Brothers and Sisters

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

In the foreground of a shot at the party, "Cousin Catherine" fondles Tommy inappropriately; at the back of the shot, Robert comes in and apologizes for his family to a tense Nora, who says it's fine -- it's nice to be "the tame ones for a change." Robert pauses, then asks if she's still mad at Kitty. She's mad at everyone, Nora says, and she guesses everyone's mad at her. Robert says he'll talk to Kitty, but Nora says she's glad Kitty's moving out, and moving in with Robert. Robert doesn't get it, and Rob Lowe overacts the line, "It's official: all Walker women? Are confusing." Clearly the writers needed a reason for Nora to explain her conflicted emotions here, but that clanked, loudly. Explain Nora does, telling Robert that it's not about Kitty: Nora knows she'll be nearby, but Justin won't. She tells him about her refusal to do Goodbye Day with Justin. Robert tells her that "it's hard to be the one leaving too." His father died when he was overseas in Gulf I, and Robert didn't get to say goodbye: "Things happen in war, Nora. If your son wants to say goodbye I think you should let him." This clanker is better acted, but: eesh. Polish the draft once more next time. The actors on this show can usually save the occasional stinker, but sometimes I think the writing staff leans too hard on them to do that, and that's how you get Highlights dialogue like this. Before it gets any triter, the Macarena starts up on the soundtrack. Weiner starts a conga line, forcing Nora to pry his hands off her patoot several times, and as Robert and Kitty watch the madness unfold, Robert asks, "Do you still think I'm electable?" I wondered that myself, actually, if his family is in fact that sloppy, and Kitty concurs with my assessment: "Probably not." Nora, complaining that she doesn't remember the song "being this long," is then distracted by a guy hurling in a corner. "Cousin Larry! Weak stomach!" Weiner yells, then crashes into a tent pole, which causes the entire tent to fall slowly and cinematically in on itself for that special breed of hilarious TV chaos in which nobody gets hurt. Robert and Kitty have no choice but to start kissing, and so they do.

After the break, Justin comes upstairs to find Rebecca "taking a little breather." She confesses that she's not comfortable being there, and Justin somewhat impatiently hopes it's not still about Joe and Sarah; Rebecca insists that she basically broke them up, which Justin disputes, saying that their marriage was "headed down that road long before" Rebecca showed up, and how many times does he have to tell her she's "part of the family now"? Looking at her lap, Rebecca says he doesn't know everything about her. "What does that mean?" "Joe wasn't the only older man," she begins, meeting his eye, and what happened in Chicago is, haltingly, revealed: there was another older guy, a teacher with a family. Rebecca was sixteen. The teacher's wife found out eventually; "everyone" told Holly to press charges, but Rebecca begged her not to, so she didn't. Evan, the teacher, moved his family to Chicago, and Rebecca thought she could "let it go" -- and she had, until he called "to apologize." And then she "was on a bus" to Chicago. She didn't go to school there, in the end; Evan put her up in a hotel "so [they] could" know. A month after that, the wife found out again, and then Evan killed himself. Throughout this litany of woe, Justin looks concerned and unsure of what to say; Emily VanCamp does a strong, understated job with material that could get pretty sudsy if she weren't careful. I don't know how I feel about the more sympathetic portrayal of Rebecca this seems bound to lead to -- it's possibly a bit too easy -- but I'm glad that at least they answered the question. Justin says he's sorry. Rebecca gets up and says sadly, "So, why don't you just ask me." "Ask you what?" "If I had something to do with that kiss?" Did she? Rebecca nods. She doesn't know what she was thinking, or what Joe was thinking -- Justin interrupts to say that she should tell Sarah, for both their sakes. Rebecca looks unsure, but asks if he'll come with her, and he says he can't, admitting that he actually leaves that night; it's why he came upstairs, to get his things. Nobody else knows. Rebecca takes issue with his decision to leave without saying goodbye, but he tells her firmly that "it'll be easier on everyone, okay?" She's backed off by that, and says after a moment that she'll miss him. He'll miss her too. Hugs.

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Brothers and Sisters




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