John's wearing totally cute kicks: black with white laces. "Which brings us to Dad." We watch the Crichtons in their dining room, through the curtains. "Dad's world was upside down, so he's trying to make it right side up by putting up Christmas decorations... even though it's Florida, and the whole block is cordoned off with security." Outside the alien mansion, a group of state troopers hold back the press. "Family traditions. They're supposed to bring us together, and to make everything normal."
John drops onto the couch, family bustling all about; Aeryn enters. "So. You do this every cycle?" He corrects her: "Year. Every year." She corrects herself, bites a smile. Jack tells her that Christmas has always been "our" favorite holiday. John reminisces about the Christmas where the smoke came back down the flue because "Mr. Jingles" was up there; he brandishes a framed photo of the famed cat at Olivia. Jack begs him not to hold "one little mistake" against him. Everybody playing their part. "The cat didn't have hair for three months, Dad!" Aeryn reaches for the cat picture: "What the frell is that?" Jack and Olivia discuss the horrors of riding lessons as John explains housecats to Aeryn. She's met Chiana, right? It's all so warm, the easy rhythms of family. The easy way Aeryn smells her way in, looking at John, wondering if she lets herself in through this back door, he'll let her in the front.
Bobby comes in, still rolling video. Jack and Olivia tease John about an ornament he made when he was five; John complains that next they'll "break out the bare-ass baby pictures." Jack asks Aeryn what she thinks about that, and with a huge grin, she nods. Jack threatens to go get the photo album, and Aeryn makes fun of his discomfort: "I've seen it already." Olivia and Jack continue to tease him; the doorbell rings. John heads out to answer the door as Jack beckons Aeryn over: "Here. Let me show you this... "
A blonde woman -- Caroline, most recently from "Unrealized Realities" -- stands at the door, bearing mistletoe: "Special delivery from the Ghost of Christmas Past." John calls her Caroline before she wraps her arms around his head and kisses him, bottle in the other hand. Aeryn watches them kiss. "Welcome back to Terra Firma," says Caroline. John sees the confusion on her face and glances back to see Aeryn watching them; she drops her eyes when he sees her. "Hey, um...Caroline's here. Come on in." Caroline squeezes past John, into the room. John stands in the doorway, and in voiceover reminds himself that things have changed. Caroline and Jack say hello and he invites her in; Aeryn smiles politely at a photo album, gone from girlfriend to weird visitor in the ringing of a bell. She's fitting in, making the best of a situation. I don't know what the straight equivalent is to this exactly, but I know we've all felt it: I'm a good friend, you have a lovely family, and merry Christmas. Things have changed, John tells himself. "And we don't get to close our eyes and pretend they haven't." This is a funny one for me because I don't know the parallel you do, how you felt this, so I can only talk from what I know: I just know that The House Of Yes is my favorite movie because in the snap of your fingers, Parker Posey can be a man. You know? And that's Aeryn right now. You sit down, back straight, and try not to look at him too long, and you're grateful for the guest room. I'm a good friend, you have a lovely family. Merry Christmas. And life and the easy rhythms of family carrying on all around you. Walking that fine line of sex/not-sex and all the questions left unanswered. The open arms of your lover's family, and Caroline in the wings. I'm not going emo, I just can't figure out how you watch this from any other perspective.