Recap: 'United States of Tara' 'Dr Hatteras' Miracle Elixir' April 27, 2011
Tara wants to drop her Abnormal Psychology class with Dr Hatteras, embarrassed by her performance during the test, in which all her personalities emerged. He refuses to let her drop the course, completely intrigued with the contract papers on which her personalities wrote. He’s obsessed with her condition, and wants to write a paper that will free him from his job at the college. She protests that she’s not a lab rat for him to study. He gives her a book he’s written about a patient he has helped, and tells her to read it.
At Orgalawn, Max is buried under paperwork. His boss, Larry, invites him for a ‘nip’ in the office, but Max feels 8:00 a.m. might be a little early to start imbibing. Max is frustrated with the cost and corner cutting the company advocates. Told to cut down a client’s tree, he instead digs it up and brings it home.
Neil is bonding nicely with new baby Cassie. Charmaine enters the room to find him changing a diaper, wearing headphones. Apparently Char is obsessed with a certain Wyndham Hill CD, playing it constantly, and driving Neil crazy. Tara arrives with a lasagna as peace offering, but Charmaine remains cool. Char tells Tara she’s exhausted – it’s all too much – while the baby screams non-stop.
Kate dashes off to flight attendant camp, where she meets a motley crew of students, new and old. Her instructor, a crusty ex-stewardess who runs the training like a boot camp, tells them, “Passengers are vermin. If someone has a pulse and a lump of coal in place of their soul, they will be on your flight.” Kate role plays with a student who has an impressive amount of flight camps under her belt, having failed them all due to a little ‘drug problem.’ She later works as a trainee on a flight, encountering her first ‘bumpy ride’ as she tries to serve the passengers.
Tara tells Max about the professor’s refusal to sign her out of the class, and insistence on writing about her case. Max tells her his day was exactly the same as every other employee of Orgalawn. Next door, the baby wails night and day, triggering Tara to transition into Alice, who immediately rushes to help Charmaine. Alice tells Charmaine that there is now a written contract for Alice to ‘get the body’ when she is needed by Charmaine. Charmaine says she doesn’t need Alice, but when Alice switches on a vacuum cleaner, the baby immediately stops crying, and Char and Neil sag with relief.
Lionel, Marshall, Noah and ‘bird cage Rory’ (“I broke my neck. I was in a coma. I’m practically a robot.”) discuss their student film, with Marshall saying their work is not good enough to enter in a high school film festival. Noah thinks Lionel just wants to enter the film for a New York experience, but Marshall is excited that David Lynch, director of ‘Blue Velvet,’ will be on the judging panel. When Lionel leaves, trailed by Rory, Noah thinks he should leave as well, until Marshall pulls him in for a kiss. Later, Alice is introduced to Noah as he and Marshall study their film. The boys say they’ve tentatively entitled their work ‘Human Remains of the Day.’ Noah is remarkably calm about Marshall’s ‘moms.’ While Alice whips them up a snack tray. Tara asks Alice for her body back.
When Lionel returns to the house, he walks in on Marshall and Noah, and asks what’s going on between the two. Although Marshall denies it, Noah confesses that yes, there is something going on between them. Lionel thanks them for their honesty, but stomps out angrily, taking the camera with him. Noah tells Marshall that he doesn’t lie, and by the way, he hates the jazz Marshall is always playing. Without their film, they need a new subject. Should it be about living with Tara and her alters, or about Noah’s masturbations?
At the school, Marshall confronts Lionel as he edits their film. Lionel says he’s submitting the movie, with Marshall’s name credited as co-writer and co-producer. Lionel wants to know how far Marshall and Noah have gone, and Marshall admits that they have kissed. Marshall seems very cold as he gives Lionel money for the camera, and tells Lionel he can borrow one from the AV room.
Dr Hatteras, driving a ragtop sports car, blaring heavy metal music, finds Max working in the front yard. He tells Max that he hasn’t been able to reach Tara. Max responds that Tara just wants her drop out form signed. Hatteras says she can come by his office the next day, and he’ll sign, but in the meantime, he’s typed out Tara’s ‘Declaration of Co-dependence’ so that it’s easier to read. Max is amazed that Hatteras seems to understand Tara’s condition, despite not believing in DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder.) Hatteras says that, despite not believing in the syndrome, he thinks he can help Tara, as he is in the unique position of being able to study Tara from a fresh perspective.
When Tara studies her contract, she’s fascinated with the rules, regulations, and even punishments that the Alters have created. She still doesn’t trust Hatteras, or want his help. Max asks what alternative they have. He wonders what their lives will be like when the kids are gone; how many wives will he have then? Tara’s more concerned that there is no help for her. The next day, Tara decides she will work with the professor, but only on her terms, and with certain boundaries, which include him not approaching her home. Hatteras cites patients he’s cured, saying he’s very good at what he does. They begin to set up a schedule for meetings. He asks if anything has changed since the contract, and she says that Alice gave her back her body with no problem when she needed it. He’s as curious as she to find out if the contract has made any changes to the alters’ behavior.
Neil calls Tara to beg for help with the crying baby. Charmaine, unaware that Tara is on the line, lists off the ways they’ve tried to calm the baby, including killing a goat and making an offering to Satan. Tara tries to talk Neil through, by having him bring Char and the baby outside so that she can see them, but finally reveals herself, asking Charmaine to please, trust her. Tara’s advice gets the baby to quiet. Later, Charmaine comes into Tara’s back yard, thanking her for the lasagna, and mentioning that baby Cassie has never seen the inside of Tara’s house. She finally allows Tara to hold the baby.
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