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"Losing Patients" with The Big C

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Written by : published Thursday 30th June 2011

Please click here to watch the latest episode of The Big C online.

     "Losing Patients" starts off Showtime's The Big C's second season by having Cathy dealing with a variety of emotional eruptions from various members of her inner circle. Paul (Oliver Platt) is furious to learn that Dr. Todd (Reid Scott) kissed his wife. Adam (Gabriel Basso) decides excessive flatulence is a good way to express himself. Rebecca (Cynthia Nixon) lets slip to Cathy's brother, Sean (John Benjamin Hickey), that his his sister has cancer before Cathy finds a way to tell him. So all in all, not a good start. To complicate Cathy's life even more, she begins seeing her deceased neighbor Marlene (Phyllis Somerville). Is Marlene a ghost or a hullcination? Who knows?

     As a season premiere, this one kind of stinks. There is a lot of wrapping up of loose threads left hanging from last year (Todd's kiss, Sean not knowing), but does little to move things along, other than Cathy seeking to switch health care professionals. But The Big C forgoes big stunts for a longer series of arcs, and as an episode, "Losing Patients" is not bad at all. In fact, it captures the same spirit and tone of the rest of the episodes thus far, and so if you are a The Big C fan, it should fall right into the wheelhouse of what you enjoy.

     It is regrettable that this appears to be Dr. Todd's last episode. Scott is a talented actor, who was enjoyable in My Boys, and it is nice to see him doing something different. Because Cathy's next doctor will be played by the great Alan Alda (M*A*S*H, The West Wing), and there would never be any more romantic development between Cathy and Todd, the character is no longer necessary. But that doesn't mean he won't be missed.

     Choosing to keep Marlene around is both strange and wonderful. Strange, because using ghosts as part of the main story, especially when the conceit doesn't begin until season two, isn't really the vibe that The Big C puts off, so it is a little out of place. Wonderful, because Somerville was one of, if not the, best parts about season one, and so her suicide is a heartbreaker. It does not cheapen Marlene's death at all that she appears again. Somerville has been reduced to special guest star status, so how often and for how long she will be around is unknown at this point. It is unlikely she will stick for the entire series run, unless The Big C only goes for two years.

     Nixon should be upgraded to main character, because she really provides a necessary service to the show. Sean is a strange fellow, and many of his homeless for morality bits have already been covered. Rebecca gives him new elements to play off of, and provides some nice drama when she comes between Sean and Cathy. She's not a very likeable person, but most of the characters are, so she provides a good balance.

     The Big C still suffers from meandering and cheesiness, something the first season struggled with. It's definitely the weak link in the Showtime half hour dramedy line up. However, the actors involved are fantastic, and any weaknesses may potentially be overcome. It's not terrible, just not excellent. For now, it's worth sticking around and waiting to see if that changes.

     The Big C airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET on Showtime.

     Please click here for all of my The Big C reviews.

     If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter!

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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