Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 23

Matriarchy

1
Aired Sunday 10:00 PM May 20, 2007 on ABC
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
265 votes
17

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Nora organizes an engagement party for Kitty and Robert. Justin is about to be deployed to Iraq, and he tries to have special time with his family members to say goodbye. Kitty finds it hard to tell her mother that she will be moving out. An old friend of Saul's visits after his divorce.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Family drama... Engagement party plans... Soldier says goodbye... Let's celebrate a year with the Walker clan.

    10
    Upon a second viewing, I love this episode even more than before and I'm not sure how that is possible since I really liked it, tears came, when I first saw it in May. Anyway, Justin says goodbye to all his family members in personal, individual ways. Kitty and Nora part ways as Nora plans for the engagement party and Kitty readies herself for moving in with the senator (hooray to Lowe's long term status on the show!). Kevin hooks up with Jason. This show has everything that makes any show, but in particular this show, fantastic!!! The beginning and the ending of the episode, stylistically, match up with Patriarchy, season premiere, and continues the circle, the cycle. It's reminiscent of the days when their father was alive and it's just beautiful. The actors continue to embrace the dialogue and make their characters live. Their own air chemistry with each other is nothing short of amazing. All the interactions: Kitty and Nora, Kevin and Nora, Kevin and Jason, Robert's family, Justin and et al; The Party Disaster; the truth revealed about Joe and the "kiss"; The tearful airport goodbye...it's just perfect! It will be interesting to see where the stories go. How long will Justin be gone? Will art imitate life? After all, soldiers' tours continue to be extended. Will Saul, who has been paired with Holly, come out of the closet? Will Jason and Kevin continue to date? Will Robert and Kitty make it to the altar? Can Sarah and Joe work it out? Can't wait to find out...

    I end with this snippet from Sarah's speech:

    "A family...It's the best and the worst thing that can ever happen to us...the truth is that without each other we would be truly lost." Nothing is more true!!!moreless
  • Mother Written by Jon Robin Baitz And Greg Berlanti Directed by Ken Olin

    9.0
    Kitty (to Nora): "It's been an awful year but it's been the best awful year of my life".



    That would be an almost apt way of describing the entire first season if the writing didn't happen to be so ridiculously good for the most part of the series. With various other ABC pulling out bigger guns for their season finales, Brothers And Sisters is by comparison a more subtle affair.



    For the past few episodes we've been reminded at every given opportunity that Justin is heading back to Iraq and now that the moment is finally approaching, Justin's way of dealing with it is to spend time with his family doing things they enjoy the most. That goes without saying that Justin is really being sweet.



    Although it's off screen Sarah gets to go to the zoo with her kids and baby brother and probably have a lot of fun since her marriage to Joe went down the crap hole. It's also her opportunity to have a social time with her kids outside of the many parties the Walkers have had this season.



    With Tommy it's slightly more a macho affair as him and Justin take to some surfing and cruising the various girls that cross their paths. It's really funny seeing Tommy trying to encourage Justin to get some action before he heads off to war and for Justin to decline. Maybe he's still missing Tyler or maybe he's still not convinced that he's out of the woods yet in terms of spiralling.



    Justin's generosity with his family even extends to willingly attending a matinee of Wicked with Kevin, who is only too thrilled to see that particular play yet again and who is also hilarious in warning Tommy that he's next. Kevin's like a grim reaper although instead of stealing souls, he drags siblings to musicals. Tommy might not be able to resist for long if Kevin's really that determined.



    However one person who refuses to indulges in Justin's little family spending moments and given her knack of brow beating her kids into attending events they'd happily eschew, it comes across as majorly insensitive that Nora would refuse Justin the courtesy of going to the museum with her.



    Granted Nora has her reasons and sees that Justin is scared of not coming back from Iraq in one piece. You can't blame him for being that way or even for how he's coping with that fear. War isn't safe even for the people who aren't going around nuking rival soldiers. Justin's trying to give his family something in the off chance that something bad does happen to him. Nora should try to understand that at least.



    It might be okay for Justin to give fellow soldiers the confidence to believe in themselves but it's a lot harder to convince yourself first hand and there's a great moment between Sally Field and Dave Annable where both Justin and Nora lay their feelings on the table. Nora's refusal to accept Justin's fears is annoying but it's understandable. This show is more than excellent at conveying both sides to an argument pretty damn well.



    Of course Nora couldn't go through this episode completely believing that she was in the right, so it took Robert and his war experiences to persuade Nora to make it up with Justin. Maybe it's me but I'm starting to love the fact that Robert is now getting significant scenes with people outside of Kitty. Last week it was with Justin and this week with Nora. Here's hoping that trend continues on next season.



    It also helps out that Rebecca is quick to tell Nora and Kitty that Justin had to report two days earlier than what they were lead to believe so eschewing the engagement party of doom, both Kitty and Nora went off to catch Justin before he left for good.



    The scenes at the airport are suitably poignant. No sickening melodrama, just true to life and honest mixture of fear, pride and happiness for Justin. Both Kitty and Nora excelled in those moments and their closeness to Justin was nicely highlighted. It wouldn't be too much to hope that Justin doesn't actually get hurt out in Iraq then? Who knows what will happen on this series. Either way Justin's temporary departures are better than the ones seen on other ABC series this year.



    Justin's departure wasn't the only curveball Nora got dealt with it. She may have been ecstatic that Kitty was engaged and even more thrilled when the rest of the family ensured that an engagement party would take place but when Kitty had to tell Nora that she would be moving out, Nora couldn't resist getting into a rather animated argument with her.



    Kinda like with Justin, Nora did overreact with the way she handled Kitty's news. Kitty might have egged on the argument as well but it's not like she told Nora out of malice and it's also not like Nora couldn't have seen it coming in the least. Come on, it would've been a bit weird if Robert had to move in instead of Kitty moving out of the homestead. Nora just let her fears of losing both kids rule her thoughts and when she eventually snap out of it, we got a wonderfully frank conversation between her and Kitty that could more or less sum up most of Season One in a nutshell. It's moments like this that cement my appreciation of this show. To think I was actually reluctant to review this series at first. Now I can't imagine not reviewing it, it's become that much of a joy to watch every week.



    However if you were think that the Walkers were the only set of nutters on this show, then it turns out that the rest of Robert and Jason's family aren't exactly cover material for Sanity Fair either.



    Robert's favourite uncle is a guy called Jack Weiner and when he's not using election badges in an inappropriate manner, he's also doing his ample best to grab hold of Nora's backside and alongside him, the rather overtly sexual cousin Catherine and a few more nut jobs, they not only manage to out drink the Walkers, but they literally bring down the tent in the garden.



    It's a rather unbridled joy to see that Robert isn't entirely perfect as he has to apologise to Nora for the damage his crazy clan are inflicting while wondering with Kitty if he's actually still election material. That's the thing, isn't it a bit too early in this show's life for Robert to be running for President? Still it's almost worth it for the amount of snark Kevin can muster about Kitty being the first First Lady to even get impeached. That's also something that could be a reality too given this series.



    However it's not just Kitty and Robert who are having relationship good times as Jason's arrival on the scene means for some more priceless moments between him and Kevin. Saul has great fun in telling Kevin that Jason hates his guts and Kevin even puts his foot in it when him and Jason's opposing views means that the original venue for Kitty and Robert's engagement do is lost.



    Still Kevin spends his time at the party getting hammered and arguing with Jason over the craziness of each other's families before all that supposed hostility goes out the window and the two of them end up making out in a scene that's both hot and funny to look at. The crap part is that the kiss is somewhat brief so you feel a little cheated.



    What's even more interesting is that during the speeches at the party, Jason is revealed to be a minister and Kevin is slightly mortified, which leads to him berating Kitty yet again. Sometimes I think that girl is a walking dart board for Kevin and his impulsive outbursts. Still Kitty's support is nothing short of sweet but she's deluding herself if she thinks it'll stop Kevin from disliking Robert.



    Given the pretty cool (and rather instant) chemistry between Matthew Rhys and Eric Winter, I am actually going to be rather quick to ship Kevin and Jason as a couple. Kevin was able to curb his Robert hate to a minimum during a later meeting between him and Jason and Jason is just adorable for his cheeky view on tradition.



    Let's just say that Kevin isn't the only one who would gladly advocate Jason's tradition in less than a minute. Please for the love of God let Viva Laughlin get canned if it means more Jason. He and Kevin might actually work in a way that Kevin's relationship with both Scotty and Chad didn't.



    Kevin wasn't the only one with a promise of getting some as the somewhat secretive Saul also seems to be harbouring something. When Milo turned up and Saul displayed some discomfort, I got the feeling there might have been some internalised homophobia. What I mean is that Saul could be one of those people who accept their family as being gay but not one of their old friends. I hate that kind of mentality but it does exist out there.



    Instead we're lead to believe that something happened between Milo and Saul a long time ago and it's not something that Saul wants a repeat performance of. Milo may be in his 60's but he did make the leap to divorce his wife and come out as gay and now as a viewer you're left wondering if Saul is gay too.



    I'd go for being bisexual but up until now there's never been any hints of Saul being nothing other than straight. That being said I have confidence in this show to tackle this plot as responsibly as they've done many others. Still this definitely caught me off guard and I am suitably intrigued with whatever outcome we get.



    I'm also intrigued to see how the writers tackle Julia's post pardum because if her brief appearance in this episode is anything to go by, she's definitely suffering from it. Although Elizabeth's doing fine in the hospital the loss of William is still affecting and unlike Tommy, Julia doesn't have this big family she can confide in. Tommy should've figured that the last thing Julia would want is to go to a party.



    Speaking of parties, Rebecca got forced into inviting Holly to Kitty/Robert's engagement and for one time only, both Holly and Sarah managed to have a civilised conversation. Then again I doubt Sarah wanted to engage in a screaming match in front of Cooper and you are given the impression that Holly might feel a tad remorseful in her part of breaking up Sarah's marriage.



    The thing is though while Holly and Sarah might learn to tolerate each other; I still don't really know why Holly constantly puts herself in the position of attending their parties. It's like what Sarah was saying about the weddings and single tables. Holly needs to get a life away from the Walkers, not only for their sakes but also for her own good as well.



    When it comes to good, Rebecca did kinda the right thing and told Justin about the real reason behind her bad history in Chicago and honestly I didn't see her older love killing himself coming. More importantly she admitted her part in the kiss with Joe and was told by Justin to do the right thing and tell Sarah, which is now another thing we'll have to see next season.



    The episode's ending however was something of a therapeutic joy. William may have died in the family pool but it didn't stop everyone else from jumping in at the end. Heck even Holly and Rebecca managed to dive to outrival Robert's crazy relative. It's also one of my favourite scenes of the entire. It might come off as being silly but there's also something rather meaningful in it too.



    Also in "Matriarchy"



    Both Tommy and Justin were seen together in the opening episode as well as this finale on the beach.



    Justin: "We've had some good times"

    Tommy: "Yeah it's been a barrel of laughs".



    Neither Joe nor Paige popped up in this episode. Then again, I know a certain someone who won't be a regular next season.



    Kitty: "The mattress is so squishy that all the blood is rushing through my head"

    Robert: "That's funny because I'm not having that problem".



    Nora: "Major Weiner, is that a joke?"

    Kitty: "Don't laugh".



    Kitty referred to her brothers to Jason as Larry, Moe and Curly. Robert mentioned that Kevin was Moe. Am I missing something here?



    Justin: "We're going to see Wicked"

    Kevin: "Yay"

    Tommy: "It's not enough you're going to Iraq"

    Kevin: "You're next Tommy".



    Weiner: "Guess what I've got in here"

    Nora: "I'd rather not".



    One of Robert's relatives spoke with an Irish accent. I mean one that sounded genuinely Irish, not what Americans thinks Irish sound like.



    Sarah: "Why do you keep putting yourself through it?"

    Holly: "I don't know. There's always something magical about weddings".



    Jason: "Why are you such an unpleasant person?"

    Kevin: "Why do you care?"



    Anyone notice that Kevin wasn't there at the family dinner? It's probably because Matthew Rhys was filming Dylan Thomas.



    Robert: "Do you still think I'm electable?"

    Kitty: "Probably not".



    Justin: "Did you?"

    Rebecca: "Yeah. I don't know what I was thinking and I certainly don't know what Joe was thinking in that moment".



    Isn't it funny that the season opened with an episode about fatherhood and then ends with one on motherhood? I almost half-expected William to pop up in a flashback or something.



    Sarah: "A family. It's the best and worst thing that can happen to us. The truth is that without each other we would truly be lost".



    Kitty (re Jason): "I have never met a minister before"

    Kevin: "I never sucked the face of one before".



    Jason and Robert are both Catholic but Jason is a Methodist minister because he wanted a friendly audience. That would mean his flock know he's gay and couldn't care less. Another reason to dig this show.



    Kevin (to Kitty): "You know what. You're the worst communications director ever. If he wins the election, you're going to be the first First Lady to be impeached".



    Kitty: "I don't know what I believe in anymore but I know that I believe in you and I love you so much"

    Justin: "I love you too".



    Standout music: There's a great selection with both "Long Awaited Sigh" by Flip Grater and "Ooh Child" by Nina Simone being my favourite of the bunch.



    Jason: "I think you should know, I'm a very traditional person. Jumping your bones is very atypical of me"

    Kevin: "Well I could use some tradition in my life".



    Holly: "What's going on?"

    Kevin: "Pool party".



    Chronology: May 20th 2007, which is the same day that ABC aired this episode.



    "Matriarchy" makes for a satisfying end to a brilliant debut season. Like many of the strongest episodes in the season, this episode works so well because of its ability to blend both the comedy and drama so effortlessly. Here's hoping that Channel 4 do the right thing and stand by this show because it more than proves its worth.moreless
  • brilliant!

    10
    just brilliant

    what else can i saw about this amazing episode?

    it was just great, the scenes just completed the season entirelly. when justin leaves its heartbreaking. the fight between kitty and nora is hilarious and their moment before going to the airport is amazing too. the final pool scene its just soo uplifting. it makes me wanna go to my pool and jump. its soo amazing. and holly going there too. its too much. i love it and the season finale was too perfect. have to love those walkers



    cant wait for season 2 to begin.

    hope it gets better (how could it!!??)moreless
  • brothers and sister apeals to any crowd or individual. The Walker family are an interesting bunch there's a little of everyone in their characters

    9.9
    exciting season finale.filled with everything!. Tears for justin going back to the war, laughter for the jump in the pool. what a wonderful sight seeing holly and becca join in the pool action. The argument with kitty and nora about kitty's movement was hilarious and becca coming out with the truth about the kiss a sigh of relief. All in all it had a PERFECT ending.Nora's lines were perfectly played out loved her. i smiled when it ended until i started crying. Brothers and sisters thumbs up and the walkers, you are one of the reasons i love TV. And everyone responsible for the show,keep up the goodwork!moreless
  • Kitty's engagement party serves as the eye of the hurricane for some serious season closure.

    10
    It began with an engament, Kitty's engament, to a guy named Jonathan with whom she broke up shortly after her father passed away; it began with a marriage, Sarah's marriage, in crisis long before the final straw that ended it all; it began with a romance, Justin romance with a gal named Fawn, that now seems so distant like the addiction he had to overcome before he could come back to the war front, it began with two brothers Tommy & Kevin as different as their lives may be and it ends the same way...only different.



    Different because William is gone and with him the father who lied, left more problems for them to fix than explanations for them to hear and changed their lives as they knew it, and yet it ends just the same as it started as if nothing would've changed even though everything is different.



    It ends with an engagement, Kitty's engament, to a man she can look past the chaos and mayhem if only because they have one another, a man with whom to build a future together, a man as only Robert McCallister can be; it ends with a marriage only now not Sarah's but Tommy's, a marriage strong enough to become a family despite losing one of their children; it ends with a romance only now not Justin's but Kevin's, a romance with a guy but a romance nonetheless, with all the potential one Jason McCallister could bring to the table considering whose brother he is and it ends with two siblings: the soldier and the divorcee each of them strong in their own way. Each of them facing their own particular war front heading straight to the season to come, as the rest of the Walkers themselves.moreless
Carol Kiernan

Carol Kiernan

Cousin Margaret

Guest Star

Kathryn Zenna

Kathryn Zenna

Cousin Catherine

Guest Star

Michael Nouri

Michael Nouri

Milo Peterman

Guest Star

Eric Winter

Eric Winter

Jason McCallister

Recurring Role

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Robert McCallister

Recurring Role

Maxwell Perry Cotton

Maxwell Perry Cotton

Cooper Whedon

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

    • At the close of the first season, Sally Field (Nora) received the Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work in this episode. Rachel Griffiths (Sarah) was nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. The show also received a nomination for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.

    • ABC released the complete first season on DVD in the U.S. (region 1) on September 18, 2007. It was sold in international regions starting in November 2007.

    • Original cast member John Pyper-Ferguson (Joe) departs the series with this episode. He returns as a guest for two episodes in season 2 to wrap up his storyline.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • (Kitty just announced she's moving out)
      Nora: I will miss your company terribly, but let's face it you're a little old to be living with your mother.
      Kitty: Oh, you know what, mom. Why do you have to insult me? Why don't you just come out and say that you're gonna miss me?
      Nora: Why can't you just come out and say you're scared to move out? Why make me into this clingy, neurotic mother trying to force you to stay?
      Sarah: Wow. It's like the Passive-Agressive Olympics here.
      Kitty: Oh, shut up, Sarah!
      Nora: All of you, stop this! Now, just stop it, it's not fair. I don't care if she moves out. I just resent the way she comes in here and blithely announces it.
      Kitty: I've been trying to tell you for three days! But you don't want to think about it, just like you don't want to think about Justin leaving, mother. That is why you are throwing this party.
      Nora: Don't you dare bring your brother into this!
      Kitty: I didn't want a party! We should be spending this time with Justin, not spending our time calling 18,000 people.
      Nora: Then fine, don't help. Just go.
      Kitty: Fine, I will. I'm gonna start packing.
      Nora: Good, good.
      Kitty: I'm not kidding.
      Nora: Neither am I!
      Kitty: Thank God. Thank God I'm getting out of this prison! (she leaves the room)
      Nora: Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Sweetie. (Nora leaves the room too)
      Rebecca: Wow. That was amazing.

    • (Kitty is annoyed at Nora for throwing her an engagement party she doesn't want)
      Nora: Sweetie, you didn't talk to me for three months because I didn't throw you the sweet 16 party you insisted on not having.
      Kitty: Mom, that's different. I was 16. Everybody wants a sweet 16 party.

    • Kitty: (saying goodbye to Justin) You know, I don't... I don't know what I believe in anymore... But I know that I believe in you. And I love you so much.

    • Nora: (leaving a message on Justin's voicemail) Justin, this is your mother. I'm so angry at you. How could you go off without saying goodbye? I'm sorry I didn't go to the museum with you. It was so sweet of you to think of something I wanted to do, and it's just like you thinking of everybody else. You have to stop that, you hear me? I want you to stop that, right now!

    • (the McCallisters are doing the Macarena dance)
      Robert: Do you still think I'm electable?
      Kitty: Probably not.

    • Justin: Mom, I'm going to a place where people are getting blown up on a daily basis okay, and there's a very real possibility that I'm not gonna come back-
      Nora: Stop! Stop. If you go there believing that something's going to happen to you, then something's going to happen to you.

    • Justin: I'm a recovering addict who's going to Iraq in 10 days.
      Tommy: That's my point exactly. A military man going off to war, you could get some serious sympathy action.

    • (About the McCallisters)
      Nora: Look at us, we're all sitting round here like a bunch of party poopers.
      Saul: How can we compete with the McCrazies?

    • (About Kevin and Jason's bad blind date)
      Jason: I'm sure I just caught Kevin on a bad day.
      Kitty: No, no he's always like that.

    • (Viewing an engagement party venue)
      Kevin: What are you doing here?
      Jason: I was told I'd be meeting your mother but it seems both sides sent the gay scouts instead.

    • (The McCallister family are going wild)
      Nora: What happened here? I thought you guys were manning the house.
      Tommy: We tried, but there's-there's too many of them.
      Sarah: I stopped two guys from peeing in your panties.

    • Kevin (about Jason McCallister): He's a minister?
      Kitty: Yes, he's a minister. Have you never met a minister before?
      Kevin: I've never sucked face with one before.

    • Robert: I'm sorry about my family.
      Nora: You never have to apologize for your family. Besides, it's refreshing to be the tame ones for once.

    • Kitty (to Nora): Thanks for letting me stay. It's been an awful year, but it's been the best awful year of my life.

    • (Seeing the list of people Robert is inviting to the engagement party)
      Kitty: He's only inviting his family.
      Nora: Were the McCallister's part of a breeding experiment?

    • Nora: All the people I love come here on their way to and from the big moments of their lives.
      Kitty: It's like, I don't know, what do they call it, a place where you go to rest and recover and get stronger.
      Nora: A spa?
      Kitty: No, no a sanctuary.

    • Kevin: You know what. You're the worst communications director ever. If he wins the election, you're going to be the first First Lady to be impeached.

    • Sarah: A family...It's the best and the worst thing that can ever happen to us...the truth is that without each other we would be truly lost.

    • Jason: I think maybe our families deserve each other.
      Kevin: You know, my offices are downtown. Maybe we can have lunch sometime.
      Jason: I think you should know, I'm a very traditional person. Jumping your bones was extremely atypical for me.
      Kevin: Well I could use some tradition in my life.

    • Jason: What is that? Like your fourth margarita? Why don't you just carry around a pitcher.
      Kevin: You didn't come in here looking for a Band-Aid did you? You came in here looking for me.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic - Matriarchát (Matriarchy)

    • International Air Dates:
      Australia: Monday, July 16, 2007 on Network 7

    • When Justin is on the escalator in the airport, you can see there are 2 separate shots. You can tell this by noticing all the people around him are different in each shot. Both shots were put together in one sequence.

    • Music:
      Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers
      Recovering the Satellites by Counting Crows
      Long Awaited Sigh by Flip Grater
      Ooh Child by Nina Simone

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • The first episode of the season is entitled "Patriarchy" which lays out the centrality of William's role in the lives of all the Walkers. The final episode of the season is "Matriarchy", which signals Nora having come into her own as the center of the Walker/Harper clan. The season has come full circle.

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