The last time we saw Eli Stone, our lawyer/prophet was working his way through a breakup with an heiress and had a difficult vision about his brother’s wedding. Now, as a newlywed myself, I can appreciate that there are often difficulties on the road to matrimony. But they’re usually of the "our caterer didn’t show up" variety, rather than a Dark Truth vision of the wedding being called off. But to each their own.
Spoilers — and fate — ahead…
Nate, Beth, and Eli: Eli’s really disturbed by the vision he had via Dr. Lee’s Dark Truth about Beth leaving Nate at the altar — and rightfully so. He wants to protect Nate from getting his heart broken. So even as he agrees to be promoted from best man to officiant, he’s on the lookout, asking questions, watching Nate’s reactions, looking for clues. And when he mentions the vision to Patti, whom he’s tasked with making sure he officially becomes an officiant, she points out that he doesn’t have the best track record when interpreting his own visions. Maybe it’s something else, she says. And of course, Eli can’t talk to Nate about it.
But with all the probing questions (and in fairness, they’re about as subtle as a Mack truck), Nate’s onto Eli. Have you had a vision, he asks — but Eli denies it. "Nobody wants your wedding to go well more than I do — believe me," Eli tells him. Nate asks Dr. Chen if he knows what’s going on, or if he can check their dad’s journal for some clues about the wedding. But Chen waves him off, telling him to go get married and not worry about Eli. Meanwhile, Eli takes the same watchful approach with Beth, listening to her describe her first date with Nate and watching her play the piano and sing a version of Billy Joel’s "This Night" that was so absolutely gorgeous it made me want to revisit that album. But when it’s over, she looks a little stricken. And of course, you’re thinking what I’m thinking. Or, more to the point, what Beth’s thinking.
It takes Eli just a little bit longer, though, and he goes back to Dr. Lee for another round of Dark Truth to get a better look at the future. And sees himself and Beth kissing and being caught by Nate, and Beth calling off the wedding. Dr. Lee stops the vision because Eli’s convulsions were becoming too severe, and a concerned Dr. Chen goe to see him as well. You’re stepping off the path, Eli, and you know that’s fundamentally wrong, Chen tells him. Don’t go to the wedding, change things if you can, but what you’re doing isn’t right.
But Eli keeps the faith that maybe he can do something about it, and goes with Nate and Beth to Las Vegas — the Bellagio, no less — for the wedding. It’s another lovely moment between the brothers as Nate thanks Eli for being his best friend. Then Eli goes back upstairs to get the rings, and all hell breaks loose. Beth’s there, looking at the rings and tearing up. I don’t think I can do this, she tells Eli. The problem: she loves Nate, but she has feelings for Eli too, and she can’t get married without knowing if Eli shares her feelings. He doesn’t, he assures her, and goes to get Nate — who walks in. I’m sorry, but I can’t marry you, she tells Nate. Bless him, Eli made sure that the kissing from his vision didn’t happen — but that doesn’t mean he could control how Beth feels.
In the end, Eli goes to see a livid Nate, who won’t return his phone calls and doesn’t want to see him. Nate blames Eli for not telling him about the vision, not believing his brother’s desire to protect him. Before you started protecting me, I had a job, a career, a woman who loved me, he tells Eli. Now he has nothing. You chose to have the aneurysm back so that I could have a normal life, Nate says. If I had the aneurysm, at least I’d have your gift. Now I’m just as alone as you are. Everything I care about you’re taking away from me — you’re worse than Dad, Nate exclaims. Ouch. That last bit really gets to Eli, and he begins to fire back when the nosebleed starts and things get blurry.
A change of circumstance: The minister at Keith’s church comes to him for help with a wrongful termination lawsuit. The minister — formerly Michelle, now Michael — had a sex change, and was dismissed before he had a chance to talk to the congregation about his decision, his surgery and the process of becoming a man. And this is a pastor who built this church, taking it from 50 members to 1,000. Keith immediately takes the case to Eli. He’s clearly uncomfortable, but he’s also right that it’s exactly the kind of case that’s Eli’s specialty.
But Eli’s not buying Keith’s attempt to distance himself, and pulls him back in. The church is arguing that Michael was fired not because of the sex change, but because of a clause in the contract allowing for a change in circumstance. For two years before the surgery, Michelle lived as Michael outside the church, but didn’t disclose it to the congregation. We don’t want a liar guiding our spiritual lives, the church administrator says.
Keith goes to see Rev. Michael at the community center where he’s conducting a Bible study for a group of transgendered men and women. His point is a passage that reads that everyone is one in Christ — not men, not women. Despite our challenges in offering forgiveness or understanding why other people do what they do, it’s an affirmation of spiritual equality for each of us. Which makes Keith get it: equal access to God.
Keith ends up questioning Rev. Michael on the stand, getting him to tell the story of how he was fired without the opportunity to address the congregation. So he delivers his sermon from the witness box. He is the same person he was when he was Michelle. It’s just that in this body his spirit is free to be closer to what God intended him to be — and that makes him a better minister. He is a prodigal son, seeking understanding and acceptance. Now he knows who he is, and the congregants’ response will tell him who they are.
The jury ends up ruling in favor of Rev. Michael, and awarding a total of about $175,000. But Keith gets him what he really wants — the opportunity to deliver his sermon in church. Very few people showed up, and the minister is discouraged. But Keith encourages him, saying that they’ll come around — he did.
The wee one: Matt and Taylor are in some ways getting closer as a couple as her pregnancy progresses. He buys a very cute tiny pair of hockey skates on eBay as she focuses on the tests she’s about to have done. The doctor finds that Taylor’s protein levels are higher than they should be, possibly indicating a chromosomal problem. Additional testing will be needed to be sure.
Which touches off a very difficult conversation between two people who never thought they’d be serious. Taylor is clearly troubled by the prospect of the tests, and about making a decision whether to continue the pregnancy based on their results. Matt’s shocked that she’d even consider such a thing. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, you have to cut Taylor at least a little bit of slack for how she’s trying to cope with the unknown.
Patti gives her a little help. She runs into Taylor in the ladies’ room, and even though they’ve never been exactly close, Taylor explains what’s going on. And she’s worried that by putting herself first in this scenario, she’s a bad mother. But Patti reassures her — that’s what you should be doing, she says. You’ve got to do what’s good for you, or you’re no good to anybody.
The point of all this poignancy is that Taylor and Matt aren’t talking. They’re trying to face this like a couple, but they’re really not acting like one, and at its crux, that’s the problem. There will be a mission decisions to make, and a million fights, Taylor tells Matt. But they need to keep talking, even if they’re screaming at one another. The call comes — the baby’s fine.
What did you think? What’s your bet on what happens to Eli?