“Ghosts”, “Lost and Found,” and this episode have been about the past. These characters searched the past in hopes of figuring out their future, as if their past, like the wings of butterflies, have intricate patterns one may study and learn from. The past, for them, though, does not concern ‘learning.’ Ephram wants to fill a hole left not by Amy or piano but by the son he’ll never raise or know, for example. Andy Brown’s in the title, though, which means it’s his episode, and Andy never rooted in the past for long because he lacked a past with his children. Everwood meant renewal for him and his children. It was his private way of showing his wife the depth of his love for her.
Andy feels that he isn’t a good man for much of the episode. His children feel disgruntled with him. Delia’s mad because he missed her New York childhood, and Ephram’s mad because his dad doesn’t get “it.” Nina and Jake ask for Andy to fix their relationship though they know of his love for Nina. They give him no time to fix his own life. Though he can fix any broken brain on the operating table or any broken bone in his office, he cannot fix every relationship—he can barely keep his family mended.
His children restore his soul in the final act of “You’re a Good Man, Andy Brown.” Delia’s speech about what he did for her in Everwood filled him up. Ephram told him what “it” was, i.e. the hole in his heart left by the son he’ll never know. Both of the moments with his children revealed to him, again, that mistakes can be corrected and that forgiveness is possible. It’s a great episode for Treat Williams, especially in the scene when Delia reads Andy the speech. His story encapsulated a piece of his overall arc in the series. He tries to be a good parent and neighbor and doctor. He tried to move past Nina by using online dating. When he’s at his lowest point in the day is when someone reminds him that his role as parent, neighbor, and doctor matters. Andy Brown, however flawed and imperfect he is, because what human isn’t, is, indeed, a good man.
Ephram’s arc with Kyle continued as he urged Kyle to meet his father for lunch, because Kyle’s a proxy for Ephram three years ago and for Ephram’s son. Ephram’s still written like a 35 year old, despite him being two or three years older than Kyle, but maybe that works because freshmen in college have the fattest perceptions of themselves. They’re so mature and forward thinking and liberal and wise. Ephram’s a mix of wise, reflective, and a tad patronizing. Amy’s the worst kind of college freshman, as I wrote in my last post, as she continues her journey of self-discovery in the Joey Potter model. Her professor became worse, blaming Amy, an 18-year-old freshman, for Harold’s decision not to help teach the procedure and for commenting on Andy’s sexiness with her. Whereas Ephram perceives himself as a wisely mentor for Kyle, Amy feels she’s beyond Hannah’s small mind and narrow belief (a plot line that mirrors the rift between Bright and Ephram last season; this one will be as meaningless as that one). Both characters will experience the same thing at the end of their respective arcs: a thing which comes to fictional characters more quickly than to people in the world watching fictional characters: self-awareness.
As I wrote in the “Lost and Found” post, these post-hiatus episodes have a great deal of finality to them, a retrospection writers engage in when they know the end is near, but the writers didn’t know any of that yet. I remember the post-hiatus run as consistently strong, especially for long-time fans. Stories and characters build off the past, which is satisfying for the viewer.
Anna Fricke wrote the episode. Arvin Brown directed it.