Season 1, Episode 10: “Finally”
Original airdate: Dec. 15, 1998
Muskan: With Christmas just around the corner, we have a perfectly timed episode of Felicity. If only Felicity and Noel had such good timing in their relationship.
The passionate bathroom hookup during Thanksgiving and Noel’s subsequent breakup with Hannah seemed to pave the way for Felicity and Noel to finally get together, but life has other plans.
First, Noel receives a call to return home because his Uncle, who suffers from narcolepsy (not necrophilia), has crashed into a chicken truck.
Then, by the time he gets back, midterm exams are only a couple of days away.
For me, during my university days, I only had exams during the summer term.
However, I did have multiple essay deadlines, so the frantic race to complete all the work before the winter break is something I can relate to all too well.
So, before I dive back into the Noel/Felicity storyline, I’d like to discuss the various methods of revision and the structure of this episode, which perfectly captures that end-of-term work panic.
Everyone has a unique approach to studying, and these methods often reveal specific characteristics.
Elena, for example, emphasizes order and precision in her study routine (which even includes the occasional use of M&Ms, a choice I fully endorse).
On the other hand, Ben tends to engage in last-minute cramming sessions, much like Noel, who has misplaced all his notes and is dealing with a highly intense personal life.
Felicity, despite her academic prowess, offers assistance to everyone else, even at the expense of her own work.
There are various communal study spaces, each with its own set of regulations.
The utilization of subtitles in the silent library is particularly clever, especially when Noel enters in the midst of a breakdown.
Personally, I disliked working in the library because I require music while writing, and I prefer comfortable, pajama-like clothing – my very own Olivia Pope loungewear.
In the past, I used to compose all my essays while seated on my bed, surrounded by a chaotic arrangement of notes; I’m the type who thrives in organized chaos.
Additionally, this was during my smoking days, a habit shared by my housemates.
We often used cigarette breaks as a reward system for meeting word count goals.
Sometimes, even when the word count wasn’t achieved, everyone would gather in my room for a cigarette break. What are your preferred study methods?
Somewhat randomly, I had a penchant for having a supply of apples during my essay-writing sessions, perhaps as a counterbalance to all the nicotine and caffeine I was indulging in.
So, Sean might be onto something with his new lucrative scheme.
Additionally, I always made sure to have an abundance of chocolate and crisps on hand because food is absolutely essential when embarking on essay-writing endeavors.
Even now, I continue to use food as a motivator to get work done. Currently, with the time of year, my reward of choice is mince pies.
Before I delve into the kissing scenes (and I have many thoughts on that matter), I’d like to hear your thoughts on the setup of this episode.
Kriti: I found myself bursting into laughter multiple times during this episode, primarily thanks to Noel.
His comedic breakdown involving beet powder and swing music was absolutely perfect. The subtitles were a brilliant addition that enhanced the humor.
Initially, I didn’t even notice them, and then I started to wonder if I had accidentally turned on closed captioning.
The consistency of the subtitles throughout the entire scene in the quiet room, even when the characters weren’t speaking quietly at all, was a great touch.
(I must add that I also loved all the Christmas music in this episode – it’s really getting me into the festive spirit.)
Reflecting on my own college days, I don’t recall spending a ton of time studying at the library.
I may have used it occasionally, but it was never my go-to place for studying; I preferred working on my bed with my note cards and materials.
I can’t distinctly remember the libraries being overly crowded during exam time either, but perhaps my memory isn’t entirely accurate.
And I do recall having designated quiet hours in the dorms, though – that was definitely a real thing.
Flashing back to my college days, I don’t have vivid memories of spending an extensive amount of time studying at the library.
I might have used it occasionally, but it never felt like a comfortable spot for me. I preferred working on my bed with my note cards and study materials.
Regarding the library’s crowdedness during exam time, my recollections are a bit hazy, and I may not have noticed it much.
However, I do distinctly recall having designated quiet hours in the dorms – that was indeed a real practice.
I was reminiscing about this with John, and during our freshman year finals, a group of us in his dorm unit used to go to Blockbuster and rent a Nintendo 64.
We’d set it up in one of the dorm rooms, and whenever anyone had some free time, they’d head down there to play games like Bond or Mario Kart against others who had a few moments to spare.
Looking back, it seems a bit ridiculous – renting such a distracting toy during such a high-pressure time.
Additionally, it’s also amusing that none of us thought,
Hey, renting this is expensive. Maybe we should pool our money and just buy one.
It took until at least sophomore year for us to have that epiphany (that’s when we got into Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Golf).
I never used to get too stressed out about finals. My philosophy was that if I hadn’t learned the material by the time the test came around, cramming a day before the exam wouldn’t make much of a difference.
I must admit that I was a pretty lackluster student in high school. I managed to get decent grades, but I put in almost no effort.
However, things changed when I got to college, and I owe a big shout-out to my friend Grant (I hope you’re reading this, Grant!).
He was incredibly competitive, and we were in the same class (music history), which was graded on a curve.
The person who provided the most correct information on the tests would get the A’s, and so on, down the line.
Grant and I were part of the same study group, and he was always on top of his game, confidently blurting out answers.
I took it upon myself to outperform him on the tests, and I became a study machine, using color-coded note cards and everything.
Regarding the episode, I think several significant developments occurred in this hour. We were introduced to Richard Coad through his dorm room grill session.
Noel and Felicity demonstrated that their one kiss in the bathroom wouldn’t be their last.
Ben and Julie got back together, and Ben and Noel shared a bromantic moment that will have an impact on their relationship in the future.
If Ben and Noel can maintain their friendship, then the writers won’t need to forcibly establish friendships between Ben and other random guys on the show, which benefits everyone.
What do you think about the new revelations?
Muskan: The significant development between Noel and Ben almost made me as excited as the ongoing Noel/Felicity situation, whatever it may be, as they haven’t officially labeled it yet.
Firstly, Ben’s reaction to Noel’s outburst is priceless as he laughs at the sheer absurdity of it.
Not only does Ben offer Noel a snack to calm his manic state, but he also shares what Felicity said about Noel being her best friend.
Noel speculates that this conversation happened just before he burst in yelling because, well, this is a TV show, and that’s how things unfold.
I’m thrilled at the prospect of them becoming buddies. I can understand why Noel is so concerned about Ben’s situation, considering Felicity has spent the last three months talking to Noel about Ben.
I’m just worried that jealousy might tarnish this beautiful budding friendship.
Noel and Felicity have clearly become something more, and they definitely enjoy kissing each other.
However, making out in a private cubicle in the library might not be the best idea, even if you’re studying Great Expectations.
Apparently, Dickens is incredibly sexy. Despite the obstacles they face, this early stage of their relationship is adorable, and their mutual affection is what truly matters.
I can understand why they were both eager to define their relationship, not only because of Noel’s role as an RA (thanks to Richard for not reporting them) but also because they will be on opposite sides of the country for a month.
Noel’s worries about Ben are mostly put to rest with the help of a sandwich and a glass of milk.
I agree that Felicity skipping her exam seems unlikely, but their goodbye is indeed touching, even if Noel is dealing with the loss of his uncle.
The revelation of Julie and Ben’s connection isn’t entirely surprising, given their mutual attraction, Ben’s heartfelt speech to her in a previous episode, and their shared desire to avoid going home.
I’m quite intrigued by these two different pairings at the moment. It will be interesting to see how Felicity reacts when she eventually finds out about it.
As for the various hookups, they add complexity and drama to the relationships on the show.
Noel and Felicity’s budding romance has its charm, while the Julie/Ben dynamic introduces an element of tension and potential conflict.
These romantic entanglements certainly keep things interesting in the series.
Kriti: Dickens certainly has a way of igniting passion in people. They were facing an uphill battle right from the beginning.
I find it endearing how Noel and Felicity are so eager to spend all their time kissing. It’s a quintessential college experience.
When you’re away from home but still dealing with the roommate situation, you have to steal those moments for smooches wherever you can, even if it’s in a crowded library during finals week.
I’d like to touch on the matter of Noel and Richard and the whole RA situation.
I had several friends who were RAs in college, and I don’t recall it being a major issue for an RA to date their residents.
After consulting with my RA friends, they mentioned that while dating might not have been encouraged, it wasn’t necessarily against the rules.
They’re typically peers in terms of age, and Noel isn’t Felicity’s teacher or someone with significant authority over her.
It seems a bit odd that Richard would be so well-versed in the RA handbook and its regulations, especially considering his willingness to grill indoors.
The idea of going home during the break does bring back memories, and I can understand why it might be nerve-wracking.
I, too, went home a couple of times during my freshman year, only to experience a breakup upon returning (ironically, with the person I eventually married).
It’s reassuring, though, that Felicity and Noel will both be in different locations, making it somewhat easier to navigate their relationship without the immediate presence of Ben as a potential obstacle.
It’s interesting to see Julie and Ben together, and their dynamic does have its appeal.
I don’t recall Felicity’s reaction to discovering their relationship either, but it’s one of those intriguing developments in the show.
Mixing and matching characters in new pairings can indeed inject fresh energy into a series.
It’s a strategy employed by many successful shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “Community,” allowing for different character interactions and dynamics to emerge.
As for which characters I’d like to see share more screen time with Felicity, I think it could be fascinating to explore interactions between Felicity and Meghan in more depth.
Meghan’s snarky and unconventional personality could create interesting contrasts and conflicts with Felicity’s more earnest and traditional approach to life.
Additionally, delving into Noel and Ben’s friendship further could be entertaining, as their bromance has the potential for humorous and heartfelt moments.
Muskan: My favorite aspect of the Richard storyline is the mention of ‘the Clinton defense,’ which feels very fitting for the late ’90s era when these references were relevant.
The actor who plays Richard seems familiar to me, but I haven’t looked up his IMDb profile yet.
It’s been bothering me, so I should probably do that. Grilling in your room is undeniably a foolish idea, but sometimes you just crave a burger.
On my campus, there was a burger van outside the drinking venue, and even though we jokingly called it the ‘van of death,’ it served incredible burgers (especially after a night of drinking, although I’m not so sure about before).
Another unmistakably ’90s element in this episode is the whole concept of checking messages, which is something I never had the opportunity to experience because cell phones largely replaced it.
For some reason, that Friends episode where Rachel drunkenly declares her love for Ross always comes to mind when thinking about checking messages like this.
Having a variety of different character pairings is definitely refreshing, especially as certain relationships have become more established.
It’s a testament to the show’s ability to keep things interesting and avoid getting stagnant.
The scenes between Noel and Meghan highlight how a seemingly random pairing can work, with Noel’s earnestness contrasting with Meghan’s carefree and nonchalant attitude, except perhaps when it comes to her box.
One element missing in this episode is Javier, and while we had a significant group scene at the end of Thanksgiving, it would be great to see an episode where the entire group is together again, perhaps due to a snowstorm or a power outage.
Additionally, the callback to the pilot with Ben’s desire to see the city covered in snow was a nice touch.
There’s one element that continues to bother me, and that’s the “Dear Sally” opening combined with her response at the end.
While it works structurally for storytelling purposes, Sally’s closing remarks feel somewhat clichéd and uninspired.
It makes me wonder if we’ll ever get to meet Sally in the show.
Kriti: Richard is played by Robert Benedict, a familiar face who has appeared in numerous roles.
I remember him from a memorable two-episode arc on Alias. He becomes a regular character in Felicity, so be prepared to see more of him.
I completely understand the desire for a burger, especially when cafeteria burgers just don’t cut it.
Your mention of the “van of death” is amusing. I can’t think of any questionable food experiences from my college days, but my friends in Chicago during our early-to-mid 20s used to buy Thai food from the back of a cab. It probably wasn’t the best idea.
I went to college just before cell phones became widespread, so checking messages was a common practice.
We also used whiteboards on our doors to leave notes for each other. I wonder if people still do that?
It’s incredible to think about how we managed to find each other and coordinate plans without the convenience of immediate communication.
It must have involved some miraculous timing.
It’s understandable that the “Dear Sally” element may have lost its novelty as the show progressed.
It could be refreshing to see Felicity confide in her real-life friends or have some other means of sharing her thoughts and experiences. Character evolution in TV shows is indeed fascinating.
It’s often a mix of planned character arcs and organic development based on the chemistry between the cast and the audience’s response.
It would be intriguing to know how much was preplanned and what evolved naturally.
I don’t have anything else to add at the moment, but I’m looking forward to discussing “Gimme an O!” next time. The title certainly piques my curiosity!
Muskan: Alias! That’s where I know him from!
The evolution of technology, especially with phones and social media, has indeed transformed the college experience.
Avoiding the pitfalls of drunk social media declarations and embarrassing photos is probably something many are thankful for.
Having whiteboards on dorm doors sounds like it would have been a fun and creative way to interact with fellow students.
Character evolution in TV series can be remarkable, turning a minor character into a crucial part of the show’s dynamic, much like what happened with Ben on “Lost.”
The intriguing title of the next episode is definitely tempting for viewers to want to watch it!
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