Monday, May 21, 2007

"With everything we've been through this year, what's a little property damage?": Brothers & Sisters

OK, yeah, I haven't blogged this in weeks. Get over it. Actually, after the Rebecca-kissing-Joe conclusion episode, I went off B&S a little bit, when it piled on episode after episode of little fun and way too much drama. It was great, then, to see that this season finale (written by creator Jon Robin Baltz and showrunner Greg Berlanti), which had it all: moving Emmy-bait crying! shocking revelations! a huge event scene! tons of comedy! etc.

I'll start by acknowledging the strangest, and worst, twist of the episode, that being Ron Rifkin's character, Saul, turning out to be gay. Even better: The O.C.'s Michael Nouri (Summer's dad) delivered the news while awkwardly propositioning him! Wow!....what? OK, now, it makes a DEGREE of sense. Apart from his entirely unseen relationship with Holly, Saul was basically a man of a certain age who was a bachelor and seemed to have very little in his life, woman-wise. But still, WTF!? They're gonna have to get past the whole Holly thing (my guess, just from a brief shot included in this episode, is that Holly is aware of his secret), plus it reeks of just giving Rifkin something to do, considering how he is even less-used on this show than Balthazar Getty. The good thing about Brothers & Sisters, though, is how they deal with these kinds of insane revelations--they center an episode around it, have every character find out one by one, and then there's a dinner scene at the end where they all scream, cry and laugh. And then it's just accepted! So, I anticipate this from Ron Rifkin.

Speaking of gay characters, Kevin (who's my personal favorite, and I'm still real glad Matthew Rhys is delivering week-to-week on a successful US TV show) encountered McCallister's hot gay brother again as they planned the Walker/McCallister engagement party together, and eventually they did the whole TV thing where you fight and get in each other's faces, and then furiously make out. Now, I actually think this is an overused convention, and I also thought they should have had Kevin and the gay brother (I forget his name) trade barbs in at least one other episode, cause the whole thing felt a little forced. But I guess it's gonna feel a little forced whenever the show introduces a gay character, and he eventually hooks up with Kevin (except for Saul, I assume. Perish the thought), but that's the pitfall of network TV, I guess. Still, the reveal that the gay brother (I really should look up his name) was a Methodist minister was...pretty funny. Especially when Kevin dragged Kitty in the kitchen and she got all excited that her attempt at gay-matching had worked.

Concerning Kitty: she didn't do a lot in the finale, but she's really moved on as a character this season. At the beginning, there was just this inherent campiness to Calista Flockhart doing basically ANYTHING, she'd been out of the limelight so long. Introducing Rob Lowe, however, really energized her scenes, and made the political stuff less awkward (strangely, even though she joined the staff of a senator, the political stuff really got backgrounded once Rob Lowe hit the scene). They really work together, and I like how they've integrated him into the Walker clan all nice and quiet. Even though he's a bit saintly (his big dark secret was more a small, slightly dusky fib), he's just so charming!? Having his family be craaazier than the Walkers was obvious, but their debauchery at the celebration and the Walkers' nonplussed, defeatist attitude to it was amusing.

I'll pause here to mention that Balthazar Getty actually gave a good performance last week, which was centered around his decision to let one of his twins live rather than risk both of their lives. Hackneyed story, and a heavily padded episode, but still, he was good. They really should use him more.

The finale was called "Matriarchy" (the pilot is called "Patriarchy"...see what they did there?), and thus it did center around Nora (Sally Field), although it wasn't quite as baity for her as some of my fellow watchers had hoped. She had a knockout scene, though, as she and Kitty went to the airport to bid Justin goodbye, as he was ducking out quietly to rejoin his unit without spoiling Kitty's crazy engagement party. Nora was very much a peacemaker this episode, trying to bury all the season's old grudges (hatred of Holly, resentment of Rebecca) and keep everyone happy as usual. All her stuff--with Kitty, with Rebecca, with Justin--were the highlights of the episode.

I'll pause HERE to mention that I appreciated Rebecca's revelation that she was like, into older guys, and had stalked some teacher of hers instead of going to college. Kind of explained her angst as well as her supposedly "EVIL" behavior in seducing Joe. So, yay. VanCamp forever! The character is interacting less awkwardly with everyone, so I'm looking forward to her and Nora tearing shit up next season now that Kitty's moved house.

Basically, this is the kind of finale I really like in a show, and it's not one you get so often. Like, usually, there's some massive upheaval, or a big twist at the end, but this finale just looked at how the characters have developed and settled over the year, and was happy for it. The "everyone jump in the pool!" thing was a bit over-the-top, but that's the Brothers & Sisters thing, so I was down. Did everyone else enjoy? Any other favorite season finales? Who wants Michael Nouri back as a regular cast member next year? See you in September!


Todd VanDerWerff said...

Oh, you would just watch Summer's dad in anything, and you know it!

I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. The dead baby one was really well-written and acted, but. . .it wasn't of a piece with the show. It was like a weird little one-act play, and it just felt out of place and jarring. I know that Baitz started the show to write about SERIOUS THINGS, but more funny, Baitz, please!

David Sims said...

Yeah, I agree with you about the baby episode. The thing is, when I watched it, I thought it was the season finale, and I was like WTF!??!

This was much better--funny, big party, big twists, etc.

Apart from Ron Rifkin being gay. LMAO.

Carrie said...

I loved this, but the Saul being gay thing was a bit strange. Michael Nouri looks like he lost some water weight since The O.C., though, so that's always a good thing.

McAllister's hot brother is played by Eric Winter. I only know this because he was on that ABC Family show Wildfire for a few episodes, and being that he's smoking hot, I remembered his name. Yes, I watch Wildfire. Don't judge me.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

That's it. Carrie's going to cover every crappy teen soap from now on (except for the ones David will do).

And Big Brother.

And Supernatural.

Carrie said...

Ha! You've discovered my secret superpower: high, high tolerance for crappy teen soaps. That's where all the inappropriately cute teenage boys are!

I do appreciate you separating Supernatural from the crappy teen soap label. A Wall Street Journal article last week called it a "teen drama." Gah.