The second episode of Billy & Billie makes up for what was absent in the pilot; the ick factor. When they first slept together, Billy and Billie behaved in a way that wasn’t dissimilar to anybody who has found themselves suddenly hooking up with a person they’ve known for years. Weird, but a good kind of weird.
Billie’s mother Candice (Jan Maxwell) makes an appearance in the first few moments of the episode, her sudden arrival on Billie’s doorstep intruding on a lazy morning in bed with Billy. Piling on the delightful ick of their relationship is the introduction their younger half-brother Carson. Sharing step-parents is one thing, but sharing a blood brother is quite another.
The introduction of their family raises the stakes for the series and the gravity of their situation finally hits home for Billie, “People don’t do it for a reason, you know, get together when they’re…siblings,” she so eloquently tells Billy, who is maddening casual about their budding relationship. This non-reaction from Billy is what drives the conflict between the two of them during the episode, as Billie rightly feels as if she is “doing this all on her own”. It’s an argument they will share more than once before the season is over.
“In Bloom” (apart from continuing the trend of naming episodes after Nirvana songs) also makes a point of highlighting Billy’s womanising streak, where we spend more time with Denise (Li Jun Li), Billy’s demure boss and occasional fling and September (Katie Paxton), the overtly forward waitress from the diner. There’s a sense that women are just always in Billy’s orbit with minimal effort and this could easily explain why he is so cavalier about sleeping with his step-sister, or why he was hardly surprised it happened in the first place. I wonder if Seth Cohen would have grown up to be an accidental womaniser like Billy if he hadn’t ended up with Summer.
Billie and Billy’s tension is only exacerbated when they run into each other during separate lunch dates with Drew and Denise. The exchange is awkward at best and the sexual tension is palpable between the step-siblings, leaving both Drew and Denise are puzzled, even though both ladies chalk it up to brother/sister resentment.
I’m not sure that my opinion of Drew has changed from the first episode, but I love that her and Billie feel like real, long-time friends. I burst out laughing when Billie asked her, “Do you have any money?” to cover the three glasses of wine she downed before Drew even arrived. Billie is a moocher and I love it.
“In Bloom” didn’t bring as many laughs as the first episode, but it certainly delved deeper into the consequences of the series’ central relationship.