We open with Eric arriving home, having pick up his sister at the airport. Everyone's excited to see her, she teases naturally with the family. She seems especially close to Matt. She's brought them all presents. Ruthie at four doesn't know what an aunt is. Simon is over grateful to the point where I wonder if he's ever received a present before.
Matt takes Julie upstairs, so that Mary and Lucy can ask about not having Thanksgiving with the family. Mary wants to see a movie; Lucy wants to spend time with Jimmy Moon. Matt asks Julie if she minds if goes skiing with his new girlfriend during her visit. Julie encourages him. He asks about her cool boyfriend, and Julie stammers that he's with his family this year. Matt leaves so that Julie can pull out the fifth she's carrying in her luggage and take a shot. She hasn't bothered to closed the door though-- she's lucky that no one in this nosy family happened to be walking by.
Dinner. Eric is happy that his kids haven't bugged him about skipping out on Thanksgiving. They give everyone permission to go through their plans. The kids are reasonably appreciative. Julie makes a toast and downs her glass of wine. Simon notes that his aunt drinks a lot of wine. Because she's got a secret problem. She covers that she lost track because of all her travelling. Eric enables her, saying that it's okay because she's on vacation. Because it's still a secret problem. Annie makes her kids clean the kitchen.
Annie and Julie discuss Annie's mom. Julie tells Annie that she's been really tired of her life lately. Annie is sympathetic. Annie leaves to tuck her kids into bed. And also so that Julie can sneak some wine out of their locked liquor cabinet. Who knew the Camdens were so welled stocked in adult beverages?
Matt is making out with the girl who invited him skiing. She's planning quite the romantic weekend. Including "lots of other stuff" while her family is skiing. She clearly doesn't know that Camdens only "do stuff" after they rush into marriage.
Eric's sorry he didn't get home from some meeting before his sister went to bed. Annie reminds him that she's here for a few days. Eric is nervous about preaching in front of his sister, given her perfectionist tendencies. Annie tells him he'll do fine, and is glad that she's here. She asks Eric if he thought Julie was drinking more than usual. Eric thinks she's just unwinding. Annie looks uncertain.
Eric is preaching. Julie is anxious. The family notices. Eric introduces his sister and she spills out her purse, so that Eric can further embarass her by calling her the family klutz in front of his parish. Nice.
Annie calls Julie's boyfriend. I guess to check up on Julie's excuse for his absense. Because she's that nosy. She finds out they broke up, and that Julie got fired from her job. Annie looks concerned.
Simon and Ruthie are playing Batman. Julie comes into get some more booze, but Simon playfully steals the key, so she can't get in. She plays along, and she and Ruthie start tickling him to get the key back. But Simon's not giving up quickly enough. So Julie very suddenly and very roughly grabs him by the neck demanding that he, "Give her that G-D key." Ruthie calls for their mother as Simon protests. Annie understably throws her out of the house.
Saloon. Julie is drinking with some random guy. Eric walks in. The bartender called him to tell him that his sister was there. Because Eric apparently knows the bartender well enough for him to know who his sister is. Eric tells Julie that it's time to go home, and when she resists, he literally drags her out of the bar. She's yelling at him to let her go, and nobody in the bar does anything to stop him.
Annie is talking to the kids about what happened. Lucy wants to know if Julie will still be staying with them, but Annie is opposed to having her around the kids. Because she actually tried to injure on of them. Annie explains alocoholism and that it's a disease. She explains about addiction. Lucy suggests that alcoholics "are really just trying to kill themselves," and Annie agrees with her. Way to oversimplify a complicated issue there. Matt sends Simon and Ruthie upstairs, so Annie can further explain things to the older kids.
Matt thinks it's cold to send Julie away to rehab when she needs her family the most, but Annie is concerned about the potential for more violence. Mary is super angry with her aunt and is ready to disown her. Lucy is crying as she recaps the situation. She feels sorry for everyone involved.
Eric brings Julie into the house. She can barely stand. Matt goes to help. Lucy is still crying. Mary calls Julie out on her behavior, and gets reprimanded for her efforts. Julie tries to apologize, but Annie's not really having it. I'm not sure why everyone's being so hard on Mary for her reaction, when Annie seems to be just as distant. The men take her upstairs. Wonder why Eric didn't take her directly to rehab. He seems the type to have access to places open at all hours.
Jimmy Moon calls and Lucy backs out of her Thanksgiving plans due to the family problems. Interesting tidbit-- apparently these twelve year olds spend a lot of time discussing Jimmy Moon's fear of intimacy. Like twelve year olds would even know what that means.
Matt comes in and cancels his sisters' plans for them. Because as their older brother, he can make that call. Though his father did just forcibly drag his sister out of a bar, so maybe this is how things work in Glen Oak. Mary thinks this is a ridiculous idea, and refuses to let "some drunk ruin her holiday." Matt tells her the holiday is already ruined and wants to know why Mary is so mad. Mary points out that Julie hurt Simon, and that she's looked up to Julie all her life and is upset because her aunt is too human. Matt points out that it's not her fault, but Mary isn't hearing it. Matt's upset about her general lack of compassion.
Annie asks Eric about where Julie will be going for treatment. Eric wants to keep Julie at there house and get her through the first few days himself. This seems like a terrible idea on so many levels. Annie agrees with me. Eric throws his qualifications in her face, but that's not why she's opposed to the idea because she's worried about her children's safety and she's not sure Julie even wants help. Eric really wants to do this for his sister because he thinks he's the only one who can help her through this. So modest, and also, even if you have the training, aren't there ethical issues involved in trying to treat members of your family? Annie looks super pissed.
Simon and Ruthie give back their presents. Julie looks devestated.
Matt tells his girlfriend that he can't go on the ski trip. She breaks up with him.
Eric talks to Julie about treatment. She's in denial about how serious her problem is. She wants to go home, but Eric won't even let her leave the house, let alone the town. I don't know why Julie doesn't call the police about his forced confinement.
Lucy and Ruthie offer to help Annie with Thanksgiving dinner. Mary doesn't want to because she's still upset that Julie is in their house. Annie sends her on a walk to cool off. Lucy begins the process of morphing into her mother.
Matt offers to give Eric a break from the 24-hour surveillance of Julie. This seems like a bad idea on so many levels. As soon as Eric is out of the room, Julie tries to con Matt into getting her a beer. Matt almost falls for it because he wants to believe in his aunt, but he doesn't want to get her a beer.
Julie turns on him, saying he's "just as self-righteous as [Eric]." She's got that right. Then she kicks him out of the room, shouting random insults. Matt's clearly hurt.
Evening. Simon is teaching Ruthie about drawing turkeys. She's not that impressed. Ruthie wants her present back. So does Simon. They go to get their stuff out of the other room.
Julie's having withdrawls in the other room. She's hallucinating about rats and screaming. I can't believe Eric is subjecting his kids to this. I mean they're all just down the hall, I imagine they can hear what's going on.
Morning. Julie, Annie, and Eric are asleep in the master bedroom, so the kids are making breakfast. Mary is still upset and snotty. Eric and Annie are impressed that the kids have started preparing Thanksgiving. Annie gives them all permission to go off on their other plans. Lucy declines on everyone's behalf.
Matt suggests that Mary get over her snottiness about Julie's situation. He tells her that he hopes if she ever needs help, that someone treats her with more kindness than she's shown her aunt. Of course, we all know that the minute Mary's family does not treat her with anywhere near the understanding they are showing Julie in later seasons.
Julie is calling a rehab place to see if they will take her as a patient. Looks like Eric's crazy plan worked. As she hangs up, she sees Mary hovering in the background. Julie apologizes, and thinks Mary is giving her present back. Mary's real plan however is to give her aunt a makeover. Aww, looks like she's not angry anymore.
Night. The table is set with a variety of unidentifiable food. The parents are having trouble figuring out what to say about it, and Matt won't let them in the kitchen. Probably because it's a disaster. The Camden parents decide to have water with there meal instead of wine. Which is good because that way it won't tempt Julie who has just come in with Mary.
Simon is a little nervous about being in the same room with his aunt. She promises that she's getting better, and that she loves him. Simon hugs her, shows her that he kept his present afterall, and all is forgiven.
The family sits down to dinner. Annie says grace, and everyone digs in. Julie makes a joke about being drunk when she brought Happy's present and everybody laughs. Too soon, y'all. Everyone digs into the food as the show draws to a close.
Eric is so creepy sometimes.
I know we're supposed to think that Eric is just being a protective brother, but it's really creepy to watch a man forcibly drag a screaming woman out of a bar while all the patrons ignore it. Even if they do know each other, the patrons don't know that, and there may be compelling reasons for her not to want to go with. The whole scene is just wrong.
Also, I think Mary's anger was a little over the top, but it seemed like a more natural reaction than Matt's and Lucy's instant empathy.
I can't believe Annie let Eric lock his sister in their bedroom so he could treat her for alcoholism while all their kids were in the house. I also can't believe there was anything legal or ethical about that situation. Julie expresses numerous times that she doesn't want to be there, and as an adult, she should have the right to make that decision.
There are quite a few references to Annie and the kids missing Annie's mother, which was a nice touch of continuity.