Pater Familias is the eighteenth episode of the third season, and the sixty-second overall episode, of the CBS series, Ghost Whisperer, originally premiering on May 16, 2008 as the season three finale. The episode was written and directed by John Gray, and recieved a total of 8.44 million viewers.
Melinda discovers the truth about her family's past through a series of bodily possessions. Melinda searches for Paul Eastman and answers from her mother about her father. Melinda's mother finally gives her the answers she needs - and one she doesn't want.
- Martin Donovan as Tom Gordon
- Corin Nemec as Paul Eastman
- Anne Archer as Beth Gordon
- Christoph Sanders as Ned Banks
- Kirk B.R. Woller as Doctor Farrington
- Nick Jameson as Sean
- Sarah Jaye as Young Beth Gordon
- David Farkas as Young Tom Gordon
- Haley Alexis Pullos as Young Melinda Gordon
- Big Spence as Prisoner
Following from last episode, Tom Gordon had just shot himself. As he lays on the floor against the door, blood surrounds his head. The door opens and paramedics come in, including Jim. As they put equipment on him, he opens his eyes, still alive, muttering that he has to protect her. Rain pours as Melinda looks outside a window, before turning around revealing herself to be in the Hospital. A doctor and Jim walk over to her, and the doctor tells her that Tom is in critical condition and the next few hours are key. Melinda asks how he could still be alive since he shot himself in the head, but the doctor tells her he must have got cold feet, that he had the gun right to his temple but moved the gun just as he fired. The bullet didn't penetrate the skull. The doctor leaves a relieved Melinda, comforted by Jim. Melinda wonders why he would do it and concludes that he must have been possessed. Jim tells Melinda what Tom was muttering before they took him in, that he wanted to protect Melinda, and Melinda asks what, but Jim wonders if he meant a who. Melinda doesn't believe Paul Eastman would be a threat to her since he is after Tom, but Jim believes otherwise and thinks Melinda should ask him herself.
Melinda sees her father lying in the hospital bed and walks in. She sits next to him, who is asleep, and begins talking to him, not sure whether he could hear her. Melinda begins crying, telling him the story of how he left her and then just suddenly came back with no explanation, and that they don't know each other so it would be a bad time to die. Melinda sees a tear roll from Tom's closed eye. Melinda smiles and wipes the tear away. The next day, Delia walks into Same As It Never Was Antiques with some coffee, apologizing for being late, claiming that the queue was outside the door. Melinda accidentally smashes a glass, fed up of doing stuff like that all day. Delia assures her it's alright and that she will go to the back to get a broom. Melinda then suddenly has a flash of glass breaking on the floor. Delia walks up behind Melinda and asked if she was okay, but Melinda lies and says she is fine. Delia then asks how her dad was, and Melinda tells her he is resting, then tells Delia about the innocent man he sent to prison. But Melinda has doubts, wondering why Paul would wait 30 years to get vengeance. Melinda goes to the back to get glasses and Delia tells her she needs a break and that they should see the Tall Ships come in the following week. Melinda says she has no training for fun, but Delia tells her that they are going.
Melinda walks down the stairs into the basement then hears wierd breathing noises coming from inside the hole in the wall leading to the Old Grandview. Melinda grabs a flashlight and goes into the hole. Walking along the dark paths, she calls out for Paul Eastman. She tells him the stuff doesn't scare her, but he appears in a distance behind her and Melinda tells him to leave Tom alone and give her his best shot. She tries to guilt him into leaving Tom alone by saying he tried to kill himself to save Melinda from Paul, but Paul tells her that he didn't do it because of that, he did it because Paul made him do it. Melinda concludes that Paul really hates him, but Paul tells her that there are few that deserve hatred more than Tom. Paul tells Melinda that every journey begins with the first step, and the wall behind Melinda collapses. She turns back around to see Paul gone, and thinking the wall falling was a clue, she goes inside. She steps into what looks like the basement of a house. She looks around, noticing a big box with an address on the top "Kathy O'Leary, 180 Willow Lane, Grandview, Driscoll County". She turns away then begins walking up the stairs to a damaged old door. The stairs creek as Melinda walks up them, until she steps on a stair and it falls through, making Melinda fall to the floor below. Her hand lands in some soil in the floor, before finding a jaw bone. She begins digging and finds clothes, a skeleton, and a mask that Paul Eastman wears, confiming that the body Melinda has found is in fact Paul's.
Beth, Melinda's mother, is in a floral shop, turning the door sign from 'Open' to 'Will Be Right Back'. It's Beth's florist. Beth walks away from the shop and Melinda walks over to her. Beth doesn't seem too happy to see Melinda and Melinda picks up on it. Melinda wonders why Beth hasn't been picking up the phone, but Beth says she didn't want to speak to whoever was calling. Melinda wonders how the shop is going, and Beth reveals that she likes working with flowers, and loves how they don't come back with complaints when they die. Beth tells Melinda that she will not discuss her father, however when Melinda brings up Paul Eastman's name, Beth looks horrified. Walking back to the shop, Beth tells Melinda to ask her father about it all, but Melinda says she can't with him being in Hospital, and Beth tells her that the bullet didn't even get past the scalp, so Melinda now knows that Beth had been checking up on him. Beth tells Melinda than Tom is a bad person, that he doesn't deserve Melinda's good intentions. Beth tells Melinda that she left the door to her shop unlocked, and leaves Melinda alone in the street to wonder what Beth was talking about.
Rick Payne is in his office, talking to what appears to be his gerbil as Melinda walks up behind him, confused by his wierd behaviour. Payne reveals the Gerbil's name is Bob and he doesn't know why he is bothering with the gerbil either. Payne asks how her father is and she tells him he is stable, however she isn't. Melinda asks him if he remembers Paul Eastman, and reveals to him that Paul is not only haunting him but possessing him too, making him do all kinds of things such as killing himself. Melinda then tells him of finding Paul's bones in the basement of a house that Paul led her to, but Payne thinks that he didn't just die in a fire and thinks Paul was murdered and buried in someone's basement and that Paul wants her to solve it. Melinda thinks that that's too simple and he wants her to figure out the whole mystery as he told her that if he told her himself she wouldn't believe it. Melinda's phone rings and she picks it up, it's Jim, telling her that he went to the Archives and found out more about the house that held Paul's bones, that it was the house of Thomas and Beth Gordon years ago, so Melinda should know it since it was her first home, she was born in it.
Some time later, Melinda has went to see Beth about the strange revelation of the house belonging to Tom and Beth with bones somehow in the basement. Beth tells her they could have been there for a hundred years for all she knew, but Melinda reveals they were Paul's bones, which seem to strike a cord in Beth. Beth tells Melinda that she wouldn't believe her anyway, and Melinda knows its because Beth never tells her the truth. Beth asks for Melinda to leave her in peace, but Melinda tells her that isn't an option since the police could get involved. Beth tells her that nothing good with come out of this, but Melinda is determined to figure out the truth. Sometime during the day, Jim and Melinda are outside Melinda's childhood home, and Melinda tells Jim she didn't recognize the basement. They walk to the house, Melinda telling him there were lots of memories, and that she looked on the internet to find that after Paul escaped prison he was never heard from again. Jim sarcastically reveals that after it his skeleton is found in her parent's basement. Melinda doesn't know what to do next, and that she has a bad feeling, the same bad feeling as when her dad used to do the wrong things and ended up getting hurt in the process. Jim agrees with Beth, that Melinda should cut Tom out of her life the way Tom cut Melinda out of his. Melinda wishes she could, but she says she isn't him. She has to get back to the store and leaves Jim, whose phone rings and he answers. It's the doctor from the Hospital, telling Jim that Tom is now awake and talking, and that Jim should tell Melinda. Jim tells the Doctor that he will tell her.
Inside Mercy Hospital, Tom is being assisted by a doctor while walking around. Jim walks over to them and asks the Doctor to leave them two alone. Tom tells Jim that he has heard so much about him and that he feels like he knows him already, but Jim tells Tom that he doesn't know him at all. Jim tells Tom not to mess with Melinda's head, and that Jim knows Tom has put his wife through a lot of pain. He says that he has watched Melinda get hurt by things he doesn't understand, but he understands Tom, so he can't watch Melinda get hurt by him again. Tom says he doesn't understand him, but Jim proceeds to threaten him, demanding the truth or he will come into the hospital when Tom is sound asleep and cut some very important wires and watch him die. Tom tells Jim that he is supposed to save lives, but Jim tells him it comes second to him saving his wife. Tom then tells Jim what happened. A flashback occurs, revealing a younger Tom confronted by Paul Eastman, wearing the mask to protect his burned face. Paul spent nine years in prison before his escape, and Paul began threatening Tom for sending him to jail. Tom reveals he was demented and wanted revenge. Paul then runs to the house which would have Melinda and Beth inside, but Tom stops him from going any further by jumping on him. Tom says Paul was going to kill his wife and daughter and him too, and he wouldn't allow it. So Tom got a bit of the fence and hit Paul repeatedly with it until he was dead. Tom didn't call the cops or dumped his body somewhere else, instead he buried his body in the basement of the house, just so he knew where he was. Jim says he could have claimed self defence, but Tom didn't want Melinda to go through a media story. Tom says buring a body came a second to protecting his family. Jim wonders if that was why he left his family right after that, but Tom says Paul is still out to kill him, Beth and Melinda and doesn't know how to stop him.
At Melinda and Jim's house, Jim had confessed to Melinda everything Tom told him, about Tom killing Pail in self defence, and that Jim is siding with Tom because Paul wants to kill Melinda, and Beth. Jim asks Melinda why Paul wouldn't possess Melinda yet if he wanted to kill her, but Melinda thinks he hasn't done that because Paul still wants Melinda to figure something out first. Melinda drinks her wine in one go and Jim asks her what she is going to do, but Melinda says there is only one way to get him to cross over. The next morning at Mercy Hospital, a doctor is pushing Tom along in a wheelchair. They stop outside a Taxi and Tom thanks the Doctor but he can make it from there. Melinda comes up to him and tells him she didn't expect him to get out so soon. Tom says he signed himself out, that there were too many sick people. Melinda asks if Paul wanting to kill her and Beth was true, and he tells Melinda that he wanted to be her hero. Tom then says that he heard what Melinda said to him when he was asleep the other night. Melinda asks if she will ever find out who he is, if he ever loved her or Beth, or if he loves her now. Tom says it's complicated, but Melinda says it isn't. Melinda says love is there with no excuses or complications. Tom asks why Melinda wants him to talk to Paul Eastman, and Melinda says she wants Tom to apologize to him, hopefully get some closure and it being the only way any of it will end. Tom agrees to it, despite thinking it won't work. He says he will meet her at her store that night and afterwards he will tell Melinda everything she wants to know about him. Tom kisses Melinda's forehead and walks away, leaving Melinda who is crying but happy.
That night at Same As It Never Was Antiques, Melinda sits in the shop alone, waiting for her father to show. However, Melinda gets tired of waiting and is ready to leave, but a noise in the shop stops her. Hearing a smash, she looks behind her to see a mirror smashed. Confused, Melinda walks over to it. She has a flash of Paul punching a mirror, but then someone walks into the shop, Delia. Melinda turns around saying "Dad?" but is disappointed that it isn't him. Delia says she saw the lights on in the shop and came to see if everything was okay. Melinda looks back at the mirror, which isn't smashed anymore, and tells Delia everything is fine. Melinda then walks out of the shop with Delia and locks the door, just as Beth leaves her shop. Beth then walks past a man sitting down outside a restaurant, who is suddenly possessed by Paul. He then tells Beth he is going to hurt her (referring to Melinda). Beth asks what he's talking about, and he tells her that Melinda has to know, that it's the only way she can save her, and she has to hear it from her before Tom does, as she knows what Tom is capable of. Beth thinks Melinda is safer not knowing, but the man tells her not anymore. Beth walks away as Paul steps out of the man's body.
A knock on Melinda and Jim's door makes Jim answer it. Melinda walks in hoping Jim has some bourbon and a straw. Melinda then notices Beth in the living room, and Beth tells Melinda that she hasn't been telling her the truth, and Melinda responds "no kidding". Melinda asks what she lied about, and Beth tells her she lied about not knowing Paul Eastman. Beth tells Melinda that she was in love with him, that they were engaged and living together when he was arrested. Melinda appears shocked. They sit at the dining room table and Beth begins to explain her story. Beth and Paul were living together for about a year, and that Beth knew Paul didn't murder that little boy, she knew that the boy had led Paul to his body. But no one would believe him. So Beth went to the prosecuter, and that is how she met Tom. She had to prove to Tom that she could see ghosts in order for him to believe Paul could too. She describes a ghost that stood in the corner of his office. Tom says she just described a man who owned that office he had now. Tom then believed her and Beth told Paul that there was hope. But soon Beth began to fall for Tom and thought he was a good man. They kissed. Melinda asks how she told Paul, but Beth didn't. Beth said Paul was getting more and more bitter as the letters gone on. Then Paul killed a man in prison, and he would never get out because of it. Beth then married Tom, and she says she isn't proud of what she had done, but Melinda assures Beth that she doesn't judge her.
Jim asked how Paul would know where to find Tom and Beth after he escaped, and Beth told him that Paul read something about Tom's career in the paper, how he married Beth and shared a daughter with her. Then he started the fire. He got badly burned, and while at the hospital ward, he escaped. He found them, and Melinda knew the rest. But Jim isn't buying that that's all. He begins having a go at Beth, telling her that he is sick of people playing mind games with Melinda, and even though she puts up with it she is still strong and wants to understand and forgive. But everytime Melinda opes her heart to her she sticks a knife in it. Beth runs away while Melinda runs towards the problems. Jim tells Beth that Melinda deserves her respect and a little truth. Melinda begins to apologize for Jim's behaviour, but Beth interrupts her and tells her that he is right. That there is a missing peice. She tells Melinda that when Paul was arrested, she was pregnant. Melinda is confused and is wondering what she is trying to say, but Beth says she was pregnant with her. Melinda then realizes that Paul Eastman is in fact her father. But she doesn't believe it, and Beth tells her that Tom wanted her and that he was not afraid of the so-called gift. Angry, Melinda accuses Beth of lying before storming out the house.
It's night time, and Melinda is sitting in the Grandview Square by herself until a car pulls up and a man walks to her. It's Tom, and Melinda asks him whether it's true, that he isn't her father. Tom sits next to Melinda and tells her that Beth is trying to put a wedge between them. Melinda wants the truth, so Tom says if he goes with her then he will tell her, and she asks where and he replies somewhere safe. He apologizes, but assures her that she will understand everything if she goes with him. He holds his hand out and Melinda takes it. They go to their childhood home and enter it, Tom asking what Melinda remembers from that night. Melinda tells him that she doesn't remember much, just when Paul was leaning over her and she was scared of his face and mask. Tom asks if she remembers anything else, and she tells him no and asks why, and he says it could be important. Tom suggests that she goes upstairs and see if her room jogs any memories. She obeys and walks up the stairs and into her room with Tom following her. Melinda says she didn't remember him leaving, and that she just went straight back to sleep. She touches the wall where a mirror once was placed, and she has a flash of Paul punching the mirror, shattering the glass, it was that which woke her up. She then remembers voices and walks to the window, having another flash of Paul talking to Tom outside, that it was Tom's plan to not get him out of jail as he wanted Beth all to himself. Paul then reveals that Tom had hired the other prisoner to kill him. Melinda had watched it, and now she remembers everything.
Melinda, returning from the flash, turns around to look at Tom, a cold-blooded killer. Tom begins to walk towards her, and Melinda asks what he is doing. Tom says that he cannot let Melinda live now. Scared, Melinda backs away into the main hallway, trying to make sense of how Tom knew Paul was innocent but kept in jail regardless. As she backs away he continues to walk towards her. Tom claims that Beth wanted him not Paul. Melinda asks why he came back, and he says it's because she woke up Paul Eastman. He then begins to strangle her, and Melinda calls out for her dad to help her. Tom tells her not to call him dad as he is not her father, but Melinda tells him that she was not talking to him. Paul then jumps inside Tom and possesses him, but Tom puts up a fight. After a struggle, Tom flings over the banister and falls down the stairs. Melinda runs after him, as Tom lies on the floor. After seeing Tom's ghost, she knows he is dead, just as Jim runs in. Melinda asks how he found her, and he reveals he looked everywhere but realized she was looking for Paul so he came there. Melinda walks to Paul and asks if he always knew that he was her father. He says that after he died he forgot almost everything about his life, like he had been paralyzed and stuck down below with all the other angry spirits. But then he saw Melinda the day she went to the church, and saw how beautiful she was, and it woke him up. He knew he couldn't compete against her vision of her father, so he tried to make her destroy that myth herself. She said he could have told her sooner, but he replies that she wouldn't have believed him and that it was a journey she had to take on her own. Paul says Beth only wanted to protect Melinda, as mother's do. He tells her to be good for her own good.
The following day, Melinda and Beth are in Grandview Square. Beth doesn't blame Melinda for hating her, but Melinda tells her that she doesn't hate her. Beth didn't want to take away Melinda's belief in Tom, but Melinda says she is relieved that her father didn't abandon her by choice, to know that he wanted her if he could have makes all the difference. She felt disposable deep down, but now she doesn't. Beth and Melinda see Paul watching them, maskless and without burns on his face. Paul knows Beth wasn't fond of seeing ghosts, but she tells him she will make an exception for him. She asks how he could forgive her, but he says he was so full of rage but it all went away when Melinda called him "dad". When Melinda needed him, all his fury went away and all he wanted to do was save her. Beth says that if she could do it over again, Paul interrupts and tells her that he wouldn't change a thing because of what they created together, Melinda. That's why they came together and nothing else matters. Paul sees the light, and Melinda doesn't want him to go as there is so much she wants to know, but he says there isn't anything she wants to know because love is everything. He smiles and walks away, crossing over into the light. Melinda and Beth promise each other a clean slate, and Melinda invites Beth to see the Tall Ships with Jim, Delia, Rick and Ned. Beth says she should go on with her friends, but Melinda tells her its for friends and family. Beth then agrees and they walk to them together, linking arms. Beth tells Melinda how proud she is to be her mother and they meet up with the other four. They all walk to the side of the pavement, watching the ships pass behind Melinda's shop. Rick looks down and notices something odd. Melinda notices Rick looking worried and asks what it is. Rick tells Melinda that there are six people, but only five shadows.
- Paul Eastman
- Older Man in Tom's Office
- Tom Gordon
Altogether: 3 spirits
- The season finale gathered a total of 8.44 million viewers, making it the lowest-rated Ghost Whisperer finale to date, and used to be the lowest rated episode until "See No Evil".
- This is Christoph Sanders last episode as a recurring guest actor, and from season four onwards becomes a full-time cast member. Even though Christoph was in the episode, he had no lines.
- The five shadows are in front of Melinda and her friends, but the sunlight is shining from the right when the camera is on them.
- Melinda is talking to Professor Payne in one of the early scenes of this episode, and he grabs a pile of books to move from his desk to the bookshelf. The book at the top of the pile is James Van Praagh's most recent, Ghosts Among Us. James Van Praagh is also one the Co-Executive Producers of the show.
- When Melinda and Jim are at home drinking a glass of wine, we can see that in some shots Melinda is drinking, her glass is sometimes a quarter full but in others the glass is almost empty.
- The floral dress that Melinda is wearing when she's talking to her mom in the streets is of Finnish design. The brand is called Marimekko and is well-known for those particular flowers that we saw in this episode.
TOM: Jim Clancy, I've heard so much about you, it's as if I knew you.
JIM: That would have been pretty impressive had it been bourbon!
TOM: You're too good for your own good. I was hoping that you would get scared off, but you don't scare easily do you?
(Jim talking to Beth, Melinda's mom)
(Delia, Ned, Jim, Melinda, Beth, and Professor Payne are walking. Professor Payne looks down at the ground)