Well in this episode Joan's history teacher talks about St. Joan. He explains that she was crazy and thought she could talk to God. Joa begins to wonder if she is crazy. She talks to God and God tells her to get and A on the test. Joan studies for it and gets an A+. The principal wants her to take the test and she takes a stand because she knew she didn't cheat. Grace starts a rally and everyone in it would get suspended if Joan took the test. So she decides to take the test because God told her to. She gets an A+ again and the history teacher talks to her. The history teacher explains that he was supposed to retire that year, but when he was able to let Joan get interested in the topic, he felt like he fulfilled his dream. Adam is mad at Joan and a lot of people are also mad at Joan for taking the test. Their family goes to counciling and they have money problems since Will is going to lose his job. At the end Kevin breaks a fit in the family therapy session. He explains that the accident was all his fault. I loved Joan's part in this episode... it was excellent!
In this episode, our teen hero finds herself face-to-face with the realization that she is a modern day Jeanne d'Arc (or as we call her, Joan of Arc). Joan of Arc, a 13-year-old teenager no less, was told by God to get together an army to help the French win the 100 Years' War with England. According to her teacher Mr. Dreisbach, the teen savior was a 'paranoid schizophrenic with a messianic complex,' a fact that intrigues Joan to speculate further upon whether she truly is that similar to the fifteenth century girl in that they're both crazy and what made God choose them. My only question is, in the first episode we know that Joan opened up a book and saw Joan of Arc's picture staring back her. Scared, Joan closed the book and hurried away, but at the time, Joan knew nothing of the paranoid schizophrenic so why not stop and read about her instead of run away? What really scared her anyway?
Cut to Joan making a bit of a scene at dinner. She's reading a book about St. Joan while eating, provoking Helen to tell her to put the book away. Joan says she's studying, which brings on the subject of Saints. "What about St. Joan?" questions Joan, "She won a whole war." Kevin points out that when people usually get burned at stake, they may have brought it on themselves to which Joan yells, "Joan of Arc wasn't crazy!" Her family looks at her like she's crazy, (another snab at the whole ‘crazy' issue, how many more will we have to take until they come right out and say it?) prompting Helen to suggest a family therapist.
Meanwhile, Will is having his own problems when he finds a crack house he decides to bust down. This outrages a certain group of Drug Enforcement agents because they insist that they've been working undercover there for two years and spent over thousands of dollars, and suddenly the new police chief comes along and destroys what they've built up in those couple years. He defends himself, and doesn't do half bad either, but it only outrages a business associate enough to tell him to "enjoy your next six months as a lame duck incompetent chief." Oooh, was that a threat?
However, the situation is worse than we think because Will and Helen are having financial troubles, what with having to make renovations to the house for Kevin's wheelchair assist. The small facts sank into place long ago, but it isn't until this episode that Will begins to look at them: he finds out that he wasn't hired to clean up the mess of crime that is Arcadia, merely to stand in and make the police look like something worth listening to. Will hates his job, and he's got every right to. I mean, who wants to actually help out and work somewhere you like only to be told that the only reason you're involved is to look pretty for others and stand up straight? Not me.
Joan, who happens to have a small grudge against Dreisbach for being so boring, is encountered by God and told that he gave up a scholarship to Julliard to teach his first passion, history. She may have been considering giving him a chance up until he and the VP Mr. Price accuse her of cheating on the history test, on which she received (surprise!) an A+. This is apparently unheard of, because Joan is a C-average student, and Dreisbach's best student missed three questions. They want her to retake the test, which she refuses because that would be admitting she was wrong. Since when have schools started doing this, anyway? Evidently, it's impossible to say, "Hey Joan! Congratulations on passing the test, I can tell you're doing a lot better!" instead of "We don't care a cent of your opinions or morals, but since you passed, we need you to retake the test." She tells her mom they want her to retake the test for cheating, and then turns around and tells Mom, Price, and Dreisbach that "sometimes you've got to take a stand, and this is me, doing that."
When Joan gets to school the next morning, she finds her friend Grace (weird-gender girl, remember her?) holding signs and handing out posters that encourage all to "Support Joan Girardi! No proof, no test!" Joan sees Adam there handing out buttons to support her, but finds out Grace forced him to do it. While she appreciates her Grace's gesture, Joan is scared that Price will freak, to which Grace says "That's the idea." Price does freak, as expected, and tells all students that anyone seen wearing a button to support Joan will be suspended. Adam then gets up to remove himself from the assembly of students because he claims to not be part of it. Ouch! That one had to hurt Joan.
Speculating, as I often do, I know that Joan smashed Adam's project and he does art in memory of his mom, but why hold the grudge this long, this bad? She apologized, didn't she? What more can Joan do without hopping on a darn blowtorch and fixing the piece of junk? Though, Adam's side isn't completely hidden either. I'm here hoping it doesn't last, though, 'cause this odd strained relationship definitely can't stand much more.
Moving on, cut to the Girardi family with a family therapist. Joan is convinced they're all there because she's been dubbed crazy (aha! Another little snab!), Luke feels he's ignored, Kevin says and does nothing, Helen thinks the family needs it, and Will is simply there to support his wife. Despite usually having different views with the wife/mother figure in this TV show, I think this is one of the few times I agree with Helen. Question: Why didn't they get a therapist earlier? Would've saved a lot of hassle.
So, the campaign to help Joan has taken off, but when encountered by God, he tells her to back down. I see the irony here, or at least the resemblance: God tells Joan (either one, take your pick) to do something, which causes disagreements and all, but now there is an army supporting her. "I'm taking a stand, its perfect!" she tells God. "You do know the end of her story don't your?" he inquires, speaking of fifteenth-century martyr Joan. So she retakes the test upon his request, but Grace and everyone else is mad at her for backing down. "You do know we're all getting suspended because of you!" Grace snaps. "Even Adam."
Later, she's called into Dreisbach's room, to have him tell her she passed again (we knew that was coming a long time ago) and tell her she made an impact in his life but taking an interest in history. Now he's glad and she's happy and (yay!) it's all good. Not quite.
While in family therapy, all issues are resolved until Luke starts speaking about some science theory to which Kevin interrupts and says, "Oh my God! I can't stand it! Can we please just talk about the gigantic stain on the carpet!?" At first I thought he was being funny to shut up Luke's science speech, but then he goes on to make his own. He starts ranting about the accident, how no one ever talks about it, what happened, and that it's his fault he ended up in a wheel chair. "So I got in the car and went for the ride," he cries.
"I went for the ride."
Overall, this was a pretty good episode, topped with great acting, especially Kevin's bit at the end. I think it could've done without some of the crack house bust-down, because the point of it was to show how Will's just a stand-in at work. Actually, I always thought it an odd mix for a drama: girl talking to God and Dad being chief of police. But hey, whatever floats your boat.
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