Recap: "The Family Man"

As our march toward the finale continues, we were treated to an episode directed by none other than Dr. Peter Ben... oh wait, I mean talented hyphenate Eriq La Salle. Call me crazy, but I was really hoping that our favorite surgeon would make a guest appearance in his self-directed episode. I guess the clue for me should have been the lack of NBC spoilers promoting a "very special return." We'll save that for next week.

Our dear old friend did a nice job directing a rather understated episode that focused on the theme of how our families can both lift us up and drag us down. It couldn't possibly be a "sweeps" month at County General without a high-profile guest star, and this time that role was filled this time by Louis Gossett Jr., who played a man who has all but given up on struggling to survive but decides to fight for the sake of his granddaughter.

Another story focused on a woman raising her brother's daughter. Unbeknownst to the girl, her absentee uncle was actually her father who had left her years before in the care of his sister. When an unexpected illness keeps the mother hospitalized, the "uncle" blows an opportunity to redeem himself by abandoning his daughter (again) in a true time of need. The end of this episode was actually quite heart-breaking as the little girl came to the realization that he wasn't coming back before Dr. Brenner reached the same conclusion. This storyline also provided me with my weekly dose of can-I-smack-Sam-please? For someone who has been through so much, it is hard to reconcile her inflexible, unforgiving attitude. While she ended up being right about the father, it doesn't make her judgmental inclinations any less obnoxious.

I am happy to see that Archie is actually in a relationship that has a fighting chance for survival. Justine Machado's very family-oriented police officer is a nice match for Archie. His initial reaction to her family and then his assuming the super hero persona to much initial kiddy derision was quite humorous. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the arc of this character has been extremely interesting to watch and I am rooting for his happy ending.

More interesting developments are on the way next week and click here for the latest news on what's in store in these final weeks.

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