Apologies for the huge delay in getting these recaps updated. I blame insanity. Whether it’s mine or just general life insanity is probably open for debate. Anyway. Previously on Ghost Whisperer, Jim is dead. Again. Still. And we get a very quick replay of Jim jumping into Sam’s body, and waking up to ask Melinda if he knows her; along with a cliff notes history of them getting to know each other, dating, and the big kiss. This is bound to be important somehow. Also, did I miss a Sam Sighting in this ep? Because I didn’t get a drink at all.
At some yet-to-be-identified college, a group of girls is asleep in a dorm room (which honestly looks more like a barracks with all the beds in the middle of a large room). Suddenly a group of masked guys come in and grab the girls, barely giving them time to grab the shoes placed conveniently beside their beds (which is a great look with the slip/nightgown/whatever thingies they’re all wearing) before chucking them into a van. They’re delivered to the woods, where another group is waiting for them. Ah, okay, it’s a sorority hazing! Which makes me really glad I never joined a sorority, because these older girls are really pretty nasty. The younger girls are given maps and told they must retrieve five tokens placed randomly in the woods – and they have to do it wearing burlap bags over their heads with only a flashlight to guide them. Sounds like fun, where do I sign up? Or maybe not. One pledge is pulled aside, and told “Not you, Courtney”. Apparently Courtney is as confused by that as I am. In the next scene we see Courtney setting off alone, having trouble reading her map. She slips the bag off her head (oops, not supposed to do that!), and glances at the map before replacing the bag, but it doesn’t seem to help. She stumbles over a rock and falls down an embankment.
In the morning, Melinda and Delia are at the shop opening up, and talking about Melinda’s relationship with Sam. Mel understands why Sam thinks she’s not ready to date, and wishes she could tell him the truth. Or at least stop making excuses for ducking out all the time, but she feels that she has a responsibility to the ghosts and the people she helps. Just then Sam pops in with coffee for all of them (awww!) and asks Melinda to come with him to an art show he got an invitation to. Apparently Sam doesn’t remember if he likes art, hee. Delia immediately offers to cover for Melinda at the shop before Mel can even ask. Hee, some more.
Later in the morning, Melinda is with Eli at a college campus (DUN!) which turns out to be Rockland University. Eli is there for a book release party and signing, I guess Melinda is there for moral support. I wonder if Delia is covering for this also? We should all have such patient friends. Anyway, Eli is gently teasing Melinda about making her relationship with Sam a priority when Melinda suddenly sees a ghost dressed in a slip/nightgown/whatever thingy. And a burlap bag on her head. Melinda asks the ghost what happened to her, and the ghost cryptically replies “Ask my sister”. As it is conveniently Pledge Week on campus, Melinda and Eli talk about pledging and hazing and think the ghost may have been a victim. Very Holmes/Watson of them, don’t you think? And then Eli gets a little too enthused about checking out leads on a college campus full of sorority girls. Ew.
Evening now, and Sam and Melinda are talking about the art show they’ve just left. Neither of them liked it much and Sam is bemused that he ever liked that kind of thing in the first place. It’s obvious that they’re getting closer to one another and there’s some shmoopy talk about not wasting the moments one is given, and a really cute scene setting in which J. Love is standing on a sidewalk and David Conrad is standing below it, and he’s still taller than she is. Short girls of the world unite!
Meanwhile, Eli is talking to one of the sorority girls about Courtney. She never came back after being left in the woods last night and they’ve reported her missing. The police are organizing a search party, and Courtney’s sister Emily is there. Eli talks to her and it’s clear that Emily is really upset and just wants to find her sister. The ghost appears and speaks , which is handy for Eli, since he can hear ghosts but can’t see them. Eli thinks the ghost is Courtney, and asks her what happened. She tells Eli that “She already knows”, meaning Emily. This is one ghost who really doesn’t give much away.
And then the exposition fairy comes and bonks us on the head with a brief history of Sigma Theta Chi. (For the record, there really is a Sigma Theta Chi, but it’s a fraternity. There’s also a Chi Sigma Theta sorority – I guess the writers didn’t want to take the chance that they might get sued over fictionalizing a real sorority.) Once again I’m really glad I never bothered with that whole pledging thing because it doesn’t sound that great. Unless you like cults. Eli is talking to two girls who explain about the burlap bags, and that they have to keep their shoes by their beds for those late-night trips to the woods. Each girl gets a map and directions but nothing more. They split up and haven’t seen Courtney since. They think that maybe because Courtney was more popular than her sister, and that Emily sabotaged Courtney so she wouldn’t be pledged into the sorority. Either that or the noose got her, which, what?
And we’re back at Melinda’s house, where she is struggling to carry wood in for the fire. Sam arrives and offers to help, because that’s what he thinks boyfriends should do and he wants to do things for Mel. Apparently in adorably awkward fashion. Just then, the bad timing gods pop up as Sam gets a phone call from his boss, asking him to join the search party for Courtney. Melinda says she’ll ask Delia and Eli to help and will join him there.
At the base for the search party, Eli sees Emily and asks if he can talk to her about her sister. Emily says they had to make it look like a fight, but she was really trying to help Courtney by giving her a better map. The ghost appears and says Emily is lying, but Emily says she told the police everything. Eli joins Melinda and Sam with the search party, and pulls Mel aside to tell her about what Emily and the ghost said. Melinda finds a noose in the woods, and has a vision of a girl but it’s not Courtney. The ghost appears and says she won’t let it happen again, but doesn’t say what “it” is.
In the morning, Melinda is looking for her keys while talking to Eli on the phone, and they begin to figure out that the ghost is not Courtney. Sam comes in with breakfast, and Melinda’s keys he found outside. Melinda says she has to go meet Eli, but lies that she’s going to the fire station to help coordinate the search rather than to the sorority house to do research. I don’t really know why either.
At the sorority house, Mel and Eli are looking through pledge books for information. They find an entry about Rebecca’s Noose and try to figure out who Rebecca is. In another book, they find a memorial to Rebecca Kelly, who died on a “nature walk” in 1968. Finally they realize that the ghost is Rebecca. She appears, and Melinda talks to her. The burlap bag on her head disappears, and Rebecca says that Courtney is safe from the other girls and is her sister now.
At the shop, Melinda, Delia and Eli realize that Rebecca is using Courney to stop the hazing. Rebecca thinks that if a pledge disappears, it will draw attention the secret rituals and the sorority will be forced to stop them. Melinda pulls out a pledge book she took from the college trying to get more information on Rebecca’s Noose and what it means. They don’t find anything in the book but are able to track down a pledge from that year who still lives in Grandview.
They go to visit Lauren, the former pledge, and Lauren tells them she was a pledge but dropped out. She says the hazing was awful – alone in the woods, freezing, with no food or water, and a bag over their heads. Melinda asks if Rebecca was a pledge, and Lauren tells them that Rebecca was not a pledge but one of the leaders and the meanest one. She relates how Rebecca singled her out, and left her in the forest alone after eliminating her from the pledges. Lauren pleads with Rebecca not to leave her, but Rebecca goes anyway. Lauren found her way out of the woods and never set foot in the sorority house again. Melinda asks Lauren about the nooses, but Lauren says they didn’t use them then. Mel wonders if they had something to do with Rebecca’s death, and Lauren is sure they do.
After Melinda and Eli leave they go to rejoin the search party in the woods. They’re trying to figure out why Rebecca keeps appearing dressed as a pledge rather than a member. Rebecca is shown with Courtney, who is still alive but barely. Melinda calls out to Rebecca to try to talk to her about what happened to Lauren. Rebecca appears and tells Mel that the night Lauren pledged, she was feeling guilty about the way they were treating Lauren and didn’t want to leave her alone in the woods. But she knew she would be thrown out of she went back to help, so she had to do it anonymously. Rebecca dressed up as a pledge and put a bag on her head so Lauren wouldn’t know who she was. She was taking a short cut to reach the spot where they’d left Lauren when she got caught in a rock slide and slipped over the edge of a cliff, getting tangled up in a net where she is strangled. Rebecca says Courtney has to die to stop the hazing, and Melinda pleads with her to save Courtney’s life. Finally, Mel gets through to Rebecca and she agrees to show Mel where Courtney is. With the search party, Melinda “just happens” to see Courtney and the rescuers find her.
Meanwhile, back at the fire station, Sam is looking for Melinda. He finds out that Melinda wasn’t there when she told Sam she was. Just then, Sam looks at the TV and sees a broadcast of the search in the woods, where Mel is present as Courtney is found.
Emily is reunited with Courtney as Rebecca looks on. Mel tells them that Rebecca helped them to find Courtney and that she is there. Emily explains everything to Courtney, and they make up and then thank Rebecca for helping them find Courtney. Melinda promises to tell Lauren the truth and that Rebecca tried to help her. Finally, Rebecca is at peace and is able to cross over.
But we can’t leave it at that, because our show needs romantic tension! So we’re back at Melinda’s house, where Sam asks Melinda where she was. Mel says she was at the fire station, and Sam reveals to her that he saw her on TV and knows she lied to him. Sam leaves for work unhappy, and Melinda wonders what this means for them.
Next week: In spite of his feelings for Melinda, Sam has doubts! No, really, big big doubts.