Brothers & Sisters Season Premiere Review: An Unhappy Homecoming

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The fifth season premiere of Brothers & Sisters was supposed to reinvent the series via the much-touted flash forward. Instead, we often longed for flashbacks to earlier seasons. 

Picking up one year after the accident, "The Homecoming" depicts the impossible: A shattered, despondent and wholly distant Walker family. Which was, of course, the point.

Where it failed was the execution. Some story lines seemed so sloppily thrown together, the time jump just felt unnecessary. Things changed either too drastically or not at all.

The Walkers Return

Justin is the voice of reason now. Seriously.

In fairness to a show we've enjoyed for years, it was a good opener ... or at least it could be. The jury's still out, pending future events. But we were not big fans of this episode.

The Walkers not communicating with each other felt out of place for a family who always does, which, again, was the idea. It just wasn't done in believable enough fashion at all.

On Grey's Anatomy, we felt the fallout from a similarly bloody, tragic finale so palpably. Tears, spontaneity, breakdowns, and a general confusion over how to react. Here, though?

It often made little sense and our favorite characters too out of character.

For example, Nora hasn't said anything to Kitty about keeping Robert on life support for an entire year? She didn't tell Justin his wife moved out? She works at a flower shop?

Without the absurdity of the time jump, we could see these things developing over the course of a few weeks, even months. But no way would Nora be acting this way now. None.

Then we have Holly, whose memory constantly rewinds to the day of the accident. This is almost comically bad. Again, one week later, okay, flashbacks and visions. Not a year.

Also, no one has eaten at Scotty and Saul's restaurant? Come on, they would at least rally for that. No one questioned Sarah's desire to sell Narrow Lake and bail? She has kids!

Robert's farewell was probably the most troubling part of the premiere, though. After the fresh, reinvented landscape the show promised, we assumed that Kitty would be dating.

No, she's still mourning, and Robert was still on life support. Now it seems like her jumping back in the dating game is too soon. Why not have Robert heroically buried long ago?

If we're forced to find a positive, it's that Dave Annable was terrific as Justin. His character was the only one who made any sense to us (again, the point) and to the rest of them.

We understand the point. The family is broken. They must rally to pick up their respective pieces. But this time-jump gimmick was either unnecessary or underused. Take your pick.

Hopefully, with a lackluster premiere out of the way, things can return to normal next week with the brilliant acting and character interplay we're used to on full display. Hopefully.

What did you think of the episode? Were you as thrown off by some of the developments (or non-developments) as we were? What did you like about it? Comment below!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (134 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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At first this was a good show with an all-star cast. Too bad that it quickly degenerated into the same episode week after week. Screaming, fighting, immature dialogue and predictability. In each episode one of the siblings has a "big secret" which gets shared with one of the others who is sworn the secrecy. The secret lasts for about 5 minutes once everyone else in the family gets a phone call with the "big bad news". Sally Field plays the overly neurotic, exasperated smothering mother who calls a family meeting after each weekly fight, hoping to cure all that ails the family with a meal around the dining room table. The meals are always anxiety-filled tirades where someone storms off. By the end of the episode, with sappy elevator music playing in the background, aw shucks, everybody realizes that family is just everything and all is forgiven. The constant addition of illegitimate children, silly affairs and surprises from the past don't do anything to revive the tired repetitive story or to endear any of the annoying characters to the viewers. Steer clear.

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I just caught up on season 5 of Brothers & Sisters via Hulu. I must say, I was very disappointed with the fifth season opener. We were made to believe that Robert had died at the end of season 4. I'm not really sure why the writers felt the need to drag out the Kitty & Robert relationship when we already knew that Rob Lowe had left the show. I guess that I had expected to see that Kitty had used that year to find solace and closure, but instead she buries her husband only to start dating a few weeks later. I think the latter is far less credible. I did foresee Justin returning to the Army. He was very obsessed with the idea at the end of season 4, and I believe that Justin thought that that was what Robert would have wanted him to do. What happened with Kevin and Scotty? Why are they living above Scotty's restaurant? Did they move to make room for a baby? It's never really explained. Why all of the sudden is Nora working at that flower shop? If she needed additional income, I don't think that a gig at a flower shop would come close to accommodating her extravagant lifestyle. If they sold Narrow Lake, wouldn't Nora get a cut? I'm assuming they sold Ojai Foods and Walker Landing because there is no mention of either and Sarah is unemployed. I know that they were in danger of losing both at the end of season 4, but the discovery of Narrow Lake was supposed to resolve that. If they sold off all their assets, what happened to the money? The memory loss ordeal with Holly is just too incredulous. It has been a year since the accident. She has recovered very little of her memory, but Justin's return seems to be the panacea everyone was hoping for. What?! Maybe Ken Olin would be better off removing his wife and himself from the story line. After all, if Rebecca is gone, do we really need her parents anymore? Don't get me wrong. I like Patricia Wettig, but she's really discrediting herself as an actress by appearing in all her husband's works. It wasn't too long ago that we saw her in Alias. I feel like too many details were either excluded or poorly explained. You can't do a one year jump without revealing what happened in between! I loved the first four season of this show. I have watch several episodes of season five and I am still waiting for it to "pick up."

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I thought this review and grades were quite unfair. It surely wasn't THE best season premiere ever, but I honestly thought it was a good and solid episode.
And it was exactly was it should be: a pick up of the family pieces after the crash. I agree that some story lines would fit better in a smaller time gap - sometimes I had the impression the accident was two weeks ago and not a whole year - and others were acquiesced rather than quickly ( Kitty's decision to let Robert go and Justin accepting that Rebbeca left). But that doesn't mean the episode was bad or disappointing. It was a fair restart.
As for the whole renewal idea, to me they actually achieved it. During the past 04 seasons basically all the story lines had William's secrets and death involved in one way or another. But now that everything has been discovered (I mean, what else could they come up with? How many secrets can a person hide from a 6 members family??) it was time to bury William as the root of the story lines. And now the crash and its consequences should be the source of the story lines for the next seasons. So, how can you say it has not renewed itself?

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I will miss Rob Lowe.

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I kinda made the mistake of reading this before watching the episode, so I had the feeling it was a fail even before I had seen it. And I'm glad I was SO wrong. I actually loved the episode in a way I thought it was too short! It shoud have been a 2 hour episode!
It felt weird and empty, but I suppose that's what they wanted to portray, so they did it amazingly. The only things I didn't like very much were: 1. How Kitty got over the Robert situation so quickly only cause of her fight with Justin; 2. How Justin got over the fact that Rebecca left him so quickly and 3. Kevin behaving like his life was over because of Robert's condition/death. Nor even when his father died he was like that not to mention he's still with Scotty. So that continuous shitting behavior after almost 1 year felt too much over the top.
But still I loved the episode and it left so many unsolved and unanswered stories that it just makes me wnat more and more.

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Totally disappointed. It seemed fragmented, and unrealistic for a show that has been on for a few years. Kitty's laughter at the memorial dinner seemed out of place. She turned off the life support and then seemed to carry on like nothing happened. Why is Nora working? Too many cutbacks could dismantle the integrity that has already been established.

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So - what happened to Kitty's run for the Senate - did that go away during the last year?

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I have just watched this episode, and although it wasn't the Walker family we are used to, I understood the need to see the family in this state, and in by doing this the writers are setting the characters up to return to their usual selves for more funny and poignant story lines! I agree that the most poignant moment was with Justin and Nora, and without the moments leading up this moment it wouldn't have been half as effective! And we see Kitty 'moving on'... again, setting the characters up for the future. This was a necessary episode so we don't have to grieve for the loss of characters too long!

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i am little disapointed, because i think it's not realistic...because we can see now that kitty will behave like its nothing happened...it's unrealistic that in only one year she can find a new love..and in one evening family is just that used to be...i am scared that this season will really bad....and very important actors were leaving this show...now we have almost 7 or 8 actors

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I was completely underwhelmed. Why did they have to have Robert vegetating for a year? What even happened to take him from sitting up in the car talking to Justin, to vegetative in the first place? Why was Nora working in a flower shop? Was she that hardup for money? Why is Rebecca gone? There was no charm in this episode. (Well, other than the fact that Luc's underwear ad was spectacular and I liked'd Sarah's new haircut.)

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