she went and wrecked his car. She offers him a chance to win points with her then. Insert your own joke about what Spinner can buy with those points here. Seems that Paige is off with the flu – something Spinner knows, as her boyfriend – and Manny is in charge of the car wash. They need to raise a lot of money to get new uniforms.
Spinner draws the conclusion that Manny wants him to wash cars in his wet t-shirt. Ew. What she wants is for him to play with his band. Which is also Craig’s band, as Spinner is quick to point out. Manny doesn’t think it’s such a good idea for her to ask Craig herself, so she decides the next best thing is to get down on her knees in front of his good friend. She offers him “please, with ketchup and gravy and big huge hugs on top.” Again, I say, ew. The gravy seals the deal, and as Manny walks off (her tummy and lower back now exposed) she asks Spinner to also make sure that Craig brings his camera. Spinner is so easy. But…and I can’t believe I’m going to say this…kind of cute.
Ellie isn’t going to move in. Sean is wearing a muscle shirt, and he’s giving good hair, and I’m not sure why she’s resisting. Oh! Her dad has six months of service in the Middle East. She needs to be there in case the call comes in that something has happened to him. Sean makes a crack that her mother would just open her third bottle of booze. Ellie offers that they can do dinners and maybe watch some crappy TV, but she can’t stay longer than that. Sean makes it simple for her. He’s giving her the opportunity to move in with someone who loves her.
There’s a moment of silence while Ellie and I struggle to figure out if this is the first time he’s said those words. It doesn’t matter, though, because she’s not budging. Her mom needs her. Sean gives her a look that says he needs her, too. If you’re not distracted about how his dark eyebrows contrast with his newly blond hair, it’s very sweet. He finishes glue-sticking some pictures to poster board and declares it finished. “Who cares about auto shop anyways?” he asks, before (say it with me) he leaves in a huff.
Extras cram in through the front doors as a sign welcomes all parents to the annual open house. Ellie stands just inside the doors, snapping a rubber band around her wrist. Inside a classroom, Coach Armstrong is telling Spike and Baby Jack that Emma is doing well in math. Except for the polynomials. Spike has new bangs and longer hair, and she looks fantastic. She says that she and math are mortal enemies. The camera pans to Emma, who says that Spike balances her own books at the hair salon, and then the camera continues to pan to Ellie and Drunk!Mom. D!Mom is telling Snake that Ellie must love all her classes, because she spends every night at Sean’s studying. As her name would imply, she is in fact drunk.
Snake is trying to explain what exactly it is students do in his Media Immersion class, but D!Mom cuts him off. She “gets” that his class has to do with media and computers. What she wants to know is if he assigns every project in pairs, because Ellie has been telling her that she has to do her assignments with a partner. Snake fesses up that it’s the exact opposite, and D!Mom gleefully tells Ellie that she “thought so.” On their way out D!Mom calls Snake “Mr. Stanton,” and when he corrects her with “Simpson” she laughs and references the cartoon. Ellie, Snake and I all cringe.
Back in the hall, Ashley is walking with her two dads. You know, I loved that show, My Two Dads. That girl had style. Ash calls out to Ellie, who reintroduces her mother to Ashley who introduces D!Mom to her father and his partner. “Partners, huh? Do you run a business together or is it pairs figure skating?” D!Mom asks. Ash’s dad explains the term “life partners,” which D!Mom understands perfectly well. She gets in a jab that her husband is off fighting for his country, something that they don’t let gay men do. Or do they? Gays could redecorate the enemy into surrender! Everyone laughs uncomfortably and Ellie drags her mother away.
Unfortunately, D!Mom spies Sean near his auto shop demonstration. She was hoping to see him. He’s as polite as possible, but she asks where his parents are and why they aren’t there to see his fine automotive display. He hems and haws that he lives alone. D!Mom snarks that he doesn’t live alone lately. Lately, Ellie has been at his house so much that her mother has forgotten what she looks like. Ellie again attempts to drag her mom away, but Sean can’t leave well enough alone. He tells D!Mom that he cares about Ellie, okay? Not okay. This time it’s Ellie who is dragged away.
In Joey’s garage, the band is rehearsing. In a bizarre twist, Ashley is playing keyboards. When she joined the band is anyone’s guess. Craig is still playing drill seargent and yelling at everyone else for not living up to his standards. Spinner wants to know how they’ll ever get better if all they ever do is rehearse. He thinks they should play another gig. Craig says they’ll play out more when they’re “smoking hot.” Looked in a mirror lately, gorgeous? You’re ready for your debut. Jimmy jokes that they’ll be ready in the 23rd century.
Spin wants them to play a series of small gigs to work them up to “smoking hot.” Ash agrees with him, which is obviously somewhat out of character, because he snaps at her – “Who asked you?” He furrows his brow and realizes that she was supporting him. Craig looks at Ashley and it’s clear he’s only giving in because she suggested it. Spinner comes clean that he already booked them at the spirit squad car wash, and Marco freaks out that they aren’t ready. Clearly, he’s forgotten that they won an unsigned band contest last year.
Craig, Spinner and Ashley vote for the gig, with Jimmy and Marco voting against. Spinner declares that majority wins and says that Manny will be stoked. Both Craig and Ashley bristle at the mention of her name. Craig looks to Ash to make sure she knows it wasn’t his idea. Will they just make out again already? Jimmy says, “speaking of smoking hot…” as we fade into another scene.
The outside of a house. A loud beeping noise. Ellie snaps awake and sits up in bed. We hear her sniffing something out, and when she opens the door to her room the hallway is full of smoke. What follows is a dramatic scene that illustrates how Drunk!Mom, who has passed out in the kitchen with something burning on the stove, is incapable of taking care of her daughter. It’s up to Ellie to shut off the burner, but in her haste she catches the curtains on fire. D!Mom barely wakes up as Ellie drags her out of the smoke-filled house.
In the hospital, Ellie fingers a bandaged wrist while her mom gets dressed. D!Mom says that she must have inhaled a lifetime’s worth of smoke. When Ellie doesn’t laugh at her little non-joke, she implies that she feels guilty enough without Ellie’s silence. It seems that they’ll be staying at “Elaine’s” which is apparently very far away. Ellie doesn’t want to go all the way out there, and so she lies that she’ll stay with Ashley instead. That way, D!Mom won’t have to take her to school each morning. D!Mom buys it.
Sean answers the door wearing nothing but white cotton boxers. Rowr. “Yesterday, you mentioned something about moving in,” Ellie says. After a commercial break, we see Ellie and Sean re-entering Sean’s apartment. His clothes smell like smoke after being at her house. Holding up a CD traveling case, he says that his CD collection has just doubled. However, inside is Ellie’s cutting paraphernalia, not Bon Jovi’s greatest hits.
She takes the case away and muses that they need a pet, something to liven up the place. Not one to be thrown off so easily, Sean says he thought she stopped cutting. She did. She just didn’t want to leave her stuff at home for her mother to find. She promises she’s not lying and that’s enough for him. He’s cleaned out a drawer and space in the closet and sink. Has anyone else forgotten that these kids are barely old enough to drive? Ellie starts to tell him that they need to talk about sex, but Sean is one step ahead. He’ll sleep on the couch, and she’ll take the bed, despite her protests.
At the car wash, Spinner gets his swerve on by squirting scantily clad under-aged girls with the water hose while Craig takes pictures. A mostly naked Manny walks up to her ex boy toy and thanks him for showing up. Never one to turn down a pretty lady, Craig tells her, “any time.” Ash watches from the makeshift stage and pages one horny Craig Manning. Seems like Manny is always watching Craig leave her for Ashley, doesn’t it?
Spinner sidles up beside the rejected Manny and says that if Ashley were any more bitter she’d be a lemon. Out of nowhere, Hazel hits him with a wet sponge, and the water fight is back on. This time, it’s a Manny/Spinner grudge match, and before long they’re all over each other. Soapy, wet and half naked, Manny finds herself bent backwards over the hood of a car, Spinner against her. For a moment Craig watches as if he’ll be jealous, and then shakes his head and turns away.
Ellie’s leaning against Spinner’s drums, talking to Marco. He’s worried about the amount of smoke she inhaled. Aw! Best friends forever! Marco starts to pry about sleeping and showering arrangements. She admits that she showered naked, but alone. He feels that her showering is party-worthy – or at least her happiness is. He declares her young, cute, clean and black lung free. Ellie admits that she can probably talk Sean into throwing a party in her honor.
The band plays a bad ska song. Extras dump soapy water on each other in a sad attempt at washing cars. It goes on and on. Did I mention that the song is bad? I’ve loved every song Craig has ever performed on this show, but this is almost unlistenable. When finally it’s over, Craig mutters to Ashley that the song sucked. Yes! She tells him to keep smiling, because no one else noticed. Except for me.
Randomly, Rick pulls up in a Jetta. His hair looks lovely. Too bad he’s crazy. Hazel asks him what he’s doing there, and he’s says he’s just helping out fellow students. Since she couldn’t possibly take care of herself, Jimmy springs off the stage and tells Rick to “bounce” unless he wants to get washed himself. As Rick drives off with his window down, Jimmy sprays water after the car. Craig cackles and takes a picture.
Spinner walks off the stage and right up to Manny. She tells him that she never realized he was such a good drummer. I’m sure he’s not jealous at all when he says that sometimes it’s hard to see him behind the lead singer (Craig). But not today. She tells him congratulations and gives him a hug so that she can squeeze a sponge onto his back. Chasing, chasing, chasing – which leads to more inappropriate touching. This time when she’s pressed up against a car, Spinner takes the time to gawk at her chest. Not that Manny minds, she smirks at him knowingly and tilts her head up as if she’s asking for a kiss. Craig watches from afar and almost takes a photo of them, but decides at the last minute not to.
Party at Sean’s! Ellie’s walking arm-in-arm with Ashley past a banner that says “Happy House Warming Sean and Ellie.” They join Marco as he chokes on some guacamole. Ellie says that it’s her favorite, and Sean made it for her, so Marco has to be nice. They all laugh.
On the other side of the room, Sean is standing with Crazy Jay and Alex. Jay is saying stupid things about the party, which I’m sure is a surprise to everyone. Alex jokes that, had Ellie’s mom succeeded and burned down the house, it would have been a true “house warming.” Har-dee har har. Jay says that the current gathering is actually a “thank you for all the sex” party, which catches Ellie’s attention. She pouts at Sean and walks away.
When he catches up to her, he apologizes for Jay. Turns out, she doesn’t really care about the sex comment. She doesn’t want to go back to her mom. Sean tells her that she can stay with him. He is wearing a red muscle shirt. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t own any shirts with sleeves. Just as the two are getting ready to snuggle, Drunk!Mom walks right into the apartment wearing the same shirt she was wearing during the fire. The music stops and all the kids stare.
D!Mom says that she went to Ashley’s, and her mom said that Ellie hasn’t been staying there. Because, of course, she’s been staying at Sean’s. D!Mom yells a lot and tells Ellie there is a cab waiting for them. As she’s pushing Ellie toward the door, Sean grabs her arm. He says that it’s better if Ellie stays with him and she slaps him. He’s not to come near her or her daughter again. The crowd gasps. Ellie runs out. Sean exchanges looks with Ashley and Marco.
In the House that Absolut Built, Drunk!Mom is saying that the fire was a blessing. Now they can get new furniture! They can start from scratch! They can paint the kitchen periwinkle blue! Ellie reminds her that she slapped Sean. D!Mom says that he is no good for her. Pot, meet kettle. Ellie snaps the rubber band at her wrist, which gets on D!Mom’s nerves.
Ellie whips out her CD case and dumps the contents on the table; there are several rubber bands, a razor blade and an exacto knife. Ellie tells her mother to pick one. D!Mom asks her what she’s doing, and Ellie says she’s doing what’s best for her. Then she pulls up her sleeves to show her mother the scars from the cutting. If she has to stay there, it will happen again. Her mother’s drinking has made her cut herself. Drunk!Mom cries and cries as the realization sinks in.
Manny’s sitting at The Dot. Spinner approaches to take her order, but she’s not eating. She’s just waiting for Paige. They’re both acting weird and nervous after the gropage at the car wash. Spinner tells her he has other tables. She says that the excitement of yesterday must have gone to her head – to which he agrees – and she says that she wouldn’t want anyone to think that she was being inappropriate. Because it’s not as if she’s gotten between a guy and his girlfriend before.
Paige barges in on the conversation wearing a very poofy scarf. She says she’s been, literally, dying to see them both. She calls Manny her guardian angel and announces that they raised $800 at the car wash for new uniforms. Manny acts like it’s no big deal. Paige heard that the band rocked and kisses Spinner. He says he did it all for her, but grimaces at Manny behind her back as she hugs him.
Sean’s lifting weights. His shirt is gray. It has no sleeves. Also, there is a lot of weight on his bar. Ellie lets herself in and says her mother dropped her off. Before Sean can freak out about D!Mom driving, Ellie says she’s sober for hopefully the next two months. D!Mom is going to rehab and has apparently said that Ellie can stay with Sean. He smiles like a doofus until his attention is drawn to a wriggling pet carrier in Ellie’s hand.
She sets it on the table and takes out a big ferret. Sean calls it a weasel and asks if they should have talked about it first. Ellie says that a home isn’t a home without a pet and holds the squirming ferret out toward Sean. It wriggles and wriggles until it’s caught in the freeze-frame of the final credits.