Nora decides to throw an engagement party -- which Kitty claims not to want -- for Kitty and Robert. Highlights include: Robert's favorite uncle, who is a lech played by Garry Marshall; the egregious tackiness of the rest of Robert's family; an outbreak of the Macarena, which leads to the party tent collapsing; and the grand finale, in which all the Walkers and Robert cannonball into the pool.
Pre-party, Jason McCallister and Kevin get thrown together on the planning, and after a series of snappy arguments, the bitchiest one of all ends in them making out in the kitchen at the party. Awesome! Then, after Sarah makes a toast to the happy couple, Jason is asked to lead the gathered in a blessing, which he does. Because he's a Methodist minister. By the end, it seems like maaaaaybe the two of them might start dating. Eeeee!
Putting a damper on the proceedings: Justin's imminent departure for Iraq, which has gotten moved up two days. He doesn't tell his family this, just spends quality time with each of them in the week leading up to the party -- except for Nora, who is in denial about the possibility that he might not come home. Justin's plan is to sneak out of the party and head straight to the airport; coming upstairs to collect his things, he finds Rebecca hiding out in his room, and she confesses what really happened in Chicago, which…didn't exactly happen in Chicago. She had an affair with a teacher, yes, but a local teacher, when she was 16. When his wife found out, he moved the family to Chicago, but then he called Rebecca, and she moved there to be with him. She didn't go to school there; she just stayed in a hotel so they could…you know. His wife found out, again, at which time the teacher killed himself. Rebecca also admits that she played a part in the kiss with Joe.
Then Justin tries to skulk out, but Rebecca tells Nora and Kitty the deal, and they follow him to the airport and have a terribly sweet goodbye. I waited bravely for Robert to come charging into the terminal all "ixnay, I got him out of it," but it didn't happen. Sniffle.
Elsewhere, Sarah and Holly share a rapprochement (Joe = not in the episode); an "old friend" of Saul's shows up, mentions a trip they took together to Key West (wink wink, nudge nudge), and says that he divorced his wife because he's gay, and Saul looks very uncomfortable; Julia appears to have postpartum depression, and Tommy offers to get Nora to help her with the nursery, but Julia doesn't come to the party and it isn't mentioned again.
But did I mention the Kevin/Jason/making-out thing? I did? Good.
Previously: Julia gave birth to the twins; Joe smooched Rebecca and then moved out of the house after he and Sarah had a painful talk with the kids; Robert instilled a sense of military duty in Justin; Nora asked Rebecca what happened in Chicago; Kevin crammed his foot, followed by his entire leg, followed by the legs of all the Rockettes, into his mouth on a date with Robert's brother Jason; the boy twin died; Robert proposed to Kitty, and she accepted.
Open on a cheesecake shot of a girl in a bikini; it's surfing 'n' bonding time with Tommy and Justin. As guitar music that's half bomp-chicka-wow-wow and half Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under The Bridge" plays, Tommy tries to pick a girl for Justin. Justin points out that he's a recovering addict who's leaving for Iraq in ten days; Tommy's like, "My point," and talks about the "sympathy action" Justin could get. Justin elects not to dignify that, musing that, the last time they went surfing together, William Sr. was still alive and Kitty still lived in New York. Tommy says that "it's been a long, complicated year," and when Justin points out that, still, they've "had some good times," Tommy snorts, "Yeah, it's been a barrel of laughs." Justin asks after Julia. She's fine, Tommy lies quite obviously. Tired, but fine. Justin doesn't believe him, and stares at Tommy with his face squinched up in concern. Brotherly banter (during which Justin calls Tommy an asshat -- heh), and then they both grab their boards and charge into the sea.
Cut, awesomely, to a very snug close-up on Kitty gulping red wine, followed by an angle switch to Rebecca staring at Kitty's engagement setting and then commenting somewhat tactlessly upon its size. She apologizes to Kitty for this, but Saul tells her not to, because everyone else is staring as well: "This is the meet-the-ring dinner." Robert explains that his grandmother left it to him. Rebecca then puts the McGuffin du jour in motion by asking, "So when's the engagement party?" Nora's like, yeah, good question, and Kitty stammers that it's a really busy time, she's not comfortable...Tommy interrupts to say that she shouldn't not have a party on his and Julia's accounts, because they're barely on the sho-- er, "because they're fine with it, really," but while Kitty appreciates the sentiment, she just really really doesn't want a party. Sarah tells her she can't always take responsibility for everyone else's feelings, and I would bust on that line, because while I don't think Kitty never does that, it's not really what we've seen from her either -- it's a more apt description of Justin, actually -- but Sarah herself seems to realize that it's not about that, that Kitty just doesn't want a party. But, Sarah adds, the rest of them do. Kitty's next excuse: a party's no good without Justin, and he's leaving in ten days. Not so fast, Nora says; she can certainly whip up a party by next weekend. Justin starts the "par-ty" chant (and high-fives Saul -- hee) and everyone else joins in, drowning out Kitty's protests. Justin does a little Charo butt-wiggle. Aw.