Another blowup erupts between Cate and Lux in this week's Life Unexpected after the latter is suspended from school. This eventually leads to a revelation that will change Cate and Ryan's lives. Meanwhile, Baze attempts to raise the money he owes Lux, even if he has to go about it using unconventional means.
This week's episode kicks off with Ryan and Cate in another classic "Cate is lousy with her love life" conversation over the radio. Have their listeners still not figured out they're engaged? Apparently yes, as they discuss the woes of single life. This time, they've dragged their married boss, Alice (Being Erica's Erin Karpluk), into their argument. "You single people don't know how easy you have it," she says. Cate retorts that dating comes with small talk and small body parts.
Meanwhile, Baze hits rock bottom, or really, his bank account has. He and Jamie need to figure out a way to get more people into the bar so they can make more money. I mean, it is pretty sad when your daughter sells your priceless bong lamp to pay last month's rent, right? While perusing the net, Baze comes across the radio station's website and sees an ad for a competing bar on there, where Cate and Ryan are holding their next event. The event, funnily enough, is basically speed dating.
At school, Lux discusses where she's been in her life (or at least what she makes up) with the cool kids she's befriended, one being the new proud owner of the infamous bong lamp - until she gives it to her boyfriend at least. Until then, it's resting safe and sound in her locker, that way her parents won't find it. Pop quiz, hot shot: Does that even sound like a good idea? At least it got Lux an invite to Brynn's sleepover.
Elsewhere, both Cate and Baze separately receive Lux's medical history and a few mementos from her life growing up, including a Christmas letter to Santa: "Dear Santa, I want one thing for Christmas this year. I asked for it last year and the year before, have you not gotten my letters? I want one mom and one dad. My mom should be pretty, funny, smart and cook. My dad would be nice and have an important job and lots of money. He could be famous and he could buy a big house, with a dog and my own bed. He would take me to Disneyworld, that's the second thing I want for Christmas. Maybe she could be famous too, like a news reporter or a movie star."
How close do Cate and Baze come to Lux's idea of a perfect family? Cate's semi-close, but Baze isn't even near her ideal pops. Baze decides to change that, starting with getting the money to pay Lux back. Money is the least of Lux's worries, though, as the bong lamp is discovered in Brynn's locker, and she lays all the blame on Lux.
While shopping for an outfit for "Drink-a-Date," Ryan and Cate are recognized by a listener. "I wish you guys would wake up and realize you're perfect for each other," the fan says. Despite lying to her face about there being sexual tension between them, they're next seen in the fitting room trying to get down. Unfortunately the steamy moment is cut short by Baze, who calls to reveal that Lux has been suspended.
The truth then comes out. Baze admits to Cate that Lux sold the bong to pay his rent. "You realize this is the opposite of funny, right?" Cate yells at Baze. She tries to convey to Lux how serious this situation is, and then heads off to school to try to fix it herself. Cate tries to convince the principal to drop the suspension, explaining that Lux is a good kid. She even gives her Lux's file from the social worker so she can read for herself that Lux has had a hard time in life. Ruh-roh. Lux's enemy, Casey, hears this and we smell upcoming trouble.
Baze celebrates with his roomies that Lux got out of being suspended thanks to Cate. On his own successful front, he's posted a Craigslist ad for the bar, though it hasn't helped at all. Jamie suggests he ask Cate to let him host the next event, so Baze, again interrupts Cate and Ryan's "personal time," asking to host their next event. "If you want something, help yourself," she says before hanging up. That's fine by Baze, who helps himself by calling the police on Garett's, the bar that's meant to host the event. Cue the police arresting the under-agers.
The following morning, Cate finds Baze in the radio station. After pulling a fast one on Cate's boss, he's managed to get "Drink-a-Date" relocated to his bar. She catches him in the elevator and calls him out. "Hey, I'm just helping myself," he replies.
And the ball finally drops on Lux as she arrives at school to find her locker decorated with her Christmas letter from the social worker file that Casey copied. Now her new friends know she was never at boarding school, and certainly never met Jerry Garcia. "I told you she was a head case like her mom," Casey says. This leads to Lux's arrival at the bar announcing that she's moving in with Baze. She doesn't trust mommy dearest anymore.
That night, Baze's bar is hopping thanks to "Drink-a-Date." Cate is, for once, impressed they were able to get their act together. Just before she goes on stage, Baze says that Lux is now avoiding Cate. No time to deal with that, though, as Cate makes her debut on stage, kicking off the competition.
Later, Ryan hits the bar to get a beer and immediately calls Baze out on his 'tude. "We can't all be you, a nice guy with an important job and money for a trip to Disneyworld," gripes Baze. Ryan retorts that Cate is out there busting her butt to be a good mother, while Baze does nothing, yet Lux always comes running to him. "If you really want to be a father, just start acting like one," says Ryan.
Upstairs, Lux and Cate have another blowup over Cate's inability to be a good mother having inadvertently ousted Lux's lies to her friends. "You have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. I don't know why you would lie," says Cate, though she has to face the facts that she's living a lie herself. It's not just that, though. The Christmas letter that was posted reveals Lux's deepest wish: Parents. "Which is understandable because that is what you wanted," says Cate. "Right, but no one wanted me and now the whole school knows that," Lux replies before storming out.
Lux heads down to the bar, gets up on stage, and outs Ryan and Cate for being engaged to each other. Not good. Later, Cate, Ryan and Alice commiserate how bad this is for the radio show. Cate lets Lux stay behind at the bar, though we see that Lux feels just as much regret for what she did. The following morning, Lux meets Cate at the radio station to apologize. Cate finally puts her foot down, explaining to Lux that she was in the wrong for maliciously outing them. "I can't do this Lux," she says. Every maternal thing Cate's tried hasn't worked, so she gives her an ultimatum.
The fallout arrives. Half of Portland is calling in with either love or hate after the engagement revelation, but it doesn't matter if listeners hate them, which most of them do, the phones are still ringing, which means they're still in business.
Math sits down with Lux at school, explaining he knows what it's like to be the odd-man out at school. He admits that he was actually going to ask Cate to winter formal, the night Lux was conceived. He shows her that good things can come out of terrible situations. "You've got to know, you're not the only one who doesn't feel wanted," he tells her. He asks her to read the rest of the Christmas letter, saying the answer to what she should do is in there.
"So Santa, if you can't find a perfect mom and dad, that's OK. I'm not perfect either. I hate peas, I don't like presents under the tree, because what I want won't fit in a box," she says, as we see Baze returning the bong lamp and the money he lent her to her room at Cate's house. "I want parents, two parents. They don't always have to say stuff right, and do stuff right, it's OK if they don't. They just have to be nice people who will try," Lux continues, and we see that she's fast asleep back at Cate's house. "So if there are two people out there for me, Santa, please tell them that I'm here. I'm waiting for them and I love them already," she concludes.
Santa, please promise us many seasons of Life Unexpected and let the cast know that we love them. What did you think of tonight's episode?