Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 5x18: "Never Say Never"

Written by Sarah Kucserka And Veronica Becker
Directed by Bethany Rooney

Brody: “Is everything alright?”
Nora (re Ida): “She died this morning.”
Brody: “She died?”
Nora: “My mother died. I guess I have to plan a funeral now too.”

I figured at some point in this show the writers would actually go there and kill Ida Holden off and I have to admit that I’m surprised they waited as long as they did in order to do it but as death episodes go, this one worked pretty well to be honest and this is just after I’ve seen Glee do the same thing with Sue’s sister.

In terms of the reactions, I don’t think there was a single one that was over the top with the exception of Kevin’s. His intense opposition over Ida seemed a little forced considering that we never really saw her ‘disappointment’ with him on screen at all, so it didn’t entirely resonate here compared to everyone else’s.

Sarah was pretty distant about her grandmother’s death because as the episode emphasised a great deal, Ida hadn’t been the best of relatives to have in the Walker/Holden family but I have to admit that I found Justin’s reaction to Ida’s death the most interesting.

Having Justin empathise and understand his grandmother’s loneliness might not win points for subtlety but let’s be brutally honest – Ida wasn’t all that bad really. Yes, it’s easy to see why she drove Nora and Saul crazy but I do remember seeing some moments in the first season when she did admit that she was proud of her kids as well.

It’s just a shame that episode wise, we didn’t actually get to see Ida one last time on screen. A parting word to either of her elderly children would’ve been nice but the letter that she had written for Saul instead was a good gesture. I’m not surprised that she knew he was gay, especially considering when you think about that conversation Nora and Kevin had in “If You Bake It, He Will Come” and I thought it was sweet that she wanted Saul to be happy.

I also thought Saul’s anger towards his mother in this episode was believable as well and expertly played by Ron Rifkin. However, it was nice that the letter made him take stock of things and be more open about his relationship with Jonathan as well. Some viewers said it was rushed but considering this show doesn’t have long to go, I can deal with that.

As for Nora, I didn’t envy her having to go up and talk about Ida in front of her family and the few people that attended her mother’s funeral but it was another excellent moment for Sally Field as well. I also liked the fact that despite his unconventional approach, Brody really was a help to Nora in her hour of need as well.

The absences of Kitty and Tommy however were the only thing about the episode that felt a little off though. Like with “Safe At Home”, this episode should’ve featured both of them and it was really sloppy on the producers part not to have them factor into the overall episode but it’s only a small blemish in an otherwise wonderful episode.

Adding the return of Bertha into this episode also proved to be a triumph as well. The parallels between Bertha and Ida were also rather well done. Bertha’s disapproving but she’s not a bad person and her attempts of connecting with Olivia to try and repair her relationship with Scotty made narrative sense as well.

It’s also interesting how far along Bertha has come too as a character. Last time around, she barely talked to Kevin but in this episode she was able to open up to her fears about Scotty and actually listened to him as well. That’s a nice bit of progress with the character and I was actually quite pleased when she was at the Walker table for the Ida tribute as well.

Ida’s death wasn’t the only occasion in this episode as well – there was Justin’s 30th and it was interestingly handled too. I liked that list he had compiled and I certainly liked the scenes with him and Kevin throughout the episode. In fact, nearly everything with Justin over the last few episodes has been enjoyable to watch and this continued the trend, so nice work, show.

Last but not least – Sarah and Luc. It’s a relief at this point that Kevin got the role of wedding planner (hey, even I found his enthusiasm for cake testing amusing) because if I have to endure another episode of Sarah being dismissive of planning a wedding, I probably would die of boredom. I should mention however that I did side with Luc because Sarah, despite her logic was being a tad harsh with him. I can understand why the wedding is a big deal for Luc, considering that he’s a romantic guy and all.

Also in “Never Say Never”

Marion Ross apparently said in an interview that she wished she had been able to film Ida’s death.

Sarah (re Justin): “I can’t believe our little brother is turning 30.”
Kevin: “Yeah, I don’t think he can either.”

Even though I totally knew it was happening, ABC announced last Friday (the 13th of all days) the show wasn’t coming back for a sixth year.

Justin (re list): “Oh my God, I gave this to you?”
Kevin: “Isn’t it amazing? We’re gonna do every item on this list.”
Justin: “You know someone with a flying car?”
Kevin: “Every item that doesn’t require time travel.”

Scotty: “This isn’t anxiety, this is dread. There’s a big difference. She’s meeting Olivia for the first time.”
Saul: “And where’s Kevin?”
Scotty: “Hiding.”

I take it from the lack of dialogue that Bertha and Wally are still seperated at this point in the show.

Bertha: “Not to worry, I’m here now.”
Scotty: “I wasn’t worried, until now.”

Sarah (re Nora): “How’s she doing?”
Brody: “The woman’s a whirling dervish. She hasn’t stopped planning the funeral since she got the call yesterday.”

Kitty was away with Seth and Tommy was unable to get time off from his job, hence their reasons for not being at Ida’s funeral.

Nora: “My mother, my mother was ... the truth is, I can accept the things she was. It’s the things she wasn’t that breaks my heart. I can’t do this.”

Saul: “It’s my turn, mother, I’d like you to meet the love of my life – Jonathan.”

Chronology: A couple of weeks since “Olivia’s Choice”.

“Never Say Never” is a terrific episode in dealing with the departure of Ida and giving both Nora and Saul something interesting to do. The inclusions of Brody and Bertha in this episode also helped a lot too.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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