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Felicity - Junior Year Collection (The Complete Third Season) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Felicity - Junior Year Collection (The Complete Third Season)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MPAA rating: TV 14 DLS
starring: Keri Russell, Scott Speedman, Scott Foley, Amanda Foreman, Ian
Gomez, Greg Grunberg, Amy Jo Johnson, Tangi Miller
TV broadcast year: 2000
DVD release year: 2004
film rating: Four Stars
sound/picture rating: Four Stars
reviewed by: Mel Odom

Two years ago, Felicity Porter (Keri Russell) left her hometown to follow her high school crush Ben Covington (Scott Speedman) to college in New York despite her parents’ wishes. During the intervening two years, she’s gone through a lot of confusion and heartbreak, and made some really great friends fans of the show are happy to share.

One of the show’s creators is J. J. Abrams, who has gone on to create two critically acclaimed television series, “Alias” and “Lost”. “Lost” also constantly enjoys a large viewership. Both of the latest shows still on the air use action and drama, but show the heavy dialogue and development of interpersonal relationships that are such a staple of the four years of "Felicity." Abrams has done very well with his franchises and has left four years of "Felicity" that will be enjoyed for a long time to come.

In Episode 1, “The Christening,” Felicity returns to New York with plans to share a student dorm with her friends, Elena (Tangi Miller) and Julie (Amy Jo Johnston). However, after talking to Javier (Ian Gomez), who is now enrolled in college to appease his mother and make her proud, she finds out about a small apartment coming up for rent. After seeing the apartment, Felicity falls in love with it and rents it without talking to Ben about it. Poor Ben is caught flat-footed with Felicity’s excited announcement that she has found them the perfect place to live together. Sean, the budding film student and reality show guru, films the behind-the-scenes goings-on of Felicity and Ben. Ben confesses that he hates the apartment. Meanwhile, Elena and Julie allow Sean’s girlfriend Meghan to move in with them even though they’re not exactly crazy about the idea. Elena is still dealing with her boyfriend Tracy’s reluctance to have sex with her before they are married because of his religious convictions. Felicity and Ben finally come to terms about the apartment, but by that time they’re deeply immersed in finding out what happened to Noel (Scott Foley), who seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. When they find Noel, he’s going by the name of Leon and living with Javier’s cousin Natalie, whom Javier says is the worst thing that can happen to a man.

Noel’s relationship with Natalie takes center stage in Episode 2, “The Anti-Natalie Intervention.” Richard, aggressive and rigid, marshals the friends together to stage an intervention to get Noel away from Natalie. Unfortunately, he’s already slipped off and gotten married to her. He’s very upset by the conniving that’s going on. Felicity, feeling badly about the situation, talks the others into throwing a dinner and having Noel and Natalie over. Ben’s father Andrew (played elegantly by the late John Ritter) also comes to New York seeking forgiveness. He’s a recovering alcoholic trying to work through the 12-step program. Ben tries to brush his dad off, but ends up giving in and agreeing to see him. Meanwhile, Elena has allowed her sexual frustration to get her into a situation with young pre-law student, Finn, by telling him she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Elena takes Julie along to act as her buffer, but that’s not working out too well because she just keeps digging herself in deeper. At dinner, Natalie discovers the intervention fliers Richard printed up. She storms out. Noel talks to Sean and decides he has to end the insanity and get his life back under control. When he talks to Natalie later, she punches him in the eye and storms out. Later, Natalie apologizes and agrees to get an annulment, but she and Noel end up in bed together. Andrew doesn’t show up for the baseball game as he promised Ben and Ben has trouble dealing with it. Elena also gets the sign from God she’s been looking for regarding her relationship quandary.

Episode 3, “Hello, I Must Be Going,” moves father figures to the forefront. Ben has to deal with his own dad’s disappearance as well as his mother asking him to notify missing persons. The audience gets more insight into the turbulent relationship the two have had. Julie steps into the arena and tries to help Ben deal with everything while Felicity gets shut out. Noel pursues the annulment, even agreeing to state that he’s impotent, and Natalie subverts his efforts. Then Noel learns that her uncle left her money that she can only claim after she marries, and that he’s entitled to one hundred thousand dollars if he lasts a year with her. Ben starts coming apart over his own father’s continued missing status, up to the point of breaking Sean’s nose during a basketball game. Julie finds Andrew Covington in the hospital, then makes a plea to Ben to go see him, owning up to the dark secret she’s been keeping from everyone.

In Episode 4, “Geeks and Greeks,” Julie’s parents are looking for her. They don’t know that Julie isn’t dealing with the situation with her biological father well and has left school and New York. Felicity lies, trying to cover for Julie. Things turn even worse when drugs are found in Julie’s closet. At that point, Felicity feels she has to tell Julie’s parents what’s really going on and they blame her, since it was her decision to go to New York that influenced Julie. Felicity does terribly on her mid-terms as she deals with her guilt. As a result, she gets drunk and ends up naked in bed with a guy at a frat party. She can’t remember if anything happened. Meanwhile, Ben has his hands full helping Javier study for his citizenship test. Meghan gets offered a phone sex job, which puts her at odds with Sean. Noel tries to get a computer job on campus.

Episode 5, “Surprise,” deals with the fallout from Felicity’s lost time and subsequent awakening in a frat guy’s bed. The frat guy, Randy, won’t tell her if anything happened. In the meantime, Noel has gotten a job working on computers and intercepts an e-mail with a naked picture of Felicity and Randy. He tells Felicity, who wants to tell Ben, but Noel convinces her to wait till after the surprise birthday party Ben has arranged for her. Richard and Molly, the new British room mate in the girls’ dorm, lets slip the secret about the picture to Ben during the party. Ben crashes the frat house ready to fight. Randy says that nothing happened between them, that she just passed out and he put her to bed. At the same time, Sean has to deal with a cancer scare.

In Episode 6, “One Ball, Two Strikes,” Felicity still tries to convince Ben that nothing happened between her and Randy, enlisting Randy's aid. But they catch Ben while he’s drunk and he attacks Randy, putting him in the hospital. Later, Sean, who is still dealing with his recent medical problems and potential cancer, counsels Ben and addresses his friend’s self-destructive problems. Randy’s buddies jump Ben and beat him. Elena agrees to help Tracy with a project while he’s away from school, never realizing that Tracy’s partner is Finn, the guy she was majorly crushing on. Giving in to temptation, Elena sleeps with Finn.

Episode 7, “Kissing Mr. Covington,” brings Andrew Covington back to New York to check on Ben after his beating by the frat guys. However, Ben doesn’t want to see him. While talking to Felicity to get her to help him, Andrew is overcome with emotion and ends up kissing her. In the hospital, Sean decides to convert to Judiaism because he promised God he would if he was all right after the surgery. Then he ends up breaking up with Meghan after she refuses to convert. Ben finds out that his father kissed Felicity and freaks out as a result, telling Andrew he never wants to see him again. Meghan gets named in a sexual harassment case against a professor and Tracy becomes upset after finding out she had an affair with the man. He ends up talking to Finn about it and Finn accidentally confesses he slept with Elena. Noel keeps pursuing a girl through her e-mail, developing a crush on her.

Felicity convinces Ben to seek help regarding his anger with his father in Episode 8, “A Good Egg,” while at the same time juggling a commitment to donate one of her eggs so that Javier and his partner can become parents. While in Al-Anon, Ben sees Molly and finds out why she’s there. He also finds out that the drugs discovered in Julie’s closet were Molly’s. Noel’s budding cyber-romance fizzles out and gives viewers another perspective on Richard. Elena tries to reconcile with Tracy.

Episode 9, “James And The Giant Piece,” concentrates on Ben’s efforts to break Molly away from her drug-addict boyfriend James. As a result, Molly gets closer to Ben and even invites him to live in the dorm for awhile. In the meantime, Elena gets mixed up in more campus legal proceedings regarding Dr. McGrath, and also discovers that the grade she got in his class might not have reflected her work. That class made it possible for her to take other classes. She feels guilty and that she has gotten a lot that she didn’t truly deserve. When Ben finds a pistol in James’ stuff, he levels with Felicity, which ends up with James getting tossed out. Noel starts working with Felicity on a computer-generated cartoon.

Molly’s dangerous relationship with James becomes a focal point in Episode 10, “Final Touches.” After talking to Ben and Felicity, Molly moves back in. James comes after her and Ben is able to talk him out of doing anything. While she’s working with Noel on the cartoon project, Felicity finds out she’s still signed up for a philosophy class she thought she’d dropped but can no longer back out of and now has to get an A on the final to pass the class after doing no work and not attending. Noel puts pressure on her to help him with the cartoon. Elena and Tracy try to figure out how to get along, but Richard’s calendars featuring barely clad men and women splits them up again. At the end of the episode, Noel helps Felicity with the class and Tracy sleeps with Elena.

Despite the fact that Molly has broken up with him, James continues to try to interest her in a relationship in Episode 11, “And To All A Good Night.” Felicity’s mom arrives about the time Ben is going off about James and she instantly takes a dislike to Ben as a result. After helping Sean and Richard with their latest scheme to make money, buying and reselling Christmas trees, Ben arrives late at a play and lets Felicity and her mom down by forgetting the tickets. Later at dinner, Noel joins them and wins Felicity’s mom over with his list of goals he means to accomplish. Felicity’s mom tells her to dump Ben and get with Noel. Later, Felicity defends her mom to Ben, which is not a reaction he’s prepared to deal with at this point. Tracy and Elena’s relationship isn’t going along very well either because Tracy is still freaked out over losing his virginity. Ben later talks to Felicity’s mom and gets her to reconsider. Later, at the Christmas party, Ben arrives late and notices Noel and Felicity flirting. Then James enters, totally under the influence, and opens fire with his pistol.

During the shooting at the Christmas party in Episode 12, “Girlfight,” Elena is wounded and a girl named Avery suffers serious injury. Ben rides with Avery in the hospital and gets drawn into the battle for her life. After her recovery, Avery admits to being interested in Ben, which ticks Felicity off. Noel has serious problems dealing with the aftereffects of the shooting, and he gets romantically involved with Avery. Wanting something new in her life that will give her improved self-perception, Elena signs up for a self-defense course and talks Avery into joining with her. Although she turns down the invitation at first, Felicity joins after Avery does so she gets the satisfaction of throwing the other girl around. Later, Elena finds out that Tracy has been sleeping with a girl he met while down in Africa on a missionary trip.

Episode 13, “Blackout,” deals with Noel getting offered a job in Seattle and Avery’s deepening interest in Ben. At the same time a girlfriend of Meghan’s who once experienced a “more-than-friends” moment with her expresses the possibility that she’s in love with her. During Sean’s airing of “Docuventary,” a blackout occurs, but Sean uses his computer to show the film. After the film, Noel shows a clip to Felicity that tells her how much Ben loves her. Back at the apartment, Felicity finds Avery with Ben, which starts up an argument. Felicity learns that Ben is struggling with his grades and that he didn’t tell her. Elena goes to Richard for help in thinking about breast augmentation.

In Episode 14, “The Break-Up Kit,” Felicity is having a hard time dealing and she throws herself into her art. Noel tries to help her through the situation. While he’s doing that, though, his own feelings for Felicity intensify. Molly returns from Britain and accidentally injures Elena’s eyes. Felicity tells Ben to go with Avery, but Ben finally realizes he and Avery can’t be together and comes back to Felicity.

Avery tries to come between Felicity and Ben by telling Noel she slept with Ben while in the Hamptons in Episode 15, “Senioritis.” Elena continues her relationship with her new boyfriend. Noel tells Felicity that he’s got a summer job out in Seattle and they toilet paper the library together. She tells him she’s going to miss him and he tells her she could work for him. They have a great time at the prank and flee the building. Later, Noel kisses Felicity.

Episode 16, “It’s Raining Men,” focuses on Felicity’s dilemma between Noel and Ben. Noel apologizes for the kiss they shared, but he’s not ready to forget it. Felicity starts believing that he’s wanted her the whole time. Felicity goes to Ben and tells him that it doesn’t matter what Noel and Avery want. Javier’s confession in the hospital is hilarious. He’s checked in for observation. Noel is afraid that he’s going to get in serious academic trouble over the toilet paper incident in the library. Richard agrees to go to bat for him. After Noel and Ben get into a fight, Javier advises Felicity to keep them apart. Everyone attends Sean’s bar mitzvah.

In Episode 17, “The Last Summer Ever,” all the season’s strife comes to a head.

The “Docuventary” special feature is a really nice addition. The conversations back and forth between the actors and actresses is dynamic and the viewer gets an idea of how much fun the show was for them. The commentary on the episodes brings a great mix of personalities and insider information. Of course, a lot of comedic one-liners are interjected.

Fans of the show will enjoy this collection, and people who were interested in taking a look at the show but never had the chance while it was on-air can’t go wrong with picking up the DVD set. In a lot of ways, watching the collection episode after episode is much more rewarding than waiting a week in between. All of J. J. Abrams’ productions have episodes that feel like chapters in a thick book. None of the episodes are static; everything moves forward and goes in directions that viewers alternately look forward to or fear. The downside is getting hooked so badly that a couple of episodes turn into an all-nighter, waiting to see what happens next.

more details
sound format:
Dolby Digital Surround Sound
aspect ratio(s):
1.33:1 (full-screen)
special features: “Docuventary”: A Look Back At Season 3 With Greg Grunberg; MAD TV Parody; Audio Commentary With Cast and Crew
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Pioneer DV-C302D
receiver: RCA RT2280
main speakers: RCA RT2280
center speaker: RCA RT2280
rear speakers: RCA RT2280
subwoofer: RCA RT2280
monitor: 42-inch Toshiba

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