Last night’s season premiere of ‘Brothers & Sisters‘ was the darkest episode in the usually upbeat serial’s history. That does not mean that it was not good, but it was probably not what most fans expected.
The show picks up a year after the car accident in the season finale. The only character whose life is not appreciably worse is Sarah’s (Rachel Griffiths). She is living with Luc (Gilles Marini), who has somehow become a billboard model for an underwear company. Sarah has just closed a $55 million dollar deal to sell Narrow Lake. They plan to move to France.
Nora (Sally Field) has actually stopped meddling in her children’s lives, though she can’t help asking Saul (Ron Rivkin) whether the man he is dating is also HIV positive.
Kevin (Matthew Rhys) has gone back to practicing law, representing juvenile delinquents. He gets a teen named Mateo released to his father’s custody. Scotty and Kevin still have not had a baby, since their surrogate miscarried twice. Kevin does not want to try again, because he is still reeling from all the losses of the past year.
Justin (Dave Annable) re-enlisted in the army over Rebecca’s (Emily VanCamp) objections, in part because he blamed himself for leaving Robert (Rob Lowe) on the side of the road at the accident site. He comes home, safe and sound only to find that Rebecca has left him.
Holly (Patricia Wettig) has memory loss as the result of the accident and still thinks that William (Tom Skerritt) is alive and Nora is her enemy. This scenario is particularly tough to watch.
Saddest of all, Robert has been in a coma for the past year. In an unintentionally humorous scene, Kitty (Calista Flockhart) talks to Robert while the camera pans everywhere but his face, since Rob Lowe is no longer on the show. Justin tells her he will never wake up and she needs to let him go. Kitty insists she can’t play God with Robert’s life.
This week’s big Walker family dinner is awkward and weird. This is what happens when they don’t get drunk. Justin is upset that they’re going to sell Narrow Lake and disapproves of everybody’s plans for spending the money. He wants everyone to keep working together, though he never had much to do with Ojai Foods. Kitty accuses Justin of running away from the family and from Robert. Justin says that Robert told him to leave him because he knew he wasn’t going to make it. They were both soldiers. Kitty thinks the family is asking her to kill her husband.
Justin is quite the truth teller. Sarah thinks he might have a point about taking the money and running. She considers putting the money in a family trust. Kevin sees Mateo sleeping on the street in front of his house. He explains his father is a drunk. Kevin takes him in for the night, perhaps getting that child he wanted after all.
Kitty admits to Nora that she knows Robert won’t wake up, but she’s scared to say goodbye and face life without him. So she takes him off life support and has a funeral. Kitty lays flowers at the accident site. Viewers across America pop anti-depressants.
This was one of the most emotionally affecting episodes the show has ever had, though hopefully the rest of the season will not be so bleak.