Apparently, the creators of Brothers & Sisters didn’t get the ABC memo that all finales should be downers, leaving viewers on the edge of depression and dreading death and devastation. After last week’s “No happy couple shall survive!” Grey’s Anatomy season-ender, and with Wednesday’s “We promise many deaths!” Lost extravaganza lying in wait for me, I sunk into last night’s Walker good-bye like a warm … swimming pool. They brought the silly, and the silly was appreciated. They also gently wrapped up some Season One conflicts and laid some good groundwork for Season Two’s.
Best of all, they created some lovely bookends between this and the first episode that makes this season look a lot more planned out than it probably was. That episode was “Patriarchy,” this one “Matriarchy.” That one had Kitty coming home, this one, leaving. And while the season started with William Walker in the pool, dead, this one offers the people he left behind in the pool, finding their way back to life. Nice, in a way that most “gotta leave ‘em in suspense over the summer” finales never attempt anymore.
There was, of course, a thread of sadness running throughout, with Justin’s impending departure for Iraq. He’s attempting to spend some quality time with each family member before he leaves, which means surfing with Tommy, having a playdate with Sarah and her kids, and going to see Wicked with Kevin. It should also mean taking his mom to a museum, but she’s having none of it. No “goodbye” activity for her! Nora’s in some serious denial about the possibility of her dear boy never coming home, and not even an exhibit she’s been wanting to see can lure her out of it.
Justin’s not the only one leaving home — Kitty’s moving out, too, and in with Robert. Nora drowns her sorrows in a ferocious bout of party-planning, determined to throw Kitty an engagement party whether she wants one or not. Kevin and Jason, as their families’ designated gay ambassadors, check out the chosen venue, but Kevin winds up offending the proprietor with his comments on the color scheme, and inevitably the party moves to the Walker house. Honestly, where else would you ever throw a party?
There’s quite a guest list for this get-together. McCallister has, apparently, hundreds of relatives, most of whom wind up acting like extras from My Name Is Earl. Nora, not wanting to be outdone in the awkward relatives department, insists that both Rebecca and her mother attend, and also invites an old friend of Saul’s who he doesn’t seem all that eager to see again. You have to wonder why, oh why, Nora didn’t invite her old friend Emily Craft — wouldn’t she have just been completely awesome with the McCallisters? But she’s not the only one not making the scene. Joe, natch, is not among the invitees. And Julia appears to be going through some post-partum, or maybe post-baby-death, depression, and is not up to doing much more than taking pills and sleeping. Which begs the question of why Tommy is spending so much time with the family and away from her, but I guess we all have our own ways of coping.
The party provides a stage for a variety of plot-closing and plot-furthering vignettes, including:
Saul having a chat with that old friend, Milo, who has left his wife and come out of the closet. Milo still fondly remembers their long-ago trip to the Keys, and would like Saul to come and see him. Saul looks quietly terrified. There’s no specific reveal that our favorite bachelor uncle is definitely gay, but he clearly has a history he’s not at peace with.
Sarah and Holly calling a truce, mostly because neither of them really has the energy to keep up the appropriate level of burning hatred.
Kevin and Jason sucking face, at the conclusion of one of those nasty shouting matches that always seem to end with kissing in TV and the movies. Later, it’s revealed that Jason is a Methodist minister, but Kevin gets over the shock and suggests that they meet for lunch sometime, downtown, near Kevin’s law office and Jason’s congregation.
Rebecca telling the truth to Justin, about her complicity in the Joe kiss, and her history with older men. She had an affair with a married teacher when she was 16, and when it was finally discovered, she begged her mother not to press charges against the man. He moved with his family to Chicago, and called her to join him. He put her up in a hotel room there, and when his wife found out again, he killed himself. This kid’s sure got the Daddy issues, doesn’t she? How on earth did she avoid getting on Oceanic Flight 815?
Justin leaving for the airport unannounced, having been called to report two days earlier than expected and not wanting to ruin the party. He tells Rebecca, though, and she proves herself a true Walker by spilling the secret to Nora and Kitty. Those two race to the airport and just manage to catch their boy and give him an appropriate goodbye send-off. And it may be a shame that he’s going to war, but dang, does the guy look good in a uniform.
The Walkers, at the end of their most trying year, reclaiming their title as Most Wacky Family by plunging into the pool, fully clothed. Joining them in their baptism of impropriety are Robert, truly one of the family now, and Rebecca and Holly, likewise. Until next year, anyway, when Rebecca ‘fesses to Sarah that she led Joe on, Robert finds out about Kitty’s blackmail management, and Holly finds some new way to cause outrage. For now, though, they’re united in wet shoes and ruined dry-clean-only garments. Happy First Season, you crazy kids! Can’t wait to see you back in September!