Season 3, Episode 21: Hitting Bottom
Transcribed by Jen Oyama
The scene opens in the Salingers' kitchen. "So, no word from Bailey?"
asks Sarah, as Julia races around trying to get ready for wherever they're
going. "I called him." Charlie, Julia and Claudia stop dead in their tracks.
"What did he say?" asks Julia. "Is he all right?" Claudia chimes in.
Charlie is angry. The family has made the decision not to call Bailey,
and Sarah has given in. "What does Grace say?" asks Julia. "Maybe we should
call her at her parents' house," says Claudia. No way, argues Charlie. "This is
what we're doing," he tells them. "And we're sticking to it."
Cut to Bailey and Coach Petrocelli. After forgetting to attend the biggest
wrestling match of the year, Bailey tries to defend himself to his coach. "What's
wrong with you?" he asks Bailey, who is clearly drunk. "Nothing," he lies. "If
you were alive, you should have been there," Coach tells him. He then informs
Bailey that he is the reason the team has made it this far. "We had an ace in
the hole...we had you."
Bailey alienates yet another person when he pushes Callie away with his drunken
aggressiveness. "So where was the party?" Callie asks, when Bailey returns home
drunk and disheveled. "What? No party." He then explains that he won "yet another
wrestling match" and went to celebrate with the guys. "Whatever," says Callie.
When she goes to her room, Bailey follows. "Not now," she tells him, pushing
him away. He becomes upset, and hurls insults at her. "Your family's right,"
she tells him. "You got a problem."
Upon his return, Julia finds out that Griffin has injured his leg. "I didn't
want to let you down," he tells her. "Why, because you injured yourself?" she
asks. "Because I can't do that kind of work anymore." He explains that he wanted to
come back with all the goals and dreams they had discussed earlier in the
season. "I'm just interested in spending some time with you," she tells him.
Cut to Owen's daycare center. When Charlie goes to pick up Owen, he finds out
that Bailey has beaten him to it. "How did he seem?" Charlie asks the teacher.
She informs him that he was racing around with the kids, having fun. "Next time
he comes..." Charlie begins. "What?" she says. "Never mind," he replies, obviously
having a difficult time informing her that his brother is an alkie.
"You have to be pretty damn...I mean darn...near perfect to please those people,"
Bailey tells a cotton-candied Owen. He takes a sip of beer. "Who's your
favorite brother?" he asks. "Bailey, stupid," he says. "Bailey, stupid," Owen
repeats. Later, on the way to their car, Bailey spins Owen around on his shoulders
while Owen screams to be put down. "That's the sign of a really good ride,"
he tells Owen. "You can't wait for it to end..." (Hmmm. Nice symbolism).
Back at the Salingers, Sarah, Claudia and Charlie jump to their feet when
Julia comes home. "What's going on?" she asks, concerned. She finds out that
Bailey is with Owen and the two haven't returned. "Have you called the police?"
"Not yet," says Charlie, picking up the phone. "Who cares if he loses his
license...I want to find Owen," declares Julia.
Meanwhile, Claudia has become more and more angry with their late father. She
goes to Avery and forces him to tell her everything. "All my memories...seem
fake," she explains. When Charlie finds out, he confronts Avery himself.
"Everyone knows you were in love with her," referring to their mother. "So of
course you're going to make him look bad..." "That's not it..." says Avery,
sadly. "There was so much more I could have told her."
When Bailey finally returns with Owen, the family greets him with fury.
"Where the hell were you?" yells Charlie. "I took my little brother out...
what the hell is so the hell about it?" "Have you been drinking?" asks Charlie.
"Is that what this is about? God, just when I thought my family couldn't love
me any less..." Bailey counters. "Let me smell your breath," Charlie orders.
Bailey steps away. "No...okay, I had one beer. That's all."
Charlie explodes. "YOU DRANK AND YOU DROVE WITH YOUR LITTLE BROTHER IN THE
CAR...I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!" He grabs Bailey by the shirt, and the others run
to stop him. "He's my brother too!" Bailey cries. "NO HE'S NOT!" Charlie screams,
out of control.
"This obviously isn't working," says a distraught Sarah. "He's been drinking,
and now he's going to drive...we have to do something." She looks to the
others for support. "Don't we?" The three stand there in stunned silence.
"Don't we?" she repeats. She runs after Bailey, after it is clear that they
When Sarah gets to his apartment, no one is home and she waits for him.
"Where the hell were you?" she yells when he finally shows up. He turns around
and heads outside. "Wait!" she calls out. "I don't need another lecture," Bailey
snaps. She runs after him. "You're not going to drive..." "Get out of my way,"
he says cruelly. He gets into the car, and she runs to the passenger side.
"You can't do this!" she screams, as he pushes her away.
Cut to the famous accident scene. While yelling at Sarah to stop telling him
how to drive, he nearly crashes into a taxi. Sarah hits the glass window, and
an uninjured Bailey swerves out of control.
Charlie is running through the hospital, looking for Sarah. When he learns
that she is going to be okay, he leans against the wall, relieved. "Wait,"
he calls to the nurse. "What about the driver?" "Apparently he gave us her
parents' phone number and left," she informs him.
Meanwhile, Julia seeks out Griffin for comfort. "Is it Bailey?" he asks, when
she bursts into his apartment in tears. He consoles her, and one thing
leads to another. When she wakes up, Griffin is sitting by the window. "What's
out there?" she asks. "I couldn't sleep," he tells her. "Because I kept thinking
that one of us would wake up and say this was a mistake. Say, you." She tells
him he's wrong, that this time it's different. "Wherever you go, whatever you
do...we're going together," she declares.
When she returns home looking smugly happy the next morning, Charlies explodes.
"Where were you? You can't just disappear...especially now..." Julia becomes
alarmed, and Charlie informs her about the accident. "Oh my God...where's
Bailey?" "No one knows," says Charlie. While they are talking, Claudia
overhears. "It's Dad's fault," she says. Charlie becomes enraged. "Would you
cut that out...because it's not helping!"
After realizing his misdirected anger, he goes upstairs to apologize to
Claudia. "Is Bailey going to be okay?" she asks. "I don't know," he says. He
then tells Claudia that Nick was a good father, and that people make mistakes.
"What if one day Owen looks at me the way you're looking at Dad?" "It's not
the same," she weeps, and Charlies kisses her on the forehead.
In the final scene, we find Bailey lurking in the shadows of Sarah's hospital
room, huddled against the door. As she awakens, we see that her face is
nightmarishly bruised and swollen from the accident. Bailey starts weeping
uncontrollably when he sees that she sees him. "Will you help me?" he cries.
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