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'Brothers & Sisters': A bridge to (hopefully) somewhere

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Brothersandsisters_lHere’s hoping last night’s Brothers & Sisters was one of those weird transitional episodes that will serve as a bridge to less painfully mundane plotting. Yes, I still love this show. And yes, any hour that features Kevin doing a “Saturday Night Fever point” to celebrate a workplace victory can’t be all bad. But think about the great characters (and actors) being wasted on insignificant story arcs. Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) had her most dramatic moment cradling a little green caterpillar and tucking her son into bed. (Zzzz.) Saul (Ron Rifkin) spent the bulk of his screen time helping Nora to create snazzy pie charts. And Kitty’s sudden shift to ancillary spouse makes me wonder if maybe Calista Flockhart is off filming a buddy comedy with Sarah Jane Morris (AKA that woman who occasionally plays Julia).

Even Nora’s new foray into charity work left me a little cold. Sure, I was excited to see Sally Field exiting the kitchen and hitting the board room (in that rather va-va-voom white blouse) to raise funds for a home away from home for parents of ailing children, but it just felt implausible that she could win over Mr. Goldschmidt (and his grant money) with an angry speech about the managerial power of the U.S. homemaker. The whole setup and payoff felt as thrown together as the meal Nora prepared for Kitty’s adoption-inspector dinner a few weeks back.

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On the plus side, though, I like seeing Nora take on a project that hasnothing to do with her family. And certainly, the show’s writers arealready finding great soundbites in the clash of Nora’s practicalhead-of-household skills with the sometimes nonsensical world ofcorporate red tape. “That’s not communicating. That’s haiku,” shebarked about the rule of having no more than six words per slide.

And it looks like Matthew Rhys’ Kevin (who’s been this season’sindisputable MVP) will be headed for some workplace drama, too, as he(not unexpectedly) took up his brother-in-law’s job offer and nowfinds himself in the position of liberal Democrat director ofcommunications for a conservative(ish) Republican Senator. Add Kevin’scareer change to his meteoric rise and stall at his law firm (includingWhale-gate, a trip to the corporate closet, and a last-minute rejectionas partner) and his alternately sweet and prickly relationship with newhubby Scotty, and it’s pretty clear which actor is a favorite in theB&S writers’ room this season. I love that the show refuses to turnKevin into a gay saint. Sure, his mother-in-law is cold and borderlinerude, but his dinnertime outburst threatened to alienate Scotty fromhis parents at the precise moment they were making at least a smalleffort to connect. I loved how Scotty blasted Kevin, reminding of theWalker-centricness of their life together, although he seemed to lethis bratty spouse off the hook a little too easily just because he’dhad a colossally bad day at the office.

As for the post-fight sex between Justin and Rebecca, and the finalconfrontation between Holly and Nora, I leave that for you to discuss,B&S fans. The former still felt a little too dirty for my comfortlevel, and the latter a little too stilted. Was the Justin-Rebeccaromance a great idea, or totally flawed? Is Holly completely evil, orjust a little bit beastly? And how’d you like Saul’s passing remarkabout being totally into the idea of crushing his sister’s saucy blonderival?