And we’re back at Camp Moosehead. What damage hath the Baby-Sitters Club (lovingly) wrought? If you recall, the last episode ended with Kristy shrieking over Stacey’s face. As if she hasn’t suffered enough at the hands of friends, you know? This time, however, it’s warranted. Remember that little tussle she had in the woods with ex-bestie from NYC Laine? Yeah, they were apparently rolling around in poison ivy the entire time. Now her face is covered in a rash so bad that her eye is swollen shut. She’s supposed to be the lead in Mary Anne’s play that evening and that just isn’t possible anymore. Everyone is devastated, but also in agreement that, yikes, her face looks awful.
To make matters worse, Stacey is trapped in the infirmary with Laine, who, of course, also has the worst case of poison ivy the camp nurse has seen in 15 years. That’s never a sentence you want to hear from the camp nurse. Since Stacey has been ignoring Laine, this gives Laine the opportunity to hash out their issues. After a little Days of our Lives viewing session to ease the tension, Laine makes her big apology. Although, it’s sort of a “I’m sorry but also if you had just confided in me about what was going on none of this would have happened,” which isn’t really an apology. Still, it helps Stacey realize that yes, your best friends are the ones you can trust even with — especially with — “the scary stuff.” Now Stacey has that with the BSC girls and she’s able to make amends with Laine.
One problem solved! On to the next: Let’s talk about the Dawn and Claudia protest situation. Claudia is still “a political prisoner,” by which Dawn means, she’s still being remanded to her cabin. In the meantime, Dawn is leading a “lie-in” as a form of peaceful protest until the unfair pay system at Camp Moosehead is changed. When Meany seems less than moved by this form of civil disobedience (she has a root canal to get to!), Dawn knows she needs to kick it up a notch. She sneaks onto the PA system and asks all of her fellow campers to take a stand with her: a strike on activities until all campers are equal!
She’s joined by a lot of campers — including Claudia, who Dawn busts out of her cabin! This would be something to celebrate if not for the fact that a lot of the campers striking come from Mary Anne’s play. Things weren’t going well before the strike: No one knew their cues, everyone was getting distracted, her lead actress has been “disfigured” — the drama of it all! Poor Mary Anne thinks the real problem is her. She’s been trying to be a Kristy-style leader, bossing people around, but as Logan — sweet Logan — reminds her, she isn’t Kristy. She leads her own way and people respond to that. YOU GUYS. Logan Bruno loves Mary Anne Spier so much. I can barely stand it! And now that Mary Anne is going to take over for Stacey, she’ll be the one getting the on-stage kiss with Logan. What a time!
Then the campers go on strike. Mary Anne needs to have words with Dawn and this conversation between friends ends up being about how there are many ways to make a difference — through art, through standing up against injustice, etc — and many ways a person can feel like the best version of themself. That even though two friends may arrive at those things in extremely different ways, they can still support one another. It’s a very mature conversation for these girls to have. Our girls! They’re growing up so fast!
So anyway, Mary Anne comes around to Dawn’s protest and all the girls are there waiting for Meany. Meany doesn’t outright say, “I don’t get paid enough for this crap,” but that’s the exact look she has when she comes upon the camp strike. She calls Dawn and Claudia to her office — she’s going to be sending them home. The other girls follow in solidarity. If one of them is going home, all of them are. It’s Mary Anne who makes this promise, putting her friends above everything else, even her beloved play, and Logan looks at her even more in love than before (if possible). He also reminds her that this means they won’t get to do their kiss (the priorities of this kid!) and Mary Anne is like “aw, hell no!” and plants one right on his stunned face. Mary Anne. MARY ANNE SPIER. What a perfect character arc she’s had this season.
In the camp office, Meany tries to explain that she really does get it: The girls are figuring out who they are and how they fit in the world and that’s exactly what camp is about. Still, she can’t just do everything for free. This is a business! She is about to tell them that she has no choice but to send them home, until Kristy Thomas storms in with another option. “Oh no, not this one,” Meany mumbles under her breath. Oh yes, this one.
See, while all of these shenanigans have been going on, Kristy has been on an adventure. Karen took off on her own. At first, it was to find the hermit haunting the theater and break the curse to save Mary Anne’s play, because of course it was. But after she realized that was all made up, she took off for the bus stop. Karen wanted to go home. Kristy, who asks Mallory and Jessi to help her find her sister, comes upon the heartbroken 7-year-old. Karen thought breaking the curse would help her make friends. Everyone thinks she’s weird. She heard David Michael say she was only his “step-sister.” Our confident drama queen is having a tough time, friends. Luckily, she is surrounded by three other confident young women who know exactly what to say. Jessi and Mallory tell Karen that they know what it’s like to feel lonely at camp and assure her that she has them as friends. Kristy tells her that she’d be bummed to not be able to spend the rest of the summer with her sister. Those things seem to really ease Karen’s anxiety, but let’s be real: What really pushes her back to camp is learning that Vanessa Pike has taken her role in Paris Magic. No one takes Karen Brewer’s place on stage!
The whole thing is very heart-warming and it brings Kristy’s story about processing her changing family very full circle. But it also serves another purpose — Kristy Thomas is nothing if not resourceful, we know this. She tells Meany that her counselors were so distracted, they didn’t even notice Karen was missing. Camp Moosehead needs some counselors who pay attention and are up for the challenge of taking care of these kids. Basically: Let the BSC become counselors-in-training, would ya?
She does! All the girls get to stay, Claudia gets to run her free art class, Mary Anne gets her play, and the girls get to do what they do best. But there is one puzzle piece missing: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Dawn track down Jessi and Mallory to offer them positions as Junior Officers in the Baby-Sitters Club. “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes,” they say. I’m paraphrasing but you understand the importance of the situation. The Baby-Sitters Club, stronger than ever, is an unstoppable force no matter where they are.
Okay now it’s truly the best summer ever.
• “A witchy but glamorous decoy — obviously Karen’s work.”
• Aren’t you relieved that Jessi and Mallory have finally joined the BSC? And that we got this book-based shout out when Kristy calls Mallory a “wilderness expert”: “I’m more of a horse girl, but there’s a lot of overlap.”
• It’s been an honor and a privilege to go on this BSC adventure with you all. Now it’s time for me to try and hunt down my old copy of the Baby-Sitters Club Chain Letter Book and consider wearing mismatched earrings in everyday life. Until the next meeting, sitters.