Kevin: "If I were her, I'd be afraid to blow out my candles. Maybe there's a Kitty curse".
Nora: "The only thing she's cursed with is her insane politics".
Kitty: "I heard that".
Birthdays only come once a year and while I don't know how Kitty celebrated her previous birthdays but since "Patriarchy", it seems that the chances of Kitty enjoying turning 39 are less likely than her family becoming tee total anytime soon.
For Kitty, the day only seems destined to be marred with as many problems as the opening episode to Season Two can sum up. If the fact that her birthday will now also be the very day that her father wasn't bad enough to deal with it. I mean how horrible is that to have to experience?
Problem number one for Kitty is Justin. He's not here in any capacity at all as the episode begins with Nora making a recording and Rebecca being all dutiful with the preparation of a care package. The thing is, he hasn't been heard of for weeks and given Kitty's own close relationship with her baby brother you can see why she gets worried for his safety.
Of course it's even more of a pain in the backside when the press also fixate on Justin serving his country. An interviewer broaches the subject when she's talking to both Kitty and Robert on TV and its Robert whose opinion that matters. I'm not actually slamming Robert here but it was unprofessional of that reporter not to ask Kitty if she was worried for Justin's safety.
For Kitty, the focus on Justin in that TV interview is one of a few things that see the press taking a less than flattering interest in Kitty. Instead of being curious about her abilities as a communications director (never ask Kevin for a reference), the journalist moved on from Justin to asking Kitty about the wedding.
You could argue that the journalist was trying to add something a little light hearted amidst the political aspects of Robert's campaign but I can see why Kitty got annoyed. She was basically treated like she didn't exist during that interview.
It's also the second main problem for Kitty. She might love Robert to bits but at the end of the day, she's also the type of person to pick her career over a relationship, albeit not in a malicious way. It's one of the things that Robert seems to like about her as well and it also helps makes Kitty come across as a better character in a way.
Because of the press intrusion however, Kitty starts feeling like she's a spare part and when the wedding issue was raised, Kitty really didn't give a toss about what kind of a dress she would wear. That doesn't mean to say that her attitude was aggressive, it really wasn't.
That also doesn't indicate that Kitty is uncertain about marrying Robert. It could be a possibility that she is but in fairness, I think it's more a case of Kitty fearing that she'll lose her identity as a person if the press hinge on her being Robert's fiancé, which seems to be the thing at the moment. I don't blame her for having fears like that. In a culture where celebrity couples end up merging into one person, there's something believable about Kitty wanting to assert her independence. She's even rather snippy with Robert as well but again not in a malicious way.
However this almost doesn't compare with the tension between her and Nora. Yes they may love each other but Kitty and Nora also can't last that long without arguing with each other neither. They even better themselves do when a trip for wedding dress has them arguing like crazy and getting filmed by some random bloke with his phone.
The fact that neither Kitty or Nora made an attempt to snatch the phone was interesting. Kitty could've stopped herself from being broadcast on YouTube but just did nothing. If this had been Desperate Housewives the poor guy probably would've gotten stung by several bees or something to that effect.
Nora's annoyance at Kitty naturally stems from Justin. Last season Nora did nothing but blame Kitty for Justin going into the army. Here she's accusing Kitty and Robert of using Justin to plug the latter's campaign. I get why Nora would think this but I also think for a second that Kitty would ever do that to any of her family. I don't even think Robert would do that either.
Naturally Kitty and Nora's feud in the bridal shop isn't just the only bit of Walker bickering throughout the episode. When Rebecca manages to get them into the most crowded Mexican restaurant she can find, the booze deprived clan just basically lay into each other.
Most of it is pretty childish stuff – Sarah's pissed at Tommy for not listening to her, Kevin blames Nora for having him watch The Thornbirds, Saul is irritated by Kevin's childishness and Kitty is peeved with Rebecca being a presence. Likewise Rebecca isn't too thrilled to be in the same room with Holly but that's natural.
Of course they all argue like children and it's Robert who has to shut them up. Personally I would've left them to it for another few minutes. I have to admit to finding the big public argument rather hilarious if a little on the contrived side of things. It also leads to a pointed joke from Kitty that the Walkers shouldn't be left in public.
Speaking of Kitty, not only does her birthday get switched to back at the Walker mansion but the tension between her and Rebecca is nicely focused on. She's the only member of the family who's had no interest in getting to know Rebecca and is actually quite horrible to her until Rebecca faces it head on.
Kitty might have the right to ask why Rebecca and Nora have gotten so close in a rather quick space of time but Rebecca's response to that is on the money. With everyone so wrapped up in their own dramas, Rebecca is the closest that Nora has from going out of her mind worrying about Justin.
If Rebecca's motives are worthy of a question mark, then I'm seriously curious to see what the heck the writers plan to do with Holly this season. Nora might have been gracious to let her stay at William's headstone and fill her in on Rebecca but that doesn't mean Nora has forgotten about Holly's affair with William either. These two are never going to be friends but they might not be mortal enemies forever either.
One of the things the writers are going to have to do this season is try to come up with arcs for Holly because you have to admit she's a pretty dispensible character. Rebecca can easily survive on this show without her and Holly's relationship with Saul is also long dusted too. I don't really hate Holly that much but again, the writers need to get their thinking caps on with this one.
Speaking of Saul, the end of "Matriarchy" left us with the notion that he might be gay/bisexual. It's definitely clear that he at least fooled around with Milo and it's also Milo who tries to get Saul to come away with him too which Saul instantly refuses to do. It's nice that despite the refusal, there's no actual hostility between Saul and Milo. I really hope this show has the balls to an older man on man romance because let's face it; this isn't a series that aimed for younger audiences anyway. Plus Saul deserves to be happy. It would be incredibly unfair for everyone else on this show to have a relationship and for him to be left on the shelf so to speak. I also like Milo so I wouldn't seeing him back.
Also keeping with gay relationships aren't Kevin and Jason kind of cute together? Kevin must care enough if he's willing to actually sit through his boyfriend's sermon rather than gossip with Sarah on the phone but it's also Jason's religion that creates a problem with them.
When Jason gets shipped to Malaysia, Kevin is one unhappy bunny and Jason reacts to his bad reaction by pointing out Kevin's commitment issues. It's a bit of a convenient way to try and write out Eric Winters but it also kind of undermines everything as well.
Because there's a jump in time we miss out on the starting points of Kevin and Jason's relationship and while it's sweet that Kevin does actually vow to wait for Jason, you do wonder how long exactly that wait will actually be. That being said, I'd rather not see Kevin cheat on Jason either so if they do break up, the writers better come up with something other than cheating.
As for Sarah, she's got her own relationship woes. Being stuck with drippy PTA mums is enough to drive anyone insane but now she's having a spin cycle session with Joe and pestering Tommy to interpret what it means. I'll give you a hint: not what you want it to mean.
Suffice to say my hint is actually correct when Joe tells her that he wants a divorce. Talk about harsh! Joe certainly knows how to kick Sarah when she's down and she was pretty down in this episode. She wanted her marriage back and Joe wanted to wipe the slate clean. Although I pity Sarah, Joe might have a point.
If Sarah's marriage was in trouble, then Tommy's might be too. Julia is still depressed and despite his best efforts to get to come out of her shell, Julia clams up. She even goes as far as to make an insensitive comment about Justin as well when Tommy pushes her too.
Although I did kind of hate Julia for what she said, at least she apologises the second after she said. She is stressed out and I appreciate that the writers are willing to deal with this rather than sweep it under the carpet. Tommy might actually need to take her to a counsellor rather than a Walker family event if he wants to get his wife back on track. I don't want these two to break up.
As for Justin, bad news certainly rained on this episode. His unit got hit with a sniper and the paranoia, anger, fear and distress Nora had been feeling throughout the episode all becomes justified. Nora spent half the day waiting by the phone, snapping at Kitty and she got her nightmare.
Although I don't actually believe that the writers have killed him, I do like the severity of Justin's predicament. Sally Field's performance as Nora begins to break down does elevate the episode considerably. We'll know by next week just how bad things are for Justin too.
Also in "Home Front"
The previously on bit for this episode seemed to focus on Kitty/Robert, Justin going to Iraq, Tommy/Julia's baby drama, Sarah/Joe's marriage collapse and Kevin/Jason hooking up.
PTA Mum: "Do you think I should get a mommy job?"
Sarah: "Is that like a part time job?"
Joe told Sarah that some of the things the PTA mums got up to were plastic surgeries and affairs. Not exactly that exciting, huh?
Kitty: "Oh gee, thanks honey for letting me know what my options are".
Robert: "I'm not getting any, am I?"
Milo: "Check out your hair".
Saul: "My hair? Take a look at your hair. Is that a perm?"
That was a pretty authentic looking picture of Saul and Milo. Someone knows how to use Photoshop effectively.
Kevin: "What about a new robe though? Or a snazzy collar".
Jason: "You know. You're an idiot".
Kevin: "I know but I'm your idiot".
Sarah: "Joe and I had sex. Did you hear what I said? Joe. Me. Sex!"
Rebecca found a present that William had left for Kitty before he died. We also got something on Kitty's shoe craving.
Jason: "I'm sorry. Well maybe if you had a little faith".
Kevin: "Yeah, well I don't".
Holly (re Rebecca/William): "Like father, like daughter. I still miss him".
Nora: "So do I. Bastard!"
Nora and Holly's reaction when they thought that another woman might have been a mistress of William's was hilarious.
Kitty: "How did you go from home wrecker to surrogate daughter?"
Rebecca: "Because I was there".
Kitty: "It's a great party".
Rebecca: "Yeah I should've ordered beer and pizza in the first place".
Kitty: "Yeah we're not fit to be seen in public".
Justin was the only regular character not to feature in this episode and Joe has also been demoted to recurring character this season.
Jason: "Kev, I don't expect you to wait for me".
Kevin: "Well that's too bad because I'm going to".
Sarah: "To Kitty, who may be conservative in her politics but is liberal in her love".
Standout music: There was many but the ones that really struck a chord where Sia's "The Girl You Lost To Cocaine" and "If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What It Is)" by Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators.
Nora (to Kitty): "Please don't ask me to stop. I have to keep moving. Please don't ask me to stop".
Rebecca (to Justin): "And you were wrong about being the black sheep. You're the heart of this family. They need you. I need you. Please be okay".
Chronology: Four months since "Matriarchy".
It might have been a while but "Home Front" only goes to prove that while they show lacks outrageousness, it'll never bore you with strong, engaging, very human drama and wry comedy. This is a very good sign for the start of a shorter season.