Marco is still obsessing over his admission to Spinner. He nervously approaches him outside the school before class. He asks if Spinner told anyone and Spinner plays dumb. That annoying kind of dumb where he’s just torturing Marco, forcing him to make the announcement that he’s gay again. Marco does and still wants to know if Spinner said anything. Spinner replies, “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t” and walks away. Bastard.
Apparently having made up, Ellie and Marco are chatting in the school hallway. She tries to allay his fears about Spinner’s potential spilling of Marco’s secret. They overhear Craig reminding Jimmy that Spin asked them to “keep it a secret” until he’s thought about it more. There is a look of terror on Marco and Ellie’s faces. Marco remains in a mild state of shock, so it’s up to Ellie to ask the boys about the mysterious “it.” Turns out that Spinner is planning a surprise party for Paige’s 16th birthday, but it’s supposed to be a secret. Joyous relief washes over Marco and Ellie, and Marco attacks the boys with a big hug, telling them that he’d keep any secret to his grave.
Emma checks in on Snake in his classroom. His spirits are higher than she expected, and he cracks a few jokes. They talk about how Spike is picking Snake up after lunch to take him to the doctor, but all in random vague terms that keep them from having to talk about how sick Snake may be. Snake says that he’s going to stick around for the silent auction – “nothing says jackpot like a personal ASCII portrait.” Apparently his donation is creating ASCII images of the highest bidder. He holds up one he’d done of himself. Oh, poor geeky, leukemia-havin’ Snake. Emma smiles at his picture. They check out an ASCII image he did of Baby Jack and Snake comments that he’s going to look a lot like the bald baby if chemo has it’s way.
Dylan finds the boy crew, sans Marco, in the hall and gifts them with the hockey exhibition tickets. He makes a point to mention that one is for Marco. Jimmy and Craig are excited about their “boy’s night out.” Spinner, in the running for the “ultimate homophobic jerk” theme he’s rocking, calls them fags for being excited. Gee Spin, methinks you protest too much. Jimmy says that he doesn’t know who’s the bigger weirdo – Spinner or Marco. Spin snaps, “Marco,” and declares that he’s not going to the game with them. That Marco is doing some “gay artsy thing with Ellie.” Jimmy reminds him that the couple broke up. Spinner laughs, “Broke up. Funny.” Craig and Jimmy look after him, confused, because it’s not funny at all.
In gym, Jimmy asks Marco why he’s bailing on the hockey game. Marco realizes what happened and calls Spinner on trying to freeze him out of the gang. Spinner asks why he wants to go anyway, that it’s “hockey, not ballet.” Marco says that Dylan invited him and Spin counters that it’s the only reason he wants to go. The volleyball game starts and Spinner spikes the ball twice, knocking Marco down each time. Coach calls Spinner into the locker room for a lecture, Marco calls out that it’s a good thing that Spinner spikes like a girl. Hey now!
At the silent auction, Killjoy Liberty tells Spike that his portraits would pull in five bucks, tops. Well of course, people. Especially in the world of Photoshop and fancy graphics programs, who wants a freakin’ ASCII image? Manny wants to pull in more than five bucks and doesn’t want to be outdone by Miss Hatzilakos who is offering up personal tours of the Science Center for horny boys. Okay, that might not be the actual title of her bidding item, but guess who’s a-biddin’? Horny barely teen boys. Snake sees this and makes an announcement to everyone in the school foyer: If they can raise $250 by tomorrow afternoon, he’ll shave his head in front of everyone. Very sneaky Snake… takin’ it all off before anyone starts to wonder why he’s losing his hair. Plus, it’ll help him deal with the loss before the shock of chemo takes it hair by hair. Everyone is most excited, and you know they’re raising the dough.
Spinner’s in the bathroom writing “Marco is Gay” on the wall. In permanent marker! Oh, Spin, I really had hope for you, but now you’re on a road to a permanent marker title for yourself: asshole. Jimmy rushes in and asks what the hell Spinner’s problem is. Spinner points to the wall and says that’s his problem. That Marco told him himself. He tosses off a thinly veiled threat that if Jimmy doesn’t back off, Spinner might think he’s gay too. Can Spinner be a bigger ass? I’d like to say no, but stay tuned… Anyway, Jimmy, who totally rocks in this episode, asks Spinner what he’s going to do – write something about Jimmy being black?
Ellie meets up with Marco after gym class and asks why he’s taking Spinner’s crap. She’s a spunky little one. She says that Dylan should use Spinner as a hockey puck. Damn straight. Marco decides he isn’t going to the game and Ellie says he has to, that Dylan invited him. Ellie is such a good pseudo-ex-girlfriend! Jimmy overhears their convo and agrees that Marco better go to the game. He brushes off Spinner, saying that he’s an idiot. Marco finally acquiesces, but will meet the boys at the sports arena instead. Marco smiles for the first time this episode – he knows he’s got a true friend in Jimmy.
“The Dot,” or, the diner of Marco’s big revelation. Paige, decked out in a hockey jersey (an unflattering hockey jersey, that is), meets the boys and asks where Marco is. Jimmy tells her that he’s going to meet them at the arena. Craig and Jimmy leave, and Paige tells Spinner to get the hell over his issue with Marco already. That it was hard when Dylan came out but Spinner has to deal with his friend. Spinner says no, he doesn’t. Paige considers her schmucky boyfriend. And I hope that she considers dumping his romantic, get-jerky ass.
Joey and Sydney bring food over to the Simpson-Nelson household. Apparently omega 3 fatty acids in fish are great for the immune system – who knew? Spike and an exhausted Snake come home from the testing. Joey and Sydney try to leave but Snake wants them to stay. “I’m not dead yet.” Oh Snake, buck up little buddy – putting on a brave face! And he does, by turning on the radio and doing a dorky dance. Everyone stays and has a nice little dinner.
Marco calls Jimmy en route to the game – he’s running late because he got off on the wrong stop. The wrong stop being the gay village. And how do we know it’s the gay village? From the rainbow flags, the two corporate boys hugging mere feet away from the swarm of leathermen and the obligatory single faghag. One of the bars has a serious bass beat thumping out. Men leer at the slightly overwhelmed Marco. A guy stares at him and licks his lips. But Marco fits in with his jaunty hat and his “ciao” to Jimmy on the phone. When the hell did Marco start saying “ciao”? When he became “Dell Studly”?
Close up on a fist curling and uncurling in the shadow of the park. Something bad is gonna happen. A big mean lookin’ guy comes up and asks if Marco is lost. He tells him he’s on the way to a game. “Boys night out in boys town?” the mean guy grunts. Three more equally mean-looking guys show up. No good will come of this, none.
At the arena, the boys and Paige cheer as Dylan’s team skates out onto the ice. Spin is all sorts of dour and if I were Paige, I’d send him home. Jimmy calls Marco’s cell. Marco gets out that he’s in the park before one of the guys slams the phone to the ground. The call is cut off and Jimmy’s worried. In the park, the guys start bashing and hitting Marco – knocking him to the ground and kicking him. The cops drive up and one chases after the hoodlums while another takes care of a beaten Marco. Jimmy tries the phone again but only gets Marco’s voicemail. He hears the distant sirens and runs off.
A cop tends to Marco’s wounds. Jimmy sees Marco on the hood of the car and runs to him. The cop stops him but Jimmy says he’s a friend. She tells Jimmy that they’ll get the creeps who did this to Marco. Jimmy hugs Marco who breaks down sobbing. Jimmy holds him tight and says, “It’s okay. You’re gonna be just fine. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.” And this is where I start sniffling. Because Jimmy, poor little rich kid Jimmy who is pretty much ignored by his parents, who has been a bit of an ass himself this season, is so amazing here. He thinks only of his friend – not his gay friend – and wants to do anything he can for him. And with Spinner’s treatment and being bashed by a bunch of homophobes, Marco so needs a good friend. It’s a wonderful scene, heartbreaking and strangely uplifting at once.
The next day is a rainy one. Manny’s on the morning TV announcements, happily informing everyone that Snake’s challenge was a success and he’ll be shaving his head. Paige tells Emma that it’s good that someone in her family has a sense of humor. Ellie chases after a bandaged Marco (with a big cut on his cheek), recanting the story he must have told everyone: “So, you’re walking through the gay village, alone, at night and you get swarmed for your shoes?” She ain’t buying it. Marco won’t fess up, and won’t look at her. She tries to convince Marco to tell the police and his parents but Marco says that after Spinner’s reaction and his attack that he’s never telling “anybody anything ever again.” Ellie asks if he’s going to pretend, and Marco almost shouts back that he’s not going to be anything – gay or straight. Oh Marco! Ellie keeps pushing by asking about Dylan, and Marco tells her to drop it and storms off.
Back at the gayboy lounge of love: Dylan and Marco stare at each other from opposite sides of a window. It’s one of those windows with the metal netting in it. A big metal fence of sorts keeping the boys apart! There is so much longing here – Marco’s totally rocking the big, sad puppy dog eyes. Dylan leans in the doorway and is so sweet and concerned. He touches the bandage on Marco’s head ever so lightly, brushing his hair to the side. Marco swats him away and walks off. Dylan calls after him, yearning to comfort his boylove. Marco tells him that he’s fine and to leave him alone. God, kick a cute, athletic, oh so manly boy when he’s down. It’s all so sad! I want to give them both a hug.
In the school foyer, Snake is on the mini-stage about to get snipped. The lunch lady walks in with hedge clippers then trades them for real ones. The students cheer and laugh as Snake gets his head shaved, but Emma’s the only one not amused. The students give Snake a standing ovation, but he needs to leave in the middle of it to take a phone call. Emma watches him pace outside, ignoring Manny who wants to revel in her success. Manny, noting the lack of response, asks what she has done to offend Emma this time, but Emma, eyes filled with tears, replies that home isn’t too good right now. That Snake is sick and it might be bad. Manny says that he’ll be fine but Emma isn’t hearing it.
Jimmy and Spinner play basketball in the courtyard. They have some argument about basketball scoring that I don’t really understand. But I do catch that Spin is being a pissy little brat. He says that Jimmy is worse than Marco because he wants to play by the rules. “Guy gets a black eye and it’s the end of the world.” It’s a fairly nonsensical segway because Spin is pretty much not making any sense at this point. Jimmy snaps that he wasn’t there, that he doesn’t know what happened. Spin sarcastically calls him a “hero,” and Jimmy walks away, tossing off his own slam of “loser” at Spin. Spinner yells that he’s not broken up over Marco’s dancing shoes being stolen, and it’s Marco’s fault anyway since he didn’t go to the game with them. Oh, how quickly Spinner forgets that he had uninvited Marco… is that guilt I smell?
Emma finds Snake outside. He confirms that he needs chemo. Tells Emma to get used to the bald look, that he’s gonna be stylin’ in the new fancy duds and a sports car to go with his new shiny head. Emma can’t understand why he’s joking – he’s got cancer. Apparently, there’s no room for funny when someone’s got cancer. But Snake calmly tells her that he has to joke around if he’s going to beat it. Emma asks him if he is going to beat it. Snake says yes – that he promises her, Jack and Spike.
Marco is all sniffly in the bathroom. The resident bad kid washes his hands next to him, snarks that he knew Marco and Dylan were meant for each other. Blows a kiss. Marco is confused until he sees the writing on the wall. Spinner comes in and Marco confronts him about “not telling anyone.” Spinner says that he didn’t ask to know the truth and Marco counters that he didn’t ask to be gay, like Spinner didn’t ask to like Paige. Spinner, like so many misguided folks before, tells him to just stop being gay. That Marco hasn’t dated anyone yet, so it should be easy. Spinner implores him, yet again, to try dating Hazel.
Marco is overcome with disappointment and gives up trying to explain his feelings to his friend. “Even strangers knew. The guys [in the park] didn’t do it for my shoes. They bashed me for being gay. They hate it… just like you.” Spinner tells him that’s harsh, and that he shouldn’t make that comparison. Marco simply asks, “Why not?” He walks out to leave Spinner to ponder his own homophobia.