House Of The Rising Risings, cover of late, late darkness. Max slides undetected into Samuel's window, sees him wake up, and puts his index finger over his lip in a cruelly ironic use of the international symbol for "Don't talk." Max apologizes, and then he gets really deep: "There's someone I'm looking for. Kind of like your mom and dad are looking for you." Right. This speech couldn't win Oscars when the disease was also "ambiguous silence" and the set was called Awakenings. But a Christmas episode isn't a Christmas episode until Max sweats and shudders at the hot contact of a child's flesh, so Max tells the kid, "Tonight I am here for you. I want to help you say the things you need to say." He leans further onto the bed, putting his hands on Samuel's ears as a strummy, Tori-esque "Silent Night" begins to play. Max shakes and shudders. He asks, "Samuel?" Because no one adds "was it good for you too" anymore.
Has every scene of this episode begun with the transitional "so..."? Well, this one does, with Liz and Max gazing out the window of, I think, the Crashdown, Liz asking, "So what happened?" Max opines, "It didn't work. I couldn't heal him." Liz observes, "Maybe he didn't need to be healed. You heal people who are sick or hurt. But Samuel isn't sick or hurt. He's just different." Well, well. I hate that line. But I hate this one -- "Maybe I was trying to heal the wrong person" -- oh, so very much more.
Michael and Maria kiss, but she puts the brakes on and tells him that if they keep going, they'll wake up tomorrow and things will be exactly "how they were." Michael pulls the old "I don't want to be alone on Christmas" routine, which has also worked for Boxing Day, Purim, and Happy Emperor Sun Sun Light Day (Japan), and it always seems to work on her. She tells him that she'll make him some hot chocolate and they can sit outside and talk. Michael likes that. Because of how it often means sex.
An I've-touched-your-child-in-the-night-and-now-I'm-thumbing-through-your-photo-albums picture of Mr. and Mrs. Rising with their son appears in Max's hand and slides across a table to Isabel. She begins the speaking: "So..." Yeah. She says it. This is really sad. All of the dialogue sounds like it was written by someone who can only hear one side of every telephone conversation, so he's always like, "What's that? What? You say I should meet you at the zoo? What? You also say I should wear a red carnation in my lapel? What's that? What?" Anyway, here's what Isabel says: "So, you want me to bring the mother and father into the child's dream?" Yes. "I want Samuel's parents to know their son." And so Isabel submits, further manipulating a situation that was never a damn bit of Max's business. But no matter now. Isabel touches Samuel's face in the picture, and it's Christmas morning and we're inside Samuel's house. Well, hell! Samuel is going to be able to see this dream too, right? And now he knows what his parents have gotten him. Though I will admit that that looks like one kickin' train set right there. Samuel surveys his gifts and smiles. Really reedy music with the words "loo loo loo" plays unrelentingly. With another touch of the photo, his parents appear in the room. It's like a dream conference call! And my, my, Mrs. Rising, what a delightful bed frock we have on! Mr. and Mrs. Rising are still married in the dream because their "special" son hasn't fucked up their lives. God, I love episodes with a message, don't you? Samuel smiles: "I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy." Loo loo loo loo loo! Isabel is loo loo loo loo really proud of herself. Max asks if it worked, then asks what it's like "inside his mind." Isabel stares ahead: "It's beautiful." But you always have to hear that song. Nothing like Dream Muzak to ruin a lifetime's worth of silence.