Episode three of Bunheads, “Inherit the Wind,” picked up right where the previous episode left off: with Michelle and Fanny both shocked to learn that Hubbell had put everything – his house, his land, the dance studio – in Michelle’s name during their extremely brief marriage. As Hubbell’s friend and lawyer put it, all Hubbell ever wanted was to be married, and the changes in his will were his way of celebrating his marriage and showing the world that he had accomplished his goal. (And as Michelle pointed out, Hubbell probably didn’t think of it as disinheriting his mother, because children generally assume they will outlive their parents.)
But, of course, Fanny feels betrayed. Since she can’t take it out on her dead son, she takes it out on Michelle – pointedly asking permission to use everyday items like the tea kettle, but refusing to talk about the actual issues at hand. When Jenny’s mom Claire shows up to talk to Michelle, it gets worse. Claire freaks Michelle out by telling her about dozens of things that could go wrong on Hubbell’s extensive property, but it turns out that she’s actually a real estate agent who’s trying to sneakily convince Michelle to sell. Michelle doesn’t know Claire’s profession, but Fanny does, and so she immediately jumps to the conclusion that Michelle is selling her home without even consulting her.
Tired of trying to talk sense into her mother-in-law, Michelle drives off in Hubbell’s fancy old car – there’s a lot of random driving off in this show – only to have the car break down almost immediately. When the mechanic arrives, he tells her he can’t tow the car because it’s on an unmarked private road, and after a lot of song and dance about how it’s so crazy that there’s no way to tell that the road is private, except that “everyone knows,” Michelle winds up arrested for trespassing and needs Fanny to rescue her through her friendship with the police chief. When Michelle protests “This is ridiculous. I have rights!” she gets some advice for life in Paradise: “If I were you, I’d keep that sentiment to myself.”
Everyone warns Michelle that the private road belongs to a scary hermit named Bill, but when she hikes up to the house, she finds instead a presumed love interest named Grant. When Michelle has a complete meltdown within moments of meeting him, he handles it admirably, so I’m in favor of keeping him around. He ends up offering Michelle some good advice while he spends about an hour decanting a bottle of wine, and he jolts her into realizing that life in Paradise doesn’t have to be exactly what Fanny and her friends say it is. By the time she arrives back at Hubbell’s house, Michelle has concocted the plan that will presumably form the premise of the rest of the season: She will stay in Paradise, but move into a guest house on the property, and she and Fanny will run the dance studio together. (She has also picked up Grant’s habit of decanting wine slowly. If they actually keep this up, I’ll be really amused.)
One thing I liked about this episode was that there was both more dancing and more for the teen girls to do. As we learn a little more about the girls, they obviously become more interesting, so while Michelle and Fanny are still the core characters of the show, I have no doubt that the dancers will pull more equal narrative weight as the season progresses. This week we learned that Boo has a crush on Melanie’s brother Charlie, but she’s shy and he’s oblivious. Sasha is horrible to her about it, of course, but later Boo defends Sasha to the other girls – and Sasha hears and gets upset, not wanting Boo’s pity. It turns out, we find, that Boo has a loving family (even if her mother isn’t wild about the diet recipes Boo wants to try), while Sasha is basically neglected. Sasha escapes to the dance studio late at night, where she bonds a bit with Michelle, who is herself no stranger to escaping through dance.
“Scones! Huh? Feelin’ the Downton Abbey?”
“Oh, you’re a tea person! That explains the extensive scone knowledge.”
“How cocky being land-rich has made you!”
“If you’re going to be in the front, then be in the front.”
“I think I’m still in the numb phase. Overwhelming is probably on the way.”
“You’re calling that Autobahn you have on your property a driveway?
Bunheads is off this coming Monday but back on July 9. It airs on ABC Family and ABC Spark on Mondays at 9/8c.
(Photo courtesy of ABC Family.)