The Practice
Vanished, Part II

Episode Report Card
Ragdoll: C- | 2 USERS: A-
Guess what? The mother did it.

Previously on The Practice: Jimmy gets hoofed in the gut when he can't pay what he owes to Spanky the Bookie. To get the cash together, Jimmy steals some money from a client, bets the wad on a horse, and wins. Jimmy explains what happened to Eugene, who in turn goes to Rod with the information. Rod explodes. Blah disbarred blah. Bobby helps the Baldwins hang accused kidnapper John Pearce out to dry. And then Chad Baldwin, the missing child, arrives at The Firm.

The Firm of Unrelenting Pain. Patricia Wettig, number six on this year's guest star list, is the mother of James, the kid who claims to be Chad Baldwin. Rod leads her, James/Chad, and Ellenor into his Rod Space. He asks, "What makes you think you're Chad Baldwin?" JC defers to his mother, but he wants Bobby's "assurance" that his mother's not going to get in any trouble. Only, Bobby's not a) a cop who could or couldn't charge him or b) a member of the District Attorney's office, so really, Bobby's "assurance" doesn't mean jack. Instead of maybe explaining that, Rod simply folds his hands on top of his desk to stop them from getting out of control, and says, "Why would she?" JC says, "The man who kidnapped Chad Baldwin, the man that you sued, he's the man who gave me to my mother." Ellenor scrunches her eyebrows in disbelief. Mother of JC -- and no, her name is not Mary; even DEK wouldn't be that contrived -- explains that they were living in Brockton and the year was 1983. The same year the Baldwins' child disappeared. Ellenor: "He gave you a child? Why didn't you go to the police?" Easily explained by JC: "Because he told her I was his son." Sounds plausible. Not. Blah John Pearce asked Allison Tucker to watch James while he went out of town. She nods her head, "He never came back." Ellenor is still wondering about the logistics. Blah Chad's picture was all over the news, blah why didn't you know he'd been kidnapped. JC pipes up, "She didn't. And we're not here for you to cross-examine her like she's a criminal." Allison explains that she didn't own a television, nor did she watch TV with any frequency, and she wasn't hiding him. Bobby watches the music rush in. Then he says she'll have to talk to the police. Ellenor: "And the district attorney as well." Allison knows. And she also knows that she should have gone to the police eighteen years ago. Blah whatever she's done wrong, blah she'll accept the consequences, blah people always say that before they actually find out what kind of trouble they've really fallen into. "Now that I realize who he is and what the Baldwins have gone through --" She pauses. Rod interjects, "And this is why you're coming forward?" Yup. That and the fact that JC has the right to know his birth parents. Does he remember John Pearce? No. And he doesn't remember being Chad Baldwin either. He takes an envelope out of his pocket and hands it to Bobby, who opens it to discover a photo-booth strip of images. Who is in the picture? Well, none other than Pearce and Patricia. The Prodigal Son Returns Retro Boogie drones on. Blah Patricia always told JC that Pearce was his father. Blah he saw the news, blah he's not James; he's Chad.

I am too sick to think of anything snappy. Right now, I'm convinced that karma has snuck in, claimed I was too snarky about the theme song, and given me bronchitis. Damn you, theme song -- damn you!

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The Practice




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