“Who's Scott Sherwood”

30 August 1997
[Scott kisses Betty.] Written by Rupert Holmes.

Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
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For this installment, as each scene unfurls, I'll give my blow-by-blow reactions. A description that will make more sense as the post progresses.

I've just got my computer up and running (Wed. 9PM). I've also just found that the phone line WAS activated today. I had my phone set to intercom instead of telephone and that's the reason I never heard the dial tone earlier in the day (&@#*%!).

I've decided to wait until I've made this post before I join the channels or download the news from our Usenet group. I want my reactions to be pure and not moderated too much by other postings. Well. Here we go...

A nice reprise of key scenes from previous episodes featuring Victor's immortal question, "Who...is Scott Sherwood?" Christopher Murney once again does the honors of the narration ("When last we met...").

Another good radio scene paralleling the episode's theme, "He came into our lives with strength and a reassuring smile...I'm making it my mission to find out who he really is." The segues into yet another Sherwood whopper (about football).

Scott and Betty banter. It'd be hard to miss Scott Sherwood's appeal in this scene. Setting up a mini-skit around pretending to confuse "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with something that would be called "The Halfback of Notre Dame."

And then there's poor Doug. Doomed to be a one-shot character forever known as the one who didn't have a chance with Betty. Hey...wouldn't it be a real kick if the one who finally does marry Betty is Doug? Well, stranger thoughts HAVE happened on this show. :)

Then Scott speculates that maybe she's tied up with Victor's memorial. You can see his annoyance at the thought that Victor, a dead man, still commands her heart. As Betty would say, "Oh, you'd be surprised."

FINALLY, Betty suggests that the stolen money be returned somehow. Each character on the show has their flaws, but I can't say how disappointed I was when Betty appeared to be going along with stealing from the sponsors ("The First Mrs. Bloom"), even after having some time to consider it (actually looking for a site for the memorial in "Like a Brother"). Unfortunately, as in real life, people will often overlook evil deeds if they believe there are "good intentions." At least until Life throws a glass of water in their face. For Betty, the sobering water was Victor's innocent question about Scott. The truth is...whether Victor's alive or dead...whether Scott plans a memorial or a con...the theft is wrong, wrong, wrong.

However, this shows that even Betty can grow as a character. I remember one high school teacher pointing out that in a story, a character should learn something and change, or not learn/change, but the reader is aware of what the character failed to learn.

"...attitude toward me the last couple of days..." Two days since she found Scott's pet phrase in "Victor's" letter?

And hey, isn't that Koko the Clown's hat that Mr. Eldridge is wearing? :)

"The milk of human kindness is curdling in my veins." He's got sour cream in his veins? He's just plain sour? Hmmm.

"Well, it wasn't like I was down to my last red cent." "Naah, it was more like your last plugged nickel." Plugged nickel? Sounds like Mr. Pruitt is aware of Scott's con games.

"Until that exquisite moment, Mr. Sherwood. When, at last, I have him pinned to the mat, like a butterfly thumb-tacked against black velvet." How, umm, vivid.

"...we're starting on the real [financial ledgers]." I wonder if Scott used to keep the real books in the strongbox, but suddenly the books are found sitting outside, the strongbox is locked and the key was not to be found.

"Jeffrey, you'd better do the talking. Mr. Eldridge is beginning to make sense to me." Haha. I immediately thought that they should tackle "Have your cake and eat it, too", but then I remembered they already had.

It was interesting to watch Scott pulling out all stops, in an effort to prevent the discovery of his thievery, only to see each new story or angle shatter to pieces. Sort of like watching Uri Geller or other psychic frauds trying their stunts in front of real illusionists.

"Hey! That's my stuffed bass!" Could Kevin O'Rourke have delivered that line better? No. He nailed that one. His goofy amiability completely consumed by sheer terror.

Later, Mr. Pruitt is speaking with Betty. It's good news that the sponsors are getting their stolen funds back. But that's immediately followed up with one of a number of reasons why Mr. Pruitt must go. Scott asked Betty to get the radio on to WENN while pretending not to know how to operate a radio. I get the feeling Mr. Pruitt may REALLY not know. (I'd like to say that he also does it as a rude way to establish who the boss is as opposed to Scott. However, I also felt Scott did it for that reason. Perhaps I'm a little sensitive. We had a new branch chief do something similar, very similar, his second day in the position. Nothing he does now will ever wipe out that first impression.)

Later still, Mr. Pruitt is speaking again with Scott (who presumably has gathered his items from the sidewalk). As Pruitt turns to Scott and speaks of devaluing coinage, we see that he has redecorated a little...is that a drawing of Scrooge on the wall?

"Yeah. They are my friends. How 'bout that?" I got the feeling that he's never stayed any place long enough to establish lasting relationships. And he's sure tried hard to not to encourage it too much here (I'm thinking of the scene in "Radio Silence" when he scuttles the bridge he had inadvertently built with Mackie: "I wonder if it's true.")

Next, we see him spinning another "con": his NBC contract. But this time it's more like the white lie you tell someone in the hospital ("You're looking great.") If he told them the truth, that they were putting themselves in line for breach of contract lawsuits, they'd go right on. This time, his con lines come out a little nervy. After realizing that these people are actually friends, he seems to feel a little pain and guilt while lying. After all, they're not nameless marks, they're Jeff, Hilary and Maple.

As Jeff, Hilary and Maple consider how to repair the damage, Jeff suggests that all the "endings" were dreams while "dream music" on the soundtrack builds. You know, in "Magic", there were constant references to dreams. Up until a week before the season opener, I leaned towards the Victor bit actually being a dream. But then, it didn't turn out this way. And yet...and yet during this scene, I halfway expected to see the screen start going wavy in time to the music and fade to Betty waking up to find everything since just before the light went on in the office in "Magic" to have been a dream. Of course, this scene was probably just an allusion to the entire season of "Dallas" that turned out to be a dream. Hmmmm, entire season, eh?

Now we go to Betty and Scott in the writer's office. Betty has nailed it. The letter WAS forged. It WAS some kind of a con. While I felt bad for some on the newsgroup who had managed to completely overlook his misdeeds, it was the answer that fit what we knew of his personality and actions.

"That's what you get for trying to warm an old man's heart." What?! He's going to try to bamboozle his way through this? At this point I wanted to slug him. What he doesn't know is what Betty and we know from Victor. He's just digging himself in deeper.

"I was there when Victor pulled it out of his Smith-Corona typewriter and signed it." This reminds me of the other garbage he's tried to pass off as evidence of his and Victor's buddy-buddiness. Like talking about how Victor was like a fish out of water in London. Excuse me. Victor's a big city boy...New York, remember? There's no language barrier. I can hardly accept the image of Victor Comstock as a Yankee bumpkin. Sure, he'd learn about the area from people who knew it, but Scott laid it on much too thick...building himself up at Victor's expense. But back to this episode.

Betty: "I guess somebody made a mistake." Scott: "Yeah, I guess SOMEbody did." While Scott gets a few points for not trying to take down Betty with him (she knew of the embezzling and didn't report it, making her somewhat of an accessory), I can't believe he's being so heartless and cruel, trying to make her feel bad for telling the truth. And he does it so slick, she's even having enough doubt to apologize to him!

"I guess I'll always be sad that I was wrong about...that I was wrong about me." At this point, I wanted to give Scott a good gut punch like he gave the creditor.

"Goodbye, Betty." And he walks out. There's not much time left in the show. Are we actually going to get a parallel to "Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?" after all and we won't get an answer to "Who's Scott Sherwood?"

Wait, the door opens up and in he walks. "Betty...I forged Victor's signature on that letter. It all happened just like you figured." FINALLY! We're going to get down to business! After all our wild speculation, we're going to see if any of our theories come close to Rupert's master scheme. (Rodney calls up the bookie and places a last minute bet on the long shot space alien theory.)

"Victor kept talking about this girl back home. Sweet. Real sweet. But smart, too. And I kept thinking...what would it be like to be coming home to a girl named Betty Roberts?" So was that part of his plan? While this Comstock fellow's stuck in London, go to Pittsburgh and see if he can make time with the gal this Comstock's stuck on? Now that is cold. (Kinda of reminds me of that controversial film that's out now where these guys try to get this girl to fall in love just so they can break her heart.)

Imagine, if he had been more on the up-and-up when he showed up. He could've have shared what Victor had said with her. Being that Victor was too scared in light of the uncertain future (or shyness or whatever his reason) to come out and say what he felt to Betty before he left, knowing more clearly what his feelings were would've been of some comfort to Betty once it was believed he was dead. (Any "things you'd love to hear" that Scott did share with Betty were done off-screen and I suspect not done at all.)

Certainly knowing that Scott had withheld his knowledge of Victor's feelings from her and instead used that knowledge to manipulate Betty must have enraged Betty. Hence, the slap.

"I never meant to stay as long as I did. Then Victor died." Well that's pretty much the final nail in the coffin.

"You know I didn't have to confess any of this to you, Betty." I've met so many people like that. They do something which they know will hurt someone, but they do it anyway knowing that afterwards they'll apologize and gee...doesn't that make it all right? Much like a religious person who feels any sin they do is okay, because they will be forgiven. If you care, you don't do whatever this bad act is in the first place!

Now, that said, this may be the first time in a long time that Scott Sherwood has come clean with one of his victims. It speaks strongly of his will to change and very strongly on the effect that Betty has had on him.

"Oh, what the hell?" Now at this point, I must admit that I wanted to knee him in...um...his chin.

The final scene. Now, really. Did you all believe that the Victor vs. Scott for Betty debate was REALLY over? Remember, as are the other characters, Betty is flawed. Victor's overseas, out of sight, out of mind. Scott's there, trying to patch things up with the "puppy dog" eyes that seem to sear rational evaluation from the minds of many a female here.

Here's the current situation. There's been embezzlement at the station. Word of this getting out to sponsors other than ones being repaid could seriously jeopardize support for the station. Therefore, no prosecution, no publicity.

Pruitt hates hanging around a radio station in Pittsburgh. His presence there is counter-productive due to his personality (see this episode and "Christmas in the Airwaves"). The sponsors and other people may not warm up to him either.

Scott is due back tomorrow at 12 noon (High Noon?) for final word on what legal proceedings will be taken. Solution: offer him the job under the supervision of Rollie's assistant.

For Scott, this is a chance to turn things around. He's getting a little old for these con games. He's found to his surprise, he has friends who are willing to sacrifice for him. He's found he's in love with Betty Roberts. This could be a chance to stay instead of running, to make up for misdeeds, to redeem himself...particularly in Betty's eyes.

For Kevin O'Rourke, this episode was probably his best acting challenge.

For Scott Sherwood, his life is just beginning!

NOTE: The slugging, punching and kneeing were used purely for humorous purposes. I would only use violence in self-defense or in the defense of another. No bytes were harmed in the production of this posting.

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