Recap / Penny And Aggie The Popsicle War Providence In The Fall
"People come back from loss. You can come back from this. But you'll only hold onto what you have if you come back right."
At Karen's next party, Marshall finds himself fondly remembering his time hanging out with Aggie and Nick, playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
. Karen responds to his request for a parlour game with a patronizing suggestion that he do so with the "brainiacs" in another room. She also disregards his own suggestion that she disassociate herself from Charlotte.
There follows a flashback which continues the previous chapter's scene in which Penny, Aggie and friends confront Cyndi and offer to spare her reputation if she helps them. Here, they tell her to spike the alcoholic popsicle mix with toothpaste or anything else that will make the popsicles taste bad. In the present, Cyndi, disregarding Stan's warning not to get "creative" with the plan, decides to spike the mix with laxative.
Duane entertains Charlotte with a history of his favourite letter, "A," inadvertently causing her to fall for him all the more. Meanwhile, Omar gets physical in his ongoing flirtation with Karen. After a moment's hesitation, she finally gives in, and they have sex in the bathroom. However, they're interrupted by the first of the partygoers to suffer diarrhea from the popsicles. Karen, panicked over the possibility of this getting back to Marshall, resolves to get Duane drunk immediately in hopes of creating a distraction. However, when she offers him a popsicle, Charlotte turns on her for attempting to corrupt a "person of the book," and claims she can "smell the sin" on her. The guilt-stricken Karen lashes out at her in turn, accusing her of lying about Sara, whereupon Charlotte claims it was Karen's idea.
Marshall, having noticed that several people have come down with diarrhea, goes to alert Karen and finds her and Charlotte in an out-and-out catfight. Charlotte meets his attempt to restrain her with a shoe to the head, and runs off. Karen, still overcompensating for her guilt, then turns on Marshall for failing to restrain her. Stung, Marshall asks her whether she was in any way responsible for the Sara video, whereupon she sarcastically suggests that if he believes Charlotte over her, he should go find her for some "spanky-spanky." Marshall walks out, ignoring her attempts to apologize. Starting to follow him outside, Karen discovers a yardful of guests with the runs.
Down the street, Penny and Aggie check in with Jack and Fred, who've been at the party, and learn that Cyndi's sabotage has worked. Aggie, to Penny's shock, announces she's heading back to Karen's to speak with her because, she says, if they simply leave her socially humiliated, she could end up with her own eating disorder, in "juvie," or worse. Penny's response: "So?"
Aggie arrives at Karen's, having silently snubbed Marshall along the way, just after everyone's left her in anger (and Samantha, who's overindulged more than anyone, in acute pain, leading Omar tenderly to offer her a lift to the hospital). Thinking of her mother, Aggie tells Karen she doesn't know what real loss is, and says she learned the wrong lesson from the help she and Penny gave her. However, not only is Karen in no mood for lectures but, blaming Aggie for all that's happened, she jumps her in a rage. Penny, having tailed Aggie, tries to pull Karen away, but Marshall beats her to it and then, having finally seen the real Karen, calls her what she had just called Aggie: "You bitch." Meanwhile, in Penny's backyard, Penny's and Aggie's once-separate groups of friends bond with each other and celebrate their victory with fireworks.
As Karen unsuccessfully calls after her now ex-boyfriend, Aggie leaves her with a parting word of advice (see page quote) and walks away, telling a still-skeptical Penny that she felt the need at least to try helping her. Penny can only express her wonder. However, Aggie is rather less forgiving toward Marshall, rebuffing his attempt to apologize for his cruel words and suggesting that they need "a few degrees of separation. For now." Across a backdrop of fireworks, Penny and Aggie walk in step with each other, making plans to see a movie the next day.
The chapter, and the arc, ends with a tearful Karen staring at her ant farm, a former hobby of hers. In the glass, she sees an image of her pre-makeover self, smiling compassionately at her.
This is the final Penny and Aggie
sequence drawn by founding artist Gisèle Lagacé.