Annie is picking up Matt and Mary at school. The other kids are already in the car. Mary makes Lucy sit in the back.
Eric and another women are in car outside a hotel. He talks her into going inside. His entire family drives by just in time to see them walk in together. Annie thinks it has something to do with the church, but Simon is suspicious. Is it possible the good reverend is being unfaithful to his wife?? No.
The hotel is pretty swanky. Eric checks in. The woman seems really nervous. They get to the room, and she reveals that her husband is abusive and Eric is helping her get away from him. He's fairly sympathetic. She refuses to go to a woman's shelter, which is why they're at a hotel. Eric's using his discretionary fund to pay for the hotel. She's not sure if she wants to leave him for good. Eric suggests she call her sister in New York, but she needs time to think. She insists that she doesn't want anyone else to know about her situation.
Camden house. Mary and Lucy are suspicious of their father. Matt thinks Mary shouldn't be talking to Lucy about the situation, because Matt is under the delusion that what his sisters talk about is any of his business. Matt doesn't want to talk about Eric and his non-affair. He wants to give Mary crap about the guy she's dating. He thinks Mary is getting to close to the boyfriend, which is really none of his business. Shut up Matt.
Simon is doodling a girl's name in a notebook while Happy struggles to get his attention. Annie pries, but Simon just wants to know if Eric is dating. Gee, it's good to know that the family has such faith in the reverend. One trip to a hotel, in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, and it's the affair of the century. Annie says she trusts him, but she doesn't sound sure.
Eric comes home. Simon pries, but he's not giving any answers.
Doorbell. It's Mary's new boyfriend, Richard, to play catch with Mary. Eric tries to deny permission, but Mary doesn't give him the chance.
Mary and Richard play football in the front yard. She doesn't want to kiss in public, and she's worried about grades. Richard doesn't care about grades. They flirt.
Simon asks Lucy for advice about love. Lucy babbles about Jimmy Moon. Simon looks confused, and wanders away. Heh.
Ruthie pries into Simon's life. He asks her about love at first sight. Ruthie is not that helpful, but then she is four. Simon's having fantasies about marrying the new girl in his class. Because it's never to early to pick one's future bride.
The family is talking about sports at dinner. Most of the kids are quoting things that their love interests or crushes said about it. Simon accidently mentions the girl in his class. Eric can't resist prying, but Ruthie turns it around on him and asks about the mysterious woman at the hotel. Eric doesn't answer.
Morning. Eric is explaining to Annie about his confidential counseling work. She seems a little suspicious. They have an akward conversation about when he'll be home for dinner and Annie looks concerned.
At a school cafeteria, Simon is smelling some girls hair. Creepy.
Eric and the woman are having a counseling session over coffee. She stil doesn't want to call her sister, and she hasn't decided whether she's going to leave him. He tells her that she's capable of taking care of herself and encourages her to leave.
Annie and Ruthie run into a neighbor, Mrs Beeker, while walking Happy. Annie clearly hates Mrs. Beeker. You can tell by her smile. Mrs. Beeker starts gossiping about the woman Eric's counseling. Annie tries to act like she's above gossip. Mrs. Beeker should sleep with one eye open.
Simon wants to give the girl whose hair he was smelling a love note. It is intercepted by the racist kid from episode five. Much mocking ensues. The girl is embarrassed.
Matt confronts his dad about the affair rumor. Apparently, the reverend's non-affair is being gossiped about all over the high school. Eric refuses to divulge confidential information.
Simon is trying to fake sick because he's too embarrased to go to school. Ruthie blows his cover. He's not talking. Annie gives him a mental health day. Aww.
Mary is waiting for Lucy to get dressed. She can't wait to see Richard. They have a study date that afternoon. Eric overhears the part where Mary says she and Richard are serious about each other. He pries, and Mary calls him out on sneaking around. Lucy is also upset about potential affair.
Annie acts super needy in the hallway. She wants Eric to come home for lunch, but he's made unspecified plans. Matt interupts to tell them that the asswipe husband is downstairs, and Eric wants Annie to keep everyone else upstairs while the two men talk. Annie agrees and looks concerned.
The asswipe asks if Eric is having an affair with his wife. Eric denies the affair. He tells the reverend about how his wife is always making up stories to trick guys into cheating with her. Eric suggests that the asswipe file for divorce. He doesn't believe in divorce. Eric suggests the guy get some counseling without calling him out on the abuse. The guy is clearly a creep.
Matt sees Mary's boyfriend buying something from another student in front of the school, and immediately accuses him of buying drugs. Yeah, Matt, drug deals always happen right in front of the school. The boyfriend just pays someone to type his papers. The boyfriend also assures Matt that Eric is not having an affair. So a near stranger has more confidence in the reverend's fidelity than his entire family. Nice.
Annie is vaccuuming when Mrs. Beeker drops by. She's a brave woman. She's brought a casserole, and some serious gossip about the reverend going to a hotel in the middle of the day. Annie rejects the casserole, even almost swearing. I hope Mrs. Beeker has a good lock on her door.
Evening. Mary and Richard are studying. Richard just wants to make out. Simon wants to watch. Ew. He's trying to make himself sick so he doesn't have to go to school again. Annie says he has to go back to school. Simon wants to know why Eric wasn't at dinner. This would be a lot more interesting if we didn't already know that he's not having an affair.
The hotel. Asswipe shows up and tries to trick the manager into telling him where his wife is. Eric follows him in. Matt is spying on Eric.
Eric confronts the husband. He leaves without finding his wife. Abby is still in her room.
Eric confronts Matt about spying on him. Basically, he criticises Matt's technique, but encourages him in the behavior because he was spying for a good cause-- looking after his mom. No wonder stalking each other became such a bonding activity. Eric is going to wait around to make sure the husband doesn't come back, but he sends Matt home. Matt tells him that Annie fed his dinner to the dog.
Richard wants to take a study break. Richard doesn't want to study. Mary is not tempted even when he offers to take her to a chick movie. She doesn't like chick movies. They start kissing just in time for Annie to walk in and ask to talk to her in the living room.
Mary's teacher called because she forgot to get a math test signed. Her grades have been going downhill for the past three weeks. Annie thinks it's because she's spending too much time with Richard. Mary thinks the class has gotten harder. Annie bans study dates and Mary goes to get her test.
Annie enters the kitchen and catches Richard having a really hard time reading. She gives him the name of a tutor. She keeps his illiteracy a secret from Mary, which is pretty cool of her. Richard leaves so that Mary can study.
Simon is trying to get his sister to give him a concussion. Man, he really doesn't want to go to school. Lucy gives him a pep talk about how some other kid probably did something embarrasing and that no one will even remember the incident, and he decides to go to school.
Eric tells Annie about the woman and her husband. He had the woman's permission, so he's not breaking his confidentiality agreement. Annie is not surprised when she thinks about it. And starts listing all the little signs that suddenly fit together. Though, to her credit, she didn't think Eric was having an affair.
Simon's school. The racist kid gives him a hard time, but then splits his pants, so Simon's off the hook. Simon lends him a shirt to tie around his waist.
Richard dumps Mary so he can focus on school for awhile. Mary takes it pretty well. Maybe she just wasn't that into him.
Everyone arrives home from school at the same time that Eric brings the woman he's been counseling to the house. Annie starts cleaning the table. The woman has decided to move to New York.
Her husband shows up. Annie has Matt call the police. Eric confronts him. They start fighting in the front yard. Eric tells the asswipe that if he follows his wife to New York, he'll have "a couple of friends who work outside the system. Bad people who turn good but occasionally slip up." Dude, I think the reverend just threatened to have this guy killed if he goes to New York. I'm pretty sure that's not how the church is supposed to work.
The cops show up and arrest the asswipe.
The Camden kids are all shocked to learn about the domestic violence. Eric tells them that the woman will be okay.
Annie is comforting her in the living room. They promise to help her through this. The whole family watches her cry as the episode closes.
They handled the actual plotline dealing with domestic violence fairly well.
I wish the subplot had been less silly. If you're going to have everyone suspect an affair for the episode, you shouldn't reveal that there is no affair in the first five minutes of the episode.
Side note: I'm going on vacation for a week. But check back next Thursday for the episode where Annie and Matt get car jacked.