Feeling The Heat

Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
Life's Most Precious Cargo

Anyway, now she and Brass are back to talking to Mr. and Mrs. W. Vickie's explaining that she was in the garden the weekend before Joshua died, and she testily asks, "Why are you so interested in everything we do? When did our lives become an open book?" When your spouse killed your kid in a public plaza, lady. Where have you been for the past 54 minutes? Brass more or less says the same thing. We find out that, yes, Vickie was in the garden, and she fought with the mister because neither one of them particularly wanted to take care of Joshua that day. Anyway, Mr. W passes off Joshua to Vickie while she's gardening. Back in the present, she explains that the minute she had the boy, she went inside. Catherine asks if Mrs. W washed her hands. Mrs. W waffles on the answer. Catherine tells her she went and visited the Winstons' pediatrician: "When you brought Joshua in on that emergency call, it was because you feared that he, too, had Tay-Sachs?" Paul Winston notes that they had the tests and the good doctor's reassurances that the baby was fine. Brass adds, "I can imagine for both of you, it must have been reliving the nightmare. One child, now two." Catherine tags in with, "Did you know that repeated exposure to certain pesticides, even in small amounts, can have an adverse effect in infants? Even mimic the signs of Tay-Sachs?" The camera focuses tightly on Vickie's face as the penny drops for her: she was soaking in pesticides, she exposed her son to them, and his resultant maladies mimicked Tay-Sachs. The Winstons exchange a horrified look. To hammer home the point, Catherine says, "You work with pesticides, Mrs. Winston, on your job and in your garden. You handled Joshua. We suspect that's how the traces got into his system." Another horrified look on the part of the Winstons. Catherine says, "I'm just speculating here, but I think this is what happened next..."

We flash to the Winstons out in the garden -- their child nowhere in sight -- discussing what happens now. Mr. W pleads that they should wait for the enzyme tests; Mrs. W argues for no more tests, no more drugs, no more kids, no nothing, because she doesn't think she can handle any more. Of all the boneheaded lines of reasoning, that one is the most calcium-encrusted: what parent wouldn't hope against hope for the best even when braced for the worst?

Back in the present, Catherine says, "You gave Joshua cough syrup, Mr. Winston. Why did you medicate him?" To add a particularly maudlin touch to a case that's rapidly shaping up as "baby killed by stupid parents who jump to conclusions"? Brass suggests, "Maybe he just didn't want him to suffer." We see Mr. W medicating the achingly cute Joshua, whispering, "It's okay, it's okay," while the missus gets ready to flee town. You know, given that she's the one pushing for an alleged "mercy killing" -- which, frankly, wasn't exactly presented in a way that didn't make her look like a selfish twit with the "I've suffered enough!" argument -- it seems like she should be the one to do the dirty deed. Anyway, Mr. W gets out of the car accompanied by his pianist, locks it, and heads off. Just in case this isn't sufficiently drenched in pathos, the baby wakes up and begins to cry.

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