Smoke Gets in My Eyes
Episode 410: Fire



By Dyslexia

Felicity's walking down a busy New York street and sees Ben. I guess it's really common for two people in a big city to run into each other a lot, but I'm not complaining because we don't get that many good Felicity and Ben scenes lately. Anyway, they smile at each other and Ben asks her how she's doing. How amazing is he? Don't get me started. Felicity says she's fine and adds that she hasn't seen Ben for "forever" (that's what it seemed like to me too, honey). Ben says he cancelled all his shifts at Dean and Deluca because he's been studying for his O Chem test like a madman. Who knew his determination could be more sexy than that coat he's wearing? Felicity asks if Ben got her message. See, last week she left a message on Ben's answering machine just as he was doing nasty things with Lauren. Ben didn't hear the message, but the whole situation could not be any more sucky. So the reason Ben hasn't called her back, he says, is because he's been studying so much for this O Chem test. Bleah. "I'm sure you'll do great," Felicity smiles. Good girl! She wishes him good luck and they part; Felicity looks back at him longingly and watches him walk away. ["And Ben shakes his head like he thinks their whole situation is ridiculous and like it's just wrong that they have to be so awkward and like all he wants to do is run to her and scoop her up….which he will. All in due time, my pretties." --Carmexa]

In the next scene we see someone's hands rinsing a razor. I immediately recognize Noel's girly hands. ["I was really hoping that he'd put that razor to good use on his jugular vein, but you can't always get what you want, I guess." --Carmexa] Yep, it's Noel, and he's popping his 'my-life-sucks' pity pills. Whatever makes him feel better, as long as he realizes he needs to leave Felicity alone. Oh wait, he does realize it, but I'm getting ahead of myself. ["Oh damn, Noel's not dead yet? I was hoping we'd open with a shot of him lifeless on the bathroom floor with an empty pill bottle next to him." -- Bitchavia]

Noel's sitting in front of his head doctor and uses another interesting (ehem) anecdote about his life. Apparently he used to feel like he was looking through a dirty window, but now the window is clearer. ["I have never seen a character so completely incapable of describing a situation without making an inappropriate analogy as Noel." -Litigia] Good for him. Then Noel starts whining about not finding a job. He tells his shrink that he had a job at Webb Group that was great, but he blew it. Didn't he only work at Webb for a day? What he really wants to do, he tells the shrink, is start his own business. The counselor asks what's holding him back. Um, how about lack of credentials, money, marketing skills, a facility, and general business sense? ["Not to mention a lack of talent. His 'graphic designs' looks like the ClipArt my computer gives me for free." --Carmexa]["You mean that ClipArt that's so ugly that you never use it, and instead opt for a plain, unadorned page? I know that stuff!" -- Bitchavia]["Just a word of advice to Noel. If you do start your own business, don't go firing people because they reject your romantic advances and don't start making out with your employees in the workplace. I say this only because of your past history and I'd hate to see you get sued and fail yet again. Wait a minute . . . never mind." -Litigia] Wow, what a stupid question. Where the hell did this counselor get his degree? Apparently Noel doesn't get it either, because he thinks the reason he hasn't started his own business is because he's constantly getting sidetracked. The counselor reminds Noel that he spent the whole summer with Felicity and didn't look for a job. Why is that Felicity's fault? This counselor suggests that maybe Noel should spend less time with Felicity until he gets things back on track. Noel's not sure if he can do that. Okay, seriously, do Felicity and Noel really spend that much time together? ["Not really. They've had like forty seconds worth of interaction in the past couple months. Not that I'm complaining; I just don't understand it either." --Carmexa]["Six of those seconds were when they had sex." -- Bitchavia]I don't get where this is coming from. I never understood why some people think Felicity and Noel are such good friends. ["I think it's because Felicity is always saying that they are. Of course these are the same people who don't believe Felicity when she says she loves Ben and not Noel, but whatever." --Litigia] Anyway, that's enough Noel for now…

Felicity's bragging to Javier about Ben's studious behavior this year. She's impressed how he can set a goal and stick to it. Aww, she's so proud of Ben and has this look of admiration and awe in her eyes as she talks to Javier. ["Where was this person in the season premiere? Why couldn't she be proud of him then, instead of being all jealous and self-pitying? Oh yeah, she was hanging out with Noel." -Litigia]["Because the writers couldn't think of anything else to try to justify why Felicity would cheat on Ben? Because the writers were desperate for a big storyline? Because they didn't bother to call us first?!" -- Bitchavia] She recalls how she wanted to get into Cavallo's honors art program so badly, but now that she works for him she's not doing anything about it. What I love about this scene is Ben is inspiring Felicity and Ben doesn't even know it. Javier goes off on some tizzy about how Felicity's situation reminds him of Tito Puente, and how Javier never seized the opportunity to meet Tito when he lived in the same apartment building. Eh-heh. Felicity's not really listening, because she's still in awe of Ben's stamina (heh-heh). ["Huh? I understand the sexual innuendo, but I don't remember Felicity saying a thing about stamina: yes, she was impressed with his work ethic and dedication, but I don't remember stamina coming into play. Whatever." --Carmexa] ["I think Dys was just looking for anyway to comment on Ben's sexual prowess and this was her best opportunity in this episode. Can't say as though I blame her." -Litigia] Finally, she declares that she's going to Cavallo to show him her work, and she's not giving up on the honor's art program. Yay! It's all because of Ben. See, if Ben lived with her for the summer I think she would have already been in the program. Instead, she lived with Noel, the two became major losers, and then they slept together. Damn, am I a masochist?

Sean and Meghan are discussing their Schmegan business. Yawn. Meghan's little sister Lila arrives, and Meghan is psyched to have Sean meet her. I don't really get how Lila and Sean have never met yet, but whatever. So Lila walks in and she's got a bun in the oven. Did I miss something, because how did Lila hide a six-month pregnancy from everybody? ["I think she was at boarding school. She mentioned being up in New Hampshire and having a roommate, and she's only 16, so I just assumed she was at Exeter or something. Like, in 'A Separate Peace.' I was so sad that John Knowles died that I cried. There was an episode of 'The Simpsons' where Lisa and her grandmother made fun of him, but I thought that was total bullshit-it's a great book! Just because it's accessible doesn't make it bad! Grrr. Okay, I'm going to stop babbling. It's becoming really obvious to everyone that I've gotten like two hours of sleep in the past three days, isn't it?" -Carmexa] ["Yes." -Litigia] ["Very insightful, but get some slepp already!" -- Bitchavia] Also, I've realized if you want to get pregnant or almost pregnant in this fictional world, you have to sleep with someone you don't love. ["I think it is written in some television show bible somewhere." -Litigia] First Ruby, then the Felicity scare, now Lila, and then … well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. ["Yes, let's not do that. I want to be happy for a while." -Litigia]["Find out what they're putting in the water that these Felicity kids are drinking because it's the sure-fire cure to infertility. They could make millions off it!" -- Bitchavia]

Felicity's explaining her art to Cavallo in an effort to get into his program. She's got a turtleneck sweater on, only half of the neck part is twisted upward. I assume the collar is supposed to be like that and that I'm just not hip to that style, but it sort of distracts me because I keep staring at it. ["No, I think it was just all twisted. Maybe Speedy was playing with it or something, because it looks really weird and not at all good. It annoyed the hell out of me, until I imagine Speedy playing with her collar, and then it just seemed adorable." --Carmexa] By the time I conclude that the costume people would never send Keri to the set with an unintentionally twisted collar, I find out that Felicity's lacking theme in her artwork. I thought her theme was angst from Ben deprivation?

Professor Hodges is giving his O Chem students a review of the big comprehensive final exam, and Ben's pen is flying across his notebook. He's so focused that I can't help but want to dance in front of him ["Naked!" -- Bitchavia] in an immature attempt to distract him, kind of like the way you try to get marching band members to crack a smile during a parade. Come on, it's a parade! I'm just saying. So, Ben and Trevor leave the classroom and Ben asks Trevor when they are going to study. Trevor says something about Elena and Ben spazzes out about Trevor always goofing off when Elena is around. This is true. Trevor says that won't happen this time, and Ben walks off, his mind aflutter with thoughts of carbohydrates and Felicity.

A bunch of papers fly out of Noel's hand and he bends over to pick them up. Felicity comes out of nowhere and helps him pick up the papers. Ugh. Various logos for Noel's new business are printed on the papers. I wonder how long it took "MeMeMe" Crane to think of the name of his business 'Noel Crane Graphics'? Is his business plan stuffed into that folder, by any chance? I must be either too practical or I've been stuck in the real world too long to know that Noel doesn't have the slightest handle on new business ventures. How very laughable. ["No kidding. In a city like New York, home to probably a million graphics houses and truly gifted graphic artists, Noel 'Microsoft Free Hideous ClipArt' Crane is starting his own business and thinks he's going to have a snowball's chance in hell?!-- Bitchavia] What's worse is Felicity thinks he can do it and tells him the logo is great. ["Of course, last week, she told Owen that the fact that he put whipped cream on her hot chocolate was amazing. Apparently, it takes very little to impress her." -Litigia] She's reverting back to "Declaration" Felicity and I might vomit. Felicity tells Noel she's trying to get into Cavallo's class again, and Noel says if she needs any help …

Noel's back at the head doctor telling him that he says yes to questions that Felicity doesn't even ask him. Good for him. The reason he is a yes-man, he says, is because he wants Felicity to be happy, and her being happy makes him happy. ["Right. He just wants her to be happy. That's why he fucked her when she was with Ben and then told Ben about it. Uh huh. Right." -Litigia]["I hate to think of what he'd do to her if he didn't want her to be happy." -- Bitchavia] The shrink says it gets him off track and Noel says maybe he should stop doing it.

Meghan talks to her sister in the bathroom. Lila's cleaning her jacket, which stinks of pot from her roommate. Baby sis doesn't want their mom and dad to know that she's six months pregnant. Uh-huh. Good luck with that.

Felicity's looking in the dictionary for inspiration on her art theme. The idiot! Clearly Ben is her inspiration, but she doesn't get it because she's gotten all dumb again. She consults the Magic 8-Ball for advice on her brilliant idea, and I gag. I'm convinced she's been sniffing Lila's jacket; it's the only logical explanation. ["No shit. I hated Felicity in this episode; she was acting like a twit. Even Noel was more likeable, and that's just wrong! WRONG!" --Carmexa] ["As much as I hate to say it, Noel was definitely more likeable in this episode. And that is unacceptable." -Litigia]["But in Noel's case, 'more likeable' just means a teeny bit less horrid, so he's still an ass. He's just Ass-Lite in this one." - Bitchavia]

Noel's in his office, and I think he's supposed to be working, but instead he's shuffling through his Noel Crane Graphics logos. I thought he said he was a great counselor? Maybe he's working off-hours, but I doubt it. Felicity skips in the room, her braided hair bouncing, and asks Noel what he thinks of piñatas. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty apathetic about piñatas. ["This is literally-let me repeat, literally-the stupidest metaphor I've ever heard. And Felicity, your stupid paintings of the stupid piñatas are ugly. I mean, really, really ugly. Bleah. She should have stuck to using Ben as her model. Duh. I'm no Michelangelo, but I know it's all in the subject, baby, and when you've got a choice between Ben and stuffed cardboard, go with the god-among-men. Duh. That's baby stuff. God, I'm rambly today." --Carmexa] I think both Felicity and Noel need to be bashed upside the head with a stick to see if there's actually anything in there. She says the theme of undiscovered contents is what she'd like to study for her art project, since she feels like she's been shaken around and is waiting for the surprise to come out. Noel thinks the idea is good, and rambles about some emotional stuff going on. Felicity says the paintings would be representational of the theme, and Noel says he was talking about himself this time. This time? Is that supposed to mean he normally doesn't talk about himself? Eh-heh. He says he's working on getting his life back on track. Felicity wonders what he's saying. She figures maybe they shouldn't be spending time together. She looks sad, but not as sad as she did when Ben told her they should move on, so I'm not gonna get hung up on the strange fact that Felicity actually seems to give a shit about Noel. ["I think she is sad because she has already lost Ben, the love of her life, and now she is losing the one person who she always thought would always be around to prop her up. That's the only possible explanation." -Litigia]["Or maybe her braid is too tight and it's affecting her thinking." - Bitchavia]

The O Chem study group is supposed to be studying for the exam, but just as Ben suspected, Elena and Trevor are goofing off. Ben gets pissed and walks out of the classroom, and Trevor runs after him. ["Ben looks so damn sexy when he's pissed, by the way. Even more so than usual." -Litigia] Ben says he's sick of being the only one focused. Trevor says this is college and there are other things besides studying. Ben says, "not for me." My poor baby.

Felicity arrives at the studio with some piñatas; apparently she's going to use them as models. I'd prefer that she had asked Ben to model in the nude, but the Felicity execs don't care about my opinion. She looks into Noel's office, and I guess she's still upset.

Meghan's helping Lila find a doctor. Lila's thinking Meghan's going to help her get an abortion. Sure, honey. Meghan thinks they should call their mom, and Lila gets mad and leaves.

The test starts. Ben's focused and looks like he knows the answers. I'm less interested in distracting him and more interested in rubbing his shoulders encouragingly as he pounds through that exam. Ben leaves the classroom and sees Trevor and Elena hugging. He's thinking of Felicity and how much he'd love to hold her and talk about his test. ["Yeah, you can just see Ben's heart go snap-crackle-pop with longing as he watches them. Waah!" -Carmexa] ["Reminds me of the scene in 'The Break-up Kit' when he got the B- on his political science exam and said that it should have made him happy, but it didn't because Felicity wasn't there. Awwww. When are they getting back together? I can't stand this!" -Litigia] There's lots of sad elements to this episode, but this the most heartbreaking.

Cavallo sees Felicity painting and Felicity explains her theme of undiscovered contents. Cavallo tells her to keep it up.

Noel's in his office on the phone. It's probably a personal call. A student comes in and tells Noel there is a big fire in the building. Of course not one single fire alarm went off, because the whole plot is ridiculous. Felicity is painting in the studio and doesn't smell the smoke or notice the fire. The light flickers off in the studio and then she figures out what is going on. She tries to open the door but the doorknob is hot. ["Jesus. Take your shirt-sleeve and wrap it around the knob and open the damned door. God, this was the most ludicrous thing ever." --Carmexa] The flames surround the one little door that Felicity happens to be behind. How coincidental. Felicity runs to the window but it's painted shut. Noel knocks on the door and tells her to stay calm, he'll be back.

Where are the firefighters? Shouldn't they be in the building by now? ["Where's the sprinkler system? Where are the other people who have to be in the building too? Where in the hell were the brains of the writers when they dreamed up this As-the-World-Turns plotline?" -- Bitchavia] Rationalizing this scene makes my head hurt. Noel, who's coughing and gasping through the smoke, grabs a fire extinguisher and puts out the blaze in front of the studio door. Great timing considering Felicity just spilled a can of paint thinner. Have I mentioned that she's really dumb in this episode? Noel reaches out his hand and saves her just as the studio bursts into flames. ["Noel actually says something like 'take my hand' or 'come with me.' Um, thanks, Noel, because I don't think Felicity could have figured out what to do without that direction. This isn't so much a knock on Noel as it is the stupid writer who wrote this whole corny plot. Who was it again? Oh yeah, Laurie McCarthy. Why am I not surprised that the person who wrote the beauty pageant episode wrote this one, too?" -Litigia]

At Epstein, Ben is having a celebratory brew. Trevor sits next to him and they talk about the test. Trevor apologizes for goofing off with Elena, and Ben says he's just stressed. Trevor asks why Ben doesn't just "call her." Ben pretends he doesn't know what Trevor is talking about, and Trevor says he's talking about Felicity. Awww. "That's not it," Ben says, he's just worried about the test. ["Look, Mommy! Ben's pants are on fire! Nice." --Carmexa] They decide to go check their test scores.

Felicity and Noel are outside the smoky building and hear that the damage was contained to one floor. Again, why couldn't the firefighters save Felicity if the fire was that small? Oh, because we need to make Noel look heroic. Um, yeah … it didn't work. The pathetic duo get up to leave and Felicity notices "pink snow," snow falling in front of emergency flashing lights from the fire trucks. She says the city is so beautiful and they watch the snow fall. I know Felicity bugged a lot of people here, but I thought she was fine. She's got a romantic view of everything, and I admire that. ["Okay, there's romantic and then there's stupid. She veers waaayyyy into the latter column here." --Carmexa]

Ben and Trevor arrive at Hodges' office and ask for their grades. Trevor got a 79, Ben got a 95. I guess that means Ben got an A in O Chem. I couldn't be happier that something actually worked out for Ben. He deserved it. ["Yay for Ben! I knew he was smart! I want him to be my doctor! For so many reasons!" -Litigia]

Meghan's mother's at the loft and reacting to the news about her pregnant daughter. Huh? Didn't Mom Rotundi see little Lila at Thanksgiving? ["Obviously, she did not, or else we wouldn't have this entire storyline, would we?" -Litigia] Mom is worried about what the neighbors will think. Meghan gets mad at her mom and says Lila is terrified. Just then Lila buzzes and Meghan goes down to talk to her.

An ashen Felicity and Noel arrive at Felicity's dorm. Felicity asks Noel if he wants to come in, and he says no. She wonders if he might like some cocoa and convo, but he says no again. She asks him a third time. Jesus, those fumes must have gotten to her. The two hug, Felicity thanks Noel for saving her, and Noel leaves. ["How is it possible that I actually loved Noel in this scene and hated Felicity? Thank God he refused to come in and someone please smack Felicity upside the head for practically begging him to stay. I know she's upset because she's lost Ben and now Noel, but Jesus girl, get over it. It's just Noel!" -Litigia]

Outside of the loft, Meghan asks Lila to come inside and talk to their mom. Big sis says she'll protect her, and finally Lila agrees. Sounds like maybe Lila will be living with Meghan and Sean. Lila sees her mom and they hug. It's a sweet scene. ["It's made more sweet by the endearing glances Sean and Meghan give each other as this is all happening. For once, you can see that those two really do love each other." -Litigia]

Felicity is cleaning up from her shower and is chatting with Javier about the fire. Javier doesn't even want to think about what would have happened if Noel wasn't there. ["I'd imagine somebody else would have come by and helped her. It's a big school." -- Bitchavia] He says something about Noel being her hero. Blah blah. Javier wants to throw Felicity's stinky clothes away, but Felicity says she wants to save them. Felicity's decision bothers some people, but I don't think she decided to keep the clothes because of Noel. I think she just wanted them as a reminder of how fragile life is. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Ben's frying up a quesadilla and Sean says it smells good. Ben asks Sean if he wants one, and Sean says he does. They joke a little about the importance of cheese in a quesadilla, and Ben lets out a great laugh that makes me think the scene is improvised. ["Well, they never say outright that cheese is important to a quesadilla. Anyway, I'm too exhausted to try to explain it. It's cute." --Carmexa] ["I'm not too exhausted. Basically, Ben asks Sean if he wants cheese in his quesadilla. Sean jokes that it better have cheese (since you can't really have a quesadilla without cheese). Speedy realizes his little goof-up and giggles. It's adorable." -Litigia] ["Mmmm..cheese...mmmm...quesadilla...mmmmm...Ben. Glad I could add so much to this exchange." -- Bitchavia] I love him. ["Ben tells Sean he did well on his test and when Sean pesters him further, Ben admits that he got an A. Sean is proud of him. I love these two guys as friends. We need more scenes like this." -Litigia] Enter Noel who looks like death warmed over, as opposed to … um … well, anyway, he's looking rough, and Sean asks what happened. Noel says he was in a fire, and Ben immediately asks if he's okay. Ben's perfect, did you know? Noel adds that Felicity was also in the fire, and Ben asks if she's okay. Noel says that she's fine but a little freaked out, and then he walks away. Ben looks sad and terrified thinking of how Felicity must be feeling and how he could have lost her. Why doesn't he just go over there already? Wah!

Javier knocks on Felicity's door and tells her she has a phone call. She asks if it's Noel, and initially I was annoyed by her question, but I think she just didn't expect Ben. Javier tells her it's Ben, and they have a very sweet conversation. It's best if I just transcribe it:

Ben: Hey, it's me. Is this too late to call?
Felicity: No, it's … no it's fine.
Ben: How are you?
Felicity: I'm, um all right.
Ben: Noel said you were in a fire.
Felicity: Yeah, yeah, but we're OK.
Ben: OK good. (pause) I just wanted to call to make sure.
Felicity: Well thanks. (pause) Elena said that you got an A on your O Chem exam.
Ben: (smiling) Yes. It's not a big deal …
Felicity: (laughs) Yes, it is a big deal!
Ben: So, Elena and Javier are there, right? You're not alone?
Felicity: No, I'm fine.
Ben: OK good.
Felicity: But thanks for calling.
Ben: Yeah. (he doesn't want to hang up)
Felicity: And congratulations on the A, that's … you know …
Ben: Yeah.
Felicity: All right. Bye.
Ben: Bye.

How amazing are they? I'll let the scene speak for itself. ["There were about five trillion more long, awkward pauses in there, though. Like after every sentence." --Carmexa] ["You could just tell that they both wanted to say so much more, like, 'I love you. I miss you. Let's get back together.'" It was really well done by both actors." -Litigia]

In the next scene Felicity's checking out the damage to the art studio. Cavallo walks in and tells her he's sorry that she lost her work in the fire, and adds that he liked what she was doing. He said her work is the kind of art that he likes to see in his honor's program, and he asks if she's still interested. She is, of course. Then Cavallo nods and says "Your piñata took another hit. Let's see what spills out as a result." Interesting. Good for Felicity! She owes it all to Ben.

Instead she gives Noel a piñata. I'm really beginning to abhor piñatas.["I wouldn't mind a Noel piñata, in the shape of his head, that I could beat with a big stick." -- Bitchavia] Felicity tells Noel she got into Cavallo's class, blah blah. "Are we still friends?" Blah blah. Sure, Noel says. Eh-heh.

The episode ends with Noel telling his shrink that he needs to move on. Whew. What annoyed me is that Noel says he can't wait around for Felicity. ["I actually didn't mind that-especially because he used Ben's words-remember? When Ben laid into Noel right before Noel spilled the beans he said, 'You're just waiting around for her!' Anyhoo. I think that Noel realizes that he'll never have Felicity, so he should quit deluding himself that he could compete with Adonis." --Carmexa] As if he thought she was in decision mode right now; she clearly wants Ben and he knows it. I can swallow that ridiculous statement as long as he's out of the picture. Noel may be a lot of things, but a hero he's not.


 


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