What If – 200

Written by: Stephen Zito, Don McGill; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[The writers/producers were getting a bit nostalgic with this, the 200th, episode. Through Harm’s ‘daydreams’, they conjectured about what the series might have been like if they had directed the characters differently at various ‘choice points.’ It is another ‘role playing’ episode; but, where the major cast play themselves in an alternate universe. Still, however, it’s pretty much another ‘soapbox opera’ and NOT the typical JAG we are looking for. As you read this, just don’t lose the fact that this is “the road less traveled” and a daydream sequence… or you WILL be lost.]

On the occasion of PO Coates’ (Co) promotion to first class, the ‘regulars’ were at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Chegwidden (C) overruled the argument about who should open their fortune cookie first by saying “we’ll go by height, you first Rabb.” Harm’s (H) was: “Your unspoken desire is the road not taken, take it”; but, he avoided the obligatory “reading aloud.” Instead he lapsed into a reverie in which he was at JAG receiving his wife, Mac (M), who was dressed in silk “civvies,” acting childishly flippant, and wanting their divorce papers signed. They had decided to marry, after the night in Sydney harbor, but now she said she was tired of him not paying attention to her and announced she was quitting the service and marrying John Farrow, a river guide in Colorado.

In the reverie Mac had come to get admiral Krennick (K) to sign her terminal leave papers; but, instead H talked her into assigning M “her last case,” as defense for Marine Col. Sutter charged with harming a prisoner. Krennik told H that she did it so “you can get it out of your system and move on to someone tough, ambitious and able to give you the ride of your life.” He told her to remember that he had “pulled 9 1/2 G’s in a tomcat” and she responded “then maybe you’re ready for me.” Sutter had taken the recalcitrant detainee outside and fired his gun next to the man’s head, in order to get him to reveal secret plans which eventually saved the lives of many men. Sutter told M that a female JAG had tried, unsuccessfully, to get information for 10 hours and then had “tattled” on him when he did what she couldn’t. He said “phony marines… women who have never seen combat can’t possibly understand what is at stake.” Harm insisted he take M and Farrow to lunch; then, traded zingers with Farrow, took the seat between them, and offered M a plea bargain, which Sutter had already turned down. When M found what H had done, she got right into his face and said “I’m going to kick your butt!”

Next, C deferred to Bud (B) and Harriett (Ht), who simultaneously read H’s same fortune out loud. That sent H back into another reverie where Ht’s parents had died and left her “all the money in the world.” She came to B’s “spa king” store to ask for an install before her housewarming party, for her new mansion. B told her he left the navy “when you lost interest in me” and Mikey (Mk) intimated that he had been pining for her. Harriet told the spa king B that she had left him at the altar, because she didn’t think he was mature enough, but now realized that it had been her own problem. Mac and H had their usual “veiled” bickering in the courtroom, where their statements had double meaning to their own lives. She told H that “loving you was like stepping on a rusty nail.” Harm offered to give her their photo album, containing all their memories. She refused, but then took it when he wasn’t looking. Harm told her “what if fate meant us to be together… but we both just got in our own way?” Mac countered with “‘what if,’ just doesn’t get it done.” Verese was practicing at Ht’s house with “mister” Turner (T) watching and having some sort of “agreement terms,” for Ht, in his briefcase. Harriet showed B and Mk her million dollar paintings. In court, Sutter said, “you can’t play by the rules when your enemy doesn’t.” M said: “I’ll say,” and H objected. Mac told judge Seibring “that was under my breath… and besides, I object. The counselor is badgering ME.” Seibring said “you’re flirting with contempt,” and she retorted: “I am NOT flirting!” H’s double meaning statement: “we can blame others for our predicament’s, but the truth is we make our own bed” (looking directly at M) brought her retort “your honor, he didn’t make the bed in two years!”

Next, C tried to defer again, but Co shamed him into opening a cookie with her. They got the same fortune, sending H back into the reverie. C and Meredith (Md) were married and he was a retired attorney who was defending Co, who had just skipped bail. Co had gone AWOL at Christmas and was now part of an art theft ring and known as the “cat woman.” Chegwidden told Md that Co was after a rare Shakespeare folio, then had to summarily turn down Md’s offer to “help.” Co was shown telling “Stan,” her contact (from Magnum PI), that she had already “cased” Ht’s new house, posing as a caterer. Meredith went to Ht’s to see the folio, which she said she had bought on her accountant’s advice, and did have under security devices. Bud told Ht he would do the bathroom at no charge, but she said that with all her money she “still felt something was missing,” then invited him to her party. Harm caught M looking at their photo album and she retorted “you’re not the WORST thing that ever happened to me.” In court, H continued his obtuse double meaning questioning, about “not being too proud to admit when they’re wrong,” to the point that Seibring threw up his hands in submission. He called them to the bench during an argument and told them to resolve their differences. They said that their “marriage counselor had quit.”

Next, T refused to take a cookie saying he could only eat soy because of allergies. Mac took her cookie (the same fortune), but claimed that it said: “wherever you go, there you are.” Back in the reverie, Seibring told Sutter that he had heard many things which troubled him, but “none had anything to do with this case” so adjudged for administrative action only. He told M and H that he wasn’t going to discipline them because he found their squabbling entertaining. Mac and Farrow were leaving on a train; but, H shamed them into going to Ht’s party, so as “not to leave any unfinished business.” Verese was the entertainment, and T was engaged to her. Harm asked K for “more indulgence…” and promised her “rebound potential.” Mk chatted up Co, a server at Hts party. Md spotted Co, but C didn’t believe her. Chegwidden told Md that he “believed in fate” and they were meant to be together. Bud told Ht that he had “more money than she did” with his 17 outlets in 5 states, Spa King, and patent on the “miracle tickler.” Harm gave M her signed divorce papers to “file with your terminal leave papers, retirement orders and every other burned bridge from your past unhappy life.” She said that he “never committed until she had one foot out the door” and stormed out. Turner told H that if he let M go he “would wonder ‘what if’ the rest of your life.” Harm said “destiny has spoken,” and T replied that his dad always said that “destiny speaks through the choices we make.” Harm found that M had left her coat with her train ticket in the pocket. Co and “Stan” broke into Ht’s Shakespeare folio; but, were foiled by Md’s bluffing with a fake dart gun. Co revealed that she wasn’t a thief, but was really doing a “sting” just to catch Stan. Md advised C not to discount her imagination and he replied that he “lived in fear of her imagination.” At the train station, Farrow announced that it was sold out and they couldn’t buy a replacement for M. Just then, H showed up with the coat and ticket and announced that he had “stopped trying to stop you.” As M was boarding, the ticket flew out of her hand in the wind, and Farrow left alone on the train. Mac turned to H and said: “I’m ready, are you?”

Back from the reverie, everyone had left already and C was asking H if he was going to follow them. Harm told M that he had “just been pondering the road not taken… yet!”

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