Brothers and Sisters recap: Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
When Luc's mother comes for a visit, everyone gets a little tipsy, leading to unexpected smooching and shouting
In this week’s episode, “The Rhapsody of the Flesh,” Justin got over Rebecca (and apparently last week’s hot nurse Annie) just in time to fall back into his natural role of Sober Sex God Extraordinaire. But the real drama presented itself in Luc‘s visiting mother, Gabriella Laurent (guest star Sonia Braga, who’s appeared in many a TV drama, but best of all, hello, Alias!) Right off the bat, there were signs she was a complete narcissist loon and also — now that I’m reading over her first few sentences on Luc and Sarah’s doorstep — a pathological liar. “Sometimes you miss your children so much you just cannot stay away from them.” (Lie.) “My only desire was to come here to meet Sarah.” (Lie.) “I went ahead and booked a hotel room.” (Probably a lie.) “I would rather die before I distracted my genius son from his work.” (LOL.) At least we knew we were in for a dazzling, emotionally draining treat, courtesy of a(n at least a) decade-old bottle of absinthe.
After meeting Nora, Gabriella took it upon herself to play matchmaker for Nora and Dr. Karl. “Matchmaker” is a funny word for “inserting yourself into someone’s TV date and making the woman cook Moroccan food for you all night,” but whatever. Some of her freewheeling European ideas made sense for Nora! “Only Americans find an excuse to frown upon pleasure,” she lamented. Ain’t that the truth. I should be guzzling down wine right now, in bed, NOT ALONE, dictating this recap to a meaty-limbed manservant with Nutella-dipped strawberries for pores and a big croissant instead of hair. We are living incorrectly, man! Really, Gabriella made sense for about a minute here. And then it was onto the crazy.
Namely, Gabriella had no idea how to cook and no intention to help Nora in any area other than swift intoxication. As soon as Dr. Karl showed up for “dinner,” Nora’s internal sense of hostess duty banished her to the kitchen, leaving the former ingenue film star with her work crush in what had within the last few hours been converted into Portuguese-ee’s Pillow Playhouse/Den of Sin. “You can’t mix Leonard Bernstein with Queen of the Gypsies!” Nora cried out. But it was too late. Gabriella had already found the main ingredient of her famous absinthe tea. “Do you know the secret? There’s no tea in it.”
Nora confessed her feelings for Dr. Karl to Sarah….seconds after Sarah suggested to Nora that Dr. Karl was attracted to Gabriella. Nora hadn’t mentioned it before, because if Sarah takes over the radio station, she might not approve! Nope, Sarah doesn’t care about that. So that was easy. But ROADBLOCK: There’s a crazy Portuguese lady performing the Dance of the Seven Veils with your honey and everyone’s drunk!
There was Nora, half-sloshed, tending to a ruined little lamb, looking like someone had just died. Not her courage! When Dr. Karl came into the kitchen to check on her, the absinthe had interfered, so she adorably spun him around to tie his apron strings in the back (not a euphemism) and playfully inched up his sleek, kind doctor-body for a little kiss. But he flinched! He didn’t see it coming and thought she just wanted to be friends. Also, ABSINTHE. I loved how the overlay of the entire party was that “Absinthe makes you crazy.” Nora Walker would never had made that kinky apron move while sober. I loved it! (And “Absinthe makes you crazy” was a helpful thing to remember the next morning, to shake off embarrassment and just get on with the serving of coffee to the senior-citizen colleague who had passed out on your couch.)
NEXT: Wait! Now those two are making out! What’s the deal with this family?
At one point, sober sex god Justin wandered in, so OF COURSE within minutes he and the mother of his soon-to-be-brother-in-law were making out in his own mother’s house. Captain Happy couldn’t help it! So the whole thing had gone haywire, and THEN, finally, Luc showed up to his dinner party. “You could not give me a real family,” yelled Luc to his mom. “Now that I finally found one, you come in and tear it apart. You cannot be part of anything that is not completely about you. I do not want you in this family.”
Luc explained to Sarah at home that Gabriella had left him and his father whenever another man came along to give her more attention. She broke their hearts over and over. “Maybe you can think about who she is now,” offered Sarah. “She will never be the mother that she should have been, but she’s the mother you got, and she’s here now.”
Meanwhile, Nora was giving Gabriella a similar pep talk, reminding us why she was certainly qualified to give advice over the radio. Gabriella complained that all the new men in her life love her at first, but eventually “see through me and ask me to leave.” Right when I was thinking “this is so sad! she never even realized she has a child!,” Nora reminded Gabriella, “You can’t dazzle your son with charisma. Admit your flaws and hope for the best.” What more can you say? Whether Gabriella will decide to commit to being a mom for more than a day remains to be seen, but the tearful Gabriella/Luc hug amidst a stunning array of smashed ceramics seemed like a promising first step.
Sober Sex God had hidden everyone’s car keys in the breakfast nook, so Dr. Karl was still around, being cute and munching on bagels. Sarah, worried after hearing Special K’s theory that men want to marry women just like their mothers, confronted Dr. Karl during coffee talk. No, no way! You’re probably not like Gabriella, Special K assured Sarah. “A bit histrionic — on the other hand, very strong, single-minded, resourceful.” No, no, Luc must have chosen Sarah because she offered the best traits of his mother and could give him the family he always wanted. GREAT SAVE, DR. KARL.
Later on, everyone watched Gabriella’s new wave French film, The Rhapsody of the Flesh. Scotty and Kevin, cuddling! Justin, alone. (“Down, boy.”) Sarah, Luc, and Gabriella, nuzzling her son’s shoulder for validation of her dazzles and charms. And Nora and Dr. Karl, sharing a secluded first kiss. At last! Their workplace romance has come along.
Line of the night: “Well, just pretend you have people skills.” –Nora to Kevin
What did you think of last night’s episode? Discuss Brothers and Sisters below!
Last week’s recap: Cheat Drink Man Woman
Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett
EVER WISH EW.COM HAD A RADIO STATION? Quit living in the past, man or lady! In this week’s TV Insiders podcast, Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, and Michael Slezak grade the first week of Conan, pick the funniest Modern Family character, and discuss the trouble with the Survivor: Nicaragua cast and Bristol Palin’s improbable run on Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!