‘Brothers & Sisters’ finale: The Walkers’ deadly impasse
In the finale of “Brothers & Sisters,” the Walkers find both fortune and death on an overnight trip.
Robert gets a phone call and has to cancel on Kitty’s campaign appearances. Just then Nora calls and she convinces Kitty to let her go in Robert’s place. Of course, Kitty is unsure that rabid democrat Nora would be helpful on her republican run for U.S. senator (of which, she’s amazingly leading in the polls), but Nora can be persistent.
It looks like Nora is on a bender. She’s going over to check in on Sarah, who has been moping since Ojai closed its doors. Justin, though, beat his mother to it. He discovers his sister in her pajamas eating leftover pizza for breakfast. I laughed out loud when he wondered if she had returned to her dorm days. Luc has also had enough of Sarah’s depression. While there, Justin mentions the one-year trip to Haiti that he had his heart set on until Rebecca got her new job at another produce company after Ojai closed down. I still think it’s ridiculous she is an associate VP now, but I’m trying to employ my suspension of disbelief in this case. Wish me luck.
Saul is tested
This morning, the gays are roosting over at the Ojai House. Scotty and Saul and prepping a test menu for the restaurant they’re opening in a month’s time. As they’re appreciating the amazing fruits (pun intended) that they intend to stock at the restaurant, talk moves to Scotty and Kevin’s baby. Scotty has found a daycare center close to the restaurant, and then both he and Saul giggle over the talk of the new “gay-by.” Just then, a grumpy Kevin walks in (wearing a pink satin sleep mask may I add) and tries to spread his grump across the land. Then Kitty calls and tells him that Nora is joining her on that weekend’s campaign stops. She’s hoping Kevin will say it’s a good idea. He does none of the sort. Actually, he tells her it’s campaign suicide. Then Kitty has to hang up, because guess who has just arrived. Yes, Nora and she brought depressed Sarah along. This will be fun. I can already tell. Kitty hangs up to deal with the situation.
After Kitty hangs up, Saul announces he has a new friend request on Facebook. It’s an old flame of his from two decades before. Then, Scotty realizes that the guy has been living with HIV for twenty years. Saul seems a little taken aback and he asks the guys if they still get tested. They say yes, but when they ask him, he says no. After all, he hasn’t had sex in a long time. Hm, I’m not getting a very good feeling about this.
Later in the semi-privacy of their room, Scotty tells Kevin he’s worried about Saul not getting tested for HIV. Saul overhears them and tells them that there’s really no need. They offer to go with him, but Saul says he’ll get tested when he goes into his doctor in a month for his cholesterol. The guys don’t seem convinced he’ll do that. Neither am I.
Well, I was wrong. Saul actually did go into his doctor and asked about an HIV test. She tells him that it’s totally possible for someone to live with HIV for twenty years and not show symptoms. He tells her about his old flame and then agrees to take a test. He’ll know the results in the morning.
The family that campaigns together
Nora tells Kitty that Sarah is feeling depressed and the trip might help her mood. I love when Kitty tells her this isn’t a road trip to Vegas. On the bus, Kitty and Nora have a short disagreement about Kitty’s stand on tax cuts. Behind them, Sarah is watching TV and reading trashy magazines. Sounds perfect to me! Of course, Kitty has a problem with it. Well, I guess it’s a problem when Sarah almost bites one of Kitty’s associate’s hand off when he reaches for the TV remote.
At their hotel that night, Nora is hell-bent on keeping Sarah positive. She has banned her from TV and ordered her to have a facial night with her. Meanwhile, Kitty is trying to get work done and discovers that an online site accuses her of using Robert’s jet for campaigning. Nora is up at arms at the idea, but Kitty says she won’t even respond to the accusation.
The next morning, the women wake up after what seems like the most drunken facial party anyone’s ever had. Then Kitty gets a phone call telling her to check out the online site. Over the night, someone left a comment there, who knew exactly what Kitty spent on the wig she wore during chemotherapy. While Nora admits she left a comment, she didn’t know the cost of Kitty’s wig, so it couldn’t have been her. Someone is gunning for her and Kitty doesn’t know who it is. I’m sure Robert could tell her, though. Right?
Robert, man of mystery
When we next see Robert, he’s having a screaming match with the man who hired him to get evidence against Stanton. In the last episode, Stanton told Robert that he would ruin Kitty’s campaign if he turned over the evidence against him to the government. Now, Robert’s boss wants it, but he refuses to endanger Kitty’s campaign.
Later that night, Robert calls Justin over to his place. Upon arrival, Justin sees a prescription bottle on the dresser and checks it out. Robert then tells him that he’s the only one he can trust and gives him a key that opens a safe deposit box. He tells Justin that they’re the only ones who have access to the box. He then tells Justin that when he figures out what he wants to do with the box’s contents, he’ll tell him. But… he also says that if anything happens to him, he should give the contents of the box to Kitty and let her make the decision. Wow. Ominous, much, Robert?
The next day, Justin and Rebecca are driving. He’s on the phone with a professor presumably asking about Robert’s prescription pills, which he finds out are linked to some kind of ventricular illness, which seems to alarm Justin. When he gets off the phone, he tells her the call was for school when she asks. Then, Rebecca tells him that maybe they should both be able to do their own thing. She should take the job and he should go to Haiti. When he protests, she drops a bomb. She accepted the job already. He goes ballistic and tells her he won’t go to Haiti then and she has gotten what she wanted. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a bad idea at first. But, then I thought their relationship isn’t exactly great right now and I’m not sure it will survive a year apart from each other. What do you think?
Drama is on the menu
The entire Walker clan convenes at The Ojai House and it seems everyone’s on edge. Saul is not the happiest cook in the kitchen and denies that he’s thinking about the HIV discussion. Justin wants to confront Robert on the medication, but Kitty pulls him away to talk. Then, Justin shuts Rebecca up when Nora asks about her job. Awkward.
Outside, Kitty tells Robert about the online site. She has tried to track the group behind them, but they’re not a registered lobbying group. She fears someone has it out for her and doesn’t know who or why. Instead of telling her the truth, Robert says it’s just because she’s winning the polls right now. Kitty doesn’t seem convinced, though. She then feels a moment of weakness as she wonders if she really can hold the office. What if her cancer came back, she wonders. Robert tells her not to go there and that the day’s drama is just getting to her.
Back in the kitchen, Saul is still rubbing everyone wrong. When Kevin makes a joke about him, Saul goes off. He tells them that they don’t understand what life was like for him as a gay man. They have their domestic partnership, a baby on the way and their yearly HIV tests. He was afraid he’d get beaten up if he walked into a gay bar. And he saw people die from AIDS. All this comfort level around homosexuality is hard for him and now he has to confront the possibility that he has HIV himself. He then storms out of the house passing Kitty and Robert outside. Kitty goes in and Nora wonders where Saul is going and wants to follow. Sarah stops her, and then Kitty and Rebecca go to the kitchen to figure out what’s wrong with Saul.
In the living room, Holly calls Sarah to tell her that drilling at Narrow Lake has begun again and Nora approved it. Sarah goes off on Nora and tells her that she needs to move on.
Outside, Justin is doing some drilling of his own… for information. He wants Robert to tell him more about the circumstances surrounding the safety deposit box. When he refuses, the then asks about the prescription drugs. Robert admits his heart arrhythmia has returned. When Justin further voices his doubt over keeping this all secret, Robert asks for the key back. Just then, Kevin comes out to announce that dinner is ready. Robert goes in and Saul returns to the house. Kevin apologizes to him and Saul accepts.
Inside, Scotty tells the family that the idea of his and Saul’s restaurant is comfort food meets organic meets tapas. Interesting… Then, just as the family is about to dig in, Robert begins to lose his balance and asks that someone call 911.
The next morning Kitty wakes up in a hospital room to find Robert staring at her. She tells him that she’s not cool that he kept his condition secret. He says that he just wanted her to focus on her campaign. Nora tells him that she loves his strong, stoic side, but she fell in love with his vulnerable sides and he shouldn’t hide those from her. Pretty convincing speech, because Robert spills all the details on Stanton and the attacks on her campaign. Later, he apologizes to Justin for putting him in such a predicament and tells him that he has told Kitty everything.
Back at the Ojai House, Nora confronts Saul about his test. He tells her how he led a secret life all those years and he never really let himself get involved with the same person more than once. She wants him to call for his results as she’s sitting there. After saying no, she persists and he makes the call. Tearfully, he tells her he’s fine. Just then, Sarah runs out and tells Nora that Holly called and they have to get over to Narrow Lake.
Ojai Foods Water
When they get there, water is bursting out of the ground. Holly happily informs them that they’re in the water business. Their drillers tell them it’s the deepest one they’ve ever found. I love when Nora wondered how much they were wasting! Hah. Sarah is ecstatic and they all go dancing in their new fountain of money.
On the road again
Afterward, everyone loads back into their cars for the drive back to the city. Justin catches Rebecca inside and they agree to support each other with whatever they want to do.
In the car ride home, Kitty and Robert agree that he should release the tapes and Stanton is in for a fight. He should have never mentioned her wig, Kitty says, because that pissed her off. Hah!
Then Holly calls Rebecca to tell her that she and Nora think they should revisit having their wedding in Hawaii. Money changes everything, huh? The phone cuts off before they can tell her that they’ll think about a wedding in Hawaii.
Suddenly, Rebecca and Justin drive right into the scene of a horrific multi-car accident and they soon discover their family members are in the melee. Many of the Walker family are left in bad condition. Rebecca finds Holly unresponsive and bleeding. And Kitty gets a few last words with Robert as he’s bleeding. He tells her that she was right. He was scared when they brought their new son home, but it gave him strength when he saw her holding him. Then, he apparently loses consciousness in that most horrible of ways, eyes still open. Chilling!
During the confusion, Kevin finds Saul, blood running down his face and reaches out to help him. But, he yells not to touch him because, “You can’t!” Nora looks on stunned and upset as she overhears what her brother shouted to Kevin. It looks like Saul wasn’t telling the truth after all.
So, here we are at the end of the season. Robert is apparently unconscious (and Rob Lowe isn’t returning to the series next season) and Holly looks to be in bad shape. And Saul has apparently been living with HIV for two decades without treatment.
Image Credit: Danny Feld/ABCBrothers & Sisters came thisclose to losing me this season, but I’m so glad I stuck it out: Nothing says May like sobbing while watching the final moments of an episode.
We’ve known since January that Rob Lowe would be leaving the show, and the promo for the season finale showed Kitty distraught after a car accident — and still I started to go numb as Rebecca and Justin went running toward the massive pile-up. I can’t imagine knowing that everyone you care about was involved in a wreck, and having to search for them. A truck had apparently gotten cut off and overturned. Robert and Kitty were the first vehicle to hit it, then the rest of the caravan headed home from taste-testing the menu for Scotty and Saul’s new restaurant at the Ojai house were part of the accordion effect — save the newlyweds, who’d gotten a late start because they were deciding that sometimes being there for your spouse means living separately for a year so he can go to Haiti for school credit and she can accept the job she wants. Rebecca was on the phone with Holly, who was trying to convince her and Justin to let her thrown them their Hawaii wedding now that she, Nora, and Sarah had struck water at Narrow Lake. Nora had paid for more digging and the company found an aquifer. Rebecca got abruptly disconnected from Holly, which made my stomach turn. So many things were excruciating to watch during the hour because you knew what was awaiting you at the end. Seeing Holly, Sarah, Nora, and Saul run through the water at Narrow Lake like they were children playing in a fire hydrant — did I see slo-mo??? — was one of those moments. You wanted to be happy — especially because we thought we were celebrating Saul testing negative for HIV — but the higher we got from seeing a resolution to that pain-in-the-ass Narrow Lake storyline, the farther we’d have to fall.
At the accident, when Kevin tried to help Saul, who was bleeding, we found out that Saul had lied to Nora when he told her he was fine. “Don’t touch me! You can’t!,” he yelled at Kevin. I’m not sure how I feel about that plot point. It’s great that they’re drawing attention to HIV again, and storywise, it’s worthwhile to learn that Saul had acted on his attraction to men when he was younger — he felt ashamed, so it was done in secret, and never twice with the same person so it wouldn’t feel real. But it just felt like it was introduced too suddenly, too forcibly. On the same morning Saul learned that Kevin slept in a sleeping mask (and Kevin learned that Saul slept in a muumuu), while the sounds of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” filled the air, Saul discovered on Facebook that one of his old acquaintances had been living with HIV for decades. It was about as subtle as Rebecca and Justin joking right before the crash that every time they talk about having a big wedding, something bad happens.
Back to the accident: Sarah was fine, as were Scotty and Nora. Nora told Rebecca she couldn’t get Holly out of the car, so Rebecca went to find her while Justin checked on Kitty and Robert. Robert looked so still, it was as though he was paralyzed. He had blood on his head. When Rebecca screamed for Justin to come help Holly, Robert told Justin to go. (I think Robert knew he was dying, and that Justin, who’s worked on soldiers in combat, would have the strength to leave him if it meant helping someone who could be saved. Holly looked bloody, too, but she moved a tiny bit, so I predict she’ll live.) Kitty was left alone with Robert, who echoed a conversation they’d had earlier in the episode when he got dizzy from his arrhythmia, and they had to call an ambulance to the Ojai house to take him to the hospital. Kitty had told Robert that she loved the hero and the vulnerable man who, after his heart attack, was afraid he wouldn’t be able to keep up with their son. As he sat there in the car, he told Kitty that she was right: he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to keep up with Evan, but as he watched Kitty hold him and saw how strong and loving she was, he knew she would. Then, he went silent, his eyes open and still.
Both Rob Lowe and Calista Flockhart were amazing in that scene. She could have been screaming for help, but in that moment, when you find out that someone you love may really be dying, you’re lost. Sometimes you can’t yell. Maybe it’s your brain’s way of pretending it really isn’t happening. Because if it was, of course you’d be yelling. And the second someone comes and sees what you’re seeing, it’s real. They’ll say he’s gone. Kitty looked around for help and back at Robert, saying, “Oh god, somebody… somebody… somebody help me. Help me. Robert, Robert, it’s gonna be okay. It’s gonna be okay. Stay with me, Robert.” As the camera panned out to show the scope of the accident, you saw from a distance Nora walking and calling Kitty’s name. You just wanted Nora to get there. This episode did a nice job of reminding us that as much as Nora butts in to everyone’s lives when they don’t necessarily want her to (more on Kitty’s campaign bus in a minute!), she’s there whenever they do need her.
We know that we’re jumping ahead a year when Brothers & Sisters returns in the fall, and that Kitty is “single,” so it’s safe to assume that Robert died. I’ve had issues with his extreme levelheadedness over the years, but I’m suddenly glad that he always ended up doing what was right in the end. When he was in the hospital earlier, he told Kitty about both his heart problem and the situation he’d gotten himself in with Stanton, the man he was trying to nail for bribing him to get highly-inflated defense contracts. Robert had refused to release the tapes because Stanton, who knew what Robert was up to, had started an anonymous Citizens for a Corrupt-Free America website to start rumors about Kitty, like that she was using Robert’s private jet to campaign and that her wig cost $4,300. Robert didn’t want Stanton to ruin Kitty. But that wig comment (which was true — who knew?) went far enough that right before the accident, Kitty had told Robert that they had to release the tapes now. The question is: When the show returns in the fall, will Kitty be a Senator, or will she have dropped out of politics? I think she will have been appointed to fill Robert’s seat after his death and won the election.
Now, we can get to the one true bright spot in the episode: Sarah’s depression. Sarah has always been my favorite Walker (save the time she was with Steven Weber), and this episode made me feel closer to her than ever. A) Why would she look for a new job when she could spend her days looking at Luc in a wifebeater? B) Cold pizza is really good. C) She just wanted to lay on the couch, watch TV, and drink. All of that made “rabidly democratic” Nora dragging Sarah along on Kitty’s Campaign Bus for the weekend when Robert couldn’t make the 16-stop journey completely insane but hysterical. The fact is, Kitty is running for Senate and should be focused on her campaign and not on keeping Sarah from commandeering the remote control on the bus or in the hotel room that the three of them shared. While Kitty was trying to work on a speech, Nora was pushing for facials and Sarah was asking for the bus keys so she could go get more wine. I love that Nora told her she wasn’t driving (or cabbing) anywhere, then suggested they send out an intern for alcohol. Honestly, the only thing I really wish I could change about my own mother is that she doesn’t drink. If she did, I could say stuff like, “Don’t get involved, keep drinking.”
Your turn. What did you think of the season finale? Did you cry? How much will you miss Rob Lowe? (I’m looking forward to single Kitty, but I’m glad he got a moving exit that exceeded my expectations.) Do you want Holly to live or die? (Live, Holly, live!) And how convenient that the one-year jump means Justin will be back from Haiti, Kevin and Scotty’s baby will be born, Saul will hopefully have figured out how to live with his new reality, his and Scotty’s restaurant — comfort food meets organic meets tapas — will have found its legs, and the Walkers will be settled into the water business?