This episode starts off way too cheery. I live and breathe The Big C, so I know that this doesn’t bode well in the long run. You can just feel it. If you’ve already watched last night’s Episode 12, I pass a virtual tissue to you. If you have not already seen it…I pass you an entire box of virtual tissues.
Cathy awakens to a sound that, judging by the look on her face, she’s not familiar with. Why look, it’s Paul cleaning the floors! For about a split second, it almost looks as though Cathy has to remind herself why exactly her husband Paul is there at all. It’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s right, he moved back in. Sorry, as you were.” Well, not only is he cleaning the floors, but he has simply gone above and beyond. Literally, actually, because above Cathy’s bed on the ceiling, a “Vision Board” awaits her. Paul heard somewhere that this was therapeutic for cancer patients to wake up to, so he created one for her. It would appear that he missed the part where people are supposed to create THEIR OWN Vision Boards, not have them created by someone else. But there’s an array of items on the list to pick on Paul about, so I’ll let this one go. He has also taken it upon himself to buy a new sofa. When Cathy points out that she wanted to pick the sofa out herself, Paul looks confused. He just doesn’t get it. And he FINALLY utters the words that I’ve been accusing him of feeling inside this entire season: “Don’t make your cancer all about you, Cathy!” And he’s right, I mean, seriously. The important matter we should be addressing here is how we can all work together on sorting out Paul’s coping mechanisms.
Cathy’s classroom: She gets pretty creative and decides to teach her students a way of communicating with others that dates back to the Ancient Mayan ruins: Letter writing. On stationery, even! The kids’ confusion on how to actually go about sending said letter to its intended recipient was quite comical. Even funnier was Cathy not wanting to move too fast, and deciding to save “mailing a letter” for another day. Noticeably absent was Andrea. It’s likely that Cathy teaches more than one class, and Andrea is not in all of them. But this is the first time we’ve had a scene featuring Cathy’s class without Andrea being present, so it stood out to me.
Back at Marlene’s house, Adam is helping Marlene fix her cuckoo clock.This seems like such a normal thing at first, but I understand the imagery now. You must wait.
Back at the Jamison house, Cathy begs Paul to please stop doing her laundry, because “it’s her thing”. She actually says, and I quote, “Don’t take laundry from me, Paul”. Girl, send Paul over to my house because there are 5 baskets of laundry sitting in my living room right now with their hands on their hips looking at me like, “Really, Tami?”
Anyway, Adam enters without acknowledging Cathy because he’s busy texting away. Who is he texting? That is the question of the moment, and Cathy wants answers! Adam dashes off for the movies when his friends arrive to pick him up, and of course he leaves the cellphone behind that he was just texting away on four nanseconds earlier. Cathy calls the number on the phone, and gets a voice message prompt from a girl named Mia. In what rivals the well known scene in Swingers featuring Jon Favreau’s character Mike, Cathy leaves the most overbearing, over-protective, and touching message I’ve ever heard in my life. She says all of the things that she would say to her future daughter-in-law, if she were still going to be around. Very good scene.
Dr. Todd tells Cathy that he proposed to his girlfriend Julie, but that her reply was “I need to think about it.” Major ouch! He also hasn’t mentioned to not quite fiancé that he is accompanying Cathy to Canada to see “The Bee Man” for alternative treatment. Hmmm, I can see this going someplace interesting. Even more interesting than a bee farm in Canada.
In a funny moment at Marlene’s place, Adam is doing chores, as usual. But Sean is also there so I brace myself for the funny!! When Adam shares his trials and tribulations surrounding his mom leaving an hourlong message on the voicemail of a girl he was about to make his move on, Sean’s “Wow!! Your own mom cockblocked you!” was simply priceless.
Cathy and Dr. Todd arrive at the home of The Bee Man (guest star Liam Neeson). This character was cracking me up! One of my favorite moments:
Cathy: What part of Ireland are you from?
Bee Man: Who told you that I was Irish?
Hahaha!!! This is of course funny because Liam Neeson was born in Ireland, and the Irish accent was a little thick for the character. Funny! And Todd is just SO over The Bee Man from the moment he and Cathy cross the threshold into his home. I mean, Dr Todd insults Bee Man in every way he knows how. The Bee Man’s retort to Dr. Todd’s accusation that his healing methods are based on conjecture, “You MD’s REALLY piss me off!” I really enjoyed this exchange; that’s my kind of humor! Dr. Todd is very protective of Cathy, isn’t he? Then again, that is his job, right? To be protective of his patients and follow them across the border at a moment’s notice? Right.
When Marlene arrives at Cathy’s and sees Paul painting the window trim, she shares with him how she herself behaved when she found out her own husband had cancer. She realizes in hindsight that the things she did “for him” were totally for herself, actually. She lends a wise thought to Paul about Cathy and her cancer: “It’s still her own journey…don’t hog the road.” Very astute, Marlene. As usual.
Cathy later has a conversation with Dr. Todd at a bar about her imminent fate, and implores him to just accept it. You know, up until this point, I had almost forgotten that Dr. Todd was a fairly new oncologist, and hasn’t witnessed a patient’s death as of yet. His feelings toward Cathy are obviously multifaceted. Yes, she’s his patient, the first to be at this stage of cancer. But honestly, she’s also a very special person. Period. And Dr. Todd knows it, and tells her so. He flat out states that “he doesn’t want her to die.” He puts actions to words and ends up kissing her! Wow, Lenny’s side of the bed isn’t even lukewarm yet, and we’ve got someone else waiting to lure Cathy away from Paul! But it’s a very sweet scene, if I’m being real. He goes on to tell her that he REALLY has feelings for her, even though he knows he shouldn’t. You can tell it’s just tearing him up, too. He’s human and he’s entitled, right? I think the answer is yes, in this case.
If you haven’t already watched the ending, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the worst here. During a bout with her Alzheimer’s, Marlene draws a gun on Adam as he’s fixing her cuckoo clock. She threatens to kill him if he doesn’t leave immediately. As Adam leaves, we see the cuckoo clock has been successfully repaired by him. Later, we see Paul angrily rummaging through Marlene’s drawers looking for the gun she pulled on his son. He tells Marlene to let him know as soon as she finds the gun, and to, “Stay away from my kid!” This reaction of Paul’s is understandable, but still so tough to watch, since Marlene is so helpless in this situation. After all, she has become a danger to those around her at this point. And it figures that when Cathy arrives home from Canada, looking pleased as punch with one of Paul’s chores for possibly the first time ever (painting of the window trim), her happiness is short-lived. During the show’s most horrifically painful moment thus far, we realize that Marlene has finally found her gun and has decided to use it to take her own life. A goodbye letter she wrote to Cathy is narrated by Marlene herself during the last 60 seconds while we realize what has just happened. She closes the letter with: “When it’s really your time to go, I’ll be waiting on you. But until then, live your life as hard as you can.” Cathy’s family is waiting there to comfort her. We finally get the entire Jamison family (including Sean) together in a tender, heart-felt moment, but it’s due the most heartbreaking set of circumstances. I dare you, any of you, to find a more gut-wrenching television moment than that.
I know that this is only a television show, but there are definitely profound messages and lessons to be learned from each episode. This show affects how I feel about my own life, sometimes. I don’t take a single moment for granted. Be sure not to miss the Season Finale next week, entitled “Taking The Plunge”. This time, be prepared with a box of your own tissue. I’m sure we will all need it.