Turning Thirty
Air date: May 1, 2000
Summary/Review by Dana Bonistalli

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Ally dreams of herself as a 16-year old, walking down a sidewalk, enjoying the day. Startled awake, she stares at the calendar and realizes what day it is. She runs into the bathroom and looks at her face closely in the mirror. She sees something near her eyes, then imagines what she will look like when she is much older. She enters the kitchen with a somber look on her face. Renee asks her who died. Ally sadly announces that she's thirty.

At the office, Elaine encourages Richard to throw Ally a big party at the bar. Richard announces the party at the morning meeting but Ally doesn't want it. "It's a write-off," says Richard. Mark tells Ally that if Heather Locklear can admit she is forty, then Ally should be able to admit it, too. Ally leaps across the table and attempts to strangle Mark. John and Richard pull her off. Richard moves on to the case Mark and John are going into court on that day, Commonwealth vs. Flood. Mark says that "the cookie" has agreed to second chair the case. Richard tells him that John's nickname is "the biscuit," adding that he wants them to take Ally in as third chair. Mark says they don't need an army on the case, "Jim and I can handle this." John reminds him his name is John, not Jim. Richard tells Mark that they need to occupy Ally and get her out of the office to plan her party. "If you ever want to make partner - ever want to have what it takes to run your own firm – you need to learn to lie. Now do it," Richard says. Mark quickly tells Ally that he doesn't see how they could possibly try the case without her. Ally doesn't want to do it, but says she will have to meet them at the courthouse because she has another appointment first.

Ally sits in a doctor's office, waiting for the doctor. When he arrives, she is shocked to see it is the doctor who diagnosed Billy's brain tumor. She introduces herself and tells him that she was a friend of Billy Thomas's and that he was his neurosurgeon. "Blew that one, huh," the doctor says. She is surprised that the doctor also does plastic surgery, but he tells her there is more money in plastic. "Are you even qualified to do a facelift?" Ally asks. "It's not brain surgery," says the doctor. "Plus, I'm sure it's fun to have patients who live," says Ally. She apologizes for the crack, then tells him she is interested in collagen injections for lines near her eyes. "I know they're not really noticeable," she says, but the doctor says he can see them clear as day. He tells Ally to come with him to another room and lie down and he will take care of them right now. He puts her face onto a screen and shows her what it would look like if he injected collagen into her lips. He says she has beautiful lips but he can make them better. Ally definitely looks interested.

Back at the office, John and Mark are in the conference room with their client, Lorna Flood. Mark tells Lorna that she can't go into court dressed like she is. (Her breasts are about to pop out of the shirt she is wearing.) He reminds her she is charged with smothering her 89-year old husband to death with her breasts, then announces he will go and buy her something else to wear.

Elaine attempts to get Nelle to sing at Ally's birthday party, but Nelle says she doesn't sing, ever. "I'm sure you have some talents, however hidden," Elaine says. "I do, Elaine," Nelle says, "It's called focus. With concentration, I can pretend the little people in the world don't exist. Too bad I'm not focusing now." Elaine asks if Nelle maybe could do something dramatic. "You could reenact your breakup with John Cage when he got stuck in the elevator, you cold-hearted, cunning, conniving bitch." Nelle says this is why she doesn't get along with secretaries. "Amounting to nothing makes you hostile," Nelle says. "You want to see me hostile?" Elaine asks. Nelle tells her to go practice her number, then adds, "Remember to forget your underwear. It takes attention off the fact that you don't really sing too well."

Back at the doctor's office, Ally is shocked to see the result of the collagen injections into her lips. (They are very large.) Ally wants him to drain them but the doctor says it's just swelling and it will go down in about an hour.

In court, a pathologist testifies that he determined Mr. Flood died of asphyxiation due to suffocation by the breasts of the defendant. The assistant district attorney asks whether or not someone would normally struggle if their nose and mouth were covered by another person's breasts while they were sleeping and he says yes, that they would probably struggle for three to four minutes. Meanwhile, Ally has snuck into the courtroom, covering her lips with her hand. She sits at the table, then reaches for some water. Mark gets a good look at her and says loudly, "What happened to your lips?" Ally quickly covers her lips with a folder. The judge asks what is going on and Ally says nothing, but Mark asks for a continuance, saying co-counsel has eaten some bad shellfish. The judge makes Ally approach the bench. He forces her to drop the folder. "What have you done to yourself?" he asks once he sees her lips. "Look, I am only thirty chair - third chair – I'm not really needed and I'm going to remove myself from this face – case," Ally says, before turning, picking up her briefcase and leaving.

Richard comes by court to talk to Mark. He tells him that they have a firm tradition, and for birthdays, they draw a name out of a hat and that person has to get up at the bar and sing. Richard says they drew his name. "I don't sing," Mark says. "You do now," Richard says. "Short little number. Keep is sweet." Standing behind Mark, John snickers.

Ally returns to the doctor and demands that he suck the collagen out. He says she is making him sad and he cries.

Mr. Flood's daughter is on the stand, testifying that Lorna took advantage of an old man. She says Lorna and her father met at a benefit and two weeks later, she was living with him. The daughter says that Lorna started blocking access to their father and that they were barely able to communicate with him. John and Mark both stand and object, then apologize to each other and tell the other person to go ahead. The judge tells them to stop. Mark questions the daughter, asking her whether it is the truth that she and her siblings barely communicated with their father before he met Lorna. The ADA interrupts and tells Mark that he hasn't finished his direct examination. "Oh, I thought you were finished," Mark says, turning to John, "Didn't you?" John says that was his impression. Mark says he only has one more question but the judge tells him he can't question the witness until the ADA is finished. "You're upset with me," Mark says, backing away and going back to his seat.

Lisa Knowles, the choir director (played by Jennifer Holliday) is rehearsing with the choir at the church when Ally comes to see the minister. (Her lips are back to normal now.) She listens to Lisa and the choir sing for a few minutes then goes to the minister's office. "You want to find God?" he asks her. She says yes. He asks her, "What made you think He'd be here?" Ally says most people who want to find God come to a church. "Shouldn't you be embracing my decision?" Ally asks. The minister says that based upon what she has told him, no. "I'm tired of people turning to God for the answers just because they're turning 30," he says. "You could just be looking for a man," he continues. "Having struck out on earth, you're looking to the heavens, why not start at the top?" Ally can't believe he is talking to her like this, but the minister says that Ally is looking for a husband, not God. Lisa comes in and asks the minister to let her talk to Ally. As he is leaving, Ally sticks out her foot and trips him. Once he is out of the room, Lisa tells Ally that the minister has a real peeve about women who only need the Lord during relationships. "Is he right?" Lisa asks, "Is this about you turning forty and not having a man?" Ally stands, tells Lisa that she is THIRTY, then asks, "What is so damn wrong about feeling empty because I don't have a partner? And what is so pathetic about wanting to have a family and raise children? And you don't get to do any of that until you meet Mr. Penis Head. So forgive me for coming to the church in search of some guidance, failing that: compassion." She leaves.

Mr. Flood's attorney is on the stand, testifying that about a month before his death, Mr. Flood and Lorna came to see him about changing her inheritance. He says Lorna had previously signed a prenuptial agreement that limited the amount she could inherit. The attorney says he did change the will, but reluctantly. John stands and says, "Henry wanted the changes because he was tired of his children taking advantage of him. Didn't he say that?" The attorney says no. "My mistake," John says. "It remains true, does it not, that if you suspected Mrs. Flood of having any undue influence, you, as a good and honorable attorney, would have refused to execute any changes in the will which caused my client to inherit? True?" The attorney says, "At the time I executed those changes, I had no inkling that she planned to kill him." Displeased, John says, "Okay. That's not the answer I was looking for."

Elaine goes to Renee's office in an attempt to get her to sing with her at Ally's party. Renee says she will sing, but she won't just sing backup for Elaine. Elaine promises that they will each take a verse at a time and Renee will not be singing backup.

Ally walks the streets of Boston alone, thinking. She stops in front of a store and peeks into the window. "Missing your youth a little?" says Billy as he appears to her in the window. "The minister was right," she says, "I want to find God because deep down I'm hoping he's single." Billy says getting older can't be that bad. "Easy for you to say," Ally says, "You never had to do it." She adds, "You know what's getting me? My 20's may turn out to be the best years of my life and I have nothing to show for them." Billy says that isn't true. "Is that all you're going to say, I was so hoping you'd be more profound dead," Ally says. She tells him that she can't keep letting him appear like this. He says he doesn't have the power. "I should just tap my ruby slippers together and take charge of my life," Ally says. "Is that what you've come to tell me?" Billy says, "That, and happy birthday."

Elaine tries to get John to sing, but he says he doesn't do birthday parties. Elaine reminds him that Ally is supposed to be his best friend. He says he bought her a wonderful card. "Think what your life was before she got here," Elaine says. "You didn't even know me before she got here," says John. "Exactly," says Elaine.

Back in court, another doctor testifies that pictures of a bite mark are from the one he found on Mrs. Flood's breast the day her husband died. He says the bite mark was less than 24 hours old. The doctor asked Mrs. Flood about the bite mark at the time and she told him her husband probably bit her when she was sleeping and that she didn't feel it. But the doctor testifies that with a bite mark like that, she had to have felt it. Mark asks the doctor whether pain thresholds can vary from person to person. The doctor admits that is true, but he says it is extremely unlikely that she didn't feel it.

In a room off the courtroom, John says it might be time to consider a plea. But Lorna says that she needs to tell them something. She says she got the bite mark earlier that day, and she didn't tell them because it wasn't Henry who bit her.

Elaine and Renee are rehearsing, but Elaine is singing alone. "I knew it," Renee says, "You've got me singing backup." Elaine says she's just singing the first verse and that Renee can sing the second. Renee says that SHE will sing the first verse. Neither one will give up the microphone.

Lorna is on the stand, testifying that Henry liked to nuzzle into her breasts when they went to sleep. "I think it brought him comfort," she says. She goes on to say that the night in question, when she woke up and found he wasn't breathing, she called 9-1-1 and she tried to resuscitate him. John asks her about telling the police that Henry bit her. She says that wasn't true and that she regrets saying that. She says she was afraid the truth would hurt her. John asks her, "What was the truth?" She says she had a lover, and he was the one who bit her earlier in that day. She points him out in the courtroom. The ADA asks if all this talk about Lorna loving her husband was a lie. Lorna says no, that she loved her husband. She says Henry knew about her lover. He asks her why she didn't tell the police. She says she knew it would make her look bad. "So you lied?" the ADA says. John and Mark both stand again and object, then apologize to each other and tell the other to go ahead. The judge again stops them. The ADA finally gets Lorna to admit that she lied.

Lisa comes to see Ally at her office to apologize. "You're not wrong for wanting to meet and fall in love with Mr. Penis Head," Lisa says. She adds that the minister was upset because they just did a survey and the majority of their single congregants joined the church to meet somebody. Lisa says she thought Ally was over Billy. "I was. I am. But he was still maybe my best friend and the only childhood friend that I kept, and as I see my youth slipping away and losing the one connection I had to it….I don't know, I just don't do well with birthdays," Ally says. Lisa mentions that she heard they were throwing her a big party. "Why don't you just sit back and let them?" she adds. "Sometimes, you've got to let the world be a party." Ally asks Lisa to come to the party. "Any cute guys?" Lisa asks.

In his office, Mark sings "After the Lovin'" on a Karaoke machine. He's not very good, and Ally walks into his office with wide eyes. After listening for a minute, she knocks. He stops the song and tells her he was working on his closing. She says John is doing the closing. She tells him that Richard is playing a joke on him – that there was no drawing out of a hat. She says they wanted to get him on the stage to embarrass him and that it was sort of an initiation. Ally says she finds it a little mean, so she's just going to tell everyone that Mark gave her a private performance in her office. She chuckles. Mark says thanks, then stops her before she can leave and asks, "Nobody here likes me, do they?" She says that isn't true. "It's just that this place is…..," Ally starts, then Mark finishes her sentence with "close-knit." She says yes. Mark says it's just as well because he needs to get to court.

The ADA gives his closing, wondering aloud why Lorna didn't just wait for her husband to die. He was 89-years old. He says she needed him to pass away before he realized that it was all about the money to her. He says Henry had to have been held in order for him to suffocate. John gives his closing, mentioning that there were no bruises on Henry, and in order for someone to suffocate him, she would have had to have been holding him pretty tight, and an 89-year old person would definitely bruise. He asks why someone who had a bite mark on her breast would chose THAT night to murder her husband. He says if she wanted to murder him, she would have waited until the bite mark healed. He admits she lied about her lover. John says the jury is free to think that Lorna was a gold-digger and an adulteress. "But a murderer? You're not free to conclude that, ladies and gentlemen, certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt," he says.

The group has gathered at the bar for Ally's party, which begins with Elaine dressed up in a red gown, singing the song for Ally. She finishes her verse and moves aside for Renee. Renee is dressed up in a black gown, and she begins her verse. They sing the chorus together, and everything is going fine until the next verse. Renee starts to sing, and Elaine interrupts, trying to make this verse hers. They start stepping in front of the other person, pushing each other to the side. Ally and the group notice that things are going badly, and before you know it, Renee and Elaine are fighting it out among the balloons on the stage floor.

Later, Elaine sits at the table with an ice pack under her eye. "I can't believe it," she says, "I try to celebrate in the style of your birthday and she turns into an animal." "You stepped on my verse, you hog," Renee says. They begin to bicker and Ally stops them. John has taken the stage and asks for everyone's attention. "On this, the occasion of Ally's thirtieth birthday, well, those of us who know Ally know her to be very old," (he stutters), "very odd, very odd in a special way. And I am as well, so it's symbolic that I step into the spotlight and actually sing a song. Because Ally's the person who brought me out. Before I knew her, I was a bit of a recluse, a lawyer savant, and she somehow convinced me, I'm not even sure how, that people who are somehow different should not only come out but can, in fact, take center stage. And here I am, I'm center stage, here to sing for you. I picked something from "The Music Man," which I know is your favorite, and Renee is here to help me with some of the notes that I can't hit, which there may be quiet a few." Elaine is upset that Renee was picked to help. "To my best friend," John says, before beginning the song "Till There Was You." Nelle watches the exchange between Ally and John and appears to be a bit jealous. John sings the beginning of the song alone, then Renee joins him and they sing together. At the very end, Elaine joins them on the stage and sings the last line again. "You've GOT to be kidding," Renee says. "It was for Ally," says Elaine. John gives Ally a little wave.

John and Mark are called back to court because the verdict is in. The jury finds Lorna not guilty. John tells Lorna congratulations and she hugs him. She thanks Mark, telling him that it really was an accident, then asks if he cares. "With an acquittal, it doesn't matter," he says. Lorna tells John that he gets Mark's hug, too, and hugs him again, close to her breasts.

Back at the bar, Lisa is singing and this time, Elaine and Renee are her backup. The rest of the group is dancing, Ally with Mark.

Later, she goes to her office and calls her father. She tells him about the party. Her dad mentions something about how she handled the day without Billy. She says it wasn't that tough – just a normal day. She hangs up the phone, and Billy appears again. "They keep bringing me up," he says. Ally tells him that he keeps forgetting her parents liked him. "It's a tough day to be alone – birthdays," he says. Ally says she's not alone. "Walk you home?" he asks. "Not tonight," says Ally.

Alone, she solemnly walks down a sidewalk, watching everyone else around her as she makes her way home.


As many of you know, the date of my retirement from "Dana's Ally McBeal Page" is getting close, and this is actually my next-to-last summary for the site. I will also be writing the summary for the season finale, which will air May 22nd. For those of you who don't know, my husband and I are expecting our first child in September, and TK (of TKTV.net) has graciously agreed to take on the duties of running this web site. Josh will write all the summaries starting next season.

It's also been a while since I've written a summary for the site (due to moving into our first home), so I haven't had a chance to comment on Billy's death or the new guy. Many have written me wanting to know my opinion, so I have decided to give it here.

First, Billy's death. Yes, even I was surprised and shocked. (I don't ALWAYS know everything that will happen on this show, believe it or not!) I did know, like many of you, that he would be diagnosed with a brain tumor, and that he was going to die by the end of the season, but I did not know it would happen so quickly. While there are always things I could nitpick about (i.e. where was Billy's family?), I personally thought the entire episode was done extremely well. But will I miss the character? Probably not.

As for the new guy, well, I think I'm going to have to give him some time. I recall that when both Nelle and Ling were brought on as characters, I didn't like them much, but both of them, especially Ling, have grown on me a great deal. He definitely has potential.

I wish that Ally, instead of panicking about her 30th birthday, would have focused more on the fact that Billy died so young and we should all enjoy every moment of every day because we never know when it can be taken away. But then, that would have been a pretty boring episode, wouldn't it? Okay, if that's the case, then at least we got to hear Elaine and Renee sing! And 'yippee' for the fact that Lisa Nicole Carson is back! And wasn't John Cage just the cutest when he sang to Ally? And I loved Ally's huge lips - what a hoot!

The murder case was sort of boring to me, but I did enjoy watching John and Mark try the case together. And I'm still not sure why Ally went to the church or why Jennifer Holliday was involved in this episode, but at least we did get to hear her sing again and that is always a treat.

Copyright © 2000 Dana Bonistalli. All rights reserved.