The Chair Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – The Last Bus in Town
Published 7 months ago
Ji-Yoon sits with Dean Larson and the Chief of Communications. They tell her that Pembroke Daily says she issued a gag order to Lila, so she will not speak about Bill’s case. They ask her about Bill getting a ride from coed and how he showed nude photos in class. She tells them that those happened once. They say they want her to make some statement and that they drafted a letter from her and Paul, informing Bill of the termination for cause of his upcoming hearing. They say it is no longer a disciplinary hearing. They ask her if they are involved romantically because Paul saw them leave together. Paul tells her that if she is, she would have to declare it because she violates the university policy. They also say that one of her options is to step down as Chair. They say she should prevent issues like that from spinning out of control, but all she has been able to do so far is the opposite. She signs the letter and calls Bill immediately, but he does not answer, so she leaves him a voicemail.
Since she cannot get a response from Bill, Ji-Yoon, with Ju Ju in the backseat, decides to drive to Bill’s house. She slides the letter on Bill’s door. Ju Ju insists on seeing Bill, but Ji-Yoon stands firm and tells her no. Ju Ju tells her that she needs to say something to Bill about Dia de Los Muertos – that if she does not say it, then his wife won’t be able to find him. She says that Ji-Yoon does not know about Dia de Los Muertos because Ji-Yoon does not care about her heritage. Ji-Yoon ignores her until Ju Ju calls her ‘puta.’ Ji-Yoon gets enough of it and tells her that she knows the word puta because she is giving her Spanish lessons, and they are going to Oaxaca that summer because some of her ancestors are there.
Ji-Yoon brings Ju Ju to her father’s house so she can continue working. Ju Ju is upset because she is supposed to have her presentation with Bill that morning. Ji-Yoon’s father tells Ji-Yoon that he cannot take care of Ju Ju because she does not even speak and understand Korean. Ji-Yoon tells him to speak English instead. His father also tells Ji-Yoon that she should be back in time because they should be going to Minji’s first birthday, and everyone in their family is complaining that they never see Ji-Yoon anymore.
Bill goes out on the street, and some students passing by call him Hitler.
Ji-Yoon arrives at David Duchovny’s house and finds him swimming in his indoor pool.
On their way to Minji’s party, Ju Ju and her grandfather sees Bill on the street. Ju Ju insists on bringing him to the party.
Yaz confronts Elliot about what she read on the paper he left on the copier. He tells her she shouldn’t have read it and explains that he gave a positive assessment of her scholarship, and the committee does not buy it when he does not express any reservations, so in a way, he is helping her. Yaz laughs at this and tells him that Ji-Yoon begged her to co-teach with him because his enrollments were so low. She blurts out that he is on a list of people they would force to retire, and Ji-Yoon merged their classes so he can piggyback on her enrollments.
Elliot wakes John up and tells him that all of them, dinosaurs, should band together because they will force them to retire.
David and Ji-Yoon talk about the Distinguished Lectureship. He tells her that he is planning to present his Yale dissertation. He mispronounces a word, and Ji-Yoon corrects him. He then tells Ji-Yoon that maybe she is in the wrong department. He then proceeds to take back what he said indirectly by saying that he does not see color or ethnicity at that point, only an aura.
At Minji’s birthday party, Ji-Yoon’s relatives look at Ju Ju and discuss why Ji-Yoon did not adopt a Korean baby. Ju Ju brings Bill to the table where older Korean men are drinking.
Ji-Yoon reads David’s dissertation and tells him that she cannot just catch him up with a quick tutorial because his work is over 30 years old, and a lot has happened since then. She also says that it is self-serving for him to use the honor from Pembroke to dust off his dissertation and return to get his Ph.D. She says she promised the Distinguished Lectureship to someone who deserved it. David tells her he needs a minute and goes upstairs. After waiting for a while, Ji-Yoon hears David singing with his guitar. She tells him he cannot just teach to pass his time because teaching is a profession. She says that if he wants to contribute to the field, he should tell them that he has changed his mind. She tells him to give them a check to endow a chair in his name, and in return, she’ll get him an honorary doctorate.
At Minji’s birthday party, it is time for the main event, the Doljabi ceremony. They put things in front of Minji, and whichever she picks means her future. They lay down a stethoscope that symbolizes being a doctor, a pencil for being a teacher, a paintbrush for being an artist, a dollar bill for being rich, a tennis ball for being an athlete, and a white string for having a long life. Minji holds the paintbrush first, but an elderly woman pushes the money forward, so Minji picks the money instead. Bill shouts and says that the woman rigged the process. He kneels and tries to give Minji the paintbrush. The men pull him back, and he ends up lying on the floor and dropping his pill bottle.
Elliot, John, and Joan gather and talk about the list and how Ji-Yoon wanted Elliot to doctor his tenure letter for Yaz in exchange for a co-teacher. They say that Ji-Yoon only protects Bill’s interest because she is in love with him. They say they need to do something, and Joan suggests staging a coup.
Ji-Yoon drives back to the school. She finds Yaz and happily tells her that she convinces David not to give the Distinguished Lectureship anymore so that Yaz can give it. Yaz sighs and tells her that she has already agreed to give it to Yale. She says that they invited her to apply for a position. Surprised, Ji-Yoon asks why she did not tell her about the offer. Yaz tells her that she always acts as if she owes them like she is the chair because they let her become one, not because she deserves it. She says Ji-Yoon should be running the place instead of playing nice. Ji-Yoon says she did not play nice to get where she is. She says that Pembroke did and said all the nice things to make her stay, but the real reason she stayed is because of Joan, Bill, and her. Ji-Yoon asks Yaz what Yale is offering. Yaz tells her that they offered her expedited tenure, endowed professorship, and a ton of money. Ji-Yoon tells her that Pembroke can beat that.
Ji-Yoon’s father, together with two other elderly women and Ju Ju, bring Bill home. They prepared food for him and helped clean up his house. He thanks them and tells Ji-Yoon’s father he’s sorry for what happened and hopes he has not ruined it. Ju Ju calls Bill and asks for the pizza, Sharon’s favorite food, so her soul can find Bill. They prepare her shrine for Dia de Los Muertos. Watching this from afar, the elders talk about how Bill has a good job and is good with kids. They say Bill might be the last bus in town for Ji-Yoon, given that she is already turning 50.
Ji-Yoon comes home and finds a flower trail leading to her late mother’s shrine. She cries.
I admire Ji-Yoon for being so patient with Ju Ju, even when she is being very stubborn at times. I feel sorry for Bill because it seems like he is at the lowest point of his life. After all, he’s still grieving, and now the thing he loves to do is being taken away from him. It is a good thing that Ju Ju is bringing him happiness somehow. I hope Bill and Ji-Yoon get a happy ending because they deserve that. Also, I hope that Pembroke will back Ji-Yoon when it comes to retaining Yaz and giving her more than Yale offers. She is an excellent teacher, and if only Elliot would open his mind and adjust to the changing needs of the students, then all would be well.