Wow, we went from a Brothers and Sisters drought to a Walker flood! Tonight we got not one, but two new Brothers and Sisters episodes back-to-back: “Olivia’s Choice” followed by “Never Say Never.” And boy was there a lot going on for our favorite extended family. In the essence of time (and my sanity) I am going to try to cover both episodes in one post, but forgive me for having to brush over some parts. With its typical distinct blend of humor and sorrow, there is a lot of ground to cover.
First off, it was nice to be back among the Walkers and their amusing phone trees. I missed their morning musings of anxiety and ridicule. It was also very nice to have Kitty back—and OMG Evan too! Not only that but they like watching reruns of Full House and Evan seems obsessed with Uncle Jesse. You know, in some crazy way, Full House is almost like the zany sitcom cousin of Brothers and Sisters. I digress. Anyways, Kitty admits to Sarah that what she is really upset about is the way she ran off without properly explaining things to Seth, and now she misses him. I guess it wasn’t clear to me just how deeply Kitty fell for Seth, even after all this time, yet that is what happens when a character disappears for weeks on end. I am not going to spend too much time on the antics that Sarah put Kitty up to in order to win Seth back—because it was pretty childish—but I will say that my favorite part was Sarah and Kitty making fun of Seth’s obnoxious new girlfriend Berkelee (that’s with two ee’s!). Ultimately, Kitty came clean on her illness to Seth and he accepted her back.
The far stronger (and emotionally intense) storyline of this first episode belonged to Kevin, Scotty, and their adopted daughter Olivia. Just as the adoption was about to be finalized, Olivia’s biological older brother showed up seeking guardianship. Oy vey, of course something like this was going to happen to the Walkers. The good news—thankfully—was that in the end Olivia and the judge decided she was best off with Kevin and Scotty as her parents. Getting to that point was tremendously difficult for all parties involved, but excellent drama to watch unfold. Obviously Kevin and Scotty were extremely hurt, fearful and angry about the potential of losing Olivia. They wanted to do everything they could to fight to keep their new daughter. Meanwhile, Justin took the strategy of approaching Brian, Olivia’s brother, to bond over being war vets and explain what good parents Kevin and Scotty are to Olivia. Nora, on the other hand, focused on empowering Olivia to express her feelings on the situation—because she does have a voice and it does matter what she thinks. Meanwhile, Brian made it clear that he was not only responsible enough now to care for his young sister, but that he disapproved of two gay men raising her. Whew—lots and lots of competing emotions and viewpoints. Ultimately, Olivia recognized how open and accepting all the members of the Walkers are and that made her realize that she belongs with them…and maybe one day her brother could see them as family too. Things were looking up at the end when Brian joined Olivia for dinner with Kevin and Scotty. Kudos, once again, to Brothers & Sisters for making me misty-eyed while showcasing the many emotions of a complex issue like adoption.
Speaking of getting teary, the next new episode “Never Say Never” was a doozy! Among the many celebrations—a 30th birthday for Justin and wedding prep for Sarah and Luc—a funeral entered the mix when news hit that Ida Holden passed away. Ida was Nora and Saul’s difficult-to-please mother, whom we have met a few times before, a far cry from her days as mom on Happy Days. Everyone in the family had different ways of grieving, but the only thing they all seemed to agree on was how difficult it was to grieve someone with whom you had a challenging relationship.
As her children, Nora and Saul had the most difficult time processing news of Ida’s death. Nora struggled with her eulogy because Ida never approved of Nora’s choices nor did she ever feel Nora was good enough. Saul, on the other hand, never let himself be truthful with his mother because he never felt he could tell her that he was gay. While Nora did what Nora does best—keep insanely busy with planning—Saul broke down in tears when he realized that he forever missed his opportunity to unburden his secret.
On top of everything, Nora had a houseguest that brought up her lingering emotions from the past. Old boyfriend Brody returned from the road for his dog, Lily, but ended up trying to help Nora deal with her grief by facing it rather than ignoring it. Nora ultimately did break down while delivering her eulogy, and Brody thought it was great that she finally let down her perfect guard. It turned out that he also came back for Nora—and he no longer had his job to take him away. These two long-lost loves now seem ready for a senior citizen romance. Meanwhile, I still can’t decide what I think of Brody with Nora. Clearly he is very different from Nora—especially in his free-spirit ways. I am not sure if their fundamentally different lifestyle viewpoints will blow up in their faces or if he is the exact breath of fresh air that Nora needs. Plus, there is just something oddly slow and dimwitted about Brody that bothers me, but maybe that is just me?
Saul also turned a new leaf by getting to hear from his mother from beyond the grave. They found a letter she had written him among her belongings and in the letter she expressed her love and acceptance of her only son. It turned out she knew Saul was gay, but had always wanted him to be the one to tell her. Her one hope for her son was that he be happy and find a fulfilling life. Saul decided to embrace his new relationship with Jonathan in the wake of his loss. Interestingly, Justin struggled with the same feelings of loneliness—about to hit the big 3-0, he feared a life of lost love and an unaccomplished list. It was big brother Kevin who helped set him straight by telling Justin that he is fully capable of making things happen.
This was a great hour of true “dramedy,” especially the sweet ending around the table sharing the familial love, sorrow and heckling. My main complaint was the fact that Tommy and Kitty were not present for the funeral (Really guys? Seriously? And Kitty—you JUST got back and now you are supposedly jet-setting with Seth already?). My other complaint should come as no surprise to those of you who have read my posts this season: Sarah (and Luc)! Ugh—Sarah has become barely tolerable this season and for the life of me I can’t figure out why on earth Luc still wants to marry her. The old Sarah from earlier seasons maybe, but this new obnoxiously whiney and flakey Sarah??? You can do better Luc!
And now, to end the longest recap that ever was, here are a few of my favorite funny lines from two solid hours of Brothers & Sisters:
- “The only thing that man’s going to be slamming is you…against a wall” (Sarah convincing Kitty to try to rekindle with Seth…who will not slam the door in her face).
- Sarah calling Berkelee (with 2 ee’s) “Wellesley”
- Justin’s “30 things before turning 30 list,” which includes having sex in a flying car and telling Nora what he really thinks of her (since she took his discman back in the 90s!)
- “Start thinking outside the wine box” (Kevin telling Nora they have had way too many dinner parties so they need to do something else for Justin’s birthday).
- “And please don’t break into my home, it’s creepy” (Justin to Kevin).
- “All the Mexican kids love piñatas” (Scotty’s insult-filled mother, Bertha).
- “You’ve been running around like a housewife on meth” (Brody telling Nora to stop planning and just grieve).
- “First of all, I really want to tell you I’m really pissed you took my discman” (Justin actually checking off an item from his life list, before he gets sentimental).
What did you think of these first new episodes after a big hiatus? I think I could use some Walker wine after writing all of this…I can’t handle blogging two back-to-back hours of this show!