Season 1, Episode 9: Thanksgiving

The family visits their parents' grave.

Julia tells Walter Alcott (John Rubinstein) that her family will be okay.

Written by Christopher Keyser & Amy Lippman, Directed by Michael Engler

Awarded a Humanitas award

Julia is on a search for her flannel shirt and tracks the scent to Claudia's tent where she discovers a CD, pair of earrings and various other items that Claudia has borrowed. Julia yells at her but Claudia says she had to steal them cuz Julia wouldn't have let her borrow them if she had asked.

The Salingers arrive at the restaurant for dinner. Joe tries to talk them into coming in the next day to have Thanksgiving dinner at the restaurant. They turn him down, they don't really feel like celebrating. While eating, the family lawyer Emmitt stops buy. He tells them that Walter Alcott was released from prison. He was sentenced to 18 months for the involuntary manslaughter of their parents and released after 9 months due to good behavior. Bailey is furious that he could have been let out so soon. But wait, there's more. He has a request. Walter wants to see the kids.

Back at the house they are trying to decide if they should see him or not. Bailey is totally against it (steam is just coming out of his head). Charlie doesn't think it's a good idea either. Julia's not sure. She thinks it might be good for them. Bailey says if they go it will only make Walter feel better and Bailey doesn't want to do that. So, as a group they decide not to see him.

The next day Claudia is rummaging around in Julia's jewelry case and "borrows" a bracelet. Julia walks in but she manages to hid it. She asks Julia what the trial was like. Julia says, "it as more like a hearing." She explains that the judge asked Walter how he plead, he said "guilty" and the judge sentenced him. Claudia is curious as to whether he cried (he did) and what he was like. Julia remembers that his wife and daughter were there before she gets annoyed answering Claudia's questions.

Claudia goes to the bookstore, fidgeting with the bracelet. To see Walter. She pretends to be looking for a book so he helps her. Then she tells him who she is. "I'm Claudia Salinger. I'm their youngest daughter. I just wanted to see what you looked like." Then she leaves.

When Bailey finds out he's furious with her. But she explains that she just wanted to see what he looked like since she didn't get to go to the hearing. Now she can stop wondering. She says, "He looked normal, like someone you would know."

Bailey meets Emmitt in the park. He's so angry because Walter has his life back and he just wants to make him pay. He asks if he can file a civil suit. Emmitt says they can, but what would that change. It would just drag on and on and it wouldn't change anything. Bailey says at least he'd be doing something.

Claudia begins to play the violin and realizes she's lost Julia's bracelet. She begins tearing the house apart looking for it, ret racing her steps, but to no avail.

Joe tells Charlie that he's taking Thanksgiving off and he wants the kids to come over to his house for food and football. But Charlie says no, they just don't feel like it. Joe says, "There are going to be other holidays without them. Are you going to skip them to?" Charlie says they just have to get passed this one. (Does anyone remember them celebrating Christmas, I don't?)

Walter's daughter stops by the house with a pie. Julia lets her in. Weird awkward moments. Annie (the daughter) doesn't know why she came or what to say. She just wanted to see what they lived like. She feels like she needs to be punished or forgiven. Julia ends up kind of being nice to her.

Bailey goes over to Walter's apartment. Walter says he's gone over this conversation a million times in his head. Bailey says, "Really, you saw it as a conversation. You say something, then I say something. Tell me, what do I say?" Then he asks Walter what he knows about Mr. & Mrs. Salinger. He replies that he knows their age, that he owned a restaurant, unimportant stuff like that. Bailey tells him how his mom had hair down to her waist cuz his dad wouldn't let her cut it. And how his dad would come home from the restaurant in the middle of the afternoon and they would go upstairs and the kids all knew what they were doing. Now his sister asks him questions he can't answer because of Walter. Walter asks "What do you want me to do." Bailey screams, "I want you to step on your damn brake and stop at that red light!" Walter sobs, "So do I, so do I." (REALLY INTENSE MOMENT!)

Bailey is mad (duh) when he finds out about Annie coming over. Julia says, "Wow what is happening to you." Then Julia's mad at Charlie for not saying anything about the way Bailey is being.

Claudia tries to bring out the hunting instincts in Thurber to hunt down the missing bracelet. He's not a big help.

Bailey goes over to Kate's. Although they were just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, she comes out on the porch and he tells her that Walter's out and Bailey's in terrible shape and he's realized that the one person he wants and needs to talk to he shut out of his life for some stupid reason. He doesn't want to break up with Kate.

Claudia is kissing up to Julia and offers to make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner. Julia is thoroughly annoyed and fidgety. She leaves the house without telling anyone where she's going. She goes over to Walters. He agrees with her that 9 months is not enough time for what he's done, but there really isn't any compensation. Julia says she can tell he's sorry and that he's suffering, but that that doesn't do her any good. There's nothing he can do for her. But, Julia knows what Walter wants her to do, but she's not sure she can forgive him. She says she'll try--she wants to stop being angry at him and hating him. Then she says, "The only thing I can do for you is to tell you that we'll be OK. I don't know how I know that, but I do. We'll be OK."

Julia and Charlie have an argument. She can't figure out why he's not helping with Bailey and why things are so bad. She urges him to go see Walter (without really telling him that she went). "Saying I forgive you isn't the hardest thing to do. Saying `I don't hate you' makes him go away."

The next day Kate and Bailey take a walk in the park. She tells him the story about how her mom walked in on her dad having an affair with some lady from the office. Her mom was so angry. Then when her dad met Pam and wanted to get married, Kate's mom didn't want him to be happy if she couldn't so she made the divorce drag out and keyed his Jag, etc. Then one day she realized her life could be totally about being angry or it could become about her again. Kate tells Bailey that it takes so much energy to hold onto hate, "you have to make it simple--people make mistakes, horrible mistakes, but you have to learn to live with it, because what's the alternative?"

Julie decides they should have Thanksgiving dinner anyway. While she's cooking Claudia tells her about borrowing the bracelet dad gave mom and how she's really sorry. Julia gets really mad. Claudia says she's sorry, the reason she borrows her stuff is because she wants to be like her, she doesn't know why cuz Julia's always yelling at her. Then they realize that the bracelet Claudia lost was a prop from when Julia was in a school play and they make up.

Charlie goes over to Walter's. Walter tells him he really doesn't have a story. He was over at friends and he had too much wine with dinner and then he got in his car at 8 p.m. and drove home. He says he thinks about how many millions of little events had to come together that evening to cause the accident. Why did they have to be there when he was. Charlie interrupts, "because of me." Mr. & Mrs. Salinger had tickets to the symphony and Charlie was supposed to babysit. But he was at a women's house and he lost track of time so he was late getting over there. The concert started at 8 p.m., the accident was at 8:22. If it hadn't been for Charlie they would have been in their seats. "What did I do? God, how do I get rid of this?" Charlie sobs. Walter tells him it's not his fault, he's the hero in this story. Walter says it's his job to take the blame-- "at least let me do that for you."

Charlie returns home and exchanges knowing looks with Julia who's glad he went to see Walter. Thanksgiving dinner is ready and the set down to eat in the dining room.

They then go to the cemetery to visit their parent's graves. Each leaves something on the headstone to show that they were there. They end up playing a game of tag in the cemetary.

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