As we countdown to the 5th season finale, an all-new ‘Brothers and Sisters’ aired last night that delivered smiles, songs and shockers. The episode, titled ‘Father Unknown’, was directed by cast veteran Matthew Rhys (Kevin Walker). Once again, this episode stands as one of the best in series history.
Last week our happiness and hopes for Nora (Sally Field) were dashed when Justin (Dave Annable) discovered Brody (Beau Bridges) lied about his blood type. Hence, Sarah’s (Rachel Griffiths) paternity was in question. Brody swore Justin to secrecy and skipped town to avoid disrupting everyone’s lives. Plus, Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) saw Michelle in the airport with a baby and instantly knew it belonged to him and Kevin.
This week finds Sarah fretting over her wedding plans and her mother’s state of mind. Meanwhile Luc (Gilles Marini) is planning a wedding surprise with Saul (Ron Rifkin) and Justin is being pulled into a web of secrets between Nora, Kevin and Sarah.
Justin struggles with keeping Brody’s secret. When Nora tells him she’s going to go to Fresno and confront Brody to get answers, he can’t help but spill the secret. Nora is shocked and immediately enlists Justin’s help to do a ‘covert DNA test’.
Some laugh-out-loud moments ensue when Nora shows up at Sarah’s under the pretense of borrowing a turtleneck in 70 degree weather. Luc catches her in the bathroom with a hairbrush and she bolts from the scene.
The entire cast is extremely adept at delivering humor in their expressions and voices; particularly when a Walker secret is being kept and shuffled between a couple of family members, who are trying to shield other family members.
Gilles Marini has blended into the chaotic Walker mix beautifully this season. He is especially funny in the bathroom, when Luc tells Sarah about Nora’s visit on the phone. He says, ‘She said she was in the market for a new hairbrush and wanted to see how ours handled.’ His curious expression and the way he keeps turning the brush over and then sniffs it is hilarious.
Annable, Griffiths and Field deliver more comedic brilliance when they unexpectedly converge in Nora’s kitchen and the secret shuffle goes into high gear. First Sarah finds Brody’s baseball hat sealed in a plastic bag and is appalled her mother is trying to ‘preserve’ it. Then Justin and Nora try to communicate around Sarah, as Justin flashes the bag at her, and Nora eventually sweeps it out of Justin’s hands and into her briefcase. But, the funniest part is when Sarah shouts ‘paprika!’ and she and Justin marvel over Nora’s goulash – which Justin calls ‘ghoulish’. Sarah slips out when Nora goes to fetch the paprika, begging Justin not to leave Nora alone. This whole scene is like a choreographed silly dance and there is no way to watch it without laughing.
Conversely, when Kevin intercepts Michelle’s call to Scotty and they end up screaming at each other when she disconnects, it’s heartbreaking. Rhys has grown so much in his role as Kevin over the course of these past five seasons and Macfarlane is his perfect emotional counterpoint. We feel Kevin and Scotty’s sorrow and desperation, just as we feel their love for one another. Even more touching is their consideration and concern for Olivia (Isabella Rae Thomas) as they hope against hope to find their son and be part of his life.
Also, Dave Annable truly shines in this episode as Justin is involuntarily chosen to be the bearer of all secrets. But everyone reaches their boiling point. The DNA test reveals Brody to be Sarah’s father. One of the strongest scenes is when Justin essentially tells Nora and Kevin that everyone needs to get real with each other. For being the youngest Walker, and having battled addiction, it has often seemed in times of some of the biggest family crises, it is Justin who has an uncanny wisdom.
Thankfully, all secrets are revealed and no Walker seems any worse for wear in telling or hearing the truth. However, Sarah really doesn’t want to embrace Brody as a father figure. While that seems reasonable because William raised her as his own, it could be a problem because it is clear Nora still loves Brody. It seems unfair he should be cut out of their lives – and this is what the previews for next week’s episode suggest. Sarah appears to deliver an ultimatum to Nora, saying she’d better not choose Brody over her. Is it okay for Sarah to ask Nora to give up a second shot with her soulmate?
To provide balance between silliness and seriousness, Luc and Sarah’s love story is so heartwarming and beautiful. We are moving toward their wedding with high anticipation. It is so refreshing to see Luc, as a male character, be so romantic at heart. What an amazing gesture, to plan a wedding song for Sarah. Marini and Rifkin sound great, harmonizing ‘Baby, I Need Your Lovin’’.
Marini is another actor who has come so far with his character in such a short time. Luc brings such a unique dynamic to the Walker landscape: culturally, emotionally, romantically and physically. I wrote a piece several months ago in my local TV column called ABC’s Handsome Princes: Luc Laurent versus Derek Shepherd. Since that was published, we have seen Marini (as Luc) run through a gambit of emotions and circumstances: awkward stepfather, heartbroken son, but always, in everything, a rock of faith in his love with his bride-to-be. Now, we’re going to see Luc serenade his future wife. I dare say some ‘Walkerette’ fans in the UK may just be anticipating this wedding more than a certain impending Royal event…
Finally, it is truly a show-end shocker when Justin shows up with baby Daniel in his arms for Kevin and Scotty. But, did Michelle really have a change of heart or is there impending aftermath ahead? And how will little Olivia deal with baby Daniel? Will she feel unimportant compared to a baby that shares Kevin and Scotty’s DNA?
What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments about Season 5 below!
The writers have truly pulled out all stops in these last few remaining shows of the season. And the bond between the stellar cast seems sweeter and stronger as Marini has cemented Luc’s place in the family as a Walker-in-law and young Isabella Rae Thomas as Olivia has given Kevin and Scotty’s life a deeper meaning. Who knows what the next two weeks holds? One more eventful episode this Sunday, until the must-see season finale event…
‘Brothers and Sisters’ airs Sundays at 10 PM EST on ABC.