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October 6, 2015

Brothers and Sisters: States of the Union

by Jen Creer, posted Oct 22nd 2007 8:34AM
Tommy on Brothers and Sisters(S02E05) I tend to separate Brothers and Sisters episodes into light and dark episodes these days, even though every episode certainly has elements of both. Last week was pretty dark, and this was a relatively light episode, though, thankfully, they kept the slapstick to a minimum. This episode definitely explored the nature of relationships, or, as we get from the title, unions, namely: Nora's with her and her children, and the romantic nature of all of the siblings with their significant others. If you can say that Justin's significant other is Rebecca... And the show is definitely exploring what happens when siblings meet as adults and go from strangers who could have dated under different circumstances to instant family members.

Rebecca has replaced Nora as Justin's caregiver. Cute bangs by the way! She drives him around everywhere, plies him with soap operas and fast food, and tries to monitor his medication. But for all of her savvy about having had friends with drug addictions, she is a bit too naive about his reaction to her asking him about his pills. I predicted that he had a secret stash (and I am sure you did as well); Rebecca, I would think, would have suspected it too, and I don't entirely buy that she didn't. But she is also close to Justin and has a lot riding on trying to establish a trusting relationship with him.

There was a nice parallel in the writing between Justin's and Saul's denials: When Rebecca asks Justin if he upped his pain meds, he says, "I can't believe you would ask me that." This is exactly what Saul says when Kevin asks if Saul is gay. Furthermore, Justin flat out lies about having taken more pain meds, and gets Rebecca to count his pills, even though she has rightfully figured out that he is clearly in less pain. Saul, likewise, flat out denies being gay to Kevin, and I can't help but think the language parallels are there purposefully to show us that Justin and Saul are both feigning indignation to mask what they are trying to hide. I think Saul flat out lied to Kevin too.

Kevin's quiet chiding of Saul for not defending him when he came out was quite powerful. He's right: Saul could have spoken up, and the fact that he didn't and the fact that he is probably lying now speaks to a complicated history.

I think it's interesting that Saul remains so closeted (if I am correct about his lying). It could be a generational thing. But it possibly also has to do with identity: He wants to remain Uncle Saul, who, as long as he is known as heterosexual, can just be Uncle Saul without fascination or mystery or questions about his life or identity. Gay Saul would re-cast him in everyone's eyes, and maybe he doesn't want that. Saul may or may not be honest with himself about whether he is gay, also. Though, it seems pretty clear that he and his friend were once lovers.

I really hate it when TV shows create a scenario in which a simple mis-communication or lack of one simple conversation creates a huge melodrama that could be so easily fixed that it's painful to watch. I am happy to report that I did not get this impression from the Kitty/Robert storyline. I wouldn't have broached the subject of a pre-nup on the telephone with him either. And I would have been just as pissed at him as she was. I thought it was fitting that she was kind of neurotic with him all weekend until she could see him face-to-face. And I really loved Nora's final discussion with her: Marriage is a shifting palate of trust and faith, and sometimes her faith in them will have to carry them both. Of course, Robert didn't initiate the pre-nup (if he had, he'd be an asshole, and Robert is a saint. But it was nice of them to create an understanding out for him anyway). However, it wasn't a simple case of her simply asking him about it over the phone that could have resolved the scenario. This was nicely handled compared to some of the schtick Kitty has to play.

Ah, poor Sarah. Her brief flirtation was great: I loved how their sticking the key in and out of the lock and getting a red light each time was high symbolic of a failed sexual act, and nicely foreshadowed her putting on the brakes and stopping their affair. Her discovery that she had been trying the wrong room was priceless too: It nicely showed, without telling us, that she had also been trying the wrong guy. We don't know what Sarah will do next, but maybe sleeping with a wedding guest in the room she is sharing with her mother and sister isn't quite the thing.

How much do you want to bet that nothing actually happened between Tommy and Lina? We didn't see anything happen, and I think they lied to Holly about why they were still in their same clothes precisely because they knew what she would assume. Holly may have written the book about affairs, but I think you could also argue that she was projecting her own behavior on to Tommy's. I think that was a red herring, and we will find out that nothing actually happened. Or, possibly, I am just projecting my own hopes onto them.

Do you think anything happened between Tommy and Lina?
Yes84 (36.7%)
No145 (63.3%)

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Toby OB

I love Nora, but man, she really is overbearing as BC pointed out. However, I don't have a problem with her being that way with her kids. Having to lug the bunch of them around for nine months each and then seeing to their every need until they were on their own gives every Mom that right, I think.

What bugs me is when she pushes her way around in general society as if she was entitled to special treatment. She was way out of line a few episodes ago at the Mexican restaurant, and was again this week by barging into that private wedding reception and pushing around the parking valet. It's not becoming an attitude for her.

October 23 2007 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C. Hernandez

BC, after seeing McAlister's crazy family and hearing about his fairly liberal policies and knowing about Kitty's crazy family...Robert doesn't have a chance in hell of winning.

I'm hoping Saul experimented with Milo in his younger days but isn't gay. Bi, I could believe, but not gay. But however it ends up playing, I hope it's something that's just between Saul and Kevin for awhile and can open up their relationship (and that we learn more about Kevin's 'coming-out' days)

October 22 2007 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like Holly (and the viewers based on how the scene was done) we were to assume Tommy and Lina spent the night together.

Of course we all saw this coming back when she was hired...but honestly I figured it would be revealed that they just spend the night in the office talking. However, Tommy never spoke up and it looks like if he was "not guilty" he would have said something to Holly to deny it.

In next week previews it looks like there is something going on (or at least the previews let us assume there is) when he tells her that can't happen again yet she gets in the car with him.

My guess his wife returns next week or very soon just as things heat up?????

My question with Lina is: how could she not be able to hold a job at a coffee shop, but now she is some hot-shot office manager for a upcoming wine company?

As for the show: I agree very predictable!
The possible affair, the resurfacing drug addiction, Saul denying his gay-ness, mom tagging along to the spa, Kitty over reacting, and of course Sarah putting the brakes on the hook up (I figured it would be in the room but getting "lock blocked" was funnier).

Does anyone besides me think Nora is way to over-bearing a parent (does anyone have a mom like this)? And does anyone besides me think there is no way Robert would win an election for Prez?

October 22 2007 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ugh. Every single thing in this episode was completely predictable - something most shows wind up being but I guess I have become spoiled by the terrific gems of Damages and Mad Men, where there are true surprises and interesting turns in the character development and storylines. Again, I'm always amazed at how incredibly juvenile everyone in this family seems - but, I guess that is what soaps are all about.

October 22 2007 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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