7th Heaven

Season 7 Episode 12

Back in the Saddle Again

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Jan 20, 2003 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
56 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Eric begrudgingly agrees to see a therapist (who offers unsympathetic advice) in order to appease Annie who is at her wits' end with him. Meanwhile, Simon is ecstatic when Cecilia's father agrees to let him see Cecilia, but feels hurt and confused when she starts avoiding him. Roxanne becomes suspicious when a pretty girl seeks council from Chandler. Lastly, Ruthie is shocked to learn that her new upbeat friend Katelyn (guest-star Katelyn Salmont, Rosman's real-life step sister) suffers from cystic fibrosis.moreless

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  • Even an inspirational true story about a young girl's health battle could not save such a vain and cliched plot...

    I usually don't find much plausibility or entertainment in the later seasons of 7th Heaven, yet this was one episode that I was especially excited to watch. I'm sorry to say that it didn't have quite the same impact on me than it did when I first watched it six years ago (I was 17 at the time), but I guess that's what happens when you get older and become more aware of a show's pitfalls.

    As I revisited this episode after several years, I was literally speechless at how horrible the acting really was. I used to defend 7th Heaven as being much better than the new series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (both shows were created by Brenda Hampton), but now I don't see very many differences between the two, in terms of condescending dialogue and poorly trained actors. I can't say that I didn't follow and enjoy "7th Heaven" throughout its run, but it's nearly impossible to deny that several (if not all of) the actors were wooden and unconvincing. Some of the scenes actually made me cringe, like the one between Eric and Ruthie after Ruthie found out about Katelyn's disease. Cheesy is one thing (I am actually a big fan of the cheesy stuff), but ludicrous acting and monotone conversations are a whole other story. Also, the dialogue between Ruthie and Katelyn at the hospital, despite having an excellent message, was horribly executed. If you didn't already know that the show was in its seventh season, you would likely swear that none of these people had taken an acting class in their lives. The entire Season 7 DVD did not impress me in that category, and sometimes I can't believe that they managed to pump out four more full seasons after this. It's a perfect example of how longtime audiences can grow so comfortable with a familiar TV family that they are willing to forgive even the most cloying weaknesses, just to ensure that they keep getting more of the characters they love.

    Another problem with this episode is Lucy's whole attitude in general, which goes from emotional to self-pitying to downright insane. Apparently, the writers have forgotten that when you are creating a television series, you're going to run into trouble if the audience can't find a reason to root for its so-called protagonists. Lucy's ridiculous behavior does not seem to be set up in such a way that the audience can understand, appreciate, or even remotely relate to any situation that involves her, which clearly should be the main reasons to develop a character in the first place. Exceptionally emotional young women like Lucy absolutely do exist, but to this extent, it goes too far in the wrong direction, for a television show that claims to depict life as it really is. Lucy keeps whining and throwing tantrums because Kevin isn't proposing to her quickly enough, but the real question is why the man isn't running for his life while he still has the chance. His main line seems to be "She's crazy, but I love her," and yet we don't ever hear him giving any specific reasons for wanting to be with her for the rest of his life. I guess I can't blame him, though, because if I were Kevin, I'd be struggling to come up with some legitimate reasons myself.

    Furthermore, if continuity was a factor here, Lucy would only be 18 or 19 years old at this point in the series (she was 12 in the pilot). Her age wasn't always clear throughout the series, but since Eric and Annie don't seem too worried that their teenage daughter is seriously contemplating marriage, we can assume that the writers bumped her age up at least a couple of years. Either way, most viewers would probably agree that the young, immature Lucy is not ready to be a wife, and yet we are expected to believe that she is. Sigh. Let's just say that the writing took an unfortunate plummet, abandoning any sense of reality and settling for the emotional immaturities of these characters. Oh, and don't even get me started on Chandler and Roxanne. You know a TV series is struggling when it has no choice but to walk in circles around newly introduced characters that don't even seem to mesh very well with the rest of the cast. Even a 5-year-old could identify these filler roles from a mile away.

    Despite all of this, there was a reason this was the first episode I wanted to watch once I got my hands on the Season 7 DVD's. Cystic fibrosis is something that I take a lot of interest in, ever since I read a book written by Frank Deford (a famous sportswriter), whose CF-stricken daughter Alex lost her battle at the age of eight. I have known some children who are afflicted with this disease, and their positive outlook on life really is an inspiration. It is no coincidence that so many people with CF have that same positive attitude, since they are the ones who truly understand that life is a gift, not a guarantee. Katelyn's story had a lot of heart and perspective, and even though the actress passed away about six years later, at the tender age of 22, her message is worth keeping out there. Even Katelyn's father in this episode (played by her real-life dad) showed a real heartbreaking honesty on what the parents of children with CF go through.

    As is the norm with most "7th Heaven" episodes, a theme and/or virtuous life lesson is introduced immediately, and because once is simply never enough, it is deemed necessary for the characters to shove it down the audience's throats in one scene after another. In this particular episode, we are taught to persist through difficult times and "get back in the saddle again", no matter how challenging it may be. Anything that promotes that message has my respect, but if you're going to emphasize it on a television show, there should be enough respect for the audience to handle it realistically. Instead, the writers chose 12-year-old Ruthie to start things off with her own little epiphany about the benefits of persevering, but the lines were obviously from a script that the actress had memorized beforehand. There was no fluidity or natural expression in her eyes, so as a result, she just looked like an obnoxious and overly precocious TV child, lecturing her older brother on the importance of reaching for the stars. Needless to say, I found myself fast forwarding parts of that scene that were just too painful to sit through.

    The original premise of this episode really was not a bad one, and it actually could have been considered a standout if they hadn't resorted to cluttered subplots and an overuse of characters who didn't help move the plot along. I appreciate Katelyn Salmont's true story of illness and courage, but the inconsistency of the script didn't give it the emotional power that it deserved. 5/10moreless
  • Back in the Saddle!

    Ruthie learns from her friend, that when you fall, get back up again. Her friend, Katelyn, has cystic fibrosis. Cecilia's dad gives Simon his job back and gives him permission to date Cecilia. Cheryl comes to the church looking for Reverend Camden and finds Chandler. Roxanne thinks that he was flirting with her. Lucy and Kevin have dinner with Roxanne, Chandler, Cheryl, and her boyfriend. Eric sees a therapist, who isn't sympathetic because he is going through a divorce.

    I thought this was a great episode with a great lesson. If you fail, try again! Just get back in the saddle! I was glad to see Cheryl, but we never saw what she wanted. I give it a 10 out of 10!moreless
  • While not offensive, this episode was just maudlin. The premise was corny, the plot points petty, and the performance definitely lacking.

    Pollyannish perhaps, maudlin certainly, boring without a doubt, this is an episode that shines by its triviality. For a show that markets itself on family values, you would expect to see more character and personality coming from the main characters, namely Annie and Eric, the parents. Instead they are whiny and petty, and unevenly presented. I have no problem with a character being multi-dimensional, who can be heroic and vulnerable at the same time, brave about some things and hesitant about others, precocious on one level but having lessons to learn on another. However in this show, the same characters seem to presented as black or white, either as paragons of virtue and wisdom, or as petty, mean-spirited, self-preoccupied and just plain boring. There is never any happy medium or balance. Annie is from episode to the other seen as either hysterically emotional and borderline abusive, or sweet and patient and loving. Eric can be a whiny self-important bigot, or a tower of strength and support, doer of good. Throughout this episode the characters rehash minor petty conflicts that were supposedly resolved in pollyannish past episodes. Ruthie makes a friend, never to be seen again, that has CF. And she is brave, and kind, and wise and a bringer of joy to all and sundry. The moral of the story is that if you have CF, then you are an angel. Apparently if you are mentally challenged, you are also an angel. But that is another episode. It would be nice to see people with illness and disability portrayed as real people with real personalities and strengths and flaws. But I think that is too much to ask for 7th Heaven.moreless
  • this was a cute themed epesode.

    the epesode had a theme of when you fall down get up again or "get back in the saddle again". the story lines were cute. siomon and cecelia make a great couple. i really liked was cecelia's father coming to siomon. lucy actually tried to give roxanne advise which shows maturity. i liked it when keven basically tolld roxanne to call chandler. now i did not like the counciling sesion but i did like it when the theripist came to the camden home. i liked that the whole epesode was not just lucy, kevin, roxanne, and chandler. (and eric and anne) i was happy to see some of siomon and ruthie. the main thing i was happy to see was a bond between ruthie and siomon. i really like the relationship between siomon and ruthe in the earlier seasons. i only have on comment, were is happy the family dog.moreless
Katelyn Salmont

Katelyn Salmont


Guest Star

David Piel

David Piel

Dr. Bob Gibson

Guest Star

Randy Salmont

Randy Salmont


Guest Star

Barret Swatek

Barret Swatek


Recurring Role

Brad Maule

Brad Maule

George Smith

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Annie said Simon was 15 years old, but he was 16.

    • If Simon was at school, then why wasn't Ruthie? Shouldn't she have been at school too?

    • Roxanne probably did not get a bigger table because she did not know if Kevin and Lucy were going to show up. As Roxanne stated in the message, she told Kevin that he did not have to call back--just show up.

    • When Kevin and Lucy meet Roxanne, Chandler, Cheryl and her date, it looks like they are sitting at a table for four. Why didn't they get a bigger table for their triple-date?

    • When Roxanne and Chandler are at the church fighting Kevin goes back home. But Roxanne and Chandler were only fighting for like two minutes and then they flash to Kevin in the house with Lucy. But is it possible that Kevin went home got changed and went into the house in that period of time?

    • When Kevin and Lucy come out of the movie theater Kevin gives Lucy his cell phone so she can listen to the message that Roxanne left. After she listens to it they go to the table to meet them, but Lucy never gives the phone back.

    • It is odd that Lucy was able to guess that Cheryl was the woman in Chandler's office from Kevin's little description of her.

    • Did they leave something out? They never mentioned why Cheryl wanted to see Reverend Camden.

    • Wouldn't someone at the barn be supervising Ruthie and Katelyn while they were riding their horses? It's unlikely that anyone would let two pre-teen girls wander off with expensive horses across the barn without any adult supervision.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Chandler: Just so you know...I'm a fairly monogamous guy.

    • Ruthie: I was surprised to hear that you have CF. My dad told me a little about it, but I'd like to more, or really, I'd like to know more about you. I just don't want to pry. I mean, we just met and everything. We don't have to talk about anything you don't want to talk about, but I'm a pretty good listener, if you want to try me.
      Katelyn: I have good days and bad days with my CF. Some days are tough, and the medical treatments are a pain in the butt, but you know what? I get through those days, just so I can enjoy the good days. I have plenty of good days.

    • Randy: (about his daughter Katelyn) She was symptomatic from birth. She had a lot of lung infections and poor weight gain, but she wasn't diagnosed until age two. We just have to be diligent with the meds, and even then, we have the occasional trips to the hospital.
      Eric: What about you? How are you?
      Randy: (points to his chest) When I first found out, I had a lot of numbness right here. Then the numbness wore off, and I felt extreme pain. My heart broke in a million pieces. But over time, the pieces got put back together again, and I'm stronger than ever. I realized that I don't have time for pity, and she doesn't want it, so I spend my days being grateful for the opportunity to know such an inspiring young woman. (looks at Katelyn, smiling and laughing with Ruthie) Just look at her. Isn't she great?

    • Roxanne to Lucy: "Oh, my God I'm you. I'm a crazy woman with no self-esteem, I'm you!"

      Kevin to Annie: "I'm going home. Evidently Roxanne has turned into Lucy, and if I'm going to deal with Lucyness in my life twenty-four hours a day, I'm going to need my rest. Do you have any advice?"

      Lucy to Kevin and Chandler: "She left."

      Kevin to Lucy: "What happened?"

      Lucy to Kevin and Chandler: "She thinks she's me. And thinking that she's me horrifies her. So she left."

  • NOTES (15)


    • Song:: "Back in the Saddle Again"
      The title 'Back in the Saddle Again' is the title of a song by Aerosmith, a 70's - ? rock group from America.