Brothers & Sisters – “States of the Union”

“States of the Union”

October 21st, 2007

I really want to add an s to this title, because there’s a lot of unions flying around this series. And, well, their states are pretty well all entirely the same: “Crappy”. Tommy and Julia are on the rocks, Sarah and Joe are beyond the rocks, and Kitty is freaked out that McAllister is preparing for them to maybe be on the rocks in the future. Nora’s there to try to fix all of the problems, and the result is largely uneventful.

Brothers & Sisters is at its best when it is either embracing its humorous side or creating powerful drama. This episode represents neither, focusing instead on people in crisis and the way they cope with it. This could easily fall into comic or dramatic territory, but it seems to float in between resulting in a distinct lack of impact as far as the series’ past goes. The conclusion brought things to a head, but it didn’t quite hit the right note.

[For more details, and Cultural Observations…]

The most eventful plot has Kitty, Sarah and Nora heading up to O’Jai Springs, where they get kicked out of a quiet room and then crash a wedding. For Sarah, this gives her a chance to hook up with the Groom’s son (Which isn’t cradle-robbing, it’s a grown man), although she can’t go through with it after getting lock-blocked. For Kitty, this…actually, she just kind of had your general anxiety over the prenup she found on McAllister’s desk.

For Nora, it was an opportunity to sneak off to the winery in order to see what Tommy is up to after Sarah spills the beans about Julia leaving (Although she misses him warming to the new “office manager”). Her neurotic need to fix every single problem comes to a head by episode’s end when she gets into a heated argument with Kitty/Sarah. This was the moment when the series’ recent spiral into unhappiness came to a head, as everyone resolved themselves to the fact that their problems were their own. Unfortunately, it ended in an oddly light-hearted note, as opposed to an emotional one, somewhat limiting its impact.

Meanwhile, Rebecca is forced to finally take a role of responsibility with Justin as opposed to being the cool half-sister who gets mistaken for his girlfriend. It’s a nice twist for their dynamic, as it finally might have the chance to break the really awkward romantic tension. Speaking of tension, the other storyline saw Kevin approaching Saul after Scotty spotted him at an all-gay party. These storylines certainly kept to the sidelines, and I am hoping they emerge in the weeks ahead…unless they’re seriously willing to put Justin/Rebecca into a drugged-up romantic situation, which no.

Everything wrapped up fairly easily: Nora said her peace and had a massage, Justin got hooked on a soap opera (and on drugs, of course, so it wasn’t all easy), Robert was never going to sign the prenup, and Sarah decided to get a lawyer and settle things for good. So, other than Justin, most people seem to be in fairly good shape…for now.

Cultural Observations

  • “Have you been day drinking?” and Sarah’s entire early behaviour were kind of fantastic. Poor Sarah has been depressive for so long that it’s good to at least see her sarcastic again. Or maybe just drunk.
  • Sarah and Kitty’s fake “Yeah!”? Fantastic.
  • Why would you ever even allow Nora, Sarah and Kitty in the quiet room?
  • Man, the only really eventful parts of this episode had to do with the threesome: there doesn’t appear to be any emotional weight elsewhere.
  • I don’t really understand Kevin’s approach to the Saul situation: even considering Saul’s apparent lack of backbone when Kevin came out, still doesn’t jive.
  • Cliff, Sarah’s wedding buddy, was way too familiar, and sure enough: he was the villainous Luke Scott on Studio 60.
  • The Winery walls better be thick, because there’s no way that everyone else didn’t hear Holly’s speech to Tommy. Which, let’s face it, was completely right. Tommy’s entirely frustrating development doesn’t deserve any further analysis.

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