Brothers and Sisters season finale recap: News Clash!
”I feel like we’ve been preempted by a special news bulletin.”
That was Scotty’s reaction when Kevin came home from reporting their engagement to his family and announced that Rebecca is not a Walker. It’s also how I felt when this episode ended and I realized that I was no longer basking in the afterglow of the boys’ Nora-enhanced nuptials. Instead, I was already wondering where the writers will take this ”William might still have a sixth child out there” story line next season. Honestly, what’s the point? Is it just to show that Holly might’ve been telling the truth when she said she never lied to William about Rebecca being his daughter, or will the Walkers now try to find Ryan, the son of the late lobbyist William presumably partied with when he went to food-industry conventions?
Let’s back up. The season finale of Brothers & Sisters began with a family meeting at Nora’s house. Of course, Kevin assumed it was because they’d somehow found out that he’d gotten engaged to Scotty. But actually, it was so Nora could stall long enough that Justin took it upon himself to share the news about Rebecca: ”Rebecca’s not our sister. Dad wasn’t her dad. DNA, gotta love it.” (You also gotta love that they’re letting Justin be funny and such a dude, as of late. Now if we can just get him a job other than family courier…) Sarah immediately went into Blame-Holly Mode, and before long, she and Tommy were questioning Holly about her intentions regarding the merger of Walker Landing and Ojai Foods. Holly admitted she knew about Rebecca’s paternity test but said her only motivation was the feeling that she owed it to William to save his company. Sarah threatened to sue Holly for fraud, believing that the only reason William would’ve left her $10 million was that he thought Rebecca was his. (That’s when Holly denied lying to William. Who believes her?) Super-sleuth Sarah went back through her father’s personal files, and stumbled onto the picture that started it all — a baby sitting on William’s car. At Kevin’s wedding, she gave the photo to Rebecca, who said it wasn’t even her. During the sibling meeting that followed, everyone thought Sarah was crazy for suggesting that they could still have a half brother or sister somewhere with the initial R. But later, thanks to Kevin’s amazing memory of his father’s first attempt to bond with him after he came out of the closet, he recalled that the photo was of a boy named Ryan. William had said it was the son of a female friend who’d passed away. Kevin and Sarah eventually told Nora, and while part of me wanted to hear her reaction — we just saw her sink to her seat — part of me was happy that we didn’t. I didn’t have tissues handy, and I’m confident Sally Field would have made me need one. How poignant that earlier in the episode, Nora told Kevin that even if you expect the worst of someone, that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt when it happens. And here she was, hearing that her husband might have had more than one affair — an idea that we saw both her and Holly contemplate at his grave earlier in the season.
NEXT: Meeting the parents
Kevin’s flashbacks to William were, I thought, cleverly worked into the episode. Scotty’s parents wouldn’t come to the wedding, which naturally made Kevin think of his relationship with his dad. It took years for William to accept Kevin, and in the first flashback, we saw William asking Kevin about his personal life — and telling him about the female acquaintance that had just died and left a husband and three children. Remembering how hurt he was when William didn’t make him feel as loved as Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, and Justin, Kevin decided he’d contact Scotty’s parents. And because Justin hadn’t realized that Friday was lesbian night at the gay bar he and Tommy had planned to take Kevin to for his bachelor party, they decided they’d all road trip to Scotty’s parents in Phoenix. Now, I know that that trip was necessary, because otherwise Kevin never would have gotten the cuff links from Scotty’s dad, which made Scotty feel that his father was attempting to bond, which made Kevin flash back to the plane ride with William during which they reconnected and William identified the photo of Ryan. Still, I would have loved to have seen the Walker boys celebrate Kevin’s holy ”mantrimony” at an upscale gay bar with hot dudes, no nudity, and off-street parking. You know Justin and Tommy would have gotten competitive over who was being hit on more (cough, Justin).
Kevin’s visit with Scotty’s parents was noble but frustrating. I’m not sure how much more dialogue he would’ve realistically had with two total strangers, but I so wanted him to give a great closing argument — something you could imagine Alan Shore (James Spader) delivering on Boston Legal. Instead, he just caved when Scotty’s young-looking mother (guest star Jayne Brook) said she loved her son but couldn’t be asked to sit through a ”contrived event” that she’d find ”too painful” and ”insulting.” I can imagine why she’d use the word ”painful”: When a friend of mine came out to her mother in college, the thing her mother seemed most upset about was the idea that she’d never be able to throw her daughter a ”real” wedding. But I wish Kevin would have asked her what about it was ”insulting.” The scene seemed rushed.
What was played to perfection was Nora’s support of — and interference with — the ceremony. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a mother of a gay child watched Nora thank Scotty for making Kevin happy and finally began to get it?) As fun as it was to watch Kevin shut down Nora every time she tried to be her usual loving-but-intrusive self, it gave me chills when she told him why she went against his wishes and made the living room look like a flower shop: because he and Scotty deserved an evening just as romantic and memorable as anyone else’s. (Considering they had to borrow Robert’s and Tommy’s rings because they’d forgotten to buy their own, it was a bit like their weddings.) Saul called the ceremony the bravest act he’s ever witnessed, which was moving. But it was Kitty’s words as officiant that got me (and Sarah, you might have noticed) weepy. She told the story of Kevin’s first wedding — to her, when they were younger. Kitty said she got to wear Nora’s white nightgown (even though Kevin wanted to), and be the mother of the five children they had after Mr. McBear pronounced them man and wife, because that’s the only situation they knew. But when you let go of what you thought would be, you can experience the joy of what is. For Kevin, that’s being carried over the threshold by a man who adores him; for Kitty, that’s realizing that the life you create for a child is more important than how the child was created. Translation: She’s ready to adopt.
NEXT: Justin and Rebecca kiss
While I eagerly await seeing whether the adoption story line gives Rob Lowe enough to do next season — or if his Robert becomes as peripheral as Tommy’s wife, Julia — I’m more impatient to know how the writers will work out the Justin and Rebecca relationship. Until I read some of the comments on last week’s TV Watch, I didn’t realize how skeeved out some of you were at the thought of them becoming a couple. It’s never bothered me, probably because as soon as I felt the attraction building, I assumed they weren’t related. But you have a point: The characters thought they were related, so how do they make that switch? I’m not sure the writers even know. They bought themselves a bit of time by having Rebecca meet Justin on a hilltop — an appropriately isolated spot for discussing such a rare situation — to tell him that she can’t do what he wants her to. For a moment, I thought she meant she couldn’t ”start over” and pretend that she hadn’t just spent a year thinking that she was his sister. But actually, she meant that she couldn’t pretend that she doesn’t know him as well as she does, that he isn’t the person she wants to talk to most. Maybe, she said, the mystery of her paternity was just a way for her to meet him. Justin responded with a simple kiss, which was followed by some awkward giggling and the admission that neither of them knows what to do next. I wonder how the family will respond if Justin and Rebecca go public with their mutual feelings. Tommy sounds like he’d be supportive. Shockingly, so does Kevin. Of the Walker women, I’d be most concerned about Nora. She said she’d always consider Rebecca a member of the family after she helped get her through Justin’s time in Iraq. But then again, because of that, Nora’s seen more than anyone how much Rebecca cares for Justin, and we know that she just wants her kids to be loved. All I can say is, it’s going to be weird the first time Nora sees Rebecca coming out of Justin’s bedroom. Do we think there’s any chance Rebecca and Justin will move in together elsewhere? Though I guess that means both of them would have to have an income. What do those two do all day? That’s another good question I saw raised in last week’s comments.
So how do you feel about where things are headed for Rebecca and Justin now? How would you like to see the tale of William Walker’s (alleged) fourth son unfold next season? And how will you make it through the summer without this series? I’ll miss the drama, but I’ll also pine for the subtle moments that make watching a scripted, character-driven show so fulfilling. Like when Kevin told Scotty he needed to tell him something important before the ceremony, and Scotty immediately asked, ”Did something happen in the living room?” And when Saul came out to the room of Walker children because he assumed gossip boy Kevin had already broken the news for him. And even the way Tommy and Justin reclined in their seats in the car instead of pacing as I would have done had my sibling just gone into the den of difficult in-laws.