Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 4

Family Portrait

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Oct 15, 2006 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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  • Wrong Picture Written by Jon Robin Baitz And Craig Wright Directed by Ken Olin

    Tommy (to Justin): "Dad never stopped caring about what you did with your life. I do, I stop right now. I stop today".

    If there's one thing so very painfully obvious about this series, it's the dead cert fact that while every Walker member cares for the other, there's that underlying layer of tension that surrounds certain members of this family and it's becoming harder to ignore in certain cases.

    The biggest tension point so far has been with Nora and the recently returned Kitty, whose ongoing differences from the word go, is highlighted every week and for this episode a picture brings that out just a little bit more. Yes, you heard me a picture.

    After all they do say a picture can be worth a thousand words but imagine a huge family portrait where every single Walker member is present and accounted for except of course Kitty. Now imagine that picture being hung up for all to see during a family dinner that is happening with Kitty. I don't really like those odds.

    Of course Kitty's siblings take it in turns to open the episode with their shock at Nora for hanging up such a photo. A part of you is thinking that perhaps Kitty won't notice, mind or really care but given how Sarah contradicts at least one of those points and Kevin notes that this was one of many presumed things that happened when Nora and Kitty were really at loggerheads, the only real question was when would Kitty notice being excluded in such a way.

    Out of all the ways to open this episode, this feels like the most naturally family orientated. When Sarah and company aren't worried about Kitty's feelings, Kevin is quick to notice his physical features in the photo and Tommy looks slightly jealous when Justin notices Julia's somewhat hotness. That'll be nothing compared to what else with Justin and Tommy later on.

    Of course it doesn't take Kitty too long to realise that she's been excluded from the photo and compared to her siblings her response is rather muted. Nora doesn't do herself many favours when Kitty politely asks about the photo and Nora basically ignores Kitty's obvious hurt of it.

    I don't know about anyone else but I'd pretty annoyed if Nora was my mother and had done that to me. You'd kind of think if she couldn't get any other family portrait, why not then just put a recent enough photo of Kitty beside to spare the girl's feelings. Nora can't be that unaware of what message that photo sent out especially with everyone else busting her chops for it?

    At first Kitty does put it to one side and for a while there's the ongoing but not necessarily enticing triangle between her, Jonathan and Warren. Although it did appear last week that Jonathan had broken it off with Kitty after he discovered that she had been cheating on him, the writers clearly like Matthew Seattle enough to not let him go just yet, which more or less sucks given that I've found him to be a gigantic bore as such.

    Jonathan and Kitty don't necessarily seem to be back together mind because while she's on the phone with him, he's in the middle of a date and she pleads with him to not actually sleep with the woman that really doesn't seem to be very into anyway.

    As much as it kills me to say this, I agree with Jonathan when he told Kitty that she didn't have the right to ask him that but if he's calling her and sleeping with other chicks, then isn't Jonathan just giving Kitty a false promise of them being able to repair their relationship? If so, then Kitty is gonna be pissed seeing as she hates time wasters in relationships.

    There is some fun to be had though when Kitty's impressive political knowledge gets her the solo spot to interview David Silver but her big study for the interview correlates on the same night she was kind enough to mind Sarah's kids. Kids plus study equals bad idea.

    Still though with Kitty and Cooper arguing over fudge bars and poor Paige exhibiting fatigue and a constant need to go to the toilet, the kids seem the least of Kitty's worries. Seriously imagine if Kitty had to mind the Scavo kids from Desperate Housewives. I'd imagine Kitty being covered in gunk and Warren taken hostage as a part of a terrorist video. Wait that latter incident would be more Shane Botwin.

    Speaking of Warren, the man with the hair of a soldier and the lexicon of a book with cheesy chat up lines, I give him points for still being determined to get Kitty which must mean that he does actually care about her. If it was just the sex, then he would've done his little happy dance and rubbed it into Jonathan's face but the man didn't so I'm going to assume his feelings for Kitty are genuine.

    Unlike Jonathan, Warren's chemistry with Kitty is at least believable. They may be polar opposites in their political and sexual views but at least Warren doesn't try to control Kitty. In some ways he could be very good for her because Jonathan certainly isn't. That being said, I don't necessarily think Kitty is out of line for constantly knocking him back and questioning his motives. In that regards I think she is being smart and a Smart Kitty is a watchable Kitty.

    Kitty's ongoing beef with Nora however had to rear its ugly head and that photo successfully did it when Kitty happened to interrupt an argument between Nora and Kevin and Nora picked the worst time to ask Kitty if she was insensitive. Now I like Nora but how could anyone watching this episode not think Nora was being insensitive for hanging up that picture?

    Once again both Nora and Kitty's issues about Kitty moving to New York got raised during their quickly heated row and as much as I feel for Kitty, how many times do we need to be reminded about Nora driving Kitty away? I'd like to think this was the last time but somehow I sincerely doubt it. I don't expect Kitty and Nora's problems to go away overnight but it does seem repetitive that they fight and something happens to make Nora remind Kitty that she still loves her despite being unable to get along with her most of the time.

    The tragedy in question actually relates to Paige whose strange symptoms transpire to be diabetes and when the poor child actually blacks out, Sarah and Joe have to take her to the hospital. Sarah's fears for Paige are understandable but as the doctor pointed out, diabetes is a disease that people can still lead very active lives with. It's gonna suck for Paige having to take insulin shots but it is something she'll become accustomed to.

    The thing is throughout this episode both Joe and Kitty noticed that something wasn't quite right with Paige and Sarah didn't really pay attention. She casually dismissed Joe's thoughts on Paige's behaviour and almost laid into Kitty after she noticed Paige needing to go to the toilet a lot. I kinda hate parents who lose their temper when you say something pretty innocent about their kids. Sarah reacted as if Kitty had said she was a bad mother and Kitty didn't. Heck even I don't think Sarah is a bad mother but she can be a bit unreasonable at times.

    Then again Sarah wasn't exactly doing cartwheels wheels either when she learned that Kitty was talking to Joe about how emotionally retarded she can be. Again this didn't come out as nasty as you'd think. Both Joe and Kitty were concerned for Sarah and Sarah took it the wrong way round. I love Rachel Griffiths but I have to admit that Sarah can test my patience at times. She needs to stop acting like people are out to get her at times, especially when it's to people who clearly aren't.

    Still though if Sarah feels trapped then spare a thought for Kevin who somewhat feels emasculated this week when Sarah and Kitty both go overkill on the guilt trip front and force the poor lawyer into going to a golf tournament with Nora and Sloane and Harry Dodelson in order to commemorate William's death and his legacy at the very golf club.

    Now golf might be fun enough to play (I did it at least once) but it certainly doesn't make for a fascinating viewing so I side with Kevin here a lot. First off all both Kitty and Sarah had no right to force him into going with Nora and secondly Nora knew he was a bit annoyed over it and prolonged his torture by taking him to a movie. I get that she needs to get out more but she could've gone by herself or even cancelled on her not so close friends.

    Of course Kevin was also quite miffed with chaperoning his mother because it meant he had to cancel a date with Scotty. I'm still not too sure about Scotty but it's nice that Kevin is getting past the coy phase and I certainly felt for him when he and Nora turned up to watch the same movie as Scotty and his "boyfriend" Randy. I use the term "boyfriend" loosely because it's pretty clear that Scotty is trying to make Kevin jealous and boy, does it work wonders.

    Kevin's somewhat jealous lets him vent out at Nora over being always suckered into doing things with her that just about everyone else is capable of getting away with and while Kevin undoubtedly adores his mother, he's not being unreasonable in his quest for wanting to live his own life. It's too bad that Nora's insensitivity barometer is at all time high despite the fact that both Matthew Rhys and Sally Field deliver a killer scene here.

    The only other person Nora seems to have an issue here with is Saul and for that she's more justified. Now Saul might have raised a point about Holly not being on the same level of evil as Darth Vadar but he's being a bit of an ignorant prick in not taking his sister's feelings into account here. Holly is after all the same woman that William cheated on Nora for a long time. Seeing her good side is fine but Saul should be cautious to everyone else's feelings on the matter and he's not doing that.

    Last but not least, there's the war between Tommy and Justin. The tension between is another issue that's been there all along as Tommy is the only one in the Walker family that is actually furious with the way Justin uses and abuses himself and getting him a job at a posh hotel is Tommy's last hope of getting his brother on the straight and narrow.

    When Justin turns up stoned twice during his job the only thing that saves him from getting his ass fired is the fact his former school pal Tyler (that's a girl) remembers who he used to be and actually sympathises with the way things haven't panned out for me. If Justin continues to mess up, then even Tyler's patience for him are likely to evaporate.

    Tommy on the other hand has more or less had enough and at the hospital more or less tells him he doesn't want anything to do with him and while I do like Justin, I can't say I really blame Tommy for the way he feels on the matters. Tommy's possibly being cruel in the hopes that Justin will see sense. Here's hoping it works for him.

    Also in "Family Portrait"

    I have to admit that I'm impressed that the first four episodes of this series have Jon Robin Baitz credited. Hopefully that doesn't mean fewer episodes later on in the series.

    Kevin (to Tommy/Justin): "They're just too young to appreciate the pleasures of spitting in someone's mouth".

    Was it me or did that sentence kinda indicated that Kevin has a somewhat kinky side to him? If so, then good for him.

    Kitty: "I could look after Cooper and Paige"
    Sarah: "No way. Our children are Democrats!"

    Kitty (to Cooper): "You are like your own little French Revolution".

    Kevin finally had the sense to tell Saul to go to a criminal lawyer, which means that he is out of his depth on Ojai Foods. Too bad Saul is behaving like an ass to listen to him though.

    Kitty (to Warren): "I'm not going to stop something that's old just for the possibility of something that's new".

    Did anyone else think that Tyler might also have a crush on Justin? She seemed pretty open with him in a way I doubt she is with other employees.

    Scotty: "This is the lawyer I mentioned. Kevin Walker, this is Randy Stewart"
    Randy: "I've heard a lot about you". Kevin (to Nora): "Yes I have a mother who loves me. I also have a mother who is terrified of being alone and thinks it's her gay son's job to fill some void that even Dad knew better than to try and fill".

    Nora and Kevin went to see Two For The Road. Her love for old movies was also mentioned in the previous episode too.

    Nora: "It was your decision to go to New York"
    Kitty: "Do you really think it was my decision to go to New York? You drove me there".

    Justin: "There's only so much slumming I'm willing to do"
    Tyler: "Slumming would be a step up for you".

    Interesting bits: We briefly met Gabe, Saul loves tennis, Tommy appreciates his wine, Kevin joined various clubs in high school because of a guy he fancied, Kitty loved Cornish Hens and Nora has a hatred of hospital churches.

    Nurse: "I've seen plenty of families come through here but none as big as yours"
    Sarah: "Yeah we're kind of a tribe".

    Tommy: "When are you gonna grow up?"
    Justin: "You're a piece of work just like Dad".

    Standout music: Gus Black's "Trillion Things" and KD Lang's "Helpless" during the new family picture with Kitty at the end of the episode.

    Nora: "I'm so worried about us"
    Kitty: "About you and me?"

    Chronology: None specified, although I don't imagine anything too long since "Affair Of State".

    Not the strongest episode of the bunch but "Family Portrait" is nonetheless a reasonably solid episode that highlights most of the family tension and intensifies some of it, which could lead to bigger confrontations in later episodes.
  • Another great episode!

    Once again enjoyed every bit of this episode. I like all the characters except saul - not sure about him. I wanted to know what was wrong with paige all the way through. A lot of arguments which create great tv, so it was very good. Can't wait for the rest of the season!!

    Excellent Episode ( again ) for Brothers and Sisters. The fourth episode of this new show is very excellent. There are beautiful scenes, beautiful cast developpement. Calista Flockhart is really amazing, his characters is really sweet and I love her. Kevin, the gay brothers is really king too. Sarah is really good played by Rachel Griffiths. David Annable, the drunk brother is so touching. Balthazar Getty is the brother who I like less. His characters is boring and so adult for his age. Nora is excellent too as the four episode. Brothers and Sisters is one of my favorite show, it's sure.
  • Kitty feels left out of the family.

    This episode was extremely good. It was more dramatic than a lot of the other episodes, but it was very good. I loved Kitty in this episode. Justin and Nora were also great in this episode. Rachel Griffiths performance in this episode was absolutely amazing in this episode as well. The whole sequence with Nora's date was great. I loved Scotty's speech to Kevin about not being afraid to be open with his sexuality. I also liked the part when Scotty goes to Kevin's apartment to make up with him, and they kiss in front of Kevin's neighbor. All in all, this was another great episode of Brothers & Sisters. This hasn't disappointed me once yet.
  • Can't help but get attached..

    I definitely loved this episode. Cooper was so cute when Kitty was babysitting him and he was giving her a hard time just because he wanted a fudge pop. I thought it was adorable the way he said he hated her. Nora was wrong to put up the picture and I'm glad that she realized it in the end.I can't help but feel so bad for Justin though because you can see how hard it is for him to deal with people and I hate how Thomas is giving him a hard time and not considering the emotional problems that Justin is having. I couldn't help but shed a tear for Paige when she was in the hospital you could just feel the dramatic effect that went on with the family and especially with the scene between Justin and Thomas in the waiting room. I especially loved the ending where the family take a family picture together.
  • I am probably the only viewer that was extremely happy to see such a story line be introduce during prime time television. Being an advocate in the public school system for kids with diabetes, I say bring on the reality. Great job so far!

    The writers obviously have a child near and dear to them that attends public school and has type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile diabetes).
    Knowing that a school nurse could lose a testing kit and the frustration that this mother was feeling...this was not creative thinking from a writer, this was actually someone’s auto-biography. I’ve lived it

    Rachel Griffiths was amazing when she reacted in the scene in which she had just arrived in her office after leaving her daughters school.
  • Great performances by all the actors!

    WOW! This was such a terrific episode. Most of the characters of the show give an excellent performance. Justin gets the job of a bellboy and sees that his boss is his old classmate. Kitty is upset at the fact that her mother put a portrait of the whole family except her in it. Kitty baby sits for Paige and her brother while Sarah handles a sticky business situation. As usual, Sarah and Tommy don’t get along at work. Kevin reluctantly has to drop his date with Scotty to go for a function with Nora. Sarah gets very upset with Kitty for talking to Joe behind her back.

    Some of the memorable moments of this episode were when Sarah and Kitty argue about Kitty’s talk with Joe, Kitty-Kevin-Nora arguing about how insensitive Nora is, and Justin trying hard to cope up with his job. I feel each episode was special in their own way, and can’t wait to see what happens next!
  • An excellent installment.

    This episode is exactly why I watch this show. I love the family dynamics. It is family show but about real families. It is no 7th Heaven. The fact that Kitty and Kevin had a real fight with their mother was very satisfying. It is not too often that great emsemble comes along but I think they did it. Sally Field was brilliant as usual. I love Calista Flockhart. She is aging beautifully. I saw the Paige's diabetes coming. Poor Justin, Hopefully him and his boss get together. She is hot! Hopefully this show stays on for awhile. It definitely deserves a full season. Especially after such a great episode.
  • More emotion and problem-solving Walker family style.

    I am really beginning to like this show. It shows real believable family issues which aren't always neatly packaged or solved. I am liking the characters more and more every episode. I am hoping this Tyler really makes Justin look at himself and helps him to deal with his demons because maybe an outside influence is what he needs.
    I also wish Kitty would wake up and realize Jonathan isn't the man for her. I am glad kevil realizes he could become like Saul and the fact that saul is now ready to do more for himself without his sister's approval. It was a nice episode and I am able to relate to the characters, makes it so much more real. Glad ABC has given it a full season.
  • I'm glad that ABC has picked up the show for a full year. It means I'll get some definite good viewing this season.

    I'm glad that ABC has picked up the show for a full year. It means I'll get some definite good viewing this season. Brothers & Sisters is the only show that I get excited about seeing on a consistent basis. I practically crave Sunday\'s now, with DH & B&S!

    This episode was fantastic. I am continually amazed at how well the members of the family play off each other. And through their ups and downs, they always manage to be there for each other, except in this case, when Tommy bails on Justin. However, I think this shows how Tommy is the one who understands that Justin can\'t get better if they all keep babying him. It\'s time Justin grows up and comes to terms with his crap and deal with it. He needs to move on and improve his life, and I think that when the time comes for Justin to truly need help, Tommy will be there for him - along with the rest of the family.

    The argument between Kitty, Kevin and Nora was my favorite. The acting was top-knotch, again, and I really felt the raw intensity that only Sally Field could convey. Kudos! And the scenes between Kitty and Nora throughout were quite enjoyable. Especially the makeup between them at the hospital chapel. This show is honestly one of the best shows that has graced television. The characters are believable, the episodes are entertaining and I find myself genuinely caring for these people. The ending of this episode was very satisfying and fitting to see that they took a new family picture sans William. I think it truly shows how they\'re beginning to come to terms with how their family is evolving. Great job to everyone involved with Brothers & Sisters. I look forward to many more installments thanks to ABC for offering us yet another stellar series.
  • The Fights and the Makeups.

    The fighting. Saul and Nora. Kitty and Sarah. Nora, Kevin, and Kitty. Tommy and Justin. It was all so good. Nora was really getting on my nerves in this one. I loved how Kevin and Kitty told her how they felt about her. Nora really needs to take a look at herself and the family to resolve so issues. I am not happy at all about how Tommy would not even talk to Justin. I know everyone is tried of Justin's behavior, but I feel Justin needs Tommy to do more than just give up. Justin wishes he had died, so he really needs someone to help him resolve his issues or he could take his life by the way of drugs.

    The make ups. One of my favorite scenes is her admitting how much the family is messed up when she was talking to Kitty. When Kitty acknowledged how both she and Nora had a part in her going to New York, I was happy that she did. It takes some pressure off Nora and she does not have to feel like she is bad. That is something that is hard to do, admitting you were at fault in a situation. The make up I liked was Kitty and Sarah. Kitty did not say I told you so, she just simply let her sister know she was wrong in talking to Joe and that she was there for her. Two things I loved about this scene were one, when Sarah told Kitty she needed her. They are the only sisters that each have and they need to be close because they clearly are not close enough to Nora. The second event in this scene was when Sarah put her head in Kitty's lap. That was so precious.