The Importance of Being Erica
Season 2, Episode 12
Air date December 8, 2009
Viewers Canada - , The Netherlands -
Opening "Being Erica theme" by Lily Frost
Episode Guide
What goes Up Must Come Down
The Rabbit Hole

Erica is feeling conflicted about her decision to start her own publishing company with her fellow fired River Rocker Julianne, their first planned book being Seth Newman's manuscript about escaping from a cult within which his family still lives. Although the business was Erica's idea, Julianne is equally as excited about the prospect. Ethan, however, wants Erica to be more cautious in whatever her next career pursuit. Dr. Tom gives Erica a test to follow her gut feeling. As Erica is unable to complete this test, Dr. Tom sends Erica back to graduate school, when Erica mistakenly sent a nasty email to her brilliant but difficult thesis adviser, Dr. Audrey Hogan, the department head. Erica vows not to send the email the second time around. Regardless of the email, Erica feels that Dr. Hogan hates her. But Erica comes to understand what she is supposed to learn on this visit back. With this new found knowledge, Erica tries to assist Kai, who thinks that he will soon be sent back to resume his real life. But she also makes a decision to change a fundamental aspect of her own current life, and walks through a door to an unknown future.

Full Plot Edit

Erica and Ethan are debating about her career - he doesn't think it's a good idea starting a company, and she says she doesn't know but she'll learn. He asks if she's 100% ready, and she says yes, then says I don't know. He convinces her slow and steady wins the race.

Voiceover: "Have you ever woken up and had that feeling, like something just isn't right? Like you slept all night but still aren't rested? That there's a heaviness in your heart that you can't name?"

Next morning Ethan asks if Erica is OK, and she says everything makes sense, she's just processing it.

Voiceover: "Have you ever woken up in your own bed and just felt lost?"

Julianne phones Erica early, as there is a yoga class starting at 9. She's decided she doesn't want to devolve into the crazy cat lady. 

Jody tells Travis and Kai the demo was good but he wants them to play a more commercial song as their demo is a bit too garage band. Kai asks, if we sign with you and sing your song, we record a deal? Who steers our ship? You or us? Jody responds: I'll bring the guys to universal mike night, play the song. If you blow it, we'll be gone before the chorus. After Jody leaves, an incredulous Travis asks: Who steers our ship? Are you insane? If you screw this up, our friendship over.

At yoga class, Julianne tells Erica she loves Seth's manuscript. But Erica is hesitant, and says she can't do this, start a business.  During a yoga move, Erica experiences an emotional release and runs out of the class, upset. Julianne follows, wanting to know what is wrong. Erica divulges she discussed things with Ethan and thinks it's too risky, she's just a junior editor. Julianne stops her and says: I admit yesterday I was the Debbie downer, but I thought about what you said, and you're right. We have an amazing opportunity to do something bigger. We're smart, have had successes, and we want this. No risk, no reward. Erica is confused, and Julianne tells her to think about it.

Dr. Fred approaches Kai on a sidewalk to discuss his regret. Kai: Everyone wants me to finish this regret, finish the damn song, go back. The apartment runs out of hot water, there's not enough to eat, Travis hates me. I feel like I made things worse. I get it, I can't save him, it doesn't matter what I do. If therapy is not about changing the past, what's the point? Dr. Fred: That's for you to figure out.

Erica is sitting on a bench outside, and Dr. Tom comes by. Erica: Ethan's reasons totally make sense. Julianne does too. Whose advice do I follow? Dr. Tom wants to show her something, and brings her to a brick wall. He draws a chalk door, and tells her to go ahead and push. She pushes, and is surprised when the door opens and leads to a hallway of doors.

Erica: Where are we going? Dr. Tom tells her to choose a door, but she wants guidance and context on how to choose. Dr. Tom: "One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat. Which road do I take, she asked. Where do you want to go, he asked. I don't know, she said. Then it doesn't matter." You can't stay in this hallway forever, you have to choose. Which feels right? Erica: I don't know. Dr. Tom leaves through a door, leaving her alone. Erica thinks for awhile, then follows through same door, finding herself in Dr. Tom's office. Dr. Tom notes she followed him. She had three choices. 1. Choose door 2. Stay in hallway 3. Follow him. He asks her about Silly Fingers.

Erica: In 1999 I just started the Master's program. Professor Audrey Hogan, Rhodes scholar, PhD, I wanted her, and regretted it. She was brilliant, and didn't suffer fools. When she did something to stress me out, I would email Cassidy, her office was down the hall from mine. One time Erica forwarded a message to Hogan by mistake. An hour later, Professor Hogan called her in, withdrawing as her thesis advisor, and she was assigned to another professor who ignored her. Erica declares she thrived on academics until that incident.

Dr. Tom: You might have stayed on, gotten your PhD. Erica says if she could go back, she wouldn't have sent the email. She finds herself sitting in front of the computer almost sending the email, and doesn't, to her huge relief. Then as she gets up, she bumps her desk and a book falls on the send button, sending the email anyway.

In a panic she runs to Cassidy and tells her there's no time, the email was accidentally forwarded to Professor Hogan, not Holland. They run to Hogan's office, and through subterfuge Cassidy manages to lure the front desk assistant away so that Erica can get into Professor Hogan's office and delete the email.

During a class lecture on the theme of hypocrisy - Professor Hogan asks Erica her view. Erica replies both have good points - unconventional honesty of Algernon, whereas Jack appears more conflicted. Hogan stops her and says I asked for your point of view, and realizes it's clear she doesn't have one. Later when Erica discusses her thesis proposal with Hogan (The Woman in the Attic, hidden feminism in Bronte's Jane Eyre), Hogan disparages her choice as the blandest topic, but approves it anyway.

Erica is griping to Cassidy and Ethan that she didn't even send the email and Hogan still hates her. Cassidy advises Erica confront her and tell her to shove it. Ethan thinks this is the worst idea. Cassidy advocates for passion and original thought, versus Ethan who wants her to play it safe. Cassidy tells Erica: if everyone was as complacent as Ethan we wouldn't even be in a university. Ethan: What does Hogan want? Ask her for advice. 

Erica tells Hogan she doesn't want to present her proposed topic, and does Hogan have any ideas, and suggestions? Hogan is completely stunned and responds: Are you asking me to come up with your thesis proposal? Erica: I'm asking for guidance. Hogan: No, you're asking me to do the work for you. Erica: I want to give you what you want. Hogan explodes: this has nothing to do with me, this is your thesis, your degree, your life! She then withdraws as Erica's advisor. 

Erica stops by Hogan's Level 200 class. Erica: I want to understand why you dislike me. Hogan: You never answered my question. Why are you in the masters program? Erica: I need my degree. Hogan is exasperated: You need your degree? When I was your age there was not one tenured professor in this faculty. It didn't matter because this was what I was meant to do. It's frustrating seeing people hiding in a university when they could be pursuing their dreams. You can't even answer the question why are you here. You're bright, what do you want to do with your life? Erica blurts out: Be an editor. Publish books. Start my own company. Hogan: Erica, 30 years ago when I told my father one day I wanted to chair the English department, he laughed in my face. You follow your heart, don't let anyone try to stop you. Erica thanks her, leaves, and is outside the brick wall again, the painted chalk door still there.

She calls Julianne and they grab coffee. Erica apologizes for her earlier breakdown, and Julianne is confused. Erica: Ethan convinced me this was a bad idea. Julianne: Maybe it is. For Ethan. But he's not you. No offense, but he's not Jean Claude van Damme. He'll come around. I just want to make sure, before you say yes, that you won't change mind or let him change it. They agree they'll see this through.

At home - Erica is working, when Kai knocks on the door. He finished his regret (finishing the song Alien Like You) but is still here and he can't figure out why. At first things were great but now it feels like he's messing things up so he understands therapy isn't about changing the past, so what's the point? Erica: It's called therapy for a reason. Changing the past is easy. Changing yourself is much harder. Kai: How? I have no idea. With Erica plays "Dr. Erica", Kai realizes Alien was a regret because that song was honest; when he wrote it, he wasn't trying to please anyone. He was being true to himself. Erica: If I were Dr. Tom, I'd say: "This above all to thine own self be true. - Shakespeare." How can you be true to yourself in your current situation? 

At Goblins, Erica and Kai walk in. He asks Erica, if this all works, what happens when I get back? Erica: Same, for the most part. Kai: Will I remember everything? Remember you? Erica: Yes. Kai: Good. So should I look you up? Erica: Don't. And if you're going to don't tell me, it would be too weird. Kai: You'll be fine, you have Ethan.  She kisses him on the cheek.

Dave introduces the band Head. Instead of playing the commercial song Jody suggested, Kai plays Alien Like You, saying this audience is the first to hear the song in its entirety. Travis protests but Kai starts playing anyway. 

Afterward, Jody is telling the band to hire a lawyer, they're signing contracts tomorrow. Erica congratulates him, and Kai doesn't know who she is anymore. 

Back at the apartment, Erica returns, and tells Ethan she and Julianne are going into business. Ethan can't support her. Erica: It's my career. Ethan: But it's our life. When Erica asks what he wants ten years from now, the only difference is they're married, with kids, a dog and a house. He's still teaching and she's working, and life's simple and they're happy. Erica is crushed: We're in completely different places... I don't think we're right for each other. There's no amount of talking that will fix this, it's a fundamental difference between us... I step outside of the box, you keep pushing me in. I think we should break up... I'm not giving up. But if we keep going, we're going to keep pulling in different directions until we tear apart. I can't stand the thought of you not in my life, but I can't keep shutting out this voice telling me this isn't right.

They hug and cry, lay next to each other in pain, and Ethan finally leaves.

Judith comes to console her, and they go to Goblins. Judith leaves to get drinks and Dr. Fred comes by and sits: You won't find him here. Erica: For some reason, I knew that. Dr. Fred: He quit yesterday, they're already working on a lineup for V-Fest. Erica: And the Kai that I know? Dr. Fred: Adjusting. Thanks. 

Erica is walking in the dark, and sees the chalk door in the brick wall. She pushes the door, goes in, and sees Dr. Tom. Erica: Where have you been? Dr. Tom: Waiting until you were ready. Erica: I broke up with Ethan. Kai, he's gone back to where he belongs. I have no job, no boyfriend. It feels scary, but strangely OK. Dr. Tom: Why? Erica: It's like talking to Ethan made me realize how much I've changed. Everything you've taught me, it's made me braver. Fear doesn't hold me back, it motivates me. Dr. Tom: "We cannot teach people anything. We can only help them discover it within themselves. -Galileo." It's time, Erica, choose a door. She takes a breath, looks, says that one, and walks through.