I know this may sound odd coming from a psychiatrist, but sometimes it's great to escape the emotional needs of others. Of course, the more consumed we are with our own emotions, the less available we are for the emotional needs of our friends and family. In this episode Kristina is overwhelmed by her own emotional needs. She is dealing with her cancer. Her mother is unavailable or unwilling to provide emotional support. Her husband and mother-in-law try to be helpful, but they also each have their own emotional needs. Much of their need is to make things easier for Kristina, which ironically just makes her life more difficult. Being the very concerned and empathetic person she is, Kristina tries her best to meet their needs while still trying to meet her own.
It is Max who provides a safe space. Max, who generally requires so much energy, and generally needs so much, doesn't demand that his emotional needs be met. In fact, he has few emotional needs. He's happy to have his mother pick him up, happy to get a treat out of it, and just happy to have things "normal" for just a little while.