Next Of Kin

Episode Report Card
Heathen: C- | Grade It Now!
Next Of Kin

Gallant bonds with Jeremy over their armed-forces love. Gallant is so easy. Susan approaches and with fake reluctance tells Jeremy that his mother's developing a stomach ulcer that will require her to stay under observation for several days. She lists a few other things that sound official enough to dupe Jeremy, but which of course set off all the alarm bells in Gallant's proper little head. "I'm shipping out in a couple of days!" panics Jeremy. "Good thing they invented telephones," Susan shrugs, walking away and leaving Jeremy looking quite constipated. She should give him something for that.

Gallant gives chase. "What was your diagnosis?" he asks suspiciously. "Unintentional aspirin overdose," Susan replies. "That's what she's telling the social worker." Gallant can't figure this out, so Susan reveals that Jeremy beats Melody. Gallant looks crushed that his military buddy is a mom-beater. "He leaves for good in two days, and she doesn't want it to be for jail," Susan concludes. That's awfully morbid. Sailors who ship out do come back more often than not. "So you made up a diagnosis?" he asks. "No, I stretched one," Susan clarifies. Luka looks up from his post nearby. "Sounds unethical," he says pointedly. Heh. Zing! Susan shoots him a poisoned look. "So is eavesdropping," she snaps.

Abby marches up to Eric and Maggie's hotel room, her quiet and reluctant mother in tow. Maggie hands her the card key. "Eric, it's Abby," she calls out, knocking on the door. As she opens it, though, the chain lock pulls taut. "Can you let me in?" she pleads. Eric switches off the TV. "Are you alone?" he asks. "No, Mom's here too," Abby says with hesitation. Eric appears in the door's crack. "Why'd you bring her?" he pouts. "She's worried about you, Eric," Maggie says calmly. Eric removes the chain lock, takes Maggie's suitcase, and blocks the door, telling Abby he wants her to leave. "I don't want you in my life right now," he says firmly. Abby freezes, her eyes moist and wide. Shot from a slightly higher angle than usual, she looks girlish and needy. Eric hustles Maggie inside and tries to close the door on his sister. "Eric, don't do this," she begs, her voice breaking. "You need help." He won't look at her. "I don't want to hurt you," he says flatly. On the verge of breaking into sobs, Abby begs him to turn to her for her favorite buzzwords -- structure and stability -- because he needs someone he can trust. Fed up, Eric explodes, "That's not you anymore, okay?" Abby, crushed, recoils in absolute pain. It's not a physical thing, because she barely moves; no, it happens more in her eyes, which is sadder and the only time I even felt close to sorry for Abby in this episode. She's watching Eric become the one thing she was forced to protect him from -- Maggie -- and she's losing the one person who validated her life. Sure, she took care of Maggie, but it was a chore. Protecting Eric and being his big sister was the one thing that made Abby feel good, and now it's gone. It's her own fault for being pushy and superior, but it's still sad. Although I think, given that she was a mother to Eric, she's feeling like Delinquent Mother #7 -- she couldn't protect him, so she's failed. Maybe now she and Maggie, united by the DMOW bond, can start to relate. "You don't understand," Eric insists. "Yes, I do," she cringes. "You think you do, but you don't, you're not like us. You never will be," Eric blasts her, walking away. Maggie appears in the doorframe and promises to call them from Minnesota. Abby wrenches the knife from her stomach. "Don't bother," she says, reeling, staggering back down the hall. "Abby?" Maggie calls after her tentatively. No answer. "Abby," she repeats more firmly. Still nothing.

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