“Benched” Season 1 Episode 12 “Brief Encounters” aired last Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, at 10:30 p.m. on USA Network. In this episode, Public Defender Cheryl Church tried to get everyone to pitch in to help out for a surprise party for Public Defender Nina Whitley (Eliza Coupe), who had just won the Public Defender of the Year Award, and tasked Public Defender Phil Quinlan (Jay Harrington) with getting Nina to Don Guardo’s that Friday. Meanwhile, Public Defender Nina Whitely (Eliza Coupe) and her ex-fiance District Attorney Trent Barber (Carter MacIntyre) engaed into an intimate relationship once again. However, Nina began to have second thoughts after Trent revealed that they had to disclose their relationship to the courts, especially after Nina and her colleague and good friend, Public Defender Phil Qunlan (Jay Harrington), realized that they might have feelings for each other. Read on to learn more about this episode.
This episode picked up from where the previous episode left off, in which Public Defender Nina Whitley’s (Eliza Coupe) ex-fiance District Attorney Trent Barber (Carter MacIntyre) hooked up after he showed up on her doorstep and told her that he and his current fiancée, Maria, had broken up.
At the office, Public Defender Cheryl Church (Maria Bamford) asked for everyone’s help to throw Nina a surprise party for winning the Public Defender of the Year Award as the annual awards dinner had gotten canceled. Public Defender Phil Quinlan (Jay Harrington), who was in the running for that award and lost, refused to help in any way and tried to cover all the loopholes but one. In the end, Cheryl assigned him to bring Nina to Don Guardo’s that Friday for the party. When Nina came in, she apologized to Phil about what happened. After she walked away, Phil informed Public Defender Carlos Gorda (Oscar Nunez) that he and Nina would probably never happen as he figured that he might have misread everything. Cheryl was then surprised after Nina, who was distracted after reading Trent’s text, accidentally walked into her, as she normally did not do that. Nina then ended up confiding in Cheryl on what was happening by telling her that this was happening to a friend of hers.
At court, Micha (Jolene Purdy), the office intern, revealed to Phil that he was in a lot of trouble that day as the evidence that he had requested had not come in yet. He then charmed the bailiff, Morris (Cedric Yarbrough), into losing his client within the system in exchange for lunch with him. However, as Phil failed to grab lunch with Morris that day, and Morris had allowed Phil’s client not to get lost, which resulted in Phil losing his case. He then apologized and promised that they would go out for drinks at Don Guardo’s instead.
Meanwhile, at court, Nina and Trent smiled at each other before Nina plead not guilty for her client, who had flashed in a bus. After the judge ordered that Nina’s client, Mr. Macintosh, would go to trial in two days’ time, Nina and Trent went to a closet to talk. After they hooked up, Trent told Nina that because of the upcoming trial, they would have to disclose their relationship publicly so that they would not be disbarred.
At the clerk’s office, Nina ran into Donna (Yvette Nicole Brown), the head clerk, whom she ran into trouble with, as she was embarrassed to say what form she was looking for. She then discovered that all the forms were in little pockets on the wall but only got the form when her boss, Geoffrey (Gary Anthony) wasn’t looking.
Back at the office, she quickly filled it up and hid it before Cheryl could see what it was. Cheryl and Carlos and Larry (Peter Spruyt) then listened in to their conversation. Nina then told them that she was helping out her friend, “Pen” or “Penelope,” with her current situation in which she had hooked up with an ex-boyfriend of hers who “ticked every one of her boxes”. Cheryl then told Nina that her friend, “Penelope”, should just “go for it” and to “get on that train” as soon as she could. Nina then left with the form, with the resolution to submit it, which she did.
Outside, after Nina passed Phil, who had just bought a cup of coffee, asked Nina if she was free to go out with him for drinks at Don Guardo’s that Friday. When she asked why, he just told her “why not?” As she walked away, Phil told her that as she did not reply, that the reply was a “maybe.” Afterwards, she ran back to the office, and grabbed Cheryl and told her that her friend got butterflies for another guy as that guy had just asked her out. She then confided that Penelope was wondering if she was making a giant decision for the wrong reasons. Afterwards, she pulled Trent aside and told her that she wasn’t paper ready and that she had thought that wanted what they were having, but she didn’t. She then told him that the reason was probably because she had changed since they had broken up.
Later that night, Phil confided in Morris and told him that he thinks that he likes Nina. Morris then laughed at him and told him that they all saw that coming. Phil then became happy and proclaimed to the world that he might not be dead inside.
The next morning, on the way to the office, Nina told Phil that she was good to do drinks that night. She revealed that the reason for that was because she didn’t see they shouldn’t. After an awkward pause, they kissed. They then smiled at each other, and before he went inside the office, he told her that he would see her that night. However, Nina’s happiness turned into dread as she realized that she had just submitted the form that disclosed her and Trent’s relationship. After a little spat with Donna, Donna agreed to tear up her envelope, with the promise that Nina would never step into her office again.
After office hours, Donna decided to tape the form back together and showed it to Judge Nelson (Fred Melamed), who decided to tell everyone he knew about it, which spread throughout the world like wildfire.
Meanwhile, Phil told Nina that she looked great, and they held hands on the way to Don Guardo’s. At Don Guardo’s, everyone received a text message about Trent and Nina, and Carlos wondered out loud if Phil knew. After Nina walked in, they congratulated her, and Cheryl handed her a signature cocktail which they had named after her. However, Nina became distracted after Phil learned about the fact that Nina and Trent were together and walked out of the party. Nina then ran after him and tried to explain things to him, but he told her not to explain anything and that in less than a year, she was already at the top of the bottom. After she pleaded for him not to disappear, he told her that he would never let her off that easy, which meant that he would see her again on Monday. He then walked away, leaving Nina sad on the sidewalk.
While they waited for Nina to come back, Cheryl got the cake ready/ However, much to her disappointment, she learned that Larry had garbled up the words when he ordered the cake, so the words on the cake read “Congarbulations Mimau!” They then decided to dig in to the cake after making a toast with their forks and with their mouths full of cake.
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And that was all for the recap of the season finale, “Benched” Season 1 Episode 12 “Brief Encounters.” For more news and updates on “Benched” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
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