Carter explains to Lea that they're performing exploratory surgery on Ben, but expect that he might be home for the holidays. The entire extended fam packs into the elevator and heads up to the OR, shouting thanks to Carter. Snore. Susan follows Carter into the lounge and whips out a Christmas gift wrapped in gold paper and a red bow, and you just know the lid is wrapped separately and lifts right off. On TV, there's absolutely no fun in getting presents. Carter looks irritated. "God, I forgot," he sighs. He left her present at home, but he sort of looks like he didn't get her anything in the first place. What do you get a girl who has all the Burberry she could want? He rejects her offered present, asking to wait until they can make it a fair exchange. Bothered, Susan swallows her unhappiness and returns the gift to her locker. "Is something wrong?" she asks. Carter slowly chokes out that his mother isn't spending the holidays with them, because his parents are divorcing. He exhales hard on that last line, as though telling someone else finally makes it real. "Oh, no," Susan says, but the brat sounds annoyed, like he just confessed he isn't potty-trained, or delivered a rant about otherwise attractive women who cling to bad haircuts. Susan suggests it might be a blessing in disguise that will lead to a better situation. "Ever meet my parents?" she asks. "[They] aren't divorced, and they should be." This doesn't help; Carter hangs his head in total despair. He's had a rough year. "I'm sorry," Susan offers. "I'm so self-centered. I thought it was something to do with me." Carter regards her gently. "You're about the only thing going right in my life," he murmurs. Susan, rather than looking flattered, seems shocked and put off. I don't get it. Sherry Stringfield is usually pretty reliably believable.
And now, back to Judge Alter and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Custody Case. Roma scolds Benton for letting the judge abscond with Reese, but Benton rightly fretted that he'd appear defensive if he refused. Eagerly, Cleo asks what Alter had to say about the new job and hours, and is disheartened to know that the man wasn't falling over himself to kiss Benton's feet and buy him a "World's #1 Dad" mug.