|Will Wright |
as Edward Petrie
Will Wright was the first one to play Mr. Petrie and the only one not to get a flashback episode.
I could see him being Rob's biological father, as they're both long and lanky and long in the face. And if he was the man who raised Rob up, I could see Rob's sense of humor developing a defense against his father's stern nature.
But Will Wright did not play the man who raised Rob. He was, however, his father. His biological father.
First off, let's clear up an error to be found in the IMDb.com and many other sources of information about the show. Will Wright was NOT Sam Petrie. Clara clearly addresses him as "Edward" when he goes overboard acting out the story of Tommy Turkey for Ritchie.
And it's never said that they are visiting Rob and Laura on Bonney Meadow Road as husband and wife. When either of them talks about the other, it's "your mother says" or "your father thinks", something along those lines.
Edward Petrie is the cousin of Sam Petrie, Clara's husband. I would have made the familial connection closer, as brothers, but the differences in their facial features are too severe to suggest that they're siblings.
It's the Toobworld theory that when Sam realized he couldn't father a child with Clara, he decided that he would seek outside assistance in getting her pregnant. And since he wanted his child to be of the Petrie bloodline, then he would ask another male in the family to help them out.
Once Clara agreed to this proposal, Sam turned to his cousin Edward for help.
Edward must have had only two conditions to the plan - he had to be allowed to share in the experience of raising the child, and that when the child was old enough, they should be told the truth of his parentage.
So eventually, Rob learned that his second cousin "Uncle" Edward was actually his biological father. And as he was asked by Edward that he should call him "Dad" as well.
And that's what Rob does in the episode.
This may have been an outcome unforeseen by Sam Petrie, and it caused a rift between him and his cousin. It must have come to pass that if Sam was going to visit with his son, Edward couldn't be there as well. Conversely, if Edward expressed an interest in seeing Rob, then Sam decided he would stay at home in Illinois.
No matter who went to visit Rob, Clara made sure that she would make the trip as well, because she loved her son and didn't want to miss out on any chance to see her grandson Ritchie. (As for Laura? Meh.)
So that's my theory to splain away that Rob could call both men Dad, and why neither one is seen when the other is around.
Still... we have to splain what the hell J. Pat O'Malley was doing there.....