It's not that Brothers & Sisters is no longer enjoyable, but there's been a void since the start of the season. Not Rob Lowe's physical absence, either. Something harder to pinpoint.
Perhaps this is what happens to most series over time. The spark just fades.
From the story lines set up at the onset, "Faking It" had the makings of vintage B&S, blending emotion, heart and humor. Instead, it just fizzled a bit. Some of the luster is gone.
It didn't help that we knew for a fact going in that Justin and Rebecca's relationship was not going to be salvaged, thanks to Emily VanCamp's announced departure from the show.
A hastily-written exit for Rebecca also cheapened the best moments she and Justin shared over the years, when we truly enjoyed their courtship. Last night just felt unnecessary.
Their big "talk" basically amounted to the age-old argument over whether she can trust Justin. Survey says? No! Don't even get us started on Holly's memory problems, either ...Has there ever been a hokier gimmick than this? She remembers who David and Nora are, but has no clue Rebecca is? Sure, it's theoretically possible. But it's forced melodrama.
Of course, Rebecca flees to Justin after Holly forgets her, and while they are officially divorced, neither has told anyone. Just tell them and get it over with, guys. The time is now.
Meanwhile, Holly runs away (!), leading to a 911 call from David. We actually found Holly to be an interesting character, so this soapy turn for the worst has us rolling our eyes.
Kitty's story line at least isn't quite as ridiculous. It is, however, largely boilerplate stuff. After a pipe bursts at her rented house, she flirts with the hot plumber who checks it out.
After lying about her urbane roots to gain his acceptance, they go on a date, which is a predictable disaster, but then patch things up and decide to give it a second shot. Shucks.
Nora and Sarah may not be lying about who they are, but they're lying about how old they are. Sarah has a birthday, and it turns out has never told handsome Luc her real age.
Here's a prime example of the show losing its luster a bit. Kitty and Kevin call to needle her and find out about this lie, but it's just not as funny as we'd expect. Step it up, gang.
Nora has been recommended (gasp) to a plastic surgeon! OMG! No way would our Nora even think about it ... let alone take Sarah with her after the cat's out of the bag. Please.
Again, there was no real comedic payoff in this, which could have made it a little more bearable. It simply wasn't that compelling to watch, despite our love for Sally and Rachel.
Shockingly, Luc knew Sarah’s age all along (via her license) and Nora learns (via Saul) that she's perfect the way she is, just a little lonely at this point in her life. No surgeries.
Emboldened, she quits the floral shop, at which the boss had been making old jokes at her when Sally Field looks the same age as her, and you get the idea. Just not great TV.
Brothers & Sisters is all about 1) Wine. 2) Family. 3) More wine, please! 4) Sarcasm. 5) Overbearing parents and siblings who drive each other insane, but love each other dearly.
Somehow, this formula has given way to over-the-top and/or boring stories, with the humor quotient diminished as well. Hopefully this is just a blip ... but we have our doubts.