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313 - (FIP)     Falling In Place     03/04/02
Jessie's anxiety and guilt about her mom's slow recovery causes tension with every member of the family, especially Lily. Meanwhile, Eli is in denial about the seriousness of his mother's condition.

WRITER: Sue Paige and Daniel Paige      DIRECTOR: Eric Stoltz
Go to SPOILERS for this episode
 Brooks-Manning Lily    Grace    Zoe
 Sammler Rick    Eli    Jessie
 Ex's Jake    > Karen
 Other Family Judy   
 Significant Regulars
Dr. Rosenfeld - Edward Zwick
Jeannine - Jane Sibbett
Henry Higgins - D.B. Woodside
Katie - Mischa Barton
Alexa - Natasha Gaty
The day nurse - Allie Raye
Mr. Lopez - Williams Marquez
Lloyd Lloyd - James Eckhouse
Stacy - Stephanie Brown
Kenny - John Lehr
The night nurseCarole Gutierrez

Lily's house
Karen's house
Upton Sinclair


Karen - Looking at monitor
Karen - "I don't remember it happening ..."
Karen - "For the first time in a very long time ..."
Karen - "... like things could get better."
Karen - "I can't believe I was this close."
Karen - "Stop it."
Karen - "Stop it!"
Karen - "When Eli was sizteen months old ..."
Karen - "I blamed it on Rick."
Karen - "I am not lost ... to me."

Eli - Smiling and laughing

Jessie and Karen - Laughing





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Order. Order
This episode was originally planned as 312


Mirror, mirror ...
Lily's Ford Explorer has no mirror mounted on the windshield, just the mounting button. (This is a common nitpick with many vehicles seen in movies and TV shows.) -- AdamBomb1701

Original episode spoilers
S Ken Parish Tim Cusprisin TV Now Chicago Tribune Robert Bianco at USA Today TV Times TV Times Gist TV
TV Guide TV Guide InsideOA ABC TV Guide SunDog108

From Amy Amatangelo at

I think I may finally understand why people don't watch "Once and Again."

This delicate and expertly acted drama, which returns to ABC's schedule Monday at 10 p.m., is easily one of the best shows on television -- network or cable. But it's simply too painful. Dramas like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" offer escape from everyday drudgery. Shows like "The Practice" and "NYPD Blue" give us the opportunity to solve the crime and litigate the case. "Alias" and "24" constantly keep us guessing, trying to predict the next big secret and outsmart the show's writers. Meanwhile, "Once and Again" mirrors our own life and life, no matter how mundane it may appear, is hard. "Once and Again" offers no apologies.

This week's return finds Karen (the positively stellar Susanna Thompson) laboring to recuperate from being hit by a car. Simultaneously strong and vulnerable, Karen argues with her physical therapist, struggles to repair her fractured relationship with her son and confronts the depression that plagued her even before her accident. Karen's rehabilitation isn't sugarcoated. It's painful and harrowing to watch. And it will linger. We won't see her bouncing around next week, fully recovered.

As in real life, nothing is as simple as it seems. People don't recover from major accidents overnight, ex-husbands don't stop caring about their ex-wives and lost sons don't suddenly find themselves. Problems linger, become more complicated, and underline every action.

On a show as wonderful as "Once and Again," we bear witness to the ripple effect Karen's accident has on every character. Jesse's anxiety, Eli's guilt, Grace's jealously, Rick's mix of remorse and love, and Lily's often misguided attempts of support are all explored. Every situation is treated in that moment of time, given the character's complex context.

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From Ken Parish Perkins at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

When Karen (Susanna Thompson) demands that her daughter Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) eat something beyond a cookie in tonight's episode, her insistence adds another element to the ongoing story line about the teen-ager's eating disorder.

In creative terms, Once and Again is as strong as ever. Tonight picks up where the show left off in January, dealing with the fallout from Karen's accident. The usually sweet Jessie blows up at her brother, Eli (Shane West), for caring too little about her mother, and at Lily (Ward) for caring in a superficial way. When she screams at Lily, "You're not my mother, you'll never be my mother," the scene is so well-acted and so startling that it gives a different poignancy to a line that has been used zillions of times.

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From Tim Cusprisin at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Tonight's episode deals with the aftermath of a near fatal accident for one of the regulars. It's as messy as real-life recuperation can be. If you haven't seen the show, you should be able to catch up with the characters pretty easily. If you've missed the show, now you know where to find it.

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From TV Now Top Picks:
"Once and Again"
The Aftermath of the Accident
on ABC, 10:00pm - 11:00pm ET

Bill Campbell and Susanna Thompson both shine in this episode. Over a month ago, Karen (Thompson) was critically injured when struck by a car. Tonight, Rick (Campbell) struggles with his own emotions as he tries to help. Making matters worse is the eratic behavior of Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) and Eli (Shane West), still in denial over his mother's condition. Lily (Sela Ward) must find a way to help all of them cope.

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From Allan Johnson at the Chicago Tribune:

. . . Thompson's character, Karen Sammler, who on Monday's episode continues her recovery from both a debilitating depression and being hit by a car.

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From NAME:
**** (out of four)
Going 'Once,' twice, sold on this series
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY

[Photo caption] By Craig Sjodin, Touchstone Television Susanna Thompson, left, Marin Hinkle and Sela Ward star in Once and Again a show that still hopes to find an audience.

Like life, TV isn't always fair.

After a seven-week hiatus, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz's loving ode to family life, Once and Again, returns for what may be its last chance at finding an audience. Of course, an audience has to find the show first: This is its third time slot this season and its seventh in three years.

Once again, the show focuses on Rick's ex-wife Karen played by the lustrous Susanna Thompson, who is giving one of the year's best performances. In the last (and too-little-seen) episode before the break, Karen was just beginning to pull her life back together when she was hit by a car, a scene as shocking and terrifying as anything you might find on 24.

The accident has not only left Karen bedridden; it's torn her family apart. Rick (Billy Campbell) is wracked by regret. Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) is overcome by fear and is taking her anger out on her stepmother, Lily (Sela Ward). And Eli (Shane West) is trying to pretend the accident never happened.

Guilt, anxiety, terror, control: These are messy, complicated issues, and Once doesn't shy away from any of them. But while Once can be difficult to watch, it is never depressing. As always, the emphasis in this life-affirming series is on the bonds that pull families back together rather than the pressures the push them apart


"Everything about this family has changed," Rick says. "The truth is, we still need each othrn belongs to Thompson, who breaks your heart without ever making a maudlin play for your sympathy. As she has all season, she gives an honest, uncluttered performance nuanced and full-bodied yet crystal clear.

While it's possible Once was never bound for wide popular appeal, there's also no question that ABC has seriously mishandled this show moving it so often that even the producers could be excused for losing track of it. And now the network has saddled it with one of the most inappropriate lead-ins imaginable: The Chair. It's enough to make you think ABC wants credit for trying to save the show without actually having to do so.

But there's nothing any of us can do about that. The producers and actors have done what they can to create a marvelous series. Now all we can do is watch. And treasure.

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Falling in Place Jessie and Eli struggle to deal with the aftermath of Karen's accident.

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Once and Again, ABC. ET/PT 10 pm. The critically acclaimed series returns from a seven-week hiatus with another new time-slot and, hopefully, an opportunity to build its audience and spare itself from cancellation. Tonight's episode centres on Karen (Susanna Thompson), and the aftermath of her near-fatal accident.

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From Joan Nettle at TV Times:

Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) worries about her mother's slow recovery from her accident -- and that causes tension with every member of the family.

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From TV Times:

Jessie's anxiety about her mother's recovery causes friction in the family.

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From Rick Porter at
Once and Again
10:00 P.M. -ABC-

Devoted fans of the oft-moved drama are mounting a campaign to keep the show on the air, but ABC's decision will likely hinge on its ratings in the next several weeks, as the show gets a friendlier Monday timeslot. Tonight's episode focuses on the aftermath of Karen's (Susanna Thompson) car accident. While she struggles through physical therapy, the kids retreat into their own shells, and Rick (Billy Campbell) is overwhelmed by the responsibility of handling Karen's health-care costs.

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From Cheryl Everette at Gist TV Picks:

This family drama returns to the air for the first time since early January. So where do things stand? The depressed Karen (Susanna Thompson) had gotten hit by a car, and now she faces a very tough and prolonged rehabilitation. Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) reacts by becoming emotional, while Eli (Shane West) goes into deep denial. Meanwhile, Rick (Billy Campbell) is an emotional wreck.

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From TV Guide:
Falling in Place

After a six-week hiatus, the acclaimed series returns with an emotional story focusing on Karen (Susanna Thompson), who was struck by a car and critically injured in the last episode to air. The aftermath of the accident is taking its toll on her family. Sensitive Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) is overwhelmed by anxieties and skips school. Responsible Rick, caught up in handling Karen's health-care benefits, tearfully breaks down. And enigmatic Eli, reluctant to visit his mom, displays increasingly erratic behavior. All the while, the patient herself is undergoing an arduous rehabilitation with a compassionate yet demanding physical therapist.

Cast: Billy Campbell, Sela Ward, Shane West, Evan Rachel Wood, Meredith Deane, Julia Whelan, Susanna Thompson, Jeffrey Nordling, Marin Hinkle, D.B. Woodside, Mischa Barton, Edward Zwick, James Eckhouse, Natasha Gaty

Rating: TV-PG
Content: Violence
Category: Drama
Release Year: 2002 Back to top
From TV Guide:

"Again with feeling" Susanna Thompson, who creates a complex portrait of a shattered ex on Once and Again, gets another chance to shine opposite Kevin Costner in the new film "Dragonfly".

When she auditioned for the part of Karen Sammler on Once and Again, Susanna Thompson was warned that she wouldn't look nice or play nice. The actress responded, "I have no problem getting down and dirty. But you have to give this character a light at the end of the tunnel."

Two and a half seasons later, Karen is still pretty much in the dark on the ABC drama that focuses - often - painfully on the everyday lives of a divorced man and woman (Billy Campbell and Sela Ward), their new marriage and their not-so-well-blended family. Thompson plays the outsider, Rick Sammler's (Campbell) emotionally scarred, controlling ex-wife.

"When I came into the part, Thompson says, "I felt like I was playing somebody's image of the ex-wife. [Directors] are still constantly asking me to be more bitter and I am constantly [trying to portray Karen] with more compassion. Most divorced women I've heard from appreciate that I'm not playing a stereotype."

But she is playing character in deep trouble. To date, Karen has suffered a major depression, is estranged from her 18-year old son, Eli (Shane West), and worries about her 15-year-old daughter Jessie's (Evan Rachel Wood) eating disorder. And just when it looks like she was finally getting off the mat, she was literally flattened in a horrendous car accident that left her with a litany of broken bones.

"We really wanted to shatter her," says executive producer Edward Zwick. "I know that sounds rude, but it is often after calamities like this that extraordinary things happen." And he's not just talking about Karen. With the show's future in doubt ABC has cut the number of episodes ordered from 22 to 19 - Once and Again needs a ratings boost to survive. The January episode involving Karen's accident turned out to be the last before the show was pulled from its Friday-night slot, where its audience had dwindled to 6.3 million viewers from a high of 10.9 million in its first season. Having bounced around the schedule five times already, it moves to Mondays (10 P.M./ET) on March 4.

Now producers hope Thompson's dramatic story line will bring some of those viewers back. "We always imagined that Karen would be our secret weapon," says Zwick's longtime producing partner, Marshall Herskovitz. "We thought people would be able to identify with someone who's been knocked down but hasn't been beaten." Insiders say that when the show returns, Karen will struggle mightily with physical rehabilitation, working with a therapist named Henry Higgins (no joke).

For today's shoot, Thompson stands alone on a Culver City, California soundstage, barefoot and shivering in a hospital gown. She asks the episode's director - Eric Stoltz, who also guest stars this season as a high school teacher - for a quiet moment before addressing the camera. Thompson nails the first take. She's a great actress," Stoltz says. "You don't see half of what she can do."

Thompson has another breakout opportunity when she stars opposite Kevin Costner in the film "Dragonfly," opening February 22. The supernatural love story involves a grieving emergency room doctor (Costner) who believes his dead oncologist wife (Thompson) is trying to communicate with him through her young patients' near-death experiences.

Most Hollywood insiders say this kind of career growth is rare for actresses well out of their 20s. (Thompson won't reveal her age.) There were memorable turns as the psycho florist who stalked Jimmy Smits on NYPD Blue and the Borg Queen on Star Trek: Voyager. Her film credits included 1999's "Random Hearts," as Harrison Ford's cheating wife who is killed in a plane crash ("I seem to play a lot of dead wives," she says, laughing).

Such roles provides a stretch for Thompson, the product of a close knit Irish Catholic family. She mainly grew up in San Diego, the third of seven children of Norman, a U.S. Navy chief petty officer, and Nina, a homemaker.

After she graduated from San Diego State University, regional theater led to TV roles in the late '80s. With her career finally in full throttle, she is grateful to more famous actors, such as Ford and Costar, who have made her feel welcome. Did anyone make her feel weak in the knees? Thompson laughs, then blushes. "Jimmy Smits," she says. "He's got this smoldering sensuality. And he's so kind, which is a total turn-on for me."

But Thompson's heart is already taken. She has been living for 21 years with her boyfriend, Martin Katz who teaches theater at San Diego State. Now thanks to her role on Once and Again she's seriously considering making the transition from playing a mom to being one. "I've always known I've had good instincts," she says.

Wood, who plays daughter Jessie, agrees: "I think she'd be the kind of mom to do your hair, take you to the mall and give you hugs."

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From InsideOA at the ABC Message Board:
Henry Higgins is the Physical Therapist.
Also, Eli gets a new job. Back to top
From ABC:

"Falling in Place" - Jessie's anxiety and guilt about her mom's slow recovery causes tension with every member of the family, especially Lily. Meanwhile, Eli is in denial about the seriousness of his mother's condition, on "Once and Again," FRIDAY, JANUARY 25 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Once and Again" stars Sela Ward as Lily Sammler, Billy Campbell as Rick Sammler, Julia Whelan as Grace Manning, Shane West as Eli Sammler, Meredith Deane as Zoe Manning, Evan Rachel Wood as Jessie Sammler, Susanna Thompson as Karen Sammler, Jeffrey Nordling as Jake Manning, Marin Hinkle as Judy Brooks, Steven Weber as Samuel Blue and Ever Carradine as Tiffany Porter.

Guest starring are Edward Zwick as Dr. Rosenfeld, Jane Sibbett as Jeannine, D.B. Woodside as Henry Higgins, Mischa Barton as Katie, Natasha Gaty as Alexa, Allie Raye as the day nurse, Williams Marquez as Mr. Lopez, James Eckhouse as Lloyd Lloyd, Stephanie Brown as Stacy, John Lehr as Kenny and Carole Gutierrez as the night nurse.

"Falling In Place" was written by Sue Paige and Daniel Paige and directed by Eric Stoltz.

"Once and Again" is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound.

This program carries a TV-PG parental guideline.

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From TV Guide:
Falling in Place

Hospitalized Karen undergoes an arduous rehabilitation that's framed by Jessie's acute anxieties, Rick's emotional responsiveness and Eli's increasingly erratic behavior. Henry: D.B. Woodside. Katie: Mischa Barton. Dr. Rosenfeld: Edward Zwick. Lloyd: James Eckhouse. Alexa: Natasha Gaty. Karen: Susanna Thompson. Eli: Shane West.

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From SunDog108 at the ABC Message Board:

. . . the next one is supposed to be really good too and Karen's physical therapist will be on and she'll start getting out of bed. I'm glad Rick is going to help Karen and Jesse. The girl who plays Jesse might put out a CD.

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