The Powers That Be (1992–1993)
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Grandma's Big Decision 

Bill's mother asks Margaret to kill her; Sophie moves into Jordan's apartment building.


Hal Cooper


David Crane (created by), Marta Kauffman (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview:
John Forsythe ... Sen. William Franklin Powers
Holland Taylor ... Margaret Powers
Eve Gordon ... Jordan Miller
Peter MacNicol ... Bradley Grist
Valerie Mahaffey ... Caitlyn Van Horne
David Hyde Pierce ... Theodore Van Horne
Elizabeth Berridge ... Charlotte
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Pierce Van Horne
Robin Bartlett ... Sophie Lipkin
Cloris Leachman ... Enid Powers


Bill's mother asks Margaret to kill her; Sophie moves into Jordan's apartment building.

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Release Date:

19 January 1993 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Episode 17 "Grandma's Big Decision" brings back Cloris Leachman
7 June 2010 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

The last episode with a 1992 copyright, and one that aired on the USA Network, this one begins with Margaret asking Charlotte to read Sophie's private journal (Margaret: "are you defying me Charlotte?" Charlotte:"oh I wouldn't do that ma'am...not unless I had a tumor or something!"). Upon learning that her stepdaughter has found an apartment to live (right next door to Jordan!), Margaret begins to feel exuberant, until the unexpected arrival of Bill's 92-year-old mother, Enid Powers (the wonderful Cloris Leachman), who plans to stay "until I die!" She knows all about Sophie (Mother Powers: "I know, Billy's bastard daughter! Billy tells me everything...say, does he ever hear from that bastard son of his in Arizona! Gotcha!"). She calls the maid Charlene by mistake (Charlotte: "actually ma'am it's Charlotte!" Mother Powers: "oh, why did you change it?"). Later, she calls her Chariot, to which Charlotte answers "swing low ma'am!" Bradley takes her on a tour of the Senate, losing her "after she stood up on her chair in the Senate gallery and called Sam Nunn a thief and a fruitcake!" Two weeks of constantly dealing with her mother-in-law have Margaret completely rattled (Margaret: "Bill, it's just not fair, she said she'd be dead by now!" Bill: "you want to murder my mother?" Margaret: "now Bill, hear me out!" Bill:"Margaret, what you're suggesting here right in this room not nice!"). Despondent about her approaching 93rd birthday, Mother Powers figures she can ask Margaret if she could help her "slip away," but "no hair dryers in the bath tub!"(Margaret:"and to think I always thought you hated me!" Mother Powers: "I did! That's why I thought I could count on ya!"). Bill overhears his mother complaining about him (Bill: "darn it mother, I've been hearing that my whole life, I can't count on Billy to do this, I can't count on Billy to do that, now what is it this time, what do you think Billy can't do?" Margaret: "Bill,your mother wants someone to help her die!" Bill: "I can't do that!" Mother Powers: "SEE?"). The birthday celebration grows somewhat tense, especially when Bill tells everyone about his wife's problem (Bill: "oh it's nothing, she's just having guilt pangs about wanting to kill my mother!" Margaret: "Bill, that is completely untrue! Enid asked me to help her kill herself!"). Bill can't figure out why women have a problem with age, but things do turn out all right in the end. Cloris Leachman has a larger role than her previous appearance in episode 9, and Holland Taylor really shines in a bravura performance; unfortunately, just two more entries were still ahead, both involving President Clinton.

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