A Helen/Noah split — hooray! (More Helen, all the time, thank you.) We begin with Helen trying to get her kids ready and out of the house in order to go to a baseball game with their dad. Not for nothing, Helen’s crazy blond streaks ended up looking kind of great? (What can’t money fix?)
Trevor, true to form, doesn’t want to go. Margaret, also true to form, is no help whatsoever. (I wish the Solloways supported the Mets, but alas, they are Yankees fans.) Margaret natters on and on, and Stacey tattles that Martin’s stomach is hurting. Margaret keeps pointing out that these pains happen when his father is near.
Poor Martin. He doesn’t seem well; he can’t even get a shirt over his head. Margaret, meanwhile, is yelling at Noah about how the mind and the gut are connected, and Noah suddenly remembers he’s no longer obliged to listen to this lady and locks himself in the car. Helen and he exchange some terse words and get onto the subject of Martin. Noah pushes to take him to a specialist, and Margaret appears out of nowhere to tell Noah he can’t make medical decisions for the children. Martin sums this all up nicely by announcing he hates everyone. Word. “The only thing wrong with that boy is Noah effin’ Solloway,” Margaret spits as the car drives away.
The Butler women ride quietly up the FDR. Helen asks if her parents are getting divorced and Margaret says that Bruce is too cheap to divorce her. Famous last words.
In front of fancy lawyer, Jon, Bruce and Margaret start sniping at each other immediately, and Helen sits by passively. They discuss how the custody is now up for grabs because of Helen’s arrest and the kids will have to talk to a court-appointed shrink, and Helen doesn’t want any of it. The elder Butlers are full-on screaming at each other when Helen gets a call that Martin is being rushed to the emergency room.
What on this earth is worse than an emergency room? We have a nice and realistic depiction of chaos and disorganization and utter franticness. Martin is clearly in bad shape and barfs horrifying green bile all over the floor. Noah finally grabs a doctor who gets Martin on a gurney and into an examination room. The nice doctor tells Helen and Noah that Martin has a perforated bowel. Yeow. They start squabbling, and the doctor is all, “Cool it, I have to operate right now.” Martin starts babbling about wanting to go to Hawaii. (“Not Montauk,” he pleads, and I feel you on that one, kiddo.) Helen and Noah are left helpless in the hallway calling out weak “Alohas.” (A reference to a Cameron Crowe disaster, perhaps?)
As they wait side by side, Noah can’t resist a, “psychosomatic, huh,” and as much as I’d like to jump on him about this one, I can’t because I don’t even know if a saint could resist an I-told-you-he-was-sick at this particular moment. Helen notices that Noah has called Alison multiple times. He tells Helen that Alison used to a pediatric nurse and that he should have listened to her. They start arguing about who is to blame for poor Martin’s intestines. The doctor comes in to be like, “Keep cool, people.” Martin made it through the operation okay. He most likely has Crohn’s disease which is chronic, but treatable. They both need to work together to help Martin lead a normal life.
They sit on opposite sides of their son’s bed. Noah is texting, and Helen tells him to just go ahead and call Alison back. She tells Noah she doesn’t want to do this anymore; she can’t keep fighting with him; she wants it all over and to go back to mediation and will give him anything he wants — that includes custody and Alison. Way to take the high road, Helen! She even goes the extra distance and tells him he’s an excellent father. Martin wakes up, and they smile at each other. This particular hate storm seems to have passed.
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Helen gets home to find Margaret asleep on the couch. Margaret wakes up, immediately concerned about Martin. But she’s horrified to hear that Noah is with Martin at the hospital and starts going on some rant about not letting the courts see that Noah is such a good father, etc., and that is IS IT. Helen has had it. She explains to her mother that her son almost died because Helen had been listening to Margaret. There are no words here to convey just how incredible Maura Tierney is in this scene. She simply crushes it. (Please remember this scene, Emmy-nominating committee!) A lifetime of resentment boils over: “You wanted my marriage to fail because yours was a sham and you were jealous.” She goes to tell her mother that Margaret made her feel like Noah was never enough and that she’s ruined everything — her marriage and her entire life. “I hate you. I really do. I want you to get out of my house.”
I’m totally with Helen on this one but can’t help but feel a little sorry at the sight of the big suitcase and Margaret with her good posture making her way down the stairs. She tells Helen that Bruce is indeed divorcing her so…Margaret isn’t exactly having an aces time of it anyway. Helen holds her ground, though, and watches the car take her mother away.
She comes inside and is just starting to allow herself the luxury of a cry when Whitney comes down the stairs and ask after her brother. Helen tries to plaster a happy face on it, but it’s too late, and even the most self-involved teenager (Whitney) can see that it’s Helen who presently isn’t doing okay. Helen bursts into tears and hugs her daughter. (Um, I may or may not have burst into tears here, too.)
In the sepia-toned future where Helen has bangs, lawyer Jon tells Helen there’s someone who has a piece of evidence on Scott Lockhart but it’ll cost money: $100k. Of course, it’s Oscar, who else? Helen doesn’t hesitate to agree to pay — she says she’ll sell the house if she has to. (My theory from last season is holding steady: I think Whitney killed Scott, which is why Helen is being so so helpful. Now you are all my witnesses if I turn out to be right.)
Next: This show takes tree hugging to a whole new level