Talking with Marlene while they dress her surgery stitches, Cathy learns that Marlene has two daughters ("One married a Jew and the other one's a bulldyke") and just when you think she's about to have the worst idea yet, you remember: It is always, always about Cathy.
So she grabs Sean and a twelve-pack of Dad's favorite beer, and sets off to see the Wizard. After various goony-bird activities and attempts to prove how hardcore she is, Sean finds her many sexts from Lenny the Painter, and realizes she's more hardcore than he thought... Just not in a way he can deal with. It's beautiful, to see Righteous Sean for once without the "Self-" preceding it.
Back home, Paul and Adam bond over some brews, but Paul eventually passes out after a great big maudlin overshare and wedding videos. Mortified, Adam sneaks some of his dad's scotch, and wakes up in the yard. Marlene schools the shit out of both of them, and it's amazing.
Cathy and Sean get to the house and Dad -- Brian Cox, the most lovable of all molesters -- is such a jerk Cathy doesn't even think twice about letting him in on her secret. She does, however, deliver a sermon on the subject of Sean Is Awesome -- obviously the best topic ever -- and Sean realizes that as broken as it seems to be, his relationship with Cathy is the only actual thing in his entire warped homeless desperate life.
...Which is when this (brutal/brilliant) midseason episode comes to its obvious conclusion: They take their mother's ashes to the source of the Mississippi, smoke a 30-year-old blunt, and Cathy finally admits that she's sick. (Cathy! Way to go!) Sean goes through a very quick, very scary mourning process, but ends up losing it so bad that Cathy takes it back, and -- true to fuckin' form -- pretends she was just kidding all along. Oh, Cathy.
Next week: A birthday party, a trip to the Bahamas, and a little bit of insight into how and when Sean got so sick.
Sean's sister was across the street when she got the big idea. Behind the curtain, where her new life was a secret, she was bent over an aquarium while her neighbor cleaned her wound. She asked the new fish's name and the old woman grunted:
"His name is Shut Up And Stop Moving Your Ass."
The removal of the lump on her backside, the met, was as annoying as having it around. "An hour of surgery, a week of changing bandages, a month of scarring." A month like a scar through the middle of her summer. Sean's sister joked that her relationship with Marlene was ever increasing. The joke was that they had a relationship; joking about the relationship was their relationship.
Marlene apologized for forgetting his sister, after her surgery; Marlene was scared and not looking at the truth: Behind the curtain, she hadn't forgotten it. She'd misplaced some things, lost some time, found a shoe in the refrigerator. It wouldn't have bothered her quite so much if she hadn't needed to take care of someone else, so she apologized.
"Cancer is literally a pain in my ass," she joked. It was quiet in the house across the street. She wasn't so afraid of dying: It was the idea of not getting everything done. Organized and placed in their proper places. Marlene knew that nobody has that much time, but she spoke with the wisdom of age and Sean's sister couldn't hear her so she said the next best thing: "Pull your pants up. Now."
Marlene was good at dressing wounds. Her husband had colon cancer and her youngest daughter got liposuction, once. "I've taken care of a lot of assholes." Sean's sister could identify.
But, she thought, Marlene had a youngest daughter? Nobody ever visited. It was quiet in the house. "One of them married a Jew and the other one's a bulldyke. They call me once a month, if I'm lucky. It's the same damn conversation every time. How's the house? Am I taking my medication? How's my hip? It's pathetic." Marlene didn't like the look in her friend's eyes, far away and sad. But it wasn't for Marlene, this time.
"You kicked your husband out, your kid hates you, and your brother's homeless. Save your tears for yourself."
Sean was never homeless, he always said. But that week Sean really wasn't homeless. He was sleeping in his sister's yard, healing his ribs and feeling at the edges of the curtain. "Yeah, your life's full of sunshine," Marlene said, but his couldn't kick loose that feeling. There was always something going on the list: