We sit in now on John's session with Sherman, who points out that John assessed the exits when he came in, like veterans do every day. John tries to shrug it off, and Sherman points out that John's dad is a vet. "Veterans are the ones who come back, right? My dad never came back, so..." says John. Sherman apologizes. Then he notices the burn on John's cheek, and John lies -- extraordinarily badly -- that he burned himself boiling water for pasta.
This leads into questioning of why John's mother brought him here, and what his role is in the family. "I'm a kid, I hang out," says John, which is the first time someone his age has ever referred to himself as a kid, I would think. "Are you?" says Sherman, and John jokingly asks if Sherman wants to see his passport. Sherman points out that children often feel pressure to replace an absent parent ("they grow up quickly"), and also says John's use of "passport" instead of, say, "driver's license" is telling as well, suggesting John might feel like escaping.
We see a quick flashback from the struggle at the house in the season premiere. "All the time," says John. Sherman asks him why. John hesitates, so Sherman says everything he says is between them: "This is a safe place." John stares RIGHT AT THE BUG, and then turns back to Sherman. "No, it's not. Nowhere is."
Meanwhile, Sarah's pacing around the waiting room, and her mood isn't helped by Cameron regurgitating facts from pamphlets on suicide -- specifically that sometimes first attempts look like accidents. Sarah doesn't buy it. Me either, if for no other reason than John could probably manage to off himself if he really felt like it.
John comes out from the session and brushes past his mother without saying a word, while Sherman tells Sarah that he wants to see all of them again. Cameron has some kind of social disorder, possibly Asperger's -- hey, every show has someone with Asperger's, depending on which bulletin boards you like to read. As for John, Sherman's reminded of Vietnam vets, the way he assesses a room, and he asks if John's been exposed to any violence lately. Sarah herself flashes to the assault in the first episode, and then NOT AT ALL SUSPICIOUSLY OR ANYTHING snaps that John hasn't been abused, if that's what he's asking. Which he wasn't, and he says so, but says John needs to talk, whether it's to him or someone else. "He talks to me," says Sarah. "That's not enough," says Sherman, because someone needs to tell Sarah that teenage boys don't usually confide everything in their mothers.