Once upon a mattress — Papi has found her way into Alice’s bedroom — no, not like that. She says she just wanted to stop by and make sure they weren’t going blind from too much sex. Does Papi have a key? How did she get in? I get that the buzzer may have let her into the building, but I think there’s also an inner door to contend with. Anyway, Papi clearly feels very much at home: She doffs her shoes and tumbles into bed with the other three.
Alice just ignores her and continues to grill Helena about her arrangement with Catherine. Helena assures her that she’s not an idiot, and they just have a business arrangement.
Alice: OK. I just think you should think about it for a second.
Papi: Yeah, but it’s not about thinking, man, you know? That’s just what happens when you’re sprung.
Helena: I’m not sprung!
Papi: You are, a little bit.
Helena: I don’t even know what that means!
Papi: You know, that’s what happens when your heart just does what it wants to. When you’re whipped.
And at that, Tasha guffaws. I’m finding that I lean forward and sit up straighter every time she makes a peep.
Tasha: She’s into somebody.
Papi: Man, I’m always into somebody. It’s not even like that.
Alice: [to Tasha] How do you know?
Tasha: She’s got the look.
Papi: Shut the f— up, man. There’s no look.
Tasha: See, now, every once in a blue moon — y’all don’t know this about her, but — she falls for somebody. And she gets that look. Look at her. Look, all sweet and confused.
I’ll give you "confused." I’m not there with "sweet" yet.
Alice wants to know who the girl is, but Papi’s not talkin’. She says there might be somebody, but "it’s not even like that," and this woman makes her want to "change [her] ways and s—."
The doorbell rings again.
Alice: Oh, my God. What the frickin’ frak?
Alice winds herself up in the sheet and goes to answer the door. Meanwhile, Tasha tells Papi and Helena they’re both sprung. I like the happy, carefree vibe of this little slumber party, even if it does seem like it’s sort of out of nowhere. The group scenes should feel a little more organic than this. Step one: No revolving Twilight Zone doors through which tennis players die and Latinas are played by Indians. Still, the laughter is nice.
The door opens on a very disconcerted face: It’s Leonard, Phyllis’ husband. He says, "Hi, Alice." Alice just blinks.
Shane’s place — Gabe is stomping around like he owns the place. He picks up a book.
Gabe: [brandishing the book] You got roommates?
What? The presence of a book means Shane has roommates? Oh, my God, does this mean what I think it means? Shane can’t read!
Gabe wants to know where his son is. Shane says he’s next door. Gabe peers out the window and sees Paige.
Gabe: Who’s that?
Shane: She’s a friend of mine.
Gabe: You are a McCutcheon for sure.
Shane: What the hell’s that supposed to mean?
Gabe: Well, we’re survivors, you and me. When we fall off the wagon, we fall really hard. But we bounce back. And we always find a pretty girl to help put our s— back together.
Shane isn’t exactly fond of this comparison.
Shane: I’m nothin’ like you. And how dare you come into my house, and you sit there, and you build yourself up, because you’re a pathetic f—.
Gabe: I didn’t come here to argue with you, Shane.
Shane: Then why did you come here?
Gabe: I’m going back to Oregon this afternoon, and I’m taking my son home with me.
Shane: No. You can’t do that.
Sigh. This seems so doomed. They go back and forth a little about who’s more likely to win a custody battle, but we know the law is not really the issue here: It’s all about the story, and Shane’s story is pain. (Or, as the womping wits at TWoP have pointed out, Paine.)
Gabe reminds Shane that Shay could end up in foster care if the courts decide that neither Gabe nor Shane is fit to care for him. Shane takes it all out on the refrigerator. She bangs the freezer door as if its icy contents have frozen her soul. Er, something like that.
Maybe she’s just reacting to the psychobabbly refrigerator magnets: They say things like "fair," "mad," "equal," "share" and "friend." I think some swear word magnets would be more useful right about now. Or magnets that could be fashioned into a stake for Gabe’s vampiric heart.
Paige shows up and comes to Shane’s defense, but it’s pretty hollow; Gabe just shoots her down. Eric Roberts is so skeezy in this role. Gone are the last vestiges of my heterosexuality.