Brothers & Sisters

Season 3 Episode 23

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM May 03, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
111 votes

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Episode Summary

When Kitty & Robert reach a crossroads in their marriage, she is forced to reflect on her father's past indiscretions and decide what's most important in life. Meanwhile, Ryan makes a discovery about his mother's death and takes a huge leap in the wrong direction to vie for Rebecca's affection.moreless

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  • This episode had it all! The Showdown between Sarah & Holly was classi and the Wedding Proposal betwen Justin & Rebecca was beautiful.What will happend to Kitty and Robert now? And Nora has tracked down Tommy, so what will happen next week?moreless

    This episode had it all! The Showdown between Sarah & Holly was classi and the Wedding Proposal betwen Justin & Rebecca was beautiful.What will happend to Kitty and Robert now? And Nora has tracked down Tommy, so what will happen next week? The flashbacks Kitty had of her father William, were great, as she saw more of herself in him, in the way she was treating Robert, in having 'an emotional affair."

    This is my favourite moment this year with Holly (Patricia Wettig) and Sarah, (Rachel Griffiths) perform a song "Let's call the whole thing off" to show their 'unity' but end up having a huge confrontation-

    And how exciting!

    We started of the season 3 feeling a bit 'iffy' about Justin (Dave Annable) and Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) on Brothers and Sisters starting a relationship, and over the season they have grown on us, they've had their problems, and now we are suprised with the marriage proposal!

    This is such a beautiful scene, watch it here:
  • Another good episode

    In this episode of Brothers and Sisters, the following happens. We open with the knowledge that Joe (Sarah's ex husband) is re-marrying his first wife and is taking all of the kids on their honeymoon, which is one month long. We also see that Kitty and Robert are still having troubles and then she starts having flashbacks about her father, William. Before going back to work for the first time since his heart attack, Robert stops by the park and talks to Alec about Kitty. Kevin sees that something is going on between Robert and Kitty and so he asks Robert and he tells him that she is seeing someone. Justin gets accepted into a college, and he and Rebecca celebrate with a kiss and then they end up having sex. That evening as they head to the unite party for Ojai foods, Ryan kisses Rebecca. Later at the party, Justin confronts Ryan about the kiss. During the party, Holly and Sarah sing a duet, which doesn't go well, as just before they go on stage Sarah overhears what Ryan has been planning to do with his vote on the board. They have an argument, and because their mic's are still on everyone overhears it. Ryan freaks out and says that he is going back to Rebecca's to pack his bags and will be leaving within an hour. Nora asks Robert to try and find out where Tommy is and he soon gets a lead and gives Nora the address of where Tommy currently is. Kitty speaks to Alec and ends it, and so she tells Robert this when he gets home. Kitty tells him that she thinks they should spend some time apart. At the end of the episode, Justin asks Rebecca to marry him. Of course they talk about their feelings and then she says "Yes". We then see Nora getting off of a bus in Mexico, where she has gone in search of her son Tommy.moreless
  • Losing Ground Written by Peter Calloway And Daniel Silk Directed by Laura Innes

    Sarah: "You will never believe what he's gone and done now. He's remarrying his wife and taking the kids on a one-month honeymoon, to, wait for it, Europe."

    Nora: "Oh honey, I stopped watching those trashy soap operas in 1982."

    Sarah: "Joe, Mom. My trashy soap opera. The one that is my life."

    It's also what a lot of people are accusing Brothers And Sisters of becoming and while it's not an entirely fair comparison, there are some good reasons to back it up as well. Certain storylines definitely are soap material after all.

    For starters, Kitty and Robert definitely have the most potential as a soap story in of itself. Robert's angry about Kitty and Alec and is giving her some of the cold shoulder she gave him for the last couple of episodes.

    Robert has a reason to be mad, I get that and also I get that he instantly thought the worst when he heard Kitty on the phone. She didn't exactly do herself any favours by sounding dishonest, even if she was telling him the truth about being on the phone to Kevin.

    Organising a back to work party for Robert was Kitty's attempt of trying to make amends with Robert. However bolting from the party due to Robert's frosty attitude with her made Kevin suspicious. Well, if it wasn't going to be Nora asking questions, then Kevin seems like the next choice.

    He's already well aware of Kitty and Robert's marital problems and over the course of the season we've been repeatedly told that he actually cares about Robert and because of this, Kevin notes that he's caught in the middle. Employer/brother in law over sister, not an enviable tug of war there.

    I did like that Kevin was nice to Robert during some of their scenes together. Unlike the breakdown in "Troubled Waters Part 2", it didn't feel disingenuous but if it were me, I would be siding with my sister more.

    Kevin asked questions about Alec without sounding too judgemental but he also made the point that Kitty was more like William than she was Nora. To be fair, there was a point made in that statement. Though Robert has put her through some crap with his political goals, he isn't to his credit a serial cheater. I don't think Kitty could handle that as well as an overambitious husband.

    Because it's the end of the season, the writers clearly wanted to cook up a way into bringing William back in a conversation with a main character to tie in with the plots that are currently going on. Kevin had the honour of remembering the exchange that got him realising that Ryan was the other Walker, so Kitty's the lucky girl this season.

    We've been told more than once that Kitty and William have a pretty close relationship. In this episode we even see some similarities with them as they both attempt to shield the other about their romantic pursuits.

    With Kitty, this meant her getting rid of a current boyfriend all because her father decided to drop by. Even after the poor guy made the case that fathers tended to like him, Kitty still threw the poor guy and acted like she'd been caught out when William actually did show up in her flat.

    As for William, he more or less told Kitty that he was ending his relationship with Connie by fobbing her off with a story about them being business partners. First Tommy was vaguely aware of Holly and now Kitty's vaguely aware of Connie. I guess everything does get connected.

    With Kitty though she had no reason to believe that William was sleeping with Connie but because of her own situation with Robert and Alec, she made it her business to tell Ryan that William was essentially the last person to see Connie alive and this was after his scheming had been exposed.

    The scene with Kitty and Ryan is a fairly decent one and while there's no shock that William was the kind of person to cut you out of his life if you became a problem, I just have a feeling that the reveal might further egg Ryan on into trying to get revenge on the Walkers.

    Back onto Kitty though, her asking for a separation with Robert almost came out of nowhere. I don't want to sound like I'm sympathetic towards Robert because most of the marital problems are his fault but even when he was furious with Kitty, I did get the impression he wanted to save his marriage.

    Even if Robert and Kitty actually do split up permanently, it'll be interesting to see how Rob Lowe sticks with the show. Exiting him would be the better idea if him and Kitty don't reconcile but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that more than likely, Kitty and Robert's marriage is going to survive.

    However if it does, Robert might want to take some of Alec's advise on board. Being powerful might not always be a good thing if Alec's words are anything to go by, not that Robert was especially keen on listening to them. As for Alec, it made sense that after avoiding his calls, Kitty finally then manned up and essentially broke up with him. Now all she has to do is hope that some breathing space will work out for her and Robert.

    Getting back to Ryan, this guy has to be a massive idiot in a lot of ways. He tells Rebecca that he wants to stab Sarah in the back at a board meeting and he acts surprised that she doesn't seem enthused by the idea. Then there was that kiss as well.

    First of all, while Rebecca was stupid not to tell him that she didn't fancy him, surely he couldn't have thought she enjoyed it. She practically froze up and even if Justin hadn't managed to get back with her, I'm pretty sure that Ryan wouldn't have stood a chance anyways.

    Justin lecturing Ryan on his continued presence in the Walkers lives is as tiring as anything Holly spews out but here he was right. I'm glad he actually confronted Ryan about the latter's plot to go against Sarah on board meetings. What I'm not glad about is the fallout from it.

    Ryan was mad over the idea that Holly manipulated him when he was going to do the same with Sarah. In my opinion, he had no right to be and if he had done his own research, he would've known better to give Holly a wide berth. The Walkers reaction however annoyed me.

    I almost could understand Justin feeling a tad sympathetic for Ryan thanks to Rebecca telling him about the theory of William being responsible for Connie's death but I hated that none of the Walkers seemed the tiniest bit annoyed that Ryan was going to screw with them. It just felt very misplaced to me.

    Not quite as misplaced was Sarah and Holly's fighting. Every time Holly attempts to be nice, Sarah's distrustful and how could she not be. If she hadn't figured out about Holly and Ryan's little scheme then I'm sure that something else would've gotten in the way of their musical number.

    Points to Rachel Griffiths and Patricia Wettig for the scene but seriously, neither Sarah nor Holly should do musical theatre anytime soon. I wonder if Holly was telling the truth when she said she was unaware of Ryan's mother. Would that have stopped if she had?

    Holly and Sarah did raise some interesting points about each other as well. The way Holly acts and the way she continues to bulldoze herself into the Walkers lives is borderline sociopathic but she was right about Sarah being unhappy to a certain point.

    Finding out that Joe was remarrying his first wife wasn't exactly the kind of news her confidence could've done with and it certainly soured her within the episode itself. I did love that she had a nice scene with Scotty where she got some encouragement. I'm sure there'll be plenty of humorous storylines that could mined out of her using online dating as well.

    Also, Justin and Rebecca - their proposal. To me, it felt similarly scripted to the Kevin/Scotty one in "Moral Hazard" and while there was an element of sweetness to it, I do think it's rushed. They only just got back together in this episode and Justin just found out that he got accepted into one of his choice places. Couldn't he have waited another while to propose?

    As for Nora, her obsession with Tommy really has gone overboard. No matter how times Saul tells her to leave it, she doesn't. The surprising part was that Robert actually helped her out, given that he doesn't like to do favours in that way.

    So, with a few phone calls later, it seems that Tommy is still in Mexico after all. Having Nora just pack up everything and head there by the end of the episode was hardly a big shock. The only thing and it's been pointed out more than once is that Tommy doesn't want to come back. Maybe Nora should've left things. I can't imagine that Tommy will be too happy with her if she tries to drag him home.

    Also in "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"

    At first I thought Kitty's mystery guy was Alec (they looked similar) before realising that it was flashbacks and not dream sequences.

    Sarah: "Who are you? What have you done with my mother?"

    Nora: "Oh I'm right here. I just got these wise books is all."

    Nora's penchant for self-help books hasn't been discussed in a while. I remember there was a scene in "The Other Walker" as well when she was leafing through one.

    Kitty (re restaurant reservations): "How on earth did you do that?"

    William: "Oh I love you baby but I'm not gonna tell you all my secrets."

    Sarah: "I forgot you're an actress."

    Holly: "Come on, it'll be fun. We will make complete asses out of ourselves."

    This was another episode to be directed by the lovely Laura Innes. If they can get David Paymer and Ken Olin to appear in episodes, why not her?

    Nora (to Saul, re Tommy): "Stop telling me to let go. I can't let go. I can't do anything but wonder and worry where he is."

    Justin: "How is this complicated, Rebecca?"

    Rebecca (re Ryan): "He thinks his mom killed herself."

    Why did Rebecca tell Ryan that she acted out when she thought she was a Walker? Then again, why did Sarah tell Holly about Joe remarrying Paula?

    Kitty: "I don't wanna be like mom."

    Kevin: "Doesn't having an affair make you more like dad?"

    Kitty: "I told you, Kevin, I'm not having an affair."

    Nora: "Honestly Kitty, how can you defend this?"

    Kitty: "Oh I don't know. It's called democracy, liberty, patriotism."

    When exactly did Connie commit suicide timeline wise? When were Kitty's flashbacks with William – pre 9/11, Justin going to war?

    Holly: "There you are, we're on."

    Sarah: "I could kill you right now."

    Holly: "Oh no, you're just nervous, Just breathe."

    Holly: Please, you think I'm in bed with Ryan Lafferty?"

    Sarah: "Wow, not even I would go there, Holly but now you mention it, I wouldn't put it past you."

    Standout music: "Happiness" by The Fray and I'm not usually mad into them.

    Sarah (re Holly): "Busted by my nemesis, can you believe it? I wanna meet my soul mate, Scotty."

    Scotty: "Then what's standing in the way?"

    Chronology: Yeah, we're definitely into May 2009 at this point.

    "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" makes for a decent penultimate episode for the season. Mainly Nora's quest to find Tommy, Ryan's quest about his mother, Justin/Rebecca and Kitty/Robert dominated this episode and will undoubtedly do the same regarding the finale as well.moreless
  • Brilliant episode from start to finish.

    I have to say that recently I've been realising how much I like this show...this episode really backed up these thoughts. Every single storyline was engrossing...there were sad moments, funny moments and everything you'd want from the show. Kitty and Robert reach a crossroads...things are tense between them. Seeing her on the phone...him thinking that she was talking to Alec. It was done so well.

    Kevin being in the middle was interesting to watch...however believe that this bond with him and Robert has been rushed. I must admit that this rift between the couple has been my favourite storyline for many episodes but this flashbacks with William really were thought provoking. They got on so well but he was keeping secrets...this led to Kitty coming to a conclusion, she needs time apart...wants a separation. I was glad about should make things more interesting.

    Well done Calista Flockhart, you've been outstanding through this storyline. Ryan finding out about his mother went well fitted in with Kitty's flashbacks and led to a conversation between the pair. Ryan has been creepy for some he still kept up with that, but in fact I'm glad he's been introduced because now I actually like Rebecca and Justin. I actually felt emotion at the proposal at the end when I usually am bored to death in their scenes.

    What was also great was Sarah realising she wants to find her soul mate. How it happened was both hilarious and quite sad...the dance with Holly was very funny as was their fight being aired throughout the party. A highlight was her conversation with Scotty...he gave her great advice about just getting out there. The end was brilliant, she's going on a dating site.

    Finally Nora has found Tommy...that was an excellent end to the episode. But my worries are with the last episode (next weeks). Was this more of a finale? What will the final S3 episode bring? But at the moment I'm very impressed. 10/10.moreless
  • What an episode - it had everything!

    This episode was Brothers and Sisters at its best. The scene where Holly and Sarah sang 'Let's Call The Whole Thing Off' and then argued over the intercom was absolutely priceless. Sarah was great with Scotty too. I am still not very keen on Kitty's storyline though. I hope they can sort things out as soon as possible. Lovely ending with Justin's proposal and Rebecca saying yes. Of course, the final shot where Nora got off the bus in Mexico looking for Tommy. I knew she would never be able to resist trying to find him once Robert gave her the information. And Ryan was given his marching orders (well gave them to himself once everything unravelled). Everything sets us up nicely for the finale.moreless
Luc Charbonnier

Luc Charbonnier

Ben Tyler

Guest Star

Toby Holguin

Toby Holguin

The Bus Driver

Guest Star

Jay Knowlton

Jay Knowlton


Guest Star

Tom Skerritt

Tom Skerritt

William Walker

Recurring Role

Matt Letscher

Matt Letscher

Alec Tyler

Recurring Role

Luke Grimes

Luke Grimes

Ryan Lafferty

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Sarah: (regarding Holly): Busted by my nemesis, can you believe it? I wanna meet my soul mate, Scotty.
      Scotty: Then what's standing in the way?

    • Kitty: I don't wanna be like mom.
      Kevin: Doesn't having an affair make you more like dad?
      Kitty: I told you, Kevin, I'm not having an affair.

    • Saul: Nora!
      Nora: What? I'm in the pantry.
      Saul: Would you stop taking your anxiety out on those baked beans and tell me why you're googling private detectives?

    • Holly: Have you tried online dating?
      Sarah: Oh, come on, Holly. You're just trying to think up another way for me to make a complete ass of myself.

    • Sarah: You will never believe what he's gone and done now. He's remarrying his first wife and taking the kids on a one-month honeymoon to, wait for it, Europe.
      Nora: Oh Honey, I stopped watching those trashy soap operas in 1982.
      Sarah: Joe, Mom. My trashy soap opera. The one that is my life.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic - Zapomeňme na všechno (Let's Forget Everything)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Norway: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 on TV2
      Australia: Monday, July 27, 2009 on Channel 7
      Latin America: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 on Universal Channel
      Finland: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 on MTV3
      Czech Republic: Sunday, June 19, 2011 on Universal Channel

    • Music:
      Let's Call The Whole Thing Off by Holly & Sarah
      Happiness by The Fray
      Goodnite by Melody Gardot

    • Although credited, Balthazar Getty (Thomas Walker), Sarah Jane Morris (Julia Walker), Kerris Lilla Dorsey (Paige Whedon) and Maxwell Perry Cotton (Cooper Whedon) do not appear in this episode.


    • The episode title Let's Call the Whole Thing Off is a song from the 1937 film Shall We Dance, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.