Carter leans against the wall and laments that he not only turned down a chance to see Gamma, even if it was at a boring committee meeting, but that he ignored a call from her last night because he didn't feel like talking. The whole time, Abby is rubbing his upper arm and regarding him with concern. "You spent more time with her than anybody," she says. "She lived a very full and happy life, and you were a big part of that." Some people found that insensitive, but she seems way warmer then chilly Chen was, and honestly I think she's just trying to assuage his guilt at ignoring Gamma recently by pointing out that the rest of the time, he was great to her and Gamma adored him for it. Carter, while he talks, is writing out the prescription Abby wanted. Under no duress, either; he just does it. "She wasn't sick, she wasn't in pain, she was in her own bed," Abby lists. "Not a bad way to go." Her tone is gentle. Then she promises to be back that night from Iowa. Carter stops, startled. He doesn't get why she needs to go to Iowa when she could shack up in the Carter manse and not have to worry about bursting Gamma's hearing aid. "Do you have to go?" he asks. "My father's flying in, and the funeral arrangements..." Abby seems rueful, but resolute. "I have to go get him," she avers. Carter doesn't get why, because Eric's been gone for two months and he doesn't think one more day will matter. Which is insensitive, because this is the first time he's contacted her since vanishing; it's not like he's been in touch and she's just choosing this very second to fly to him. Abby explains that Eric's off his medication and might flee again if she doesn't show up. Carter stares at her in disbelief, then shakes his head with a bitter smile and huffs away. "I'll be back tonight, John," she calls, running after him. "Go find your brother," he spits. "My grandmother will still be dead when you get back." Abby stops, stung, and lets the lounge door close behind him. We fade to black either hating Carter or wanting to smack Abby; few people seem to fall in between.
My take on it is that Eric was as vital a part of Abby's childhood as Gamma was in Carter's -- both had neglectful or distant mothers, for one reason or another, and it seems that they filled the void with their family member of choice. And the thing is, Carter, you little brat, Gamma will still be dead when Abbys back, but if she stays, Eric might disappear for good, or hurt himself after thinking she is ignoring him, or maybe hurt someone else. Eric is the variable, the one whose fate isn't sealed, and he was her life when she was a kid and raising him without Maggie, so obviously she is going to insist that she needs to go. I do wish Abby had hugged Carter or reached out to him a little more gently, but Carter was so wrapped up in being bitter that he really pissed me off and I sort of wanted to kick him in the shin. It's not about whose life problem is bigger, weenie. It's about trying to handle them both, and the sad reality is, Abby's problem might get solved if she goes, whereas Carter's grief will drag on a while. It will be here. Eric might not be. I just don't see why Abby wouldn't, or shouldn't, go -- especially since she'll be back in a day. Maybe that makes me nasty, but I feel like we were supposed to feel sorrier for Carter, yet I actually think Abby got a raw deal here.