Brothers and Sisters
Almost Normal

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Woe is the Walkers
vorce. (Geez, Becky, glad to see the Walker manners are rubbing off on you.) Kevin starts crying and then Saul starts in and Justin starts to panic and then Kitty just blurts it out: she has cancer. Justin and Rebecca are stunned and Kitty rushes to finish her speech. She explains that she has lymphoma, it's stage 3, and it could be worse. She just has to decide about treatment. Nora represents the West Coast chemo and The Senator pounds his chest and flashes signs over the East Coast clinical trial. Kitty's been accepted to the trial, yo! Nora scolds The Senator for making a call to get Kitty accepted to the trial. Most mothers would be thrilled that their daughter had options for treatment, but not Nora. Nora likes to be right. Nora and The Senator start arguing and Kitty shushes them and explains that she just wants to have a nice normal night with Nora's turkey meatloaf. Oh, it's a nice normal Walker dinner party all right. Nora drags The Senator into the kitchen and berates him for throwing his weight around and getting Kitty into the clinical trial. The Senator swears he is just trying to keep her options open, which makes a lot of sense to me. He fires back, accusing Nora of trying to dictate Kitty's kare, er...care, just so she will be close to Nora. Nora is so mad she tosses her buns on the floor then sternly tells The Senator, "Don't touch those buns." Dirty!

In the dining room everyone is trying to digest their sorrows and their salad simultaneously. Saul eventually decides to intercede in the rumble in the kitchen. Of course, in Walkerlandia, "intercede" means "join in wholeheartedly". Justin and Rebecca hide in another room to process the news. Rebecca can't believe Justin doesn't know all about oncology -- he's in med school after all. Justin rolls his eyes and they hug. In the dining room, Kitty keeps trying to keep the subject off of cancer, but Kevin just can't get himself to pretend that everything is fine and dandy. He gets up apologetically from the table. Even more apologetically Scotty gets up to follow, leaving Kitty sitting by herself. Normal Walker dinner to be sure. As the family battles it out in the kitchen over FDA approval (and no one trusts The Senator's inside-the-beltway knowledge on that one) and best practices and side effects, Kitty stands in the doorway to the kitchen staring sadly at her family. They finally notice her and she starts apologizing. She knows this is huge and hard to handle and her desire for normal was too much to ask for. Um, Kitty? How many times do I have to tell you: This is normal. She hugs her mom, apologizes some more, and heads home.

Later that night, Kevin and Scotty are lying in bed and Scotty wants to ask something inappropriate. Kevin is too depressed to knock that one out of the park, so he just lets Scotty finish. Scotty wants to have a baby. Kevin is touched that Scotty would do that for him, but it's just not going to help ease the pain of having a sister with the c-word. Scotty assures him that he wouldn't be doing it as a favor for him, but rather because Kitty's cancer has taught him an afterschool-special worthy lesson: carpe diem. That means have a kid now because you are younger now and more able to survive sleep deprivation than you will be in two years. This is precious time they are losing! He doesn't want to waste any more time, because there is no right time to have a baby. Kevin thinks that may be true, but there is definitely a wrong time to have a kid. And that would be now. All Kevin can think about is Kitty and that would not be fair to a baby. Scotty shrugs, okay, they'll wait. They still love each other. For such a sensitive topic, that scene played kind of flat for me. Like they could have been talking about a breakfast buffet or the results of Dancing With the Stars. ("I love you Scotty, even though you keep rooting for Aaron Carter. Oh Kevin, our marriage will survive this season after all!")

Justin has given up studying from text books and is instead studying bridal magazines. I find the business model of those magazines fascinating. I mean, no one subscribes for more than a year, right? But most people who are getting married pick up a copy or two. I find it intriguing although I admit it is probably not interesting enough to actually mention in a public forum. So...as you were. Justin asks Rebecca whether they are going with halter or strapless and Rebecca admires his desire to distract himself from Kitty's bad news. She takes the magazine out of his hands and gently tells him that they can put off the wedding until Kitty is better. It just wouldn't be much of a celebration if Kitty was forcing herself. It just doesn't feel right. Rebecca knows that she said that the wedding had to be a priority, but now she wants Kitty to be the priority. Justin has tears in his eyes as he hugs Rebecca tightly. It's nice to know that Rebecca is not actually as self-centered and solipsistic as she seemed at her engagement party.

Late at night there is a knock at Nora's door. It's The Senator. He would have called, but they never do, and besides, Nora would have hung up on him. Nora doesn't see any point in talking, which is, well, stupid. I mean, c'mon Nora, this is your ailing daughter's newly-doting husband. Talk to him! The Senator points out that they both love Kitty and that is a good place to start the conversation. Nora grudgingly lets him in the house. They sit in the kitchen and Nora fixes cups of tea. The Senator asks Nora if she has talked to Tommy or Sarah, which I appreciate, because whatever, Tommy. But Sarah. Whatever Sarah is doing, wouldn't she come home for Kitty? Nora explains that she has left messages for both, but they haven't called back. Nora knows this isn't why The Senator stopped by in the middle of the night. He admits that it's not. He says that Kitty is mad at both of them and they deserve it. It's not about them, it's about Kitty. She needs to know that she has their support, whatever she decides. Nora gets defensive and dismissive saying she'll go to Boston if she has to. The Senator recommends telling Kitty that, because Kitty needs her mother. The Senator admits that he has been angry, and he knows Nora has been angry too. He moans that he and Kitty were just starting to work on their relationship. Nora scolds him and says she thinks it's a good time to work on rebuilding their relationship. They decide not to fight. Which is good, because it would have been extremely aggravating to have the two of them battle it out for the duration. Nora has been more obnoxiously stubborn than usual and I am glad she has come to her senses without me having to buy a new television set.

At school, Justin and Doogie meet their cadaver. His name is Douglas, he died of pancreatic cancer. Justin looks like he got slapped, but his lab partner looks downright petrified. When Justin tries to hand Doogie the scalpel, he panics and runs out of the room. Justin trails after him. He finds Doogie curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth. Justin rolls his eyes, tells the kid he's not intimidated by him any more, and the kid better man up quick because real live patients are a hell of a lot scarier than a cadaver. Besides, Justin can do this. They are partners. Doogie is surprised that Justin isn't scared, but Justin is scared. He's scared because Douglas died of cancer and he knows that some boy genius like Doogie would cure cancer if he would just get up off the damn floor. Douglas gets up so long as Justin promises to do the cutting.

Nora calls Kitty and lends her support to the clinical trial. She is behind her 100% whatever she decides. And if Kitty decides to go to Boston, she will go with her and take care of the invisible Evan and they can sightsee if Kitty is up for it. Kitty scoffs and jokingly suggests that Rebecca and Justin could honeymoon there. At that Nora pauses, and then explains that the kids' plans are in flux right now. They just need time to adjust to Life with Cancer. Kitty is flummoxed, but thanks Nora for being supportive. Nora is also touched by her own supportiveness. <

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Brothers and Sisters

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