The holidays came to Brothers & Sisters last night, and with them came some heavy drama. But the good outweighed the bad in this sweet midseason finale, which is fitting.
Uneven would be a good way to describe the first half of this season, with some deviation from what we've come to expect but enough flashes of brilliance to keep us riveted.
In "Cold Turkey," Nora decides she isn't going all-out for Christmas this year and is just going to get away with Dr. Karl. This sends the family into an all-out, collective panic.
Of course, this is the kind of forced plot device we're unfortunately seeing more of this year than in seasons' past. No way Nora would even contemplate going away. None.
Also, Sarah is in such a bad place that she just axes the woman at the radio station? Justin's girlfriend just invites herself to dinner after like two dates? It's a bit haphazard.
While there are definitely life situations that arise in which things spiral out of control only to be tied back together again, some of these didn't strike us as very realistic.
Cue Brothers' & Sisters version of It’s a Wonderful Life.Feeling unneeded and alone in New Mexico, Nora takes a sleeping pill and gets to see what would have happened to her children if she really had left them all for good.
This could have been really bad but the sequences somehow worked. What Nora sees from her kids in these extended alternate-universe scenes is not that pleasant.
Kitty’s a mess. Kevin's a mess with kids. Justin’s the biggest mess of all (a drug addict). Sarah's just cold. Holly's an evil stepmother. It becomes funny after a while.
If nothing else, the show had fun with these sequences rather than trying to pull off the cliched It’s a Wonderful Life story and take itself too seriously. We enjoyed it.
Of course, it still fulfilled the same purpose. Nora wakes up and is off to Pasadena. She finds her children gathered at home and all excited that she's made it back.
Justin's girlfriend, Kitty’s "boyfriend" Seth and the woman from the radio station were there too of course. Evan? Not so much. Once again, there was incongruence.
On a side note, Seth is actually the Dean's son. You knew there had to be a surprise twist if they were introducing this guy so seriously that he shows up on Christmas.
If there's a show that can pull it off, it's Brothers & Sisters, though. Elsewhere, there was the intriguing plot line of Saul reconnecting with the man who gave him HIV.
Jonathan was terrific and made us wish his story with Saul - past and present - comprised more of the episode. Here's hoping that comes to fruition early next year.
What did you think of last night's Brothers & Sisters?