Monday, May 21, 2007

Idol Thoughts on Brothers and Sisters Season Finale

Once and Again. Everwood. American Dreams. And now...Brothers & Sisters.

I love family dramas, I just can't help it. Fights, tears, laughter -- as far as I'm concerned, good family dramas can provide a more cathartic and enjoyable viewing experience than almost any other form of television. Over the course of this season, Brothers & Sisters has steadily begun the process of carving out it's own space in the pantheon of "greatest family dramas," and with last night's fantastic season finale, I'm starting to think it could soon earn a permanent place in a group that includes the illustrious company listed above.

Last night's episode was just about everything you could hope for in a season finale. Let's take a look at the episode's highlights:

-Sally Field and Calista Flockhart as Nora and Kitty Walker make the best mother/daughter team on television since Lorelai and Rory on Gilmore Girls. Their fight about Kitty moving out of Nora's house (dubbed "the passive aggressive Olympics" by Sarah) was a masterclass in acting -- it was equal parts hysterical, moving, and passionate, and every note was perfectly played. I also loved the moment toward the end of the episode when Nora and Kitty try to catch Justin at the aiport before he takes off, and the way that they said goodbye to him -- Field, in particular, was devastating in the way she played her fears at having to say farewell to her son, not knowing for certain if he will return. As Justin disappeared from sight, the looks on Flockhart and Fields' faces were beautifully heartbreaking.

-We finally got some insight as to what kind of secrets Rebecca has been hiding (her affair with an older man, who later killed himself). It would be easy to dislike her, after what happened with Joe, but it's not quite that simple -- this is a damaged girl, and I love the complicated way Emily van Camp has been playing her, where sometimes you want to hug her, and sometimes you want to slap her across the face.

-After a season that has seen the Walkers face their fair share of tragedy, the final scene, where the entire Walker family jumped into the pool, was so triumphantly joyful that I found tears streaming down my cheeks at the same time I was smiling ear-to-ear. It was especially poignant that this moment of exuberance was taking place in the swimming pool, the same site where William Walker died in the pilot episode. Those Walkers have come a long way!

-Can we talk about the cute boys on this show? As if Dave Annable, Balthazar Getty, Matthew Rhys, and Rob Lowe weren't enough, now we've got Eric Winter as Senator McCallister's gay, minister brother? Oh my goodness -- I'm not sure how much more hotness I can handle! And is Kevin Walker not the luckiest man on earth -- where does he find these gorgeous guys to date?

-Finally, I love when a show leaves you with a few loose-ends that will carry over to next season without having to do so in a heavy-handed cliffhanger way. Obviously we will be waiting to see what happens to Justin in Iraq, but this episode also set up the possibility that Julia is suffering from post-partum depression; that Kevin and Jason McCallister might have an entertaining courtship ahead of them; and, most interestingly, that Saul might have a homosexual past (and future?) The dialogue between Saul and his friend left little confusion that they had at one time been intimate, and between Saul's bachelor status, his general fussiness, and his awkward relationship with Holly, it would not be a complete surprise to find out that he is, in fact, gay. It should be fascinating to see how the show deals with this revelation.

All in all, this was exactly the kind of season finale I was hoping for. I can't wait for the fall to see what happens with the Walkers next.

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