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'Faking It' recap: Bad Karma rules Hester High

Season 2 | Episode 9 | “Karmic Retribution” | Aired Nov 18, 2014

Faking It is pretty much an expert in the art of the cliffhanger. Last week, the show ended on this heart-wrenching gut punch of an image:

Faking It Karma Knows Phone

SHE KNOWS.

The whole season has been building up to SHE KNOWS.

Oh, and in case you’re just joining us, the she is Karma and what’s known is that Amy and Liam slept together after Amy’s mom’s wedding, in a big pile of drunken vengeance against Karma, who had just broken both their hearts. Ouch. Just ouch all around.

This is actually one of my favorite episodes of Faking It so far and that’s saying quite a bit. Last week, I predicted that Karma’s dramatic march toward Amy in the promo for this week’s episode wouldn’t be as bad as we all expected, and I was right. It ended in a hug, not a punch or a slap. Why the love? Because Karma decided to vilify Liam and still love Amy. It makes perfect sense—losing BOTH of the people closest to her in one blow would be kind of insane. Karma is already processing a lot.

But as much as I love being right about things, that’s not why this episode makes it onto my favorites list. The premise is so delightfully weird and perfectly Faking It, it would be impossible NOT to love it, even if there weren’t big, dramatic things happening too.

Faking It Shane Amy Lauren Karmic Retribution

Principal Penelope decides to conduct a social experiment on campus as a misguided act of team building. Every student draws a card that determines his or her class and each class has different rights for the day in their fictional, futuristic, vaguely Divergent-esque society, “Hesteria.” The Cloud Spinners are the elite, ruling class (Karma and Lisbeth are both Cloud Spinners, but Karma only as a benefit of Amy’s guilt—Amy drew the golden card). The other classes—Mud Movers (the lowest class), Rain Dwellers (servants to the Cloud Spinners) and Fire Dancers (law enforcement)—literally have to do whatever they say. Amy is Karma’s Rain Dweller, Liam, Shane and Lauren are all Mud Movers and Theo is a Fire Dancer (and teamed up with a hot lady Fire Dancer who seems intent on stealing him away from Lauren).

What I’m saying is, we’re back to Faking It‘s crazy, hippie liberal high school roots and it’s amazing.

Drunk with power, Karma starts making Liam’s life miserable. She takes away the cell phones of everyone in the Mud Mover class so he’ll stop texting her. She executes him (with a Nerf gun) when the Mud Movers break into the Cloud Spinner headquarters so he can deliver a speech about why she needs to forgive him if she’s forgiven Amy. At least one wise minor character mentions the Stanford Prison Experiment. Eventually, Amy has to assassinate Karma (again, with a Nerf gun) to stop her from spilling Liam’s Skorkle secret. This leads to Amy being murdered by the Fire Dancers, who have sworn to protect the Cloud Spinners. When you die in Hesteria, you’re sent to the school basement to watch old abstinence films from the ’70s.

So the basement fills up with Liam, Amy, and Karma and the truth comes out: Amy had wanted to hurt Karma too. Karma’s rationale for forgiving Amy and hating Liam had been that Liam was trying to hurt her and Amy was too vulnerable from her Karmic rejection to say no. As soon as Amy admits that she wanted to hurt Karma too, Karma decides to hate them both. I’m not even a little sure why Liam decided to push the idea that Amy was trying to hurt Karma instead of the idea that they were BOTH hurt and vulnerable (which is true—yes, they wanted to hurt Karma, but it was born of their both being completely broken by her emotionally in that moment). But whatever, it’s more dramatic this way anyway.

Next week seems to be full of big choices and ultimatums. Amy is giving Karma one shot to save their friendship (maybe give the girl a LITTLE time to be angry, Ames?). Liam is going to the dark side and giving in to his dad’s desire for him to take over the Skorkle throne (and, it seems, an internship or job of some kind that will whisk him away from Hester High for the next semester). And Lauren and Shane, each scorned by their latest loves, put their passions back into hating each other and fighting it out for school president.

It’s pretty much the definition of “a whole thing.” And after last season’s jaw-dropping, OMG-worthy finale, I can’t say there’s anything I expect to be off-limits for the midseason finale.

Faking It airs Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30C on MTV.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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