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'Brothers & Sisters' finale: Last one in the pool's a...

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Rifkin_lSeason-finale cliffhangers — who needs ’em? Last night’s final episode of Brothers & Sisters‘ freshman year had its share of deliciously unexpected plot twists — all of which will warrant further exploration in season two — but none of them arrived with the “holy-crap!” bombast we’ve come to expect from network-drama finales. Kind of refreshing, no?

I loved how so much of the revelation about Saul’s sexual orientation — and his one-time affair with the mysterious Milo (Rambaldi?) — wasn’t at all overt, but instead conveyed with things unsaid, subtle glances, an old nickname (“Solly!”), and the way Ron Rifkin (pictured) and Michael Nouri’s body language indicated the two men’s differing comfort levels with acknowledging their affair. I certainly didn’t see it coming, but in retrospect, it helps explain the demise of the dapper bachelor uncle’s relationship with Holly. Add that to Rebecca’s revelation about her older lover’s suicide, and her admission to Hot Junkie that she was also culpable in her kiss with Joe, and it sets up scads of season-two drama. And that’s not even touching on Kevin’s lust-hate attraction to the Senator’s minister brother (Eric Winter), the future of Sarah’s marriage, and Justin’s return to Iraq. (Bonus points to the show’s writers for refusing to soften Kevin’s off-putting bitchitude; his comment that the banquet hall was “like the first 15 minutes of Extreme Home Makeover” provided the night’s biggest laugh.)

addCredit(“Ron Rifkin: Vivian Zink”)

I also loved Sarah’s “give me alcohol” hand-signal to her brothersduring Nora and Kitty’s participation in what she dubbed as “thepassive-aggressive Olympics,” plus the discussions centered on thepronunciation of Major Weiner’s name. I’m not sure any of that lattersubplot — with Garry Marshall leading the Senator’s boozy familythrough a party gone out of bounds — was plausible, but at the veryleast, it gave the Walker clan an excuse to dive into the water, apoignant end to a season that began with their father’s death and theirmother’s mournful nighttime swim in said pool. With a capper like that,I can barely wait for September.