By Jennifer Abella
Previously on “Emma Approved” … Emma really is blind.
Episodes 23 (Moment of Triumph): The holiday party is in full swing as Emma takes a quick break catching up with Ryan and Annie. James arrives bearing a gift for Emma, and the part where he tries to put his arm all boyfriend-like around Emma’s waist and she squirms away is the best part of this episode. The best. Anyway, Emma tells him Harriet is home sick and encourages him to go bring her some soup, and he’s pretty much: Nah. Later in the photo booth, Ryan’s excited because Frank is coming for a long visit. When Emma reveals that James’s perfect woman is Harriet (at least in Emma’s mind), Annie notes he seems more interested in Emma. Speaking of, James is playing Follow the Emma, first photobombing them in the booth, then trotting into her office, where she’s talking with Alex. She tells James she’s going to bring Harriet some medicine, but James insists she doesn’t go over there. Meanwhile, Alex gets his gloat on.
Episode 24 (Vingt-et-un): Really, this episode should be titled “Man, This Is Uncomforable.” Post-party, Emma confronts James about not caring that Harriet was sick. She says he’s supposed to be in love. And then. He says he is in love — wait for it — with Emma. Duhn. Duhn. DUHN. And she’s like, WAIT WHAT NO YOU ARE NOT. And, wow, this episode gets tense quick. He counts the ways he’s signaled his interest to her: He tweeted about the song Emma wrote; he brought Emma flowers, etc. Emma flat-out says she’s not an option. When she says Harriet was perfect for him, he says maybe, if he were running for student council, not Congress! Ouch. Sen. Jerkface here needs someone who can move in his circle, and that someone is Emma. He’s not wrong. She could run that crowd. Emma for president! Anyway, she notes that of course her father is quite influential and Jerkface doesn’t deny it. She says he came to her for matchmaking — and he says that if this is a sample of those services, she is FIRED. He storms out. Whoa. Aww, Emma’s crying. Alex comes in and puts his arm around her as she says, brokenly: “I failed.” Oh, sniffle. I’ve been hard on Emma up to now, but you know things are bad if Em’s crying. I think this is when I started to love her.
Episode 25 (Should Have Listened): Confidence damaged and a little more humbled, Emma is back after a long break and ready for action. She and her father went to Italy for a month. Alex cautiously scheduled her for some hourly consultations to ease her back into work. She vows to be more receptive and to be a better listener and observer, like: Flowers = Romance and Icelandic yogurt = Not a chance. She kicks herself for missing all the signs; Harriet was sad when Em told her of Elton’s true feelings, but now Harriet’s had time to get over it (spoiler: she totally hasn’t). Then Emma screws up her first consultation, and Alex has to give the client a refund. If Alex’s Plan A was to schedule easy gigs for Emma, Plan B to call Izzy — Emma’s sister — and his brother, John.
Episode 26 (New Direction): Alex gives Emma a pep talk. She vows to listen to Harriet and to be supportive. But Em’s still not 100% reformed: She’s all, YAY, glad we got rid of Martin; otherwise Harriet would be right back where she started. Harriet and Emma console each other; Emma says maybe her dermatologist would be a perfect match for Harriet but he might be too pert. (Maybe the doc’s name is, perhaps, William Coxe?). Emma tells Harriet she decided long ago she never wants to put a ring on it — she’s a single lady for life. Then look who arrives but Izzy Knightley. Right off, Emma suspects something is wrong with her big sister, and here we go on the trail of another mystery. Emma, wait for us!
Episode 27 (The Need to Help): This is the start of an arc that is another big deviation from the book. Make of that what you will. Emma says she knows something is up with Izzy, who was in architecture school but then left because she got married and had kids. Izzy’s been too overly positive. Our Emma: Sometimes she can read people so well (so maybe her skills aren’t always lucky guesses); and other times she’s totally blind. Anyway, Emma asks Alex if John seems off, too. Emma is still on the fence about helping Izzy since Izzy hasn’t said anything and Emma is trying hard not to imagine things that aren’t there and act on them. Good luck with that, Em. Meanwhile, she checks in with Harriet — all part of her plan to be a better friend. In her efforts to get over Sen. Jerkface, Harriet has unbookmarked all the apartments she was looking at in Sacramento. Well, that’s progress, anyway.
Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow @nextjen on Twitter. And remember to like Jane Austen Summer Program on Facebook and follow @JASPhotline on Twitter.