Episode #611

- Samantha continued to struggle with memories of being held hostage by JD Robinson, so Tim and Diane arranged for her to see a therapist.
- Alex shared his concerns about Jason with Sarah, who in turn told her family.
- Philip returned to King’s Bay and urged Molly to give their friendship another chance. She tentatively agreed, only to have Brent come to her office and discover them together.


Molly Taylor closes the door to her office, sealing her and her husband away from the outside world. Even though Philip Ragan has departed, his presence lingers, filling the well-appointed space.

“What are you doing here?” Molly asks.

“I just dropped by to see my wife,” Brent says. “I think the better question would be, what are you doing?” He fixes a hard stare upon her, and the unspoken addition is quite clear: Why were you locked in this office with Philip?

“He came by to talk.”

“You have nothing to say to him. None of us do.”

Molly understands Brent’s apprehension about Philip and his intentions, even if she does not agree with them. She can at least accept why they exist. What she cannot accept is being told what to do. It takes all the willpower within her to respond calmly rather than scream back at him.

“He wants me to believe that he had no idea what Loretta was doing,” she explains. “He wants all of us to believe that.”

“Why does it matter what we think of him? Why is he even still here?”

She can feel her blood pressure climbing with a fury. The way Brent is so dismissive about Philip’s very existence--it’s as if he does not care at all that Molly and Philip were close friends, that the revelations about Loretta were incredibly traumatic to her because they called that entire bond into question. She trusted Philip; now, she wants to believe that she was not wrong the entire time.

“He’s not a crazed villain. He’s not his mother,” she says.

Brent’s face hardens. “So you believe him? You’re, what, pals again?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Molly, he kissed you! Friendship is not what he’s interested in.”

Her lips have already parted to reply, but that smacks the words right out of her mouth. He does have a point. She cannot be certain how platonic Philip’s intentions are.

“This isn’t just jealousy,” Brent says, closing the gap between them. He places his hands upon her shoulders. “I’m worried about you. I’m worried about that guy worming his way back into your life, and then… who knows?”

“I know.” She bows her head, grateful for the softer moment with her husband. “I’ll be careful. I promise.”

Brent’s head pulls back, like he needs to look at her from a different angle to be sure this is actually his wife. “I don’t want you to see him,” he says. “Cut him off. Don’t open yourself to Loretta and--whatever the hell she’s planning next.”

Something sinks inside Molly. “I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“He’s been a friend, Brent! I need to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

“Why?” When she doesn’t offer a response, he exclaims, “I don’t get this, Mol! This guy doesn’t deserve another chance. You’re--you’re obsessed with him!”

“And you’re obsessed with his mother!” Molly fires back.

“I’m obsessed with keeping you safe. With keeping the boys safe.”

“Oh, yeah. You were absolutely fixated on making sure the twins were safe when you were gallivanting all over the place with Claire, getting shot at and forced off the road and attacked by dogs. Speaking of which, I thought the two of you were done with all your secret plans--”

“That’s different.”

“How? How, Brent? Because you’re being a hero, but I’m just too stupid to know what I’m doing?” She cuts him off before he can respond. “Tell me what’s going on. Tell me why you and Claire were holed up in your office the other day.”

“It’s complicated,” Brent says.

“Tell me. If you want me to wash my entire friendship with Philip down the drain… tell me what’s going on with Claire.”


Samantha Fisher shifts against the pillow, trying to get comfortable even though her hair is piled underneath her head. She has been doing this about once a minute for the half-hour or so that her session has been in progress. Everything is just as her brother told her it would be: the forced lying on the couch; the generic photographs of the ocean on the walls; the doctor’s bushy mustache (Travis called it a “70s porn star ‘stache,” though Samantha would rather not know how he was able to make that reference so swiftly).

“What do you wish you had done differently?” Dr. Arcaro asks.

“I’m not sure.” Samantha rolls her head to the side and stares into the beige threads that make up the couch. “Not gotten into the car.”

“Well, you can’t change the fact that you did. I want you to try something for me. Close your eyes.”

Samantha obliges.

“I want you to picture yourself back inside that car,” Dr. Arcaro says. “Tell me what you see.”

This is the last thing she wants to do. The point of going to a therapist isn’t to force her to relive that day over and over. She wants to yell that and run out of the office.

Instead, she begins slowly. “Tempest is sitting next to me. In the passenger’s seat, I mean. It’s raining outside.”

“Okay. Where are you driving?”

“To Claire’s. My stepmom--ex-stepmom, I mean. I was taking Tempest to get some of her things.”

“Is there anyone else in the car?”

Of course there was! That’s the whole problem. Her brain is screaming, but she can’t exactly do that to Dr. Arcaro. So she explains--as generically as he will allow--how she felt the cold metal of the gun against her neck, how she could see JD in the rearview mirror and when she swiveled her head a little bit, how he forced her to get out her phone and called her dad, how she merged onto the wrong freeway at a fork because she knew they would hit traffic there.

“And then what happens?” Dr. Arcaro asks.

She wants to protest that he knows the whole story, but she assumes there is a point to this, so she keeps going: “We had sirens coming up behind us. It was the police.”

“Do the police get you out of the car?”

“No.” You already know this! “Tempest and I--we jumped out of the car at the same second. And JD couldn’t really do anything because the police were there.”

“So you get out of the car, and then what?”

“He tried to make us get back in--he had the gun--but the police were right there, so he drove off in my car.”

Silence fills the office. Samantha waits for some grand proclamation, though she does not see what Dr. Arcaro could have possibly gleaned from her repeating the same story he has already heard several times.

Instead he simply says, “You can open your eyes.”

Samantha stares at him, then looks to the ceiling. There is a dark stain on it, and she tries to figure out how in the world it got there.

“It seems that maneuvering the car onto that freeway and then hopping out were what saved your life,” Dr. Arcaro says at last.

“And the police showing up.”

“Who knows what would have happened if you’d stayed on an open road, though? That man could have kept you driving for miles.”

“I guess.”

“Samantha--” Now the doctor leans forward, resting his elbows upon his knees. “--the way you handled that situation is the reason you and Tempest are alive and healthy. Your instincts were wonderful. You saved yourself and your friend.”

She doesn’t understand why her brain won’t just accept that and move on.


Ever since Alex Marshall came to King’s Bay, Don and Helen Chase’s home has served as something of a home base for him, despite the fact that he has never actually lived here. No matter how crazy or troubled things became with his mother, his love life, or his career, he could always visit the Chases and feel a sense of warmth, a sense of comfort. In the past year, however, that has changed; he still receives much-needed reassurance from coming here, but it is marred by an undeniable guilt. He cannot shake the idea that it should be Courtney here instead, or even that, as happy as they are to see him, Don and Helen would prefer to have their daughter visiting instead.

“I can’t believe he asked me to be his best man,” Alex says as he sits at the Chases’ kitchen table, enjoying a late lunch of turkey sandwiches and potato salad that Helen made herself. “A year ago, I barely thought I’d ever speak to Graham again, let alone have some kind of relationship with him.”

Helen’s gaze flickers downward toward the table. “A lot has happened in the past year to put our lives in perspective.”

“Yeah,” Alex says sadly. Courtney’s death certainly influenced his decision to work on a relationship with his biological father.

“I’m glad you’re getting to know him,” Don says. “As long as he’s changed and is good to you now.”

“He is.” Alex still does not fully understand why his mother was so hell-bent on keeping Graham out of their lives for all those years, but in a way, it makes it easier to get to know him now. They have an almost entirely fresh slate, with no messy past visitations or awkward attempts to trip them up.

“Where are they having the wedding?” Helen asks with a brave, forced smile.

“At Graham’s house. It’s going to be very small.” Alex sets down what is left of his sandwich. “I think the idea of another wedding kind of freaks everyone out.”

“I can understand that,” Don says. Something about his voice makes it sound like he is attempting to distance himself from the whole matter--like it is still too painful. “Jason will probably have to go for Sarah, won’t he?”

“She told him only to come if he feels comfortable. Honestly, I don’t even know if he can…” Realizing that he has unwittingly said too much, Alex clamps up and returns to eating his sandwich.

“This is really good,” he says to Helen, still chewing. “What did you do to the mayo?”

She ignores his question, since she is busy trading concerned looks with Don.

“You don’t know if Jason can what?” Don asks.

Alex tries to shrug it off. “I don’t know if he’ll be up for it. That’s all.”

“He hasn’t been answering our calls,” Helen says. “We’ll leave him a message, and he calls back at times when he knows we won’t be able to answer. It’s like he doesn’t want us to see Sophie at all.”

“I promise you, that’s not it at all.” Alex sighs and takes in the sight of both of them. They seem to have aged so much in the past year; constantly carrying around grief for their daughter seems to have deepened the lines in their faces and made their movements slower. Considering how much he misses Courtney, he cannot imagine how heavy the burden upon her parents must be.

“Jason is really terrified to have Sophie out of his sight,” he continues. “I think he blames himself so much for what Shannon did--like if he hadn’t let her back into their lives to begin with, Courtney would still be here. He just wants to protect Sophie.”

Even as he nods in sad agreement, Don says, “He needs to accept some kind of help. He can’t be with her 24 hours a day.”

“I know. I’m worried about him. But he won’t listen…”

“Worried about him why?” Helen asks. “Did something happen?”

“No. No.” Alex fears that he does not sound especially convincing. “Just that he thinks he can do this all himself.”

He recognizes the way that Don and Helen are regarding him: like they do not fully believe him. He tries to remain casual and uses his fork to eat some of the potato salad.

“I know Jason is grieving, just like we are,” Helen says, “but if he isn’t capable of properly taking care of Sophie--”

Don throws her a look that makes it clear to Alex that they have been over this subject before.

Helen goes on, undeterred. “She’s our granddaughter. She’s all we have left. And I will do whatever it takes to make sure that she is safe.”


Time slows down for Molly as she awaits Brent’s response. Only a handful of seconds probably pass before he speaks, but for Molly, each of them is jammed full of warring hopes, fears, and projections for the future.

Just tell me, she finds herself wishing. Please.

As if reading her thoughts, he says, “I can’t tell you.”

“Why not? And why should I listen to what you say about Philip, if--”

“It’s different.” Even as he speaks the words, he seems to know how ineffectual, how ridiculous, they are. “It isn’t dangerous. It’s a… a personal issue. She has no one else to ask for help.”

Panic flashes over Molly. “Is she okay? Is she sick?”

“No. She’s fine. It’s just…” He trails off, but Molly cannot read anything deeper from his silence. “You can ask Claire if you really need to know. It isn’t my place to say.”

“This isn’t about me knowing Claire’s business. It’s about me being your wife and you not sharing things with me!”

“So you mean to tell me that, if I hadn’t walked in here today, you would’ve told me Philip came by and you guys patched things up?”

“I--” But something stops her. Visions force themselves in front of her mind’s eye--visions of years to come, of them having this same argument in one form or another for the rest of their lives. She has spent a lifetime picturing so many things: anniversary celebrations, holidays, their children’s graduations, post-retirement trips around the globe, the births of their grandchildren. But now all the home movies in her mind are being warped--being ruined. This is what their marriage is going to be like. Forever.

So instead of arguing any further, she simply says, “I think we made a mistake.”

Brent recoils. “What?”

“We made a mistake. By having you move back into the house so quickly.”

“No. No.” He shakes his head in an unsuccessful attempt to erase a statement that he must have misheard. “I was out of the house for months and months. We didn’t rush anything.”

“All that changed was Loretta being exposed,” she says. “But us… our issues were separate from that. Nothing has changed.”


“I’m serious.” She tries to look him in the eyes but cannot do it. Not if she wants to say what she is certain she needs to say. “I don’t think this is going to work. I don’t think we are going to work.”

“You don’t mean that.”

She tries to tell him that she does, but there are tears taking over, choking her words out of existence. She squeezes her eyes closed and nods hard.

“I’m not moving out,” he says. “We’ll make this work.”

She notices that there is no mention of allowing her to make up her own mind about Philip, or of Brent telling Claire that he can’t be her hero anymore.

“I don’t think we can.” It is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing she has ever said.

“We will make this work,” Brent insists. He moves toward her.

Molly retreats to the other side of the desk and presses the intercom button on her phone. “Cameron, can we start going through my call list? I need to get caught up.” Somehow, she manages to get out the words before tears swallow them.

“Will do,” Cameron says.

As soon as she releases the intercom button, Brent pleads, “Mol. Don’t do this.”

“Go.” It sounds colder than she would like, but she cannot have him here right now. “Just go. Please.”


She can tell that he doesn’t want to agree but is aware that it is what she needs him to do; for a moment, she remembers exactly why she loves him and why she thought they would spend their entire lives together.

The phone rings, disrupting the--whatever it is. Molly grabs for the phone like a lifeline.

“I have Willow Stark holding,” Cameron says.

“Put her through. Thanks.”

As she attempts to shift back into business mode, Molly keeps her attention focused down on her desk. She hears the opening and closing of the door and knows that Brent is gone.


After her therapy session, Samantha takes the bus to Claire’s apartment. Her mother and father were not wild about the idea of her taking public transportation alone after what happened with JD, but with Travis at college and both parents working full-time, their options were few. Besides, the insurance money for her destroyed car has not come through yet, and she is far from eager to be back behind the wheel. There is something comforting about relinquishing control of her travels to a professional.

She takes the elevator up to Claire’s floor and finds Tempest planted on the couch, the TV blasting some trashy VH1 reality show.

“Are you ready to study?” Samantha asks quietly, hoping she can be heard over the TV.

It takes Tempest several seconds to look over at her. “Yeah. Sure.” She waits for the show to go to commercial before she acknowledges Samantha again. “Did you have your doctor thing?”

“Yeah.” Samantha sets her bag on one of the dining room chairs. “It was… I don’t even know.”

“What’s that mean?”

“It means it was pointless. Same as usual. I think my mom and dad are paying this doctor to listen to me tell the same story over and over.”

“Sounds like a rip-off.”

“Yeah.” Samantha takes a seat at the table, ready to focus on anything other than JD or stolen cars or therapy. “How’d you do on those practice tests?”

She can see the loose scratch papers tucked inside Tempest’s GED prep book, but Tempest sets the book down on the table and then focuses back on Samantha.

“You really feel like studying today?” Tempest asks, frowning. “Do you ever not feel like studying?”

Samantha shrugs. “Studying’s easy. I get studying. You read, you remember, it makes sense.” She grabs the GED book and examines the filled-in bubbles of the latest practice test. She flips back and forth between the test and the index to check the answers. “Seven out of ten. You’re getting better.”

“I know.”

“Do you see why you got these ones wrong, though? It’s a series of items, so they should all be parallel--I mean, the same part of speech. All three should just be plain nouns.”

Tempest gives her a dead stare for a few seconds. Samantha has come to learn that this doesn’t mean she fails to understand a concept; she simply is not interested in dealing with it at the moment.

“Do we really have to do this right away?” Tempest says.

“Yeah. Your test is coming up in a few weeks.”

“Claire has some carrot cake.”

In spite of her better instincts, Samantha’s ears and stomach perk up. “Carrot cake? I love carrot cake.”

“Then why don’t we have some, watch some TV, and chill for a little bit? We can study when the show goes off.”

Samantha is about to protest again when Tempest produces two slices of carrot cake from the refrigerator.

“You could probably use this after that therapy bullshit,” Tempest says.

Grabbing a fork and plate, Samantha nods eagerly. “Yeah. Take it from me: therapy is a big waste.”


“Can you send that to my e-mail?” Brent says into his Bluetooth device.

His contact on the other end responds in the affirmative. A moment later, Brent has ended the call and continues driving his car through King’s Bay in silence. He cannot handle the radio right now. There are too many thoughts racing through his head, too many emotions and plans warring for space.

This thing with Molly makes no sense. Not now, not after all they have been through. Her friendship with Philip cannot possibly be more important than their marriage, not unless…

He doesn’t even want to entertain the possibility that the kiss meant more to Molly than she let on.

He has to do something. He knows that he cannot change her mind right now. She needs time to cool off. But he has to do something.

He pulls into a parking lot and checks his phone for the e-mail. There is the information he needs: a phone number and address for a Kathleen Bundy in Tacoma. He scrolls to a number in his phone and waits for the answer. If Molly is going to choose Philip Ragan and his manipulations over her own husband, then Brent can certainly help out someone in legitimate need who is a true friend--family, really.

“Hey,” comes the voice after two rings.

“I found the McClintock kid’s mother,” he tells Claire. “How soon can we go to Tacoma?”


Is Brent’s impulsive act a mistake?
Should Molly reconsider her decision?
Will Samantha gain anything positive from therapy?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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