After bringing the Walker family back together in the pilot, Brothers & Sisters returns to form in the second episode of the new season, Brief Encounter. When confronted with her children’s various issues, Nora takes charge once again at a celebrity party for Luc’s underwear campain, which leads to an unexpected job offer.
While stressed out from trying to get extra tickets to the party, Sarah also has to deal with teenager Paige. Jealous that Paige idolizes Luc, Sarah tries to get in her daughter’s good graces by allowing the teen to attend the event as well. However, that backfires when Paige makes a friend at the party, who encourages reluctant Paige to get drunk. When Sarah finds Paige throwing up in the bathroom, and after some choice words from Nora, she realizes that she needs to be Paige’s mother, not her friend. Personally I enjoyed this story line, but I’m a little surprised the Narrow Lake deal isn’t mentioned at all save for Sarah’s comment that she’s financially supported by a man for once. Clearly she decided not to sell, but I hope we find out soon what she does plan to do with the property.
After Rebecca left him, Justin has been going over to see David frequently, asking about Rebecca’s location. David has had enough of it, and Holly wants to know what’s going on. She still can’t remember her daughter, and David has been trying to help her memory with therapy exercises. Finally Justin tells her who he is, and she breaks down, her confusion making her think it was her fault. But he tells her how much he loves Rebecca, and though David wants him to go, Holly likes that Justin doesn’t talk to her as if she were a child. So in the end, Justin starts going over to talk with Holly about Rebecca. While I do like Justin and Holly’s new bond, her memory loss is still heartbreaking, and I’m looking forward to her improvement over the course of the season. Because it’s inevitable, really. I don’t know what else the writers would do with her character if she didn’t start getting her memory back.
In the pilot, we were introduced to Kevin’s client Mateo, who was returned to his father instead of being sent to juvie. But Mateo would rather sleep on the street than be with his neglectful and abusive father, so Kevin and Scotty took him in for the night. I honestly thought this episode would open with Mateo still living with the couple, while Kevin and Scotty start wondering if they will end up adopting him. So I was honestly surprised when Mateo was discovered breaking into Scotty’s closed restaurant. (Which, by the way, scared Nora to the point where she grabbed a big kitchen knife as she went to see what was going on. That sight, more than anything else this episode, really amused me.) Even though Kevin is relctant to help the troubled boy, Nora sees Mateo’s behavior as an obvious cry for help. Kevin finds Mateo’s grandmother, and at the end of the episode the two are reunited. However, my instincts are screaming that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mateo – after all, we still don’t know what happened to his father.
Meanwhile, Kitty is – as expected – going through a rough time after Robert’s funeral. She’s staying at Nora’s all day even though she needs to look for a new house. But when she notices that Nora isn’t home at five in the morning, and overhears a mysterious phone call, Kitty begins to suspect that her mother is having an secret affair. This motivates Kitty to trail Nora after she leaves the house without a good excuse for where she’s going, and Kitty is shocked to see Nora arrive at a house… and hug a woman in greeting. This makes Kitty automatically think that her mother is a lesbian. Of course Kitty hurriedly tells the rest of the siblings, who believe her and confront Nora about it at the party. Surprised Nora assures them that she is not a lesbian, but has been working at a flower shop to earn extra money. She didn’t want to tell her family because she knew they would just write her a check, and she didn’t want their charity. However, the confrontation causes her to speak her mind to each of her children about their behavior lately, which is seen by a producer at the party who thinks she’d be a great host for a radio show he’s putting together.
While the rest of the episode was good, I have several problems with this story line. It bugs me that the siblings so easily believe Kitty when she jumps to conclusions and believes that Nora is a lesbian. Given Nora’s long romantic history with men, wouldn’t the siblings tell Kitty she’s being ridiculous, that there must be some other explanation? And as for Nora I’m still wondering what happened to her charity house, though at this point I doubt that will ever be addressed. However, one good aspect of this story line is that now I can’t wait to see Nora at her new job, which is bound to be entertaining.
Given the promo for the next new episode Faking It, where Kitty lies to her handyman and Sarah has been lying to Luc about her age, it seems that the show is trying to start off this season with a good dose of humor. I’ve said in the past that comedy is one of Brothers & Sisters’ main strengths, but not when it detracts from the show’s quality. Hopefully both story lines are done well, and the next episode is a success.