Episode #596

- Molly realized that Philip’s father was the late James Robbins--also Claire’s father.
- Loretta had Claire and Brent tossed into a pen with her vicious guard dogs, as revenge for Claire’s crime: killing Loretta’s husband years ago. Claire was startled to learn that Loretta had been married to her father.
- At the last minute, Tim arrived with police at the Ragan estate to save Claire and Brent.


Tim Fisher can hardly comprehend the scene before his eyes. As the police who accompanied him to Loretta Ragan’s party cast their flashlights over the dark grounds, they illuminate a fenced area where Claire and Brent are trapped with what appear to be two vicious pit bulls.

“Open this door!” Tim screams at one of the heavily muscled men standing between Loretta and the police officers. His urgent cry only seems to spur the dogs on further. One of them hurls Brent’s prosthetic leg to the ground, leaving an empty pant leg dangling and Brent struggling to maintain his balance. He tightens his grip on Claire, who is half-behind him.

“Let them out!” Tim yells.

One of the dogs lunges, knocking Brent off his good leg. He crumples to the ground, and while that dog leaps upon him, the other knocks Claire over in one swift move.

“Open the gate!” one of the officers orders, pulling a gun for good measure. Neither of Loretta’s goons take action; rather, they look to her for instruction.

“Open the damned gate,” she says, her words weighed down with defeat.

Time seems to drag in slow-motion as the man lumbers to the fence and opens the padlock.

“Off!” Claire screams. The command is muddied by the arms she holds over herself, trying to guard her neck and head. Tim’s heart thuds against his chest, straining his breathing as he watches the horrifying scene. The dog’s jaws clamp onto Claire’s arm.

“Stay!” the goon tells the dogs sternly. They do not have the chance to obey, though, because one of the officers immediately fires a taser at both animals. The dogs freeze in their tracks and then, with a series of jerky shudders, collapse to the ground.

“That’s animal cruelty!” Loretta yells.

“It’s a taser. They’ll be fine,” the officer says. He hurries Brent and Claire out of the enclosure. Claire picks up Brent’s prosthetic and, along with the officer, helps him limp out to safety. Loretta’s henchman shuts the door--not that the dogs exhibit any of signs of rebounding just yet.

“Thank God you’re okay,” Tim says as he moves in to help Claire and Brent. They help Brent onto the ground, but he makes no immediate move to reattach his prosthetic leg.

Claire looks at Tim incredulously. “What are you doing here? How did you know--”

“There’s time for that later,” he says. He gestures at the torn flesh on her arm--an injury that could be much, much worse. “We need to get this cleaned up.”

Now the officers command their attention by moving toward Loretta. “Mrs. Ragan, you’re under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon...”


Minutes later, the police have conducted Loretta and her two henchmen, all of them in handcuffs, to the front of the house. The police cars’ flashing sirens have already drawn most of the party’s attendees outside, providing a more-than-ample audience for Loretta’s march of shame.

“This is a hideous injustice!” Loretta says, dragging her feet as she is led to the police vehicle. “You have no idea what was happening there. Those--those people interrupted my party, and when I asked them to leave, they must have stumbled upon my guard dogs--”

“And locked themselves in there. I’m sure.” The officer’s dismissal of Loretta’s exclamation sends a rush through Brent, who has managed to hop, thanks to Tim and Claire, to a spot where he can sit on a concrete planter. Can this really be over? Are the police really taking Loretta away?

Philip Ragan pushes his way to the front of the crowd, most of whom are doing little to conceal their gasping and muttering at the unbelievable scandal unfolding before their eyes.

“What in the world is going on here?” Philip asks, not so much addressing the officers directly as tossing a demand vaguely in their direction.

“These maniacs are making a terrible mistake,” Loretta says, while the officers’ lips remain sealed.

“Let my mother go,” Philip says. He inserts himself between the officers and the police car. “This is insane.”

Molly Taylor forces her way through the melee and grabs Philip by the tuxedo jacket to pull him back. “Give them some space,” she says. “You can sort this out soon enough.”

Brent wants to rush to Molly, tell her to get her hands off Philip, but after what he witnessed between them earlier, he is not so sure that is his place any longer. Still, if Philip has been Loretta’s accessory this entire time--

“My mother is innocent of whatever ridiculous charges you’re attempting to pin on her,” Philip tells the officers, even as he allows Molly to move him out of the way.

Loretta’s theatrical red dress plugs the entrance to the back seat as the officers attempt to force her inside the car. With some maneuvering, both the woman and the dress make it inside, followed by her two brawny employees. The car door closes with a decisive slam.

Philip sets his sights on Brent and storms over to him. “What have you done?” he demands, with a sense of entitlement that makes Brent want to slug the bastard.

“I’m not the one who has done anything,” Brent says, doing his best to remain calm. He cannot help but glance over at Molly, show her how well he is handling all this while Philip is about to blow his top. “Your mother is the one who’s been ruining lives for way too long--and now she’s going to pay for it.”

Philip’s jaw clenches, and instead of a rebuttal, he simply shakes his head. Finally he turns to Molly. “I’m going to get our attorney on the phone. This is absurd.”

Brent takes great joy in the fact that Molly allows Philip to rush back into the house without following him. She does a double take when she spots Tim.

“What are you doing here?” she asks her brother.

He pauses as an ambulance arrives in the driveway with lights and sirens flashing. “I’ll explain on the way to the hospital.”


The emergency room nurse finishes cleaning the bloody wound on Claire’s forearm. “I’ll be back in a moment,” the woman says before exiting through the curtain that sections off this tiny parcel of E.R. space.

“Now that the blood is gone, it doesn’t look too bad,” Tim says encouragingly.

Claire looks over the wound from where Loretta’s dog clamped down on her skin. She shudders to think how bad it might be if that had gone on for even thirty seconds longer.

“I still don’t understand,” Molly says from her seat in a plastic chair against the wall. “Your father was married to Loretta, but you had no idea of it?”

“He was living two lives,” Claire says, still trying to wrap her own head around the night’s revelations. “He would go back and forth between my mother and Loretta--until my mother found out and left him.”

Molly’s brow furrows. “And Loretta didn’t mind that?”

“It obviously didn’t make her the most stable woman. And after my parents split up, she more or less had my father to herself. When he told me he was going away for business...”

“He was living his other life out here,” Molly finishes.

“And Nick knew all about her and was working with her behind the scenes, I guess,” Tim says. “That’s why Clayton was the one who brought me to the clinic in Vermont. Loretta helped Nick get me off that pier the night I was shot.”

The sheer weight of this news--and all its implications for the lives of people she cares about--pushes down upon Claire. She felt guilty enough for her role in the animosity between Tim and Ryan, and Nick Moriani’s subsequent revenge plot against all the Fishers, but the discovery that Loretta was doing this all because she blamed Claire for killing James... that places the responsibility even more squarely upon Claire’s shoulders.

“I’m sorry all this ever happened,” she says, unable to look at either Tim or Molly. “If I had just done things differently...”

Tim holds up a hand to cut her off. “Don’t. You saved my life when you pushed James over that railing.”

“Yeah,” Molly says. “You can’t do that to yourself, Claire. You’ll go insane. You aren’t responsible for what Loretta or Nick did to us.”

Claire would like to believe that, but she isn’t so certain.

“Besides,” Tim says, “if not for you and Brent, we never would’ve gotten to the bottom of this. Who knows what Loretta would have tried to do next?” The thought injects a bubble of troubling silence into their midst. Tim pushes it aside by continuing, “That’s why I flew out here. After what happened with Cassandra’s ex, I had this moment where I realized that I keep doing this. I act like the past doesn’t matter and I just need to move forward. But the past keeps creeping up and causing problems.”

“You’re just grateful to be alive,” Molly says. “After what you went through, I think that’s a pretty healthy attitude.”

Tim appears less than convinced. “In theory, maybe. But I spent all this time not wanting to figure out why I was really locked up in that clinic. Maybe if I’d tackled it head-on, some of what Loretta did could’ve been avoided.”

Claire forces him to meet her eyes. “You don’t get to play the ‘What if?’ game, either.”

“I’ll try,” he says. “But the thing with Cassandra and her ex--that put Samantha’s life in danger. Once she got out of that safely, I thought, ‘I can’t keep doing this. Because these things don’t just go away.’ I tried to pretend like Cassandra’s past didn’t matter, but it did.”

“We’re all safe,” Molly says. “That’s what’s really important.”

“Tempest really seems okay?” Claire asks Tim.

He nods. “She and Samantha both. They’re amazing kids.”

The nurse returns, ready to dress Claire’s wound, and they allow the conversation to fall off. Inside her head, Claire once again attempts to make sense of everything that happened tonight, from Loretta’s surprising news to the dog attack to Tim’s arrival. It all seems too crazy to be real life, and yet, if there is one thing Claire has learned from the past several years, it’s that reality is often much less plausible than fiction.


Philip has never cared much for Leopold Chandler, the man who has been his family’s attorney for as long as Philip can recall. He does not even know the basis for his antipathy; as far as he can remember, Leopold has never been anything more or less than vaguely curt toward him. Tonight, however, Philip is downright thrilled by the man’s presence. Perhaps he will be able to restore some order to this confusing disaster of an evening.

“It’s an outrage,” Loretta rants from across the table in the jail’s visiting room. “Storming into my charity event like that and making all sorts of wild accusations--those people should be the ones behind bars!”

“When can we pay her bail?” Philip asks Leopold, who sits beside him at the cold, dirty plastic table.

“I’m afraid your arraignment isn’t scheduled until 8 a.m.,” Leopold says, speaking to Loretta even though Philip is the one who asked the question.

Loretta recoils, her neck backing up into the elaborate collar of her dress, which looks more like a costume from a satire than a legitimate outfit in these surroundings. “I can’t spend the night in prison!”

“It isn’t prison. It’s jail, and they’ll keep you in the overnight cell,” Leopold explains. “You won’t be mixing with convicted felons or anything of that sort.”

“That’s where they toss all the prostitutes and homeless drunkards!” Loretta says. “I--I won’t do it.”

Leopold removes his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose. Philip notes how his eyes look even smaller and beadier without the added guard of his tiny spectacles.

“There has to be something you can do,” Philip says.

Shaking his head, Leopold says, “It’s practically the middle of the night. I already pulled a few strings to have the arraignment moved up to the first thing in the morning.”

Philip sighs and again allows his gaze to sweep over the disgusting visiting room. The place appears ready to mold from the inside out, like it has not even seen a broom or dustpan in decades. His mother might have a penchant for melodrama, but he would not exactly want to spend the night in this place, either.

“Where we need to place our focus is on defending you,” Leopold says. “Attacking these charges and proving what nonsense they are.”

“Mother.” Philip cannot even believe that he is having this conversation; never in a million years did he expect that he would have to ask her questions of this nature. “Is any of it true, what Molly’s husband and that--that other woman said? That you...” He cannot even find the words to describe the accusations against Loretta. Engineered a years-long kidnapping? Plotted to take an entire wedding party hostage and blow up a restaurant with them inside? It’s lunacy.

“That other woman ruined our lives,” Loretta says. “She killed your father.”

“Father died in an explosion,” he protests weakly.

“No. She killed him.” She folds her hands on the table. “And she deserves every bit of misery that comes to her for the rest of her disgusting life.”

Philip can do little more than stare at the woman across from him. She looks like his mother, sounds like his mother, but the words coming out of her mouth are not words that he ever, ever imagined his mother would speak.


Some time later, the group has been patched up and makes its way back to the hospital lobby. Molly pushes Brent’s wheelchair, while Tim holds the crutches that Brent will need to use until he can have a replacement prosthetic fitted and attached back in King’s Bay. Claire walks beside them, the wound on her arm bandaged.

“Why don’t I take a cab to the hotel and get our things together?” Claire suggests. “I’ll meet you all at the airport.”

Brent checks his watch. “We have six hours until the flight. We might as well all go to the hotel.”

Further discussion is derailed, however, by the sight of Philip rushing through the hospital’s entry. He spots them immediately.

“Thank goodness you’re still here,” he says. “Molly, I tried calling you...”

“My phone is back at the house.” She is unsure how to address him, whether she should regard him the same way that she would his mother. “I’ll need to get my things. I have a flight leaving in a few hours.”

Philip appears stunned by this news--not that it should be surprising, in light of everything that has taken place tonight.

“I need you all to know that I had no part in whatever my mother--whatever you think my mother might have done,” he says. “I wasn’t aware of any of this until tonight. I can hardly believe it, even now.”

“Believe it,” Claire says, with none of the uncertainty that Molly displayed. “Your mother is a maniac. She’s deranged.”

“You and I should talk,” Philip responds. “Claire, is it?”

She nods but offers nothing more.

“Stay away from all of us,” Brent says, “or you’ll be joining your crazy mother in prison.”

Philip ignores him and addresses Claire. “We have a lot to discuss. We’re--we’re family, as I understand it.”

Claire shakes her head. “I can’t. That woman...” She turns to Tim, Molly, and Brent. “We need to get our things from the hotel.”

They move past Philip and toward the exit.

“I can have your things shipped to you in the morning,” Philip calls out to Molly.

She stops long enough to turn back. Everything about him--his tone of voice, the uncharacteristic limpness of his posture--makes Molly believe that he was just as surprised by tonight’s revelations as they were. Nevertheless, she has to be careful.

“That would be helpful. Thank you,” she says as she pushes her husband’s wheelchair out the exit and toward the waiting taxi.


Will Loretta be able to fight the charges against her?
Should Molly take Philip’s word about his innocence?
Can Claire ever have a relationship with her newfound brothers?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss all this and more!

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