Tom and Lynette are in their room, and she's curled up in a ball with her face buried in a pillow, and they're in the middle of a whisper-fight over the presence of Stella: Lynette wants her gone, and Tom thinks they really need her to stay. Lynette thinks they can handle the kids and the restaurant and her treatment; after all, they have Mrs. McCluskey. Tom points out that they can't pay Mrs. McC, what with their money troubles. Except that Tom actually has managed to obtain the $10,000, just like he promised Lynette he would. Lynette looks amazed and hopeful until he reveals that the money came from Stella, who actually volunteered it without his even having to ask -- somehow, I don't think that counts as the great self-sacrifice his money-getting volunteerism implied? Lynette, livid and near tears, her voice ragged in that patented Upset Lynette way: "Tom, you don't know half the stuff she did to us. She would get drunk and smack us around. She would meet some new guy and drop us off at her sister's for a week because he wasn't into kids." Lynette? You had me at "smack us around." Don't worry, there's absolutely no way that Tom would let a historically abusive woman watch over his kids. None! Oh but wait.
Tom, like he's being understanding: "Okay, so she was a crappy mom! But you said yourself, she has mellowed!" What? Hunh? And then, THEN he really shits things up by reminding her that he's "been pretty understanding lately." No stinking way! He's throwing Tootie in her face? If having Stella stay with them really, truly is the only solution (and why do I have a feeling that Tom hasn't even tried to find the money on his own -- Gabby was ready to write Susan a check for $10,000 just last week, surely she's someone they could hit up for a loan?), then at the barest minimum he should be assuring the once-abused Lynette that Stella will never, ever be left alone with the kids. But downplaying Lynette's fears and experience is just beyond bad. Worse still, it just wastes whatever warmth we had going between them, starting with the poignant hand-holding at the doctor's office from the end of the last episode and then the fun tennis lesson/shampoo joking just a few scenes ago. I thought this cancer was going to wake these two up and put the important things into perspective, and then all the petty bickering would fall by the wayside, at least initially. Where is the cancer honeymoon period? I was so looking forward to the cancer honeymoon period! Once again, you start to warm to a plotline on this show, start to anticipate something good about to happen -- Tom and Lynette are going to fight this cancer together and relocate the love and move on from their Tootie troubles! -- but then it all gets derailed somehow. It's like when your boyfriend leaves an empty carton of milk in the fridge, and you go to grab the it -- your bowl full of the cereal at the ready -- but rather than that satisfying heft of fullness, you get nothing but empty disappointment. This show is an endless series of empty milk cartons, tempting you with their promise but ultimately failing to moisten your cereal.