THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET
INT. CEDARS (ER/HALLWAY)
Alex lies motionless hooked up to the machines as her family crowds around outside her room waiting patiently. Suddenly, Rick makes his way down the hall and Phillip spots him and rushes over to him. The rest of the family follows suit, crowding behind Phillip with worried looks on their faces.
Alan: Give it to us straight, Bauer!
Lizzie: Shut up, Granddad.
Phillip: Any news?
Rick: Yes. Alex will be just fine.
Beth: Thank God.
Rick: She just had a slight heart attack. Luckily, Alan found her before it got worse. But I am curious as to what caused Alex to have a heart attack.
Beth: Ask, Alan.
Everyone looks at Alan, demanding answers.
Alan: I am just as clueless as you are.
Phillip: You better hope that Alan Michael finds out what that phone call was about, and it better not be tied to you.
Alan: I had nothing to with Alex having a heart attack! If she didn’t lie in bed eating all the damn time, watching Turner Classic Movies, she wouldn’t be in the mess she is in!
India and Dorrie come charging down the corridor towards the family. Phillip groans.
Rafe: What are you two doing here?
India: Alexandra! Where is my stepmother?! Is she alright?!
On India, panicking,
Picking up where we left off. . .
India: Is she alright?!
Beth: Like you care.
India: I actually do, Beth. She is my stepmother.
Alan: (to India) She is fine, sweetheart.
Phillip: Sweetheart? (pointing at Alan & India) What’s going on here?
India: What are you talking about? Just because he called me sweetheart doesn’t mean we are sleeping together, Phillip.
Beth: I bet that is a lie.
India: Oh . . . you’d know seeing as sleeping through the Spaulding clan is up your alley, Beth. I’ve always wondered when Alan Michael was going to have his turn. . .
Beth goes to swipe at India, but Phillip and Rick hold her back.
India: My, my. . . I must’ve struck a nerve.
Lizzie: Why don’t you just leave, India! You’re not even family.
Dorrie: And there goes the Princess. Always trying to dictate. . . At first, I didn’t believe it but now I do. No wonder all the men you’ve loved found solace elsewhere. Coop, Jonathan . . .—I wonder when Bill will get the hint and exit stage left?
James: Hey, Dad, there’s Alan Michael.
Alan Michael joins the crowd.
Phillip: Did you find out anything?
A-M: Yep. For once, Dad had nothing to do with the situation.
India: (resting her head on Alan’s chest) What a relief. . .
Alan: (to India) What’s that supposed to mean?
James: Then what caused Aunt Alex to pass out?
Rick: Fletcher? Fletcher Reade?
A-M: He called Alex from Paris.
India: And that nearly killed her? A man calling her?
Alan: Trust me, India, if you were in her shoes, you’d have a heart attack if a man called you too.
Alan and India share a sly grin.
Lizzie: That’s not funny!
A-M: Fletcher said that there was an accident involving Nick.
Phillip: Is he alright?
A-M: No. His plane went down into the ocean. They haven’t recovered his body.
Beth: Poor Alex!
A-M: Sad thing is that they think that this has something to do with Uncle Mike too.
A-M: Fletcher told me that Mike and Nick were working on a case together involving dirty politicians. Supposedly, they were doing business with a huge cartel throughout Europe. Mike got Nick to do some investigating and things went left. FBI is assuming that both incidents are tied together.
Lizzie: What about Susan?
A-M: (clearing his throat, emotional) She’s dead.
This revelation just stuns everyone. There is a moment of silence as they all reflect on what is going on.
Alan: Was the boy on the plane—Little Nicky?
A-M: Umm . . . no. I called the boarding school in Switzerland and he is still there.
Alan: Then we should go and get him.
Phillip: For what, Dad?
Alan: He should be near family!
Phillip: I seriously doubt that he wants to be surrounded by of bunch of strangers.
Alan: We’re not strangers. We’re family. . .
James: That he’s never known. Only person he knows is Aunt Alex and she is in no condition to go and get him.
Alan: Not true! He knows Alan Michael!
A-M: He does.
Alan: Then you should go and get him. Bring him back to Springfield so he can be near his family.
Lizzie: Grandpa, this isn’t the time for you to start staking claim on what is yours! This boy has lost another set of parents . . . again.
Beth walks over to the door and peeks on Alex, resting peacefully
Beth: (misty eyed, to self) So has Alex. First Lujack and now Nick.
Beth gently places on her hand on the window as tears stream down her eyes and
INT. BEACON HOTEL (LOBBY)
Marah and Cassie stand at the counter looking at fabrics as Olivia steps off the elevator and walks over to them.
Olivia: (re: fabric) That’s cute. I like it.
Marah and Cassie look at each other then back at Olivia, bewildered.
Marah: Y-You like it?
Olivia: Isn’t that what I said?
Cassie: You do realize that Marah picked it out don’t you.
Olivia: Of course.
Cassie: (not convinced, hand on hip) What are you up to, Olivia?
Olivia: (feigning confusion) What do you mean?
Cassie: I said that Marah—
Olivia: I heard you. She picked out that fabric for the suites. I said I like it. I am allowed to like it, am I?
Olivia starts to walk off, then
Olivia: (turning around) Marah. . .
Marah looks up at Olivia, uneasy.
Olivia: (musters up tears) I apologize for my actions. I realized that Sam would be upset if I treated you this way and I should realize that what happened in Switzerland was an accident. I hope you accept my apology.
Marah nods with a smile, accepting her apology.
Olivia: Welcome aboard.
Marah: Thank you.
Olivia nods back before turning away and walking off with a devilish grin on her face. She has Marah right where she wants her. . .
(ANNOUNCER: THE ROLE OF KEVIN MARLER WILL NOW BE PLAYED BY CHANDLER MASSEY)
Jason and Kevin occupy a booth. Jason gobbles down his meal as if it is his last as Kevin watches on amused. Jason looks up, realizing his brother watching him.
Jason: Something on my face?
Jason: (putting down his fork) Then what is it, twin?
Kevin: Just the fact that you are eating like you haven’t eaten in months.
Jason: I have but you know how the food is in Europe.
Kevin: True. Nothing compares to a home cooked meal or a meal from Company.
Jason: You can say that again.
Rocky, waiting on the twins, comes from back and to their table.
Rocky: You guys need anything else?
Kevin: I think we’re good.
Kevin looks at Jason to make sure, and Jason gives him the thumbs up as continues to devour his meal.
Rocky: (sliding into the booth) How weird is it that we’re all back home—back in Springfield.
Jason: (wiping his mouth) Makes no difference to me whether I am there or here, I still have to deal with the fact that Rick Bauer and good ole’ cousin, Phillip is walking around free after killing our—
Kevin: Jason, I don’t wanna hear it.
Jason: It’s true. Anything that happens to those two if fine with—
The intro music to WSPR plays.
Kevin: Mom and Dinah are on!
INSERT – TV
On the TV at the news desk (like a roundtable) sits Dinah, Reginald, and Blake.
Kevin, Rocky, and Jason get up and crowd around the TV with everyone else watching on.
Blake: Hello, I’m Blake Marler.
Reginald: I’m Reginald Wilson.
Dinah: And I am Dinah Marler. Welcome to the new WSPR evening news!
Holly stands behind the cameraman, grinning at her new creation. She gives the gang a “thumbs up.”
Blake: Today’s news, Bay City’s printing heiress, Amanda Cory, has been allegedly kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend, Evan Frame. Word is that he has also kidnapped his aunt, Sharlene Frame as well.
Dinah: (interjecting) This isn’t the first interaction between the Frames and Corys as Evan’s mother, Janice Frame, was once married to Mac Cory, father of Amanda Cory.
Blake: (mumbling) That was my line.
Dinah: (ignoring her) Janice Frame was eventually murdered by Rachel Cory, wife of Mac and mother of Amanda Cory, after—
Blake: JANICE FRAME’S (eyeing Dinah) plan to murder Mac Cory was discovered by Rachel Cory.
Reginald’s eyes widen at the sight of these two passively going at each other. Holly watches on for a second then buries her face in her hand, embarrassed.
Dinah: Listen here, Blake. . .
Blake: What, Dinah?
Holly (watching on) Dear God. . .
Reginald: (saving it) WE ARE going to (hesitantly laughing) turn it over to our sister affiliate KBAY and reporter, Ashanti Billingslea. Take it away. Please. . .
Holly storms onto the set.
Holly: You do realize that we are live?!
Blake: She started it.
Dinah: I told you that she wasn’t right for the job, Holly.
Blake: Oh please. We were only a few minutes into the show and I was already carrying you two.
Reginald: (taken back) You did what? Hold on, Red, no one has to carry Reginald Wilson. Let me get that straight right now. Any monkey can read from a teleprompter.
Blake: Are you calling me a monkey?!
Holly: (starting to lose it) Guys. . .
Director (OS): We’re back on in a minute.
Dinah: If the banana fits. And we know that you’ve had MANY bananas in your mouth, and in your—
Blake: Oh really? This coming from Lizzie Borden!
Director (OS): Thirty seconds. . .
Holly throws her hands up in defeat and storms off the set.
Dinah: You always like to bring up the fact that I accidentally killed Hart. That was years ago!
Reginald: (loosening his ties, uncomfortable) You—You killed someone?
Blake: Sure did. MY BROTHER!
Director: Twenty seconds!
Dinah: This coming from the same chick that was off her rocker not too long ago. Does the Springfield Blogger ring a bell?!
Blake: But did I kill anyone?
Dinah: No but I bet you wish you could me.
Blake: Don’t tempt me.
Director: Ten seconds!
Reginald: I think I’m gonna be sick.
Dinah: Honey, it doesn’t take too much to tempt you. Reginald, do you know that my father was with her mother before she seduced him? I never knew what my father saw in this wh*re. . .
Dinah: (continuing) I mean all the Spaulding rode her hard and put her out to pasture. I guess she had to start working on poor Phillip’s biological family seeing as she went through the adoptive family.
Director: 5. . .4. . .3. . .2. . .1!
Dinah, Blake, and Reginald smile at the camera like nothing ever happened and all is well.
Reginald: Welcome back to WSPR!
Holly faints in the background.
Pick up on Kevin, Jason, and Rocky still watching TV. Kevin and Jason glance at each other.
Kevin: (joking) Looks like everything is going well there for now.
Jason: How long do give them?
Kevin: Two weeks.
Jason: I say a week tops.
Daisy comes down the stairs, put on her apron and walks over the gang. She’s a bit upset.
Rocky: Hey, what’s wrong?
Daisy: James just called me. His aunt is in the hospital.
Daisy: Yeah. I wanna take off but I have to work this shift now. I feel like horrible girlfriend.
Daisy storms off into the kitchen and Rocky chases after her. Kevin looks over at Jason, who shrugs his shoulder.
Jason: Guess God answered my prayers quicker than usual.
Kevin and Jason slide back in the booth.
Kevin: Don’t say that. Alexandra happens to be a nice woman and was very close to Dad.
Jason: I know. However, she was also the woman that led the witch hunt against Grandpa Roger. She was also the same woman that treated Mom like dirt beneath her feet and tried to get rid of her when she married to that scum, Phillip.
Kevin: That was before our time, and neither Mom nor Grandpa was a saint.
Jason: Who is?
Kevin: So you think it’s OK that this poor woman had a heart attack?
Jason: Did I say that?
Kevin: No but your mood says otherwise.
Jason: Guess what? You’re wrong.
Kevin: I don’t think I am. Especially since this affects Phillip.
Kevin: I’m warning you now, if you came back to town on a crusade to take down Rick and Phillip—
Jason: Why are you so protective of those two?
Kevin: Because Phillip is our cousin and Rick was a friend of Dad.
Jason: Oh no. It’s deeper than that.
Kevin: It really isn’t.
Jason: It is.
Kevin: Like I said before, if you came back here to go on a crusade to ruin Phillip and Rick then you better pack up and head back to Europe.
Jason: Nice try, twin. I’m not leaving that easily and Rick and Phillip aren’t getting off that easily either. . .
On Jason, with a look of determination and vengeance