The campaign manager's pregnancy makes Robert angry, but at least we finally see his human side; plus, Sarah and Joe battle for custody
Credit: Michael Desmond

Last week, I heard someone refer to this show as her guilty pleasure. I realize I have an abnormally high tolerance for shame — like, for instance, I’ll admit that during Robert and Kitty’s post-debate heart-to-heart, I wondered where I’d heard that song, Joshua Radin’s ”What If You,” before, and it was during a love scene in the movie Catch and Release. But I just don’t understand why anyone would feel guilty for enjoying Brothers & Sisters. Especially after an episode as good as this one.

The big news, obviously: Kitty is pregnant. Watching the preview for this episode last week, I would’ve bet $100 that her sudden aversion to ”sea meat” would be a false alarm. (You?) But that’s just because I didn’t stop to think how a pregnancy would further complicate Robert’s bid for the Oval Office. A divorced Republican senator with a gay brother would not be thrilled that he knocked up his pro-choice fiancée and communications director (who has a gay brother and an antiwar mother). At least not initially. That scene where Robert found out Kitty was expecting was the first time that character felt real to me. Robert wasn’t just a man who can wear a suit and always say the right thing. He was a presidential hopeful trailing in five key states who can say the wrong thing, like ”I don’t know what part of me is more furious: the fiancé who was the last person in the room to know, or the candidate who just got sandbagged by one of his senior staffers, who, incidentally, may or may not be getting sick backstage while I try to debate.” Of course, Robert was back to his clearheaded self by the time the Republican debate rolled around and he was (once again) under fire for the fact that Kitty isn’t as far right as some members of the party would like her to be. Each time Robert presents a reasonable, articulate argument for why the GOP needs be more accepting of different viewpoints — this time, he reminded everyone that Lincoln freed the slaves, Teddy Roosevelt established national parks, and Eisenhower desegregated schools — I think of something Bill Clinton said during a 2004 appearance on The Daily Show, discussing negative campaigning. ”The people that I’ve disagreed with,” he said, ”I don’t necessarily think that they’re bad people. I think they see the world differently than I do. And I think, if you’re a Democrat, you win when people think. You win when people think. And so I understood when my adversaries were demonizing me. One of my Republican friends said that he hated that they were so mean to me, but if we fought fair, I’d win all the time. And so if they could convince people that I was no good, then it doesn’t matter how good my policies were.” I’m not trying to start a political debate by bringing this up. I’m saying Robert McCallister asks people to think, so this campaign is gonna get dirty — whether or not Nora can plan a wedding in 48 hours. (You know she’s gonna love that.)

While Kitty’s bun in the oven did provide some lighthearted moments in the episode — like Justin spreading the news to most of the family — there was little to smile about regarding Sarah’s custody battle. (Okay, there was her line ”Well, the only thing more depressing than not having your kids at Halloween is having to feed candy to other people’s kids. I thought the Republican debate would be more fun.”) This situation — a working mother in danger of losing primary custody of her children for her ”inability to balance parenting and career” — isn’t one you see often on TV, and it’s fascinating. On the one hand, the idea that a woman could be punished for having a job that supports her family, for agreeing to work those long hours while her husband stays home with the kids, is infuriating. On the other, isn’t that a scenario a lot of divorced fathers have found themselves in? If you’re annoyed that Sarah would presumably have to support Joe, don’t you have to ask yourself how you feel about alimony?

NEXT: Illicit love

Speaking of familiar situations, it’s now time for our weekly debate on Tommy’s story line. It’s safe to assume that the thing that happened between him and Lena the office manager that wasn’t supposed to happen again was sex. (Also safe to assume: The next time Holly says something like ”Please don’t, I’m better at this,” I’d smack her). I can’t figure Lena out. She said all the right things to Tommy when he told her they needed to end it, then she called him to come pick her up at a bar when she was too tipsy to drive and then kissed him. (Actually, I do get that make-out session. I’m a sucker myself for a man in a purple button-down, and Balthazar Getty looked super-hot in his.) In next week’s episode, it looks like Lena and Justin will get chummy. Could she be trying to make Tommy jealous by cozying up to a Walker who’s actually available? And ewww, didn’t that preview make it look like Rebecca gets jealous? As someone posted on the message board last week, we could be headed toward the revelation that Rebecca actually isn’t Justin’s half sister, which would raise all sorts of interesting questions (and make Justin and Rebecca’s discussion about how neither of them is getting any at the moment less creepy).

So, what do you think? Will the writers go there with Justin and Rebecca, or are they just having fun making us wonder? Will Robert win the Republican nomination? Will Kitty carry the baby to term? And what was your favorite part of the Walker Halloween? Kevin noting that the Republican debate was happening on the scariest day of the year? Tommy saying his costume was ”an abandoned husband,” and Justin, still sneaking pills, responding that his was ”a wounded vet”? Or Kitty coming back into the room after being candy-jacked by the ”sexy” teens, hearing Nora supporting affirmative action, and asking, ”Oh, who got her started?”

Episode Recaps

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