Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x23: "Lights Out"

Written by Brian Studler And Molly Newman
Directed by Michael Morris

Tommy (re Ojai): “It’s just a building.”
Nora: “It’s not just a building, it’s our history. It’s my history.”

In the past we’ve had far more exciting penultimate episodes and watching this one twice, I was a little underwhelmed with it. And that’s not a good thing because an end of an era is being represented here and the last feeling I want to have is being underwhelmed.

I’ve liked and loathed the Ojai Foods side of this show a lot of the times in the past four seasons. For the most part, the family business part has been a vital asset to the show but every season we’ve had some disaster or another nearly ruin the business, so in a way the fact that it’s going out of business should be a good thing.

Post-Ojai, Sarah, Saul, Holly and Rebecca are free to gain employment that won’t bog up the screen too much while at the same time, maybe not have to deal with the big burden of financial ruin. Well, maybe not Saul in that case if he and Scotty are actually successful in opening up a restaurant together.

For Sarah though, the emphasis on her shame with Ojai’s failure drove this episode a lot. There are many moments where even I was frustrated with Sarah. I liked the fact that she wanted to ensure that all of Ojai’s loyal staff had further employment elsewhere but she was reckless in giving those semis to Sergio and no-one needed to hear Kevin reading her the riot in order to come to that conclusion.

Also she was a little too keen to initially sell Ojai to a buyer who only wanted it for parking space. I get her reasons behind not wanting to be sentimental about a building because she couldn’t afford to but at the same time, she still should’ve looked into other buyers who might have actually wanted to do something with the building.

It’s weird that during her arguments with Nora that I found myself mostly on the latter’s side. Sarah really does have this complex to try and fix everything and usually ends up doing a bad job because she shuts other people out. She’s far from stupid but she does need to let people in at the same time as well.

I did love that her argument with Kevin and Tommy about the semis did open her eyes a little as did her later conversation with Nora. I think Sarah’s had to deal with a fair amount of failures in the space of four seasons but even with Ojai Foods being no more, it’s obviously that the Walkers are going to bounce back in some way.

Besides, why were we shown schematics to a house that William had intended to build in Narrow Lake? William for all his numerous faults at least seemed to believe in having several backup plans. Clearly there’s going to end up being something in Narrow Lake that will improve the Walkers finances. I don’t think it’ll be enough for them to save Ojai Foods but definitely for them to bounce back next season.

The last scene with everyone in Ojai Foods – Sarah, Kitty, Kevin, Tommy, Justin, Saul, Nora, Holly and Rebecca however is one of my favourite moments from the series. The last drink to Ojai Foods and Scotty’s rendition of “The Parting Glass” was just wonderful. It’s also odd given that I come from a family that largely listens to Irish music and yet this was the first time I have ever heard that song and I don’t even like Irish music.

Still Scotty’s excellent vocal chords aside, this isn’t a huge episode for him. In fact apart from great singing and ridiculing the jokes Kevin got from a joke writer for Kitty for a function, Scotty has naff all to do in this one. Even Luc is surprisingly underused as well, only providing food for Sarah in one particular scene but I’m not too sad that Luc wasn’t in our faces a lot this week.

Besides in terms of significant others, you’ve got both Robert and Rebecca vying for different jobs and both of them getting different results. I’m not really too bothered that Rebecca managed to snag a vice president role in a company where Holly didn’t even get a look in. Some things, regardless of how implausible they are just aren’t really worth overanalysing that much, even if there more tension between her and Justin.

As for Robert’s job – well, he sucked, didn’t he? If he was hoping to expose his new corrupt friend from the previous episode, he failed because he was caught conversing with Joe. I have a feeling that Robert will probably have to worry a lot more about his corrupt pal beyond a potential disaster for Kitty’s political career.

By the way, the jokes section – they were terrible, so technically that’s good writing, isn’t it? The fact that both Kitty and Kevin were hurling completely terrible political jokes at each other to see what would stick was awkward to watch. Scotty’s snarky comments during one of those scenes just about made it bearable to be honest.

Speaking of bearable, Roger’s return was a mixed affair. He was being a smarmy git when Nora was trying to get interest in Ojai Foods but at the same time, I like that he actually took her words to heart and gave her the original drawing to Ojai Foods and Narrow Lake, especially for the reaction Sarah managed to get out of her with regards to William. I guess he really did love her, even if he was incapable of being faithful to her.

Also in “Lights Out”

I liked the idea of Paige documenting the fall of Ojai for her oral history project. One of the best uses for Paige in an episode, in my opinion.

Kitty: “You see, I can’t tell a joke.”
Kevin: “Tell it faster.”

Kevin worked on trying to get all the employees some work for Ojai in this episode. Maybe it’s something he should try doing until he figures out what he wants to do career wise.

Sarah: “It’s a building for god’s sake. While it might hold some sentimental value for us, I can’t keep that from letting us make the right deal.”
Nora: “Fine. Then I will find someone to buy the building myself.”

Saul: “Dating? Could you imagine if we had stayed together?”
Holly: “Yeah, you and I in our platonic relationship, snuggled in front of the TV watching classic old movies. That should’ve been my first clue.”

Justin wanted Rebecca to move to Haiti with him during the episode so he could help out with disaster victims. I have to admit that maybe Rebecca was right to decline on this one because I don’t think Justin thought it through.

Kevin: “I paid good money for these jokes.”
Kitty: “Yeah, well they must’ve been having a two for one sale.”
Scotty: “At the lame joke store.”

Roger: “I had no idea that you’d my dating a younger woman so personally.”
Nora: “I don’t give a rat’s ass about your girlfriend. It’s the disdain you have for your own past that bothers me.”

Where has David been for the last few episodes? And when are they going to remove Luke Grimes’s name from the credits given that Ryan has clearly no intentions of coming back?

Saul (to Paige): “I have been very lucky. I’ve gotten to work with people I love but there’s a danger to it.”

Sarah: “I’m sorry you didn’t have your camera with you, Paige. You could’ve gotten the real story about the end of Ojai.”

Standout music: Obviously Luke Macfarlane’s take on “The Parting Glass”. Nothing else came close this week.

Kitty: “Besides you’re funnier than I am.”
Robert: “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Kitty: “I said you’re funnier than I am.”
Kevin: “That’s true.”

Sarah: “This is more than a house, mom, it’s a love letter. He really loved you. You’re allowed to lean into those feeling you know.”
Nora: “Yes, I guess he did.”

Chronology: I’d guess that it would still be May 2010 at this point.

Not as exciting as I had hoped and certainly elements were rushed, but there are some wonderful emotional scenes in “Lights Out” that work beautifully. Scotty’s use of an Irish song being a valid case in point.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


Nat said...

Your right this episode was underwhelming. And for a show so good at doing the emotional episode, this one really felt flat. It's a shame really.

I also liked the Paige oral history video, it was a nice touch but perhaps they could've done more with it, than they actually did.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Just seen the finale a few minutes ago so review for that will be up and I'll comment on your Season 4 Review later too.