“An Ounce of Prevention” is a ‘lesson’ episode. The ‘lesson’ episode, or ‘An Aesop’, preaches a moral or a point or a lesson. This episode was a catch-all for the family drama lesson episode. In one story, Andy faced a tough ethical decision regarding a girl who tested positive for the breast cancer gene. In another, Ephram faced the truth that his student, Kyle, is gay. I already wrote about Berlanti’s ideal for Everwood in a previous post this season and in my posts for seasons one and two four and five years ago, but it bears repeating that he admired Norman Lear’s ability to create conversations about uncomfortable subjects through his TV shows. Though Berlanti left his day-to-day duties on Everwood after season two, that spirit of the show continued.
Kyle’s coming out story isn’t great, primarily because of Ephram. The show established Kyle’s multiple roles/functions as a character in Ephram’s story. He’s a device from which Ephram will learn and gain perspective. All the mistakes Andy made Ephram has made as Kyle’s teacher. His place in Kyle’s story is strange. He becomes his father figure despite a small three-year age difference. I think the writers knew how strange Ephram’s place in the coming out story is. It starts with Kyle rejecting a dance invite, followed by Reid suggesting Kyle may’ve turned the girl down because he’s gay, but Ephram argues that he’s too young to be gay. See, this is where the writers wanted the conversation to begin. Amy, then, agreed that Kyle is too young to know he’s gay, and she knows Ephram will figure out how to handle the situation because he does. Of course, Ephram never figures it out. He fled to Europe, thereby derailing his life and the most important relationship of his life. He’s all over the place, going from slightly homophobic to wise old sage after Kyle comes out, because of the demands of the story.
This storyline marks the end of Ephram’s Kyle arc. He learned a final lesson about the purpose of prevention, specifically why his father didn’t tell him about Madison and the baby. It’s removed from Kyle’s story. In fact, Ephram went on about his love for Amy after Kyle came out to him as a way to relate stories of rejection. “An Ounce of Prevention” and “You’re a Good Man, Andy Brown” are a whirlwind for Ephram and Kyle: absent fathers, guilt, and homosexuality. Conversation starters in 2006, for sure.
Madison and the baby shadowed Andy’s story. He tried to control the situation only to understand he couldn’t, but with the girl who fears getting breast cancer early he offers radical options without advising her which option to choose. Like Ephram’s story, the writers wanted to start a conversation. Andy made up for his mistake. The girl realized she was too young to make a drastic decision about her life and her body.
The best scene in the episode involved Harold, Hannah, and Bright and a case of rare food poisoning. Of course, Harold’s part of the worst scene in the episode too. He lied about Rose’s cancer on the medical paperwork for the adoption in a move blatantly devoid of reason and removed from the essence of the character for the purpose of soapy bullshit for later in the season. Everwood could be great and it could be wretched.
Bryan M. Holdman wrote the episode. Perry Lang directed it.