TheWB’s promo for “Free Fall” teased the Jake/Andy couples therapy storyline eleven years ago as if that would draw more viewers during Everwood’s low-rated fourth season. It didn’t. The DVD booklet description of “Free Fall” highlighted the couples therapy story. I understand why. It’s zany, silly, and unexpected “comedy” in that lame WB kind of way. Their promo department loved the quirky 30-second promo. If a viewer happened to see an ANGEL promo and didn’t know the show existed until that promo, the viewer would’ve thought ANGEL followed young, hip Los Angeles transplants in a retro hotel having twenty-something adventures, maybe like John August’s short-lived DC. Every show got the 30 second quirky promo. “Next week on TheWB Tuesday, Buffy has faced vampires and demons but she’s never faced…HER FIRST COLLEGE ROOMMATE” and then what follows are various snippets of Buffy being annoyed by her roommate.
Nina and Andy still aren’t friends because of Jake, though the two already fixed their friendship. Nina can’t spend the same time she used to with the Browns because of Jake’s antipathy towards Andy. It’s the kind of inane storytelling a twenty-two-episode season can’t avoid. Every little piece of drama must be carved out and served to its glass-eyed drooling audience, which is why Jake and Andy consent to couples therapy with a friend of Nina’s friend.
Naturally, the issue isn’t even the kiss so much as what Andy represents. The cracks that appeared in Jake in “Connect Four” became wider. The writers glossed over Jake’s real issue: it was the kiss and the man. The kiss signified to him that Nina might’ve, for a moment, wanted what Jake is not. He is not Andy Brown. Jake’s story moves beyond the kiss and Andy Brown issues, though, and it’ll be terrible.
Ephram’s mentorship of Kyle continued with an adventure into the mountains where Kyle learned to relate to other human beings. Again, twenty-two episode seasons mandate slow reveals, so Kyle drops a bunch of hints about what bugs him. It’s clear he doesn’t fit in, and he’s mad at the world because his Dad abandoned him and his Mom can’t afford his future. Also, his only friend is Ephram, and he, Kyle, has no interest in a girlfriend. If you think Kyle couldn’t get more angsty, you wait. The parallels between the characters became clearer, if they weren’t already clear. They were, but, again, twenty-two episode seasons, you know? Both boys lost a parent, one to death and the other to another woman. Both are prodigies. Yada yada. For Ephram, the mission of their day adventure is two-fold. He wants to help Kyle afford to pay for the Julliard application fee, and he doesn’t want to think about Amy dating another guy.
Amy’s thing with Reid’s about as hot as a shopping for antique spoons. There’s an important little beat when Reid passes a classmate. His constant stress about studying is also a thing. The episode’s title “Free Fall” is a misnomer. Well, two characters are in free-fall, though no one knows it, but it’s more of a prelude to a free-fall in a way because the writers wanted to be coy about the lives of Reid and Jake going to shit. Rose is shoehorned into the free-fall thing, but she merely wants to take time to figure out her next step after losing the mayoral race. They’ll go to Africa next. From there, they’ll have their next significant arc, complete with annoying melodrama.
Nancy Won wrote the episode. Arvin Brown directed.