This episode is more momentous than most--if you haven't seen it and don't wish to know more, please don't read any further.

Episode 415--"fighting the cold"


Joseph Dougherty


Joseph Dougherty

Air Dates


Guest Stars

Patricia Kalember as Susannah Hart


Gary's funeral is held.


The furnace at the Steadman's is out and everyone huddles there after Gary's funeral, trying to stay warm. Melissa is in a disturbing state, shut off by herself in another room and refusing to eat. Ellyn gently asks what Susannah plans to do now and she replies that she'll be going back to New York for the time being as she has the apartment and Emma seems to like it. Ellyn asks how Emma is and Susannah says that she senses something is wrong, but doesn't understand.

While talking to Elliot about it, Nancy remembers Gary carrying Ethan into the kitchen when he had his accident with the model rocket. Ellyn finds Hope sitting alone and offers to take the food up to Melissa since it's become such a strain over the last few days. After leaving Melissa, Ellyn recalls Gary and her watching some of the babies sleeping and Gary saying that she'd be a good mother.

Susannah remarks that Melissa isn't taking it very well which leads to her asking Michael how long Gary and Melissa were together and what his relationship was with everyone. Michael offers to help her go through the things at the apartment when the time comes. Alone in the kitchen Hope remembers Gary juggling oranges sitting in the breakfast nook. When Nancy approaches, Hope shares how bitter she feels that Nancy survived, but they never got to celebrate her joy and had to turn immediately to Gary.

Michael gets calls from the office and angrily tells them to leave him alone. Michael and Elliot go down to the basement to look at the furnace, trying to make sense of it. Hope and Michael walk Susannah to her car, trying to work out when they can talk about arrangements, and she discovers that her car won't start. For some time she sits and refuses to accept this, wanting to escape more than ever, insisting on waiting in the car while Michael calls the auto club. Finally they get her back inside the house.

Melissa sits alone and remembers Gary sleeping in their bed and her taking pictures of him as he sleeps. She tells him about Ansel Adams' secret to taking pictures of the moon. Ellyn tries to sit faithfully by Susannah as she lies stiffly on the couch and stares at the ceiling. Ellyn offers that she's getting married and Susannah is genuinely happy for her and when Ellyn invites her to the wedding, Susannah embraces her hesitantly. Hope goes upstairs and remembers being tipsy at a party and meeting Gary outside the bathroom. She goofily compliments his butt and tells him that she once saw him naked out at a lake.

Michael goes to see Melissa who isn't crying anymore, but still looks odd. Michael asks her to come downstairs to say goodbye to Susannah whenever her car is fixed, but Melissa is resistant to the idea. Elliot remembers Gary playing Scrabble. Michael approaches Susannah and hands over the deed to the grave, telling her that she could see the university from the gravesite in good weather.

The auto club comes and jumpstarts the car after which Susannah goes up to Melissa's room to say goodbye. They exchange some formal niceties and Melissa mentions yet again that it was nice that Gary's students came. Susannah leaves and then comes back to tell Melissa that Gary loved her very much. Melissa doesn't want to listen to her and they escalate into an argument which culminates with Susannah slamming the door as everyone listens below. They calm down and Susannah ends up sharing how lost she feels, how she doesn't know where home is anymore. Susannah compulsively lights up again and Melissa accepts a cigarette. Again, Susannah regrets how these friends knew so much more about Gary than she ever did, how they had so much more time with him. Melissa affirms how much he had loved Susannah while Susannah wonders how she let Gary change her so much. Melissa replies that it was Susannah who changed Gary.

Sitting alone in her car before driving away, Susannah remembers Gary driving with her on a trip and getting them hopelessly lost. He finally convinces her to stop worrying, to lean against him, and trust him to get them wherever they're going. A single tear rolls down her face and Susannah drives away.


  • Gary and Melissa were together for four years
  • The opening credits simply show the arrival of the casket at the cemetery as it snows while the names print quietly at the bottom and somber music plays
  • The quiet music plays over the final credits
  • The skid marks from the wreck were measured at 185 feet, crossing a median
  • Gary's students came to the funeral
  • Dairy products are bad for Melissa
  • Susannah smokes
  • Elliot finds some boxing gloves down in the basement
  • This takes place in February
  • Fashion

    Melissa wears the coat with the numbers to the funeral as she hangs at the very back of the crowd. In Melissa's flashback she wears a big T-shirt with Jackie Kennedy on the front (which had already appeared in "melissa and men")


    "Remember--Gary is a moon-lit object. Expose accordingly." --Gary

    --"Of all Michael's friends, I find you the most tall. And you have the best butt." --Hope, about to tip over drunk

    --"I chewed a lot of rubber bands in college." --Gary, trying not to laugh

    --"Good." --Hope

    "Let's all try for just two minutes here to remember who the widow is." --Michael to Melissa, who doesn't take it very kindly

    "No one I've ever slept with has died before and now I feel like death knows where to find me. It makes me want to run away and change my name." --Melissa


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