Brothers & Sisters
Credit: Michael Desmond/ABC

Not sure why I didn’t make KITTY LIVES! the headline. We all knew she wasn’t going to die, which made her collapse at Justin and Rebecca’s wedding a bit of an eye roll and the month wait for the big reveal — it was just a blood clot in her lung — all the more anticlimactic. But even when the plot of this soap is paint-by-numbers, the acting is still masterful. So we’d accept any excuse that forced Kitty into the hospital, where she had to come clean to the family about her cancer not responding to chemo.

From the moment Kitty decided to opt for the all-or-nothing bone marrow transplant, you knew Ryan would end up being the only match. I suppose it was surprising that the writers didn’t drag it out longer and make him showing up at the hospital for the transplant the final scene. After Holly confronted Ryan and told him that he was the only person caught on the security camera at the time the valves to the Coastal Reserve were tampered with, he was planning on running. Cue a cop knocking on his door, and my fear that we were going to watch a deal be struck: He’d take the blood test, and the charges would be dropped. Presumably, that’s not what happened. It was just Robert calling in a favor and demanding the police find Ryan since he wasn’t returning calls. Ryan’s reaction to finding out that he was a match was legit, “Is someone playing a joke on me?” Here he was being asked to save a daughter of William Walker when, in his eyes, William took his mother’s life. Do we believe that Nora’s argument — causing another child to grow up without a mother would be the biggest mistake he’d ever make — is what got Ryan to the hospital? Or do we think he looked ahead and saw that helping Kitty would get him out of his Ojai trouble? We know the Walkers now adore him, since he was invited to their screening party of Robert’s press conference three weeks later. Are we to assume that Holly is as forgiving?

About that press conference… Robert held it to announce that Kitty was cancer-free and to withdraw his bid for governor. The senator, who asked Kitty to renew their marriage vows before her surgery, realized his ambition was actually to be a good husband and father — a goal he couldn’t achieve if he had to work two jobs (holding his current seat while campaigning for a new one). This was, much to Scotty’s chagrin, a move worthy of making him Nora’s favorite son-in-law, and I’m glad he did it. But something is still holding me back from embracing Robert. I think it’s because his calm head and decency is supposed to make him seem real, but it just comes off idealized — and therefore, a bit fake and boring. I mean, no one thought he was actually having an affair with the woman whose home Kevin’s “opposition researcher” had photographed him at. (She was his shrink.) And no one thought Robert wasn’t going to immediately forgive Kevin for accusing him of it. Their physical confrontation in the hospital was, however, good for a few jokes later in the episode. So again, they get a pass.

More levity was provided by Kitty asking Sarah to bring her a shoebox from the back of her closet that held letters from a married politician she’d had an affair with when she was an intern in Washington. Was anyone else wondering why Sarah would bring the letters to the hospital, where Robert was at, if Kitty was so afraid that Robert would see them? Seems unnecessarily risky. But I guess we needed them there so Sarah could take a peek at the sender when Kitty refused to tell her who they were from. And then Sarah got so distracted that she couldn’t help Justin tease Kevin about his brawl with Robert — “I’m sorry. I can’t be funny right now” — that she had to reveal the affair to her brothers. (Not you, Tommy, you keep your ass in Seattle. Thanks.)

Who do you think we’re supposed to think it was? Kitty shot down Sarah’s first guess: “You pulled a Monica Lewinsky?” “No, no, we never got caught.” We know from other dialogue that he’s a silver fox who inspired Kitty to go into broadcasting and think tanks. Before that, she’d wanted to be in the game, not cover it. That decision is her one regret. She won’t run for governor. Right? Could be fun to see two women duke it out, but that’d be like learning to swim in the deep end. In the end, Kitty burnt the letters in Nora’s fireplace — which you knew was going to happen as soon as you saw the flame. I wonder if we’re done with this affair, or if it’ll resurface down the road, maybe when Kitty considers a run for something… I hope, at the very least, we get Kevin teasing Kitty at some political event that both she and the silver fox have attended. In my dreams, Sarah is also there. And she’s drunk.

So, there you have it. The first Brothers & Sisters of the New Year. I’ve already given you plenty of questions to weigh in on, but here are two more: (1) What’s been your favorite pop culture reference on the series? Last night, we got Voldemort (not Kitty’s He Who Shall Not Be Named), Lady Gaga (who Kitty’s wedding wig was going to resemble if she didn’t sit still), and Liza Minnelli (“This wedding is more cursed than Liza Minnelli’s,” Saul said describing Justin and Rebecca’s ill-fated nuptials). Any of those top Kevin’s love of Wicked? Probably not. (2) Who else can’t wait to see how the Simon situation plays out? The promo for next week’s episode showed him returning, Nora wanting to get back with him, and Sarah finding what appeared to be a photo of him with an older woman at a benefit for juvenile diabetes. Could it be he romances older philanthropists to fund his own charity? (If so, I hope next week is his final episode. That will get old real fast.)

Photo credit: Michael Desmond/ABC

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Brothers and Sisters
Calista Flockhart and Sally Field star in the teary family ensemble drama
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