'The Conners': Darlene Faces a Big Decision Ahead of Season Finale

Darlene and Ben took an important step in their relationship during the latest episode of The Conners, leading to a potentially life-changing decision.

With things getting serious between Darlene (Sarah Gilbert) and Ben (Jay R. Ferguson), the beginning of "Don't Shoot the Piano Teacher" saw the mother-of-two preparing her kids to meet the new man in her life.

As the family dined at Casa Bonita, Darlene told Harris (Emma Kenney) and Mark (Ames McNamara) about Ben and her plans to bring him to the house for dinner the next night. She tells them to "be cool" but Mark gets up and storms out of the restaurant, saying that Ben will never replace David (Johnny Galecki) as his dad. He quickly returns, however, as the kids were only playing a prank on their mother.

"There's enough money for one of you to go to college, fight it out," Darlene says before she moves to help Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) organize her baby shower.

The next night, Darlene brings Ben to the Conner house, and they have dinner with the family. The family bonds about Ben's work on the magazine Lock 'Em Up, with Jackie adding an inappropriate anecdote about her time as a police officer.

Jackie gives Darlene a big thumbs up before she leaves to meet up with her boyfriend. After, Mark brings up that his music teacher told him he has perfect pitch and he could be in the orchestra if he learned an instrument. Ben volunteers his time to teach Mark, which Darlene considers a plus considering he would do it for free.

Darlene later finds Dan (John Goodman) in the garage and asks him what he thought of her new beau. Dan says he likes him and the kids seem to enjoy his company too, and the piano lessons are the perfect test for Darlene to see how Ben interacts with her kids.

Later, Ben tries to teach Mark about scales and starts to lose his patience. He tells him that the only way he'll be able to join the orchestra will be if he takes it seriously. After giving him a hard time, Mark leaves to soccer practice in tears, which leaves Darlene angry at Ben's behavior.

Ben argues that Darlene shouldn't be overprotective of Mark, and they have a fight. Darlene gets frustrated with his actions so she fires him and leaves the room. After practice, Darlene finds Mark in his room practicing on his iPad. When she tells him that she canceled the lessons with Ben, Mark says he wants them back because he enjoys being pushed and doing hard work.

The next day at work, Darlene reluctantly tells Ben about the lessons being back up and him being right, and he is happy to give her a hard time for being a helicopter mom. He adds that Mark could be O.K. having another person in her life that holds him accountable, and despite wanting to protect him, Darlene agrees.

The conversation takes a turn when Ben reveals a big change coming soon.

"I got an investor that wants me to relocate Lock 'Em Up to Chicago," Ben reveals and suggests that Darlene and the kids should move in with him.

"That sounds amazing," Darlene says, seemingly hesitating on moving one hour away from her family. "I just have to talk to my family and my kids."


Could Darlene move away with Ben? The Conners season finale airs Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.