Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 2

An Act of Will

0
Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Oct 01, 2006 on ABC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
266 votes
18

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
The Walker family is forced to deal with the shock of William's sudden death and the reading of the will, which threatens to cause a rift in the family.
After Nora learns that Justin has been fired from his job and has disappeared, she, Kitty and Kevin head off on a road trip to find him.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A fantastic 2nd episode with some really strong performances.

    10
    After being introduced to the Walker Family in the pilot episode, this 2nd episode wastes no time in launching into their individual issues and problems, as well as revealing more of the secrets left behind by their deceased patriarch. The conflict of family vs business is a fascinating issue, as Sarah, Tommy and Saul try to figure out how best to solve their financial crisis. I would say Sarah is my favourite at this point, with Rachel Griffiths easily showing both the strength and vulnerability of the eldest sibling. Sally Fields and Dave Annable both put in brilliantly heartbreaking performances as Nora and Justin respectively – the acting in this show is just phenomenal! While Politics is generally something that bores me senseless, the way it combines both professional and personal spheres through the character of Kitty is genuinely interesting. I don't see her relationship with Jonathan lasting, but the ongoing dynamic between her and her mother is enjoyable to watch. With both individual and collective storylines already going strong, this is one show I can't wait to see more of!moreless
  • The Will Written by Jon Robin Baitz And Marti Noxon Directed by Matt Shakman

    7.0
    Kitty (re William): "There's just no escaping him in this house"

    Kevin: "No there never was".



    When the first episode ended with William dying it's only natural that the next one would deal with the after effects of it and while as a viewer you get screwed over by a funeral sequence that lasts less than three minutes and has KT Tunstall blocking any dialogue from seeping through, it's still pretty clear that William has bequeathed his family with more than just a legacy.



    One person who definitely feels the strain of William's death is Justin who not only suspected last week that his father was screwing around but when Holly went to the funeral and stayed in the background, Justin's spidey sense went into natural red alert. Well that and the fact that Saul was comforting her.



    So Justin takes it upon himself to visit the woman and ask her whether or not she had a relationship with his father. It's a fair enough question and Holly doesn't bother denying the extent of her relationship with William. Justin isn't particularly happy with getting confirmation as he has that look in his eye where he was hoping Holly would deny it.



    However because Justin had asked Holly straight out in a manner where she really couldn't lie to him, I almost respect her honesty as there was no particular hint of malice when she told him. Sadly that fact doesn't stop Justin from storming off and taking a little pick me in the process.



    Finding out that your father was screwing around is bad enough but when Kevin has to summon everyone back to the house to read out William's will, it's Justin who ends up getting the rough deal of the bargain when he learns that his share has been put into a conservative fund and Kitty will have to look after. In some ways it highlights the closeness between Kitty and Justin but mainly it put Kitty in an unenviable position and her attempts of placating her brother unsurprisingly falls on deaf ears.



    In William's defence and as much as I like Justin, the writers have made no bones in pointing out that he is pretty irresponsible and while it might have been better like Nora suggested to break it gently to him, perhaps William was being cruel to be kind? Nora shelter Justin and he spirals. William tries putting restrictions in the hopes he'll become responsible. Neither seem to really work do they?



    Nevertheless when Nora gets wind of Justin's recent absenteeism resulting in Manny giving the lad his cards, it doesn't take her long to panic and it takes her even less longer to enlist Kitty into helping her find him. Suffice to say Nora is still pretty adamant that Kitty is responsible for sending her younger brother off to war, whereas I remain less convinced that she is.



    Nora turning up during Kitty's first day of work and embarrassing her in front of Warren is the kind of thing that only a parent or sibling can do so well and Warren looked suitably delighted with Nora sharing similar views on immigration much to Kitty's annoyance but Kitty wins points for refusing to believe Nora's claims that she's responsible for the way Justin is.



    Now if someone you love is AWOL the first place you'd look is where they are living and Nora and Kitty both let themselves into Justin's apartment and Nora went the extra mile with taking delight in slagging of Fawn before sending the stoned girl on her way. Fawn might not think it now but I think she got a lucky escape given how deadly Nora's tongue can be.



    Of course Nora takes delight in many a thing in this episode and one of them included looking at photos of Justin as a baby in the apartment and another was snooping into Kitty's love life and why she isn't rushing up the aisle with Jonathan. Using your parents' idealised marriage might be a lame excuse when the more obvious reason is that Kitty really doesn't seem to love Jonathan.



    It's not too long before Justin is located as Kevin phones his mum and Kitty to tell them their messed up brother got arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. There's a funny scene at the police station where Nora attempts to use Kitty's fame as a means of letting Justin go when Kevin's reasoning skills let him down. It seems that having a right wing child has its advantages which you can bet that Nora will soon forget about.



    However if Justin was edgy before then being confronted by his mum and sister doesn't improve his temper and the guys lashes out at everyone to the extent where even the mollycoddling Nora has no choice but to bring him down a couple of notches. I feel bad for Justin but the guy was being a total dick in those scenes. He should be glad he had Kevin and company to bail his ass out of jail.



    The scenes are played with true guts by Sally Field but Dave Annable doesn't hold up as well. While Justin has his reasons for lashing out, it's Nora's fears of losing another person she loves that most audiences will empathise with that little bit. I am surprised that during his rant Justin didn't blab about William and Holly. Not that I would imagine that will remain a secret for much longer.



    In the motels scenes we got a nice mixture of comedy and poignancy with Kevin's love of gay porn in motels not jibing well with Nora and Kitty, especially when Kevin had some fun comparing one of the porn actors to Jonathan. David Fisher on Six Feet Under would've had a heart attack in the first season if Ruth had caught watching porn. He certainly did when Nate caught him. Nora's reaction was pretty priceless as well. Can't help but love Kevin.



    As for Kitty, I absolutely loved her talking Justin down in the motel and it's nice that the two of them have such a great relationship. Justin doesn't believe that William loved him and I don't think that he didn't and Kitty was able to prove to Justin in her own way that William was proud of him. The scene at the end in which Justin decides what route they should take back to LA hints that Kitty's words sank in.



    Still Justin wasn't the only one who got screwed over in William's will as Holly learns the hard way that you don't get rewarded for having an affair with a married man for a long time when she learns that her own house isn't bequeathed to her. I'd almost feel sorry for her but the way she annoyingly comes across as being so self-entitled, it's really hard to muster any sympathy for her.



    Then there's the way Saul is with her too. At the funeral he knew she was there and instead of getting rid of her, he offered her some solace and he also seemed pretty sad that he had to tell her about not getting her house. It doesn't take much to gather that he has feelings for her but as he pointed out himself, he's in the position of choosing between his brother in law's mistress and his family. I know which option he should pick but that doesn't mean that Saul will try and find some middle ground.



    Saul continues to be a tricky number as not only is he locking accounts but thanks to his secretiveness, William managed to squander 15 million from the pension fund on dodgy stock and as a result Ojai Foods is on the verge of bankruptcy. Given how close Saul and William were, why didn't Saul try and do something to get the company out of depth before Sarah starting asking questions?



    Naturally enough Sarah isn't best pleased with being kept in the dark and acting on Kevin's sensible advice, she is prepared to go to the authorities and try and salvage something from the damage William has left the company in. It's a pity that the presumably equally business savvy Tommy wasn't as keen to agree with Sarah and I think he overreacted when Kevin didn't agree with him.



    In fact if Justin was pissed off with having his money monitored by Kitty, then Tommy is just as annoyed with Sarah becoming Ojai Foods President while he's stuck at being Vice President. Gee, Tommy it's not like you've been demoted in the company. This episode alone Sarah seems to have the better savvy compared to Tommy and you can understand why she wasn't so keen to jump onboard with Tommy and Saul's "wait and see" idea. Saul's been doing that for a long time and nothing has progressed so what Kevin advised Sarah to do makes good financial sense. However Sarah does buck his advice and decides to wait and see but guarantees Saul that if things haven't changed in six months, she will call the authorities. Perhaps telling Nora before she does would be an even better thing to do. Is Saul really that stupid that he thinks not telling Nora about Ojai's financial woes is the best course of action especially when Holly has an idea?



    When we're not dealing with the business side of this episode, Sarah has other problems on her mind and seeing her former co-worker Noah really does nothing to put things in perspective. If Sarah feels guilty about connecting with Noah but not actually sleeping with him, I can't help but wonder how bad she would've actually felt it she had slept with him? Noah seems like a decent enough and a little less dull than Joe I have to admit.



    Then there was the unsuccessful quest to get Paige a grass skirt and the meltdown in the costume store Sarah had when they were out. Now reading a plot like that sounds boring so it's amazing that Sarah's complete breakdown and fear of being a bad mother comes off so well but then I remind myself of the fact that it's Rachel Griffiths who could probably make reciting a phone directory interesting if she put her mind to it.



    It's also nice that Joe managed to nab a skirt and was there with champagne on hand to congratulate her on her new promotion. He mightn't be exciting but at least he's supportive of her, which does endear him as a character.



    Elsewhere when Kevin was getting Justin out of jail and offering Sarah and Tommy legal advice, his investigation into a fraudulent insurance company led to the encounter of a camp secretary named Scotty who managed to make a right plank of himself by refusing to answer any questions until Kevin admitted he was gay Suffice to say, Scotty came across as a total dolt as a result.



    Also in "An Act Of Will"



    Just like Grey's Anatomy and Alias, the opening credit seems to be slotted in the most peculiar of places. This is why I prefer fully blown theme tunes.



    Nora: "I have this idea. I think you should move in too and the house will really be alive. I'm kidding"

    Kevin: "Don't do that".



    Kitty moved back into the house with Nora despite the fact that neither of them are comfortable around the other. It was hilarious how they both told Kevin their own reasons for living with each other again.



    Justin: "I saw you again at the funeral"

    Holly: "We were friends"

    Justin: "I don't think so. I remember you from a long time ago"

    Holly: "Yes you do".



    Saul: "We have to go to your mother's"

    Sarah: "Yeah let's see what else the man left us".



    Kevin seems to have a "bad news" face when he informs people of misfortune. Basically I think that's another meaning of scape goat.



    Kevin: "I'm open and proud"

    Scotty: "You're not proud, you're trying to pass".



    Kevin: "Sarah trust your gut, do you want to go down for a crime you inherited?"

    Sarah: "Okay so if we went to the authorities, what would it look like?"



    Last week we learned that Julia is a Kindergarten teacher, this week it's revealed that Joe is a music teacher.



    Fawn: "I'm not a bad girl"

    Nora: "I'm sure you're not. You just need to get up a little earlier".



    Noah: "Tell me how can you feel so guilty when nothing happened between us?"

    Sarah: "Because being in sync with a man who is not your husband is almost as painful as not being in sync with your husband".



    Marti Noxon co-wrote this episode. She was actually dropped from the series due to "creative differences" and is now a script writer on Grey's Anatomy. I personally think this is a better show to scribe for.



    Justin: "Kevin always does everything right except sleep with women"

    Kitty: "Justin could you shut up for ten seconds?"



    Matt Shakman who directed this episode also directed Six Feet Under's "Singing For Our Lives".



    Nora (re gay porn): "What the hell are you watching?"

    Kevin: "Meerkats"

    Nora: "These meerkats are wearing no clothes. Give me the clicker"

    Kevin: "Okay fine but no cooking programmes".



    Standout music: "Everything'll Be Alright" by Joshua Radin and "Heart Of The Matter" by India Arie.



    Kitty (re William): "He loved you with all of his heart"

    Justin: "They have to, it's their job".



    Kevin: "So which route should we take back, the fast or the pretty?"

    Kitty/Nora: "The fast"

    Justin: "The pretty".



    Chronology: Three weeks since "Patriarchy".



    After an amazing opening episode, "An Act Of Will" had to prove this series wasn't a one trick pony and despite one or two soapy moments, this show is certainly showing a lot of promise and exhibiting the kind of sophistication in writing that a lot of other series tend to lack.moreless
  • Still very good, improved which is great!

    9.1
    Really like this episode. My fave part was the road trip to find Justin. It was full of drama with some comedy thrown in. A bit more about each character was revealed which was good to watch. Again some relationships still are rocky but there are some like Kitty and justins which are fine, so thats good. The next episode looks even better hope it is!!
  • Excellent

    10
    This episode is great like the pilot. We learn more about the family and it's so exciting. I have already addict to this show. Thank You ABC ! Calista Flockart is impressionnant and Rachel Griffiths too. I like all the music of the episode and I love all the scene in this episode. Sally Field ( The MOM ) is unbelievable, I cry in the two episode because she is fantastic. David Annable is so hot and whoa i like so much this show. I'm so happy that ABC has renewed this show for a season two. It's Weird that the show is unpopular like Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy because it's very impressionnant.moreless
  • The family reads their fathers will and deals with the consequences.

    10
    This episode was absolutely outstanding. It was an excellent follow up to the pilot episode. Just when I think this show couldn't possibly get any better, it does. I loved the scene with Sarah in the store when she couldn't find a grass skirt. Rachael did an excellent job in that scene. My favorite scene in the entire episode was the scene with Nora's "Don't throw your live away" speech. Sally was amazing in that scene, and she deserves an award for that scene alone. All of the stories were great in this episode. All in all, this was another amazing episode of Brothers & Sisters.moreless
Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Noah Guare

Guest Star

Laura Jordan

Laura Jordan

Fawn

Guest Star

Angela Sargeant

Angela Sargeant

Gladys

Guest Star

Josh Hopkins

Josh Hopkins

Warren Salter

Recurring Role

Maxwell Perry Cotton

Maxwell Perry Cotton

Cooper Whedon

Recurring Role

Luke MacFarlane

Luke MacFarlane

Scotty Wandell

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Kevin, Kitty, Nora and Justin walking out from jail

      Justin All the girls came to get me that's cool, where's Sarah?
      Kevin Kitty, he's sitting in the back with you.
      Justin No seriously, thanks for bringing the whole family, I mean my day wasn't bad enough.
      Kevin They were worried about you.
      Justin Oh, and you had to do the right thing right, 'cause Kevin always does the right thing, except sleep with women...
      Kitty Justin, could you shut up for 10 seconds!
      Kevin If you didn't want my help, why did you ask?
      Justin 'Cause I was in jail, I figured I should the family lawyer I mean, that's what you are right?
      Nora If your father could see this behavior!
      Justin He'd what? Judge me? Tell me to get a job?
      Nora He'd be so dissapointed!
      Justin Dissapointed? Who the hell is he to be dissapointed? He's the dissapointment!
      Nora What does that mean?
      Justin Forget it...
      Nora Your father loved you more than anything on earth you little spoiled brat!
      Justin Do you know what "love" means in this family? It means you suck!
      Kevin Get in the car!
      Justin It means nothing you do will be good enough!
      Nora Oh, you ungrateful child! You don't care about anyone but yourself, how did you get that way? You know what loosing your father has done to me, and yet you take your life and throw it around like it was worthless, why?
      Justin 'Cause I wish I was dead! Don't you understand that? I wish I died over there, mom!
      Nora Well you didn't die! And I'll be damned if I'll stand around and watch you kill yourself!
      Nora starts to cry and Kitty comforts her
      Kitty: Enough, enough, mom. It's enough.
      Justin: God, you guys are so freakin' serious...

    • (Nora, Kitty, Kevin and Justin are all staring at the Pacific Ocean)
      Kevin: So which route should we take back, the pretty or the fast?
      Nora & Kitty: Fast!
      Kevin: Mm hm.
      Justin: The pretty.
      (Kitty, Kevin and Nora glance at Justin in surprise, before the four of them get into the car)

    • (Justin and Kitty are sitting on a bed together)
      Kitty: You know what's nice about road trips?
      Justin: This is a road trip?
      Kitty: They have these coffee shops that serve breakfast all night. You want?
      Justin: I want breakfast. All night.

    • (Nora sits down on the bed opposite to the one Kevin's sitting on and stares at the TV)
      Nora: What are we watching?
      Kevin: Meerkats.
      Nora: Those meerkats are wearing no clothes! Give me the clicker, now!
      Kevin: Ok, fine, but no cooking programs!
      Nora: Give me the clicker! (Takes the remote from Kevin)

    • (Nora approaches the police desk with a reluctant Kitty)
      Nora: Hi. I'm Justin's mother, and this is his big sister Kitty. Kitty Walker, of The Right Idea and Red, White and Blue.
      Police Officer Duncan: You're kidding?
      Nora: No.
      Police Officer Duncan: (Laughs) You're her?
      Nora: Yes.
      Kitty: I am … me, yes.
      Police Officer Duncan: I love your show!
      Kitty: And we're not asking to be the exception here.
      Nora: Yes we are.
      Kitty: No we're not
      Nora: (whispers) Yes, yes.
      Kitty: (whispers) No, no.
      Nora: Yes, we are.
      (In the background) Kevin: No we're not.
      Kitty: We're not.
      Nora: We are.
      (Next scene we see Justin has been released from lock-up)

    • (In the car with Nora, Kevin and Kitty, driving to pick up Justin)
      Kitty: Do you ever stop and think that some of this could possibly be your fault?
      Nora: What? What? What? I - I - I was too permissive?
      Kitty: No, no, no, no. I'm not talking about the liberal child-rearing sense mom. You blame everybody but yourself. You go out of your way. It's me, it's Kevin, it's Dad. Well, where were you in the picture? Do you ever think about that?
      (Uncomfortable silence in the car)
      Nora: I don't see any ocean out there. This is a terrible place to come to.

    • Noah: Sarah, is your hand bleeding?
      (Sarah removes her hand from the glass she's holding and reads the smudged writing).
      Sarah: Oh God! Oh God! Oh I suck!
      Noah: What?
      Sarah: Hawaii. My daughter is Hawaii. Noah, I'll call okay?

    • Nora: This is dumb, hanging out here waiting for him.
      Kitty: Well, do you really want to go on a tour of a video arcade or a two dollar movie theatre? He could be hiking in Griffith Park for all we know.
      Nora: I know, I know.
      Kitty: You should've put one of those things they put on dogs so you can track 'em.

    • Kevin: Did anyone ever ask you to lie?
      Scotty: Oh my God. Oh my God. You're gay.
      Kevin: If you could answer the question. 'Cause these guys have lawyers that will shred you.
      Scotty: I'm not going to be prepped anymore until you admit you're a gay.
      Kevin: Yeah, yeah, I mean I'm "a gay".

    • Noah: (To Sarah) Hi, it's Noah. The guy you used to work with, remember?

    • Kevin: All personal assets go to mom, and if and when mom dies…
      Nora: Thank you for the "if" Kevin. That was really sweet.

    • Sarah: What do you suggest we do Saul?
      Saul: I'm suggesting we do what families do: we stick together. We rebuild. We go back to where we were. We repay the debt together … and move on. Together, as a family.
      Sarah: As a family of criminals? No, no, I won't. I won't do that.
      Saul: Ok, ok. Well, we have to go to your mother's.
      (Uncomfortable pause)
      Sarah: Yeah. Let's see what else the man left us.

    • Nora: What time is everybody else getting here? I don't know why you had to make such a big deal out of this reading of the will. You could have just emailed everybody.
      Kevin: That's the way it's done. That's the way dad wanted it, so (picks up one of Kitty's boxes.) God, what she have in here, the original Federalist papers?
      (Moves box to the other room)
      Nora: (muttering) Probably.

    • Nora: I have this idea. I think you should move in too. And then the house would be really, really alive.
      (Kevin stares at her in disbelief)

      Nora: I'm kidding.

      Kevin: Oh good God.

      Nora: I am kidding you.

      Kevin: Don't do that!

    • Kevin: So, any plans for this afternoon?

      Nora: You know, it is so funny. The minute the funeral was over, then virtually every single conversation of the past three weeks has contained some variation of 'Are you keeping busy, are you filling your days, are you moving on?'

      Kevin: So are you?

      Nora: Yes! Yes! Sometimes. And then sometimes it gets very, very quiet.

    • Kitty: There's just no escaping him in this house.

      Kevin: No, there never was.

      Kitty: You know, I lived in New York for so long, I barely saw him. I shouldn't be missing him this much.

      Kevin: Of course you should. It's only been three weeks.

      Kitty: Three weeks. God!

      Kevin: You sure you want to stay here?

      Kitty: Yeah. Yeah, I have to. Mom needs me. Oh my God, I have so much stuff!

      Kevin: I know. I'm starting to wonder why Jonathan got into break-up.

      Kitty: We are not broken up Kevin! This is just us giving each other a little space. He wants me to be here and he wants me to do the show.

      Kevin: Sure he does. So when does the show start anyway?

      Kitty: Tomorrow. We're discussing ballot-tampering in the swing states. You better watch it.

      Kevin: Wow. Who said politics isn't sexy?

    • (Sarah finding out that the party store is out of grass skirts)
      Storekeeper: Look I'm sorry, they're weirdly popular. I can order you one.
      Sarah: Yeah, yeah... Why don't you do that. That would be great. Because they'll get here in what... nine weeks? Which is just in time for my daughter's recital which is tomorrow. It's the minimum basic requirements that a party store always have Hawaii. Children have recitals and their parents.. their mothers can't do it all and we rely on our party store to keep up the end of the bargain so that our husbands and our children don't despise us when we come home empty hands.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Salesman: It's like Sophie's Choice in here.
      The 1982 movie Sophie's Choice stars Meryl Streep as Sophie, a mother who is forced by the Nazi's to choose which of her children will live and which of them will die immediately.

    • Thirtysomething Inches: The name of the pornographic movie Kevin mentions references the title of the hit TV show "thirtysomething" which starred both "Brothers & Sisters" series producer Ken Olin and co-star Patricia Wettig who plays Holly Harper. The two are also married in real life.

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