AKA "the thief"Writer
Timothy BusfieldAir Date
Felicity la Fortune as Valerie; Mya Akerling as Christie; Brian Smiar as therapistSynopsis
Jeffrey leaves Valerie and moves in with Ellyn, bringing his daughter and their dog along.Summary
Jeffrey and Ellyn ostensibly meet for lunch and end up having each other instead, making up stories for why he'll be late. Ellyn pressures him to tell Valerie that he's leaving and he says that he will that very day. Ellyn vents to her therapist about the frustrations of seeing a married man.Notes
While Melissa is over at Hope and Michael's, spazzing out about being Janey's guardian, Valerie Milgrom shows up with more papers (and a horrible perm), falling apart because Jeffrey is leaving. While Jeffrey is trying to sign into the hotel with luggage and child hanging off him, Ellyn keeps asking how it went. Just as things are getting settled, Christie realizes that she has forgotten a school project at home and Jeffrey has to go back for it, leaving Ellyn and Christie alone.
Ellyn mumbles through everything to her therapist. On the way home from school, Christie compliments Ellyn on her bracelet and Ellyn lets her wear it. Things get a little strange at dinner in a restaurant and everyone keeps trading dinners until Christie is happy. Jeffrey spends the rest of the evening looking for Ellyn's bracelet, which Christie has lost. Jeffrey is a little bewildered without his home. Ellyn gives Hope a set of place card holders as a pretext for coming over to tell Hope that Jeffrey had left Valerie. Ellyn interprets Hope's lack of surprise (not knowing that Valerie had been over earlier) as some kind of sign that the relationship makes sense and that it could work out.
While waiting in the car outside the law office to pick up Jeffrey, Ellyn shares with Christie that her own parents just split up this year. Time passes, Ellyn sends Christie upstairs, and eventually Ellyn follows to discover an extremely nasty fight between Valerie and Jeffrey. Since Valerie has put a lien on the funds, Ellyn has to take in both Jeffrey and Christie.
At the therapist's, Ellyn continues to sort through the episode of when she was young and stole a copy of True Confessions magazine which her mother found and disposed of. Returning home, Ellyn finds that Christie has overfilled the bathtub and everything is in chaos. They talk it through and Ellyn is frustrated with the way that Jeffrey is raising Christie.
The next morning, Valerie shows up and drops the dog on Ellyn's doorstep and somehow Ellyn gets locked out, in her underwear, with the dog. At the therapist, Ellyn continues the story of the magazine, how her mother knew that she was looking for it in the drawers but acted as if she didn't notice. (This all involves some kind of revelation about Ellyn doubting her mother's love for her, but I didn't get it.)
Ellyn is, for some reason, quite broken up that Christie has left her notebook lying around. Ellyn goes to see Christie after school and returns the notebook while confessing that even though she doesn't like the kid very much, she loves her. In the mean time, Lucy the dog has destroyed Ellyn's apartment. All three of them end up taking Lucy for a walk, Ellyn laughing and embracing Jeffrey.
Hope and Michael's kitchen is done Cherry Ames, Student Nurse is invoked Ellyn's apartment "number" is C Ellyn's cat Sophie is around and not happy about the new dog
"If I'm a total stranger, why are you screaming at me in your underwear?" --Ellyn to JeffreyAnalysis
On thing that I find exceptional about Thirtysomething was the subtle way they often handled issues and topics without hitting us on top of the head with the message we were supposed to be getting - like there was no judgement or "right way" of feeling or doing and we get to see all kinds of angles and sides and perspectives. And so, I wonder if these big issues they are tackling - adultery, children in the middle of broken relationships, Ellyn's willingness to be with Jeffrey even though he's married, the hysteria of Valerie trying to get Hope and Michael to agree that it's a betrayal of all of them - have something to do with how Ellyn is personified. She is representing to Jeffrey something he doesn't have in his marriage - and a representation of the fact she doesn't have any inhibitions in having this relationship with him could be why they are showing her without/with less clothes. When Val brings her the dog and accuses her of being a selfish thief, its kind of perfect that she's only in a t-shirt and underwear. . .its exactly the way a wife would expect her husband's lover to be dressed. And Ellyn trying to yell back at Valerie to stop doing what she's doing for Christie's sake - doesn't it make Ellyn even more vulnerable in this situation to be almost naked while she's screaming at her lover's wife?
Like I said, TS made a point of showing the affect all of this is having on Christie, giving us a closeup of her in her hotel room, looking sad and lost - showing us Christie dropping and scattering her pens after having to hear Val and Jeffrey fighting and showing us Christie following far behind Ellyn and Jeffrey. They also show us Christie being irritating and irresponsible. And they show us Jeffrey being defensive about her behavior and Ellyn being critical of it and Jeffrey and Ellyn fighting about it as well as showing that Ellyn and Jeffrey do care about each other. These are very complex issues and TS does an amazing job of trying to be real about them and I think maybe Ellyn's clothing could be part of the symbolism of the episode. . .
Maybe I'm way off base here and it's just Tim Busfield directing and asking for more skin, but I'd like to think it was more than that. . .
"I have seen this episode named 'the thief'.. I believe I saw it more than once. Maybe someone else has too. If I find the list I copied from TV Guide (originals) I'll scan it to you. This gives a clearer meaning to the piece. She tells her therapist that the magazine was the only thing besides Jeffrey she ever stole...but she feels guilty for stealing Jeffrey, just as she did the magazine."