Brothers and Sisters

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Sars: B+ | Grade It Now!
Someone's In The Pantry With Keeee-viiiin

Downstairs, Sarah begins her speech, which covers the collapse of the tent as a sign that you can't control everything, and the "great unknown" of marriage, in which two people "who happen to love each other" become something different, a family. A few hackneyed thoughts on family later, Sarah proposes the toast formally to family, to Kitty, whom she loves "completely and totally," and to Robert, and everyone he brings to the table. Robert thanks her in a very canned way, and turns the floor over to Jason to give a blessing. Jason, it seems, is a minister.

As Jason drones on about the assembled family, Kitty is yanked out of the group by Kevin. In the kitchen post-yank, Kevin freaks out at Kitty that Jason is a minister, and Kitty is delightedly scandalized that Kevin "sucked face" with him (and who among us isn't) and swears she didn't know about the minister part. Kevin slurs that she's the worst "communications director" (finger quotes Kevin's) ever, and if Robert wins, she'll be the first First Lady to be impeached. Kitty's like, "Henh?"

Jason is wrapping up the prayer. Focus pull to the front hall behind the guests, where Justin pauses and takes in the scene sadly with his kit over his shoulder, then slips out.

Later, Kitty finds Nora in the den with her feet up, "resting" and trying to equate the tent collapse with "a metaphor for [her] life." Kitty posits that sometimes a tent is just a tent, considers for a moment, and comes to sit beside Nora; she apologizes, for moving out and for the way she told Nora. Nora deflects it, saying that it's her job as a mother to react the way she did. Kitty calls the house a sanctuary -- a word it takes her a few seconds to come up with, like, Kevin's right, her "communications" skills could use an overhaul -- and Nora is pleased. She says that Kitty can understand how she might want to maintain that sanctuary a little bit longer, after the year she's had. It's hard, with both Kitty and Justin going at once. Kitty looks sad, and thanks Nora for letting her stay: "It's...been an awful year, but it's been the best awful year of my life." They share a laughter-through-tears moment and a hug, and then Rebecca comes in and tells them what's going on with Justin, even though she promised him she wouldn't.

Slo-mo montage of Kitty and Nora running through the airport, checking the departure screen, frantic, as what sounds like Counting Crows plays. Ick. The cinematic promise of the scene's beginning is dashed by airport security's refusal to let the women through without a ticket in spite of their explanations and pleas, which actually pleases me because it's a more realistic, less cheesy writing choice. Not that that lasts long, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Finally, they give up and wander away from the line, at a loss; Kitty calls Justin's cell, and Nora grabs the phone and leaves a raggedy, angry message saying she's mad that he left without saying goodbye, and sorry she didn't go to the museum with him, and he's always thinking of everyone else ( I said earlier) and he has to "stop that, do you hear me, I want you to stop that right now," and just then Justin comes upon them. He was in the men's, changing into his fatigues, which he says is a good thing or he'd have missed them, and the three of them have a huge hug, and he says he didn't want to ruin Kitty's party, which prompts his mom and sister to fulminate at him about how he's an idiot, which is exactly what my family would do. Hee. The women stop themselves, feeling wrong about it this time, and Justin tries to joke, "Here we go again, right?" Kitty stares at him for a minute, then says that she doesn't know what she believes in anymore -- re: the war, presumably -- "but I know that I believe in you." Uch. Awful line. Kitty loves him so much; she hugs him and tells him to take care of himself. She lets go, and it's Nora's turn to clamp onto Justin like a vise: "Justin, you don't have to say anything or do anything for me. I came to say goodbye." Uch again. Tough scene to write, for sure, but this isn't getting it done -- it's too neat and a bit twee, and I don't think this is how these people, in this family, talk to each other, even at a time like this. Justin nods -- he appreciates what it's costing Nora to say it -- and says he loves her. Nora, valiantly trying not to sob, returns the sentiment: "And I'm gonna be just as brave as you are, I promise." What else can I say. The writing is leaning on the acting to put it over; not for lack of effort but it's not working here. Another big hug, and it's time for Justin to go. The unsympathetic security guard from earlier makes a big old fake manipulative show of letting Justin cut ahead of everyone else because he's a soldier "going off to fight for his country," and the Counting Crows or whoever nasally up in their nasals about coming down, and Justin gets on the escalator. He turns back to wave. Nora and Kitty smile bravely, but when he turns back around and heads up the escalator and out of sight, each of them offers up a sobby sigh. Great acting, like I said; almost saves the soggy scene.

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Brothers and Sisters




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