Brothers and Sisters: Compromises
"Yes." Sarah Walker to Kevin Walker
This was an immensely likable episode. If you have read my reviews from Season One in particular, you know that I tend to distinguish the episodes I like from the episodes I *really* like based on who wrote them. This episode was co-written by Cliff Olin, son of Patricia Wettig (Holly) and Ken Olin (David Caplan). Cliff has been writing for the show since its inception, and he is a young writer, barely in his mid-twenties. I have noticed an unevenness in his writings in past episodes, but I think he is finally starting to hit his stride.
Gallery: Brothers and Sisters: Compromises
Of course, it's impossible to know which parts of the episode Olin wrote, but it was an even, solidly written episode, so regardless: Kudos.
David | Holly | Rebecca
I am having mixed feelings about having Ken Olin on the show. On one hand, I love him just because of my love for Thirtysomething. His acting with real-life wife Patricia Wettig, however, is making me a little nervous: She is a little too good at being suspicious of him, so I am a little creeped out by David Caplan. So far, there isn't much to recommend him apart from his friendly demeanor. Who is this guy? We know he did enough drugs for the eighties to be a blur. When he kissed Holly, I didn't really get any real heat from them-- but that could also just be because Holly doesn't know how she feels about him. So, is it really good acting, or lack of onscreen chemistry?
Rebecca continues to wonder about whether David Caplan is actually her father, despite Holly's insistence that he isn't. Therefore, I continue to wonder, too. The thing I wonder about the most is this: If David were Rebecca's father, wouldn't Holly warn Rebecca against dating him? I mean, given Rebecca's track record with older men? And you have to wonder whether David thinks he is Rebecca's father (or knows something). After all, he is hanging out with her and being a photography mentor right now. That could be nothing more than due to his past with Holly, but the dates kind of make you go hmmmm.... What would have more ick factor: for Rebecca to get together with David or with Justin, at this point? (I know, I know: David is really into Holly, so not to worry... right?)
Robert | Kitty
How did Jason not know that Isaac was the one who outed him all those years ago? I can't believe that secret didn't come out before now (and how perfect that Travis was the one to spill the beans). I understood the impulse Kitty had in bringing the kids to see Robert (and that was good bonding time between her and the kids)-- but I didn't like the fact that I thought the campaign was using the kids as good photo ops, to humanize and soften Robert as a candidate.
I loved it when Nora told Kitty to stop whining and suck it up. Robert's daughter is hilarious: "My mother says yelling is a sign of weakness... my mother has this dress, but it's bigger... up here..." Speaking of good chemistry (we were talking about chemistry with David and Holly, so, yes, I'm making a segue from there), Calista Flockhart has really good chemistry with the child actors. Those scenes were fantastic, very real, very natural. They couldn't have been that easy to screen, especially having to act sick with the flu as well, but they played great.
Ultimately, I wonder whether having Kitty develop a strong relationship with Robert's children will appease her own baby hungers or amplify them. I don't think the issue is going away, at any rate. At one point, I almost hoped they would lose Michigan, pack it up, and go home. I wonder whether Robert and Kitty have a storyline outside of the campaign...
Kevin and Sarah
My favorite parts of the episode centered around Kevin and Sarah. They have such great scenes together, and are absolutely believable siblings (well, that is really true of all the actors, no matter which two or three or five are paired). Kevin and Sarah have one of my favorite relationships, though, because they are so sympatico: Darkly cynical, wickedly smart and funny, and willing to throw caution to the wind, even though in their professional lives they are wound so tightly.
It's interesting the that Sarah tells Kevin that getting drunk is what Walkers do best, in light of Justin's substance abuse problems: The show tends to dance right up to the lines or what is acceptable and then threaten to cross those lines. I mean, look at the behaviors: Sarah got drunk and signed her divorce papers and then slept with Graham. Graham protests at first saying, "You're drunk," and Sarah counters by reminding him that she is an adult and she knows what she is doing. And the next morning, in spite of trying to sneak away, Sarah does exhibit some pride and backbone. I don't think she has regrets about anything she did that night-- rather, the alcohol just seemed to help her do what she was inclined to do anyway (both regarding signing the divorce papers and sleeping with Graham).
I loved the fact that we got to meet Scotty's friends and Kevin got to be judged for once. And I especially loved that Kevin was absolutely terrible at karaoke. Of course, Sarah was fabulous, but the fact that Kevin was so bad, and drunkenly singing love songs to Scotty; it was actually moving to see Kevin so vulnerable and open in that scene. Again, he had to be drunk to do it-- interesting that Sarah and Kevin get drunk with positive results, when Justin does not. So, does the show have a position on alcohol? (I am just wondering, because some shows seem to comment on drugs or alcohol: on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, any time a character smoked, that meant that they were either bad or that they were going to die soon). The booze flows freely on the show (two characters own a winery, for Pete's sake), and Justin's problems seem to be mainly with narcotics (and all substances), not just alcohol.
Saul was back, and it was interesting to see him talking to Milo's friend. Perhaps this will make Saul feel more comfortable with beginning (or renewing) a relationship with Milo, or perhaps Saul will fall for Milo's friend. Despite Saul's scenes, he still seemed to be on the outskirts of everything else. It was almost like they could have put these scenes in any episode and they would have worked just as well. I am not feeling very invested in this storyline. They are going to have to make some decisions about where they want Saul to go and then have something substantial happen, or he is going to fade out just like Tommy tends to do.