I’ve long had my suspicions that the Beatles had a direct line to God, and this week’s Eli Stone did little to disprove the notion. Specifically, it’s "Help" that Eli sees Patti singing during a vision he gets when he goes to the movies with Dr. Chen. Subtle it’s not, I grant you. But it gets the job done.
It’s about Patti’s daughter, Angela. In the vision, Patti tells Eli she’s innocent, so Eli offers his help to Patti almost before she’s heard from her daughter’s roommate that Angela has been arrested. Keith and Eli take the case, and at the arraignment learn that Angela’s been charged with three counts each of drug theft and narcotics trafficking. She’s being accused of stealing Fentanyl — an addictive and powerful opiate — from the hospital where she’s a medical student. Eli, convinced by the vision that Angela is innocent — and he tells as much to Patti — posts the bond for Angela’s $500,000 bail.
Angela absolutely denies the charges. Eli believes her, Keith isn’t really buying it, and Patti looks skeptical. Angela rattles off three very specific drugs and amounts she pulled for specific patients on the night in question, and insists that the charges are all lies. When they’re alone, Keith corners her, trying to get her to admit that she has a problem. She tells him to go to hell if he doesn’t believe her, regardless of his record of bringing his A game to work for guilty defendants when he was in the public defender’s office.
Eli tells Patti the case looks shaky; he’s seen people go to jail on less evidence, but he’ll expand the holes in the DA’s case. In court, a hospital administrator attests to how tightly these drugs are held, and how difficult access to them is — and notes that no one actually saw Angela taking them. Then all hell breaks loose when the prosecutor announces she’s calling as a witness the cop who arrested Angela on her DUI charge. The prosecutor’s theory is that Angela traded Fentanyl for cocaine — which forces Eli to sputter an objection and Keith to demand a mistrial be declared.
Angela admits that she tried cocaine the night she was busted, and names a classmate, Sean Binder, as the one who had the drugs. Keith says he’ll bring him in, but when Eli goes to join the meeting, Keith’s talking to a guy named Mark Young. Who turns out to be Angela’s dealer. When she ran out of money she started trading Fentanyl for cocaine. Keith shows Eli the guy’s cell phone — Angela called him a dozen times last month. We have to plead this, Keith tells Eli, who refuses to believe that this is the right explanation. It was revealed to him, he tells Keith. It’s fine that you believe in certain things, Keith says — unless they keep you from seeing what’s right in front of you. If you don’t accept that this is the truth, we can’t help Angela, he says.
Part of the problem is that Eli, quite rightly, dreads telling Patti that he was wrong. Patti confronts Angela and tells her to come clean and stop lying. I have a lot of problems, and being an addict is one of them, Angela tells her mother — but you never wanted to hear what was really going on because you had an image of me in your head. You put too much pressure on me to be perfect, she says, denigrating the fact that Patti’s a secretary and all she went through to raise Angela. You’re right, Patti says — I worked my ass off so you could have opportunities I never dreamed of. Their fight escalates, and ends with Patti slapping Angela in the face. You didn’t see my problems because you have your own problem, Angela says. In this case, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Eli tries to talk to Patti, but she spits back that they were wrong to have put their faith in him. Later, Jordan, who’s hanging around the office a lot more because he and his wife have separated — explains: Patti’s problem is alcohol. When she was Jordan’s secretary, she deteriorated until a bar called Jordan to come and pick her up. He told her to get help or be fired. She quit drinking — dry, not sober, Jordan notes, saying that while treatment programs give people tools to cope in times of stress, Patti probably doesn’t have those tools. Eli finds her in the same bar, and they have a great heart to heart — the chemistry between Jonny Lee Miller and Loretta Devine is really wonderful. She blames herself for Angela’s problems — she’s innocent, Patti says. (So that was what the vision meant.) Eli counsels her that she’s got to be there for her daughter — but not like this. You need to want my help, Eli says.
Meanwhile, Angela’s about to skip town when Keith pulls an intervention of his own. Your mom’s right — you aren’t yourself right now, he says. But you can get through this. I know you can fix it.
In the end, Keith cuts a deal with the DA’s office, making right a shady move he pulled when he was a public defender. Angela will get probation following rehab, and 2,000 hours of community service at the free clinic in the Mission District. She’s out of her medical school, but if it’s what she wants later, she can find a way. Patti and Angela reconcile, and each takes responsibility for what she has to do.
On the Matt/Taylor front, things are weird between the not couple. They go together to the first ultrasound, and Taylor does a terrible job at explaining to the doctor who Matt is — noting that their relationship is "undefined." Later at the office, Matt talks to Maggie about it, frustrated at the extreme discomfort of the afternoon’s appointment. Then he tells Maggie that he’s never told Taylor he loves her — and Maggie being Maggie (though she’s right on this one), she tells him to get on the stick and say something. Matt ends up taking Taylor to a Seal concert — he’s her favorite singer, and he scored tickets through new client Ashley Cardiff (Bridget Moynihan), an heiress who happens to know Heidi Klum. Well, that’s convenient.
At the show, Matt gets up the nerve to tell Taylor he loves her — and it falls flat. She doesn’t respond, which leaves him freaked out. He notes the irony that he of all people is in touch with his feminine side, and tells her she should get in touch with hers. Which isn’t really a fair thing to say. "You’re the dude," he tells her. Which is really funny. Later, Taylor explains how hard it is for her to share her feelings with anyone, particularly since the last person she really opened up to broke off their engagement. She doesn’t love him… yet. Which is why she didn’t want to just say it, she says. But they’re never gonna survive unless they get a little crazy.
And of course, Seal walks in, playing a guitar and singing. Yeah, it’s hokey, but so what. I’m not a huge Seal fan, but his cover of Sam Cooke’s "A Change is Gonna Come" during the concert is amazing. And props to him for being a sport about being on the show, even if it’s clearly a contrivance that doesn’t fit into the story at all. Also: Why is no one on TV ever trying to get tickets to a Springsteen show? Come on, Boss — give us a little prime time gift, will ya?
Speaking of contrivances, Matt and Maggie’s new client, Ashley Cardiff, is the heiress to an oil fortune, and she wants to start a trust to benefit the arctic wildlife adversely affected by her family’s business. "Not every woman likes to eat moose burgers and shoot polar bears," she says. Maggie’s less than thrilled by the case, annoyed that she has to deal with the heiress who’s trying to redeem her family’s fortune by buying her way out of it. "What is it about the rich that makes them think they can just buy their way to being good people?" Maggie rants to Matt. Uh, that’d be money, Maggie.
Ashley’s charming and self-aware, and she talks to Maggie about how her family’s business has made her used to not being liked. And obviously, she’s well connected. But just as it seems as though she’s hanging around just to be a way to have Seal’s appearance make sense, she turns out to be the blind date that Chen has been bugging Eli to go on. And from the looks of the preview for next week, we’ll get to see her sticking around for a little bit. About time Eli got to have some fun.
What did you think? Do you like how Matt and Taylor are developing as a couple? Did Eli’s initial interpretation of his vision just seem a little too easy? How do you think having a personal life will mesh with Eli’s career — and his work?