Season Finale – Brothers & Sisters – “Prior Commitments”

“Prior Commitments”

May 11th, 2008

Based on spoilers, we’ve known for weeks that the truncated second season of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters would include a wedding between Kevin and Scotty. In the end, you knew that these two would have to have a happy ending – their journey, and Kevin’s journey, would be tarnished beyond repair if something went wrong at the last moment, so we knew that the drama was to be found less in their love and more in the circumstances surrounding the whole event.

Smartly, this drama was subtle as opposed to broad: Nora’s reaction to the news of Rebecca not being a Walker was understanding, Rebecca and Justin’s eventual spiral into love was slowly paced, and the end of episode revelation is naturally set up by a series of flashbacks with the return of William Walker. I still have issues with the whole Rebecca/Justin scenario, and I think that the added drama could drag down parts of this story, but the finale was well-paced enough that I am still on board.

I think I’d have less issues with the Rebecca/Justin scenario if they hadn’t chosen to end the episode with it. That final scene was pitch-perfect from an acting perspective: both Annable and VanCamp were charming as ever, they didn’t take the kiss too far, and that final moment with her resting her head on his shoulder was fabulous (Props to director Ken Olin for staging that one). Again, as much as I think the storyline was misguided as a whole, they did as good a job with it as they possibly could, and the entire Walker family embracing her is something that I think could help move things along.

Of course, they now run into two problems: can you ever break up this couple, and does the Walker family not have too many in-laws already? I think that they’ve created a character in Rebecca that is good for the show, and VanCamp is a talent you don’t want to lose. However, if Julia and Jow in particular were any indication, the in-Laws not named Rob Lowe have issues sticking around and getting their own storylines on the show. I hope that even if their coupling doesn’t work out, and drama tears them apart, they do keep Rebecca around, because she my favourite potential in-law by far.

And, while it adds to the list of contrivances built largely to assist the growth of the Justin/Rebecca relationship, there is value to the episode-ending revelation from Kevin that there exists a Walker son, Ryan, who was in the picture Sarah initially found. I liked Sarah descent into madness in this episode, as it seemed to actually hold her accountable for her paranoia (With Holly, with Rebecca, etc.), so I was a bit disappointed to see it rewritten as genuine concern by Kevin’s discovery. I hate how they keep rescuing Sarah from the edge of insanity, it’s getting to be repetitive.

The storyline does smartly move Rebecca out of the picture entirely, and there’s no hope of losing Patricia Wettig due to the corporate merger. I guess it’s a best-case scenario in that regard, as we keep two characters we like without upending everything around them. Still, I worry that Kevin’s journey into his relationship with his father (As fantastically well done as it was by all parties, the episode was great for Matthew Rhys in particular), mostly because it creates another opportunity for them to add another character and for Sarah to obsess and for Nora to be concerned and for us to repeat the motions all over again (If Rebecca leaves Justin for Ryan, I will throw things).

And really, all of this was the window dressing for Kevin and Scott’s small (but big) day – loved Nora overplanning to help her son, enjoyed Kevin’s trip to Arizona for the brotherly bonding and Scotty’s father’s predictable but touching moment, was charmed by them forgetting rings of all things, and ultimately disappointed that an annoying drama-creating storyline got in the way of their final moments of happiness. Are we to presume that Scotty just read that note and was like “Oh, okay, I’m going to go to bed and everything will be happy in the morning”? If so, I really hope they don’t drive a wedge between these two, that isn’t an option for the series at this point.

Still, it was a nice storyline, and better than the as usual truncated “Kitty can’t get pregnant, but maybe she is, but she isn’t, so they decide to adopt after Kitty gets over her fascination with pregnancy to realize that the child only needs a family that loves them. I did, however, enjoy Kitty admitting that Kevin and Scotty’s wedding went better than her own, a lovely moment of emotional honesty from a storyline that has just felt really, really slight ever since the political element was removed.

As a finale, which is how we do need to judge any episode like this, it was solid: it tied up enough loose ends, fixed up enough couplings, and had emotional resonance in enough storylines to feel like we’ve gone somewhere for these sixteen episodes. I do wonder how different things might have played out with six more, but that’s something we can’t really tell – I just hope that they didn’t rush the “Other Walker” drama out the door faster than intended to the detriment of the show’s subtlety. Regardless, the show will be back in the fall, where we can see everything unfold in a hopefully satisfactory fashion.

Cultural Observatons

  • Enjoyed the moment where Saul came out to the family after presuming Kevin was talking about him; it was a sound reading of Kevin’s character, and Ron Rifkin doesn’t get to do humorous scenes often enough these days. Or scenes period, really.
  • Watching Nora scurry about trying to give Kevin the day he deserved was sweet, but then without words Sally Field blows you away with her quiet sitdown reaction to Sarah and Kevin’s news. It’s a scene we’ve seen before, with Rebecca and all, but it was nicely played by all parties.
  • I figure this will be Matthew Rhys’ Emmy submission, and I really hope that he gets some attention from voters considering his work in it. While Kevin can get a bit annoying at times, Rhys hit the notes in this one beautifully.

1 Comment

Filed under Brothers & Sisters

One response to “Season Finale – Brothers & Sisters – “Prior Commitments”

  1. Melissa Lepez

    Scrubs is my fav show on tv 🙂 if you missed any episode watch them all here

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