For whom do the church bells toll? Six months apart, two disastrous weddings take place: one, as we've already seen, ending with a bang, and the other with a mysterious kidnapping. That aside, though, and all the butlers are swiftly transitioning into brand new eras of their lives - some more willingly than others. Ben is still being forced into fatherhood, with his evil baby mama wrecking him every step of the way, while Ali continues to hide something big from both he and her new movie-star girlfriend. Rena has once again found employment with someone very surprising indeed, guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers, but hopes to use his blossoming relationship with Maria Solano to better his career in a different direction. Josh deals with some major changes following the explosion of the church, unable to shift blame away from a paranoid Joanna. And Joe... Joe has a lot on his plate right now. Mysteries to solve. Proposals to venture. And crimes to commit.
A black screen to start, and then a voice.
It's me, it's Joe, I'm... aware that this all looks kinda bad.
From the black, we are returned to the last place where we saw our devious butlers all together - at the site of the exploded church, where Josh is continuing to cry out for his new husband. "BRAD?!"
And... I probably owe you some sort of explanation.
The scene suddenly turns very different, as we're taken to the site of another wedding, taking place at some point in the not-too-distant future. Ben and Rena stand at the altar, acting as the Best Man and groomsman respectively, and all the guests seem deeply entranced and excited for what's to come.
The thing is, though, I'm not really sure I understand it all that well myself.
Joe is lying on the ground, just like everyone else outside that doomed church. He goes to Joanna, making sure that she's okay, and aside from a few superficial injuries, she seems to be. The call of "BRAD?!" comes again as Josh, still sooty and bloody, begins to painfully claw his way back towards the church's flaming doorway.
Basically... the best way I guess I can sum it up is...
The doors to the ceremony hall are long-awaited at the other wedding, and Ben turns to Rena and says, "I wish Josh were here." "Me too," Rena nods, "But you know how he feels about the bride." "Speaking of," Ben notes, "Shouldn't the groom be here already?" It's then that a pair of bridesmaids, Ali and Liz, come through the doors arm-in-arm, each bearing with them a basket of petals which they begin to elegantly scatter down the aisle. An organ is playing.
This is Wikerly Hills.
An organ is on fire. Outside. "I... I'm fine," Ali assures her girlfriend, who is relieved, and then the blonde turns to Ben and makes sure he's okay too. "Yeah..." he utters, seeming rather rattled, "More okay than her anyway..." He's staring at the body of Selena James Washington, which continues to burn away. The protesters are in disarray. Valentina has been knocked unconscious to the floor.
And it's probably the worst place in the entire world to try and plan a wedding.
"Maybe," Rena suggests to Ben at the altar, for the other guests are looking kind of confused now as Ali and Liz complete their stepping, "he just wants to make an entrance. Walk down the aisle himself, before Joanna does." "I think that's more your style than Joe's," Ben retorts, and Rena shrugs.
As you unfortunately know...
"Josh," Joe tries, barely able to approach the crawling groom with all the fire and such surrounding them. Josh only gives him a brief flicker of a glance. Enough to purvey hatred as his eye lands on Joanna. Then he's off again. Joe's practically knocked back by the flames. "Brad..." it's become a hoarse cry now. A basic need. Joe, meanwhile, is looking out at everyone else. Kathryn Kappelletti, Eli (who's just out of sight, funny that), Aliza... Rena has grouped with Ben and the others, having aided Mary upward. Sirens are heard closing in from the near-distance.
Disaster seems to just... keep on finding us, doesn't it?
The organ plays louder as Joanna then walks her way into her wedding, decked out in a gorgeous white gown and carrying a lovely bouquet. But she grows taken aback by the lack of groom before her, and the guests begin to mutter some now. "Where's Joe, Ma?" Tyson asks a rather sickly-looking Meghan, but she shrugs, while Aliza smirks, "I knew his fine white ass din't reli luh her." Mary is among the many furrowing their brow. "Uh, guys," James Edmond approaches the butler groomsmen, emerging from the rest of the catering staff, "should you maybe go check out what's going on?" Ben and Rena both nod, making their way around the murmuring crowd. Joanna has stopped dead mid-aisle, unable to comprehend what's occurring. The organ has stopped.
I haven't even processed this all yet, honestly. I... barely even feel human right now.
Josh is near the entrance now. Everyone is screaming at him to get away. He struggles to his feet. The flames try to stop him, but he won't let them. He can barely see... but he can see enough. "Brad?" he tries, his arm over his forehead to shield from the smoke and falling debris. A figure can be made out from within the church, lying amid the rubble. "Brad..." Josh breathes. Is he dead? Is he unconscious? No way to be sure, but a large beam rests over his waist. And then, "Brad!" Josh makes the decision to go in and try and rescue his husband, only to be dragged back and carried away by a fireman, kicking and screaming. The rest of the firemen begin excavating the inside. The guests are helped to safety, rushed towards the paramedic vans. "BRAAAAAAAAAD!" once more, as the lawyer's newlywed is flung towards the crowd. Joe requests that Joanna stay where she is, for she's clearly a trigger after all this, so that he can go calm his friend.
Since, you know...
In one of the dressing rooms of the ceremony hall, Ben and Rena can be seen walking past an empty cup of tea, then discovering a note which seems as though it was left by Joe. "'I'm sorry'," Rena reads aloud. "I don't get it," says Ben, "I thought he was happy with Joanna." "Is that even his handwri--?" And then, "Wait." Rena moves the rack of suits to one side to reveal a shattered window. Did Joe climb out of it? Was he dragged? "I don't know about you," says Ben, staring at it, "But I think there's a little more to this than just a case of cold feet." A bead of blood falls from a glass shard, onto the carpet.
I was sorta kidnapped and all.
6 Months After Josh's Wedding
1 Week Before Joe's Wedding
Joe watches out the window of the Winters' mansion, smiling as he sees Joanna approach with Rena and Ben either side of her. Outside, she is telling them, "Okay, I'm all for spending time with my boyfriend's friends, but that lunch we just had was kinda awkward considering he wasn't there and I fired you," she looks to Rena, and then to Ben, "and you and I have barely even exchanged two words to each other." "And yet I know your entire life story," Ben ponders, and Joanna thinks about this for a moment, going, "Huh." "Yeah, and I'm totally over the whole firing thing," Rena assures, "I got a sweet deal mooching off my rich girlfriend now." "Huh," Joanna says again, this time as though in even more wonderment, and Rena asks her, "What?" "Nothing, I just constantly forget you're supposed to like girls." "We all do," Ben promises, "Now come on, let's go inside." "I don't think I invited you in, but okay," Joanna shrugs, "I have some wine stashed away inside somewhere. Well, everywhere. What a rip that that cafe bar doesn't serve alcohol before noon, right? Anyway, I'll drag out a bottle and y'all can watch while I drink." "Oh, I'm sure we'll all be toasting soon," Rena coyly smiles. "Why's that?" Joanna wonders. "Just follow us inside," Ben promises, "This will all make sense soon enough." They are at the door now, and Rena takes to opening it on up. He and Ben are both grinning towards one another, while Joanna is suddenly taken aback by just how beautiful the inside of her mansion is looking. Decorated all white with beautiful, colored flowers. Joe standing in the center, in a nice suit. She's in one of her usual tightly-fitted red dresses and looking stunning. "What's all this?" she asks her butler/boyfriend, and Rena says from behind, "We told you it'd all make sense." However, Ben drags him back and shushes him, assuring that this is Joe's time now. Rena nods, not used to not being the center of attention, but continues to stand silently in the doorway as the moment proceeds. "I, uh... wanted it to be a surprise," Joe tells his lover, who, unable to mask her joy because she thinks she knows, asks, "What... is all this?" "Joanna Winters..." Joe goes on, "Or, Emilie Klaveno, or... how about just, 'the woman I love'..." He takes something from his pocket, and lowers himself down onto one knee, "Will you marry me?" The something is popped open from its box - the ring. The diamond ring. Joanna's tears of happiness reflect its lovely, humble sparkle. "Yes," she states, "Of course, yes. Yes! Yes... Yes." "I'll take that as a yes?" Joe chuckles, and she screams, "YES!" as she helps him to his feet and kisses him with an intense amount of passion. "She said 'yes'," Rena exclaims through whisper at the doorway, excitedly patting Ben on the shoulder. "No way," Ben nods in response. Joe then places the ring on Joanna's relevant finger. His other hand brushes past her unconcealed burn scar. In that moment, they are each others' spouses-to-be, and another, more tender kiss is exchanged. "Is it time to crack open the champagne yet?" Rena wonders, and Joanna turns to him and says, "God yes." "I'll get on it," the Portuguese nods, coming inside and popping a cork off a nearby bottle, and Joe says, "Water for me, thanks." "Me too," Ben nods, "I have a court date soon." "I guess it's just you and m--" Rena starts as he goes to pour himself a glass, but he's suddenly interrupted when Joanna snatches the whole bottle away from him and begins simply drinking from that, "Yeah, just me I guess." Rena is indignant. "So I guess this means you're not gonna be my butler anymore," Joanna figures. "I will be for about a week," Joe assures. "A week?" "I was hoping to kinda speed the wedding along," he tells her. "Well I do have the cash," Joanna acknowledges, swigging that very expensive champagne, and Joe chuckles again, telling, "Plus I don't wanna spend any more time than I have to not being your husband." More smiles, more kissing, and Ben tells Rena, "Awww... marriage is exciting, isn't it?" "Yeah," Rena agrees, no longer caring about the whole champagne thing, "though it's kinda sad Josh isn't sharing in this too." "Yeah, well," Ben responds while Joe and Joanna just continue to make out in the middle of the living room, interrupted only by swigs of champagne, "it's to be expected. Besides, does he ever leave that apartment?"
Over at said apartment - Brad's - Josh is seen entering through the front door with a bag of groceries in tow. "Honey, I'm home," he calls out, placing the bag on the kitchen counter, at which point his new husband wheels his way from out of the bedroom in his chair. "How many times are you going to say that?" asks Brad, applying his brakes in the middle of the room, and Josh walks over to him and replies, "Until it stops being cute." He then crouches down to give Brad a kiss, and the lawyer admits, "It still feels weird, you having to run errands for me and such." "I don't mind," Josh assures, "We're married now, we should be helping each other." "It's just a little hard to make it a quid-pro-quo kinda thing when I'm cooped up in here all the time. Maybe I should try going out for groceries next time. The doctors are encouraging me to pursue a normal routine." "You mean you wanna... go outside? By yourself?" Josh questions, standing up, clearly a little shaken by the very thought. "Come on," Brad promises, "Nothing is going to happen. You've been acting as my carer the whole time we've been married now; you're not my butler, it's not fair on you. And here I always kinda figured I'd be the one to carry you over the threshold." "Don't make jokes," Josh begs, "I just... worry, that's all." "I know you do," Brad smiles, taking his husband's hand in his, and Josh smiles cautiously back down at him, "But there's not an exploding church around every corner." "In Wikerly Hills there kinda is," Josh points out, "And I'll tell you what, you can go get the groceries after you get that call from the doctor. I mean, you may not even have to adjust to this whole paralysis thing as a way of life. When your next bout of results come back..." "They might not say what we want them to," Brad warns. "Yes, well, I'm being optimistic." "And I'm being realistic. It was a nasty thing that happened to me. We may have to face the fact that I may never walk again." "We'll wait for the doctor's call," Josh again states, "And then, we can finally start planning that honeymoon we never got to go on." "In that case, you better hope it's bad news," Brad continues to joke, "In this thing, I'll be first on the plane." Josh is able to smile this time, knowing his husband's jibes at the expense of his own condition are simply what he needs to be able to cope with it. "You'll have to be creative when it comes to the honeymoon sex though." "When was I ever really un-creative before?" Josh questions, taking the wheelchair by the handles and beginning to walk his spouse into the bedroom, "Come on, I'll set you down on the bed and give you a little preview. At least we know one thing down there still works." "You should call out, 'Honey, I'm home,' when you finish," Brad nods, and Josh chuckles before he says, "I love you." "I love you too," Brad smiles as he's parked beside the bed, and, as Josh again crouches down to begin helping him out of the chair, the two exchange another loving kiss.
"Mary, I'm back!" Rena calls, entering the Solano penthouse, "She said yes! One of my best friends is getting married!" He looks around though, his girlfriend not being anywhere in sight. Instead, there's dozens of boxes, some taped shut and some not. "God dammit, the tape got stuck on my nail!" Maria Solano screams from another room, which Rena proceeds to rush into, finding her standing there with her personal assistant, Jackson Deering, who is in the process of slowly removing a piece of duct tape from his boss' freshly painted nail. "Um... Mary?" Rena calls, alerting the attention of both she and Jack, "What's going on here?" "Oh..." she exclaims, looking around at all the boxes, "You're leaving," she spouts with glee. "Come again?" "I will, tomorrow night, when you're finally out of my freakin' house." Rena's confused, which Jack quickly catches onto, and so he chooses to clarify since Mary has opted not to, "She means that thanks to me searching tirelessly, she was able to find you a new job." "Oh..." Rena exclaims, realizing that his six month vacation is about to come to an end, "In a film...?" "As a butler." "But in a film...?" "Jackson," Mary decides to intervene, "Why don't you take some boxes and go upstairs to pack some of Rena's belongings in the bedroom." "Isn't that where we first star--" "Jackson! Upstairs!" "Going," the assistant exclaims, not wanting to upset his boss any further. "Look, Mary, I... I don't understand. I thought things were going well between us..." "They are. Well, they were." Rena furrows a brow at this, and so Mary sits him down to explain, "Look, sweetie, I like you. I really do. And I do believe there's a possible future for us, but honey... I need you to get the hell out of my house. You've been living here with no job for the last six months, and I'm sorry but I will be no man's sugar mama. Well, maybe Giles Matthey's... but that's it!" "And so I'm supposed to go back to work as a butler? Are you serious?" "Hey, be grateful. No one in this town even wanted to hire you. After the whole Kappelletti kidnapping scandal, everyone sees you as this elephant in the room. I had to pull a whole bunch of strings to get you a job, so don't blow it!" Rena sighs, dreading the thought of actually having to clean underneath the toilet seat again, not as though he did that often or even at all at previous work. "I don't understand why you can't just put me in your new movie," he then speaks up, but Mary smirks. "It's not your type of acting," she says. "Put me in any movie! Comedy, drama, mystery, romance, horror, I can do it all! Make me a lead or, if you must, a supporting player who goes on to be beloved by fans thus winning his own spinoff franchise. Really, I can do it!" But Mary just smirks. "You're so cute... like a puppy begging for a treat." Rena frowns at this, and Mary gives him a light kiss on the lips. "You start your new job tomorrow. It's where that blue-haired trans lady used to live. Ze has a new tenant." Mary then pulls open a drawer where she finds a key, which she proceeds to toss at Rena. "Don't be late," she says, then heading out of the room.
"Bullcrap!" Ben exclaims, standing from his seat, his lawyer sitting in silence. He's currently in court with Val and her six-months-along massive baby bump, but her lawyer, Gregory Keating, speaks for her: "That's my client's final offer, Mr. Gold. Take it or leave it." "How the hell do you expect me to settle with one weekend a month?! They're my kids too for God's sake." Greg admits that while this may be true, Val has reason to believe that Ben's presence could create a toxic living environment. "Based on what?!" the butler shouts, appalled by these accusations, and so Gregory explains: "Well there's the matter of your place of residence. While there's no crime in you living at your work, it is rather questionable given past circumstances... the matter of Jorgio Del Barrio and his old business." "Oh come on, Jorgio's... gone, and his business is as well. Ali's wonderful with kids, and Liz is... I'm sure she'd adjust." "Ah yes, Elizabeth Davis, the former pornstar. Because she'd make a wonderful role model." "Maybe she'd teach them to pursue whatever they want in life." But Ben then looks up at Judge Quinnson and realizes that was the wrong answer. "There's also your crazy ex-wife," Val finally speaks up, "Yunno, the one who came to town and beat my sister senseless," (see "How to Run Away with Chauffeurs") but Ben looks up at the judge. "Your Honor, Jennifer is by no means a problem anymore. She's gotten remarried; we've not spoken in months. Please!" "Oh let's be honest here, Ben, you're in no position to be a father," Val snidely remarks, "You work fulltime as a butler and can't even afford a place of your own. You've only been with two women in your whole life - one you drove insane and one you most likely murdered." "That is not--" "You don't have any particularly good skills, no hobbies, your personality is pretty basic at best, and you have absolutely zero experience with children since yours essentially killed itself as soon as it came out of the womb." That last part really stings for Ben, and he goes to stand, but Val puts her hand up signalling that she's not finished yet. "Meanwhile, yes I work as a part-time maid right now, but I have a degree in interior design which I plan to finally use once the twins are born. Yes, twins - not one baby but two - that will need financial support. I'm also fluent in three different languages and a skilled salsa dancer, so obviously I know how to have a good time. And sweetheart, I'm Spanish, therefore I have like forty different cousins I've been half-raising since I was a teenager. I do have experience with kids, something you undeniably lack. So please, tell me again why I shouldn't have full custody of my babies." "Maybe because you raped me?!" Ben exclaims, "Maybe because you don't even want these kids, and you're just using them to punish me because you've convinced yourself I killed Justine?! All you do is go around and cause people pain for your own delight, but the worst part is now you're bringing two innocent children into it and you'll destroy them." He then turns to Judge Quinnson, "If my daughters end up with Val, then they're gonna end up just as bad as she is or perhaps even worse! Please! She's not wrong, okay? I don't have the best job or the best life or even the best experience, but I know that I've wanted a child ever since I found out I was having one... and ever since I lost her. I will love these girls with all my heart. I will protect them at all costs and raise them as best as I possibly can. Your Honor, please!" And so the judge is left to contemplate this.
Ben is next seen mumbling something under his breath as he exits the courtroom; clearly things didn't go as he intended. "Full custody with child support and you paying all of my medical bills? Sometimes I just really love life," Val calls out to Ben, exiting the courtroom behind him with Greg in tow. "This isn't over," the butler says to his evil baby mama, "If you think I'm not gonna fight this then you're dead wrong." "Dead... like my sister when you threw her off a roof?" "You know that's not what happened." But Val then breaks away from Greg to approach Ben close up, allowing her to speak quietly to him, "I may not be able to prove you had a hand in my sister's murder, but I am able to make your life a living hell, and this... oh boy, this is just me warming up." She then backs away, rejoining her lawyer. "Let's go, Greg. Hey, the thought just occurred: my kids could use a new daddy. Wanna grab a bite?" "Ms. Cortez, I'm gay." "Huh, okay... well let's hit the club then. With these hearings over, I can finally start drinking again." She then looks back at her appalled baby daddy. "See ya, Ben," she says with a smirk, then locking arms with Greg and heading off.
Nighttime has befallen Wikerly Hills, and we're shown that, outside of the former home of the not-so-dearly departed Selena James Washington, a black car with tinted windows makes its way into the driveway. Out steps a man that the reader is currently unfamiliar with, and he approaches the front door of the house where he rings the doorbell. It doesn't take long for someone to answer, that someone being none other than Juanita Kwon. She looks up at the tall, intimidating looking stranger and exclaims, "Watchu want, boi?!" "I'm looking for a Miss Emilia Greenberg. Is she around?" Juanita opens the door up, yelling into the other room, "Aye white bitch manning the TV remote, it's for you!" Juanita proceeds walk away, and the man is able to see inside of the home. It's filled with numerous people of all different ages and ethnicity ranging from that of Hispanic to Asian to some as-of-yet undocumented hybrid. Miss Greenberg eventually makes her way to the door, holding what appears to be an infant child in her arms. Before addressing the man there to see her though, she stops a little boy around the age of seven who's about to run past. "Hector, will you be a dear and take Xiao-Mei upstairs to her crib?" The little boy doesn't say anything, but does as Emilia wishes. Finally, she addresses the stranger. "May I help you?" she asks of him, and the man smiles. "What a lovely piece of property you have here. Five bedrooms, three bath? I believe that's what I read it to be. Recently remodeled kitchen, a panic room, and the most high-tech security system money can buy..." "I... I'm sorry, but is there something that you're getting at, sir?" Miss Greenberg wonders. The man scans Emilia from head to toe. She's a rather short woman, probably in her late 50s to early 60s. "Miss Greenberg, I assume you know of this home's previous ownership. Selena James Washington, one of the victims of that terrorist attack at the Wikerly Hills Catholic Church six months back." "Yes... what of zer? It is zer, right? I'd hate to offend the dead." "It's a genetic mutation, that's what it is; but that's beside the point. When Selena died, this home fell into the hands of the state because her beneficiary was... unavailable, at the time." "Yes, so? Mr..." "Montgomery. Jason Montgomery." "Well, Mr. Jason Montgomery, is there a point to all of this? Because the third season of Jane the Virgin just dropped on Netflix and if I take too long then my maid is going to start watching it without me and she's terrible at not spoiling!" "The point to all of this is that I'm going to have to ask you and all of your... housemates," Jason says, looking through at the dozens of assumed illegals, "to pack up and get out within the next hour." "Excuse me?!" But Jason takes a piece of paper out of his coat pocket, signed saying that Selena's beneficiary is coming back for what's hers. "But my lease isn't up for at least six more months! And I just hired a new butler... lovely young man, of Portuguese descent." "Not my problem, but I'll take the new butler off your hands. As for the others though..." he says, looking in at Juanita and her family, "They better hit the road. You have one hour." And he starts approaching Ms. Greenberg closer, towering over her, "Or I will be forced to throw you out." Emilia lets out a gulp.
We next see Juanita Kwon and about 20 to 30 other ethnics exiting the former Washington house, carrying boxes and furniture, all out to a moving van. "You break Miss Greenberg items I break you skulls! Even you, Hector!" Juanita screams at her people as the moving van is packed, and they climb into what remaining space there is before pulling the cover down to lock it shut. Emilia is the last to exist, with Jason, a little bit shaken. "It's been a pleasure doing business with you, ma'am," Jason says to Emilia, who refuses to say anything back, simply going to the van to head off. Once she's gone though, Jason makes his way back over to his own car. "We're all set, Mrs. Montgomery," he exclaims, and the window is then rolled down so that a woman may voice in response, "Thank you, Mr. Montgomery." The camera then pans to reveal none other than Silvia Applewhite.
View the inside of a gated area where we see that, upon the arrival of a hot pink Mercedes, no time is wasted for the vehicle as it make its way inside, and the customized car proceeds down the parking lot, not paying any notice to those it may be endangering that may happen to be in the way. Two men - perhaps employees - quickly jump to the side after nearly being hit. Alas, the driver pays them no attention, instead just pulling up to their reserved parking spot directly in the shade, under a nice set of trees, and between two marked lines made out of a hot pink paint to match the driver's hot pink car. There's a man waiting to open the driver's door, and outsteps none other than Elizabeth Davis, removing a stylish pair of sunglasses and staring down at her phone, checking her latest Twitter mentions. "Your latte, Ms. Davis," the attendant - Marius Browning - offers, and Liz doesn't even look up from her phone when trading her sunglasses for the hot beverage she's had instructed be readied for her every morning for the last six months. She keeps scrolling and scrolling, taking her dear sweet time, making Marius increasingly uncomfortable as he's ready to go inside. Finally, however, Liz takes a sip of her drink, but only one. What goes in immediately comes out as she spits it all out in front of her. "This tastes like acid!" she exclaims, shoving the cup back into his hand, resulting in some of it splashing on his well-pressed shirt. "Go!" she demands, "Your presence is starting to stress me out." "Yes, Ms. Davis," Marius sighs, seeing fit to leave, and Liz makes her way inside Solano Studios, two men waiting to open the double doors for the ginger. Her arrival is noted by all, as everyone who is anyone knows not to upset the star of Maria Solano's latest film. She struts in, giving a small grin, knowing that everyone worships her feet here. All eyes are on her from crew members and personal assistants to film extras and supporting cast members, all the way to Maria Solano herself, happy to see that her leading actress has arrived. "Liz!" "Mary!" the two women approach one another and embrace, except not really because that involves physical contact which is far too hazardous given the endless effort both ladies put into their daily looks. "How's my star doing today?" the director/writer/producer wonders, to which Liz confirms she's doing well. "Though some security guards were in my way when pulling in. They could've dented my car." Mary gives her condolences before calling out to her assistant Jackson, "Check the cameras and find out who they were. I want them fired immediately." Jack nods, heading off to handle that, and Mary motions for Liz to walk with her. "So, sweetie, I know you were told that today we'd be filming the mountain climbing scene which would've been done in-studio, but due to some scheduling conflicts we'll be heading out to Wik-a Barbara to film the beach nudity scenes instead. I hope that's alright? I know we haven't discussed the possibility of a body double yet, but--" "Oh, that's perfectly fine," Liz assures, "I know there's some actresses out there who might be self-conscious about that sort of thing, but I just want you to know I'm 100% dedicated to my job. Besides, have you seen my body? I'm God's gift." "Sure, with some modifications," a voice then calls out, and Liz and Mary both turn to see none other than Kathryn Kappelletti approaching. Marius returns too, a bit behind Ms. Kappelletti, assuring Liz that he tried to deny her access into the studio but she shoved him out of the way. Liz disregards her assistant entirely though, instead directing her attention to the enemy. "Clearly you're just creating vicious lies to make yourself feel better about the fact that your career is dead while I've been trending on Twitter for the last six months. No one even cares about the cancellation Kicking Off with the Kappellettis after Lifetime nipped The Passions of Falta. You're entirely irrelevant." But Kathryn smirks, claiming that her former reality series was ended on her own terms when she divorced Kevin. "Yet that got hardly any coverage due to me and Ali, Hollywood's new most beloved LGB couple." "You forgot the 'T'," Mary speaks up, "LGBT." "But I don't like 'T'," Liz exclaims to Mary's surprise. "But you can't say that out loud." "Why? No one's listening." "Actually I'm listening," Kathryn says, to which Liz responds, reaffirming her point, "See? No one." Mary gives a mere eyeroll, but Kathryn decides that the banter right now isn't really all that fun and decides to cut to the chase. "Look," she says, "I came here for a reason because I wanted to see the look on your face when you found out." "What?" the ginger wonders, also wanting this to be over with. And Kathryn then holds out her hand that both Liz and Mary failed to take any notice of because of how irrelevant she is now; but on the ring finger is a beautiful engagement ring. "Eli and I are getting married!" Liz doesn't quite know how to respond though, at first not believing she heard her nemesis correctly. "Eli. You mean my Eli?" "Your ex-husband, yes." "The black one?" "Yes." "The one who went home and took a shower after you accidentally bumped into him at the Winters' Christmas party a few years back?" Kathryn drops her grin at this comment though, but nonetheless confirms. Liz remains silent for a moment, thinking up how she wants to approach this new information she's been presented with, but finally says, "You've probably figured this out already, but the sex is terrible. Like, I mean he's just really bad in bed. And no, he doesn't get in any better. Also once you're married and he has you locked down he'll probably ask you to start checking his back for acne. Of course I told him to go hop off, but he might have higher expectations for you given that I know for a fact he despises you and that this whole thing is sham. What? Do you think this is your key to fame again? Perhaps, but know it'll only get you so far. We were married for three years and we all know my career only truly began after I cut him loose. Hey though, it's your life, and if you want to try proving a point to me, then by all means go for it. But know you're wasting your time." It's now Kathryn who doesn't quite know what to say, but finally manages: "... The wedding will be in November," to which Liz responds, "I'll be sure it's scheduled the same day as my premiere party." Knowing she's been defeated, Ms. Kappelletti sees fit to leave, storming past some crewmembers who she shoves out of her way. Mary turns to Liz, admitting that her star handled that rather well. "There's a reason I'm so good at my job," she replies, "I've mastered the act of emotions to the point where you couldn't tell for a second that it took every ounce of my being to not wring her scrawny little neck." Mary smirks at this, but these two ladies are then rejoined by Mary's assistant, Jackson. "The men who almost dented your car, Ms. Davis, have been found and fired. But I figured you'd like to know that it seems you have new neighbors. There's a moving van pulling onto the street." Liz furrows a brow at this.
"So I've surpassed the doctor's expectations," the sickly-looking Meghan is telling Joe from over in her trailer, a scarf around her head. "And Tyson...?" Joe inquires. Meghan then looks to her son, who's busy playing with LEGOs over at the table. "How's Joe?" he excitedly inquires, and Meghan assures her son that he's doing super, extra good. Tyson is very happy to hear this, and then Meghan replies to her foster child, "He knows what's going on, but I'm not sure he entirely understands. I just dread to think how he's gonna cope if I..." "Don't talk like that," Joe tells her. "I know," Meghan stifles some tears, "Right now, I should just be focusing on your wedding. I'll put my good wig on and everything." "Glad to hear it," Joe says with a smile in his voice, "I know it's short notice, but--" "Everything has to be short-notice for me at the minute," Meghan assures. "I know," Joe replies more sullenly, "I love you, Ma." "I love you too, son," she assures further, and the two soon bid one another goodbye before finally hanging up. Joe then returns to the main room of the Winters' mansion where Joanna is sat busy at her coffee table - a glass of wine not too far - going over papers upon papers of detailed wedding planning. Joe soon sits adjacent to her and rifles through some papers of his own, and she tells him, "Thank God. I could do with an extra pair of hands. Hey, do you have the forms for the caterers?" "Oh..." Joe responds. "Oh?" Joanna questions, a little stressed with all this to do in such a short space of time. "This isn't wedding planning," he reveals in reference to his own papers, "This is, you know, investigation stuff." Joanna rolls her eyes. "What?" he defends, "You know I'm in good again with Huberd, he's allowing me access to police resources, and I wanna find the people really responsible for blowing up that damned church so that Josh will no longer feel inclined to blame you. Think of it as a wedding present." "I know, I know, you're just being sweet," Joanna nods, "In your own, weird way. But if you're also planning on getting your old job back by cracking open another big case... well, the whole Jose thing didn't exactly work out for you." She takes a sip of wine. "Yeah," Joe acknowledges, "but there's more at stake here. Plus, lest we forget, I apparently have a secret, long-lost half-brother or sister somewhere out there who I've yet to find. Ugh, it's all piling up on me again, only this time I have no vision of you tormenting me." "You had visions of me?" Joanna questions, "I don't know whether to be flattered or concerned." "Well, it was only when I really needed a drink I guess, but I have the real you now." "Yes, you do," she smiles, putting her glass down and coming over to give him a kiss. When they part, she tells him, "Visions must be the worst." It's then that she looks over her shoulder and sees Nadia staring back at her. Looming over her. She shivers and shrugs her off though, while Joe just replies, "They sure are." Flashes of the knife that got delivered to her door begin to run through Joanna's mind. Joe then notices something off about his fiancée and asks if she's okay. She just changes the subject by re-claiming her wine glass and looking out the window, questioning, "Hey, is that a moving van up the street?"
Ben enters the Del Barrio mansion carrying the mail, flipping through it until finding a letter addressed to Ali from the "Pierce Residence". He's oh-so familiar with this now, with one having been mailed every two weeks for the last six months. "Ali," he calls, "another letter." Ali quickly barges into the foyer from another room nearby, making sure to grab the letter and the rest of the mail from Ben before he has a chance to look any further. "I was expecting something too," he calls out to Ali before she's able to leave his sight, and so she stops and turns back to him. "Sorry..." she utters, flipping through and getting her letter before handing the rest back to Ben. "We ever gonna talk about it?" he asks, regarding the constant letters his boss is receiving. "We will," Ali promises, "Just... not right now." Ben raises a brow at this, and so his boss/friend decides to change the subject. "So how did things go with Val yesterday?" she wonders, giving a sympathetic look, to which Ben replies that it was horrible, proceeding to explain how the judge was so unjustly biased to his baby mama and he's practically being screwed out of everything. "I'm sorry," she says, "Truly." Ben assures that it's alright, "Though I may need a raise with all that I'm being suckered into paying for." Ali promises to do what she can to help, but, before discussing any, further Rochelle Little wanders on in with a bucket and a mop, Kathryn Kappelletti behind her. "That rat had the nerve to speak to me like that!", the irrelevant actress says in regards to Liz. Rochelle nods, all the while cleaning as she now works at the Del Barrio mansion as a maid again. "Listen bitches," she then says to Ben and Ali, "yous got to the count of ten to get on outta here before I take this rag-on-a-stick and shove it up y'all's--" "Okay, Rochelle, we're going!" Ben assures, ushering Ali so that he and his employer can get out of the maid's way, who continues chatting with Kathryn while beginning to mop. Her bucket topples and she exclaims, "Dammit! Curse that stupid honkey cop butler for forcin' me back into this crap." "I still don't see why you hired her," Ben whispers to Ali as they get out of the foyer, to which the blonde admits that she felt bad after Aliza threw her out on the street. "Well she is a criminal," Ben points out, to which Ali reaffirms: "But a very good maid. Also Liz likes to watch her enemies suffer so yunno." Speaking of which: "Son of a bitch!" the redhead calls out, and Ben and Ali rush back into the foyer where Liz is on the ground, having slipped and fallen due to the slippery floor Rochelle is cleaning. "How you likin' the view from down there, lil girl?" Rochelle wonders, reveling in Liz's predicament, while Kathryn gives her black bestie a high-five. Ben and Ali both help Liz up though, before asking why she's home so suddenly. "I had to pick up my bikini since we're filming at a beach today," she says to her girlfriend before seeing that she's still holding the letter that was mailed to her. This then triggers a reminder for Liz who then turns to Ben, exclaiming, "And I handled it." Ben's confused at first, but Liz eyes the letter which leads the butler to deduce what she's talking about. Ali gives both her male servant and female significant other a look of confusion. "So are we finally gonna talk about this?" Liz then wonders, slipping the letter out of Ali's hand and beginning to open the envelope only for the blonde to snatch it back. "Liz," Ben exclaims, subtly shaking his head, "Not now." "Oh come on, we gotta address it eventually," she says in defense. "Hooka's right," Rochelle speaks up, "I 'on't even like you, but I see you openin' and readin' and shiverin' and hidin' them things. The suspense is killin' me." "Meanwhile Rochelle tells me everything and I'm nosy, so yeah I wanna know too," Kathryn says, to which Liz bitterly asks her white nemesis why she's even here. "Okay, can everyone please just back of?!" Ali begs, "It's not any of yours business, so please just drop it!" And with that, Ms. Del Barrio storms off. "Ali!" Ben calls after her, but she doesn't turn back. The butler glares at Liz, Rochelle, and Kathryn, but before he's able to say anything Liz wonders, "So are we ever gonna address the moving van outside?" She points out the window to it, and the three others look, each furrowing a brow.
Rena is seen standing outside the old Washington house as the moving men shift the items from the interior of the van into the house itself. Joe and Ben are soon seen converging, and they ask their Portuguese friend what's going on. "I'm not too sure," Rena admits, "Today's supposed to be my first day, but it seems the tenants are only just moving in." "Weird," Ben states, "have you gotten a look at them yet?" "Nah, I think they went inside before I got here," Rena states, and the others nod. "Well, I guess you should go introduce yourself, if you're gonna be working for them," Joe points out, and Rena nods. "New guys moving in?" asks James Edmond as he too converges on the scene. "Oh, hi," Joe greets, "You're... Ben's friend. James, right?" "Right," James nods, "Think they need a butler?" "Position already filled," Rena assures, "I hope, anyway." "You're not working for Von Trump anymore?" Ben wonders, and James admits that he's looking to quit; Andrew's hardly the best boss, and Fanon Drive seems the best place to comb if one is looking for a job as a butler. "Joanna and I might be looking soon," Joe reveals, which Rena rolls his eyes at, "Though I don't know how I personally would feel about actually having a butler... but if you're after some odd work or whatever, we're getting married on the weekend, and we could use the catering staff." "Cool," James smiles, and the four of them continue to watch as the moving men unload a nice chair from the back of the truck. "Ooh, new bosses have taste," Rena is happy to see. "Maybe we should go investigate who it is," Ben suggests, curious. "Can I come?" James asks. "Sure," Rena shrugs, "Four butlers are better than three. More thematic." "Thematic to what?" James asks. "I dunno just... the world at large," Rena replies. "Right..." James states. "Wait a second," Joe stops them, "I think someone's coming out." And indeed, a fancy pair of high-heel shoes are seen clip-clopping their way out the door, and there stands Silvia Applewhite for all to see. Or rather, Silvia Montgomery. Three of the four butlers' jaws drop, but none more than Joe's. "Yes, yes, just pop that in the living room, would you?" Silvia directs the moving men, then seeing the four men just beyond her front lawn and removing her stylish sunglasses in order to get a better look at them. "Why hello there," she waves. "What the hell are you doing here?!" Joe yells, barging across the lawn and up to his biological mother. "Making friends with the neighbors already, honey?" Jason asks as he too steps out, and Joe appears even more confused, looking back and forth between his mommy and apparent new stepdad. He notices the ring on Silvia's finger. "I'll be happy to explain everything to you," Silvia assures, "Inside." She then looks to the other three butlers, exclaiming, "You boys wanna come in for some iced tea?" "Sure," James happily exclaims, beginning to march forward, only to be suddenly pushed into the pavement by none other than Aliza Little. "Move it, new Josh, you ain't involved in none o' this and I for one wanna know what this crazy bitch is doin' back next door." "When did you get here?" Rena asks her, and Aliza shrugs, saying, "Saw a movin' van from ma' window. Plus I lowkey stalk Joe sometimes. S'it to you, brownie? Now, some mutha say iced tea was on offer?" Silvia hears this from afar and smiles as gracefully as any Stepford wife.
Next we see, iced tea is being poured into a fifth glass from a jug in Silvia's new kitchen. "Can you believe Selena left everything in my name?" she asks as Joe, Rena, Ben and Aliza awkwardly stand there, glasses in tow. "You mean the name 'Lindsay Green'?" Joe questions, and Silvia tells him, "Oh, potato, potahto. We all know the law in this town just ain't the same as it is out in the real world. You should know, you were a cop here." "Daz true," Aliza nods. "Yeah, if it were, you'd be in jail," Joe acknowledges, "How are you out and about?" "It's a romantic story, really," Silvia smiles, "See, in that asylum you sent me to, Jason was my doctor and, well... we fell in love. He's really good at his job, you see. I feel saner than ever. And eventually, we got married." "I guess he's the crazy one," Ben mutters. Silvia ignores this, "So, he sort of rushed everything along. You know, my release and such. Technically, I'm on a form of house-arrest, but I can still wander out and about with sufficient company." "The laws here really are screwed up, aren't they?" Rena is coming to realize, "But damn if this iced tea isn't just heaven." "I know, right?" Aliza agrees, "It's like God's piss." "It is pretty good," Ben concedes. "Can we forget about the damn iced tea?!" Joe exclaims, setting it down on the counter. "Fine, I get his glass," Rena calls. "Damn, bitch," Aliza whines. She then says, "Wait a second, how's you gon' handle bein' doors away from my Momma? I mean, she's this square's coworker now," she gestures Ben. "I don't plan on seeing Rochelle too often," Silvia nods, and Aliza tells her, "You and me both." "Is everything okay in here, honey?" Jason then asks as he enters the kitchen, giving his new wife a kiss, and Joe watches this and fails to take it in. "I... I... I need some air," he decides, storming on out of the kitchen, and Ben and Aliza decide to follow him. ("Hey, did I hear you tellin' that other whiteboy I shoved that you woz gettin' married? What gives?") Rena just stays awkwardly though, sipping on his iced tea. "So," he says, looking at the Montgomerys, "guess I live here now?" They shrug in response.
Meanwhile, across town, Josh and Brad are lying together beneath the sheets of their marital bed. They join hands, with Josh taking his husband's and kissing it, commending him on his "good work" just now and getting equal compliments in return. As their heavy breathing subsides, Josh takes to propping Brad up and rearranging some pillows so that he can sit against the headboard. "Need help getting dressed?" the British butler asks, and Brad, able to apply his own shirt and boxers, replies, "A little." He appears a little ashamed, but Josh, reapplying his own clothes, assures him, "It's fine. It's what I'm here for." He then moves around to the other side of the bed to retrieve Brad's trousers, lifting his husband's legs some so that he can put them on. He honestly doesn't seem to mind. "So," he begins, "where were you actually thinking for that honeymoon?" "Oh, I don't know..." Brad admits, "there are a lot of great places around the world. You ever been to Paris?" He asks this as he buckles his own pants, and Josh admits, "Nope," as he sits down on the bed, "Only places I've ever been are England and here." "You've missed out," the lawyer assures as Josh, without really thinking about it, begins to put his socks on for him. "So I gathered," Josh nods, "I've always wanted to see more, though." "I took a gap year before college," Brad informs, "Went around seeing the world. It's so beautiful..." "I'm sorry," Josh tells him. "For what?" Brad asks, confused. "Confining you to this place," Josh admits, appearing somewhat sad now, "Letting my worry get in the way of you living your life. Of us living our lives. You should be out there. In the world. We both should." Brad smiles at this; "Come here." Josh does as told, moving towards his upright spouse who gives him a kiss before beckoning him to come in closer. The two are soon lying together, Brad with his arm around his husband. "We can go see it together," Brad goes on, "Maybe take a year out even. I have some money saved up. Maybe if the news is good, we could even go on a walkabout." "Nice to hear you've joined the optimistic side. And that would be nice," Josh smiles, feeling more comforted, and Brad assures, "Well that's how we're gonna do everything now. Together." Another kiss, and then Brad's cell phone starts to ring. Josh's eyes roll as he sits back up; "If that's Joe again trying to invite me to his and Joanna's wedding or whatever, he can forget it. I have no interest in seeing her." "It's the doctor," Brad reveals. "Oh." And then the lawyer answers it. Josh worriedly anticipates his reactions as he navigates his way through the call. Eventually he hangs up after saying, "Thank you very much for calling," and lazily drops the phone onto the sheets. "Well..." Josh says in fear, "What did he say?" Brad takes a moment to be able to respond. Josh gets more and more worried. "It's, uh..." Brad finally speaks, "It's actually worse than they thought. The healing process is, uh..." Josh appears more and more scared, and so his husband eventually decides to just cut to the chase, "It's official. I can't ever walk again."
Mary stands at her personal bar, mixing together a drink when Rena rushes in, out of breath and panicking. "Mary, you're never gonna believe this!" he exclaims, "My new boss, I can't, she's a criminal! Sh- she broke out of a mental hospital and now she's back and probably after me and my friends. I just..." And Rena goes from panicking to teary eyed, "I don't think I can do this, okay?" He's whimpering. "Facing her today was so hard after everything she put me through... everything she put Joe through. It was such a traumatic experience." He looks up at Mary, a single tear streaming down his face, but she just sips the drink she prepared herself. "Kudos to the tear," she says, "It can take actors years to master the art of crying on command." Rena wipes the tear away, annoyed that he was unable to fool Mary. "Really?" he exclaims, but Mary points out he did a fine enough job. "But I'm not giving you a job. That's what you want, right? For me to cast you in a movie?" "But why not?" Rena whines, "I don't wanna be a butler!" Mary rolls her eyes, walking over to the fridge to hand Rena a beer because she can't be bothered with making him a drink too. "Look, sweetheart, you know I don't mix business with pleasure. I take what I do very seriously. Having you around, it could cloud my judgment; make me biased." "But my pleasure is your business. Look, I'm not asking for a lead role. Start me with something small, let me prove myself and slowly move up." "Tell me, if I cast you in a film right now, say as a street vendor with one to two lines or something, would you honestly be content?" "Yes!" "You're telling me that you wouldn't come up to me asking for more lines or to have specific camera angles or to get you on your 'good' side or to even have a freakin' dressing room?" "Well..." "See! There's no good compromise because you're gonna keep asking for more, and because business will be mixing with pleasure, guess what... there will be no pleasure!" "Oh boo hoo because your job is sooooo hard. All you have to do is put a story on paper and boss some people around afterwards. Your boyfriend of all people asking for some benefits should hardly be a concern." "Oh really now?" Mary wonders, "You think writing, producing, and directing a film is easy, huh?" "Well you seem to get by nicely. Sitting in your penthouse mixing drinks and whatever time of day this is. Hell, I'm sure if I sat down I could do a decent screenplay." "Okay," Mary says, "so do it." "Come again?" Rena wonders, sensing a change in direction of their conversation. "Write me a screenplay. If it's any good, hell, I'll produce it and you can direct and star in it." "You're serious?" Rena questions, and Mary hesitates for a moment, wondering if this really is a good idea, but, her pride at stake, finally she decides, "Sure, why not." She then smiles, "This can be your way of 'proving yourself'." Rena smiles back, giving his girlfriend a kiss and thanking her for this opportunity. Mary finishes her drink, admitting, "You really can get through to a girl, can't you?" "I grew up in a house with a mother and seven sisters, kinda had to." Mary chuckles at this, and takes Rena's beer away and offers to make him a real drink.
"Come on, where are you, you bastard?" Joanna is exclaiming while rummaging through her jewelry box. When she can't find what she's looking for, she has the idea to start roaming her closet instead, combing her hands through various pockets. "Ah, there you are," she says, forcefully grabbing a jeweled blue hairpin from the inside of a jacket, "Something blue. Ugh, how I wish it could be something red." As she bemoans this, she drifts back over to the dressing table where a glass of wine she earlier set down awaits; however, as she moves away from the closet, she snags a piece of clothing which causes one of the boxes on the top shelf to fall out. From there, a false bottom detaches from the box and a pair of opera glasses spill and shatter on the floor, with a knife sliding onto the carpet as well. The same knife which was used to kill the real Joanna. The new Joanna sighs as she sees this, putting her wine glass down and crouching to begin picking up the mess. The knife goes away, and then she picks at the broken pieces of the opera glasses.
3 Months Ago
Joanna is sitting on the sofa of her house with a glass of wine in tow, clutching her phone. "He still not picking up?" Joe asks as he does some rudimentary cleaning around the living room. "Of course not," Joanna sighs, in reference to Josh, "Maybe I should just stop trying." The wine soon goes finished, and Joe wonders if perhaps he could cheer her up by fetching another of her nice bottles from the basement. This doesn't really need a reply though, and so he leaves to go get that done, and, as he does, there is a ring at the doorbell. "Can you get that?" she asks of her butler/boyfriend, who's already downstairs, and so she rolls her eyes and actually gets up to go answer her own door - something rich people never do, you see. But, there's no one there. Just like the last time. In a great amount of fear, Joanna brings herself to look down... and an expensive pair of opera glasses rest on her doorstep. Slowly, she brings herself to pick them up, and she reads the label which is attached. "Ancora guardando, Em xx." She hears Nadia's voice say this, echoing through her head, and she takes a gulp of fear.
167 Months Ago
"What are these binoculars-on-a-stick things for?" Emilie whispers to Nadia as the two of them sit on a higher balcony in an Italian opera house, listening to some fat lady scream her lungs out. "They're for a better view," Nadia tells her protégée, in reference to the opera glasses she's provided her, "I told you I'd provide you with a bit of culture, didn't I?" "Yeah, it's just... I didn't realize culture was so boring, and loud," Emilie admits. (They're able to speak freely because no one around them really speaks English.) Nadia smirks at this, assuring her that she'll get used to it; "The classy things in life take a while to grow accustomed to." "And you think I'll grow accustomed?" Emilie questions, to which her tutor replies, "Of course, dear. It's not as though you're going anywhere, is it?" "No..." Emilie replies, as though realizing it for the first time - she's no longer a drifter; with this woman, she has a home - "I suppose I'm not." "And I'm not either," Nadia nods, "You're my new objective, dear. I shan't quit until I've molded your metaphorically ugly little self into a gorgeous swan. Like moi." Taking a deep breath, Emilie responds, "Sono... molto grato." "I know," Nadia smiles, "And you're getting good. Soon you'll have everyone believing you belong in a place like this. Maybe you could even raise someone cultured of your own one day. Oh, a little Emilie going to the opera, wouldn't that be cute?" Emilie smiles wide at the prospect, and Nadia lifts the opera glasses to her eyes, encouraging her "sister" to do the same. Emilie does so, squinting hard, while Nadia lowers hers. "You know what, you're right, this opera is boring. What do you say we just go get some pizza instead?" "Thank God," Emilie exclaims, putting the opera glasses down. "Oh, no, dear," Nadia pauses her, "We don't thank Him, remember?" "Right," Emilie nods, "I meant, um... thank you." Nadia smiles at this, and then says, "Come on, let's go." She packs her opera glasses into her nice purse, while Emilie just abandons hers onto her seat.
Back in the present, and Joanna has finished cleaning up the mess she made in her bedroom. "There you are," Joe says upon entry, startling her a little, "You're never gonna believe who's back." He then notices that she's packing bits of broken glasses into a box and wonders what she's doing, and she says, "Nothing, I just... Who's back?" "My crazy mother, but that's not the point," Joe says, noticing something very off about his fiancée, "What's got you so rattled?" "I said it's nothing," Joanna assures, getting back up to her feet, and then Joe looks down and sees the knife also resting in the box, and he raises an eyebrow. "No secrets, remember?" he reminds, and tears begin welling up in her eyes. Joe immediately takes to hugging her, needing to know what's wrong, and she tells him, "You are." "What?" he questions, confused, and she tells him, "You're wrong, about me. About the whole church thing not being my fault... Josh is right to hate me." "What are you talking about?" "That knife," Joanna gestures, "It's from Nadia. It's what I used to kill my sister, I... She sent it to me right before the wedding. I... I should've known. I got that, from her, and then we all filed into a church, and... I was in idiot!" She is bawling now into her fiancé's shoulder, and Joe is just stroking her hair and shushing her, wanting her to feel comforted. "Why didn't you tell me?" he wonders, and she asks, "Aren't you listening? I was ashamed. And scared. 'Cause that crazy bitch is still out there, probably watching me, watching us, and... and if I told you then suddenly it would all become real, you know? And I'd have to share it with you and it would infect that side of my life and I couldn't stand that because... what I have with you, that's the best part of my life, and she... she's the worst. And... And..." More tears, and more comforting. "It's okay," Joe assures. "It's not," Joanna argues, "I'm not. I'm p-paranoid. These past six months, I just... I feel like I've been seeing her everywhere." "Because you are," a vision of Nadia comments from a few feet away, and Joanna turns to her in her tearful rage and screeches, "Shut up!" Joe, understanding the draw of the visions all too well, moves between Joanna and where she's looking and states, "Okay. I understand that you're scared. I really do. But... this whole thing is bigger than us, and you can't let fear rule your life, or stop you from doing what you want. In less than a week, the two of us are gonna be a family, okay? And no amount of crazy-ass bitches are gonna be able to tear that apart." Joanna is able to smile at this. "I... I thought I'd found a family with her, once upon a time," she admits, "But... I never truly knew what it felt like until I met you." Joe smiles, and gives her a kiss. "I wanna keep feeling that," she goes on, and Joe promises that she will. Deep breaths, more hugging, more kissing, and eventually, "So, what's this about your mother being back?" "Oh, that," Joe sighs, "We were just talking about crazy bitches, weren't we? Well, it turns out, while you can't take the crazy out of the bitch, you can sure as hell march her out of the asylum if you're a doctor with a nutjob fetish." "Say what now?" "I'm still wrapping my head around it, honestly. I'll fill you in later. Right now I just... I don't even wanna be on this street." "You could go and see Josh," Joanna suggests, "If you wanna take your mind off things. I know you've been wanting to pay him a visit." "That's true," Joe nods, "And the drive to Brad's apartment is long enough that I can mull things over a little." "Perfect," Joanna smiles, giving him a kiss, "and I know I've tried this enough times, but... tell him I'm sorry. Again. I really do feel responsible..." "You shouldn't," Joe promises, "You just... stay here, and you think about what you want out of our amazing future together. 'Cause that's all you should be focusing on right now." Joanna smiles before he leaves, and continues smiling when he's gone, sitting back down at her dressing table and running that jeweled blue pin through her hair. "You know what?" she says to the vision of Nadia that's standing behind her, "He's right. Time to put you out of my head, and focus on what I want." She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, and, when she opens them, Nadia is gone. "And what I want," Joanna continues, coming to a private realization, "is to continue growing my family. I want a child."
Return to the Del Barrio mansion where Ben sits in Jorgio's old study, kicking back in his deceased boss' old recliner with a glass of scotch. "Care for some company?" Ali calls out, and Ben quickly un-reclines the chair as he didn't realize his boss was even home. He jumps up from the seat, but she shakes her head and assures that she doesn't mind him sitting there. She joins him, pulling up another seat and getting herself a glass. She holds it out for Ben to pour some scotch into, and the two clink their glasses before drinking. "I'm sorry for lashing out earlier," she says to the butler, but he assures Ms. Del Barrio that she's alright. "With everything that's going on lately, you being rightfully upset wasn't too much of a concern." "Right..." Ali remembers, "Val." "Val," Ben utters the name with such disgust, needing to sip his scotch. "I'm never gonna be free of her," he says, "She's trapped me, and there's nothing I can do. As much as I loathe her and what she did to me, I really do want those babies. My babies." Ali gives Ben a sympathetic look before saying, "Have you tried going to the police? Yunno, about her..." "Raping me? Yeah, I went after that horrible day at the church. All of the officers just laughed me out of the station. 'Women can't rape', they'd say, or 'What a poor excuse of a man.'" The butler is nearly in tears, and so Ali grabs his hand, holding it tightly and assuring that it'll be okay. "I just don't know what to do," he whimpers, "She thinks I killed Justine, but I can't tell her what really happened. There's too much at stake..." "And you won't tell her!" Ali exclaims, "After everything she's put you through, she doesn't even deserve to know the truth." "But what am I going to do?" Ben wonders, and Ali puts her drink down, and motions Ben do the same before taking his other hand too. "We're gonna get your babies back. I... I don't know how yet, but I promise you that we will. Val isn't gonna win. I won't let her win." Ben doesn't break free of Ali, instead lifting up his shoulder to wipe away some of the tears. "Thank you..." he says to his boss/best friend, "for everything." Ali just gives him a light but genuine smile though, then taking the chance to apologize once again for earlier. "Really, I shouldn't have acted like I did." "Ali--" Ben tries, but goes interrupted. "It's my father," she finally reveals, "He's been trying to get in touch with me these last six months, but I want nothing to do with him and--" "I know." "What?" "Ali, I know," Ben reveals, "Liz and I... well, we read a couple of the letters a few weeks back." Ali quickly stands though, in fear, "Ben, you didn't..." "And Liz might have gotten in touch with him and invited him to come and visit..." "Ben!" Ali cries, and the butler apologizes profusely. "Liz was being nosy and I couldn't help myself... Are you mad?" Ali simply closes her eyes though, deciding to take a deep breath. She contemplates, understanding that Ben and Liz meant well, and answer that no, she isn't mad. "I just really wish you two hadn't have done that... When is he expected to be here?" she asks, but before Ben is given the chance to answer, the doorbell rings. Ali's jaw drops as she stares at Ben, who looks rather awkward. "Right about now," he answers, and Ali lets out a massive sigh.
Ben and Ali make their way downstairs where Liz and Rochelle are standing, waiting for them. With all four there, Liz nods for Rochelle to finally open the door. There stands a man - Marvin Pierce - with a smile on his face. "Ali!" he exclaims, wishing for his daughter to embrace him with a hug, but she chooses to just not. However, everyone's attention is soon directed at something else; Marvin hasn't come alone. The camera pans over and then down some to what appears to be a ten year old girl. Ali looks up at her father, who is then reminded. "Ah, yes, that's right," Marvin exclaims, "Ali, this is your sister: Cassandra." Ali's taken aback by this, and the little blonde girl gives a light smile.
Brad has started to hyperventilate following the news from the doctor, having also moved back into his chair, while Josh just remains sitting on the edge of the bed watching his husband perform the wheelchair version of pacing back and forth. He is in the middle of embarking on one of his classic nervous babbles. "This is bad," the lawyer breathes, "This is really bad. I'm gonna be in a chair forever and I never truly appreciated how great it was to just be able to get up and walk places and now you're stuck married to me and I know I made all these jokes about it but I still kinda, I don't know, like half-expected things to work out, you know? It was all hypothetical and now it's real and it was kinda real before but now it's really, really real and I thought if I just maintained a positive attitude then positive things would happen but that isn't how life works apparently and we were also gonna see the world and I still wanna do that but how can you feasibly do that with a cripple? This just puts a downer on all our plans and we've already had to basically halt married life for six months and I don't want forever to be like these past six months and I'm sure you don't either; you don't wanna be stuck with this; I mean, who would? You're still young, you deserve better, you already wait hand on foot for people for a living and you shouldn't have to do that when you get home too and you're so sweet and you'd never say anything but this should be a deal-breaker I mean it really should be and I love you so much and I don't wanna ruin your life and why are you smiling right now?" Brad's breaths are quick and rapid, and he has to place a hand over his chest just to calm himself down. "Brad," Josh utters simply; indeed, sitting there at the edge of the bed, witnessing his husband freak out, the British butler maintains a rather serene smile on his face, "It's not a deal-breaker. I love you too, remember? And when I married you, I agreed to do so in sickness and in health. There is nothing in this world that could ever make me turn my back on you. Not even this. Especially not this. It's gonna be hard, sure, but... it's like you said. We're gonna be doing everything together from now on. We'll get through this together." Brad's breathing has slowed, as he grows comforted by his husband's words. Tears are in his eyes, and he asks Josh, "You really, really think so?" "I really, really do," Josh promises, leaning forward in order to plant a kiss on Brad's lips. Brad then moves his chair closer, and soon the two spouses are hugging.
Joe is seen out in the hallway, still grim from the shock of his birth mother moving in down the street, and knocks on the door to Brad's apartment. There is no answer, so he decides to knock again. This knock seems to push the door open a little bit, as though someone rather forgetful has left it unlocked. "Josh?" he questions, a little concerned, as he decides to wander in.
Josh and Brad are still embracing in their bedroom. "We're gonna take that trip," Josh is saying as his husband cries into his shoulder, "We're gonna see the world, and we're gonna love it. And we're gonna love each other. And chair or no chair, we're just gonna be happy, okay? No matter what, we have started the rest of our lives together, and it's gonna continue forever." "Well... not forever," Brad replies, and Josh half-pulls out of the hug in order to ask him what he means. "Nothing can last forever, Josh," Brad makes clear. "This can," Josh promises, going for another kiss, "This... this can."
"Josh?" Joe again calls out as he makes his way through the apartment. He hears some talking in the bedroom, and so decides to approach.
"We're gonna be happy, forever. Forever, okay?" "Okay, Josh," Brad concedes. "I love you," Josh adds, crying now. Brad is now the one to smile serenely. "I... I love..."
"Josh...?" Joe opens the bedroom door. The inside is pitch black, and there sits Josh: on the bed, tears in his eyes, clutching a pillow which still smells like his late husband. He is muttering to himself a little. When the light from the living room hits him, he turns his head and sees Joe standing there, but soon returns to the pillow and the muttering. "Hi there," Joe tries to instigate. Josh coughs, which stops his words, and he decides to reply to his friend after: "Joe... you gave us quite a fright." "Us?" Joe questions, thinking he already knows; he slowly approaches the bed, "Who's us, Josh?" "Me..." Josh responds, nodding; sure of himself. "And... and Brad, of course." Joe nods too, carefully sitting down on the bed beside the crying widower. He places a hand on his back, which makes Josh flinch, but he allows it to remain. "You, um... you remember what happened, don't you? The church?" "The church exploded," Josh nods, "It was awful. We were lucky to make it out alive." "Yes," Joe tells him, "We were. But... others, not so much. And... I'm afraid Brad was one of the 'others'." Josh turns to him now, making eye contact. "What are you talking about?" "Josh," Joe states firmly, "Brad died. Don't you remember that?" More crying. Josh begins shaking his head. "No," he refutes, "You're... you're lying. Stop lying! You're--" His crying overwhelms him, to the point that he can't even sit up any longer, and he collapses into Joe. Joe just shushes his grieving friend, rubbing his shoulder, promising him that everything's gonna be alright... "It's all gonna be alright." Another inhuman cry of anguish.
The Day of Joe's Wedding
So... here we are...
We are taken back to the dressing room, with the broken window and its beads of blood; all three butlers are now standing there, perplexed, with Josh having been fast summoned after the revelation of his friend's kidnapping came to light. "What the hell...?" Josh questions. "You sure you're okay to deal with this?" Ben wonders. "Yeah, Joe said you were kinda..." Rena continues, but Josh cuts them off with a shaky, "I'm f-fine. What happened?"
I'm still not entirely sure why what happened, happened.
"We don't know," Ben admits. Josh still seems kinda dazed. He asks why he was even summoned there. Ben points out that, out of the four of them, Josh seemed the most wrapped up in Joe's last mystery-solving endeavor, and asks if he knows of any enemies Joe might have who might have done this. "The wedding party is still oblivious, we've staved them off as long as we can," Rena adds. "I... um... I..." Josh tries, but it's difficult for him, being out and about in the real world; he can't quite-- "Tea," he murmurs.
But it did.
"What?" asks Rena, and Josh stares towards the empty cup of tea resting nearby. "Tea," he says again, pointing. "Tea..." Rena repeats, trying to make sense of it, and then Ben exclaims, "Tea!" "Why is tea so relevant?" the Portuguese butler needs to know, and then, "Do you think Silvia did this? Her iced tea? I'm confused." "No," Ben shakes his head, picking up the teacup and giving it a sniff, "There's someone else we know who hates Joe who's used drugged tea to kidnap people before; in fact they used it on Silvia.... and if I'm right... then I know exactly where Joe would be stored away. Come on."
And because I have the best friends ever...
Ben is seen driving the other two butlers away from the wedding, where the guests have begun to disperse. Away from the venue, back to Fanon Drive, pulling up outside the Del Barrio mansion. Night has fallen on Wikerly Hills.
You were all able to find me.
The three butlers make their way through the house, down into the basement, past the wine cellar, and round the corner. The door painted to look like part of the wall is then opened on up...
And now, obviously, I need your help... because...
Minutes have gone by. We see a rather rattled Joe, in his dishevelled wedding tuxedo, speaking these words now, to the three butlers who all convey shock on their faces. They are still within the old Del Barrio dungeon; a busted set of shackles formerly attached to the wall rest nearby, with Joe having made an escape. At his feet? His kidnapper - Rochelle Little - lies dead, her neck having been snapped. Joe finishes his flyaway little speech:
I killed her.
- What became of the real Joanna's body after Nadia took it away?
Who sent Ali the letter and why did she destroy it?
- Who is the other baby, child of Jorgio and Lily?
- Did Nadia leave the knife for Joanna? If so, how did she come to suspect the switch?
- Why did the church explode? Who was behind it?
Did Brad survive the explosion?
- Why didn't Ali want to see her father?
- Why did Rochelle kidnap Joe?
- In the early stages of planning the third season, the mystery storyline that had been settled on was that of a dinner party which would end in the gruesome murders of Elijah Davis, Rochelle Little and Jason Montgomery, with Rena being the butler responsible for finding out what happened. This idea was eventually scrapped, instead settling on killing off Rochelle in a different manner, with the dinner party storyline being pushed off to the next episode and featuring a different set of consequences.