Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 20

Bad News

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 29, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
187 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Rebecca tells Justin that Joe kissed her. Joe tries to confess to Sarah about the kiss, but before he can get enough courage, she receives the news from the most unexpected person. When Nora fails her writing class, her teacher allows her to pass on one condition - she must go on a date with him. And, Kitty has to calm the Senator down after a disastrous helicopter crash.moreless

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  • Truth has two sides

    What a dramatic episode. Holly tells Sarah that Joe kissed Rebecca putting their marriage in danger. I actually liked that Sarah found out about it, I only wish Joe would have told her himself. I'm guessing that's the end of that marriage. Justin takes Rebecca's side in this whole thing and tries to support her. I'm not sure if she needs it as in the end of the episode we find out that Rebecca actually would have been ok with more than a kiss from Joe. So now the question is if she was really sorry and upset or just pretending. Is Rebecca sincere and is she gonna admit that she too made a mistake? Cause I think both her and Joe are to blame in this.

    Kitty and Robert have rough days as some people they work with die in a helicopter crash. Being overwhelmed by the tragedy Kitty proposes to Robert. I think it's kind of soon but it might still happen. They probably want to have at least one married couple on the show so if Sarah and Joe's marriage isn't gonna make it through this crisis then Kitty will probably become mrs McCallister.moreless
  • Joe and Sarah's marriage behins to falls apart. Kitty asks McCallister to marry her.

    Rebecca tells Justin that Joe advanced on her and kissed her. She tells Justin not to tell anyone as she would be blamed if anything happened to Sarah and Joe's marriage. Joe takes Sarah to a California beach to confess but doesn't, while Kevin and Justin babysit their kids for them. Holly finds out about the kiss and tells Sarah. The Senator's helicopter crashes with his speech writer Steve in it. Both Kitty and McCallister are emotionally effected by the crash. Nora fails in her writing class. Her teacher asks her out on a date, to which she obliges as she wants to pass.moreless
  • Saw It Coming Written by Monica Owusa-Breen And Alison Schapker Directed by James Moore

    Joe: "Sarah I need you to know that … that I love you so much I can't even put it into words"

    Sarah: "I really want this to work"

    Joe: "So do I".

    Instead of "Bad News" another appropriate title for this episode could've been "Anvils Keep Dropping Like Nuclear Bombs". There is going to be plenty of stuff that you will see coming a mile off and perhaps one or two things you didn't. Either way this is an important episode.

    Things opened exactly where from "Game Night" left off and Justin is pretty shocked that Rebecca told him about the kiss between herself and Joe. For someone at least four years older than me, Justin comes across as a bit naïve in this scene.

    Despite making a brief plea that perhaps she misconstrued the situation, Justin is quick to point out that the Walkers (Joe included) are a pretty affectionate family. It's a lame cover especially that the Walkers are also pretty argumentative and unable to keep secrets while hiding important things from one another too.

    The thing is Justin takes Rebecca's word as gospel after she points out that the kiss wasn't warranted and as much as I do like the girl, I'm having a hard time taking her word at face value here. If we had actually seen the kiss it would be easy so until we do, I'm willing to bet this kiss wasn't one sided.

    Even though Justin only has Rebecca's word, he's almost too quick to confront Joe and then issue him with an ultimatum to either tell Sarah or he will. I respect Justin for wanting to look out for both his sisters but it wouldn't have killed him to actually here Joe's side of the story. After all he knows Joe a lot longer than Rebecca, so IMO Justin at least owed Joe that courtesy.

    Of course it's also rather noteworthy during the big confrontation scene that Joe shows a flicker of regret when talking to Justin so we definitely know that a kiss did happen and Rebecca didn't just imagine one especially given that Joe didn't deny that a kiss did actually happen between them. It's also possible from that exchange that Joe wanted the kiss too but whether he initiated it or not remains to be seen for a while anyway. Joe hasn't exactly been shy about admitting he wanted some adult company but would he really go that far to get some? He knows more than anyone that no Walker is capable of keeping a secret so why would he even consider making the moves on Rebecca if he did want to cheat on Sarah? Even Kevin when saddled with the task of babysitting Cooper and Paige while Joe takes Sarah away camping is quick to tell Justin that not only could Rebecca possibly be lying but that Justin's little ultimatum also affects Sarah and Joe's kids. Unlike the whole thing with Saul back in "The Other Walker", Kevin really does raise a good point here. Justin was trying to do the decent thing and for that I respect the guy but he needs to get his facts straight before doing anything rash.

    Talking to Rebecca again and there's almost a different reaction. Instead of being shaken, she gets pretty pissed off when she feels that Justin doesn't believe her story and worse still, Holly happens to overhear things and decides it's time to get her own little payback on Sarah. Hey vengeance is a **** and you can call her Holly.

    For a second you think that maybe Holly is attempting to look out for her daughter but the moment she steps into Sarah's office all smug, it's obvious she's out to stir trouble. Sarah is quick to initially rubbish Holly's claim until the mistress is quick to bring up Sarah's previous insecurity about Vanessa and that's the moment when it hits the fan for Sarah.

    Revenge may be sweet but while Sarah was totally nasty for telling Rebecca about her parentage she was essentially telling the truth. Holly on the other hand only had Rebecca's word to go on so her blabbing to Sarah about Joe is even more spiteful when it turns out that Holly doesn't actually believe that Rebecca is innocent.

    Having Justin question her got Rebecca to lay into Joe but when Holly did the same thing, Rebecca responded by calling her a whore. In fairness regardless of that comment being nasty, Rebecca does raise a point but it's really surprising that Holly's only response to that is to tell Rebecca to stop it. Still a part of me smirked when Rebecca left Holly with the parting shot of William choosing Nora over her. After this episode, Holly more than deserved the array of abuse given to her here. If she's willing to cause trouble just to get back at Sarah, then the very least, she deserves to be called out on it and it doesn't matter whether or not the person calling her out on it is Rebecca. Despite what unfolds in this episode I still like Rebecca or at the very least I still want to but it does appear that her and Holly aren't so unalike after all. If Holly's rant is anything to go by, then Rebecca also has a penchant of using men to get what she wants. I mean her last boyfriend was a professor and something tells me the guy was married too. If this is the case then Justin is going to have to wise up.

    Even more disconcerting is that Nora gives Rebecca a place to stay even after she finds out about the kiss with Joe. It's amazing that no-one is actually giving Joe the benefit of the doubt (except maybe Kevin) and doesn't Nora think it could be hard for Sarah if Rebecca was there all the time, especially if Sarah and Joe aren't able to recover from this revelation. Tact isn't exactly Nora's strongest point but she should've at least had enough common sense to realise that keeping Rebecca in without the full story is a disaster waiting to happen. Sometimes I think this lot get off on half the dramas they seem to attract so vigorously.

    However the fallout between Sarah and Joe is what makes this episode. Even halfway through this episode and still unsure of who started the bloody kiss, Joe does generate a lot of sympathy for someone who has cheated on his wife. At the beach not only does he seem determined to alleviate his conscience but he's also making the effort to try and inject some fun that we really haven't seen between him and Sarah. It's just a pity that Justin's ultimatum was a big reason behind that.

    It's also the stuff at the beach that does make me as a viewer want to root for Sarah and Joe as a couple. Seeing Sarah actually enjoy herself for once instead of worrying about Ojai or the kids is great but thanks to Holly, her mood got well and truly killed. The least Sarah could've done was slap Holly.

    Instead she wastes no time and focuses her energies on finding out whether or not something did happen between her half-sister and her husband and when Joe glumly admits that him and Rebecca did kiss, Sarah's first reaction does seem to be more of annoyance that Holly was right and less about Joe's indiscretion. It also gives Joe the slight right to express his own towards Sarah's never ending feud with Holly.

    Although this entire confrontation has the most soapy of dialogue, the one thing that elevates it are the raw performances between Rachel Griffiths and John Pyper Ferguson who more than raise their A-Game as Sarah and Joe both seem to have the right to slam the other.

    Therapy and weekends away haven't worked for them and even if Joe hadn't kissed Rebecca, this is possibly the very argument Sarah and Joe needed to have in order to make any kind of progress. Sarah has got every right in the world to lay into her husband for kissing Rebecca as her fears of not being enough for Joe seem to be now justified but that doesn't mean that Joe isn't allowed some points of his own.

    He might be right when it comes to Sarah not always appreciating him and he also might be right about being emasculated. He certainly got dumped on by nearly everyone in this episode but that doesn't necessarily mean that he was justified in kissing his wife's half-sister. Nothing Joe can say excuses that no matter how bad I might feel for the guy.

    However the last thing this episode ends with is that kiss and the simple truth is that Joe did kiss Rebecca but not only did she reciprocate but she also offered to stay even after Joe got an attack of conscience and told her to leave. By telling Justin, Rebecca was clearly trying to stir trouble. Joe should've never kissed her but Rebecca had no right to go around and make him come across as being completely at fault. After all both of them were guilty but Rebecca comes across as being worse because of the way she lied to Justin. She's gonna have to do some redeeming in future episodes.

    Speaking of handling, is it me or is Mark becoming more of a creep now than he was beforehand? Bad enough he's screwing students half his age but his method of getting Nora to attend a date with his is to blackmail her into after she made a fuss about her final grade.

    Nora stupidly enough takes the bait and goes to a nice little Ethiopian restaurant with the guy but while she's smart enough to call him out on his crap, it's really mind boggling that after getting evidence that Mark is a creep, she still agrees to go on another date with him. Nora's not stupid but even she can't be desperate enough to date Mark, right? Where are Dave and Emily when you really need them?

    When it comes to need, one of the most delightful things about this episode is Kevin. Not only is he at his most likeable in this episode but if you couldn't get enough of his dinosaur impression from the previous episode, then him being painted as a tiger is just as fun to watch. Just like Justin, Kevin does seem to have a bit of a knack for kids.

    His little conversation with Paige during a game of Connect Four about not being married was interesting especially when it transpires that Paige was merely distracting him so she could win. Kevin may have a good point about her in game night years down the line.

    Onto the less exciting plot of this episode, Kitty and Robert take a break in his ranch so that Robert can relax and not abuse his staff to the point of rebellion so it's a pity that before Steven the speech writer met his expected death in a helicopter; Robert was nothing short of mean to him.

    Robert does show remorse for his previous behaviour and even attempts to not use Steven's death as a means to aid his campaign but it doesn't stop him from using extracts of Steven's speech at the poor guy's funeral. More funny is the fact that Kitty proposes to Robert and he has to think about it. I dug that Kitty proposed to him and it terms of TV romances it might have been a bit slow. Then again, I think they've been dating properly for two months so maybe it's a bit too fast after all.

    Also in "Bad News"

    If Nora really didn't want to go out on a date with Mark, why not just threaten the Dean on him?

    Rebecca: "Justin please if something happens to Sarah and Joe's marriage they're going to blame me and you know it. Don't give them any ammunition to hate me".

    Aside from Nora, Kitty, Justin and now Kevin has Sarah ever gotten Tommy to look after Paige and Cooper? Him and Julia could use the practice.

    Nora: "This is sexual harassment and I don't plan to take it lying down"

    Mark: "Oh the jokes that are running in my head".

    Paige: "Uncle Kevin, can I ask you a question?"

    Kevin: "How come I got all the good looks in the family?"

    How old exactly is Paige supposed to be? I'm gonna assume she's at least 9 or 10 but either way Kevin got my respect for the way he chose to talk about his sexuality/inability to get hitched without going into sordid details.

    Paige: "Connect Four"

    Kevin: "Wait, were you distracting me? Wow, wait until you're old enough for game night".

    Kevin (to Justin): "Did you once think of Paige and Cooper when you gave Joe that ultimatum?"

    I think it was around the time this episode aired that the series won a GLAAD award. I bring it up because the previous episode had Donna talking about them.

    Rebecca (to Justin): "Like 'Oh hah you must be the new family slut'. That's how it happened Justin. He came on to me. I knew your family wouldn't believe me but I thought that you would".

    Holly: "We need to talk"

    Sarah: "I make it a habit of mine not to believe a word that comes from your mouth".

    Rachel Griffiths submitted this episode for her Emmy nomination and how the heck Katherine Heigl managed to beat is beyond me.

    Sarah: "So it's my fault. I drove you to see other women"

    Joe: "At least other women, they don't look at me like I'm some insignificant burden. Like I'm not worthy of being with you"

    Holly: I know you, Rebecca. I'm guessing that Joe did not just come onto you out of the blue"

    Rebecca: "Just because you're a whore it doesn't mean I am".

    No Tommy, Julia or Saul this week which wasn't a bad thing as such.

    Holly: "Stop it"

    Rebecca: "No wonder he chose Nora over you".

    Joe: "So what now?"

    Sarah: "I don't know"

    Joe: "I don't know either".

    Standout music: "Mornin'" by The Dukes and "Canyon Arrow" by The Autumn Defence.

    Joe: "So I guess the entire Walker clan knows by now"

    Sarah: "Maybe. Probably".

    Joe: "You should probably go"

    Rebecca: "I don't have to"

    Joe: "No. You should go".

    Chronology: Mere seconds after "Game Night" so still April 2007.

    "Bad News" is an apt title for an episode that's not short on big meaty dramatic scenes and an overall set up of events. If Sarah and Joe are headed for the divorce court you can almost guarantee that Kitty and Robert are almost destined for the aisle. Overall this is a powerful episode and most definitely one of the series most defining as well.moreless
  • The truth comes out.

    What, oh, what to make of Rebecca? Is she a) a intelligent albeit naive ingenue or b) a manipulative troublemaker? The great thing about this show is that even those aforementioned labels are too general to describe any character on this show, and this is not an exception as we learned with Rebecca. Who made the first move, Rebecca or Joe? By the looks of Joe's flashback of the episode prior to this one, it appears that Rebecca may have had quite an interest in her brother-in-law, a not quite so innocent interest.

    It looks like Sarah and Joe's already rocky marriage is finally starting to crumble. Frankly, I can't say I'm disappointed, as I find Joe about as exciting as a piece of melba toast. It's time to move Sarah away from him and see her adjusting to life as a single mother. Of course, I may be getting ahead of myself, but the chances of their marriage lasting much longer aren't looking very good.

    On the other hand, I love the relationship between Kitty and Senator McCallister (Robert, played by Rob Lowe). Both actors just ooze a certain chemistry with each other that brings out the best in them. The scene at the end where Kitty accidentally proposed to Robert was great, and Calista Flockhart played it perfectly.

    Conversely (too many transitions!!!), I'm not particularly thrilled at all about the relationship brewing between Nora and her writing professor (portrayed by Peter Coyote). The guy just seems...creepy to me, and definitely not dynamic enough for feisty Nora. I would rather not see Nora involved in any romantic relationships just yet, but if she had to be, I'd much rather see her back with that construction guy (his name escapes me) from earlier in the season.

    All in all, a decent, solid episode, notable mostly for the confrontation scene between Sarah and Joe in the kitchen and Kitty/Robert. Admittedly, it left me underwhelmed, but even a less than stellar episode of B&S kicks the collective ass of everything else on TV these days. And I do mean everything.moreless
  • Interesting


    oh my god, good, great episode for brothers and sisters. Rebecca : Oh my god all the episode I will see the last scene but I want that she is nice with the walker's family. In reality, she kisses Joe and it's sad because I think bad think will happened because of her. Justin : He is manipulated by Rebecca and I think that problemes between the walkers are arrived because of him. But he has a great relation with her and he is a great brothers.

    Kitty : i love this character even if I am democrate. I love his relation with McCallister. Wedding for the season finale ?

    Kevin : Oh so nice, the king, the scene with the little girl. He is so sweet and so funny like Kitty he has the best dialogues of the show. not gay scene but i want to see him with senator brothers. Possibly ? I Hope

    Nora : Good but I don't like the professor.

    Rebecca's mother : She has his revenge.

    Great episode where we discover personnality in details like Joe for example. And Rebecca's troubles are just beginning, I think.

Peter Coyote

Peter Coyote

Mark August

Guest Star

Zeb Newman

Zeb Newman

Steve Cohen

Guest Star

Délé Ogundiran

Délé Ogundiran


Guest Star

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Robert McCallister

Recurring Role

Paul Cassell

Paul Cassell

Gary Morris

Recurring Role

Maxwell Perry Cotton

Maxwell Perry Cotton

Cooper Whedon

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Kitty: It makes me wonder that if you love me the same way and being together makes us so happy, then what the hell are we waiting for?
      Robert: (confused as to what she means) What are we waiting for? You want to move in?
      Kitty: Will you marry me?

    • Sarah: Look, I get it, you're upset that Rebecca is spending time with my family and in some feeble attempt at payback you're trying to ruin my marriage, well you know, it's not going to work.
      Holly: Well from what I understand your marriage is already in shambles. And honestly I couldn't care less, what I do care about is my daughter. And while your kids were at school and you were at work, your husband generously offered to teach her the guitar. (Sarah looks at Holly) Oh-whoa, did I hit a nerve? Is that scenario familiar?
      Sarah: Get out of my office.

    • Nora: This is not a class. You're asking me out. Is this because I wouldn't go out on a date with you? If it is mister, let me tell you this is sexual harassment and I don't plan to take that lying down.
      Mark August: The jokes that are running through my head right now.
      Nora: Well keep them there.

    • Sarah: Holly. To what do I owe this unpleasant surprise?
      Holly: We need to talk.
      Sarah: I thought the perk of you and Tommy opening the winery was that we no longer need to talk.

    • Kitty: What the hell are we waiting for?
      Robert: What are we waiting for? You wanna move in?
      Kitty: Will you marry me?

    • Senator McCallister: But while others cloak themselves in cynicism or give in to apathy, we must be unafraid to hope. Hope is the simplest of words and the hardest thing to have in politics and yet it is the very foundation of democracy. The hope of making a better country, a better world, and not just for some of us, for everyone.

    • Holly: Listen to me. I have had a front row seat to that family for years. I know what it feels like to be an outsider. I know how enticing they can be. Whatever you think you want from them, trust me, you are not going to get it this way.
      Rebecca: Excuse me?
      Holly: I know you Rebecca. And I am guessing that Joe did not come on to you out of the blue.
      Rebecca: Just because you're a whore it doesn't mean that I am.

    • Rebecca: Why couldn't you just trust me to handle it?
      Holly: Because it is not your responsibility to handle it. I can't have you over there wondering if some man twice your age is trying to corner you.
      Rebecca: Oh don't you make this about me Mom, you've been waiting for a chance to get back at Sarah for telling me the truth about my father.
      Holly: That is not true.
      Rebecca: Oh isn't it? They hate you and you want them to hate me too.

    • Nora: She knows you, how does she know you.
      Professor August: Frequent diner.
      Nora: How frequent?
      I'm a bachelor, there's nothing in my refrigerator.
      Nora: Ahh…you bring all your first dates here, don't you?
      You're not the first woman I've ever brought here.
      Nora: Ah-ha-ha-ha…I am such an idiot. You are another charming intelligent louse. This whole date is an act, a well orchestrated, well rehearsed act. The romantic little table, the exotic setting, you pretend to be so open. All of this is just a way of hiding behind your intellect, using someone else's culture to make you seem so wordly, so damn sexy. Have you even been to Ethiopia?
      Professor August shaking his head in bewilderment
      Nora: I didn't think so. I assume this has fulfilled my attendance requirements, Professor August. Goodnight.

    • Paige: Connect four (while playing the game Connect Four).
      Kevin: What? Where?
      Paige: One two three four, I win.
      Kevin: What, whoa, what? Wait…were you distracting me? That was a set-up?
      Paige: Yeah.
      Kevin: Wow, great strategy. Wait till you're old enough for game night.

    • Paige: Uncle Kevin can I ask you a question?
      Kevin: How come I got all the good looks in the family?
      Paige: Why aren't you married?
      Kevin:Ah, well,…ah, Paige, um because gay people aren't allowed to get married. Well, not in this state anyway.
      Paige: But that's not really fair.
      Kevin: I agree, it's not fair.
      Paige: Is that why you don't have a boyfriend, 'cause you can't get married?

    • Senator McCallister: Ok, let's go, gotta get to the chopper.
      Kitty: You know what honey…we're not going in the chopper.
      Senator McCallister: What do you mean? I have to get to L.A.
      Kitty: You are on the verge of alienating your entire staff, including me. Now, I'm taking you back to the ranch, and I don't know what I'm gonna have to do, but if I have to I'm gonna force you to relax
      Senator McCallister: And you just made that decision by's a little bossy.
      Kitty: Uh-huh.
      Senator McCallister: I like it.

  • NOTES (2)