Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x18: "Time After Time Part 1"

Written by Sherri Cooper-Landsman And Jennifer Levin
Directed by Ken Olin

Nora: “There was nothing illegal about what we did.”
Dennis: “I know but it’s hardly what your children would expect of you. Get your kids to sign on the dotted line or I swear to God, Nora, I will destroy your family. You have no choice.”

Well as threats go, I have to admit that Dennis York actually can wield them pretty well. Last week, I had the thought that perhaps they had an almost sexual history but it seems that Dennis’s hold on Nora is far more original than that.

This two-part story has been suitably hyped for the last couple of weeks, notably because we were getting flashbacks to a time in the Walker history that would answer the mystery behind Dennis. This episode in it’s own way certainly lives up to that in a big way as we finally learned what Dennis had over the Walkers to begin with.

If it had been something involving embezzlement from William, I don’t think I would’ve cared a single bit. Instead the writers actually went one better by having a tragedy being the backdrop of this story but the teasing of who it was happened to be the very thing that drove the episode home for me.

I assumed like Kevin that the tragedy had to have involved Tommy. He screws up on a regular enough basis and the episode did start with him leaving the hospital and Nora barely able to talk to him at all. And then there was the party where Kevin begged him not to drive because he had been drinking.

These were the flashbacks bits of the episode and where a lot of the big action was happening. Did Tommy do more than total over his brand new car? Kevin, Kitty and Sarah were certainly quick to assume that he did and Kevin even yelled at him for always running away. Normally I would’ve been behind Kevin giving Tommy a piece of his mind but sadly this was also where everything went spectacularly wrong as well.

Tommy might have wrecked an entire car but was anyone expecting it to be revealed that a then struggling with his sexuality Kevin was responsible for putting Aaron in the hospital and paralysing? That scene where he spurned the lad’s advances and lashed out with serious consequences was definitely the most shocking thing of the whole episode.

It’s no secret that during Kevin’s teenage years that he had to struggle with his sexuality but I never imagined that his struggle came at such a horrible price. The worst part of it was that Kevin was seemingly unaware of how serious his attack on Aaron had resulted in because Nora, William and presumably Dennis all played their parts in covering the whole thing up.

Kevin had to find out in the worst way because Dennis had re-entered the scene and had forced Nora’s hand into getting everyone to sell their shares in Ojai. Having an entire twenty five years without knowing that you’ve ruined someone’s life has to be one hell of a blow to the system. Kevin really couldn’t believe it.

He was so sure of Tommy’s screwing up that he never knew that he had done something much worse than risk Ojai’s future. As episodes go, this is undoubtedly one of the finest for Matthew Rhys as Kevin learns the truth of what happened to Aaron and naturally doesn’t react to Nora’s attempts of explaining why she kept it from him.

As a viewer, there’s a part of me that does want to point out that seeing as we never had any build up in previous seasons of Kevin ever doing something like paralysing another person that there’s something rather rushed about the plot. Dramatically though, it’s rather satisfying with the actor playing a younger Kevin pulling off a blinding performance. It also might explain a bit more about Kevin’s complicated relationship with William as a result as well.

In terms of the rest of the flashbacks – what can I say? They worked a treat. All of the actors cast in the younger roles of Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Kevin and Justin worked a treat and we got to have a kegger at Ojai. Plus we did see multiple view points of the fight between Nora, William and Dennis as well before Kevin’s past was revealed.

But in the present day it also continued to raise further problems for the Walkers as well. Sarah was so adamant not to sell her shares to Dennis that her and Nora nearly came to blows during the episode while Kitty discovered that Robert had prior knowledge to Tommy’s totalled car wreck.

It had also served as a reminder to Justin and Rebecca that the whole debacle would’ve got them caught in the middle of things yet again. I was actually relieved when the both of them made a promise to try and keep out of things, even if it meant that Justin had to promise not to surrender his shares of Ojai to Dennis. Whether or not he’ll be able to adhere to that promise however is the other thing but here’s hoping because while Ojai really is an anchor around the Walkers necks, no-one wants the likes of York getting a hold of the business.

Also in “Time After Time Part 1”

Just like last year’s big two parter, Ken Olin is back on directing duties again. No doubt he’ll appear in some capacity in the second part though.

Tommy: “I love the hair.”
Kitty: “Well thank you, it’s my own.”

I’m glad Tommy commented about Kitty’s hair because while it’s not back to her usual length, it is a lot longer than the previous episode.

Justin (to everyone): “I swear this family has more meetings than the mob.”

Kitty: “Oh my God, mom, please stop spinning. I’m a pundit, I can spot it a mile away.”
Nora: “I’m not spinning, I mean it.”

The only thing we didn’t get to the bottom of in this episode was Narrow Lake but I’m hoping more is developed on that in the next part.

Scotty: “What kids? Right now we have two frozen blasts and a lot of debt.”
Kevin: “We’re trying to be positive, remember.”

Kitty: “Who’s mom yelling at?”
Sarah: “It’s dad and this guy, Dennis.”
Kitty: “Did he throw up on the sofa too?”

Okay, let’s see if I can get these ages mostly straight – Sarah’s about 18/19 in flashback so Kitty’s 17/18, Tommy was 16, Kevin was 14 and Justin was about 5 or 6.

Kevin: “I’d rather see Top Gun again.”
Tommy: “Okay, Top Gun it is.”

Kevin (to Tommy): “You know what; you’re on your own? You always do this. You always run away from your problems. You know what, you can do it forever? One day you’re gonna have to face yourself and you’ll be alone when you do.”

Standout music: Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and Rob Giles’s “Behind Blue Eyes”. The music here was exceptional.

Kevin: “You knew all this time?”
Tommy: “No, no, mom just told me. That night, they said he was fine. I swear I thought that was truth. Kevin, it’s not your fault, it’s okay.”
Kevin: “No, Tommy, it’s not okay.”

Nora: “I wanted to protect you. I thought that was what parents were supposed to do.”
Kevin: “I don’t need protecting. Everything you said, it’s all about you. What you wanted to do, how you felt, how you were protecting me. You were only protecting yourself.”

Chronology: 1985, if it really was 25 years ago as it was repeatedly mentioned in the episode.

As episodes go, “Time After Time Part 1” is a bloody stonker. The show is definitely at it’s best with this one and if the second part is just as good, then this show really has made a big turning point with this whole storyline surrounding York.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

1 comment:

Nat said...

I watched both parts together, so I'll comment as a whole on your second review, but as for this episode, I enjoyed it.

The fake-out with first leading audiences to think it was Tommy's mess-up and then Kevin's was excellently done. I thought the show had stupidly given the game away too early but it was a good deception.
It's also nice to see Tommy growing up and acting like the big brother for once. He's been so screwed up recently it was nice to see him protective of his siblings for once.

I also liked that Justin decided to stay out of the Ojai stuff because of Rebecca, but I was a little annoyed he wasn't told when everything was happening with Kevin, it was odd that he was kept so far out of the loop.

I really enjoyed the flashbacks, especially as they were done non-linearly. The actors were all well cast, though young Kitty seemed to be younger than young Kevin and Tommy which was a little disconcerting. They were all good young counterparts of the older actors though, I thought Tommy was especially good.