Season 3 Episode 18

The Other Shoe

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 20, 1990 on ABC

Episode Recap

Nancy has been receiving chemotherapy and as a result has been feeling ill a good bit of the time. The experience, along with the movie Fantastic Voyage, has given Ethan a new idea for another story to do with his mom, one in which a whole planet is sick. At her support group for cancer patients, Victory Partners, Nancy meets a woman named Beatrice Holden and they go out for coffee. Beatrice talks to her about getting a new circle of friends for support. She attends a meeting at Beatrice's place and finds the frank talk and even humor about death a new, liberating experience. As Nancy comes more under the influence of Beatrice, she becomes "radicalized" and starts talking about carcinogens and other cancer-related matters endlessly. At dinner with the Steadmans, Melissa wonders out of Nancy's presence why she's so mad. When Nancy puts forth opinions on carcinogens that likely contributed to Michael's father's death, he leaves the table a bit disgusted.

Elliot comes home one day to find Beatrice and several of her group members in the living room. They're planning an outing. Nancy tells Elliot that he can't understand the common bonds of this particular group. They all go out for an evening at a loud nightclub featuring a drag revue. Nancy looks at bit uncomfortable, but Beatrice encourages her to stay out even longer, though in the bathroom alone previously, she herself looked rather shaky. The two women go to a spot where low-flying jets pass overhead. Lying on the hood of a car, Nancy, with Beatrice's, encouragement, screams out her innermost unspoken thoughts about her disease, providing a cathartic experience. But when she arrives home in the early AM hours, Elliot upbraids her for not working on the book more with Ethan, who needs her attention.

Later Nancy goes to see Beatrice. When she arrives, Beatrice is having a difficult conversation on the phone with her sister. She tells Nancy she's organizing a trip to Hawaii. Nancy tells her that she won't be going, that she's been neglecting her family. The women argue, with Beatrice maintaining that cancer is actually a "gift" and a "friend" and suggesting that those who have it are her real family. They part with issues unresolved. At home Nancy throws away the sketches she made without Ethan and asks for his help on the new book. Elliot takes Nancy out for a special birthday surprise.