The World According to Jake
Father Knows Best
By Nancy Kiu, Director of Medical Research
If 606 explored Addison's journey to motherhood, then it only made sense for 607 to be a companion episode exploring Jake's approach to fatherhood. After all, he is the man not only in Addison's life, but in Henry's as well.
Adoptions are a long process – many children need good homes, but the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) take their jobs very seriously, and they thoroughly vet every adoptive parent. This process includes interviews with the adoptive parents, home inspections, and background checks with local law enforcement as well as the US Department of Justice. Addison applied for the adoption of Henry by herself, but in her adoption agreement, she agreed to inform DCFS should there be any change in her living situation. Since Jake has moved in and is now a constant presence in Henry's life, he is subjected to these extensive background checks, which reveal someone who loves his job and those in his life so much that he will do anything to help them, sometimes to the detriment of both himself and those around him.
Thus begins what is the first of many complications for the normally unflappable Jake Reilly. His composure was already tested when Addison proposed to him at the end of episode 606, and weeks later, he still has not responded to her proposal. Why the hesitancy from the man who doggedly pursued Addison all this time? Because Jake is loyal to a fault. He loves Addison, but he's afraid of letting go of his past life and truly beginning a new one.
When is the right time to let go? Weeks, months, years, never? For Jake and Angela, for Ron and Dana, and for Megan, when do you move on with your life? Ron and Dana are now in counseling with Violet, and since episode 605, their despair and grief over their still missing daughter has only multiplied. Is Sarah dead? Is she alive? Will she ever be found, or should Ron and Dana just give up the search for their daughter? Theirs is one of the worst scenarios a parent could ever face. As Violet posits, "If Sarah's alive and comes back after Ron and Dana have given up, they'll never forgive themselves. If she's dead and they don't move on, they could waste decades just waiting." What's the right counsel to give a grieving couple facing their worst fear?
Jake's patient, Megan (episode 604) is pregnant again. Is it too soon? Jake told her that it might be time to consider different options, but Megan begged him, and he relented. In his attempt to be everything to everyone, did he allow his judgment to be clouded by a desperate patient? The chances of IVF succeeding improve with every attempt, but it's also advisable that patients wait at least several months between IVF attempts. Patients have to undergo many different treatments to prepare for IVF, including a multitude of hormone injections, and it's a physically draining process. In addition, the emotional toll it takes can prove to be too much for some patients. Megan's last IVF attempt ended in a miscarriage, and the lack of support on the home front should have given Jake pause, but it didn't. Was Jake right in allowing Megan to engage in another cycle of IVF before she was ready?
And as for Jake himself, he has always been a port in the storm. But as his professional and personal life start to unravel, something has to give. As a father, he wants so desperately to tell Angela that Eli, her professor/boyfriend, is not the right match for her. He's too old. He's only interested in one thing (it's not her brains), and he teaches Human Sexuality for crying out loud! But what gives anyone the right to judge? And how big is too big of an age gap for partners in a relationship? Five years' difference in people who are, say, 15 and 20 years old, is vastly different than a 35 year old dating a 40 year old. What's the cut off in age difference – 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Whatever it is, it's not Jake's decision to make for Angela. As much as his fatherly instincts tell him to protect his daughter, he needs to let her make her own mistakes. Otherwise, he'll be in danger of pushing Angela further away, directly into the arms of Human Sexuality Professor Eli.
Jake counsels Amelia to be happy with James – after all, "really, really good fries are hard to come by." But can he take his own advice and commit to fries of his own? Jake has to learn that in order to achieve some balance, boundaries, and trust in his life, he might have to let things give just a little. You can't always be in control, and you don't always have to be the one to do the asking. Sometimes, you just have to light some candles, lay a walkway full of rose petals, and just say yes.