laura linney the big c 320 'The Big C' recap: Know Thy EnemaSo it takes Paul about six seconds to make his wife’s terminal cancer all about him on “The Big C.” He shaves his head in the middle of her classroom as some kind of idiot gesture, then gets tips on alternative therapies (“twenty apricots a day!”) from his stylist, then chases this poor woman around at work for days until she finally tells him — in graphic, sad detail — what it was like to watch her own spouse die. Paul suddenly figures out why Cathy didn’t tell him to begin with, and why she kicked him out. (He admits to being confused by the Lenny part, still, but then so is Cathy.) Then he moves back in.

Adam, left on his own for the afternoon while Paul process his emotional emotions and can barely keep from blabbing, meets a girl who nearly convinces him that parents don’t get back together once they separate, and that they wouldn’t notice if he got a tattoo. There’s a neat moment at the end of the episode where you honestly think Cathy’s not going to notice his marker tattoo… But then she does. Very suspenseful.

Sean and Rebecca have a rip-roaring awesome fight (“I lowered my f***ing bar for you!”) after she skeeves him out by moving to Minneapolis so she can look like hell on this show all the time, and he dumps her. She kind of has a point, but Cathy has a better point, which is: If you want to date a guy and you want it to go somewhere, don’t pick a mentally ill, literal homeless man off the street.

Marlene takes Cathy and Rebecca to a strip club for the lunch buffet, so there are lots of gay men with muscles if you’re into that; Cathy wins a lap dance, and pulls a total Cathy Jamison on the guy. Mostly because she’s freaking out because Dr. Todd pointed out how stupid things like “bee sting therapy” are, which stole her hope, and then she stole the hope of Rebecca by telling her that at the age of Gollum she should stop hoping for love to solve all her problems and start solving her problems, which are imaginary anyways.

Later, Cathy apologizes for all that, but hopefully Rebecca heard her. Then she finds Marlene wandering around in her yard and they have the big talk: Marlene’s got Secret Alzheimer’s and totally knows it, which is just one of the many reasons she was so cool with Cathy’s Secret Cancer. All of this adds up to an apparently irresistible desire to be optimistic and hopeful about whatever, and it is a brittle and nearly nuts Cathy Jamison who comes into Dr. Mauer’s office and emotionally batters him into agreeing that Bee Sting Therapy is probably a great idea! That will totally cure her cancer!

Next week: Dr. Todd takes a trip, Thank You notes are written, bees sting, and Paul is obnoxious.

Photo credit: Showtime

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