December 14, 2013
Party of Five 3.21, Hitting Bottom: Crash and Burn
Summary: It’s been four days since Bailey’s intervention, and the family hasn’t heard from him. Sarah confesses that she called, even though the interventioners said they wouldn’t, but Callie told her that he didn’t come home the night before. Claudia and Sarah suggest talking to Grace, but Charlie’s adamant that they stick to their bottom lines and cut off ties with Bailey. Claudia thinks they need to be sympathetic because he inherited his alcoholism. Charlie still refuses to budge.
Bailey misses his wrestling team’s divisional championship, leading to a forfeit. Coach Russ is very unhappy. At school, Julia’s surprised by an unexpected visit from Griffin, so I GUESS WE’RE DOING THIS AGAIN. Sigh. Bailey tracks down Russ to apologize for missing the meet, but Russ won’t accept his apology. He was sure they were going to win divisionals this year, for his first time in 15 years of coaching, and Bailey let them down.
Claudia wonders if her parents went through the same thing the family’s going through with Bailey. Charlie’s just tired of the whole thing and doesn’t want to revisit the past. Claudia, however, is desperate to know more. Julia fills Griffin in on all the family’s issues; she went by Bailey’s building the day before and caught Charlie sitting outside. She notices that Griffin’s limping, and he tells her that he injured his knee while he was with the Merchant Marines. Since he can’t work anymore, he got fired. Now neither of them has a plan for the future.
Bailey stumbles home, drunk, and pretends that he wasn’t going to ask Callie if his family left him any messages. He tells her that he was out partying to celebrate the wrestling match he won. Callie’s trying to study, but Bailey wants sex. She has to literally tell him she said no, and he taunts that she’s being a prude. (Real nice from the guy who saved her from being raped.) Callie says that his family’s right about him having a problem.
Claudia goes to Avery, begging to know if Diana ever said anything about Nick’s alcoholism. Avery tries to avoid the topic, wondering why she wants to know the bad things her father might have done. She admits that her happy memories of her father now seem fake, like she’s remembering things the way he wants her to. She wants to know what Nick was really like.
Griffin’s staying in a horrible motel, since he doesn’t have a job and can’t afford anything better. Julia suggests that he go after the Merchant Marines for money since his accident was their fault. Then he can take his time finding a job, or use the money to travel somewhere. And if he wants to travel with her, well, that’s just icing on the cake. Charlie goes to pick Owen up from daycare, but Bailey’s already retrieved him. Bailey lets Owen eat junk food while he gets drunk and complains about their brother and sisters.
Julia takes Griffin to meet a lawyer, but he’s clearly not the best they could do. Griffin thinks he’s great, though, since he’s been successful in the past. Julia thinks the case is too important for them to rely on the guy. Griffin blasts her for doubting his instincts once again. Later that evening, Julia goes home and learns that Bailey never took Owen home. They’ve been gone for four hours. Sarah and Julia think they should call the police, even if it means Bailey gets busted for driving drunk. Finding Owen is more important than Bailey losing his license.
While Bailey puts Owen in the car to drive him home, Claudia tells Sarah what she learned from Avery about Nick’s drunken activities. Charlie isn’t happy that she went to see Avery. Bailey finally arrives with Owen, and Charlie tears into him for taking Owen out without letting them know. Bailey has the nerve to be offended that his siblings thought he would drive drunk with his little brother in the car. He lies that he hasn’t been drinking, but it’s obvious that he has, so Charlie’s fury is completely justified.
The two brothers start fighting physically, and their sisters pull them apart. Charlie makes it clear that Bailey isn’t going to have contact with Owen anymore. He runs off, but Sarah’s the only person who thinks they need to go after him – after all, he’s about to drive drunk again. She runs after him, but Julia goes to Griffin’s, where his comforting of her turns into sex. Meanwhile, Charlie goes to Avery’s to yell at him for what he told Claudia. He thinks Avery’s making Nick into a monster as revenge (since he was in love with Diana), but Avery admits that he censored himself.
Sarah chases Bailey to his apartment, though she’s not sure he’s even home. Charlie returns home before heading to work and tries to get Claudia and Owen to come with him. Claudia doesn’t want to go to her father’s restaurant since he’s responsible for Bailey’s alcoholism, and she doesn’t want to make it look like she forgives Nick.
Bailey comes home, but when he sees Sarah waiting for him outside the apartment, he heads right back out. Sarah begs him to let her drive, promising to take him wherever he wants to go. She jumps in the car with him, refusing to leave him alone. He speeds off, almost immediately running a red light and crashing the car.
Sometime later, Charlie rushes to the hospital, where Sarah’s been admitted for observation; she may have a concussion. She’ll be okay, but Bailey left after bringing her in. He’s gone right back out to buy more beer, trying to ignore his broken windshield. Julia’s still at Griffin’s, where he’s worrying that she’s going to regret sleeping with him. She assures him that she needed this, and she feels like things will work out with them this time. He asks her not to second-guess him anymore. Julia tells him they’re a team now.
She goes home the next morning, not sorry at all that Charlie didn’t know where she was all night. He tells her about the accident and Sarah getting injured. Julia tries to convince both of them that Bailey must have sobered up by now. Charlie admits that he thought he was doing the right things, and that eventually Bailey would come around, but he didn’t do enough to think about the other people involved.
Claudia pipes up that it’s Nick’s fault, and Charlie finally tells her to shut it. He apologizes, but really, she needed to hear that. He tells her that Nick passing the alcoholism to Bailey didn’t make Bailey drink. Claudia counters that Nick was a bad husband and father, but Charlie points out that he stopped drinking and changed. He reminds her that he’s made a lot of mistakes, too. He doesn’t want Owen to see him the same way Claudia now sees their father. Meanwhile, Bailey goes back to the hospital to see Sarah, cries over hurting her, and asks her to help him.
Thoughts: This is the episode I remember the most from the series. Basically, when I think of the show, this is the episode I think of.
Why must they continue to make me have to deal with Griffin? What have I done to deserve this?
’90s music alert: R.E.M.’s “Bittersweet Me,” the Cranberries’ “Empty.”
Julia’s exactly right: If the Merchant Marines are responsible for Griffin’s injury, and if they fired him for a disability, he should sue. I’m sure he could get a better lawyer, though. There must be a ton of lawyers who would take on a case like that.
Julia, re: the lawyer: “I feel like he’s selling me a used car. I feel like he’s selling me my used car.” Heh.