In the meantime, Levi—whose powerful cowboy pheromones have turned most of the cast into moon-eyed obsessives—learned from his doctor that it is unlikely he will ever return to the competitive rodeo circuit. He’s gutted by the news. Levi’s body, still suffering the after-effects of a snapped spine years earlier, just isn’t up to the rigors of the sport. Luckily, however, he is invited to announce and offer color commentary for the upcoming gay rodeo finals. He jumps at the chance, given it combines his two great loves: men and horses.
Of course, Levi wonders aloud about the appropriateness of thanking Jeebus for all of the handsome cowboys he expects will be in attendance.
Of course you can, Levi!
“God made these good-looking people,” Ashley chirps approvingly.
Levi squirms uncomfortably during his get-together with Chase, who doesn’t yet know that Levi hooked up with Taylor behind his back. Oh, just tell Chase the truth, you damned horndog! Save us the confrontation we know is on the horizon!
Chase continues to profess nonchalance about his relationship with the laconic cowboy, but nobody is buying it. In fact, even conflict-avoidant Levi remarks at one point that he believes Chase has become more emotionally invested in their dalliances than he expected. Yeah, you think?
Absolutely no one thinks James will enjoy any better luck curbing his self-destructive tendencies in the City of Angels than in the Big D. They offer tepid support, which irks James to no end. He whines relentlessly about being made into a project, particularly by Ashley. In fact, she doesn’t know he’s moving until Levi accidentally spills the beans. She is not pleased one whit.
For all of her faults, Ashley has genuinely tried to expose James to a healthier lifestyle, as well as sunlight and fresh air, instead of the stale cigarettes-and-beer fumes of a nightclub at 2am.
Ashley, to her enormous credit, is not intimidated when James tries to whine his way out of taking responsibility for his actions. She doesn’t believe that he is strong enough not to be seduced by the wicked, wicked temptations waiting for him in Los Angeles without the support system of his friends. She doesn’t back down even when Phillip, James’ cohort Brayden and others try to pick a fight over what they perceive to be her meddling. (Chase shrewdly observes that Phillip is irritated because meddling in their lives is his job.) “She’s been harder on me than anyone this summer,” James gripes. “Parole officers, whatever.”
Wait, what—parole officers? Did we miss a storyline there?
Oh you mean like gay gay Republicans?
LaSalvia notes their organization was founded to show the world that “not all conservatives are anti-gay bigots.” The group plans to raise $1 million to further their goals for the 2012 elections and LaSalvia believes Taylor can help them target smaller donors. The Tempest in a Teacup is offered a test run the following afternoon over lunch with Ann Coulter because LaSalvia wants to see if he’s presentable, essentially, by observing him in action with a Republican heavy hitter.
They also exchange a couple of awkward jokes about how conservative women are sexy “because they’re happy.” Oops, there goes breakfast!
The next day, Taylor is gleeful when Coulter arrives for lunch. She is charming and personable and wins him over utterly. Taylor explains that he doesn’t want to be defined by his homosexuality; Coulter instead encourages him to be defined by his Christianity instead. When they discuss pro-life issues, she and Taylor agree that all gays ought to be pro-life. It’s her belief that the first group of people to begin aborting fetuses when the gay gene is discovered will be “liberal hippies.”
We’re not so sure about that, Ms. Coulter—we’re pretty sure the Fundamentalists will find some kind of loophole to excuse terminating their gaybies.
Ann and Taylor later debate what Jesus actually says in the Bible about homosexuality and fornication. And Ann tells him she wants the boys to fix her up with their straight brothers.
Chase, however, is personally offended that Taylor met with her. He rolls his eyes and flinches whenever her name comes up. Taylor understands there is more going on under the surface, of course; his formula for revenge has been on a slow simmer ever since Chase hooked up with Levi behind his back when he and the cowboy were supposed to be “monogamously dating.” Ashley is shocked when she learns that Taylor’s most recent fling with Levi was part of the plan. “It’s twisted,” she says.
Like an evil puppeteer, as the group converges at a post-rodeo banquet, Taylor masterfully pokes and prods Chase into a confrontation about Coulter’s beliefs before steering the conversation around to monogamy and then dropping the bomb that he is still banging Levi.
At this exact moment, the producers hilariously cut to a shot of James downing his tumbler of alcohol in one gulp. (They’re fools if they don’t submit this episode for Emmy consideration.)
Chase is visibly wounded and storms out. His master plan having come together, Taylor sparkles with pleasure. Outside, Levi struggles to explain himself and Chase shoves him away.
This storyline is left unfinished as the last scene details one final confrontation between Ashley and James as he packs up his car for Los Angeles. She gently tells him she believes he’s making yet another wrong decision but understands that he’s got to
wrap up his storyline make his own mistakes.
This tough love is contrasted with confessional interviews from Levi, Chase, Taylor and Phillip, none of whom clearly give a tinker’s damn whether James gets plastered and drains his trust fund in Dallas or Los Angeles—or Paducah, KY, for that matter.
And with that, James drives off into the golden Texas sun.
Next week: Wendy Williams flips her weave for The A-List: Dallas reunion show! Ashley is confronted for her meddling ways! Levi calls out James for obsessing on their long-ago affair! Chase says Taylor is a sociopath! Phillip calls Chase a whore! Chase calls Phillip a bitch! Yee-haw!