Escape from Hell, Part 2
Eric drives off, leaving his father in the dust. I know Eric will pay dearly for not honoring his father, but YOU GO, ERIC.
Oh, he goes…to his mom’s house.
“You’ll never guess who I ran into tonight”
“How did you know?”
“Because he was here a couple of weeks ago asking about you, and he said he needed to see you.”
“And you told him where I was?”
“Yes, I did.”
Oh, well I can see why you would…
So you just told the guy who abandoned your son where your son WORKED, and it didn’t even cross your mind to ASK IF THIS WAS OKAY WITH YOUR SON???
And this happened WEEKS AGO????
Lady, you suck.
Yep, that’s right—sadly for Eric, his mom is a Christian, which means that she has blithely accepted her ex-husband back into her life, AND revealed the workplace of their son.
Yanno, there are plenty of people in the world who wouldn’t want their parents stalking their places of employment even if said parents aren’t abusive alcoholics.
Eric is understandably miffed, and reminds Mom of “what he did to you…what he did to us,” and Mom doesn’t deny this. Indeed, Dad drove her into bankruptcy.
The beauty part is, Mom has since married a guy who helped her out of that situation, and Mom (and presumably Step-Dad) now live in a very nice house. Step-Dad sounds like an awesome guy, especially since it is implied (though not stated outright) that he helped put Eric through college and medical school. Sadly, we never meet this dude, perhaps because he might not be so keen on his wife having much contact with the newly-reformed ex.
Eric, no fool, zeroes in on the crux of the matter: Mom is a Christian, Dad is a manipulative jerk, all he has to do is say he’s a Christian and Mom will buy it. Eric makes a damn fine point here, but of course, Mom knows that this time it’s “different.”
Eric protests some more, and Mom starts to get angry with him. Huh, it’s almost as though Eric and his mom had a great relationship before his manipulative, abusive jerk of a father re-entered the picture, and now he’s pitting them against each other and they’re letting him do it, because he’s an ass who ruins everything he touches.
Because he’s a Christian, and that would never happen when a Christian is involved.
“I had to stop and remind myself every five minutes that God has forgiven him, and I have to find the grace to forgive him, too.”
Grammar Nazi: I just got whiplash from those tense changes.
Hey, if that’s what you want to do, then fine. But isn’t it funny, lady, how you didn’t find it in your heart to forgive him when he was a heathen, but you do now that he shares your religion?
Eric, still fuming, just shakes his head and leaves.
Um, YEAH. Mom owes him a huge apology for revealing his whereabouts to Dad and NOT EVEN WARNING HIM. Seriously, what is wrong with this woman???
Yanno, it occurs to me, as I sit here nomming my half-price chocolate cross, that atheists will never be able to give religion a worse name than actual religious people do, at least while they’re making decisions like that.
We cut to Marissa meeting with Garrison. She tells him about her near-death experience research and wants to ask him about it, but Garrison pleads that he doesn’t feel well. (Indeed, he can barely speak.) But Marissa will not be dissuaded by the heart patient who just wants to be left alone to rest:
“Mr. Garrison, I believe your experience can help a lot of people face the next life.”
Ah, good thing she’s impartial and also that she doesn’t want to inconvenience terminally ill patients, isn’t it?
Garrison pleads off again, and Marissa very reluctantly leaves him the frak ALONE.
DAMN these selfish patients, always delaying her research. Ooooo, I’m tired, I’m in pain, I just want to spend time with my family…they never stop whining, do they?
Apparently, Marissa’s job is grief counselor, because Carl and Eric inform Mrs. Garrison that her husband won’t survive the wait for a transplant, and they leave her to Marissa’s huggy care. (Um, some people aren’t huggers (at least not with strangers), Marissa. Just sayin’.)
Later, Carl is in a damn fine mood because he just got paid and also none of his patients have died recently, so he tries to set up Eric with Marissa.
Eric asks her to lunch, Marissa doubles down and turns it into a dinner date, and the exchange is actually not painful at all. I like it because the simply exchange just seems more like what reasonable adults usually do:
“Wanna go out?”
“Yes, I would.”
Yanno, like that. It’s not always wacky and complicated.
Later that evening, we see that Eric lives in a cute little farmhouse. As he’s freshening up for dinner, there is a knock at the door.
IT’S HIS FATHER BECAUSE I GUESS IT WASN’T ENOUGH FOR MOM TO REVEAL WHERE ERIC WORKS, SHE ALSO HAD TO TELL DAD WHERE ERIC LIVES. GAH!!!
Eric tries to slam the door in Dad’s face, and Dad stops him. (Jerk!)
“Please don’t shut the door in my face.”
“Then you may want to stand back a couple of feet.”
THAT WAS AWESOME!
Unfortunately, the movie will not allow heathen Eric to get the best of Good (New) Christian Dad, so Dad gets to plead his case.
Dad’s position on the issue of his reappearance in Eric’s life is just astonishing, so I’ll let him speak for himself:
“Look, this isn’t easy for me. I know what I’ve done to you and your mother. You don’t know how hard it is for me to come and face you.”
Huh. Gee, Dad, it’s almost as if your entire focus is on your feelings and how hard this is for you and you know what I’m missing, here?
The words I AM SORRY or I KNOW HOW HARD THIS MUST BE FOR YOU
Eric’s response is priceless, and I only wish that I didn’t know that he will be shown to be so MEAN to his poor, innocent, abusive, abandoning dad:
“Is this some kind of apology tour? Look, I’m not going to lend you my car or give you some money. I’m not going to give you a place to sleep, so is there anything else you need?”
“It’ll be a cold day in hell before that happens.”
Then ERIC says, “Sorry.” He looks all sad and says he is sorry he can’t forgive his father.
WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR ERIC??? YOU DID NOTHING WRONG!!!
Dad wanders off and Eric finally gets to shut the door and he leans against it and cries and I actually feel bad for him.
I’m sure I feel worse for him than the movie does. Cold-hearted unforgiving heathen.
It sucks for Eric that after all that, it’s time for his hot date with Marissa.
OH THANKS DAD FOR RUINING DATE NIGHT. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
And the bad news just keeps on piling up for Eric: all Marissa wants to do on their date is talk shop. We discover that Marissa doesn’t believe in Hell, but does believe in Heaven, and just knows that people would fear death less and have an easier time with grief if they knew for a fact that Heaven was real.
You know, just like Christians always die peacefully, while other people have panic attacks.
(Seriously, she actually says this.)
(Major research fail. I have seen non-Christians die, and with dignity and courage that I wish everyone could have. Marissa needs to get out more.)
But at least she’s no RTC:
“I might not believe in Jesus, but I do believe in the power of faith.”
So, after a fancy dinner for two at a swank local bistro, they head off for a sexy night of fun and sexyness…
Or not. They go to Marissa’s office. Eric is newly-psyched by Marissa’s research, because he thinks it might help disprove Hospital Reverend’s ideas about Hell. (The fact that Eric might also have some residual anger at both of his parents is not mentioned, but I’m kinda feeling that.)
That’s Marissa. Question for the straight single guys out there: if you had a chance to hit that,
would you really choose instead to watch home movies of strangers sitting on couches and talking about the Sliders tunnel?
They watch a movie where a blind woman talks about her experience being hit by a truck and having a NDE. She goes through the Sliders tunnel, an angel tells her that it is not yet her time, and she has to go back. Eric is pretty suspicious of the whole thing until Marissa tells him that the woman has been blind since birth, and thus that she couldn’t possibly say that she saw anything in her NDE.
Eric remains unconvinced, pointing out (correctly) that this is all anecdotal and there is no control. AND MARISSA AGREES. But…
“Every researcher has her little secrets.”
Marissa’s secret, of course, is the sign on the hospital roof.
By the way, I’ve noticed something: angels in Christian movies SUCK. Seriously, these guys are God’s chosen emissaries??
I am not impressed.
I suppose it’s a good thing that Eric and Marissa watched NDE videos instead of doing the horizontal rumba, because it would have been really awkward to wake up the next morning and have the snugglyness ruined by the news that Eric’s dad was found dead in his motel room. (Sitting up in bed and reading his Bible, natch. Because that is the only pasttime Christians have.)
Eric heads back to Marissa’s office for some grief counseling, and she tells him that he is grieving the loss of a relationship with his father, not just the loss of Dad. Eric has a flashback within a flashback, and we see that Eric and Dad used to have a good relationship before Dad abandoned him and forced his ex-wife to declare bankruptcy.
Also, he had a bitchin’ pornstache:
And the bad news just keeps on coming: both Eric and Marissa are beeped to come to the deathbed of Garrison.
Marissa tells Mrs. Garrison that her husband is “struggling…holding on for your sake” and that she needs to tell him to go towards the light.
REALLY??? GEEZ, LADY, LAY OFF!!!
So she does, and little Lauren tells him that she will take care of her mom for him. Which is super-sweet, though I have strong reservations about such a young child (Lauren is maybe ten or eleven) being there when her father dies.
Eric is openly crying, which is actually a nice bit of character development as he displaces his grief over his own father’s death onto the death of a good father whom he barely knows.
Garrison dies with a huge gasp and “uhhhh” which (again) I would think would be very upsetting to a child, but Lauren takes it in stride (“Bye, Daddy.”)
Garrison heads back into the Sliders tunnel, and he’s quite psyched until the fireballs start zooming past him.
Yep, despite being a loving and devoted husband and father, Garrison was NOT A CHRISTIAN, and thus careens down the tunnel INTO HELL TO BE TORTURED FOREVER.
“He’s at peace now.”
OH, IF ONLY YOU KNEW, MARISSA