Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x04: "From France With Love"

Written by Sarah Goldfinger And Michael Foley
Directed by Michael Morris

Sarah: “I’m sorry. You mad at me?”
Kitty: “I’m not mad; you took my mind off everything. I’m just very sad you didn’t get to have a love affair with a hunky Frenchman.”

Ah Sarah Walker, how we very much missed you. You abandon us and we’re stuck with Holly and Ryan but now that you’re back, it’s certainly nice to catch with you and next time you decide to go to France, you’re bringing us with you.

Now back to sounding like a sane person. Sarah’s return meant that she had a chemo partner after having to reject both Robert and Nora but it also meant that we got some insight into exactly what she got up to during her missing episode.

I’ve got to admit that I love flashbacks, even ones that are cheesy and that’s good because Sarah’s flashbacks in France were most definitely the cheesiest I think I’ve seen in any show for a while now but they were also a lot of fun as well. After all, it would’ve been more disappointing if she didn’t have a love affair.

Gilles Marini doesn’t really do it for me and while his acting wasn’t exactly a required demand on the Sex And The City film, he was reasonably alright in this episode. Luc seemed like a typical flirt, wasting no time in having some fun at Sarah’s expense before wooing her with a nice picnic and some racy-ish public displays of affection.

It was stories like this that actually kept Kitty amused during her first chemotherapy session but Kitty soon rumbled that Sarah was lifting stuff from an old movie when Sarah told her that Luc had cheated on her with another woman. The fact that Kitty didn’t get mad with Sarah was great because she knew Sarah’s heart was in the right place and who could blame Sarah for wanting to amuse her sister during a rotten time?

Except for the nice twist in the end – Sarah’s affair with Luc had been real and the only reason she left him was because she found out about Kitty’s illness. Luc actually showing up on Sarah’s doorstep in the end wasn’t a shock by comparison but I’m all for seeing Sarah have a little fun and if Luc’s able to give her that, then why not.

Sarah was pretty much the tonic that Kitty needed in this episode but Kitty herself seemed to be a lot more concerned about Robert’s campaign than her own wellbeing. I think her reasons were justified enough but I sided with Robert wanting to make Kitty his priority because it was something that was overdue and it’s been great seeing him put her before himself, which is something we haven’t seen him do a lot in previous seasons.

Kevin much as I love him did pile on the pressure with Robert this week. Yes, the campaign was taking a hit and yes, Robert was sabotaging himself but even I would’ve been apprehensive as Robert was when it came to Kitty talking about her cancer and the impact it’s had on the family.

It was predictable that Kitty herself would then come up with the notion of wanting to go public to talk about her illness. One of the best moments in the episode was when she told interviewers that she was surrounded by love because it genuinely tugged at the heartstrings and because this story has been fantastic for the actors so far.

Even Nora put her hurt about not being Kitty’s chemo partner aside to concentrate on doing the right thing. The scene where Nora talked about wishing she had cancer instead of Kitty was a hard one to watch. Calista Flockhart and Sally Field sold that scene so beautifully. I know that Kitty won’t actually die but I still have to praise the writers for the way this storyline has been tackled so far.

Kitty’s illness has definitely affected Justin as well. It’s because of her ordeal that he went into looking about Oncology and it’s also because of his tardiness that Carter wanted a different lab partner. I don’t mind Carter all that much and I can see his point of view but I did side more with Justin here than Carter.

Having Madsen be the one to pull Justin aside could’ve gone a lot of different ways. Madsen tried to get Justin to ease up on taking on too many things but he also raised an interesting enough point in Justin and Carter actually needing each other as well. This plot might not be entirely realistic but it’s certainly more interesting than anything on actual medical shows.

Speaking of interesting, this was also a strange episode for another reason – Holly had a fair amount to do and I didn’t want to tune out. I haven’t suddenly decided to like her but I do like the fact that when her and Rebecca argued over wedding locations, Nora didn’t get dragged into things and Holly didn’t somehow try to blame Nora for anything.

The fact that Nora and Holly were civilised in the entire episode with each other was shocking enough. Maybe one day they might actually like each other – nah! Even the scene where Rebecca and Holly actually have a heart to heart about the former’s inability to come up with her fantasy wedding was enjoyable to watch. And this is bearing in mind that we’ve had better episodes in the series where Holly’s involvement has been tedious.

In terms of the wedding stuff, we saw Rebecca being stressed but by some miracle, it also didn’t translate into her and Justin butting heads either. I know later episodes will undoubtedly throw more tension at them before they walk down the aisle but for once, it was nice not to have to deal with that. Sometimes less really is more and that was certainly applicable to this situation.

As for the Ojai stuff, I still don’t really care for it. Holly and Saul still seemed to be in a continuous arguing loop over the cheap plonk idea but other than that, we’ve had nothing of real interest. Even Ryan can’t be arsed to try and throw another spanner in the works but then again, this was the second episode in a row in which he’s not bothered to show up. I’m beginning to think that he has a worse work ethic than Justin.

Also in “From France With Love”

Apart from the lack of Ryan in this episode, this was also the first one in the season not to feature Scotty either.

Robert: “I don’t want you staring at the word ‘tumour’.”
Kitty: “Robert, do you think I’ve forgotten I have cancer?”

The opening scene with Robert and Kitty playing scrabble was a nice one, though it’s in a long line of episodes that have opened up with the pair.

Sarah: “I’m very glad to have amused you.”
Luc: “It was cute.”

Nora (re filming crew): “Must be a period piece.”
Organiser: “I think it is.”
Holly: “What period?”
Organiser: “Um, olden times, I can’t keep up.”

Actually it was a porn film that was being made. Maybe Rebecca should reconsider the place if Hawaii doesn’t go her way.

Luc: “Your face is powerful and soft like you.”
Sarah: “What do you know about me except for my inability to read a map?”

Robert (to Kitty): “Just leave California out there. In here, it’s just you and me.”

I know it technically doesn’t involve them but I’m slightly surprised that we haven’t seen Robert’s kids and Courtney, seeing they all like Kitty now.

Kevin (re Robert): “All he wants is to be here with you.”
Kitty: “Well, too bad. He can’t.”

Nora: “I feel like I’m not doing enough.”
Kitty: “Well you can’t cure me.”

Standout music: Keeping with the French theme, Carla Burni’s “Le Temps Perdu” that played during one of Sarah’s flashbacks and Benjamin Taylor’s “Something For Nothing”.

Robert (re TV interview): “What is this?”
Kevin (re Kitty): “Your polls going up. Her idea.”

Chronology: Not directly after “Almost Normal”.

This season is like the gift that keeps on giving. “From France With Love” nicely brought us up to speed on Sarah’s antics in France, progressed Kitty’s storyline with some truly stunning moments and even made me care about the Justin/Rebecca wedding than past episodes have managed to do. And there was a timely reference to Tommy, given that he’s due back in a fortnight.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


Nat said...

A nice episode, thought we would have more France stuff though from the title. Liked the French title credits though, very cute.

Giles Marini was ok in this episode but then he didn't have that much to do. He's alright for a quick fling but there are rumours of him being made regular which I really don't like. Reeks too much of stunt casting to replace Rob Lowe.

The Kitty stuff was all excellent, loved the Justin storyline and the Rebecca/Holly one strangely enough! Good review.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Thanks. This season has been so good so far, I hope it's maintained. Did you hear about a certain two parter we're getting towards the end of the season? I'm looking forward to that.

Nat said...

I can't wait for that. Not sure what the episode will be like, but the casting so far has been great. Some of the younger actors cast really look like their counterparts.