Eli Stone is back — but he’s definitely not the same Eli. To be fair, brain surgery changes a person. Eli wanted his normal life back, but normalcy is undeniably very different, not to mention more boring. Particularly since his law license has been suspended, pending psychological evaluation.
Spoilers — not premonitions — ahead…
Eli hasn’t had a vision in six months, he tells his therapist (Sigourney Weaver) — until today. He’s walking down Market Street, and everything is normal, until he walks smack into a song-and-dance number — "Dancing in the Street," in fact — led by Patti. And let me say for the record, Jonny Lee Miller does a mean frug.
Eli’s been seeing this therapist for three months — part of getting his law license back. She challenges his stated desire to get back to his pre-aneurysm normal, and notes from his stories abut being back at work that those who had previously found Eli’s hallucinations/visions/what have you annoying, distracting, or exasperating now miss them. More to the point, they miss the person he was when he was having them.
While his therapist has real misgivings about Eli going back to work in his present state, she signs the form giving him a more-or-less clean bill of health anyway, saying she’s calling his bluff. "I think you’re missing having a sense of the divine in your everyday life," she says. "I think you’re less happy than you were when your life was occasionally upended by the fantastic. I think that grace fulfilled you in a way you didn’t even know you needed. And I think the only thing crazy about you is that you don’t even see it." If only everyone’s shrink was that straight with them.
A lot of things have changed while Eli’s been recuperating. Maggie (who at first glance looks an awful lot like Jennifer Aniston) has been single-handedly holding up the pro bono department. Jordan has lured back a big client that dropped the firm last year over Eli’s behavior — a bank that deals in shady predatory mortgages. Taylor’s with Matt now. Nate is moving in with Beth (i.e., Eli’s first — and now, Nate’s last).
His recuperation has also set off some ripples in the lives of others. In a conversation with Taylor, Jordan admits he misses the old Eli, and was invigorated by the excitement he brought to the firm, despite the complications of the ensuing confusion. During Eli’s first visit to Dr. Chen in four months, Chen tells him that his life meant something to everyone he touched — he was an inspiration. And when he went back to his old "normal" life, he took something from everyone else.
Meanwhile, Nate has a vision of his own. While treating a patient he’s suddenly transported into a bank, and sees a construction crane crashing down through the building. Shaken, he goes to see Eli, not clear about what’s happening. Turns out it’s a prediction; Jordan was in the bank (the bank is Credit Dauphine — a brilliant and sly reference to the "company" that was a front organization for SD6, where Victor Garber and Jennifer Garner worked on Alias) to meet with the sleazy new/old mortgage lender client (and ends up telling them off and refusing to work with them) when the crane crashes through, practically wiping out half the building. The brothers Stone go to see Dr. Chen to use acupuncture to flash back into the vision and learn that Jordan was in the stairwell when the accident happened.
The search and rescue team has pulled 33 people from the rubble, but 18 — including Jordan — remain inside. And they’re looking for him in the wrong place. But Taylor is so opposed to Eli getting involved and so eager to keep him away from the rescue because she sees this as another flight of fancy based on a vision, that he ends up trying to get a court order to change the rescue team’s plan. While he’s fighting that good fight, he’s also fighting a hostile senior partner and Taylor, who have teamed up with Matt to represent the city in opposition to Eli in court.
Nate believes that the source of his vision is an aneurysm, and goes to get an MRI. Eli gets a call from the state, saying that he didn’t get a clean bill of health from the assigned therapist, and when he goes to find the therapist he’s been seeing, it turns out her office has been empty for months, and she’s just as much a vision as anything else he’s experienced. Then she appears. And it turns out that, while it’s a narrow term to describe what she is, she’s God. I’d always suspected that God would look something like Sigourney Weaver.
Getting back to a "normal" life is a failure of his potential, she says. He’s meant for more than that. But since he’s turned down the job, it’s Nate’s turn. "He seems to have your compassion, your kindness, your heart — the men in the Stone family are good stuff," she says. But Eli pleads — Nate’s found a woman he wants to spend his life with. He’ll be the one with the visions and the burden and the aneurysm, if she lets Nate live his life. Miller is wonderful in this scene, choking back tears and making the tradeoff very real and very plaintive.
Eli ends up losing his court case and outing himself as having visions in the process, proving to Taylor that he’s standing by what he’s seen and what he believes. "I just doused my career in gasoline and lit a match in there," he says to her. "I’m all in now. I’m not afraid any more. You can believe me." Taylor, moved, agrees, and goes to talk to the searchers about looking in a different place for Jordan.
And in the end, of course, they find him — mildly hurt, but otherwise OK. Nate’s MRI turns up clean, but Eli’s aneurysm is back. But, it turns out, he’s not alone — and he’s about to take a hell of a journey. "When the building collapsed, I was going to see you," Jordan tells Eli. "I needed to tell you. I know what we have to do now."
What did you think? Are you glad to see the vision-having Eli back? Is the prospect of the kinds of cases that crusading Eli will take as big a reason for you to keep watching as the stunt casting? And when do you think they’ll work in a "twist and shout" scene?