Francine arrives at Michel’s for her dinner with Jonathan Stone.
ummm should I include this dialogue or shouldn’t I? Hmmmm.. I find myself not really engaged with getting to know Francine’s back story today. Maybe it’s just my mood.. But.. I’m going to summarise it, and if you want to go into detail in comments feel free to.
Francine joins Stone.. and things are suitably awkward!
What’s noteworthy here?
Seems Stone jilted Francine at the altar…
Francine (quietly resentful): Well, how about with the question that’s been on my mind for five years? Why did you leave?
Jonathan: The best answer I can come up with is … uh … cold feet.
Francine: A phone call would have been nice, Jonathan. I mean, all you had to do was say, “Look Francine, I’m sorry, I don’t want to get married now. Goodbye.”
Jonathan: I know. But that’s not what irresponsible people do.
[Check out those puppy dog eyes.
Did you think Francine would fall for it?!]
Francine: So, did I do something to scare you?
Jonathan: No, no. Francine, look. You were strong. And I was weak. You were independent and I didn’t trust my own shadow. I – I – I know, I put on a great show. But I was always frightened that you would see through me.
Francine: But … you could have told me that. You didn’t have to run.
Jonathan (nodding regretfully): Yeah, I know that now. You’re still the only woman I’ve ever loved. [Is that his version of I’m sorry?!]
Francine: And you still smile when you’re embarrassed.
So, Francine is looking for answers.. and she appears to be welcoming his moves toward a reconciliation pretty quickly.
[What do you think of his answer?
I find Stone to be pretty underwhelming. But he still loves her so apparently that makes up for everything.
When someone ghosts you like that, how can you trust them?! You certainly need time to demonstrate they have truly changed, and to rebuild trust, but Francine appears to be jumping back into this relationship.
Well an episode is only 45 minutes so I guess there’s no time for that. haaaa.
“You were strong. And I was weak. You were independent and I didn’t trust my own shadow.” – oh yes, those independent women are such a challenge to have a relationship with!!! They really reveal a man’s insecurities!!!!! GAG!!!!!
I guess I should sympathise that she still has feelings for him.
For me, sympathy for Francine is a complicated thing and not always easy to find haaaaa.. Also, this guy seems pretty unimpressive to me. So I can’t even see the attraction and why she would fall for this again! lol.
Sorry!!! I figure others might see this very differently to me and like this guy, so hoping if that’s the case you don’t find my dislike for him too annoying!]
Lee pops up at the restaurant with a ruse to get Stone to leave the table for a bit.. to check in with Francine. He interrupts Stone when he was telling Francine how successful his imports business is. Hmmm.
Lee officially meets Stone here, so he didn’t know him 5 years ago huh. Must have only heard about him in retrospect..
LOL at the wonky lighting on the walls lol. those crooked mounted candle fixtures make me dizzy lol.
Anyway, it’s sweet that with all that’s going on [reminder: Lee is close to burning out! lol] Lee is taking time to see if Francine is okay!
[But also to me it also seems a bit random. but hey this is smk
Lee went from Amanda’s to Michel’s to go suss out this creep huh. Hope he is now heading home to rest!!!]
Lee heads off.. and we find a blond dude is watching Francine and Stone from a distance.
We cut to a hotel exterior.
[LOL is that Amanda’s car parked out front?]
Inside, we find the Blond dude who is working for Brody. We finally get to see Brody with his new hairdo… [lol the first time we see him: He is drinking tea no less… such a refined baddie!!! lol. I bet Cindy has noted this!!!!]
Seems Brody researched Francine’s background and they know about Stone. Hmmmm, he’s wanting to get access to Dr Dunleavy.
[Little does he know if he just had a real burger handy he could probably get everything he wants! haaaaaa.. Being so refined he probably doesn’t get it!]
What dialogue is worth sharing here? Hmm..
It’s pretty funny how blondie says after they left the bar they went for dinner. when they met at the restaurant and it wasn’t a bar rofl.
How much did Blondie drink?!
Brody explains he will be personally involved now he is low on numbers.. : Unfortunately, with Chase and Vernon out of commission… (he stirs some sugar into his tea) … I’m going to have to supervise Mr. Stone myself.
He explains he wants to sell the stealth radar plans to the Iranians…
The blond baddie asks questions about Lee, so Brody can have his little moment bragging about his cunning plan..
Brody: Well… Could be a coincidence. But even if it isn’t, it won’t do him (Lee) any good. I’ve organized this operation so there are no direct links to me. Don’t worry about Stetson.
[Brody pauses to blow on his tea rofl.] …When the time is right…[dramatic evil pause to cool his evil tea] … I’ll take care of him…[dramatic very evil pause to blow on his tea.. or hang on maybe he’s about to sneeze] …. Once and for all.
[Muahahahaaha!!!! soooo Lee is in daaaaaaanger.
Cool whatever, operation normal for smk.
I do find it funny that in less than a minute, Brody says he will personally supervise Stone, and he’s organised the operation so there are no direct links to himself. rofl. That’s some pretty significant lack of insight right there!!! haaaaa.
When a baddie says to an underling like Mr Blond baddie here– don’t worry there are no direct links back to me, this means he’s going to eventually need to eliminate you – you big blond dope!!!
I find Brody is just greedy, and doesn’t really seem to have an emotional need for vengeance directed at Lee..
But Uh oh. Stone is the Civilian Contractor?? Honestly, I can’t stand the guy!
We see an agency exterior shot..
And inside we find Lee watching the surveillance footage from the airport back at the agency. He’s wearing the same clothes as he was wearing when he visited Amanda’s… the restaurant etc. at least he’s feeding himself I guess. lol. Naughty Lee! Amanda and Billy told you to get some rest!!!!
Who does he see getting off that flight? Jonathan Stone! He prints out a photo and leaves. [rofl at the printer!
hey, gee thank goodness he showed up at Michel’s at 7pm to be nosey and met Stone! this is a rock solid piece of evidence here- get it? Stone’s dodginess is set in stone!!]
Since we had Brody at night at his hotel, and then Lee at the agency in the day time, I guess this is Lee having stayed all night? ouchie.
Back to Brody meeting with Stone at his hotel, now he’s personally supervising him. Cough. Stone is a little surprised, he thinks he’s working for the CIA, and trying to clear Francine’s name as she’s been accused of being a traitor.
Jonathan (becoming a bit agitated): This has been bothering me. I spent several hours with Francine last night. There’s just no way that she could be a traitor!
Brody: Believe me, the Company wouldn’t have called you in on this investigation unless we had sufficient cause. Now remember – you may be the only one who can still prove her innocence.
Brody puts on a pair of glasses and checks the time on his watch. There seems to be 2 time zones shown..
Jonathan: When I carried that package for you guys a few years ago, I thought that was the end of our association.
[Ohhhh so this is a case of a dopey boyfriend who thinks he is going to rescue his love from accusations and defend her honour or something?
I get the vibe that Brody thinks Jonathan is annoying and whiny, and would he just go do it already. Or LOL maybe I am projecting??!!!!
I am a bit worried I seem to be feeling the same way as the bad guy.
Hang on I’ll go get a cup of tea and clear my head..]
Back in the bullpen, Francine’s on the phone and concedes she’ll buy Dr Dunleavy a real burger the next time she stops by. [About time!!!]
Poor Dr Dunleavy he’s fed up with limp green veges.
[I’m loving this green colour on her!]
Francine hangs up, and Lee approaches Francine all unshaven (code for still hasn’t rested) in the bullpen. He has some new information about Stone…
He shares that Stone was on the flight with Kleiner.
Francine immediately pushes back – uh oh.
Lee: …But I did some checking. He lied to you about his business, did you know that? He’s barely hanging on by a thread. And three years ago, he did some civilian work for the C – I – A.
Francine (indignant): Meaning what?
Lee: Meaning there are a lot of coincidences here. [but this is smk!] (Now Lee is starting to get worked up.) Stone may very well be our link to Brody. Look, we are gonna have to sit down and take a look at all your projects, and see what Brody might be interested in—(Francine stands up, interrupting him. She is aggravated.)
Francine (voice raised): You know what your problem is?
Lee: I –
Francine (interrupting): Your problem is that you are so hot to get Brody that you are seeing things that aren’t there. My advice to you is to take care of your own business and keep your nose out of mine.
Francine storms off.
Poor Lee ouchie.
[Coming straight after All that Glitters and then Suitable for Framing this is all a bit rich. and… unfortunate!
Firstly, In All that Glitters Francine was Ms waaaay too interested in Lee’s sexual past, ‘How did you ever manage all of that in the back of an Italian sportscar?’ and warning Lee about Elisa Danton’s claws!!!!
And this is two episodes in a row of Francine refusing to accept any information which contradicts what she already thinks she knows because she wants to believe she didn’t make a mistake: handing over the classified papers or welcoming this Stone jerk back into her life. She looks like she learned nothing from Suitable for Framing!! Doesn’t make her look good here!!!]
Moving on! It’s back to Michel’s for another date..
Francine: Look, last night, when you were telling me that your business was doing great, I didn’t say anything. But I talk to a lot of people in this town—
Jonathan (realizing where this is going): So, now you know the picture really isn’t very rosy. [No Stone, not rosy- she knows you are lying]
Francine: Well, it sounds like you’re in receivership.
Jonathan: I was afraid if I told you that, you wouldn’t be very impressed. (Francine considers this.) Can you forgive my vanity? One of the reasons I’m in town is to raise new financing.
[What.A.Creep! Gosh I don’t know how others are going to be experiencing the Francine/ Jonathan romance so forgive me if I’m raining on anyone’s parade here. But he is so flipping awful!!! He is basically still lying to her… while he is asking her to put her trust in him again after everything?! He doesn’t deserve her trust.]
Francine goes on to ask Jonathan about rumours he’s connected to the CIA.
He’s pretty evasive, and half lies..[LOL it’s written all over him he can’t be trusted!
If Francine’s heart were not involved, it would be obvious to Francine this guy is not to be trusted! I guess this means Brody really is an evil genius haaaaa.
Is the audience supposed to be thinking- Oh nooo he’s lying to her because he really loves her and is trying to protect her? whooooo romantic angst!!!
Does anyone see it this way?
Okay what do we think of the outfit?? the earrings?? I mean these are not really ear buttons, they are more like earrings that are comet shaped, actual size!! I think Francine is rocking the gorgeous colours for this episode!! and the neckline is lovely on her. I wonder what the rest of the outfit looks like! ]
The scene ends with Jonathan asking if there’s a chance for them, Francine’s answer is… not a no, she’s been thinking about what ‘we had’. Meh. You had a guy who ran out on you!
As always I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks!!! what you notice.. etc.
So glad we are walking together!!!
In the past nine months, Martha Smith has done two in-depth podcast interviews where she talks about her experience on SMK – including this episode in particular. What she said was quite surprising: the script that they used for A Matter of Choice was not new. It was one that had been written a long time ago but never used. When the producers realized they needed another “Kate-lite” episode, they pulled it off the shelf and dusted it off. Martha was tickled that Francine finally got to have an apartment! And a boyfriend! She had felt pretty “under-used” for most of the series (as illustrated by the shelving of the original script), so that was fun for her.
Even more interesting: the script dated from the Juanita Bartlett days of SMK – which means second half of Season 1 through end of Season 2. Martha actually remembers Juanita as having been the original author of the script, which is strange because she did not receive a writing credit for it (the credit went to David Brown, Lynne Kelsey – who wrote The Eyes Have It – and Lee Maddux). Maybe that’s because Juanita was long gone and the original script needed a fair amount of re-working, including making Brody the bad guy (because it would have been written before The Eyes Have It), and of course all of the Lee-Amanda interaction would have had to be changed, the laundry gag added, etc. Or maybe Martha was remembering the details wrong, and Juanita was executive producer at the time the original script was written but not the actual author.
Despite that discrepancy, there seems to be no doubt whatsoever in Martha’s mind that the original script dated from that much earlier time period. Martha considered Juanita a supporter and a “Francine” advocate (for example, she wrote Dead Ringer – the first “Magda Petrak” episode – which gave Martha a chance to show her acting chops). I see no reason to doubt that she is correct about the script’s provenance. (If someone else knows differently, please chime in!)
I think this goes some of the way toward explaining why the Jonathan-Francine thing feels so off. He doesn’t seem like her “type,” not remotely. However, if this part of Francine’s backstory had been introduced earlier in the series, we wouldn’t have known her as well as we do now. We might have come to understand her motivations very differently. Perhaps the reason Francine is now so “selective” in her choice of men, and part of why she projects such a fiercely independent persona, is because she was so burned by her past experience in loving a “normal” person. But by this time in the series, it just feels way too late to be introducing these ideas.
It might also help explain the extent of Lee’s … “interest” in Francine’s personal life, which seems extreme to me, considering how obsessed he is with the Brody case, not to mention the fact that he is married to Amanda. Back in Seasons 1 and 2, Lee and Francine had a closer day-to-day relationship than they do by Season 4. They were sort of like “best friends” at the Agency. They worked together on a daily basis, in close proximity in the bullpen. Of course, they are still very good friends, but Amanda has taken Francine’s place as Lee’s closest friend and confidante. Francine doesn’t play as important a role in his life anymore.
In any event, it is time to suspend disbelief and consider this scene in the context and time period in which it was finally filmed. My thought is that Jonathan has shown up at a time when Francine is feeling vulnerable and reflective of the life choices she has made. Her closest friend, Lee, has found true love and happiness with Amanda. She has recently overheard him telling Amanda it might be time to settle down and “live like normal people.” Francine is left behind. Is there something wrong with her? Should she be looking for something like Lee has? And now here is Jonathan, a true mediocrity if ever we saw one, but he seems genuinely regretful, and normal, and she used to love him. So, as much as she might have fantasized over the last five years about telling Jonathan to go to hell, now that he is finally in front of her, she can’t bring herself to do it. She wants to be loved, the way Lee is loved, and loves. She is open to giving this another chance.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’d love to see the original version. I’d always wondered how Amanda was supposed to fit in on this one if Kate had been well because the storyline felt so Francine-specific. They couldn’t exactly bring back Amanda’s old love interest when she and Lee were married.
I need to come back tot his though after a few more posts but thanks for the background.
Your theory that it might have worked earlier? Makes a lot more sense!
This was very beautifully written @peacockdancer. It makes the storyline so much more reasonable. If only I could believe the writers thought this plot line out as well as you.
Thank you. That is the magic of this show, you know? It is much more than its scripts, or even its wonderful actors. I believe it has a special quality that inspires us to use our imaginations to fill in the gaps in a way that is extraordinarily rare for a TV show.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Not much to say about Francine’s ex. I usually ff through those scenes. Frankly I think he’s a loser and she’d be an idiot to take him back. I like her pastel dresses but they feel a bit OOC for her.
I don’t know if we’re supposed to assume Lee rested between the office and Amanda’s or Amanda’s and here or what. Love seeing him overtired though. He’s so cute.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Agree with your thougths about Francine’s ex. Can’t see that they fit together.
LikeLiked by 1 person
No and the fact that this was originally an older ep is even weirder. In the first couple of seasons, they established Francine’s type as super-wealthy and men of power. (I think her and Lee’s backgammon was a rebound thing). Do we hear Stone is wealthy or anything like that? I can’t remember.
Sad note: Today is the 36th anniversary of the very final ep of SMK airing. I feel like we need to hang a flag half mast and wear black!