The secret’s finally out, my favorite couple is totally tanked, and the ritual town stoning is well on its way. I don’t have much energy for more than a recap, so here we go: Alexis is meeting Julian for lunch at the Floating Rib. She hints she’d also be interested in an afternoon quickie, but sadly, he’s already got plans to go tank his magazine.
Speaking of which, the new and improved Nina — who looks exactly the same, except she’s no longer swanning around the office in that Elvira evening gown — is at Crimson, gushing over the pictures Dillon took of her. Because Dillon, in addition to being a mediocre screenwriter and aspiring indie director, is now apparently a professional photographer? Look, I don’t know. Just go with it.
At the hospital, Elizabeth is surprised to see a super cute doctor lady that I don’t recognize. Turns out she wasn’t supposed to work today, but Patrick called in a personal day. Liz’s face falls at this reminder that she has wrecked not only her own life but her BFF’s life as well. Cute Doctor suggests Liz might also want to call in — so is the news about her lie to Jason already all over town? But, alas, there’s no one to cover for her.
Carly leaves Jason the latest of many messages. It’s apparently only been a few hours since Sonny told her about Liz’s lie, which you may recall absolutely delighted her. Because Carly would rather be right than watch her friend be happy making a choice she disagrees with. Sonny cautions her to give Jason some space and she hilariously whines that it’s not fair because he confided in Sonny and now she wants her turn. Never change, Carly! Never change.
Oliva runs into Lulu at the MetroCourt and asks about the Dante situation. Lulu admits she was mad, but she’s following Olivia’s example with Julian and trying to get along with Dante for Rocco’s sake. Of course, this is a blatant lie, because we jump over to Johnny arranging a meet cute with Valerie while she’s stalled on the side of the road.
Sonny reminds Carly that they have other things to worry about than Jason’s love life. Like their shitty kids! And right on cue, in walks Dante.
Nina’s still admiring all the pictures of herself when Franco walks in. She excitedly fills him in on all the changes they have planned to fix the magazine. Like the masthead! Which is clearly what people who buy fashion magazines really care about. Franco gently floats the possibility that Julian might not have had Crimson’s best interests in mind when he hired a woman with zero publishing experience.
Johnny’s pretending to be a good Samaritan and introduces himself as “Greg.” He tries to fix Valerie’s car without success and apologizes for not offering her a ride. Valerie wouldn’t take one anyway, since she doesn’t know him and isn’t crazy and also cell phones and AAA exist. Johnny’s pouring on the “charm” really hard, though. Which would honestly be raising ever single one of my creep alarms, but Val is totally falling for it.
Maxie tells Dillon that their “regular photographer” just quit because everyone thinks Crimson is dying. Do… real fashion magazines only have one photographer? That doesn’t seem right, but what do I know. Anyway, she offers him the position, because why not have a completely unqualified photographer to go with your completely unqualified editor? Kate Howard is rolling in her grave.
Laura has joined Lulu for lunch, and assures her that Dante doesn’t want Valerie to take Lulu’s place. Lulu talks some more about taking the high ground and reacting reasonably. Laura immediately asks what she’s up to. Hah! Lulu claims she’s not thinking about revenge, but admits that she hates Valerie and won’t be able to forgive Dante while she’s still in town.
Dante and Sonny chat about his physical therapy before diving into the actual reason for the visit — the arms dealer who’s been seen around town. Wow, really? Johnny’s wandering around without no worries about being recognized but the PCPD can ID a random arms dealer on sight?
Carly runs into Elizabeth at the hospital and thanks her for showing Jason her true colors. She repeats the same old talking points about how Liz always plays the victim and pretends to be perfect, which is honestly the most tired complaint in the world. God knows Liz isn’t perfect, but she’s never claimed to be. That all her haters seem to zero in on that has always baffled me. BUT I DIGRESS.
Carly also claims that she has never tried to change Jason, which is awfully rich for someone who would sell at least one of her children’s souls to get him to change from the man he is now back into her and Sonny’s personal problem solver. Sorry, I’m digressing again.
Anyway, Liz tries to defend herself by pointing out how happy Sam and Patrick were before Sam ruined everything by, you know, caring that her husband was alive. OH, LIZ. Carly rightly points out that Liz screwed Patrick over by letting him get involved with a married woman. Liz’s denial game remains strong.
Sonny reminds Dante that he doesn’t run guns. Of course not! He just steals and extorts, like a good mobster. Dante knows, but figures if it’s happening in his territory, Sonny knows about it. Sonny lies that he’s completely out of commission for the moment and Dante suggests making that a permanent thing. Sonny repeats his old chestnut that getting out of the business isn’t an option.
Alexis and Julian are worrying about what’s going on with Sam when Olivia comes in. She tracked him down to show him her Christmas shopping for Leo, which includes matching ugly sweaters for father and son.
Johnny’s still pretending to fix Valerie’s car and also playing the sympathetic feminist. Which prompts Valerie to spill her guts about how being taken seriously as a cop means everything to her, and she’s worried the “incident” with Dante might affect how they see her. How convenient!
Julian takes off and Alexis takes the opportunity to have an extremely awkward conversation about boundaries with Olivia. Olivia thinks that Alexis is trying to put her in her place.
Dante fills Sonny in on the separation. Sonny reminds Dante that he and Carly have hurt each other and broken up so many times, but eventually, the cycle of abuse goes around and they forget how miserable they were and give it another go. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically the gist. How… hopeful?
Laura gently reminds Lulu that hating Valerie might be easier that hating Dante, but he is actually the one who broke his vows to her. Lulu says she has plenty of hate to go around! That’s the spirit.
Liz pulls Carly into the art therapy room to avoid making a scene in public, as if that has ever stopped anybody in this hospital before. Carly calls out Liz’s craziness some more until Liz snaps:
ELIZABETH: It doesn’t matter what I was planning, because it didn’t happen. He left me, Carly! He left me, okay? And I that’s exactly what you wanted. Never mind the fact that we also have a child together, and now I have three little boys at home whose hearts are breaking.
CARLY: Okay, don’t! You stop right there. Who set those boys up to invest in Jason, when you knew that he had another family? I’m sorry that your kids are hurting. I think it’s horrible. But Elizabeth, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Which is all absolutely true, and Liz deserves to hear it. But let’s be real: Carly also absolutely wanted Jason to break those kids’ hearts well before she had this convenient excuse to feel self-righteous about it. And if we’re going to talk about setting Jason up to get his heart broken with a kid, who gave him Michael to raise for a year and then ripped him away? WHATEVER, CARLY.
After Carly leaves, Liz starts throwing art supplies in frustration. Franco sits up from where he was apparently lying hidden on the couch this whole time and yells at her for making a mess.
Dillon wants to know why Maxie would want him to stay. She admits that no matter how mad she is, they’ll always be connected because of Georgie, and she doesn’t want to see him move across the country. Dillon hints that he might consider staying because he’s worried about Lulu and Johnny, but before Maxie can drag the details out of him, Julian comes in to complain about circulation numbers.
Nina pulls him into her office to ask point blank why he hired her. To his credit, he admits that he just needed to fill the position to wrap up the last few issues, but barring a miracle, he’ll be shutting the magazine down. Well, that was refreshing! I prefer him being straight with her to stringing her along like mustache twirling villainy.
Alexis attempts to smooth things over with Olivia, saying she just feels bad that Olivia assumed she’d be spending Christmas with them when they haven’t even made any plans yet — except Julian apparently already asked Olivia. Oops.
Elizabeth immediately starts to walk out on Franco, as any sane person would. He demands to know why she’s not going to clean up the mess she made. “Because you kidnapped my newborn baby, attempted to give him to your crazy mother to raise, and have never shown an ounce of remorse, you COMPLETE SOCIOPATH!” she does not answer, to my everlasting rage.
Franco warns her that Carly can keep yelling for days and admits that he heard everything.
ELIZABETH: You want to yell at me too?
FRANCO: No. No! Why? I don’t think what you did is that bad.
ELIZABETH: Oh, god. I’m getting sympathy from you, I’ve hit a new low.
FRANCO: I’m just saying, even if you had told Jason everything, it would not have made him remember everything.
ELIZABETH: The fact that you’re on my side is terribly disturbing.
If after everything, Franco being on her side is enough to bring Liz back to reality, that would be hilarious. He tells her he knows what it’s like to be the town pariah. “YES, WELL THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU KIDNAP PEOPLE’S CHILDREN,” she does not scream in his face.
Johnny magically figures out how to fix the car that he definitely sabotaged in the first place! He tells her she’s going to be a great cop. You know, as long as no one sabotages that too! I’m sure that won’t happen! Later, Dante finds Valerie at the Floating Rib so she can complain about her day and tell him about the “really nice guy” who helped her.
Alexis and Olivia passive aggressively snipe at each other some more and to be honest, I’m already pretty done with it. Where is Diane? I want Alexis/Diane scenes, not this pointless cat fighting.
Nina lies to Maxie and Dillon about Julian’s support for the magazine. Maxie floats the idea of Dillon staying on, and Nina hires him on the spot.
Laura warns Lulu to stop and think before doing something in a moment of anger that she can’t take back. Oh, Laura. Have you ever met anyone in this town before? As she leaves, Johnny calls with an update: he knows what Valerie’s weaknesses are, and he’s ready to exploit them.