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August 30, 2015

Brothers and Sisters: History Repeating

by Jen Creer, posted Oct 15th 2007 8:40AM
Justin injured(S02E03) My TiVo didn't start taping this episode on time, so I missed about the first three minutes of the show when I was putting my kids to bed. If I missed something significant, please forgive me (and let me know in the comments!).

Tonight was a more Tommy-centric episode, and was also uniquely, for Brothers and Sisters, devoid of slapstick. I know, I know. I take this show too seriously. It's a soap opera. It's supposed to be melodramatic. But I really enjoyed the fact that they played this episode straight. Though, I will admit that when I saw that next week promises more "antics," I was also a bit relieved by that because this episode was really intense.

Tommy's marriage to Julia continues to crumble. Her parents are in town to take her home with them for awhile, and her father is a complete jerk. He is clearly one of those men who doesn't think any man could be good enough for his daughter, especially if he is dishing out dirt to a stand-up guy like Tommy. The guy has a pig-headed, wrong-minded, old-fashioned idea that if his little girl isn't happy, it must be her husband's fault. Yeah, because we are all capable of making other people happy all the time.

I think Saul has it right: Julia is grieving and she needs to do it in her own way. I don't think post-partum depression should be ruled out either; that could be a real double-whammy. But I don't think it's surprising that Julia is angry and depressed. It would be strange if she weren't. And it's probably better for her to get some perspective-- well, better for her in the long term. Probably not necessarily for the marriage. If Julia blames Tommy for William's death, however, the marriage might not survive anyway.

I don't like how obvious it is that Lina has been hired to be some kind of blond surrogate wife to Tommy. Who calls their boss at home in the evening to touch base with them? Can't she send him an email? Surely he has a blackberry or some way to check it. Either that, or certainly news about the dry-cleaner discount can wait until tomorrow morning. That is the soap opera part of the show: Oh, Tommy's wife, whom he just told is the love of his life, has gone to stay with her parents, so Tommy can't keep his pants zipped in the meantime? Realism aside, it's just a boring cliche. Let's do something more interesting. I was glad that Tommy decided to head over to Nora's house for ice cream sundaes instead of pouring his heart out to Lina.

Raise your hand if you are proud of Kevin for dodging Scotty's kiss? But it's the same thing: Kevin's boyfriend is in Malaysia, so let's have his cute ex-lover be all charming and life-changing and romantic. Don't get me wrong: I don't think everybody should be celibate. In fact, I don't know that Kevin should necessarily wait for Jason to get back from Malaysia. I suppose it depends on whether he wants to marry Jason and be with him for the rest of his life, and I don't know that Kevin even knows the depth of his commitment yet. Is it prudish to say that I care less about someone who is in a long-distance relationship straying than I do about a married person? Yeah? Well, okay.

I loved how Kitty handled Courtney. I suspected that she might be bluffing, and I loved that she was. I was actually surprised that Robert wasn't wearing a wire when he was talking to Courtney. He basically got her to admit that she was lying when he told her that she was looking for a book deal. And I don't think wearing a wire would have been a bad move for him in this situation. Oh, look at the reviewer's shaky moral ground!

There is no reason for Robert to lie to Kitty about his relationship with the nanny...well, except that that would make him possibly more likely to cheat on her during their marriage. So, he may be telling the truth about Nanny Bridget. But I not-to-secretly hope that we haven't heard the end of this storyline, if for no other reason than I don't think that anyone is as perfect as Robert McAllister appears to be. Surely lying about his heroics in the helicopter can't be the only skeleton in his closet. And, as we learned last season, he is very very good at hiding things for a long, long time.

I was moved by Justin's storyline. I think that would be an impossible situation to be in. Having battled to fight an addiction and won, having gone through the hell of life as an addict: It must seem like anything would be preferable to looking that in the face again. I don't know much about addiction, but I do know that addiction if life-long, right? So, to take the drugs again basically puts him back to where he was in terms of having to get back off them again? However, if they monitor the dose, it's a matter of degree? The degree of hell he'll go through? He can go through hell now with the pain, or later fighting the addiction again?

I don't know what I would have done if I were Nora-- but it is a horrible, horrible thing to see your child in pain. I would probably want him to make himself feel better and hope we could all handle it too. It's a testament to her faith in Justin's better nature-- and perhaps also a misplaced faith in her own ability to control everything. But regardless, she was motivated by wanting what was best for her child, and motivated by love. Nora is by far the most consistent character on the show. You know what? I think she would be a cool mother to have.

Is the nanny story ever going to blow up in their face?
Yes, of course it is.128 (64.0%)
No, he's telling the truth.72 (36.0%)

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I think they're writing Julia out. I also think they painted themselves into a corner with McCallister's brother and sending him off to the other side of the planet is their way of getting rid of him, too. Kevin will be tempted, stray, the brother will come back, they'll end it and it'll be messy because they're gonna be related.

I disliked how they showed Justin at the end. I'd assume he has a high tolerance for painkillers and they were supposed to be giving him the very minimum dose to handle his pain and yet Dave Annable is playing it like he's completely stoned out of his gourd.

October 18 2007 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The thing you must remember about addicts is that one will always be an addict, clean and sober or not. The issue with Justin taking the meds is not only can he be addicted again, remember it has not been that long since he cleaned up, but his mindset. He may start enjoying the numbness, its a big reason why many people start dabbling then turn into addicts. They are reaching for that numbness. So if Justin starts down that road, he is not going to be Justin, he will be Justin the addict who may not be addicted but his mindset will be.
And I must say how amazing it is for Justin to refuse the meds since he is aware of his own weakness. That takes strength.

October 17 2007 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the beginning, Kevin is getting Justin into the bathtub, and obviously Justin's in a lot of pain. Kevin thinks lighting candles and playing new age music is going to help him and Justin disagrees. Kevin goes out to get some of Justin's CDs, and in walks Rebecca and catches Justin sitting naked in the bathtub. Awkward tension (sexual or not? you decide) follows until Kevin walks in and tells her that they grew up with sisters, and therefore, have no hope of privacy anymore. Justin says he still does. So that's what basically happened before the credits.

October 15 2007 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this show. your right, the writing is very solid. I watched every episode last season and will continue through this season. great blend of characters! I hope they keep rob lowe almost perfect.

October 15 2007 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know, this series is really on a roll so far this season. The writing is top notch, the acting is great. It's so rare for a sophomore show to actually improve on its first season, but Brothers and Sisters is bucking the norm.

I enjoyed seeing Scotty back in the picture. I wish the character would stick around. Luke McFarlane and Matthew Rhys has much better chemistry than Rhys and Eric Winters. Besides, I've always thought the McCallister gay brother storyline was a bit contrived.

I also liked the seriousness of this episode and it was good to actually see Kitty act like a professional instead of a ditzy schoolgirl. While I do like the slapstick of this series there are times when Kitty seem completely unrealistic -- even for television. Moreover, if Dave Annable does not get an Emmy nomination for this performance there is something wrong.

October 15 2007 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark Rabinowitz

Justin was clearly entering the "numb" phase at the end as is definitely going to be unhappy and out f it for a while. That said, I HATE the way TV shows often teat addicts and addictions. Not all addicts have to stay away from all substances at all times. A close friend of mine was undergoing Interferon treatments and one of the side effects can be extreme pain. He's a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, clean many years and he didn't flinch @ taking the pain pills required to get through his treatments and didn't relapse. Of course, all addicts are different, but TV does tend to treat them all a certain way.

As for Julia, I've been convinced since last season that she had post-partum depression and am astonished that no one has suggested she see a therapist that specializes in infant mortality (which I am sure goes hand in hand with PP depression at times). It's just unrealistic with a family this large and supposedly this caring, that no one has mentioned it.

October 15 2007 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really wish they didn't bring Scotty back. I want Kevin to remain faithful to the senators brother, he's hot, but I really like Scotty. He is so cute and a really nice guy.

October 15 2007 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Rebecca is more right about what will happen with Justin. The thing with Nora is she's looking at all of this like a Mom, which she should be doing, but she really hasn't dealt with addicts to see how easy it is to spiral out of control. Even Justin has probably hid that part of it from her in the past. It will make him numb, it will change him, it will bring out the worst in him and it's going to make for an interesting story line.

Sure this is television and it's a soap opera... so of course the blonde was brought in to be a temptation for Tommy. It was obvious from the get go. I'm curious if they are just developing a story line or really just writing Julia off. They didn't do much with her last season until the end anyway. All shows do that when a character just doesn't pan out like they thought or maybe other characters worked more than they thought.

Anyway, last night's episode was the B&S that I love. There were a few giggles to lighten the load but alot of the story was something we could sort of identify with, the drama wasn't too over the top and the humor wasn't too slap stick. Just a solid episode.

October 15 2007 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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