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Brothers and Sisters recap: The Painkiller Instinct

Justin finally decides to take his medications, and Tommy is tempted to seek comfort after his wife and daughter move out

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Tommy2
Michael Desmond

Brothers and Sisters

type:
Book
Current Status:
Pending
seasons:
5
author:
Bebe Moore Campbell
genre:
Fiction

I’m not sure whether it’s a sign of a so-so episode or just that ABC has a great promo department, but when this show ended, the first thing my mother and I discussed was next week’s Brothers & Sisters, when the Walker women will apparently get thrown out of a ”quiet room” and crash a wedding, and Robert will evidently present Kitty with a prenup. Can. Not. Wait. Perhaps it’s just a sign that after this episode, we were ready for laughs. And to see Rachel Griffiths again. (Seriously, where was Sarah last night? If the kids were with Joe, shouldn’t she have been making herself a damn sundae?)

There were two big developments in this episode. The first: Justin finally agreed to take the painkillers after the agony of his knee injury — and Kevin’s meditative bubble-bath protocol — proved too much. Watching him suffer, I just wanted Nora to sit on him while I shoved pills down his throat. But that’s because I’m naive. When Nora walked into the kitchen and saw her three boys having a ”normal” conversation — about whether they’d all played Tiny Tim in elementary school — I actually thought it’d be a happy moment. Cut to Justin looking loopy, and Nora’s heart breaking. Rebecca’s right: Justin won’t be Justin for a while, and that’ll be equally difficult to watch.

The second story line with some steam: Julia’s parents have taken her and Lizzie back home with them to Arizona so she can grieve the death of Lizzie’s twin, William, and try to stop blaming Tommy for it. Of course it’s sad that a young family is breaking up — and that Tommy won’t get to see Lizzie, whom he doted on to ease his loss — but this is exactly what Tommy needed. Now, he’ll be tortured over an attraction to Lena, the office manager, and he’ll confide in Saul, who’s also in need of some screen time (especially since they’ve back-burnered his Brokeback backstory). Saul’s crack to Tommy about how he’d rather spend eternity at a dinner party sitting next to Britney Spears than play golf was one of the episode’s best lines and, fingers crossed, the first of many memorable exchanges between Ron Rifkin and Balthazar Getty. Note to the show’s writers: I want to be as fond of these two characters as I am of the others — just give me a reason to be.

In other Walker news, Kitty put out a fire when Robert’s ex was scheduled to go on Larry King and talk about what it’s like to be the wife of a politician who allegedly slept with the nanny. Robert had no luck persuading his ex not to ruin his presidential campaign, but Kitty did when she bluffed and said she’d found the nanny, who was willing to tell the truth and deny the affair. I guess we’re supposed to be proud of Kitty for thinking that scheme up (and because it showed that she trusted Robert), but it left a bad taste in my mouth. The ex’s warning to Kitty — you may think you’re his partner, but he does everything alone — was interesting. At some point, McCallister is going to have to stop being the perfect man who listens to everything Kitty says, then makes up his own mind, which usually corresponds with hers. (If their prenup debate results in a conversation about who gets to keep the Ronald Reagan bobblehead that Kitty won on eBay, barring a last-second bid by GOPGirl, he’s dead to me.)

Kevin also came to the rescue when his ex Scotty got arrested for a DUI and catty backtalk (”Little Miss Officer”) by a homophobic cop. Scotty and Kevin are going to try to be friends now, which, in theory, should work out well because the former is now an aspiring chef and the latter is a foodie. But I fear we’ll be seeing more than Kevin and Tommy teasing each other about following in their father’s cheater footsteps. Is it wrong that if one of them has to stray, I hope it’s Tommy? Watching Kevin try to be faithful is enough drama for that character. Plus, you know how I feel about Reverend Boyfriend. I have this vision of him taking an outdoor shower while red flying squirrels frolic in the jungle canopy above, and it makes me very, very happy. Also, it will be interesting to see how Holly deals with the inevitable flirtation between Tommy and Lena, who offered to talk dirty to Tommy — about soil reports — if he couldn’t sleep. And then there’s Nora’s reaction: Does her theory that you’re allowed to do anything to feel better when life deals you something so horrible apply to the pain a father feels when he’s lost a son, and now a daughter and a wife?

What do you think? What’s in store for Tommy? What issues should Robert’s bid for the Oval Office raise in his relationship with Kitty? And what is your bubble bath music of choice?

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