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Out in the Cold
January 10th 2000
by Papa C

episode photos

Ally and Lewis

Ally encounters a homeless man who senses things about her that a stranger wouldn't know: how she feels about her parents, her job, etc. She is intrigued, and eventually offers to buy him coffee instead of giving him money. He continues to offer insights into her personality, and tells her he can relate to her because he's similar. He says he was once haunted by the Pips (as in "Gladys Knight and the"). She tells him about her haunting by Al Green. She concludes that it makes them special.

Back at the office, she steps into the elevator and realizes that the well-dressed man beside her is Lewis. She brings him into her office to get an explanation from him. He tells her he works for an insurance company, and is living as a homeless person because he became intrigued by their situation while conducting a research study into the cost of insuring the homeless. He apologizes for deceiving her, but he said they hadn't been likely to see one another again anyway. She asks if they can have another cup of coffee.

She begins to date him, and finds him charming and attractive. They go on three dates, and he is a perfect gentleman. She tells Elaine she keeps waiting to find out what's going to be wrong with him - married, a former girl, etc. He finally fails to keep a date, and she thinks he's finally revealing himself to be a jerk, but he has a legitimate explanation: he was almost killed by a car driver who seemed to be aiming right at him, and had to file police reports. They continue dating, and she's happy but wary.

The pressing question (his big flaw) is revealed when she goes to his office and asks for him. The secretary tells her he no longer works there, and when Ally inquires further, the boss comes out to explain that he has a paranoid personality disorder and hasn't worked there for six months; he now lives on the streets.

She goes back to her office in a daze, and finds him waiting there. She confronts him about what she's discovered, and he admits it's true, but that medication takes care of it. He had stopped the medication before, because it made him feel lethargic and desensitized, but started taking it again when he met her because she was worth re-entering society for. He had followed her to her office that day in the elevator, and when she asks he admits he had stolen the clothes. He asks if they have a chance, and she tells him it won't work. He insists he can be okay, but she again tells him no.

Ling and the Lawsuit

Ling is arrested because three of her female employees from her escort service have admitted to having sexual relations with underage boys. Richard, John and Nelle are put on the case. The particular girl involved in the case admits to having intercourse with a somewhat style-challenged teenage boy, but says she did it because she liked him and found him sweet, not because it was part of the fee he paid for her being his date to school dances. The prosecution maintains that she would not willingly have relations with him for free (embarrassing the boy) and that she charged him for the next date, and Ling maintains that sexual relations with clients is against her company's policy. Her company provides escorts to people as young as sixteen because showing up with a beautiful girl makes everyone else think more of him, and all the girls will want him because at that age, girls don't want what they like but what everyone else likes.

While discussing the defense strategy with Renee, she spills the beans that John once was caught hiring a prostitute. Nelle is furious, and she and John argue and insult one another throughout the case. He finally calmly asks her to explain why she's so angry, since she herself has said she advocates legalization of prostitution. He gives the same defense he gave in the first season about it being more honest and straightforward, and therefore less disrespectful, than picking someone up in the bar wanting one thing from her, though he adds that it was wrong and he regrets it. She is annoyed at his attempt to admit he's wrong while continuing to defend what he did, but she admits she's hurt more than angry. She wants the father of her children and her future husband to be the sort of man who hasn't made this illegal mistake, which the children might discover. She says it's too early to tell if they will indeed get married, but whomever he marries will have the same concerns and will be hurt and disappointed to learn of his past, even though it is in the past.

In the final arguments of the case, John maintains that while what happened was stupid, and it is something that the parties involved will undoubtedly regret as it will hurt their loved ones, nothing illegal happened. He wins the case. As they leave, John tells Nelle she was right, and they leave together.


Billy decides to impress an advertising CEO and arranges to meet at the office. He hires 6 of Ling's escorts, who arrive dressed in black shiny minidresses (recalling to mind the backup gals on the video of the song "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer). Appropriate background music plays every time they walk along with him, swiveling their hips. Billy carries a cigar, and I cannot begin to adequately describe his attire. He tells the CEO that his legal firm is behind the time, and that the man needs legal representation from someone with an image, like himself. He says that the women stir up the testosterone he needs to be a big jackass, and the more of a jackass he becomes, the sharper his legal skills become. He proclaims he is the biggest jackass the man will find! (I won't argue with that.) It apparently works, for he is hired.

At the end, Nelle and John walk along together, and Ally shuffles home, passing Lewis and some other homeless men warming themselves by a trash can fire.

Note: previews for next week look like a must see: Georgia files for divorce
(and has a cute new hairdo), and Ally dreams about John, making her wonder
if maybe he really is the one for her, and he ponders the thought himself.

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