Previously on Medium: Lee Scanlon chose to let his rapist brother Paul die at the hands of a vigilante rather than save his life. Last week, we/Allison saw Dead Paul – either Paul’s actual ghostly spirit or just a manifestation of Lee’s guilt – steering Lee to making some pretty scary decisions. (Feel free to read last week’s recap for more specific details.) And when Allison deduced that the only one Lee seems to be “protecting and serving” is himself, she made it clear that their friendship was in serious jeopardy.
Tonight’s ODS: Lee’s wife Linda wakes up to find she’s alone. She locates the baby in the kitchen, but it’s not her husband she sees sitting there, it’s Paul. Paul creepily tells her that he already fed her, and that the leftovers are in the fridge. Linda opens the refrigerator door to find… Lee’s severed head. Oh, ick. Linda screams, and… Lee wakes up. Apparently this is not the first nightmare Lee’s had despite counseling. They lie back down, and then we see Paul again, telling their sleeping forms that he ain’t going anywhere. And then… opening credits. Hmm, I was sure this was going to be another “dream-within-a-dream” thing, but apparently not. (In case you were wondering, Paul is played by actor Dean Norris; fans of Breaking Bad will know him as the guy who plays Hank Schrader.)
Ariel’s departure for college is but days away, and it seems that she and Bridgette will not be parting amicably. I mean, I know it’s in siblings’ natures to fight, but the rather dismissive way Bridgette is handling Ariel’s leaving is coming off as quite callous. We then learn, courtesy of a visitation from the ghost of Ariel’s paternal grandfather (I forget his name, he’s listed on IMDb simply as “Joe’s Dad”), that her departure is affecting Marie on a very deep level, and that Ariel needs to do something to fix it.
And Ariel isn’t the only one getting visitations today. At work, Allison is approached by the ghost of a young woman named Caroline Krueger, who apparently was murdered ten months earlier and is buried out in the desert somewhere. But rather than scream for justice, she just wants her body located so her mother can move on. Devalos relates that he doesn’t have jurisdiction in the county where Caroline is buried, a county that he’s not wild about because it’s run by a tough-as-nails sheriff named Guillory who makes all convicts do chain-gang labor. And sure enough, we cut to a pink-jumpsuit-clad work crew digging up Caroline’s body right where Allison said to dig. And darned if the sheriff is none other than Top Wopat, the original Luke Duke! (I was a big Dukes of Hazzard fan when I was a kid.)
Climbing into bed, Allison tells Joe that Guillory in nothing in person like his PR platform, and then wonders why Caroline wasn’t more forthcoming about who killed her. Which leads into the next dream sequence: we see Caroline get assaulted in a public bathroom eerily reminiscent of the first Saw movie. What we didn’t know before: Caroline is a prostitute, and her assailant is… Paul. (Well, we don’t actually see the murder, but since we see Caroline wearing the same shirt she was buried in, it’s a safe assumption.)
After the commercial break, Allison tells Guillory about her dream. He vows to try his best to connect Paul to Caroline’s murder, and seems sincere about his hope to give her parents some closure, so he won’t be mentioning the prostitution. Hmm. Polite, contrite, and amicable. Why is my Spidey-sense tingling? Of course, this pisses off Lee to no end upon Allison’s return, who thinks that the reason Allison didn’t inform him of her dream was because of the rough patch their relationship has hit. And it’s about to get rougher, times fifty: Allison’s next dream shows Lee catching Paul in the public bathroom just minutes after ostensibly raping Caroline. Ooh boy.
Ariel’s solution to the Marie crisis comes in the form of introducing her to the concept of video chatting, something that will bridge the vast distance between them. But Bridgette is bound and determined to rain on any parade Ariel creates, and tells her flat-out that she won’t miss her at all, since they were never really that close to begin with. Which is just mean. I mean, if all Bridgette sees in this is finally getting her own room, fine, but she doesn’t seem to care how much this is hurting Marie. This needs to change.
One of Allison’s biggest problems is that her dreams, while usually flashes from the past, are often either metaphorical or the POV is skewed somehow; in other words, it should not always be taken at face value. Even so, you can always predict Allison will leap to conclusions, often to her detriment. Case in point: she confronts Lee in the P.P.D. parking garage and accuses him of helping Paul cover up Caroline's murder. He flat-out denies it, saying that while Paul was a scumbag rapist, he never knew him to be a murderer. In fact, he tells her that based on the gang graffiti Allison described in her dream, he believes he may have actually found the bathroom in question, on the edge of Sheriff Guillory’s territory. The thing is, the only hope for DNA is on the restroom’s light source, and he’ll need Guillory’s help to acquire it, so take that, missy. He leaves in a huff, and Allison wonders if she just stuck her foot way down her throat.
Ariel, meanwhile, is starting to feel guilty about how far she and Bridgette seem to have drifted apart. She figures that giving Bridgette her room is the least she can do. And then, courtesy of Dead Grandpa, we flash back to a scene from Season One where a 12-year-old Ariel is teaching a 7-year-old Bridgette how to brush her hair. Awww. Grandpa tells Ariel that she still hasn’t fixed the problem, which is that it’s Bridgette that’s going to suffer from Ariel’s departure, not Marie. And the clock is ticking.
Dream #4 shows Lee entering the desert bathroom, but the context is finally made clear: he didn’t catch Paul in the act after all. What Allison saw were the ghosts of Paul and Caroline, and Lee did not catch them in the act of anything; the rape was staged by Caroline and Paul for Allison's benefit, so she'd accuse Lee. Allison wakes up to see Paul in her room, and he tells her that not only did he not kill Caroline, he didn’t rape her either; in fact, he never met her until the afterlife. The foul acts in question were done by Mr. Congeniality himself, Sheriff Guillory. (I knew it!!) And Guillory is the man who right about now is being beseeched by Lee to help him get some of his own potential DNA off of the bathroom’s light bulb. As Allison rushes out the door, Paul says that Lee’s chances of survival are getting slimmer by the minute. Bastard.
After commercial, we see that the showdown has already happened, Wild West-style. Guillory is dead and Lee is not looking well, with a bullet in his gut and an expanding pool of blood collecting around him. This makes conspiratorial allies (or is it con-spirit-orial?) Caroline and Paul quite happy, as they’ve both managed to avenge their murders in one fell swoop. Caroline disappears into the ether, and Paul brags to Lee’s unconscious form about how he was always the stronger of the two when they were boys… until he is interrupted by Lee himself, whose disembodied spirit is none too pleased with his brother’s posthumous machinations. Just then, the paramedics arrive and began resuscitation procedures. Paul scoffs that it’s too late, he’s dead, wifey and little baby all alone now, boo-hoo, the bully that he is. But Lee’s will to live is too strong to give in, and he pulls through, much to the sputtering outrage of Paul. Yay! Allison arrives minutes later and blubs about how she was wrong about him. Yeah, well, fine, but the next time she leaps to conclusions I hope Lee is there to say “I told you so.”
Okay, one more relationship to patch up. Ariel wakes Bridgette up and lays down the law, that her room is still her room, that Bridgette can use it while she’s away, but only in that instance. She then reminds Bridgette that they’re a lot closer to each other than either of them would care to admit, and then gives her written instructions on how they can video chat with each other. She concludes by telling Bridgette that she loves her and will miss her, no matter how obstinately Bridgette tries to convince everyone that the feelings aren’t mutual. And finally, Bridgette cracks a smile and replies that the feelings are mutual after all. Now THAT’S more like it. Somewhere, I’m sure Dead Grandpa is smiling, as am I.
Next week: Allison gets a skin graft from a deceased murder victim, and the hand starts developing a sinister will of its own. Wait, I think I saw that movie… didn’t it have Jessica Alba and Seth Green?