Papa Can You Hear Me?
Season 2, Episode 9
Air date November 20, 2009
Viewers Canada - , The Netherlands -
Opening "Being Erica theme" by Lily Frost
Episode Guide
A River Runs Through it... it Being Egypt
What goes Up Must Come Down

Things around Erica are not going well. Sam, who is still staying with Erica and Ethan, has just been served divorce papers by Josh, who wants to take her for everything. And Erica loses two important people in her life. First, Brent no longer wants to associate with her as he sees them as being on opposite sides of a Cold War. And second, Kai no longer wants to see her after her admission to him that she has feelings for him. Not wanting to fall into what he sees as the bad life he lived in 2019, Kai quits his job at Goblins without telling Erica in hopes that she can go on with her happy life with Ethan. Erica, in her regular therapy session, wants specifically to deal with the issue of Kai, which Dr. Tom refuses, he stating that her therapy is about her and not Kai. After a fight, Erica walks out of her session. Their fight reminded Dr. Tom of his own strained relationship with his street-wise daughter, Sarah, whose whereabouts he now does not know. To help him understand what is happening between himself and Erica, Dr. Tom is sent back by Dr. Naadiah to his last meeting with Sarah. This trip back may fundamentally change Dr. Tom's relationship with Erica, and by association Kai.

Full Plot Edit

Erica's voiceover: "Relationships, they're like pillars in our lives, providing support, defining a space in which we live. We think of them as solid, immutable. The world may change around us, but our relationships? They remain constant."

Erica and Julianne are discussing the sex book when Kai stops by. He didn't sleep that night and kept thinking of what Erica had said. He's come to the conclusion staying friends is a big mistake, as he came here to have a normal life, not screw up Erica's. He thought he was here to undo a regret but realizes he can rewrite his whole existence. Erica: No, you can't. Kai continues that coming between her and Ethan is the old Kai. He doesn't believe she can feel something for him and it doesn't change anything. Erica: Not if we don't let it. Kai tells her to stay away from him.

Voiceover: "Relationships. They feel so permanent, so solid. Why are we surprised to find out they're not immune to change?"

At River Rock, Brent informs Erica that they're in the middle of a cold war and can't cross enemy lines. They need to put a pause on their friendship so long as she remains friends with Julianne. 

Sam is indignant that Josh is asking for a divorce and $80K, since he put her through school. Erica says that's ridiculous, he didn't. Sam: All the signs were there, I didn't want to see them. Ethan: Like what? Sam: We never talked about anything important, about how I felt. He made up an idea in his mind of who I was, now here we are. She thinks it's pathetic she wanted to run away, and went to Goblins looking or Kai, but he quit without giving Dave any notice. Erica is surprised. 

Later that night, Erica can't sleep. She goes to Goblins and tells Dave she needs to talk to Kai. He's reluctant to help her but finally buckles and divulges Kai's address. 

She goes to Kai's, and apologizes for making everything complicated. Kai said it's not her, he always screws everything up. She asks why he quit, and his reasoning is: if he disappears, she and Ethan can go back to being in love, and Travis can have a nice little career. He tells her to go away; if Dr. Fred can give up on him, so can she. Erica insists Dr. Fred hasn't given up. Kai intends to tell Travis he's quitting the band.

She leaves and ends up in Dr. Tom's office. Erica: He won't listen; he's being irrational, unreasonable. Erica wants Dr. Tom to talk to Kai but he refuses to discuss this, saying unlike Dr. Fred he doesn't become involved in the lives of his patients. Erica is frustrated and tries to leave, but Dr. Tom says they're not done and locks the door. She is more distressed and insists he open the door; he relents and allows her to leave.

Dr. Tom goes from his office to Dr. Naadiah's office. Dr. Tom: We had a disagreement. It wasn't our first, it won't be our last. Dr. Naadiah: Disagreement is a normal part of the process. Dr. Tom: This was different, it felt like the fights I used to have with Sarah. She and I would get going, there would be no middle ground. It would end up being an all out war that didn't accomplish anything. Dr. Tom regrets that this led to Sarah leaving, and that's when he lost her. Dr. Naadiah: Are you afraid of losing Erica? Dr. Tom: I was not a good father, I'm aware of that. But I'm a good therapist. Dr. Naadiah: Yes, but even the best therapists miss things. Dr. Tom: What is the connection, why do I have the same fights as with my daughter?

He flashes back to the "last big fight" with Sarah when she disappeared. He follows her, and tells her this time I will listen. Sarah tells Dr. Tom to go back to work, and he responds: I don't care about work. To show he's serious, he throws his jacket and cell phone in the garbage, and gives his watch to Martin, Sarah's boyfriend. Sarah is flabbergasted and asks: What's gotten into you? You're embarassing me. He convinces her to have lunch with him, just one hour, and she tells Martin she'll meet him back at the van. He warns they're leaving at 5, so don't be late.

Dr. Tom and Sarah are sitting at a lunch counter and he asks if she remembers the place. She does. It's where he used to bring her every Sunday to get strawberry milkshakes with extra whipped cream, and he would let her eat his. Sarah assumes her father hates her hair, clothes, friends, and is ruining her life. Dr. Tom tells her he's here because he wants to understand what happened. She doesn't know, it just happened.

They order, and Dr. Tom changes the order to two strawberry milkshakes with extra whipped cream. They reminisce, and as they prepare to leave Dr. Tom reaches for his wallet to pay only to remember that his wallet was in the jacket he threw in the trashcan.  Sarah has $3 in change which isn't enough, and she convinces him to dine and dash without paying. They run out and find a place to sit, and Sarah says: I can't believe you did that. Neither can Dr. Tom. He asks Sarah where she and Martin are going, and she doesn't want to talk about it since she knows they're going to fight. So Dr. Tom says forget about it, it's OK.

Sarah says she should get back, but Dr. Tom notes that Martin said she had until 5. He wants to tag along to see how she spends her time. She confronts him, wanting to know if he thinks she's stealing cars and vandalizing property. Dr. Tom: I have no idea what you do, and that's why I'm asking.

They go to an art studio hosting a live drawing class. Dr. Tom is surprised to learn she attends 2 or 3 times a week. Sarah sketches a nude female. After the class is over, Dr. Tom shows her the rough outline and smudge that he did, and asks to see Sarah's work. Sarah: It was a bit rushed, I could do better. Dr. Tom tells her what she did was really good, and because this was just an "exercise" for Sarah, he asks if he could keep her sketch. 

He tells her she should have gone to art school, and she wants to know if he is having a mid-life crisis or has cancer. She thought all her parents wanted was commerce or premed, or she's on her own. Dr. Tom wishes he hadn't said this, and knows it doesn't help. Sarah: It helps a little.

They're walking back to Martin and the van, they hug and say goodbye. Dr. Tom tells Sarah he already knows where he will hang her sketch. Sarah looks contemplative, turns around, looks at him, and says: Dad, I don't think I want to go. 

A police car stops by, and Dr. (Officer) Naadiah climbs out of the car. Dr. Tom: What is this, what are you trying to do here? You know I can't change Sarah's path. Dr. Naadiah: I can't do this, I can't do that, it's all about you. Where is Sarah in this equation? You're not making the decision, she is. Dr. Tom: But I influenced her, so yes, it has everything to do with me. Sarah comes up to Dr. Tom and Dr. Naadiah and Dr. Tom quickly improvises and tells her they were discussing his lost wallet. Dr. Naadiah assures Dr. Tom: We're putting every resource on this just for you.

Dr. Tom and Sarah go home and discover Marjorie is not home. Sarah takes a shower, and Dr. Tom cooks fettuccine bolognese, much to Sarah's surprise.

Marjorie comes home and sees Sarah. She's OK with Sarah coming home if she's here to stay, and Dr. Tom says she's here for dinner. Marjorie wants to know if she ran out of money or fought with Martin, and Dr. Tom tries to interject. Marjorie: I have a right to hear why she's here, will she stay this time? Dr. Tom asks Sarah to set the dining room table.

Marjorie tears into Dr. Tom as they had agreed the previous day that they would be a united front. Dr. Tom thinks they have an opportunity and doesn't want to drive her away again because they've been down this road, and every time they fail. He simply wants to have dinner as a family.

They're eating dinner and Marjorie asks: Have you thought about your plans now that you're home? She offers to help with Sarah's resume or applying to university again and wants her to think ahead. Dr. Tom tells Marjorie: She is, she wants to pursue art, maybe art school. Dr. Tom tells her he went to her art class and she's good. The conversation degenerates into an argument that drawing is a hobby, not a career, and how many artists can make a living? Sarah retorts that there is more to life than money, and Marjorie tries to get Dr. Tom to agree with her. Dr. Tom doesn't agree with Marjorie and says it's Sarah's life, and shutting her down is not the right thing. Marjorie is indigant and asks since when? Your dad told me last night that it killed him waking up every morning knowing his daughter is living on streets and throwing her life away. Dr. Tom yells: STOP! And Marjorie walks out of the room.

Sarah asks Dr. Tom: Why did you come looking for me? I was fine. Dr. Tom: I wanted to understand why this happened. Sarah: You and mom won't let me live my life. Dr. Tom: No, it's not true, we want you to decide. Sarah grieves: You take what I love and twist it. I'm an adult, I can make my own decisions, you can't control me. Right now I want to get the hell out of here. She leaves.

Tom rolls up the drawing. Marjorie is pacing around, and Dr. Tom returns to the present in Dr. Naadiah's office.

After composing himself, he tells Dr. Naadiah: Thank you for taking me back there. I knew it was hard. I always I assumed it was problems between Marjorie and I for what happened to Sarah. Now I know it was more complicated. We were scared, we thought she was just messing around and didn't want to grow up, when in fact that's exactly what she was trying to do... Is that what I'm doing to Erica? Kai has become a distraction. Dr. Naadiah: But that doesn't preclude his being a necessary part of her journey, especially if she wants him to be. Dr. Tom: How did you know when I was ready? Dr. Naadiah: You knew, and you let me know. He leaves.

Later he sees Dr. Fred and admits to him: this was not my finest moment. This thing that we do is not easy. Dr. Fred: No kidding. I can't reach him . I've tried everything I could think of. Dr. Tom offers to try and help Kai, with no guarantees.

Kai is playing his guitar, and Dr. Tom knocks on door and tells him he's Erica's therapist. Kai is defensive. Dr. Tom: Did Erica ever mention she had a brother? He died 10 years ago, and Erica tried to go back and prevent it, twisting therapy into something it's not. Kai: Did it work? Dr. Tom: What do you think? Explain to me Kai, what is it that you want? Kai wants to disappear as he thinks it will make things better for everyone but him. Dr. Tom reminds him he tried that, he ran away from his whole life and yet here he is, running again. He asks, when does it end? Kai: With Travis still alive. Dr. Tom: Just because you want it to happen doesn't mean that it will. It's something you have to face... One more thing. Be sure before you make big changes messing with past. Be sure you're making the right choices this time. Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act. Kai: Bob Dillon. Dr. Tom leaves.

At River Rock, Erica is hurt when Brent discourages another employee from speaking to Erica. Julianne sympathizes. Erica can't believe she thought they were friends, and Julianne suggests she accept their friendship has changed for good. Erica ends up in Dr. Tom's office. He has framed and hung Sarah's painting in his office. She's confused and thinks Dr. Tom didn't get the message, but he assures her he did. He tells her she has every right to be upset; when to decide to talk about something is her perogative when she's ready, and apparently that is now. He agrees to talk about Kai.

Erica: He is withdrawing from everything, I feel like it's my fault. Dr. Tom asks why. Erica told Kai she felt something, he thinks it changes everything, and Erica insists he's wrong, that they can continue to be friends, and she's not breaking up with Ethan. Dr. Tom: Funny. A year ago we couldn't have this conversation. I would have shut it down, you would have dropped it and done as you were told. Things are different, you're different, and that's a sign of change. In here one gets the feeling that time stands still, and it does in a way. But you and I are in a patient therapist relationship; it's evolving. Change or die. That's the same for relationships - if we don't allow them to change, we run the risk of destroying them. Can you accept the risk that your relationship with Kai is changing? She assures him she may have a crush on a damaged rock star but she won't throw it away for nothing, she's not stupid. Dr. Tom: There's your answer. Erica compliments Dr. Tom on Sarah's sketch and leaves.

Erica's voiceover: "Change is inevitable. The only constant is that nothing is constant, and the best defense is to change how we deal with it."

At Goblins, Erica learns Kai has returned and is begging for his job back. She asks him what changed and learns Dr. Tom paid him a visit of his own accord, not because of Erica. Some of the things Dr. Tom said made Kai reconsider, and he's sticking around awhile to do some thinking and figure out what to do next. He grins and says: Last thing I need is another regret. About not talking to each other, I was overreacting. Erica responds: No, you were right, I need to focus on me and Ethan right now. Kai: You have to do what feels right... Will I still see you for morning coffee? She smiles and leaves as he looks after her wistfully.