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The Big C, “Playing the Cancer Car” (1.04)

“I do have a future. His name’s Adam.” – Cathy Jamison

A review of the fourth episode of the series, written by Mark Kunerth and directed by Craig Zisk, after the jump…

This is an episode that you view completely differently after the final scene. And that scene was, despite coming at the end of one of the show’s less engaging episodes, the show’s most powerful gut-punch yet.

Cathy enjoyed the convertible, enjoyed being the type of person to buy and own and drive a convertible (“Amanda Montgomery”, in her impossible clogs), but it was never for her. She’s not, at heart, that person, and even she knew that this was one dream she only needed for a day. And sudden;y, what seemed like selfishness actually became a beautiful moment: Cathy leaving the car in storage, waiting for a time after her death when it would become a 18th 3oth birthday present for the son she loves more than anyone, knowing that it will do little to soothe the pain of her death.

She won’t be there to give it to him but, in a way, she can.

Though Cathy had a pretty strong story, there were definite turning points for other characters here. Marlene, after bemoaning the idea of wasting money on impermanent things, finds joy in resurrecting her husband’s love of tropical fish; Paul considers ‘life after Cathy’ when potentially hooking up with ‘rugby slut’, and Adam takes his first step towards becoming a man.

Reid Scott, why are you not a series regular? He was the MVP here, as always, playing Dr. Todd’s odd attraction-slash-doctor/patient relationship perfectly, especially with the added complication of a girlfriend. I assume she’s a new fixture in his life; otherwise, his “I can’t stop thinking about you” from the pilot takes on a completely new tone. Either way, he and the absent Gabourey Sidibe are always missed when not around, and I think a little Andrea would have gone a long way to making this episode a bit more effective.

As is, this episode was less engaging that previous outings, but still strong. Very enjoyable, still loving the cast and the journey Cathy is on. I’m curious as to where things will go from here…

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