‘Brothers & Sisters’: Beginnings and endings

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Last night’s two-hour episode of ‘Brothers & Sisters’ meant business: Kitty finally got her baby, Robert suffered a heart attack, Tommy got busted and Ryan showed up at the front door. I don’t know about you, but the action-packed episode washed away the feelings of disappointment I had over the season’s first half.

The deluge of stories all worked around the themes that introduced the series, birth and death. In the pilot episode, William Walker dies on Kitty’s birthday, and since then, the show has centered on the regenerate aspects of life. Its thesis is that when one door closes, another one opens, but the passage through those doorways is anything but an open-shut case.

Contrary to the previews, no one permanently dies in this episode (Robert flat-lining with his eyes wide open was pretty intense, though). His illness, however, did mark an end to Kitty and Robert’s relationship, not to mention his career, as we know it. The very characteristics that drew them together — ambition and drive — are now tearing them apart, and the two have never been on more opposite planes than they are now. The heart attack gave Robert a pass for missing his adopted son’s birth, but his insistence on continuing his gubernatorial campaign after receiving bypass surgery officially marked him as delusional. He clearly exhibited denial during his bedside scene with Kevin, so while he’ll struggle to reconcile his pride with his health limitations, there’s no doubt he’s entered the first stage of grief.

It’s an interesting turn of events for Rob Lowe’s character, whom I’ve always felt needed more dimension. Robert has been the cool, rational counterpart to the neurotic, emotional Kitty, so turning the tables and making him the more vulnerable one will give him a chance to show more depth. Kitty will also get put to work as her challenges move from the philosophical to the physical. It was hard to believe at first, but once baby Evan arrived, she fit the mother role comfortably. Her role as the supportive wife, however, won’t come so easy. Nora quietly stole the show with her inspirational speeches, so if there’s anyone to guide Kitty through this tough time, it’ll be her.


The episode was also the beginning of the end for Tommy, who, as it turns out, embezzled money from Ojai Foods in his attempts to overthrow Holly. For someone so transfixed on this scheme to regain control of the family business, you’d think Tommy would have been more careful than to leave incriminating documents out in full display. It’s amazing that Julia was left so ignorant when the evidence was staring her in the face all this time. Holly once again proved her mettle, but not before being put into place by David, who gave her a much-needed reality check. Real-life married couple Ken Olin and Patricia Wettig were so wonderful in that scene together; his speech imploring her to crawl out of William’s shadow almost had me convinced she’d walk away from it all.

All the turmoil was tempered with a few hopeful beginnings. Justin experienced some clarity when his ability to clearly articulate the meaning of stenosis moved him to pursue a career as a doctor. His relationship with Rebecca will be threatened when they’re forced to take sides in the Tommy-Holly matter, but I’m glad Justin has been given a personal goal outside of that coupling. It’s yet to be seen if Ryan’s addition to the family can be thought of as hopeful, but it’s a beginning nonetheless. Let’s hope the show provides a new spin to this already visited story line.

What are your thoughts on the episode? Did it meet your expectations?

— Enid Portuguez