In life they are a good few certainties. Love, sex, death, joy, sorrow, static and regret. In this episode, all of the above are featured in one way or another.
A shocking car crash within the episode’s first five minutes for Sean is a turning point for the usually careful medic to take more risks in his life as well as the patient of the week, Joel Gideon, who’s adventures in Mount Everest inspire Sean. Taking a different slant from a similar PTSD from Season 4 SFU, Sean decides more risk taking is beneficial for him and this could’ve been a good thing if he wasn’t prepared to put others at risk too. From the poisonous blowfish in the seas-food bar to swimming with sharks, Sean dealt with his crash ordeal felt more like a mid-life crisis plot than a serious life-changer. There was some effective acting from Dylan Walsh but disappointingly enough, this thread was resolved a little briskly to overall work. Still though, there’s a brilliant father and son moments with Sean and Matt as the lads manage to cheat death without Julia’s knowledge, presumably because dealing with Julia would prove more difficult than sharks of course.
With Sean’s shark tale stinking of meh, it’s a relief Christian’s was far more meatier as the fight for Wilbur took another spectacular twist when the POTW’s storyline saw Christian and Gina working onside to get Wilbur back from the Sutherlands and in any other TV series, Christian’s heartfelt declaration of love for the little boy would’ve clenched the deal but here as James and his embittered wife won the rights for custody and banned both Christian and Gina from seeing him. As unstable as Gina is, I’m not particularly sure if Cecily would be just as suitable. She was particularly furious with her husband and looked at Gina with the utmost contempt but her attack on Christian made me worry a bit. The lawyer who granted the Sutherlands custody was on the ball in her assessment but I’m not sure if I agree about Gina being a threat to Wilbur. She may be crazy but I’ve never thought crazy enough to be a serious danger, especially to her own son. What I did find weird about Gina was that after egging Christian on to fight for “their” son, she automatically gave up and surrendered. I really hope Wilbur does have a good life with James but I can’t see Cecily loving the child at all, especially with her behaviour in both meetings. Still though it was decent of James to allow Christian to have an hour with Wilbur before enforcing the “no contact” rule and changing the boy’s name to Gabriel.
Christian took the loss rather hard and even lased out unfairly at Sean and Julia (a miscarriage does count, Christian!). But then Julia divulged the information we’ve been waiting to hear since “Montana/Sassy/Justice”. It may not shock everyone given his recent attitude and even an earlier conversation with Sean but Matt is in fact Christian’s son. Talk about subtlety Julia. I feel your pain, I really do but couldn’t you have waited for a better moment. Christian looked dumbstruck with this revelation and I suppose it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
Also in “Joel Gideon”
Patient of the week: Joel Gideon’s (a pre Desperate Housewives Doug Savant) face was affected by severe frostbite from his failed attempts to climb Mount Everest.
Matt: “Let’s face it Dad, not even Christian could get laid in a Volvo wagon”
Sean: “You think I’m a pussy?”
The special effects during Sean’s crash were a little too clichéd. I find excessive slow-motion a little naff at times.
Brody: “Button of death. I named it myself”.
The body used for the crash testing was Michael Weiss, a producer on the show and formerly Jarrod of The Pretender.
Joel (to Sean/Christian): “Freezing to death isn’t a bad way to go. Your body just goes numb”.
Mrs Sutherland (re Christian/Gina): “ What kind of man is this child going to grow up to be if he has one parent who sees commitment as something that ends when Martini wears off and another who sees herself as nothing more than a sexual recepticle”.
Character bits: No Liz in this episode, Frisky the gerbil died again, Sean’s father left his mother when he was five and the Sutherlands now have four sons, including Wilbur/Gabriel.
Julia: “Did you have an MRI after the accident because I think you have brain damage”
Sean: “Not brain damage, awareness”.
Chronology wise, it’s six months after “Escobar Gallardo”. I wish the writers would be a little more consistent in their time line.
Matt: “You really are a pussy”
Sean: “Call me what you want Matt. If it’s a choice between losing your respect or you, I’ll keep you”.
Christian’s instructions for Wilbur were very cute. In a butch kind of way that is.
Julia: “You already have a son. With me”.
Standout music: Sarah McLachlan’s “Answer”. It’s from a really terrific album.
A solid episode but big reveals aside, something felt off about “Joel Gideon”. While it’s a nice study of fear and the after effects, I felt the story lacked depth and Sean’s plight wasn’t fully explored. Was it me?