Tommy (to Holly): "This is our opening. They'll behave".
Yeah one thing that's been pretty much established is that the Walkers with a copious amount of alcohol never results in good behaviour. Holly is quick to point that out in the first scene of this episode and she's more or less justified.
The only problem is that going into business with Tommy means that your chances of getting away from the very family you've made a career of pissing off is even less likely and with all those potential clients at the launch of your new business, what are the odds that some form of humiliation aren't far behind?
In recent episodes some of Holly's less than nice traits have been brought to the fore, particularly with the underhanded way she set out to destroy Sarah's marriage by telling her about Joe and Rebecca's snog but strangely enough Holly comes across as even more of a **** than she in the last episode.
The annoying thing is that she really has no provocation for the way she behaves. Getting into business with Tommy should be an incentive for Holly to either try and be civil to the other Walkers or just to do the sensible thing and stay out of their way and it's funny that after Saul tells her where Rebecca is currently, Holly seems determined to get into a fight.
The thing is Saul was attempting to be nice when he told her that Rebecca wasn't living on the streets and instead of being grateful that her daughter was alright or even making an effort to sort things out with her, Holly felt it was her place to take Nora to task about Rebecca's new living arrangements.
Some people with a modicum of sense or self-respect (two things which Holly seems to lack) would thank Nora for her hospitality but Holly thinks she's entitled to accuse Nora of brainwashing Rebecca while taking obvious pleasure in Sarah's marital woes. Last week did show us that Holly could be really nasty when she puts her mind to it but here she's really outdoing herself without a justified reason.
In case you've forgotten Holly, your daughter hates you because you're a liar and Sarah hates you because you're a whore. Perhaps you should let people who have an actual right to take the moral high ground take it because you certainly don't have that right. I don't give a damn if she hates the Walkers because she's too blame for her own relationship with Rebecca.
What's even worse is that when Holly isn't trashing the family of her business partner, she then decides to make a play for Nora's non-boyfriend Mark. Although I'm supposed to give a crap about Mark being largely ignored by Nora that goes out the window as soon as he's stupid enough to take a romantic walk with Holly and even more stupid enough to kiss and come up with some lame **** to justify his actions to Nora.
As much as I loathe Holly in this episode, I am going to thank her for making out with Mark for the simple reason that Nora needed extra reminding that this guy really is a wedge of sleaze even though she's seen enough examples of Mark's sleaziness beforehand. Come on, Mark was screwing a girl half his age who he dumped to impress Nora and when that didn't work, he used Nora's grades to blackmail her into having a dinner with him. If it hadn't been Holly it would've been someone else. Nora was sensible to dump him.
Nora's sex life did get touched upon with the idea of her and Mark being a couple and Justin becoming slightly prudish over the idea of his mother getting some action. I'm glad her and Mark didn't work out but I do hope that Nora does get a love interest worthy of her like Dave the contractor. Guess we'll have to wait another while for that to happen though.
The argument between Nora and Holly however is the best thing about this episode. While the descent into the women chucking food (including Sarah's shortcake) at one another feels more at home on something like Desperate Housewives than it does here, I'd seeing these two properly duking it out. It was inevitable and their past confrontations have been tame compared to this.
Nora finally said everything the rest of the viewers had been thinking about Holly since the first episode and the fact that Holly has gone from William to Saul and set her sights on Mark does make you wonder if in some ways she wants Nora's life.
Think about it – we've been given the impression that William might have loved Nora more than Holly, Nora also has her own independence in a way that Holly hasn't and more importantly, all of Nora's kids (and even Rebecca) love/respect Nora. Holly does really have any of those things so her attempts of countering Nora's verbal attacks are laughable.
Heck while Holly was able to criticise Nora being a housewife, Nora was able to take Holly to task about how much Rebecca hates her and how William never loved her enough to be with her properly. It's only after the argument that Nora encourages Holly to try and move forward with her life and Holly is kind enough to warn Nora about Rebecca. Overall both Sally Field and Patricia Wettig are excellent throughout these scenes.
Now the Rebecca topic – isn't it amazing that everyone (Nora/Justin mainly) are more than willing to believe Rebecca over the whole kiss incident and yet not one person besides Kevin has given Joe the benefit of the doubt. We know Rebecca wanted that kiss and if she is genuinely sorry it's definitely in her best interests to come clean to Sarah before things get out of hand even further.
Sarah is pretty remarkable in the way she handles Rebecca staying with Nora. I like that she isn't cool with it but doesn't behave like a spoiled harpie in order to get her point across and when Rebecca makes an effort to apologise, Sarah doesn't completely shut her down. Sarah's also pretty aware that Rebecca kissing her husband was just one of many problems in her marriage as opposed to being the main one.
The fallout of Sarah and Joe's argument is felt in this episode, first by Sarah attempting to pawn her cake off to Kitty who then tried to pass it off to Kevin who then tried to pass if off to Justin forcing Sarah to actually attend the opening she was eager to avoid. The hilarity of Kitty's attempts to pass it off to Kevin was funny mind.
Anyways even as Sarah seems to have problems forgiving Joe, she's definitely not determined to end her marriage and it's great that when her family aren't particularly accommodating to Joe at the opening, she's quick to round them up and give them a piece of her mind. Once again Rachel Griffiths proves just how excellent she is with the dramatics. Although she had harder stuff to do on Six Feet Under, this show certainly hasn't underscored her talents.
Plus Sarah also raises a valid point. Joe might have screwed up but she's been married to the guy for long enough and he does come across as remorseful for his actions. Nora may have had a point drawing parallels between her marriage and Sarah's but whatever feelings they had for Joe, they should've left them to one side to concentrate on Tommy's big night.
Justin especially should've kept his attack on Joe in check as even Joe didn't deserve to be humiliated in the way he was. I get that he was looking out for Sarah but as she's pointed out, she can look after herself and it also seems that no matter how rotten things are for her, she also doesn't begrudge anyone else's happiness, which really upped my respect for her.
This gets to the Kitty point of the episode. Her little engagement plot with Robert doesn't seem to progress anywhere interesting because she's more keen on her sister's woes than she is making an honest man of Robert. Robert is pretty funny in trying to get Kitty to ask him again which is consistent to the way he was in "All In The Family" when he told Kitty he wanted a serious relationship.
The thing is that Kitty proposed to him in haste and although she loves him, she isn't particularly keen on asking that question again. Even more funny is that at Tommy's opening she mistakes Kevin's painkillers for aspirin and takes them with a few sips of wine and gets completely out of it that she tells the last person she would want to about her non-engagement – Kevin.
To his credit Kevin doesn't throw a tantrum but I think that was mainly down to the fact he's amazed Kitty is unable to read simple instructions on a bottle of pills. Calista Flockhart does a pretty good performance as a rather high Kitty but there are one or two times where she overdoes it a little bit. Still Kevin is rather sweet to her in this episode when he isn't trying to referee Sarah and Justin.
As for Tommy it's his big night and he's still getting overlooked by his siblings and Nora's dramas but when the camera does shine on him, Tommy is pretty good to watch. Dedicating the business to his father was pretty obvious but it doesn't undermine the sweetness behind his actions.
Business wise Tommy deserves the success. Unlike Holly he has actually worked for what he's been given and also seems to appreciate it too. Saul mentioned Tommy's business savvy during a great guy moment between him, Tommy, Kevin and Justin and even more importantly this episode ends with Julia going into premature labour which definitely ups the excitement for next week.
Also in "Grapes Of Wrath"
Seeing as Julia was pretty friendly to Holly during this episode, I wonder if there's a potential friendship there.
Sarah: "I've been baking and I never bake so you tell me"
Kitty: "You're bad".
I remember on a SFU commentary for the episode "I'll Take You" Jill Soloway commented on the way Rachel Griffiths was always doing something in a moment when her character didn't need to. There are few examples of that here during Sarah's more quiet moments.
Robert: "You asked me to marry you and now you're completely taking it back"
Kitty: "I'm not".
Kevin: "You were just about to say gay"
Justin: "No I wasn't".
For her own sake Rebecca would want to tell Sarah about what really happened because Joe certainly hasn't.
Rebecca: "I wish it had never happened"
Sarah: "Yeah so do I".
Mark (to Nora): "It's fabulous out. We're gonna have a great weekend"
Justin: "I wouldn't get your hopes up bro".
Amazing that Nora didn't tell anyone including Saul about Mark's more sleazier advances towards her.
Sarah: "What does a girl have to do to get a drink around here?"
Tommy: "Follow Kevin around".
Kevin (to the waiter, re Justin): "None for him, he's a friend of Bill's"
Sarah: "He's not a friend of mine".
Tommy ended up calling the business Walker Landing. It's surprising that they didn't call it Walker/Harper Landing. Perhaps Holly really does want to be a Walker despite her protests.
Sarah (re Joe): "I know you're angry with my husband"
Justin: "I think angry is an understatement".
Sarah (to everyone except Kitty): "I can live with your good news but you're gonna have to live with my bad news or learn to shut up, okay".
Kitty's little mistaken drug plot felt a little similar to SFU's "Life's Too Short"/"In The Game". Justin: "You did good bro"
Tommy: "Thanks man".
Holly: "I can't believe you did that. This dress is couture"
Nora: "I'm sure it's been stained before".
Is it much of a coincidence that Tommy was one of those kids whose lemonade stands were actually a success?
Nora (to Holly, re William): "I'm gonna say something you don't want to hear. Let him go. I did".
Kitty: "How long have I been sleeping?"
Kevin: "Since three o'clock yesterday afternoon".
Standout music: "A Lack Of Colour" by Death Cab For Cutie, "Falling Apart" by Gary Jules and the excellent "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzolez.
Kitty: "How was your cake?"
Sarah (re Nora/Holly's food fight): "Oh it turned out so much better than I expected".
Chronology: A few days after "Bad News".
Pulling its name from something rather famous, "Grapes Of Wrath" could be used a fun deterrent for wineries but it's also a very lively episode that really kicks in by its second half. There is certainly fun to be had watching this.