1.11: Tina Sharp
In this episode, Wildfire channels every horse story involving a typical main character pushing a basic injury in order to ride sooner rather than later. Only Wildfire ups the ante, pushing their main character onto the horse, has her exercise this horse, and then has her lobby ruthlessly for a jockey job, all while still wearing a plaster cast she could knock someone unconscious with.
In the previous episode, Ashleigh broke her arm when she slipped off the horse she was riding. In this episode, it's only a few days later (probably) and Mike is helping her put on a sweater while she winces from the pain. Call me crazy, but if her arm hurts this much after wrangling an article of clothing, there's little chance in hell she's riding a horse. Ah, but then I guess I'm underestimating the horse story main character. Mike, typically, makes some wise crack about how he must be better at taking sweaters off (oh, please, shut up) and thankfully Brad comes along to save us from Mike's horrible attempt at humor. Mike takes a moment to invite Brad to see this reggae band, and Brad tries to subtly tell him he can't because he's going on a date. Mike makes a complete fool out of himself before Brad can tell him: "Dude, it's with Ashleigh." While she's right there, somehow completely missing this entire conversation. Mike beats a hasty path out of Ashleigh's trailer.
Meanwhile, Cindy has arrived at Whitebrook in order to be loud and annoying while Ashleigh is out of commission. Although she's not totally out of commission, because she's riding Wonder and pretending like her arm isn't hurting in order to plead for a chance to ride the filly in a race. Ian, however, has other ideas and intends to haul in this new jockey to try out the horse, much to Ashleigh's horror. Then you have Cindy over there, insisting that the only way to get through the pain is to "control" it using prescription pain killers. Ashleigh is not exactly willing to do this, insisting that aspirin is enough, only to have Cindy shove the pills at her anyway. Then Cindy romps over to Casa Reese and meets Mike, being all disturbingly interested in him despite his status as a minor. Cindy wants to go out, and because Ashleigh and Brad are going out without him, Mike decides to take Cindy to dinner. Naturally they wind up having sex in Mike's car, while Ashleigh and Brad get take out and presumably eat dinner in a field somewhere, which is too suspiciously Thoroughbred series. Well, not the sex in the car part. Obviously.
Secondary to all of this is Dani's ongoing attempt to locate her missing mother. She thinks she's found her, although I don't know how she managed this, and is stunned when she finds out that this person is Latina. Dani's dad always said that her mother was "Spanish" and this opens up a new rift between her and Ethan, who is still here, being supportive only until he has to play some race card on top of Dani's attempt to find her mom, confusing her into trying to accept that she might be biracial when there is absolutely no proof that she actually is.
Back at Casa Reese, Ashleigh convinces Ian and Jean to give her a chance to prove that she can be Wonder's jockey, so Ian tells her that if she can beat the other jock's time he'll give her some serious consideration. Ashleigh manages this after breaking down and taking the pills Cindy gives her. During this, Cindy is trying to be friendly with Ashleigh because she a) has no female friends and apparently would really like one and b) is with men all the time, and is sick of it. So Cindy pretty much sticks herself in Ashleigh's trailer and reads magazines and is annoying, but at least she's not drinking or has turned the trailer into a brothel, so for right now Ashleigh doesn't have much to worry about.
Only then Ian and Jean decide not to put Ashleigh on Wonder for the upcoming race. Instead they're going to put Cindy up on the filly, and Ashleigh predictably feels betrayed. She confronts Cindy, suggesting that "maybe there's a reason" Cindy has no female friends. It's probably because Cindy's a bitch and likes to stab people in the back for her own personal gain, but Ashleigh leaves that unsaid and storms off to brood about this development after stating she isn't going to the race. She would much prefer to brood.
Meanwhile, Mike has fallen in with Cindy. Dani calls him "Mr. Tina Sharp," which is a hilariously fitting role for him. Mike has fallen from manly tracker to boy toy in the space of a few weeks, which I can't say wasn't going to happen, because it really was. Speaking of Dani, she goes to wake up Brad, insisting that they might be biracial. Brad's all "that's ridiculous because I remember our mom and she's not biracial." Dani puts down his own memories, so he has to get up and retrieve the only photo he has of their mother, who is indeed not Latina. Then they have what I will admit was a touching conversation about their reality and what they could have expected from a loving mom. I am really liking these Dani and Brad moments right now, because they manage to lift the show up whenever Mike comes in and does something so damningly stupid I have to wonder how he continues as a main character.
At Casa Reese, Jean visits with Ashleigh and gives her the motivational speech about growing up and falling off and getting back on and such. Ashleigh wants to be experienced, but she just isn't, so she'll have to live with that for right now. She tells Ashleigh she's going to the damn race, and Ashleigh does wind up going to the race because she's a horse story main character. Of course she's going to the race. Although in an unexpected move, she tells off Cindy and basically calls her on being a self-absorbed bitch before going to watch the race in the solitude of some room in the backside. Wonder and Cindy win, giving Ashleigh a brief moment of joy before they cut to an interview of Cindy talking about how she found Wonder in some little known farm and she just had to be a part of things, effectively destroying Ashleigh's moment of happiness. This leads to her decision to throw away the pills Cindy gave her, putting her back on the path of moral righteousness and making her less likely to becoming a pill popping jockey/whore later on.
Next time on Wildfire, Cindy brings a TV crew to Whitebrook Farm, causing havoc and hurt feelings, most likely.