'Brothers & Sisters' recap: Life goes on
Last night’s Brothers & Sisters dealt with something you don’t see often on TV: How you tell your loved ones that you have Stage 3 cancer. Kevin found out about Kitty’s illness in the worst possible way — from Travis, who asked him when Robert was holding a press conference so that he could clear the governor’s appearance schedule out of respect. I know that look that actor Matthew Rhys had on his face when he went running to Kitty for answers (watch it below). Seeing Kevin, a character known for his biting humor, scared silent and reverting back to the little brother who needs his big sister to tell him that everything will be okay, was heartbreaking. But I didn’t cry until Kitty opened the door at the end of the episode and Sarah was there. There’s nothing like hugging that person who you trust to be strong for you, who knows exactly how to handle you. For Kitty, that’s Sarah. Not Robert, who wanted her to take part in a clinical trial in Boston for a new drug that would give her a five percent greater chance of living (as well as possible heart damage and an even more compromised immune system) or Nora, who wanted her to stay in California and do the standard chemotherapy cocktail so she’d have her family as a support system.
As much I hate that Robert always does and says the right thing eventually — like admitting that Kitty needs Nora more than him in many ways — I’m happy that he showed up at Nora’s for a truce after the aborted dinner party Kitty asked Nora to throw so she could tell the rest of the family about her diagnosis at once. (I wanted to laugh at Kitty’s reaction to Kevin, then Saul, crying, but I couldn’t quite get there.) What Kitty didn’t realize when she wanted a “normal evening” was that after you tell someone your life is in danger, they need time to process it, too. They’re either going to share your need for escapism, or they’re going to be miserable. Technically, Kitty did get a normal dinner, because for the Walkers, that means fighting. As the family argued over his course of treatment in the kitchen (Robert and Kevin were for Boston; Nora, Saul, and Justin were against it), only Scotty realized that they’d done the one thing they shouldn’t: leave Kitty alone. Can we just pause to say how grateful we are that Scotty is on this show? He’s sweet (offering to cook meals for Kitty that presumably wouldn’t evoke the 10-second rule), but he’s not going to bow to Kevin (the crying baby noise during Kevin’s phone call = genius). He told Kevin he’s ready to have a baby, because you can’t wait for “the right time.” Now Kevin has them in the holding pattern because he believes there is a wrong time, and since he wants to focus on Kitty — who decided that she, Robert, and Evan would move in with Nora while she undergoes chemo locally — this is it.
Justin and Rebecca, who’d gone wedding dress shopping with a champagne-guzzling and carpe diem-spouting Kitty before her announcement, also questioned whether this was the right time for them to get married, and agreed to postpone their ceremony so no one would have to force themselves to celebrate. (Justin’s tear, sigh.) But Kitty was having none of it. She wants something to look forward to. That will be a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, and all kinds of headaches as Rebecca’s matron of honor. Honestly, I thought Kitty’s illness would make already overwhelmed Justin crumble, especially when his cadaver turned out to be a 47-year-old who died from pancreatic cancer, but instead, it fueled his passion even more. Having his gross anatomy lab partner be a 16-year-old genius with color-coded study schedules and a weak stomach (“No Doogie Howser jokes”) gives me faith that Justin will succeed. I hope he brings the kid to Nora’s house to study some time. No way she’s treating him as anything other than a teenager. (I also hope we see more of Joe Morton as Professor Madsen. He brings a sense of calm to high-pressure situations. Must be from playing Keanu Reeves’ boss in Speed.)
Last and definitely least — for now — we get to Dennis York (guest star Peter Garity), who received confidential Ojai financial information from Ryan last week. It turns out that he and William worked together years ago at a different food company. Per Saul, they’d talked about striking out on their own, and some money went missing from that company. William, who either kept his hands clean or turned on Dennis, testified against him and Dennis ended up spending five years in prison. No idea why he waited until William was dead to seek revenge, but he wants to eff with Ojai, which he believes was his idea. He used the information Ryan gave him to outbid Ojai for 10,000 gallons of crappy wine that Holly wanted to combine with Ojai grapes for their new inexpensive label. Two things here: (1) Holly has shown that she has a head for business, I hope they don’t make her do something stupid. (2) I’m for this story line only because it appears it will give Saul something to do besides show up at Kitty’s house with a case wine (which is always appreciated!) for Family Dinner Take Two. He warned Dennis to stay away from the company and his family. As emotional as Saul was over Kitty, I’m thinking he’d like to tee off on an enemy he can actually touch. Be afraid, Dennis. Be very afraid.
So, what did you think of the episode? Are you happy that Sarah is back? (Yes!) Do you miss Tommy? (No!) Are you looking forward to the drama of Robert and Kitty moving in with Nora? (Yes!) How about the drama of Travis using Kitty’s illness as a reason Robert shouldn’t be elected governor? (No!) Do you want Saul to kick some butt? (Yes!) Do you need to see Ryan again? (No!)