Swingtown: Heatwave

By Elaine B
There’s one magical thing about oppressive summer heat. When you’re too hot to move and too sweaty to think about anything beyond showers, life slows down and you get introspective. This is an episode featuring plenty of sweat and deep thoughts and deceptions (most of them anyway) revealed.

The heat certainly gets to Trina, who pulls out her collection of her old photographs, finds a particularly nice one of Tom and, feeling lonesome, calls him in Tokyo. Unfortunately, he’s not there so Bobbie the stewardess answers his phone. From the background noise, Trina knows that Tom’s room has become party central – and she has a pretty good idea of what will happen next. To his credit, as soon as Tom gets home, with his crew and the buxom Bobbie with him, he confesses. Things are icy between the couple in spite of the heat. “You cheated,” she says. He tries to disagree, citing Bobbie is on their list. “Open and honest is how it works … and why it works,” Trina counters. She begins flirting with his co-pilot, and the outcome could make life awkward between the two pilots in the cockpit.

Meanwhile, gentle Roger has been lying by omission to Janet, heading off to work each day even though he has no work to go to anymore. He manages a full five days before Janet, likely trying to upgrade her wardrobe to country club status, bounces a check at Marshall Fields, calls the bank and then Roger’s work and learns the truth. Janet freaks out because Roger has been vanishing every day, so she heads downtown to confront his boss and find out why he has been fired.

Why is it that everything about this woman makes me angry? How she sets the sex schedule, how she determines every detail of his life. How she treats the poor man like a child and keeps him acting like one. How she assumes he’s been fired when he’s just been laid off. Even his asking for a raise was her idea. Though she is the character showing the most growth in this series, more and more I am hoping that growth takes her away from her marriage so that sweet Roger can wind up with equally sweet Susan.

This is especially true after Roger shows up at Susan’s because he has no place else to go. She’s putting up wallpaper in the heat, since the air conditioner is broken. Roger fixes it. That’s when he confesses that he’d actually gone to school for engineering, but got married and quit. It’s an intimate moment, in which Susan shares how highly she thinks of him, and her look reveals that she has not shared the half of it. Roger just gets the AC fixed when the blackout hits. Noticing that Tom and Trina are having a pool party, the pair head over there to cool off.

Laurie, meanwhile, is at a softball game where Doug is playing. She learns that he has been offered a full time job at her school (which would make him her teacher again and off limits), but has been waffling on accepting. Laurie tells him he should take it and offers to come over to his place. He says they need to “take it slow and easy” – and likely not complicate his life – then kisses her.

Before Bruce headed to work that morning, Susan asked how Melinda was doing. I don’t think this is just motherly concern for a young woman. She sees in Melinda the sort of woman she might have been had she not gotten married and stuck in motherhood so young. What she does not see is that Melinda is infatuated with Bruce, who is mentoring her in the devious ways of the stock exchange. Stuck in downtown Chicago due to the power outage, Melinda points out that she has an apartment nearby. A hot, airless, humid apartment, but, hey, hormones have taken over. Sadly, the awkward coupling that happens next is left out of the episode, but when Bruce comes home, he immediately takes a shower – ’nuff said.

As the pool party is breaking up, Trina suggests to Tom that they become exclusive for a while until they can sort things out. He agrees, and to his credit, looks relieved. Their marriage may survive after all. I’m rooting for them. This pair is made for each other.

Roger finally goes home and finds Janet doing what every emergency advice bulletin on power outages cautions people not to do. She has her refrigerator wide open and is cleaning it out. Roger confesses what she already knows and says he can’t sell insurance again. She responds by telling him that whatever he wants is OK with her, she is his wife and will help him however she can. She then breaks out the T-bones she’d been saving for a special occasion. But of course, this is one and both of them know it.

Next week: Things get even hotter. Melinda kisses Bruce on a city street and Tom keeps Janet from seeing it (and what that pair is doing downtown together is way more interesting than the kiss). Later, Janet finds a picture of Roger in Trina’s darkroom. This could lead her straight to Susan. Expect friendships to be tested.

About Elaine Bergstrom 212 Articles
Feature writer, writing coach and novelist (12 published, another on the way) in the genre of horror/vampire fiction