One Saturday when Liam was sixteen, he came down to breakfast with two girls. Kathleen gave Liam an epic eyebrow, made everybody pancakes, and then once the girls had left, sat down with Liam to have a conversation about safe sex and taking care of people’s hearts, including his own.
It was not by any means the first Talk she’d given Liam, but it was the first following so vivid an encounter with the way Liam actually does sex and relationships.
Afterwards, when Liam had gone out to hang out with his best friend, Charles — who Kathleen knew, because Liam had told her after it first happened, that Liam had also slept with — Kathleen laughed until she nearly cried. Liam was a good kid. He’d be okay. And so would whoever he chose to be with.
Of the many people who make up the various networks and systems in Liam’s life, his mom is right there in the center of it all. She may be in New York City, still happily married to and living with Liam’s father in the Brooklyn brownstone Liam grew up in, while Liam lives on the West Coast, but she’s still safety and security to him, an easy-going and hilarious presence that rolls with pretty much anything Liam and his life can throw at either of them.
There’s not as much of Kathleen in Starling as we wish there could be, but she’s definitely there for the moment that becomes one of what we think is the funniest running jokes in the series — a moment that exists, in large part, because of the way Kathleen nurtured Liam and taught him to respect and adore the people he loves, no matter how unconventional or atypical that love or relationship is.