Joan, dressed in bright red, comes into the sunny yellow and blue kitchen where her parents are talking before work and announces to her mother, "I don't care what you say, I'm not eating bran -- it makes me gassy." Helen just makes a sort of resigned face as Will nods silently. There's a knock on the door; Will answers it. He says, "Good morning, Adam." Wow, we've come a long way from "Space Boy," have we not? At the mention of Adam's name Joan naturally looks up, surprised. Will pulls him inside with his arm around his shoulder, and says, "Eat some breakfast. Make my wife happy." He gives Adam a gentle smack on the face. He leaves as Adam's saying, "Bye, Chief Girard--" But Will's gone before the "ee" part.
Adam hangs up his bag and enters the kitchen. Joan seems to be trying not to show exactly how happy she is to see him, though it's pretty obvious she's pleased; Adam has a kind of pleasantly neutral expression. He pulls an envelope out of his jacket. I knew he'd ask her to read the letter for him, or to him. He starts by saying weakly, "I tried all night, Jane." Jane? Jane? Why do I not have TiVo so I can stop the world when I need to catch my breath? Stupid Canada and its stupid non-TiVo-having-ness. He continues softly, "I can't. I can't go into it cold. I need...some kind of warning...to know if I ought to prepare myself." Joan wells up a little. He walks toward her, saying, "'Kay?" She takes the letter from him. He stands right in front of her, about a foot away. Joan doesn't dare refuse this awesome responsibility. Adam glances at her but mostly looks at the envelope. Joan opens it and unfolds the letter. You can see it's written on paper with some kind of flowery border. She reads a bit and sighs; she seems to know it would be better coming from her mother. She turns to Helen, who's been watching all this in silence. She hands the letter to Helen, who takes it and stands up. Joan walks back and stands in front of the island opposite her mother; Adam walks over and stands next to Joan.
Helen reads: "'Dearest boy, my Adam, I dreamed a dream. You and I, facing each other in a tiny yellow boat on green water under blue sky.'" Adam's eyes are filled with tears. He's not the only one. "'Me and my son and the yellow boat.'" "Across the Universe" starts up again. "And we laugh and the boat rocks and the ripples spread from boat, to pond, to sea, to sky, and nothing can stop them.'" Joan dares to put her hand on Adam's shoulder, and for the first time in weeks he doesn't push her away. Helen's getting a little worked up, too, but continues, "'And nothing ever will. When you think of me, Adam, know that in a world of pain...you were and always will be my joy.'" This is where I completely lose it every time -- at "world of pain." Though Adam's eyes are filled with tears, none have yet run down his face. But his expression is full of so many things: pain, sorrow, loss, surprise, relief, love, regret, hope...Helen finishes, "Love, Mom." He finally looks at Joan, who smiles at him, though she's teary, too. Adam, eyes brimming, walks over to Helen to take the letter and stands there in front of her, whispering, "Thank you." She pulls him to her and hugs him. Joan exhales as tears run down her face. Helen holds Adam for a moment and then wipes some tears from his face when she lets go. He glances at Joan before leaving without a word. When he's gone, Joan says, "The ripples were good." Helen nods: "Very good." Joan's incredibly happy. That was...just perfect. The writing, acting, direction and staging were all perfect. I love that they chose the Girardi kitchen for this scene: with all the strong blues and yellows, in addition to the many touches of green all over the room (especially in the painting behind Helen), it evoked the imagery of Adam's mother's letter without beating us over the head with it. Their kitchen represents the security and love he's missing. And it's perfect that Helen was there to play the role of surrogate mom when Adam most needed it. I'm lachrymose. I'm verklempt. I'm beside myself. If you watched that dry-eyed, unmoved...well, I don't even know what to say. I can't help you.