Study Guide

The Interestings

The Interestings Summary

You can get a headache trying to think about The Interestings on a straight timeline, so let us break it down for you.

First, we get a glimpse of our main cast as teenagers at Spirit-in-the-Woods, the summer camp that ends up being the formative moment for a lot of what happens later. The year is 1974, and Julie, Ash, Goodman, Jonah, Cathy, and Ethan are typical teens with raging hormones, varying artistic talents, and vague dreams of "being someone" in the future. The thing you need to know the most? This is where Julie becomes Jules and falls in love with/totally idealizes the group that calls themselves the Interestings.

Next up is the same group—a couple of years and several different romantic pairings later—when they first start to fall apart. Goodman is accused of raping Cathy, his on-again-off-again girlfriend, and the Wolf family totally doesn't believe it and pays tons of money to get him acquitted. Goodman pulls a typical Goodman, though, and skips out on the trial. Oops.

The thing you need to know the most? This is the heart of the ambiguity and deception in the book. No one can ever decide whether Goodman did in fact rape Cathy, and since he flees to Iceland and his family secretly visits him, the big ol' Goodman problem is a source of tension for the rest of the novel.

In between the major events here, Jules and Ash marry Dennis (the only significant non-Interesting character) and Ethan, respectively. Ethan creates Figland and becomes a famous animator, while Ash becomes a semi-successful playwright and director in small, off-Broadway theaters. Jules becomes an average therapist after failing at being a comedic actor, and Dennis is an ultrasound technician with a history of depression.

Oh, and Jonah is… something. He sort of disappears from the story for a while, comes out as gay, we get a drug-fueled backstory, and he has a brief, cautious relationship with an HIV-positive lawyer. Cathy is there, too, somewhere, but she also kind of disappears after the Goodman issue.

To round out the trifecta of main plot points, we get a sudden, super dark turn toward depression, nearly-fatal accidents, cancer, and mental disabilities. No, really: Brace yourselves.

Ash and Ethan have a son who is diagnosed with autism, and Ethan struggles for the rest of the novel with his inability to love his child. The only drug that works for Dennis's depression reacts with a food he's not supposed to eat and he nearly dies, so the doctor takes him off the antidepressant and he goes into a downward spiral that almost destroys his marriage with Jules. And topping it all off is the abrupt revelation that Ethan has skin cancer, and the equally abrupt series of chemo appointments that lead to his death. Wow… that was a downer. The end.

  • Part 1: Moments of Strangeness / Chapter 1

    • We open in medias res with a gathering of teens that call themselves the Interestings.
    • Only a few seconds in, the protagonist pops up—Julie Jacobson, "an outsider and possibly even a freak" (1.1).
    • Julie tries to go unnoticed in the corner of the… teepee? Wait, where are these people?
    • We get introduced to Julie's first fear: someone noticing her and then wondering what she's doing among the cool kids. Harsh.
    • Miniature flashback moment: While standing in the bathroom, a girl with a ridiculously hip name, Ash Wolf, casually invites Julie to hang out.
    • More of the flashback happens and we get the sense from the old, ratty towel Julie uses to wipe her face that she doesn't come from a wealthy family.
    • Julie fantasizes about what it would have been like to turn down the glorious opportunity to be part of the Interestings.
    • There's a moment of narrative wistfulness when we learn that these teenagers are firmly in the ironic years where nothing is said straight.
    • Fast-forward at blinding speed as their entire lives are rolled up in a couple sentences that take you through their adult years.
    • Jumping back from that little-did-they-know kind of moment, it becomes obvious that they're at a summer camp and currently chilling in Boys' Teepee 3.
    • Enter Goodman Wolf, Ash's older brother with an equally improbable name.
    • Ash decides the group should have a name.
    • In a moment of biting sarcasm, they christen themselves the Interestings, and toast with joints and vodka and Tang. Classy.
    • Julie clearly worships these people.
    • We find out the group is from NYC, while Julie hails from the apparently dismal New York suburbs.
    • Context, finally: It's the summer of 1974, which explains the joints and the surprising bitterness of these teenagers.
    • All the President's Men is the hot topic of the day and the teens see it as a representation of horrific adulthood; Nixon gets compared to a slug.
    • There's a brief mention of the camp owners, Manny and Edie Wunderlich, who are described as "two aging Socialists" (1.12). 1970s, remember?
    • The story turns to one of the other members of the teepee group, Ethan Figman.
    • Ethan is ugly as all get-out and hugely popular at the camp, based on how he's being hugged and greeted by everyone.
    • Julie and her sister Ellen come upon this scene and Ellen says something mean about Ethan.
    • There's a big ol' foreshadowing moment where Julie defends this random stranger because she feels protective of him.
    • With an abrupt segue into Julie's backstory, we learn that her father died a few months ago from pancreatic cancer.
    • It's a weird and hilariously morbid moment, but Julie remembers getting her period while her dad was dying and not being able to use the bathroom since he was always in it.
    • Turns out Julie's dad died in January and she went to the summer camp on scholarship to get away from the depression and sadness in her house.
    • Our suspicions about the Jacobson family's low finances are confirmed.
    • Shifting back to present-day, we find out that Ethan's an animator and the chief joint-roller in the party.
    • Another player in this scene pops up—Jonah Bay, who appears to have no defining characteristics yet besides being the son of a famous folksinger.
    • Nixon comes up again because, hey, it's the 70s.
    • Next to Jonah sits Cathy Kiplinger, a well-endowed fifteen-year-old who dances all day.
    • King of the group, Goodman Wolf sits above everyone on a top bunk and the story tells us he's big and lazy and mysteriously influential among the other campers.
    • There's another quick little-did-they-know moment about Goodman, whose life ends up on an "alarming trajectory" (1.23).
    • We finally learn the camp is called Spirit-in-the-Woods.
    • The Wolf kids are a cornerstone of the camp and have been for several years.
    • It's clear the narrator loves foreboding little bits of story, so we're told that they all spend one more summer there and then only four of them meet up as adults.
    • Apparently Julie becomes Jules at some point in the near future—right now, however, Julie is an awkward teen with a terrible perm her mother got her.
    • What would have been a funny moment turns abruptly sad as we learn Julie got a perm because she destroyed her own hair while her father was dying.
    • Jonah brings in some cassette tapes and everyone pretends they like the music because he does; they pretentiously discuss books by "spiky and disaffected European writers" (1.33).
    • There's a brief, startling reminder that they're all in school when they mention summer reading for class.
    • As all teens do, the group discusses their parents, and we find out Ethan's are separated.
    • Ash invites everyone to the Labyrinth, though she doesn't explain what that is.
    • We learn through Julie's head that Ethan spends his free swim period in the animation shed with a former Disney production member, Old Mo Templeton.
    • Julie thinks about all their saliva mixing through sharing a joint and starts laughing to herself; Ethan designates himself Julie's protector (at least in her mind).
    • Julie falls in love with the group as a single entity.
    • Ethan's parents aren't just separated—his mom is sleeping with his pediatrician.
    • Ash and Goodman's parents, Gil and Betsy, are "happy as clams" (1.55), and they seem a little proud to have that kind of home.
    • There's a brief reference to the My Lai massacre, which shuts everybody up for a second.
    • Ethan makes fun of Goodman's name, and they all mock a girl who is supposedly named Crema Seamans.
    • Goodman jumps down from the upper bunk and sits on Cathy's feet, but she doesn't seem to mind.
    • Julie makes her first comment out loud to the group, and they reward her with their attention; Goodman calls her Jacobson, which makes her super happy.
    • Julie makes a funky mock toast, and Ash christens her Jules—her place in the group is officially cemented.
    • Jonah picks up the guitar and plays a little. Jules is wowed.
    • An Icelandic camp employee, Gudrun Sigurdsdottir, breaks up the party and sends the girls back to their own tepees.
    • Ethan catches up to Jules and takes her to the animation shed to show her his drawings.
    • Jules watches an early version of Ethan's Figland cartoon and realizes he's a genius.
    • Ethan completely misreads everything and tries to kiss Jules, but she rejects him, and Ethan decides it's because she's inexperienced—not, you know, because he smells "mushroomy, feverish, and overripe" (1.124).
    • Ethan convinces her to reconsider dating him.
    • Back in the girls' tepee, Jules and Ash bond over "moments of strangeness" (1.142).
    • Cathy interrupts Jules's story time, though, and Jules misses out on the opportunity to tell Ash what happened with Ethan.
    • The girls settle into bed for the night and Jane Zell tells them about her sister with the neurological disorder.
    • Cathy sympathizes by telling them about her dream to be a dancer that's hindered by her large breasts. Totally the same thing… er…
    • Nancy Mangiari takes out her cello and plays; Cathy dances and gives the girls life lessons about men.
    • The story jumps ahead through the next few weeks of camp where Ethan and Jules spend a lot of time together.
    • Jules tells Ethan about her father's death and sings him the folksong he used to sing to her.
    • Ethan tells her the song is about nuclear testing, and shares his own stories about his parents' fights.
    • Jules realizes she sadly never knew much about her dad, and somehow this leads to a Freudian moment of her and Ethan making out.
    • We learn that Jules has quickly become someone at the camp, including an actress in the camp plays.
    • Jules becomes addicted to the laughter she gets in a comedic role.
    • Jonah's mother makes a surprise appearance with a former bandmate, Barry Claimes.
    • Susannah Bay sings her signature song to the campers, and later learns her son left during the performance. Burn.
    • Jules muses about the weirdness of her friendship with Ash and Ethan.
    • Ethan talks about Susannah's melancholy song in the hopes of depressing Jules enough to want to kiss him again. Um… way to be a creep, dude.
    • Jules finally tells Ethan she won't keep trying to respond to him, and firmly insists it isn't what she wants.
    • They watch Goodman and a random girl from camp kiss, and Jules gets aroused thinking about kissing Goodman instead of Ethan.
  • Chapter 2

    • There's a jump here to Manny and Edie Wunderlich, the camp proprietors.
    • Manny reminisces about the days when his wife was a wild child with magical sex powers (you know, before she got old and boring).
    • The couple collectively tries to remember previous campers with "talent."
    • We learn that Manny, being old, is now "chemically castrated" due to hormones taken for prostate cancer.
    • The two complain about the fact that the camp mostly creates nostalgia in former campers.
    • There's a foreshadowing moment when Manny and Edie get a Christmas card, and they reverently say it's from Ethan and Ash.
  • Chapter 3

    • Just as we closed with an envelope in Chapter 2, we open here with a strangely elaborate description of one.
    • Moments later, we learn that this is the same (or a similar) Christmas letter from Ash and Ethan.
    • Evidently Ash and Ethan bought a ranch in Colorado at some point, though they rarely live there.
    • We're introduced to Dennis, who is (judging by the "Jacobson-Boyd'" reference) Jules's husband.
    • Adult Jules is seemingly far bitterer about her friends than the young Jules that fell in love with them—to this end, Dennis and Jules have a ritual for reading the Christmas letter, and it involves wine.
    • The card that comes with the letter has a new "Ethan Figman drawing," which is said with such seriousness that it has to mean something important.
    • We learn that the Christmas letter is a long tradition of occasionally hokey letters from Ethan and Ash.
    • Jules and Dennis never write their own Christmas letter because they have nothing to tell (also, turns out their daughter, Rory, is sort of unimpressive).
    • Jules imagines the writing process for the letter and clearly has no idea how Ash and Ethan spend their money.
    • There's a strange bit here where Jules takes guesses about the level of friendship required to get a letter, and places herself among the closest.
    • The novel gives you the whole letter, which is pretty average as far as Christmas letters go.
    • In fast-forward: Ash directs plays, they have two kids, Ethan's show Figland has been on air for almost twenty-five years, and the couple is pretty insufferably perfect in general.
    • Jules drinks the whole bottle of wine and talks about how much more envious and grouchy she used to be when she heard about Ash and Ethan's life; Dennis appears to have been understanding about her jealousy for a very long time.
    • Jules eats what sounds like a really good chicken Dennis made, and thinks about how much better food would be at Ash and Ethan's place.
    • Jules then inwardly gripes about her kitchen floor with its grubby tiles.
    • Ever so graciously, Jules concedes that Ethan and Ash don't have everything, since they have a son with an autism-spectrum disorder.
    • Flashback to the time Jules went on a trip with Ash to get her son, Mo, diagnosed because Ethan couldn't go with her.
    • Ethan calls them while in the car and ends up asking Jules to stay with Ash as a kind of stand-in support while he's away.
    • Jules reassures Ash that everything will be okay because it's always okay in Ash's life.
    • Turns out that Mo has a specific diagnosis that still manages to be incredibly vague: a "pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified" (3.69).
    • There's another mysterious mention of Goodman's epic screw-up, which has yet to be explained.
    • The flashback ends, leaving Jules and Dennis curled up in bed in a poorly heated apartment while Jules imagines a perfect warm fire on Ethan and Ash's perfect ranch.
  • Chapter 4

    • Nothing like an abrupt opening sentence about Dennis's history with depression.
    • We find out that Dennis and Jules met at a dinner party in the fall of 1981, when this chapter takes place.
    • Jules has moved to the city to try being an actor.
    • There's a telling moment when the narrative explains how little everyone thinks about mental illness until it's up in their faces.
    • Dennis's upstairs neighbor, Isadora, throws the dinner party and tells Jules ahead of time that Dennis is basically a plain old average dude.
    • We learn a little bit about how Jules got to the actual city area of New York—she graduated from the State University of New York and finally moved to where all her camp friends were from.
    • Unsurprisingly, though, life in New York right out of school isn't super glamorous.
    • Jules's attempts at being an actor aren't going well, particularly since her whole shtick is being only sort of funny.
    • Ash and Jules are taking an acting class together at this moment, and Jules is way worse than Ash at it.
    • Jules's favorite part is eating dinner after class alone with Ash, because evidently Jules is really possessive about her friends.
    • Ash encourages Jules to continue trying to act even though she stinks.
    • Back to the dinner party scene, Jules is introduced as an actor to Dennis, who is introduced in turn as a temp at a clinic.
    • Historical context moment: They've moved from living under Nixon's presidency to living under Reagan's, and they find them both blah.
    • Totally random tangent into a description of how Jules's childhood home has gotten all old and broken-down.
    • Back to Dennis: He's unlike anyone else at the dinner party—he doesn't know who he is or what he wants, but he's solid.
    • The other party guests are introduced: Robert Takahashi, a gay Japanese-American with a great body, and Janine Banks, a person who… gets no description.
    • Jules thinks that Robert should meet her friend Jonah Bay, but then briefly remembers something we don't understand about Jonah and indoctrination into a farm church.
    • Robert tells a story about fooling around with a colleague, Trey, until they both discovered Trey had a cancer that's usually for old people.
    • It seems Robert is actually really freaked out by this and thinks there's something in the air at work that's poisoning people.
    • Dennis finally contributes to the conversation by talking about how he controls his reactions to things.
    • Jules agrees with Dennis because she wrote a paper about the method he uses in a psych class.
    • Isadora makes a dumb comment about Jules and Dennis kissing, which we know isn't really so dumb given that this is a chapter about how they met.
    • The other people tell some boring stories, then Jules tells a story about using people's emotional baggage for a psych experiment on body language.
    • There's a jump forward in time where we learn that Isadora eventually leaves New York, possibly becomes a dog groomer in Florida, and then dies in a traffic accident.
    • Jules and Dennis, looking at Isadora's death notice, feel sad about her death and don't understand why, since they never really liked her in life.
    • Back to the dinner party briefly so Jules can think about her interest in Dennis and his in her.
    • Jules reminisces about dating in college, which was gross and uneventful, and this leads to a description of her college roommates, who were basically monsters.
    • Jules calls Ash at Yale and asks her to come and rescue her from the state university.
    • Ash tells her Yale is bad, too (and apparently Ash smokes). She agrees to drive up to see Jules, though she says "we," because she and Ethan are inseparable.
    • Ethan and Ash recommend that Jules avoid her roommates at all costs and seek out smart people.
    • Jules takes their advice and that's how she meets Isadora in a psych class (ah—so that's why we're getting this story).
    • Back again to the dinner party. Getting a little dizzy from all this jumping around?
    • Dennis asks what Isadora was like in college and Jules tries not to mention how she likes her a lot less now—but when she Dennis what Isadora is like as a neighbor, he says she's scary.
    • Dennis leaves the party first because he has to get up early for a football game.
    • Isadora rudely talks about him right after he leaves and tells everyone he's a depressive; Jules learns that Dennis lived briefly at the psychiatric hospital near Spirit-in-the-Woods.
    • Then Isadora brings out a joint and they all smoke pot, which Jules no longer likes.
    • Jules runs into Dennis on her way out of the apartment and they exchange small talk until he invites Jules over and she says no, even though she wants to say yes.
    • Jump forward two months to Jules and Dennis meeting on the street.
    • Dennis walks with her to Copies Plus to get a play, um, copied, and Isadora and Robert are there working.
    • Jules asks about Robert's colleague with cancer, and they find out he died; Robert breaks down in the store and Dennis awkwardly hugs him.
    • Jules and Dennis run out of the store and away from the death and sadness.
    • Somehow Jules and Dennis collectively know they are now going to head back to his place and have sex.
    • In Dennis's apartment, he and Jules strip down and climb the ladder to his loft bed.
    • The bed is too close to the ceiling to sit up straight, so they have way more intimacy than Jules is comfortable with.
    • They have sex, and Jules notices that Dennis is vulnerable and strong at the same time; afterward, they drink milk in bed and talk about their lives.
    • Dennis reveals his family doesn't like each other and he worries that Jules will think he's a jerk.
    • Jules describes him (in her head, hopefully not out loud) as a reliable man with "no obvious exceptional talents" (4.139)… Ah, young love.
    • There's a Freudian moment where Jules associates Dennis with memories of her dad pre-cancer.
    • Dennis tells Jules about his mental breakdown, hoping she won't get scared off.
    • A day later, Jules tells Ash she slept with someone, when she does, Jules finds that she likes talking about doing it as much as actually doing it.
    • Jules imagines a strange couples' dinner scenario where Dennis is uncultured, while we find ourselves wondering if this will be a problem later.
    • Then there's a loving description of that same thing where Dennis is pitched as "not arty," but enjoying learning and living.
    • Still on the phone call, Ash asks Jules if it's serious; she thinks it is.
    • Ash recommends Jules tell Dennis that she already knew about his nervous breakdown from Isadora.
    • This strikes Jules as hypocritical, though, so now we know that there's some horrible secret Ash has from Ethan.
    • The next time she sees Dennis (at the zoo—yay), Jules admits that she knew about his depression, and Dennis is okay with this bit of news.
    • We learn that Dennis has a family history of untreated depression and his family thinks he'd have been fine if he'd never gone off to college.
    • After the zoo, they go back to Jules's apartment to have dinner and Dennis lays out the dinner he brought over.
    • Jules tells him she doesn't really cook, and there's an unspoken agreement that he'll do the cooking for them as a couple.
    • Dennis explains his food restrictions with the medication he's on, and most of it is fancy food. We say bummer to that—we love fancy food. And pie.
    • Jules realizes she wants to try cooking for Dennis, and that caring for each other often involves food.
    • But then Dennis gets super serious for a minute and tells her that some foods could actually kill him.
  • Chapter 5

    • We're back in 1974 in this chapter, and that first summer at camp is over.
    • Jules has become a brat who thinks her mom and sister are stupid compared to all her special camp friends; she's also overly dramatic about the travesty of having to live in suburban New York instead of the city where everyone else lives. So it goes when you're a teen, though.
    • Jules flips through Ash's yearbook from camp and sees all of the boys who wrote love notes to her.
    • It seems like Jules is as much in love with Ash and the rest of the group as Ash's fond admirers.
    • Jules absurdly starts to cry about leaving camp and going back to her boring old life, and then Ethan shows up out of nowhere and starts babbling nonsense at Jules's mom.
    • Ethan is convinced that Jules is crazy about him even though their kissing was pretty bland and Jules thinks he smells gross.
    • Jules says goodbye to the other people in the group, and shares meaningless words with Jonah and Cathy.
    • For some reason, Jules is obsessed with seeing Goodman one more time and finds him in a dark room in the dining hall.
    • Jules chats with Goodman for a minute and realizes that he hates leaving camp as much as she does because he's basically a god there.
    • She reaches out to hug Goodman because she wants to feel his chest against hers… and then her mom and sister show up at exactly the wrong moment, ruining everything. Ugh.
    • Goodman peaces out without even a real goodbye and Jules cries at the injustice of it all; in the car on the way home, she decides her time at camp has made her discerning. Not to be haters, but she just seems kind of mean now.
    • Dramatic as always, Jules tells herself she's basically a kidnapping victim being torn away from everything she loved.
    • Back at home, everything is ugly in the suburbs.
    • Jules tries to avoid her mom and sister as much as possible and spends most of her time in her room calling the Labyrinth, which we learn is just Ash's house.
    • Jules composes letters (like, the paper kind) to her camp friends, but only really hears back from Ethan.
    • Apparently Jules continued to reject Ethan throughout the summer, a "wound" he will carry always.
    • Ethan's letters to Jules are filled with jokes about rejection, but we can't quite tell if they're friendly or bitter.
    • After the school year starts, Jules takes the train into the city and is relieved to find she still sort of fits with the group.
    • Ethan has just had an article come out about rising star teens that has a picture of him and a bad quote about animation.
    • The group discusses being interviewed, and all have predictable responses.
    • Jules bemoans having to choose a career and wishes a field would come to her, while Goodman lazily wishes someone else would make him famous.
    • Everyone worries that Ethan is on his way to being famous and might mess it up before then.
    • The group shares an idyllic little scene of smoking weak marijuana out on the street and wandering uptown in the safety of 1970s New York.
  • Chapter 6

    • At last we get a Jonah chapter, and it looks like it'll explain his mysterious childhood.
    • Enter Barry Claimes, of the folk group the Whistlers, who sort of dated Jonah's mom occasionally.
    • At age eleven, Jonah already shows some talent for playing guitar and making up strange little songs about toast—Barry recognizes Jonah's talent immediately and they become friends through music.
    • Barry takes Jonah to his house one day and tries to get him to make up more little songs for the guitar.
    • Jonah gets nervous, though, and can't play, but he likes the attention so he comes back the next day.
    • Barry is weirdly intense about getting Jonah to eat a piece of gum before he plays guitar.
    • Jonah starts messing around on the guitar and suddenly notices the walls seem like they're breathing.
    • Jonah doesn't realize it yet, but we can obviously see that he was drugged. Dramatic irony for the win (or the lose, as the case may be when it comes to Jonah).
    • Jonah thinks he's schizophrenic and Barry convinces him to make up some more lyrics.
    • Because he's high as a kite, Jonah starts imitating Barry's voice until Barry suggests he sing something about Vietnam.
    • Jonah makes up a pretty sad song about dying in Vietnam right on the spot, which Barry records.
    • For his part, Jonah continues to wig out and ends up crying on Barry's floor.
    • Barry drives him home and tells him he's just a creative person with vision—oh, and also to, you know, not tell his mom about what happened.
    • Jonah's relationship with his mom is pleasant but not close. He spent a lot of time alone as a kid, and apparently has some strong skill in building machines.
    • Susannah, Jonah's mom, wrote a song about him that earned a bunch of money and paid his way through MIT.
    • Bummer alert: The drug experience with Barry wasn't just a one-time thing, and he did it to Jonah consistently for a while.
    • Jonah never told anyone about his jam sessions with Barry, and his mother just thought it was a good thing that he had a kind of father figure.
    • Jonah, however, saw Barry as more of a selfish deity to be pleased—apparently Barry got huffy whenever Jonah didn't want to play music for him.
    • When Jonah is twelve, he finally understands that what's been happening to him is not just creativity.
    • He checks out Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception to learn about psychotropics, and is totally—and correctly—convinced he has been fed drugs.
    • Jonah makes a list of all the foods he's eaten at Barry's (including the time he licked a stamp) that were given to him before he started hallucinating.
    • Turns out that Jonah has lingering effects from the drugs and is pretty much going crazy. Thanks for nothing, Barry.
    • Susannah goes on tour and Jonah stays home, getting badgered via phone by Barry.
    • Eventually Barry stops calling, and then one day Jonah hears his Vietnam song on the radio from Barry's album.
    • Jonah has flashbacks for a while over his song being stolen and his mind being warped by drugs.
    • Fast-forward to Jonah on that first day of the Interestings' reunion and we learn that Jonah has liked boys since the first grade.
    • Jonah doesn't share his sexuality with his friends from camp and doesn't want a music career. He does, however, get high with his camp friends, despite his bad past with drugs.
    • Jonah has a brief moment where he looks at his mother in the dining room on his way out and notices how she's getting older.
    • Curiously, Jonah doesn't blame his mother for not protecting him from Barry because he was the one that refused to tell her what was going on.
    • Ooh—Jonah's mom is still friends with Barry and that time she came to camp with him was the first time Jonah had seen him in years.
    • Now we're at the moment of their entrance into the Labyrinth and Jonah is unimpressed with the Wolfs' house-full of objects.
    • The group splits up into pairs and heads off to various rooms; Jonah is paired with Ash even though he's gay because they're both delicately beautiful.
    • This girl-crush thing often happens to Jonah because of his looks, and for whatever reason he's okay with it.
    • Ash and Jonah kiss for a long time and Jonah finds it boring and safe.
    • They leave Ash's room and notice Cathy and Goodman have gone off to Goodman's room and are probably "going all the way" (6.88).
    • Out in the living room, the Jules/Ethan pair isn't doing anything remotely sexual—instead, they're playing the board game Trouble.
    • A stupid song pops into Jonah's head and it makes him think of Barry, which is super disturbing to him.
    • Jonah wonders if he is Ash's boyfriend now and decides that all he really wants to do is fall asleep next to her.
  • Chapter 7

    • Time for a chapter about the Wolf family.
    • Jules is aware that she'll never belong in the Labyrinth, but she also doesn't feel like a total outsider anymore.
    • Ash and Jonah have been a couple since that first day.
    • Cathy and Goodman have, too, only they seem to kind of hate each other and are too old for the group.
    • Ethan tries to spend a lot of time at the Wolfs' house, though he is usually at home drawing cartoons.
    • Jules wants to spend all her time at the Labyrinth and is kind of a jerk about it to her mom and sister; she idealizes the Wolfs like crazy, making each one perfect in their own way.
    • Random tangent into Jules's life in college and her first sexual experience, which was five minutes long and sounds unpleasant.
    • Jules wishes she had been able to trick Goodman into touching her, which is pretty creepy.
    • Back to the Labyrinth, we learn that (unsurprisingly) the Wolfs throw parties like nobody's business.
    • Also, everyone is still worried that Goodman has no real talent for anything except charisma.
    • There's a New Year's party at the Wolf house and Ethan and Jules are paired up again.
    • Ethan tries kissing her (give it up already, dude) and they have a platonic moment where Ethan tells her she's great.
    • Jules realizes she's very happy in her friendship with Ethan even though he doesn't attract her.
    • Ethan and Jules talk about their lack of experience and Ethan seems unhappy with the stupid irony they've always used in the group.
    • Ethan's New Year's resolution is to think about other people more; Jules's New Year's resolution is to be loved by someone who excites her (a.k.a. not Ethan).
    • On to 1975, when Ash and Jonah break up quietly and Cathy and Goodman break up loudly.
    • They all head back to summer camp as usual, but Cathy rarely shows up for the social sessions in the boys' teepee.
    • One day, Goodman demands that Cathy be summoned to the teepee, and Ash and Jules discover her dancing with a boy named Troy.
    • Ash and Jules leave her there and briefly think about how Cathy has found love in the way they haven't.
    • We skip the rest of the summer at camp to find ourselves on the final day when Manny and Edie are organizing all the campers on the ground for an aerial photo.
    • There's a farewell party later that night and Goodman can't deal with the sight of Cathy and Troy dancing.
    • Back in the boys' teepee, Goodman gets drunk and the group chats with Gudrun, the weaving teacher and lifeguard.
    • Gudrun teaches them a life lesson: Their hearts will always be aching. So much to look forward to, right?
    • Back in the city, Goodman becomes an alcoholic and his parents start making him go to a psychiatrist.
    • Ash and Jules talk about why he's being difficult, and no one seems to understand.
    • Ash reveals that she and Jonah nearly had sex, but they didn't know what they were doing and went to an X-rated movie for help. Both of them were so disgusted and frightened by it, though, that they never had sex.
    • Goodman drinks some more and then aggressively kisses Jules until he gets bored.
    • Jules is dismissed to the kitchen, effectively wrapping up one of the odder Goodman scenes so far.
    • Another New Year's Eve and everyone is back at the Labyrinth.
    • Cathy shows up without her boyfriend, Troy, and everyone gets way too stoned; Jonah helps Cathy and Goodman get a cab because they apparently have some secret adventure planned.
    • Ash abruptly gets a call that Ethan picks up, and the news is that Goodman has been arrested.
    • Ethan demands Ash get her parents on the phone because Cathy says Goodman raped her and he is now getting his one phone call from jail.
    • Ash goes off to talk to her parents while Ethan, Jules, and Jonah discuss the possibility that Goodman did it, even though Goodman claims it was all a misunderstanding.
    • Jules suddenly despairs that she'll never get enough attention to be in a messy situation with a boy. Not sure she's quite getting the stakes here…
    • Jules also ends up feeling angry with Cathy for all of the attention she's getting. Stay classy, Jules.
    • Ash returns and convinces her parents to let everyone come to the precinct.
    • Before any evidence is shown, Ash decides Cathy is lying.
    • Meanwhile, Jonah is having a mental breakdown because he's the one who brought the drugs to the party tonight and got everyone high.
    • The chapter ends with Jules, Ethan, and Jonah waiting for a cab to take them to the police station.
  • Chapter 8

    • We open with Goodman sobbing in a holding cell.
    • Police guy/lawyer Dick Peddy tells the group to head home because Goodman's not getting out tonight; Ash sarcastically wishes everyone a happy new year.
    • The group is swarmed by reporters as they leave the station, but Betsy Wolf fends them off.
    • Ethan comforts Ash outside the station, then tells her to go home and sleep among her stuffed animal collection.
    • Apparently Ash has a bunch of weird stuffed animals.
    • Ethan "signs on" to take care of Ash, beginning their eventual relationship.
    • Jules comes up with a story for what happened between Cathy and Goodman: According to Dick Peddy, Cathy accused Goodman of rape because she was embarrassed.
    • Every time Jules goes to the Labyrinth now, the Wolfs are talking about money and the case. Boring.
    • Turns out the perfect Wolf family is actually getting in a bunch of fights over this, too.
    • Goodman's future college rejects him until his legal situation is "resolved favorably," so now there's nothing for Goodman to do except go to school and see a shrink.
    • Dick Peddy tried to convince Cathy's parents not to go to trial.
    • Ash asks Jules to talk to Cathy since they're all banned from contacting her, so Cathy and Jules meet up at a little cafe where Cathy drinks diet things with extra ice.
    • Jules notices that Cathy's once-perfect fingernails have been chewed down to nothing, a practice Jules identifies with because she used to chew on her hair when her father was dying.
    • We are told that eventually Jules will participate in a Take Back the Night March.
    • Cathy says her story is true, Jules says she believes both her and Goodman (huh?), and Cathy makes some true comments about Goodman's character.
    • Jules's dislike of her family gets found out and Cathy accuses her of fawning over the Wolf family.
    • As Cathy describes the rape in excruciating detail, Jules feels her pain—only briefly, though, because then she basically tells Cathy to get over it.
    • Somehow Jules thought she could convince Cathy to let this go, but Cathy isn't having it.
    • Of course, Jules's desire to solve the Cathy problem comes from wanting to be adored by Goodman and the Wolfs. Ugh.
    • In a completely stupid move, Jules asks if Cathy maybe misinterpreted being raped.
    • Cathy has had enough, calls Jules weak, and gets up to go.
    • Jules responds by telling Cathy that she's going to ruin Goodman's life, to which Cathy makes some very true points about her own life already being messed up by this and how if it had been a stranger they would have supported her.
    • And with that, someone finally calls out the privileged nature of this group of kids.
    • Cathy reveals that Ethan is the only one who has been contacting her to find out how she is.
    • She leaves, and Jules pays the tab before heading back to the Wolfs' apartment.
    • Jules tells Ash that Cathy should be more of a fake or practiced mess if she were lying, but Ash—who long ago decided in favor of her brother—isn't having it and tells Jules to leave.
    • Ethan checks in with Jules while she goes about her business back in Underhill.
    • Turns out Ash feels badly about making her leave, so Ethan works out a peace agreement between the two and Jules goes back to the Labyrinth.
    • Ethan still keeps in touch with Cathy, and refuses to let anyone tell him he can't.
    • Goodman spends the summer prepping with his lawyers until he's worn out.
    • Ash confesses to Jules that she's not sure whether her mom believes Goodman is innocent even though her mom is very vocal about it.
    • Because everyone knows Goodman, no one is concerned when he stops going to his therapist, but when Ash checks Goodman's room, it's obvious that he cleaned it before he left.
    • Goodman has bounced, fled along with some of his trust fund, his passport, and various other documents.
    • The Wolfs try calling Spirit-in-the-Woods to see if Goodman turned up there, but no luck.
    • Dick Peddy tells them that as long as Goodman shows up for a court date, his fleeing isn't a problem—but, of course, Goodman never shows.
    • This is all briefly a front-page news story until more interesting crimes pop up and people forget about Goodman.
    • Ash is taking Goodman's flight the hardest, since they were always close as siblings.
    • Jules finally invites Ash out to her house in Long Island and cleans up in a crazy way.
    • Suddenly Jules sees her mother's perspective on the way Jules loves another family instead of her own and very briefly feels ashamed.
    • Ash and Lois Jacobson get along swimmingly, and Jules is the only one uncomfortable with it; Jules makes all sorts of mean, sarcastic comments about the place she lives in.
    • Jules has a weird moment where she thinks about the way Ash smells and how people would want to drink in that smell from the girl.
    • Ash worries about how Goodman will make it because her strength is purpose and his is not.
    • Jules resets the house after Ash leaves.
    • No one hears from Goodman as the school year wraps up and the group (without Cathy and Goodman) goes to Spirit-in-the-Woods again.
    • The camp has changed and now this group is old compared to the rest.
    • Ash confesses that she secretly hopes one day Goodman will show up, and tells Jules about a fairy tale she's been keeping as a fantasy.
    • Everything at the camp is older, including Old Mo Templeton, if that's possible, and Ash and Jules start taking walks to be away from all the young campers.
    • One day Ash isn't around for a walk and later that night Jules finds out why—Ethan comes into the girls' teepee and climbs into Ash's bed.
    • Apparently Ethan and Ash have some sort of chemistry. Jules is appalled.
  • Chapter 9

    • Ash and Ethan became lovers and Jules makes it about her and her loneliness.
    • Ethan is there for all the big events in Ash's life (that Goodman is missing), and eventually Ash gets accepted into Yale and Ethan to the School of Visual Arts.
    • Jules plans to go to the State University of New York and, of course, Jonah goes to MIT.
    • For some reason, Jules thinks that if Goodman hadn't run off, Ash and Ethan wouldn't have gotten together.
    • Jules and Jonah bond over being single.
    • Jonah's mom gets Jules and Jonah to listen to a new song she's playing and asks if it is something they'd show their friends. Sad.
    • Jules asked Jonah once why he didn't play music anymore and got a cold rebuff.
    • Ash and Ethan have basically started living together at the Labyrinth, with Ethan staying in Goodman's old room. Yeah, we think that's kind of creepy, too.
    • Because Ethan and Ash are like an adult couple, Jules went with her to Planned Parenthood to get her fitted for a diaphragm.
    • In the waiting room, Jules imagines the other people think she's not a virgin and is pleased by that.
    • According to Ash, even though Ethan's ugly he's great in bed.
    • Despite this info, though, Jules totally can't figure out how Ethan landed a girl as pretty as Ash.
    • Jules convinces herself she's the loneliest person on the subway.
    • The Wolfs plan a summer trip to Iceland and Ash invites Jules—though Jules's mom doesn't like the idea, she lets her go anyway.
    • Bummer for Jules, she reacts strongly to the travel and ends up spending the first day throwing up.
    • When Jules wakes up, she finds a note from Ash directing her to a nearby cafe.
    • And guess who Jules finds there? Goodman. Ta-da.
    • The Wolfs explain how he called earlier and let them know he was being sheltered by Gudrun in Iceland, and they planned a trip out to see him after sending him some money.
    • Jules finds out that Ash never told Ethan and Gil (a.k.a. Papa Wolf) basically threatens her with not telling anyone.
    • There's a big emotional moment and then Ash accuses Goodman of not being there when their dog died.
    • With nothing to really say to anyone else, Jules makes awkward small talk with Gudrun.
  • Part 2: Figland / Chapter 10

    • Jump forward to 1984, ten years after that first summer at camp, where Ethan and Ash are having dinner in an exclusive Japanese restaurant with network big shots.
    • Ethan's show, Figland, was actually bought by a network and they built a new office so he could stay in New York. Fancy.
    • This meal is like, totally blowing Ethan's mind, but Ash is all cool about it.
    • Super uncomfortable in this restaurant, Ethan starts babbling even though he knows Ash hates it.
    • Flashback: We get a little background on what Ethan's been doing up until now—he worked on a nighttime cartoon for adults called The Chortles.
    • He ends up hating working on that show so much that he quits during an employee retreat to Hawaii.
    • Ethan is jobless and doodling Figland characters like a crazy man; meanwhile, Ash is assistant directing various weird, unpaid indie plays, and Jonah designs machines to make disabled people's lives easier.
    • This is apparently after Jules met and started dating Dennis, because he has now decided to go to ultrasound technology school.
    • Ethan still loves and wants Jules even though he's been with Ash forever.
    • We find out that Jules hasn't been able to make it in acting—and this isn't bum luck, her acting teacher actually asked her what on earth she was doing trying to be an actor. Ouch.
    • So whom does Jules call? Ethan, of course, and he talks her through her ordeal, and it sounds like Jules is making a career switch.
    • On the flip side, Ash is doing quite well as an actor, but wants to direct plays by and about women.
    • There's a weird moment where Ash thinks about all the things her mom could have done if she hadn't gotten married right away.
    • Ethan takes great pleasure in sharing a snack with Jules over the phone.
    • Jules mentions her plans to explore becoming a therapist in order to stop being so self-involved, and though Dennis believes in Jules's plans, she asks Ethan because he'll have a strong opinion.
    • His assessment? He likes talking to Jules, so he assumes other people would, too.
    • Jules enrolls in Columbia University's School of Social Work and actually does pretty well.
    • Gil calls up Ethan and invites him to a business lunch.
    • Fun fact: Ethan and Ash had a breakup period in college because Ash slept with someone else and then Ethan responded by trying to feel up Jules.
    • Ethan thinks the conversation with Gil will be about his daughter, but really it's about Ethan's career plans; Gil encourages Ethan to pitch Figland to the networks.
    • Ethan is also forced to look at some of Gil's own drawings, which are loving sketches of his kids that make them look like monsters.
    • Back to the Japanese restaurant in the 1984 present, where Ethan and Ash discuss how the talk went.
    • Apparently Ethan has turned down a number of opportunities in order to take care of Old Mo; he feels a sense of fulfillment that now he'll be able to do what he wants.
    • Ash and Ethan go home and have sex.
    • We get a momentary flashback to the start of the relationship from Ethan's point of view and how he didn't get it at first.
    • Back at that fateful summer, they shared long confessions about various things in their lives and Ash eventually invited him to her teepee; they shared a bed at camp that night while Ethan was thinking about being in the same room as Jules. Um…
    • Back to the present moment where Ethan and Ash lie in bed and talk about his fears that the show will be dumb.
    • Ash is obsessing over The Drama of the Gifted Child, which basically tells kids their narcissistic parents are damaging them.
    • There's a brief overview of Figland, which really sounds a lot like The Simpsons.
    • Ethan fantasizes that the show will tank, but refuses to leave New York if that happens. We guess we'll chalk that up to some kind of principles.
    • We get a little snippet of NY in the 1980s with its big homelessness problem and the lurking fear of the AIDS virus.
    • The group hears that Cathy got an MBA from Stanford and is working in finance. You go, girl.
    • Ethan refuses to ever leave New York because Ash's parents would hate to lose her as well as Goodman.
    • It's clear that Ash has never told Ethan about Goodman, and instead just changes the subject whenever he brings it up. Quality partnership, this one.
    • Ethan won't let the subject go and suggests getting a private detective to find Goodman.
    • Turns out that what Ethan really hates is the not knowing—but Ash tells Ethan that he's just torturing her with this and starts to cry. Point: Ash.
  • Chapter 11

    • A couple years later, Dennis walks down to the corner store to pick up Media Now's list of the most powerful people in media.
    • He takes it back to the apartment he and Jules share, and Dennis yells up to her that Ethan made number ninety-eight on the list of one hundred.
    • Earlier this year, Jules and Dennis got married earlier in a modest wedding.
    • Lois regrets that Jules's dad wasn't able to be there, but Jules refuses to think about him on that day.
    • Ash stands up during the lunch/reception and gives a speech about how Dennis is a solid and Jules is a liquid and together they have chemistry.
    • Two months later, Ethan and Ash get married in a lavish ceremony.
    • We find out that Ash and Jules have continued to share the Goodman secret with each other, though Jules is mainly there to listen to Ash vent.
    • Ash and the Wolfs have evidently been visiting Goodman every so often in various places in Europe; Ash pretends he is at her wedding.
    • At Ash and Ethan's wedding, Jules gives a toast and, predictably, makes a joke. Ha ha.
    • Jules and Dennis adjust to married life, assuming that eventually the low incomes and high expenses will balance out into something normal.
    • Ash and Jules continue their strong friendship into adulthood and explore the joys of women's sex toys, each buying a vibrator called the Joystick.
    • And then life moves on and the vibrator getting tossed somewhere in the closet—Joystick, we hardly knew ye.
    • However, Jules and Ethan's friendship becomes much harder to talk about and much more unspoken.
    • The economic divide between the couples starts becoming more obvious, and Jules worries that Ethan is changing into someone that loves money.
    • Back to the present moment where Dennis has the magazine—Ethan is included on the list because of what is expected to happen with his show.
    • The magazine predicts Ethan's show will go into syndication and he'll make tons of money soon; Jules had no idea about any of this, though, because Ethan never talks directly about his success.
    • For the first time, we see Jules starting to get openly bitter about the differences.
    • Dennis tries to get her to talk about something else (and clearly doesn't see the real problem), but Jules is fixated on the walk-in fridge Ethan and Ash now have as a symbol of their wealth.
    • While giving Dennis a foot rub, Jules decides they should be embarrassed to let Ethan and Ash come over to their shabby apartment.
    • Jules argues that they wouldn't be selected as Ash and Ethan's friends if they met in adulthood since their other friends are also super rich; Jules says they should leave them alone.
    • She remembers a time when she and Dennis ran into Ash and Ethan while they were on their way to the bookstore to sell their used books, and feels deeply ashamed of it now because they know how poor Jules and Dennis are.
    • For his part, Dennis has had about enough of this.
    • Jules says that the only reason Ash and Ethan have made it this far is that they have money—talent is useful, sure, but you can make it without talent if you have money.
    • Dennis tries to start the dishes, but Jules begs him to leave and walk around somewhere, so he tries for comfort her; she refuses to believe that what they have is enough, though.
    • Dennis accuses his wife of actively trying to mess up their life together when he really likes it.
    • Jules denies it, but Dennis suggests that perhaps she's cheated on him because he doesn't make much money. He also tells her that she's creating an unhealthy environment in their marriage by suggesting she'd be better off if he were someone else.
    • As if on cue, Ash calls right at that moment and invites them out to dinner.
    • Unlike before, they now make no attempt to split the bill.
    • The next year, the couples take their first vacation together to Mount Kilimanjaro, with Jonah and Robert coming along.
    • Ethan hates traveling and having an assistant, but he asks his assistant to find the three couples a good trip.
    • Ash has to convince Ethan it's okay to spend his money.
    • Their next trip is to Paris, where Jules asks Ethan how he learned how to behave rich, a question which displeases Ethan; the divided between them grows bigger.
    • During a trip to Venice the following year, Jules wakes up and wonders what they're doing there.
    • Ash has continued to see Goodman throughout the years and will often have something new to tell Jules.
    • A year earlier, the Wolfs flew to see Goodman and discovered he'd been fired for showing up late too many times and was doing a bunch of cocaine.
    • Goodman got sent to an Icelandic rehab center for a month.
    • Gudrun and her husband are no longer sheltering Goodman because they had a baby; with the money the Wolfs sent, Gudrun became a successful textile designer.
    • Evidently, Jules actually told Dennis about Goodman in the early stages of their relationship. When she does, he is shocked by the arrogance of the Wolf family and asks Jules if she ever thought about turning him in.
    • Jules explains that she doesn't want to get involved like that, and tells Dennis he can't tell anyone.
    • Dennis is happy that she told him because it means something big for their relationship; he admits that he doesn't like Ash and her family as a unit, which Jules is okay with.
    • Back in Venice, Jules wakes up Dennis and they have sex in that expensive hotel room.
    • Afterward they eat breakfast and Jules wonders what Goodman looks like now—Dennis imagines he looks all leathery and gross.
    • As the vacation winds down, the couples exchange notes on how each place was.
    • Everyone heads home, and Jules and Dennis suddenly are forced back into their own low-income world.
    • Jules and Ash both start to settle into their careers and talk about having kids.
    • Everyone goes to see Ash's directorial debut—Ibsen's Ghosts—and it's unexpectedly good.
    • She even gets a review in the New York Times; clearly she's got talent independently of her man.
    • Ash's theater offers her a position as their resident feminist playwright and director.
    • During a celebration dinner for Ash, Ethan tells Robert about Ash's first attempt at writing a play.
    • Robert tells Dennis that they've clearly missed something with not being at Spirit-in-the-Woods.
    • Something very bad is about to happen… or at least we think so, because the story starts talking about Dennis's food restrictions while they're in a restaurant.
    • After multiple courses, Dennis tells Jules he's not feeling well and that he thinks he's going to die.
    • Dennis begins throwing up on his plate, and Jules yells for Ethan.
    • Ethan jumps into action and lays Dennis on the floor, calling 911.
    • Jules hovers over Dennis's body and begs the universe to leave the success and money to Ethan and Ash if it'll just give Dennis back to her.
  • Chapter 12

    • In a cab on the way to the hospital, Jonah and Robert talk about what they heard Jules say.
    • Robert decides it's all futile based on the fact that so many of his friends have died, but Jonah says he still has some faith left over from when he was deprogrammed.
    • Segue into a flashback: Jonah reminisces about college.
    • Jonah compares his experience with acid as a kid to the experience of faith in God; he also notes how similar the experience was to having sex with a man for the first time.
    • It was easy for Jonah to come out as gay, but he still hasn't told anyone about the drug trips.
    • Every time Jonah is about to have sex he gets terrified and sick at being aroused because he feels like he's going to hallucinate.
    • Jump forward to when Jonah met Robert at a dinner party in 1986 at Jules's place.
    • Robert went to law school sometime before, and at the time of the party, is practicing AIDS-related law.
    • When Jonah describes his work in robotics for the disabled to him, Robert asks if it's fulfilling, and Jonah shares that he is still surprised at the turn his life has taken.
    • Robert and Jonah leave the party at the same time and Robert asks if he was flirting with him.
    • Apparently Robert can't tell if Jonah is gay or not, and Jonah says that's private.
    • Robert drives away on his motorcycle and comes back a second later to ask if Jonah has decided whether he's gay yet.
    • Jonah thinks it would be good to have sex with Robert because it would have to be controlled.
    • A week later, Robert comes over to Jonah's loft and they discuss what's possible between them.
    • Jonah is still nervous, though, so Robert calls up a hotline so Jonah can talk to an expert.
    • The expert, Chris, tells Jonah what's possible and safe, but ends up saying that zero risk would mean no sex.
    • Jonah is still freaked out and Robert reassures him they don't have to do anything.
    • Over time, Jonah and Robert get a sexual relationship going, though they're not particularly close emotionally.
    • Robert is busy trying to keep himself healthy while living with HIV, and Jonah envies Robert his calling that he's found at his law firm.
    • We move forward a year or so and find out Robert invited Jonah to a protest in D.C.
    • At the protest, Robert rescues Jonah from a crowd that threatens to crush him.
    • Back in the present, Jonah recalls sitting in another plastic-y room at the police station; he thinks about how Cathy was just cut out of the group and how much he admired her.
    • Meanwhile, Ethan is feeling like Dennis's condition is his fault because he arranged the dinner.
    • Turns out Dennis had a minor stroke from something he ate and the doctors took him off his meds. They recommend a different antidepressant now that they're better made.
    • Jules gets up to go fill out paperwork and Ethan tells her he'll take care of everything.
    • We abruptly flip back to Jonah's post-college days.
    • He is approached by a couple—Hannah and Joel—who strike up a casual conversation and ask if he knows where they can get water for their dog.
    • Jonah brings them to an MIT dorm to get water, and they start asking innocent questions about his life.
    • It's not clear whether this is happening in Jonah's head or what, but we suddenly get a memory of him playing in an MIT nerd band.
    • He also did very well in mechanical engineering but isn't particularly keen on any jobs.
    • Back with the strange couple, they ask him to explain vectors and seem really interested in everything Jonah has to say.
    • They invite him out to "the farm" and he declines.
    • When they get up to leave, though, Jonah's loneliness kicks in, so he impulsively decides to go with the weird couple in the purple van.
    • Jonah takes to the farm because it seems like a collection of people who are actually involved with each other's lives.
    • A guy in a wheelchair goes to the front of the room and preaches a ridiculous sermon that Jonah resists laughing at, and then someone hands Jonah a guitar while everyone sings some catchy songs and he plays for a small audience.
    • Jonah stays the night there and finally feels like he's in a family.
    • Susannah is furious when he tells her he's staying at this farm indefinitely.
    • She contacts his friends while he is there and tells them to do something, so Ash and Ethan arrange for a deprogramming.
    • Jules goes with them to visit Jonah at the farm and convince him to leave.
    • Jonah is pretty persuasive about wanting to be there, and asks Jules if she's ever felt that lonely.
    • He notices the way Ethan looks at Jules and announces that Ethan loves her. Awkward.
    • Some of the Moonies notice them arguing and try to make them leave.
    • Ethan tells Susannah it's time to take a trip into town to get her to go, but it's too late—Susannah is loved and valued at the farm and she's hooked.
    • The group leaves her there and convinces Jonah to go into town with them to get some ice cream.
    • Ethan doesn't stop in town and Ash and Jules hold Jonah down in the backseat while he cries.
    • They spend three days and nights deprogramming Jonah through sleep and food deprivation and negative testimonies from former members of the church.
    • Afterward, Jonah forgets most of what he learned there except when he saw how Ethan loves Jules.
    • Susannah stayed on the farm forever, even marrying a member of the church.
  • Chapter 13

    • As we've come to expect, we're moving a few years forward again here—don't worry, we're sure we'll hop back in time again, though, soon. It's how this book rools.
    • This time, Jules is pregnant and she and Ash are deciding on baby names.
    • Dennis doesn't care what she names the baby because he's spiraling further into depression after his stroke—apparently the "better" medications aren't working.
    • Recap: Dennis went back to work after the stroke but then lost his job.
    • He made a shocked exclamation at a mass in a woman's liver and then started to cry at the thought that she would probably die, a reaction which freaked the woman out and resulted in Dennis losing his uniform.
    • The doctor still refuses to put Dennis back on the MAOI—his original meds—so he doesn't get any better. Adding to the bummers for Dennis is the fact that Jules isn't particularly patient with him.
    • Ash and Jules get together to talk about the Dennis debacle and Jules feels guilty that she's telling anyone.
    • At home, Jules talks about how well her patients are doing, which only makes Dennis feel worse.
    • When his parents visit, they blame Jules for his depression.
    • Jules is angry because neither she nor Dennis came from families that felt good like the Wolfs.
    • One day Jules realize she's pregnant because she has electric nipples. Okay…
    • She thinks back to when she could have gotten pregnant and decides it must have been the night they went with Ash and Ethan to the opening of an exhibit for Figland, and when they got home Jules finally gave up on envy (for the evening, mind you). They didn't use a condom, so that must be when she got knocked up.
    • We move forward to three months after Jules's daughter is born, when Ash is having her first kid, too.
    • Ash comes over with the baby one day and is super tense—Jules correctly anticipates a Goodman conversation.
    • Ash tells her that her parents asked to transfer the "responsibility" of caring for Goodman over to her because she and Ethan have so much money.
    • Jules asks how she's going to do that since she's never told Ethan about Goodman, and Ash basically says she's going to skim money out of their accounts without Ethan noticing.
    • Moving forward, Ash and Jules are letting their kids play in the enormous playroom in the Figman-Wolf house.
    • Ash has had another kid—a son who is a difficult child at two years old.
    • Their daughters are extremely different but get along for their moms; Aurora Jacobson-Boyd plays in the ball pit while Larkin Figman reads a chapter book.
    • Larkin is apparently perfect except for inheriting Ethan's eczema.
    • Dennis is now struggling with "low-level depression," so he's not breaking down but he's not happy.
    • He tried to find work after losing his job, but his boss promised to write a terrible reference.
    • Jules recalls what it was like when she found out she was pregnant.
    • They worried about the baby being healthy and being around a depressed father.
    • Jules insisted she needed Dennis there while she had an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, Dennis becomes fascinated by the image of the baby, and accidentally reveals the sex.
    • When she's born, they agree that Jules will work and Dennis will stay home to take care of the baby.
    • This works out well for Dennis, who doesn't have to be around adult anxieties all day.
    • When Aurora goes to kindergarten, she decides she's had enough girly junk and becomes Rory; Larkin, of course, is a miniature princess.
    • It looks like Rory's inherited the envy gene from Jules, but instead of envying her friends, Rory envies boys. Which, of course, makes Jules envy Ethan and Ash.
    • Jules makes herself feel better by thinking about how Ethan and Ash have a huge secret between them.
    • There's a weird moment where Jules recalls running into Dr. Spilka, Goodman's old shrink.
    • She asks him if he remembers Goodman and whether he was guilty or not.
    • Spilka says he was guilty… and then that he murdered "that girl" (13.139). Say what?
    • Jules tries to convince him he's confusing Goodman with a different rapist, but Spilka denies it.
    • Spilka has dementia, and he just keeps repeating "he killed her" (13.145), which is a really creepy thing to say over and over again.
  • Chapter 14

    • We're around the time of Mo's diagnosis again and Ash is making everyone go on vacation.
    • Ethan still hasn't adjusted to Mo's diagnosis and is extremely angry, so he spends most of his time at the studio now, which is officially called the Animation Shed.
    • Ash insists on this vacation to help Mo bond.
    • Professionally, Ash has been successful as an artistic director at Open Hand, and is producing plays by minority and female playwrights.
    • She's bugged by her reviews, though, which always mention her marriage and her looks.
    • While on the vacation, Ethan misses vacationing with Jules when they were all childless.
    • Ethan doesn't know if he loves Mo.
    • Ethan writes to Jules and Dennis from their trip and jokes about leaving Mo behind.
    • He thinks about their situation and how he wanted to help them out—one time, he even offered when they were all out at a brunch.
    • Ash turns out to be an incredibly patient mother to Mo.
    • Ethan watches his daughter draw a very good copy of a Figland character and feels sorry that she has talent.
    • At the brunch, Dennis refuses Ethan's help, but Ash and Ethan keep trying to talk their friends into it. Needless to say, it ends up being a really embarrassing brunch for everyone.
    • Back on the Indonesia trip, Ethan runs into a random businessman who recognizes him.
    • The man says something vague about being glad that Ethan's not checking out the child labor scene.
    • Ethan, of course, decides to check out the child labor scene.
    • He visits the Leena Toys Factory where his Figland merchandise is made and nothing seems particularly bad.
    • Ethan leaves the factory and spends some time alone, recalling the day he lied to his wife about being able to join her for Mo's diagnosis.
    • He told her he had to be in Los Angeles but instead rented a hotel room and stayed there for a few days. Yikes.
    • Currently in Indonesia, Ethan decides to buy a pinwheel for Mo.
    • Ethan stops for a meal and thinks about Goodman and the Günter Grass book he brought with him to read.
    • Suddenly Ethan decides to go back to the factory without telling anyone.
    • When he gets there he realizes that the whole visit that morning was a sham and there are kids slaving away in that factory.
    • Ethan decides to stop being detached and empty.
    • When they return from the trip, Ethan goes to see Jules while Dennis is asleep.
    • They eat brioches and Ethan tells her about the factory visit, then Jules briefly talks about Dennis and how he used to be full of energy and is now just in slow-motion.
    • Rory comes out and brags to Ethan about being able to karate chop wood.
    • Ethan wraps up, and again talks about helping them out before he leaves.
    • Jules asks why she never gets to help him out, so he tells her about the lie he told Ash—Jules sort of laughs, though, because she can't imagine him doing anything that bad.
    • Ethan confesses he's having a bad moment professionally with some poor decisions; he also tells her he's not sure he loves Mo.
    • Jules advises him to fake it until he feels it.
    • Ethan then segues to the part where he gives her a check and makes her take it.
    • The check is for one hundred grand (yup—you read that right) and Ethan demands that they use it to get out of their tiny apartment.
    • He leaves and Rory wakes up Dennis by telling him about the money.
    • Dennis is angry and tells Jules she can leave the marriage if she wants.
    • He's really upset because he knows he used to be fun before the depression and can't seem to find his way back; he's afraid he's going to lose everything.
    • Jules convinces him that they have to get out of their tiny place and start over with Ethan's gift.
    • Rory reappears and demands that Jules kiss Dennis. She complies and the future is decided.
  • Chapter 15

    • Jules, Dennis, and Rory move a short ways north and buy a better apartment; they instantly feel saved even though Dennis's depression is still around.
    • Ash comes over and helps them unpack.
    • After Rory goes to bed, Ash talks about Mo's progress and it's one of the few times we really feel for her—she doesn't know who Mo will become because there are so many avenues closed off to him now.
    • Jules thinks that even Rory, who won't have a wealthy life, will have it easier because she is happy with herself.
    • That same night, after Ash goes home, Betsy Wolf wakes up with a bleed to the brain and dies instantly.
    • Ash calls Jules because Ethan is in Hong Kong, and Jules goes over to her place right away.
    • Jules has the strange experience of walking into the Labyrinth again after all those years—suddenly everything seems shabby and frayed without Betsy around.
    • Gil Wolf appears and the guy looks really lost. Ouch.
    • Ash goes off to her room to call Goodman and share the news.
    • The funeral is a couple days later, after Ethan flies back; Jules's mom asks to come, which Jules is weirdly irritable about.
    • Jules tries to say some words about what the Wolf family meant to her but can't because her mother is in the room.
    • Larkin reads a poem about her grandmother but can barely get through it, and Jules thinks about how Goodman missed his beloved dog's death and his mother's.
    • Ethan drops everything from his schedule to be with Ash, because that's kind of his thing.
    • Mo doesn't make it through the funeral and runs out the door.
    • Jules takes her mother home and thinks about how frail her own mother looks; when she wakes up the next morning, she is shocked to think about Ash's mother.
    • The phone rings while Dennis is making breakfast and Jules answers.
    • Goodman is on the phone because he can't call Ash while Ethan is staying so close to her—he asks about the funeral and then abruptly starts to cry.
    • Jules cries, too, and then waits it out until he's done.
    • She asks if he has someone to talk to there and he turns it into a weird conversation about how she liked him, so Jules hangs up on him.
    • Their lives all move on and Ethan experiences a massive failure when he tries to make an animated film about child labor.
    • He tries to take some time off and be with his family, but dude still can't deal with Mo's disability.
    • Larkin, too, is a constant reminder of how far he has moved from what he actually liked, which was the drawing part of animation.
    • Ash continues to have minor success as a director.
    • Jules has been losing patients as their insurance runs out or they simply stop coming, and Dennis spends his time with Rory and reading up on the latest in sonography.
    • One day, they go to dinner with Ash and Ethan and another couple they don't like.
    • This couple happens to mention a friend of theirs who tried a completely new antidepressant that's still in clinical trials and came back from a deep depression; Jules is interested and asks Ethan to pulls strings to get Dennis into the trial.
    • Dennis experiences life as it unfolds out of depression.
    • One night he wakes up and feels like having sex, which hasn't happened in a long time.
    • They have to rediscover sex with each other, and Dennis ends up accidentally hurting Jules a few times.
    • Dennis manages to find a job again.
    • Jules stops envying Ash and Ethan so much because she's just grateful Dennis gets out of bed in the morning now.
    • Life moves on and Jules worries about Rory getting into decent schools because she's more of an outdoorsy kind of person.
    • Historical moment alert: We hit 2001 and the World Trade Center is destroyed; Jules's clients often call her in a panic and she helps them deal with the anger.
    • One night, Jules sees Cathy on television and calls Jonah.
    • Turns out Cathy became the CEO of a major financial firm that lost almost five hundred employees in the terrorist attack.
    • She promises not to cut off the paychecks or health insurance of the dead so their families stay alive.
    • The public is angry, though, because it's taking too much time for that to happen and Cathy apologizes to each person who calls in.
    • Jules makes the connection between how they dropped Cathy and how she must feel now.
    • Jonah asks Jules what she thinks really happened between Goodman and Cathy, and though Jules deflects, she admits she still thinks about it.
  • Chapter 16

    • The following year, Robert is giving a talk to a benefit for people with AIDS; he's been able to stay healthy much longer than expected.
    • Tonight he is getting an award for political activism in the legal profession.
    • We realize after an exchange between Jonah and Robert that their relationship hasn't really gotten any closer over the many years they've spent together.
    • Robert gets his courage up and tells Jonah he's leaving him.
    • Jonah is broken up but Robert wants someone who will love him completely and not at a distance like Jonah does.
    • They part ways and Jonah ends up at Ash and Ethan's home.
    • They aren't there, but their nanny lets Jonah in anyway and he calls Ash to tell her about Robert.
    • Ash tells him to spend the night at their house and have breakfast with their kids in the morning.
    • When Larkin and Mo greet Jonah in the morning, though, he's not sure how to relate to them.
    • Larkin breezily tells him they're all having waffles.
    • Jonah finds Mo on the floor playing with Legos and is reminded of why he went to MIT in the first place; he recognizes how super talented Mo is.
    • They all have breakfast and Jonah is cared for like one of the kids.
    • Larkin asks Jonah if he's okay and he tells them he feels sad; he winds up telling the kids that Robert left him.
    • Larkin instructs Mo to respond the right way when someone says they're sad.
    • Mo remembers what to say and awkwardly tells Jonah he's sorry.
  • Chapter 17

    • It's about time we have another Spirit-in-the-Woods scene. Been a while, right?
    • Manny and Edie are super old by this point and can no longer take care of the camp.
    • They hired someone to help but he had all these newfangled ideas about technology and they blamed him for attendance being down—these two are still very traditional and want to keep art (and talent) exclusive.
    • They fire Paul. Not surprising.
    • Back with Dennis and Jules, Rory is starting her senior year at a state university and is still obsessed with the outdoors.
    • Jules takes the bus to her office and runs into Jane Zell and her sister with the neurological disorder; they catch up on old times and Jane mentions running into Manny and Edie.
    • Manny and Edie are looking for someone to run the camp next summer and Jules immediately fantasizes about the camp and how much she loved it.
    • Somehow, Jules talks Dennis into considering the position as camp directors, so they interview with Manny and Edie. And guess what? They're chosen. Congratulations, you two.
    • Dennis gets a guarantee to get rehired at his clinic if it doesn't work out, but Jules has to close her therapy practice.
    • Dennis and Jules are, understandably, very anxious about picking up and starting a new career at their age.
    • When they told Rory earlier, she was shocked but pleased; she also suggested they go out to celebrate, which they do.
    • Jules is sad to leave Ash and Ethan in the city, but her need to return to the camp is overwhelming.
  • Part 3: The Drama of the Gifted Child / Chapter 18

    • The first campers start to arrive and Jules immediately feels old.
    • They make it through the first hurdle: getting the parents to leave.
    • Manny and Edie have charged them with injecting new life into the camp without bringing in commercial elements.
    • Not surprisingly, no one really cares that Jules used to be a camper there. Well, except Jules.
    • Dennis seems to be taking well to the camp atmosphere, and being out of the city and away from constant financial trouble helps them both.
    • Jules has a hard time remembering that she's not a camper; Dennis, however, thinks she probably likes to be away from those teepees now and living in a real house.
    • Jules and Dennis tentatively talk about the first day and how it went.
    • Then they give up on talking about it and seek comfort in the familiar act of sex.
    • Jules thinks of her mom and wonders how she lived without finding a new partner for so long.
    • Dennis asks her if she's happy, which is really all he wants.
    • Jules is really distracted during sex, thinking about the scene like she's standing outside it—she doesn't know if she's actually happy.
    • The next morning, everything is still running smoothly.
    • A couple weeks later, Dennis asks if Jules is still happy.
    • Jules doesn't really answer the question, though… again.
    • They walk to the nearby town and sit down with some coffee when the phone rings: The generator went out at camp.
    • They realize they can't sit and do nothing, and also that every day brings a new problem.
    • One of the campers is an anorexic dancer with a crush on a counselor who worries that the nurse will make her leave if she doesn't eat more.
    • Jules tries to bond with the girls in their teepees but it's just awkward because she's old.
    • She quickly realizes that the job is way less creative than she thought it would be—they have to worry about a bunch of boring stuff like grocery deliveries.
    • She thinks that the Wunderlichs were all about curating people and she doesn't want to be a curator.
  • Chapter 19

    • Away from Spirit-in-the-Woods, Ethan is dealing with the Mastery Seminars he's running in California.
    • It's a bunch of rich people, but the proceeds go to the Anti-Child Labor Initiative.
    • Ethan is approached by a young kid who tells him he's an animator, and for some weird reason Ethan tells him to consider private equity as a field instead.
    • The boy and his mother leave, and Ethan wonders how he became the grumpy father in his own show.
    • Jonah is at the seminars as Ethan's guest (plus his boss is hoping to get invited to present their innovations eventually).
    • Ash is there, too, but she's working in her and Ethan's suite.
    • They talk briefly about Jules and Dennis going back to Spirit-in-the-Woods.
    • Ethan is called away to introduce a talk and makes sure Jonah has an all-access pass to the events.
    • Jonah says he's going to go to a talk by an astronaut, and Ethan leaves for his commitment.
    • On his way to the talk, Jonah is drawn into a different room by familiar music.
    • Uh oh… It's Barry Claimes and he's still singing songs he stole from Jonah.
    • Jonah has a visceral reaction to realizing this.
    • Barry is asked a question and makes up some ridiculous backstory for how he came up with his songs, and which point Jonah loses it and rushes out to sit quietly in a men's room until he pulls it together.
    • Of course, Barry ends up in the same men's room and Jonah follows him out.
    • Jonah actually stalks Barry back to his room and slips inside when he opens the door.
    • Barry thinks he's just a druggie trying to mug him, so Jonah starts shoving him and says, "it's me" (19.50), until Barry suddenly recognizes him and thinks everything's okay.
    • Quickly, though, Barry realizes, thanks to Jonah's knee in his gut, that this isn't a friendly visit.
    • He tries to tell Jonah he wanted to be a father figure and encourage his playing, which is the last straw for Jonah, who smashes Barry across the face with the banjo.
    • Jonah washes his hands and leaves Barry bloodied in his room, taking the banjo.
    • Ethan's assistant calls Jonah and has him take a car to a vineyard to meet Ethan.
    • At the vineyard, Jonah downs half a glass of wine without thinking, so Ethan asks him what's wrong.
    • Jonah doesn't want to share, but Ethan's had about enough of his mysteriousness; they talk about work and why Jonah doesn't like his job.
    • Jonah finally admits that he would have liked to be a musician and Ethan asks him what happened.
    • Jonah spits out the story of the drug abuse and Ethan sympathizes.
    • Ethan also tells Jonah that this doesn't explain why he doesn't play music at least as a hobby—Ethan also refuses to believe that Barry stole all of Jonah's music.
    • Back in his room, Jonah picks up the banjo he took from Barry and starts to play.
  • Chapter 20

    • And we're back to Spirit-in-the-Woods, where nothing horrible has happened.
    • There are a few incidents, like people meeting hikers in the woods, and the anorexic dancer has worsened and a doctor is called in to consult. They agree she should go home.
    • The teens turn it into a huge drama and the dancer feels it's unfair to send her home.
    • That night, Jules and Dennis hear noise outside and one of the counselors calls saying something happened to the llamas.
    • Everyone goes out to search and the llamas are found with signs around their necks protesting the dancer's fate.
    • Then they all realize the dancer is missing, too, and things get frantic until the counselor she has a crush on finally convinces her to stop hiding.
    • The dancer apologizes for the llama thing and then there's a sad moment where it's clear she was just happy at the camp.
    • After the dancer goes home and normal camp life resumes, some campers mention they saw a man peeing on a tree.
    • Jules and Dennis of course have to go check it out, so they tromp around the woods.
    • They split up, and Jules runs into the hiker. She suddenly feels afraid because he seems unstable.
    • A second guy comes out from the trees and… it's Goodman. What is with that guy?
    • They have a weird exchange as Jules tries to figure out why he's here.
    • Goodman still acts like he's handsome, but is really gross and old now; apparently he is here so that he can figure out how to get Ash to help him.
    • The other guy barely knows Goodman—apparently Goodman scooped him up in town with the promise of something to eat.
    • Dennis comes crashing through the bushes and demands to know what's going on.
    • Jules introduces Goodman, and Dennis tells him to leave.
    • Dennis threatens to turn him in if he doesn't leave right away, and Goodman exits quickly.
    • Dennis starts talking to the other guy and finds out he was a patient at the same hospital Dennis stayed at—the guy was picked up by Goodman at a bus stop after leaving the hospital because he didn't think it was helping.
    • Dennis takes him back to the hospital and sends Jules back to camp.
    • Jules immediately calls Ash and blurts out the news.
    • There's some static weirdness and then Ash tells Jules that she was on speakerphone and Ethan is there. Oops.
    • Jules rushes back to camp and endures the next day or two until Ash calls.
    • Ash and Ethan split after a huge fight that day—the busted out every single thing they hated about each other during it, and that was the end of things for them.
    • When Ash is back home, she sort of falls off the map for a while.
    • Dennis tells Jules to call Ethan one night because she needs to talk to him and there's no way he's angry with her.
    • The summer is winding down and Manny and Edie come to check out the camp.
    • Everything looks great to them and they offer a five-year contract to Jules and Dennis.
    • This pleases Dennis because he finally feels he's good at something and being praised for it; Jules, however, is no longer interested.
    • Dennis calls her out on it later and says she's more interested in her friends than in their own lives.
    • He also accuses her of thinking that she would get to be the teen version of herself again and everyone would pay attention to her.
    • She argues that she broke up her friends' marriage and is allowed to be upset, but Dennis counters by saying they broke it off because of them and now she's just moping around instead of contributing to running the camp.
    • He really gets into it then, flat-out telling Jules that her friends are stuck-up and feel like the rules don't apply to them and really aren't all that interesting.
    • He says she's obsessed with specialness and that she doesn't treat him like he's special. We say, in case you're wondering, he's not wrong.
    • They sleep in separate places that night, and Jules has to tell the Wunderlichs that they're not going to accept the offer.
  • Chapter 21

    • Dennis goes back to work at his old clinic but Jules now has no job and no energy to build a new practice.
    • They're in opposite roles now with Jules being the one who is lost and Dennis making up for both of them financially.
    • Rory calls more frequently to check up on her mom.
    • One day, Jules's mother calls and says she's selling the house and needs help clearing out the basement.
    • Both Ellen and Jules go out to the old place and Jules wonders how her mom came back alone to that house every evening.
    • They are surprised to realize their mom buys organic food now.
    • Jules and Ellen talk (first time in the book?) and Jules apologizes for being all snotty when she came back from camp that first summer.
    • Ellen tells Jules she was never jealous of her (which is probably not what Jules wanted to hear).
    • Back in the city, Ethan's assistant finally calls Jules and asks if she's free for dinner.
    • Jules goes to the studio and talks to Mo briefly.
    • Jonah has started teaching Mo banjo via Skype, an arrangement that probably suits both of them.
    • Ethan has to remind Mo to hug him goodbye, then he and Jules head upstairs to a little kitchen area and have dinner in the studio.
    • He admits to being all messed up from the split with Ash and talks about how great she is—he could just never buy the whole "drama of the gifted child" thing, especially not after the child labor work he was doing.
    • Jules asks him what he thinks about the Goodman and Cathy situation and Ethan says his adult self thinks Goodman did rape her.
    • Ethan tells Jules that he met up with Cathy after 9/11 and she seemed traumatized all over again; he ended up contributing a lot of the funds she needed.
    • They talk briefly about Goodman, and Jules confesses she feels isolated.
    • Ethan asks about Dennis and learns that their marriage is rocky because of her self-absorption.
    • Having totally not learned his lesson, Ethan kisses Jules.
    • Jules feels like she's just repeating the first moment and breaks off the kiss, thinking about missing Dennis.
    • She goes to leave and Ethan confesses he has a melanoma.
    • Jules asks him for details in complete disbelief and finds out that Ethan has kept this info to himself—he's been in chemotherapy, but it hasn't been working.
    • Jules insists he get Ash involved but he only wants her.
    • Jules agrees to go with him to his appointments as long as he calls and tells Ash all of the secrets he's kept from her.
    • Jules gets home and Dennis notices immediately that something happened.
    • She blandly tells him about Ethan's cancer and Dennis picks up their rocky marriage and puts it back together so he can support her.
  • Chapter 22

    • The couples and Jonah still see each other a few more times.
    • Ethan has been smoking medical marijuana and can't focus on much during these dinners, in spring, he begins to die, but continues working as much as possible.
    • Rumors exist out in the world that he's ill but no one knows the real story.
    • Jules has returned to work with groups of troubled teens at a Child and Family Center in the city.
    • She does extremely well at it and gets more responsibility.
    • Jules and Dennis are no longer struggling as much for money, though they worry about Rory's job prospects.
    • Jules remembers going to a play Ash directed once and listening to a woman ask whether she should discourage her daughter from pursuing her dream to direct.
    • Ash tells the woman that it's a hard thing to do, but no mother should whittle her daughter down.
    • Rory, on the other hand, just wants to work for the national parks.
    • Back at dinner, there's a missed moment where Ethan says something Jules doesn't catch.
    • Chemotherapy isn't doing anything so Ash and Ethan go to Switzerland for alternative treatment, but Ethan just gets really sick from the drugs and comes home. They've run out of options.
    • The Figman children are brought back to the house—Larkin has a new sleeve tattoo of Figland characters, which Ethan yells at her about, prompting Mo to run from the room.
    • Ethan goes to Mo's door and convinces him to let him in.
    • He asks what Mo was playing on the banjo, and Mo plays Susannah Bay's famous "The Wind Will Carry Us."
    • Ethan starts to cry.
    • Jules asks Dennis if they'll figure something out and he tells her honestly that he doesn't think so.
    • At work, Jules talks to her group of teens about their lives.
    • Ash calls while she's at lunch and tells her Ethan died of a heart attack that morning.
    • Jules goes back to work and tells her boss, but refuses to go home; her group of kids rallies around her as they all cry over her friend.
    • Jules and Dennis stay over at Ash and Ethan's house that night and Jules tells Ash she'll take care of her.
    • Gil Wolf and Ethan's divorced parents arrive the next day and everything is hectic; Dennis ends up making most of the phone calls and doing the odd tasks while everyone deals with what happened.
    • Eventually everyone thinks about Ethan's will and no one really knows what he had planned to do with all that money.
    • A month later, Ash send Jules a package she'd found in Ethan's office.
    • Jules opens the package and sees it's a storyboard with drawings from Spirit-in-the-Woods.
    • It's an animated short about her and Ethan and the night they became lifelong friends but not lovers.
    • The last image is of Jules looking at the old aerial photo of them all at camp that first summer.