#H50 – The Fate of Doris McGarrett

I posted this thread on Twitter a couple of days ago in the wake of Episode 10.07.  I thought I’d post it here as well for anyone who may want to comment but not on Twitter.  It’s something the episode really made me think about, even all these days later.


I’ve re-watched #H50 10.07 twice more now and these two quotes really got me thinking. “From the minute that woman walked out of my life, the only thing I’ve ever wanted is to have her back in it” and “I just wish she realized all she had to do was get on an airplane and come home”.

Those feelings from Steve are completely understandable. But what woman did he want back in his life? Time has a way of smoothing out the rough edges of our worst memories and a way of enhancing good memories sometimes to such an extent that we can look back on some pretty bad things and manage to remember only the good.

When Doris walked out of his life, Steve was 15 years old. She’d been a warm, caring, loving mother in all those 15 years. He was devastated by her “death”. It changed the course of his young life. I’m sure his thoughts from those very first days were something like “If this hadn’t happened, if she could just come back, everything would be ok. Everything would go back to normal”.

We saw those sentiments all the way back in the early episodes of the series. He told Danny that her death made him the man he is today. At that point he didn’t know Doris was alive. He was still thinking back and remembering the loving mother he’d lost.

But if Doris didn’t die in that explosion, his “mother” surly did. That woman ceased to exist the day she “died”. The mother he had always wanted back in his life was as dead to him as if she had died in that car. And, every time Doris came back, she managed to drag Steve into that reality.

In the last 7 years Doris had nothing but opportunities to get on a plane and go home. Steve isn’t completely right. Yeah, we do have to deal with what life gives us on life’s terms, but we do have choices too. Where Steve is right is that all she had to do was get on a plane.

But what woman would have arrived home? His “mother” is gone. She killed herself. Not in a car bomb but in a life she chose to follow. Maybe if she’d changed her mind a month after the bomb, Mom could have gone home. But Doris isn’t Mom anymore. She couldn’t just all of a sudden be what she hadn’t been in almost 30 years. She tried when she first came back. How long did it last? 2 months? Less?

And Doris knew it too. The money she was trying to set aside for them all was her way of giving them something of herself. Because she knew she could never give them what they truly wanted. They wanted their mother back. She thought she was doing a good thing. Set them up financially so they’d be ok for life. She’s old enough now to “retire”. Not be part of that world anymore. All they wanted was their mother but she, herself, realized she wasn’t that person anymore. She couldn’t go home and pretend she was.

She thought this was a better way. They’d survived without her all these years. Nothing would change in that regard. I don’t think she was wrong. It probably would have been better, in the long run, if Doris had never come back at all. Better for Steve to think his mother died in that car bomb because, in reality, she did.


3 thoughts on “#H50 – The Fate of Doris McGarrett

  1. Dan Gibson says:

    Concur, Linda …. As I said last nite, this episode had an impact on me like few others over the last 9 1/2 years. It now has a permanent spot among my five favorite shows.

    The single thought I am left with is that STEVE is now all alone. The three adults in his family are gone. With each passage, he has called on his unique and strong resolve to think it out, and then move on.

    This would have been an outstanding, landmark episode if handled by the usual staff. But in the hands of the multi-talented Alex O’Loughlin, it was portrayed in a believable, heartfelt way that make it remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

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