The Ties That Bind (Saga)

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This article is about the saga. For the album, see Album 58: The Ties That Bind. For the fourteen-part episode, see The Ties That Bind, Part 1.

The Ties That Bind is a lengthy saga spanning Album #57: A Call to Something More to Album #63: Up in the Air. It is very closely related to the Green Ring Conspiracy, which gives a lot of background about Buck Oliver. The series is written by Paul McCusker, Kathy Buchanan, Nathan Hoobler, Phil Lollar, and Sam Suksiri.

Episode Span

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Contents

Album #57: A Call to Something More

#734: “Life Expectancy, Part 1”

Life is going very well, and Connie is cheerfully chatting with Mr. Whittaker when Wooton calls on the phone, giving Connie alarming news. Connie's mother, June Kendall, was taken to the hospital in an ambulance!

Connie arrives at the hospital only to be told that her mother had a heart attack and did not survive. Unbeknownst to Connie, her mother had been on medication for years due to heart trouble but never told her.

Thankfully Mr. Whittaker had been fully informed by June Kendall, herself, that she was sick and gave Whit her will and important papers for safe keeping. Connie calls her dad, Bill Kendall, with the sad news and has the usual difficult encounter with him.

At the end of this first episode, Bill Kendall shows up at Whit's End looking for Connie, but he is not alone. He has Connie's half-sister, Jules Kendall, with him who Connie has never known about! She gets mad and runs off to her room.

Now, it is up to Connie's faith and her good friends to see her through this crisis.

#735: “Life Expectancy, Part 2”

At Connie and Penny's apartment, Connie is organizing her mother's funeral while Wooton and Penny are there to keep her company. Her dad, Bill Kendall, shows up at the door with a big surprise by introducing Connie to her half-sister Jules Kendall. Bill Kendall has the insensitivity to ask for the keys to June Kendall's house so he and his younger daughter won't have to stay in a hotel.

While Connie and her father are in the other room talking it out, Penny asks Jules what her name means, Jules answers that it's short for July. Connie and their father come back out just as upset as before. Bill leaves in a huff with Jules, retorting that he probably bought most of the furniture that is currently in June Kendall's house.

Connie turns to Mr. Whittaker with this news, he and Eugene are there for her. Whit points out that her father, Bill, might be creating chaos as a diversion from the pain he has in his life... and cautions Connie against doing the same thing. Eugene opens up that the loss of June Kendall has affected him as well and has to leave the room due to his emotion.

The funeral day has arrived and Connie is running around, barely taking a breath which prompts Whit to take her aside - telling her to calm down. Connie fears losing all control over her emotions and doesn't want that to happen. Whit prays with Connie right before they go in for the funeral.

During the ceremony, Connie refers to her mother's conversion to Christianity (from episode Where Is Thy Sting?) and how she fully embraced the Christian walk. It's no surprise to Connie that her dad didn't show up for the funeral.

But, it turns out Bill Kendall was there after all, but stayed out of sight. Wooton promised Bill a week's supply of strawberry licorice if he stayed for the whole ceremony. He and Connie nearly have another argument, but manage to keep it nice. Connie tells Bill that she loves him and he says he's loved her as well as he can love anyone.

Connie finds Jules in the funeral room. Jules says that she was surprised by the service, Connie asks her why. Jules says she believes in the "food chain" and life has no meaning. Connie tries, but in her grief is not prepared with an answer and can't counter what Jules is saying. Jules gives her contact info to Connie, then leaves to fly back to LA with Bill Kendall.

Back at her mother's home, Connie is sitting in her old bed room and has been up there for a while, so Penny shows up and talks her into going back down. Penny makes an offhand remark about Jeff Lewis being downstairs.

#736: “Life Expectancy, Part 3”

Life expectancy.png
At June Kendall's house during the funeral reception, Connie asks Whit what will happen to her mother's house. Mr. Whittaker informs her that it is included in her mother's will and that they need to go over the details of the will. Penny remarks that they could live here instead of in the apartment, but Connie says it's just too much to think about right now. As Penny and Connie continue to talk, a guy walks up and says he's sorry for Connie's loss. Connie thanks him, only to realize that it's Jeff Lewis! They strike up a conversation; Jeff tells her that he became a Christian and that he is also now a pilot. They make plans to catch up later once Connie feels up to it. Penny volunteers Jeff to help put up the chairs with Eugene and Wooton, and as Jeff leaves to go help, he tells Connie that he will be praying for her. Connie cautions Penny (who comments that Jeff seems nice) not to get any ideas.

The next morning, Penny is about to go to work, but feels as if she shouldn't leave Connie alone, and becomes more worried when Connie reveals that she is reading a book about suffering; Connie shoos Penny out the door, claiming that she is just fine. Penny tells Connie not to obsess over her thoughts about suffering and what Jules said to her a few days earlier.

Connie enters Whit's End and begins a conversation with Eugene about suffering and death, and Eugene says he will have to get back to her on that subject because he doesn't have a ready-made answer. He asks Connie why it's so important, and she explains that her curiosity is partly because of Jules's previous comments. Connie leaves Whit's End and goes to J and J Antiques to talk to Jason, who now works there for Jack and Joanne. Jason and Connie go to June Kendall's house to talk about the estate sale, but it quickly morphs into Connie's obsession with suffering. By the time they both leave, she has Jason all worked up and worried about his own father.

When Jason shows up at Whit's End, he is horrified to see his dad lifting a heavy box with Eugene's help and tells Whit that a man his age shouldn't be lifting things. Jason is further horrified to find out that it has been two years since Mr. Whittaker has seen a doctor for a checkup, and begs him to be more careful. Jason finally admits to having had a talk with Connie about suffering, to which Eugene replies that he might have guessed as much. Eugene then quickly leaves Whit's End to have a talk with Connie, and Mr. Whittaker turns to Jason asking what this is all about. Jason hesitates, then asks if he and his dad could talk about his mother and older brother, both of whom have died. Jason and Whit walk off to talk, but we never hear the conversation that happens between them.

Connie, who is now back at her mother's house, is sorting through everything, remarking on how much there is to go through. In pops Wooton, who quickly sees a "Precious Mementoes" salt and pepper shaker set, and Connie gives them to Wooton. Wooton voices his concern that all of this must be hard on Connie, who tries to shrug it off. But Wooton won't let her off the hook that easily and goes on to say that it must be affecting how Connie feels. Connie looks Wooton in the face and corners him about Penny sending him over to check up on her. Wooton can't deny that Penny sent him over, but points out that it's normal to wonder about suffering once someone has lost a loved one. Connie asks what the reason for suffering is, and Wooton replies that it is to remind us how good things are when we aren't suffering. Before Wooton leaves, he offers to take Connie the miniature golf course, but Connie—though she appreciates the thought—declines the offer.

Connie answers another knock and finds Eugene standing on her mother's front porch. Eugene asks show she is doing and Connie replies that she is running out of tissues; to Connie's surprise, Eugene informs her that there is a box of tissues under the sink in the guest bathroom. She asks Eugene how he knew that, and he tells Connie that he and Katrina visited Connie's mother on a number of occasions. Their conversation morphs into the topic of suffering, to which Connie reassures Eugene that she hasn't lost her faith in her reaction to her mom's death—it's just a discussion. Eugene asks if his answer to her earlier question is not needed; she tells him that it isn't, but she is curious as to what he would have said. Eugene explains that when Christ suffered, He redeemed our sufferings to give them meaning and purpose--to bring us closer to Him and to remind us that we are made for greater things than this world.

"He did not die to remove our sufferings—on the contrary, He told us to pick up our crosses and follow Him. In that command, He was telling us that we will indeed suffer, but the suffering could lead us back to God—in the same way His suffering leads us all to God."

Connie asks Eugene if Mr. Whittaker briefed him before he came over. To Connie's shock and amazement, Eugene replies that his wisdom on the subject came not from Whit, but from Connie's mother. When he and Katrina found out they could not have children, they received help and counsel from June, and Connie realizes that she didn't give her mom enough credit for her wisdom and dissolves into tears. Eugene quickly goes to the guest bathroom to retrieve the tissues.

At Whit's End, in Mr. Whittaker's office, Connie is signing a mound of papers, complaining of hand cramps. Whit asks Connie if there is something they need to talk about, alluding to her obsession with suffering, and points out that she's discussed it with Jason, Wooton, Penny, and Eugene, but not with him. Connie tells Whit about her encounter with Jules and her half-sister’s view of life being a "food chain". Mr. Whittaker points out that without God, life is just a food chain—without the Holy Spirit, we cannot grasp the purpose of suffering or even appreciate God's comfort when we suffer. All we can grasp is the pain, and that is meaningless. Mr. Whittaker reassures Connie that she can say a lot of things to Jules, but showing her is better—by being available to her as a friend or even as an older sister. Connie later e-mails Jules, discussing the concept of life as a food chain, and explains that she is willing to be the big sister that Jules hasn't had.

Album #58: The Ties That Bind

Saturday

#751: “The Ties That Bind, Part 1”

The-ties-that-bind.png
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#752: “The Ties That Bind, Part 2”

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Sunday

#753: “The Ties That Bind, Part 3”

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#754: “The Ties That Bind, Part 4”

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Monday

#755: “The Ties That Bind, Part 5”

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#756: “The Ties That Bind, Part 6”

Tuesday

Note: the first two scenes of part 7 take place on Monday night.

#757: “The Ties That Bind, Part 7”

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#758: “The Ties That Bind, Part 8”

#759: “The Ties That Bind, Part 9”

Note: the last two scenes of part 10 take place on Wednesday morning.

#760: “The Ties That Bind, Part 10”

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Wednesday

#761: “The Ties That Bind, Part 11”

#762: “The Ties That Bind, Part 12”

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Thursday

Note: the first scene of part 13 takes place on Wednesday night.

#763: “The Ties That Bind, Part 13”

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Friday

Note: only the last five scenes of part 14 take place on Friday.

#764: “The Ties That Bind, Part 14”

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Album #59: Taking the Plunge

#777: “First Things First”

The first scene opens with a discussion about Wooton's proposal to Penny, switching the conversation between Whit and Wooton, and Connie and Penny. Wooton tells Whit that Penny didn't say yes because she wants to know what it means to be married. In the conversation between Connie and Penny, Penny suddenly realizes she needs to tell her parents. In the next scene, Connie and Whit are talking, and Whit asks how Connie feels about it. She says she's feeling a little left out. The next scene is Wooton and Penny talking at the art gallery, where Wooton says the fire chief is letting him go see the outside of his house. Wooton says he doesn't know what he's going to do about his house without knowing Penny's answer. He says he wants her to meet an architect with him later. The next scene begins with Wooton reminiscing about his house, when Mrs. Kramer comes up and they have a conversation where Mrs. Kramer hints that the city zoning office won't allow Wooton's house to be built like he wants it. The next scene has David Parker meeting with Wooton and Penny, when they ask him to do pre-marital counseling with them. He says he'll talk to Eva about it. Later, he's on the phone with her, and she agrees after a long talk. David then gets the zoning information, and it does not bear good news. In the next scene, Connie, Wooton and Whit are talking, and Connie warns Wooton that he and Penny are about to ride a roller coaster, while Whit compliments Wooton on wanting to know what marriage should be like. The next scene has Wooton and Penny having a long discussion about expectations at Hal's diner. Then Wooton gets a text from David saying that he wants to meet about the house. When they meet, David tells them that the zoning codes have changed, and that Wooton's neighbors have started a petition against his house unless he can get the organizer of the petition to withdraw, and David tells Wooton that the organizer is Mrs. Kramer. In the next scene Wooton goes to Mrs. Kramer and tries to get her to withdraw the petition. She refuses and tells him to go live somewhere else. In the next scene Penny, Wooton, and Connie are talking, and Penny is urging Wooton to fight the petition. In the next scene, Wooton comes to Eva's house and tells her that Penny isn't coming because of a headache. David comes in and all three of them talk about the petition, and Eva tells Wooton that Penny is testing him to see if he will defend her. They have another discussion about expectations, and then David tells Wooton that Mrs. Kramer's land is actually Wooton's land, because of a mistake in the property divisions. In the next scene, Wooton goes into Penny's house and tells her he's throwing Mrs. Kramer out. Penny doesn't want him to do it, because it's unlike him, and Wooton asks her then if he can deal with it in a way that is like him. She apologizes for asking him to be like someone else. In the next scene, Wooton goes back to Mrs. Kramer's house and sells her the land for a ridiculously low price. He says he'll even clear the house off the land, and she shuts the door and dances in her house.

#778: “Playing the Predictable”

The first scene opens with Dion coming up to Buck in the school library. They have a chat, and Dion announces that he's going to make Buck's life miserable, and that Vance isn't happy with Buck. He tells Buck that Vance is in homeschool and on lockdown from his mom. Dion also says that he won't enjoy bullying Buck. In the next scene, Eugene walks into Whit's End and starts chatting with Whit. Whit comments that Buck finished painting the front of the shop fast, and tells Eugene that the Odyssey Business Association has decided that they are still moving forward with the Let's Get Together festival, but now the main focus will be celebrating traditional families. Then, Landon Davidson walks in and asks "Deputy Meltsner" to work with him on a case. They head to the Odyssey Bank. While in the car with Landon, Eugene is filled in on the case. Someone is stealing money from the bank accounts completely randomly, in small amounts of ten and twenty dollars. Megan Rankin, the head of bank security, thinks they are being hacked from the outside but has no idea how, or who. They get to the bank, and Eugene examines the system and finds no bugs. He warns Miss Rankin that whoever is stealing small amounts is capable of taking millions. In the next scene, Dion comes up to Buck again, to bully him, and Buck suggests that they go to Whit's End. Back at the bank, Eugene and Landon want to set up an unprotected computer in order to attract a hacker. The scene shifts back to Buck and Dion, who are now at Whit's End. Buck decides to show Dion around, but not before a private warning from Mr. Whittaker about hanging around with Vance's gang. Back at the bank again, the unprotected laptop attracted no hackers, but over 500$ vanished from one of the accounts. Megan is in a panic and Landon tells her to shut down the system overnight. Back at Whit's End, Dion is getting a lecture for threatening a kid, and he leaves after insisting he would've carried out his threat. Whit asks Buck if hanging around with Dion is such a good idea, and Buck replies saying he's only making new friends. Buck goes outside and runs into Eugene. Eugene and Buck get in the car to go home, and Eugene tells Buck about the case. Buck then tells Eugene a story about playing the predictable, and suggests that the money thievery is coming from the inside of the bank, but is being made to look like it's coming from the outside. Eugene and Landon go back to the bank the next day and Eugene finds that there is a correlation between when a flash drive is plugged in on an employee computer and the thefts. They find the computer and find that the computer is used by more than one employee. The next scene is in the school locker room, where Dion is asking Buck about what his plan is. Buck says that he's just making new friends, and Dion doesn't believe him. At the Bank, Eugene matches the employee user logs with the thefts, and finds that Vince King is the one employee using the computer at all the theft times. They go to look at the footage from a hidden low-quality security camera. After School, Buck meets Dion and tells Dion that he sees himself when he looks at Dion. He wants Dion to change. But then he tells Dion that he has a scam plan. Dion tells him he'll meet at the bowling alley the day after tomorrow with the gang, and Buck says all it will cost is Dion's loyalty to Vance.

#779: “A Big Commitment”

The first scene opens as Whit walks into Whit's End after another Odyssey Business Association meeting and tells Connie that Whit's End is going to be the center of the Let's Get Together Festival, and that he wants Connie to do a Candid Conversations broadcast for the festival. Connie tells Whit that she is already feeling left out by Penny, and tells him that Wooton is bulldozing his house. In the next scene, Eugene walks into Detective Davidson's office, who is reviewing the security tapes. They see Vince King enter the office, and right after, Vance also comes in. In the later video, Vince bends down to do something with the port for the flash drive. Right after Vince leaves, Vance also messes with the ports for the computer. Landon decides to get a search warrant for the Kings. But he warns Eugene that if they don't have the right suspect, the real thief will steal all of the bank's money and run. In the next scene, Wooton and Penny are meeting with David and Eva Parker. They start talking about commitment, which leads into Penny saying that commitment doesn't mean anything to a lot of people. In the next scene, Landon goes to the King's house with a search warrant for any computer equipment on the property. In the next scene, Connie is broadcasting about the Let's Get Together festival, and flies off the handle about Wooton and Penny leaving her out of their lives. She goes to commercial, and Whit comes in and tells her that it doesn't have to be this way. He tells her that she doesn't have to stop being friends with Wooton and Penny. He tells her to talk to them, and she tells Whit that she is so fearful of being abandoned. At the police office, Eugene and Landon are looking at the drives they got from the King's house, Where Eugene has found a program on a drive that creates a perfect copy of his system, and behind the fake system, the program is stealing money. The other flash drive that appears to be empty, is actually a ghost bank account that can be used to transfer the money. Landon goes into the interview room while Eugene watches behind a two-way mirror. Vince denies everything at first, so Landon suggests they go look at the security videos together. At Connie and Penny's house, Penny is telling Connie about her similarities and differences circles she has made for her and Wooton. Connie asks what about the people who aren't married, and Penny tells Connie that they are friends no matter what because she is committed. She says that she's commited, even though some people aren't. She recalls a past experience where someone didn't stay commited to her before Wooton. Connie asks what happened, and Penny says that what she never explained what brought her to Odyssey is what happened. At the police station, Landon has Vince completely pegged. Vance wants a lawyer, and Landon leaves to let father and son talk. Behind the two-way mirror, Eugene watches the exchange as Landon joins him. Vance announces he knows that they are watching, and Vince says that if Vance stole the money, then he needs to fess up. Vance yells that Landon can come back in, and when he does, Vance tells him that he was taking a flash drive out, and not putting it in. He copied the files to see what Vince was doing. Vance completely squeals on Vince, and tells Landon all about his dad's sceme, and tells Landon that Vince was actually also stealing from his loan customers. At Hal's Diner, Penny tells Wooton how she came to Odyssey. She tells Wooton about a guy named Devon that she was going to marry. She and Devon went to the same college because they were going to get married. There were winter jobs that Penny worked in Odyssey, and Devon went to visit his family. He called her on the phone from the other side of the country and told her he wasn't coming back. Penny tells Wooton is was a terrible pain, and she doesn't want it to happen again. Wooton holds her hand and tells her he's committed. He says he believes that "I do" is something he says every day for the rest of their lives, not just on the wedding day. At Whit's End, Landon and Eugene are telling Whit that Vince has been convicted and will go to court. Landon tells Eugene that he would like to work with him on another case sometime, and Eugene says that all Landon has to do is ask.


#780: “Dinner Roll Models”

The first scene opens with David and Eva at the breakfast table, calling for their kids to come out or they'll be late for school. Olivia runs in and says that she's helping Mr. Whittaker with the Let's Get Together festival, and says that she thinks that her family should try to be better role models. She lists of a few things to do better and then immidiatly does the opposite to Matthew and Camilla as they rush to get ready for school. Camilla mentions that Buck is coming over for dinner that night, and Eva realizes that Wooton and Penny are coming over for dinner as well. Matthew is worried because Buck has been hanging around Vance's gang, and says he wants to talk to Buck about it. Camilla begs him not to, because they want to concentrate all their efforts on being the perfect family. At Whit's End, Wooton walks in and Whit stops him and tells him that the offer to live at Whit's house still stands. Penny walks in, and Whit tells her that she's just in time to see the grand unveiling of Wooton's studio that Whit made in the building. Whit says he still wants to do a display of Wooton's Sleuth Family Robinson comics. Whit leads them to the room, and Wooton is speechless. It is a replica of his old studio, based off of pictures from a newspaper article of Wooton from a long time ago. Wooton thanks Whit and immediately wants to get started on the comic. Whit leaves, but Penny stays, and wants to help Wooton with the comic. Wooton doesn't need her to do anything, and Penny thinks that Wooton is brushing her off and leaves, offended. Back at the Parker's house, Eva is making pizza, and Olivia and Camilla think that pizza is not special enough, they want salad, tell Matthew not to talk to Buck about Vance, and are generally fussy. Later, the doorbell rings, and Olivia and Camilla rush to answer it. They open it to David, who forgot his house keys, and tripped over the kid's bikes in the driveway. Buck suddenly arrives behind David, because he got lost looking for the right house. Olivia and Camilla immediately change their attitudes to make a good impression, and David stops them by sending all three to the kitchen, and then telling Olivia and Camilla to get their bikes out of the driveway. The doorbell rings again, and this time, it's Wooton and Penny. Penny hints that she has a lot to talk about. The family and guests sit down at the dinner table, and Olivia and Camilla are still having 'perfect' attitudes for their 'perfect' family. David asks Penny to pray, and she declines. Buck then offers to pray. He does, and Eva asks where he learned it. Buck says Mr. Skint taught it to him, when they were scamming people who expected them to pray. Matthew tries to ask Buck about Vance, and is immediately silenced by Olivia and Camilla. Then, they begin the meal. Buck makes the mistake of asking for water, Camilla and Olivia fight over who gets to pour it. The entire pitcher spills directly onto Wooton, and Eva helps clean him up. Matthew tries again to ask Buck about Vance's gang, is silenced by Olivia and Camilla, then blurts out his question. Olivia and Camilla apologize for Matthew, but Buck answers and says he figures that he'd rather have them for friends than enemies. Silence follows, and then Penny mentions Wooton's studio and says she feels like she's been banned from the studio. David says they can talk about it later, and Camilla begins asking Buck about his life before Odyssey. He declines, but she asks him again, and then her and Olivia start arguing about pressure. Later, still at the Parker's house, Camilla and Olivia are saying good-bye to Buck, and he leaves. They close the door and begin arguing about why Buck left early. Eva tells them that they can't fake being a perfect family, and they need to look at their own problems, and not blame each other. She then sets the kids to hand washing the dishes. Eva leaves to go join David, Wooton, and Penny in the family room. In the family room, Penny says she's been thinking about compatibility. She asks if they have to be exactly the same, and David says no. They give some examples about being incompatible, and Penny mentions her earlier problem of not wanting to pray out loud. She worries that she and Wooton are not spiritually compatible at all. In the kitchen, Olivia stops Matthew and Camilla for a moment. She apologizes for trying to make them a perfect family, and says that she messed it all up. She offers to help Matthew put the dishes away, and Camilla says she will too. Later, at Whit's End, Wooton comes in after closing time and asks if it's too late to use the studio. Whit says he can use it whenever, and asks if something is wrong. Wooton says that Penny thinks they shouldn't get married. Wooton doesn't know if they are spiritually compatible either. Whit suggests talking to Eugene , and Wooton says he will, but he's afraid it's over.

#781: “Out of the Woods”

Early in the morning, at Connie's house, Penny asks Connie if two people love each other but still are wrong for each other. Connie says yes, and then Penny is worried that she and Wooton are spiritually incompatible, mentioning the incident yesterday about declining to pray aloud. Connie is confused about why Penny and Wooton are spiritually incompatible, and Penny tells Connie that she actually doesn't like the church they currently go to, she doesn't like to lead Bible study or pray out loud, or tell people about Jesus the way her friends do. Connie suddenly realizes she is late for work, and leaves in a rush.

Later, Buck is at school, when Dion comes up to him, and tells Buck that Vance is keeping a low profile due to his father being arrested. Buck and Vance's gang have a meeting scheduled at the bowling alley, and Dion warns Buck to 'make it good'. Eugene is working on the communication display for the Let's Get Together festival, and Detective Polehaus comes by to see it. Eugene has borrowed all kinds of high-tech gear from Jason Whittaker for the display. Detective Polehaus says he may need these items, he announces to Eugene that Buck is taking over Vance's gang.

Penny is at the art gallery, when a man comes in with a question about where the nearest gas station is. Penny interrupts him by thinking aloud about her problem with Wooton. She doesn't think about faith the way other people do, she thinks in terms of colors and shading, art. The confused man agrees with her for the sake of getting directions, and leaves after Penny directs him to the gas station.

At the bowling alley, Buck tells the gang about his plan, after asking for assurance that Vance has nothing to do with this. He suggests that they rig the festival games so that the players are duped, they can't ever win. This will pull in a lot of money for the gang. Dion calls Vance in, who was listening over at the counter. Vance says he's impressed, then reprimands his gang for having a discussion in such an open place, anyone could have been listening, just like he was. He says to continue this discussion at the duck pond in Mcallister Park, at eight o' clock that night.

Later, Eugene comes into Wooton's studio at Whit's End, because Wooton asked for his help. Eugene mentions that he will have a conflict with Katrina over Buck's latest actions, and Wooton asks how they work things like that out. Eugene replies that they talk it out, and when he wasn't a Christian but Katrina was, they ended the relationship. Wooton is discouraged, he is wondering if he and Penny are truly spiritually incompatible. Eugene suggests they be clear about where they are incompatible.

In his studio at Whit's End, Wooton is trying to make progress on the Sleuth Family Robinson, when he gets a call from Penny, who asks him to take her to a meadow. At the meadow, Penny says there is a church here, she has been coming after the Sunday service in Odyssey, for the Sunday afternoon service here. They go inside the church, Penny says she feels closest to God here. She likes the stained-glass windows, candles, a carved alter, and pews with kneelers. The Odyssey church has chairs, screens, bright lights. Penny says she likes the Odyssey church, because she likes Wooton. But she is worried that people think she isn't a Christian because she doesn't go to the church that everyone else does. Wooton assures her this is not the case, and Penny says she is indeed a Christian, and loves Jesus with all of her heart, and this old church helps her worship Him. Wooton asks if this is where she wants to get married, and she says yes. She says she should have told Wooton, but this was her special, private place. She wouldn't share it with anyone but the one she truly loves, and she shared it with Wooton.

At the duck pond, Vance and Buck meet up. Vance wants to know why Buck is weaseling his way into the gang. Buck asks why meet him here, Vance threatens that his boys are hiding in the trees. Vance says that his gang wants to be led, because Vance is where the power is. All Vance has to do is whistle, and his gang will come out and beat Buck up. Buck takes the challenge, and says "Then do it. Whistle." Vance whistles, and Detective Polehaus and Eugene come out of the bushes. They have recorded the conversation and taken videos, for evidence against Vance. Detective Polehaus leads Vance away, Buck and Eugene stay behind. Eugene says to not sneak around his back again, Buck promises that he won't, but it was a setup the whole time, and Buck knew what Vance was going to do. Eugene suggests they go home to explain everything to Katrina, and Buck says "It's not her anger I'm afraid of... it's her disappointment." Eugene assures Buck that he is no disappointment, and they go home.

#782: “Let’s Get Together”

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Album #60: Head Over Heels

#783: “Words from the Wise”

Wooton and Penny are at the airport in Pittsburgh. Wooton goes over the notes about Penny's family one more time, written on his arms, wrists, and ankles. Penny's mother, father and her sister Charlotte come up from the short-term parking and Wooton is immediately pressured by Elinor into getting highlights for his hair. Then he accidentally brings up the measles epidemic and Charlotte goes into a rant while Frank reminisces about the airport before the remodel.

In the next scene, the family has just finished dinner, but Charlotte is not there because of her job. Penny's parents talk about Charlotte for a bit, and then tell Penny to take Wooton for a walk after Wooton reveals he writes comic books. They go outside and Wooton asks Penny why she is acting so strange. She says she's afraid her parents won't think she's ready to get married, while they compare her to Charlotte, 'Miss spoonful of sugar'. She says that she did a painting for her parents and they hung it in their closet behind her mother's bathrobe collection. Wooton tells Penny she is the greatest person he has ever met, and says to leave the talking to him.

Later, Wooton is wearing aluminum foils as he gets his hair dyed. Eleanor tells Wooton that Penny was going to take over the family hair salon, and Wooton tells Eleanor that Penny is very responsible, and great at budgeting, and punctual, and tells her that there is nothing to worry about. He makes Penny sound like an extremely organized person, and then Penny bursts in and tells her mother that she was parking and broke the mirror on her Dad's new car. In the next scene, Charlotte and her father are also there, and Penny insists that she will take the car to an auto shop in the strip mall the next day, and also insists that she take her parents to dinner and pay for it. She wants to go to a really fancy restaurant, and her parents agree. Wooton hints he wants to talk to her parents about something, anyway.

At the French restaurant, Wooton and Penny arrive early, and debate about when to tell her parents that they are getting married. Then Penny worries that she doesn't know the etiquette for a fancy restaurant, because she wants to make a responsible impression on her parents. Wooton gives her his phone and tells her there's an app for etiquette, she just has to excuse herself and ask the app what to do. Her parents arrive, and they begin ordering. Penny has to excuse herself several times to ask the app things, while her parents boast about Charlotte's sophistication. Later, during the meal, Eleanor asks if Penny is all right, because she keeps excusing herself. Then, Penny cuts herself with her knife and drops it, and the whole family chimes in with advice. Penny explodes and blurts out that she and Wooton are getting married and that she doesn't want expert advice.

At their house, Frank tells Wooton and Penny that they can't get married, and Wooton bursts with some anger and tells them that Penny is quirky but he loves her. He calms down and Frank tells Wooton that Penny seemed to be acting different around him because he was changing her. Penny then admits that she is acting different to impress her parents. Her parents say that while Penny is not around, they brag on her to guests and pull out the painting she did when guests come over. They were worried that the painting would get stolen. Eleanor tells Penny that she is happy with Penny because she is Penny. Frank says the same to both his daughters. Frank then tells Wooton he and Penny can get married because Wooton loves Penny for who she is. They then ask Wooton and Penny to re-enact the proposal, so Wooton gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring, asking Penny to marry him. He got the ring at the strip mall while the car was being fixed. She says yes.

#785: “No Cause for Concern”

The first scene opens with Penny and Jacques Henri at the art gallery, organising paintings. Jacques teases Penny about being in love, and then Detective Polehaus walks in. He asks to talk alone with Penny, and tells her that he has always had a soft spot for pathetic cases, and therefore he is telling her that a man came in to the station asking about Penny's connection to Dr. Trask and the Green Ring Conspiracy, and that the strange man got a copy of all of Penny's criminal history from the county courthouse. Detective Polehaus was not on duty when it happened, and he has no clue who it was. At the college bookstore, Penny is looking at books with Connie. Connie asks what Penny is going to do, and Penny replies she is going to use it as 'fodder for her pre-marital counseling homework'. As in, she is going to practice assuming the best. For example, she says, she gets a call that Wooton has to work late, and so she is going to assume it is for a good reason, instead of thinking that Wooton doesn't have time for her. She says that whoever was looking at her criminal records probably had a good reason. They get to the checkout counter, and the checkout lady comments that she is an assistant to the dean of the art department, Penny's old job. The lady says that someone was asking about Penny the day before. She didn't know the name, but the person wanted to know everything possible about Penny. The description of him was about six feet, curly red hair, brown eyes, and a sharp chin. Both Penny and Connie realize it must have been Wooton.

At the park, Penny worries to Connie why in the world Wooton would want her public records. She wonders if he doesn't trust her, if he thinks that she actually is a counterfeiter. Connie reminds Penny about assuming the best. Penny then decides that Wooton is perhaps putting together a special wedding gift, and he needs to know details that she hasn't told him. She decides she needs to tell him if he wants to know.

At Hal's Diner, Penny and Wooton are waiting to order breakfast, and Penny inquires about what super-personal things about her Wooton would want to know. She volunteers some information, and Wooton asks why would he need to know this stuff. Penny hints that perhaps he is working on something special, and Wooton replies that if he was she wouldn't need to tell him anything else. She gives him permission to ask anyone anything regardless, and Wooton says thank you, but he would never do that, he would ask her no matter what. Penny hints that perhaps her criminal records would need to be acessed, but Wooton denies it. They order breakfast, Penny completely bewildered.

At the art gallery, Jacques is comparing a painting of a rock and a flower to Wooton and Penny. He says Wooton is solid and unflakeable, especially when he came in earlier that day to pick up Penny's employment history. Penny assumes this is for a good reason, and Jacques says that Wooton said it was for their marriage license. Penny says they got their marriage license a week before, and that employment records are not required to get one in the first place. She begins to wonder if Wooton is lying to her. She walks out of the gallery, intent on confronting Wooton. At the library, Penny completely startles Wooton by coming in on him.He is standing in the checkout line and he hides the books that he is holding under the counter, and she asks what they are. He pulls them out, and shows her Paintings by Claude Loreign, Penny's favorite artist. He says that they are needed for her special surprise. He apologizes for being so secretive. She says she likes surprises for good things, and wonders how to prove she believes the best about him before asking a question that sounds like she doesn't. He says go ahead, and she asks why he needed her employment history. He says he didn't, and that Jaque must be mistaken because he would never go behind her back and do something like that. She asks about the criminal records, and he says he wouldn't look at those either. As they are talking the librarian ushers them up to check out, and asks if Wooton found everything he was looking for in the newspaper archive. He replies that he wasn't in the newspaper archive, and the librarian replies that she helped Wooton log in, because he was looking for information on Penny Wise. He denies it, and the librarian says that it must have been someone who looks and sounds just like Wooton. Wooton gets out of line, and then pulls out his cell phone and dials a number. A cell phone begins ringing in the library, and Wooton begins chasing the sound, Penny on his tail. They come upon Wellington!

Wooton demands to know what Wellington is doing there, while Penny marvels how identical they are. Wellington confirms every accusation, and wants to talk to Wooton alone. Penny leaves to go find Connie, and Wellington takes Wooton across the street to a bistro to talk. Meanwhile, Penny and Connie are planning the wedding. Connie asks why in the world Penny is nervous, and Penny replies that wouldn't Connie be nervous if her fiancee's twin brother was looking for any scrap of information he could use to break up the relationship? Connie says yes, but that Wooton would always give Penny the benefit of the doubt. Penny says that yes, Connie is right, and they go back to planning the wedding.

At the bistro, Wooton tells Wellington that he didn't tell Wooton about anything he didn't already no. Wellington accuses Penny of being a gold-digger. Wellington says that a private detective had been hired to investigate Penny after the engagement had been announced. Wellington tells Wooton that Penny's other fiancée, Devon, was wealthy, and then says that after they broke up, she cozied up to Dr. Trask, and then to Wooton. Wooton completely denies it. He says he could see how it would look that way, but Wellington doesn't actually know Penny. Wellington pinpoints everything that has happened thus far, and Wooton doesn't know what to say, but still denies it. Wellington pulls out an envelope, and tells Wooton to open it after he leaves.

Later, Penny and Wooton are looking at the envelope Wellington gave him. It contains Penny's credit report and all the debt that she has. Penny says she is glad she already told Wooton about it, otherwise it would have been a real bombshell. He promises that they can work together to pay it off, and says he knows Penny is not marrying him for money. She thanks him for thinking the best of her. She says that because she loves him, she has told him about the things she is ashamed of, like her debt. Penny asks if Wellington will change his mind when he finds out. "Of course I won't change my mind!" Wellington says. He admits that he is impressed with the way that Wooton and Penny are sticking to each other, he says he'll inform the family, and not to expect any of the Bassett family to come to the wedding. Penny kindly invites Wellington and his family to come to the wedding. He says he'll think about it, and leaves.

Penny and Wooton are sitting looking at a book, reminiscing. Connie walks up and asks what it is, and Penny replies that it is her wedding present, a graphic novel about Penny and Wooton's relationship. Connie complains that it is way to early to do that, and Wooton admits he was too excited to wait. Penny asks Wooton about one thing that she doesn't know about him, and he replies that he is creeped out by bald guys that have hair plugs because they remind him of a chia pet. Penny remarks that she loves the way Wooton's pupils jiggle when he stares into her eyes, and they begin giggling as she compares his pupils to Jell-O.

#787: “Between the Lines, Part 1”

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#788: “Between the Lines, Part 2”

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Onward

#805: “A Very Bassett Wedding, Part 1”

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#806: “A Very Bassett Wedding, Part 2”

Wooton and Wellington go to find Mrs. Deprie, whom Wooton helped across the street earlier that day. Wellington insists on playing the "bad cop", meaning he asks the questions and Wooton has to pretend to like Mrs. Depris. They find her at the Odyssey Retirement Home, where she is playing Bingo. She agrees to answer some questions, if they will just call her Ethel. Wellington gives up when Wooton wins the Bingo game and Mrs. Depris loses focus on the questions.

Connie negotiates with Alice to get the dress they want for Penny, finally succeeding after promising multiple favors.

Wellington is frustrated that he got nowhere with Mrs. Depris, even though Wooton would be fine to stay much longer playing Bingo. Wellington asks Bridget about Mrs. Depris' interests. She has normal interests: knitting, embroidery, selling jewelry... Wellington is certain that Mrs. Depris stole Penny's ring now. He learns that she is going to a convention in Connellsville that night. Mrs. Depris is very excited about what jewelry piece she has to sell, but she won't tell anyone what it is. Wellington thanks Bridget for everything then leaves. Wooton decides to call Penny then sees that Penny left him a voice mail. While Wellington is thinking up a plan to get the ring back, Wooton exclaims that they need to get to the hospital, because Penny is having an emergency operation.

At the hospital, Connie and Wooton are waiting for Penny's anesthesia to where off. Penny had to go into surgery because her appendix had almost burst, for which Connie badgers herself for blaming the problem on a stomach ache. Wellington comes in, saying that the convention starts in an hour, and tells Connie about Mrs. Depris and the stolen ring. Connie exclaims "You don't have the ring?!" which wakes Penny up. She wonders what is going on, but everyone tells her it's nothing. She falls asleep again. Connie agrees to help Wellington get the ring back - but they will need one more person.

Eugene is asked to go with Connie posing as a couple needing a wedding ring. Eugene objects, since he is already married, but Connie insists its for a good cause. After being guilted into doing it, Connie makes him take off his wedding ring so they won't be given away. Wellington gives them clear instructions and sends them on their way.

Penny's parents leave the hospital, and Wooton tells Penny that he always wants to be there for her. Penny is so happy that they are getting married, and so is Wooton, but he sugguests that they need to rethink a few things...

Connie and Eugene get to the convention and Mrs. Depris mentions that they're a 'cute couple', which Eugene isn't liking. Connie played the part well, but Eugene is quite embarrassed. Connie says that they are looking for a ring. Mrs. Depris says she has the perfect ring that is sapphire blue, the same as Penny's. Mrs. Depris says she can give them the perfect deal on it, and Eugene takes out his phone to take a picture of it, when Whit walks up. He has come to pick up Ethel, and is of course confused at Connie and Eugene playing the parts of a couple. Connie and Eugene take a look at the ring, and then realize that it's plastic. Mrs. Depris bakes all of her jewelry out of the finest plastic in molds that she makes out of ketchup bottle tops. Connie and Eugene quickly buy the $1.50 ring and leave.

Whit, Wellington, Connie, and Eugene have a meeting and try and pinpoint where the ring could have been left. Wellington says him and Wooton have searched everywhere, but then remembers that he had the ring coming out of the jewelry store when Wooton help Mrs. Depris across the street, which means it could still be in Wellington's pocket.

Wellington and Wooton are in the car and Wellington, bit by bit, tells Wooton to look in the glove compartment. Wooton looks through it and finds a root beer. Wellington tells him to keep looking. Then Wooton finds the ring. Wellington thinks Wooton would be mad at him, but Wooton isn't mad. When he finds out that Wellington just wanted to find the ring more than he did because Wellington didn't want him to be taken advantage of, Wooton considers them "real brothers" now. Wellington refuses even though they are identical twins.

Connie is glad that Penny's parents are at the rehearsal, but when they go to get the dress, they find that Penny's dad put the dress in the wrong car. After freaking out, Penny and Wooton arrive. Whit stands in for the pastor who hasn't arrived yet.

Eugene starts the music, and they start the rehearsal. Then Penny springs a big surprise on Connie: Penny and Wooton aren't getting married the next day. They had decided to do it right then! Whit turns out to be the actual pastor, having been ordained just a day or two before for this reason. Penny is glad that everyone is just like they normally are and not all dressed up.

Whit starts the vows, and Wooton and Penny say 'I do'. They bring out the rings and are pronounced Husband and Wife.

Connie, Penny, and Penny's parents all talk about the ceremony and everything turns out well, despite the trouble along the way.

#807: “Connie the Counselor”

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#811: “Legacy, Part 1”

Jules is listening to some music on headphones and singing it out loud while getting ready to hang out with Buck. Connie hears her and says she’s good at it. Jules tells her that there’s a special delivery letter for her. Connie opens it and cries out, “WHAT?!” Meanwhile, Buck is preparing to see Jules and is just Eugene asks him why he hasn't attended youth group. Buck says it doesn't interest him, then says there is a special delivery letter. Eugene sees it and mumbles, then yells, “What?” Buck and Jules meet up at Tom's farm and Jules takes some apples. At Whit's End, Whit meets with Connie and Eugene and says that he got a special delivery letter and says that they all were put as beneficiaries in Tom Riley's will. Meanwhile Jules and Buck at Tom's Farm meet up with some singers who need one more person to sing with them. Buck says that Jules is a good singer. Whit then says the 4th beneficiary is Becky Riley, Tom's sister. Becky says that in Tom's will, Whit, Connie, and Eugene each got an acre of Tom's land while Becky got the rest. Becky says that she might sell Tom's land because she can't take care of it and no one will help her. She asks them if they want to go to Tom's farm. At the farm, Jules is singing with the singers and Buck is listening when Connie, Eugene, Whit, and Becky stumble on them.

Continued in Legacy, Part 2...

#812: “Legacy, Part 2”

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#826: “Find a Penny, Part 1”

Whit and Connie are preparing for the after-school rush at Whit's End, with ice cream, glasses, and paper towels. Connie shows Whit Wooton and Penny’s wedding photos and notes how weird it would be for them to be actually married, although Whit points out that they’ll still be the same people they’ve always been. Just then, Wooton frantically rushes in, asking where Penny is. She’s missing! Not only that, Wooton’s memory is gone! Connie and Whit ask Wooton to tell the last time he remembered seeing Penny, and Wooton answers: his wedding day. Seeing the problem, Whit suggests a trip to the hospital, but Wooton desperately tries to remember first. He recalls waking up at the Buffalo, NY airport without Penny, then calling her (with an airport phone, because something happened to his), having her paged, and combing the airport for her; all with no success. He left a message on her answering machine saying to call Connie; Connie says that she hadn’t yet. After Wooton’s woe over losing his wife and mind, Whit tells Wooton he has no choice: he’s going to the hospital.

Wooton fully checks out at the hospital, except for his bloodwork results, which haven’t been completed yet. Dr. Graham tries to calm Wooton’s panic as she goes to check it. Wooton consents to wait in his room while Whit steps out to talk to Dr. Graham. She tells Whit two things. First, since it doesn’t look like Wooton was a victim of violence, Penny probably wasn’t either, and so she’s likely searching for him, too. Second, there is a way to get Wooton to remember: telling him about his memories to bring the others back. When Whit returns, Wooton sets up a voicemail that he can check from the hospital to see if Penny calls. So far, she hasn’t. Wooton describes remembering bits and pieces before his wedding, but no particulars. Suddenly, Whit and Connie remember that postcards were sent to them! Connie’s postcard was from the plane. In it, Penny described sitting next to a woman who knitted her a hat. That’s enough to trigger Wooton’s memory.…

Penny says she took the middle seat because Wooton likes the window seat. The woman, Francine, comments that they’ll have a lovely honeymoon, to which Penny replies that she still doesn’t know where they’re going. “Paris is a lovely place for a honeymoon,” Francine says, to Wooton’s chagrin. Francine offers to knit Penny a yellow hat as a honeymoon gift. On one condition: they must stay completely silent.…

And that’s all he can remember. Whit tries next, telling Wooton about the postcard he received from Penny in Paris. Wooton made friends with the bellhop at the hotel, who, on his day off, took the couple to see the Eiffel Tower. His name was (and Wooton remembers) Ernest. Wooton describes his conversation with Ernest, discussing the Tower, their plans in Paris, and Wooton’s butchering of French.

“And then it just goes blank.” Whit steps out to give Jason a call, asking about the postcard Jason got. In the meantime, Wooton calls his voicemail. He has a message! From Penny! She’s checked in to the hotel and is calling from the front desk (because her phone got run over), she’s sorry they had to be rebooked on separate flights, she says she saw the museum that looks like it’s wearing a red hat. That’s all. For more clues, Connie tries to log in to Wooton’s email account, with no luck. Whit comes back with lunch, and is soon followed by Jason, who tells Wooton that Wooton went to London and sang with the Pool Boys. In fact, Jason has a video of it from the internet: Wooton and the band crooning a special rendition of “I’m in the Deep End Over You.” After watching, Jason suggests checking Connie’s email. She says that Penny said she wouldn’t send any emails, but she looks anyway. Meanwhile, Whit steps out and calls the hotel in London to see if Wooton mentioned any travel plans to Pablo, the concierge he thanked on stage with the Pool Boys. Connie finds an email from Penny saying that they missed their flights and she’s waiting at the police station so she has time to send an email anyway. And there’s a link: a video of Wooton and Penny skydiving! A very scared Wooton is shoved out of a plane by Penny, and the two fall to the ground, safely landing. Penny says it was a way for Wooton to overcome his fears. “Yeah, it didn’t work,” Wooton gripes. Whit then walks in and says that the London hotel doesn’t have any employees named Pablo. Strange…

Just then, Dr. Graham returns with updates. Wooton’s bloodwork was fine, with one exception. He was drugged by someone. The drug, called Clibriapoxide, is a rare, experimental drug that temporarily erases the patient’s memory. ‘Temporarily,’ that’s the good news, but the bad news is that because the drug is rare, that means someone drugged Wooton on purpose! Penny needs to be found – soon! “If these people have access to untested drugs,” Jason warns, “who knows what they’re capable of.”

#827: “Find a Penny, Part 2”

Whit and Jason surmise that whoever gave Wooton the drug wanted him to forget something, since Wooton didn’t lose his wallet but did find his phone missing. Wooton remembers waking up at the airport in a sitting area next to gate 16. Jason steps out to make a call to check and see if there was any surveillance video of who drugged Wooton. In the meantime, Wooton checks his voicemail. One new message, from Penny’s parents. Her dad says he ran into a Marty Gordon who says he saw Wooton’s story on the news, of how he saved someone’s life at Niagara Falls! Connie looks up the video on the Buffalo News website. The video is an interview with Wooton describing how he saw a kid falling off a balcony… in the gift shop, and ran over to catch him. Wooton broke kid’s fall, and that’s why he and Penny were at the police station: to work out the details. At the end of the interview, the boy’s dad, Joel Moore, runs up and tells Wooton to just give him a call if there’s anything, anything, he can do as a debt of gratitude. The incident at Niagara is also why Wooton and Penny’s flight had to be rebooked, onto two separate flights.

Jason returns with news! The airport security camera shows a man giving Wooton a cupcake, Wooton eating it, and then him passing out gently. The man also took Wooton’s cell phone, but probably nothing else. Just then, Jason gets a text. Agent Martin wants to meet with him at the hospital.

“It’s a bit more complicated than your friend getting drugged,” Agent Martin says. He says he ran facial recognition software on the video, and found a name for the man in it: Seymour Plotner. Although he’s just a crony (as Jason points out), he’s been linked to a group called ‘The Victimizers.’ They use the Clibriapoxide drug commonly in their crimes. A while ago, their group supposedly stole a penny called the Birch Cent, a rare coin worth millions of dollars. The group was arrested, but let go because the coin wasn’t found on them. Agent Martin thinks that the coin was, at one point, planted on Wooton. Seymour Plotner likely took the coin from Wooton at the airport, and drugged him so Wooton wouldn’t remember the incident.

While waiting for Jason to return, Wooton and Connie watch the Pool Boys video again – four times. Fortunately for Connie, Jason and Agent Martin return before the fifth time and bring them up to speed on what’s happening. Agent Martin shows Wooton photos of the Victimizers so he could possibly identify any of them. He sees one he knows: Ernest the bellboy. And another: Francine from the plane! “Her real name is Phoebe MacGregor,” Agent Martin explains. Wooton recalls that “she was so nice” and “even gave Penny a hat.” The pieces fall together – that’s how the coin was passed off: inside the hat! But that means… Penny has the coin! Drugging Wooton was just a means to get him out of the way so they can get Penny!! The revelations are too much for Wooton and he hyperventilates. His friends try to calm him down and get him to figure out where the final destination was. Is there a theme? Paris, London, Nicaragua, Niagara Falls. Then Jason figures it out! If ‘London’ is changed to ‘England,’ then there’s an acronym: P-E-N-N… Y! The final destination starts with a Y! Jason looks up flights leaving Buffalo that morning for a flight with a Y name. There is one: Youngstown. Wooton remembers – its postage stamp museum looks like it’s wearing a red hat! Jason immediately decides to call Martin to tell the authorities in Youngstown. Also, he and Whit are going themselves. Wooton starts to get out of bed, but Whit eases him back, telling him that Wooton needs to stay safe in the hospital and not drag them down while in Youngstown, since he’s been drugged. Wooton says, as a piece of advice, that he thinks he booked the Meir Mount Resort, because of the pool complex.

When Whit and Jason touch down in Youngstown, Jason reports that Agent Vicks has made it to the resort and her team should have infiltrated the hotel by now. Wooton also got another message from Penny – she ran into Ernest! Also, she thinks she’s being followed by men with guns. She says she’s thinking of going under— and then she gets a knock at her door and hangs up to answer. Whit and Jason board a taxi and head straight to the hotel. On the way, Jason calls Martin and gets patched in with Agent Vicks. Vicks is at Penny’s room – it’s been ransacked. No one’s there. Suddenly, Martin sees someone rappelling off the building with a yellow hat in hand. Vicks hangs up to give chase, and Martin does the same. The taxi arrives at the hotel, but the taxi driver will not let them out at the front door. He is Ernest. He takes them to the pool complex to try to draw Penny out. The man on the building was only carrying a decoy hat to draw the agents away; they haven’t found Penny. After standing around for a minute, Whit and Jason spot something in the pool: Penny hiding underwater. She surfaces to say hi, and is spotted by Ernest. After Penny yells at Ernest, and he starts threatening the trio, a helicopter appears in the sky. But it’s not the Victimizers – it’s Wooton! Ernest and his crew are surrounded on all sides. Agent Vicks does the honors and puts Ernest under arrest.

After everything settles down, Connie breaks the news to Penny that she’s been carrying a priceless penny and was being followed by criminals. Penny says she knows; there were too many coincidences for them to be just coincidences. Besides, when she was leaving Paris, the metal detectors went off at the airport and she discovered the coin in the hat. She hands over the penny to Agent Vicks, then thanks Wooton for setting up such an awesome mystery adventure for her. Jason says it wasn’t a mystery; it all really happened. Penny slowly realizes that she really was in danger, and takes a minute to sit down and let it sink in. She asks Wooton where he got the helicopter, and he replies that Mr. Moore from Niagara Falls has a helicopter touring company, and Wooton called him and found one nearby. Wooton called from the hospital after Whit and Jason left. He didn’t even finish eating his applesauce first – that’s how much he loves Penny.

#828: “Friend or Foe”

Connie enters Jules’ room to ask how her homework’s going, but stops when she sees Jules’ inappropriate dress. Jules says that she’s wearing the dress to a ‘Chains of Despair’ concert tomorrow night, a concert that Connie did not permit her to attend. After Connie sees the price of the dress and learns that Jules paid for it with her dad’s credit card, she makes Jules return the dress and stay home the night of the concert.

At school the next day, Jules complains to Buck about having to miss the concert. Buck’s surprised that she listens to their music, and says that Connie’s just trying to look out for her, to protect her. All of a sudden, Valerie Swanson walks by and drops her books. After Buck helps her pick them up (and Valerie flirts, to Buck’s embarrassment), Valerie starts talking about ‘Chains of Despair’ with Jules. She tells Jules that she couldn’t buy a ticket because of the price, and Jules gives Valerie her ticket. Valerie is thrilled and announces that the two of them are hanging out, as a way to repay Jules. Valerie leaves, and Buck tries to warn Jules about what she might be getting into, but to no avail.

The next day, Valerie and Jules hang out at a clothing store, Valerie talking about the concert, and Jules talking about California. Jules says that she doesn’t feel as comfortable in Odyssey as she was there, that Connie has no interest in her having a good time, and other things. Valerie sees an outfit and raves about it to Jules, but pouts when she realizes she doesn’t have money for it. Jules, wanting to encourage her friend, offers to buy it with her dad’s card. Valerie is again thrilled, but then gripes that she doesn’t have shoes to go with it, which Jules, again, agrees to buy. After deciding that Jules should have a new dress, too, Valerie pulls one out and asks Jules’ opinion. Jules says she can’t buy it – she already bought it and had to return it, Connie said so. Valerie asks why Connie has any say, and Jules replies that it’s because she lives in her house. Valerie has a simple solution – keep it at her house. She considers, then agrees, along with a new pair of shoes for herself.

On the phone, Jules says that she can’t; Connie doesn’t let her go out on school nights. She hangs up just as Connie enters her room to find her sweater. She says that Valerie doesn’t have the best reputation, but Jules shrugs it off, saying that she’s just helping her with geometry. After Jules asks if she can go to Val’s house to help, Connie agrees. Jules leaves, calling over her shoulder that Connie can grab her sweater, but as long as she brings it back.

Jules meets up with Valerie… at the movie theater. She has the tickets and Valerie has the popcorn. The movie: Queen of Camelot. Valerie heads off in the wrong direction, and when Jules asks, she says she’s going to Blood Slasher III. Jules consents without any argument, and Valerie comments, “It’s so good to see you breaking free from Connie’s chains and finally being yourself.” Jules agrees.

Next, the two head out to buy Jules’ favorite sandwich: bacon, pastrami, BBQ chips, and peanut butter. It’s a sandwich Connie doesn’t let her eat, because of the fat content; she says Connie’s just jealous. After Valerie takes a bite, she pulls out a surprise for Jules: the latest ‘Chains of Despair’ album. When Jules says they can’t hear it at Connie’s house, Valerie says they can’t listen at hers because her stereo’s broken.

But there they are, at Valerie’s house, rocking out with the new album on a new stereo, one that she didn’t pay for. Jules bought yet another thing for Valerie. All of these happenings aren’t lost on Buck, who confronts Jules about it at school later. He says that Valerie told him if he hung out with them, Jules would buy him whatever he wanted. Buck says it’s a scam – Valerie’s using her. She and Jules aren’t really friends. When Jules gets uptight and defensive about it, Buck suggests a test: ask Valerie to pay for something for once. Jules says that she’ll make her own decisions for herself. She then leaves to go to Valerie’s house.

When she gets there, Jules helps Valerie plan her birthday party. Valerie says she can invite 10 people to the restaurant where it’ll be held: Jules and Valerie’s cousin and his six friends. There’s room left, so Valerie suggests inviting Buck, but Jules says no, he turned out to be just like everyone else in Odyssey. Valerie says that it’s okay; they’ll have fun anyway with her cousin and his friends. Then she gets an idea: they could rent a limousine! Jules, remembering what Buck said, slowly suggests to Valerie that she pay for the limo instead of Jules. At first, Valerie can’t believe what Jules is asking, but eventually consents to pay. She supports whatever decision Jules makes. …However, Valerie says after a pause, if Jules doesn’t pay for it, she might just happen to tell Connie about all of the things Jules has been doing, all of the music she’s been listening to, all of the movies she’s been watching, and all of the things she’s bought. Jules finally gets it and starts to leave, but Valerie threatens her again by mentioning she’ll show Connie all of the receipts she’s kept with the name Jules Kendall on the bottom. So, what decision will she make? At this point, Jules has no choice.

She approaches Buck the next day, first inviting him to Valerie’s party, and then, reluctantly, telling him that he was right. Valerie has been using her, and now she’s blackmailing her. At this point, she says, she could use a friend. When Buck asks how he can help, Jules asks him to, perhaps, trick Valerie or blackmail her into getting Jules out of her problem. Buck says he can. But he won’t. Conning another con only escalates the problem. He won’t help Jules that way; she should have stopped it herself before it got this bad. The best thing for Jules to do is to confess what she’s done to Connie; she cares about her. “Some friend you turned out to be,” Jules remarks, and walks away.

At Valerie’s party, the guests are in the middle of an eating contest when the waiter pulls Jules aside and tells her there’s a problem with her card. The transaction was declined. Jules looks at the bill, cringes, and then goes back to Valerie to show her. Once she realizes that Jules isn’t just trying to get her to pay her fair share, Valerie says she’ll try to get everyone to pay, and Jules should go stall the waiter. After Jules leaves and explains the situation to him, a waitress walks up and says that when she went into the room to deliver more food, the group was gone. Jules is escorted to the manager’s office, where the waiter calls Connie.

Connie arrives, mildly flustered, and the waiter shows her the way to the office. After Connie makes sure Jules is okay, the waiter gives her the bill. She’s stunned at the total, then hands the waiter her card. He leaves to process the transaction. When Connie asks how Jules got the dress she’s wearing, Jules replies that she bought it back again, and chuckles. “Don’t laugh,” Connie says. She then takes the next few minutes to explain to Jules that her dad called and wanted to know why Connie wasn’t using the money that he sends for Jules each month. Jules had been buying clothes and food with his credit card and not the money he sends to Connie, so, wondering if Jules even lived with Connie, he canceled the card. Jules has limits because Connie understands her – she’s young and immature and needs people in her life who love her to tell her when she’s going the wrong way. Jules listens, but ultimately rejects her advice. Finally, Connie breaks the news to her that Jules is going to have to get a job to pay off the card. And she just might know a place…

Buck is minding his own business, finishing a milkshake at a table in Whit's End, when Jules bustles up and offers to clear the table. When questioned, she says that it’s her job, what she’s getting paid for. Connie comes and tells her about a big banana split spill, and Jules leaves for a mop. Connie turns to Buck, and after realizing that he kind of knew what was going on, she tells him that her dad relayed to her that most of the things Jules bought were being returned, and he was getting the money back. Connie then says that she heard from Valerie’s mom that some “nice young man” came to her house, and after explaining what happened, offered to return everything. All Buck says is that Jules has a lot of people who care about her. Connie hopes that she’ll see that someday.


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