Cathy Jamison is a high school teacher played by Laura Linney who discovers she has terminal melanoma and makes drastic changes in her once boring life. In this episode she goes to the storage room and finds her old tandem bicycle. Her husband comes over on his scooter and demands to get his socks back and a few other things. She forced him to leave the house because she was tired of being his mother instead of his wife. Her son is mad at her because she will not let him go to soccer camp because she wants him to be with her.
Unfortunately, her son does not agree with her theory.
She attends a cancer support group meeting and introduces herself to them. She tells them she is Cathy, age 42 and has stage four melanoma. They do a group exercise and she tells her partner in the group that she has not told anyone in her family that she is sick. Her partner tells her to share her feelings and she leaves the group immediately.
The next morning two of the support people show up with a big casserole. Cathy decides to have a dinner party with her brother and his girlfriend who she did not know about. And she goes to see Andrea and invites her also. Andrea is very outspoken and tells her that ‘˜it better not be one of those Blind Side things where the uptight white bitch tries to save the black kid!’
Cathy wakes up to Marlene’s dog licking her all over and we see her crying for the first time. She returns the dog, walking right into Marlene’s house who asked if she ever knocked. She told her that her dog never knocks, so why should she!
So she has her dinner that her son refuses to come to and stays in his room. Andrea goes up and drags his behind downstairs. They reluctantly eat the casserole and the evening ends well. But Adam and Andrea take Marlene’s dog for a walk because he came over again uninvited. As they reach Marlene’s house the dog runs back to her and she sees Andrea, a big black girl and gives her a piece of her mind and calls her colored. Cathy breaks up whatever fight is going on and tells Marlene she should watch her dog.
Cathy comes home and finds a trail of seashells leading to her living room with beach chairs, an umbrella and sand spread out on the floor and her hubby, Oliver sitting in one of the chairs. He pleads with her to let him back in her life and she tells him she can’t right now and runs out of the house and jumps in her car. As she is backing out of the driveway she stops and jumps out and there is Marlene’s dog who she hit with the car.
As Marlene and Cathy are in the vet’s office, Marlene asks her what kind of cancer? She says the dog just has a broken leg. Marlene tells her again, to tell her what kind of cancer she has. Cathy is astonished and Marlene tells her that the dog knows because he followed her late husband around and never left his side and he had colon cancer.
So now the support group knows, Marlene knows and the dog knows!
Next week because of Labor Day weekend, the Big C will not be on, so I will see you all in two weeks!
Laura Linney as Cathy Jamison, a reserved schoolteacher who finds out she has cancer
Oliver Platt as Paul Jamison, her estranged husband
John Benjamin Hickey as Sean, her “eccentric” brother who chooses to be homeless
Phyllis Somerville as Marlene, Cathy’s grouchy neighbor
Gabriel Basso as Adam, Cathy’s bratty son
Gabourey Sidibe as Andrea, a mean-spirited student who Cathy sees as a challenge
Reid Scott as Dr. Todd, Cathy’s doctor and first cancer patient in his young life