‘The Big C’ Recap: A Little Death

S02E09: The Big C, you did it. For the first time since the pilot episode, you gave us a half-hour of television that I legitimately enjoyed. Bravo.

The story picks up from last week’s cliffhanger: Rebecca has a miscarriage. The tone of the episode is no darker or more dire than usual for The Big C: it takes weak, uninspired attempts at caustic humor directed at fetal death as opposed to the usual target of cancer. The humor isn’t any more impressive in this episode, but there’s something else going on that just feels more substantial.

Rebecca is not treating the matter as severely as Cathy thinks she should. Rebecca is planning a funeral as a celebration rather than a mourning. There will be a sushi bar and a photo booth. Meanwhile, Sean is off his meds and attempting to feel as badly as possible about not only his unborn daughter’s death, but also about the lack of significance “society places” on the deaths of unborn children. I’m not sure if that’s really the way society feels; I’ve never heard of anyone treating miscarriages with anything other than large amounts of sorrow. But let’s roll with it. He’s Sean, he’s misguided, and he’s grieving intently. Or at least the show is claiming that he is; his grief doesn’t seem to be much more genuine than Rebecca’s. But again, I’m willing to roll with it. Mainly because the real value of the episode is devoted to Cathy.

“At least the widower will not go hungry.” – Paul

Mick is around too, but nothing new is going on with he and Andrea (other than her quick speech to Cathy about how they will sleep together soon, and a few sweet moments between the couple furthering their “right-for-each-other”-ness).

And, just for fun, Rugby Slut attends to make the moves on Paul, but is caught off guard by a living Cathy, who confronts her and tells her that she’s garbage. It’s not really an important moment, but it’s well executed and gives some closure to a Season One story arc.

Finally, Cathy reaches out to Rebecca by delivering a nice eulogy about the baby, and how she touched the lives of everyone in the family even though she was never born. It brings Rebecca to tears (in a good way), but also leads to her deciding that she doesn’t belong with either Cathy or Sean, and must leave. So, I guess we’re done with her. Which is probably the best payoff of this episode.

So, it wasn’t a perfect half-hour of television, but it was genuinely the best one of the series. Well done, The Big C. If you can keep this degree of quality up, I will keep up this degree of praise. See you next week.