The next morning, Dana felt so much better that she dreamed up an entire conversation with her mother that never seemed to happen. "You know what she said?" Dana asked Mike. "She said that she 'trusts my judgment.'" I re-watched Dana and Jessica's conversation, and never once did the worst "trust" or "judgment" escape Jessica's lips. I suppose one could extrapolate from Jessica giving Dana permission to stay with Mike that she trusted Dana's judgment to stay with him — or someone just wasn't paying enough attention in the editing room. Either way, Dana was shocked by the revelation, but Mike wasn't. "If you could hear what she says about you," he said, "you'd know, Dana, she thinks the world of you."
On something of an empathizing-with-adults winning streak, Dana asked Mike about how hard it had been for him to disappear after Brody came home. "It was difficult," he said. "But there was no question in my mind it was the right thing to do." At this moment, Dana seemed to realize that Mike Faber was pretty much the perfect man. He cooks. He keeps a clean home. He's got good taste in furnishings and decor. He's thoughtful and considerate. He's easy on the eyes. And he's just dim enough that he'll basically do anything you ask him to do — like, say, drive you to a strange home so you can apologize to the daughter of the woman you were complicit in killing, without any adult supervision whatsoever.
From the start, Dana's attempt at an apology went sour. The victim's daughter recognized Dana from her hospital visit, and surmised immediately Dana was responsible for her mother's death. "I didn't kill her," Dana meekly protested. "I was in the car." The daughter sneered: "It's the same exact thing." Dana forged on, the words barely tumbling from her mouth, as if she knew they were wholly inadequate before she spoke them: "I am so sorry, and I'm trying..."
"Trying what?" the daughter spat.
"Trying to take responsibility..." Again, the daughter interrupted: "What does that even mean?!" The reality of her seething anger, of her inability for forgiveness, overwhelmed Dana. "I'm sorry," she murmured, her voice thick with tears. "I want to go to the police."
And that's when the other shoe dropped. Keep in mind that in the timeline of the show, this conversation came roughly 48 hours after Dana and Finn confessed their crime to their mothers — and in that time, the Waldens had already paid off the victim's family. "I got two sisters to take care of, so don't you dare mess that up," the daughter snapped. "If you tell anyone, I get nothing." Chased out of the house, Dana collapsed into Mike's car, staggered by the moral purgatory she found herself sucked into — unwilling to do the wrong thing, unable to do the right thing.
Back at home, while Chris obliviously marveled with Mike at the Redskins' fortunes against the Dolphins (I'm about 80 percent certain that that's what Chris meant by being "up by five against Miami"), Dana explained to her mother what she'd just done. (UPDATE: It was the Wizards vs. the Heat. Basketball. This is why I don't write for Sports Illustrated.) "She basically called me a murderer," Dana said of the victim's daughter, dissolving into tears. Jessica tried to tell Dana that she wasn't a killer, but Dana wouldn't hear it. "It's how I feel about half the time." She then explained about the deal, and Jessica — who had been so righteous with her husband about not letting politics prevent them from doing the right thing with Dana — rolled her eyes and said she wasn't surprised. "There's a presidential campaign in the works," she sighed.
Dana, bless her breaking heart, refused to give in to such sudden, easy cynicism. "So, what, it just goes away? We're supposed to pretend like it never happened? Because I can't. I killed someone." In Dana's grief and guilt, in her refusal to explain away her crime — indeed, in her fearless need to atone for it — she proved herself a stronger soul than either of her parents. The writers may have given her an easy out as far as the law is concerned, but since they're clearly not keen on letting her father off the hook emotionally, I don't think Dana will be back to her old sunshine-and-snark self any time soon.
NEXT PAGE: The Brody breakdown bonanza continues!