"The Big C" New Beginnings (TV Episode 2010) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Now that Paul knows about Cathy's melanoma, he wants to help her in any way he can, including investigating alternate treatments. He is also still trying to get over the fact that he lost three months in trying to help her, three months in her probably shortened life. Cathy tries to explain to him why she didn't didn't tell him sooner. Paul, in dealing with the spouse of someone who died of cancer, begins to move closer to Cathy's way of thinking. Meanwhile, Rebecca tells Sean that she is moving to Minneapolis, but doesn't quite get the reaction she wanted. In a girls' bonding session, Marlene, Cathy and Rebecca go out for lunch to an unusual locale, an incident at which makes Cathy believe that Paul's thoughts about dealing with her illness aren't completely wrong. And Cathy learns about Marlene's Alzheimer's.

  • Paul seeks support from people at his work place, but gets more than he bargained for. Sean pulls away from Rebecca when it appears she's getting too serious. Cathy, Marlene and Rebecca have a girl's lunch at a strip joint -- which unexpectedly influences Cathy's thoughts about her cancer. Adam meets a girl, Mia, at the bus stop.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Paul comes to visit Cathy at school, raising a razor over his head and saying he'll shave his head in solidarity. He takes a chunk out as she's telling him she's not going chemo.

    He asks what she is doing and says that's why she should have told him sooner, so they could have been doing something. He's been researching furiously; he recommends coffee enemas.

    She realizes something must be done about his hair.

    At the salon, Paul blames cancer for the chunk out of his hair. The hairdresser knows someone who had melanoma and did the enemas, they also ate 20 apricots a day. Paul wants Cathy to keep trying things and tell people.

    She says as soon as she tells people she has to deal with their feelings, like his, right now. He thinks he's going to have a hard time keeping it from Adam, but she reminds him he promised. She doesn't want Adam to know until she seems sick.

    Cut to Cathy visiting Dr. Mauer, totally buzzing with energy from her coffee enema. He gently dismisses alternative therapies as a main treatment.

    Paul picks Adam up at soccer practice. Adam wants the two of them to go camping, just the boys. But Paul says where ever they go, Cathy's coming. He seems on the brink of telling Adam multiple times, but holds back. Then he abruptly tells Adam to get out of the car and find his own way home.

    Sean visits Rebecca in her hotel room. She has an announcement: she's moving to Minneapolis. She expects him to be excited, but he tells her not to move for him. She throws things at him and scream until he leaves.

    Paul bums a cigarette off some guys outside his office building. He doesn't know them, but offers up that his wife has cancer. They mention some woman in HR whose husband has cancer.

    Cathy shares wine with Rebecca, who tells her trying to save Sean is a slippery slope. She tells Cathy she can't get her Chicago territory back so she's stuck moving. Marlene drops by, inviting them to get in on some lunch buffet coupons with her.

    Paul drops by Cheryl's office in HR, wanting to talk about cancer. She excuses herself.

    The ladies go to lunch -- which turns out to be a male strip club, albeit one with a buffet.

    Adam checks out the bus schedules. A cute girl on the bus bench starts talking to him. She offers that her parents are divorced and tells him separated pretty much means divorced. She says the upside is they're both so wrapped up in their own lives, they don't notice her.

    She shows him the neck tattoo she got six months ago that neither of them have noticed. She draws on his arm, telling him not to wash it and see how long it takes them to notice. They decide to walk.

    Paul stalks Cheryl in the office until she finally tells him she can't talk about watching her husband waste away until she prayed he'd die to put them both out of their misery. He died last month.

    At the strip club, Marlene appreciates the talent as Rebecca can't stop bringing up Sean. Finally, Cathy tells Rebecca that Sean is not the guy for her and maybe there never will be one but she needs to realize her life is pretty great anyway.

    The strip club MC tells the women to look under their chairs for a key. Cathy has it. She gets up on stage and opens a steam trunk. A guy dressed in Naval whites gets out and gives her a lap dance, but she bails when he gets down to his g-string. When she sits back down, Rebecca asks her not to steal her hope. Cathy gives her the key.

    Later that night, Cathy's turning out lights to go to bed when she sees Marlene pawing in the bushes outside. Marlene says she can't find her purse. She doesn't recognize Cathy.

    Cathy takes her inside and sits with her all night. In the morning, Cathy asks if recognizes her. Marlene says she's not stupid, she just has Alzheimers.

    Paul comes home and tells Cathy he gets why she didn't want to tell people; telling people sucks. He also gets why she needed him to move out for a while. He doesn't quite understand Lenny, but says he might in time.

    Adam comes down to announce he's leaving. Cathy says fine, but tells him to wash the ridiculous drawing off his arm first. He smiles over the fact she noticed.

    Adam leaves and Cathy notices that Paul has brought his suitcase and sock drawer with him. "I'm home," he says.

    Cathy visits Dr. Mauer, saying she won something yesterday, beating the odds. She tells him she'll take a chance and start with bee sting therapy. She tells him she used to be an optimist and wants to be that again. She wants him to back her up. He does.

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