The AU potential of this tale is considerable. As Daria herself says, when informed that the family will not be staying at the Dutchman Inn: "I can never forget that giant clog and what might have been." Some possibilities:
- Jake doesn't cause the fire (or puts out the fire himself), so Daria doesn't go to Jane's house and meet Tom up close.
- The fire injures or kills one or more of the Morgendorffers, or else the house is completely lost and the Morgendorffers must move.
- Helen throws Jake out of the house for being such an idiot. They separate. Helen has more time to chat with Eric when he calls at 1 a.m.
- The Morgendorffers do stay at the Dutchman Inn. Quinn moves out and stays with the Fashion Club. Daria doesn't meet Tom. Something else weird happens.
- Bobby Stuart gets away with stealing Le Grand Hotel funds to impress Quinn. She goes out with him. He turns out to be either good (but untrustworthy) or bad.
- Jane and Tom break up before Daria enters the picture.
- Daria discovers something unusual/illegal/dangerous that Penny left behind in her old bedroom.
- Trent convinces Daria that hanging around Tom is a bad idea. She leaves of her own accord. (Not sure this would change anything later, though, unless it delays the looming Jane/Tom breakup.)
Interesting aspects of this episode:
- Sandi Griffin's instinct for picking out untrustworthy dating partners is very good. She was suspicious of Bobby almost from the start, though part of that might have been jealousy. (She was the only member of the Fashion Club who did not have staff fuss over her at the hotel.) Perhaps it is because Sandi is so accustomed to being underhanded that she is able to recognize the same elements in other people.
- Jane's instinct for knowing when someone is about to betray her is also very good. She saw it coming from a mile away.
This episode pretty well telegraphs what was coming in "Dye! Dye! My Darling." More later.
LATE ADD: I've tried to flesh out the DariaWiki page for "Fire!" If anyone has other bits to add to it, please feel free (especially if I put in something that was wrong).
ANOTHER LATE ADD: Richard Lobinske has updated the list of Daria fan art! Hooray! (PPMB & SFMB)