Out of Our Hands
Mandy Straussberg is determined to help her separated parents get back together with a play that forces them to see how they're behaving.
Mandy Straussberg is watching old home videos of her family, back when she thought they were happy. her mother promises that she and Mandy's dad are trying to work it out, and asks Mandy to continue to pray for them.
At school, David Straussberg hangs around less-than-stellar influences and is punished by Dr. Hawthorne for his misbehavior. His friend, chafing under the punishment, tries to convince David to go to Dr. Hawthorne's house and kill his prize rose bushes. David initially refuses, but when he returns home after school his mother, having spoken on the phone with his teacher, meets him at the door and punishes him for his recent misbehavior. Angry at his teacher, David phones Cameron and agrees to go through with the rose poisoning plan.
Meanwhile, Connie is struggling to find a replacement for a puppet show she had booked for a family night. Mandy suggests that they do some sort of theater game with audience participation and agrees to write something for the program. Privately, she resolves to use the opportunity to try to help her separated parents come back together. While discussing the skit that night with Connie, Mandy sees David through the window in the backyard with Cameron. After going through his room, Mandy figures out what he is up to and confronts David. David argues that nothing he does makes any difference any more and tells Mandy that their parents are as good as divorced. Mandy tells David that his failures are driving their parents further apart and David tells her he no longer cares.
At the family night, Mandy connives to involve her parents playing themselves in the production she has written - a script of their lives intended to show her parents how "ridiculous" they are being - first showing their happier times, then their fights and separation. The play ends with her parents getting back together. As soon as the play is over, Connie confronts Mandy for her irresponsible behavior and her humiliated parents begin fighting about the arguments Mandy rehashed in her play.
Connie comforts a distraught Mandy and reminds her that she experienced the same thing when her parents divorced. Connie reminds Mandy that fixing her parents' marriage is not her responsibility and that all she can do is to pray. She urges Mandy to love and forgive her parents (as well as David).
David, meanwhile, is with Cameron at Dr. Hawthorne's house. Though David is having second thoughts about their plan, he reluctantly begins to go through with it. Just as he and Cameron are about to kill the roses, Mandy rings Dr. Hawthorne's doorbell to wish him well at the garden show the next day. An angry David challenges her actions. Mandy confesses that he's right, that their parents may be splitting up, and tells David that she will be needing him now more than ever. David reluctantly agrees to go home with Mandy since Dr. Hawthorne may think that she had something to do with the roses if they are destroyed.
Mandy apologizes to her parents for writing them into a skit without their permission and for running away in anger after it was over. Her mother assures Mandy that she and Stephen both love their kids very much and that whatever else changes, that will not.
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|John Whittaker||Connie Kendall|
|Mrs. Nietchew||Rachel Straussberg|
- This is, to date, the final episode to feature Dr. Hawthorne.
- At the beginning of this episode, Mandy states that she is eight months removed from her twelfth birthday, even though #555: “True Calling” revealed that she was fourteen.
Stephen Straussberg: Well, at least you looked like a saint. I'm the one who complained about soggy casseroles in scene two.
Rachel Straussberg: Actually, I thought that part was pretty accurate.
Stephen Straussberg: Yeah, well, I wouldn't complain if the food was still warm when I got home from work!
Rachel Straussberg: Well, it's not my fault if—
Stephen Straussberg: Ah, here comes the nagging. Remember scene three tonight?
Mandy Straussberg: Stop! Just stop! Now you're fighting over my play! Can't you—don't you—oh, never mind!