1×07 Death Be Not Whatever

….. by TeeJay


Grace, Joan and Adam are walking along the school hallway. Adam is really moody, you can see and hear it straight away. Grace rags on him for saying “dude”. He tells her, “I tried ‘yo’, it didn’t take.” When Grace asks him why he’s so grumpy, he simply say, “I don’t like November.” We don’t get to know why. When Mr. Price runs into them and asks Adam what his plans for the future are, he puts on that ironic expression and says, “I want to do something soulless and corporate, Mr. Price.” Yeah, go and humor him so he’ll shut up, Rove.

Later, Joan and Adam ride a city bus together. Joan tries to get Adam into explaining chemistry to her, but Adam snaps at her, tells her he only memorizes things, he doesn’t really know what they mean. “Rove, you plus cranky becomes a pain in the ass,” she quips. He just leans his head against the window and says he already explained his situation. Hm… no, he hasn’t. We just know he doesn’t like November. Oooookay.

Joan is obviously powerless when it comes to Adam’s mood, so she looks around and notices a young woman crying a few seats in front of her. And since God told her earlier to be more aware of her surroundings and more susceptible to people in need, she asks if there’s anything she can do to help. Turns out the woman is in a bit of trouble and really needs a babysitter. Joan says she can do it. And to persuade the woman that she’s not some weirdo, she points at Adam, saying, “I’m not a psycho. You can even ask my friend.” Well, Adam is sitting there, banging his head against the bus window. Uhm…. very confidence inspiring, that. Joan smiles apologetically. “Maybe you should just take my word for it.”

Turns out the kid Joan then babysits, Rocky, is obsessed with death, being really morbid about it. Joan tells Grace about it in AP Chem, pointing out that he has some sort of chronic lung disease and it’s just weird that he would be talking so much about dying. Adam chimes in taciturnly, “Maybe he knows someone who’s dead.” Joan just looks at him. “You can’t know dead people.” Adam moodily apologizes for trying to contribute. Joan is getting fed up with his constant ill humor. “Seriously, what is wrong with you?” He just looks on with a pained creased brow while Grace once more points out, “He doesn’t like November.”

The next time Joan babysits Rocky, they end up in the cemetery. Rocky shows her some of the headstones, explaining how he doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that people often die around the time of their birthdays. As they leave, Rocky points to another headstone, saying, “There it is again. Elizabeth Rove. Beloved wife of Carl, mother of Adam. November 8, 1952, November 11, 2000.” Of course Joan immediately knows the significance of this, more so when she kneels down and finds one of Adam’s little sculptures in the grass in front of the headstone. Rocky asks her, “Do you think people hang around on purpose for their birthdays?”

Of course Joan can’t just let this slip, so she sees Adam in his shed, where he’s working on another sculpture with his welder. She lingers in the doorway, and he’s obviously happy to see her. She stands there, admitting, “I haven’t been a very good friend to you.” He just acknowledges it with an, “Okay.” No, it’s not okay, she tells him. Because people are cranky for a reason. And she knows his. She sits down on the stool opposite him and tells him, “I know why you hate November.” He doesn’t meet her eyes, asks who told her. She tells him she was at the graveyard.

You can just see that he has a hard time talking about it, but he reluctantly tells Joan that he always made his mom something for her birthday because she loved that. “You miss her,” Joan says and it’s not a question. “Doing this helps,” he says in a teary voice. “It’s like she’s watching me. I know that sounds stupid.” Joan smiles at him. “You talk to angels.” He gives her a long look. “I’m glad you came by.” “Me too,” she says.

Watch selected scenes from this episode as vidcaps right here.

Trivia (by TeeJay):
How come Grace doesn’t know why Adam hates November? In episode 1×12 we learn that Grace and Adam knew each other since kindergarten. If that’s really true and they’ve been friends ever since, Grace would surely know everything about Elizabeth‘s death. I mean, come on. She knows way more than that Elizabeth died in November. Guess at this point the writers hadn’t decided yet what Adam & Grace’s mutual background was. Can you say “incontinuity”?