Hidden Palms

Season 1 Episode 3

Party Hardy

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jun 13, 2007 on The CW

Episode Recap

After Dead Eddie's online reveal last week, Johnny turns to faux-Google to learn more about his buddy from beyond the grave. Elsewhere, Greta tearfully watches old home videos of her and Eddie, wherein Eddie all but scrawled "I'm going to shot myself in the head" on the walls for as subtly disturbed as he's acting. Nikki's been staying at Johnny's house ever since her relapse, which is putting a cramp in Mom and Bob's kitchen makeouts. Johnny presses her to call her Dad, but she makes him out to be this monstrous figure she can't talk to. Johnny tries to twelve-step her into it, but she changes the subject to Dead Eddie. She thinks Cliff is behind it all, and she spells it out to Johnny that Cliff is into Greta and is using the dread specter of Dead Eddie to drive her and Johnny apart. Nikki's about half right; she doesn't know that Cliff is a puppy-kicking psycho with a whole host of unexplored psychosexual hangups that will no doubt come to bear on this mystery. Johnny's all naïve about Cliff's intentions, but Nikki's got him pegged: as she flirts with Cliff from the bedroom window, she calls him "crafty, dark, mysterious, and kind of hot." She warns Johnny that not everyone is dealing with their demons -- "some of us are the demons." Oh man, if Cliff and Nikki ever become the Mickey and Mallory of Palm Springs, I might actually mourn this show when it gets cancelled in three weeks.
Cliff, meanwhile, is stewing because Tess is letting her gold-digging boyfriend Travis move in. Johnny takes Nikki to the Club, where he complains about the sun, again, and runs into Cliff. Cliff makes with more of the usual "I'd be careful about Greta" business, but Johnny's caught wise, or at least someone else has caught wise and clocked Johnny upside the head to make him realize what's going on, so he's defensive. Cliff assures him that Greta was "all Eddie's," but when he then expresses and interest in Nikki, Johnny shoots him down, saying Nikki's had too rough a go of it lately. Cliff looks all alone without a cocker spaniel to punt. Johnny runs into Greta at the snack bar and they smile at each other for a while and then begin to kiss awkwardly. Lucky for us, this leaves Nikki alone and defenseless against Cliff's sociopathic charms. I hope they kill a whole mess of people on their hellish journey across the country.
Back with Johnny and Greta, he tells her about getting IMs from Dead Eddie. She gets all adamant, assuring Johnny that it's not Eddie. Well, no kidding, considering the dead can't type and all, but thanks for acting all squirrelly about it, Greta. It also should be noted that it seems Greta has lost about forty pounds between last week's episode and this. She's celebrating her newfound eating disorder pilates success by showing us her entire torso. Anyway, Greta agrees with Nikki's assertion that Cliff is behind the prank, since it's exactly something he'd do. His and Eddie's friendship, she says, was one practical joke after another. I can't decide whether (a) it's now become too obvious that Eddie's "death" was just a prank he and Cliff cooked up, and thus that can't be the answer to the mystery, or (b) this show is really just that bad and is telegraphing its mystery's ending really blatantly.
So then Greta blows Johnny off so she can find Cliff and bawl him out for the cyberstalking. She and Cliff make vague allusions to Eddie's death while the paranoid music of "Greta and Cliff make vague allusions to Eddie's death" ratchets up in the background, as usual. Greta warns Cliff to knock it off or else she'll tell what she knows to the cops and "let the chips fall where they may." Cliff counters with a threat, asking her what she thinks Johnny will think of her once he knows what she really is. She hauls off and slaps him, Michael Cassidy selling it like he's auditioning for the lead on The Bold and the Beautiful.
Johnny's Mom -- who I suppose we'll have to start calling "Karen" now that Tess has addressed her properly -- gets tucked further under Tess's wing, meeting her at the Club for tennis and, later, dancing.
Nikki continues to scheme to score a non-familial ride out of town, despite lying to Johnny that her dad's picking her up first thing in the morning. She and Cliff flirt some more, and she tells him she's a 12-stepper. Cliff sharply connects that particular dot to Johnny and continues to lament the fact that Nikki won't be up for any drunken revelry tonight.
And now, it's time for this week's Awkward and Forced Liza/Johnny Interactio. This time around, it's the truly embarrassing and clichéd, "Hey, can you rub this sun-block on my back?" gambit. He asks her about Eddie, but she says they ran in different circles, her circle being one of her own isolation and loneliness. Johnny's all, "I don't believe in circles," which I totally want on a t-shirt or something. The back could say "...And I don't much trust a rhombus."
At the poolside bar, Cliff buys Nikki a virgin daiquiri before noticing Travis scamming on some young blonde with tales of how he used to play for the NFL. And since Travis has the balls to transition from this to asking Cliff to remind the bartender that it's cool for him to charge drinks to Tess's tab, I don't feel the least bit bad for him when Cliff loudly and enthusiastically regales the bar with the tale of how Travis got cut by the Dolphins in training camp and never played an NFL game. "You really should Google yourself sometime," Cliff beams. I do love that sociopath. Greta, from afar, gives Cliff and Nikki the stinkeye and then moodily tells Johnny she's taking off. They talk about something or another -- it's Johnny and Greta so I'm sure it wasn't interesting, and I was too busy wondering just how low they plan to let Taylor Handley's shorts hang on his hips while on broadcast television.
Johnny and Nikki decide to spend her last night in Palm Springs at home, and she fucks with the IM stalker a bit, just for fun. They get to talking about Dumb Moody Greta, and Nikki convinces Johnny to go out and find her and talk this weirdness out. Johnny takes off just in time for Nikki's obnoxious friends to show up, unannounced, and throw a bitchin' house party. Johnny tracks Greta down at her house and asks her to tell him about the deal with her and Cliff and Eddie. She's all tortured but ultimately clams up, so Johnny stalks off, and the general sense of nobody caring is palpable.
Nikki and her drunk hoochie friends goofily seduce Cliff from the bedroom window, which gets him to hop on over to the house party. He acts all flirty and Cliff-like until Nikki pops a quick peck on his lips, at which point he kind of tenses up and looks weirded out. I'll file that one away. At some point, the party goes from being Nikki's L.A. friends only to a Palm Springs-wide raging kegger. Even Liza gets invited. Nikki ends up getting maudlin out on the patio -- like, if Cliff wanted maudlin he'd be with Greta, okay? Speaking of which, Little Miss No-fun-shine is back to weeping over her home videos, this one clearly indicating that Soon-To-Be-Dead Eddie was being tormented by a Terrible Secret.
Johnny finally comes home to find Cliff doing body shots off of Nikki. She runs off, so its time for the boys to throw down. Cliff's firmly behind the idea that Johnny lighten up, while Johnny would appreciate it if Cliff would stop acting like a creep, freaking out his girlfriend, and sending him emails from a dead guy. Cliff adamantly denies sending the emails, washes his hands of Greta's brand of crazy, and advises Johnny to "have a drink." Which earns him a roundhouse punch to the jaw. Cassidy, again, sells it like a champ. The ensuing brawl is witnessed by a returning-home Karen and Bob, and Johnny's mom looks just so disappointed in him.
Aftermath: Bob has some tough love for Johnny, warning him that Nikki will drag him down long before he's able to get her sober. Nikki, naturally, overhears this and takes off. Cliff returns home and gets menaced by Travis, and for the first time ever Cliff looks vulnerable. And Greta stops by Johnny's house long enough to tell him, once again, that she can't talk about certain things. A pop music montage threatens to end the episode with a tour of each and every depressed character on this show, but we're saved by creepy instant messaging! And Johnny can see Cliff asleep in his room, so he knows "08Nova" isn't him. Johnny asks "Eddie" why he killed himself, and "Eddie" replies that he didn't -- he was murdered. Johnny densely returns to his old standby of "WHO IS THIS?" as we cut to the other end of this conversation -- it's Liza! Hey, why not?