Recap

'The Big C' Recap: Fight or Flight

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Sep 12, 2011 | 10:50pm EDT

S02E11: After two solid weeks of conveying clear cut messages, The Big C delivered tonight a more jumbled, sort of aimless episode. When we last left The Big C, Shawn was driven out of his house by a crying neighbor baby (hitting too close to home right after his ex's miscarriage), Paul was involved in a theft ring at work, and Cathy was getting better while Lee wasn't. All of this picks up, and maintains, in tonight's episode.

"Myk made me watch Lord of the Rings. Hobbits have some nasty-ass feet." - Andrea

In a storyline that seems to be foreshadowing a Myk/Andrea problem to be addressed in a later episode, Andrea has been slacking in her schoolwork, much to Cathy's chagrin. Cathy expresses her disappointment with Andrea and lays down the law a little harder. Just a little. There's still a lot of leeway.

Shawn is nowhere to be found. "Have You Seen Me?" posters, police reports, the works, and no one can track him down. Meanwhile, this episode marks the return of Dr. Atticus Sherman (Alan Alda), this time equipped with a much, much younger second wife (and a strange, uncomfortable running joke about his propensity for cunnilingus), who takes a liking to Cathy (they are introduced at a swim meet; Sherman's granddaughter is on the competing team) and invites her and Paul to dinner.

"I'm worried about my friend dropping out of the trial." - Cathy
"It's always a crapshoot when you make friends in a thing like this." - Dr. Sherman

Speaking of Paul, he's doing coke now. It seems that no matter how principled he claims to be, the SLIGHTEST provocation from his coworker Myk is enough to coerce him into any bad habit. So yeah, Paul's on coke. He started taking it as a means of harnessing energy so that he may perform better at work... but, if I learned anything from that episode of Saved By the Bell when Jesse Spano gets hooked on caffeine pills, nobody in television abuses drugs just once.

Cathy is unaware of Paul's new drug habit, but she has found his secret stash of money. At first, she is opposed to the source (he comes right out and tells her). But she quickly, as did her husband, shrugs it off and accepts the riches.

Cathy and Paul attend the Shermans' dinner, where the duo speak happily of their free-wheeling lifestyle. They travel all the time, living it up and soaking in every moment. Employ suspension of disbelief to accept that a seventy-year old oncologist has all this time and energy to travel the world with his thirty-something wife. Sherman shares a phrase that resonates with Cathy: the Italian saying "Il dolce far niente," which, were it not for Eat, Pray, Love beating The Big C to the punch, would have been a nice thing to take home from this week. Sherman also makes mention of special medications available in Europe that are not yet legal in the U.S.

Cathy, Paul and Adam are called to the park by the police who have found a frozen-to-death homeless man presumed to be Shawn. Cathy is relieved to find out that it is not her brother, but is still understandably shaken up by the ordeal. She reacts by purchasing Lee tickets to and admittance into a German clinical trial (via Paul's theft money), which she believes may help him better than American trials have. Lee is unwilling to accept this, saying that he has already made peace with his dying. Cathy is infuriated by his willingness to "lay down and die," and the two have a heated fight before parting ways.

With the rest of the stolen money (or maybe an exchange took place), Cathy plans to buy a vacation for her, Paul and Adam in Italy. She understands now that life is short and meant to be enjoyed. It's a little bizarre that she's so willing to leave while her brother is still missing, and her rationale that "worrying won't bring him back sooner" is too quick a wrap-up. But it looks like the Jamisons are going to Italy.

Meanwhile, Myk (the cokehead thief) decides to propose to Andrea. Naturally, she accepts. But things have been all too splendid for those two, so let's see how this works out...
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