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'Mental' nostalgia recap: Things that you can't let go of

Season 1 | Episode 12 | “Life and Limb” | Aired Aug 7, 2009

In the penultimate episode of Mental, “Life and Limb,” we’ve got Jack Gallagher trying to hang on to his sister, and a patient who can’t keep all his fingers. Plus, we can’t believe we’re about to have to let go of this underrated series.

Well, you know what they say about all good things…

Here’s another reminder that Chloe and Arturo still work here, as they’re called in to consult on the case of a machinist named Brian Jennings, who lost those digits in an industrial accident and doesn’t want to have them surgically reattached. He’s afraid he’ll die in surgery. As someone who has had two major surgeries in the past four years, I completely understand that phobia. What isn’t so understandable is Brian’s boss storming in, claiming that he cut his fingers off on purpose, since somebody else got away with the exact same thing two years earlier. Are you kidding me? I once accidentally chopped off half my thumb with a scroll saw in middle school shop class and trust me, that’s not something you want to do on purpose.

Meanwhile, Jack is uncharacteristically blowing off everyone else to spend time with his sister Becky, who was admitted to Wharton Memorial last week and seems to be doing well at the moment. He tells her she has to be transferred to another facility, which prompts Becky to see her imaginary BFF (Brando Eaton) and have a meltdown that requires Jack to physically restrain her. Maybe she’s not doing so well after all.

News of her outburst gets back to Nora, who tells Jack that effective immediately she’s assigning Veronica to be the new attending on Becky’s case. Both women tell him to step off before he walks out on them. At least he doesn’t have to see Carl sticking his nose into Chloe and Arturo’s treatment plan; he wonders why Brian severed two fingers when one would’ve done the trick. Wow, Carl actually has a valid point about something.

Chloe and Arturo visit Brian’s work to inspect his workstation and question his coworkers. One of Brian’s colleagues talks about how weird he was and that he was always writing, but that he would’ve been too scared to harm himself. Brian seems to back this up by being willing to sign a document stating that he won’t sue his employer.

Back at the hospital, Jack’s mother is still trying to convince him to let her and his stepfather take Becky to Florida. “The last time James took Becky into consideration, he threw her into an institution,” Jack points out, which his mother seems to believe is water under the bridge. Because Becky’s probably totally forgotten that. She further tells him that it’s not his decision to make, so basically they’re just having this talk as a formality.

Veronica then comes to Jack with a treatment suggestion; he doesn’t really want to hear it or anything else going on around him. His response to her, and even to Carl, is “It’s your patient.” He’s gone from caring so much to not caring at all, which raises Veronica and Nora’s suspicions. Nora pulls the boss card and tries to kick Jack out of the hospital, but as she does he realizes that blindly signing Brian’s discharge paperwork for Carl was a really stupid mistake, and orders Chloe and Arturo to find him. Either Nora just scolded him back into awareness or he’s got really excellent hearing.

But he’s still angry at everyone, so it’s time for the throwdown between Jack and James. Jack accuses James of treating him and his sister like a pair of military recruits; James admits that he was over 40 when he came into their lives and didn’t know anything about raising kids. Jack doesn’t think that lets him off the hook, but reluctantly asks her what she thinks about going to Florida, reminding her that her mother and stepfather still have her power of attorney. She changes the subject, asking him about his love life and how it’s inexplicably nonexistent.

Meanwhile, Chloe and Arturo have found Brian’s apartment, which is a pretty grim place to be living. It includes one blood-spattered piece of equipment. Oh, and Brian’s still maiming himself, but claiming that he’s better than he’s ever felt and that his body’s finally right. We’re going to agree to disagree on that one. Time for a treatment conference, in which Arturo formally says Brian suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder and Jack points out that even if they put his other hand back on, he’ll just take it back off. Gross.

“I think he thinks he can save me,” Becky tells Veronica, referring not to her brother but to her imaginary friend, Gabe. She tearfully recounts what it was like living on the streets of Los Angeles, so of course her parents think this is a great time to knock after opening the hospital room door. But the next time we see her, she’s telling Jack that she’s decided to go to Florida. He looks like he wants to break his guitar.

After spending the night having his own meltdown, he comes back to work, saves Brian from Carl, prods Carl for good measure, has an awkward hug with James, and reluctantly lets his sister go. Nora tells Jack that he needs therapy and he actually agrees with her. Wait, when did he become the one on tilt? Suddenly, Jack’s gone from endearingly quirky to doubting his own sanity, and we’ve spent an hour discussing a guy removing his own body parts. This is one episode we’re okay with letting go of.

Mental is available on DVD.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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