Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 15

Love is Difficult

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Feb 18, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
194 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sarah and Joe go into therapy following the tensions of their marriage. An office poll unsettles Kitty about her relationship with Senator McCallister.

Tommy bumps into a concealed member of the Walker family while Tommy and Julia learn about a surprise addition to the family.

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  • The prodigal daughter returns

    One of the worst episodes since the beginning of the show. Mostly because too much time was spent talking about business. I agree it might be interesting seeing Tommy and Holly interacting more but on the other hand- it might not be that interesting. Rachel Griffiths' great acting saved this storyline a little bit, she played a good role of a woman who is going through major changes in career and personal life at the same time. Speaking of the latter, I'm somehow hoping that Sarah and Joe would break up because I'm beginning to like Joe less and less every episode. Sarah could do better. Kitty and Robert were also kind of boring. Somehow the chemistry I've seen them have before is gone or at least it's not passionate. They act very rational when they should be all over each other cause that's how new couples are, no? I also didn't like them having this poll about Kitty, it was unrealistic and weird. Kevin is still having some kind of relationship with Chad. I was kind of hoping that after the phone call from Michelle Kevin would dump him but unfortunately he didn't. There's something fishy about this Chad guy and Kevin either doesn't see it or doesn't want to see it. The latter probably.

    Tommy and Julia were cute having an ultrasound and telling the family about the twins:)moreless
  • No Shortcuts In Life Or In Love Written by Jon Robin Baitz And Molly Newman Directed by Michael Schultz

    Joe (re Vanessa): "Our kids have play dates"

    Sarah: "Yeah, our kids, Joe, not us! We don't get to play".

    It was only a matter of time but it had to happen. After months of arguing and not connecting, Sarah and Joe finally see a therapist to which they take their problems to and if they were hoping for a quick fix solution, then they are a lot worse off than even I thought they were.

    Although Joe hasn't exactly exhibited any signs of straying, Sarah is the first to bring up his friendship with Vanessa during their first session and instead of sounding like she's on a witch hunt, she does raise a valid point about how more expressive Joe seems to be with Vanessa than he is with Sarah.

    I don't necessarily think that Joe has any intentions of cheating on Sarah but that we are two thirds into the season; it's amazing that even something as minute as Joe's friendship with a woman is enough to further the gap between him and Sarah. They were on thin ice back in "Patriarchy", now they seem inches away from a divorce court. How the hell did things get this bad between them?

    A part of it could be the reverse roles with Joe being the homemaker and Sarah the breadwinner but this isn't exactly uncommon nowadays but either way, maybe not being able to financially provide for his family has made Joe feel emasculated. Not that Joe is sexist or anything.

    Kids or no kids, being stuck at home all day really will drive anyone around the bend but when Sarah doesn't seem to grasp the flipside of being a stay at home, Joe does come as rather frustrated by her not realising that. Sarah is a good mother but she's never done the stay at home thing and nor should she.

    Also Sarah's craving for closeness between her and Joe also had her telling Nora about her almost affair with Noah. Sarah admitted to feeling guilty about feeling closer to him than Joe and seeing as we haven't seen or heard of Noah since "An Act Of Will", it's amazing that Noah still factors on Sarah's mind. He has to, otherwise why would she bother telling Nora during their little heart to heart?

    Nora is pretty sympathetic to Sarah's plight and her advice is a bit obvious but nonetheless probably effective in a way – tell Joe about Noah. It's not exactly gonna make Sarah and Joe's problems go away but at the same time, it couldn't do any further damage, right? Well maybe in an alternative universe but not on this one.

    Something interesting about Nora and Sarah's conversation is when Nora reveals to Sarah that she wished William had been honest about the plethora of lies he told her and while we don't know whether or not Nora would've had the strength to forgive him, it's interesting because Sarah, Tommy, Kevin and Saul are still hiding Rebecca's existence from her and that's something addressed this week.

    Telling Joe about Noah doesn't do much to help matters during a second session as the revelation isn't quite a shock. Joe admitted to knowing that Sarah might've felt something for Noah and I think a part of him might've also known that she felt bad about it despite not acting on it.

    There's a painful to watch moment during the session when Joe desperately asks why the therapist isn't helping them and it shows how John Pyper Ferguson can be when given the right material. In fact everybody on this show is good but there are times when you need reminding of that fact.

    It's easy to level some criticism at the therapist. While Jude is played by the excellent Joel Grey from Cabaret, like many therapists on TV, he's mostly aloof and not big on offering a comforting thought to Sarah and Joe. That being said, I didn't get the impression that he was being deliberately cold but more that he was attempting to be neutral and not take sides. There's also a chance that he might not know how to help them either.

    As for Sarah, if there was ever a doubt that Rachel Griffiths wasn't an excellent piece of casting, then by God she truly proves herself with this instalment. Sarah's solo session at Jude's has her breaking down and while Jude is able to give her some realistic but hopeful advice, Griffiths' performance is nothing short of mesmerising. It ends the episode on an incredible note too.

    Sarah isn't exactly the only person caught up in her own relationship difficulties as Kevin and Chad seem to be spending less time enjoying each other's company and more time arguing over Chad being firmly in the closet.

    Chad might have been annoyed at Kevin for sleeping with Scotty but apparently not mad enough not only make the effort to call Kevin enough times to get him to meet up for a coffee but also he dumped Michelle too in his quest to get Kevin.

    Kevin isn't particularly gushing like a gawky fan boy so he's either being smart or a total dick to/with Chad depending on your viewpoint. As much as I'm shipping these guys, Chad did make some progress in this episode that can't be ignored. When he dumped Michelle, she knew it was for Kevin and when he and Kevin had dinner, Chad did at one point hold Kevin's hand in an intimate way. Two weeks, Kevin would've lucky if Chad hadn't shoved him under the table. Chad also admitted even during dinner that he's had trouble with himself and relationships in the past but that he did want to commit to Kevin. Even Kevin should be able to relate to that.

    However much as progress was being made, Chad does seem to have a pattern of dating both sexes, not knowing what he really wants and hurting the people who have fallen for him. Michelle in her drunken state reiterates that to Kevin and whether or not there was an element of anger in her warning during that conversation doesn't matter. She might hate Kevin for coming between her and Chad but she's not exactly lying about her now ex-boyfriend.

    Even Kevin is rather quick to admit he has a love/hate thing with Chad. He loves being with this hot, occasionally surprising soap actor but he hates the fact their relationship is almost under lock and key. Still at least Matthew Rhys and Jason Lewis look more comfortable when Kevin and Chad are kissing now. That's a bit of a plus in my book. Speaking of patterns, Tommy always seems to display a natural sense of annoyance when anyone tends to underestimate his abilities and this is no greater emphasised when him and Sarah continue to disagree on the winery business. Despite Tommy and Holly being outnumbered, neither of them seems to want to move on and Sarah isn't exactly in the most embracing of moods with Tommy's desire to find his own niche.

    William reappears this week courtesy of flashbacks where we see Sarah being shipped in from North Light to Ojai and Tommy not reacting well when William gives her more responsibilities. In their scenes both Sarah and Tommy show their knack for business so I get the impression without a winery, William's decision to elect Sarah might not have been so cut and dry.

    More interestingly is that also in flashbacks Tommy and William have it out in the ranch and Holly can be heard in the background. Like Kevin, Tommy wasn't exactly shocked to the core when the revelation of William's affair became public knowledge and now we know why.

    Tommy even admitted to Holly that he knew about her and his father and after a rather strained talk with Sarah, he decides to go into business with Holly while remaining on Ojai's payroll. Also with him and Julia expecting twins, two pay checks are going to be quite the need while Julia is on maternity leave.

    However the most interesting thing to happen to Tommy in this episode is not him expecting twins, visiting William's grave, dealing with Daddy issues or Holly but the fact that he is the first person who gets to clap eyes on his half sister, Rebecca, who despite a clearly important character is given a rather low-key but effective debut appearance. If this was any other show, subtlety would definitely be vetoed. Thank God this isn't.

    Picking an actress who could be the love child of William and Holly had to be a reasonably difficult choice but having former Everwood actress Emily Van Camp is another impressive masterstroke. You feel icky when Rebecca unintentionally thinks Holly and Tommy are more than business partner but at the same time, the clock is just ticking as to when Rebecca will find out about her much older and frakked up siblings.

    Meanwhile Kitty has got her own problems to deal with as Robert's less than generous staff has cast a poll on whether or not she is good enough for a presidential candidate and the general consensus seems to be not.

    It's a funny plot mainly because Kitty's annoyance at the poll feels a bit silly and for the third week in a row, it seems like the least demanding of plot, although from a marketing campaign, you get the impression that the network want to capitalise on the Kitty/Robert relationship. From what I gather, viewers (including myself) do seem to like them as a couple but it's really the relationship involving Kevin, Sarah or Justin that generate more online interest.

    Also it's incredibly funny that both the level headed and increasing cooler Justin and Robert both have to try and warn Kitty that she's now a political player as opposed to being a commentator and that most polls are bogus anyway. Opinion doesn't always dictate fact and Robert uses what was originally thought of him as a neat way of getting that through to Kitty.

    Nora on the other hand seems to be in a creative mood and despite not being the next Van Gogh, she does seem to display a flare for writing and while her story about Dora is blatantly autobiographical to a certain point, it obvious hits enough nerves to make her family listen to her. Emily did say for Nora to get a life and going back to school, even at 60 is a brilliant way of doing that. I can't ultimately find fault with a plot like that, especially as I am considering giving education another try.

    Also in "Love Is Difficult"

    The episode's title comes from a book called "Letters To A Young Poet". Chad surprised Kevin by reciting the title poem.

    Robert: "Kitty, no-one in this office is thinking about sex, just you".

    Kitty got referred to as a "Slattern" (the communication staff), "strumpet" (Robert) while the poll said she was "overbearing", "opinionated", "and aloof". Only one of those descriptions actually sucks.

    Kevin (re the story): "Wow, Mom, that's heavy"

    Nora: "I never finished it. I guess I got too scared".

    Kitty (re poll): "I was in the low thirties?"

    Gary: "Low to mid"

    Kitty: "Low to mid?"

    Robert got some colourful descriptions. Some about his looks were a bit obvious but I wonder what compelled someone to bill him as a "psycho"?

    Sarah: "You're looking for something; I'm not enough for you"

    Joe: "Am I enough for you?"

    William: "I had no idea you were jealous of your sister"

    Tommy: "Of course I am I'm human".

    I heard that they originally considered Hilary Duff for the role of Rebecca. The producers seriously dodged a bullet there.

    Kitty: "I liked you better when you were stupid"

    Justin: "You're stupid".

    Kevin (re love being difficult): "Do you believe that?"

    Chad: "That love is difficult? Well I've never been good at it. Just look at me and you".

    Chad is the same age as Kevin – 34. He also admitted to never going to acting school. Perhaps he was discovered.

    Kevin (re Chad): "He hurt you, didn't he?"

    Michelle: "No, I'll be fine but you I'm worried about".

    Sarah (to Joe): "We used to be something and I don't know what happened. Can you tell me?"

    Sarah and Joe's problems have also extended to their sex lives too. Joe might have become a bit impotent.

    Sarah (re Holly): "If she screws with you, I will kill her. I swear to God, I will"

    Tommy: "That's what I'm counting on".

    Rebecca (to Holly/Tommy): "The prodigal daughter returns. Barely".

    Emily Van Camp is now an official regular on the series. Rebecca has truly landed despite her one scene here.

    Kevin: "You're built to seduce and run, Chad, you can't help it".

    Tommy: "How would you guys feel about another William in the family?"

    Nora: "I think the world could always use another William Walker".

    Standout music: "There Is A Light" by Great Lake Swimmer during Sarah's solo therapy session. It really elevated that scene.

    Sarah: "Why can't you say anything? One thing to make me feel better"

    Jude: "There are no shortcuts, Sarah, in life or love. This pain must be felt, the alternative is much worse".

    Chronology: A few days after "Valentine's Day Massacre".

    Another week and after two lighter episodes, "Love Is Difficult" is a more emotionally wrought hour that show how high brow this show is becoming. All of the relationships are dealt with in an adult way without the need to patronise viewer's intelligence and with performances like Rachel Griffiths, it's hard not to respect this show as it gets more engrossing.moreless
  • This programme is genius. Another episode that makes me laugh and cry. I think everyone wants a family like the Walkers

    This programme is genius. Another episode that makes me laugh and cry. I think everyone wants a family like the Walkers. The episode, finally saw Tommy grow a pair and stand up to Sarah. Going into business with Holly will cause problems, but could ultimatly unite the two arms of the Walker clan. I loved the flashback scene where he goes to have it out with his dad and discovers his dad is having an affair. Brilliant. The ending with Tommy meeting his 'sister' was well handled and to be honest I would have reacted the same way. I think Tommy and Julia are the most underused characters in this series but judging from the upcoming storylines that will change and good!

    I like all of the characters in this series and Rob Lowe and Ms Flockhart should get a room, the chemistry is amazing and doesn't seem acted at all.

    As Justin said to his mum after she got arrested for smoking pot. 'High Five!!'moreless
  • Oh My God !

    Oh My God ! What's episode ! Sarah breaks up with his husband ? really ? I'm so sad because i love the couple. I love the couple of Kitty and the senator, this episode is fun about this relation. I don't like Tommy. It's the brothers and sisters that I don't understand. I'm not feeling for him like I have for the others. Kevin with Chad, I Hope thaht Michelle has lied. but i'm really sad about Sarah she lost his husband and Tommy quite the Ojai's company. Sarah ( I Guess ) the invisible wife of Tommy will have got twins ? cool but why she don't saw her more ? Good episode not the best I Want to see more Justin and Nora;

    And REBECCA is coming. Next Episode must do bettermoreless
  • Thomas and Julia get exciting news about her pregnancy.

    This was a very good episode, not as good as the rest, but it was still very good. It just a little too over the top in the drama department for me, but it was still very good. I know that this show is supposed to be considered as a drama, but all of the other episodes at least had a few funny moments in them. If they had put a little more humor in the script, I would have given it a perfect 10. I did love the whole poll on Kitty thing though. I thought the Joe and Sarah marriage counseling storyline was very well done. I really enjoyed Kevin's storyline. I felt so bad for him though. I'm glad that he's ending things with Chad. I'm so happy for Thomas and Julia since they're having twins. It was cool to see Emily VanCamp on the show. All in all, this wasn't the best episode of Brothers & Sisters, but it was still pretty good.moreless
Joel Grey

Joel Grey

Dr. Jude Bar-Shalom

Guest Star

Naz Deravian

Naz Deravian

Dr. Colleen Singh

Guest Star

Susan Santiago

Susan Santiago


Guest Star

Tom Skerritt

Tom Skerritt

William Walker

Recurring Role

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Senator McCallister

Recurring Role

Paul Cassell

Paul Cassell

Gary Morris

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Robert: (after Kitty raised some concerns about their relationship in front of her co-xorkers) Kitty, this is the field office of a Senator from California, not the lunch room at Malibu High. They're all serious-minded public servants working to end poverty, make education and health care better. They're legislating. Governing. We're making a better America.
      Kitty: Oh, my God. You sound like a bumper sticker.
      Robert: That's one of the slogans we're working on for the campaign. "We're making a better America". What do you think?
      Kitty: I think it's sub-moronic.
      Robert: Noreen ran a field poll on it and America agreed. It scored in the 80's.
      Kitty: Well, America is sometimes wrong.
      Robert: I think the Democrats are already using that one.

    • Kitty: So, Senator, The San José Mercury News wants an interview about strategic alliances between the Silicon Valley and Asian markets.
      Robert: Who's it with?
      Kitty: (flipping through papers) Hmm... Who's it with? It's with Bruce Newman, Senator.
      Robert: He hates me. In his last editorial he said I wasn't as smart as Hillary Clinton but I was prettier.
      Kitty: Do you want me to cancel it?
      Robert: Schedule it over the phone. Maybe he'll hear my ideas better if he's not getting lost in my blue eyes.

    • Sarah: I'm not enough company for you? You're looking for something, I'm not enough for you.
      Joe: Am I enough for you? Honestly? Am I enough?

    • (Tommy is going into business with Holly)
      Sarah: I think you're crazy to go into business with her, but I'll watch your back, and I'll drink your wine - probably all of it. And one more thing, you can tell her this, you can tell her that if she screws with you, I will kill her. I swear to God I will.
      Tommy: That's what I'm counting on.

    • Kitty: I liked you so much better when you were stupid.
      Justin: You're stupid.
      Kitty: You're stupid.
      Justin: You're stupider.
      Kitty: You're the stupidest.

    • Kitty and Senator McCallister are in his office
      Kitty: Well, I better leave because if I stay in here any longer, everyone is going to assume we're going at it like weasels.

    • Kevin: You'll have to forgive me if I'm a little freaked out. I mean is this gonna be like Fatal Attraction?

    • Kitty: I've got to make Hair Boy look Presidential.
      Robert: Senator Hair Boy, please.

    • (Justin shakes his head at the doorway)
      Kitty: Justin come here quick. Do you um do you think that I'm aloof?
      Justin (hesitantly): Yeah...
      Kitty: What?
      Justin: (grabs the swan foiled dessert) Are you gonna eat this?

    • Sarah: Why can't you say anything? One thing to make this feel better?
      Dr. Jude Bar-Shalom: There are no shortcuts, Sarah, in life or in love. This pain must be felt the alternative is much worst. It's what makes us special, what makes us beautiful, what makes us worthy. The pain of how we love. Now that pain is accompanied with something else isn't it? Hope. With your pain there is hope and that is where you are. Somewhere between agony and optimism and pray. So you're human, you're alive and that's what we have. Come back tomorrow, we'll go on.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic - Láska je složitá (Love Is Complicated)

    • Emily VanCamp (Rebecca) is now added as a series regular.

    • Joel Grey, who plays Dr. Jude Bar-Shalom (Sarah and Joe's therapist) in this episode, guest-starred in a number of episodes of Ron Rifkin's (Sol) previous show Alias in which he played a double posing as Rifkin's character.

    • Music:
      Ripe by Shane Alexander
      Since You've Been Around by Rosie Thomas
      There Is a Light by Great Lake Swimmers (The song playing while Sarah visits the marriage counselor alone)