By Mandi Bierly
March 16, 2009 at 08:16 PM EDT

Clever banter, movement in major story lines, and a new reason to hate Tommy Walker. That’s Brothers & Sisters the way we like it.

As predicted, Sarah’s hotel for criminals (Tommy, suddenly wearing a Kabbalah bracelet?) and lonely hearts (Justin, eating the kids’ lunch meat) drove her nuts, so she convinced Kevin to miss his appointment sex with Scotty and take his brothers away for the weekend. Tommy was made to think that the getaway was an excuse to get Justin’s mind off of his break-up with Rebecca and focused on writing his admissions essay. (Tommy, too, laughed at Justin’s desire to go to med school. “How old are you gonna be when they let you out?” “Dude, You make it sound like I’m going to prison.” Oops.) But really, the trip was planned so Kevin and Justin could talk Tommy into taking the plea the prosecution offered in his embezzlement case. The boys thought they were headed to a quiet part of Baja that their father used to take them to, but, like their dad, this beach got a lot more action than they knew about.

If last week was the worst-timed dinner in Walker family history, this was the worst-timed vacation. It was Spring Break (bitches), which meant sober Justin had to be surrounded by girls gone wild and Kevin had to entertain two aspiring hags who would’ve paid money to see him make out with the “shot hottie.” While Kevin was pissy (my favorite of his emotions), Justin became jealous after he called Rebecca and she told him that Ryan was visiting her. Justin eventually kissed a pretty pre-med redhead on the beach, and her beefy (ex?)boyfriend and his fraternity brothers chased Justin back to his hotel room, where he remained in lockdown with Tommy and Kevin. I guess maybe Tommy realized that he was already being held prisoner, and that’s why he decided it was better to be on the outside — where he could attempt to reason with drunk frat boys and get his ass kicked. Afterward, the Walker Brothers sat around a fire and Tommy talked about how he envied those Spring Breakers for what they had ahead of them. (“Alcohol poisoning, DUIs, and STDs?” Kevin asked.) He said he wished he’d been like his class valedictorian, who went to Costa Rica after graduation instead of right to work at the family business. He said he needs to make new footsteps and stop following in William’s. So why didn’t I suspect that Tommy would bolt to Mexico until he missed breakfast the next morning? Perhaps because he said he was going to take the plea or because he has a daughter and wife he insists that he loves. He left a letter for Julia, who, granted, had thrown him out of the house. But still, he is such a douche. I called my own mother at 11:01 p.m. last night to tell her so.

addCredit(“Craig Sjodin/ABC”)

As for the Walker women, they had some bonding moments of their own. Nora hosted a lunch at her house so Sarah could meet Ryan, and they were joined by an exhausted Kitty (“Ryan, this is Kitty…. even though she usually looks a lot better than this,” Nora said.) Seeing Ryan, who votes Green, engage Republican Kitty in a political debate in the kitchen was the first time I (and lumpy-elbowed Sarah) truly liked him. I was actually sorry to see him flee after Kitty spoke about the purity of a mother’s love. Turns out it made him think of his own mother, who I thought William had been told died of cancer, but who Ryan told Rebecca had died in a car accident. He confessed the real reason he was in town was to find out if the crash was accidental, or if William had done something to upset his mother and make her want to take her own life. That would explain why he got so annoyed/angry with Nora in Berkeley when she couldn’t tell him more about his mother’s affair with William. Though what exactly does he think he’s going to learn from the family that didn’t even know he existed? (Nothing, I suppose, which is why it looks like he and Rebecca snoop around in William’s old files next week.)

My favorite scene of the episode was when Kitty stopped pretending that she was 100 percent happy and finally opened up to Nora and Sarah. The fact is: You still love your baby, even if you admit that you’re sleep-deprived from getting up every three hours to feed him and that you wish there were 10 minutes in a day when you didn’t have to watch him so you could take a shower. I wanted to reach through the screen and hug Kitty and Nora, who insisted that Kitty spend the night at her house and sleep while she took care of Evan the Make-Sarah’s-Ovaries-Ache Baby. (Honestly, I’d kill for someone to draw me a bath, make me dinner, and tell me to sleep as long as I need to — and I don’t have a child.)

Sarah, meanwhile, drove to Santa Barbara to warn Robert that Kitty was distancing herself from him. She’d recognized the detached and clinical way Kitty spoke about him because it’s how she sounded before she pulled away from Nora years ago and moved away. It’s true with everyone, not just Kitty: When you care, you argue. It’s when you stop caring that it becomes not worth the energy. Robert denied it, of course. But when he told Kitty a second time that he wasn’t going to pursue therapy or antidepressants (because he didn’t think it’d look good for his gubernatorial campaign), she didn’t put up a fight. She just told him that he’d make the right decision for himself, flashed a weak smile and left the room. He has to know she’s stopped viewing them as a team (because he only cares about himself). Does anyone even want them to work it out at this point?

So, what did you think of the episode? Are you ready to say goodbye to Tommy? (And Robert?) Did you buy it when Ryan told Rebecca that he’s not trying to start something with her? And are you hoping that Justin takes Tommy’s parting advice and fights to win Rebecca back?

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