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You Never Can Tell is the 9th episode of Season Two of Ally McBeal.


As Thanksgiving approaches, Ling sues an employee for having sexual thoughts about her. Ally goes to court with her fingers stuck in a bowling ball.


Ally begins tossing and kicking pillow cushions around the apartment. Eventually, she strikes Renee in the head. She explains that pillow-kicking is part of an annual Thanksgiving ritual. During the holiday, everyone reflects on things they have to be thankful for, and Ally honors this notion by kicking pillows. She next 'gives thanks' for not having someone to love, not having a full life, and for not having her back tickled in ages, all the while tossing pillows onto the floor.

At the office, the attorneys argue amongst themselves when Ling wishes to sue an employee for having sexual thoughts about her. Elaine enters the firm looking eight months pregnant. She calls the attire a "pregnancy dress," which is designed to elicit sympathy from strangers. She believes her invention guarantees the wearer a great many perks afforded pregnant women, such as avoiding speeding tickets. Nelle asks Cage if he would enjoy going out on a real date. Cage's nose whistles. Nelle asks him to whistle once for "yes." Cage replies in the affirmative.

In court, Attorney Parker Wells addresses Judge Raynsford Hopkins regarding the issue of Ling suing his client for having sexually harassing thoughts. As Wells argues, Ally checks out the handsome Wells from behind. Her looks do not go unnoticed. Smiling seductively, Ally wonders where the line will be drawn. The judge grants Ally and Ling a summary judgement.

Billy finds Cage sitting on the floor of his office. Cage tells him that he cannot see himself having a long term relationship with Nelle. Yet the notion of the short term benefits intrigues him. He asks Billy if he could see Nelle and he having a long term relationship. Billy replies that he does not see this as a possibility.

In court, Georgia and Ally question Ling before the jury. Ling states that she was unable to fire the employee, Mr. Witton, because of his union affiliation. Afterwards, Wells pokes holes in Ling's case. Ling claims she decided to pursue legal action against Witton to prevent him from harming future victims.

Cage asks Nelle if they can spend their evening together at the bar downstairs. Nelle however reacts with disappointment, as she had hoped to free Cage from his 'cocoon.' During the evening, another man, Sean, hits on Nelle. Shortly thereafter, Cage states that he feels tired, and the date ends.

Renee asks Ally to join her on a double-date with Ben at a bowling alley. Ally is more than sceptical, as she has never met the man Ben intends to set her up with. But Renee prevails. At the bowling alley, Ben introduces Ally to Wallace Pike, a small, unattractive man who turns out to be completely void of a sense of humor. When Ally has difficulty finding a bowling ball that will fit her tiny fingers, a septuagenarian named Seymore comes to her aid. He offers Ally his deceased wife's ball. Seymore explains that it would bring his wife great joy to know that someone else enjoyed using the ball, which has the name Marie inscribed on its surface. Ally sticks her fingers into the ball, and finds that they fit. Unfortunately, the fit is a bit too snug. When Ally tosses the ball down a lane, her entire body follows, and she belly-flops onto the floor. To her horror, she discovers her fingers are irremovable. Ally travels to the emergency room, where a doctor suggests that the ball be cut open. But Seymore protests, begging Ally not to approve the procedure and thereby destroy his most treasured possession. Seeing desperation in Seymore's eyes, Ally leaves it in place.

In court the following day, the judge instructs the jury that the bowling ball has no legal relevance to Ling's case. When Witton takes the witness stand, Wells attempts to show that his client never acted upon his thoughts. Bowling ball in hand, Ally attempts to show that Witton's salacious attitude affected Ling in a negative fashion, becoming, in affect, sexual harassment. She and Georgia present a closing argument. They insist the case is not about punishing Witton for his thoughts. It's in fact about Witton communicating those ideas. The jury, however, is not swayed by the argument, and Ling loses the case.

Cage tells Nelle that when he allowed his frog to roam free, the creature ended up getting flushed down a toilet. Later, Elaine tells Cage that all Nelle, and all women, really want is to be pulled onto the dance floor.

When Ally returns to the office, she discovers that Wallace Pike, 'the most boring man on Earth,' in her view, brought her flowers. Ally summons Georgia into her office. Shortly thereafter, Elaine escorts Wallace through the building and opens the door to Ally's office. When the door opens, Ally and Georgia are caught in the act of making out. Horrified, Wallace drops the flowers and runs off. Later, at the bar, Ally explains to Renee that staging the kiss was the only way to get rid of Wallace. Later, Cage pulls Nelle onto the dance floor, just as Elaine had instructed.


Full transcript can be found here.


List of music in the episode can be found here.



Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal
Courtney Thorne-Smith as Georgia Thomas
Greg Germann as Richard Fish
Lisa Nicole Carson as Renée Raddick
Jane Krakowski as Elaine Vassal
Vonda Shepard as Herself
with Peter MacNicol as John Cage
and Gil Bellows as Billy Thomas

Special Appearances by Recurring

Portia de Rossi as Nelle Porter
Lucy Liu as Ling Woo

Guest Starring

Shawn Michael Howard as Ben
Bob Glouberman as Wally Pike
Murray Rubin as Seymore
Michael Reilly Burke as Mr. Wells
Neil Giuntoli as Ralph Witton
Larry Brandenburg as Judge Raynsford Hopkins


Notes and References