Night. Simon is giving Ruthie advice about her first day of pre-kindergarten. Mostly no crying and no picking. Ruthie is a little nervous. Annie seems sad to see her youngest old enough for school.
Matt wants to make sure that Mary turned down a date with some guy named Michael Towner. She did, but doesn't thinks it's Matt's business. Matt disagrees.
Eric and Lucy are dropping Lucy's friend off at her house. He wants to wait to make sure gets inside, but she tells him it's not necessary. They drive off, but turn around because Suzanne forgot her homework. They see Suzanne walking and call out to her. She tells Lucy that she was trying to catch up with their car to get her homework. I think Suzanne sucks at lying. Eric insists on driving her home, saying that she shouldn't be walking alone at night. Suzanne seems unhappy about this turn of events. Someone's got a secret.
Breakfast. Lucy asks her dad to check in to what's bothering Suzanne. He tells her that he can't butt into someone's life because they have a feeling something is wrong. Lucy points out that he does that all the time. Heh. He says he only helps people who ask for his help (not really true) and Lucy takes that to mean that her asking isn't enough. She storms off.
Ruthie isn't eating her cereal. Simon tries to give her advice about eating so she doesn't throw up. Ruthie just doesn't like the cereal.
Lucy's science class. Suzanne is late. She's wearing a shirt she borrowed the night before. They make jokes about their science teacher. Lucy takes the opportunity to ask Suzanne why her mom said she wasn't home yet when Lucy called last night. Suzanne says her mom is the kind of a flake who doesn't notice when her daughter is home. Lucy pretends to believe her.
Annie, Eric and Simon drop Ruthie off at her pre-kindergarten class. Simon offers to take her in for them. He heads to his own class. Annie gives him a kiss on the cheek. It leaves a giant mark. Annie, it's called blotting, learn it, love it, live it. You're lipstick should not leave that large a mark without smearing. Simon is horrified.
Ruthie's new teacher makes a comment about the last of the Camdens. If only that were true. Annie assures Ruthie that she will be back and gives her Eric's beeper number. Ruthie is decidedly unworried, and excited about modelling clay. Annie starts crying over the fact that her "last" child just started school. If only this the last of her offspring.
High school. Michael Towner slams Mary's locker on her. He's giving her crap because she turned him down. Her friend Cory tells her that there's something written about her on the guys bathroom. She suggests Mary get Matt to check it out, but Mary prefers to handle her own problems. She heads to the Men's room after the bell rings, where she finds this 'clever' remark: You'll always score with Mary Camden because she loves to go one on one. She's upset.
She hides in a stall when she hears someone else come in. It's Matt and a friend of his. They're talking about a Rave Party they attended over the weekend, and all the illicit things that happened there. Matt is unhappy about the comment and plans to do something about it. Whatever he has planned, I'm sure it won't be helpful.
Lucy and Jimmy Moon are hiding behind a bench in what is supposed to be the poor side of town. You can tell because there is graffiti on the bench and the apartments have dingy paint. They have followed Suzanne home from school. They go to look at the mailboxes and note that Suzanne's last name is on one of them. Lucy comes up with a convoluted explanation as to why this might be so, but it's clear Suzanne is poor and ashamed of it. Lucy feels bad about spying on her friend.
Mary blackmails Matt into signing her detention slip. She uses the Rave. Matt is upset that she was in the guys bathroom. She insists that she can handle her own problems. He's doubtful because of the current blackmail situation. He tells that this will only lead to "ugly recriminations and tears." Mary awesomely replies, "Only if you plan on crying."
Annie and Eric are reading an advisory from Ruthie's school. They are shocked by the many weapons that are prohibited in pre-kindergarten. Mostly that they have to make an effort to prohibit them in kindergarten, I think.
Simon asks to talk to Annie privately. He tells her in no uncertain terms that she can never kiss him in front of his friends again. He makes her promise. She agrees, but is near tears about it. His friends gave him a hard time about the kiss earlier. Ruthie comes in, and is surprised to learn that she has to go to school everyday. Ruthie is not pleased. She blames Simon and punches him. She notes that she learned that in school, and refuses to go back.
Lucy confesses her spying to her father and asks him to look into the situation. He's upset with her about it because it's not a safe neighborhood. She tries to tell her father that she was safe because Jimmy Moon knows accupressure point defense. Is that a real thing? She tries to demonstrate by touching Eric's temple, but he's skeptical. Lucy convinces Eric to get involved.
Eric goes to Suzanne's apartment the next day under the guise of dropping off a shirt. Suzanne's mother invites him in for a brief cup of coffee. He asks about Suzanne's lying regarding her address. Suzanne's mother reveals that her ex-husband isn't paying child support. Eric asks permission to talk to the ex-husband. He doesn't leave before Suzanne gets home from school and Suzanne runs off, upset that her secrets been discovered.
High school. Michael harrasses Mary some more. Her friends think she should let Matt take care of him. Mary decides to confront him herself, but he and his friends just laugh at her. Matt still wants to get involved, but Mary tells him to butt out. I love independent Mary.
Camden home. Ruthie tells her dad about how much she liked school. Annie is pleased to hear she's made a friend.
Lucy comes in and demands to talk to her dad. She bitches him out about embarrassing her friend. Her dad gets on her about her tone. He tells Annie he's going to check on a dead-beat dad.
Simon is trying to talk to Ruthie. She's ignoring him, because she's got a new best friend. Simon is not pleased. Ruthie tells him to talk to the hand, mirroring behavior she learned from Skylar. Simon demonstrates he's learning from Matt by butting into Ruthie's friendship. Annie doesn't pay attention to him.
Matt and Mary are fighting about whether he should get involved in the Michael Towner situation. They keep storming in and out of each others' rooms. She says she'll let him know how she's going to handle it "in her own way and in her own time." Matt says he won't stand for someone talking trash about his sister. Mary doesn't like his choice of words and tells him, "One guys warped ego is enough for me to deal with. I don't need yours too." Did I mention that I love independent Mary?
Matt calls out that he's sorry he's more bothered than her. But it's clear Mary is bothered because she curls up with a teddy bear in tears. Poor Mary.
At a used car dealership, Eric confronts Suzanne's father about not paying his child support. Suzanne's father is an ass, and doesn't want to pay child support because Suzanne took her mother's side.
Dinner. Everyone's picking at their food. Lucy is upset about Suzanne. Eric invites her out to play pool to cheer her up. For some reason, this works on Lucy. Mary asks to be excused, and Matt won't tell the parents about their fight. Matt tells them not to worry. Matt, I know I often tell you to butt out, but this might be something that you do want to discuss with your parents. Sure, Mary will still be mad at you, but it's probably more productive than whatever plan you have to take care of the guy.
Ruthie announces that she's not talking to Simon. No one cares, except Simon who is jealous of her friend.
Pool Hall. Eric and Lucy enjoy some father-daughter time. Suzanne's father is also there. He wants to know if the reverend is following him. Lucy is confused. Suzanne's dad challenges him to play for money. Lucy bets money on her dad. I wonder how this will end...
Eric enters his master bedroom to show Annie all the money he won off Suzanne's dad. Annie wants to know if he robbed a liquor store on the way home. He says it's a little overdue child support so that we know he was gambling for a good cause.
The next day. Eric is heading to give the money to Suzanne's mom. Suzanne's dad is already there, he wants to give the money to Suzanne himself. Suzanne's dad is upset about the neighborhood that his daughter is living in, and promises to catch up on his child support. Now that he's been proven right, Eric can pretend to apologize for overstepping his bounds.
Suzanne's dad knocks on the door and tells Suzanne he loves her. He promises to be more involved. Aww, Rev Camden succeeded where lawyers and judges had failed.
High school. Michael snaps Mary bra. Her friends tell her to ignore him. She's decided she not going to take it anymore and follows him into the men's room. So do her two friends and Matt. She confronts him and he suggests that Matt has shown up to fight her battle. Matt tells him she can handle her own business. Mary demands that he erase the comment about her. Michael knocks the pen out of his hand. When he goes to pick it up, saying that she can have her pen back as a "lovely parting gift," Mary shoves his head in the toilet and flushes. Go, Mary!
By now, quite a crowd has gathered to watch Michael's swirlee. Matt sticks up for Mary and they head out of the bathroom. And bump into the principal. She sends them both to detention and arranges to have a meeting with their parents after school.
Lucy's science class. Suzanne and Lucy make up. It's sweet.
Camden home. Lucy thanks Eric for helping Suzanne. Eric and Annie ask Matt to watch the kids while they go to the meeting about Mary. Simon is upset that Ruthie's friend is over. Annie busts Matt for not telling them about the harrassment and Matt says he had the situation under control-- he worries so the parents don't have to. Annie seems to be won over by this insanity.
Ruthie's friend is teaching her some karate moves. They seem to be having fun. This is more than Simon can stand. Matt stops him from interupting and gives him a pep talk about looking out for each other. Just then Skylar's sister shows up to pick him up. Simon is smitten.
Principal's office. Michael and his parents are waiting with the Camdens. Michael wants to file assault charges. The principal encourages Mary to file sexual harrassment charges. Michael is confused, so the principal explains that his behavior constituted harrassment. Michael's dad is not happy about the obvious special treatment. C'mon Mr. Towner, Mary's a Camden-- they always get special treatment.
Mary wants to let it go, but the principal lectures them about everything Michael's done in the last week. She tells him that if he harrasses anyone else, he will have no friend in the administration. If I was Michael's parents, I'd be really pissed about this obvious favoritism.
The principal then encourages Mary to speak up sooner if someone's giving her trouble. No punishment is giving, which seems weird. I'm pretty sure it's still against school policy to shove someone's head in a toilet for any reason.
Mary confesses her detention, and forgery. She gets grounded for the weekend. Eric also encourages her to speak up if someone is trying to destroy her self-esteem and dignity. She thanks him and wanders off. Eric suggests that they keep Ruthie at home for the next fifteen years. Like that's a healthy solution. Annie, however, is so excited about having her first nap in a while, that she decides Ruthie will continue to attend school. They discuss how long Ruthie will be in school as the episode closes.
If the principal knew about the harrassment, why didn't she interfere earlier? I'm fairly certain school administrators don't have to wait for a complaint to correct someone's behavior.
Simon and Matt need to stop being so jealous about their sisters having lives outside of the family.
Matt also needs to realize that he really has no say in how Mary lives her life unless she's actually asking him for advice.
Also, even if it is pre-kindergarten, why is Ruthie starting school in February?
Something I do like about the earlier seasons is that Mary's independence is generally considered to be a positive trait, rather than a sign of her inherent evilness that it was in later seasons.
Plus, it was pretty awesome when she shoved that guys head in the toilet.