“Dorothy, tonight’s a full moon. A night where men’s passions, like the tides, are pulled to their tightest, achingly unbearable peak.”
“Oh, come on, Blanche. You think a full moon can do all that?”
“Well, just in case, I’m also filling a watermelon with tequila.”
-Blanche and Dorothy
Rose is excited; she’s won one of the many contests she’s entered. Her prize: a free prostate check.
“You know what kills me? The year you locked me up in Shady Pines, she roamed around free.”
Meanwhile, Blanche is getting together a Moonlight Madness power for the leap year full moon, which she’s sure means that anything is possible. When Sophia realizes that it’s a leap year’s full moon, though, she tells Dorothy that this means the vague Curse of the Strega is coming to pass, and she has to perform three tasks before tomorrow’s moon rise to save Dorothy: kiss a fool, help a holy man, and reveal betrayal of a loved one.
“Oh, come on, Ma, that’s superstitious nonsense. You know, step on a crack, break your mother’s back. It doesn’t work. I know. I tried.”
The next morning, Rose has won another giveaway: a honeymoon trip to Paris. She doesn’t really intend to marry Miles, but she loves the thrill of winning.
“The rush of adrenaline when you realize that you’ve grappled Madame Chance and flung her, bloodied and beaten, to the mat. And just when you think she’s dead, she gets up again, and you have to give her one of those Van Damme moves to the jaw, and… “
“I like to win, all right?”
-Rose and Dorothy
Blanche wonders if maybe this is a supernatural sign that she should get married now, but Rose doesn’t really want to leave that to chance.
At the party, Blanche isn’t having much luck with men, but Sophia’s getting all kinds of come-ons.
“I haven’t been hit on like this since I stopped hanging out at the midnight show of Harold and Maude.”
Sophia blames the moon. Meanwhile, she’s still trying to figure out how to perform the necessary tasks to break the curse. Miles finally shows up, and Rose takes him onto the lanai. When Sophia finds that a man who’s been talking to Rose thinks she’s smart, Sophia kisses him. One down!
One of those Empty Nest women shows up for some reason, full of self-confidence that I gather is not very standard for her. Blanche doesn’t want another young, attractive female around, but Carol stays.
Miles and Rose watch the moon together. She asks him if he’s thought about getting married. He wants to save up some money, first. When she tells him about the contest, though, he changes his tune. Rose doesn’t want them to just get married because of the contest, but he assures her that’s not the case.
Blanche sulks inside as Carol remains neurotic. Dorothy is having a great time, surrounded by men. Rose and Miles announce their engagement. A rabbi goes to give them his blessing; Sophia trips him and then helps him up. One to go!
“Blanche, I’ve kissed a fool, I’ve helped a holy man; now, I just need to reveal the betrayal of a loved one. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to Dorothy?”
“When she moved in here, I told her there’d be plenty of room for you.”
-Sophia and Blanche
Carol, tired of all the male attention, wants to leave. First, Sophia grabs her and convinces her that her sister, Barbara, has betrayed her. She tells Carol to go betray Barbara, and Carol rushes off to do it before Sophia can find out what she intends to do.
A British man approaches Blanche and compliments her; Blanche finally thinks her luck is changing.
Dorothy runs into Miles sitting alone on the lanai, questioning his decision to marry Rose. Dorothy assures him that they’ll be very happy together. Dorothy quotes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Miles reflects that an objective viewer would likely think they belong together. Naturally, they end up kissing passionately on the lanai… which Sophia sees. Naturally, both Dorothy and Miles feel awful.
Best Empty Nest character Dreyfus the dog somehow rings the doorbell and is giant and adorable. Yay!
Dorothy goes into the kitchen and talks to Sophia, who reveals that she already knows.
“I haven’t seen that kind of face-eating since Silence of the Lambs.”
Sophia says the best thing to do is to use this to break the curse, but Dorothy wants to be the one to tell Rose. Sophia leaves, and Rose enters, looking for cheese.
Blanche thinks Derek might be her soulmate, but as she revels, she realizes that her Grammy’s necklace is gone, and goes to find it. Meanwhile, Dreyfuss eats herring balls.
Barbara from Empty Nest shows up, angry with Sophia. Sophia then tries to convince Barbara that Carol has betrayed her. That gets rid of Barbara quickly enough.
“Maybe the paperboy is right. I’m just a mean old lady.”
Miles and Dorothy are trying to sort out what to do next. Meanwhile, Blanche can’t find Derek, and thinks he may have stolen her necklace.
“Blanche, a terrible thing has happened. But when life does something like this to you, there are a couple of things you gotta remember. You got your health, right?”
“You can still walk, can’t you?”
“Great. Go get me a glass of water.”
-Sophia and Blanche
In the kitchen, Blanche curses Derek’s name.
Rose, meanwhile, wants Miles and Dorothy to reconcile, still not knowing why they’re fighting. Neither of them will tell her the truth. All she wants is for them to kiss and make up. It’s awkward, but they do it. Sophia then enters the room, and tells Rose that Miles and Dorothy kissed. Rose thinks she’s talking about their kiss-and-make-up kiss, and thinks nothing more of it.
“I reveal a betrayal and she doesn’t even cry. It was more fun tripping the rabbi.”
Everyone else leaves, including Dreyfus. A policeman comes to the door with Derek in tow; he stole Blanche’s car in addition to her necklace. When the policeman indicates that it was probably easier for him to take advantage of a senior citizen like Blanche, she insists that she lent him the car, and the policeman leaves Derek in Blanche’s angry hands. He tells her he’s a reformed thief, and that he regrets it all, giving her back her necklace, her ankle bracelet, and someone else’s signet ring.
While Blanche puts her jewelry in her safe, Derek and Rose chat. Derek puts the moves on Rose.
“Rose, has anyone ever told you your eyes are as blue as the Mediterranean in summer?”
“No. I’ve been warned if I cross them, they’ll stay that way.”
-Derek and Rose
They kiss. The policeman comes back; he’s learned that Derek’s wanted for jewel theft in four states. Derek is already gone.
In the kitchen, Dorothy still feels guilty. Sophia and Miles want to let it go, but finally, Miles and Dorothy decide to go and tell Rose the truth. Rose, meanwhile, is just as guilt-ridden about Derek. Dorothy and Miles tell Rose what happened. Rose is pretty lenient.
“Miles, maybe you did it because you’re just a little nervous about us getting married.”
“Well, I am, a little.”
“Well, that’s because we’re rushing into it for some free honeymoon. Not because we’re ready. And Dorothy, maybe subconsciously, you were trying to block my marriage because you like me living here.”
“And, Sophia, maybe you wanted to tell me about Miles and Dorothy kissing because you’re just a mean old woman like the paperboy said.”
-Rose, Miles, Dorothy, and Sophia
Blanche is upset that Derek is gone again, but at least she’s gotten her excitement.
“Doesn’t it feel as though we just woke from a dream? You know, it really has been like Shakespeare, with magic and moonlight and the wrong people falling in love. I mean, what does Puck say in the last speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream? ‘If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended: that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream.’”
“Well, pardon me while I play the grand piano.”
-Dorothy and Sophia
High points: Sophia trying to break the curse by ruining everyone’s lives, moist and delicious cupcakes, general pettiness from Blanche.
Things that don’t age well: There’s another one of those fake realistic TV broadcasts in the credits at the end! Why?? Also, kinda weird that Miles and Dorothy and Rose just get away with everything. That full moon is really something.
MVP: Another excellent ensemble piece; Sophia wins by a nose for tripping a rabbi and pitting the Empty Nest daughters against each other. Fight! Fight! Fight!
The verdict: I use “madcap” a lot to describe episodes of The Golden Girls, but this may be the most madcap of them all.