March 8, 2014

Party of Five 4.9, Truth Be Told: Stop Trying to Help

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

I feel sick just looking at the amount Charlie has to drink

I feel sick just looking at the amount of radioactive dye Charlie has to drink

Summary: School’s out for the day, and Charlie’s picking up Claudia and her horrible hat. She’d rather wait and see if Reed will give her a ride, but Charlie makes her get in the truck. He decides to tell her about his cancer before he tells Bailey and Julia. Except he doesn’t use the word “cancer,” and he downplays the nature of the treatments he’ll be having. Then he wants to go for ice cream. Charlie next summons Bailey to the house and reveals that he has cancer. Claudia watches from her bedroom window and sees how upset Bailey is.

Over at Julia and Griffin’s, they have to say goodbye to all their furniture since they can’t afford their apartment anymore. Charlie goes for a walk with Kirsten, telling her about his breakup with Nina. His first oncologist appointment is the next day, and Kirsten asks to go with him. Claudia goes to a hospital and looks through pamphlets about Hodgkin’s to find out what the survival rates are. She’s surprised to learn that the disease is more serious than Charlie led on.

At the house, Charlie and Julia both have news for each other. Julia needs to borrow some kitchen things since she and Griffin had to return all of theirs. Oh, didn’t she tell him? They’re in really bad financial trouble. Charlie invites them to move in, but Julia thinks they need to deal with things on their own. He doesn’t tell her about his health. Bailey tells Sarah, though, and she offers to help out however she can, even though Bailey points out that she and Charlie aren’t close. He thinks they should handle everything as a family.

Claudia confronts Charlie over not being completely honest about his condition. He assures her that he’s not going to die, but she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. In the middle of the night, Bailey wants to call Charlie to offer comfort, though he isn’t sure what to say. Annie tells him just to say that he loves Charlie and will be there for him. Bailey notes that he has no frame of reference for the situation, but Annie reminds him that being in recovery has some things in common with battling cancer.

Claudia wants to make sure Charlie’s ready for his first appointment, having read up on everything Charlie will experience. She thinks it’s better to know as much as possible about what’s going to happen. When Charlie leaves the house, he finds Bailey washing his truck as a show of support. He also wants to go to the doctor with Charlie. Charlie would rather he wait until he needs more help, but Bailey wants to do whatever he can right now to be there for him. He gives Charlie some AA speak about dealing with what’s in front of him each minute.

Julia finds Claudia outside her apartment, and Claud advises her to move back home. She thinks Charlie told her about Griffin and Julia’s money problems, which Claudia has no idea about. They talk vaguely for a minute, each thinking they’re talking about the same thing, until Claudia mentions treatments. She thinks Julia’s confused because Charlie downplayed his condition to her, too. Only then does she notice that all the furniture is gone.

Kirsten, Claudia, and Bailey all go to Charlie’s appointment with him, trying to help him down a ton of contrast fluid for tests. Bailey and Kirsten are hovering, but Claudia stays to the side, upset. Charlie isn’t sure she should even be there. Bailey wonders where Julia is, and Charlie admits that he didn’t tell her he was sick. Claudia reveals that she did – she didn’t know that it was a secret. Now Charlie’s upset that Julia didn’t come to the appointment. He snaps at Bailey for being Mr. AA and asks everyone to back off a little.

Later that day, Sarah comes by the house with banana bread and tells Charlie to let her know if there’s anything she can do for him. For the first time, he appreciates the way someone’s trying to help him. While Griffin packs up their things, Julia reads up on Hodgkin’s. She thinks they need to move into the house. Claudia checks on Charlie, who clearly wants to be alone. Read the room, Claud. He yells at her for her method of “helping,” which is just making him worse. She keeps reminding him that he’s sick, and he needs her to back off.

Charlie goes out to run an errand, then changes course to go confront Julia for not contacting him after she found out he was sick. She’s equally upset that she had to hear the news from Claudia. She feels like he didn’t expect her to stop worrying about her own life long enough to worry about his. Charlie blasts her for having a problem with the way he’s dealing with his health issues, telling her to get over herself.

At home, Charlie complains to Bailey about Julia, but things don’t get any better because Bailey’s still on his AA bent. Charlie would prefer if Bailey would act like Sarah – say he doesn’t know what to say, bring something to eat, and shut up. Bailey tries to argue that he gets what Charlie’s going through, but Charlie disagrees. Alcoholism isn’t a disease like cancer is.

Charlie winds up at the restaurant, calling Kirsten to come talk to him. He complains about how all his siblings are acting, and how everyone’s version of “help” is actually helpful. He feels like Kirsten is the only one he can talk to about what he’s going through. Kirsten doesn’t want to be that “only one” because there could come a time when she says or does the wrong thing and Charlie chases her away, too. He tells her he can only worry about himself right now, not how Kirsten reacts to him. She tells him he has to think of others or he’ll end up with no support at all.

Bailey blasts Sarah for…being nice to Charlie? Really, that was wrong of her? Shut up, Bailey. He mocks that she must have done it to make herself feel good, or to make herself look better than him. Shut up some more, Bailey. Instead of fighting with him, Sarah offers to be his punching bag, if it’ll help him feel better. Ha ha, Bailey, Sarah doesn’t have to make herself look better than you – she IS better than you.

Charlie meets with his doctor, who tells him his condition isn’t as good as they’d hoped, but not as bad as she’d feared. She’s surprised that he’s there alone. Julia and Griffin check out the Salingers’ toolshed, which she thinks is a better choice for them than the attic, since it’ll feel more like their own place. They head over to the main house, where Bailey and Claudia are supportive of their decision to move back in.

Everyone’s mad at Charlie, but Bailey understands now that he’s acting the way he is because he’s scared. They need to put up with him because he’s always put up with them. The siblings agree to take whatever Charlie gives, and only complain to each other, never to him. Charlie comes home, and now everyone’s super-sensitive to what he needs. But now Charlie wants to be open with them, apologizing for the way he acted before. From now on, he’s going to tell them what’s going on and what he needs. He starts with the basics: “I have cancer.”

Thoughts: I totally understand Claudia’s anger over Charlie not being honest. I mean, her parents are dead. If she could handle hearing that, she can handle hearing that Charlie’s sick.

Bailey washing the truth was really sweet. He couldn’t think of anything else to do, and at that moment there wasn’t anything Charlie needed, but it was something Charlie wouldn’t have thought about doing.

I wonder how much of that “contrast fluid” (probably really Tang) Matthew Fox had to drink.

Sarah did the exact right thing: Don’t hover, don’t overthink, don’t advise, just offer to be there and ask what you can do to help.

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