A death, a job offer, and a very hot billboard confront the Walker clan one year after The Accident.

By Annie Barrett
Updated September 27, 2010 at 06:00 AM EDT
Mitch Haddad/ABC

Tonight’s Brothers & Sisters season premiere fast-forwarded us to a year after The Accident (which I feel deserves to be in capital letters, like The Island from Lost), during which time the Walker family has been stumbling around like zombies. No one talks to each other anymore. No one’s even gone to Scotty and Saul’s restaurant, Cafe 429 (coffee doesn’t count)! Rebecca moved out, Holly has memory loss, and the wine is nowhere to be found. Everything is a mess.

The most important development, obviously, is that Luc (Gilles Marini) has become an underwear model! He looks okay but a little too clothed in the picture to your right, so here’s an option b featuring chiseled abs and more baby oil than ABC went through during Gilles’ entire season of Dancing With the Stars. Hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do for money, even though Sarah stands to make $55 million once the Narrow Lake deal goes through.

Kevin reacted to the accident by burying himself in work or — according to Kitty’s voiceover — trying to save “every family except for ours.” But then Mateo, a teen client who hates living with his drunk dad, showed up nap-nap-nappin’ at Kevin and Scotty’s door. Perhaps this will be the trigger that forces Kevin to decide whether he wants to address issues related to his own family at all. Kevin’s wary of trying for another baby via surrogate, since it hasn’t worked twice. But letting a teenager into his home is a decent start. And perhaps treacherous — imagine all the hiding places for used gum in that pad!

At the heart of the premiere, though, were Nora, Kitty, and Justin, who had returned home from yet another tour of duty. We learned that Nora actually lashed out at her son before he redeployed, insisting that maybe he should go if he really felt he was dying and losing the war at home. He was dying! “THEN GO!” screamed Nora in a stunning hybrid of pain, fear, tears, tender love, tough love, mega-bitch, and Boniva that truly only Sally Field can pull off. So Justin went.

But in his absence, Nora’s become a different person. “No one is talking to each other. Mom, how could you let this happen?” wondered Justin. I’m guessing this was Nora’s light-bulb moment. Her family needs to be in each other’s faces; they need to be invested in each other. They need to be Walkers! But fear not — Nora’s already starting to get her voice back. Saul might have a boyfriend (!) and the first thing Nora asked as the two siblings gem-hunted for the only ripe cantaloupe in California was, “Is he [HIV-]positive too?” She’ll be back to her pre-established role as “the most overbearing, in-your-face, nosy, hovering little….the greatest mother in the entire world” (according to Justin) in no time. They need her. She’ll come home.

NEXT: A farewell to Robert.

Justin’s fresh perspective on the “Walkers on Hold” situation allowed him to confront Kitty right away on the elephant in the room (a.k.a. Rob Lowe in a coma): “He’s never coming out of this,” Justin told Kitty, reflecting on the grim fact that Robert had been in a permanent vegetative state for over a year. Then why is he fighting, cried his manicurist Kitty. “He’s not. YOU are.” insisted Justin. Kitty stormed out (take 1).

Later, at dinner (where there was finally wine, THANK GOD), Kitty retaliated, saying she still blamed Justin for leaving Robert in the car when he needed help. Justin attempted to explain that it was logical at the time because he and Robert both knew Robert wasn’t going to make it. “We were two soldiers who made a decision,” Justin said. Uh-oh. “This is not a war story, Justin. This is just my life.” They both had a point here. But Kitty stormed out (take 2).

Meanwhile, Kitty landed on the short list of people to take over the RNC. And though at first, she shied away from the gig, no no no Kitty hear them out, they’re about to compliment you! The RNC needed someone with her intelligence, clear-headed thinking, and compassion. “We just think….you’re too good to waste.” That was Kitty’s wake-up call, I think. Justin’s tough love momentarily snapped her out of her funk, but she needed that tug from the real world to escape her constant blur of half-caregiving/half-mourning and really rejoin the living.

Kitty finally let the comatose man who looked like Robert (“But it isn’t him, is it?”) go, because she was finally not afraid of losing herself. Say goodbye, Kitty. “Goodbye.” [gasp!] “Goodbye, Robert!” Goodbye, Robert.

Wow, that funeral happened fast!

I liked how the flowers Kitty left at the accident site for Robert were in autumn colors. May I propose a toast to the fall TV season? Oh, you brought me more fall flowers? Great! Let me just put them in water. Any vase will do — really, any. Ugh, except that one. It’s horrible!

What were your favorite moments from the season premiere of Brothers & Sisters? And is anyone else dying to do a 1998 Tae-Bo workout with Sarah and Kevin? Come over, you guys. I still have the VHS. Bring wine.

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