May 17, 2014
Party of Five 4.19, Go Away: “Once That First Bad Thing Happens”
Summary: It’s time for another episode of Griffin and Julia Are Awkward Around Each Other and Should Just Break Up Now. She presents him with Rosalie’s “something’s happening” note***, and he pretends he doesn’t know anything about it. Since he told her he was at the movies, Julia asks what movie he saw. Griffin doesn’t reply. She tells him that the next time he uses a friend as an alibi, he should inform that friend. Griffin admits that he was with Rosalie, but says they’re just friends. Julia notes that he wouldn’t lie about his whereabouts or stay out until 2 a.m. if they were just friends.
The next day, Charlie undergoes tests that will tell him whether or not he’s in remission. It’ll take a couple days for the results to come back, and his doctor tells Bailey and Julia to find a way to get him to relax and distract himself while he waits. While Julia gives Griffin the silent treatment, Sarah tries to convince Bailey that Charlie’s results will be good. Annie visits, on edge because she’s trying not to drink, and Bailey snaps that she can’t rely on him the way she is.
Charlie’s doctor calls to tell him there was an irregularity in his CAT scan, so he’ll mean more tests. He worries that it means he’s not in remission. His doctor says it’s possible but unlikely. Charlie points out that getting cancer at the age of 28 was also unlikely. (Which…no, but okay, Charlie.) Julia hangs out in the house while Griffin hangs out in the “guest cottage”; when he comes inside, she suggests that he move out. FINALLY.
Charlie’s anxious about his test results, so Bailey advises him to get out of the house for a while. Charlie wants more than that. Julia remembers family trips to a cabin in Tahoe, and she, Bailey, and Charlie decide to spend some time there. Claudia declines their invitation, wanting some alone time. She says she’ll ask Kirsten to come stay with her and Owen. Because Kirsten doesn’t have a life or a husband or anything that doesn’t involve the Salingers.
The older Salingers head to the cabin and immediately get into a routine, reminiscing about the time they spent there as kids. Back at the house, Claudia gets an application from a boarding school in Massachusetts and tells Kirsten that she sent for it. At the cabin, Julia and Charlie start a snowball fight with an unsuspecting Bailey. Sarah visits Annie to see how she’s doing with Bailey out of town. She knows what Annie’s going through since she went through it with Bailey. Annie tells Sarah to find someone else to help.
Griffin goes to see Rosalie, reporting that Julia kicked him out. He complains that Julia has misinterpreted what’s going on (she hasn’t) and that she’s done some equally bad things (she hasn’t). “Nothing’s entirely the other person’s fault,” he says, delusional. Rosalie tells him she wants him. The older Salingers read horrible books and decide not to call home to check on their other siblings. Those other siblings are currently playing hide and seek with Kirsten, who wants to know why Claudia’s running away before she knows Charlie’s condition for sure.
Natalie goes to Sarah to report that Annie fell asleep on the floor and can’t be woken up. At the cabin, Bailey and Julia remember the first time Charlie babysat them at the cabin. They had an “indoor laser-beam snowball war.” Charlie doesn’t think that’ll distract him this time around. He confesses that he had to have additional tests done because something was found on his CAT scan. He wishes his life were still simple enough that he could just be afraid of the dark.
Sarah has Natalie make coffee while she soaks Annie in the bathtub to revive her. Kirsten tells Claudia that she needs to talk to a new therapist so she can discuss her fears. Claudia admits that she’s scared about Charlie dying, and she doesn’t want to be okay with it. After her parents died, she tried to get back to her normal life, but she’s not going to pretend she’s okay with losing someone else.
Julia and Bailey are upset that Charlie walked away from his life to come to the cabin and pretend he’s okay. Because neither of them is doing the same thing, of course. Bailey confides that Annie’s drinking again and he feels bad for leaving her while things are so bad. He knows self-preservation is good, but he feels guilty. Before their parents died, Bailey was rebellious; afterward, he turned into an adult overnight. He wishes he could have been someone else so he didn’t feel bad about taking care of himself instead of Annie.
Julia wonders if she would be different, too, if their parents had lived. She feels like she’s in a rush to do everything. Before, she was always looking to the future. Now, she wants everything right away because she doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring. Julia feels like she’s stopped thinking things through. Bailey’s surprised to hear that she regrets getting married so quickly, because Bailey hasn’t been paying attention. She didn’t think what getting married actually meant; she just loved Griffin and accepted his proposal.
Sarah tries to get Annie to promise that she won’t try to drive Natalie anywhere, or try to cook something. Annie says she hates herself for acting this way in front of her daughter, but that just makes her want to drink. She’s not even in good enough shape to get herself to a meeting. Sarah suggests that she try rehab. That would require finding someone to look after Natalie, whose father isn’t in any better shape. Annie blasts Sarah for thinking that everyone can afford the kind of help she needs.
Rosalie invites Griffin to stay with her, but he’s afraid of what could happen. Then he talks himself into accepting since Julia had to have known where he would end up when she kicked him out. (I think she expects you to end up in divorce court, Griffin, so do whatever you want. Also, shut up. I’m sick of hearing from you.)
The phone rings at the cabin in the middle of the night, making the Salingers worry that something happened back home. Fortunately, it’s a wrong number. Charlie remembers that the phone always used to ring late at night because their parents always needed to get in touch with each other. After they died, middle-of-the-night phone calls became emergencies. For 24 years, Charlie thought things would always turn out well, but he doesn’t think that way anymore.
The next day, Kirsten tells Claudia that despite her years of graduate work in child psychology, she doesn’t know how to help. She sometimes tries to figure out how she would feel if she had to go through her day knowing Charlie was dead. It’s a way of preparing herself in case it actually happens. But she knows that they won’t really be able to live with that reality unless it happens, so they need to tell themselves he’ll be okay. Claudia doesn’t like dealing in hypotheticals.
As the older Salingers prepare to leave the cabin, Julia tells Bailey that she used to think about how, when she turned 30, she would have lived longer without her parents than with them. After that, anything that happened would be up to her. But why is she waiting until then? Bailey regrets bringing Charlie to the cabin, but he was glad to relive some happy times (though he doesn’t want to return). It was strange to revisit a place they used to enjoy before their lives fell apart. “Once that first bad thing happens,” everything is different.
As soon as he gets home, Bailey goes to Annie’s apartment, promising that he’ll be around from now on. But her apartment’s empty – she went to rehab. Sarah has another surprise for Bailey: They’ll be taking care of Natalie while Annie’s gone. Julia goes to the garage to tell Griffin that she’s not sure what she wants to have happen, but his affair was probably partly her fault. (Um, I’m sorry?) She believes him if he promises he didn’t sleep with Rosalie. She’d like him to come back home.
Charlie meets up with Claudia, Owen, and Kirsten at the house, so they’re all there when they get a message from his doctor. She asks Charlie to call, giving her home phone number. He goes up to his room to be alone when he calls. When his doctor gives him his test results, he starts crying…but out of happiness. He’s in remission.
Thoughts: Doesn’t Annie have a sponsor who can help her?
“Why are you doing this?” Because you cheated, you jerk.
Charlie and Julia throwing snowballs at bailey is the cutest thing I’ve seen on this show in a long time.
“Stop trying to help me! I don’t have the money to be helped!” Shut up, Annie. Sarah’s a saint to put up with you. She doesn’t even like you! Also, now you can never be mean to her again, since she’s taking care of Natalie.
’90s music alert: Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery.”
Test to see if someone has a soul: Play the last scene of this episode. If the person isn’t moved, yell, “What’s wrong with you?” and splash him/or with holy water.