Gamma, all dolled up and tucked into a glamorous sick bed, chats up her son -- Carter's father, played by Michael Gross, who we lovingly know as Stephen Keaton from Family Ties. Carter arrives and kisses Gamma happily, still giddy that Santa brought him a daddy for Christmas. He and Stephen hug awkwardly. "Oh, God, am I dying?" Gamma deadpans. "Rigor mortis hasn't set in just yet," Stephen says woodenly. "Why else would my son deign to spend Christmas with me?" she prods teasingly. Carter excitedly reveals that his mother will be there, too. "Ah, I knew there was a catch," Gamma sighs. Heh. Stephen uncomfortably says that Eleanor won't arrive until later this week, and bends to pressure from Gamma to stay at the house until then. "Ah, here's Helga to turn me like a pancake," Gamma chirps. The men leave to give her privacy. "I'd settle for a little dignity," she mutters.
Outside Gamma's room, Carter glows and whispers that underneath the sass, she's totally thrilled to have her son home. "Means a lot to me, too," Carter adds gingerly. "Yeah, it should be fun, huh?" Stephen says flatly, his tone making it clear he'd prefer a pine-tree enema. Carter is startled.
Reese hangs out on the floor of Judge Alter's chambers, flanked by a sign-language interpreter and the judge himself. "Who's that?" Alter asks, pointing to Peter. "Daddy," Reese signs. Peter grins adoringly. It's very genuine, and I find myself wondering if Eriq La Salle is as enamored of this boy as the viewers are. Reese calls Roger "my other Daddy," and surprisingly, the smile on Peter's face is still one of pride. Roger ups the sap factor with a smile of his own. The judge asks if Reese loves both his daddies very much. Reese signs that he doesn't know, which is weird. And still they smile. Eyebrows smiles. Roger smiles. Reese next answers that Mommy makes him feel better when he's sick. Roger's smile falters. What's that song? "Smile, though your heart is breaking"? Alter asks, "Which daddy gives you the best care when you get a boo-boo?" Reese points to Roger and says that he has Band-Aids with cartoons on them. Sigh. Ask a stupid question...Clearly Benton should be punished for buying plain Band-Aids. And in a really weird choice for an act break, we fade to commercial on a shot of Benton intently watching the proceedings. Yawn.
December 19. Divorce Court. Plaintiff: Roger. Accusation: Dr. Peter Benton is too self-involved to be the best parent for Reese. "He needs consistency," Roger says, back on the stand. "Reese, Carla, and I -- the three of us were a family. That's how we planned our lives....I've been with Reese through earaches, flus, almost every scrape he's ever gotten." He regurgitates everything we've heard about Roger being more dedicated, having more time, figuring out how to grow money on trees, curing world hunger and, most importantly, not being an emergency-room surgeon. Judge Alter looks impressed with all this, because Roger is winning the custody case. Winning. Roger. Not Benton. This all makes Benton want to think very hard.