The Big C Review: "Musical Chairs"

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The Big C focused on life and death this week. Or, to be more accurate, life VERSUS death.

Sure, it's a been transparent to set up a pregnancy storyline with terminal cancer - the show doesn't exactly need to reach for its metaphors and dichotomies - but it worked on "Musical Chairs". How can it not when Laura Linney, John Benjamin Hickey and Cynthia Nixon are featured on most scenes?

Being a Patient

The latter is adding a fun energy to the season, as I wish I could say Rebecca was a caricature, but people such as her really do exist. And they don't even mean any harm. Notice how excitedly Rebecca celebrated Cathy's admission into the clinical trial?

She really does want her friend to get better. She really did think naming her daughter "Cathy" would be a touching homage. She's self-centered, but she's not selfish. There's a difference.

As I mentioned in my review of the premiere, it's also refreshing to see the series acknowledge Sean's bipolarity and how he can take medicine to fix it. Last season, he was just a kooky character. This season, he's someone battling a disease. Again, there's an important difference there.

Alan Alda, meanwhile, is pretty much always Alan Alda. But that's never a bad thing. He got his big break playing a doctor on MASH, so this is even less of a stretch than most of the veteran actor's roles. The Great Shermtini, though?

Houdini really ruined magician names forever, didn't he? He was like The Watergate of scandals.

Another strong episode overall to continue the moment of the opener. I'm fortunate enough not to know too well, but I'd imagine cancer patients really do struggle with a type of survivor's guilt. Why did that person die and not me? How do I take the spot of a woman I just met?

Cathy acted like a wild woman with her diagnosis last year, having an affair, spending lavishly. But now she's realizing the ramifications of what could happen, breaking down little by little. Can The Great Shermtini (shudder!) put her back together again?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (8 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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