After their confrontation at Kate’s house, both she and Sara are dealing with the emotional fallout. Kate, for her part is back at the office, distracted and upset. Andrew literally pops his head in, looking for a little bit of his boss’s time. He tells Kate that the Democratic party wants some answers, but she isn’t willing to do that quite yet. She tries blow him off but he pushes back hard. She hired him to make sure that she was taken seriously by the powers that be, and that’s what he plans to do. (Sure, we all know that he’s just a pawn in Sen. Preston’s game, but Kate doesn’t.) She agrees to a meeting, but stays non-committal.
The next subject Andrew brings up gets an even worse reception. He’s been getting press inquiries about a supposed run in Kate had with Sara Preston earlier that morning. Perhaps it was the grinding sound emitting from Kate’s teeth that encouraged Andrew to take his leave of her.
At the Preston house, Sara is ruminating over her encounter with Kate, when her mother, Claire, enters the room. Claire grabs a decanter of scotch and sits down across from her. Sara chastises her mother for drinking before noon, but Claire shrugs her off and does some post-breakfast imbibing. Like a daughter, Sara posits that drinking before noon might qualify for alcoholism. Claire prefers eccentric, if you don’t mind.
She offers her daughter a glass and Sara figures, why not. Sara decides to ask her mother after all these years, if the fact that she is gay was an issue. Claire says it never bothered her, but worried for Sara. Growing up Preston was tough enough without adding lesbian into the mix.
Claire’s demeanor might be icy, but she does warm when speaking to Sara. When you were never taught how to love someone fully, it must be hard as hell to allow yourself to do it. Claire’s “mother’s intuition” is in full force and she asks Sara if she’s recently seen Kate. She could always tell when they fought, and based on the level of distress on Sara’s face, she’s right on the money. Sara says the whole thing is all kinds of confusing, and Claire tells her that’s the way love works. It still twists you up in knots, even after you’ve spent six years meticulously untangling yourself. When Sara denies loving Kate, Claire gives her the “Mmhmm, OK” face that mothers have spent eons perfecting.
Sara asks her mother about her grandfather’s senate seat, and if she has heard Kate’s name brought up as successor. Sara, everyone in Boston knows about this. The Red Sox know about it. Claire warns Sara not to jump to conclusions about Kate’s possible acceptance. Claire then carefully builds up her walls again before asking how long Sara plans to stay. Sara isn’t quite sure, so she asks her mother for advice. She gets none in return. This stings Sara and she brings up the fact that her mother didn’t stop her from leaving Boston six years ago. Claire didn’t see the point in trying to change Sara’s mind, plus she wanted her daughter to get as far away from the poisonous Preston household as possible. For Claire, growing up with an obsessive controlling father made her damn sure that she didn’t want to raise her children the same way. So she watched Sara walk away.
Claire gets wistful for a moment, and declares that she’s always liked Kate….especially the fact that never made Claire feel like she was some sort of drunk. This causes Sara to get teary eyed, and she tells her mother that she isn’t a drunk. As Claire gets up to leave, she asks Sara a question that brings everything full circle. Did she ever think that perhaps it was her grandfather’s idea to put a rift between her and Kate in the first place? Sara is left to consider that her choice was indeed not her own after all.
Closing note: Wasn’t that scene between Sara and Claire one of the best written so far? Crystal Chappell really wows me as Claire and it just goes to show you how gifted of an actress she really is. What do you think of Claire Preston?