Thursday, April 07, 2011

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 5x12: "Thanks For The Memories"

Written by Cliff Olin And Brian Studler
Directed by Michael Mayers

Nora: “I have an idea of how you can get rid of all this stuff.”
Holly: “I’m all ears.”

Who would thought that after 99 episodes in the show’s history that now would’ve been the one to have finally seen Holly go? I’m almost surprised that they didn’t wait for the 100th one but as exits go, this was something of an interesting departure of one of the most polarising characters on the show.

I’ve never been a big fan of Holly and there have been times when I would’ve happily seen any of the Walkers chuck her in front of the first truck to pass but for me to actually enjoy this episode and somewhat care a little that she’s finally decided to get away from LA and the Walkers is certainly something.

The episode started off with Holly having reservations about leaving with David to see Rebecca in New York and the second Nora suggested that Holly move in with her was the same one where my cynicism kicked in. Nora might not hate Holly but would she really want her to live with her either?

The comedy this season has been over the place. Some episodes, the antics were misguided (yes, the one with Gabriella), but here it was rather perfect. Even when she wasn’t trying to, Nora managed to drive Holly up the wall so much that I was more surprised that Holly didn’t punch her halfway through the episode. Instead Nora’s crazy antics served to remind Holly that it was time to move on.

Sure she was scared and sure it might have been a little cheesy that her and Nora got some therapy out of burning boxes of Holly’s life but I actually enjoyed both Sally Field and Patricia Wettig’s scenes together in this one. Even Holly’s last scene in her empty house with Nora, Saul, Sarah and Justin was somewhat effective but here’s the real kicker for me.

As well as Holly’s departure is handled in this episode, I actually think it’s for the best that she’s finally gone from the show. The writers were clearly struggling to keep her on this season and as exits go, this one is rather nice and understated.

However what I do find rather amusing about Holly’s departure is that she managed to inadvertently kick start another mystery and all because she happened to have an old photo of Nora that William must have left at one point for some strange reason. I mean what man is going to give his mistress a picture of his wife to have, right? But it did raise the mystery of William stalking Nora while she was dating a man named Brody.

It’s like every season, the writers have to come with newer ways to highlight how much of a jerk William Walker could be. More importantly, it doesn’t take a wild genius to assume that we’ll be meeting the mysterious Brody sometime soon. Otherwise why would such a fuss be made over him if we weren’t?

Speaking of fuss, I have to admit that Kevin and Scotty’s parenting storyline certainly had its pros and cons this week. The cons being how painfully clichéd the whole storyline involving Olivia was in general but the pros were that they got to learn some harsh lessons about Olivia through her stealing, Paige’s deceptiveness and Sarah’s mothering insight.

Weirdly, this was the best use for Sarah in a while. I like Luc a lot but this episode proves that Sarah is a far better character when she isn’t obsessing over the small details in their relationship and while she was a bit of a drill sergeant with Paige over sneaking a boy over, I do think she was on fine form with both Kevin and Scotty in relation to Olivia.

I don’t mind Olivia and I can understand her trust issues given what she’s been put through, so for the most part, I did enjoy this plot and it was nice to see Kevin and Scotty coming to grips with parenthood in a believable manner. I guess I’m pretty on this one for the time being.

Another storyline that I have hopes for is the one involving Saul and Jonathan. I think Ron Rifkin and Richard Chamberlain play off well with each other and I loved that Jonathan actually opened up to Saul and took some responsibility. Plus their flirting with each other was rather sweet as well. It’s nice to see Saul have a storyline, so here’s hoping the writers keep Jonathan around for the foreseeable future.

In a more worrying storyline - what the hell is up with Kitty? Her relationship with Seth came to an end, she acted evasive when Sarah quizzed her about going to DC and she handed Evan over to Courtney, which as Robert reminders went, worked for me but it’s still baffling though. Is she sick again or is it something less tragic? Either way, it’s certainly interesting though.

As for the subplot about Justin facing a lawsuit and Annie getting her ex-boyfriend/doctor friend, Rick to resolve, it wasn’t that interesting and very little time was spent on it. That being said, I think we’re meant to assume that Rick’s presence means something bad for Justin and Annie though.

Also in “Thanks For The Memories”

Patricia Wettig officially left the show after this episode aired. ABC did a press release confirming her departure the day after.

Nora: “How can I help?”
David (re Holly): “Well you can get her to move these boxes in the garage.”

It’s pretty appropriate that Patricia Wettig’s real life son, Cliff Olin co-wrote this episode but I’m surprised that Ken Olin himself didn’t direct it.

Nora: “I wanted to make sure you were alright.”
Holly: “No, you wanted to Nora Walker me into going to New York.”
Nora: “I had no idea I was a verb.”

Sarah (re Paige): “I thought she burned the restaurant down or something.” Kevin: “Well, sorry for overreacting.”

I thought it was interesting that the boy Sarah assumed was gay – Philip had a girlfriend but the one Sarah thought was interesting in Paige – Sean wasn’t.

Scotty: “There are so many things we’re gonna have to deal with as parents. Don’t obsess over something I can do.”
Kevin: “Fine.”

Jonathan: “But you’re right. I came here for forgiveness but that was still about me. I pride myself for being a better person than before but my behaviour has been so selfish as it ever was. I won’t bother you again. Take care, Saul.”

When did Saul start working at a shelter for gay and lesbians? It hadn’t been mentioned in previous episodes as far as I can recall.

Holly: “God, you are a cross between Martha Stewart and Joseph Stalin. Who gives a crap whether the gluten bind or not?”
Nora: “Once you taste that pasta, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile.”

Standout music: Augustana’s “Twenty Years”.

Kevin: “I think we’re gonna be fine.”
Olivia: “Thanks for the gummy bears.”

Chronology: Not too long since “Scandalized”.

“Thanks For The Memories” certainly had some cheesy moments but it was also one of the strongest episodes that the season has offered so far as well. Here’s hoping the 100th episode will be a blinder.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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