“South of Nowhere” Recaps: Episodes 3.1 & 3.2 “The Valley of the Shadows”

Tools R Us — Across town, Glen shuffles out of a sporting goods store after a job interview. He looks disappointed, and Aiden — who has used his power and prestige to hook Glen up with this interview — assumes that Glen is gloomy because he blew the interview.

No, Glen assures him, it was obvious to all that he "rocks" and he got the job. He tells Aiden what’s really bother him: that small matter of enlisting in Army. Glen thinks that getting a job might trump his commitment to the U.S. government.

Aiden’s brilliant assessment? "Whatever, dude." Ugh. These guys are such tools.

Lesbians are like vampires; you have to invite them in — Ash shows up on Spencer’s doorstep and is met by Mother Superior. She has enough sense to ask Paula how she’s doing in the wake of Clay’s death. Paula also plays nice by asking Ashley about her European vacation. No hair-pulling, no lesbian-tossing. Just Paula and Ashley making some small talk.

Paula shrieks at Spencer to come see Ashley, but Spencer doesn’t. She just stands at the top of the stairs and listens to their conversation. Ashley gets the hint that she’s being ignored, and she leaves, embarrassed and deflated. And it kinda serves her right.

Talk to the clipboard — MTV interviews Sean, Clay’s best friend, about the school shooting. Sean is philosophical per the norm, putting the shooting into the larger context of the "erosion of youth culture." Sean is clearly ready for college, and I think he should be a Women’s Studies major.

Shake that thang — Finally, some excitement! Madison is performing a cheer routine in front of the squad, including her frenemy and fellow cheer bitch, Sherry. A lot of people have turned out to see Madison shake it, including that guy who’s stolen my front-row seat.

Whatever meds Madison’s taking haven’t compromised her moves; the girl has still got it. Best of all, she’s dancing in front of a giant banner that reads, "GO COBRAS!" (the King High mascot). But she’s positioned herself in such a way that her body is blocking part of the sign, so it looks like "GO BRAS!" Heh.

Sherry is impressed and invites her back to the team, and Madison basically tells her to take this job and shove it. She ain’t workin’ there no more.

She’s uplifted by the experience, but I’m really disappointed. I just hope she takes up another sport that also involves wearing a miniskirt. Tennis, anyone?

Ashley = kryptonite — In his interview, Aiden tells the MTV intern that he’s never felt better. The high-school shooting was the best thing that ever happened to him!

He’s quit basketball. (I thought he said "Tabasco," as in Tabasco sauce, which confused me because hot peppers have medicinal properties. Seriously, they do!) He’s thinking about college; he looks good; he feels good. As Dianne Wiest says in Bullets Over Broadway, the world will open up for him like a magnificent vagina!

Then Ashley walks by, and Aiden’s puffed-up chest deflates. Almost everything is great.

Kiss or kill — Spencer goes over to Chelsea’s studio for a visit, but instead finds Ashley there waiting for her. Surprise! Spencer looks wary of her, and I can’t blame her.

Ashley launches into another one of her nonapologetic apology speeches.

Ashley: I don’t know what happened between us. I wasn’t there for you — again — and I wanted to be and I felt guilty and I didn’t call because I still didn’t even know what to say. But I do know what to say now. The night of the shooting, when our entire world fell apart, you told me that I needed to choose between you and Aiden. Here I am. I choose you. I need you. Please tell me you need me just a little bit too.

Luckily for all of us, Spencer follows the first rule of writing: Show, don’t tell.

She embraces Ashley, and they kiss.

And kiss.

And kiss. Oh my God, they’re still kissing!

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