“Chasing Life” recap (2.8): Life After Death

April is mid-sentence with Imaginary Leo when Brenna walks in on her talking to nobody. April just says goodnight even though presumably Brenna came in there to say more than that, but Brenna doesn’t know how to help her sister, so she just returns the goodnight and leaves.

The next day, April is still in bed when Dom stops by to check on her. Sara, despite only telling April of Beth’s visit later, decides to let Dom right on up. Dom says all the wrong things, as usual, and April loses it on him, telling him to quite literally go away, and saying she regrets trying to stay friends with him. I imagine she only says this because it’s one of the negative memories she holds, and she only wants the happy memories now. But thankfully Dom understands her need for him to not be there and skedaddles.

Sara forces April into the real world for some Boston air to heal her soul and reminds her to focus on also healing her body. This reminds April that she needs to get her medical records for Doctor Uncle George, and says she’ll send Beth and Natalie to do it.

At school, Finn tells Brenna he’s sorry for her loss and Brenna says she wishes Finn could have met Leo, because he was full of life. Also, Brenna feels a little adrift at home right now, because she doesn’t know how to talk to April. Instead, she talks to Finn openly about his own illness.

Chasing Life 208-5 But I’d like to discuss her shirt.

Finn isn’t sad about his diagnosis though, and is keeping high spirits. He might be one leg down, but it isn’t enough to knock his running dreams out from under him. He asks Brenna to come to the track with him, which she agrees to since her house is currently covered in clouds of gloom anyway.

Natalie and Beth do go to Leo’s apartment, and Beth admits to Natalie that she doesn’t think Leo’s death has hit her yet. Especially since Natalie mentions crying for days after her dad died, and Beth realizes she hasn’t cried at all yet. Natalie then says something super smart because she’s the most socially aware person on this show; she says that it doesn’t matter how many tears Beth has shed, all that matters is that she’s there to wipe away April’s.

Chasing Life 208-6 Don’t measure your grief in tears. Measure in love.

Beth brings the medical papers to April, but in the pile is also Leo’s medical records and an envelope marked, “To be opened after my death,” which is something everyone should have, because going through a loved one’s things after they pass is the worst and having something they left behind must be a really surreal thing.

They open the envelope, and in it is a piece of paper with a latitude and longitude, with an extra four digits. April crumples it up, remembering what happened when she followed her father’s postmortem breadcrumbs.

Beth Googles it anyway and says it’s a wharf not too far from here, so they go check it out. The coordinates lead them to a dock, where there is a lockbox marked HENDRIE. The extra numbers are a code to open them, and inside are a bunch of life vests. Beth is about to tear them open for clues when April finds a message in a bottle; the letter says he created this scavenger hunt when he found out had about six months to live, for someone he cares about to have one last adventure with him.

April immediately recognizes a quote in the letter and realizes they have to go to Bunker Hill next, which is the realest sign they were meant to have found each other.

Chasing Life 208-7 “At least he didn’t sign it -A.”

Brenna goes with Finn to the race track, casually mentioning on the way that she donated stem cells once. He thanks her on behalf of all people who have ever needed a donation, and tucks that storyline under his beanie for later.

Finn takes off his pants and tells Brenna to touch it. His prosthetic leg, that is. (He made a penis joke so I’m allowed to make a penis joke LEAVE ME ALONE THIS EPISODE WAS TOO SAD MY FUNNY BONE IS BROKEN). His first goal is to make it around the track once without stopping. He takes off like a bat out of hell, though, and falls after just a few strides. He gets up and heads back to the line to start over. Brenna tries to tell him to take it easy, but Finn tells her this is not an OMI song and to start helping him get his ass in gear.

Chasing Life 208-8 “Did you say ‘cheerleader’? Because I think you meant Cool Rider.”

Brenna wants Finn to be realistic to avoid disappointment because life sucks and then you die, but Finn wants to shoot for the moon because even if he misses he’ll be among the stars. And I think that’s what makes these two pale beautiful teenagers an almost perfect yin and yang of each other; both have been touched by cancer, in very different ways. One feels beat down by it—her sister collapsed at her own wedding and then her brother-in-law died mere weeks later—and the other sees it simply as a hurdle to overcome.

When they get to the monument to look for their next clue, April admits to Beth that she’s been imagining Leo talking to her. Since she seems to fully understand it’s just a projection of her own memory and not an actual visitation from the afterlife, Beth tells her she thinks it’s just fine. Before they start to search in earnest, Beth reminds April that it’s very possible Leo never finished this scavenger hunt, but April is desperate and begs her friend to keep looking.

Beth notices something wedged under the plaque and April claws at it, but Beth asks her to not get them arrested and wait until she can call for reinforcements. Unfortunately for all of us, her idea of “reinforcements” is just Dom and a screwdriver. But whatever they get the clue out and it’s a room number from the hospital. Beth asks Dom to stay and since April is too caught up in the hunt to say otherwise, the three of them head off to the hospital together.

When they get to the appropriate room, they realize the room is currently occupied.

Chasing Life 208-9 FINE. They make a good team.

But they use April’s quick thinking, Beth’s accent and charming smile, and Dom’s dimples to con their way into searching the room. While April is checking the bathroom for clues, Beth breaks a nail and bursts into tears, causing Dom to drag her away from the confused patient. Beth explains that it just now hit her, that Leo is gone. Because when she was devastated from a breakup and April was too busy, Leo went with her to get a mani/pedi and was so genuine and  funny and good and breaking her nail reminded her that his light is out forever now, never to brighten someone’s grey day again.