|Release Date||October 19, 2021|
|Series||Ben 10: Missing Pieces|
|Overall Episode Number||3|
|Previous episode||The Monster|
|Next episode||Up to 11|
Crossroads is the third episode of Ben 10: Missing Pieces.
We fade into an establishing shot of the entrance to the trailer park. A 15-year-old Gwen comes into view, entering the compound. She carries a small brown purse with her, slung over her left shoulder. Passing several small motor homes, she heads for the back of the compound, where the Rust Bucket 2 is parked. She approaches the RV and knocks on the door three times. After a few seconds, Max opens the door, a warm smile plastered across his face.
[Max]: Gwen? What a pleasant surprise!
He pulls her into a tight hug. She struggles to breathe, but smiles at Max's gesture nonetheless.
[Gwen]: It's nice... (gasps) to see you too, Grandpa.
She withdraws from the embrace and enters the RV, looking around to see if there's anyone else inside. Max shuts the door behind her.
[Gwen]: Hey, where are the Helpers?
[Max]: Helping Ben move some equipment into the new Plumber base. I was about to head over there before you showed up, actually.
Gwen slaps her forehead.
[Gwen]: (groans) I knew I should've called ahead of time. I can come back later if you want.
[Max, holding up a hand]: No, pumpkin, it's alright. I can spare a few minutes for my favorite granddaughter.
[Gwen, smirking]: Your only granddaughter.
[Max, smiling sheepishly]: Right. Anyway, what brings you by?
[Gwen]: You're gonna wanna sit down for this.
[Max, dropping his smile]: Sounds serious.
[Gwen]: It's nothing bad, but yeah, it's important.
Max sits at the dinette table behind the front passenger seat. Gwen joins him on the opposite side. She unzips her purse and retrieves a white envelope, opens it and pulls out a folded letter.
[Gwen]: This came in the mail this morning.
She hands the letter to Max. He unfolds it and begins reading it, while Gwen taps her fingers on the table to pass the time.
Max gives the letter back to Gwen. She puts it into the envelope, then puts the envelope in her purse and zips it.
[Max, grinning]: Gwen, this is great news! I didn't even know you applied.
[Gwen]: In my defense, I didn't think I was going to get a response, especially not so soon.
[Max]: Now, don't sell yourself short! That mind of yours is really something else.
[Gwen]: If I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me, I'd probably be rich.
[Max]: (raises an eyebrow) You don't seem so excited. Is everything alright?
[Gwen]: I thought I wanted this, but now, I'm not so sure. I know it'd be a waste to turn them down after all the effort I put into my application, but I need to know if going there is the right call.
[Max]: This kind of opportunity doesn't come by very often. This is your golden ticket.
[Gwen]: I know, and I'm grateful. Believe me, I am, but it'll be a big change.
[Max]: What do your folks think?
[Gwen]: They know I applied, but not that Friedkin got back to me. I guess that's one of the perks of always being the one who gets the mail.
[Max]: Help me look at this the way you're looking at it. Why do you want to stay?
[Gwen]: Bellwood's my home. I don't really wanna leave my friends and family behind, not to mention college is a huge step up from high school. What if I don't fit in, or what if I won't be able to keep up? Oh, and there's the whole thing about my relationship with Kevin. Who knows what'll happen to that if I go? I don't wanna throw it away, but I can't throw my future away for a boy, either.
[Max, crossing his arms]: Except he's not just a boy to you, is he?
Gwen shakes her head, fighting the urge to smile. Max notices this and chuckles.
[Gwen]: He's not. I'll spare you the details, but being with him- or around him- makes me happy.
[Max]: Okay, now, why do you want to leave?
[Gwen]: Things have been going pretty good for me, but... I feel a little trapped. High school's a cesspool and Mom can be a lot to handle at times. It seems like people expect too much out of me. (groans) I don't know. I wanna spread my wings and do things on my terms for once, without having to please everyone.
[Max]: And you don't think you can do that here?
Gwen simply shrugs.
[Max]: I think you've found your answer.
[Gwen]: So, you want me to leave?
[Max]: Gwendolyn, at the end of the day, it's your decision to make and I won't judge you no matter what you decide. I just don't want you to regret anything.
[Gwen]: Déjà vu.
[Max]: Right. I almost forgot your grandmother paid you a visit when I was in the Null Void.
[Gwen]: I know this isn't quite the same, but I'm sure feeling the same emotions I felt back then.
She momentarily buries her head in her hands, grumbling.
[Gwen]: Grandpa, forget all that stuff about it being my decision. What do you want me to do?
[Max]: I want you to go, Gwen. Don't get me wrong, I'll miss you- heck, we all will- but this is your chance to learn and experience new things. You'll be ahead of most kids your age- uh, more than you already are, that is. I know it'll be tough to adjust at first, but once you settle in, it'll be smooth sailing.
[Gwen]: I don't know if I want to be ahead of everyone else. I'm thankful for my talents, but sometimes I wish I could be normal and blend in like my friends. Going to Friedkin early is gonna make me stick out, which should be a good thing, I get it, but it's gonna be scary.
[Max]: I know, which is why I want you to think this through.
[Gwen]: Have you met me?
Max lets out a hearty laugh.
[Max]: Let me put it this way. I don't want you to go just because I said so. If you decide that you'll be better off staying here, then stay. Just be sure to let me know once you're 100% happy with your decision.
[Gwen]: I will.
She slides out of her seat and stands up, and Max does the same.
[Gwen, hugging Max]: Thanks for your help, Grandpa.
[Max]: Don't you mention it, kiddo. I'm glad you trust me enough to come to me for advice.
[Gwen, pulling away from the hug]: Can you keep this between us for now?
[Max]: Of course.
Gwen walks to the door and opens it.
[Max]: Do you want a ride home?
[Gwen]: Nah, it's okay. I'll walk. It'll help me clear my head.
He waves at Gwen as she steps out the door. On the other side, Gwen closes it and walks towards the entrance of the compound. She pulls her phone out of her pocket and dials a number.
The scene cuts to one of Kevin's many garages. Kevin's car is parked in the middle of the room, elevated a foot off the ground by a car jack. Kevin himself pores over blueprints of an unfamiliar car at a long grey table. His phone starts to ring, and he picks it up from the table, opening it to answer the call.
Gwen's voice comes through the other end of the line. She speaks in a softer and more reserved tone than usual.
[Gwen]: Hey, Kevin. Are you doing anything?
[Kevin]: Right now? Yeah, kinda busy. Why?
[Gwen]: Can we hang out tonight, then? At my house?
Caught off-guard by her directness, Kevin fumbles for something to say. He looks at the clock on the wall, which reads 2:30.
[Kevin]: Uh, s-sure, I can make time. How 'bout 8?
[Kevin]: Doesn't sound like you're just askin' me to hang out. What's really goin' on?
[Gwen]: I'll let you know when you get here.
[Kevin]: 'Kay, see ya later.
[Gwen]: See ya.
Kevin hangs up and lays his phone down, refocusing his attention to the blueprints.
Gwen lies on her bed, resting her hands behind her head as she stares at the ceiling. Upon hearing two loud knocks on her window, she gets up from her bed and walks to the window. She parts the curtains to see Kevin crouching on the other side, showing her a paper bag with the Burger Shack logo. Not bothering to ask how he climbed onto the roof to begin with, she opens the latch and lifts the window.
[Gwen, putting her hands on her hips]: Would it kill you to come in through the front door for once?
[Gwen, smirking]: Scared of my parents?
[Kevin]: I call it bein' smart.
[Gwen]: Not remotely. Your car's right outside, isn't it?
[Kevin]: Nope. I parked a couple houses down the road. Your parents won't know I was ever here.
[Gwen]: Okay, color me impressed.
Gwen steps aside to allow Kevin to slip through the gap. He loses his balance and falls to the ground, head first.
[Gwen]: You're late, by the way.
She offers Kevin her hand, helping him to his feet.
[Kevin]: I know, I know. I lost track of time.
He shakes the paper bag in front of her face.
[Kevin]: Got you some fries to make up for it.
After closing the window, she grabs the bag from him and goes to her desk. Meanwhile, Kevin sits on the edge of the bed and kicks the air to quell his boredom.
[Kevin]: So, spill. What's this about?
Gwen sets the bag down and reaches for her purse on her dressing table. She unzips it and pulls out the same envelope from earlier, then opens it to take the folded letter out. She walks to the bed and gives the letter to Kevin. He unfolds it and scans it line by line. As he progresses through it, his smile weakens and eventually disappears.
[Gwen]: You're taking this a little better than I expected.
[Kevin]: Kinda wish you told me you applied.
[Gwen, rubbing the back of her neck]: I'm sorry. I didn't think they were gonna get back to me. They only accept the best of the best.
[Kevin]: (snorts) And you don't think you fit the bill? You're a genius!
[Gwen]: By Bellwood's standards, maybe.
She takes the letter back from him and sits next to him, looking him in the eye.
[Kevin]: Who else knows?
[Gwen]: Right now, Grandpa Max.
[Kevin]: You haven't told your mom and dad?
[Gwen]: Not yet.
Kevin wrings his hands, hesitant to get his next words out.
[Kevin]: What'll happen to us?
[Gwen]: Are you asking me as my teammate or as my boyfriend?
[Gwen]: I know Ben's still getting used to his new aliens, but with the Plumbers and Grandpa Max around, you won't need me. Doesn't mean I won't help if you ask, though.
[Kevin]: And the other thing?
[Gwen]: You tell me.
[Kevin]: If you told me about this a couple months ago, I woulda wanted you to stay.
[Gwen]: And now you don't?
[Kevin]: I still do, but I also know that it'd be selfish of me to tell you to ditch your dreams. Look, uh, this thing between us... it- it's special, y'know? (grins) Havin' you by my side, whether we're fightin' bad guys or hangin' out, it makes me feel... (clicks tongue) something.
[Gwen, stifling a giggle]: "Something"?
[Kevin]: It's a good something! These past few months have been a blast! I don't hate myself as much as I used to, and I have you to thank for that. I won't pretend to know the first thing about all the stuff you'll have to do to get into college, but I won't give up on us.
He squeezes Gwen's hand gently. Her smile widens for a moment, but soon fades.
[Gwen]: While we're on the subject of us, there's... there's something else you need to know.
She averts her gaze and stands up. To stall for time, she walks to her dresser to keep the letter in the envelope. Bowing her head, she stays still, with her back turned to Kevin.
[Kevin]: You alright?
Unconvinced, Kevin gets up from the bed and approaches her, clamping his hand over her shoulder. She raises her head to look at his concerned expression through his reflection in the mirror.
[Kevin]: Whatever you gotta say, I ain't gonna judge you.
[Gwen]: I know, but once I say it, I won't be able to take it back. (mumbles) Not that I want to.
Kevin removes his hand from her shoulder.
[Kevin]: If you're not ready, it can wait.
[Gwen]: It can't.
Heart thumping in her chest, Gwen turns around.
[Gwen]: Listen, Kev. You mean a whole lot to me. You make me happy. You're funny and sweet, and you get me like no one else does. I feel like I can just let loose and be myself around you. I know we've only been together for a couple months, but what I'm getting at-
Kevin stops her mid-sentence by looping his arms around her waist, bringing her close.
[Kevin, beaming]: I love you, too.
Gwen freezes, trying to register his words.
[Gwen]: H-How did you know I was gonna say that?
[Kevin]: Say what?
[Gwen]: "I love you".
She blinks slowly as she realizes what just happened, heat rushing to her cheeks.
[Kevin]: (snickers) I helped you get it outta your system.
Gwen sighs, as if a heavy load has been lifted off her shoulders.
[Gwen]: I wasn't sure if you felt the same way yet. I can't believe said it before I did.
[Kevin]: I've been meaning to tell you for a while. I just didn't know how. Good thing it worked itself out in the end, huh?
Kevin lets his hands return to his sides.
[Kevin]: You wanna sit down or somethin'? The fries are gonna get cold if we keep standing here.
[Gwen]: Good idea.
She conjures a mana lasso and uses it to move the bag of fries from her desk to the middle of her bed. She walks to it and reclines on the side closest to the end table, eating a fry.
[Kevin]: You're always tellin' me not to eat on the bed.
[Gwen]: I'm making an exception for tonight. I'm changing the sheets tomorrow, anyway. (pats the empty space next to her) Now, hurry up and get over here.
[Kevin]: Don't have to tell me twice.
Kevin eagerly joins her on the other side of the bed and wraps one arm around her shoulders. With his free hand, he reaches into the bag and devours multiple fries in one go.
[Gwen]: You know, with all the news, I forgot to ask how your day was.
[Kevin]: Eh, can't complain. Started a big new project.
Curious, Gwen cocks an eyebrow at him.
[Kevin]: A perfectly legal one.
[Gwen]: What's it about?
[Kevin]: It's top-secret.
[Gwen]: For me?
Kevin puts his thumb and index finger together and drags them across his lips, mimicking the motion of a zipper closing. Disappointed, Gwen pouts. For a while, the two of them eat in silence, appreciating each other's company. Minutes later, Kevin pats the bottom of the paper bag in search of more fries, but only finds one.
[Kevin, waving the fry in front of Gwen's face]: Last one's yours.
Gwen happily yanks it from him and eats it.
[Gwen]: Do you think the long-distance thing will work out?
[Kevin]: Maybe, but I ain't takin' any chances.
[Gwen]: What do you mean?
[Kevin]: I'm movin' away with you. I'll find a place near campus.
Gwen leaves her bed and walks to the bathroom, switching the lights on. After licking his fingers clean, Kevin crumples the paper bag with one hand. He throws it into the garbage can by the door as she enters. She keeps the door open while she washes her hands with soap, listening to Kevin simultaneously.
[Kevin]: I'm serious.
[Gwen]: Kevin, you can't leave Bellwood for my sake.
[Kevin]: Why not? It's like you said, Tennyson and the Plumbers can handle stuff around here. If they can't, we'll come back to lend a hand.
[Gwen]: You'd be giving up a lot.
[Kevin]: None of that is worth what I'd get in exchange.
[Gwen]: That being?
[Kevin]: The chance to be with you.
[Gwen]: What about that new project?
Kevin waves his hand dismissively, though from where Gwen is, she does not see it.
[Kevin]: Not a problem. It'll be done by the end of the year.
[Gwen]: What makes you so sure?
[Kevin]: Call it a gut feeling.
Gwen wipes her wet hands with a small towel and walks out, turning the lights off before returning to her spot next to Kevin.
[Gwen]: You're willing to leave everything behind to be with me?
[Kevin]: You're makin' it sound like a bad thing. I'm pretty good at adapting to new environments. Former homeless kid, remember?
[Gwen]: I'm not doubting you. In a strange way, it's pretty romantic that you'd sacrifice what you have here to follow me. I'm surprised you seem to have made up your mind, that's all. I haven't.
[Kevin]: What else is stoppin' you?
[Gwen]: Mental hurdles. It'll be hard for me to get used to living in a whole new place away from my family and friends, and college itself might be exciting, but also intimidating.
[Kevin]: Trust me, you'll be better off at Friedkin. Leave high school in the dust. Nothin' good ever comes outta that place, anyway.
[Gwen]: (playfully) How do you know that? You don't go to sch-
She quickly cups a hand over her mouth, preventing herself from completing her sentence. Kevin straightens his posture, tensing up.
[Kevin]: (softly) You knew?
Gwen slowly nods, removing her hand from her mouth.
[Gwen]: I figured it out a while ago, but you never brought it up, so I never wanted you to know I knew.
[Kevin]: Guess it would've come up eventually. (lowers his head in shame) I didn't want you to think less of me.
[Gwen]: I never did, and I never will.
She angles closer and affectionately plants a long kiss on Kevin's cheek. As she pulls back, he lifts his head to look at her with a shy smile.
[Gwen]: You don't need a formal education to be smart. You taught me that. When it comes to cars or alien tech, you know your stuff, and I admire that.
[Kevin]: D'you think that'd get me a job? Like, a legit job, since I'm on the up and up now. If I'm movin' away with you, I'll have to pay rent somehow, and there probably aren't a lotta job openings for a guy who didn't make it past the fifth grade.
[Gwen]: You could get a GED. Even if I decide to stay in Bellwood-
[Kevin]: You shouldn't.
[Gwen]: If I do, it would still help you out. You're good at math, so that's a start. As much as I hate to admit it, your history in dealing illegal alien tech helped you there.
[Kevin]: That ain't who I am anymore. (smirks) Now, I only deal legal alien tech... mostly.
[Gwen]: I'm proud of you for choosing to be better.
[Kevin]: Hasn't been as easy as I'd like, but I'm gettin' there.
[Gwen]: It'll take time, but it'll get easier, I promise. I'll look into the GED to see what you have to do, but I don't think it'll be too tough. I'll help you study.
[Kevin, eyes widening]: You'd do that?
[Gwen]: (laughs) I've risked my life for you. Helping you study should be no big deal.
[Kevin]: Thanks for lookin' out for me.
[Gwen]: I've got your back no matter what. We'll take things one step at a time, okay? I'll sleep on the whole Friedkin thing, and regardless if I decide to stay or go, I'll tell my parents tomorrow. We'll figure out where to go from there.
[Kevin]: You think they'll be cool with me goin' away with you?
[Gwen]: Would it stop you if they weren't?
[Kevin]: Pfft, 'course not. I don't exactly blame 'em for not trustin' me, but it'd be nice if they did.
[Gwen]: If you wanna get on their good side- or try to, anyway- you could come over for dinner sometime. They need to get to know you. Pretty much everything they know about you came from me.
[Kevin]: Didja lie to make me look better?
[Gwen]: No, which is why you need to prove me right.
[Kevin]: 'Kay. (sighs) I'll look up proper dinner etiquette on the Internet sometime.
[Gwen]: You don't have to worry about that yet. We can leave all that talk for some other day. Let's just enjoy the moment, hm?
[Kevin]: Fine by me.
Kevin leans back on the bed and wraps his arms around Gwen to pull her down with him from behind. She turns to face him, allowing him to place one hand above her waist, using the other to caress her back. Gingerly laying her hands on his cheeks, she closes her eyes and kisses him on the lips. Despite being stunned initially, he snaps out of the daze and tilts his head to deepen the kiss. Many seconds pass before Gwen reluctantly separates from him, though she keeps her hands on his cheeks.
[Kevin, blushing]: What... What was that for? N-Not that I'm complainin', obviously. It was, uh... nice. Really nice.
Gwen giggles, amused by his uncharacteristic awkwardness.
[Gwen]: Celebratory kiss. Well, that, and I just felt like doing it.
Unable to come up with a witty response, Kevin merely smiles.
[Gwen]: Do you have anywhere to be?
[Kevin]: Nah, I'm yours for the rest of the night.
[Gwen]: Can you stay 'til have to go to sleep? I could use the company.
Sliding lower, Gwen buries her head under Kevin's chin, moving her hands to his chest.
[Kevin]: I'm... I'm glad, y'know, that you're in my life. I dunno if I've said it too much or if I haven't said it enough, but I just thought you should know.
[Gwen]: I love you, too.
With not much else to say, the two lay in comfortable silence.
Natalie sits at the dining table, sipping hot coffee from a red mug while reading the latest edition of the Bellwood Bugle. She hears footsteps coming from the top of the stairs and turns her head to see Gwen descending. As she approaches the dining table, Natalie gives her a tired smile.
[Natalie]: Good morning, Gwenny.
[Gwen]: Morning, Mom. Where's Dad?
[Natalie]: Making breakfast.
[Natalie]: I know. He wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
Natalie's interest is piqued by a white envelope in Gwen's right hand.
[Natalie]: What's that?
The kitchen door opens before Gwen can reply. Frank emerges with a large plate of three pancakes stacked on top of each other.
[Frank]: Bon appé- (notices Gwen) Oh, Gwen, you're awake.
[Gwen]: Morning, Dad.
He puts down the plate, revealing that the pancake on top is dark brown.
[Gwen]: It's burned.
[Natalie]: They all are.
Frank looks visibly upset at his apparent failure. In an attempt to comfort him, Natalie smiles.
[Natalie]: But... at least you tried.
Frank takes notice of the envelope Gwen is holding, and points at it.
[Frank]: Whatcha got there, Gwen?
[Gwen]: Ah, right. (exhales) There's something I need to tell you.
- Gwen receives an offer to enroll in Friedkin University's Early Entrance Program.
- Gwen and Kevin confess their love to each other.
- Gwen and Kevin share their first on-screen kiss.
- Natalie Tennyson
- Frank Tennyson
- It is revealed that a new Plumber base is being built in Bellwood.
- Gwen Tennyson
- Kevin Levin
- Max Tennyson
- Natalie Tennyson (first appearance)
- Frank Tennyson (first appearance)
|Ashley Johnson||Gwen Tennyson|
|Greg Cipes||Kevin Levin|
|Paul Eiding||Max Tennyson|
|Juliet Landau||Natalie Tennyson|
|George Newbern||Frank Tennyson|
- Gwen asks Max where the Plumbers' Helpers are, as they have been living with Max after the events of War of the Worlds: Part 2.
- Gwen and Max mention the events of What Are Little Girls Made Of?, where Verdona tried to convince Gwen to go to Anodyne with her.
- Gwen mentions that Ben is still trying to get used to the 10 new aliens he unlocked at the end of War of the Worlds: Part 2.
- This episode was not in the initial plans for the series. It was only after Ulti came up with the basic story beats for the episode that he decided to put it in writing. Therefore, this became the third episode of the series, causing Up to 11 to become the fourth episode instead.
- Observant readers may have noticed that Gwen and Kevin ate their fries without any ketchup. Ulti wanted to add a joke about how whoever took Kevin's order at Burger Shack forgot to include ketchup, but he was not able to find a good way to put it in.
|Ben 10: Missing Pieces|