Party of Five (“Have No Fear”)

Season 2, Episode 4
Date of airing: October 25, 1995 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 9.6 million viewers, 6.9/10 in Households

I have no idea what was happening between Sarah and Bailey. I get that something weird was happening after her decision to tell him that she loved him in the previous episode, but Sarah seemed to have been rewritten as a character between episodes, as she became something of a distant wannabe-girlfriend to Bailey in this episode who rather wanted to stay away from him, just so she won’t have to deal with his emotional problems. I even get that Bailey was in a bit of a funk emotionally, especially after Jill’s death, but with Sarah in the mix it’s like the writers decided to skip straight to the drama talk between the two, without ever establishing whether or not the two are in love with each other, or if her affections for him are reciprocated And then he has to show up at her place of living while in an emotional unrest, and suddenly this whole thing between Bailey and Sarah seems to be built on a minefield of emotions. Did the writers really forget an episode or two here, or did they purposely sped to the new development between the two, just so they can get into a romance as quickly as possible?

Look who’s trouble and got a tattoo!

The episode was okay. I actually loved Bailey’s story, absent Sarah, because there was something tragic behind the premise of accidentally causing a friend’s paraplegic for the rest of the friend’s life, and I might even love how this story could turn Bailey away from high school football, which I thought previous season’s episode “Good Sports” already did (but for some reason he was back with football for this episode, and I guess that happened because of this specific story). I loved that Bailey felt more than guilt for putting Hughes down like that, and the scene during the game was actually quite strong because of it — the uncertainty whether Bailey will get back to normal, or the fear that he can’t ever get back on the field, scared to cause another accident and this time the nerve endings really get broken. The insecurity was the best part of Bailey’s story in this episode, but like I said, Sarah’s involvement seemed to have been making it weirder. Especially since she was all about herself in the story, without a single second of understanding what Bailey may be going through. He almost caused Hughes to be a cripple for all of his life, and Sarah can’t think about that for a second instead of herself not wanting to deal with Bailey’s uncertainties any longer?

Because this episode’s general theme was about health, someone else needed to go to the hospital, and Joe was the victim. It was a good-enough story, but I rolled my eyes a little when Charlie decided he is going to take over the restaurant from Joe. First of all, the last time Charlie was running the place, he kinda failed doing so, and secondly, I always thought during the episode that Charlie’s takeover was just temporary, and that Joe would just take a few weeks off, go on vacation or maybe in therapy for his heart failure, maybe even get an operation done to fix whatever needs to be fixed, so that Joe can return after a few episodes and be the boss again and leave Charlie to live the life he was living during the first three episodes of the season. But the dialogue scenes made it sound like Charlie took over for good and his furniture business is a side project or a hobby now, which is weird considering the way it was treated as Charlie’s career during the final third of the previous season. But as soon as Charlie is showing this way that he can run a business and a family, I’m all for it.

Never answer a phone while in the shower.

In the meantime, Julia was talking and thinking about sex, which she was able to do here, but not when she found a condom in Justin’s wallet during the dance marathon episode, which seriously wasn’t that long ago. It makes me wonder what she thinks of Griffin now that she couldn’t think of Justin back then, and it makes me think whether or not the writers thought of the sex story too early when it was with Justin, but now think of it as a perfect time to get into the business of sexual intercourse, now that Julia has a new boyfriend. By the way, Michael Goorjian is already absent in his fourth episode as a credited main cast member, which either shows he had a great agent in 1995 or the writers didn’t know what to do with the character. I still find it weird that he has been placed among the credited cast members (same with Hewitt), but here we are. It’s not like this is a unique thing in television — just look into the future and think how much money Blair Brown got while starring on FRINGE versus how much screentime she really had while starring on that show.

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