TV Recaps

Jane By Design Recap: "The Online Date"

I haven’t really enjoyed Jane By Design since it came back for the second half of its first season. I felt like the show has tried a little too hard to be dramatic and has lost sight of what made it fun and lighthearted in the first place. But this week’s episode, “The Online Date,” had all the classic elements that make the show worth tuning into week after week. There was still drama, but it didn’t feel as forced as it has the past few weeks.

Kate (Jane and Billy’s mom) was still around and trying to make her kids’ lives better. Unfortunately, Kate’s good intentions seemed to cause nothing but problems. She rearranged Ben’s room, including sorting his ‘girlie magazines’ by date order (he was so embarrassed) and she showed up at school for Jane’s parent-teacher conference even though Ben is Jane’s legal guardian. She also signed herself and Jane up to make costumes for the school play; something Jane definitely does not have time to do. But that wasn’t as bad as what she did to try and ‘help’ Gray.

Jane had the unfortunate luck of having to tell Gray that her ex-husband, Beau, was engaged again to a younger woman. (India was gleeful at the idea of telling her, but Jane stepped up to try and break the news gently). Gray was not pleased and ended up throwing her cell phone across the room and breaking it. When Kate heard about that, she decided it would be a good idea to sign Gray up for an online dating service. Jane tried to take the website down, but it was too late; Gray had already received a potential date request, which meant Jane had to break more bad news to Gray. She also warned her mother to stop trying to help.

However, Gray had bigger problems. A rival design firm was trying to recruit her and even though Gray turned them down, Donovan found out about it and called Gray to make sure she wasn’t planning on jumping ship. India overheard this and immediately decided to use it to her advantage. (I don’t know if we’re supposed to view India as the ‘bad’ guy, but I don’t. She’s fun and snarky and probably my favorite character on the show. We need more of her, actually). Jane told Gray about the date and that the man was rich and handsome and Gray wasn’t pleased, but then she decided that she would give him a chance. India posed as Jane and called to set up a meeting with the other design firm at the same location as Gray’s date so she could take pictures of them and ruin Gray’s career.

Meanwhile, the battle for Ben continued to rage between Rita and Amanda. (Even though I’m never, ever going to root for anyone other than Rita, Amanda was a little more toned down this week and not such a cartoon villain like her first few appearances). She was putting together a drama production of Cinderella and she made a big deal out of kissing Ben on stage just to show the kids that kissing while acting was easy. Rita was not amused. Jane told Rita that she needed to be herself and Ben would see that she was the one for him, but Lulu and Harper insisted that being herself was a bad idea. Rita attempted to get back at Amanda by putting tobasco sauce in her drink. But Amanda pretended she was choking and Ben was not happy with Rita for playing such a childish prank. Score one for Amanda this week; poor Rita left the bar alone, looking dejected.

Billy and Zoe were still growing strong. (I like them, but at the same time, I don’t). Zoe auditioned for the play and she landed the lead role. In a shocking (and by shocking, I mean so obvious that blind people saw it coming) turn of events, Nick landed the role of the prince. So once again, Billy’s girlfriend is going to be spending time with Nick. Lulu and Harper were cast as the ugly stepsisters, which was fitting because Lulu has become the worst. (Harper, however, always makes me laugh. I’d like to see her and India team up). Zoe invited Billy over to her house to meet her parents and even though he accepted, he was really apprehensive about it since he hasn’t made the best impression on parents in the past.

So Billy headed to see Jane and ask her for advice. (I think this is my problem with Billy and Zoe. It’s obviously creating drama for Billy and Jane and ruining their friendship and I don’t approve of that). But Jane is awesome and put her issues aside to tell Billy that it was going to be fine and there was no reason to be nervous or to change anything about himself. Billy pointed out that he wants the girl he’s dating to be proud to have him walk through the front door of her house and not have him sneak in her window. Jane pointed out that was what he did at her house and things got a little awkward for a minute there. But then Jane found out that Gray was about to walk into a trap and she needed to stop her.

Jane tried to call Gray, but she’d broken her cell phone and Jane hadn’t replaced it yet. Gray was at the office with Eli, but neither of them picked up the phone since it was the weekend. (They did have a sweet bonding moment when Eli was helping his aunt get ready for her date). Billy offered to drive Jane to the city, but she didn’t want him to miss meeting Zoe’s parents. He insisted he could do both, but then Jane’s car broke down and they were stuck. Jane called her mom and asked her to help them. Kate wanted to make sure she was asking because she didn’t want Jane to yell at her again. Jane pointed out that she didn’t yell, but she might have been stern. Kate told her that she’d feel guilty when she was dead. (Seriously, this must be in the mom handbook because mine says it to me all the time).

Kate went to leave, but when she opened the front door, there was a hot guy (in the form of One Life to Live’s John Brotherton) standing there. It turns out Dakota (really?) is Kate’s ex-boyfriend and he tracked her down even though she’d broken up with him in a letter. Kate brings him with to pick up the kids and Dakota threatens to read said letter, which Billy was all for, but Kate talked him out of it. They didn’t have time to find Gray and get Billy to his dinner on time so Jane insisted they drop Billy off (Even though things are still awkward, this felt like the first step in getting their friendship back on track) and Jane sent Eli a text and asked him to stop Gray. Billy was nervous and when Zoe opened the door, he admitted he hoped her dad would like him. Zoe said she was sure one of them would. It turns out Zoe’s got two dads and she reminded Billy that she’d warned him her life wasn’t what it seemed.

Back at the Quimby home, Eli sent Jane a message that he couldn’t find Gray in time. But then Gray called Jane and let her know that she’d stood up her date because she just wasn’t ready. (Poor India is probably still waiting in the bushes with the photographer). Jane told her that someday she would be and then she went to find Kate to tell her the good news, but her mother was busy getting proposed to by Dakota.

Next week looks to be a return to the drama. Kate is deciding if she wants to marry Dakota and Ben and Jane are wondering if they’re going to lose their mom again. Nick and Zoe are getting involved in play rehearsals and it seems like the issue of Billy and Jane possibly being more than friends is coming up once again. Until then, please feel free to leave your comments below and let us know what you think of the show.

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.