S2E14: “Alone Again”

Synopsis: “14-year-old Laura Holloway is brought to stay at Starlight Mansion after losing her parents in a car accident. Although musically talented, Laura feels lonely and has low self-esteem. When a boy at school named Bobby Braddock gives Laura pills, Laura becomes addicted to them.”

Summary: Episode 40 (S2E14) is written by Sandy Fries.

We open with social worker Mrs. Harding, who drops off Laura Holloway, an orphan whose parents recently perished in a car accident. The city has run out of room at their local housing facility, hence why Laura will be staying at Starlight Mansion for Foster Girls (at least for the next few weeks).

Jem notices that Laura brought a guitar with her and asks if she wants to jam with the Holograms. Sheepishly, Laura explains she’s not very good and would rather not. Jem offers to introduce Laura to the other Starlight orphans, but she is reluctant and admits to not being able to make friends very well, so she asks to go to her room.

Laura makes her way into the recreation room where Ashley and Ba Nee are competing in a ping pong match. Ashley invites Laura to play ping pong, but she declines.

Laura: No thank you. I was just looking for the linen closet.

Jerrica walks in and finds Laura, clutching the ping pong paddle closely. When she’s invited to lunch, Laura requests to be left alone. Jerrica tries to encourage her to talk, as sometimes that helps, but Laura admits she doesn’t fit in. From her perspective, all of the other girls are prettier and are more talented and she feels she just can’t measure up. Jerrica tries to console Laura and says that everyone has something they’re good at, but Laura thinks that she doesn’t truly understand how she feels.

Laura takes off to a room where she can be left alone, with just her guitar.

Laura Holloway music video: “Alone Again.”

Jem and the Holograms overhear Laura singing and playing guitar. It turns out Laura is quite talented, even though she doesn’t know it yet. Jem invites Laura to play a song with them at their upcoming concert, but she turns the offer down, saying she’s not good enough and packs up her guitar. Kimber tries to use reverse psychology to try and convince Laura to perform with the band–it works (she calls Laura chicken, which is really not cool).

Laura: Oh, great. Now I have chance to mess up in front of the whole world. A concert in front of thousands of people. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe there’ll be an earthquake or a typhoon and I won’t have to play at that dumb concert.

At school the following day, we see Laura by herself, wishing for a natural disaster so she can get out of having to play at the Jem and the Holograms concert. A boy named Bobby Braddock overhears Laura, who was talking to herself, and introduces himself.

Bobby: My name’s Bobby Braddock. I guess you’re the new kid, Laura Holloway.

Laura: How did you know my name?

Bobby: Oh, I just sneaked a look at the list of new kids from the administration house. You’re Laura Holloway, 14, and you’re staying at the Starlight House.

Laura: Why would you go to all that trouble to find out about me.

Bobby: Hey, I always make it a point to know the names of cute new girls at school.

Laura: Me? Cute?

Bobby: Would I kid ya? Besides, I wanted to become friends with you ’cause I care about you, and I want to help you with that concert you’re so worried about.

Laura: Well, how could you help?

Bobby: A little gift. They’ll make you feel great. [CHUCKLES] Th-they’ll make you play music like a pro.

Laura: Pills? I-I don’t think so.

Bobby: Come on. They’re free. It’s a gift from me to you. You know, I’m going to be at that concert.

Laura: You will?

Bobby: Don’t you want to play your best? For me?

Laura: Th-Th-Thanks.

Later in the evening, Laura takes the pills Bobby gave her, in the privacy of her own bedroom. Almost immediately, she starts to experience the effects of the drugs. She begins feeling a little lighter. A little faster. Laura picks up her guitar and strums a few discordant sounding chords, then puts it down again. Reality begins to bend around her, as inanimate objects suddenly transform and become animate. Laura is hallucinating, and after seeing a bird come to life, decides she wants to fly too. Laura open the bedroom window and steps out onto the ledge, coming very close to losing her footing and falling to her death. Jerrica tries to talk her down, unsuccessfully, so she runs up to Laura’s bedroom, breaks down the door, and catches her just in time as a brick under her foot comes loose.

Jerrica explains to Laura that she was hallucinating. She isn’t a bird, she’s Laura Holloway. Laura is disappointed to find out she’s not a bird and just “plain old Laura Holloway.” Jerrica probes her if she’s been taking anything, but Laura lies on multiple fronts: she says she hasn’t been taking drugs an that she doesn’t have a problem–perhaps she was just pretending. Belligerent, she defies Jerrica and tells her to call the police.

At school the next day, Bobby is pushing Laura on the swings and she tells him the pills he gave her made her hallucinate. He hands her some new pills, guaranteed not to make her hallucinate and help get through the concert.

Later in the evening at Starlight Mansion, Laura is seen taking the new pills Bobby gave her. We see a montage displaying how Laura is unable to complete her usual chores around the house without stumbling. Unable to sleep, she wakes at 4:00 in the morning and decides to play guitar. Strumming the instrument, we hear a cacophony of sound, but to Laura, she truly believes the pills are making her play better than ever. Some of the other Starlight girls are awoken by Laura’s playing, but when they ask what’s going on, she becomes aggressive and agitated, completely unwilling to stop playing. Ashley is fed up and attacks Laura, trying to pull the guitar away from her. Jerrica walks in and grounds both Ashley and Laura for a week, then demands they all go back to sleep.

The next morning at breakfast, when Laura is asked to pass the orange juice, she grabs the pitcher, it slips and a big mess is made. Laura becomes hostile, asking why everyone always blames her for everything. She runs to her room in desperation and begins to tear it apart as she tries to find her pills, claiming she can’t live or play music without them. After trashing the room, she finds the pills on a desk and breaths a sigh of relief. Unfortunately for Laura, the package is empty and she freaks. Jerrica goes up to Laura’s room to investigate, but when she asks Laura what’s going on, she denies there’s any problem. It’s very clear to Jerrica at this point that Laura has a drug addiction. Jerrica’s help is rebuffed and Laura runs off. Unfortunately for Laura, she picks up her guitar as she’s going into withdrawal, and believes she can no longer play.

At school, Laura meets up with Bobby and tells him the latest pills he gave her really helped her with playing guitar. Bobby tells her to keep her voice down and she asks him for more. This time, the free ride is over for Laura as he tells her it will be $30 for more pills. Laura simply doesn’t have the money and begs Bobby for more.

Jem and the Holograms music video: “Nightmare.”

After the video, we see Laura stealing money from Jerrica’s purse, but Jerrica catches her in the act. Laura manages to escape and heads to school, desperately trying to find Bobby. Ashely bumps into Laura and tells her she’s been a big jerk, but Laura is unable to focus and is hell bent on finding Bobby, because he’s the “only one who understands.”

Bobby bumps into Ashley and ends up using the exact same come on lines as he did with Laura. As Bobby tries to convince Ashley the sooner she passes the history test, the sooner he can treat her to a movie, we see Laura eaves dropping on the conversation and tears are running down her face.

Jerrica arrives at school to search for Laura and finds her on the steps of the school, crying. Laura apologies for stealing the money. On the ride home, Jerrica tells Laura that she has a serious problem and that she’ll need to go to group therapy to try and recover. Laura explains how she get the pills from Bobby Braddock at school.

In group therapy, Laura claims the session is dumb and impertinently refuses to admit she has a problem. One of the other recovering addicts takes the opportunity to question her on all of the aspects of her life that she’s having troubles with: can she go a day without dope? Without causing issues with her friends? Without stealing money for more pills? Laura is surprised at how much the other girls seem to know about her life, but they explain it’s not because they’re mind readers, but because they were once addicts too. Laura finally takes the first step and admits to having a drug problem.

Elsewhere at the Tilt arcade, we see Bobby approach Ashley and Laura as they exchange money for drugs, but this is a ploy to catch Bobby in the act, and so he’s arrested. A police officer thanks Ashley for wearing a wire and Laura ends up apologizing to Ashley for being a jerk (Ashley accepts the apology).

We end with Laura performing with Jem and the Holograms. Jem announces to the crowd and credits Laura for writing the song.

Jem and the Holograms music video: “Look Inside Yourself.”

Duration: 59:07:00

Present: Alex Knight, Aleen Simms, K. Tempest Bradford.

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Download: JEMcast – Episode S2E14: “Alone Again”

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