'The Conners': Major Character Fired Before Romantic Reunion

The Conners featured two major characters getting fired before Christmas, leading to an unexpected romantic reunion. The fall finale of the ABC comedy series followed as many relationship and family dynamics shifted before the family's Santa on Santa Christmas photos tradition. It also followed as Ben (Jay R. Ferguson) and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) faced an unexpected issue at work that put their futures up in the air.

Spoilers ahead for The Conners Season 2, Episode 9: "Smoking Penguins and Santa on Santa Action"

Early in the episode, Darlene was at work at the magazine when Ben arrives in a rush with surprising news. He reveals the owners fired him as publisher because of cost-cutting and they planned on offering the job to Darlene.

Darlene hides her excitement about the possible professional advancement but jokingly asks him more about it. He breaks the news that the bosses intentions are not honorable, as they plan to only pay her half of what they were paying Ben before his axing. She says that is crazy but seems to still be interested in pursuing the opportunity.

As the family has their own shenanigans at home, Darlene meets with the magazine's boss about the job.

She tells Darlene that she is all about empowering women, before she breaks the news the salary offer is not negotiable. Darlene tries to counter and threatens to quit if her salary expectations aren't met, but the woman says that there are five other people hoping to get the job and fires her on the spot.

Darlene later returns home feeling defeated as the family decorates the house with stolen decorations. Mark (Ames McNamara) asks his mom if the kids will finally get to have good presents since she has a steady job, and she squashes those hopes with a hilarious speech about the true meaning of the holidays.

Later in the episode, Ben and Darlene meet up for pity drinks at a Chicago bar. They lament the fact they will not be working together anymore, and wonder if they will still be in each other's lives given the end of their relationship earlier in the year.

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The drinks and their emotions leads them to sleep together, and Darlene assumes it might have been a goodbye hookup. However, Ben decides to give her another chance and they officially get back together.

What will the future hold for Ben and Darlene? What will they do for work now? The Conners returns Tuesday, January 21 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.