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Brothers & Sisters Recap – Call Mom


Brothers & Sisters is an extremely fickle show; there are episodes where everything comes together beautifully with big laughs and earned emotion, and there are episodes where nothing clicks.  For the first time this season, I feel like Brothers & Sisters really fulfilled it’s potential.  Perhaps it was simply because there was so much cleaning to do after last season’s finale car accident that the writers couldn’t get the show truly on a new track for a few shows; an episode to say good-bye to Robert, an episode to say good-bye to Rebecca, etc.  In any case, this entry was, for my money, the best hour of television the Brothers & Sisters team has put forth this year.

Nora is back on center stage this episode, and it’s glorious.  If the beginning of this season has been about Nora finding her voice again, I’d say she got it back fully last night during her extended audition for the radio program “Dear Mom.”  It turns out that the station is down to two candidates: Nora and Dr. Alexandra Kirby, a noted author and therapist.  I immediately assumed this would be a Dr. Laura situation, where the title of “Dr.” was assumed and not earned, but it turns out that the woman actually is a therapist.  The two are set up as polar opposites from the start, as the doctor makes it her business to undercut Nora at every opportunity, all the while keeping a big fake smile on her face.  Anyone who watches this show (or really, any show) knows that Nora is being set up to deliver a take-down of Dr. Alex, but the writers have a great deal of fun getting there.

First, Dr. Alex sets up that they be on air together for a “Mom Smack Down,” which leads Nora to call Kevin in confusion and hiss frantically into the phone “I don’t know where you are or what you’re doing, but I need you.  I’m about to get smacked!”  Once the show starts, and Nora does indeed start getting smacked (verbally, that is), Kevin calls in and tries to give his mother a question that she can answer.  Unfortunately, Dr. Alex promptly co-opts the conversation.  This leads to the best comic sequence the show has had all season, with Nora attempting to flee the premises during a bathroom break and Kevin hilariously talking her up like a trainer with his prize fighter, ultimately making her spit her water back out into the garbage because she won’t have another bathroom break.  And then the cherry on top, which I should have seen coming but didn’t: the whole conversation was broadcast all over the station because Nora didn’t turn her mike off.

Ultimately, as we know she will, Nora wins out, thanks in part to Kitty calling in, unsure of what she should do about Jack, and allowing her to deliver the rousing emotional heart of the episode, which actually ties in nicely to all the other story lines.  Nora urges Kitty to listen to her feelings and trust herself, because she’ll know when she’s ready to move on from Robert.  Justin, who’s listening to the radio show and waiting for a girl to meet him for a date, realizes that he’s not ready to move on from Rebecca and heads home.

While I’m still not enjoying Kitty and Jack, I’m thrilled that Kitty has gotten herself back to Pasadena.  After a hike and some heavy flirting, Kitty and the handyman try to seal the deal.  Unfortunately, the former Mrs. McAllister finds herself unable to take the plunge and ends up heading home, sharply telling Jack that they don’t have a chance at a future because they don’t really have anything in common.  Since Jack likes cleaning fish and (as stated above) hiking, I’d say this is a fair assessment.  Kitty heads home to talk to Nora, and after speaking to her mother on the phone, Jack shows up and the two kiss.  I’m still not feeling the chemistry for these two, but really I’m more focused on the fact that Kitty’s back where she belongs.

Sarah was a bit off on her own this episode, with a story spinning around her discomfort with Luc’s modeling career and how it’s taking him away from her and his art.  This was mildly amusing, particularly in scenes where Sarah wound up going to talk to Scotty since Kevin was off with Nora.  Sarah and Kevin are, without exception, my favorite pairing on this show, but if it’s not possible Sarah and Scotty will do in a pinch.  She wants to do something romantic for Luc, and asks for Scotty’s help in putting together a meal.  Unfortunately, hi-jinks ensue (as they are wont to do with the Walkers), and Sarah winds up thinking Luc is cheating on her.  She grabs her brother-in-law and marches off to catch her boyfriend in the act, only to find him taking a meeting with his modeling agents.  This does, however, throw into sharp relief the fact that Luc is no longer painting and is not the same man she first fell in love with.  When she confronts him, he admits he’s strayed from art, and promises to return to his roots…and proposes.  This felt a little sudden to me, but I suppose the year jump ahead gives it a little more sense.  Sarah, of course, accepts and I’m left to worry about how I’m ever going to figure out what it is Luc is saying half the time.

Finally, Kevin and Scotty.  We’ve had a couple of light weeks with them, but they were both highly featured in tonight’s episode.  Kevin feels like he’s neglecting Scotty, as he’s always caught up at work.  Scotty feels disconnected from Kevin and is trying to reach out to him.  While Kevin spends the day with his mother, he realizes that he’s ready to move forward from their failed attempts at surrogacy.  Scotty, on the other hand, spends his day with Sarah, traipsing all over Pasadena in an attempt to catch Luc with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.  When the two meet at night, Kevin is thrilled to tell his husband that he wants to attempt to foster a child; Scotty, with tears in his eyes, admits that he was unfaithful to Kevin months ago and he’s not ready to take the next step when he knows that their relationship needs work.  This is clearly going to be a major arc for these two this season, and I’m cautiously optimistic.  While I do think that this show has dipped into the infidelity well a bit more than it should, I like that this happened off-screen during a time that has been established as extremely dark for the whole family.  It also slightly humanizes Scotty, who comes off as something of a saint when compared to his in-laws.  That being said, these two breaking up is unacceptable, and I will not tolerate any real threat of such lunacy taking place.

How about a few glasses of port to send you off:

– Dr. Alexandra Kirby was played by the great Debra Mon.  Also, I loved the title of her book: “Moron-Proof Mothering.”

– Are milkshake makers the bartenders for those who don’t drink?  Have a problem, go to an ice cream stand and unload your problems on the friendly employee there.  I don’t know that the servers in my hometown Dairy Queen would really be very interested.

– “Where is that French man-slut?”

– In the “Hottest Handyman on ABC Sunday Nights” contest, I’m Team Brian Austin Green.

– “Sometimes a spray tan is just a spray tan.”

– “Unacknowledged feelings are like a drunken cousin at a family reunion: they never shut up so you can hear anybody else.”

– No Saul or Holly this episode.  It probably made for a less cluttered episode, though I find it slightly difficult to believe that Saul wouldn’t have been at the radio station with his sister.  Budget cuts, I suppose!