Previously: Nora boinked Treat Williams and skulked into the kitchen the next morning; Sarah discovered the existence of Rebecca; Holly denied that Rebecca was William's daughter and then, when the first lie didn't play, admitted it, but claimed William didn't know Rebecca was his; Justin got a letter from the army ordering him back into active duty, and responded by overdosing.
A chyron tells us it's September 19, 2001. William is saying grace over dinner, but the camera is on Nora, who's got on a dark ballet-teacher wig with bangs and a sad scowl. When William's finished, Nora looks around the table, glad to have the whole family gathered there, and everyone begins to pass food around. Justin is lost in thought, and Nora asks him what's the matter. "Uh, nothing's the matter," he says, in a weirdly emphatic way, and when William asks if he's got something to say, Justin announces that he enlisted that day. Kitty and Kevin both pause, and Nora asks, "Enlisted in what?" "In the military," Justin duhs. Nora stares at him, not comprehending still, as Tommy slings an arm around Justin and asks patronizingly if this is "like that time [he] wanted to be a roadie for Linkin Park?" "Or open the brewery?" Kevin snorts. "Or the karate school?" Tommy adds, and Kevin Justins, "'Oh dude, it's called a dojo.'" Heh, but: this is why he did it. For all the blame that gets passed around vis-à-vis Justin's enlistment, it's actually shared by the family's tendency, individually and as a group, not to take Justin seriously. Justin's like, no, really, I joined the army, and Kevin's like, the actual army, with weapons...yeah, right. Tommy tells Justin it's "too soon to be making jokes," but Nora, peering at Justin, says authoritatively that "he's not joking," then, when Justin begins to explain, cuts him off to announce that he's not going. Justin appeals to William to tell Nora what's what; William condescends that wanting to serve one's country is "a noble instinct," and Justin's says it's not an instinct, it's something he's actually doing, and Nora says she won't allow him to put himself "in harm's way" because he's "caught up in some nationalistic fever." Cut to Kitty, watching the back-and-forth wide-eyed and, tellingly, looking afraid. Justin informs Nora that he's her child, but not a child, and he can make his own decisions, but Sarah points out loftily that he doesn't even carry credit cards; does he really think he should carry a gun? He's three years older than William was when William joined the army, Justin says, but Kitty says it's a different situation. Justin objects -- he and Kitty talked about this, and she said herself that "we have to do something," blah blah homeland security. Kevin interjects that Kitty's "a radio personality -- half of what she says she doesn't mean." William regards Justin levelly and says, "You're serious about this." Nora, her eyes reddening, stares at William, clearly expecting him to kibosh this somehow. Justin says yes -- he reports to Fort Bragg the next Friday. Shot of Kitty, stunned; shot of Tommy and Sarah, bracing for Nora's reaction. William leans forward: "Then Godspeed." As the other kids snipe at William for encouraging Justin, Justin looks resignedly at Nora, who glares around the table and gets up. "Mom?" Kevin calls after her. "Mom?"