Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x15: "A Valued Family"

Written by Sarah Goldfinger And Michael Cinquemani
Directed by Michael Schultz

Kitty: “What part of ‘make it happen’ do you not understand?”
Buffy: “Not a thing. Excuse me; I’ve phone calls to make.”

Oh dear God. How many episodes of Buffy not the vampire slayer am I gonna have to endure before I decide to sue Cheryl Hines for noise pollution? That voice can’t decide what accent it wants to be but seriously, good at her job aside – would you hire the woman?

Kitty wanted to run a campaign about family values and while I get that she’s appealing to conservatives for that governor seat, I wanted to shake Buffy when she suggested putting some of her family members in the back. They’re her family, Buffy and your idea defeats that purpose in a big way.

Buffy might have been able to have bagged the job but she didn’t have a clue about Kitty’s feelings on certain things. Kitty isn’t ashamed of her family and you wouldn’t have to be a genius to deduce how Nora would’ve reacted if Kitty had actually listened to Buffy’s ill advice on this one. And yes, this is one rant I would’ve sided with Nora on.

Not only that but Buffy had to go and vet out Alec on the possibility that he slept with Kitty? I was actually pleased enough to see Alec in this episode, even if Robert initially wasn’t. And we finally got confirmation that him and Kitty didn’t sleep with each other. Looks like Kitty decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps after all with that one.

Also the way Alec and Robert interacted in this episode was one of a few good moments where mature writing actually came to a head. There was no self-righteous indignation, no fisticuffs or attempts for either guy to score points off each other. Robert wasn’t thrilled to see Alec but Alec at the same time actually did prove to be a stand up guy.

He could’ve easily gone to any downmarket tabloid and told them that he slept with Kitty. He also could’ve easily told Buffy and not informed Robert but he didn’t. He told Robert that he was being sought out for the story because he genuinely cared about Kitty. Both Alec and Robert even talked about Kitty getting better.

I don’t think in real life circumstances this would happen too often but for a plot strand, it actually was a relief to watch. Also relieving was Kitty putting Buffy in her place and telling her to arrange the announcement of her candidacy at the Walker homestead on a Sunday of all days. Who said that Sundays can’t be a work day for a political candidate?

I actually did love the Walkers sucking up a press conference in their family home, even if the episode didn’t actually end on a sweeping speech from Kitty to announce that she was in line to run for governor. That was another pleasantly surprising and unpredictable thing from this episode. Besides, later episodes will more than deliver on big sweeping speeches from Kitty so we’re not being denied really.

However, when it comes to denial I have to admit that while I’m glad that we don’t have to deal with two baby plots this season, I really did feel bad for Rebecca miscarrying in this episode. I knew as soon as she was getting pains in Nora’s kitchen that that was going to happen and sadly it did.

I don’t often give enough kudos to Dave Annable and Emily Van Camp but both of them really deserved it for this episode along. The anguish that both Justin and Rebecca had was sad to watch, especially when Justin broke down in Kitty’s arms and Rebecca had difficulty looking at Evan as well.

Kitty was also wonderful with this storyline too because it’s not been that long since this happened to her and she knew what Rebecca was going through and offered the girl support too. It was also the loss of a baby that saw a truly defining scene between Nora and Holly as well.

Things have been far less strained with the pair this season and Nora was even able to label Holly as family, which was something that even last season I don’t think could’ve possibly happened. Then Nora had to go and find out about Holly’s sale of Ojai Foods to York, courtesy of Buffy’s snooping and Kitty’s ability to spread the word.

To be honest, I actually Holly pulling out of the sale coming a mile off but I don’t think it was just because York being a total creep. She and Nora had finally made some peace with each other and Holly might not like the Walkers dramas but I don’t think she hates them enough to actually send them up the creek without a paddle.

But the odd thing was that she let Nora go off on one before admitting that she chose not to sell her shares. The best part of that confrontation however was the look on Nora’s face when she learnt that York was trying to buy his way into Ojai. Clearly Nora’s just as aware of him as Saul is and now I’m actually interested to see where that goes, which is odd considering that up until a few episodes ago, I had zero interest in this storyline.

Speaking of zero interest – Luc had to come back and Sarah and Roy’s relationship had to end, didn’t it? I guess I can’t totally pin this one on Luc because Roy dumped Sarah because he thought that they weren’t working out. He wasn’t even a jerk when doing it and neither was Sarah when she was getting the push. Do you see how great a storyline as mundane as this can be when the characters act like adults?

However if Roy hadn’t dumped Sarah, it was obvious that she would’ve dumped him. Apart from children, both of them acknowledged the fact that they didn’t really have much in common and decided on the ‘let’s be friends’ option instead. So, then what do Sarah and Luc have in common because we didn’t see that much of it when he was here first time around?

I mean, yeah, she dug his art and passion but she hated him being a bum and while he has this art gallery, is that suddenly going to make them a match? Even their reunion at the end of the episode was saccharine at best and the only part that deterred an otherwise excellent episode. Luc’s gonna have to up his game as a character if we’re to get invested in this relationship.

Also in “A Valued Family”

Apart from some sweet moments here and there, this is one of the few episodes where both Kevin and Scotty had naff all to do.

Kevin (to Sarah, re Roy): “You’re having sex so he’s either your boyfriend or friend with benefits.”

It’s a little too on the nose that Roy ended up being Luc’s painting as a valentine’s gift for Sarah when she got him chilli pepper chocolate.

Buffy (to Kitty): “Platforms are for Olympic divers, we already need to be swimming.”

Paige: “At least Andrew will say thank you.”
Sarah: “Well, there’s a lot to be said for a boy who says thank you.”

While I liked seeing Sarah and Paige getting along, that conversation was a little weird. Or is that just me?

Robert: “Why would you give a damn about my political career?”
Alec: “I don’t but Kitty does.”

Kitty: “How do you sleep at night?”
Buffy: “Like a baby. Now, let’s talk about your husband.”
Kitty: “You want to put him in the closet too?”

Scotty’s woes from the second season were mentioned but I’m surprised that Buffy didn’t mention William’s affairs or that Kitty didn’t discuss them either.

Roy: “I don’t think this is working out.”
Sarah: “Are you breaking up with me?”

Nora: “It’s always about money with you, Holly.”
Holly: “No, it’s about survival.”
Nora: “Well, congratulations, you made it through another day.”

Standout music: Billy Paul Williams “Till You Tell Me So”.

Robert (to Kitty): “This moment needs to be about you.”

Chronology: Valentine’s Day 2010.

I really loved this episode. “A Valued Family” is definitely the strongest episode we’ve had in a good while and while I’m sceptical for Luc’s return, I do think there will be enough other interesting stories as we gear towards the conclusion of the season.

Rating: 9 out of 10


Nat said...

I don't know, personally I thought Buffy did the right thing in contacting Alec, she needs to find out the possible skeletons in Kitty's closet and Kitty obviously wasn't giving any up. Granted she should've done it with Kitty's permission, but Kitty did something similar for Robert in season 1/2.

The Alec, Robert stuff was good, adult without being over the top.

The Rebecca storyline was very sad, but more time could've been spent on it I think. It felt almost a little rushed. Hopefully we'll continue to get some fallout as we haven't had much from the two of them when they were actually having the baby.

I'm glad Holly decided not to sell her shares. It was stupid that she needed Nora t spell out they were family though; they were going to share a grandchild. Did Holly really think she could make a clean break from the Walkers?

In my opinion they only broke Sarah and Roy up for leave Sarah guilt free to go with Luc (urgh). Had he not been returning the couple could've carried on for longer.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Some very good pointers there, Nat. I suppose Buffy was being thorough but I did find myself siding with Robert on this one to be honest.

The Nora/Holly really surprised me because it was a very strong point of the episode and I guess Holly will never break away from the Walkers, even if she wanted to.

Not too sure about Luc but maybe he'll surprise us. Hopefully.

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