It's getting a bit difficult to limit these recaps to just seven moments, but I'm going to do my best.
Moira's success with the Crows movie gets the attention of her old producer from Sunrise Bay, who arrives in town with a tantalizing offer (and a fantastic guest star). Johnny runs into financial trouble with the new motel right after he promised to pay for the catering at David's wedding as a gift, and David's taste is not cheap. Meanwhile Alexis is finally processing her heartbreak and looks like she hasn't showered or gone outside in days — but even at her lowest moment, she has some surprises up her sleeve.
Johnny, Roland and Stevie have gotten as far as hiring a full staff for the new motel and holding their first orientation meeting when the risk of buying a wooden building from the 1960s finally rears its head. "Ronnie found termite damage in Room 6," Stevie announces, "and apparently the entire foundation's about to collapse."
Now the three of them are stuck wondering where they'll get the money to repair everything, with their resources already stretched thin and David's expensive wedding right around the corner. Roland considers selling his last kidney, and Stevie mentions she went to school with a guy who sets "accidental fires" if they want to go for the insurance money — but Johnny isn't ready to give up on his Rosebud Motels vision just yet. "We're knee deep in this now. We just have to figure out where we're going to find the money."
As Moira gets ready for her lunch meeting, Alexis spends the day doing what any depressed newly-single person deserves to do: lying in bed, eating snacks and binge-watching TV. Moira has a boxed set of Sunrise Bay that Alexis needs to brush up on as Moira's publicist, so technically this counts as research.
We finally get a look at the show that launched Moira Rose to fame — and I'm no expert on soap operas, but it appears to be what you'd get if you threw Days of Our Lives, Passions and General Hospital into a blender, i.e. I love it and want to watch twelve seasons. "Do you really think you would be head of surgery at Sunrise General if you weren't possessed by your father who also happened to be the former head of surgery at Sunrise General??" demands Moira's perpetually drunk co-star Clifton Sparks, and are we ever coming back to him in a second.
Moira insists that Alexis stay home and heads off to the meeting on her own, leaving Alexis to try to make sense of all the plot holes — which, as any Schitt's Creek fan will tell you, is the most fun and most dangerous part of watching TV.
Clifton Sparks is played by guest star Victor Garber of Alias and Titanic fame, and it's one of the most enjoyable casting decisions I've seen in a while. I never would have guessed it, but the moment he turns around it's like he's been on the show the whole time. "I gave up the drink," he declares, "I'm strictly a wine and scotch man now."
Clifton has joined Sunrise Bay's executive producer Tippi Bernstein (who suffers from vertigo, and I got that joke nine hours later and was very mad about it) to convince Moira to sign on to a reboot of the series — "It's gonna be raw, it's gonna be edgy, it's gonna be primetime!" They tell her Nicole Kidman is involved, and that it'll be no trouble to write Moira's character Vivian Blake back into the show even though she was brutally killed off.
It sounds too good to be true, which means it probably is; but it's exactly the kind of thing that would get Moira's hopes up.
Johnny's money troubles get worse when he and Stevie meet David's caterer and sample the delicious-but-pricey menu options — and they'll need an extra table, because he's invited some of his New York friends. (The Roses have never reconnected with any old friends who haven't turned out to be awful, but maybe this time will be different!)
To be fair to David, the menu should absolutely be his top priority, there's nothing worse than a fancy wedding with bad food. More importantly, Johnny doesn't need to ask David to consider something cheaper, because David picks up on his anxiety and goes to the motel to reassure him, saying they can rely on a nest egg from Patrick's parents instead. "Honestly, you don't have to pay for anything if it’s going to be a strain."
It's kind and downright mature of David to look out for his father like that, but nothing upsets Johnny more than not being able to provide for his family. He chokes up telling Stevie that he used to have his own nest egg for David, before they lost everything — which means that while David was putting together his "dream wedding" book that Alexis found in Episode 4, Johnny was putting money aside so he could give his son everything he wanted, when the right person came along. And now he can barely afford to pay for dinner.
Moira returns from her meeting to find that Alexis has fallen deep into a Sunrise Bay fandom rabbit hole — which is a little too relatable, if we're being honest. I literally watched her sitting in bed with a laptop and a notebook while sitting in bed with a laptop and a notebook.
Here's the thing about online fandoms: smirk at them all you want, but they can be alarmingly good at digging up information. (Schitt's Creek fans, for instance, noticed that same-sex moments were being suspiciously edited out by a certain network, and forced a reversal and an apology within 24 hours.) Alexis learns that Sunrise Bay fans have video evidence that Clifton convinced the producers to write Moira off the show; and now that Moira is making headlines with the Crows movie, he's probably being less than honest in trying to get her back.
"All I'm saying is, as your publicist and your daughter and now the moderator of the Sunrise Bay Fan Forum, there is more to this story," Alexis says. "And if you want to go through with this after watching that video, just remember that there is nothing wrong with asking for what you deserve."
Lying in bed all day hasn't dulled Alexis's instincts at all, because Moira arrives at the Wobbly Elm to discuss her contract with Tippi and Clifton and finds out the fandom conspiracy theory is true. "Think of it as a compliment!" Clifton says. "Your star was rising and I was maybe jealous."
In the resulting argument, Tippi insists they submitted Moira for the Daytime Emmys every year when Clifton seems pretty sure they didn't, which makes the whole Sunrise Bay reboot sound like a scam. Moira pulls a classic Vivian Blake move, slaps Clifton across the face, and starts making demands. The last time we saw her slap someone over a contract it was Roland, back when they were trying to get permission to sell the town. Roland enjoyed it a lot more, though. You know what, let's not think about that.
In the end, she deliberately sets her terms so high that Tippi walks away from the project. It's a satisfying moment of clarity and confidence for Moira, not to mention a much-needed victory for Alexis. We'll see if Moira can hold onto that clarity this time.
Johnny is ready to cut his losses and sell the second motel, and calls a late meeting with Roland and Stevie to iron out the details. But Stevie has been reading the copy of his book Fast Forward to Success that he gave her in Episode 5, and she understands (maybe better than anyone else) that what he needs to regain his confidence is to think even bigger.
Producing a list of all the roadside motels currently for sale, she explains that Rosebud Motels won't start to make a real profit until they expand to 20 or 30 locations — the same way that Johnny got Rose Video off the ground all those years ago. "You did this before, Mr. Rose. I think you can do it again."
It's exciting and nerve-wracking, watching Johnny's face light up as he talks investors and pitch meetings. This is a make-or-break moment for all of them and big changes are coming, one way or the other.