Monday, October 08, 2007

"I'm basically watching pretty boobs.": Brotherhood

Remember what I said last week about nothing much ever happening on Brotherhood? Well, it still applies, even in an episode that had a major plot point like a brand new regular character joining the cast. Brotherhood is a slow burn of a series, and even though this episode had some incredibly fantastic scenes, it strikes me that the series may be too much of a slow burn for its own good (or maybe I should have just reviewed the season as a whole -- with this show, like with so many other slow-moving cable dramas, I'm flying blind).

The big development in this episode was the arrival of Colin Carr from Ireland. He's the Caffees' estranged cousin, who was apparently a bad influence when they were younger (Ma Caffee has to be talked into just having Colin around, it would seem). The show has recruited the great stage actor Brian O'Byrne to play the part, and the actor integrates with the cast surprisingly quickly. But most of the episode focuses on how Colin's presence affects pre-existing relationships, so it's hard to say just what his storyline will be going forward. If the show just wanted to give O'Byrne some work, that's terrific. But I hope that the show has larger plans for him (some of which are hinted at here, but is it really worth speculating?).

My two favorite scenes in the episode featured strained marriages. As always, the marriage of Tommy and Eileen Caffee and its slow disintegration featured prominently, especially as Tommy seemed more comfortable with his sister as his campaign manager and didn't turn to his wife for as much help. The scene where Tommy went on local talk radio was kind of a fake (especially as it doesn't seem horribly likely that anyone would be surprised or put-off at this point by Tommy's brother's criminal past), but the quiet cat fight between the two women was perfect stuff, and I loved how Eileen still seemed to know him better (probably just from the years of marriage).

My other favorite scene focused on the crumbling relationship of Declan, the cop who's struggling to hold his whole life together. After he went over to his girl's house (I'm not sure they're married, actually, and Wikipedia is no help) to fool her parents into thinking the two were still together, he tried to kiss her, only to be rebuffed. That night, he sat alone at home and launched into a monologue about how she was the only woman for him into her answering machine. The monologue was a little overwritten, but Ethan Embry made the whole thing work, almost in spite of itself.

Now, to be honest, I'm not sure there's a lot else to say here. There were plenty of developments on the crime front (it seems an Irish/Italian gang war is brewing), but I often find the crime storylines on this show a little boring and derivative. Oh well. I'm in Brotherhood for the small moments, and even if this episode was all small, some of those moments were good enough to keep me coming back.

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