Nate is back and in a big way. In a sense, this is almost more his episode than it is Eli’s. See, Eli’s next set of visions puts him back in the body of their father during Nate’s twelfth birthday. What does that have to do with anything? Well, the episode is all about parents and their children. Taylor and Jordan are still discussing Taylor’s pregnancy, Patti doesn’t yet know about Angela’s drug test, and Eli is going ahead trying to get J.J. Cooper emancipated from his idiot father. I always hate it when Steven Culp ends up being the bad guy. I like him too much. Actually, there’s not anyone on this show I don’t like, which should say something about the quality of the writing and acting.
The main story, of course, is the emancipation trial, a continuation of the last episode. Jordan initially forbids Eli to take the case, but when Jim Cooper blows into his office and demands that Eli be fired, and basically talks like he owns the place, Jordan has a very quick change of heart. He tells Cooper that they’ll be representing his son and to find the elevator. Did I mention how much I love Jordan? Of course, opposing counsel turns out to be Matt and Maggie, who are now being tested after having found the mole in Wethersby Stone. Matt realizes this off the bat and actually seems upset about it, proving that he’s far from the office Lothario I first met in season one, but more on that later.
Jim Cooper’s money buys a lot, including four medical experts being suspiciously unavailable to help Eli in the trial. This gives him no choice but to turn to Nate, who is resistant to the idea until Eli tells him about his visions and his belief that they mean Nate is meant to help him. Of course, this is asking a lot of big brother, since Nate says “half the buildings” at his hospital are named after Jim Cooper, who’s already threatened to get him fired. Nate makes the leap anyway, and gets himself involved, which ends up changing his life forever. When Eli puts J.J. on the stand, Maggie gets permission to let Jim Cooper cross-examine his own son, and he proceeds to rip the kid to shreds. While the lawyers argue about it behind closed doors, Nate is the only one to realize the tremors J.J. has aren’t from fear of his father, but an MS episode. Confused because the kid’s MRI was clean, he goes back into St. Vincent’s medical files and finds out someone’s been copying clean MRI’s from years ago and reusing them with a new date. J.J. is, in reality, getting sicker, but his father and the hospital administrator have been covering it up so the clinical trial would get approved. Nate calls B.S. in a scene that Matt Letscher completely steals. I mentioned I love Nate, too, right?
Meanwhile the kid doesn’t take all this so well, and even though he wins his emancipation trial, he decides to go set his dad’s offices on fire. That’s when Eli realizes who his vision from last episode was referring to: not Jim Cooper, but his son, J.J. – also known as James, Jr. He goes to the building just in time to rescue J.J. from the fire, and warns him in a very touching scene that while he might not need his dad, he might someday want him, so to try not to totally alienate him.
As for Nate, St. Vincent’s is willing to cut him a huge check if he signs a nondisclosure agreement and leaves the hospital. We never find out if he takes it or not; I’m on the fence about this since it seems like they’re just sweeping it under the rug and then our favorite doctor is out of a job. But I suppose we’ll see. The important thing is that Nate goes to visit Dr. Chen, who confides he made a copy of their dad’s journal after Eli burned it – with a page in it that tells Nate that he does love him, and that Nate is essential to Eli’s greater destiny. I love the relationship between these two brothers and I love that Nate isn’t just the sidekick, but I got to see him develop on his own. Matt Letscher does that so well.
But that’s not all I got. Jordan and Taylor argue over Taylor not disclosing her pregnancy to Matt. When Matt turns up with flowers and a bear trying to make nice for making Taylor angry earlier, Jordan assumes that Matt is there for the baby and lets slip that Taylor is pregnant. Matt is stunned and angry with Taylor for not telling him (as he darn well should be). (The best line of the night, Jordan, after realizing his faux pas, tells Matt he’ll need the number of his florist.) Matt and Taylor finally talk, and she tells him she never saw what they had as anything more than temporary. It’s Matt – the cad, the blowhard, Matt Dowd – who tells her that he never saw it as a fling and wants to seriously be with her. She turns down his marriage proposal, but they reconcile. Matt may be the most changed character over the past two seasons while never losing his quirky charm, and we see in this scene he’s got a real good heart under all that bravado.
Meanwhile, Keith and Angela argue over her drug test. It seems the positive was caused by a medication she’s on that routinely causes positive drug tests. She snaps at Keith for prejudging her, and when he goes to apologize to her he finds out she’s been suspended from work for some time. Everything seems to be falling apart. Patti’s still in the dark, and I can’t help but wonder how she’ll react.
There are only seven more episodes of this show left, and there are plenty of possibilities as to how the series might wrap up. The writers have done a good job this season of further developing the relationships between the characters and in this episode, I get to see them all mature a little bit more while being reminded why I love them so much.