Episode 133

Eddie finishes accidentally spouting out the Ballad Of Thickardo and Gobby, and Paula gets in a tiff. Thickardo arrives, and tells her that it was all perfectly innocent, and that nothing happened, and that it was all perfectly innocent, and that nothing happened. Yeah, we know. Not ony were we there at the time, but we've all had to live through endless flashbacks. Trust me on this Thickardo - we know it was all innocent. And Paula just doesn't care. She runs off, and Thickardo sits and broods for a while. Eddie warns Gobby to stop her machinations as it will only lead to heartbreak - her own. Gobby isn't interested. She departs to spout more boring lies at Paula, to make sure that Paula takes the word of the weird half-sister she's only known for five minutes, over the love of her life who's been nothing but nice to her for months on end. Paula, honey, you're a moron. Thickardo and Eddie brood together. There's something brood-inducing in the air at The Deep, there must be. Something to which Mark alone is immune. Eventually Thickardo goes home and finds Paula packing to leave. Apparently it's all over. *Shrug*. Who cares?! Well, except Thickardo and Paula, obviously.

Cole and Caitlin, meanwhile, decide that they have to put the Deschanel Jewels back in the World's Flimsiest Safe. Which is an odd turn up for the books, given how much air time was given to Cole trying to steal the bloody things in the first place. He's changed his mind, apparently. He breaks into the house whilst Caitlin tries to keep her parents distracted downstairs. She's foiled by several things, only one of which is related to her complete uselessness and lack of brain. Greggie has his secret holiday plans to spring on Olivia, for which they have to pack; and Annie has turned up, demanding to see the jewels. Olivia turns into a thoroughly nasty school bully type whenever she's on screen with Annie, but Annie gets her own back with a brilliant Olivia impersonation, which I'm still laughing about now, several hours after the event. Good old Annie. Eventually the holiday plans win out over Greggie's flirting with Annie, and Greggie and Olivia go upstairs, with Caitlin chasing after in her continuing useless attempts to prevent them discovering Cole. Although quite frankly he deserves to be caught. He opened the safe ages ago, and it's taken him practically the entire episode to take one briefcase out and put the other one in. Needless to say Greggie finds him, just about to make his escape. The World's Most Useless Thief fails again. Twit.


Episode 134

Meg's nightmares send her scurrying to the kitchen in search of things to drink. Poor girl, she's all confused, caught up in her little timewarp. Everywhere else on the beach is still enjoying the early evening, but to her it's the middle of the night. Possibly this is the reason for her confusion, and possibly the journal is. She squeaks at it some more, and reads some more tales of Ben's brooding darkness. Mark tells her to stop before it's too late, and she looks all woeful. Didn't she go to bed with a different haircut? Whatever. And why is she wearing Tim's football shirt as a nightshirt? So much for being over him and moved on. Did I mention that Meg was weird? She mumbles to herself about Ben, and secrets, and Maria and the journal and nightmares, then decides to burn the journal for the sake of her sanity. Oh, I don't know, Meg. You could always return it, instead of destroying somebody else's property. As soon as she tries to burn it, a gust of wind blows out the flame, and she gapes in shock at the curtains. Also preoccupied with curtains is Vixen Virginia, who keeps peering through them in an attempt to watch Michael necking with Bubblewrap. Virginia has been turning down offers of apartments to rent, so that she can carry on living with Michael, and Bubblewrap is getting suspicious. Mind you, given the amount of clearly deranged staring that Virginia has been doing just recently, it's about time that somebody got suspicious. Even if only mildly.

Elsewhere, Cole and Caitlin manage to convinced Greggie that there is nothing sinister in Cole's having broken into the house. They explain their merry tale of games of cat burglary, and Greggie growls and menaces. Eventually he gives up and leaves on his holiday with Olivia, giving us a quick glimpse of Spawn on his way out of the house. Has Spawn grown since he's been away? And yet again Tiff is "out for a walk". Own up, Spawn. You've murdered her and hidden the body in the attic. Cole and Caitlin then depart to spend the rest of the episode making love in slow motion to a ghastly backing track, which somehow manages to transmit itself to Greggie and Olivia's car, and to The Deep, making Ben daydream of dancing with Meg. Yuck. Still, not as yuck as Cole and Caitlin, who are still at it half an hour later, with the music and the kissing and the ick. Go away, the pair of you.

And The Deep. Annie is crowing about having demanded the jewels back from Olivia, and tries to get Ben to help her in her legal campaign to contest the will. Ben doesn't want to go up against Greggie though, as they have recently gone back into business together. Annie is immediately suspicious as to why Ben would go into business with somebody he doesn't trust, but Ben is all International Man Of Mystery again, and smiles and broods and wanders away into the shadows. Annie watches him, and daydreams about the pair of them finally getting together - but this time it isn't Meg who ruins her dreams, it's Maria, lurking in the background in her floaty white dress and making Ben run off after her. Annie decides to go back to Maria's studio to look for clues as to what is going on with Ben. She's decided that he's hiding Big Secrets about the night Maria died, and mumbles to herself about Maria's Lasting Mark On Ben not being one of love, but being about dangerous secrets, etc and so forth. Pretty much Annie, yes. Now spare yourself some time and just look at Ben's family documents... The puzzle's name is Derek. Flopping on Maria's bed (what's left of it, after the fire) Annie wonders and ponders and mopes and mutters, and then gasps as the curtains blow at her. Yep, there's a rash of ghostly curtains in Sunset Beach this evening (or tonight, if you're Meg). It's all nicely atmospheric, anyway, even if it is somewhat inexplicable. Unless there's other ghosts around, that is. All the wives that Ben actually did murder, perhaps.


Episode 135

Paula is doing a Lost Sheep Act at her mother's house, with Eddie trying to convince her that everything is Gobby's fault. Gobby, meanwhile, tries to worm her way into everybody's affections as the wounded party in the whole affair. No one really seems to believe her, but it can be a bit difficult to get the gist of the storyline when your thumb keeps creeping for the fast forward button whenever she starts her whining. Anyway, Elaine at least isn't a pushover. Gobby glowers at her, but later grins her manic delight out at the world from beneath the pier, muttering about how she's going to get everything that's coming to her. We can only hope. The poor girl had to kiss Antonio quite a lot, so I suppose she did suffer for her misdeeds eventually. Meanwhile Paula goes back to Thickardo's house, and they gaze mournfully at each other. There might be a bit of plot development coming up here, but they don't really stop the woeful gazing long enough to find out. Maybe next week.

Over at Surf Central, Meg is back having nightmares. Her little time warp is still in effect, only instead of being several hours ahead of the rest of Sunset Beach, as she was yesterday, she's now running several hours behind. When Tim drops by she asks him what he's doing there so early in the morning, but apparently he's come to take her to lunch. Buy a clock, Meg. Tim wants to take her somewhere that Ben never took her, and Meg admits that Ben never took her anywhere. Gee, Meg. Could that be because you were never actually dating?! They talk about nightmares, and Ben, and the journal, and Ben, and lunch, and Ben, and then they talk about not talking about Ben anymore. Meg thinks about her dream, and about how in it she saw Ben pushing Maria off his boat. Except that in the dream it was Meg. In the floaty white dress. Yes, well anybody who goes sailing in that dress deserves to get blown overboard. Or pushed overboard. Or whatever. Tim leafs through the journal, reading aloud bits from the front page that were practically at the end of the book when Meg read them. And yes, I do know that it's mean to point out things like that. Eventually they head off out for lunch, whatever time of the morning it is or it isn't. They're going to Grenadines, which is part of yet another Tim and Annie plan. Jolly good.

And Ben. Ben is on the phone to Greggie about mysterious businesses, and then to a strange business associate about mysterious shipments, and then to somebody from the JavaWeb, which isn't especially mysterious, but should be. Annie keeps trying to get him to go out to lunch with her, but he's busy having disturbing dreams about Meg, and eventually disappears on mysterious business errands. Back at her own house, Annie growls about her mobile phone having been cut off by the phone company, and about having no money, and Bette tries to persuade her to get a job. Little sparks start flying out of Annie's eyes as she sees how she can get everything she wants in one swell foop. She starts pestering Ben about lunch again, and they wind up going to Grenadines. Annie asks him for a job as his personal assistant, since he seems so rushed off his feet just lately, and as they chatter happily, and share a laugh or two, in walk Tim and Meg as planned. Meg sees Ben and Annie enjoying themselves at lunch, and gapes in misery. Aw, poor Meg. I feel so sorry for her.

No, not really.


Episode 136

Cole and Caitlin come in from a swim. Despite being artfully sprinkled in water, their swimming costumes are bone dry. Goodness knows what they've been swimming in, then. Anyway, they talk about being in love, and Spawn and Tiff come along and... I'm sure there's a purpose to Tiff, but I've forgotten what it is. There's chatter, anyway, before eventually Cole and Caitlin go off to have more sex. That's all they ever do, so they might as well do it often. They do take time out to have a blood test done at some point, though. Which on the one hand: "Yay, them!" But on the other hand... maybe they should have done it before all the boring sex scenes...

Elsewhere, Thickardo tries to convince Paula that he's telling the truth, and that Gobby is lying. Paula seems to be beginning to believe him, but she goes to check his story and Gobby's with Mark, who of course saw everything that went on between Thickardo and Gobby the night of the abduction. Mark, for reasons that remain forever unclear, saw the whole scene rather differently from everybody else, and is convinced that Thickardo telling Gobby to leave him alone was Thickardo coming on to Gobby. Repeatedly. Paula runs off and tells Thickardo it's over for ever. Or starts to. Thickardo then tells her he's had enough and it's over forever. At which point Paula looks all upset. Meanwhile, Eddie tries to warn Mark about Gobby, but Mark isn't listening. Oh the grand attractions of Gobby. What they are, I will never know...

And over at Grenadines. Meg decides that she's going to ignore Ben and just enjoy her lunch, so with that in mind she takes the seat right opposite him, so that she can stare at him throughout the meal. Annie pretends to notice her, and Ben spends the rest of the meal casting apparently murderous glances back at Meg. Meg scowls at him, and insists to Tim that she doesn't want to leave, and that she's going to enjoy herself despite Ben, but continues to stare at him anyway. Why she doesn't just switch seats with Tim and end the problem, I don't know. But then she is Meg, and Meg has no brain. We've already established this fact. Over on the other table, Annie is still trying to get Ben to give her a job as his personal assistant. He tries to pay her not to help him, but she offers to do the job free for one week, to show her how invaluable she can be. He decides to give her the benefit of the doubt, as he doesn't have time to argue - mysterious phone calls from Greggie send him rushing off to the beach bearing intriguing bits of equipment. Meg, meanwhile, quits lunch in a sulk and goes off to wander on the beach, reading Maria's journal once again. She reaches a bit where Maria seems to be writing about Ben trying to kill her by sealing her in a cave at high tide. Meanwhile, Ben wanders into a cave and sees himself and Maria there, having fun. He goes all dark and glittery-eyed, and "Look At Me, Aren't I Dangerous", then mutters to himself that if he destroys the place, it'll take its Him-And-Maria Secrets with it. Or something. Then he stares dangerously into the middle distance, and the music plays its Ben Is Dangerous tinkles. For gosh he is so dangerous. Woo.


Episode 137

Cole and Caitlin are busy doing the usual Cole and Caitlin stuff, though for once they're not actually having sex. They talk about how Cole is about to move in with his mother, and Caitlin takes him round to see Ben in an effort to find a job. What follows is one of the more peculiar conversations ever to happen in Sunset Beach, as Ben and Cole both blatantly avoid answering each others questions, mostly about Europe. Who knew Europe was so mysterious. Ben recognises Cole, but can't work out why. Cue back-flashing to when Cole tried to steal the Deschanel Jewels from Ben's safe, and Ben bashed his head in, thoroughly and highly enjoyably. TGO one, World's Most Rubbish Thief, nil. Cole and Caitlin skip back home for the results of their blood test, where Caitlin hears that she's pregnant. Oops.

Michael and Bubblewrap are moving Michael's stuff out of his old room and into Casey's, so that Vixen Virginia can have Michael's place until Casey gets back. Vixen Virginia hangs around outside doors, listening and spying and planning, and smelling Michael's clothes. As you do. Meanwhile Bubblewrap finds a gun amongst Michael's things, which turns out to be the Jimmy's Dad Murder Weapon. Oh, spot the oncoming storyline. He wants to keep it to remind himself of what he doesn't want to go back to being, but Bubblewrap wants to get rid of it. Vixen Virginia, however, has other plans for it. Which involve creeping about and looking bonkers.

Ben wanders around the caves, dreaming dreams of Maria apparently going potholing in the floaty white dress. He goes off for a meeting with Mystery Business Plan Guy, and they talk about Mystery Business Plans. Meanwhile, Meg moons over the journal, and how evil it makes Ben look. Annie and Tim have further plans though, this time to recreate the bit in the journal when Ben supposedly tried to kill Maria by trapping her in a cave. With some needling from Tight Pants, Meg goes off in search of the cave, and eventually finds it. Meg, please stop knocking against the rocks. It completely destroys the suspension of disbelief when they go "Thunk!" Anyway, whilst she wanders around the cave, Ben has another meeting with Mystery Business Plan Guy, who tells him that they have to blow up a part of the cave system to divert an underground stream. Ben okays the plan, which I entirely approve of. After all, it will involve blowing up Meg. Cue purposeful looks, and lots of peering at plans. And Meg, stumbling and thunking her way through fake rocks, winsomely approaching her doom. Wherein she will go boom. Cheap rhymes and Meg exploding. Next week's episodes should be good then.


Episode 138

Caitlin stares at the telephone for ages, until even Cole notices that there's something wrong. He keps asking her what's up, and she keeps staring into the middle distance with a "There's Something Really Wrong!" expression on her face, until finally she tells him that there's nothing wrong, and she was just thinking about her mother. Er... yeah, okay. Whatever. Cole seems happy, and they trot off to finish moving his things into his mother's place. Elaine daydreams about how wonderful it is to have him around, and Cole tells her that he's going back to being Cole Deschanel, rather than Cole St John. Later, Elaine tells Caitlin that AJ could never stay with her, and that she lost him because she had a little kid, and couldn't go off gallivanting. She says that Cole won't stay put either, but at least Caitlin can go off with him, because she doesn't have any children. Cue wistful gazing. Quit being so damn responsible. Make the kid grow up on the road.

Bubblewrap goes through Virginia's belongings, and discovers that she was friends with Jo-Jo (sinister Greggie minion, mixed up with Mystery Story, and other bits of Bubblewrap Plot some months ago that weren't particularly interesting). She decides that this warrants further investigation, and snoops around looking dramatic. "Somebody might come in at any moment! " Except they don't. Meanwhile, bloody Jimmy has run away again, and eventually turns up under the pier for another grumble at Michael. Jimmy, you discovered that your best friend killed your father. I sympathise, even though the entire rest of the cast is completely failing to. But stop being so bloody annoying about it. Michael taks Jimmy home, and then bonds with Vixen Virginia. Not surprised. She may be scheming, evil and totally fruit loops, but she's way more interesting than Bubblewrap.

And Meg settles herself in the cave to read about all the horrible things that Ben supposedly did to Maria in there. Suddenly the cave is sealed by a giant rock being swung across the entrance by Tim and Annie. Meg, of course, immediately assumes that Ben is responsible and has a squeaky attack. Annie skips gladly off to begin her personal assistant work with Ben, only to see the plans about the caves being blown up. She gets in a flap and tells Ben that she saw Meg heading up there, but when Ben tries to get in touch with the explosives people, he can't. There's just minutes to spare, though of course Super TGO manages to get to the caves, from the other side of town, before the place blows up. Annie rushes off to tell the tale to Tim. "If it hadn't been for me, Meg would be gravel by now!" Nicely put. Ben manages to get inside the caves, yelling to Meg to come on, but she panics. Convinced he's there to kill her, she runs away, squeaking. Just leave her, Ben. He tries telling her that the place is about to blow up, but she just squeaks some more and runs away, when - surprise surprise - the place blows up. The camera rocks alarmingly, and Ben and Meg wobble. Well, Ben does. Meg doesn't really bother. Spot which actor grew up watching Doctor Who and Blake's 7. The roof partially caves in, there's lots of dust and falling... well, not rock exactly. But polystyrene sounds less dangerous. Seconds later Meg is sprawled in a heap of scenery, and Ben appears to be trapped underneath something. There's dramatic silence and trickling dust. Fun! They should blow stuff up more often.


Episode 139

Gobby wants to hurt Paula more, by having Thickardo fall in love with her. She daydreams of Thickardo Sex, then has a very limp catfight with Paula, before wandering off into the sunshine. I don't know what she's doing. I don't remotely care. Paula winds up trying to say goodbye to Thickardo for about the two hundredth time, when the call comes in about the explosion. They race off together. Presumably when they find out that Ben is the one who's trapped, they'll give up and go home again.

Cole and Caitlin bond with Paula at the Waffleless Waffle Shop, before Caitlin wanders off home to think about her pregnancy. She arrives in the midst of World War VII, as Greggie and Cruella have, predictably enough, arrived home whilst Spawn and Tiff are making out in the living room, with Tiff dressed in Olivia's clothes and jewellery. What is it with the Richards family all wanting to have sex in the living room?! Anyway, cue big argument, Tiff being thrown out (again), Spawn threatening to leave (again) and Tiff being allowed to stay (again). Eventually they all storm off to sulk, which is when Cole arrives. Caitlin is determined to tell him all, and immediately tries to begin. Again.

And the cave in story continues. Annie and Tim run off to see if there's anything they can do. Annie is convinced that everything will be alright, but Tim is worried that Ben won't have got to Meg in time. "Well in that case, Tim, Dorothy from Kansas will be somewhere over the rainbow right about now." :D They find Ben's Mystery Business Plan Guy, and hear from him that the explosion went ahead as planned. Cue panic. Meanwhile, TGO comes round and manfully hauls himself out from under all the polystyrene, to cradle a comatose Meg in his arms. He talks to her to help her regain consciousness, but she then panics and accuses him of attempting to kill her, and Maria, and JFK, Natalie Wood, and anybody else who has ever died in mysterious circumstances in the entire history of mankind. Ben is understandably confused, and Meg explains about the journal. Ben is even more confused. They examine their surroundings, and conclude that they're trapped. Meg wonders if they're going to die. Well in your case, Meg, we can hope. It may be a futile dream, but it's a pleasant one. And anything can happen in the dark...


Episode 140

Woo, new titles! Gobby is thinking back over her dastardly plans to screw up Paula's life, including gloating over photographs, talking to herself, and giggling like a cartoon bad guy. Mark, who is helping her to move in at Surf Central, fails to notice. They bond over the cardboard boxes, whilst Mark tells her the personal secrets of their neighbours. Eventually he gets a call about the cave-in, and they both go dashing off to not help, but instead to hang around and gawk like everybody else.

Jimmy grouses and grumbles about Michael, but Vixen Virginia tells him to put up and shut up, because she's going to marry Michael. Meanwhile, Bubblewrap is attempting to investigate Virginia, finding out that her husband was a friend of Jo-Jo's. Apparently this is reason for gasps and suspicion. Why?! Michael was a friend of Jo-Jo's too. Bubblewrap does manage to pin down a number of Vixen Virginia's Lies, though since they're just obvious attempts to get Michael's attention, they're hardly cause for massive concern. Back at Surf Central, Michael (who is suddenly an expert on getting people out of collapsed buildings) gets the call to go to the cave-in. Virginia goes with him, as what the rescuers really need is yet another person there to not help, but just to hang around and gawk. Jimmy sulks when they go off together, and promptly sneaks off to the police station, muttering about how Michael isn't going to get away with having killed his dad. Jimmy, dear, nobody cares.

And, joy of joys, the cave in. Inside, Meg is still accusing Ben of murder, and he's still confused. They argue about the journal, and he tells her that it wouldn't make an ounce of sense for him to lure her into a cave, come in after her, and then blow the place up. "Isn't that what you did to Maria?" asks Meg. No! Jeez, woman! Anyway, Ben gets completely exasperated, and flashing back to the blood-daubed walls of the Locked Room, Meg insists on "knowing the truth about Maria." She "deserves to know". Why?! Why do you deserve to know the truth, Meg?! Why you and not bloody Thickardo?! Anyway, as she's busily insisting that Ben's a murderer, and that she's scared of him, and that he killed Maria, and so on and so squeak, Ben suddenly tells her that he's in love with her. She immediately sobs in delight and leaps into his arms. Huh?! Still, nice way to shut her up, Ben. They hug, then hear the rescuers outside. They're saved!

Except they're not. Amid arguments outside, and staring matches largely involving Gobby, Paula and Thickardo, the rescuers have brought their heavy rig too close. It sets off an avalanche, during which lots of gravel leaps about the place, and Meg screams "Ben!" a lot. TGO wobbles heroically, earning himself honorary membership of the Irwin Allen Acting Troupe, before being pinned beneath great swathes of tumbling scenery. Meg squeaks with renewed abandon, but fails to be heard by the rescuers, who gawp in assorted levels of shock, panic and total indifference, depending on their acting ability. Annie screams for Ben, before going off to pray for his deliverance "and... well... Meg too I guess." Tim and Thickardo convene a quick meeting of the We Hate Ben Club, determined to get Meg out alive, and Annie and Tim talk in very loud voices, with everybody standing around, about how nobody can ever find out that they're partly responsible. Meanwhile, back inside the cave Ben is suffering yet another in his litany of head injuries, made worse no doubt by Meg's incessant squeaking. She manages to get the rubble off him, then takes the Spotter's Guide To First Aid approach to treatment, beginning with The Quick Quiz For Sufferers Of Head Injuries. He can't remember what's happened, but he jokes about his name, making her think that he's okay. Certainly he sits up and seems healthy enough. Then she asks him who she is. He says that that's easy: she's wonderful, his favourite person, the love of his life. She preens delightedly, before he delivers the bombshell. She's his wife, Maria Torres-Evans. Oh dear.


Episode 141

Caitlin is taking her pre-natal vitamins when Cole walks in. He wants to know what the pills are for, so after much humming and hawing, she decides to tell him the truth. Of course her parents choose that moment to walk in, so everything gets put on hold again. Greggie gets a phone call which I assume is to tell him about the explosion, but he shows no particular interest save growling about the blame. Meanwhile Spawn finds the pre-natal vitamins and is delighted, but worries when Caitlin tells him that Cole doesn't yet know. Shortly after, Caitlin finds Spawn and Cole together, does the typical Richards Family Leaping To Conclusions Act, and says to Sean that: "You promised you wouldn't tell him!" Way to throw yourself in at the deep end, Smurf.

At the cave-in site, Eddie has now joined Michael in having sudden rescue qualifications. He's desperate to help out, but since he's a fully paid up member of the We Hate Ben Club alongside Thickardo and Tim, Thickardo is dubious about his motives. Eddie is allowed to join in though, and he and Michael find an underground stream that might allow them an access point to the cave where Ben and Meg are trapped. They all decamp to the police station to look at geological maps of the area. Well, what more logical place is there to look for geological maps?! (Yes, I know it's probably fair enough in an earthquake state). Jimmy is still there, still hoping to tell Thickardo about Michael having killed his father, but he falls silent with confused awe when he hears that Michael is planning to scuba dive along the labyrinth of underground rivers (hang on - it was just a stream a minute ago) to try to find Beg and Men. There's lots of dramatic looking at each other, as everybody responds to just how Wow! and Brave! Michael is. Jimmy frowns a lot, and there's a great deal of dramatic breathing all round.

Underneath the cave-in, meanwhile, Meg is trying to look after Ben, who is still convinced that she's Maria. He keeps telling her how much he loves her, and talks about how they promised to be together forever. Meg squeaks about how she isn't really Maria, but Ben gets confused and decides that they must be playing games. She tries to tell him that Maria is dead, then panics and gets all scared of him again when he responds badly to that. Anyway, what's the natural course of action when finding yourself in the company of a disorientated man with a serious head injury? Yep, you begin interrogating him about his relationship with his wife, and all the bad things he allegedly did to her. Classy, Meg. Ben wobbles about, answering her questions and trying to reassure "Maria" when she seems afraid of him. He kisses her, and they lie down in the rubble. Meg eventually extricates herself, having finally worked out that it's not terribly ethical to take advantage just at the moment, but Ben is growing ever more confused. He starts to shiver, and seems to be losing lucidity. Meg settles down with him, and he falls asleep. She does her "I'm So Worried" look and trembles a bit, and so does the music, while Ben watches Maria in the floaty white dress as she plays on her swing on the beach. Poor Ben. He loses a bit more of his sanity every month.


Episode 142

Cole wants to know what Spawn promised he wouldn't say, so Caitlin begins to tell him. For about the four hundredth time. This time Olivia walks in on them, so Cole gives up and heads off home for the night. Caitlin and Spawn talk about it all upstairs in Caitlin's bedroom, only to have Cole climb in through the window just as they're talking about secrets. This time he's determined to hear the full story, so Spawn leaves them to it, and Caitlin tells Cole that she's pregnant. He's delighted, and they spout TV clichés about new lives and perfect joys and wonderful happinesses. Ick. Downstairs, where it's apparently still daytime, Bette turns up demanding that Olivia persuade Greggie to give her a job. She threatens to let out the story of Olivia's pregnancy, and also the tale of who helped Dead Boy steal Elaine's baby. Olivia squirms and wriggles, but Bette is merciless. This is clear just from her wardrobe. I haven't seen material that scary since Peter Duncan left Blue Peter.

At the cave-in, Gobby is still causing trouble, and Paula is sighing copiously about it. Elaine tries to warn her to trust Thickardo, not Gobby, but Paula is still in Moron Mode. Meanwhile Annie remembers hearing that there used to be tunnels for bootleggers leading to the caves, and asks Elaine if her Sunset Beach Legend researching has turned anything up on the subject. Elaine tells her that there was a tunnel, and that one end of it was originally where The Deep is now. Clearly, however, she doesn't wonder at all why Annie would suddenly ask her about secret tunnels into the caves. Annie drags Tim off to investigate the wine cellars at The Deep, and finally a panel clicks open. Back at the cave-in, though, Michael has swum too far, and doesn't have enough oxygen to get back. He says that the rocks still seem unstable, and that there could be more collapses, then listens through the walls to see if he can detect any sound of Ben and Meg. He hears their voices, and passes the news back to HQ, only to hear from them in reply that the oxygen supply to Ben and Meg has been cut off by the last collapse. They may be alive now, but they could be about to suffocate. This piece of news fortunately leads Michael to stop listening in on them. Sadly, given what they're about to do, the rest of us aren't so lucky. Yeeuch.

Sealed up inside the caves, Ben has made a remarkable recovery since the last episode. Not only has he regained consciousness, but he's also lucid again, seems far more aware of what's going on, and is no longer shivering. Clearly the caves have magical healing powers, or possibly it's just his special TGO Head Injury Fixing Genes coming into play again. Meg asks him about the blood-soaked studio, and he denies any knowledge. Well he would, wouldn't he. As far as he's concerned right now, Maria is still alive and well, and none of that has happened yet. He chats happily about being trapped in a sewer when he was five, because his older brother Ted was trying to show him a shortcut to Father Christmas's house. He and Ted are no longer close, apparently. Possibly because of the trauma of discovering that Father Christmas lives in a sewer; possibly because Ted never existed in the first place. Or maybe he sides with Derek in the Evans Boys Feud. Anyway, they talk. Michael stops listening. The band hiding underneath the polystyrene scenery begin singing The Beg and Men Song, which is bad news for anybody of a nervous disposition, as only one thing can happen now. Yuck. I know your first time is meant to be special, but isn't "Facing Imminent Suffocation Whilst Trapped With A Potential Murderer Who Terrifies You, Is Suffering From Major Head Trauma, And Thinks You're His Dead Wife" maybe just a little too special?! Apparently not. Ick.


Episode 143

Casey is flying back to Sunset Beach. This requires him to sit on an aeroplane for the entire episode, playing Exposition Boy to a VH-1 VJ who's travelling next to him. He basically recaps his entire storyline so far, for the benefit of newbie viewers who are wondering who the hell he is. This presumably takes up the "plane taking off from Oslo" bit, but I don't know how they fill the rest of the flight. Poor Casey and his non-existent plots. Still, it is at least more interesting than Cole and Caitlin jabbering about the baby again. Olivia and Greggie walk in on them. Does nobody ever knock in the Richards house?! Olivia hears about the pregnancy, though Greggie doesn't, and Olivia sobs to herself about it for the rest of the show.

Michael has decided that the best thing to do is blow a hole in the roof of the cave to get Ben and Meg out. The geological survey team call a halt to the plan, though, as the ground structure has been weakened too much by the first explosion, and a new one would probably bury Ben and Meg for good - and Michael too, wherever he is at the moment. Stuck in a cave somewhere near them, presumably. Anyway, he decides that trying to blow them up is better than not trying, so he sets about planning something on his own, with a mammoth block of C4 big enough to atomise half of Sunset Beach. Rescue expert, yes. Demolitions expert, no. Annie and Tim, meanwhile, have found the secret entrance to the old bootleggers' tunnel, and creep off down it. They find Ben and Maria Debris, and Annie concludes that they must have used the tunnel themselves - which rather leaves one wondering why Ben didn't just use the tunnel to escape that time that he and Meg were trapped in the wine cellar. Anyway, the tunnel leads to a dead end, or seems to. Annie and Tim gasp and quiver in annoyance, whilst just about managing to keep their hands off each other.

Not managing to keep their hands off each other are Ben and Meg, who are still having sex, but with a different soundtrack this time. Ben mumbles about Maria, and Meg realises that he still hasn't realised who she is. This initiates a mega-squeaking session unsurpassed even by an entire tribe of mice undergoing personal traumas. She squeaks, she sobs, she trembles. Ben can't understand what's wrong, and she confuses him hugely by insisting that she's Meg, that they've done something terrible, and that he should keep away from her. He can't work out what's bothering his "beloved Maria", and tries to comfort her, which just provokes more squeaking. Eventually she tries to get some sleep (where did that blanket she's lying on come from?!) and Ben lies next to her and looks all hurt. Poor Bonkers Ben. Life never likes to be too simple for him, does it.


Episode 144

Practically nothing happening in the Richards house today, but it manages to take up bucket loads of screen time anyway. Olivia snuffles in Caitlin's bedroom about the possibility of the pair of them being pregnant by the same man. Cole tells everybody how much he's in love with Caitlin. Caitlin simpers, on an industrial scale. And downstairs Greggie enthusiastically ensures that any blame for the cave-in will be on Ben's head. Along with the ten tonnes of (not at all polystyrene) rubble. Poor Ben. As if he's not going through enough just at the moment with Meg crawling all over him.

Very little is also happening at the rescue site, though once again it's happening over an impressive amount of time. Lots of people tell Michael not to blow stuff up. Michael tells people that he's going to blow stuff up. Casey arrives and everybody says hello to him, then he and Michael talk about blowing stuff up. Eventually, Michael blows stuff up. And knocks himself out in the process. Further on down the tunnel, the Annie And Tim Rescue Project continues apace as they try to dig through the blockage. The explosion helps. Nice to know it did some good. Sadly Annie can now see what Ben and Meg are up to, and I can entirely sympathise with her reaction. Consider yourself lucky you didn't have to see what we did over the last couple of episodes, Annie.

So. Ben and Meg. Yeah. Ben is in an increasingly bad way. He has another violent nightmare, this time involving what I think is a thunderstorm, but which actually looks like his house exploding every few minutes. Considering the state of his psyche, either is entirely likely. He chases Maria through shadows and then finds a raging ocean in the Locked Room, from which he competely fails to save her. Back in the real world, Meg cuddles him, dreaming of him proposing to her in a cave full of candles. You'd think she'd want out of the whole cave thing, but apparently not. Why is it that Ben is always dressed in sappy light-coloured clothes in Meg's dreams? Does she have something against black? Today she's got him in pale green trousers for goodness sakes. Yuck. Anyway, Ben wakes up in a raging fever, still seeing Meg as Maria - or, more precisely, seeing a vaguely female shaped blur. Meg hugs him, squeaking sorrowfully to herself every time he calls her Maria, before they get thrown apart (thankyou Michael!) by stuff blowing up. Water cascades in, somehow landing only on Ben and not on anything else, including the rug he was sitting on. Meg strips him on the grounds that he'll get hypothermia otherwise, then wraps him up in the rug and insists on "sharing body heat". Yeah, Meg. Right. Sadly Ben thinks that getting naked under a rug with his wife is great sport, and starts kissing Meg. She squeaks a bit in Meggie Misery, then gives up and starts kissing him back. Which is when Annie breaks through the blockage, and sees them. Poor Annie. Poor viewer. We've had to see a damn sight more than just kissing.


Episode 145

Mad episode tonight. Everybody seemed to be forgetting their lines halfway through, and tripping over things. Maybe they recorded it the day after a cast party. Anyway, Bette gets the ball rolling by turning up at Casa Richards with an eviction notice that she's been sent, saying that she has to get a job quickly or get thrown out into the street. She demands that Olivia make Greggie give her a job, but Olivia is in her usual self-absorbed state and couldn't really care. She tries rather half-heartedly to persuade Greggie, ending up with: "Goodness knows what Bette will do otherwise." Well, become a hooker, obviously. Bette and Annie's Fabulous Whore House. They could go in direct competition with all of Ben's various prostitution rackets. Anyway, Greggie takes Bette into his office and tells her that he knows she's got a secret about Olivia, and unless she tells what it is, there'll be no job. Bette hums and haws, and tries to throw him off the scent, but eventually caves in and shouts that it's about the baby. Cue long stares and wiggly music.

Casey treks through the underwater river and finds Michael. He carries him out of the caves and gets him to hospital, where he is immediately alright again. Wow. That hospital, and Tyus's amazing medical skills - is there no injury or illness that can defeat them?! Jimmy has forgiven Michael everything, and they have a bonding session that causes Virginia to gloat. Bubblewrap mopes because Virginia keeps being a complete bitch about her relationship with Michael, but it's hard to be too sympathetic when Bubblewrap is such a wimp. Mark, meanwhile, was clearly at the party last night, as he bursts into Rescue HQ to ask about Michael and apparently forgets Michael's name. And Ben's and Meg's. And what he's doing in Rescue HQ to begin with. He cheers up later though, as Spawn and Tiff have persuaded Olivia to go to The Deep and listen to him being a DJ, with a view to maybe giving him a job at the radio station that the writers have suddenly remembered that she owns.

And Meg sees Annie watching her kiss Ben, and flips out in sudden guilt. She gets Ben dressed quickly whilst Annie and Tim break through to them, then Ben does his Semi-Conscious Mumbling And Falling Over Act, so Meg and Annie fight over which of them is going to carry him out. Tim sulks, as neither of them is remotely interested in him anymore. They take TGO to the hospital, where he recovers with remarkable speed, remembers that Meg is called Meg, but doesn't seem to remember that he's been calling her Maria for the last three weeks. Meg squeaks a bit, whilst Annie goes home in a Beg And Men Were Making Out rage, and proceeds to trip over the doormat and completely fail to throw Ben's picture into the fireplace, so clearly she was at the party last night too. Back at the hospital Meg is hedging around, apparently trying to find out whether or not Ben remembers that they had sex, but that's kind of a tough question to ask somebody, really. He smiles at her dopily, and talks about "all that happened". Meg gulps. She doesn't want him to remember. Bash him over the head quickly, Meg. I don't want him to remember, either. What he can't remember, he can't flash back to. That way we're all safe.


Episode 146

Bette has just blurted out about "the baby", so Greggie rounds on her in a fever of anticipation, only to be thwarted by the sudden arrival in the room of Olivia. She hears talk of babies, flips on a grand and highly bitchy scale, and spends the next five minutes doing a real Cruella DeVille act, trying to totally assassinate Bette's character. Why Bette would really want to be friends with this woman is beyond me, but at least she manages to turn the tables later, by rising above it, and putting the fear of Gucci into Olivia by threatening real revelations later. Realising that something is up, but that he's not going to hear the real story with Olivia around, Greggie gives Bette the job of Gossip Columnist in the local paper. Bette is over the moon. Using no real names, she plans to spill every secret on the beach. Olivia gasps in breathless horror, then chases Bette away like some winged demon chasing prey in search of blood.

Caitlin and Cole go to the hospital for their first baby check up, but Tyus is off at Sunset Beach looking after cave-in victims. He's in Sunset Beach?! Michael and Ben got blown up, battered, knocked out and dragged out of rubble in order to be cared for in the SB Medical Centre?! Wouldn't it have been better to have taken them to Tyus in the nice big hospital, rather than had him come to them in the glorified school nurse's office?! Which has grown again, incidentally. Must have doubled in size at least. Anyway, Cole and Caitlin go home, where she has a heart to heart with Greggie about how they're all forever keeping secrets from each other, and Olivia sees Cole playing with an engagement ring he plans to give Caitlin. She gasps and hisses and pants in indignation. How dare he make her daughter happy?!

And Ben and Meg. Oh dear. Meg flashbacks constantly to the Cave Sex, which fortunately it now turns out that Ben doesn't remember at all. However he does seem to remember all the things that he said to Meg about loving her, when he thought she was Maria. Quite where his brain is at this point is difficult to figure out. He remembers saying "I love you" to Meg, but he doesn't remember that he thought she was Maria when he said it. So is he in love with Meg? In love with Maria? In love with Meg because he thinks she's Maria? Or in love with a memory of Maria that he thinks is Meg? No, never mind. It really doesn't matter. She squeaks a lot, anyway, full of guilt for having been taking advantage of him so much during the cave-in, and eventually runs out in tears. Cue Ben looking confused again, but then he's getting used to that by now. Tim drops by to try threatening him again, but when you look like Tim, and you're trying to intimidate a professional glowerer, you're really not going to get very far. Eventually he leaves, all cut up about the idea of Meg having had sex in a cave (which seems to bug him far more than the idea of who it was she was having sex with). Ben broods and Meg watches him, squeaking, then runs away. "Oh Ben! How could I have done this?!" Oh Meg! Shut up!


Episode 147

Olivia is foaming at the mouth in indignation at Cole's desire to marry Caitlin. They argue, and she (yet again) nearly lets on about the baby. Greggie lurks nearby listening in, but only hears the parts of the conversation that don't further the plot any. Next door, Tim (in possibly the worst outfit yet seen on the show) and Caitlin inexplicably discuss Cole's trustworthiness as a lover. It makes Caitlin think, and she wanders in later to tell her mother that she needs to know who Cole's "older woman" was. Cue heavy breathing and wide, staring eyes from Olivia. You'd think Caitlin would put two and two together from that reaction, really; but then I guess if your mother is Olivia, you're used to heavy breathing and various kinds of mania. Anyhow, later Smurf goes off to meet Cole on the beach. He presents her with an engagement ring, and she frowns in an SB Pregnant Pause For Concerned Thought moment. Back at the house, meanwhile, Greggie and Olivia begin to plot how to get rid of Cole.

Michael has a bonding conversation with Jimmy at the hospital, with Vixen Virginia looking on gloatingly. Bubblewrap turns up for smoochiness, which Virginia sabotages by sending in lots of guests. Later she discovers that Bubblewrap has been asking questions about her, and tries to get her own back by phoning up old friends and contacts to get Bubblewrap sent off on a wild goose chase allegedly about a news story. This gives her the opportunity to get as close to Michael as she can without actually climbing into bed beside him. Jimmy blurts out that he came close to handing Michael over to the police about his father's killing, but says that he's realised now that he doesn't want to lose Michael as well. They all smile at each other, and bond further. And none of them goes nuts with a submachine gun or anything. Which is a shame.

And Thickardo and Paula exchange glares at the police station, whilst Gobbi stirs and plans and is annoying. She plots to get Paula sent away for a month to Baltimore as part of some case or other, ostensibly to split her up even further from Thickardo, but Paula has apparently decided to give up on him anyway. She heads off to The Deep in a spray-on dress in day-glo red, and does a daft femme fatale walk down the staircase for Eddie's benefit. Just as well he looked up, really, as she'd have looked a complete berk doing all that if he hadn't. He gapes appreciatively, or possibly is just struck dumb in horror. Back at the station, Thickardo decides to go to The Deep with his friends. At this rate, Paula will still be coming down the stairs when he arrives.


Episode 148

"Cole, is that what I think it is?" Yeah, Caitlin. It's called a ring. Clever of you to recognise it. Cole gets down on one knee and makes a cringe-worthy marriage proposition, all about waking up in the morning next to Caitlin. Argh! Scary. Anyway, he's waking up next to her every morning as it is, so I don't see what difference he's hoping for. Forlorn about trust issues, she turns him down with a quiver, but takes the ring. You can do that?! You get to stay single and keep the engagement ring?! Cool!

Eddie and Paula sway in pseudo-sexiness. Eddie suggests that Paula is an alien, which they both seem to think is a great idea. Thickardo watches in sulky disbelief, then goes to chat up an extra at the bar. Meanwhile Gobbi finalises arrangements for Paula to be sent away as planned. Except that it isn't to Baltimore but to Sacramento, which I suppose would make rather more sense. In another corner of The Deep, Olivia worries about what Caitlin and Cole are up to, but takes time out to listen to Mark DJ-ing. She ends up giving him a job - which is nice if you're Mark, but potentially less nice if you're a resident of Southern California, and therefore likely to catch his show.

Tim writes a note to Meg saying goodbye, but when he goes to deliver it, he finds her in tears. She sobs all over him, and giving up all attempts to run away back to Kansas, he skips off instead to gloat with Annie. She is Ben-bereft though, and not in a gloating mood. Meanwhile Ben is out of hospital, and making arrangements for a date with Meg - or rather a hired staff of well-pressed penguins are. He badgers them about flowers, and wanders around making smarmy phone calls to Meg's answer-phone. Meg listens endlessly to snatches of his voice , not at all displaying more obsessive behaviour. Back at her house, Annie listens to Tim when he suggests that all is not well between Beg and Men, and takes his advice to dress up nicely and go round to Ben's. She arrives in time to see Meg turn up, and sobs in righteous sorrow. Poor Annie. Pains me to see Ben and Meg together, too.


Episode 149

Cole and Olivia argue again, this time over whether or not it was Olivia's influence that got Caitlin to turn down the marriage proposal. And this is no way goes over the same ground yet again. Meanwhile Greggie and Caitlin discuss her being his little girl, for about the two hundredth time, and then walk in on Olivia and Cole. Who of course immediately look wildly guilty for no sensible reason. Cue endless suspicious looks and cod shocked expressions, leading to lame excuses and lots of sex (after they've split up and gone to their respective rooms). Olivia moans about how visible her pregnancy is or isn't, but Greggie doesn't notice anything, until part of their lovemaking somehow manages to make Olivia's collection of maternity literature dive out of hiding and spread itself all over Greggie's feet. Oops.

And Ben is extremely earnest about his über-date with Meg, who has turned up looking upset. Not half as upset as Annie, who watches their preliminaries through the French windows, and sinks into depression. Tim visits, and she beats him up in her distress, before he fends her off with a letter Meg has written to her mother, and which he found over at Surf Central. Whatever is in it renews Annie's hopes, and she goes to lurk on her balcony behind a convenient potted plant that I feel sure she installed for just this purpose. She watches Ben make his various advances (though is spared his poetry reading, which... well, okay. Did work. Save for Meg's bizarre fidgeting. And a truly dreadful last line about eyelashes. But never mind). Anyway, Meg spurns all Ben's efforts, and Annie grins in delight. Ben is confused, Meg is squeaking, so eventually they decide to call it a night. Annie accosts Meg on the doorstep though, and spirits her away next door. Somehow the letter, what she's witnessed on the balcony, and Meg's forlorn squeaking, have all enabled Annie to add two and two together to make three hundred and ninety six. Which is a hell of a leap, but somehow manages to be correct. She's twigged that Ben and Meg had sex in the caves, and that Ben doesn't remember anything. Meg gapes like a goldfish and gasps in Meggie Misery. Oh, poor dear. Ha.


Episode 150

Caitlin and Cole talk in circles about the "older woman" he had a fling with. Meanwhile, further along the corridor, Olivia wriggles and writhes and tries to get out of answering Greggie's question about why she has ten tonnes of pregnancy pamphlets hidden in their bedroom. She spins lame, rejected excuse after lame, rejected excuse, and then totally bitches out by telling him that Caitlin is pregnant. Greggie goes into a tailspin, and slumps wordlessly about the house for the rest of the episode, culminating in a truly stomach-churning flashback involving Mini Caitlin and a teddy bear. And lots of prowling around his daughter's bedroom at midnight, with the lights off and her asleep. Which isn't at all weird.

At Annie's house, Meg is cornered. She squeaks forlornly at the suggestion that Ben can't remember having had sex with her in the cave, then comes back out fighting in Bitch Mode, trying and failing to insult Annie in return. Later she goes back to Surf Central, to sob over a really weird photo of her and Ben. When exactly in their non-relationship did they have that taken?! Tim turns up, and she cries all over him, much to his delight. I'm sorry Meg, but if you will have sex with severely injured people whilst they're hallucinating...

And Ben lurks at home, trying to triumphantly tell the painting of Maria that he's moving on, whilst ignoring the fact that the person he's supposedly moving on to just ran off out of his house in the middle of a squeaking fit. Tim comes by, and they have their usual confrontation about Ben being a dangerous murderer, this time leading to Ben slamming Tim up against the doorframe in a choke hold. Hooray! He wants to know what Tim has been telling Meg about him, but Tim says that he didn't need to say anything at all. Meg is working everything out nicely on her own. They glare at each other for a little bit longer. Lovely make-up job on Ben's cave-in injuries, incidentally. Eventually Ben lets Tim go, and they glare for a while longer, with a few added "Murderer" insults for good measure. Tim asks Ben if he's going to kill him too, and Ben tells him he already would have done if he'd thought Tim was worth it. Tim slopes off looking growly, and Annie turns up to take his place, ready to hear the full story of Ben's date with Meg. Ben tells her that everything is going to be wonderful between him and Meg, and Annie smiles and nods, then wanders off to lurk on her balcony three feet away from where he's standing on his, and talk in a very loud voice about how she's going to turn all his dreams into nightmares. 'Cause she loves him. Still - Annie-generated nightmares have got to be better than another "dream date" with Meg. But then, what isn't?!


Episode 151

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. I love you dearly, but when you keep having all your scenes with Gobby, it's awfully hard to keep my finger off the fast forward button. They talk about Paula, and about her sudden posting to Sacramento for a month. Eddie knows that Gobby has set her up, Gobby denies it, and that's just about it from them for the whole episode. They just keep saying it lots. Later Gobby nips off for a bit of creeping to Paula, which Paula falls for again. Stupid woman.

Paula, meanwhile, is saying her goodbyes. To everybody. Rather than going away for a month, she acts like she's leaving for good, so maybe she is. I can't remember. She talks with Thickardo, and he completely fails, yet again, to convince her that Gobby is lying about everything under the sun. She talks with Elaine, and there is much making with the doe eyes, and the patent pending Elaine Is An Angel smile. Paula doesn't seem to be making any attempt to say goodbye to her much vaunted newly found brother, though, presumably because he's off being in another bit of plot somewhere else. Still - you'd think he'd drop by to say goodbye to the sister he's just discovered, allegedly joyfully.

Anyway, the reason he isn't saying goodbye is because he's at the hospital with Caitlin, waiting for her appointment with Miracle Man Tyus, who's today wearing his gynaecologist hat. Sadly, Olivia is there for the same reason, and Caitlin and Cole, with their secret pregnancy, run slap bang into Aunt Bette, waiting for Olivia and her secret pregnancy. There is much hysteria, and anxious making up of entirely unconvincing excuses, before Bette runs off in a flap. Caitlin goes into the exam room, and Cole settles down to wait for her outside, just as Olivia sits down to wait for the results of her tests. Ah yes, Olivia's tests. These are to ascertain who the father of Sprog One is, although what they're using as blood samples hasn't actually been revealed yet. Presumably one of Miracle Man Tyus's other hats is a vampire one, enabling him to flit secretly through Sunset Beach, stealing blood samples from potential Sprog Parents, for the purposes of comparison with Olivia's baby. All because of Olivia's bizarre fear that if Gregory discovers she's pregnant he'll immediately assume that the baby is Cole's. Quite why she feels that he'll think that is beyond me, but such is the functioning of the Olivia Brain. Anyhow, she and Cole stare at each other across the waiting room, and Olivia begins to panic. Technically, though, it's Cole who should be panicking, as back at Casa Richards, Greggie is still fuming over the news of Sprog Two. He bribes Tim for details of the various confidential conversations he's had lately with Caitlin in the back of the family limo, then gets busy scheming. Oh well, it keeps him happy.


Episode 152

Cole and Olivia stare at each other in the waiting room. Olivia makes pathetic excuses, and Cole behaves weirdly. After digging herself into unimaginably deep holes, Olivia crumples up in a corner and frets, whilst Cole goes to watch Caitlin's ultrasound and make long, icky speeches. Caitlin sobs in delight, or possibly in disgust. Afterwards they go for a walk on the beach to be even ickier, and talk about lifelong connections, and babies. Olivia goes home, only to be accosted straight away by Greggie. He's in Ultra Delighted Mode following Tim's revelation that Cole has had an affair with a local woman. Greggie is ready to pull out all the stops to find this woman and "hang her out to dry". Olivia instantly goes into action, foaming at the mouth and spouting fiery, mad-eyed speeches about finding the women that Cole has had flings with in Europe instead, talking of abandoned small children and scenarios that will destroy Caitlin and break her heart. Er, yeah... and all this is because you love her, right...? For a moment Greggie gapes at Olivia in amazement, then decides that her utter insanity is a hell of a turn on, and starts kissing her. They pant and giggle and plot dastardly deeds, but Greggie has no interest in European flings. He still plans to find out who Cole's local woman was. Olivia does her best not to whimper.

Bubblewrap goes to take Michael out for a picnic, but Virginia tries to make her go away. They head off together eventually, only to be distracted by Virginia asking Michael to help Jimmy with his homework. Since Jimmy then disappears, one can only assume that Virginia has locked him in one of the kitchen cupboards, in order to give her some time alone with Michael. Bubblewrap goes off to talk to the other inhabitants of Surf Central, in order to allow the non-existent homework to go ahead, and Virginia takes full advantage of the moment. She sobs forlornly, and claims that Bubblewrap is victimising her. Michael, who can't see that Virginia has recently transmogrified into a raving lunatic, looks sad and worried, and decides that he has to accost Bubblewrap.

And Meg awakens from a peculiar dream about Ben attacking her for not being Maria (why is he always wearing light clothes in her dreams, damn it?!) to discover that he's hired a team of professional housebreakers to sneak into her room while she was asleep, and fill it with white roses. This freaks her out on several levels, not least because her dream was also full of white roses. Ben tries to phone her up to find out how she is. Cue Bubblewrap's bizarre phone manner. "Is that Ben Evans?" Er, no... it's the other English guy who frequently calls for Meg. Meg squeaks that she's not home, then retires to her bedroom to sob with Bubblewrap about the dangers of dating men with pasts. Annie, who tried to interrogate Mark about Ben and Meg earlier, lurks outside and watches in delighted confusion (or possibly confused delight) when Meg dodges Ben's phone call. She rushes home for a quick brainstorming session with Tim, who suggests that Ben might have got amnesia in the cave-in, and that's why he doesn't remember having sex with Meg. Annie gets incredibly energetic at this point, and decides that a break-in is required next door. When Mark storms into Ben's house, demanding to know why Meg is so upset, Ben rushes off to talk to her and leaves the place empty for Annie and Tim. They go through his paperwork (presumably looking for a doctor's report so secret that even he hasn't found it yet, saying he has amnesia but doesn't know it), whilst back at Surf Central Meg sobs that it's time to give up on Ben and go back to Kansas. Yeah, right. I should be so lucky. Ben tries to burst in, all desperate with frustrated longing, but Casey won't let him come in. They argue on the doorstep about Meg, until eventually she says it's okay for Ben to see her. Cue lots of looking at each other, and many different shades of mental anguish. And leave your bloody hair alone, Meg!


Episode 153

Greggie has hired Eddie to find Cole's other woman. This requires Eddie to stand in the doorway of Greggie's study and look shifty all episode. Olivia insults him for a while, in a hopeless atttempt to make Greggie abandon the plan, but Greggie is happy with the idea, and isn't giving up on it. He and Eddie swap smirks and barbed comments, before Olivia runs off in a panic to sob the whole story out to Bette. Bette is remarkably sympathetic given how unpleasant Olivia has been to her of late, and listens kindly enough. She doesn't even tell the stupid woman to shut up and stop being such a complete berk, which I would have done a long time ago.

Bubblewrap explains to Michael that she has been investigating Virginia because Virginia is using him. Michael glowers, as he is, of course, completely blind to this fact - just as he is completely blind to her utter raving lunacy. He defends Virginia, whilst Bubblewrap talks of all the dastardly things that Virginia appears to have done. Michael decides that it's all because Bubblewrap is from the nice end of town, and consequently doesn't know anything about what it is to live in one of the more downmarket studio sets, and have to talk in occasional fits of bad pseudo street-speak. Bubblewrap quivers and runs off home, but stops at the doorway so that she can be insulted by Virgina for a while. Which is quite obliging of her really.

And elsewhere in Surf Central, Ben rushes in to talk to Meg. This leads Casey to do the world's lamest bouncer act, where his attempts to keep Ben out consist of politely stepping aside to let him pass, and then putting his hands gently on Ben's shoulders. Yeah, Case. That'll hold him. Meg eventually squeaks that everything is okay, and takes Ben upstairs to her room, where he toys nervously with all the white roses for the next half an hour. He tells her that he loves her, and that he knows he told her that in the cave, whilst she flashes back to having sex with him, and him calling her Maria. He wants to make things work with her, but she can't believe that he's really put Maria behind him. Which is understandable, really, given that at the first sign of violent head trauma, near suffocation, and a nasty case of hypothermia, he thought that she was his dead wife. Actually, I mock, but if we're honest life with Ben does tend to involve rather a lot of violent head trauma and concussions. So maybe Maria hallucinations are a fair concern after all. Eventually he tells her that he's going to keep trying until she trusts him, then asks her to meet him at his place later. When he's gone, she tears up the letter she wrote to her mother about wanting to go home. Which is just as well, as it was written on the ugliest note paper ever. The road is not yet smooth, however, for Annie has rung up the hospital claiming to be Ben's medical insurance representative, and has learnt that he was treated for amnesia and delusions. This delights her hugely, and she sets to work adding more passages to Maria's journal. She goes to sneak it back into Meg's room, but spends too long talking to herself in there, and is caught by Meg. They glower at each other. For ages. And then the music starts up. Which is good, actually, as Meg is only wearing a towel - so by the time the programme returns next week, she should have died of hypothermia. Yay.


Episode 154

Meg didn't die of hypothermia. Instead she's still standing in the doorway, and she and Annie are still staring at each other. Sadly Annie has been unable to use the past week to come up with a good excuse, and after blundering around looking crazed, she leaves. She's worried because she's left the journal behind, and if Meg finds it, she'll know that Annie left it, and also that Annie has been writing in it. Then why were you trying to put it in Meg's room anyway, Annie?! Anyhow, Smeg wanders around her room having icky daydreams about Ben, though at least her psyche has managed to dress him in black this time. Eventually, just about to go off to meet TGO, she finds the journal, puts two and two together just as Annie had feared she would, and takes off out of Surf Central like some kind of Avenging Irritation on a mission. In fact that might even be a whole new facial expression. Woo.

Greggie has A Plan. He hasn't let on what it is yet, but it involves nobody knowing about Caitlin's pregnancy, and nobody knowing that he knows about Caitlin's pregnancy. So it'll be about as simple and straightforward as usual, then. He runs off to have a secret meeting with Miracle Man Tyus, whilst Olivia sets about making sure that Caitlin has no plans to tell Greggie she's expecting. Spawn is suddenly eager to tell Caitlin that Greggie already knows, but needless to say, Fate and The Great Sunset Beach Lack Of Plot Expediency conspire against him, so he never gets around to telling her anything. Meanwhile Greggie discusses mysterious medical matters with Miracle Man Tyus, who damn nearly puts his foot in it about Olivia's pregnancy. Greggie then storms out of the hospital, storms home, storms into the house and winds up lurking in a dark place so that he can do a dramatic reveal of his presence to Olivia later. "Olivia, you're pregnant!" he storms. She gapes. No way does he know, though. For starters that would advance the plot a bit, and that never happens.

And Bette lurks at Ben's house, trying to get gossip for her column. He tries to get rid of her, and half a million viewers laugh loudly alongside her when he claims that he's just an ordinary guy trying to lead an ordinary life. Yeah, Ben. Right. Eventually she quizzes him on his feelings for Smeg, and sees all sorts of disturbing things in his silences. Yuck yuck yuck. See, you only think you love her, Ben... Anyway, Bette goes all agony aunt, and tells Ben it might be better for the mood if he hid Maria's self-portrait upstairs for the evening. Maybe she heard him talking to it when she arrived. He looks all wistful and smiles at it sadly, but as soon as she's gone he takes it upstairs. Bette goes back next door and tries to tell Annie that it looks like the game is up; that Ben really does love Meg. Cue the doorbell, and Meg arriving in a cloak of burning vengeance. Well, a coat, anyway. She decks Annie with a big punch, and then grins triumphantly. Come on, Annie! Your turn! Your turn! Fight! Fight! Fight! It'll keep Smeg out of the way next door, anyhow, where Ben is currently being trailed up the stairs by a cameraman with a sinister orchestra hidden his pocket. The cameraman follows him down the corridor to the door of the Locked Room, where Ben puts the painting on the bed and goes into Mad Mode again, supplemented by flashbacks and more talking to Maria. As he gazes at the bed, or Maria, or the flames, or the storm at sea, or his memories of finding Maria in the Locked Room years before, or any of the other things he's having mad flashbacks about, something makes him turn around. He sees the cameraman, which makes the sinister orchestra get the jitters and start playing louder. The cameraman has Thickardo's shadow, though, so presumably we're not in for fisticuffs over here as well. Shame.


Episode 155

Yay, fisticuffs. Meg bursts into Annie's house and starts accusing her of doctoring Maria's journal. Annie proclaims her innocence, but Meg starts hurling things about the place, throwing vases onto the floor and chucking bowls and ornaments about the place willy-nilly. "Hey! That was an original Ming!" shrieks Annie as one vase falls. Yeah, that'll be why it went clang! really loudly when it hit the ground then. Remarkably, given that everything says 'clang' or 'thud' when it lands, and absolutely nothing breaks, suddenly the room is awash with bits of broken something. Annie and Meg shriek insults at each other for a while, before launching themselves at each other rather like Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric in The Lost Boys, but with more hair-pulling. They roll, they struggle, they fumble, they kick, they bite and they squeak. Aunt Bette's fourth husband leaps off a bookcase and showers himself all over the floor. Eventually Annie and Meg wind up in the jacuzzi out on the patio. Is Ben wearing earmuffs or something?! Annie and Meg try to drown each other, and Meg tries to rip Annie's nose off. The wet look suits Meg. It keeps her bloody hair out of the way. Eventually, after much gasping, snarling and mutual bashing, they tumble back into Annie's house, where Smeg screeches that Annie is to blame for everything. Her insecurities, Ben's psychoses, all the dreams, nightmares, worries, suspicions, blood-daubed walls and probably Maria's death as well. Whilst Annie boggles at the notion of blood-daubed walls and tries to insist that she wasn't responsible for that, Meg also blames her for Ben's delusions during the cave-in. Annie's brain starts to tick over, Meg realises that she's said too much, and with a squeak she runs away. Annie gives chase, but sadly we don't get to see this bit - we just see them tumbling over each other on the steps of Surf Central, howling like banshees. Apparently all of Meg's housemates are wearing earmuffs too. Annie has figured it out, though, and shouts her conclusions excitedly at Meg. She's realised that Ben had sex with Meg because he thought that she was Maria. Meg's lower lips wobbles. Still, at least she doesn't have to push her bloody hair out of her face.

Greggie has A Plan. Yep, another one. Or possibly the same one, just with more details added. "Olivia! You're pregnant!" he announces again, just in case anybody missed it yesterday - and then launches into the plan. Olivia is going to pretend to be pregnant, then develop "complications" and go away to a clinic in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Greggie will find Cole's bit of stuff, reveal her to Caitlin, destroy Caitlin's relationship with Cole, and send Caitlin off, heartbroken, to be with her mother. Then Olivia will "lose" her baby, take on Caitlin's as a replacement, and return to Sunset Beach with everybody thinking her grandchild is her child, and nobody knowing that Caitlin ever got pregnant. No, hang on... no, that is right. Roughly. Anyway, Olivia goggles, as this is even more bonkers than anything she's ever come up with, which is truly impressive. Next door, Caitlin is talking to Spike, but Spike isn't talking back yet. With eveything else that's going on lately, it can only be a matter of time.

And Ben turns to face the cameraman with the sinister orchestra in his pocket, to reveal that it's really Thickardo. The orchestra nips off out the window, and Thickardo does his usual persecutor act. Not that the repetition matters, as these two play off each other so well. Ben sulks and looks tormented, and Thickardo says that he's willing to bury the hatchet if Ben will just tell him the truth about what happened That Night. Ben sulks and looks tormented for a while longer, and has a few more storm-drenched flashbacks, before telling Thickardo that he didn't push Maria off the boat. He explains about the storm, mumbles something peculiar about how he went sailing that night, even though he knew there was a storm coming, because Maria asked him to sail into the middle of it. Huh?! Anyway, for some reason Thickardo actually listens to the "Maria got washed overboard and I tried to save her" story, even though he's always shot it down out of hand in the past. He even looks like he might be willing to believe it. Apparently somebody's been feeding him some Credulis potion or something. He tells Ben to explain everything - why they went sailing, what else happened that night, why Ben has been going nuts all these years. He promises it'll stay between the two of them. Yeah, right. You, Ben, the District Attorney, the judge, the jury and a whole prison full of warders. Ben refuses to say anything, and Thickardo glowers and glares and curses him, then stalks away out of the room. The orchestra climbs back in through the window at some point, and together they lurk in a corner with Ben's demons, and twiddle their strings. Ben mutters that Thickardo is better off not knowing the truth, and that "Some secrets deserve to be taken to the grave." Then he glowers a bit for good measure, before inexplicably changing into a soft white sweater that makes him look like a member of Procul Harem. He wonders aloud where Meg has got to. Kansas, Ben, if we're lucky. A really far away bit.


Episode 156

Typically little happening tonight. Greggie and Olivia talk about their baby plans, and Olivia squeaks a bit. Cole and Caitlin get soppy, and Greggie and Cole glare at each other. Oh, and there are lots more flashbacks to Colivia-gate. Which I really never want to see again.

Other than that, Annie and Meg carry on their argument. Annie is delighted to have worked out that Ben thought Meg was Maria when he slept with her. Meg whimpers a lot, and threatens to tell Ben about Maria's journal, but Annie doesn't care anymore. She's crowing so loudly it's a wonder all of Sunset Beach doesn't hear her. Casey eventually turfs her out of Surf Central, and she runs home to phone Tim, telling him to get over to Meg's and be a shoulder for her to cry on. Confused, he does just that. Meg doesn't tell him what the problem is, but she sobs sadly, and tells him that she wants to go back to Kansas. Meanwhile Ben is looking for her everywhere, but she and Tim hide from him at Surf Central, then run off to Tim's place to cower until morning. Ben is beside himself with worry, and decides that he's going to sit up all night at Surf Central and wait to see if she turns up. Back at her house, Annie cackles gleefully, and wishes that Ben could see Meg and Tim together. Give it time, Annie. Maybe this time around it'll all work out the way we want.


Episode 157

Vixen Virginia cooks a fancy breakfast "as a thankyou" to Michael. She tells Jimmy that she feels she has to do something for Michael, but mutters to herself that it's the first of many breakfasts together as a family. Turns out that Michael has already gone to Vanessa's place, though, taking breakfast there to make up for whatever their last argument was about. Oh yeah. Virginia, and one of her various schemes. Virginia flips when she hears that Michael has gone out, and throws half of the breakfast around the room, before apparently beginning to pack to move out. She tells Jimmy that they have to go back to their old home for Michael's sake, and of course Jimmy immediately runs off to Vanessa's to get Michael's help. Virginia smirks to herself, then goes off to look angelic in front of everybody else in Surf Central.

Ben, meanwhile, discovering that Meg hasn't been home all night, runs off to the police station for official help. In between accusing TGO of murdering Meg, and suggesting that Meg has seen the light and run away from Ben forever, Thickardo agrees to help look for her. This involves going to the place Ben has just come from, and asking the questions that Ben already asked last night; but this is Thickardo, and his job is never to find people quickly. Tim, who is following Annie's instructions to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for Ben to follow, phones up Surf Central and tells Mark that Meg spent the night with him. Thickardo gets a bit of this information whilst having a fairly standard glowering contest with Gobby, but obviously makes no attempt to pass any of it on to Ben. Annie makes sure that he hears all about it, though, and phones Tim to warn him that Ben is on his way. Tim ushers Meg into the shower, then messes up the bed to make it look like the two of them spent the night in it together, strips off, and greets Ben at the door in apparent surprise. Ben gapes and gulps and glowers. Meg comes out of the shower and squeaks. And Annie, who is sitting at home listening to it all thanks to Tim leaving his phone off the hook, giggles in merry delight. Well, she had to have a scheme work one day. Now here's to the success of the next.


Episode 158

Greggie's planning continues apace, and he buys Olivia a special strap-on cushion to help her pretend to be pregnant. She squeaks and sighs, then runs off to tell all to Bette. Bette is caught between hysterical laughter at the whole plan, and eye-boggling disbelief that Greggie could ever have come up with it. I sympathise, Bette. She suggests to Olivia that she go ahead with the plan, but since it'll wind up with her returning home with two children - her own as well as Caitlin's - Olivia should pretend that Caitlin had twins. Olivia points out that she's two months ahead of Caitlin with the pregnancy, but Bette just shrugs this off. They'll think of something eventually. Um... okay. Meanwhile Greggie plans to get shot of Tiffany, just in case she somehow manages to get in the way of The Plan. Later he drops by the Waffleless Waffle Shop, in an attempt to con Elaine into inadvertently helping him get rid of Cole. Cole flips out and confronts him about it, and Caitlin listens outside the room.

Bubblewrap goes round to see Miracle Man Tyus, to get information on Virginia by pretending to do a story about her for the newspaper. He tells her that he responded to the 911 call when Virginia's husband was shot, and that he's known her ever since - but he has to leave on an emergency, and promises to finish the chat later. Bubblewrap ponders this information, then goes off the Waffleless Waffle Shop, where she sees Michael hugging Virginia and Jimmy. He's "persuaded" Virginia to stay, of course, giving her the chance to play victim again, and making Bubblewrap out to be some kind of Jealous Avenger.

And TGO wrestles with a half-naked Tim (ooh er) whilst Meg squeaks ineffectually. He throws Tim out, and Tight Pants goes scuttling off to Annie's (amazingly quickly) to join in with the eavesdropping. He seems to keep a spare set of clothes at her house, presumably for just such an eventuality as this, and once fully dressed he settles down with Annie to giggle in delight as they listen in on Ben and Meg. Ben can't understand what he's done wrong to make Meg run away from him like this. He kisses her (yuck) and tries to get her to explain what the problem is, but she just flashes back to him calling her Maria in the cave, then squeaks a lot. Eventually she tells him that if he really cares about her, he'll leave her alone. He wanders off, and Tim dashes back (again with amazing speed) to be with Meg in her distress. She doesn't ask where he got the clothes from. Possibly she thinks he keeps a spare set in the corridor in case he ever gets tossed out of his apartment in his undies by a visiting jealous lover. Well, who doesn't?! She winds up sobbing in his arms, and he suggests that it's time for them both to go back to Kansas. Meanwhile Annie goes round to visit Ben, having seen him wandering home in a daze. She sees that the painting of Maria is gone, and he tries to explain about new starts. He looks pretty out of it, though. Cue the familiar Gaze Into The Middle Distance as Ben reverts back to TGO Catatonia. Never mind, Ben. Happiness is hugely overrated.


Episode 159

Greggie is in full flow arguing with Cole, when Olivia notices Caitlin earwigging, and phones Greggie up to warn him. Greggie immediately goes into his Caring Parent routine, and talks of how he can't bear to hurt Caitlin, and how Cole, with all the many women in his past, had better not hurt her either. Meanwhile, as Greggie is setting the stage for killing Caitlin's happiness once and for all, Olivia is next door doing the same thing to Spawn. She and Greggie have found Tiff's parents, and Olivia threatens to call her abusive father and tell him where she is if she doesn't leave right away. Cruella also makes Tiff write a nasty farewell letter to Spawn, and refuses to let her take Spike when she leaves. Charming. Tiff's ghastly, especially since she changed heads, but bloody hell! I'm glad Olivia isn't my mother.

Back in Tim's room at the motel, Meg decides that she's not letting this latest disaster push her out of Sunset Beach. Drat. She goes home to Surf Central, leaving Tim to sulk off to Annie's for some consoling. Meanwhile, Meg tells Mark all about what happened in the cave-in. What is it with her?! She told everybody she could find about how Tim had cheated on her on their wedding day, and now she can't wait to tell as many people as possible how she tricked Ben into having sex with her in the caves. You'd think she'd be wanting to keep these things a secret. She does change the story slightly for Mark's benefit, though. He tries to persuade her to tell Ben, on the grounds that "he'll understand". Meg just squeaks in horror at the idea. Why? You've told everybody else!

At TGO's place, Annie tries to rouse Ben with some hugs and stroking. He sighs sorrowfully, and Annie is as understanding as she can be. She tries to tell him how much she loves him, and talks about how awful it was during the twenty hours he was trapped in the cave. This causes TGO Confusion, as he can't remember being trapped for twenty hours. He realises that something might have happened during the time he can't remember - something that might have made Meg go all bonkers on him. Annie quivers with shock, but Ben has already escaped her clutches, going bouncing off to talk to Miracle Man Tyus. Tyus explains that he was delusional when he was brought in, and that it's not uncommon for people in his condition to forget things. Ben begins to wonder how he can get his memories back, and Annie, in horror, realises that she's given him the clue that might get him back together again with Meg. Now that Meg doesn't believe the journal anymore, it's only Ben's faulty memory keeping them apart. She and Tim smooch in their shared despondency. Congratulations Tim. It's got to be better than smooching with Meg.


Episode 160

Greggie decides to take the bull by the horns, and announce to the family that Olivia is pregnant. Needless to say, Olivia is not best pleased. Cue confusion. Caitlin knows that Olivia really is pregnant, and thinks that she has told Greggie. Greggie doesn't know that the pregnancy is real. When Bette stops by, and Greggie asks her to announce the pregnancy in her gossip column, she's even more confused. She would be - she knows about the pregnancy being real and fake, and presumably doesn't know which one it is that Greggie is telling her about. Cole skulks in the background, for some reason assuming that the baby is his, and trying increasingly unsubtle ways of getting Olivia to tell him how far along she is. Meanwhile Sean finds Tiffany's letter, and reads what Olivia made her write - that she's really in love with Mark, and has been stringing Spawn along. My, isn't Olivia a lovely woman.

Annie and Tim can't keep their hands off each other any longer, and start to strip. During preliminary writhing sessions, Tim accidentally kick-starts a slide projector, which projects huge, larger than life images of Meg onto the wall. Understandably this freaks everybody out, for assorted reasons, and they pull apart. Annie goes to get dressed again, and they talk about how they have to get Meg and Ben apart, before finally they give in to temptation once again, and wind up back writhing on the bed. Cue Meg's arrival, looking for her watch. Annie leaps under the bed, and listens with disgust to the Kansas reminiscences. Tim suddenly notices that Annie is visible in the mirror across the room, and to stop Meg noticing, hauls her into an enthusiastic kiss.

And Ben wanders around his house, doing his semi-comatose act, when Bette turns up. She wants to show him what she's written in her gossip column, but soon realises that what she wrote never happened. Cue some mild squeaking, and attempts to hide the column before Ben sees it, which needless to say come to nothing. She's obviously put something about Ben and Meg being an item, though we don't get to see what. Ben glowers and mopes and mumbles, and Bette tries to comfort him by offering herself in Meg's place (well, nearly). Ben decides that he's got to find out what's bothering Meg, and goes off to begin planning how to recover his cave-in memories. Go to the Memory Shop. Buy some new ones. They keep doing that in Days Of Our Lives, and it hasn't done them any harm. Well, except for the three people who all seem to think that they're Roman Brady.


Episode 161

Annie skulks under Tim's bed, listening to him and Meg getting it on, and practically punches the air in glee. Meg breaks off, with various excuses about it not being right, and not wanting to use Tim to get over Ben, etc and so forth, but Annie and Tim are still on Cloud Nine. Meg nearly discovers Annie half a dozen times in searching for her watch, and each time the music goes all dramatic and we get a close up of Annie looking shocked under the bed, but eventually Tim and Annie manage to extract the watch out from the under the bed whilst Meg is being distracted by a table lamp. Meg leaves. Tim and Annie manage to keep their hands off each other long enough for Annie to leave too. She has Ben Plans now.

Mark is at the Deep, getting ready for his first radio broadcast. Everybody is there except for Bubblewrap, who is doing some more research on Vixen Virginia; and Meg, who is at home hiding from Ben. Tyus drops by at Virginia's table, and tells her that Bubblewrap has been to his office asking questions about her. Virginia smirks to herself, and goes off to do the lambada with the ever oblivious Michael. Spawn turns up to deck Mark for stealing Tiffany, which leaves Mark confused and Gobby wondering if she needs to be jealous. Yikes no, please. The last thing we need is Gobby with any more plot than she's got already. Bubblewrap turns up, sees Virginia, and goes off to see if Meg is alright; and Michael and Virginia go home pretty much straight away too. So much for everybody being there for Mark's big night. Bubblewrap and Meg swap tales of woe, and Virginia tells Michael more Tales Of The Evil Bubblewrap. Michael, you're a lovely bloke. You're also a complete berk.

Also at the Deep, Ben lurks in his office, brooding over some paperwork. Annie comes in for some obligatory semi-flirting, and tries to sew seeds of uncertainty in Ben's mind by telling him her theory of Meg's Fear of Committment. Ben isn't especially interested right now, as he's more concerned with finding out about his missing memories. He thinks that he must have done something in the caves that scared Meg. Tyus comes up to the office, and recommends Ben to a hypnotist who might be able to help him. Ben seems to think that this is a good idea. Strange man. Clearly he doesn't have any worries about being told to bark like a dog, or jump on the table and start doing his best Aretha Franklin impersonation, or any of the other things that hypnotists do to you when they're pretending to help you get over your cigarette cravings and fear of boiled eggs. Annie overhears, and grins to herself. The talk of hypnotists has obviously given her yet another plan. She phones up Tim, obviously excited, and tells him to get ready to take Meg back to Kansas. She's sure it's going to all work out this time.


Episode 162

Cole has weird dreams about Olivia, as he's jumped to the obvious (to him) conclusion that her baby must be his, and his conscience is troubling him. This assumption that the baby is his is the same kind of Sunset Beach Logic that leads Olivia to think that, if Greggie discovers she's really pregnant, he'll automatically assume that the baby is Cole's - even though he has no idea that Olivia ever slept with him. Or that, when the baby is born, everybody will be able to tell if it's not Greggie's - even though for the first twelve months it'll just look like a nondescript pink thing with legs. Anyway, he wakes up from his nightmare to be comforted by Elaine in Mother Mode, which is a nightmare in itself.

At the Richards place, Greggie is trying to not-very-surreptitiously make Caitlin look at some candid snaps of Cole with other women, by leaving a new necklace for her within sight of a waste paper basket that Cole has put the photos in. More Sunset Beach Logic on Cole's part, I guess. "If I put these photos into this wholly transparent basket, they will instantly cease to exist". Caitlin hovers and hesitates, then eventually gets the pictures out of the bin when nobody is looking, but completely fails to look at them herself. Olivia dithers in corners, not really wanting Caitlin to be upset by the photos, but making no attempt to prevent her from getting them. Eventually she goes round to see Bette, to complain about the announcement of her pregnancy in Bette's gossip column. Bette, however, has Eddie coming round, as part of a plot to keep an eye on his investigation for Olivia's benefit, disguised as a search for more gossip for her column. This throws Olivia into a panic, though, as the Sunset Beach Logic Bug has got to her again. If Eddie sees her talking to Bette, it'll prove that she was the one Cole had an affair with. You'll have to excuse me for a moment; I'm still trying to work that one out myself. Yeah, whatever. Anyway, she runs off. Just in case.

And TGO is trying to contact the hypnotist that Miracle Man Tyus recommended to him. Next door, Annie is also trying to contact a hypnotist. Whatever it is that she discusses with him, she's left highly excited and in obvious delight. Ben departs for a business meeting with Greggie, who quizzes him on the status of his love life, checks up on his general wellbeing, and comments on his personal appearance. Since Greggie never notices these things in anybody save Caitlin, he's either anxious to adopt Ben as a new daughter, or it really is true love. Anyway, they completely fail to discuss business matters, and eventually Ben leaves. Outside he runs into Meg, who is at Greggie's office to ask for a job. Her plan to rid her life of Ben Evans is to ask his business partner for a job. The Meggie Mind, at work again. Greggie gives her the job, anyhow. I wish it was that simple in the real world... Ben goes off back home and rings the hypnotist again, to be told that there's been a cancellation, and to be at the office in half an hour. He's delighted. So are Annie and Tim, who are at the hypnotist's office themselves, completely failing to successfully hide behind something. They giggle at each other merrily. Partly because they enjoy it, and partly because it seems to be the only part of the scheming process that they're actually any good at.


Episode 163

Elaine bursts into Bette's house looking for Olivia, as she wants to argue with her about Olivia and Greggie's desire to get Cole out of Caitlin's life. They snipe at each other for most of the episode, with Olivia vacillating between a bad attempt to fake innocence, and a bad attempt to fake honest friendship. Elaine announces loudly several times that she knows exactly what's going on, but it's fair bet that she doesn't. Olivia herself has been confused for some while, and goodness knows Greggie's plan is enough to leave half of Mensa in a tangle. Later Eddie comes by to tell Bette that he's been in touch with the manager of the Seabreeze Motel, where Olivia and Cole carried out their much flashbacked shenanigans. Olivia gasps, from her hiding place outside the French windows.

After a little early afternoon browbeating of TGO, conducted largedly to rub in the fact that Meg has recently spent a night (last night? A night a week last Tuesday? Who can tell?!) with Tim, Thickardo heads over to Surf Central to play at the old game of warning Meg off Ben. Recently returned from being given a job by Greggie, apparently for the sole reason that Greggie wants Ben to be happy, Meg stands in the doorway and looks tragic. This is her "I Still Love Ben, But It's Over Now" look. Thickardo hammers his point home a bit more and then leaves. Gobby lurks outside in a bikini, and kisses Mark to try to make Thickardo jealous, but he doesn't care. Mark seems to be wearing a scary amount of foundation on his chest. Sorry, but that really does raise the inevitable question of who rubs it on...

And Ben. Or rather the unending circle of Ben, Tim and Annie, and a variety of plots and plans. Annie and Tim use that old SB chestnut of pretending to work for the local paper, in order to get Ben's hypnotherapist to speak to them - then Tim takes the receptionist out for a coffee, whilst Annie takes the opportunity to hide in a glorified stationary cupboard. The hypnotist returns and tells Ben that "it shouldn't take long to put you under". Huh? Winner of The Most Tense Man In California, ten years running?! Anyway, sure enough, he's soon zonked out. Cyclopropane, got to be. She's got cylinders of it hidden in the armchair. Tim comes back and begs some photos for the article. Does nobody ever wonder why these articles are never in the paper?! The hypnotist agrees, and leaves her zonked patient alone whilst she goes and does her model act next door. Nice. She's perfectly trustworthy then. Annie grins happily, though, and nips out of her hiding place to settle down next to Ben. So either she's going to get him thinking he's a duck, or she's got something Meg-related in mind. Possibly both.


Episode 164

Michael, Bubblewrap and Virginia do their usual thing. Caitlin worries over the photos of Cole and how much she can trust him. After all, he did have another relationship after breaking up with her. Unthinkable! And Annie taunts Meg about her behaviour in her attempts at Ben Snaring - all preparatory to sewing the seeds of departure for Kansas in Meg's poor, distressed little brain.

Eddie is ecstatic. He's found an employee at the motel who remembers Cole and his older woman. Bette and Olivia listen outside the window, and are aghast - really, really loudly aghast - at the revelation that Olivia paid for the room with her credit card, and that the number is still on the computer. Bette triggers the fire alarm in order to sneak in and delete the record, but later triggers a virtual panic attack in Olivia by realising that she can't remember whether she pressed the right button. Eddie, meanwhile, returns from the fire drill to discover that the credit card record has been deleted. He realises that the woman he's looking for must have been listening to his conversation, and have deleted the record herself under cover of the fire alarm. Given how few people know about your investigation, Eddie, it's not hard to work out who this woman must be, really, is it. Poor Eddie.

And Annie instructs TGO about things that we don't hear, whilst Tim distracts the hypnotist first with photographs and then with a sneaky phone call. Whatever Annie has said to Ben, she's delighted with his response, and skips back into the cupboard as the hypnotist returns. Ben soon has the poor woman nearly as freaked as Meg is, as he mumbles about sealing people in caves, Maria's death, and Meg being afraid of him. His subconscious won't give him back the memories that he's missing, though, and as he starts to get increasingly agitated, the hypnotist wakes him up. She says that only Meg can tell him what he wants to know, so he blasts straight on round to Surf Central, bowls Casey, Meg's unofficial bodyguard, out of the way, and hurtles on up to Meg's bedroom, where he demands to know what happened in the caves. Meg quivers. Ben looks all desperate, and filled with misplaced Meg-longing; and Annie, who has somehow contrived to be listening outside the door, gasps in horror. And they all stare, and stare and stare and stare, until the next episode arrives to give them something else to do.


Episode 165

Cole and Caitlin return from a horse-drawn carriage ride, that Cole has sprung on Caitlin as a special surprise. Goodness knows where he gets the money to pay for these things. They arrive just as Olivia is having one of her various brainstorms, as Eddie has rung to say that he knows who Cole had the affair with, and that he's on his way over to tell Greggie in person. Convinced that Bette didn't press the right button yesterday, Olivia begins to tear out her hair and run around in circles chasing her tail, before going upstairs to help Caitlin choose a dress for the second part of Cole's special surprise. She's not much use, though, as she just sits in a chair and whimpers, and continuously fails to tell Caitlin what she's trying to tell her about Cole. Downstairs Greggie plays at being nice to Cole, until Spawn bursts in and acts like Caitlin's personal bodyguard. Now that Tiff has walked out on him, he doesn't trust relationships anymore, and thinks that Cole is a love cheat. Yeah, whatever. Eventually, summoned by Olivia's desperate Bette Signal, sent up into the early evening sky, Bette comes bursting in, showering the room with high-speed, breathless condolences for Olivia, and confusing Cole no end. Olivia gasps and pants in desperation, and Eddie arrives. Fortunately he puts his arrival off until just after Cole has gone upstairs, which was clever. Greggie explodes into the room in a bubble of barely controlled excitement, and demands to know the name of the woman. Bette and Olivia tremble and gasp in tandem, and Eddie points at some indeterminate point between the two of them and announces: "It was her!" Everybody gasps, probably because he's just incriminated a vase.

And over at Surf Central, TGO is doing his "Oh Meg, I love you!" speech, to the horror and misery of everybody within earshot. Particularly Annie, who is bouncing up and down outside the door hissing: "Say his name, Meg!" So presumably Meg's voice saying "Ben," is of vital importance to the Hypnosis Plot. This is particularly vexing, since in the course of a normal conversation Meg says Ben's name at least twice per sentence - and of course completely fails to say it at all tonight, until practically the close of the episode. Instead she hovers and wavers and wobbles, until Casey bursts in to tell Ben to behave and go away. They posture and glare, until Meg says that it's okay, and that she's happy to talk. Annie manages to find somewhere to hide during Bungalow's interruption, though I'm not sure quite where. Just how many corridors are there upstairs in that house?! She bounces back, though, as soon as Super Lifeguard is gone, and goes back to hissing at Meg to use Ben's name. Ben comes out with some deeply meaningful and caring speech that finally gets Meg to agree to tell him what happened in the caves, and Annie gasps in shock. It couldn't really have gone any better, though, because as Meg begins to soften, and starts to tell Ben what happened, he puts his arms around her. She calls him Ben - and he calls her Maria. Annie dances away in glee, cackling so loudly it's a wonder the whole town doesn't hear her, and poor little Meg explodes in a white hot fireball. Ben is totally confused, as he doesn't realise that he's done anything wrong. She calls him Ben again, he calls her Maria again, and she explodes a second, third and fourth time. This is fun! Eventually, as Annie slips away to report to Tim, Meg throws open her bedroom door and screams at Ben to leave. Poor Ben is totally confused now. Casey hears the commotion and comes running to Meg's rescue, demanding that TGO leave. He refuses, completely befuddled with Meg, and increasingly pissed off with Bungalow. They face off, with the promise of fisticuffs, whilst Meg clings to the door and whimpers. She looks like she wants them to fight. That's okay, so do I. And with a bit of luck they might smash up Meg's twee bedroom in the process.


Episode 166

"It's her!" shouts Eddie again, pointing, and once more accuses some innocent piece of furniture of having had an affair with Cole. Greggie rounds on Olivia, and screams at her for sleeping with their daughter's girlfriend; but as he bellows and she whimpers and squeaks, Eddie suddenly yelps out that he's got it all wrong. Apparently it's Bette that he's trying to incriminate. Everybody stops and gasps and boggles, not least Bette, who after a moment's gaping throws herself bodily into the crisis. She sobs, she wails, she gnashes her teeth, and begs forgiveness for having slipped up so badly. At least, she cries, she was sensible enough to use protection. Just imagine how awful if she had been brainless enough not to, and had wound up getting pregnant with Cole's child?! Olivia tries to look grateful whilst simultaneously glaring daggers, then joins in with the game at Bette's encouragement, demanding to know how her old friend could be so stupid as to sleep with Cole. During a lull in the yelling and screaming, Bette manages to explain that instead of deleting Olivia's record, realising that that wouldn't stop Eddie she substituted her own details in an effort to deflect the heat. Huh? Then what was all that last episode about not knowing if you'd pressed the right key to delete?! And why look so surprised when Eddie accused you?! Eventually Cole comes in, and is hugely bemused to find himself suddenly accused of sleeping with Bette, as Greggie rages at him, and Bette sobs that it's time to come clean. He catches on eventually - was this man ever really a successful jewel thief?! - and plays along, asking Greggie if he's now satisfied that he's found what he needs to break Caitlin's heart. At which point the little Smurf herself turns up, gaping at everybody and wondering what's going on. Bette somehow manages to instantly transport herself home at this point, where Eddie turns up to apologise for the disaster, and flirts outrageously, apparently impressed with her track record.

And at Surf Central, Meg screams at Ben to leave, and Bungalow eventually tussles with him, dragging him out of the bedroom and leaving Meg in a sobbing heap on her bed. Casey persuades Ben to leave for Meg's sake, and he wanders away like an unshaven little shadow, back to his place to drown his sorrows in yet more alcohol. Ben, since that woman came into your life, you've drunk nothing but whisky. Does this suggest nothing to you?! Back at the motel, Annie urges Tim to go rushing to Meg's aid, but instead he phones up Joan. He tells her that little Smeg is upset and might appreciate a phonecall, which immediately gets Joan worried. She rings up just as Bungalow hugs the squeaking, sobbing Meg, and Meg squeaks and sobs down the phonline instead, as Casey wisely makes his escape. Tim has borrowed Bette's transporter beam, and appears at Surf Central in time to lurk outside the bedroom door and listen in, knocking just as Meg hangs up. She immediately collapses into his arms, and it's his turn to be squeaked and sobbed all over. He tells her that it's time to go back to Kansas, and she agrees. "This afternoon," she says. Hooray! Just to make doubly sure, though, Annie goes over to Ben's, and tells him that it's important he not give up on Meg. He must go back there and try again, if he really loves her. He looks all confused and sad, and thanking Annie, says he'd like to be alone to think. He then flops against the door after she's left, and says "How can I go back to Meg now?" Annie clearly hears, as she answers him - and then, in a very loud voice, talks to herself about the post-hypnotic suggestion and the trick she has been playing on Ben. Annie, do you have no sense?! If you can hear him... Needless to say, though, he doesn't hear her. Too busy moping about Meg, probably.


Episode 167

Caitlin still wants to know what her father and Cole are talking about, so after much nearly telling the truth, Greggie says that it's about Cole and Bette. Cue lots of dramatic staring, before Greggie "reveals" that Cole is worried about something Bette plans to write in her gossip column. Cole and Greggie glare at each for a bit, and play a few pointless mind games, before Cole takes Caitlin away on the next bit of her day of romantic special surprises. They wind up at the docks, where he stops to talk to a girl he knows, and Caitlin imagines the pair of them kissing. Whatever floats your boat, dear. Cole nips off at this point to argue with Bette about whose baby Olivia is carrying, but I have no idea what Caitlin does while he's gone. Stands around at the docks having daydreams about Cole snogging strangers, probably.

At the police station, Bubblewrap calls by to pick up information on all the burglaries that have recently occurred in South Central, and also to get some information on the shooting of Virginia's husband. She then goes bouncing off to pry into Virginia's background, whilst Gobby acts like a jerk around Thickardo. A small girl is brought in, after being found lost on the beach, and Gobby gets to show off her human side by playing the most appalling game to hoodwink the girl into telling them what her name is. The poor child is left in a right mess by the whole experience, as she's been told by her mother never to talk to strangers, but Gobby has just told her that: "It's always okay to talk to the police, and since I'm in a police station, that means we can be friends." Yeah. It's always good to talk to the nice ladies lined up in police stations... Anyway, Small Girl waves her piece of shoehorned plot around for all she's worth, refusing to talk to men, and going all quiet at the mention of her father, which leads Gobby to get all protective, and isn't at all like having Gobby's past battered against your skull like the attack of an angry rhinoceros. Mark's around too for some reason, taking the opportunity to marvel at the glories of Gobby and the evil depraved sex maniac that is allegedly Thickardo. Whatever.

Back at Surf Central, Bubblewrap tries to be nice to Virginia, and Virginia tries to be nice to Bubblewrap. Neither should bother, as the only time either of them is really all that interesting is when they're trying to out-bitch each other. Bubblewrap asks lots of questions about break-ins and South Central, and Virginia for some reason answers all the questions, even though Bubblewrap's "newspaper article" cover story is paper-thin. Eventually Bubblewrap asks about Virginia's husband, and Virginia gives up and spits sparks. Not sure why, but then it's rather hard to care. They argue pointlessly, thus ending a pointless conversation. Hey ho.


Episode 168

Brought to you today by a faulty transmitter, we have Virginia and Bubblewrap arguing over the article that Bubblewrap is still pretending to write. At least, I think that it's Virginia and Bubblewrap. It could be anybody in all honesty. They're arguing about Michael, anyhow. Or I think that they are. They sound like they're delivering their lines as a stutter-rap, but I'm pretty sure they just said "Michael". Virginia is arguing that Bubblewrap's continued investigations could cause trouble for Michael, because of the killing of her husband. Bubblewrap says that it wasn't murder, so he'll be okay. 'Cause yeah, the police always let you go if you accidentally kill someone after firing a powerful handgun into a crowd. During a gang war. On the rough side of town. When you're black. Yep, he'll get off no problem. Michael is out playing football on the beach with Jimmy, which for some reason is the one clear picture I've got tonight. They walk in on Virginia and Bubblewrap's argument, but I have no idea what they overhear. There's some dramatic noise, but it could just as easily be somebody coughing.

Somewhere else, Tim is demonstrating the latest in scrolling diagonal lines. Between bursts of static, I can report that black and white suits him, but I have no idea what he's saying. Does look like he might be talking to Annie though. Gobby is arguing with Thickardo about the little lost girl they had in the police station last time, and is waving a flag reading: "I was abused by my father" that is so big and clear I can read it through a thick grey mist and a rolling picture. Needless to say, Thickardo misses it. He tries to follow her when she runs off home in a tizz, but succeeds only in running into Meg, who is packing to go home. He loiters and plays his Ben Is Dangerous card, but I can't really hear what he's saying. Meg growls a bit at him, and they argue in weird staticky voices about something indistinct. Ben gets mentioned quite a bit, and I think Maria. Then the pair of them start leaping up and down very fast, and get attacked by a large swarm of angry bees. Least that's what it sounds like.

At Ben's house, the Brooding One is not letting a bad transmitter get in the way of his brooding. Mark stops by, and Ben tries to get him to say if he knows what happened in the cave. Mark won't say anything. Between snowstorms, Ben broods. He's probably brooding during the snowstorms as well, but I can't tell. Then he's eaten by a grey blobby monster that spits a lot. Hopefully he'll have fought his way out of its digestive tract by the next episode. Um… and that's about it, really.


Episode 169

Tim goes to give in his notice to Greggie - "I'm leaving for Kansas this afternoon." Great notice-giving there, Tim. Caitlin is delighted for him, as he's finally got Meg, though Tim isn't counting any chickens yet. He says a proper goodbye to Caitlin once they're alone, and they talk about their friendship and how he looked after her during her break up with Cole. Things finish with a goodbye kiss. Cole witnesses this and flips out over it, yelling at Tim, who retaliates by telling him what a jerk he's been, and is still being. They argue about Cole's past, and whether or not he's good enough for Caitlin, before Tim finally takes his leave. When he gets home he finds Annie waiting there for him with a bottle of champagne.

Bette has invited Olivia around, because she wants to hear "the full story". Yep, every little detail about the fling with Cole - "for research purposes". She wants to hear everything in case Greggie quizzes her on it. Full schematics, then. Olivia blusters her way out of it, thankfully, and leaves Bette pouting. Her good mood is soon revived by the promise of gossip from next door, though, as Annie has news of Ben. When she finds out what the news is, though - Meg off back to Kansas, and Annie hoping to take over where she left off, Bette is less than ecstatic. She sees trouble ahead. Annie is on Cloud Nine, though, especially after she meets Meg on the beach, and Meg asks her to make sure that Ben doesn't find out about her move until she's gone.

Too late for that, though. Thickardo muscles into Ben's place, crowing about Meg's "escape". Ben wants to dash over to her place right away, but Thickardo holds him back, and tells him to let "this one" get away, before she gets into trouble the way that Maria did. Ben sulks and glowers and broods until Thickardo has gone, then sulks and glowers and broods a bit more, before giving up and dashing over to Surf Central. Meg is telling all to Bubblewrap, who goes to deflect Ben when he arrives. She thinks that he's right, though, when he says that running away isn't going to solve any of Meg's problems, and so goes to tell Meg to give him a fair hearing. Meg does so, and Bubblewrap slips yet another of the ever-appearing framed photos of Men and Beg into one of Meg's bags. Where do all these photos keep coming from?! They've never even been out on a date, for goodness sakes. Downstairs, Meg refuses to tell Ben why she's so upset, but as she goes back upstairs to finish her packing, Ben goes all wobbly and grips his head. Yeah, I'd look like that, too, if I'd just remembered what he has. Now the poor guy keeps seeing himself making love to Meg. Urgh.


Episode 170

Peculiar episode tonight, in that Caitlin, Cole and Olivia manage to talk for the entire forty-five minutes without actually saying anything. At the start of the episode Caitlin is demanding to know who Cole had his fling with, at which point Olivia walks in, her eyes meet with Cole's, and Caitlin immediately looks revolted and says "Mom? You?" For almost the entire rest of the episode, Caitlin is then screaming "How could you?", whilst Cole and Olivia try to decide whether or not to come clean - before it eventually turns out that all Caitlin meant was "You know who he had the fling with." Whatever. Caitlin eventually departs to talk to Elaine about boyfriends, and Cole demands to know if Olivia's baby is his. Again. Whatever.

Tim and Annie are celebrating, which is nice. They drink champagne and nearly make out, then eventually pull apart and go their separate ways. Tim is in high spirits, and Annie is delighted at the way her plan is going. She can't wait to get Ben all to herself, despite all of Bette's warnings. Poor Annie. I wish I thought that this was going to go her way.

And over at Surf Central, Ben tells Meg that he remembers making love to her in the caves. She eventually breaks down and tells him the whole story - that he called her Maria, and that she let him think that that was who she was. He looks confused, and tries to convince her that she's the one he's in love with - not Maria. Meg tells him that he keeps calling her Maria, and he looks even more confused, but carries on battling valiantly to get her to stay. Poor, deluded TGO. That head injury really did have lasting effects. Eventually Tim turns up, ready to take her away, and whilst Meg goes off upstairs to fetch the rest of her luggage, Tim tells Ben to back off. He asks if Ben has ever seen Meg truly happy, and points out that she never has been in Sunset Beach. Ben can't let go though. Ben, honey, you need a psychiatrist.


Episode 171

Olivia argues in circles with Cole about the baby, until Greggie comes in. He's feeling particularly perky, having just set up a trap for Cole involving a smarmy looking bloke on a plane. Greggie is anxious for Cole to join the family for a celebration dinner in honour of Olivia's pregnancy, and Cole agrees. Greggie is now more delighted than ever, for the smarmy bloke on the plane is apparently due to make some big entrance at the dinner, and presumably do something that will destroy Cole's relationship with Caitlin. Caitlin herself is still at Elaine's hearing the Story Of AJ. I do wish they'd stop with all this. Elaine keeps building him up to be some spectacular romantic swashbuckler, and of course when he eventually turned up he was… well, he wasn't a spectacular romantic swashbuckler, that's for sure. Caitlin invites Elaine to join the family celebration, and Elaine accepts.

Annie is almost dancing for joy. Meg's on her way back to Kansas, Ben is gradually getting over Maria - the time is ripe for her to leap into his arms. Bette is worried, though, and keeps trying to cool Annie down. She points out that TGO isn't actually in love with Annie, but Annie isn't discouraged by details. She just can't wait for Meg to go. Bette keeps trying to ground her in reality, but they wind up just fighting, and Annie goes off to watch Meg's departure and have a good gloat. Bette sighs, and worries about her niece's future broken heart. Poor Annie. Poor Ben. I'm sure he'd much rather have her, if he honestly thought about it...

And Ben continues to try to persuade Meg not to leave. He talks, he begs, he glowers, and I'm sure that his stubble grows as we watch. After effect of the emotional strain, perhaps. Eventually, in a last ditch attempt to get her to stay, he gives her a kiss that seems to lasts for at least two conversations going on in other plot lines. He then tells her that whatever she thinks, it's her that he loves. He tells her to look into his eyes, and tell him that that isn't real love there. Um… just looks like glowering to me, Ben - though Meg seems convinced. So glowering at people looks like real love?! The whole bloody world must think I'm in love with it. Anyway, he's doing really well, before the post-hypnotic suggestion kicks in again, and he calls her Maria at a gloriously inappropriate moment. Meg squeaks and flies into Tim's arms, and an oblivious TGO desperately tries to persuade her to stay. She goes, though, leaving him standing in the street on the edge of tears. Annie giggles from behind a convenient plant. She makes quite a habit of that. As Meg and Tim board their plane and head off back to Kansas, Ben swigs whisky and hurls his empty glass about, this time seeing paintings of Maria in his head. Makes a change from the real thing. He winds up on the balcony, looking all sad, whilst Annie gloats from behind a convenient plant. Different one this time. She has them placed all over town, for just such eventualities. That's forethought for you.


Episode 172

Vanessa is in the kitchen at Surf Central, moping now that Meg has gone. She's worried that what has happened to Ben and Meg might happen to her and Michael. Little chance of that, ducks, unless it turns out that Michael is half-crazed with grief, rage and guilt over the death of his wife. And keeps calling you Maria. Anyway, she begs him to make love to her, as they've been waiting long enough to do it. Virginia overhears, and makes dastardly plans, which fortunately do not currently involve turkey basters. Bubblewrap wants Michael to move in with her, so that they'll have some privacy, and might finally get the chance to get their rocks off without somebody interrupting them, but Michael isn't sure that it's time yet. Virginia glees gloatfully. No, hang on. Oh, whatever.

Greggie leads his merry band of dinner guests into Sunset Beach's all-purpose restaurant, the cheapest fancy eating place in California, since nobody ever actually gets around to eating anything. Sure enough, they've barely been brought the menus before the world's worst accent walks into the place, today wearing the body of an alleged Frenchman called Jacques. Yeah, right. And I'm a Page Three Girl called Felicity. He prances up to Cole in a fit of absolute delight, and proceeds to tell the table all about his escapades all over Europe in the company of Jewel Thief Cole. Greggie, who has set the whole thing up, grins happily at the end of the table, looking studiously perplexed instead whenever anybody looks at him. Cole takes "Jacques" away for a secret chat, where it turns out that the accent is just put on - no, really?! - and that Jacques is an alias. Cole's not best pleased to see him, but then Cole never did have much to speak of in the brain department. He's a good character, Cole. Those are pretty thin on the ground in your bit of plot. Stick close to him. Staple him to the furniture. Switch him with Caitlin and see if anybody notices.

And Gobby is at the police station doing whatever it is her job entails (walking from one end of the room to another with an armful of files, usually), when she overhears Thickardo on the phone, apparently setting up a date for himself for seven o'clock that evening. Delighted that she has the opportunity to muscle in on his life yet again, she goes running home, dresses up in her favourite red dress, and goes bouncing off to Thickardo's meeting place. He's not on a date, though, but on a stakeout, and Gobby winds up trapped in the car with him, ruining the operation, and screaming blue murder at the sight of his gun. Apparently it's triggered off a flashback to a childhood trauma, which should engender sympathy, I know. But it's Gobby...


Episode 173

At Surf Central, Bubblewrap and Virginia are arguing about Michael. Again. Virginia is flaunting her popularity, having wormed her way into the good books of everybody Michael knows. Bubblewrap tries to point out that, yes, she's popular - but that she's also a raving lunatic. Virginia doesn't seem to care. She hints at having undermined all of Michael's relationships so far, and says that she'll do the same again. Bubblewrap insists that she's not scared, but Virginia tells her that she should be, and also hints that there will be danger for Michael if they don't break up. Michael turns up, looking forward to their planned evening of finally getting around to making love, but Bubblewrap has been well and truly freaked out by Vixen Viginia, and runs off to cover the story about Thickardo's screwed up stakeout instead.

Now, see, the thing about "Jacques"/Liam/Arnold J Twinklebottom/whoever, is that, world's worst accent or not, he's at least nine hundred percent more interesting than anybody else that Greggie's got sitting at his table. So, yeah, bad guy. And, yeah, smarmy git, appalling fake Frenchman, obvious plot device. But still - you've got to love this guy. He merrily drops Cole in deep schtück, by telling tales of stolen jewels, broken hearts and faked engagements, causing poor little Smurf to squeak in horror and go into Worry Overdrive. Eventually he whisks Olivia away for a dance, from which she returns alone and without her necklace. Yay! Go Jacques! Cole gives chase, but comes back empty-handed, and immediately gets accused by everybody of being involved. Greggie beams contentedly, work done.

And Gobby returns from the stakeout in tears, pretends to freak out at every shadow, and calls Thickardo over to comfort her. As soon as he turns up she puts on her "Poor me, Thickardo is stalking me" act again, causing Mark to come in and throw Thickardo out. What the hell is up with her?! Later on she has terrible nightmares, and Mark looks after her. Again - should be sympathetic. Couldn't be bothered. Go away Gobby.


Episode Guide Part One

Episode Guide Part Two

Episode Guide Part Three

Episode Guide Part Five

Beach Goers' Guide

Back To The Dungeon