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According to Julian, Americans talk a lot about the holidays. You know, the ones between Thanksgiving and New Year's Days: The Holiday Season.
This is weird to him, but not to us. Family, presents, and delicious treats: What's not to like?
Anyway, Julian starts off by telling us that Epiphany is going to put on Annie. In case you missed it, Annie is a movie musical about a little orphan named…wait for it…Annie. And Annie has a dog, and the dog is named Sandy.
Well, The Souls decide that Ginger would be the perfect dog to play Sandy. She is, after all, a genius.
Julian, who used to live on a cruise ship where his dad was the cook (the same cruise ship, we think, that Noah's mom and dad sailed on the summer they dumped Noah off with his grandparents), knows a little about animal acts.
The entire group trains Ginger, until she can "Arf!" perfectly on command.
Naturally, she nails the audition, easily beating out the other dogs, including Arnold. Arnold's master is Michael Froelich, BFF with head bully Hamilton Knapp.
Thrilled: The Souls.
Not thrilled: Michael Froelich and his merry band of bullies.
Rehearsals go smoothly, but we've got a bad feeling about all of this.
Finally, it's time for the show. Even Nadia's grandfather and step-grandmother have flown in for the occasion, and they're going to be the inaugural guests at Julian's dad's new bed-and-breakfast.
As the middle schoolers sit in the buses that are going to take them over to the high school auditorium where the first performance is going to take place, Julian hears Hamilton Knapp and his friends talking about something. Something that involves the words "tranquilizers" and "star dog."
Gee. It sounds suspiciously like a plot to poison Ginger.
Julian does a little of his trickery and manages to sneak backstage. He locates the tampered-with treats and is about to dispose of them when Michael appears with Arnold. Turns out, Arnold is going to play Sandy today—and Michael doesn't know a thing about the poisoned treats.
The good angel is telling Julian to save Arnold and let Hamilton Knapp think the trick worked.
The bad angel is telling Julian to let Arnold eat the poisoned treats—they're not going to kill him, after all—and make Michael look like a fool.
We're pretty sure we know which one Julian is going to choose.
The play begins and Sandy is great. Knapp is triumphant.
At this point, we still don't know who's playing Sandy—and we don't know for sure until the dog walks out on stage to take his bow. It's Arnold.
Good angel: victorious.
Knapp, of course, ruins it by getting half the auditorium to shout "Arf! Arf! Arf!" instead of clapping.
A teacher sends the audience off in disgrace, and Mrs. Olinski offers Julian a ride home.
This, we did not expect.
But once we know that Julian is getting in Mrs. O's van, it makes perfect sense that Nadia, Noah, and Ethan come along for the ride.
But first, Julian has to take care of something.
He walks over to Hamilton's mom's van—she's a vet, which is why he had access to tranquilizers—and drops the poisoned treats into Knapp's lap.